Options - Mobile

back Side Panel

Sign Out

Sign up

Sign Up

Local News

Delta College will compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize

Posted:

San Joaquin Delta College has been selected as one of only 150 institutions from a national list of more than 1,000 community colleges to be e…

Lodi sees first signs of the rainy season

Lodi sees first signs of the rainy season

Posted:

Just after midnight on Friday Lodi had its first precipitation of the rainy season and according to Ken Clark, a meteorologist with private we…

Homeward bound: Lockeford groomer helps nonprofit find homes in Canada for 80 dogs

Homeward bound: Lockeford groomer helps nonprofit find homes in Canada for 80 dogs

Posted:

Country Clippers owner Genola Scott takes a brief rest outside of her Lockeford pet grooming business, where she has been helping a Pine Grove…

Lodi wineries help out Napa, Sonoma counterparts

Lodi wineries help out Napa, Sonoma counterparts

Posted:

While Lodi wineries recently banded together to help collect and transport donated goods to individuals displaced by the wildfires in Napa and…

Diwali lights up the night at Lodi Sikh temple

Diwali lights up the night at Lodi Sikh temple

Posted:

Although the air was chilly on Thursday evening, the atmosphere was warm and jovial at the Deshmesh Darbar Sikh temple on the corner of Armstr…

Stockton airport pushes for name change

Posted:

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors are set to consider whether to change the name of the Stockton Metropolitan Airport to the San Fra…

Eyesore or preservation? Concerns arise over Lodi Lake fencing, access

Eyesore or preservation? Concerns arise over Lodi Lake fencing, access

Posted:

With the ongoing erosion crisis at Lodi Lake, the recent installation of fencing in certain areas of the park was a necessary measure to keep …

Lodi Public Library Foundation sets sights on new projects

Lodi Public Library Foundation sets sights on new projects

Posted:

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Lodi Public Library Foundation held its annual Art of Storytelling fundraiser, and while the exact number…

Lodi City Council votes to expand ban on marijuana sale, cultivation

Posted:

The Lodi City Council voted 4-1 to approve an introduction of revisions to the city’s municipal code regarding marijuana during its meeting We…

Galt council chooses former councilman to fill Marylou Powers’ seat

Galt council chooses former councilman to fill Marylou Powers’ seat

Posted:

Former Galt City Councilman Thomas Malson was unanimously chosen from an applicant pool of 12 to finish out a term left vacant when Marylou Po…

Local Sports

High school football: Trojans tame the Tigers

High school football: Trojans tame the Tigers

Posted:

Tokay High’s football team completed its run through the tough half of the league with Friday’s 55-10 loss to Lincoln at the Grape Bowl.

High school football: Flames fend off Wolf Pack for first TCAL win

Posted:

TRACY — Lodi High football coach Robert Sperling has been preaching to his team about finishing offensive drives.

Athlete of the week: Tokay’s Iturraran is the center of attention

Athlete of the week: Tokay’s Iturraran is the center of attention

Posted:

Accomplishments: Nicole Iturraran used to play soccer.

High school football — Week 7: Tigers, Flames looking to end scoring drought

Posted:

California ended its drought earlier this year.

Water polo: Tokay boys, girls sweep Wolf Pack

Water polo: Tokay boys, girls sweep Wolf Pack

Posted:

The Tokay High girls water polo team made certain it stayed in the playoff hunt with Thursday’s 10-2 victory over visiting West, led by five g…

Sports shorts: Lodi beats Tokay in TCAL tennis finale

Posted:

Closing out the Tri-City Athletic League season, the Lodi High girls tennis team routed cross-town and rival Tokay 9-0 at Twin Arbors Tennis C…

Cross-country: Lodi girls keep title streak alive; boys take 2nd

Posted:

TRACY — Add a 15th consecutive league title for the Lodi High girls cross-country team.

Tennis: Flames roll past Tracy in TCAL match

Tennis: Flames roll past Tracy in TCAL match

Posted:

The Lodi High girls tennis team have one more Tri-City Athletic League match against cross-town and rival Tokay today.

