Category Archives: News

Volunteers needed for Grand Jury

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 18, 2015 —

News-Ledger Staff

Would you like to serve on the next Yolo County Grand Jury?

Each July 1, the local court empowers a panel of 19 people to serve on this independent arm of the local judicial system.

“The primary civil function of the grand jury is to review the operations of city and county government as well as other tax-supported agencies and special districts,” reports the office of Court Executive Officer Shawn Landry. “Based on these reviews, the grand jury publishes its findings and may recommend constructive action to improve the quality and effectiveness of local government.”

The grand jury also listens to evidence and considers criminal indictments, and follows up on complaints from citizens, government employees and others.

Jurors serve for one year, meeting twice a month and spending about 25-40 hours per month on the job. They receive a small stipend and travel allowance.

Among the qualifications: you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, you must have been a Yolo County resident for at least one year before selection, and you may not have been convicted of a felony.

Visit www.yolo.courts.ca.gov or contact the Yolo Superior Court, Jury Services, 725 Court Street, Room 303, Woodland, CA 95695, (530) 406-6828.

Applications are due by Feb. 27.

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

West Sac man one of nation’s oldest — and liveliest — stadium vendors

Howard Lowe shares some moves on  Westacre Road  (By AL ZAGOFSKY for the News-Ledger)

Howard Lowe shares some moves on
Westacre Road
(By AL ZAGOFSKY for the
News-Ledger)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 18, 2015 —

By Al Zagofsky
Correspondent

The “Nation’s Oldest Stadium Vendor” is what a Bay-area publication calls 74-year-old Howard “Crazy Legs” Lowe of West Sacramento.

While Lowe is both embarrassed and humbled by this claim, he nonetheless loves the publicity and the adoration he receives from the many fans he garnered while selling Kettle Corn in Raley Stadium and the major ballparks of San Francisco.

Crazy Legs loves to dance, and when he’s vending his sweet and salty Kettle Corn in stadiums like the Giants’ AT&T Park, and the loud speakers play out a country or rockabilly tune, he gets happy feet and rubber knees, and gets down—free styling to the music. And soon, the kids are up out of their seats shaking their booties along with him. Their parents soon follow and the whole aisle is a-groovin’.

Before the bankruptcy of Tower Records, Lowe worked in their West Sacramento warehouse, a job that had the unique benefit of periodic concerts from the recording artists. He remembers Allison Krauss, and the rapper Coolio, “who strutted through the warehouse with his entire entourage,” Lowe said. “The owner, Russ Solomon, liked to promote young bands, and he would have the musicians come out and play a set for the employees. We used to look forward to that all the time.”

A lifetime baseball addict, when he learned that the River Cats were coming to Raley Field, Lowe applied to work at the concessions—even before the stadium opened. During construction, he toured the stadium several times.

“May 15, 2000 was the first game for the River Cats,” Lowe remembers.  He was assigned to sell beer. It was a night game and drew a crowd of 15,000 people, and most of them had to stay in the concourse watching the thunder and lightning. “It was the most miserable weather. It was pitiful that night. Everybody hung out on the concourse eating food and drinking beer.”

Not liking beer, he transferred to guest services as an usher, transferred again into food service, and became a server. As a server, he would deliver meals from the kitchen to the patrons in the seating bowl.

“The first time I was doing this, I was carrying three or four cups of hot chocolate on a tray,” he explained. “I was trying to be really careful, and wouldn’t you know it—a foul ball landed right in the middle of the tray, right in the middle of the hot chocolates. I saw it coming but I couldn’t react fast enough.”

Lowe took to vending hotdogs, french fries, lemonade— just about everything that the vendors hustled, but as he started reaching his later 60s, he switched to “kettle corn because it was the lightest thing to carry.” He carries 15 to 20 bags in an old Crackerjack bag turned inside out.

While ushering and standing around and waiting, he started tapping his feet to the bluegrass song, Cotton-Eyed Joe.  “I felt the beat. I felt the music and I decided to be me,” Lowe said.  “I love people and I love music and I love sports. It just happened.”

