As a staff writer for the Lodi News-Sentinel and Earth.com, I write about history, entertainment, the environment, pets, and other topics. I also write speculative fiction.
If you haven't seen one of the brightly painted rocks in Lodi yet, don't worry. The Lodi Rocks! group is hard at work to ensure there are plenty of the "kindness rocks" to go around.
Rebecca Hardiman is known in Portland for her smooth vocals. Jim Martinez has played jazzy tunes on the piano in Sacramento and all over Northern California. Years ago, the two may never have stumbled across each other, but in the age of the Internet, they did - and it's spawned a collaboration that is coming to Lodi's Wine and Roses on Wednesday.
The first time Mel Potter went to Vietnam, he was a soldier in the U.S. Army. It was 1968, and like many young men, he was sent overseas to fight in the jungles and highlands of the Southeast Asian nation.
Eventually, he made it back home to Lodi. But 30 years later, Potter went back with a friend, just to visit the country he’d spent so much time fighting in. And now, he spends much of his time in the country, helping provide medical and dental care to those in need.
Most couples who get married this month may be too focused on the happiness and festivities to worry about the future. As their relationship grows, however, keeping it strong and healthy will be important. Luckily, Lodi has a number of couples who have been married for decades, and three of them — Ray and Doris Shates, Lorraine and Richard Stanford, and Terry and Jeanette Quashnick — were willing to share how they’ve stayed in love for so long.
Twice a year, tinkerers of all ages converge at the World of Wonders Science Museum for MakerFest. The maker-space mini-festival brings activities that will delight amateur engineers, whether new to the maker movement or old hands at tinkering.
“You can count on the fact that you’re going to hear ‘Elvira.’ That’s our signature song,” said Richard Sterban, the quartet’s bass. He provides the song’s famous “oom-pa-pa-mow-mow.”
“Every night is an adventure, because you never know what’s going to happen with the audience,” said guitarist Gary Pihl, who also provides backing vocals.
During a drizzle on Wednesday afternoon, the snow leopard at Micke Grove Zoo was in her element. She lounged on a high perch, grooming her enormous paws with half-lidded eyes, the picture of contentment.
At Heritage Oak Winery, acres of 10-year-old grapevines are still underwater. It’s been days since Lodi’s last rainfall, but for Heritage Oak’s owner, Tom Hoffman, it may be a while before the flooding brought by two wet months begins to recede.
For author Jennifer Torres, her latest book, “Stef Soto, Taco Queen,” came from a lifetime of experiences. “A lot of inspiration came from my own upbringing. I come from a Mexican-American family,” she said.
It’s late afternoon, and you’re ready for a quick snack to hold you over until the workday ends. Would you rather have an individual bag of over-salted, broken chips from the vending machine, or a fresh, crisp apple? A slightly stale donut, or a pair of juicy, tart tangerines?
“We will have menus from some of the businesses, we have a sign on loan to us from the Haggin Museum from the Bow On society, we have some Gold Rush-era objects to introduce how the Chinese came to Stockton,” Collections and Exhibits Manager Julie Blood said.
Elementary, middle and high school students throughout Lodi have the unique opportunity to learn about the local watershed. Some raise young salmon in their classrooms. Others create murals or write newspaper stories celebrating local water, plants and animals. At the center of it all is Kathy Grant.
Many Lodi residents are working to save water in their gardens, but draw the line at giving up their spring and summer flowers. Good news: Many succulents and cacti combine beautiful blooms with drought hardiness. Many are visually striking even when they’re not in bloom.
While Pet Supplies Plus has 370 locations in 27 states, Rowland was quick to point out the chain strives to have a good sense of each neighborhood where they’re based. He’s visited Lodi a few times, though most of his time was spent overseeing the store’s remodeling and work to get it ready for the grand opening, he said. “I think the big thing for us is our motto, ‘America’s Favorite Neighborhood Pet Store.’ We’re really big on community,” he said.