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Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2005 10:00 pm

Lodi business owner's court date again rescheduled

For the second time in one week, a Lodi business owner charged with murder appeared in court Thursday, where the court date was again rescheduled.

Paul Alamo, 47, will return to court May 16, where attorneys may set a trial date, according to San Joaquin County court records. He had also appeared in court Monday.

Alamo, who owns Alamo Alarm Co., remains free on $333,333 bail in connection with the Oct. 13, 2003, death of Mark Hasty Sr., 47.

After a confrontation on East Hogan Lane, Alamo shot Hasty in what Alamo has said was a move of self defense when the other man threatened him with a knife.

However, prosecutors pointed to the fact that sheriff's deputies found no such weapon at the scene.

Galt could get $3 million for C Street interchange

Pending Senate and White House approval, Galt will get $3 million toward building a new Highway 99 interchange at the Central Galt exit.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, whose district includes Galt, added $3 million toward the Galt interchange as a part of a $284 billion transportation package. The full interchange will cost an estimated $20 million.

The Transportation Equity Act bill has passed in the House, but a vote has yet to be taken by the Senate, said Lungren spokesman Brian Seitchik.

If the Senate doesn't take a vote by today, it won't be taken up until May 9 because the Senate won't be in session next week, Seitchik said.

Once the Senate passes the bill, a conference committee of House and Senate members must work out differences in the bills passed by each House. The committee may have to trim part of the bill because President Bush doesn't want it to exceed $284 billion, Seitchik said.

Lungren is "cautiously optimistic" that the conference committee will leave the Central Galt interchange in the bill, Seitchik said.

Park 'n Ride lot being moved

STOCKTON -- Commuters who use the Park 'n Ride lot at the Highway 99/Hammer Lane interchange will be asked to use a new site beginning Monday.

It is being moved to the new northeast corner parking lot of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, 3232 E. Hammer Lane. The store is providing 52 parking spaces.

The move is necessary to allow the reconstruction of that interchange to begin, according to a press release from the San Joaquin Council of Governments.

For more information regarding the move or the Park 'n Ride program, contact the San Joaquin Council of Governments Commute Connection at (800) 52-SHARE or visit http://www.commuteconnection.com.

More grant money to fight county's crime

STOCKTON -- The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors has voted to apply for a $513,136 federal grant for the prevention and reduction of juvenile crime at Tuesday's meeting.

The money will be shared between Stockton and the county.

A portion of the grant, $22,767, is earmarked for the Gang Outreach Program, which provides funding for outreach workers to target hot spots of gang activity.

But Chairman Steve Gutierrez on Tuesday complained efforts to eliminate gangs were not coordinated among various agencies.

"I know the sheriff's department is working with the police departments," he said, "but there is a lack of communication" between those agencies and the schools.

Gutierrez said gangs were a significant problem in his South Stockton district.

The board chairman said he did not want the $22,767 "in any way" to be seen as an answer by policymakers to the problem of gang violence.

In response, District Attorney James Willett said "that's only a portion of what's going" to combat gangs.

The grant also funds a deputy district attorney dedicated to prosecuting "gangs and guns cases. The prosecutor does 200-plus cases a year," Willett said.

In addition, grant money will pay for children's alcohol and drug alternative program and two crime analysts who will map violent crime on a county-wide basis.

Blood drive scheduled for Wednesday

TRACY -- The fear of needles and red stuff in veins could be overcome by the desire to help out others and get a free T-shirt at a blood drive for Delta Blood Bank at West High School in Tracy on Wednesday.

The school's student leadership class will host a blood drive that day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the school's sub-gymnasium.

"We haven't had any kids pass out yet, even the ones that were terribly afraid," said Jennifer Silcox, West High's student activities director. "It always turns out much easier than they expected it to be."

Silcox said students hope to get blood from at least 100 people, with the only requirements that donors be 18 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health. Those 16 or older can donate with parental and doctor's permission, and those who are 17 need only a parent's permission.

Potential plasma providers can also sign up beforehand, either at the school or by phone, Silcox said.

The blood drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at West High School sub-gym, 1775 W. Lowell Ave. To register, visit room K-4 at West High; or call 831-5430, ext. 3810.

Prison officials refused to release address of convicted felon

STOCKTON -- State prison officials refuse to reveal the whereabouts of a convicted felon paroled and sent to Stockton last week after serving time for raping and disfiguring a Fresno woman 20 years ago.

