Category Archives: News

Lengthy sentence for 2009 murder


District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on January 13, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock sentenced 31-year-old Christopher Allen Smith of West Sacramento to 45 years-to-life in state prison for murdering Gidd Gomel Robinson IV on November 3, 2009.

According to the Yolo D.A.’s office:

Shortly after noon that day, Smith was driving with his seven-year-old son in his pick-up truck after leaving his father’s house in West Sacramento.  Smith, who is white,  encountered Robinson, an African American, who was walking his children to school.  After Robinson gave Smith a “hard stare” and Smith “flipped him off,” Smith drove his truck around the corner on Jasmine Avenue and loaded his gun.  Robinson approached the truck and some kind of confrontation occurred. Smith fired one shot at Robinson.

Police responded to the report of a “man down” on the 400-block of Jasmine. Robinson was transported to a hospital with a fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Smith immediately drove to the Elkhorn boat ramp and tossed the gun in the river and rubbed mud on his hands to conceal any gunshot residue.  He was arrested on Old River Road as he was leaving the boat ramp.  Detectives seized a computer from Smith’s home which was later forensically analyzed by the District Attorney’s Computer Forensics Unit.  That analysis revealed that Smith habitually visited racist websites containing inflammatory pictures and articles about African Americans.

During his trial, Smith claimed self-defense and said Robinson had a gun, but police did not find a gun near the victim.

Investigators found over 40 firearms in Smith’s home.

  Robinson’s fiancé Jennifer Richardson gave an impassioned victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing.  “This horrific tragedy has made me become so much stronger than I could’ve ever imagined,” said Richardson.  “Mr. Smith stole the life of my fiancé, my best friend, the daddy to my babies. Over these past 2 years I’ve had to learn how to become the single mother that I never thought I would be.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney, Jonathan Raven, prosecuted the case.  He praised the dedicated efforts of West Sacramento Police Department, the DA’s Computer Forensics Division, and the DA’s Victim Services Division who worked with the family of Gidd Robinson.  He also thanked the jury who spent three days deliberating on the case.  “The jury was thoughtful and worked hard to bring about a just verdict,” said Raven in a press release.  “I know that Gidd’s family feels that justice was served.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Public-private partnership builds rail spur for cement plant, port

At the ribbon-cutting: West Sacramento City Councilmember Mark Johannessen, Mayor Pro Tem Oscar Villegas, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director (and program MC) Denice Seals, SACOG Executive Director Mike McKeever, Port Chair and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, City Manager Toby Ross, and Port Director Mike Luken. (Photo: Dan Harris, City of West Sacramento)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 8, 2012–

On Jan. 25, the Port of West Sacramento opened a new rail track extension that links the Port Main Terminal with the Cemex cement and aggregate facility near the Port. The 5,000 foot track segment is also capable of serving other rail customers.

Built through a public-private partnership between the City of West Sacramento, Cemex and Sierra Northern Railroad at a cost of $2 million, the extension is meant to allow easier transport of material, create new jobs and provide the Port a revenue source from additional railcar movement, according to the City of West Sacramento. Rail service is provided to the Cemex facility by Sierra Northern.

“This is an important project for the Port as it will allow multiple rail providers to serve Port users in a competitive environment and help ensure that the Cemex facility can operate at full capacity,” said Mike McGowan, chair of the Sacramento-Yolo Port Commission, in a City press release.

The project was a public-private partnership between the City of West Sacramento, Cemex, and Sierra Northern Railroad. Project funding was also supported by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and Caltrans District 3 Local Assistance.

Copyright News-Ledger-2012

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Father/daughter community dance


Fathers and daughters of all ages are invited to a “Night of Enchantment.”

Two dates for this “Masquerade Ball”: attend either Friday, Feb. 24 or Saturday, Feb. 25, from 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. This semi-formal “Night of Enchantment” comes with a dinner buffet, a DJ and dancing in the Galleria of the West Sacramento Civic Center, 1110 West Capitol Ave. Prom-style photos will be available for an additional fee.

Registration: fathers $35, daughter(s) $15 each, daughter(s) age 3 and younger are free. Registration is now open at the community center (1075 West Capitol Avenue) or the Recreation Center next to River City High School on Raider Lane. Deadline to register is Friday, Feb. 17.

For more information, call the Parks & Recreation Dept., (916) 617-4620.

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Nonprofits: interested in selling fireworks?


Is your non-profit organization interested in selling fireworks this season?  Come meet with City staff and fireworks wholesaler representatives to see if it’s right for your organization.  An informational workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. at the city hall galleria, 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

Topics to be discussed:  the vendor lottery process, permit process, and the sales of fireworks.

The seller permit lottery filing period will be open from March 1-31.

For more information, contact West Sacramento City Clerk Kryss Rankin at (916) 617-4500.

Book drive for local teen center

Cindy Oseguera, Stacy Saelee, Laurence Herrmann, Kelly Yuen of the RCHS ‘Interact Club.’


The River City High School Interact Club is running a book drive for the W.S Collings Teen Center during the month of February.  The club is collecting new and used books for ages 13 to 18. You’re invited to drop off books at First Northern Bank (Harbor Blvd), Starbucks (Jefferson Blvd./Southport), or at the school.

Lowes will provide lumber as well and instruction on building book shelves at the teen center.

The Interact Clubs are sponsored by West Sacramento’s two Rotary clubs.

