Baseball legend Dave Dravecky was in town last week. He was the keynote speaker at the annual Greater Lodi Leadership Prayer Breakfast. The retired San Francisco Giants pitcher is now a motivational speaker who also continues to work with the Giants organization.

Dravecky addressed a crowd of over 200 at Wine and Roses, recounting how his Christian faith helped him through the tragic loss of his arm.

The ace pitcher developed cancer in his throwing arm in 1988. He underwent surgery to remove the cancer, but made a triumphant return to the mound in 1989. However, in August of that year, pitching against Montreal, the humerus bone in Dravecky’s arm snapped in half. It was a horrifying scene, shown live on TV. The cancer was back.

It marked the end of his pitching career. Within two years Dravecky’s shoulder and arm would be amputated. While retired from baseball, he serves as a community ambassador for the Giants and has also written several books. His is an inspiring story, indeed.

HOMELESS UPDATE: Our item last week about the city council’s vote to land a homeless access center on Sacramento Street hit a nerve. Corina Vasquez disagrees with Councilman Mark Chandler about the “downside of districting.” She writes, “I live off Century Blvd. and was very grateful that this time we have council members that represent the eastside of Lodi and were listening to us.” … Meanwhile, Pete Krengel says a series of informational meetings are scheduled at his church, St. John’s Episcopal on Lower Sac. The meetings will be held on three successive Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m., starting Oct. 28. Topic: homelessness, Where are we?, What’s being done?, Where do we go from here? … Surprisingly, the new access center is exempt from state California Environmental Quality Act requirements. That means the city will not have to do an environmental impact report or mitigate issues normally discovered by such an assessment. The state’s “No Place Like Home Program” is largely paying for the center, which exempts it from those requirements.

OLD NEWS: Gah! Remember last week we were bragging all over Henderson Bros. for being the oldest continually operating business in town? Well, ahem, the News-Sentinel is actually older, according to local historian Christi Weybret. She says the Sentinel is now 140 years old —15 years older than Henderson Bros.

IN THE NEWS: Lodi’s Todd Dillon recently won the Impact Influencer Award from the U.S. Navy in a surprise ceremony at Tokay High School, where he works. Todd was nominated for the award by a former student of his, who’s training to be a Navy Seal, according to Todd’s wife Tami. Recipients are given the award for their “leadership, mentorship, and guidance.” … This year’s Lodi Grape Festival was ”huge,” according to manager Mark Armstrong. He says attendance was up a whopping 40%. … A mountain lion has been spotted in the nature area of Lodi Lake, according to the city’s website. Beware.

FAIRE TIME: It’s back. The annual Street Faire will be held this Sunday in downtown Lodi. The Chamber-sponsored event returns this year after being canceled last year because of COVID. One of the vendors will be Carmel artist John Chappell. If the name sounds familiar, he’s the son of the late Lodi teacher and swim club owner Jack Chappell. A recent article in the Monterey Herald describes John as, “a zoologist by training, a tile setter by trade, a wildlife photographer by chance and a sculptor by choice.” He specializes in “multi-media primitive” art, which may include sculptures of “witch doctors, Nubian queens, mojo men and an occasional Jurassic mosquito.” His art is sold at the Carmel Bay Company on Ocean Avenue in Carmel. Chappell will be one of the many sellers on Sunday. Look him up.

CULINARY CORNER: You’ve probably driven past the place a hundred times and not noticed. It’s on a beautiful tree-lined section of West Locust Street at Lee. The stately 100-plus-year old home has been converted into a bed and breakfast named the Bordeaux Inn. Owners Craig and Rebecca Forrest have modernized the place without losing its historical charm. Craig is a professional TV director and documentary filmmaker and Rebecca is a healthcare executive, according to their website.

Rebecca is also a chef who has studied a variety of cuisines in such countries as France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Israel, Argentina, Hong Kong, and Singapore. She shares her talents by teaching cooking classes in her kitchen at the Inn. She offers classes in French, Caribbean, and Italian cooking — in case you’re looking for adventure on some lazy Saturday. Students learn how to make pasta, raviolis, focaccia bread and more. Best of all, students get to eat what they make.

CREATIVE CROSSING: One week it was a giant chicken. Then it was Maui from the Disney movie. Another week it was Captain America. That’s how crossing guard Don Bailey dresses every Friday while directing traffic at Lodi Christian School on Lower Sac at Tokay, according to Terry Clark, who witnessed it. It’s all very entertaining, says Clark. Who knows who was first, but a crossing guard at Heritage School was in the news a few weeks ago for doing the same thing.

SWEET TREATS: We’ve done about five pounds of research, so far. Here are two more entrants in our ongoing cinnamon roll pageant. Phillips Farms (Michael David Winery) has a very respectable cinnamon roll. First off, it’s large. Oversized. Fills most of a plate. You will then notice the bakery delight has a generous slathering of white frosting, just like your mom used to make. What’s a cinnamon roll without a couple inches of frosting? It keeps the roll nice and moist as you savor each bite. Further up the road is Panera Bread. They, too, have a very respectable cinnamon roll. It’s not as big as Phillips’, but what it lacks in size is more than made up for in taste and moistness. They cut it right out of the pan when you order it. If you nuke it for about 20 seconds, you’d swear it just came from the oven. Both are worth a try. Maybe you have a favorite we should review?

SOUP’S ON: Those of us who have lived here for a long time probably remember the old Cosmopolitan Restaurant at Main and Oak Streets. It was one of the original white tablecloth fine eating establishments in Lodi. The place, which had been owned and operated by restauranteur Dick DeGrande, burned down in spectacular fashion on December 20, 1982. But does anyone remember the Minestrone soup from the Cosmo, and maybe have the recipe?

REMEMBRANCE: We note the recent passing of Cliff Goehring, who died earlier this month at age 91. He was the last remaining Goehring brother, five of whom ran the very successful Goehring Meat Co., famous for their cured hams, sausages and bacon. Their main plant was located on the east side of Highway 99, north of the Mokelumne River bridge. Cliff was sales manager for the company, and manager of Mokelumne River Christian School next door. He drove around town for years in his yellow Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which must have had 500,000 miles on it. Goehrings operated the meat company until 1988, when it was sold to a Canadian company. The plant closed in 1991 when the company went bankrupt. The plant employed several hundred people when the Goehrings had it. Cliff, his brothers and entire family contributed immeasurably to community over the years.


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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