Category Archives: News

Don’t buy that new toy – borrow it

Six-year-old Sasha Stanchits checks out the foosball toy with the West Sacramento Toy Library program coordinator, library assistant Carly Brotherton. (Photos by Al Zagofsky)

Six-year-old Sasha Stanchits checks out the foosball toy with the West Sacramento Toy Library program coordinator, library assistant Carly Brotherton.
(Photos by Al Zagofsky)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 21, 2014 —

By Al Zagofsky
Correspondent

Have you ever had your child pull your sleeve, cry and beg that they need the latest and greatest toy that they saw on television or at their friends’ home?

And then, the next day you spend big bucks for the toy, they love it—they love you, and the following day it’s pushed aside, perhaps never to be played with again, and relegated to the junk pile. There is a solution—the West Sacramento Toy Library at the Turner Community Library.

“We have toys for kids of all ages,” explained program coordinator, library assistant Carly Brotherton. “The program focuses mostly on ages from newborn to 6 years old. We have puzzles, blocks, baby dolls, musical instruments, balls, gloves and even a T-ball set.”

The West Sacramento Toy Library is a membership organization, and is open on Tuesdays from noon to 2 pm, and on Wednesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm. Membership is $15 per year and entitles members to take out up to five toys at a time for three weeks. Toys can be returned to the library circulation desk any time the library is open.

“Members can swap out toys, so they are constantly able to get fresh toys to take home,” Carlie said. “When they get tired of them, they bring them back, and go home with new toys.”

“The most popular toys are ones that make noise,” She explained. “This includes the big ambulance, various musical instruments, and the keyboard. The parents enjoy the advantage of having the toys returned after three weeks—often sooner.”

After they are returned, toys are cleaned by a volunteer before they are made available for the next person to check out. If a toy is returned broken, sometimes a volunteer can repair it, otherwise the borrower is asked to replace the damaged toy with one of a similar value.

Although the Toy Library is housed at the Turner Community Library, the five-year-old program is operated by Child  Care Services of Davis. For many years, the Toy Library was housed in the West Sacramento City Hall. The Toy Library currently has 50 members. They are always seeking new members and clean toys in good condition.

“The Toy Library helps cut costs for parents, and saves them the time and trouble of having to go out and buy a lot of toys,” Carly noted. “We get donations from our community, and that helps keep the supply fresh. Patrons are not seeing the same toys over and over again.”

The Toy Library is located at the Arthur F. Turner Community Library, 1212 Merkley Avenue in West Sacramento., telephone number: (916) 375-6465.

  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

Cheap books, movies & music: winter sale from Friends of Library

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The West Sacramento Friends of the Library invite you to browse their collection of books, CDs and movies for sale on the weekend of Jan. 24-25 at the Arthur F. Turner Branch Library, 1212 Merkley Avenue.

Saturday’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays will be 10-3. Hardbacks will go for $1, paperbacks for 50 cents, children’s books for 10-25 cents, with special priced books, CDs and movies as well. On Sunday, items will go for $3 per bagful. For information or to volunteer, call 375-6465, ext. 4, or email wsfol99@yahoo.com.

Proceeds benefit programs at the library.

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

California counties, cities settle with Safeway over handling of hazardous wastes

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 14, 2015 —

Safeway Inc. has agreed to pay $9.87 million in “civil penalties, costs and supplemental environmental projects” after a group of California officials alleged its stores have been mishandling hazardous and pharmaceutical wastes.

The office of Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig was among the 42 district attorneys and two city attorneys who joined the legal action against Safeway. The Pleasanton-based company settled the case after working “cooperatively” with investigators. The court judgment was approved this month in Alameda County Superior Court.

“The investigation into Safeway’s practices began after discovery of improper shipments of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste to Safeway’s distribution centers form their stores,” said Reisig’s office in a press statement.

“The investigation revealed that Safeway was also routinely and systematically sending hazardous and pharmaceutical wastes to local area landfills not equipped to receive such waste. Upon being notified by prosecutors of the widespread issues, Safeway worked cooperatively to remedy the issue, enhance its environmental program and train its employees to properly handle such waste.”

The settlement resolved allegations involving over 500 Safeway stores and distribution centers, including its brands of Vons, Pavilions and Pak ‘n Save. Safeway operates several stores in Yolo County, including a Safeway at 1298 West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The News-Ledger contacted the D.A.’s office to find out how much of the settlement is earmarked for Yolo County. We received a response after this article was published in our print edition.