Lowe always loved dancing, but it was at a bluegrass festival in South Sacramento Beach Lake Preserve where he became famous. “They started calling me Happy Feet, Rubber Legs, and Crazy Legs—and the name Crazy Legs stuck.”

Vending at Raley Field was tough work. “In the summers,  it can get really hot—sometimes over 100° in Sacramento, and almost as hot in the Bay area. I put crushed ice in a cloth underneath my baseball cap to keep cool.”

As Crazy Legs approached his 70th birthday in 2010, he was told that the River Cats concessions no longer required his services. Fortunately, during the times that the River Cats were on the road, he found vendor work at several stadiums in the San Francisco area.

And so, if you go to AT&T Park or some of the other stadiums in the Bay area, look for Crazy Legs, spring for a bag of his Kettle Corn, and shake your booty with the granddaddy of the stadium vendors.

  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-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

West Sac man one of nation’s oldest — and liveliest — stadium vendors

Howard Lowe shares some moves on  Westacre Road  (By AL ZAGOFSKY for the News-Ledger)

Howard Lowe shares some moves on
Westacre Road
(By AL ZAGOFSKY for the
News-Ledger)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 18, 2015 —

By Al Zagofsky
Correspondent

The “Nation’s Oldest Stadium Vendor” is what a Bay-area publication calls 74-year-old Howard “Crazy Legs” Lowe of West Sacramento.

While Lowe is both embarrassed and humbled by this claim, he nonetheless loves the publicity and the adoration he receives from the many fans he garnered while selling Kettle Corn in Raley Stadium and the major ballparks of San Francisco.

Crazy Legs loves to dance, and when he’s vending his sweet and salty Kettle Corn in stadiums like the Giants’ AT&T Park, and the loud speakers play out a country or rockabilly tune, he gets happy feet and rubber knees, and gets down—free styling to the music. And soon, the kids are up out of their seats shaking their booties along with him. Their parents soon follow and the whole aisle is a-groovin’.

Before the bankruptcy of Tower Records, Lowe worked in their West Sacramento warehouse, a job that had the unique benefit of periodic concerts from the recording artists. He remembers Allison Krauss, and the rapper Coolio, “who strutted through the warehouse with his entire entourage,” Lowe said. “The owner, Russ Solomon, liked to promote young bands, and he would have the musicians come out and play a set for the employees. We used to look forward to that all the time.”

A lifetime baseball addict, when he learned that the River Cats were coming to Raley Field, Lowe applied to work at the concessions—even before the stadium opened. During construction, he toured the stadium several times.

“May 15, 2000 was the first game for the River Cats,” Lowe remembers.  He was assigned to sell beer. It was a night game and drew a crowd of 15,000 people, and most of them had to stay in the concourse watching the thunder and lightning. “It was the most miserable weather. It was pitiful that night. Everybody hung out on the concourse eating food and drinking beer.”

Not liking beer, he transferred to guest services as an usher, transferred again into food service, and became a server. As a server, he would deliver meals from the kitchen to the patrons in the seating bowl.

“The first time I was doing this, I was carrying three or four cups of hot chocolate on a tray,” he explained. “I was trying to be really careful, and wouldn’t you know it—a foul ball landed right in the middle of the tray, right in the middle of the hot chocolates. I saw it coming but I couldn’t react fast enough.”

Lowe took to vending hotdogs, french fries, lemonade— just about everything that the vendors hustled, but as he started reaching his later 60s, he switched to “kettle corn because it was the lightest thing to carry.” He carries 15 to 20 bags in an old Crackerjack bag turned inside out.

While ushering and standing around and waiting, he started tapping his feet to the bluegrass song, Cotton-Eyed Joe.  “I felt the beat. I felt the music and I decided to be me,” Lowe said.  “I love people and I love music and I love sports. It just happened.”

Lowe always loved dancing, but it was at a bluegrass festival in South Sacramento Beach Lake Preserve where he became famous. “They started calling me Happy Feet, Rubber Legs, and Crazy Legs—and the name Crazy Legs stuck.”

Vending at Raley Field was tough work. “In the summers,  it can get really hot—sometimes over 100° in Sacramento, and almost as hot in the Bay area. I put crushed ice in a cloth underneath my baseball cap to keep cool.”

