Category Archives: News

The West Sacramento Police Department Wants to Meet You!

By Bia Riaz

West Sac PD meetingOn Tuesday evening, it was a dark cold night when I braved the winding South River levee road. I then carefully made my way through Dave’s Pumpkin Patch at Vierra Farms to catch the tail end of the West Sacramento Police Department’s Community Meeting; held at the beautiful Bridgeway Lakes Boathouse.

As the officers were wrapping up the meeting, Senior Lead Officer Ryan Lukins was gracious enough to spend a few minutes with me. The meeting, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, was attended by more than 50 residents of West Sacramento. It was an open format without any specific agenda.

Chief Tom McDonald, of the West Sacramento Police Department, had invited the community to meet members of the Police Department for an informal gathering and an opportunity to engage in conversation. People had an opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns on a wide variety of topics. In general, people expressed concerns about a recent uptick in theft for that area.

As the Senior Lead Officer for the Southport beat of West Sacramento, officer Lukins addressed the issues and provided his direct contact information for follow-up and further assistance. The officers also discussed crime prevention tips and shared information about the police department’s efforts to directly address the incidences of theft; including the presence of police officers on bicycles, as well as patrol cars; assigned to rotating 24-7 shifts patrolling the neighborhoods. Additionally, the police department has assigned trained police volunteers on bicycles to monitor the neighborhoods during daylight hours.

I followed up with Sergeant Roger Kinney for additional details. The community meetings rotate every two to three months in the three Police Department beats: (1)Bryte-Broderick, (2)West Capital Corridor, and (3)Southport. The Senior Lead Officer for each beat locates a venue and announcements are posted on a variety of social media platforms such as the police department’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The meetings are also posted the city of West Sacramento’s website. I inquired about reaching out to people who may not have access to computers or smartphones, the elderly, or communities with special needs.

“We work closely with BBCAN (The Bryte and Broderick Community Action Network) to get the information posted at libraries, community centers and senior centers. They even design and develop the fliers for the events to help spread the word,” Kinney said.

According to Kinney, a large number of attendees heard about the meeting through social media pages. The rest of the attendees learned about the meeting through information shared via an application (APP) known as Nextdoor. Approximately 49,000 users from West Sacramento currently use and share information on the Nextdoor APP.

Our neighboring Sacramento Police Department currently uses it to disseminate information. The West Sacramento Police Department is also considering creating a page on the Nextdoor APP. The police department currently maintains an active presence online through Facebook, Twitter and other smartphone apps connected to the city of West Sacramento. These platforms allow people to access police department services quickly and stay informed. People currently have the ability to follow police department tweets, send anonymous tips, submit feedback, and ask questions. While these forms of communication may be convenient for non-emergency situations, people are reminded to always dial 9-11 in emergency and active situations.

The police department has a mission to communicate effectively with the community. In Kinney’s observation, the meetings have helped develop stronger connections with the community and have been an effective way to educate and assist residents with specific concerns and aid with crime prevention. Just within the last seven days prior to the writing of this article, Kinney reported a marked decrease in reports of crime.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, Senior Lead Officer Estrada, will be hosting a morning event, Coffee with a Cop from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m in the center of the city at La Bou Cafe, located at 849 Jefferson Blvd. This event will also be an opportunity to meet officers and voice concerns while enjoying coffee at a local cafe. The next community meeting, scheduled in the evening, will be in the Bryte-Broderick neighborhood area. Details will be announced shortly.

Remember to get there on time for the next community meeting, or you will miss the cookies, like I did. The West Sacramento Police Department is located at 550 Jefferson Boulevard and may be reached at (916) 617-4900. Sgt. Roger Kinney may be reached at

Senior Lead Officer Ryan Lukins may be reached at

West Sacramentan to be featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery

You spend your life trying to perfect your technique,
But you only make an impact when you find your own language.
That’s when you start communicating your art…

john nichols-wJohn Nichols will be the featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery, 405 Main Street, Woodland, Nov. 6 through Nov. 27. An artist’s reception for John will be held at Blue Wing Gallery on Nov. 6, between 6 and 9 p.m.

John, a lifelong resident of West Sacramento, discovered his passion for creating art at an early age. Continued encouragement from family members along with a motivational art instructor while attending James Marshall High School (Mr. Clarence Locke) instilled his interest in painting with oils and acrylics. Further studies at Sacramento City College in the 1970s, focusing on art history and fundamentals of drawing, continued to inspire his early art.

