Category Archives: News

Johannessen looking at homeless issue

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 2, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Councilman Mark Johannessen plans to lobby the West Sacramento city council next month to include a “homeless” policy among the city’s priorities for 2013.

Johannessen has been chairman of an informal group of “stakeholders” discussing the issue of homelessness in the city.

 

City Council Member Mark Johannessen (News-Ledger photo)

“We’ve had people from the Veterans Administration in the group, homeowners and property owners, business stakeholders, a police rep and a city rep in the group over the last year and a half,” he told the News-Ledger. “It’s basically an email list anybody can join.”

The committee has been trying to decide what, exactly, it wants out of a city policy on homelessness.

“What’s happened over the last year is that we’ve created an inventory of homeless resources, and also a wish list of all the stakeholders,” said Johannessen. “Does (the policy)  mean cleaning up neighborhoods, or does it mean feeding the homeless?”

There is no cold weather shelter in West Sacramento right now. There is a motel room voucher program funded through a grant obtained by the Broderick Christian Center – but last winter, there wasn’t even that.

“I think a shelter is an attribute people want to see,” he said. “Broderick Christian Center is doing a day shelter, but there is no night shelter in West Sacramento. There are no beds except for the (motel) voucher program. I definitely think a shelter is a discussion we need to have.”

[adrotate group=”7″]   Johannessen said the last count put the number of homeless in city limits around 138 – and they are homeless for varying reasons. Most are men.

“There are chronic homeless – those are the people likely to have some mental health issue or drug or alcohol issue. Then you have people who lose their jobs or their homes, and they’re sleeping in their cars, but they’re capable of getting a job and getting back on their feet.  Some people won’t tell you why they’re homeless, but there are obviously some issues with them. It could be they haven’t been to the dentist and don’t have any teeth – how are you going to get a job without any teeth?”

Johannessen said a big part of the new policy could be just creating a central clearinghouse for homeless services.

“In my view, one of the biggest problems right now is that we have all kinds of people doing all kinds of things – such as Helena Helmold (East Yolo Information Center for Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse) doing alcohol and drug issues. She may or may not be in touch with Broderick Christian Center which may or may not be in touch with St. Vincent De Paul. One of the things that may come from this (committee) is some centralized process, so if you have a homeless issue, there’s one place to go.”

Meanwhile, the City of West Sacramento is looking for a consultant to help draft a homeless policy.

West Sacramento worked with other Yolo County governments in 2008 on a ten-year plan on homelessness – but funding was cut, reports Louise Collis of the City of West Sacramento.

“What we’re trying to do is find a way at least in West Sacramento for us to move forward (on limited means),” said Collis.

This city’s homeless problem may be different in some ways from the problem faced in western Yolo County.

“We’re right across the river from Sacramento, and that’s a different situation form Esparto or Woodland or someplace rural,” said Collis.

The West Sacramento City Council will hold its annual strategic plan meeting – and possibly listen to a pitch from Johannessen about homelessness – in early 2013.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Foodies: special Sacto dining discounts

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

The 8th annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week will return for ten days starting on January 9th.

Downtown Sacramento’s top restaurants will offer special three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for $30 a person. Among the many participating restaurants so far this year are the 4th Street Grille, Biba, Blackbird Kitchen& Bar, Blue Prynt, The Broiler Steakhouse, Capitol Garage, Chops Steaks & Seafood Bar, Dawson’s at the Hyatt, Esquire Grill, Fat City, The Firehouse Restaurant, Frank Fat’s, Grange, Mayahuel, The Melting Pot, Paragrary’s Midtown, The Porch, Spataro, Ten22 and Tuli Bistro.

For more information on Dine Downtown and all the participating restaurants, visit www.downtownsac.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Old ‘Bakers Square’ site is reborn

When the Bakers Square restaurant change went under, the chain’s former West Sacramento property became a ward of the state -- which was expanding the nearby freeway interchange -- and then the City. It has since been sold to a Denny’s franchisee. Above is owner Bobby Chao (center, fifth from left). Some of those with him at the official grand opening on Dec. 3 were Chamber of Commerce CEO Denice Seals (third adult from left) and Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (fourth from left). Third from right is Charline Hamilton, city community development director; second from right is Diane Richards of the city’s economic development department. (News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 2, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

After being vacant for a couple of years, the former “Bakers Square” restaurant on Harbor Boulevard is once more pouring coffee and flipping flapjacks – this time underneath a “Denny’s” banner.

The re-opening marks the end of a troubled few years for the property. At the same time the Bakers Square brand was fighting financial problems (the chain filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008), CalTrans was working on plans to expand the interchange next door to the West Sacramento restaurant site – a project which would affect access to the local Bakers Square.