As Crazy Legs approached his 70th birthday in 2010, he was told that the River Cats concessions no longer required his services. Fortunately, during the times that the River Cats were on the road, he found vendor work at several stadiums in the San Francisco area.

And so, if you go to AT&T Park or some of the other stadiums in the Bay area, look for Crazy Legs, spring for a bag of his Kettle Corn, and shake your booty with the granddaddy of the stadium vendors.

  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-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Three months later, $2.6 million lottery winner claims his prize

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 18, 2015 —

News-Ledger Staff

The man who won $2.6 million in the Oct. 29 Powerball drawing finally came forward to claim his prize in late January.

Lottery officials identified him as Ronald Meier, and explained that he waited to claim his ticket in order to make sure he had all his “ducks in a row.”

Meier bought the winning ticket at the AM-PM mini-market at 847 Harbor Boulevard in West Sacramento – which will receive a $13,218.96 bonus for selling the ticket.

“I thought to myself, I can retire now,” Meier was quoted by the lottery in a written statement. He told California Lottery officials he also plans to take some vacations after his win.

“I was always hopeful,” Meier was quoted about playing the lottery. “I always felt a million and a half or two would be perfect. Anything else would be overwhelming.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

West Sac seniors looking for a little help with their garden

Ray Ledesma & Mary Emma Olbrich have been taking care of a tiny plot of land, and turning it into a pocket park. If your green thumbs are itching to help out a couple of seniors who love to flower garden but just need a little help, then read on. (Photo by Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger)

Ray Ledesma & Mary Emma Olbrich have been taking care of a tiny plot of land, and turning it into a pocket park. If your green thumbs are itching to help out a couple of seniors who love to flower garden but just need a little help, then read on. (Photo by Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 11, 2015 —

By Al Zagofsky
Correspondent

If your green thumbs are itching for the first signs of spring, and you’d like to help out a couple of seniors who love a flower garden but just need a little help, then read on.

Mary Olbrich and Ray Ledesma have been taking care of a tiny plot of land, and turning it into a pocket park by growing 20 large potted plants in the shade of a Cinnamomum camphora at Riverbend Manor’s senior housing  in the Broderick section of West Sacramento.

As many of the seniors do not get out much, even more so stay in their apartments most of the day, this pocket park serves as a place to meet visitors, to meet neighbors, or to sit quietly and contemplate the outdoors.

Mary, the more practical of the two, calls the pocket park ad hoc committee the Cummings Garden Group, because the garden is located just off Cummings Way.

Ray, the more poetic of the two coordinators, calls the project My Gate to Heaven. Also helping when the garden are Artis Graham and Rosemary Martinez.

“We are just a bunch of people trying to do a volunteer project,” Mary explained. “We have flowers and herbs. Everything is raised— and there is a trellis.”

“We started the plants in pots as it was to be a container garden. As the plants matured, they needed more room,” Mary said. “There is quite a bit of replanting that we have to do. The Geraniums and Pelargoniums need re-potting, and we planted lemongrass in the herb garden and it really took off.”

Years ago, the city repurposed an elementary school for senior housing and in the development set aside office space for the Parks and Recreation Department. A member of the department began the garden project, but the project was abandoned when Parks and Recreation relocated. When the fledgling pocket park study going to seed, that’s when several residents sought to salvage the effort and create the pocket garden.

The opportunity spoke to Mary, largely because Mary has had a green thumb from the age of five when she helped the family in their Victory Garden during World War II.

“When we did something wrong, my parents would send us out to weed the garden as punishment,” said Mary. “I never told them, but I really enjoyed weeding the garden.”

Ray grew up in the Clarksburg farming area. “My father taught me how to irrigate plants the old Spanish-style way. We grew everything from chilies to zucchini.”

When his parents grew older, Ray explained, “I built a garden because I wanted my parents to have a connection to heaven—because that’s where they were headed.”

The pocket park planters are looking for help from anyone who could volunteer an hour a week. Also they could use some large plastic planting pots and soil—and or someone with a vehicle to transport it. They are not looking for additional plants.

