Safeway and Big Lots on Jefferson Boulevard closing

Safeway and Big Lots on Jefferson Boulevard closing

By Monica Stark The Safeway on West Capitol Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard will be closed by the end of the month, Wendy Gutshall, director of public and government affairs, Safeway Northern California More »

West Sac Kids Give Back

West Sac Kids Give Back

Local children help homeless with creation of cheer packs By Michele Townsend Three years ago, a boy from West Sacramento told his mom that he wanted to do something for the homeless. More »

Westmore Oaks 6th graders built solar suitcases for Kenyan students

Westmore Oaks 6th graders built solar suitcases for Kenyan students

By Monica Stark Sixty students in Ms. Garcia’s science club elective at Westmore Oaks built six solar suitcases and sent two of them off to a school in Kenya—a learning experience that More »


New bat rule affects little leagues near and far

By Michele Townsend

Little League Headquarters enacted a new rule that has some people scrambling. As of Jan. 1, all previous baseball bats that have been allowed to be used in Little League, for Jr divisions, and below, will now be illegal. USA Baseball, the governing board for the sport of baseball, stated “Testing and evaluating of youth baseball bats has evolved into a science. So much so that the standard has also evolved to where USA Baseball, is adopting a new method for measuring bat performance in the testing of youth bats that will go into effect on January 1, 2018. The new USA Baseball bat standard (USABat), was developed by a USA Baseball committee of scientific experts. Effective on January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball® will adhere to the new USABat standard. No bats previously approved for use in Little League Play (Junior League Baseball and below) will be permitted to be used in any Little League game or practice, or other Little League function, event, or activity.” This rule is for the game of baseball only. It will not affect little league softball.
The science of bat development has developed as a strategic part of the game. There used to be only wood bats, although the length, weight and diameter were different. As the game has evolved, so has the development of the bat. Aluminum alloy bats began being used for their light weight, and integrity. The fact that these bats would not split or break, like a wood bat can do, was welcomed. A few years ago, the composite bat was introduced. Composite bats incorporate a reinforced carbon fiber polymer, or composite, into the bat’s construction. The composite material can make up all or part of the bat. But it’s not just the material of the bat that is important. The length, the weight, and the diameter of the barrel, all play into the science of the bat. In addition, there are oval or round handles, and those handles can be wrapped in different materials. Each bat has what is known as the “Bat Performance Factor (BPF)”.
The bat performance factor plays a role in what kind of hit the player can get from that bat, in short, it determines how fast the ball comes off of the bat. The new USA bats that are required will eliminate discrepancies with different length bats and allow a more universal performance factor. These bats will provide a wood-like standard for youth organizations, and is described by USA Baseball, as providing the long term integrity of the game.
Having new bat rules is not new to the little league organization. Every year Little League National releases a list of bats that are illegal and it is the responsibility of the umpire to know and check the teams’ equipment prior to each game.
Joey Tignor, Umpire in Chief of District 6 (District 6 includes: Antelope, Foothill Farms, Fulton El Camino, Grant, North Natomas, Rio Linda and West Sacramento) said, “We’ve known that this was coming for a couple of years, so we’re (the umpires) are ready for it.” He also stated “I think that it’s a good thing. It will make it more uniform for all of the kids. With some previously allowed bats, the ball just came off of the bat too fast.” PJ Schneider, Umpire in Chief of District 5 (District 5 includes: Arden, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, College Glen, Eastern, Fair Oaks, Rancho Cordova, Rosemont, Sunrise, Whitney and Northridge), “This shouldn’t come as a surprise to people. We’ve been telling leagues and parents for a couple of years, so they should be ready.” He went on to say, “This is a leveling factor, and will give all of the kids the same opportunity based on their own performance. It’s also a safety issue. It should keep some of the smaller kids in the infield from getting hurt”. Alan McCullough, Umpire in Chief for District 7 (District 7 includes: Airport, East Sacramento, Florin, Land Park, Oak Park, Parkway, Pocket and Tahoe Tallac), was unavailable for comment. If a game is scheduled, and a team does not have the appropriate equipment, it will be the umpire’s call to arrange for the teams to share the bats, or to reschedule that game. The games will NOT be played with illegal equipment.
Manufacturers and retailers have been preparing for the change.
According to Troy Bedal, Manager of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sacramento, ”Dick’s is stocked up and ready to go” for the rush of bat sales. They sent all of the illegal bats back to the manufacturer at the end of last year. “We’ve already got sales running.” He continued with “Dick’s is very active with community sports leagues. We know that some leagues are struggling and we have many sponsorship opportunities available.”
There is a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Folsom and Roseville.
Little League Seniors Division, High School Baseball and College Baseball will continue to use BBCOR standards baseball bats, and Softball will continue to follow ASA regulations.

