A BIG INTRODUCTION: Before sitting down for an interview with the News-Sentinel last week, new Lodi Building Official Dennis Canright was introduced to the public at the June 6 City Council meeting. And what an introduction it was. Due to Canright's large frame - he's 6-feet 4-inches and 300-plus pounds - several city officials joked that disagreements at the building office would soon be a thing of the past.
"Looking at your size, I think there are going to be fewer arguments," quipped Councilman Larry Hansen.
Randy Hatch, the city's chief planner, concurred, noting "complaints seem to go away" when Canright steps to the front counter.
WHERE NOT TO SKATEBOARD: Three boys recently opted to skateboard in Downtown Lodi. That's not a new event, especially since school is out.
However, they probably should have selected a place other than City Hall - at 12:50 p.m. on a business day.
REASON TO RUN FROM POLICE?: When a Lodi woman recently lent her vehicle to her son, she probably didn't expect him to run from Sacramento police, continue fleeing down Interstate 5 and then lose officers.
Lodi officers caught up to him and he had a reason for running from police: His driver's license was suspended and he didn't want police to tow his mother's car.
TROUBLED REFRIGERATOR?: A photographer at the desk listening to the scanner heard firefighters being called to help restrain a refrigerator. Was the moldy cheese trying to get away? Or perhaps the fridge was running.
HARD HEADED: The Lodi City Council recently toured the wastewater treatment plant at White Slough, which is getting an upgrade. Since the area is a construction zone, members of the tour had to wear hard-hats.
A photo of the tour in the News-Sentinel got some readers' attention. It showed Councilman Larry Hansen in a standard white hard-hat, but project manager Gary Wiman in a black cowboy hat.
How could a city employee so carelessly flaunt safety regulations in favor of fashion, readers wanted to know.
Rest assured, though. Wiman's hat is a special piece of headgear made out of the same material as a hard-hat but designed to look like a cowboy hat.
NUDE ALERT: When a nude man began acting strangely and yelling in the Greyhound Bus Station in Downtown Lodi, someone naturally called police. Dispatchers asked a general question they usually ask: Did he have any weapons?
Needless to say, the caller said no weapons were seen on the naked man.
A TOUR DE FORCE: City officials recently toured affordable housing projects in the Bay Area to plan for a similar development in Lodi. The group, which consisted of City Council members, Planning Commissioners and city staff, took a city GrapeLine bus to Fremont and Union City.
Driving back on Interstate 680, tour members reported smelling antifreeze. Moments later, the bus's alarm sounded and the group pulled into a Unocal 76 station. They waited there for more than two hours before their bus was deemed beyond repair and they caught a lift on another bus run by MV Transportation, the city's bus contractor.
The unexpected delay did not deter the delegation from its mission of scouting affordable housing projects. The next week, they hopped another city bus to visit sites in Stockton - fortunately without incident.
NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE: At a recent Lodi Unified School board meeting, Susan Coughlin, a teacher at Heritage Elementary School, approached the mic during the public comment session to discuss an issue at her school.
"You'll have to excuse me," she said. "I'm a little nervous. I'm used to talking to third graders."
"Not much difference," quipped board president Ken Davis.
TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY: The North San Joaquin Water Conservation District spent almost $7,000 in its effort to initiate a groundwater charge on property owners who use well water.
According to the district's list of expenditures from Dec. 1 to June 1, the district's expenses included $2,216.80 in postage to mail notices to property owners, $889.49 to gain names and addresses from San Joaquin County, $400 to rent Crete Hall at Hutchins Street Square for the first three protest hearings and $1,000 for the final two protest hearings at the Lodi Grape Festival grounds.
GALT HAS A NAVY?: Seems it does, but the fleet doesn't patrol Dry Creek. It's in what used to be known as Galt in eastern Canada.
According to the Cambridge Times, it was announced that "the Navy has sailed into Galt once again." That's a quote from Anne Kallin, author of a new book about the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service.
During World War II, 6,783 women received their basic training at the naval base in Galt.
Items in Grapevine, which runs every other week on Mondays, are written by various reporters on the staff. If you have an item to contribute, e-mail Pam Bauserman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 369-7035.