Author Archives: Editor

Another chance to meet Santa Claus


Storms caused the annual West Sacramento Christmas tree lighting party to be cancelled on Nov. 30.

But the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce announces another chance for local kids to meet Santa, and to have their pictures taken with him at no charge.

Bring your child to Capitol Bowl between 5-6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14. The bowling alley is located at 900 West Capitol Avenue.

[adrotate group=”9″]   For more information, visit or call (916) 371-7042.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Big old trees stand in the way of new development in West Sac

On Nov. 5, members of the West Sacramento Conservancy gathered for a photo next to some heritage oak trees on the site of an apartment project near the Tower Bridge. (That's the parking lot for the 'ziggurat' building in the background.) The next morning, these oaks were sawed down, and the group is not pleased that city permission was granted. Left to right are Joan Liffring, Lana Paulhamus, Joyce Miller and Jerry Wingfield of the Conservancy. Over a dozen large sycamores along the West Capitol portion of the same project will probably also have to give way for the project -- but an official request to remove them has not yet been received by the City. (News-Ledger photo)


Opinions in West Sac differ about when to preserve them and when to replace them —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

An apartment project near Raley Field has paid the City of West Sacramento about $200,000 for replacement trees after it quite legally removed five “heritage oaks” that stood in the way of development. But not everyone is happy that permission to remove the trees was given.

“We are concerned that these trees are being sacrificed for yet another big development,” Lana Paulhamus of the West Sacramento Conservancy told the News-Ledger shortly before the trees went down. “We were given very little notice that this is happening. It appears that the planning commission and city council all voted in favor of this new development even though it will be cutting these heritage trees.”

The “Tower Bridge Commons” project envisions over 300 apartments in three-story buildings, and some commercial space on property bordered by 3rd, 5th and G streets and the Tower Bridge Gateway. The land has been bought by developer Wolff Enterprises, LLC, out of Arizona.

It’s part of the city’s plans for redeveloping the riverfront district already home to Raley Field, the Ironworks subdivision, the state office ziggurat and the CalSTRS tower – and the emerging “Bridge District” development just south.

“Landmark” and “heritage” trees get some protection in West Sacramento by local ordinance. An oak gets “heritage” status if it measures 50 inches in circumference at a point four and a half feet above the ground, and other trees qualify if they are 75” in circumference. To legally remove such a tree, landowners need a permit.

Dena Kirtley is West Sacramento’s “urban forest manager,” and the request to remove these five oaks landed on her desk a couple weeks before the trees came down on Nov. 6. She did not dispute Paulhamus’s assertion that the permit process moved quickly.

“I was torn, because the arborist’s report didn’t indicate any health issues with the trees, or any rot, although sometimes you can’t see that from outside,” Kirtley told the News-Ledger. “But it was an opportunity to refresh the site with new trees at their expense.”
[adrotate group=”7″] “The arborist report (paid for by the developer) indicates the trees were previously ‘lion-tailed,’ which means somebody had topped them and trimmed the trees incorrectly. Other than that the health of the trees was good with the exception of (one of them). But on that site at the corner near CalSTRS, we recently had a catastrophic failure of two oak trees into the street. You probably remember that – it was right in front of CalSTRS. One lost a major limb and had to be removed. Out of that tree and the CalSTRS trees, we got no mitigation.”
No one had to pay to replace those trees, Kirtley meant. When such trees are removed through the permit process, there is mitigation money.

So how long might these five remaining oaks at Tower Bridge Common have lived?

“They had reached maturity a long time ago, and because the ones along the street had been trimmed incorrectly, maybe another 10 or 15 years,” she answered. “With oaks, it’s hard to know.”

If the trees were allowed to live, not only would they have caused trouble for the development plan, but if they fell over or had to be removed due to a hazard, no one would have had to pay to replace them.

Kirtley recommended the developer receive the city permit.

Based on the number of total “diameter inches” of oak trees being removed, the developer ended up paying $202,150 towards new trees in West Sacramento.

Meanwhile, a row of about 14 large sycamores appears to be in the way of a parking garage in the same development. These trees are along the southern end of the project, along a piece of West Capitol Avenue no longer used as a city street.

