Category Archives: News

How West Sacramentans celebrated the Fourth of July

By Michele Townsend

To 8-year-old (“About to turn 9!”), Ella Godina, the Fourth of July is about “Staying up all night, with lots of fun and fireworks!” To 15-year-old Laura Garcia, “Independence Day is a day to spend with family, having fun. And it’s a day that the whole neighborhood watches fireworks together… when everyone is outside having fun.” The fact is, these girls are absolutely right! We all know that 241 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the Thirteen Colonies claimed their independence from England by signing the Declaration of Independence which led to the formation of the United States. But, did you know that at that same time, the way in which we celebrate Independence Day was also declared!? John Adams envisioned how the celebration should take place. He stated about July 4th celebrations “It will be celebrated… With pomp (ceremony and splendid display) and parade…bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of the continent to the other.” This was declared before the Declaration was even signed!

The first Independence Day was actually held on July 8, 1776 at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Independence Square, Philadelphia. There was music being played by bands, and the ringing of bells. This is where the term “let freedom ring” came from. One year later, on July Fourth (and forever to be on July Fourth) 1777, Independence Day was celebrated by “Adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells and fireworks” This day was forever to be known as the day of celebrating freedom. The freedom of being our own country, and the freedoms that brought us.

We the People, now a Nation, were free to speak how we saw fit. We were free to worship whatever religion we chose. And because we had the freedom to speak, religion has always been controversial. Everyone has their own view of right and wrong. Not only in religion, but in everything! We have terms like “In God We Trust” on our money, and “One Nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. But because of the freedoms that we are celebrating, it doesn’t say… or restrict… us to which God. It could be my God, it could be yours. But, in this country, we are free to choose. Perhaps the Forefathers had the insight when they wrote about the Freedom of Religion, that the U.S. would welcome the blessing and guidance of all Gods. Regardless, we became an independent country that is based on the importance of freedom, That freedom still stands true today. Pat Bobo, age 32, said, “It’s about Patriotism, but I’m not really proud of our government right now, so I pretty much just party and shoot off fireworks. It’s not much deeper than that.” Again, love or hate what people say, but the freedom of speech is a wonderful thing!

To some people however, the Fourth of July celebration means much more! It may still include fireworks, patriotic music, red white and blue clothes, barbecue, beer and apple pie… but it is a day for many to pay special tribute and send extra prayers to the men and women of the military. A thank you for our for those who guard and protect those very freedoms against anyone or anything that threatens them… a day to sit back and realize how good we’ve got it, and why that is. Stacy Evans, who is “rockin 46” said very enthusiastically “It’s about Independence, Freedom and red, white and blue all the way!” Yet Donna Reber, age 71, says that to her “4th of July means that a bunch of people are going out to spend a bunch of money on getting drunk and fireworks and make her dogs go crazy while she sits there trying to calm them down.”

Let’s all just be happy that in this country, because of those people, on that day, in 1776…. We were able to celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Get ready for the Fourth! Here’s where to get your fireworks

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The West Sacramento City Council adopted Ordinance 11-2 which regulates the possession, sale, and use of fireworks within city limits. The State of California approved Safe and Sane Fireworks are permitted to be sold and used within the City of West Sacramento as outlined in the West Sacramento Fireworks Ordinance. The City Council also adopted Resolution 11-5 which grants eight Fireworks Sales Permits to organizations meeting specific guidelines outlined in the West Sacramento Fireworks Ordinance.

The permits are awarded by lottery, and the winners are, as follows:

Joe 238 Foundation: 940 Sacramento Ave.
First Baptist Church of West Sacramento: 1300 Jefferson Blvd.
Youth for Christ/Collings Teen Center: 1298 West Capitol Ave.
Moose Lodge #1762 (Royal Order of the Moose)/Women of the Moose: 2250 Lake Washington Blvd.
Apostolic Faith Tabernacle Church/United Apostolic: 755 Riverpoint Court
Lighthouse Covenant Church/Mercy Coalition: 1601 West Capitol Ave.
West Sacramento Little League/West Sacramento Jr Raiders Youth Football and Cheer: 2455 Jefferson Blvd.
River City Music Boosters/West Sacramento Rotary Club: 2000 Town Center Plaza

To report illegal fireworks, call 372-3375 or download the “Nail ‘Em” smartphone application at <ca-fireworks.presskit247.com/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=8396>

PSA from West Sacramento Moose Family Center: The men and women of the West Sacramento Moose Family Center invite you their fireworks stand at the Lowe’s Home Improvement Center parking lot at 2250 Lake Washington Blvd. There are seven brand new items (including the $2.99 TNT Poker Chip), 18 products cost less than $5 and ask about the six ‘Buy 1 Get 1 FREE’ specials. The family of Moose is the proud sponsor of MooseHeart (“The City of Children”) and of MooseHaven (The City of Contentment” for seniors; just ask and they’ll explain. They will be serving free cold water and juice for customers and their children; and providing valuable information, like where to get your coffee for free in West Sacramento. 

