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Posted: Friday, May 25, 2007 10:00 pm

A respected San Joaquin Delta College instructor who died last fall in a car accident was one of four faculty members honored Friday night at the college's graduation ceremony.

Bill Harper, whose wife accepted a plaque on his behalf, was the first instructor to be posthumously awarded. The nomination, however, was not a result of his death, school officials said - a colleagues had already planned to nominate the electrician and teacher.

Harper, 55, of Acampo, died Dec. 12 when a Stockton man fell asleep at the wheel, drifted across the center line on Victor Road and collided head-on into Harper's vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Word spread quickly among the church and rodeo friends Harper had made, and some 200 people gathered at Lodi Memorial Hospital after the crash. Harper died that evening.

Harper, who tried to give students hands-on training, was hired as an electrician at Delta in 1988, then became a full-time electrical instructor in 1993.

Sword-wielding maninjures two

A sword-wielding man injured two Rancho Cordova men Thursday night during an altercation in the intersection of Elm Street and Central Avenue.

The victims were taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital for treatment after the 10 p.m. incident but were not very cooperative with Lodi police, Sgt. Tod Patterson said.

Three men were riding west in a truck when they reached the intersection, where three people called out to them and told them to stop, Patterson said, citing report of the incident.

One of the men on the street demanded all of the belongings from the men in the truck, but they refused. Instead, the driver got out of the vehicle and his brother soon followed.

The brothers, ages 21 and 25, were cut by what they said was a sword measuring two and a half to three feet long, Patterson said. A third man, of Galt, stayed in the truck and was not injured.

No arrests had been made by Friday.

Public swim areasopen for the weekend

The swimming areas at Lodi Lake and Blakely Park will open today for the Memorial Day weekend, a week before they open full-time for the summer.

Blakely Park, located at Stockton and Poplar streets, will be open today through Monday from noon to 5 p.m. The entrance fee is $1, and children under the age of 3 are free.

The public beach area at Lodi Lake, 1301 W. Turner Road, will be open today through Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. Admission is free to children under the age of 3, youths ages 3 to 18 cost $1.50 and those over the age of 18 cost $3.

The swimming areas will close for the rest of week, then open the following weekend for the rest of the summer, said Grant Plath with the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

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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?

Total Votes: 64

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