Safeway and Big Lots on Jefferson Boulevard closing

By Monica Stark

The Safeway on West Capitol Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard will be closed by the end of the month, Wendy Gutshall, director of public and government affairs, Safeway Northern California Division, told the News-Ledger in a written statement. Gutshall said Safeway anticipates all employees will be able to be placed in surrounding stores. Meanwhile, shoppers have been taking advantage of the 25 percent off everything sale.
“The decision to close a store isn’t one we make lightly or without a great deal of deliberation. Like all retailers, we’re constantly evaluating the performance of our portfolio of stores, and our teams work hard to make all of our stores successful. That said, it’s occasionally necessary to close locations that aren’t meeting company goals,” she stated.
“Closing an underperforming store is always a tough decision, but we’re focused on growing our business and running great stores where people love to shop. That’s what will enable us to offer the products and services our customers value most throughout Sacramento,” Gutshall continued.
She, however, did not address the following additional questions:

Will Safeway open another location in West Sac? If not, why not?
How many employees currently work at the West Sacramento one?
Does the store experience more shoplifting than average?
How long has the West Sac Safeway location been there?
Are there other California locations that are closing for the same reasons as this one? If so, which ones? Have you received pleas to have Safeway stay? (It seems a lot of neighbors are sad it is closing.)

As Safeway prepares closing its West Sacramento location, neighboring Big Lots is also shutting its doors, spawning discussion on web forums regarding shoplifting and homelessness affecting the success and viability of the stores.
Meanwhile, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon says there is no reuse project or store slated to move in right away. He explains the property is privately owned and the City does not select tenants, and the owner is beginning to market the spaces (about 50,000 square feet) to new retail tenants. No project plan to renovate or build something new has been submitted to City Hall.
“Even though our city’s population has tripled since Safeway opened, the supermarket and drugstore industries have tightened, as many traditional stores have been squeezed on the high end by the Nugget, Whole Foods, and others, and on the other end of the spectrum by groceries at Target, WalMart, Grocery Outlet, and online via Amazon. Like Raley’s two blocks away, Safeway has been an important employer and community institution, and we’re sorry to see them go, but the economic reality they’re facing is undeniable,” he wrote.
He continued by acknowledging the change the three generations that Safeway has been at the site has faced. “An entire downtown grew up next door, as the Civic Center, college, library, senior apartments, preschool, teen center, theater, gallery, and community center came online over the past few years. West Capitol Avenue next to the shopping center got a complete makeover and daytime consumers from the offices, residents, and students who now inhabit the downtown. Walgreens and Capitol Bowl did major renovations. Multiple motels came down. A new transit center connected the whole city to the place, along with bikeshare linking downtown and the northern and waterfront districts. And the new streetcar line will start right at the shopping center’s front doorstep.
“The modern land use plan for downtown envisions and allows a much more dynamic, mixed-use, retail-focused center where Safeway and Big Lots now sit. Instead of the 55,000 square feet of retail space, the City would now permit ten times that much, along with housing, offices, and parking. The pictures below from the West Capitol Avenue Streetscape Master Plan give a sense of what’s possible (although the pictures reflect a 2007 design aesthetic). If you’re familiar with the latest Midtown projects, it permits projects on the scale of the Ice Blocks or the Cannery. Click through to the link below to see the full plan and imagine what’s possible.
T”o emphasize, this is a private commercial center and the property owner will decide whether and how to fill the existing spaces and/or to rebuild or sell the parcel for a mixed-use retail project that would serve the West Sacramento of today and tomorrow. But the window of opportunity is open.”

So, with that, dear reader, what would you like to see in place of Safeway and Big Lots? Send an email with your suggestions to

West Sac Kids Give Back

Local children help homeless with creation of cheer packs

By Michele Townsend

Three years ago, a boy from West Sacramento told his mom that he wanted to do something for the homeless. It was the holiday season, and this very proud mom agreed with her son, and came up with an idea. After speaking with some other mothers, four moms got together and developed a way their kids could help.

