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Lodi has plenty to be grateful for lately

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Jean Valjean lives!: A rousing production of “Les Misérables” at Hutchins Street Square with singers who will blast your earmuffs off. Maybe the best stage production here in years. (Final performances, by the way, are today. Check out www.hutchinsstreetsquare.com for more information.)

Say goodbye to mud: The Lodi Sports Foundation and a legion of runners, both joggers and speedsters, raised a ton of money to pay for a new all-weather track at Lodi High. Lodi Unified trustees kicked in a sizable amount, too. So sometime in 2014 we’ll see the muddy oval replaced by a brand-new surface everyone can enjoy.

Wine and money: An estimated 300 new jobs are being created by Sutter Home Winery at its soon-to-be massive winery west of Lodi. The $200 million expansion project is bringing jobs and money to Lodi, too. As we all pull out of the recession, the Sutter Home project is a much-needed economic turbocharge.

Chrysler back in Lodi: Sometime during this holiday season, new Dodges and Chryslers will offered for sale again in Lodi. The team of Kimberly Mullen, her dad, Dr. Kenneth Mullen, her husband, Bryan Smith, and investor Vince Porter are the entrepreneurial force behind this renewal. Again, more jobs for Lodi, and new activity at the formerly idled dealership on Beckman Road.

College night: This ad hoc party springs up each year on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. It has become a rowdy tradition among our young adults, and — yes — there are sometimes fights and always lots of alcohol. This year — one fight and one drunk driving arrest — a “reasonably calm” outcome. The event is important testimony that most of Lodi kids love living here or left with memories they love reliving. “Liveable, loveable Lodi” — more than a slogan.