Alumni Update Oct. 18

Posted:

Wyatt Ming

High school athletics: Lodi softball coach named interim athletic director

Posted:

One of the extra-curricular duties Michelle Souza has is monitoring the Lodi High football team’s sidelines at home games in recent years.

Most Popular

  • Homeward bound: Lockeford groomer helps nonprofit find homes in Canada for 80 dogs

    Homeward bound: Lockeford groomer helps nonprofit find homes in Canada for 80 dogs

    Country Clippers owner Genola Scott takes a brief rest outside of her Lockeford pet grooming business, where she has been helping a Pine Grove-based nonprofit organization prepare 80 dogs for their flight to Canada, where they will be adopted.

  • Diwali lights up the night at Lodi Sikh temple

    Diwali lights up the night at Lodi Sikh temple

    Although the air was chilly on Thursday evening, the atmosphere was warm and jovial at the Deshmesh Darbar Sikh temple on the corner of Armstrong Road and West Lane, as people came from near and far to celebrate Diwali, a festival of lights observed by both Sikhs and Hindus around the world.

  • Lodi vineyards donate pumpkins to local school

    Lodi vineyards donate pumpkins to local school

    Students at Ellerth E. Larson Elementary School in Lodi took turns lining up to receive free pumpkins, donated by Ripken Vineyards and Winery and KG Vineyard Management on Friday morning.

