Motorists should expect delays on Highway 99 next week
Drivers who use Highway 99 in the Lodi area should expect several delays next week because of roadwork.
On Monday, the No. 1 lane on southbound Highway 99 from Armstrong Road to Eight Mile Road will be closed, while the No. 1 lane on Highway 99 between Eight Mile Road and Harney Lane will be restricted for median repair Tuesday.
Each delay will be for five minutes.
The southbound offramp from Highway 99 to Turner Road will be closed Monday for restriping.
Children's Summer Theatre Program enrollment begins
Local youth are invited to register in this seven-week intensive theater workshop, directed by Robert Krantz. Students must be between the ages of 8 and 18 and the first 50 children to register will be accepted into the program. This summer, the cast will perform "The Three Musketeers." Workshops begin June 21 and will culminate in performances on Aug. 6-8. For more information or to request a registration packet, call the Division of Arts & Culture at 333-5511.
City Council to hold study session Tuesday morning
The Lodi City Council will look at city employee medical insurance during a study session Tuesday.
The meeting begins at 7 a.m. in Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St., and is open to the public. For more information, contact the City Clerk's Office at 333-6702.
San Joaquin Valley has worst ozone air pollution in U.S., EPA says
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made it official - the San Joaquin Valley basin has the worst ozone air pollution in the nation.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which regulation area includes San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, requested the new "extreme non-attainment" classification last year because it could not meet federal ozone clean-air standards by 2005.
The district, which could have lost $2 billion in highway and transportation funds by missing that deadline, will now have until 2010 to meet the federal standard.
"This was a necessary step for the district to take," said Anthony Presto, a district spokesman, adding that doing so will not slow the district's efforts to clean up the air.
The district will have to set up new rules to clean the air, he said. Cars, the largest source of air pollution, along with airplanes and boats, will have new standards in 2005, he noted.
Lisa Fasano, an EPA spokeswoman, said that under that new classification, businesses that emit more than 10 tons of pollution a year - such as large dry-cleaning operations - will have to apply for new permits. Until now, the affected industries could emit up to 25 tons a year before having to apply for the new permits.
The air in the valley exceeded national ozone pollution standards 37 times in 2003, according to the EPA.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District includes San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties, and parts of Kern County.
Yosemite, national parks to be on list citing pollution problems
A federal report due out next week is expected to add Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks to the list of parks with pollution problems now that there are new, stricter federal smog guidelines.
The report indicates parks show a level of ozone that is out of compliance with the new rules, the Modesto Bee reported. Ozone irritates the lungs and is a main ingredient in smog.
The pollutant doesn't originate in the parks, however; it drifts up from the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area, said Yosemite Superintendent Michael Tollefson, who has still not seen the report.
"We assumed we would be" out of compliance with the new rules, Tollefson said, though he hasn't had any complaints about air quality from park visitors. But Yosemite is still in better shape than Kings Canyon and Sequoia, because of their location.
"We're not the worst," Tollefson said. "I don't think there's been a day where we've had to give health advisories" like other areas of the state, including the San Joaquin Valley.
Mariposa County Supervisor Lee Stetson, whose district includes Midpines, El Portal and a portion of the park, agreed. "It's dragged in from the Central Valley," he said. "We import a great deal of pollution."
The solution, he said, is to have "cleaner buses, cleaner automobiles."
- From staff and wire reports.