As has been reported, two of the three Twin Arbors Athletic clubs will be purchased by local investors and will remain open, according to TWAC manager Dennis Kaufman. Meanwhile, the tennis club on Cochran Road will definitely close. That property is destined to become a new housing development. A tentative subdivision map has already been submitted to the city planning department for review. The proposal calls for creation of about 30 new residential lots.
Sun West Racquet Club originally opened around 1970, a venture started by several local doctors including Fred Hanf, Tony Ahn and Art Kemalyan, among others. One of their managers was Randy Snider, who moved to Lodi from Modesto for the job and later became a partner in the enterprise. He also went on to be elected to the Lodi City Council in the early ‘80s. The Hutchins Street location was previously Robbie’s Swim Club, a hometown swimming hole owned by Robbie Robinson that served Lodi’s youth for eons. The property was purchased in about 1980 by Stockton insurance mogul Gary Vochatzer, who turned the place into a swank new racquetball club. By the mid-’80s both properties were purchased by Spare Time Inc., who renamed the clubs Twin Arbors.
ACE’D IT: Local hairdresser Sheri Zapara recently took delivery of a new stylist chair, thinking she could just plop it into place and start using it. Easy peasy, right? No such luck. Guess she didn’t see the fine print where it said assembly required. Lots of it. When she opened the box, the chair was in about 37 pieces. Yikes! What to do? This is a job for your friendly Ace Hardware man, whose store happens to be right across the mall. In just 20 minutes the guy “Aced” it and Sheri was sitting pretty. See, assembling all those BBQs comes in handy.
CITY HALL BEAT: Have you seen the Doug Kuehne for City Council lawn signs? Me too. No news there, right? But Mr. Kuehne is running unopposed for re-election. He just needs one vote, essentially, and he’s in. What doesn’t he understand about the phrase, “you’re elected?” So why the signs? Guess he just likes to see his name in lawns. … Alan Nakanishi, who’s also running unopposed, is taking it all in stride. No signs. No speeches. No ads. … Incumbent Mark Chandler is the only candidate being challenged and his signs are all over the place. Joanne Mounce and Bob Johnson have a bye this election season.
Speaking of elections, so what would happen if Measure L fails? That question was posed to City Manager Steve Schwabauer, who said it would probably mean 70 layoffs and the end of the library, rec department, and most of the park maintenance operations. All non-essential services would have to be eliminated, he says. … As if to add an exclamation mark to the subject of homelessness, attendees at last week’s city council shirtsleeve session had to step over a homeless camper who was all sprawled out on the sidewalk right in front of Carnegie Forum.
HELP WANTED: As predicted, filling the city’s vacant economic development coordinator position is proving to be harder than it looks. Even with a paycheck over $100k, the top candidate accepted a higher paying position elsewhere before the city could make an offer. The specter of being laid off in a year or two for lack of funding probably doesn’t help. The slot was vacated by Adam Brucker, who took a top job at the county several months ago.
SIGNING OFF: We note the recent passing of George Sampson, 93, who was a 1950’s country-western broadcaster at local radio station KCVR-AM. George went on to become manager of the station, which was owned by the Golden Pacific Group, a conglomerate based in San Jose. The station’s studios were located in Woodbridge along the banks of the Mokelumne, near Woodbridge Dam. The company added FM station KWIN in the ‘60s. At some point KCVR changed its C\W format to a mix of Spanish and religious programming. The stations and towers are long gone from Woodbridge, but the memories remain for those who were employees and listeners back then.
SICK BAY: Thirty-something Sarah Mayer from Lodi had just gotten to the gym for a workout the other day when she got a horrific headache. It was so bad that paramedics were called. Turns out it was a brain aneurysm, which is often fatal. She was immediately airlifted to US Davis and underwent two emergency surgeries. She’s a married mom of two and fighting for her life. A GoFundMe page has been created for her.
CLUB NEWS: The Lodi Boys and Girls Club is on the financial ropes, as you know. Their board of directors has said the club will have to close its doors if additional funding is not received by the end of October, or at least very soon. According to board member Craig Hoffman, “Some major donors are trying to get matching funds. Parents and club members are getting the word out. It is inspiring. I know there is a GoFundMe account set up as well. This club will not go away quietly. We are trying.” There are actually two GFM accounts currently setup, and the combined total raised to date is around $800, a little short of their $100,000 goal.
TRAVELOGUE: If you ever have a chance to visit Vermont in the fall by bike, do it. Beautiful country. Downtown Burlington’s Church Street is a pedestrian-only mall filled with bustling shoppers and name-brand retailers and restaurants. The countryside is very iconic, especially with the fall colors and the occasional red barn, grain silo and milk cows.
Steve is a former newspaper publisher and lifelong Lodian whose column appears every other Tuesday — or whenever he feels like it — in the News-Sentinel. Tips welcome. Write to Steve at aboutlodi@ gmail.com.