An 81-year-old Lodi woman lost $800 over the past three weeks to people who attended her garage sales and paid with counterfeit bills.
The woman discovered the loss on Tuesday when her son went to deposit the cash in a bank and the teller discovered that the bills were fake, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.
Each one was originally a $5 bill that had been stripped of the ink and re-printed to appear as a $100 bill.
Between Sept. 10 and Monday, the woman has been holding a continuous garage sale in the 4900 block of East Harney Lane, east of Highway 99 just outside city limits.
The woman told deputies that she recalled people paying with $100 bills, and that none of them returned to her home, according to a Sheriff's report.
One man bought a dryer for $30, so the victim gave him $70 in change. He said he would return to pick up the appliance the following day, but when he arrived, he said he'd gotten one from a relative. The victim returned $30 in smaller bills to him.
Such bills have been circulating for several years, with many of them linked to a Lodi group including a California National Guard member who admitted in court to spreading fake bills while deployed in Iraq. It was not known if the bills passed at the elderly woman's home were connected.
To check a bill's authenticity, hold it up to the light and make sure the president's facial watermark matches the one printed on the bill. Also, a thread runs horizontally through the bill, with words that spell out the bill's denomination.
For more information, visit www.secretservice.gov/KnowYourMoneyApril08.pdf.
Street Faire with a twist this year
Sunday's Lodi Street Faire, during which 10 blocks of Downtown Lodi are converted into a pedestrian mall for a day, will have some new attractions.
One is "Green Avenue," where vendors will introduce environmentally sound products. Additionally, there will be a multicultural emphasis with artwork, native crafts, keepsakes, music, dance and food from around the world.
The Street Faire, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., has been held on the first Sunday of May and October for the past 20 years. An estimated 700 vendors sell antiques, arts and crafts, and commercial items. Another 20 to 25 vendors will sell food.
High school holds debate tournament
Lodi High School held a speech and debate tournament over the weekend. It was the first for the league and included participants from throughout the county and beyond.
There were 12 teams that attended and each brought between 10 and 40 students, according to Lodi High speech and debate adviser Cathryn Geyer who estimates there were 250 participants.
That school's team tied for first in the sweepstakes, debate event and third in the sweepstakes, individual event.
The other Lodi Unified School District school that placed in the day-long competition Saturday was Bear Creek High School. Its team took fifth in the sweepstakes, individual event and sixth in the sweepstakes, debate event.
Local students who placed in various individual events include James Mello, Lodi High; Amy Seefeldt, Tokay High; John McCallie, Lodi High; Tyson Bonaparte, Bear Creek; Josh Gums, Lodi High; Will Nobriga, Bear Creek High; Jacob Baumbach, Lodi High; Hope Kuehne, Lodi High; Brad Wright, Lodi High; Michelle Valdivia, Lodi High; Erika West, Lodi High; Tristeen Bownes, Bear Creek High; Effie Hardy, Bear Creek High; Kinsey Green, Lodi High; Jasmine Nguyen, Lodi High; Ricky Taylor, Bear Creek High; Brenden Pinder, Lodi High; Jacob Adams, Lodi High; and Calvin Mackey, Bear Creek High.
Air pollution district launches kids contest
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is launching its annual competition next week to encourage commute alternatives in the business community. The kids-only contest will run Monday through Oct. 9.
Schoolchildren from kindergarten through sixth grade are encouraged to form commute teams and find safe methods of transportation. This could include walking, biking, skateboarding or using a scooter, according to a press release issued by the district.
The registration deadline is Friday.
Schools compete per county for the highest percentage of participating students, and one school per county will be declared the winner. Prizes include bike helmets donated by the city of Fresno Fire Department.
The air pollution control district covers eight counties from San Joaquin to Tulare.
For more information about the competition or to enroll your team, visit www.healthyairliving.com or call the local air district office in Modesto at 557-6475.