Lodi Unified recognizes accomplishments
Lodi Unified School District trustees recognized teacher and student accomplishments during a meeting Tuesday.
Susan Alexander, a music teacher at Reese Elementary School, was awarded Lodi Unified's Teacher of the Year for 2006 for her work with students and co-workers.
And Bear Creek High School teacher Monica Frischkorn was chosen by representatives of Wal-Mart as Teacher of the Year, an award that gives teachers $1,000 to spend on their school and their very own blue employee smock.
"They're doing a great job teaching our students and being advocates of education," board President Richard Jones said.
Trustees also honored Morada Middle School Principal Steve Takemoto for winning the regional PTA's Administrator of the Year award and high school students who picked up 18 of 27 possible awards in the Skills USA/VICA state competition in April.
While the district congratulated its achievements, Bear Creek High parent Charles Hamilton claimed building improvements for the school were being put on the back burner.
Hamilton, who has advocated for a pool at Bear Creek, said the school site committee chosen to review building priorities is in a stalemate.
Lodi Unified Superintendent Bill Huyett said the district is planning to act on the suggestions of the committee sometime in June.
In other matters, board members heard a report on a possible school lunch price increases and approved the elimination of 16 classified employee positions throughout the district.
Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra tickets on sale
Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling guitarist Ottmar Liebert and his band Luna Negra will perform at the Hutchins Street Square Performing Arts Theatre on June 30 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Hutchins Street Square Foundation, reserved seating tickets are now on sale at the box office for $20, $30 and $45. They may be purchased in person, by phone at 333-5550 or on line at http://www.hutchinsstreetsquare.com.
Lodi Theatre for Youth announces auditions
Lodi Theatre for Youth is seeking young actors ages 8 to 20 to participate in its Summer Musical Theatre Experience theatre camp. The program will be producing the hit musicals "Nunsense" and "Grease" in July.
Auditions are scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at either 10 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. at the choir room at Emanuel Lutheran Church, 1540 W. Lodi Ave.
Actors will be asked to sing a song of their choice, and may sing a capella or bring their own accompaniment. A piano will be available. Actors wishing to sing to an accompaniment track on CD should bring their own CD player.
Actors should also bring a head shot.
The two musicals are the culmination of the six-week program, which begins June 6 and will be housed at the Long Theatre at the University of the Pacific. The shows will be performed July 15-17 at the Long Theatre and July 22-24 at the Charlene Powers Lange Performing Arts Theatre at Hutchins Street Square. The program meets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday through Friday and features workshops in acting, singing, dance, character development and more. All participants will be cast in one of the two shows. The tuition for the program is $650.
To schedule an audition time and register for the program or for more information, call director Rex Reynolds at 329-3389.
Two injured in major crash east of Galt
An 18-year-old Galt man was hospitalized with major injuries after an early morning crash Wednesday at Twin Cities Road and Cherokee Lane, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Jerry David Allen's 1999 Honda Civic was ripped in half after being hit broadside by a 2005 Saturn Ion at 1:55 a.m., said CHP Officer Jasper Begay. He was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, Begay said.Allen, driving west on Twin Cities Road, made a left turn onto Cherokee Lane in the Saturn's path, Begay said. The name of the Saturn driver, a 52-year-old Galt resident, was not available.
Both men were taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Allen suffered major injuries and was listed in fair condition, a hospital spokesman said. The Saturn driver received moderate injuries, Begay said.
Santillan appointed to Planning Commission
Galt City Councilman Tom Malson appointed Tom Santillan to the Planning Commission seat vacated recently by Bob Ellis at Tuesday's council meeting. Ellis resigned from the commission after being appointed to the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District board.
In Galt, each individual council member appoints one Planning Commissioner. A sixth commissioner, who sits as an alternate, is appointed by the City Council at large.
In other action Tuesday, the City Council agreed to offer a new preschool program for 4-year-olds as part of the City Tots program. The city already offers preschool for 3-year-olds.
Vocational bill passes House of Representatives
WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives Wednesday passed the Vocational and Technical Education for the Future Act which strengthens existing programs, adds more accountability, and streamlines funding to help state and local communities fully use federal resources.
