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Regional Roundup

Salary petition to be delivered

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Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2010 12:00 am

The Lodi Unified School District teacher who led an effort to reduce administrative salaries plans to deliver his petition to each trustee this week.

Creekside Elementary's George Neely made the announcement during Tuesday's regular school board meeting. He held up a thick packet and told trustees he collected more than 1,000 signatures since the beginning of February.

Under his proposal, the first one-third of all budget cuts would be to the district headquarters and its operations, and no more than one-third would come from personnel cuts at schools sites.

Neely is also recommending that district employees currently paid $100,000 or more per year receive a pay cut of 10 percent, plus 0.1 percent for every $1,000 of annual salary over $100,000. Any employee making between $90,000 and $99,999 per year would be reduced to $90,000.

Neely, who has also been an outspoken critic at board meetings and has launched the "Save Lodi Schools" Web page on Facebook, grew up in Lodi where he graduated from high school.

Jennifer Bonnett

Three reject plea deals in $200 million Ponzi scheme

Three men accused in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in California history are taking their chances at possible trials after each rejected plea deals. Their victims included at least two Lodi families.

Federal prosecutors in Redding say Gary Armitage, James Koenig and Jeffrey Guidi bilked more than 2,000 investors out of $200 million. They allegedly drew investors toward a complex network of companies that owned real estate projects, promising returns that never came.

On Tuesday, former investment advisers Armitage and Koenig were offered a chance to plead guilty in exchange for 25 years and 20 years in prison, respectively.

Guidi was given an offer that wasn't made public. The former securities broker maintains that he was duped by his co-defendants.

Each of them rejected the plea deals, opting to move forward with their preliminary hearings.

The Lodi victims both said they researched the investment opportunity, and that it seemed to offer a legitimate return of about 6 to 8 percent. They attended a seminar held in Lodi, where they could ask questions.

Both families owned rental properties, with the intention of eventually selling them to fund their retirement, and had grown tired of being landlords, so they welcomed the chance to invest the property. They said they received interest payments for about nine months, until the checks began arriving late, then not at all.

— Staff and news services

Pacific picks interim provost

University of the Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck announced this week that Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr., dean of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, will serve as interim provost of Pacific. Ferrillo will start July 1, the day after long-time Provost Phil Gilbertson retires.

Pacific is currently conducting a nationwide search for a provost and plans to name a permanent replacement in the fall. The provost oversees all academic programs on Pacific's Stockton, San Francisco and Sacramento campuses.

"I appreciate Dean Ferrillo's willingness to take on this important role, and in so doing, help to further develop ties between our Stockton and San Francisco campuses," Eibeck said in a written statement.

Ferrillo will spend four days per week on the Stockton campus. He will continue close involvement with donors and other external audiences at the Dugoni School of Dentistry while he is interim provost.

Nader Nadershahi, currently associate dean for academic affairs at the dental school, will step into the role of acting dean of the dental school. Nadershahi will have day-to-day management responsibility for the dental school while Ferrillo serves as interim provost.

Ferrillo has served as dean to the Dugoni School of Dentistry since 2006. He previously worked in similar academic positions at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Southern Illinois University. He was a professor of dentistry at several universities from 1976 through 2002 and also had a private dental practice in St. Louis from 1978 to 2002.

More information about the search for a new provost can be found online at www.pacific.edu/x25298.xml.

— News-Sentinel staff

This story was updated at 9:51 a.m. April 8, 2010, to delete the item about the Lockeford park.

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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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