Category Archives: News

Woodland Man Graduates from Mental Health Court

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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.”

West Sac heroes earn their capes: Senator Dr. Richard Pan’s “Unsung Heroes” celebrated with awards at the State Capitol

By Michele Townsend

20170926_110440Twelve recipients (two of them from West Sacramento!) were awarded their hero capes and senatorial certificates in a small gathering on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the State Capitol.
Senator Dr Richard Pan, with the assistance of Senator Kevin McCarty, called up each person that has received the Unsung Hero Award for each of the last 12 months. Pan explained why he chose each person and some of the wonderful things that they do for their communities. The heroes then stepped up for photos, handshakes, a beautiful gold embossed certificate… and their red, satin, hero cape…. complete with the “Unsung Hero” logo on it!
Pan explained that “it all started in 2015 when those four college students stopped a terrorist from shooting up a train in France. We got to talking about them being heroes, and how many people in our own community that, on an on-going basis, that really do so much to help our community and bring us closer together.” He wanted to highlight their stories and inspire other people to follow in their footsteps. He said, “The Unsung Hero Program is to shine the spotlight on those wonderful people that do so many great things for their neighborhoods and communities… often without any recognition.” He went on to say, “Through your work, your hobby, your passion… you are making a profound impact. These are the people, along with the people supporting these people, that make Sacramento such an amazing place!”
McCarty reiterated this train of thought when he said, “It is true that we often recognize heroes on the sports fields, heroes in life, and box office…and they do call us honorable…but ordinary people doing extraordinary things… throughout history… those are the ones who have made the biggest difference!”
Among the 12 recipients are two shining West Sacramento residents. Jose (Joe or Jojo) Ramirez, a local youth umpire and referee who is known through sports by several generations throughout the Sacramento area. He is encouraging to kids, and keeping the games fun!
Additionally, Leah Nelson, now 11 years old, was chosen as an Unsung Hero for starting “BecuzIcare” bracelets. These bracelets are handed out for a simple reason: to brighten someone’s day. She simply hands one to someone who looks like they could use some cheering up, and asks that when you see someone who might needs a boost of happiness to please pass it on to them, and ask them to do the same.
Leah told the News-Ledger, “I feel excited that I’m making a difference and that I’m impacting the community.” Leah also has a GoFundMe account on Facebook at HYPERLINK “http://www.gofundme.com/becuzIcare11″www.gofundme.com/becuzIcare11 if you would like to help her continue to spread kindness.
The remaining Unsung Heroes recognized included: Kay Temple Kirk –Program Manager for Gender Health Center, Chariss Fong – Teacher at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Carol McNerney – volunteer at Hart Senior Center, Ron Marshall – Volunteer for Sacramento Veteran’s Resources, Shonna McDaniels – Founder of Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum, Dino Alleger – Children’s Bike Programs including safety, repair and events, Teresa Kahl – volunteer docent, ambassador and horticulture assistant for the Sacramento Zoo, Yannina Casillas – advocate with Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jesse Archer – Youth Program Coordinator at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, and Dr. Vernon Walton – retired pediatrician.
Ramirez summed it up nicely when he said, in part, “I was honored to be among so many great recipients… especially Leah because she is such a young great community legend!”
Congratulations heroes!!
Thank you for being the change that you wish to see in the world.

Broadway Bridge on the horizon but where will it land in West Sac?

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By Monica Stark

Back in May, a big piece of local news was that Shell Oil Products was selling its West Sacramento refinery to the Port of West Sacramento. At a Broadway Bridge open house at Arthur Benjamin Health Professions High School on Thursday, July 27, city officials revealed that area is currently being thought of as a preferred crossing of the Broadway Bridge, connecting South River Road and 15th Street to the Broadway corridor.

For about the next two years, the cities of West Sacramento and Sacramento are studying the environmental impacts of that location, as well as three other possible drop-offs (or alignments) into West Sacramento from Broadway. (See sidebar for more information.) In short, the alignments consider 15th Street in two spots and South River Road in three spots.

Hailing the Shell deal, City of Sacramento supervising engineer for the department of public works, Jesse Gothan stated: “To (West Sacramento’s) credit, they have that deal with Shell. That’s impressive to get that.”

The Shell refinery, according to press materials last spring, is a “strategic parcel which is located at the crux of future traffic and bike/pedestrian infrastructure including: Broadway Bridge, River Walk trail extension, Modifications to 15th Street between Jefferson Boulevard and South River Road, including relocation of the railroad tracks leading to the Port of West Sacramento.”

