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The shame of Lodi: Our outdated and crowded animal shelter

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Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 10:00 pm

April - and this is the month for spring to start, normally, but spring is way out ahead. Still, the chilly nights give one second thoughts about planting bedding plants or moving outdoors those plants which have been sheltered all winter. But nothing has stopped the bulbs; they have been thicker than ever. And, praises be, the hummingbirds have come back after a worrisome absence, and the bluebells have brought the sky to the garden.

Given the fact that I think all available space should have vegetable gardens in it to help offset the costs of everyday living, I am trying my hand, in a small way. There is so much shade around our house that sunny space is limited; therefore I am planting only one tomato, one eggplant and one red pepper - in pots. It is getting harder for me to work down in the ground, so higher is good.

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I have often wondered about the word "party," given the ways it is used, particularly as pertaining to a celebration and a political group. It is of Middle English origin, coming down from Old English which is from the Latin root "part-," the singular of "pars," meaning "piece" or "portion." The English "part" carries the same meaning. The word "party" moves from its first meaning as a social group through meaning a group gathered for a special purpose such as a search party, and then on to the "political group" meaning that so often today has a negative connotation (atmosphere, not definition).

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Came across the word "palate" the other day, which was used instead of "pallet." The first means the roof of the mouth or one's appreciation of taste or flavor. The second means a portable platform, usually wood, on which goods can be stacked. For an artist's light board used to hold paints, the word is spelled "palette."

Then we go back to the old trouble, homophones - words that sound alike but differ in spelling. One can tell your from you're: The first is possessive (your book, your dog, etc.) and it's easy to tell because it has our in it, which is also possessive - "our" house, our work, etc. The second means you are; the apostrophe shows a letter is missing.

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A note to restaurants: The traditional corned (not corn) beef sandwich is a Reuben, not a Rueben, and it is Caesar (as in Julius Caesar) salad, not Ceasar. And in other situations, if one rules, one reigns, and if one is controlling a horse or a situation, one uses reins.

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I was particularly unhappy that the redevelopment project was voted down, because I had high hopes that some of that money could be used for a new animal shelter. And then, when I recently read the list of allocations McNerney had in mind for Lodi, nowhere was there any money listed for this desperately needed facility. Some of the stuff listed is not nearly as necessary.

The city shelter is understaffed, underfinanced, and undersized. I hope the city begins action of some sort to heal this unconscionable 50-year delay in building a new one. I would suggest to local service clubs that they invite representatives of the shelter, Animal Friends Connection, PAWS and any other local animal protection groups to speak at their meetings and then do what they can to help. And I would suggest to the shelter groups that if they get such an invitation, they should follow through. A speaker does not have to be a polished orator, just someone who knows the facts and the needs and can plead their cause sincerely.

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Ending on a personal note, my apologies to First Daughter, who had the capitals on her title removed by someone meddling with last month's column, and my congratulations to Second Son, who is directing a play, Weekend Comedy, for the Blue Mountain Players in West Point. He is also responsible for the set and the sound effects, plus a few other things. Opening night is Friday, April 24, with a pre-performance gala at 6:30 p.m. and the play at 7:30. Other play dates are April 25 and May 1, 2, 7, and 8, also with a 7:30 p.m. curtain. There is a May 3 matinee at 2 p.m.

Since the theatre, located on Main Street in West Point, is small, reservations are recommended, particularly for opening night and the matinee. Call local merchants at 293-7979 and 293-3100 for information and reservations.

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And, while I'm on the soap box, local newspapers, including this one, are having a really hard time of it these days. We can't afford to let newspapers die off, particularly local ones. They are the only source of local news, which is vital to any community. So please do what you can to support your local paper: Subscribe and advertise and read! We can get national and international news on the TV but that source is not going to tell you about what is going on in your locality or accept your observations about it.

Gwin Mitchell Paden has been in and around this town for 52 years and involved with numerous clubs and groups. She has been a Lodi High School and Delta College teacher, served in the WAC, and worked in advertising, news reporting, radio programming and public relations. She may be reached with ideas and suggestions via the Lodi News-Sentinel.

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