Lodi residents awoke to ash on their cars Thursday as forest fire smoke lingered over San Joaquin County for a second day.
Most of the smoke came from a Plumas County fire more than 100 miles away, north-east of Chico. The fire, dubbed the Moonlight Fire, nearly doubled in size overnight, going from 15,000 acres on Wednesday to 28,000 acres by Thursday morning.
Nearly 2,300 fire personnel were fighting the blaze, an increase from 1,000 people fighting it Wednesday. It was 8 percent contained as of Thursday evening and was expected to continue burning toward the south-west.
Winds blew the smoke west and then south into the San Joaquin Valley, where the haze lingered all of Wednesday and into Thursday.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued a health advisory for sensitive groups, and predicted that air quality would remain similar today. District officials recommended that children and older adults avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities, and advised those with lung and heart troubles to follow their doctors' orders regarding bad air quality.
A Bay Area fire burning in Henry W. Coe State Park, in Santa Clara County, was not helping overall air quality in Northern California. Dubbed the Lick Fire, it had grown to nearly 19,000 acres by Thursday morning and was 25 percent contained.
On Wednesday a San Joaquin County strike team went to help fight the Lick Fire. Firefighters from Waterloo-Morada, Liberty, Linden-Peters, Lathrop-Manteca and Ripon fire districts, and the Tracy Fire Department are battling that blaze alongside more than 1,750 personnel.
Boy hospitalized after ingesting pain meds
A 2-year-old Lodi boy was hospitalized for observation Wednesday evening after he tested positive for prescription pain medication.
The boy's uncle had been watching him play outside, then noticed that he had become lethargic, Lodi Police said. The uncle took the boy to Lodi Memorial Hospital, where a test was positive for Benzodiazepine, which is often in Xanax and Valium.
The child was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit for observation only.
The uncle cooperated with police and allowed them to search his home. Officers found no sign of drugs and no indication that the child had been neglected, police said.
Driver and passenger hurt in motorcycle crash
A motorcyclist and his passenger were injured Thursday morning when a teenager turned in front of them while driving through Lodi.
Hal Hook and Josephine Caruso, both of Lodi, were wearing helmets as they rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle north on Mills Avenue, Lodi Police Cpl. Roger Butterfield said.
They reached Pine Street at 7:21 a.m., where a southbound silver BMW turned east in front of them, Butterfield said. The driver, a 17-year-old girl, was not injured but both people on the motorcycle were taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital with complaints of pain.
The girl was at fault for violating the right-of-way, though Hook was not licensed, Butterfield said.
Stockton man arrested during large drug seizure
A Stockton man was arrested early Thursday after allegedly delivering five kilograms of cocaine to an informant and possessing another eight kilograms of cocaine, as well as 13 pounds of crystal methamphetamine.
Antonio Barraza Bazua, 29, is jailed without bail, accused of possessing more than $440,000 worth of drugs.
He allegedly left a home in the 2100 block of Stormy Creek Court on Wednesday night and delivered five kilograms of cocaine, which is valued at $16,000 to $17,000 on the wholesale level, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Drug agents arrested him two hours later and allegedly found three kilograms of cocaine in his car.
Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Stockton Police Department then searched the Stormy Creek Court home, off Highway 4 west of Interstate 5. In the house and garage, they found five more kilograms of cocaine, 13 pounds of crystal meth and $139,000 in cash, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The investigation was a spin-off from a 2005-06 investigation by the DEA and the FBI and included the California Highway Patrol, the Western El Dorado County Narcotics Enforcement Team, and U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement.
U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said in a statement that the drug seizure would keep more drugs off the streets, and that the cash was likely going to pay suppliers in Southern California or Mexico.
Delta College shows support for initiative
STOCKTON - San Joaquin Delta College trustees and local officials proclaimed their support Thursday for a statewide initiative that could boost funding for the school by $6 million.
Stockton Mayor Ed Chavez and other supporters attended a "back to school" news conference in support of the Community College Initiative.
The initiative, which will be on the statewide ballot in the Feb. 5, 2008, election, is designed to make junior college more accessible to all students. To do so, the initiative guarantees minimum state funding for growth, $15 per unit fees that can only rise with the cost of living and a system of independent community college districts.
The initiative could possibly raise Delta funding by almost $6 million a year, according the a press release from the school.
"This initiative will make community college education in California even more affordable and stabilize funding for community colleges," said Delta College Board of Trustees President Maria Elena Serna.
Chavez focused on the fact that not only do community colleges serve a diverse population, but they also prepare students for good careers.
"I understand that a better educated workforce is key for California's 21st Century economy and this initiative will ensure that community colleges continue to meet the need for college educated workers," Chavez said.