The RCHS Interact club this year has volunteered for the Sacramento Zoo Ice Cream Safari, the Veterans Day Parade, Eskaton, W.S. Recreation Center Halloween Carnival,  River Cats Winter Wonderland, and has helped WS Rotary/Abie Aware Crab Feed.

from Charyl Silva, Rotary Interact Adviser, and
Brandon Duff, teacher Adviser

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, by mail..

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012


Fake debt collection scams reported

From the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office

Several alert older adults in Yolo County recently contacted the Yolo County District Attorney’s Elder Protection Unit to report phone calls from people pretending to be from a collection agency. In one instance the caller claimed to be an attorney and that over $800 dollars was owed for magazine subscriptions. Crooks can disguise the numbers they are really calling from using computers.

The scammers are hoping that you may be intimidated into providing personal information like a Social Security or Credit Card number to take care of the outstanding bill.  They then can use this information to commit Identity Theft and purchase items with your card.

  The District Attorney’s Office suggests that you always be suspicious when a call comes out of the blue asking for any of your personal information.  If someone claims to be calling from a collection agency about an old unpaid bill ask that they send you written confirmation with a copy of the original invoice for you to review and check against your records.  If it turns out to be a legitimate debt follow up to resolve the matter.

One of the main reasons to be alert when you receive a call from a debt collector is that it may be an indication that your identity was already stolen.  Scammers sometimes purchase items using your stolen account information.

For more information, contact Dave Edwards at (530) 666-8416.

Former Alaskan crab boat finds home with Sea Scouts in West Sacramento

The ‘Emerald Sea’ heads upriver (photo courtesy of Barbara Smith)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 1, 2012 —

 By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The local chapter of the Sea Scouts believes it has found its new flagship vessel.
The young mariners have shuffled around some of their donations, unloaded a “Forrest Gump”-style shrimp trawler, and took possession of a 95-foot, former Alaskan crab boat more along the lines of the TV show “Deadliest Catch.”

The crab boat “Emerald Sea” had been anchored in Sausalito for several years, disused. The Sea Scouts brought her home to their headquarters in West Sacramento recently on a leisurely voyage.

“Just two weeks ago, she cruised up river on her own power from Sausalito,” said Nate Eckler, “skipper” of the Sea Scout troop. “It was roughly a 14-hour trip – we were just taking it slow.”

The boat – soon to be renamed “Neptune,” in honor of the chapter’s identity – is now docked near the old Cemex cement plant towers, along South River Road at 15th Street. Nearby both  in the water and sitting on blocks above are several other boats in various states of repair, belonging to the Scouts.

Some of the Sea Scouts on hand for a work crew Sunday gather in the bow of the boat. Behind are the Pioneer bridge and downtown Sacramento. Pictured are (standing) Boatswain Ian O’Bryan; Steven Hobbs; Daniel Thweatt; Sam Hobbs; Skipper Nate Eckler; Jr. Officer Robert Turner; and (kneeling) Regatta Cox’n Ryan DeWeese and Storekeeper Kitty Dawson (News-Ledger photo)

The West Sacramento site provides storage and a work area for the group’s many projects.

“We worked out a deal with a few different entities” to get use of the property, Eckler explained. “This was the old Cemex cement plant. We got permission from them to use it, but they had also assigned it to the city, and we also had to get permission from the city. Also, at the front of the property is the utility yard for Ramos Oil. Ramos Oil and Bill Ramos have been a huge supporter of our projects, so they agreed, too. The docks were a donation from the Sacramento Yacht Club.”

The old cement plant has vacated the site, relocating to a new location at the Port of West Sacramento.

Just astern of the Emerald Sea lies a vintage Coast Guard surf rescue boat, a bullet-shaped vessel of 23-foot in length that’s capable of righting itself if capsized. On blocks above them is a “motor whaleboat” that the group plans to fix up and then suspend above deck on the Emerald Sea, to be lowered when necessary to serve as a “shore boat” or tender for the bigger vessel.

That’s Nate Eckler, tucked behind the 850-horsepower engine. The 95-foot vessel was built in 1966 in Wisconsin (News-Ledger photo)

Some of the crab boat’s fittings and equipment won’t be needed by the Sea Scouts, since they don’t plan on doing any large-scale crabbing. The excess equipment will be sold off, when possible, to help pay for modifications and repairs.

“We’ll take the old holds – the ‘live well’ for the crabs – and convert them into bunk areas for the crew,” said Eckler. The old “live well” is underneath the deck.

Even now, though, the boat has bunk space for eight crew, a couple of single cabins, a laundry room and galley area. It has a single 850 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine, a pair of 60 kilowatt generators, and ample systems for navigation in the wheelhouse – all of which offer ample opportunities to train young people in the fine arts of seamanship, mechanics and electronics.

“There are a lot of individual systems on board,” said Eckler, “and we need to learn them and create repeatable procedures for the kids to use each one.”

“(The kids) definitely get a lot of hands-on mechanical work. They had to a lot of engine work. We went in there and pulled the valve covers off. . . they’re also learning welding and woodworking.”

Currently, there are about 12-14 “active” members in the group, including one girl among the boys. The Sea Scouts range in age from about 13 to 21. When the News-Ledger visited on Sunday, a handful of the youths were working under supervision, hauling equipment back and forth as they start to refit the Emerald Sea.

Eckler believes the boat has the potential to be a great flagship for this little West Sac navy.

“It’s going to be a training boat, to be cruised around here or on the Delta and Bay – even offshore, eventually. The kids will be operating it with adults providing oversight.”

The group also spends time on sailboats, with a summer sailing program at the Port.

Anyone interested in the Sea Scouts can find them at www.

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, by mail. You can phone (916) 371-8030.

  You can even try the News-Ledger 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