Lodi teen dies after crashing stolen truck
After stealing a truck early Thursday morning, a Lodi teen died when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a palm tree, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The 17-year-old, identified by the San Joaquin County Coroner's Office as Raymond Lara, died of blunt force trauma.
Lara, whom family members believed was under the influence of alcohol, was speeding west on Acampo Road at 3 a.m. when he drifted off the road and onto the grass shoulder east of Lower Armstrong Road, the CHP said.
He veered back across both lanes of the road, lost control and the vehicle spun into a palm tree. The truck's driver's side door collided with the tree, which caused major damage to the driver's seat area, according to the CHP. There were no passengers in the car, and the weather was clear.
Lara was not wearing a seat belt, according to the CHP. The truck had been stolen that morning from a West Elm Street resident.
Micke Grove banking on $2 million for makeover
The operators of Micke Grove zoo are hoping a $2 million makeover will help them retain their accreditation.
The American Zoo and Aquarium Association suspended accreditation last year for the 49-year-old Micke Grove Zoo because of aging facilities, a lack of veterinary care and limited resources.
Now the zoo has begun demolishing five concrete cages that will be replaced with a landscaped home for snow leopards, Eurasian eagle owls and Asiatic small-clawed otters, featuring a stream and pond.
Claude Brown, president of the Micke Grove Zoological Society, said the expansion of an animal-intake facility and a $300,000 veterinarian center also have begun and could be finished by the summer.
The nonprofit society has raised most of the repair money.
"We were doing this long before the AZA came for accreditation," Brown said. "You don't build a brand new home tomorrow by starting it yesterday."
The association is expected to decide whether Micke Grove can keep its accreditation during its annual meeting in Florida at the end of the month.
Lodi man arrested in federal drug probe
A Lodi man was one of three people arrested this week when federal and Stockton narcotics agents seized 1 1/2 pounds of methamphetamine, authorities said.
Salvador Alvarez Chavez, 25, was arrested Thursday by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Stockton Police Department during an investigation in the 2500 block of Belleview Drive in Stockton.
He later told agents that he was merely the driver for a Lodi man who was selling the drugs, according to an arrest affidavit.
Chavez appeared Friday afternoon in federal court in Sacramento on a charge of conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of a controlled substance, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Also arrested were Jose Solorio, 20, and his girlfriend, Genevive Cortez, 18, both of Stockton, said Stockton police spokesman Pete Smith.
The arrests were part of a joint ongoing investigation by both law enforcement agencies, Smith said.
In February, a paid informant purchased $3,000 worth of methamphetamine from Solorio, according to the affidavit. Then, this week Solorio and his girlfriend met up with the drug dealer in a Lodi shopping center, got more drugs and sold it to the informant, according to the affidavit.
All three suspects were booked into the Sacramento County jail without bail.
SPARC to meet; Planning Commission canceled
The city of Lodi Site Plan and Architectural Review Committee will meet at 5:15 p.m. Monday to review a request to add mulit-colored awnings to a planned Panera Bread restaurant in the Vintner's Square Shopping Center, as well as bus shelters and plans for a retail building at 1361 Lower Sacramento Road.
The regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting of the Lodi Planning Commission has also been canceled.
Grape Bowl committee to take stadium tour
The Grape Bowl Ad Hoc Committee, created to figure out what should be done with the aging stadium, will be touring several athletic sites to observe how the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements have been addressed.
The committee will meet at the Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St., at 10 a.m. on Monday, before heading out on the tour.
The Grape Bowl, the home of the Lodi and Tokay high football teams, requires over $4 million worth of renovation to make it compliant with ADA standards.
Council to review code enforcement ordinance
The Lodi City Council will review a proposed code enforcement ordinance at its study session Tuesday morning.
The meeting begins at 7 a.m. Tuesday at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St. For more information contact the City Clerk's office at 333-6762
Mosquito board meets next week
The San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District will hold its regular meeting Tuesday in its Stockton office, 7759 S. Airport Way next week.
The group meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday. For more information, call 982-4675.
Man held in cop shooting pleads not guilty
MODESTO - A man charged in the fatal shooting a California Highway Patrol officer last month has pleaded not guilty.
Columbus Allen Jr. II, 30, entered the plea Thursday to a first-degree murder charge and three special circumstances that could lead to a death sentence.
A Stanislaus County Superior Court judge denied Allen's request for a a new court-appointed attorney. In an interview with The Modesto Bee Monday, Allen called his lawyer incompetent.
Allen is charged with the Feb. 17 murder of Officer Earl Scott, whose body was found on the side of Highway 99. Scott was holding the registration for a car Allen reported stolen hours later.
Allen is being held in Stanislaus County Jail without bail.
First published: Saturday, March 18, 2006