They are also looking for some help trimming roses around the development. “We have a couple of yellow and lavender roses—one has a gorgeous scent when it is in bloom,” Mary noted. Until recently, Mary had been trimming the roses, but she’s currently in a wheelchair and the wheelchair get stuck in the dirt or topples on sloping surfaces.

That’s another reason that Mary enjoys the garden. “My energy level goes way up when I’m out here, and I’m not as sleepy the rest of the day. Especially in the summer time when the plants bloom. The yellow rose bush is incredible—it just blooms and blooms.”

Mary is looking for volunteers at any level of expertise from unfamiliar to master gardener.

If your green thumb is itching to make a difference, call Mary at 916-372-9371.

  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-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Driving lesson: officer talks to RCHS teens about real danger behind the wheel

CHP Officer Martine Olivares asks RCHS students to think about what they think is risky behavior behind the wheel.  (Photo by Kaitlyn Donoghue/River City High School)

CHP Officer Martine Olivares asks RCHS students to think about what they think is risky behavior behind the wheel. (Photo by Kaitlyn Donoghue/River City High School)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 11, 2015 —

By Farina Khalil
River City High School Journalism Class

River City High School students attended a driving awareness presentation held by the driver’s education teacher, Shannon Woods, in partnership with Impact Teen Driving, an organization that was founded in response to the high frequency of crashes involving teens to which California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers respond.

The goal of the organization is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths suffered by teens as a result of distracted driving and poor decision making. According to their website, impactteendrivers.org, 4,000 teens die each year due to vehicle collision, that’s roughly 11 per day. 75% of it is not related to drugs and alcohol but due to distractions such as cell phones or applying makeup.

“I’ve worked in many areas and on average, in a big area you’ll see 5 crashes [per day] from minor property damage to fatality,” said Officer Martine Olivares, who also talked about how cell phones are a common distraction while driving. In fact, a majority of the calls he gets about teen vehicle collisions are caused by distracted driving.

Debbie Smith, a speaker at the Impact Teen Driving event, spoke about her son Joel Davis, who had died in a car accident in 2005 in Pleasanton because the two passengers in the front were arguing and crashed into a tree. She spoke about her reaction when she found out her son died when she received a coroner’s note she got in the mail.

“My son went from being a person to now being a case number,” said Smith.

The Impact Teen Driving presentation hopes to raise awareness to prevent any type of distraction in the car from taking a driver’s focus from the road, especially for teens because they are young and inexperienced drivers.

“Respect life — you can’t bring it back once it’s lost,” said Smith.

  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-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Most years, the Amgen Tour of California has bypassed West Sacramento. But back in 2007, riders sped through town as part of their Sacramento-area stage. Here, they round the corner from Sacramento Avenue to Jefferson Boulevard on their way to the Tower Bridge (News-Ledger photo)

Most years, the Amgen Tour of California has bypassed West Sacramento. But back in 2007, riders sped through town as part of their Sacramento-area stage. Here, they round the corner from Sacramento Avenue to Jefferson Boulevard on their way to the Tower Bridge (News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — FEB 19, 2015 —

Cyclists in this year’s edition of the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race will pass through West Sacramento twice on Sunday, May 10, after the race kicks off its first stage at the state capitol. There should be plenty of local spectator opportunities both in the morning as the racers get their start and in the afternoon as they approach the finish.

Stage 1 of the 724.1-mile race will both start and end at the capitol building. It starts at 11 a.m.

“After an initial crossing of the Sacramento River via the iconic Tower Bridge, the race will pass quickly through West Sacramento to River Road,” organizers reported today. “From here, the race will follow the winding Sacramento River through the small towns of Clarksburg, Courtland and Walnut Grove. The stage’s fourth bridge crossing will take the race back over the river into Isleton.”

Later, the athletes will re-cross the river into Rio Vista and travel through Solano County, Davis, Woodland, and back to West Sacramento and across the Tower Bridge. The stage is measured at 127 miles.

Stage two carries the riders from Nevada City to Lodi, and following stages will take place all over the state.

The race finishes with Stage 8, ending at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on May 17.

The News-Ledger will bring more details of the exact local race route as the race approaches.

For more information, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

  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-Ledger 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2015