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People create own jobs in San Joaquin Valley

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY - Last week, the city of Stockton proposed major cuts to public servant jobs, but San Joaquin County reported a surprising decrease in unemployment numbers.

In February, the unemployment rate fell under 18 percent for the first time in a year.

Large retailers, like Krispy Kreme in Stockton and Costco in Lodi, are hiring hundreds of employees each, but the San Joaquin County Better Business Bureau said a large part of the economic recovery comes from new small businesses.

"Individuals are starting their own small businesses trying to weather this recession," Better Business Bureau president Frank Whitney said.

Whitney said at least three handymen and several at-home jobs started up recently. He said it's too soon to call the job growth a trend, but the outlook appears promising.

Strikeforce comes to Stockton, local fighters weigh in

STOCKTON, CA - Local mixed martial arts fighter Josh Thornburg weighed in at 163.6 pounds on Thursday, prior to his fight on Friday against James Terry, as part of Strikeforce Challengers 15 at the Stockton Arena.

The main-event will feature San Jose's Justin Wilcox (10-3) vs. Brazil's Rodrigo Damm (9-4), which will be televised tape-delayed on the west coast on Showtime at 11pm.

Wilcox weighed in at 155.2 and Damm came in slightly heavier at 155.8 for the lightweight bout.

Thornburg, a Lodi native has a 7-2 and was slightly lighter than his opponent Terry, who weighed in at 164.2 on Thursday.

News10 celebrates community with Lodi Wine & Tweet

News10 celebrates community with Lodi Wine & Tweet

LODI - In true community spirit, about 40 local bloggers, winery owners and residents gathered at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center Wednesday evening to mingle, taste and Tweet about featured wines from local wineries.

DUI checkpoint planned in Lodi this weekend

DUI checkpoint planned in Lodi this weekend

LODI – Lodi Police Department Traffic Unit will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint on Saturday, March 26 at an undisclosed location within the city limits between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.  DUI checkpoints are a proven enforcement tool effective in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol involved crashes, as well as being an valuable means for heightening awareness of the dangers of impaired driving.

Officers will be checking drivers through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol and or drug impairments. Officers will check for proper licensing and will strive to impact motorists only momentarily.

Lodi Unified School District Breaks Ground on Two Megawatt Solar PV System

Lodi Unified School District, in cooperation with Cupertino Electric, Inc.’s (CEI) Energy Alternatives Division (www.cei.com/energy), today announced that it has begun the construction phase of a two (2) Megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system located in Lodi, Calif. The two (2) MW Cupertino Electric-designed solar system will be comprised of four smaller systems mounted on parking lot canopies throughout the district.

“We are excited to begin construction on the multi-campus solar system that will decrease energy costs and, subsequently, increase student-related spending,” said Art Hand, assistant superintendent of facilities and planning for Lodi Unified School District.

Lodi police crack down on bad bicycle behavior

LODI, CA - Lodi police are busting bicyclists breaking the law, and the biggest offenders are children under the age of 15.

"We're going to get parents complaining about us picking on their kid when we should be doing gang and robbery investigations," Lodi's traffic division Sgt. Chris Jacobson said. "But if their kid gets seriously injured in a bicycle traffic accident, then they're going to yell at us for not protecting them."

The city recently ranked fourth out of 104 similar-sized cities in California as having the most serious bicycle accidents involving children.

The numbers aren't nearly as bad as the ranking, said Jacobson. Last year, the city had 20 bicycle accidents by minors; nine had injuries.

"What we need to do is educate kids on proper bicycle riding cause I honestly don't think they know how," said Jacobson.

Middle East turmoil reflected in higher fuel, food production costs

GALT, CA - The unrest in the Middle East has put oil at $103 per barrel. Analysts fear that if conflict spreads to Saudi Arabia, oil could hit $200 per barrel.

Pricey oil means expensive fuel and higher farming costs. Case Van Steyn of Van Steyn Dairy in Galt says his off-road farm diesel has almost tripled in cost the past two years.

In March, 2009, Van Steyn paid $1.23 for a gallon of farm diesel; 11 months later he paid $2.10 per gallon. Two weeks ago, he paid $2.96 and this week, the price is $3.55 per gallon.

The price of milk has remained somewhat stable despite increasing fuel costs because the government regulates dairy prices.

"Farm prices for milk are set by the state of California. In time they will catch up. In the meantime, we have to struggle to stay in business through these increasing costs we have at the farm," Van Steyn said.