From the emails and voicemails:
NO RESPECT In December 2006, five nursery workers died in a head-on collision north of Oakdale.
Soon after, a makeshift memorial that consisted of crosses, flowers, a sheltered religious statue and a soccer jersey appeared along the east side of Valley Home Road, where the men were hit.
The memorial remained there, basically intact, until recently when someone dismantled it and tossed the items about.
As of Monday, the crosses still could be seen, resting against a barbed-wire fence on the west side of the road, across from where the memorial stood.
The five victims Alberto Padilla, 35, Miguel Lopez, 19, Daniel Lira, 23, Victor Reyes, 21, and Gerardo Quiroz, 23 were on their way to work at a Valley Crest Tree Co. nursery northeast of Farmington when the crash occurred at 6:15 a.m. the morning of Dec. 7, 2006.
Eighteen months after they died, Justen Chase Christensen the driver of the truck that hit them pleaded guilty to five counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Authorities said he had tested positive for heroin.
Christensen was sentenced to six years in state prison but was released in December 2010 after just 18 months plus any jail time served.
BY INVENT-ATION ONLY Sandra Sanchez of Riverbank, who is marketing soup in a tea bag, is among the eight contestants who have advanced to the semifinal of the fourth San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge, with its $24,000 in prizes.
I featured her in a 2008 column after she discovered that a photo of her grandfather taken in front of his home in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1920 showed him sitting next to Pancho Villa, the general who led Mexico's northern revolutionary forces against the regime of Victor Huerta.
Manuel Sanchez, she said, owned a large ranch along the Río Blanco (White River) near Guadalajara. He became friendly with Villa, likely supplying horses and mules for the general's forces or tending to the livestock when Villa and his men came through the area.
The United States initially supported Villa but turned against him during President Woodrow Wilson's administration. Villa retaliated by crossing the border into New Mexico to raid a U.S. cavalry detachment, taking livestock, torching a town and killing 84 people in March 1916. Wilson dispatched Gen. John J. Pershing and 10,000 troops who chased Villa around northern Mexico for the next year but failed to capture him.
Now, the big question is, can Sandra Sanchez capture the Entrepreneur Challenge? Or will it go to Crolie Lindsay of Modesto, who invented a metal walking stick that can be stuffed with lightweight survival gear; 2011 winner Jamie Norwood of Oakdale, for her website marketing U.S.-made products? Or any of the five other finalists?
The finals will be March 20 in Stockton.
WOUNDED WARRIORS Mark July 20 on your calendar. The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team will play the Stanislaus Senior Softball Association before the Modesto Nuts' game against Rancho Cucamonga that night. The event is a fund-raiser for Wounded Warriors, an organization that raises awareness about soldiers and veterans who suffered injuries while serving in the U.S. military.
Sponsorship packages range from $50 to $5,000, with service club group ticket blocks available from $338 to $625. Contact Joe Savage at (209) 526-8306 or email@example.com, or Jerry Scherer at (209) 572-4411 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
LOCALLY GIVEN The Alliance's Small Business Development Center is holding a business leadership forum March 20 in Ceres. Titled "Prosperity for All," it's about building your business here in the valley and will feature Gabriel Villa of La Perla Tapatia and Ivan and Edwin Rizo of Rizo Lopez Foods telling their success stories.
All good, all local except for the featured door prize: an iPad, which, unless we've recently annexed China or vice versa, doesn't exude a locally produced theme.
Here's a missed opportunity to showcase products or services made in the San Joaquin Valley not those conceived in Silicon Valley and made in China.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at email@example.com, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.