  • Katie’s Story

    Katie’s Story

    On a recent fall morning, in a booth at a Lodi coffee shop, Katie Romanek sips from a bottle of water and talks about her life.It is a life that’s had travails and trauma, but one that now holds great promise.Katie, 33, wears a striking autumnal print of orange, gold and black, along with a quick and radiant smile.“I feel like my life was in a rut for a time,” she says. “But I feel strong now. I want to speak up about what I’ve gone through. I want to help others.”More than 20 years ago, when she was a 12-year-old student at Vinewood School, Katie was kidnapped from her home in Lodi’s Sunwest neighborhood.Her abductor, an ex-felon high on meth, drove her into the rolling hills southeast of Lodi. After a massive search that drew national media attention, the ex-con, Steven Reece Cochran, was arrested, and Katie was rescued.Her story is part of an upcoming series titled, “They Took Our Child: We Got Her Back.” The series premieres Oct. 7 on the Lifetime Movie Network Channel. Katie’s case will be featured on Oct. 28.Katie, her sister, Elizabeth Christian, her father, Bob Romanek, and former Lodi police chief and mayor Larry Hansen are among those interviewed for the segment.Katie says she hesitated to be part of the show. Her ordeal was many years ago, after all, and it left painful scarring. Somehow, the distant nightmare seemed quite personal.“At first, I thought by speaking out, I would somehow be selling my soul,” she says. “But I am coming to see myself as a survivor, not a victim.”Crime of the decadeFor Lodi, it was the crime of the decade.On July 2, 1994, Cochran, 25 at the time and fresh out of prison, was roaming through Lodi, fueled by meth. He tricked Katie into letting him into the home near Lower Sacramento Road, where she was spending the afternoon with her sister, Elizabeth, 16 at the time, and a friend, then 13. (The friend has chosen not to speak publicly about the incident.)Cochran terrorized the girls, grabbed Katie at knifepoint, and fled with her in the family’s Pontiac Fiero. He rushed east into the brown hills southeast of Lodi, but the Fiero got stuck in a field, igniting a grass fire.With Hansen at the helm, the Lodi police reacted swiftly. Every available officer was called in and an all-points bulletin was issued. Supervisors were instructed to follow up the bulletin with calls to every law enforcement agency within 100 miles with an urgent message: Be on the lookout for the Fiero.Hansen had attended a seminar only weeks before on lessons learned from the case of Polly Klaas, the 12-year-old Petaluma girl who was taken from her home and killed in 1993, less than a year earlier.He knew time was of the essence.Smoke from the grass fire off Highway 26 drew the response of firefighters, who ran the Fiero’s license plate.What followed was the biggest search in the history of the Lodi Police Department.As day turned to night, police, sheriff’s deputies and FBI officers converged on the field. More than 100 officers were involved in the operation.In Lodi, meanwhile, fliers by the hundreds with Katie’s image were printed and distributed. Dozens of volunteers stepped forward to help. Local churches set up special prayer lines.The next morning, officers found Cochran wandering through the grass and oak-studded hills and seized him.Twenty-five minutes later, Katie was found.When word reached the Lodi Police Department that Katie was alive and safe, there was an immediate ovation.Inspired by atiny creatureKatie was alive and physically intact, but she had been abused by Cochran, as had Elizabeth. For Katie, the abuse continued, off-and-on, through much of the time she was held in the grassy hills, ending only a few hours before she was recovered.The night of the abduction, Cochran kept her partially submerged in a pond, trying to avoid heat-seeking technology being used by search helicopters.Desperate, she prayed, reciting the Lord’s Prayer to herself. Then, just a few feet away in the pond, she noticed a frog.“It was a living thing. For some reason, it reminded me of my pet chinchilla back at home,” she said. “With the frog close by, somehow I knew I was going to make it.”Repeatedly during the nightmare, Cochran said he was going to rape her, though his abuse did not escalate to that level.“I would phrase it as terror; he terrorized me, sexually terrorized me,” she said.When sunlight brushed across the hills in the morning, she asked Cochran if he still intended to rape her.“He said no. He said he’d been high on meth the previous day and night, but he wasn’t high anymore, and he was letting me go,” she said.Ultimately, Cochran was sentenced to 106 years in prison. He is 46 now, held at Salinas Valley State Prison, according to state corrections records.Cochran told probation officers he was abused as a child and was locked up at age 12 after burning down a house.Katie said she never felt Cochran was going to kill her.In fact, by the time he left her next to the pond in the morning, she felt an attachment to him.“I said, ‘You aren’t going to leave me here?’ It was a total Stockholm syndrome thing. Plus, there were cows around. It sounds weird now, but I was afraid the cows were going to trample me,” she said.If she were to send Cochran a message today, Katie said, “I would tell him I forgive him, and I hope he can forgive himself. I’m alive. I’m OK. He is not in a good place.”Her sister, Elizabeth, is married with a family and living in Elk Grove. She is also forgiving — to a point. Her college studies and career have exposed her to people who have struggled with varied forms of abuse.“You know, it is sad he was abused. But I’ve worked with people with horrible home lives, and many choose to rise above, to do better,” she said.A strong survivorAfter the kidnapping, Katie and Elizabeth both went through counseling. Both agree now it was not of much value. The Romanek family moved to Galt, and Katie attended Galt High. But she had difficulty focusing and following through. She attended Columbia College near Sonora but dropped out. She was using drugs and alcohol and had a series of relationships with men.She wound up as a server at the Jackson Rancheria, a job she held for six years.Last year, she went through a divorce. She has been working as a caregiver in San Andreas, where she currently lives.Through those difficult times, she stayed close to her dad and step-mom and sister Elizabeth. She maintained her buoyant personality and built strong friendships. Several of her friends urged her to speak out about being a survivor, and to get help.“I carried a lot of guilt. I felt it was my fault. After all, I was the one who opened the door (for Cochran to enter the house),” Katie said.Elizabeth said the ordeal shifted her life, as well. The kidnapping came just two years after the death of their mother, Beverly, from bone cancer. (Their dad later married his current wife, Elsa.)“When the kidnapping happened, Katie was still dealing with the death of our mom, and so was I,” Elizabeth said. “But Katie was younger. It was especially hard for her.”Katie went into therapy after her divorce last year and finally began to realize that she was still strong, still had many gifts. Still had a future.When the call came from Lifetime representatives earlier this year, she debated whether to participate.Eventually, she decided it was the right thing to do.“The therapy gave me the confidence to move ahead with the Lifetime program,” she said. “And doing the program has opened new doors for me.”‘Oh, my God — youare so beautiful!’Some of those doors have been opened by Hansen, the former police chief who commanded the rescue operation.In May, Katie and Hansen, who had not seen each other for 15 years, were reunited on camera in Los Angeles.“I looked at her and said, ‘Oh, my God — you are so beautiful!’” Hansen said.The two hugged and then talked for well over an hour.“We both bawling. I told him I was so grateful to him for finding me,” Katie said.Over two days and multiple interviews on camera, Katie spoke about her background, her life, and the kidnapping. Elizabeth was interviewed in detail, as was Bob Romanek.“I know Katie did it because she was ready, but also because she felt strongly that speaking out would help other people,” Bob Romanek said. “It was a brave thing for her to do.”Since the interviews, with Hansen’s encouragement, Katie has spoken out at several classes and seminars. She has become a strong supporter of the Family Justice Center in San Joaquin County, where victims can access a prosecutor, counselor, social worker and related services in one location. Plans call for the center to open next year.Suzanne Schultz, family crimes coordinator with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, heard Katie speak at a seminar and was immediately impressed.“Katie is the face of what so many abuse victims go through: The drugs and alcohol, the difficult relationships. She is typical in that way. But she is unique in that she has come out the other side with such insight, and with such an eloquent and hopeful voice.” Schultz said.Katie has enrolled at Humphreys College in Stockton, where Hansen is on the adjunct faculty. She has plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in community studies.Hansen believes Katie is on a fresh course.“Katie survived a lot. She is amazingly resilient. She is still standing. She is still strong. And if she can survive what she went through, she can survive anything.”A radiant smileAt the coffee shop, Katie takes another sip of water and talks about what’s next. She wants to continue speaking out and helping others, and would like to make that part of her career.“For women and girls, it is so important for them to know they are not alone,” she says. “You don’t have to hold it in. Talk about it. Own it. Own it.”She’s not sure if the future includes another marriage or children. But she is confident the future will be good.“I am honest. I value my friends. I am becoming the person I want to be, not a victim, but a survivor,” she says.Earlier that morning, she received her grades from Humphreys for the most recent semester: Straight As.Her smartphone vibrates and she reaches for it.After a moment, she looks up, eyes gleaming.“It’s Elizabeth,” Katie says, smiling her radiant smile. “She wants to get together and celebrate my4-point-O!”

