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Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:00 pm

Tokay FFA to host statewide competition

Tokay Future Farmers of America will host a statewide agriculture seminar Saturday at 7 a.m. at Tokay High School.

In the first year Tokay will host the event, 75 FFA students from 10 schools stretching from Sacramento to Bakersfield are scheduled to compete in a written test and floriculture, vine and tree pruning contests.

Each contest is designed to give FFA chapters a chance to hone their judging skills for future competitions.

"It's a hands-on contest and really a great way to motivate kids to join FFA," Tokay FFA adviser Matthew Bronson said.

The Lodi Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee is donating volunteers, equipment and funding.

Galt High trustees examine bond oversight committee rules, sufficiency of textbook supply

Trustees approved board policy regarding the newly formed Measure B Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee, a panel responsible for monitoring the spending of a $29 million general obligation bond.

Bond money will be used to build a second high school, to be called Liberty Ranch, off of Marengo Road northeast of Galt.

The board examined bylaws that would govern the oversight committee, changing sections according to the consensus of the committee and the suggestions of its legal counsel.

The bylaws will be approved in a Jan. 31 meeting of the school board.

Trustees also heard an update on the district's compliance with the Williams Act, a statewide lawsuit settlement that requires all students have equal access to safe school buildings and adequate textbooks.

Assistant Principal Joe Saramago told the board Galt High is considering harsh penalties for students who lose their books, including the withdrawal of privileges such as school dances and sporting events.

County to hire liaison with Head Start

Head Start of San Joaquin County will soon be in the market to fill a new position and create a stronger link with county administrators.

Head Start, a preschool program aimed to help low-income children up to age 5 and their families, is federally funded but administered by the county. Last year, supervisors narrowly decided to keep Head Start running, even though the county was not receiving any updates on the program's activities and leadership.

The new position of "grantee director" will serve as a liaison between Head Start and County Administrator Manuel Lopez to improve communications.

"We have been so removed from the Head Start program that I don't know its day-to-day operations," Supervisor Steve Gutierrez said. "This is the link that has been missing between the county … and the program."

The position will be paid for by the federal government as part of an annual grant. Head Start is run by the Child Development Council, a private nonprofit.

Because the Head Start executive director is responsible to the federal government and not the county, the liaison position is necessary, Lopez and Gutierrez said. Gutierrez said he would like to see a regular report from the new director to know what Head Start leaders are doing.

At the board's Tuesday meeting, Supervisor Victor Mow said he was wary of making Head Start too top-heavy.

"I am concerned … less money would be spent on the children," he said.

Man run over by own pickup after accident

A man involved in a crash Tuesday afternoon was thrown from his pickup and then run over by his own truck after a collision at Tracy Boulevard and Valpico Road.

The truck driver, whose identity was withheld by police, was driving east on Valpico Road when he ran into a 2003 Yukon going north around 12:30 p.m.

Police believe the driver of the Yukon, an unidentified woman, ran a red light at the intersection.

Witnesses said they saw the truck run over the driver twice after he was ejected out of his passenger window.

"I said, 'Oh my God, call 911!'" Denyce Lau said.

Lau and her mother, Maria, were stopped in the left turn lane on Tracy Boulevard when the accident occurred in front of them.

"The truck hit the pole, bounced off and ran over him and then back again," Maria Lau said.

Police said the man was likely not wearing a seatbelt.

The truck slammed into the front wheel area of the SUV drivers' side, crushing the woman inside. Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to cut away the driver's door to get the woman out.

Fire officials said the injured man likely sustained a head injury and fractures to both arms, while the woman was complaining of pain in her left arm and leg.

Both drivers were taken to Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

The intersection was closed for several hours during the police investigation.

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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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