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We’re thankful for: Great grapes, perky people and creative contributors

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Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:34 am, Thu Nov 22, 2012.

We are thankful for a bountiful harvest of wine grapes. Many people enjoy wine, and the word is the yields were strong and the quality in the bottle is going to be great. There's even reliable information that prices are strong.

Even those who don't drink wine or grow grapes can rejoice in the economic benefits of a good harvest. It will be reflected in increased activity at stores, auto showrooms and real estate offices.

We are grateful for perky people. Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Courtney Dempsey visited us Tuesday, and her buoyant spirit just lifted the whole office. But she's not the only upbeat person who contributed to the success of our day on TV. Administration manager Theresa Larson led the effort to "prettify" our office. Cleaning lady Barbara Hoard played hostess to Lodians waiting to show their treasures to the "Pawn Shop Insiders." Press foreman Joe Mistretta, who works an overnight shift, was up bright and early for his interview with Courtney. The whole News-Sentinel team loved our TV moment.

We're grateful the real estate market, nationally and in Lodi, is creeping back. It has been a long, bleak winter for housing sales. Recent months have bought some fresh tendrils of hope: Sales are up, prices are lifting and inventory is dropping. Real estate site Zillow reports that Lodi's median sales price in October was $192,800, up nearly 18 percent year over year. Houses are the biggest investments most of us have. The stirrings of a revived market mean much for our collective peace of mind. Who knows? Maybe in 2013 we'll see new houses rising in Lodi.

We're thankful for people in Lodi and beyond who share their talent and creativity. Some write columns; others submit photos. Our thanks today to these good men and women whom, we fear, we do not hear the words "thank you" nearly enough: Joe Guzzardi, our stalwart Saturday columnist who is as expert on matters of candy making and baseball as he is immigration; Gwin Paden, a grand dame of arts and letters, and a celebrant of all things Lodi; Steven Hansen, whose columns bring wit and insight to our editorial pages; Bob Bader, whose homespun tales of life and Lodi are always entertaining; Robyn Grace Jennings, whose passion for food informs our Pano page and our blogs; Barbara Spitzer, our Lodi Living food columnist, who is somehow definitive without being pedantic. Others who contribute columns on an intermittent basis are also appreciated, though seldom thanked, including: Wade Heath; Cynthia Neely; Jerome Kinderman; Ed Miller; George Neely; Kenneth Huntley; and, a recent arrival, Frank Gayaldo.

We are fortunate to regularly share the visual artistry of two Lodi photo contributors, Ken Cantrell, a specialist in the especially challenging field of aerial photographer, and Dale Sym, whose breadth includes people, events and scenics.

Our heartfelt thanks to all.

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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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