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Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2005 10:00 pm

Lodi High threats suspect to stand trial

A transient who allegedly wandered onto the Lodi High School campus with a handmade weapon and threatened to kill a student nearly 16 months ago is heading to trial.

Craig McGuire Perry, 42, appeared in court Monday and will return May 16, where attorneys will likely set a trial date, according to San Joaquin County court records.

Perry was arrested Jan. 14, 2003, when a campus supervisor stopped him on school grounds. Perry allegedly said he wanted to kill a student but did not name a particular youth, Lodi Police said at the time.

After cussing at a Lodi judge during his arraignment, a mental health report was ordered before the case went any further.

Perry was then found incompetent to stand trial and placed in a mental hospital. Earlier this year, he returned to face the charges against him.

Perry is being held in the county jail on $200,000 bail.

'Springtime on the Farm' this weekend

The public is invited to the San Joaquin County Historical Museum Saturday for the annual "Springtime on the Farm" event.

It will feature antique tractor parades, farm animals, demonstrations to show what life was like 100 years ago and more.

Throughout the day, blacksmiths will fire up the forge and demonstrate their metalworking skills. Other demonstrations include spinning and weaving, sheep shearing, roping, quilting, whittling and gardening.

Admission is $5 per adult and $3 for children, ages 2 to 8. Children under 2 will be admitted free.

Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 331-2055 or 953-3460, or visiting the Music Box store in Lodi. By purchasing tickets in advance, the normal $5 parking fee in Micke Grove Park will be waived.

The museum is located at 11793 N. Micke Grove Road.

Lodi Unified using 'sign language' in attempt to end bus driver dry spell

Lodi Unified School District officials are using eye-catching techniques to attract qualified drivers to fill as many as eight school bus driver positions with the district.

Lodi Unified School District has positions for eight bus drivers and is currently working with a shortage. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

A 5-foot banner advertising the job openings is on tour in Lodi and Stockton and has been spotted at several schools, on walls and nearby fences as well as a side wall of Highway 99.

Drivers have been in short supply for years, says veteran bus driver Michelle Madrid.

"We can't keep people coming in as fast as we have people retiring."

Because of the shortage, current drivers have to take on extra routes and work longer days.

Serious employees may be hard to find because of the safety requirements imposed on school bus drivers. They must complete 20 hours of in-class instruction and 20 hours of behind-the-wheel-training.

Drivers must also get a special certification through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a school bus driver for Lodi Unified is asked to call 331-7170.

Red Cross, stop sign request to be discussed

An update on Galt's Red Cross volunteers and a request to install a stop sign in front of Fumasi Oak Preserve at Emerald Oak Way and West C Street will be among the topics at tonight's Public Safety Advisory Committee meeting.

Other agenda items include:

• The possibility of painting a "keep clear" sign at the intersection of North Lincoln Way and Simmerhorn Road. Westbound motorists on Simmerhorn have difficulty turning left onto Lincoln Way while Lincoln Way traffic are stopped at the new stop light at nearby Amador Avenue, especially between 7 and 8 a.m.

• People watching out for vandalism and other illegal activities at city parks.

• Studying the possibility of reducing the speed limit on South Lincoln Way near Kost Road in anticipation of three future subdivisions totaling more than 70 homes in the area.

Today's committee meeting, open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Galt police station's Anthony Pescetti Community Room, 455 Industrial Dr.

Street faire Saturday

Six days after Lodi had its street faire, Lockeford will have one of its own.

The Clements-Lockeford Chamber of Commerce-sponsored street faire begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Jack Tone Road bypass off Highway 88. It runs to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 727-3142.

County planners to consider Lockeford, Acampo proposals

Applications for a small drive-through coffee house and a four-home subdivision in eastern Lockeford will be heard Thursday by the San Joaquin County Planning Commission.

In addition to the coffee house planned for the northwest corner of Sierra Drive and Highway 88 at the entrance to The Bluffs neighborhood, two retail buildings are proposed. One building would be 6,200 square feet, while the other would be 8,750 square feet.

At the meeting, commissioners will also consider a four-home subdivision proposed by Albin Construction west of the coffee building at the northwest corner of Cherry Street and Highway 88.

In Acampo, LeBaron Ranches has requested a five-year time extension for a previously approved subdivision for eight 10-acre ranchettes northwest of Jahant and Elliott roads.

