A new year, a new law. Remember that all your organic waste must now be placed in the lawn and garden can, or you could be fined. This new state law requiring this was signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown back around 2015, but it went into effect last year. Lodi, along with most other communities in California, received a one-year reprieve, which has now expired. So, that means the remains of your Christmas goose, New Years ham and anything else “organic” must go into the green waste receptacle from now on. Waste Management, Lodi’s garbage hauler, will be asking the city council in January to raise rates by $5 bucks a month to pay for picking up your lawn and garden cart weekly. There may also be some other adjustments requested. The state is requiring cities and counties to do periodic inspections of customer cans to make sure they are compliant, according to an industry insider. Customers who don’t abide by the new rules can be fined, according to city officials. Happy New Year.

SEASON OF GIVING: The spirit of Christmas is alive and well. For most of December the Village Coffee Shop was collecting toys for 130 under-privileged Lodi kids who would otherwise find no gifts under the Christmas tree. Owner Juli Jette says one of her customers heard about the toy drive and put the word out. Before she could say Ho, Ho, Ho a truckload of 200 toys arrived, courtesy of the San Francisco fire department. Juli says she was on hand when the gifts were handed out to the children, saying it was an amazing sight.

SANTA STORY: Amanda Deterra of Lodi was looking for a Christmas miracle. She wrote on the social media site Nextdoor.com that she and her young daughter were supposed to go visit Santa at school. However, her daughter took a nasty fall and had to visit the ER instead. Disappointment City. Amanda was asking to see if anyone with a Santa suit could just drive by and wave at her child. That would be super, she said. “I appreciate anyone’s help. We aren’t able to drive anywhere to go see him as of right now, so I’m trying to see if there (is) anyone that can do a house call.” Sure enough, someone named Tammy did suit up and dropped by Amanda’s home. “It means the world to have my little one so happy just seeing Santa this morning. Many thanks to Tammy for bringing Santa! I cannot thank you (enough for) your incredible generosity and thoughtfulness,” she beamed.

AIR MAIL: Look, in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s actually an Amazon drone making deliveries. The online sales and marketing company began making air deliveries in Lockeford and College Station, Texas as part of a test program that will allow the company to “scale up” the service. When the air delivery service will come to Lodi is unknown.

Lockeford has a population of about 3,500, and Amazon is hoping to receive feedback from customers that will help them fine-tune the drone delivery service.

MORE UPDATES: The proposed Lake House development on Turner Road, across from the old General Mills plant, is inching its way toward approval, says Community Development Director John Della Monica. The proposed hotel-apartment-shopping-restaurant project has been in the works for years while environmental impact issues were mitigated.

The city says after some recent tweaks were made to the EIR, public copies should be ready for release and distribution very soon. If approved, the project will include a high-end hotel, apartments, commercial space, and a restaurant, according to architect John Vierra. Noise from the adjacent city-owned electric plant next door was one of the issues that needed to be addressed. Traffic impacts promise to be a concern of residents in the area, who will soon get their chance to view the environmental report.

OUT OF THE POOL: The pool at Hutchins Street Square is out of commission right now because the pump went kaput. It will take an estimated six weeks for a new pump to arrive and be installed, according to city officials. The city is also looking into getting a refurbished pump, which would be faster and possibly cheaper, we’re told.

REMEMBRANCE: We note the recent passing of Bill Meehleis, founder of Meehleis Modular Buildings in Lodi.

Besides being the premiere builder of modular school buildings, Meehleis was also generous to Lodi.

His list of honors, achievements, and associations is as long as your arm. He and wife Carol were named Citizens of the Year by the chamber in 2012. He was Lodi Unified’s Volunteer of the Year and received the Mayor’s Award from the city council. Meehleis was inducted into the Community Hall of Fame.

He was a Rotary Club past president. He either built or donated money for the Lodi High snack shack, weight room, track storage shed, skateboard dugouts, the Lodi Lake boathouse, and more. No one has done more to benefit Lodi than Bill Meehleis. His legacy for philanthropy and public service is being carried forward by his children.

FLASHBACK: Before there was an underpass on Kettleman Lane there was the Silver Dollar tavern, a coin toss away from the railroad tracks. One late afternoon in May, 1967 a yellow panel truck pulled up outside the bar.

The doors fling open and out hop six men and three women, all in their 20s, all wearing traditional boots and leather jackets. The men all wore beards. They carried with them a bottle of wine. When the barkeep refused to serve them, the Hells Angels began to rumble. The juke box was ripped apart and some 100 glasses and ash trays were smashed. The bar was all but demolished and the bartender was severely injured, according to a news account.

Lodi police notified the CHP, who caught up with the van on Pacific and Porter in Stockton. All were arrested, but they wouldn’t go peacefully. When the Stockton PD paddy wagon pulled up, the fight was on. It took five CHP, three sheriff and two Stockton police units to finally subdue the Angels, all of whom were from the Bay Area. Bartender Al Walker needed emergency surgery. Highway Patrolman John Montgomery received a gash on his head requiring six stitches, his colleague Leo Gamble wrenched his knee, and sheriff’s deputy Kenneth Martin had a cut on his head that needed three stitches. Sheriff deputy Wayne McClanahan bruised his hand in the fracas.

The suspects were charged with assaulting police officers, resisting arrest, being drunk in public, and drunk driving. The Silver Dollar was torn down to make way for the underpass that would be built in 1973.


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