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Posted: Sunday, August 20, 2006 10:00 pm

Lodi City Council is all about keeping up appearances

DRESS CODE ENFORCED: Lodi City Councilman Larry Hansen recently appeared on an area morning news show to tout the Lodi's centennial celebration. But not without an edict of sorts from Mayor Susan Hitchcock. Though Hansen, a former police chief, is dapperly dressed at City Council meetings, the mayor wanted make sure he stayed that way when representing the city on TV.

"Please, no shorts," Hitchcock said, referring to Hansen's penchant for going casual when Carnegie Forum isn't hosting a regular council meeting.

A DOZEN YEARS: Gary and Cathy Columbus, transients who have spent years living on Lodi's streets and camping along the river, celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary Aug. 15. The two even received a candlelight dinner at Habenero Hots, free of charge, and Gary Columbus said they couldn't have been more impressed.

For those keeping track, the Columbus marriage has lasted twice as long as that of actress Kate Hudson and rocker Chris Robinson.

COURT ATTIRE: The signs at Lodi court say flip-flops, shorts and tank tops are not allowed in the courtroom, and bailiffs generally enforce the policy out of respect for local judges. So, when people show up for their court appearances in unacceptable clothing, they improvise.

There was the woman whose white rubber flip-flops didn't pass, so she put on her husband's closed-toe work shoes. He, in turn managed to squeeze her shoes on over his white socks, long enough to go home for some different footwear.

Then there was the woman who had traveled from out of town, was wearing flip-flops and ran to her car to see what she could find. She found not one pair of acceptable shoes but two, and lent the other pair to a woman who wanted to sit in the audience.

And, last but not least, there was the man who arrived in shorts. He walked out to the lobby and somehow found a pair of pants to borrow.

OH POOP: In a fund-raiser the Lodi Republican Women hosted Sunday to provide scholarships to children of soldiers killed or severely injured, visitors were asked to buy squares for "chicken poop bingo," where if the chicken leaves its calling card in your square, you win a prize.

But there was a twist to the time-honored tradition - players were to choose a liberal of their choice and place it on their square. So you would not only win the prize if the chicken left its very best on your square, it could be an assault on Hillary Clinton as well. Or Jane Fonda, Johnny Depp or Cindy Sheehan.

Others "honored" by being the chicken's potential target included Jerry Brown, Jimmy Carter, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson, Alec Baldwin, Bill Maher and the American Civil Liberties Union.

WHAT, WHAT, WHAT?: We were shocked and awed after viewing the top-10 Web searches on Yahoo! recently.

It's understandable that searches for Tony Blair, airport names, airline baggage restrictions and Osama bin Laden would be standard fare after the discovery and breakup of a terrorist plot against airliners. But what, we ask, propelled Dustin Diamond into the top 10?

Could it be that the actor who portrayed the lovable character Screech on TVs "Saved by the Bell" helped bring down the terror cell?

Unlikely. A little Googling informed us that Diamond is attempting to sell T-shirts to save his Milwaukee home from foreclosure.

Items in Grapevine, which runs every other week on Mondays, are written by various reporters on the staff. If you have an item to contribute, e-mail Newsroom Assistant Pam Bauserman at pamelab@lodinews.com or call her at 369-7035.

First published: Monday, August 21, 2006

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