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Gala Countdown: 23 Days

Materials for the arts center have come from throughout the world. South America provided the stone floor in the lobby (Peru) and the theater seats (Colombia). Europe contributed the stone countertops (Italy) and elevators (Germany). Everything else came from North America, including the orchestra lifts (Quebec), theatrical rigging (New York City), orchestra shells (Champlin, Minn.) and catwalks (Fresno).

The Gallo Center for the Arts, at 10th and I streets in Modesto, holds its grand opening gala Sept. 27. The center has two theaters: the 1,252-seat Mary Stuart Rogers Theater and the 444-seat Foster Family Theater. www.galloarts.org, 338-2100.

Brush fire causes smoke in the valley

A 1,200-acre fire near Morgan Hill sent smoke into the valley Monday evening. "This has the potential of being a major fire," said Santa Clara County Battalion Chief Scott Jalbert. The fire threatened cabins in Henry W. Coe State Park, and rangers evacuated campers.

Back yard oases on display in Ripon

Want to check out some gorgeous back yards? Then check in Saturday at the Ripon Garden Club's September Stroll home and garden tour.

Calling military kin: Honor those serving

The Bee is searching for information about men and women from the Modesto area serving in the Mideast as part of our "In Service" feature, which appears Sundays. Family members wanting to submit information should include name, age, rank, branch of service, hometown, specialty, where they're serving, names of immediate family members and their hometowns, and a little background on the service member. A color photo also is needed. Send information to Pat Machado, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or e-mail pmachado@modbee.com.

Yesteryears

50 YEARS AGO: New mercury vapor lights on F Street and Yosemite Avenue in Oakdale were turned on for the first time. Arranged by Councilman Gene Bianchi, the program for the lighting included singing of the national anthem, an invocation by Rev. Arthur Beckwith and the introduction of city officials.

25 YEARS AGO: A four-block area of south Modesto was evacuated after several 5-gallon cans of highly toxic, chlorine-based insecticide fell from a truck and ruptured on the northbound ramp of Highway 99 at Crows Landing Road.

-- Karen Aiello

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