Author Archives: Editor

6-vehicle collision on eastbound I-80 left multiple individuals injured

A six vehicle major injury collision occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 2:54 p.m. off of Interstate 80 eastbound, west of Mace Boulevard, reported the California Highway Patrol.
After dispatch began receiving calls of the collision, officers assigned to the CHP Woodland Area office responded to the collision scene.
Preliminary reports indicate, a silver Buick driven by Peter Carlino (of Roseville) was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 in the left lane. Traffic came to a stop in front of his location. Carlino was unable to slow or stop the Buick prior to colliding with the rear of a gray Ford, driven by Eric Ringseth (of Vallejo), in the left lane ahead of him.
The Ford was pushed forward in a southeasterly direction where it collided with a green Nissan, driven by Travis Stidger (of Citrus Heights), also in the left lane and a white Dodge, driven by David Tyler (of Sacramento), in the middle lane.
As a result of the collision between the green Nissan and the gray Ford, the Nissan was pushed forward in an easterly direction where it collided with a silver Hyundai, driven by Leslie Banes (of Sacramento), in the left lane. In an attempt to avoid a collision, Lorraine Plass (of Healdsburg), driving another silver Buick, changed lanes from the right lane to the left lane where she collided with the silver Hyundai. Following the collision, the injured parties were transported to UC Davis Medical Center.
Alcohol and/or drugs are not a factor in this collision. Anyone with information regarding this collision is encouraged to contact the California Highway Patrol Woodland Area office at (530) 662-4685.

Elementary Students Plan, Pack, and Protect as Part of California Flood Preparedness Week

By Monica Stark

Stonegate third graders watch employees from the Department of Water Resources simulate a flood with a model they brought to the school in honor of California Flood Preparedness Week. / Photo by Monica Stark

Stonegate third graders watch employees from the Department of Water Resources simulate a flood with a model they brought to the school in honor of California Flood Preparedness Week. / Photo by Monica Stark


“Plan, pack, protect. Plan, pack, protect.” Repeating the chant third graders at Stonegate Elementary School demonstrated their knowledge of flood preparedness in front of city officials, members of the Department of Water Resources and the Army Corp of Engineers.
Asked by City of West Sacramento Council Member Quirina Orozco what the students should do in case of a flood, raising their hands, children answered various ideas for their families’ safety. From carrying flood insurance to keeping a plan of where to go, students also got to participate in interactive exercises including the DWR’s flood simulation model and the Flood Challenge computer came which teaches how to plan, pack and protect for a flood emergency.
Additionally, city officials provided updates on the Southport Levee Improvement Project, the 5.6-mile levee improvement project designed to meet 200-year flood protection that stretches from just south of the barge canal tot eh city’s southern boundary along the Sacramento River. This year, the project construction includes: clearing, grubbing, and demolition of structures, utility relocation and re-establishment of access for affected property owners, completed setback levee embankment of 12,700 linear feet, completed slurry wall construction and construction from behind Bees Lake to the southern setback levee limits. Next year, the improvement project will include completing the setback levee and slurry wall, connecting the setback levee to fix in place reaches, excavate off-set area to prepare for an off-set area construction and mitigation.

