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Regional Roundup

Police presence due to Stockton teen's burial

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Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:00 am

A number of law enforcement officers were visible Friday at Cherokee Memorial Cemetery while a Stockton shooting victim was laid to rest.

Other officers were in plainclothes, including a couple of Lodi Police detectives.

No significant incidents were reported during the burial of 17-year-old Judhromia Johnson Jr., an Edison High School football star.

No arrests have been made, and the case could involve gang elements, said Stockton Police Officer Pete Smith, whose department is handling the investigation.

Lodi police said they were asked to stand by due to possible gang activity and some unrest at the viewing that was held earlier in Stockton. San Joaquin County Sheriff's deputies were also on hand.

California Highway Patrol officers were notified of the situation, and patrolled past the area.

One of the victim's many brothers is currently on trial in Stockton, charged in the murder and robbery of a federal correctional officer who was shot outside his home in 2008. He was not allowed to leave jail to attend the burial.

Layla Bohm

Fundraiser for Clovis Baptiste today

From noon to 3 p.m. today, a fundraiser will be held for Lodi businessman Clovis Baptiste, who has not heard from his parents or 10 siblings in Haiti since the devastating earthquake there on Jan. 12. The event is being hosted by Liberty Tax Service, and will take place in the company's parking lot on Kettleman Lane, behind Carl's Jr.

The fundraiser's organizers hope to raise $5,000 for Baptiste so he can travel to Haiti and search for his family. There will be raffle prizes and food available at the event. Alpine Meats and Pizza World have both committed to the effort.

Jordan Guinn

Lodi Unified School District petition drive on budget cuts today

A Lodi Unified School District teacher is organizing a petition drive today to gather signatures regarding budget cuts. Creekside Elementary teacher George Neely plans to present the petition to the school board at Tuesday's regular meeting.

Among other things, he is seeking across-the-board salary reductions for administrators and those who currently earn more than $100,000 a year.

The petition drive will be at 11 a.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot on West Kettleman Lane in Lodi. For more information, including downloadable copies of Neely's petition, visit www.mrneely.com.

Jennifer Bonnett

Charity, bank team up to help with tax prep

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation and United Way of San Joaquin County announced a partnership to provide free tax preparation to low-income families and individuals in the county who qualify for the Federal Government's earned income tax credit program. Those who qualify can also earn up to $5,657 in tax credits for the 2009 tax year.

The services are possible in part due to a $2 million grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and will be available until April 15.

"With support from Bank of America, United Ways across the country will help even more families improve their financial stability," said Andy Prokop, president and CEO of United Way of San Joaquin County in a press release.

The services are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as weekends throughout the county. To find the nearest location and make an appointment, call Community Partnerships for Families at 209-444-4125.

Jordan Guinn

'Lover's Lane' promotion today

From 5 to 9 p.m. in Downtown tonight, the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership will host a promotion titled "Lover's Lane." For $10, a couple can purchase two passports that enable them to earn discounts at participating Downtown businesses. The promotion is open to people of all ages, but those younger than 21 cannot indulge in the alcoholic aspects of the event.

The event will offer discounts on sweets, flowers, chocolate-dipped fortune cookies, drinks and more. The All Seasons Carriage Company will be offering horse-drawn carriage rides for $2, and Dennis Bloom of Spinning Tunes will be playing romantic music in the Post Office Plaza on School Street.

Jordan Guinn

Daniel Rodriguez live at Hutchins Street Square

On Feb. 15, Daniel Rodriguez, known as "America's Beloved Tenor," will perform at Hutchins Street Square. The event is a presentation of the Lodi Community Concert Association. His concert will feature contemporary, traditional and spiritual songs such as "With a Song in My Heart," "Amazing Grace," "Granada," "Because," "Stout Hearted Men," "Cela Mi Crede" and "God Bless America."

Rodriguez has performed around the world, including the 2002 Winter Olympics. He starred in the PBS Memorial Day concert in Washington, D.C., the Tournament of Roses Parade, the 2004 Republican National Convention and President Bush's "Celebration of Freedom" Inauguration concert.

Rodriguez's first album, "Spirit of America," went No. 1 on Billboard's Classical Crossover chart, and his second CD, "From My Heart," is a collection of love songs. The third, "In the Presence," showcases his rich, warm tenor voice on traditional spiritual and church songs.

Rodriguez will perform on Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Charlene Powers Lange Performing Arts Theater at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins St. Tickets are $25, plus a handling fee and may be purchased at the Hutchins Street Square box office. Call 333-5550 for more information.

Lauren Nelson

Free e-waste collection

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., today, Central Valley Waste Services at 1333 E. Turner Road. will be taking old televisions, printers, batteries and other assorted e-waste and recycling it for free. It is part of a San Joaquin County-sponsored initiative that enables residents and businesses to have peace-of-mind and a little less clutter.

Besides today's collection, several more are scheduled for upcoming months throughout the year.

Stockton residents can take their waste to San Joaquin Delta College, Shima-2 Parking lot off of Pershing Ave. between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

For more information, visit www.e-stewards.com.

Jordan Guinn

Episcopal diocese sues breakaway parish

Episcopal leaders in central California are launching a new round of legal action to gain control of property used by congregations that split from the national church in a dispute over the Bible and homosexuality.

The Diocese of San Joaquin said the congregations that left to align with more conservative Anglican parishes in 2007 had no right to take control of church property. Former Bishop John-David Schofield led about 40 San Joaquin parishes in the secession after the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Breakaway Episcopal conservatives have since formed the rival Anglican Church in North America.

The Modesto-based diocese previously filed a lawsuit against Schofield in an effort recover most of the church properties.

But 10 of the breakaway parishes are incorporated — meaning that they own their own property — so the diocese must deal with those cases individually.

On Monday, the diocese sued one of those parishes, St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock, "to return control of the parish premises and other parish assets to the plaintiffs in the matter." The lawsuit also names the Rev. Gerald Grossman and nine members of the church's ruling body.

"The (Modesto) diocese has never given us money," Grossman said. "The national church has never given us anything. Why do they think they have a right to this property?"

— Associated Press

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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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