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Tracy man catches pilfering pump

TRACY - Marcus Epelstein paid $20 dollars in advance to fill his gas tank at the AM/PM station on Grant Line Road Thursday evening. Epelstein said he started to fill up his tank, but it turned out he only needed about $11 worth of gas.

"The gallons and price were climbing very slowly, so I pulled out the hose and noticed that I wasn't pumping, but I was still being charged," said Epelstein.

Epelstein said that's when he decided to start recording the pump with his cell phone video camera. He say he confronted management, who refunded his money and closed the pump for the night.

"There could have been a number of factors to make the pump malfunction," said the station manager, who did not want to be publicly identified.

"The pump was inspected and put back on the next morning," he said.

Epelstein said he wants other customers to know they need to pay attention at the pump.

Crews fix San Joaquin County levee, prep for potential flooding

MANTECA, Calif. (AP) -- Crews are making emergency repairs to an eroding levee south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in case a heavy mountain snowpack cause flooding problems this spring.

Ron Baldwin, director of San Joaquin County's Office of Emergency Services, said Friday that an unusually rainy December has caused water to rise high enough that it could start to damage the levee.

A December survey found that snowpack along the Sierra Nevada is holding nearly twice as much water than usual for this time of year.

Officials are starting to worry that when the snow melts, the flow of water will place more pressure on the San Joaquin River's flood control system. The river has a far smaller channel capacity than the Sacramento River and no large flood bypasses to capture overflows.

Manteca car dealer won't be charged in sale to dementia patient

MANTECA, CA - "The holidays were really hard," said Janet Davis as she recalls her husband, Donald. "He tried to find the humor in life. Everyday he tried to say something to make me laugh."

Donald Davis died last October following what police called a questionable car deal with Cabral Chrysler Jeep Dodge. 

According to his wife, Donald had dementia and had been declared incompetent. She said, "I still have to work so that's why I had to put him in a care home."

Apparently, Davis had been living at the Manteca Care Center for a week when an employee from the car dealership picked him up and took him to the dealership. Janet said Donald was in a wheelchair wearing pajamas and slippers and even fell down while the worker was trying to transport him.

Manteca gangster shot, then chatty

MANTECA, CA - Two young people were shot early Friday afternoon in Manteca in a gang-related driveby shooting.

One of the youths was happy to talk about the incident and gang lifestyle.

Jared Smith, 18, was shot near the shoulder and although Manteca police were on the scene quickly to offer assistance, Smith turned down medical care.

He said he was uncomfortable going to the hospital with his mother nearby. Then he opened up about his gang life.

"I'm a Northerner.  (Why?)  Because it's the thing to do.  It sounded good at the moment," said Smith.

He described the shooting on a quiet street just a block from the busiest part of downtown Manteca.

"As I was coming this way, the car pulled up and a gun was pulled out, and they shot me," said Smith.

Tracy police investigate 3 gang attacks

TRACY, CA - Tracy's police chief has served notice that three recent, believed related gang incidents won't be tolerated.

The first incident involved an argument between two North Side Nortenos and a South Side Rider Sureno at Big Lots on Tracy Boulevard Dec. 12 that resulted in the Sureno being shot several blocks away, according to police spokesman Sgt. Tony Sheneman.

Ten days later, Dec. 22, one of the two Nortenos in the Dec. 12 was shot on Holly Drive.

Then most recently, on Dec. 29, also on Holly Drive, Sheneman said three individuals believed to be Surenos attacked and stabbed an Hispanic male. He is in critical condition.

Tracy detectives are working to identify those responsible for the Dec. 29 attack, Sheneman said.

Tracy Police Chief Janet Thiessen said the culprits will be arrested and put in the hands of the criminal court system.

Free E-Waste collection

TRACY - The City of Tracy in partnership with San Joaquin County will host the first free E-Waste collection event of the new year on Saturday, Jan. 8 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Boyd Service Center located at 520 Tracy Boulevard.

The event gives residents an opportunity to properly dispose of their unwanted electronic devices. Additionally, styrofoam packaging and carboard waste will be collected free of charge.

The following items will be accepted:

- Electronics (TVs, monitors, computers, pritners, VCRs, radios, steroes, cell phones, telephones, answering machines, small countertop microwaves)
- Fluorescent bulbs (limit 20 bulbs per residents/business)
- Household batteries
- Mercury items (mercury thermometers and old thermostats, novelty items)
- Cardboard
- Clean, white (#6) polystyrene block foam packaging
- Holiday lights

Residents are urged to bring only styrofoam that is clean, white and block foam packaging.

AAA offers free 'Tipsy Tow' service on New Year's Eve


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - AAA says there no excuse for drinking and driving this holiday weekend. The company will offer free "Tipsy Tow" service for revelers on New Year's Eve.

From 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day, in Northern California, anyone who has been drinking, can call (800) 222-4357 and a tow service will take you and your car home for free, up to ten miles. Just tell the AAA operator you need a Tipsy Tow and a truck will be dispatched to your location, whether your a AAA member or not.

The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver's home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver's home as long as there is sufficient room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck.

St. Joseph's offers mobile mammogram screenings

TRACY - St. Joseph's Medical Center will provide low-cost mammogram screenings from their "clinic on wheels" from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011, in the Safeway parking lot at 1801 West 11th Stree.

The screenings are available for $80 by appointment to any woman with a physician's referral. Women enrolled in certain medical programs may be eligible for a mammogram at no cost.

Interested women, of all ages, should make an appointment by contact by calling 1-866-430-8222.

The mammograms are provided by St. Joseph's through an innovative program that brings services to patients who may not otherwise have access to these resources.

Jazzed up in Tracy: Helm's and Main Street Jazz Cafe

Jazzed up in Tracy: Helm's and Main Street Jazz Cafe

You know how you should never judge a book by its cover? Well…you should never judge a town by its news coverage.

Working in the media for years, whenever I drive by a new city or an area, the first thing that pops in my head will be “oh, that’s where that fire happened” or “oh, that’s where they found so-and-so.” You know how it is…every place has a story.

So when I had to visit a friend in Tracy, the story that popped in my head was, “The unidentified blue lights of Tracy.” Not that there’s anything wrong with UFOs. They are cool, but I was wondering what else I was going to find there.

Continue reading Michelle Ponto's review

Tracy toy donations pour in after hundreds stolen

TRACY, CA - Anthony Gordon wasn't certain he could make needy families in Tracy feel much Christmas spirit this year, not after hundreds of toys were stolen from his garage in Mountain House.

But when word got out that Gordon's toy donation effort was seriously damaged, donations poured in to make this years giveaway the best ever.

"What they took the first time, we've been blessed three times more. We have a thousand toys instead of 300 toys," said Gordon.

Gordon, his wife, children and other relatives, needed a rental truck to complete their rounds Thursday. Extra toys will be handed out Friday morning starting at 8:30 at the park next to the Tracy library.

Any holiday disappointment he'd been feeling, has more than disappeared.

"We will continue to make this a family tradition, and we'll continue to do this for years to come," said Gordon.