The Planning Commission will also consider permitting directional signs for permitted wineries and wine cellars throughout the county.

Thursday's meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the county Public Health Services Department auditorium, 1601 E. Hazelton Ave., Stockton.

Committee kills bill on disabilities act reform

SACRAMENTO -- A bill authored by State Sen. Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno, and sponsored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was killed by a 3-2 vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. One committee member abstained from voting, while another was absent.

Before the committee hearing, Poochigian conducted a press conference at the State Capitol about Senate Bill 855, which would grant property owners a right to cure alleged violations to the Americans With Disabilities Act before being sued for punitive and other damages.

"Accommodating Californians with special needs is vital, though abuse of the current system has resulted in great distress to many small businesses," Poochigian said in a written statement.

California is one of only three states in the nation, along with Florida and Hawaii, that allows for plaintiffs filing lawsuits under the Americans With Disabilities Act to seek punitive damages, attorneys fees, and extra monetary sums.

Poochigian represents the Lodi area.

Man arrested for allegedly stealing, then selling gas

STOCKTON -- A Stockton man has been arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of gallons of gasoline from underground storage tanks across the city and then selling the fuel from a makeshift filling station behind his home, police said.

Joseph Marchbanks, 33, was arrested outside a downtown gas station about 3 a.m. Monday.

Police said they found in Marchbanks' 1997 Chevrolet Suburban an electric pump and a long tube he used to siphon gas into plastic containers.

Back at his townhouse, authorities said they discovered a 750-gallon plastic storage container hidden in a rear carport. Police said Marchbanks was pumping the stolen gas for neighbors at $1.50 a gallon.

"A lot of the gas was either sold off or used for his personal consumption," said Sean Fenner, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.

Search for missing elderly man called off

MARIPOSA -- Authorities have called off the search in the Mariposa County mountains for an 84-year-old man known around here simply as "Grandpa Doug."

Doug Pearse's car was found April 21 stuck in mud and burned on Chowchilla Mountain Road above the community of Ponderosa Basin.

An investigation into his disappearance is ongoing, but police said searching the mountainous region south of Yosemite National Park has brought no clues.

"We're investigating several possibilities," Mariposa County sheriff's Capt. Doug Binnewies said Monday.

San Joaquin County Sheriff deputies assisted in the search last month.

Binnewies said authorities had "no indication that would put the missing man anywhere else other than on that mountain."

Pearse is well known in the community and worked as a tutor and volunteer in Mariposa.

Sheriff deputies claim city violated open meeting law

ELK GROVE -- Sacramento sheriff's deputies claimed the Elk Grove City Council violated the state's open meeting law when it voted to end its contract with the county sheriff and start its own police force.

The Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs' Association threatened to sue the council Monday if it didn't rescind its April 27 vote.

Union President Steven Fisk said the item on the council's agenda was misleading.

"They spent more time congratulating the company they hired than they did on discussing the merits of whether to have a police department or not," he said.

City officials said they followed the open meeting law, but will discuss the issue and vote again at its May 11 meeting.

"We're going to bring it back at the next council meeting to make sure it's stated correctly so there's no misunderstanding," said Elk Grove City Councilwoman Sophia Scherman. "The vote won't change, it's just to clarify,"

The sheriff's department has a $16.8 million policing contract with the growing city south of Sacramento. If the city starts its own law enforcement agency, it would have 18 months to form a force with about 130 employees.

SUV hits boys; one killed, two are hurt

SACRAMENTO -- Three boys were run down on Florin Road near 29th Street Monday, leaving one dead, another near death and a third in critical condition but expected to survive, a police lieutenant said.

Benito Guevara, 10, died at UC Davis Medical Center at about 6 p.m., Sacramento County Deputy Coroner Jesse Villalobos said.

Police Lt. Jackie Dowden said three boys from a nearby neighborhood crossed Florin Road from south to north in the east crosswalk of 29th Street at about 5:43 p.m. Dowden said the traffic light facing the boys was red and a westbound sport-utility vehicle that had the right of way struck all three.

A 13-year-old boy was clinging to life and an 11-year-old boy was being treated for critical injuries Monday night at UC Davis Medical Center.

Dowden said the driver, whose name she did not release, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and faced no charges Monday night. She said there were no apparent obstructions of the driver's view aside from other cars.

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