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By Sharan Street
Published Oct 30, 2023

Image credit: Beloborod, Shutterstock

Truck or Treat! A Halloween Grab Bag

Greetings, and happy Samhain—a Celtic tradition that’s aligned with two of California’s favorite holidays: Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. The kickoff to winter, Samhain was the night when ancient Celts believed that the veil between the living and the dead was especially porous. In modern times, it’s the portal to the holiday season, when seasonal spending really kicks into high gear.

A few fun financial facts show that while Halloween can’t compete with “Santa’s big day” for sheer volume of consumer spending, it’s no small potatoes (metaphor chosen to honor the Irish immigrants who brought Halloween to the United States).

Consolidated Credit reports that 87 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year.

• According to the National Retail Federation, “Total Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $12.2 billion, exceeding last year’s record of $10.6 billion.”

CapitalOne Shopping research tallies show the “average American has a $108.24 budget for Halloween 2023 supplies, such as costumes and candy.”

• The most popular sweet treat in the Golden State? says that M&Ms are this year’s winner, followed by Reese’s Cups and Skittles.

• The U.S. Census gets into the holiday spirit with a “spooky 16” list of place names, including Casper, Kill Devil Hills, and Slaughter Town. 

WalletHub reports that “57% of Americans say they would consider purchasing a haunted house to live in (but only 18% would pay full market value for it).”

From Rush to Bust

Speaking of haunted houses, here at California Local we’re marking Fright Night with a list of 10 of the most interesting ghost towns in our state, compiled by California Local reporter Graham Womack, an enthusiast of abandoned mining towns, boarded-up stagecoach stops and other relics of the Golden State’s civic history. There’s nothing like contemplating the eerie remnants of Bodie, where 8,000 souls labored to extracted more than $38 million in gold and silver in the late 19th century (more like $85 million in today’s dollars).

Explore the Past in 10 California Ghost Towns

A state park since 1962, Bodie is one of California’s best-known ghost towns. Read about nine more below.
It’s happened more than 300 times in the state’s history: a once-bustling town is abandoned, leaving behind ramshackle houses, crumbling roads and forlorn tableaux.

Logistics Go Boom

California’s past may have been built on extractive industries such as mining for ore and drilling for oil, but this century many fortunes have been made in the field of logistics. A term taken originally from the military, the industry encompasses all aspects of the “supply chain,” a term that was batted around a lot during the pandemic—when some links in the chain broke down.

In our state, as California Local’s Jonathan Vankin reports, “the ‘trade, transportation and utilities’ sector—which encompasses the core of supply chain logistics—is the second-largest industry in the state, accounting for 14.5 percent of GDP.” In his explainer on how the industry works, Vankin looks at the darker side of this sector of the economy, which enriches many at a great cost to the residents of the Inland Empire and the San Joaquin Valley.

These days we’re all treated to a plethora of products, available at the drop of a mouse. Last-minute Halloween costume? No problem—there’s one-day delivery. But these treats come with a trick for those along the pathways of modern logistics: diesel particulate matter swirling in the air, highways snarled by big rigs, and valuable agricultural land lost beneath sprawling warehouses.

Logistics: the Crucial Industry You’ve Never Heard Of

Warehouse storage is just one aspect of the highly complex logistics industry that keeps supply chains running.
Logistics is one of the largest industries in California and keeps the state economy running. But it also comes with a heavy cost to the environment. Here are the facts on the most important industry you don't know much about, but should.

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Metro Silicon Valley logo Hallow-Weird: The Untold Story of Trick Or Treat Studios

California-based Trick or Treat Studios is an international sensation in the world of horror memorabilia. Here's how they got their start.

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Recent Local News

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• California Wants Swimming Pools to be More Energy Efficient

As California moves away from gas-powered technology, state officials have looked for ways to ease stress on our electrical grid. A recent California Energy Commission decision tackles the systems powering swimming pools.

(10/29/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Heat Waves Harm Bird Reproduction on Ag Lands

A team of UC Davis researchers found that birds nesting near farmland were half as likely to have at least one fledgling successfully leave the nest when temperatures spiked. However, forests seemed to provide a protective buffer against high temperatures.

