Christmas tree pickup starts next week
The Boy Scouts will begin their annual Christmas tree pickup Saturday, Jan. 7. Each year, members start at 9 a.m. in Lodi, Galt, Woodbridge and Lockeford, and residents are asked to have their trees at the curb before the pickup begins.
The event serves as a major fund-raiser for area scouts. On pick-up day, they will be knocking on doors requesting donations. For many units, this is the only source of funding for the entire year.
The collected money is applied toward scouting activities, equipment, uniforms, summer camp and other operational expenses. Last year, more than $12,000 was collected.
A reasonable amount to give the scouts is considered to be $10, according to a press release. Residents are asked not to attach any money to the discarded trees, and only give to boys wearing scout uniforms and accompanied by an adult.
Anyone not home or wishing to donate can mail their checks to the Lodi Boy Scout Christmas Tree Fund, P.O. Box 1165, Lodi, CA 95241. Galt residents are asked to mail donations to Galt Explorer Post 1230, P.O. Box 412, Galt, CA 95632.
AAA to offer free tow for drinking drivers
The American Association of Automobiles is launching a new program called "Tipsy Tow."
If people have too much to drink, they may call AAA, and they and their car will be towed home for free, up to seven miles. People do not need to be members of the state automobile association.
AAA will offer the service to drinking drivers from 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day.
On Saturday night to Sunday morning, call (800) 222-4357 and ask for a Tipsy Tow.
DUI checkpoint planned
The Stockton office of the California Highway Patrol will be conducting a DUI checkpoint in the area Friday.
The operation will begin at 8 p.m. and run until 1 a.m.
CHP out to nab out-of-control holiday drivers
Drivers should stay off the bubbly between now and New Year's, or they might end up celebrating in the county jail.
California Highway Patrol officers have concentrated on nabbing speeders, drunken drivers and people not wearing seat belts since the holiday season began.
"We're cracking down on those violations," CHP officer Robert Rickman said during a ride-along this week. He said people who drink and drive or speed can get into an accident and kill someone or get killed.
The increase in roadway patrol from mid-December to January is part of the state's second Operation STAR program.
STAR, which stands for Statewide Traffic Action Response, will continue through midnight Tuesday.
With no tolerance for speeders, Rickman pulled over a Manteca man Tuesday afternoon and cited him on Bird Road.
Driver Jerome Skelton said he was unhappy with his speeding ticket but glad that officers wanted to catch drunken drivers.
"Looking for DUIs is better for everybody, especially on the holidays," he said.
Calpine works to be debt free, plans power plant
A power plant planned just west of Mountain House is still on the drawing board as the project owners figure out a way to get their company out of debt.
Calpine Corporation of San Jose filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York last week. The company will stay in business and already has $2 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse First Boston so it can continue operating its 92 power plants nationwide.
In California, Calpine has three more power plants approved by the California Energy Commission and is ready to build. Those include the East Altamont Energy Center, just west of the Alameda/San Joaquin county line near Mountain House, and plants in Hayward and Fresno County.
The CEC certified the plant for operation in August 2003, but construction has been on hold as Calpine tries to line up contracts to sell the 1,100 megawatts of electricity the gas-fired plant would produce.