A spokesman informed the News-Ledger that $375,000 of the settlement will go to Yolo County District Attorney’s office in the form of civil penalties, and the D.A.’s office will also receive about $89,000 in cost recovery.

The Yolo County Environmental Health Department will receive about $35,250 of the Safeway settlement in civil penalties and will recover costs in the amount of $5,400.

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

A short road trip to storied, Chinese-founded town in the Delta

Photo by Al Zagofsky

Photo by Al Zagofsky

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 14, 2015

By Al Zagofsky
Correspondent

Just 30 miles south of West Sacramento is the last remaining rural Chinatown, an outpost remaining largely intact since its founding in 1915, and struggling to survive in its centennial year.

This unique historic property, described by the Locke Foundation as, “The only town in the United States built exclusively by Chinese Americans for the Chinese Americans,” and “inhabited almost exclusively by Chinese until recent years,” now faces a deteriorating infrastructure that has become repopulated by a 90 percent  non-Chinese citizenry.

A PLACE FOR GAMES OF CHANCE: Locke grew to a population of between 500 and 600 people with a main street full of businesses, some of which, like gambling and brothels, drew people from miles around. (Photo by Al Zagofsky)

A PLACE FOR GAMES OF CHANCE: Locke grew to a population of between 500 and 600 people with a main street full of businesses, some of which, like gambling and brothels, drew people from miles around.
(Photo by Al Zagofsky)

In 1971, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1990, the Locke Historic District of Walnut Grove was designated a National Historic Landmark. The  Boarding House at the entry to Locke is owned by the California Department of State Parks and has been turned into a museum.

Passage of the Swamp and Overflow Land Act in 1850 conveyed ownership of all swamp and overflow land, including Delta marshes, from the federal government to the state of California. Proceeds from the sale of swampland by the state were to go toward reclaiming the swamplands.

Contractors were hired to build levees along the Sacramento River to prevent flooding and allow the marshland to be trained for agriculture.

“In 1860, a contractor recruited  a few thousand Chinese men from the San Francisco area to build the Sacramento Delta levees,” according to Clarence Chu, a volunteer at the State Parks Boarding House Museum. “This became the Central Valley farmland.”

“For 20 years, it was all done by hand, by pushing wheelbarrows and hauling dirt.” The workers lived in tents as the levees progressed along the Sacramento River. Around 1880, mechanization replaced manual labor—the Chinese workers were no longer needed.

The Chinese school building is now a museum and open to the public free of charge. Currently two giant bronze busts commemorating Sun Yat-sen and Confucius sit before its entrance. (Photo by Al Zagofsky)

The Chinese school building is now a museum and open to the public free of charge. Currently two giant bronze busts commemorating Confucius and Sun Yat-sen sit before its entrance.
(Photo by Al Zagofsky)

Some of these workers remained behind, with many settling in Walnut Grove. Over the next generation, the children became merchants and professionals. But under the laws at the time, they were forbidden to own property.

After a fire destroyed the Chinese section of Walnut Grove in 1915, several Chinese merchants approached George Locke and negotiated an extended lease on 10 acres of his property. This became the town of Lockeport, later shortened to Locke. The land remained in private ownership until 2001, when it was purchased by the County of Sacramento.

The first thing that visitors to Locke notice is the State Parks’ Boarding House Museum. It was built in 1909 to board workers of the Southern Pacific Railroad and it thus predated the establishment of Locke. The boarding house was later purchased by the Kuramoto family, a Japanese family from Walnut Grove. They operated the boarding house from 1920 to 1942—when they were interned during World War II. They did not resume operation of the boarding house after the war.

“When the Kuramoto boarding house opened in 1915,  it attracted Chinese migrant farmworkers,” explained Clarence Chu. “There was a difference in the economic status between the new immigrants from China and the ones that had been here for at least a few years, some of whom owned restaurants; some of whom owned grocery stores.”

Locke grew to a population of between 500 and 600 people with a main street full of businesses, some of which, like gambling and brothels, drew people from miles around.

After the Depression and World War II, many of the children and grandchildren of the founders of Locke left the area. For the last half-century, many of the buildings have been in a state of disrepair.

But Locke’s charm has been rediscovered, and once again the buildings are being reclaimed as restaurants, museums and shops.

It’s definitely worth a trip to discover a unique example of both national history and the spirit of a town that’s working to preserve that history.