The California Department of Corrections is keeping secret Sherman Polk's new Address by listing Polk as homeless.

Under such a distinction in the state's sex-offender registration law, state prison officials don't have to disclose where he is living. Authorities will say only that Polk is living in a local motel and that a parole agent supervises him 24 hours a day.

"We are still trying to find a place for him to live," said Rick Burrows, an administrator for the Department of Corrections Community Service and Parole Division. "Because of all the (media) activity around his release and the public attention, we want to make sure he is supervised."

Polk will continue to be listed as homeless until a more permanent location is found, authorities said.

The woman Polk choked and sexually assaulted survived the 1985 attack but was left badly disfigured and required numerous skin graft surgeries, Stockton Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said.

At Polk's sentencing in 1985, Fresno County Superior Court Judge James Ardaiz said he had never seen a crime that showed such cruelty, adding that Polk deserved to be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Polk was released after serving half of his 38-year sentence due to good behavior. Authorities argued against his release, claiming he remains a danger to society.

Instead of going to Iraq, Valley soldier goes AWOL and gets reduced rank

MODESTO -- A soldier with a Modesto National Guard unit who went AWOL rather than be deployed to Iraq has been reduced in rank and given 45 days of "extra duty."

Joseph Jacobo, 46, is among numerous guard members who have raised concerns about training and equipment problems and have declined to serve in Iraq.

Jacobo eventually returned to duty voluntarily and is stationed at Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad, Maj. Alayne Conway, a spokeswoman for the 4th Brigade in Iraq, told the Los Angeles Times.

In a telephone interview with the newspaper, Jacobo said the military lowered his rank from corporal to private. He said he also was given 45 days of "extra duty."

"They are retaliating," Jacobo said. "They refuse to listen to the truth."

Conway said Jacobo was punished for being AWOL for 28 days and for making threats against one of his superiors.

She disputed Jacobo's contention that he was being punished in part because he had spoken to the Times about alleged incomplete and inadequate training for guard members.

Water agencies will continue to pay fees for investigations

SACRAMENTO -- Northern California water agencies will have to keep paying more than $7 million in fees that go to investigate water rights complaints, process permits and inspect water diversion facilities.

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge upheld the fees imposed by the State Water Resources Control Board despite challenges by the Northern California Water Association, the Central Valley Project Water Association and the California Farm Bureau Federation.

The fees range from $100 to thousands of dollars, depending on how much water is involved. The fees are expected to generate about $7.2 million.

Though the Legislature approved the fees, the water agencies called them a tax that requires two-thirds approval by lawmakers. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadei disagreed, dismissing their lawsuit. The water agencies plan to appeal.

State water board Chairman Arthur G. Baggett Jr. said Thursday his agency would have to shut down many of its services if the fees are ultimately rejected.

"The court's decision allows the state water board to continue to administer and protect water rights in California," Baggett said. He said the programs are "essential to the administration of the state's water allocation system and protection of the environment."

Deputies halt getaway, net most wanted man

YUBA CITY -- Placer County's most wanted felony suspect was captured Wednesday in Yuba City, but not before being shot in the arm and using a stolen pickup truck to ram a sheriff's vehicle, authorities said.

Jeffory L. Shook, 31, believed to have committed as many as 40 thefts of vehicles and other property since December, put up the fight at 1:12 a.m. before being arrested by Yuba City police and Placer County sheriff's officers.

Shook, of Lincoln, had reportedly vowed that he would not be taken alive by law enforcement officials.

"This was a very dangerous individual, and he was a prolific thief," said Placer County Sheriff's Lt. George Malim.

California Highway Patrol Officer Kelly Baraga called Shook "a menace and a real thorn in our side."

During his escape attempt from a motel parking lot, he used a stolen truck to try to run over a policeman, who fired a shot and wounded him in the left arm, said Yuba City Police Lt. Bill Ollar.

Shook was in surgery Wednesday afternoon at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. He is under a 24-hour guard by sheriff's deputies, Malim said.

Malim said Shook was wanted on three separate arrest warrants totaling $410,000. All of the warrants involved vehicle thefts.

Yuba City police expect to seek charges of assault with a deadly weapon against Shook for ramming the law enforcement vehicle and for possession of stolen property because he was driving a stolen pickup truck, Ollar said.

Shook had frustrated authorities in Placer County for months by barely eluding capture on three occasions, including one incident in March in which he used a stolen vehicle to break through a fence in a pasture in Lincoln when deputies closed in on him.

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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?

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