Use of State of California Approved Safe and Sane Fireworks
State of California Approved Safe and Sane Fireworks can be utilized within the City of West Sacramento starting at noon today through July 6 at noon.

Public Displays of Fireworks

Public displays of fireworks require a permit issued by the West Sacramento Fire Department. Permits are issued pursuant to state law and the West Sacramento Fireworks Ordinance. A permit application is available at https://www.cityofwestsacramento.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=6629.


Mill Street Pier Opens In Bridge District

City officials gathered for the grand opening for the $1.3 million rehabilitated Mill Street Pier. It is the latest amenity in the emerging Bridge District. Pier sits 25 feet over the Sacramento River providing breathtaking views of the water, downtown Sacramento, and the nearby Barn entertainment hub.

Mayor Pro Tem Mark Johannessen, City Manager Martin Tuttle, Julie Alvis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency gathered as the West Sacramento Fireboat “Boat 41” put on water spray show on the river in West Sacramento’s Bridge District, just steps south of the Barn.

Showing Options and Building Confidence

By Michele Townsend

linda lunaA community meeting was held and hosted by Washington Unified School District for the families of Holy Cross Academy to introduce them to our school district. Many of the students that attend HCA are the second or third generation in their families that have attended that school. WUSD wanted to reassure the families that if their children transfer to Washington Unified, at HCA’s closing this spring, their children will not be forfeiting the quality of their education. “Our school district is nothing like it was 15 years ago,” said Superintendent Linda Luna.

Many years ago our school district was very poor. The buildings needed updating, not a single one of our schools tested at grade proficient, and our curriculum in all grades needed a complete updated overhaul. WUSD, every level of the entire staff, and all of the students and families have completely changed that.

Superintendent Luna explained the structure of our district, followed by an introduction of the Board of Education members in attendance, assistant superintendents, other administrators and principals from several elementary schools. She explained their positions, and the duties they perform. In addition she explained how we have evolved to our current district structure. As our district has grown and changed, there has been a need of altering existing positions and developing new ones. The teachers have all learned the new curriculum first, so that they can effectively teach it. New schools have been built, old schools have been renovated, and technology has been brought current. We now have award winning schools and students. We have students being recruited and being awarded scholarships from major universities nationwide, and we have a 95 percent graduation rate! We are definately NOT the district we used to be.

In preperation of school enrollment, many parents look at our schools state test scores and become concerned. However, if you look at a school’s state test scores, it does not project an accurate picture of their eduaction quality. Here’s why… Testing is done at a certain time, and ALL students must be tested. There are many sub groups that the children are grouped in to, however they do not include, and do not make adjustments for things like how long the student has been in the country, what kind of education were they getting prior to coming here, what language do they speak, is the test given in their language and in a structure that they understand, etc? As you can imagine, the accuracy of those numbers representing our quality of education quickly becomes faulty. So WUSD would like those interested in enrolling in our district to look what we have to offer, and the outstanding things that are occuring with our students and schools. Washington Unified has amazing programs and technology at every level for almost every demographic of student. Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Services, Amber Lee said “We try to know every student by name and by need, and if there is a need that we cannot help you with, we do our very best to rectify that!” The beauty of the programs that WUSD has addopted, is that they arent just “a class”, they are life changing, career building programs that are set up to transition from primary to secondary to college to career.

River City High School is now an amazing place. If you have never taken a tour of it, you really should! (They offer them every year shortly before the new school year begins – however you can arrange it if you need to at any time) The departments and special programs range from robotics, to forensics, to engineering, to culinary, to farming to the fine arts and so many more. We have career and community building opportunities and more students attending college than ever in the history of school in West Sacramento.

One mother of an HCA student expressed her concern of bullying. Amber Lee in combination with Westfield Elementary Principal Roxanna Villasenor explained that in addition to the no tollerance rule, they go beyond that by teaching and incorporating anti-bullying techniques on a daily basis.

They bring in the Reach One Alliance, with Kevin Bracy throughout the year. (He is amazing!) Principal Villasenor also told about a monthly get together for coffee between parents and principal that is informal and casual where they discuss any topic, creating a family type of community within the school.. Another father/grandfather of HCA students asked about prayer, and religeon practices at school.

Much to most people’s surprise there is a Bible club at River City, as well as a group of Muslim students that pray together. One thing that was consistant throughout every administrator, principal, board member or teacher who attended the meeting was that there is an open door policy throughout the district. All families are encouraged to call, come in or log onto the district website with any questions, concerns, or needs!