It’s an end of an era. Reo’s Appliance on Oak Street will be closing their doors if the business can’t be sold, according to owner Brad Nathan. He says the main problem is they can’t get appliances. There are currently only three refrigerators on their floor where there would normally be 30, he says. Nathan also said he and his brother Craig are at retirement age, so why not? The store was opened by their father Reo 65 years ago in 1956. … Across town another longtime business is also closing. Les Appliance is closing their doors (for sales) after 60 years in business. The company was started in 1958 by Les Wagner and his wife Thelma. Les died last year at age 87.

WINNER: Lodi High grad Justin Medeiros, 22, won the 2021 CrossFit Games over the weekend, the youngest man to win the title, according to the BarBend website. CrossFit is described as, “a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition.” Medeiros was a football player and wrestling standout in high school. He now lives in Vancouver, Wash., where he can workout with his coach, Adam Neiffer at CrossFit Fort Vancouver.

COMING SOON: A demolition permit has been issued for the old Rex Pool Hall building on Sacramento Street. The building has been vacant for decades, but a fire of unknown cause tore through the structure almost exactly a year ago. Sacramento Street has been blocked off ever since while owners and insurance companies wrangle over what to do and what could be salvaged. The street, which has sprouted weeds through the pavement cracks, should reopen soon after the demo is complete.

OPEN SOON?: Creating an access center for the homeless is once again running into resistance. With councilman Mark Chandler tapping the brakes on the proposed Sacramento Street site, the city council’s resolve will be tested.

The council was going to be asked to approve the purchase of 710 N. Sacramento Street (next to the Salvation Army facility) for $2.1 million tomorrow night, but now everything’s on hold. In his written staff report, Community Development Director John Della Monica says the center will not be a “homeless camp,” but rather a “low-barrier, service-enriched shelter that facilitates linkage to needed resources to help individuals and families exit the cycle of homelessness.”

A two-week engagement period was implemented in order to gauge public sentiment for the project.

The city says it received 970 responses, 67% of which were in favor of the center, according to Della Monica. Volunteers also knocked on 90 doors of residents around the Sacramento Street neighborhood seeking feedback. They report 22 of the 26 responses were in favor of the center at that location. The project is estimated to cost $8.3 million, most of which would come from grant funds.

CLARIFICATION: Barbara Krengel, interim president of the Breakthrough Project for Social Justice, wishes to set the record straight about the proposed Lodi access center. She says the center will “assist approximately 170 persons with a place to sleep at night, a place to stay during the day and resources to meet essential needs.”

It will also have 24-by-7 security, and no on-site drug use will be permitted, she says. “Aggressive behavior” will also not be tolerated. The program will provide assistance navigating MediCal, Social Security and DMV services,” says Krengel. She says the center will also offer help in finding housing and filling out job applications.

SHOW OFF: Kirk Wentland has once again been invited to show off his classic 1957 Cadillac El Dorado Brougham at the annual Concours d’Elegance on Pebble Beach, near Monterey. This is not your average Autorama. The extravaganza starts Aug. 15 and is considered to be the most prestigious car show in the world.

Only about 200 cars are featured. This is at least the second time Wentland has been invited. He owns between 40 and 50 classic autos, including famous ones like the actual Cadillac used in filming the Beverly Hillbillies TV show … But wait, there’s more. Wayne Craig from Lodi is chairman of the docent program for the event. He calls it the “Super Bowl of auto events,” which attracts celebrities and car enthusiasts from all over the world. Craig says such names as Jay Leno and Seinfeld will probably be there. This is the 70th anniversary of the storied event, and Craig says “42 of the best cars in the world” will be on display.

BY THE NUMBERS: The sizzling-hot local real estate market continues to impress. Lodi Realtor Larry Underhill (Statesman Realty) says he keeps hearing that the market has softened, but he hasn’t seen it. As of the end of June, there was less than a month’s worth of inventory. The average time it takes to sell a property is 13 days. Last year it took 61 days. The average price per square foot for sold homes is $305, compared to $255 last year. As of June 30, there were only 67 homes for sale in Lodi. He cites an example of how hot the market is: it took about four days for one of his properties to attract five bids, four of them offering more than the asking price. Underhill says this could be his best year in the business.

DRINK UP: The red wine glut of the past couple years is over, according to Stuart Spencer, executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission. He says the local market for winegrapes “is trending up.” The price per ton is hard to say, he says, because there are so many varietals on the market. But he says old vine zinfandel is fetching about $1,200 to $1,500 per ton. Other zins are being sold for about half that price. Two years ago, many farmers had no buyers for their grapes and some just left them hanging.

HELP WANTED: Sign at Woodlake Cleaners on Turner Road: “So we have Generation-X, Millennials, Generation-Z. How about a new one? Generation-W ‘Working!’” … With that in mind, the persistent labor shortage continues to haunt local businesses, especially for restaurants. Habanero Hots, who just recently re-opened following a kitchen fire, has trimmed their schedule to five days a week because of a lack of workers. … The Village Coffee Shop on Victor Road also re-opened after being closed for a year due to COVID, but they, too, are looking for workers. … A GoFundMe page has been set up for Norman Calderon, who drowned in Lodi Lake last week. The family is requesting $10,000 to help with funeral, housing and counseling expenses. Calderon and his fiancé were planning to marry this week. He leaves a fiancé, two sons and a baby on the way, according to the website. … Last week Lodi police officers contacted a suspect wanted for various burglary and drug charges. The 35-year-old man took off running, but police were able to round him up with the help of the department’s new Unmaned Aerial System (drone). Video of the pursuit is online.

OPEN AGAIN: On July 19, the Village Adult Developmental & Community Center reopened its doors to onsite services for the first time in 16 months. “It is a slow roll out where only part of the group is on site each day. Everyone was thrilled to see each other!” says founder Kathy Piazza. Their annual “Kaleidoscope“ fundraiser is slated for Friday, Aug. 20 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at 5 Window Beer Co. Tickets can be purchased from the Village. Their office is located on Pine Street on the ground floor of the parking garage.

ON THE LOOKOUT: The Lodi Union High School Class of 1970 will be having their 50th (or is it the 51st?) class reunion on October 9 at Hutchins Street Square, and organizers are looking to round up “lost” classmates. Contact Nikki Kiedrowski at (209) 712-1236 if you’re one of them.


Steve is a former newspaper publisher and lifelong Lodian whose column appears most Tuesdays in the News-Sentinel. Write to Steve at

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