Community shows support at Hodges children’s funeral

By Michele Townsend

People say that death is a part of life, but people shouldn’t outlive their children! This is a heart-wrenching statement that far too many people have had to live through. The pain and emptiness that you feel at the loss of a child is so deep and overpowering, that it feels like you, yourself, will die from the pain.
It’s not something that can accurately be described, nor is it something that people want to know. When Kelvin, Julie and Lucas Hodges were taken from this world back in September, the devastation was so tremendous that it paralyzed our city. The pain could be felt everywhere that the story was told. I myself, am struggling just to write about it.
West Sacramento Council Member Quirina Orozco described the loss. “Three glorious lights in our community, had gone out.” The community of West Sacramento came together, and by the next night we were doing anything that we could think of to show our support, and condolences to Mai Sheng Vang (the children’s mother), and her family. The neighbors and community members gathered for a vigil at Southport Elementary. Orozco said “They held candles to the darkness of this city and for a moment, brought the light back”.
On Saturday, Oct. 7, 11-year-old Kelvin, 9-year-old Julie and 7-month-old Lucas Hodges were laid to rest. There was such an outpouring of support that two memorial services were held.
Saturday morning a service was held for close family and friends. The News Ledger is going to honor the requests of the family and not report on that service. However, Saturday afternoon, a second service was held for the community. An estimated 500-800 people were expected. Ribbons were handed out with the children’s initials on them. Every room available in River City Funeral Home was full with an additional section of seating set up outside for the overflow of people. Those people watched the service on large TV screens. The service was led by Pastor Micah Moreno, with special music sung by Jessica Moreno and Evelien Smothers.
In the program that was handed out, it says that Kelvin was a 5th grader who loved Transformers, Legos, and had a deep curiosity of sea life, especially sharks. It went on to mention his huge “bunny smile” (which was also referenced by speakers during the service), his cheerful personality and his warm devotion to his brother and sister. Principal Matt Ainsworth told a riddle that Kelvin had told him while sharing a story about him. He also said that he had told Kelvin that he “had the best smile in the yearbook.”
Julie was continually described as a sweet and loving socialite. In addition, it was reported that she “knew everybody,” and will be remembered for her infectious laugh, playfulness and curiosity. Principal Ainsworth told about a time when the kids were playing Dodgeball and Julie kept running in front of the ball. He said “Julie, the point of the game is to dodge the ball”. Julie replied that she “didn’t want any of her teammates to get out”. This was the kind of love that this young girl was full of.
Lucas was only 7 months old, but brought just as much joy and warmth to the family as the other children did. He was described as a content baby who rarely cried. He loved to play and make faces at his mommy, was just learning to crawl, and was just learning to say “mama”.
Orozco, a mom of four, spoke very eloquently when she said “Mai Sheng Vang will be able to do the impossible (to heal), because she has just lived through the unimaginable … Those moments when it is quiet, just know that with it carries our love and our support and our prayers to you. We will not forget. This is our community, we are your family.”
Mai Sheng got up, and in a very fragile voice thanked the community for their love, kindness and support. She said that she “never expected such a beautiful display of comfort and care. It will help her continue.”
She went on to thank the first responders who “tried everything to help her children,” and she said she knows that they “share her nightmares.” She apologized to them, and then to the community. Mai said that she “thinks about your children and their suffering, and the suffering of the community about her children, and she is sorry to have your kids have to see such a harsh reality while they are children.”
Washington Unified School District School Board Member Jackie Wong told Mai that “we share in your sadness.”
This is profoundly true. Mai said that she “thinks of Kelvin and his huge smile.” She “thinks of Julie and her social personality who loved everyone” and that she “thinks of Lucas, her happy baby whose giggles she can still hear.”
As teacher Marty Elliot said, “May peace come to you some day!”

Woodland Man Graduates from Mental Health Court

ShowImage
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced today that on Monday September 25, 2017, 41-year-old Davis resident Gary Wight successfully graduated from Mental Health Court in Department Four of the Yolo County Superior Court.

Mental Health Court (MHC) is a minimum 18-month court-based treatment and monitoring system for adult offenders with serious mental illness. MHC is designed to increase the treatment engagement of the participants while reducing both arrests and jail time both during and after their involvement and participation in the program. The program is a collaborative effort between the Yolo County Superior Court, Probation, Health and Human Services Agency, the Public Defender, and the District Attorney.

Mr. Wight’s parents, Linda and Tom who are both from Woodland, joined him for the graduation ceremony. Linda Wight regularly attended Mental Health Court hearings from November 23, 2015, when Gary entered the program, through his graduation almost two year later. Mrs. Wight spoke at the graduation ceremony and expressed her gratitude for the MHC program. “The atmosphere in Mental Health Court is the best in the world! When an entire team is collaboratively working in support of the client, success is possible. There is no comparison between walking into this space and walking into a traditional criminal justice courtroom where the clients arrive in stripes and chains. Our family is most appreciative of being a part of this opportunity.”

The Honorable Janet Gaard is the judge assigned to Mental Health Court. Judge Gaard presided over Monday’s proceedings and congratulated Mr. Wight stating, “Gary has been an inspiration to each of us on the MHC team, and he reminds all of us that, when we work together, we can do great things to help people improve their own lives and those of the people around them.”

Courtroom Artist Vicki Behringer volunteered to draw some sketches of the graduation ceremony. One of the court sketches from the event depicts Judge Gaard presenting Gary with a Mental Health Court graduation certificate. The other sketch depicts Deputy Public Defender Bret Bandley, who represented Gary Wight, addressing his former client at the graduation ceremony. The sketches can be seen on the District Attorney’s website at the following web address yoloda.org.

Mr. Bandley congratulated Mr. Wight “on his accomplishments and the great change I have seen in him while in MHC.” He further expressed that Gary is a great example for the other participants in this program to follow.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig commended Mr. Wight for his hard work during the 22-months he was in the program commenting, “Mental Health Court’s collaborative process results in increased treatment engagement for participants such as Mr. Wight who gained valuable insight into his mental health along with the ability to better manage it. This program has proved to be a successful way to address those suffering from mental illness who find themselves in the criminal justice system.”