From the e-mails, voice mails and institutional memory:
TAXPAYER REVOLTS -- Beyond being angry about his tax bill, a Texas man last week committed murder and suicide by crashing his plane into a building in Austin that houses an Internal Revenue Service office.
Similar frustration. but with a better ending, was vented in the valley some 36 years ago.
Victor Lester of Jamestown was at wits' end that the IRS had seized some of his property and hit him with a series of liens totaling $36,000.
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With eight sticks of dynamite strapped to his chest and packing a .22-caliber pistol, the 58-year-old walked into the Stockton IRS office and asked to see the agent who had been working on his case. The eerie date of this 1974 incident? Sept. 11.
Lester, a 1934 Modesto High graduate, soon found himself on the phone with the IRS area director in San Francisco. The director assured him the agency would take a closer look at his tax situation. An IRS spokesman at the time said Lester's chat with the IRS official certainly expedited his case review.
The 3½-hour standoff ended with Lester's arrest and, a few weeks later, his indictment by a federal grand jury. A jury deadlocked on the issue of his sanity, and ultimately he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegal possession of dynamite on federal property. He was released from custody and given five months' probation. The U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case didn't push for jail time because the IRS showed a "total lack of humanity" in the way it handled Lester's case, according to a Sacramento Bee story in June 1975.
Lester died in the late 1990s.
TAX DEDUCTION -- The effort to gather and distribute prom dresses to high school girls who otherwise could not afford them got another positive return last week.
Three H&R Block offices will serve as collection points for Marissa's Closet, started by Ripon High student Marissa McLeod and being carried on by her mother and cousin in memory of the 17-year-old, who committed suicide in December.
Not only will the offices take dresses, they will offer a $25 break on tax preparation fees to those who donate.
The participating offices are at 2912 E. Whitmore Ave. in Ceres, 160 W. Monte Vista Ave. in Turlock and 2625 Coffee Road in Modesto. They are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. They will collect dresses through March 8, then turn them over to McLeod's mother, Melinda Shaw, for distribution March 13-14 and March 20-21.
Marissa's Closet is a registered nonprofit group, so donors will be able to claim the value of the dresses on their 2010 tax returns.
HENRY'S MARCH -- With major craniofacial surgery looming this summer, 7-year-old Henry Johnson of Turlock will host the third Henry's March at California State University, Stanislaus, on March 7.
I've written two columns on Henry, including one in early 2009 on how he began school and met Derek Coleman, a boy his age who also was born with craniofacial problems. They became fast and best friends and are first-graders at Denair Elementary.
The first two marches netted nearly $50,000 for the Children's Craniofacial Association.
Henry, whose family has insurance to cover his operations, doesn't benefit from the event. The money goes to help other children get the reconstructive surgery they need.
This year's march includes the great waiter chase in the mile event. Anyone who catches the waiter gets a free pizza for a year at Angelini's in Turlock. Go to www.warriorathletics.com/henrysmarch or call Rachel Johnson at 664-0500 for more information.
50 YEARS, SAME BARBER -- Mickey Saso remembers the day well. He was 15 years old and looking a bit too scruffy for his mother's liking. So she took him to a barbershop on Scenic Drive, next to the Salas Bros. funeral home.
"She showed this guy how she wanted my hair cut," Saso said. "Tapered (in back)."
The barbershop is long gone, flattened to become a parking lot. But the barber, Gene Moore, is still cutting hair. In fact, he's the only person who has cut Saso's hair since that day in 1960.
"That's kind of unique," said Saso, 65. "After 50 years, the same guy gives me my haircut."
He cut it in the shop on Scenic. Then, he cut Saso's hair in another shop at Coffee Plaza.
In between shops and stops, Moore worked out of his home.
"I was actually going to his house and he was cutting my hair in his garage," Saso said.
Moore has been at Richard's Barber Salon in McHenry Village for a dozen years, working three days a week.
He said he has a dozen or more customers who have been with him for decades, though none as long as Saso.
"I've been in town since 1957," Moore said. "You're here that long, you build up a clientele."
Saso still gets his money's worth, Moore said.
"He's getting a little thin on top, but he's still got a lot on the sides," Moore said.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at 578-2383 or email@example.com.