John has found his love for nature and the outdoors makes his landscape paintings a never-ending interpretation of the connection of nature as it translates into his art. His years of experience in creating art is evident in the realism of his California landscapes and still life subjects, capturing the beauty of light, shadows and a sense of tranquility in his works. Along with plein air painting, his method includes taking photographs or painting a small study on location. From these references he creates larger finished paintings in his studio.

John continues to take advantage of several art classes and workshops offered by a variety of highly-acclaimed art instructors in the Northern California area. John has been able to showcase his artworks throughout the Sacramento area. He continues as a resident artist and teaching workshops at “Gallery 2110” in Sacramento.

Select Exhibits and Galleries:

    August 2003: Guest Artist, Midtown Gallery, Sacramento
    2002- 2004: Various art exhibitions in West Sacramento
    2003 & 2005: Erwin Meier Yolo County Administration Building, Woodland
    February 2015: Red Dot Gallery, Sacramento
    2014 to Current: Gallery 2110, 1023 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento

Selected awards include the “Peoples’ Choice Award”, First Annual Art Show, West Sacramento Civic Center and various awards at the State Fair including “Best Over All.” He has received accolades from this publication and The Daily Democrat in Woodland, as follows: “John’s landscapes and ocean scenes demonstrate his many years of honing his craft,” state the The Daily Democrat. “John’s fascination and love of the great outdoors is evident in his selection of themes to paint,” wrote the News-Ledger. And again another time in the Ledger was the following statement: “The September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York had a deep effect on Nichols. ‘We Will Always Remember’ is his memorial to the sad event. He paints the towers before the attack in a night scene. The lights in the building contrast with the dark midnight blue sky as the moon shines down on the unsuspecting city.”
(News Ledger, West Sacramento)

City Partners With West Capitol Ave. Businesses To Curb Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Beverage Control Sgt. Kathryn Sandberg, A & B Liquors owner Jim Nessar, and West Sacramento Police Officer Rinaldo Monterrosa discuss the T.E.A.M. program at the entrance to Nessar’s store. / Photos courtesy of City of West Sacramento

Alcohol Beverage Control Sgt. Kathryn Sandberg, A & B Liquors owner Jim Nessar, and West Sacramento Police Officer Rinaldo Monterrosa discuss the T.E.A.M. program at the entrance to Nessar’s store. / Photos courtesy of City of West Sacramento

The City of West Sacramento has launched a campaign encouraging local businesses to refuse alcohol sales to inebriated customers. The program, T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More), is a partnership between West Sacramento Police, the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, and businesses with liquor-sales licenses. Its purpose is to promote cooperation and teamwork between businesses and law enforcement in reducing issues traced to careless alcohol sales and consumption.

Fifteen businesses have signed up to join the T.E.A.M. program and have received official decals to post at their entrances.

“We’re thrilled that so many businesses have joined police in this effort,” said City Manager Martin Tuttle. “Working together, the City and store owners can promote a clean and safe shopping environment built upon responsible alcohol sales.”

Through the program, West Sacramento Police visits store owners to discuss alcohol sales to apparently intoxicated people. The T.E.A.M. targets liquor stores, mini marts, grocery stores and gas stations along West Capitol Avenue frequented by a transient population.

Aside from public intoxication incidents, the issue generates additional community problems, including trespassing, littering, loitering, public nuisance and criminal assaults.

To alleviate these issues, the West Sacramento Police Department has already:

Increased police presence in the form of routine foot and vehicle patrols of properties;
Maintained regular contact and relationship-building with property owners and management;
Reviewed responsible alcohol sales with owners and managers.
In addition, the City is addressing such topics as lighting, clear and visible signage, and trash and graffiti at the store properties.

The City adds that businesses engaged in selling alcohol assume a major responsibility in preserving public safety. Selling alcohol to minors and apparently intoxicated persons can result in serious liability including criminal citation, lawsuits, liquor license suspension or revocation, and jail time.

During a six month trial run of the T.E.A.M. program with several liquor stores participating, the City recorded a 92 percent decline in alcohol intoxication within the area.

Source: City of West Sacramento online publication, CityiLights

Flood Agency Visits Southport Elementary

By Michael Dunham

On Monday October 19 the West Sac Flood Protect the City Agency held a presentation at Southport Elementary school regarding flood preparedness.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Darren Suen of the California Department of Water Resources, and Rachael Orellana from the US Army Corps of Engineering all attended the presentation to stress the importance of preparing for a major flood in the city.

