The past year has been unkind to those with adjustable rate mortgages but a boon to mold cleanup technicians. There's hope Highway 12 may even get a little safer after several fatalities. The following are the top ten notable stories of 2007 as picked by the News-Sentinel's editors and news staff:
1. The real estate market falls flat
For years, the state and national economy enjoyed the benefits of a robust housing market. That fell apart in the past year as prices slumped and the number of foreclosures soared. In the related downturn, local people lost their jobs and the area even saw an increased threat from West Nile virus as abandoned swimming pools provided an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos. Lodi and Galt's markets may have fared better than neighboring areas like Stockton, but the local area still felt the pinch.
2. Blood alley gets bloodier
Making the drive from Lodi into the Bay Area via Highway 12 has never been safe, but 2007 saw 10 people lose their lives on the highway. The fatalities provoked public outrage and seems to have prompted local officials to start lobbying for safety improvements to the highway.
3. Still waiting for that satellite launch
San Joaquin Delta Community College continued to work on getting a satellite campus built in the Lodi area, but delays, rising costs, and board members who can't seem to get along have many wondering when Lodi is going to see it.
4. Tragedy on West Lane
One of the year's saddest stories was the deaths of Tokay High School students Adil Shazaad, 16, Nasir Shoaib, 15, and Nasherwan Ahmad, 18, in a car accident near McNair High School.
5. Our new mascot: the Super Spores
Tokay High students received a little extra summer this year after construction workers found mold in several of the school's buildings. Cleaning up the mold may cost Lodi Unified School District as much as $15 million.
6. Youthful hijinks gone bad
Ah, the halcyon days of youth: being drunk Downtown, streaking nude across a city park, booty dancing and popping a canister of tear gas at school. For whatever reason, it seemed Lodi's young people were especially rambunctious in 2007.
7. Redevelopment gets renewed
Back in 2002, Lodi residents picked up their torches and pitchforks in a campaign to kill the redevelopment bogeyman. This year, a new redevelopment proposal that's expected to generate $131 million in 30 years passed with only limited opposition.
8. Hamid Hayat sentenced
Lodi resident Hamid Hayat received 24 years in federal prison after his arrest in 2005 on terror charges. Hayat's father, Umer Hayat, received probation after a jury deadlocked in his case. Following Hamid Hayat's sentencing, Umer Hayat said his son is innocent.
9. Water wrangling
The city of Lodi decided to build a $30 million water treatment plant near Lodi Lake Park in October. That decision finally put a plan in place to use the Mokelumne River water the city has been buying from Woodbridge Irrigation District for $1.2 million a year. The plant should be built in 2011.
Lodi also has been settling with several insurance companies to help clean up the solvents in its groundwater. The settlements mark the end of a lengthy and complex legal fight. The city also weathered criticism that its wastewater treatment plant was the source of water quality problems in the White Slough area out by Interstate 5.
10. Episcopal split
In early December, the San Joaquin Diocese voted to leave the American Episcopal Church. That decision left the local St. John's Episcopal Church without a bishop and possibly in limbo for a while.