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HOMEWARD BOUND Lincoln Ellis is coming home, or within 30 miles of it.
Ellis, 60, will become the first president and chief executive officer of the fledgling Modesto Boys & Girls Club, just a half-hour south of Stockton, where he grew up and joined that city's boys club as a ninth-grader in 1967.
Ellis brings decades of experience running Boys & Girls Clubs, including startups like Modesto's. He seized the opportunity to start another so close to family and friends after running clubs in the Midwest since 1998.
"The first order of business is really going out and continuing the great job the steering committee has done in terms of educating the community and businesses and establishing collaborators to bring in the needed programs and services," Ellis said.
Ellis graduated from Edison High School in 1970, playing on Vikings football teams that featured future NFL running back Willard Harrell (Green Bay and St. Louis Cardinals), Rudy Viney (Kansas City Chiefs) and Willie Viney (World Football League). Ellie went on to the University of California at Davis, where he earned degrees in political science and history.
He returned to Stockton and served on the Stockton Unified School District's board from 1983-88. Ellis left the Port City to start the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Boys & Girls Club in St. Louis in 1998, and since 2003 has been running northwest Indiana clubs, which serve roughly 13,000 children.
"People in the national organization told me, 'You might have the best (CEO) in the country," said David Gianelli, a Modesto attorney and chairman of the local Boys & Girls Club's board.
Gianelli and Ellis will meet for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America national conference May 1-3 in Orlando, Fla. Ellis will report to work in Modesto a week later, while wife Sharon stays behind to prep for the move west.
REINING 'EM IN Once again, Oakdale's equestrian patrol unit had a busy April 13 at the Oakdale Rodeo.
"For whatever reason, we had a record number of fights," Oakdale Police Chief Lester Jenkins said.
Reserve officers John Deming, aboard Moe, and Joe Cruz, on Lobo, broke up several brouhahas and made some of the 12 arrests from fights not only on the rodeo grounds but also in parking lots as far as two blocks away.
In one incident, the horses calmly waded into the crowd to help break up two fights in the beer garden, Cruz said.
"We're really proud of them," he said.
"We took two paddy wagon loads (to the county jail)," Jenkins said.
All of the charges involved alcohol, disturbing the peace or a combination thereof, Jenkins said.
Last year, the same duo made the news when they arrested a Manteca man for slugging his pregnant passenger and assaulting a police horse as the Saturday rodeo let out. The perp went to jail without bail because he had an immigration hold.
A reminder that more than 6,500 people attended this year's Saturday show, so the dozen arrested for duking out clearly represented the minority. As usual, the Sunday rodeo was a bit more family friendly. No arrests.
NOW YOU SEE IT The nation's first school bus will be on public display in Newman after all, according to First Student, the company that now owns it. Built in 1913 by Frank Patchett, founder of Patchett's Transportation, the converted Model T will be available for public viewing at 6 p.m. Friday in the city parking lot across from the West Side Theatre in the 1300 block of Main Street.
WISH GRANTED A Modesto girl suffering from a progressive muscle disease had her wish to visit Disney World granted by the Kids Wish Network.
Lillian Norris is a 4-year-old born with an autoimmune disorder that allowed her to be stricken with polymyositis, which affects her muscles. Her father, Ben Norris, said she is improving thanks to medication after spending most of October in Children's Hospital Madera getting treatment.
Her grandfather found the Kids Wish Network in an online search and learned that it helps children with serious ailments that are not necessarily life- threatening.
They made the trip to Florida in late March.
Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org for more information.
AUTHOR! AUTHOR! Two area authors unveiled their first books. "The Mystery at Tater Hill," by Groveland's Dorothy Bruemmer, is the story of three kids who find a mysterious hill while at their grandparents' farm. It's available through dorrancebookstore.com. And Modesto resident Brian Beach released "The Prime," which carries a message of combating drug use among teens. He wrote the book after witnessing the death of a friend who was injured on the job and became hopelessly addicted to prescription painkiller. Beach wrote the book while homeless and living in his pickup. Visit theprimenovel.com.
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.