Quirina Orozco, one of the founding mothers, explained it as, “We live in a time where it seems that the majority of what kids were being taught is how to get, get, get! If you’re good – you’ll get this… if you do extra chores – you’ll get that.”

This is not what these moms wanted their children to be learning… Especially during the holiday season! The mothers agreed that the idea of giving seemed was becoming a distant memory to some. They decided to combine their efforts, and created “Cheer Packs”.

The plan was for the kids to collect donations of necessity items, assemble them into individual packs, and donate them to local non profit organizations that help the West Sac residents in need. This would not only teach the kids how to give back to their community, but to teach others as well. The first year there was about 12 kids that collected items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, foot powder, sock, gloves, beanies, feminine products, baby wipes, and children’s books. The kids assembled 50 bags, or Cheer Packs.

The word got out, and by this time last year West Sac Kids Give Back program had grown to 150 kids. That group of children collected enough items to assemble 300 bags!! Understand that the adults are overseeing the process, but the kids are doing most of the work. However, all of those involved have helped make somebody’s day a little brighter! This year, the kids collected items for an entire month prior, and got 20 local businesses involved. The goal is the assembly of 900 Cheer Packs that will be donated, for distribution, to the following organization; Collings Teen Center, My Sister’s House and Yolo County Children’s Alliance.

On Sunday, December 17th a few of the kids and their parents, held this year’s final drop off day for the community. Several kids (and their parents) stood in front of Sail Inn Grotto & Bar, while a steady stream of cars, holding good Samaritans, dropped off items. Jeff Henry, a West Sac resident, former Chamber President, and Executive Vice President of Placer County Contractor’s Association & Building Exchange, arrived to drop off his donation of the 1,000 big ziplock baggies that the Cheer Packs will be assembled in. Also included in the long list of Good Samaratin’s was Mayor Cabaldon, and of course Orozco, who became involved with the program last year.

Quirina stated, “As a council member, mother, and member of this great West Sacramento community… I am greatly interested in promoting programs that serve children and provide them opportunities to grow.” But make no mistake, these kids understand that every single donation was as important as the last!

Kathy Senna, a West Sac resident, said as she was dumping a bag of items into the collection boxes, “I was watching Channel 31, getting ready to go to church, and I thought I gotta run and get some stuff for them before church!” As seen above, all ages were involved! Sydney Olsen, age 3, arrived with her daddy, Dan to drop off 2 bags of items. Sydney had a huge smile on her face as she loaded the items into the box that was bigger than she is! And in her very sweet little voice, she could tell you what she was there for, and why.

The assembly party, held on the 17th, will feature Santa, cookies, and a lot of fun! This program welcomes, and encourages, all West Sac children, classrooms, scout troops, etc. to get involved in the program! It is a lot of fun, a great life lesson on the importance of giving, as well as develop an appreciation on ways to give back to your community. I think that it is best summed up in the program’s motto… “Young hands leaving an imprint on their community!”

West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce celebrates 71 years and honors business leaders in the community at 71st annual installation and awards dinner

The West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce will celebrate 71 years on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2018 during its Annual Installation and Awards Dinner at the West Sacramento Civic Hall Galleria located at 1110 West Capitol Ave. The event will feature a welcome address by outgoing Board Chair Chris White, and presentation of the following honors:

2018 Board Chair

Terry Harvego - 2018 Chair
Terry Harvego, Ten22 /The Firehouse Restaurant

The Mike McGowan West Sacramentan Lifetime Achievement Award

Patti Palamidessi - Lifetime Achievement Award
Patti Palamidessi, Club Pheasant

Businessperson of the Year

Marty Swingle - Businessperson of the Year
Marty Swingle, Capital West Realty

Business of the Year – Lenise’s Cafe

Volunteer of the Year

Joe Thompson - Volunteer of the Year
Joe Thompson, Crisp Catering

Ambassador of the Year

Michael O_COnnell - Ambassador of the Year
Michael O’Connell, The O’Connell Insurance Agency

The Chamber Installation and Awards Dinner serves as the largest annual celebration within the West Sacramento business community “This event is a special opportunity to introduce the 2018 Board of Directors and recognize several dynamic and giving leaders in our community,” said West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Denice Domke Seals.

The no-host cocktail reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner program beginning at 7:00pm. Tickets are $85 for members and $100 for non-members and are available at or by calling the Chamber at (916) 371-7042.

For 71 years, the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce has been an active and impactful voice for business. Our members represent organizations of all sizes and types throughout Yolo and the greater Sacramento region.