From the emails, voice mails and other sources:
LAST OF THE LOT When Lynn Russell died Thursday at age 90, Modesto lost its last living link to Frank Mancini and his original Modesto Boys Band.
It also lost a man with a love for Mancini's longer-lasting creation, MoBand. And finally, it lost Alowishus J. Jones, the airplane-riding clown Russell portrayed in air shows.
Indeed, Russell lived quite a life. He descended from some of Modesto's pioneer families the Drakes and Coffees who came west by wagon train in the 1860s.
He began playing music at 14 four reed instruments, though the saxophone was his favorite in Mancini's boys band and MoBand.
Russell served with showbiz great Mickey Rooney during World War II and later joined Rooney's touring band. When Rooney came to Modesto for a night at The State Theatre in 2002, he gave his old friend Russell a shout-out.
Russell performed his aerial clown act with Gold Coast Air Shows from about 1962 to 1966.
"He would ride on the back of the plane just holding on with his hands (he would always drop his parachute before getting on the plane) as part of his act," daughter Vicki Bauman said. "I asked him why he did that, before he passed last week, and he told me, 'It made the kids laugh.' "
When his stuntman days ended, Russell went from air to land by joining the Shriners.
"He had a clown car that he built and never missed a parade until he became too old to manage the car," Bauman said.
Russell played jazz locally throughout the valley, including with Deck Hogin's Hogin's Heroes band.
He played in MoBand most of his life, serving as its president for many years, and played an important role in improving Mancini Bowl at Graceada Park.
Russell continued to play music into his 80s, until a stroke ended his career as a performer. On his 90th birthday June 7, 2012 he was honored on MoBand's season-opening night.
"It makes me want to cry it feels so good," he said at the event. "I get teary-eyed just thinking about it."
KEEP THE TOP UP Saw this one Monday on Facebook: "Reopening of Ceres Drive-In Theater!"
Of course, that depends on how many people venture to the theater grounds 1651 E. Whitmore Ave. for a car wash March 30. The proceeds will be used to help reopen the drive-in, which closed in 2008.
The fund-raiser will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; cost is $5 for each car, pickup or sport utility vehicle.
I wrote about the old drive-ins and Ceres' hope of resurrecting the last one to operate here in more than a decade in my Feb. 16 column.
Granted, fund-raising events to relaunch private businesses are rare. But if that's what it takes for the drive-in to reopen and give families affordable entertainment, I wish them all the soiled sedans, crud-covered coupes, pigeon-pelted pickups and sooty SUVs they can handle.
MONUMENTAL RESTORATION And last week, I wrote about the recent dismantling of a memorial north of Oakdale crosses representing each of the five nursery workers killed in a 2006 collision by a pickup driver who tested positive for heroin.
Shortly after the crash, the crosses appeared on the east side of Valley Home Road, along with a religious statue. The memorial remained intact until someone tore it apart sometime in the past few weeks. The crosses ended up on the west side of the road, leaning against a fence.
Since last' week's column, the memorial has been rebuilt on the east side, according to area residents who called or emailed.
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.