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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2009 10:00 pm

On Thursday, a judge set a trial date of July 30 for a Lodi man charged with resisting police.

John Zarefakis, 56, acted as his own attorney at his arraignment. He was arrested May 19 after state Bureau of Automotive Repair agents showed up at a Lodi Avenue business to make sure it was not violating state laws. He allegedly tried to shove a police officer when an agent tried to look at an invoice.

Judge David Warner looked at the misdemeanor file against Zarefakis and noted: "You've filed a number of papers indicating you don't acknowledge the court's authority. Well, I do."

Zarefakis responded: "In the interest of justice, I request this case be dismissed."

A prosecutor declined to dismiss the case, at which point Zarefakis asked for a 60-day continuance, saying that "internal affairs is investigating this case," a possible reference to Lodi police, who arrested Zarefakis.

That wasn't enough reason for a delay, so Warner said he would postpone the matter for two weeks to give Zarefakis time to investigate the matter. But when the judge asked if he would waive his time - a legal requirement in order to postpone a case - Zarefakis refused.

He also declined to enter a plea in the matter, which will be heard again in court July 9.

- Layla Bohm

Free anti-gang dramatic presentation tonight

The last of four free dramatic presentations, aimed at teenagers will be shown tonight in Lodi.

Called "Duke of Earl II the Movie," the show is at 7 p.m. at Zion Reformed Church, 715 S. Central Ave.

The presentation, featuring music and acting, is organized by David Valdez, a former gang member who tries to give youths a way to avoid getting into trouble.

He turned his life around two decades ago and now runs Victory Outreach Lodi, which offers resources to those with addictions or who want to get out of gangs.

Valdez, an energetic man who practices what he preaches, has spent the past week distributing countless fliers for tonight's show. He hopes to have a good turn-out, and is also planning more events in the future.

For more information, call 224-8130.

- Layla Bohm

Comcast will staff meetings until Aug. 31

Comcast told the city it will continue staffing City Council meetings until the end of August, city spokesman Jeff Hood said.

The city is looking into either training a city staff member to operate the equipment or hiring someone to do it, he said.

The change is due to cable companies now striking contracts with the state instead of cities. Previously, the city negotiated its own contract to ensure Comcast provided a staff member for free to record meetings.

With the change, Comcast will also start charging for cable in public buildings, which it had provided for free.

The company will provide a discounted rate and said it will offer basic cable to the police and the fire department for free, Hood said. But the company also said at a recent council meeting it would only provide cable to the "main" fire station and all other stations would be charged for residential use.

- Maggie Creamer

San Joaquin County schools superintendent to retire

After nearly 20 years as San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools, Fredrick A. Wentworth has announced his intent to retire at the end of his term. It ends next year.

His educational career spans a total of 43 years.

He has served as a teacher, coach, counselor, and school administrator in Escalon and Manteca Unified School District. Wentworth was also involved at the state level, including serving as president of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association and as a long-standing member of the Association for California School Administrators.

In addition, he has been active in the community as a board member of Premiere Community Credit Union and San Joaquin County Workforce Investment Board. He has also been active in civic organizations including Rotary International, Stockton Symphony Association and United Way of San Joaquin County.

Wentworth announced his retirement at Wednesday's regular school board meeting. - Jennifer Bonnett.

Pacific named 'best buy' by college guide

The 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges named University of the Pacific as one of the 44 "best buys" for a college education in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The announcement was made this week by the publishers of the popular college guide, SourceBooks Inc.

According to the company, the 44 institutions selected for the guide "are based on the quality of academic offerings in relation to the cost of attendance."

Fiske researchers combined cost data with academic and other lifestyle information about each college and university to determine which institutions offer educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost, according to a press release issued by Pacific.

The Stockton university has previously been selected as a "best value" by the U.S. News and World Report annual college rankings for the past nine years.

The Fiske Guide to Colleges is a best-selling college guide that is updated and released annually. The independent guide offers no advertising nor collects fees from any of the colleges it covers.

The latest version, which includes Pacific, will be available for purchase in July.

- Jennifer Bonnett

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 10:44 a.m. Friday, June 25 to remove an item regarding the resignation of a Lodi Unified administrator.

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