(10/28/2023) → Daily Democrat

• Residents Raise Concerns Over Proposed Lodi Hydrogen Plant

A couple of residents asked questions about the city’s proposed hydrogen plant at the Lodi Energy Center during a community engagement meeting.

(10/28/2023) → LodiNews

• San Joaquin County Releases Documents on Pacific Gateway Project

The release begins a month-long comment period on the project located south of Tracy, which concludes on Nov. 22.

(10/27/2023) → Tracy Press

• Hasan Minhaj Issues Rebuttal to New Yorker Article

A video released by comic Hasan Minhaj, who grew up in Davis, tackles elements of a critical article that left the impression he had made up or exaggerated racism in his life.

(10/27/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Neighbors Voice Concerns Over Proposed Clinic on East Pine Street

A handful of property owners have raised questions over a planned medical facility on East Pine Street.

(10/27/2023) → LodiNews

• How to Get a Permit to Cut Down a Christmas Tree in Northern California

Harvesting your own Christmas tree is a holiday tradition—and in the next couple weeks, permits to do so are opening up in forests throughout the state. Among them is the El Dorado National Forest.

(10/25/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Stockton City Manager Comes Under Scrutiny

The Stockton City Council met in a closed session to discuss possible disciplinary action against City Manager Harry Black, but no action was taken. Black remains city manager, city officials said.

(10/25/2023) → Local News Matters Stockton
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Recent Statewide News

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• Community College Student Services: An Urgent Need. But Has California Law Kept Up Since the ’60s?

State law requires community colleges to spend at least half their general fund on instructors. But administrators say they want more flexibility to pay for the growing need for student services.

(10/30/2023) → CalMatters

• Report: Statistics Reveal Magnitude of Mass Incarceration in the U.S.

Prison Policy Initiative released a new report that delves into the sheer magnitude of criminalization in the U.S., where reliance on incarceration outpaces most of the globe.

(10/27/2023) → Davis Vanguard

• Scientists Find Two Ways That Hurricanes Intensify

Forecasters have struggled to understand why tropical storms sometimes blow up into major hurricanes. Scientists have shed some light on this forecasting challenge.

(10/26/2023) → YubaNet

• Western States’ Water Cuts Should Hold Off Colorado River Crisis—For Now

Wet weather and planned cuts by California, Arizona and Nevada averted declines that could have threatened water deliveries and power production—but long-term threats to the Colorado River remain.

(10/25/2023) → CalMatters

• California Joins States Suing Meta

More than 40 states are suing the social media giant. The legal actions allege that Meta has deceived the public about the harms of Facebook and Instagram, which the attorneys general say “exploit and manipulate” children.

(10/24/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• In Harm’s Way

In partnership with the Marshall Project, Grist publishes an illustrated story about how decades-old decisions to build two California prisons in a dry lakebed left 8,000 incarcerated people at risk when Tulare Lake flooded.

(10/24/2023) → Grist

• Comprehensive Study of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Finds Collapse May be Unavoidable

The report, published in the journal Nature Climate Communications, is a warning that one of the worst sea-level rise scenarios scientists have cautioned about since the 1970s is most likely in progress and that little can be done to stop it.

(10/23/2023) → Read the full report
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (10/24/2023)

Notice of Open Public Comment Period and Hybrid Public Meeting: City of Tracy Draft Housing Element

Tracy, Calif. – The City of Tracy Draft Housing Element is now available for public review and comment through November 6, 2023. Physical copies of the Draft Housing Element are available at Tracy City Hall (333 Civic Center Plaza) and the Tracy...
Image of City of Lodi seal. City of Lodi   (10/13/2023)

Lodi Energy Center Hydrogen Project

Lodi Energy Center Hydrogen Project Part of Proposal Awarded Hydrogen Hub Funding By U.S. Department of Energy
Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (10/11/2023)

Draft Housing Public Comment Period Open Through 11/6/23

Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (10/02/2023)

2023 Restaurant & Retail Survey Results

The results are in! Over 900 of you participated in our 2023 Restaurant & Retail Survey to let us know what dining, shopping, and entertainment options are most-wanted here in Tracy. The winners are… Top Dining Picks : The...