The demolition and clean-up of the six-acre Shell facility, which has been in operation since the 1940s, according to city of West Sacramento official press releases, sends “another strong signal to the real estate development community that the transition of the Pioneer Bluff district from legacy industrial operations to future riverfront mixed-use development continues to move forward.” The agreement provides a framework for Shell to phase out operations and to clean up all contamination on the property under the supervision of the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The Shell refinery aside, what about the others? Would those refineries be able to relocate? Those kinds of questions are currently being considered when weighing the options.

Engineers and scientists would do right by following science, not public opinion or politics, says Gothan.

Some of the feasibility issues other than the real estate of the refineries, surround habitat, whether there are tree impacts, impacts on the river way that are unique to one but not the other, if it’s in a flood zone, if there’s ground water contamination, impacts to mariners from the U.S. Coast Guard, where there are different utility lines that cross the river at one location versus another, and how West Sacramento can work around those existing utilities. The list goes on, and while the multiple sites are being considered for West Sacramento, Broadway is the only location on the Sacramento side. Long ago, Land Park residents as well as CalTrans vehemently opposed a crossing at Sutterville Road. Currently, the Land Park Community Association supports the Broadway Bridge and improvements on the street near Tower Theatre.

With the worst-case scenario of 2036 being the estimated time frame for the Broadway Bridge completion, if funding was at the fingertips of our local governmental agencies, the cities could get that $180 million bridge done between eight to 11 years.

Answering the questions — What are the potential cost increases for each of them? What are the schedule impacts for each of them? What are the environmental constraints impacts? — the two cities are embarking on a cost-benefit analysis of the alignments, explained Gothan.

“We’re going to carry forward a few of the alignments to the full environmental analysis and that will probably take about 18 months to complete. So, upon getting the environmental approvals, then the team will be looking at securing future design funds.”

Cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento have been planning a water front for quite a while. In 2003 a riverfront master plan was adopted for improvements on both waterfronts. In 2011, the cities adopted the Sacramento River Crossings study which looked at crossings at seven different locations. In 2014, the cities launched the I Street Bridge replacement project, which is the new bridge which connects Railyard Boulevard to C Street, and takes all the auto traffic off of I Street and puts it on this new bridge. Also that year, West Sacramento got funds to do a feasibility study for Broadway Bridge. It looked at several different alignments and some of the pros and cons. In 2015, West Sacramento got a $1.5 million Teichert grant to do the environmental reviews. The grant has a 50 percent match, so each city is contributing $750,000, of local transportation dollars to the overall budget of this phase.

The Broadway Bridge will be movable to allow boat passage and will carry cars, bikes, pedestrian traffic and accommodate future transit options, including a future streetcar alignment within the bridge itself. The project also includes installation of a bridge interconnect fiber optic line to allow the new bridge, and I Street and Tower Bridges to be operated by one system.

There have been some concerns for neighbors in Land Park regarding traffic impacting streets south of Broadway. Likened to the Freeport Boulevard Road Diet, which was officially completed last November, Gothan said Broadway improvements will make the area more bike and pedestrian friendly and that the city will be launching that project in September. “In the feasibility study, traffic doesn’t really cut through Land Park. It’s really the destinations of the central business district,” he said.

The new bridge will be defined as “neighborhood friendly” per the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.


Broadway Bridge alignments

The following options are being considered as drop-offs into West Sacramento from the Broadway Bridge. The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento are in environmental review for each of these options.

Alignment A
On the West side of the river, Alignment A connects directly to Jefferson Boulevard via 15th Street. The primary constraints, or factors, for this alignment are to avoid the Shell tank farm and to maintain the existing 15th Street alignment at the 5th Street intersection. To accomplish this, on the east side alignment A must start angling away from Broadway several hundred feet east of the railroad tracks. This serves to maintain adequate skew across the river. However, by doing so, it creates a significant skew at the railroad tracks and impacts the existing Chevron facilities on both sides of the tracks.

Alignment B
This alignment also connects directly to Jefferson Boulevard via 15th Street, but the 5th/15th Street intersection is reconfigured, which is consistent with the City of West Sacramento’s circulation plans for Pioneer Bluff. Alignment B also avoids direct impacts to the Shell tank farm. By realigning 15th Street, the alignment is able to avoid impacting the Chevron facilities on the east side of the river. The skew across the railroad tracks is similar to that of Alignment A.

Alignment C1/C2
Alignment C connects directly to 5th Street several hundred feet south of the 15th Street intersection. At approximately 2,000 feet long, this alignment is the shortest and most direct. The specific connection point at 5th Street will be required to meet the City of West Sacramento’s intersection spacing standards. By doing so, alignment C impacts the Shell tank farm. The alignment has two variations (C1 and C2). C2 aimed to optimize the bridge skew across the river and to minimize impacts to Phillips 66 facilities. An active Kinder Morgan petroleum line runs in the vicinity of Broadway and under the Sacramento River, which conflicts with alignment C2. Alignment C1 avoids the Kinder Morgan line, but also impacts Phillips 66 and creates a greater skew across both the river and railroad tracks.

