Breaking ground for Lockeford's first community park and seeing what can be done about Highway 88 traffic stand to be the highlights facing the community in 2012, according to Joe Sublett, the new chairman of the Lockeford Municipal Advisory Council.
Sublett, who joined the council after running unopposed in 2008, will take the gavel from Lani Eklund, who chaired the MAC the past four years. Eklund remains on the seven-member council, which advises San Joaquin County about Lockeford issues.
"I thought I might make a contribution," Sublett said, explaining why he enjoys serving on the MAC. "It turns out that citizens like things pretty rural and don't like much change. But I definitely think we need some progress to keep the town viable."
Sublett said he is excited about progress by the Lockeford Community Services district to create the small community's first park, which will include a new community center and a room for Sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers to maintain a presence.
"I'm kind of excited that it might finally happen," he said.
As for Highway 88 traffic, it appears that Lockeford residents will have to put up with commuters who work in Stockton and Lodi for a few more years, Sublett said.
"We still have lot of traffic coming down our main street," he said. "They don't realize it's a lot of commuter traffic coming through here."
Sublett says it's a moot point to continue discussing a Highway 88 bypass around Lockeford because state and federal transportation funds aren't available due to the recession.
Sublett was born in Alabama and still has a significant Southern drawl. He moved to the Seattle area after graduating from Auburn University with a degree in architectural engineering and industrial design. He designed planes for Boeing Corp. in Seattle and later worked for Aerojet in Tacoma, Wash.
He worked for several companies and moved to Stockton in 1989. He retired in 2007 as an executive for Enviroplex Inc., a Stockton firm that makes modular buildings.
A 10-year Lockeford resident, Sublett tends to his 2.5 acres with 70 walnut trees and serves on the Stockton Symphony board, which is 85 years old.
"It's a great organization for the region," he said.
Sublett and his wife of 43 years, Rita, have a son, Phillip, a copy editor for several newspapers in the South Lake Tahoe-Carson City area, and a daughter, Stephanie Barsic, a physicist teaching college in Rochester, N.Y.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.