Category Archives: News

Cyclist from Sacramento dies in West Sac


A Sacramento man died in a car-versus-bicycle accident this morning on West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento.

According to Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department, both the cyclist from Sacramento and the car that struck him were going eastbound along the 2000-block of West Capitol when the collision occurred just after 7 a.m.

“The initial investigation indicates both the vehicle and a bicyclist were traveling eastbound on West Capitol Avenue when the bicyclist swerved to miss a large puddle of water,” said Sockman in a press release.  “The bicyclist pulled into the number two lane of traffic in front of the vehicle just before the collision. Weather conditions were severe and may have been a contributing factor in the collision. The bicyclist, a 51 year old male from Sacramento, suffered major head trauma and was pronounced dead on scene. His identity is being withheld until his next of kin can be notified. The driver, a resident of West Sacramento, was not injured in the accident. Speed and or alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor in this accident.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Photo: sign of the season


The baseball player statues in front of city hall are ready for the holidays. The real question is, are you?

These slightly-bigger-than-life statues are playing ball in front of city hall, at 1100 West Capitol Avenue.  (News-Ledger photo)



The News-Ledger reported more about these statues — including how they ended up in West Sacramento — shortly after they were installed. Here’s that article from 2011:

May 18, 2011

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

There are a couple of new guys playing baseball in the middle of the 1100-block of West Capitol Avenue – oversized, bronze fellows. The sculpture was installed with little fanfare several weeks ago after West Sacramento city staff saw an opportunity to pick up some “public art” from storage at Sacramento’s Crocker museum. The city has a policy promoting public art.

  “The baseball players were originally commissioned by Frank and Lee Luckenbill as part of their effort to bring a regional stadium,” said Mark Zollo, a senior administrative analyst for the redevelopment agency. “At some point, the Luckenbills donated them to the Crocker. They were on display at Crocker Park. The pitcher was up on one foot, supported by a dowel, and some kids pulled the pitcher over. So the Crocker put the sculpture in storage.”

“Les Bowman (a former manager in Zollo’s department) contacted the Crocker. We initiated the loan with them, and in exchange for the loan, we agreed to do a restoration. We paid about $20,000 for restoration and installation. They gave us a loan through 2014, but we hope to extend that.”

Zollo said that the sculpture is mounted more securely than it was in Sacramento, and the location is pretty well-trafficked and well-lighted, so he hopes it won’t be vandalized.

Ultimately, the city would like to put the two baseball players on display on some city land near the entrance to Raley Field – the region’s minor league baseball stadium. That site isn’t ready yet, though, because it’s under construction and sparsely developed nearby.

“This location (at West Capitol) was selected more as a temporary location – we wanted a place where there is a lot of activity.”

The piece is called, simply, “Baseball Players,” and it was designed by artist Lisa Reinertson of Davis. The two figures, who are somewhat crouched over, stand about eight to nine feet tall.

(News-Ledger photo)

“These are pretty substantial figures,” said Zollo. “They weigh quite a bit – around 800 pounds apiece.”

The Luckenbills are aware that the statues have been moved, and approve of the loan, he said. The artist may not yet be aware that her baseball players are having a game in the middle of West Sacramento’s main street.

An attempt to reach artist Reinertson wasn’t immediately successful.

  EDITOR’S NOTE, 5/23/2011: After we went to press for the above article, artist Lisa Reinertson emailed us a response to an inquiry made by the News-Ledger. We had asked her whom she used as models for this artwork.  We heard from citizens who thought the “hitter” might have been modeled on Rickey Henderson or Felipe Alou.

The artist responded:

“The artwork was meant to be a more universal portrayal of a pitcher and batter and not anyone’s particular portraits.  “To answer your question- I used models who were baseball players up at Chico State where I was teaching at the time. (1991?) They were both assistant coaches, one a pitcher and one a batter. Since the stadium the sculptures were originally planned for was to have a new baseball team, they were not to be portraits of any famous players from existing teams elsewhere.  I did go and see professional games as I did my homework on the sculpture and I did look at and get inspiration from images of stances that may look familiar to those in the know.
“My concept for the sculpture was to capture the psychological battle between the pitcher and batter as they are about to throw the ball and strike it back. I wanted to portray the physical tension of each player winding up and ready- so the exact moment before the movement forward for each player was the moment I focused on capturing.”

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  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

Chamber honors several businesspeople


The West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce will install new board members and hand out its annual business awards on Jan. 17.

“Businessperson of the Year” award will go to Michelle Vandeheetkamp, Wicked West Pizza & BBQ, for “making a difference in our community.”

The “Business of the Year” will be IKEA, for “outstanding contributions to the community.”

  The “West Sacramento Lifetime Achievement Award” will go to Bill Ramos of Ramos Oil, for “a lifetime of service.”

The “Volunteer of the Year” will be Dan Ramos of Ramco, “for unselfish service.”

The Chamber’s “Ambassador of the Year” is Maria Ramos of Hampton Inn and Suites.

A note regarding the fact that three of the award-winners have the same last name: Dan Ramos is a nephew of Bill Ramos. Maria Ramos is not related to the other two.

The chamber event will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the civic center galleria. For table sponsorships, tickets or other information, call 371-7042 or visit

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Facebook comments investigation —


Police have concluded their investigation into comments made online through the Facebook site that appeared to threaten West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

No arrest was made.