Alignment D
Based on preliminary input and analysis, alignment D aims to balance the transportation benefits and impacts resulting from a new cross-river connection with the right of way constraints, and the real estate potential, for Pioneer Bluff, Stone Lock, and Southport. At the time of writing this technical memorandum, only informal coordination has been initiated with the USCG regarding alignment D. Based on the USCG preliminary feedback, the movable navigation span for alignment D would need to be wider than the 170 feet proposed for alignments A, B, and C to enable tug and barge traffic to negotiate the river bend immediately downstream. To confirm the navigation channel required, the cities will need to submit a formal request to the USCG. This request will also subsequently be submitted to the waterway users for a 30-day comment and response period. The project team has prepared preliminary cost estimates for alignment D to inform stakeholders and
decision-makers of the potential cost implications of the longer overall alignment and wider movable
span. A cost comparison table is included in the executive summary, and detailed assumptions are
included in the Cost Estimate Technical Memorandum. Alignment D impacts property owned by Ramos and Buckeye Terminals on the west side. On the east side, the alignment directly impacts Phillips 66 tanks south of Broadway and encroaches into Miller Park, requiring a significant configuration of the existing access to both the park and marina.

Meals on Wheels Yolo County Announces Important Gift

Yolo Cannabis Coalition donates $10,000 for Weekend Food Project

Meals on Wheels Yolo County has announced that the Yolo Cannabis Coalition has donated $10,000 for the Weekend Food Project, which will entirely fund the current program for one year.

The Weekend Food Project was designed in 2015 to provide extra help and relief to extremely low income homebound seniors already served by the daily meal program. The last Friday of each month, Meals on Wheels Yolo County provides a bag of groceries to give seniors options for preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner over the last weekend of the month.

Food insecurity in Yolo County has been well documented. A survey conducted by Feeding America in 2014, indicates that 1 in 6 Yolo County residents struggle to put food on the table. 1 Food insecurity results from low income and minimal access to healthy food; these factors are compounded by the additional difficulties seniors face such as inability to drive, difficulty standing to prepare meals and lack of energy. Meals on Wheels Yolo County Executive Director, Christi Skibbins said, “Over the past ten years, government contributions to programs like ours have been steadily reduced, at the same time that the Silver Tsunami – the huge flood of Baby Boomers – are entering their 60s and 70s, with many of them needing our services. At this time, there is a waiting list of 82 seniors for the daily lunch program, and we have three federal government grants that are in jeopardy of being cut. We have a diverse revenue stream already, and continue to explore new avenues to fund the need in Yolo County. With the new opportunity of the legal cannabis industry in our state, this group of community-minded business people can join the businesses, organizations and private citizens who already donate their time, expertise and money to Meals on Wheels Yolo County. We are very excited, pleased and grateful for this gift and commitment on the part of the Yolo Cannabis Coalition.”

The Yolo Cannabis Coalition is a non-profit California corporation whose purpose is to benefit the common interests of their membership, promote community cannabis development and strengthen their community in Yolo County. The YCC is a new organization, consisting of about 40 members; growers, nurseries and community members. Their goal is to promote safe commercial cannabis development that benefits the entire community. Yolo Cannabis Coalition President Eric Gudz said, “Back in March, when we first heard in the news that certain federal funding to Meals on Wheels programs might be cut, we were in the process of forming the coalition, and it just seemed a natural endeavor that, together, our members could really make a difference in our own community. We have been working with Christi on this project since our first meeting in early April, and are so pleased to make this donation in order to help her provide what our Yolo County elderly citizens really depend on.”

Meals on Wheels Yolo County provides 350 hot meals every weekday to the elderly through two primary programs: Congregate Meals and Home Delivered Meals. All food is prepared from scratch at the central kitchen in Woodland, and delivered to nutrition sites at senior centers in Davis, West Sacramento, Winters, and Woodland; also to rural areas such as Esparto and Knights Landing. Regarding the Weekend Food Project, Meals on Wheels Yolo County Executive Director, Christi Skibbins, said, “Approximately 72% of the seniors we serve in our daily meal program are low income and 25% of those are extremely low income. Because their Social Security check or pension deposits around the 1st of each month, the last weekend of each month can be an extremely lean time. Many of these seniors must make difficult financial decisions at the end of the month: whether to buy food or medicine or whether to use the air conditioner and risk a utility bill they cannot afford. There is simply more month left than money. This program bridges a gap for our most needy folks.”

For more information, visit https://mowyolo.org and https://www.facebook.com/yolocanncoalition/