"Vocational education is an extremely important component of secondary education for millions of students throughout the country. Voc-ed programs are too often neglected at the state level and don't receive the funding or attention they deserve. In order for programs to flourish, the private sector must work together now to give students practical training for quality jobs in the future," Congressman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, said in a press release.
Some of highlights of the legislation include:
• Renewing and reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins program. It represents one of the largest federal investments in the nation's high schools and is a key component of our secondary and post-secondary education systems.
• Supporting local and state efforts to help Americans gain new skills in a knowledge-based economy vital to ensuring a competitive workforce and strong global economy.
• Rejecting federal standards for curriculum or academic content; realizing states and local communities should have the final say about what is taught in their schools.
• Strengthening technical development for teachers by providing additional training to ultimately help their students succeed.
Last week, Pombo introduced the Public-Private Vocational Partnership Act establishing a tax credit for companies that donate equipment or resources for vocational education training. In addition, it establishes a tax credit for companies hiring full-time students who work as interns in fields relating to vocational education.
Students hackers change their grades
MERCED -- Two eighth-grade students at a Merced County middle school allegedly hacked into the computer system last week and changed their grades, prompting a police investigation, authorities said.
The two boys at Cruickshank Middle School allegedly overheard an administrator speaking about her password and used it to log into the system and changed about 10 grades, school principal Sandy Clemons said.
The two boys have been expelled from the school and could face criminal charges.
"It was probably one of the saddest days I've had at this school, because these are good kids," Clemons said. "That talent could've been used in positive ways."
Two other boys knew about the computer hacking and had their grades changed, as well, Clemons said. Those children have been suspended for five days.
School officials did not release the boys' names.
County employees get pay raises to 'keep pace'
FAIRFIELD -- Solano County supervisors voted to immediately give county executives pay raises averaging $12,600 a year to keep pace with the surrounding area.
The pay hikes Tuesday for 16 department heads and 26 deputies will cost taxpayers $532,000 annually.
Supervisor Mike Reagan defended the raises, saying that more than half of the current management team will retire in the next five years and competitive salaries will be needed to recruit their replacements.
In a separate action, County Administrator Michael Johnson -- who has a base pay of $232,000 -- received $32,000 in bonus pay.
Art Grubel, executive director of Service Employees International Union Local 1280, said the big raises and bonuses are unjustified because many union members have received just 2 percent cost of living increases during tight budget years.
Mass canceled after bomb found at church
TULARE -- A Mass honoring the Virgin Mary was canceled Tuesday at a Roman Catholic Church in Tulare because a bomb was found at one of the entrances, police said.
A groundskeeper for St. Aloysius Church discovered the device at about noon outside the church's doors.
The Tulare County Sheriff's Department Explosives Ordnance Disposal Team disassembled it shortly before 3 p.m. in the church parking lot, authorities said.
No one was injured and nothing was damaged, said Monsignor Richard Urizalqui.
"You just don't know why people do things," Urizalqui said. "You think churches are kind of off-limits and protected."
The church, which serves about 2,000 families, expected between 500 and 700 people to attend a Mass at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. A police investigation is ongoing.
God and Country Prayer Rally tonight
Residents who believe that the United States was founded on biblical principles, support President Bush and American troops and feel the need to pray for local and national leaders are invited to the annual God and Country Prayer Rally tonight.
The event, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lodi All-Veterans Plaza outside Lodi City Hall, is being held in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer.
The event will feature a host of pastors praying on behalf of President Bush, Congress, the judiciary, troops, San Joaquin County Supervisor Jack Sieglock, Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi, R-Lodi, State Sen. Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, the Lodi City Council, Lodi Unified School District and Lodi pastors.
Nakanishi, Sieglock and representatives from Pombo's and Poochigian's offices are expected to attend. City Manager Blair King and Police Chief Jerry Adams have confirmed their attendance as well. Other dignitaries may attend as well.
Residents are encouraged to dress in patriotic clothing and bring American flags, banners, signs, balloons, chairs and a blanket or wrap.
Unrelated to the prayer rally, St. Peter Lutheran Church will host an all-day prayer vigil to observe the National Day of Prayer. The sanctuary will be open to the community from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The church is located at Lower Sacramento Road and Oxford Way.