  The Facebook post used gay slurs against Cabaldon and accused him of selling the region’s water rights, implying there would be a physical confrontation with Cabaldon at the “next town meeting.”

“We interviewed the mayor and the sender (of the comments),” Lt. Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department told the News-Ledger by email. “(There) does not appear to be a crime. The whole report was forwarded to the D.A. (District Attorney) for review.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Woodland: deputies shoot ‘charging’ dogs


Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputies shot two dogs that “charged the deputies” during a probation search at an Antelope Street house in Woodland on Monday at about 9:20 a.m .

According to Sgt. Lance Faille of the sheriff’s department, deputies conducted a probation search of the home of Shane Edgington, who was not home at the time.

“Inside the residence, (deputies) located two subjects, 46-year old Carol Vitalie and 43-year old Vincent Van Asperson, and three pit bull dogs,” said Faille in a press release. “The three pit bulls were in a bedroom that needed to be searched. Yolo County Animal Control officers responded to remove the dogs from the bedroom.”

“While one dog was being removed by an animal control officer, a second came charging out of the bedroom and a deputy Tased that pit bull,” he continued. “A third pit bull came out of the bedroom, tearing the electrical wires from the Taser’s barbs. Both loose pit bulls charged two different deputies in separate locations of the residence and were shot by those deputies.”

  The dogs were taken to the UC Davis Animal Hospital and were found to be dead. The third pit bull was removed from inside the house, as were five other dogs in the backyard — all unlicensed, said Faille.

The man and woman at the house were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Free food in West Sac, Clarksburg


  The Food Bank of Yolo County will distribute free food on Dec. 18. Locations include the West Sacramento County Building, 500 Jefferson Blvd., from 9-10 a.m.; Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd., from 10:30-11:15 a.m.; Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr., 11-noon; and the Clarksburg Firehouse, noon to 1 pm. Please bring a bag, and attend only one site. For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

‘A Life’s Ride’: new bench is memorial

This bike isn’t made for riding: Artist Terrence Martin joins Cathy Yokoyama and her daughter Stacy at the installation of a new memorial bench honoring the life of Cathy’s late husband, a West Sacramento farmer. (News-Ledger photo)


New memorial combines a West Sac man’s work, and his passion —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

In retrospect, it seems obvious:

Andrew Yokoyama was a lifelong West Sacramentan, a farmer, an enthusiastic bicyclist. Why not commemorate his life with a bicycle-themed memorial right along the road so many cyclists take across the Tower Bridge? And why not build that memorial, as much as possible, out of implements and tools from his Southport farm?

On Friday morning, that vision came to be. Next to the Tower Bridge and the state “ziggurat” building, artist Terrence Martin supervised as his one-ton “A Life’s Ride” sculpture was bolted into the concrete. Passersby began sending curious glances almost immediately.

Cathy Yokoyama, Andy’s surviving wife, estimated that Martin had made the piece using “about two-thirds” of the material from the Yokoyama family farm in Southport – discs, spacers, tractor wheel parts and so forth.

“We asked him to use parts from the farm, if he was good with that idea,” said Cathy Yokoyama. “He was.”

ANDREW YOKOYAMA: Lifelong West Sacramento resident and farmer

Family friend Carol Davis was instrumental in choosing artist Terrence Martin – whose “Jagged Edge” art studio is located near the west end of West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento. Davis also coordinated plans for the bench with the City of West Sacramento, because its new home was to be on city park property.

“Carol really was the one who organized the whole thing,” added Yokoyama.

“We told (Martin) we wanted a bench,” she recalled. “Carol had seen his benches at the Sacramento Zoo and at Fountains, in Roseville. We were thinking of the form of a bicycle because we were thinking of putting it along the bike path, and also because Andy really enjoyed biking.”

Andy Yokoyama was the grandson of an immigrant from Japan who farmed in Sacramento’s Pocket area, according to Dena Kirtley of the West Sacramento Parks and Recreation Department (Kirtley  took the sculpture through the city permit process).

Andy’s father was placed in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, then set up as a farmer in West Sacramento.

  Andy himself was born in 1951. He graduated from UC Davis and joined his dad on the farm, growing green onions and spinach on a small family farm near Linden and South River road, and also farming other land leased in Southport. In 2000, he took a job with the state, but continued farming on weekends. Yokoyama planted a final crop of wheat and safflower in 2011 as he became increasingly ill. He died in January, 2012.

“Some of the local farmers helped organize and get that harvest in,” said Cathy Yokoyama. “We knew about his illness for several years, but he was probably (seriously) sick for about a year.”

The new sculpture has the form of a bike – complete with handlebars and a seat. It comes with a pre-rusted finish, explained Martin, and all the sharp edges have been painstakingly ground down for safety. The “bike” cradles a bench with a seat made of steel cylinders.

Yokoyama says a number of people chipped in to pay for it, although she hasn’t yet seen the final cost submitted by Martin.

“I used donations from (Andy’s) work, from my dinner group and my work,” she said. “I work for the California State teachers’ retirement system, in the big tower building nearby.”

She said she’s quite happy with how the memorial turned out. Within a couple of days of its installation, the sculpture had experienced – and recovered from – its first misadventure.

“It got tagged (with graffiti) over the weekend,” Yokoyama reported Monday. “Someone had written their name in blue. I reported it to the parks department. They are just going to clean it up every time, until whoever does it gets tired of it.”

You can see “A Life’s Ride,” and sit for a spell, at River Walk Park next to the “ziggurat.”

  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