Category Archives: News

Kirby-Gonzalez wins board seat

SARAH  KIRBY-GONZALEZ: She's a teacher in another district, Southport resident, parent and the newest member of West Sacramento's school board (News-Ledger photo)

She’s a teacher in another district, Southport resident, a parent and the newest member of West Sacramento’s school board (News-Ledger photo)


West Sacramento voters today used an all-mail election to fill the last year and a half of a vacant four-year seat on the local school board.

The Yolo County Elections Office has released the preliminary results of that vote, and the apparent winner is Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, a teacher in the Folsom-Cordova school district. The early count credits her with 2,573 votes, or 50.7 percent of the vote.

She is followed by Francisco Castillo, an official with the StudentsFirst reform organization, who has 1,315 votes (25.9%). The pair campaigned heavily and with tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations. Kirby-Gonzalez drew support form teachers’ unions, and Castillo from StudentsFirst and charter school advocates.

Finishing up the field:

Linh Nguyen, 738 votes (14.5%)

Katherine Gales, 252 votes (5.0%)

and Nicholas Turney, 200 votes (3.9%)

Kirby-Gonzales will fill the last year and a half of the four-year school board term vacated by Sandra Vargas on the Washington Unified School District board of trustees.

More in the next edition of the News-Ledger.

  UPDATE, MARCH 6, 2013: The Yolo County Elections Department has updated the results and made them “final and official.” Sarah Kirby Gonzalez was credited with a victory over second-place Francisco Castillo by 51.2% to 26.1%.

  Voter turnout in West Sacramento was 5,520 out of 23,141 registered voters, or 23.9%.

  For the full vote tally, visit the Yolo County Elections Department page here.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013


New ‘patisserie’ aims to provide pastry treats — and job training for local teens

The wares, in a glass display case just inside the doors of the Collings West Sacramento Teen Center (News-Ledger photo)

The wares, in a glass display case just inside the doors of the Collings West Sacramento Teen Center
(News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 20, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

You can now pick up a lemon tart, éclair or canalé – all made under the supervision of a trained pastry chef – at an unlikely place: the Collings West Sacramento Teen Center.

The new pastry shop, or patisserie, is open for your morning treats from 7-11 a.m. on weekdays at 1541 Merkley Avenue, and it is intended to become a place where West Sacramento teens can learn job skills.

Recent high school grad Lane Byers works with pastry (Courtesy of Jennifer Enright)

Recent high school grad Lane Byers works with pastry
(Courtesy of Jennifer Enright)

The shop is headed up by Gary Campbell. He’s a self-described “local boy” who has trained for bakery skills at the Cordon Bleu in Portland and worked for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas before layoffs at the hotel nudged him back to West Sacramento. He’s also a longtime assistant coach for the River City High School football team.

“The teen center is a nonprofit – we fight for the same dollars as other nonprofits,” explained Campbell, 53. But with support from sponsors like Agrium, the chemical company with a plant in West Sacramento, the center was able to start the new pastry shop venture.

Putting a kitchen in the teen center wasn’t a new idea.

“We offered a late lunch program for the kids anyway,” said Campbell. “The vision was to bring some type of culinary training for the students. We started the process over the last three years, getting the kitchen the way it is now. Most of the equipment is donated. The goal is to have a functioning retail bakery with practical experience (the students) can take with them.”

Right now, Campbell is working with several students from the nearby Heritage Peak Charter School, which offers academics up to the high school level. Lane Byers, a 20-year old recent graduate of Heritage Peak, has become Campbell’s “right hand man.”

“Lane’s been great,” Campbell said. “He started in the beginning, had no cooking experience, and he’s been coming on really fast. He started with the basic stuff, scaling and measuring. He’s at the point where he can make pretty much any of the elements we use here. Lane’s now working on his ‘piping’ and filling of items.”

Campbell hopes to expand and formalize the training at the pastry shop.

“Ultimately, our goal is to break even,” he said. “We’d like to, at some point, make it a more formal (internship) program, so we can offer a stipend and tools they can take with them when they graduate – a knife roll and chef’s coat.”

Gary Campbell with administrative assistant Jennifer Enright (News-Ledger photo)

Gary Campbell with administrative assistant Jennifer Enright
(News-Ledger photo)

Those are the “tools of the trade” a baker is expected to own, said Campbell – the white coat along with a set of good-quality knives in a roll-up fabric knife holder.

Students need to get up a tad early to work at the bake shop.

“We’re starting at 5 o’clock – from 5 to 7 is our morning bake,” he said. “With baking, there are a lot of elements that go into each item. For cream puffs and éclairs, you have to make the shells first. For quiches, you make the shells separately. There are a lot of things we don’t do on a daily basis – they have to learn to manage their time and prep work, not just for that day, but for the week.”

The pastry shop just opened its doors with a “soft opening,” using word of mouth and flyers at nearby businesses. Later, the shop may expand into some lunchtime offerings.

“It’s been kind of hit-and-miss,” in the first few days, reports Campbell.

[adrotate group=”9″] What’s his personal favorite out of the pastry case?

“I like the macaroons, and probably the canalés are my favorites,” answered Campbell. “Those are a basic custard, but with flour added so they hold their shape. They have some of the flavor of a crème brulée.”

That endorsement is seconded by a News-Ledger reporter – who also gave high marks to the shop’s lemon tarts – a favorite of teen center administrative assistant Jennifer Enright.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Man killed on train tracks


A man walking on train tracks in West Sacramento was struck and killed by a San Jose-bound Amtrak train Sunday afternoon, reports the West Sacramento Police Department.

The accident occurred at about 1:50 p.m., about 300 yards east of Harbor Boulevard.

“The engineer saw the victim walking along the tracks and blew the train horn in an attempt to warn the pedestrian,” said Lieutenant Tod Sockman in a press release. “The conductor applied the brakes prior to the collision, but was unable to stop in time.”

The man — not yet identified — had been walking with his back to the oncoming train. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim appeared to be a white male in his 40s or 50s, said Sockman.

Amtrak dispatched another train to the accident scene, which took on the passengers from the original train and continued their journey.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Local history: the Native Americans

[adrotate group=”10″] FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

A new West Sacramento exhibit opening Thursday, March 7, honors the area’s first residents, the Native Americans who lived in what later became West Sacramento. Visit the “Our Journey, the First Families” exhibit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the community center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue. Sponsored by the West Sacramento Historical Society & California Indian Heritage Center.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013