Public outreach firm Crocker & Crocker has worked with the West Sac Flood protect the city agency for several years helping them organize their events to reach out to communities to warn them about the dangers of flooding in a city surrounded by levees.

Crocker & Crocker representative Justina Janas said, “We’re hoping that students and the community understand that although West Sac is protected by levees they are still surrounded by water. And even though we’re in a drought even a small rain event can back up storm drains and cause localized flooding.”

The motto of the program is to Plan, Pack, and Protect which refers to the act of communities planning for floods, packing an emergency kit, and protecting yourself with flood insurance.

Janas continued saying, “West Sacramento residents need to remember that the city is basically an island surrounded by 52 miles of levee. If there ever was a large flood, residents may need to evacuate and their home and belongings may be damaged.”

An important part of the program is to educate homeowners on the importance of flood insurance. Many people may not know that homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flooding and flood insurance policies take 30 days to become active.

Southport Elementary third grade student Drake Nielsen who attended the event said the most important message he learned to be prepared for a flood was, “To have a plan.”

West Sacramento Foundation All Charities Dinner drew great results for local organizations

By Monica Stark

The West Sacramento Foundation hit another all-time high at this year’s annual raffle and spaghetti dinner, bringing in $70,981 to 35 West Sacramento charities. The ceremonial dinner, held on Saturday, Oct. 17 inside the gymnasium at Our Lady of Grace School on Linden Road, brought smiles and good cheer to those receiving checks and those handing them out.

The Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization of more than 1.8 million members, showed on Saturday its dedication to its four areas of service as local members dished out plates of delicious spaghetti and salad to the hundreds of hungry community members who awaited the start of the presentation of checks.

What started off with the golf tournament in the late 1980s, netting about $30,000, this year’s West Sacramento Foundation total marks a big accomplishment. The following nonprofit organizations sold more than $5,000 worth of raffle tickets: Veterans of Foreign Wars, River City High School Music Boosters, Southport Elementary PTA, River City Rowing and Our Lady of Grace School.

Richard Stamos, commander at Bryte VFW post 949, said his nonprofit the VFW Riders Association, will be putting the money earned at this year’s raffle ($4,680) toward helping veterans, including helping with hospital bills and memorials. “One guy (a veteran) got kicked out of his house. The West Sacramento Police Department said it was inhabitable. So, we fixed it up… That was about two years ago. This is one fundraiser we do yearly.”

“It is major for us because the economy is bad and it’s hard to raise funds. We’ve been cooking breakfasts, but it’s not been easy. But, we still manage to do it. We’re mostly Vietnam vets. When got home (from war), we didn’t have anything. We told ourselves we won’t have that happen to future vets,” Stamos said.

Drawing a raffle ticket representing Bridgeway Play was the youngest child of Washington Unified School District trustee Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, Chloe Gonzalez.

What follows is the name of the nonprofit and the total net amount it received because of this year’s raffle: Belfry: $270; Bridgeway Island PTO: $3,159; Bridgeway Play: $2,700; Foster Youth Incorporated: $1,395; Friends of the Main Drain Parkway: $1,350; Holy Cross Knights of Columbus: $1,260; Holy Cross College Preparatory: $2,862; Keystone Christian Missionary Church: $900; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: $450; Lighthouse Charter School: $3,618; Lighthouse Covenant Church (Youth): $954; Our Lady of Grace Parish Women’s Council: $1,512; Our Lady of Grace School: $8,487; River City Boosters: $945; River City Music Boosters: $5,670; River City Interact Club: $315; River City Rowing: $6,840; Rotary Club of West Sacramento: $270; Rotary Club of West Sacramento Centennial: $1,845; Sacramento West Kiwanis: $945; Soroptomist International of West Sacramento: $549; Southport Elementary PTO, Inc.: $6,669; St. Vincent de Paul – Our Lady of Grace Parish: $1,062; Stonegate: Parent Teacher Association: $2,106; Trinity Presbyterian Church: $405; Up 4 West Sacramento: $1,179; VFW Riders Association: $4,680; West Sacramento Attack: $2,268; West Sacramento Dolphin Swim Team: $900; West Sacramento Christmas Basket Project: $270; West Sacramento Early College Prep Charter School: $1,854; West Sacramento Historical Society: $630; West Sacramento Trail Riders Association: $450; Yolo County Children’s Alliance: $702; West Sacramento Foundation: $1,510.

