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Posted: Monday, November 1, 2004 10:00 pm

Lodi woman dies after parking lot accident

An elderly Lodi woman died Monday night, eight hours after her sister allegedly hit the wrong pedal and backed over her at Wal-Mart.

Mildred Hintz, 85, was taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital after suffering pelvic fractures in the accident, Lodi police said. She was then transferred to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she died at 7 p.m., a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police were notified and the accident remains under investigation, Sgt. Lance Hayden said Monday night.

Ellen Menzel, 82, pulled her 1979 Olds Cutlass Supreme into the parking lot at the corner of Lower Sacramento Road and Kettleman Lane shortly after 11 a.m., Motor Officer Chuck Fromm said.

Menzel thought she was too close to the curb, so she began to straighten the car out when she saw her sister standing behind the car, Fromm said.

Menzel intended to hit the brake pedal, but instead pressed the accelerator, she told officers.

The car struck Hintz and knocked her to the ground, and she was dragged for a short distance, police said.

Fromm said Monday he would ask the state Department of Motor Vehicles to test Menzel and determine whether she should still be allowed to drive. Officers make such requests when they feel a driver may be unfit to drive due to several factors, including age and medical conditions.

Attendance, trustee lines for LUSD to be discussed

Lodi Unified School District trustees will hear a report on elementary school attendance area changes as well as a boundary revision of trustee Areas 1 and 6 in their meeting at the James Arieda Education Center, 1305 E. Vine St. at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The attendance boundaries of district elementary schools had to be redrawn to accommodate the newly built Manlio Silva and Ellerth E. Larson elementary schools. Catherine Pennington, assistant superintendent of elementary education will present the new boundaries and hear input from the board members.

Staff from Joe Serna, Jr. Charter School will present and review a charter renewal petition and present the school's yearly report, and Barbara Johnston, administrative director of curriculum will present information about the district's Growth and Base Academic Performance Index scores.

Regular meetings are usually held on Tuesdays, but this week, LUSD rescheduled its first monthly meeting because of today's elections.

Parks and Recreation meeting cancelled

Due to Election Day, tonight's Lodi Parks and Recreation Commission meeting has been cancelled. A new meeting has been scheduled for Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St.

Tracy man dies in county jail

Mejor Singh, 32, an inmate housed at the San Joaquin County Jail, died Sunday at San Joaquin County General Hospital.

Correctional Officers passing out dinner trays at approximately 5:35 p.m. found the Tracy man, who was housed in the Sheltered Housing Unit, unresponsive in a single-man cell, a press release issued by the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department said.

Singh was found lying on the ground with a bed sheet wrapped around his neck and tied to the bedpost, according to preliminary information gathered by Investigators. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead at approximately 6:18 p.m.

The preliminary conclusion for cause of death is asphyxia due to hanging pending toxicology results, the Sheriff's Department said.

Singh was arrested Oct. 4 by the Tracy Police Department and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail. He was charged with one count of attempted murder, torture, assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence in connection with his wife's stabbing.

Singh was scheduled to appear in Tracy Court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

As with any death in custody, this incident is being investigated as a protocol case, with the District Attorney's Office taking part in the investigation to provide non-biased accountability and ensure the investigation is conducted in a proper manner, the press release said.

Wood-burning restriction for Valley takes effect

Valley Residents once again will have to call before they light fires in their chimneys or wood stoves as part of the second wood-burning restriction season, which began on Monday and will last until the end of February.

A no-burn mandate issued by the San Joaquin Air pollution Control District prohibits wood-burning fires. English and Spanish updates are avaliable toll free at (800) 766-4463 and at http://www.valleyair.org. Updates in Hmong are available toll-free at (877) 344-1212. A mandatory no-burn orders runs from midnight to midnight on the affected day.

The district's jurisdiction includes San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties and parts of Kern County.

Exceptions to the wood-burning rule are gas or propane devices and cooking stoves; homes heated only by a wood-burning stove or chimney; homes built above 3,000 feet; and areas where natural-gas service is not available.

Violators can be fined $50 to 1,000, depending on the extent of the violation, the district said.

To report violations in San Joaquin County, call the Air District's 24-hour hotline at (800) 281-7003.

The San Joaquin Valley's air quality violates state and federal standards.

The California Air Resource Board last week approved a plan to reduce smog pollution by 2010. The proposal, which the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District approved earlier this month, has yet to receive the green light from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA considers the air region among the worst in the nation, although the air in the southern San Joaquin Valley is considered worse than that in the valley's northern areas.

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Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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