The West Sacramento Bakers Square was among those closed down by the parent company. CalTrans made a deal for the restaurant property first, easing the way for the interchange.

Then it changed hands again.

“In the course of transferring some City right-of-way to be used for that highway project, the city ended up acquiring a piece of that property,” said Louise Collis, a senior program manager for the City of West Sacramento. But putting the old restaurant in new hands wasn’t easy.

[adrotate group=”7″] “It was not a good time for a new restaurant to open up,” said Collis. “We ended up getting the property at the height of the recession.”

Enter Bobby Chao, who was operating the Denny’s restaurant on Lake Road in West Sacramento (near Enterprise Boulevard) as well as a Denny’s in Galt.

“He purchased it so he could expand his (local) Denny’s,” said Collis. “It’s over 30 percent larger than his old Denny’s in West Sacramento.”

Chao bought most of the old Bakers Square site for about $850,000 she said.

“He put over $400,000 of rehab into it. We were really pleased he was willing to invest that kind of money into it. That’s a really important entry to the city off of Highway 50.”

Chao said he ended up investing even more money into the building’s rehabilitation.

“I put in all new equipment, all new furniture, and painted inside and out,” Chao told the News-Ledger. “Every piece of equipment we’re using is brand-new. Basically it’s a brand-new restaurant. $400,000 was just the cost of the equipment – it doesn’t include the construction costs.”

The new Denny’s opened in late November, and Chao has vacated his lease on Lake Road.

How’s business at 1235 Harbor?

“So far, it’s good,” said Chao. “We’re significantly up – over 50 percent up over previous years at the previous location. It’s a new location and I’m very happy the community has supported it.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Practice tests for college-bound seniors

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

All Yolo County college-bound teens are invited to a couple of free workshops hosted at the Davis branch library, 315 14th Street in Davis. Practice for the SAT and ACT tests on Sat., Jan. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (follow-up on Jan. 22) by taking a practice test, then come back to learn your score and some score-raising strategies. Sign up at the Information Desk or by phone (530) 757-5598 by Jan. 2.

[adrotate group=”9″] Teens wanting more information on college financial aid are invited to a workshop at the library from 2-4 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 13. Registration not required.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Police screen over 800 drivers

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 2, 2013 —

West Sacramento police staged a “DUI” and driver’s license check Friday night.

The checkpoint was scheduled to run from about 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., with officers screening drivers for symptoms of being under the influence, and officers checking drivers’ licenses.

The checkpoint was announced in advance through the media as a drunk-driving deterrent. But the exact location was not pre-announced.

Unusually, no arrests resulted from this checkpoint, said Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the W.S.P.D. He told the News-Ledger that the checkpoint was set up at Jefferson Blvd. and 15th Street.

[adrotate group=”10″]   “There were 856 vehicles that passed through the checkpoint,” he said in a press release. “Of that, four drivers were checked for sobriety, eight drivers’ license status were checked. The end result – there was no arrest and no vehicles were towed.”

  Do you like what you see here?

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

River Cats hiring for 2013 season

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — JAN 3, 2013 —

The Sacramento River Cats, who report that the employ more than 400 seasonal workers at Raley Field, are looking to fill approximately 150 positions for the 2013 baseball season, which begins on Thursday, April 4.

The River Cats are seeking applicants for the following positions:

  • Guest Services
  • Crowd Control
  • Parking Attendants
  • Promotions Crew
  • Clean Team
  • Grounds Crew

[adrotate group=”9″]  Applicants can view and apply for all available jobs with the Sacramento River Cats online at bit.ly/rcjob.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Carjacking & robbery: one arrest

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 2, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A pair of gunmen created a commotion in central West Sacramento early Saturday morning, pistol-whipping one victim and stealing a car from another.

At roughly 4 a.m., the first of the two crimes was reported.

“Basically, we had a victim saying someone pulled a gun on him and pistol-whipped him,” Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department told the News-Ledger. “He had some injuries, and was treated at the scene.”

The same two suspects appear to have then committed a second crime nearby – somewhere in the area of Proctor Avenue, said Sockman.

[adrotate group=”7″]   “A short time later, (police) heard of a car-jacking, just a couple blocks away,” he said. “The car was found a couple blocks away from where it was carjacked.”

Officers responded, looking for the two men who were now on foot again.

“The sergeant saw one of the suspects walking over near Proctor, and chased him and arrested him,” said Sockman. “The other kept fleeing.”

One citizen on Longcroft Street said police knocked on his door at about 4:30 a.m. and searched his backyard with a police dog. The second suspect wasn’t located.

“It’s the same guys who did the pistol-whipping and the carjacking,” Sockman said.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012