The Outdoors Next Door: Exploring The Yolo Bypass

By Thomas Farley

If you want to get outdoors but don’t have much time, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is a perfect place to go. It is essentially the entire area visible from the Yolo Causeway and its main entrance is only three miles from West Sacramento. You’ll see birds of all kinds, an unusual, intensely managed landscape, and you’ll experience a relaxing break from city pressure. The noise of Interstate 80 barely registers, and you’ll soon find yourself lost in exploration.
The bypass has three main roles.

The first and most important is flood control. To relieve pressure on Sacramento River levees in heavy rain years, the 16,700 acre bypass is allowed to flood.

The second role is to encourage wildlife and habitat. After water recedes in the bypass, or whenever the ground is dry, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the property. Rice is planted, seasonal and permanent wetlands are maintained, and grasslands are cultivated, all to increase the numbers of waterfowl and other birds.

The third role is education and recreational use. Fish and Wildlife partners with groups like The Yolo Basin Foundation to promote that end.

Heidi Satter is the Foundation’s Education Coordinator. Each year she helps to organize and conduct dozens of field trips to the Bypass for schoolchildren across our region. What better way for them to experience wildlife and wetlands so close to home?

Take the signed auto tour route to experience the many elements of the bypass. It makes a complete loop of open areas, along with interesting side roads. Bring binoculars, water, and a day pack; you may be tempted to park your car to investigate the many foot trails. Annual flooding of ponds is now occurring in preparation for waterfowl season. Located in the heart of the Great Pacific Flyway, the Yolo Bypass will soon play host to countless thousands of birds as they migrate from north to south. Dove season is currently running until Sept. 15, so certain areas may be closed. (Hunting remains an activity as it has for decades, however, this use is controlled and permitted only in specific areas.) Guided monthly tours start on Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon. But you are welcome to drive the bypass roads yourself at nearly any time of year.

Going? Check the information boards posted at the site since not all areas are open at all times. Downloading a map is highly recommended. Dogs are only permitted in the bypass from the causeway to the railroad tracks. Hours are dawn to dusk year round. To get to the bypass, go west on Interstate 80, take the first exit, turn right at the stop sign, and then loop underneath the highway on East Chiles Road toward the signs. The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters is located 1.9 miles further down on Chile’s. It’s past Yolo Farmstand and the soccer fields at 45211 County Rd 32B. Open weekdays.

West Sacramento’s port is on a path of profitability

By Thomas Farley

Has the Port of West Sacramento’s ship come in? Or is it still at sea? The landmark facility alongside Industrial Boulevard has struggled for years to keep afloat financially, but new practices suggest that a more buoyant future lies ahead.

The Port made a renewed effort toward profitability after reorganizing its business in July, 2013. At that time, seeking cost reductions and greater efficiencies, the City of West Sacramento turned over shipping management to a private company.

SSA Marine, a worldwide port operator, now leases and manages the Port’s North Terminal cargo facilities. SSA in previous years moved everything at the Port from wood chips to windmills. Frank Patalano is the Terminal Manager for SSA Pacific. He talked about their recent two-year anniversary at the Port, saying that progress is good so far and that one of their challenges turned out to be educational; SSA is learning to become a port administrator, not just a terminal operator. They are now tasked with, among other things, fulfilling various permits and complying with California Air Resources Board requirements. Patalano says that this experience is proving valuable to him as a manager and to SSA Pacific as a company.

Patalano reflects, “One of our biggest accomplishments in the last two years is maintaining the business we have always had, the leader in exporting rice to Japan, as well as building on that current business and adding to it, through the global marketing team that SSA possesses. We are confident. We’re continuing to export rice, we import cement, we’re importing grains like corn and soybeans from around the world.”
The other part of the port equation is the City of West Sacramento, which acts as a landlord to SSA Pacific and some 30 other businesses operating on the sprawling port property. Although SSA is by far the largest tenant, other lessees include a log yard operator, a dredging company, four boat clubs, two transportation and supply companies, a cell tower tenant, and even a beekeeper.

Rick Toft is the Port Business Manager for the City of West Sacramento. He says the Port is also actively seeking development of 300 acres it owns on its south side. Called Seaway, the land is currently rented to a farmer. And like any landlord, the Port must manage its property and sometimes clean up after former residents. A small group of abandoned and derelict vessels floats idle in port. The boats have been made environmentally safe at the cost of millions of dollars but it may be some years before they are completely removed from the water.

Since the City handed off shipping responsibilities the Port is more stable financially. Revenue is modest but in the black. As Toft puts it, “The Port is a positive story in that its been a profitable enterprise since 2013.” Perhaps the Port’s ship has indeed come in. But in the form of an ocean going cargo ship, to be filled with rice and put back to sea.