From the e-mails, voice mails and whatnot:
SIGNS IGNORED On Sept. 7, a cyclist died after being struck by a car at Phoenix and Miller avenues in Modesto. The intersection is a block north of Yosemite Boulevard and two blocks west of El Vista.
Police said neither the cyclist who died nor the female motorist whose car struck him had stopped at the four-way, controlled intersection.
Reader Moya Palma, a resident of the neighborhood since 1956, wrote to tell me cars frequently speed through the neighborhood, using two-lane Miller instead of four-lane Yosemite.
"Many race car driver 'wannabes' use the two-block stretch between Phoenix and El Vista as a race track, trying to see how fast and how much noise their cars can make between the stop sign and the stop light," her e-mail read.
So from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 15, she conducted an unscientific traffic study. "I thought this was a quiet afternoon to do this," Palma wrote.
She tallied the number of vehicles passing through the intersection, charting those that came to complete stops, California stops (tap and rolls) or blatantly blew through the stop signs.
The results? "To my surprise, 330 vehicles and eight bicycles used this intersection," Palma wrote.
Of those, nearly 144 came to complete stops and 144 did the California stop. The other 42 14 percent ran the stop signs completely.
"Considering that the tap-and-rollers are, technically, running the stop sign as well, that is 186, or 59.4 percent of the drivers, who disobeyed the stop sign," Palma wrote. "Just as an aside, none of the eight bicyclists that came through the intersection slowed down or stopped, as they are required to by the California Vehicle Code 21200."
To her dismay, she said the nonstoppers included a Modesto police patrol car, a U.S. mail vehicle and a Modesto city vehicle.
The cyclist's death "really, really upset me," Palma said. "It's a dangerous intersection. It's got to stop."
Specifically, motorists and cyclists need to heed the signs.
UPON CLOSER INSPECTION Three years ago, Modesto resident Corine Cyphers entered a karaoke singing contest organized by a company called Talent Quest. Living in Utah at the time, she made the journey to the Tropicana resort and hotel at Laughlin, Nev. She didn't expect to survive the first cut after her CD skipped one minute, 58 seconds into a nearly four-minute offering.
"You just keep singing no matter what happens," she said.
To her surprise, she made it to the semifinals and won the competition on the final night.
A few weeks ago, she considered trying it one more time. When she dug through her 2009 paperwork, she found a certificate from the organization.
Behind it stuck to it, actually she found a certificate for free recording time at a studio in Orem, Utah.
"I'm going up in the spring," said the 59-year-old, who has performed in scores of musicals in Modesto and sang during the memorial service for longtime Modesto musician Ernie Bucio, who died in 2011.
After living in Utah for 15 years, Cyphers recently returned to Modesto in 2010 and now teaches voice lessons.
SOFT ROCKERS, PART II In August, I wrote about Tanner Woods, a little boy from Turlock who was born with his heart on the right side of his body which is the wrong side and spends more time than any child should at the UC San Francisco Medical Center.
Like many other children, he finds bliss in the gentle sway of a rocking chair. But with only one rocker for the hospital's children's cardiac intensive care unit, children and parents had to wait their turn, and patience doesn't come easily for sick children.
Rick and Kerry Walker, owner of Al's Furniture north of Modesto and friends of Tanner's grandfather, approached rocker manufacturer BEST Furniture of Indiana with a proposal.
He offered to buy four rockers to donate to the hospital if BEST would donate four more.
On Sept. 21, the Walkers accompanied Tanner and his family to the hospital to deliver the eight brand-new rocking chairs.
Tanner and the other children now can be rocked into a relaxed state.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.