Category Archives: News

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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Man killed on train tracks

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MAR 4, 2013

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

Cash: two candidates lead the pack

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 27, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

In the field of five candidates running for West Sacramento’s school board right now, only two have thus far reported raising a substantial amount of money in campaign donations. And each of those two candidates is benefiting from support by groups that some people might consider “special interests.”

SARAH  KIRBY-GONZALEZ: Campaign shows support from various teachers’ unions (News-Ledger photo)

SARAH
KIRBY-GONZALEZ:
Campaign shows support from various teachers’ unions
(News-Ledger photo)

 

FRANCISCO CASTILLO Contributors include StudentsFirst executives and charter schools proponents (News-Ledger photo)

FRANCISCO CASTILLO
Contributors include StudentsFirst executives and charter schools proponents
(News-Ledger photo)

According to financial disclosure forms due last Friday at the Yolo County Elections Department, Francisco Castillo leads the pack in raising money to campaign for a school board seat on March 5.

Through Feb. 16, he reported having raised $36,730. This total includes $15,000 from “Parents and Teachers for Putting StudentsFirst,” a school reform organization that looks favorably at charter schools, and $10,000 from the “California Charter Schools Assoc Advocates.”

Castillo – himself an executive with StudentsFirst – said the contributions won’t push him to give special treatment to charter schools or to applications to form charter schools.

“I think I’ve been pretty clear before,” he said. “I support better options for parents, whether it’s charter schools or public schools.”

He added that while he supports charter schools, he also believes that if a charter school doesn’t perform, it should be shut down. The campaign donations won’t budge him, said Castillo.

“When making a decision on the board, one of the things I will consider is how to look at all sides of an issue – whether it’s from the teachers, students, charter school advocates or non-charter school advocates.”

Meanwhile, opponent Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez reports having raised $10,465 (not counting donations received after the most recent reporting deadline). She’s a teacher in the Folsom-Cordova school district.

Among her receipts are about $2,000 from the teachers’ union here in Washington Unified School District, $5,500 from the Sacramento City Teachers Association PAC (political action committee), $2,000 from the Twin Rivers United Educators PAC and $1,000 from the Los Rios Federation of Teachers PAC. This list may include some donations received after her campaign fund snapshot that showed $10,465 in funds.

Kirby-Gonzalez was asked whether support from teachers’ unions would influence her decisions as a school board member – for example, when the school board was negotiating with its teachers on a labor contract.

“No,” she answered. “While I have money from the teachers and I’m happy to have their support, certainly this is not about the teachers, it’s about the students. . . Absolutely, I’ll keep money out of it, of course. There may be times I would have to bow out (of a decision) if the attorney says to.”

Also on the list of financial supporters for Kirby-Gonzalez are contributors such as Rebecca J. Lovally, a CSUS professor, $2,000; Sunderland for School Board 2012 committee, $1,000; and the campaign committee for 2012 school board candidate Coby Pizotti, which gave her $350.

Other people on the list of contributors to Castillo’s campaign include Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who gave $500; Cabaldon’s campaign committee, which gave $2,500; David Crane, lecturer on public policy at Stanford, $2,500; several executives at StudentsFirst including Founder and CEO Michelle Rhee, who gave $500; the American Sikh PAC, $1,000; and Donna Lucias of Lucas Public Affairs, $1,000.

[adrotate group=”9″]  Besides Castillo and Kirby-Gonzalez, the others in the race are Katherine Gales, Linh Nguyen and Nicholas Turney. Each of those three reported accepting little or no campaign money from others as of February 16.

Fundraising totals for some candidates will be revised as they file reports later in the campaign season.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013