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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2007 10:00 pm

A former News-Sentinel paper carrier pleaded guilty Wednesday to grand theft, admitting that he used information from a subscriber's check to buy merchandise online.

Michael Lien was sentenced to four months in jail, fined $360 and placed on five years of formal probation, meaning police officers may search him at any time without cause.

Lien was one of about 200 independent contractors who distribute newspapers and collect payments, said home delivery manager Peter Breech. He said subscribers may pay online, by telephone, mail or in person at the North Church Street office, rather than paying the carrier.

Lien worked for the newspaper last summer for about two months and is no longer a carrier, Breech said.

$175,000 set for LMH by McNerney is OK'd

Congressman Jerry McNerney's earmark of $175,000 for Lodi Memorial Hospital received the approval of the House of Representatives today, according to McNerney's staff.

The money would be used to bring a new patient information system to the hospital that create better communication between hospital staff and patient family members.

"I'm pleased that I was able to secure funding for the Interactive Patient System at Lodi Memorial," McNerney said. "Allowing patients real-time communication with their families and doctors will eliminate the uncertainty and confusion that patients sometimes feel in a clinical setting."

McNerney's other allocations of $350,000 for the San Joaquin County A+ Program, which promotes reading at 150 school sites in the county as well as $175,000 for a county job training program.

Funding for these projects is subject to approval by the Senate and then President Bush. The appropriations process is expected to be complete by the start of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Council accepts DLBP report, sets hearing

With little discussion Wednesday, the Lodi City Council accepted the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership's annual report for the 2006 calendar year and adopted a resolution of intent to continue levying an annual assessment on Downtown property owners.

According to its financial report, the DLBP has total assets of $31,877 and the same amount in liabilities.

In 2006, the group spent $38,599 on the weekly Farmers Market, $3,066 on the Parade of Lights, and $3,585 for its banner program. DLBP earned revenue of $68,588 for the Farmers Market, $9,560 for the Parade of Lights and $4,675 for the banner program.

The City Council set a public hearing for its Aug. 1 meeting.

Correction

San Joaquin Delta College will only reimburse the health care expenses for trustees Dan Parises and Leo Burke. Trustee Maria Elena Serna will sill receive lifetime health insurance benefits from the school, although only Parises and Burke will have their expenses covered. This information was incorrect in a Page 3 article and subhead in Wednesday's News-Sentinel.

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Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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