  • Council looks at smart parking meters

    Council looks at smart parking meters

    The Lodi City Council discussed the possibility of installing parking meters Downtown during a shirtsleeve session Tuesday morning. The discussion came following a presentation by Rob Matthews from Municipal Parking Services.

Sign Out

Upcoming events

  • Today, October 23, 2017
  • Arte y Almas: Dia de los Muertos 2017

    A journey through life, love and death, Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017 (Art & Souls: Day of the Dead 2017) features contemporary installations by artists’ collectives Sonrisa de la Muerte and Lapiztola from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes. Opening at the Día de Los Muertos Fiesta 2017 on Fri., Oct. 13, the exhibit explores the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones each year on November 1 and 2 by creating calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), altares de muertos (altars of the dead) and ofrendas (offerings), which has evolved from the Aztecs to modern day Mexico and California. Members of the public are also invited to celebrate friends and family with a remembrance in the exhibition’s Community Altar through Dec. 30, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/arte-almas.

  • Tuesday, October 24, 2017
  • Time Management Strategies,Tips and Tricks

    The TrainHR webinar is approved by HRCI and SHRM Recertification Provider.

  • Arte y Almas: Dia de los Muertos 2017

    A journey through life, love and death, Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017 (Art & Souls: Day of the Dead 2017) features contemporary installations by artists’ collectives Sonrisa de la Muerte and Lapiztola from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes. Opening at the Día de Los Muertos Fiesta 2017 on Fri., Oct. 13, the exhibit explores the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones each year on November 1 and 2 by creating calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), altares de muertos (altars of the dead) and ofrendas (offerings), which has evolved from the Aztecs to modern day Mexico and California. Members of the public are also invited to celebrate friends and family with a remembrance in the exhibition’s Community Altar through Dec. 30, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/arte-almas.