Teachers and parents can access a National Parks lesson on Locke at: http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/Locke/locke.htm.

Driving directions:
Set a GPS to: 13916 Main St., Walnut Grove, CA 95690. From Sacramento, take I-5 South for about 20 minutes, and exit at Twin Cities Road. Follow Twin Cities Rd. and River Rd. to Key St. in Walnut Grove, about eight minutes, and look for sign for the Locke Historic District.Go one block past the boarding house and there is a parking lot on the left.

  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

Partners sell chunk of West Sacramento power retail center

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 14, 2015

The Buzz Oates Group of Companies (BOGC) announced last month that it had sold the Riverpoint Marketplace in West Sacramento for an undisclosed amount of money to Excel Trust of San Diego.

According to the press statement, BOGC acquired the property in 1999. It was developed by BOGC and West Sacramento’s Ramco Enterprises (local developer Frank Ramos).

The current 900,000 square foot shopping center is anchored by IKEA, a Walmart Supercenter and Home Depot. It’s the fourth-largest retail center in the Sacramento region, following the Roseville Galleria, Arden Fair Mall and Sunrise Regional Mall.

Excel Trust bought 12 buildings totaling 134,000 square feet of the development – property not owned by the anchor tenants like IKEA. The sale includes buildings leased by Ross Dress for Less, America’s Tire, Petco, Sketchers, IHOP, Sleep Train, La-Z-Boy and a number of other retailers.

Before IKEA bought their own site and built their store in 2005-2006, three decades of development efforts included attempts to build an auto mall, office park, discount mall, furniture mall and an Indian casino.

Kevin Ramos, chief investment officer of BOGC, said in a press statement that development following IKEA’s opening was tough.

“We are very proud of our entire organization’s execution of a complicated project during a very challenging economic environment in 2008-2011,” said Ramos. “Our partnership took a significant risk, during a difficult economic period to say the least, and successfully delivered a project that will benefit our community for many years.”

Ramos said the project delivered $20 million in development fees, $1.25 million per year in property tax increment and over $2 million in annual sales tax revenue to the City of West Sacramento.

BOGC and Ramco have retained two retail pads at the site along I-80 and the 105,000 square foot Riverpoint Corporate Center building, which they report is 92 percent leased.

CORE Commercial in Sacramento represented the seller in the transaction.

  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

Feds & state again fund West Sacramento DUI checkpoint program

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 7, 2015

West Sacramento’s police department announced last month that it will receive renewed funding for DUI checkpoints and other traffic enforcement.

The department has been awarded a $ 91,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries, it reported.   West Sacramento Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.

“After falling dramatically between 2006 and 2010, the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions saw slight increases in 2011 and 2012,” said the W.S.P.D. statement. “Particularly worrisome are recent increases in pedestrian and motorcycle fatalities and the dangers of distracting technologies. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk and drugged driving and speeding.”

“California’s roadways are still among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft in a press statement.  “But to meet future mobility, safety, and sustainability objectives, we must create safer roadways for all users.  The West Sacramento Police Department will be using these and other resources to reach the vision we all share – Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”

Activities that the grant will fund include:
•    DUI checkpoints
•    DUI saturation patrols
•    Motorcycle safety enforcement
•    Distracted driving enforcement
•    Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement
•    Speed, red light, and stop sign enforcement
•    Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders
•    Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders
•    Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Shooter in killing on West Capitol Avenue is denied parole

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 7, 2015

A man convicted in a shooting death in West Sacramento back in 2000 was denied parole last month.

The Yolo County District Attorney’s office reported that a panel of the state board of parole hearings denied parole for David Cree, 34.

Cree (then 20) and companion Jessie Lampkin were driving on West Capitol Avenue on Oct. 8, 2000, after a night of drinking, said the D.A.’s office. They drove past Jimmy Lee Richardson and Gregory Rowan, and Cree believed Richardson might have previously assaulted him.

Cree pulled the car over and asked “Where are the girls?”

Then he fired a sawed-off shotgun at the pair. Richardson died, and Rowan was seriously injured.

Cree was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges, and was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison. Lampkin was also convicted of murder. His conviction was overturned although he later served time for manslaughter.

The parole board believed Cree’s release posed an “unreasonable risk” to the public. He’s eligible for another hearing in 2017, although he may request earlier hearing date.

Copyright News-Ledger 2015