“All I know about the sycamores is that they are slated for removal if the project moves forward,” said Kirtley.

That, presumably, will require more city approval and more mitigation money.

Dan Nethercott, a project manager for Tower Bridge Commons, said the sycamores are not part of the project’s first phase.

They’re on a grade. If and when Phase II is built, there will be a parking garage at that slope that “appears to be subterranean” when viewed from inside the project, with a “brownstone” building on top of it, visually at eye level.

Nethercott said his company is “trying to do the right thing,” and he said there is an inherent tension between new plans and old trees.

“The city has a Bridge District plan,” he told the News-Ledger. “It’s a very positive thing for West Sacramento. As property is urbanized, the decision has to be made by the city where you have older trees that are near the end of their life. Do you replant for the future and maximize the use of the land, or do you allow the (old) trees to dictate their setting?”

“Some of these large trees are located in places incompatible with the best use of the property,” Nethercott added. “That’s why we have planning commissions and city councils to make the decisions.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

High school class looks at cityhood

NEWS-LEDGER, NOV 28, 2012: Members of a panel gathered at River City High School Nov. 14 to recall the effort of creating the City of West Sacramento, which culminated in a successful vote in 1986: Dan Ramos, businessman; Louisa Vessell, activist; Loren Fourness, president of the incorporation committee; Michael McGowan, the city’s first mayor; Bill Kristoff, also elected to the first city council; and Carol Richardson, assistant city manager. The panel talked about their perceptions of the struggle to incorporate and answered questions from history students. (photo by Charlotte Dorsey)

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Alumni football game on Friday


River City High School’s football alumni will take on visiting alumni from Elk Grove High in a game at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, at RCHS.

[adrotate group=”9″]   To signup for RCHS, visit or contact Bryan, (916) 873-5737, or Uriah, 544-4236.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Coat drop-off drive through today


Take part in a “drive-through blitz” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 8 by bringing your new or gently-used coats to River City High School, 1 Raider Lane for collection. The school’s music boosters are sponsoring the collection for “Coats for Kids,” and “Hot 103.5” radio will be on hand.

[adrotate group=”7″]  News10’s Coats for Kids program returns this winter, asking you to donate a new or gently used coat of any size which will be distributed to those in need. Ongoing donation sites include UPS Stores (there is one near Nick’s Diner at Harbor & West Capitol), Swanson’s Cleaners or the News10 studio before December 14. To make a financial contribution, send a check payable to “Coats for Kids” at The Salvation Army, PO Box 340699, Sacramento CA 95834. For info, call 321-3362.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Breakfast with Santa on Saturday

[adrotate group=”10″] NEWS-LEDGER —

The West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce invites you to a “yummy brunch” with Santa on Sat., Dec. 8 at the community center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue. There will be two seatings: one from 8-9:30 a.m. and another from 10-11:30 a.m. Kids can have their pictures taken with Santa and drop off a letter to mail to the North Pole. $5 pre-sale for kids under two; $8 pre-sale for kids 12 & under; $10 pre-sale for adults & kids 13+. All tickets are $15 at the door. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult. Pre-registration recommended; visit or call 371-7042 for information.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Buy a gift for a senior citizen in need

Kevin Burke is ‘Interact Club’ chairperson of the gifts-for-senior-citizens event; Kimberly Le is president of the club at River City High School (courtesy photo)


Visit the Raley’s supermarket this weekend, and volunteers from River City High School will help you brighten the holidays for a local senior citizen.

The “senior gift program” is sponsored by the West Sacramento Rotary Club, reports the Rotary’s Charyl Silva.

Seniors at the Eskaton Woodrow Wilson Manor in West Sacramento, and those served by the local senior center or Meals on Wheels program, have been invited to sign up to receive a gift. Those interested put their name and gift request on a card.

[adrotate group=”9″] This weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, volunteers from River City High School (coordinated by the students’ Interact Club) will be at Raley’s with the gift requests. Shoppers will be invited to fulfill a gift request for a local senior.

“We then wrap the gift with love, and later deliver the gifts,” said Silva.

The Interact Club is also arranging some Christmas carol singing for the event, and for a possible side trip to the senior citizens at Eskaton.

You may also contribute to the gift program by calling Silva at 372-8383.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012