  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017
  • How to Change Your Leadership Style

    The TrainHR webinar is approved by HRCI and SHRM Recertification Provider.

  • Arte y Almas: Dia de los Muertos 2017

    A journey through life, love and death, Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017 (Art & Souls: Day of the Dead 2017) features contemporary installations by artists’ collectives Sonrisa de la Muerte and Lapiztola from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes. Opening at the Día de Los Muertos Fiesta 2017 on Fri., Oct. 13, the exhibit explores the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones each year on November 1 and 2 by creating calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), altares de muertos (altars of the dead) and ofrendas (offerings), which has evolved from the Aztecs to modern day Mexico and California. Members of the public are also invited to celebrate friends and family with a remembrance in the exhibition’s Community Altar through Dec. 30, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/arte-almas.

  • Thursday, October 26, 2017
  • Arte y Almas: Dia de los Muertos 2017

    A journey through life, love and death, Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017 (Art & Souls: Day of the Dead 2017) features contemporary installations by artists’ collectives Sonrisa de la Muerte and Lapiztola from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes. Opening at the Día de Los Muertos Fiesta 2017 on Fri., Oct. 13, the exhibit explores the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones each year on November 1 and 2 by creating calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), altares de muertos (altars of the dead) and ofrendas (offerings), which has evolved from the Aztecs to modern day Mexico and California. Members of the public are also invited to celebrate friends and family with a remembrance in the exhibition’s Community Altar through Dec. 30, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/arte-almas.

  • Friday, October 27, 2017
  • Arte y Almas: Dia de los Muertos 2017

    A journey through life, love and death, Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017 (Art & Souls: Day of the Dead 2017) features contemporary installations by artists’ collectives Sonrisa de la Muerte and Lapiztola from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes. Opening at the Día de Los Muertos Fiesta 2017 on Fri., Oct. 13, the exhibit explores the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones each year on November 1 and 2 by creating calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), altares de muertos (altars of the dead) and ofrendas (offerings), which has evolved from the Aztecs to modern day Mexico and California. Members of the public are also invited to celebrate friends and family with a remembrance in the exhibition’s Community Altar through Dec. 30, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/arte-almas.

  • Dining In The Dark

    Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired will host Dining In The Dark on Friday, October 27, 2017. The first of its kind in San Joaquin County, guests will have the opportunity to wear sleep shades--removal of vision gives greater awareness of other senses. This event gives a glimpse into an unfamiliar world.

  • Saturday, October 28, 2017
  • Arte y Almas: Dia de los Muertos 2017

    A journey through life, love and death, Arte y Almas: Día de Los Muertos 2017 (Art & Souls: Day of the Dead 2017) features contemporary installations by artists’ collectives Sonrisa de la Muerte and Lapiztola from Mexico and California artists Lurac and Oscar Magallanes. Opening at the Día de Los Muertos Fiesta 2017 on Fri., Oct. 13, the exhibit explores the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring deceased loved ones each year on November 1 and 2 by creating calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), altares de muertos (altars of the dead) and ofrendas (offerings), which has evolved from the Aztecs to modern day Mexico and California. Members of the public are also invited to celebrate friends and family with a remembrance in the exhibition’s Community Altar through Dec. 30, 2017. For more information, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/arte-almas.

  • Sugar Skull Workshops

    Learn how to decorate “calaveras de azúcar” (sugar skulls) for “Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) in one of 5 hands-on workshop sessions on Sat., Oct. 28 and Sun., Oct. 29 at the California Museum. Suitable for ages 5 and older. Advance registration and payment of $20.00 materials fee per person are required, each session limited to a maximum of 40 participants. For more information or to register, visit http://www.californiamuseum.org/skull-2017. 

Multimedia

play Flag Ceremony

Flag Ceremony

Posted:

play Randy's Wacky Turkey Races

Randy's Wacky Turkey Races

Posted:

Randy's Wacky Turkey Races at the Lodi Grape Festival

play Worms!

Worms!

Posted: