Category Archives: Opinion

West Sacramentans: You’ve got yourself a great city

By Monica Stark

West Sacramento News-Ledger's new editor, Monica Stark

West Sacramento News-Ledger’s new editor, Monica Stark

To be honest, it has been quite awhile since I spent any significant time here. Back in 2004 after I graduated from college, I started substitute teaching for the Washington Unified School District. I remember working with the youngest children and the oldest and during that time I saw the diversity of West Sacramento. The sounds of the Russian and Spanish languages emerged from the playgrounds as many of the youngest children were English language learners. With my degree in English, it was a humbling experience for me helping children hone their language skills.

Years later, after taking a reporting job at the Woodland Daily Democrat, for a short time I interned with the Yolo County Public Defenders Office in the investigations department. Much of our work was in West Sacramento. It was a very enjoyable experience interviewing alleged criminals and getting their stories but what I remember most was lunchtime. West Sacramento has amazing taquerias and burger joints.

After a meeting with the owners of the West Sacramento News-Ledger, I was so excited by their offer. George and Kathleen Macko are like parents to me. While I am working this position part-time after hours from home, during the day I work as the editor for Valley Community Newspapers in Sacramento, which includes the Land Park News, East Sacramento News, Pocket News and Arden-Carmichael News. Taking on the added responsibility of covering a whole new area is absolutely thrilling to me, especially working for a newspaper that is highly respected by such a tight-knit city you all are lucky to call home.

As much change is happening here in this city and at this newspaper, I will do my due diligence advocating for quality news that is interesting, informative, fun and maybe sometimes odd.

I tell my friends that this paper is different than any other paper I’ve ever read. Its hometown feel really thrives on community support and so there’s not a whole lot of gate-keeping of information like at the bigger newspapers. It really is made up of both community and professional journalism. It would not succeed without all the input from the readers.

So keep sending your story ideas, events for the calendar, columns, announcements for weddings/engagements, births and etc. to, and I’ll do my best to get them printed.

I’d like to know what your favorite things to do around town are, so send me an e-mail or meet me at the brew pub. (I’ll likely be there.) I really want to hear what you have to say.

Reach Monica Stark at

A message & invitation from Yolo Supervisor Oscar Villegas

West Sacramento’s OSCAR VILLEGAS (right) took the oath of office again last week. Administering the oath were his children, Vincent and Elena (courtesy photo)

West Sacramento’s OSCAR VILLEGAS (right) took the oath of office again last week. Administering the oath were his children, Vincent and Elena
(courtesy photo)

From Oscar Villegas
Yolo County Supervisor, District 1

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Yolo County Supervisor, District 1, representing West Sacramento and Clarksburg.  In February 2014, I was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, to serve on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors in the seat vacated by the legendary Mike McGowan of which he held for nearly 20 years.  In June 2014, I was elected by the voters to retain this seat.  On January 5, 2015, it was a personal special moment to take the oath of office administered by our children, Elena and Vincent.

After thoroughly enjoying the honor and privilege of serving on the West Sacramento City Council for nearly 14 years, I have found it equally exciting and rewarding to have the opportunity to represent District 1 on the Yolo Board for the past 10 months.

I look forward to a new productive new year in 2015 by working with my colleagues on the Board to ensure that we continue to provide thoughtful stewardship over the many challenges ahead during our term of governance.    It is my intent to facilitate efforts to address the following:  restore our county reserves; seek avenues to  prudently restore  some of our basic services that were cut during the economic downturn; work collaboratively and productively with our local,  state and federal stakeholders on flood protection; finalize the integration of health and human services to provide a better system of safety net services for our residents; preserve the viability of Yolo agriculture while promoting the emerging Farm-to-Fork movement and expand our agricultural processing opportunities; continue to take bold and innovative steps to reduce the likelihood of homelessness, and to ensure that our community remain safe as we implement various aspects of the state’s realignment of offenders.

To responsibly address these issues, I humbly extend an invitation to residents of District 1 to assist by serving on various boards and commissions which serve as advisory to me and the Board.  It is critical that the residents have an opportunity to participate and provide input on those issues that impact our community.  As such, I would ask that you consider applying to serve on a board or commission where you believe you can make a positive contribution through your professional or life experience.  There are many topic areas ranging from aging, children services, both health and mental health services, etc.

To learn more about the boards and commission that service District 1, please visit my website at  I also invite you to contact the district office located at 500 Jefferson Blvd., Suite C, West Sacramento, (916) 375-6440 or email:

Thanks again for bestowing me the honor of serving in this capacity.

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Opinion: being a foster parent is not as hard as you may think


By Cherie Schroeder
Yolo County Foster Kinship Care Program

Local families are needed for local foster children, newborns through transitional age youth.

AUTHOR CHERIE SCHROEDER  (News-Ledger file photo/2009)

(News-Ledger file photo/2009)

Winter can be harsh on children and families. During the month of November and into early December there was a definite up-swing in the number of children Yolo County DESS brought into protective custody, at no fault of their own, who needed a safe and loving place to call home.

Foster children are the children of our communities.  When a local home is not found, these vulnerable kids are often placed miles away from their family of origin, taking them away from services, supports, friends, school, and all that is known to them.

You may ask yourself, “How can I help?”

Becoming a foster home is not as hard or scary as one may think. At the core of quality foster parenting, are traits that include being present and available, flexible, kind and stable.  As one local foster mother shared,

“Children in foster care arrive to us from places where joy and safety are scarce. At every turn, I find opportunities to hold a hand, share a smile and to bring out laughter. Delight is found and given from sand between toes, reading a funny book, or giving a goofy smile.  My husband and I give lots love and kisses to the precious little person entrusted to our care.  These are simple gifts that mean so much to our foster toddler and serve to help put the pieces of her life back together.”

The research is clear; a caring committed adult can make a tremendous difference in a child’s life. Will you consider opening your home and heart to a child in need?  A free and informal “Introduction to Foster Care” workshop is being offered Tuesday evening, January 20th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at the Child Welfare Office in West Sacramento.  We will be in Community Room 1A located at 500 Jefferson Blvd., off Triangle Court, across from the Police Station. Reservations aren’t needed; you are welcome to just stop by.

To learn more about Yolo County Foster Care check out our website at  Questions are welcomed by Recruitment and Retention Specialist, Cherie Schroeder by calling her at (530) 574-1964.

  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 (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

News-Ledger ‘letters to the editor’


Liking the new bridge
As a Southport resident I have already enjoyed driving on the new Mike McGowan Bridge near my home. Not only does it shave a few minutes off driving, the bridge is a good start for diverting heavy traffic from Jefferson Boulevard.

Mike McGowan is deserving of the bridge’s name (see Mike McGowan: the man whose name is on that new bridge”, News-Ledger, December 3, 2014) for playing an important role in making West Sacramento a good place to live.

Thanks to Jay Davidson, senior civil engineer at the City of West Sacramento for addressing my initial concerns, such as cars using the bridge as a “pass through” and to the city council for promptly going forward with the project.

Keep up the good work, City of West Sacramento!

West Sacramento


Buses & carts
(Editor’s note: Author Bill Lowell speaks below about the need for a new shopping cart design that can fit aboard public buses — something like an airline carry-on  bag with wheels and a handle).

For bus-riding shoppers and retailers, a major tool is often missing: we need a tall, medium-size suitcase-shaped shopping cart which would fit between forward-facing bus seats. The right shape is particularly important for YoloBus riders, since recent insurance rules prohibit use of the front flip seats and over 90% of shopping carts, when filled, do not fit between forward-facing seats. This lack of right size/right shape personal shopping cart availability not only discourages shopping in Yolo County, but appears to be a major reason so many retailers’ commercial shopping carts are “borrowed” without being returned.

While the homeless take many such carts, retailers would greatly reduce such costs and attract more preferred customers by offering the public such a suitcase-shaped shopping cart.

West Sacramento


Adopt a dog, cat
   (Editor’s note: although we weren’t able to publish this letter before the holidays, we thought it is still a timely topic)
The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Services Section would like to thank our community for their on-going support for shelter animals throughout the year. Nearly 3,600 at risk animals (lost, homeless or unwanted) entered our doors in Yolo County last calendar year.  Your generosity created life-saving outcomes for more that 90 percent of them! During this season of giving and sharing we hope you will continue to help us provide for homeless shelter animals now and in the future.

Part of this effort is ‘Homes for the Holidays!’ Old policies in the industry state pets should not be adopted as gifts. This belief, however, is counter to research by the ASPCA which indicates dogs and cats obtained as gifts are actually more likely to stay within those homes, whether the pet is a surprise or not!  Help us support that theory!
If you or someone you know are considering providing a home for a shelter pet there are 11 medium to small dogs and 11 adult cats and 6 kittens which would love to be in a new home for the holidays!  Recommendations for success when adopting pets as gifts are to consider the recipient’s interest in adopting, their lifestyle, make sure parents of young children are ready to be a caregivers and their schedule will help assure an easy transition into the new home.    If you or your friends are not ready for the commitment of adopting you are encouraged to volunteer; help with fostering, shelter care, laundry, and socialization and office tasks.  Last year 429 cats and dogs were helped by our foster program; some underage and many that needed a temporary home prior to finding their forever fit.  Check out our Facebook page and if you love it, like it!

Animal Services, located at 140-C Tony Diaz Drive, Woodland is accepting donations of liquid laundry detergent; used to wash animal bedding, dry or canned pet food, especially cat food for Mouse’s Pantry, new or gently used towels or wash cloths and lap size acrylic blankets.  Toys are also welcome; for cats they must be washable and toys for dogs should be hard nylabone or Kong type; nothing with fabric stuffing as they are not safe for shelter dogs.  Tax-deductable monetary donations are always welcome; it can be a general donation or designated for such things as helping with spay and neuter or surgical needs for injured homeless strays.

Contact the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Services Section at (530) 668-5287.

Animal Services Section
Yolo Co. Sheriff’s Dept.

  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 (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Hanging out in a cemetery can be fun

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 10, 2014 —

I have a strange little confession to make. When I need to get away from everything and everyone for a few days, I often jump in my little truck and head down into Southern California, often ending up somewhere out in the desert, although usually near wonderfully civilized places like Palm Springs. And on the way, especially while I am in and around the Los Angeles area, I have been known to stop off at some of the more famous cemeteries down there that are the final resting places for many of the television and movie stars of my youth. Anyway, I happened to mention this to a friend of mine the other day and I could see by the expression on his face that he was a little worried about me.

“Maybe you have just reached that age where death is becoming a little more real to you,” he suggested.

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

“No, I have always liked cemeteries, even when I was young, especially historic ones. And the one we have right over the bridge in Sacramento is a great place to hang out. All kinds of interesting people are buried there, including a bunch of California governors, Civil War veterans, quite a few of the famous Crocker family, and even Alexander Hamilton’s son, who died in one of those cholera epidemics that used to be really common in this area back in the 1840s and 1850s. And if you go down to Southern California there are a bunch of Forest Lawn cemeteries that are the final resting place of lots of famous people like Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel, Ricky Nelson, Steve Allen, Charles Laughton, Michael Jackson, and the list goes on and on. Oh, and another really interesting cemetery down there is Los Angeles Cemetery. That’s where Marilyn Monroe is buried. Did you know that the bid on e-Bay for the empty crypt just above hers has now reached $4.6 million dollars?”
“Really?” said my friend, not knowing how to change the subject. “Well, I guess since most of the old movie stars lived and worked in the Los Angeles area, it’s only natural that they died and were buried there, too.”
“One of the most interesting cemeteries I ever visited was a place called Desert Memorial Park,” I continued, “which is down around Palm Springs. I stopped by there once to check out William Powell’s grave – you know, the guy who starred in all of those great old `Thin Man’ movies – and guess who I stumbled across in the process?”
“Who?” asked my friend very reluctantly.
“Frank Sinatra – Old Blue Eyes himself! And I was surprised by what an unpretentious gravesite he had, just a flat marker on the ground with his name, the dates of his birth and death, and an old song lyric of his — `The best is yet to come’ – chiseled into the stone. And did you know that he was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pack of Camel cigarettes?”
“No, I didn’t know that.”
“But the one grave I’ve always wanted to visit was Charlie Chaplin’s, and you know what happened to him, don’t you?”
“No, what?”
“Well, Charlie died on Christmas Day in 1977 at the age of 88, and his family buried him in a really nice cemetery in Switzerland, not far from where he had lived for many years after America wouldn’t let  him back into the country because of his politics. But a couple of months later his body was dug up and stolen from the graveyard and the thieves wanted $600,000 from his grieving wife before they would give it back.”
“Really?” asked my friend, suddenly interested in our conversation for the first time. “So what did his wife do?”
“Well, she told them that she wouldn’t pay the ransom, because Charlie would have considered the whole thing ridiculous and even humorous, so the thieves then threatened the lives of some of their eight children, all of whom Charlie had fathered after his 54th birthday, which was his age when they got married.”
“But the family did get poor Charlie’s body back, didn’t they?” asked my friend with interest.
“Yes, but only after a five or six week investigation by the local police who finally found out that a couple of out-of-work auto mechanics from Bulgaria of all places had dug up Charlie and re-buried him in an old cornfield about a mile from his home. So the authorities arrested the thieves and went out and got Charlie back and returned him to his original resting place. But this time they buried him in a very heavy cement grave to prevent any future theft attempts.”

“Wow, that’s quite a story,” said my friend. “And I guess that’s probably at the heart of why you like to visit graveyards, isn’t it? You know, the fact that every life has its own story, and you can stand there and think about the great life that someone you really admired has lived.”
“Well,” I admitted, “I usually just like to stand there and whisper to myself something like, `Even though you got to be rich and famous and I didn’t, you are gone, and I’m still here’!”

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Consider new West Sac news, radio & internet nonprofit in your giving plans

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Preserve the legacy.

Make sure West Sacramento is served by a first-class local newspaper and
information source for decades to come.A West Sacramento nonprofit group has tasked itself with creating a unique community-run news organization.

The new organization will use print media, radio and the internet to serve this community into the future. It will start from the traditions of pioneering West Sacramento journalist Julius Feher, the late founder of the News-Ledger.

You can help.

As the tax year ends, and as you consider your estate plans, please think about making a tax-deductible gift for the future of West Sacramento journalism. Your gift may help create a vigorous new news hub for your city as well as support the teaching of journalism skills in local schools and college classrooms.

You can help ensure that the tradition started by Julius Feher and the News-Ledger over 50 years ago continues -- better than ever, through a community-run multi-media nonprofit. Copyright News-Ledger 2014

You can help ensure that the tradition started by Julius Feher and the News-Ledger over 50 years ago continues — better than ever, through a community-run multi-media nonprofit.
Copyright News-Ledger 2014

What can you do?

— Write a tax-deductible check to “West Sacramento Neighbors Fair, Inc.”

—  Maximize your tax deductions now by giving gifts of cash, bonds or appreciated assets such as stocks or real estate.

—  Pursue tax advantages while protecting your security by using options like Charitable Gift Annuities, a Charitable Remainder Trust or Charitable Lead Trust.

—  Create a Donor Advised Fund and help decide how your major donation is used – while achieving maximum tax advantages.

—  Make a bequest, and leave a legacy.

JULIUS FEHER, the late founder of the News-Ledger, was respected for his sense of fairness in journalism and for his commitment to his hometown, West Sacramento  (Copyright News-Ledger 2014)

JULIUS FEHER, the late founder of the News-Ledger, was respected for his sense of fairness in journalism and for his commitment to his hometown, West Sacramento
(Copyright News-Ledger 2014)

Talk to your tax adviser and contact us about how to help our West Sacramento media and journalism project. Your gift may be publicized; let us know if you’d prefer not.

West Sacramento Neighbors Fair, Inc.
BOARD MEMBERS: Wesley Beers, President; Jim Brewer, V.P..;  Joe Goeden, Treasurer; Jolaine Beers, Secretary;  Charlotte Dorsey; Rick Hart; John Siden; J.P. Singh; Gina Spadafori

West Sacramento Neighbors Fair, Inc., 1040 West Capitol Ave., Suite B, West Sacramento CA 95691 (Tax ID 56-2311088)
Contact: Steve Marschke, c/o The News-Ledger;  (916) 371-8030 ;

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Police & crime in Broderick & Bridgeway


9/10/2014 —

Trouble in Broderick
  (Open letter to Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and the West Sacramento City Council)
I have been a resident of Broderick since before 1968 moving here with my parents and brother after my Father retired from the USAF.  I am a graduate of Washington High School.
I subsequently bought a home in the Broderick area in 1983 where being a single parent I wanted my daughter to have a house to grow up in rather than an apartment.
I love my little house but the Broderick area has rapidly gone downhill.  I would consider moving to another area but I am a Senior and on a fixed income and it would be difficult for me to leave my home.
I realize that some income levels may be lower in the Broderick area.  But there are people such as myself that have worked for many years to support their families and loved ones.  I worked at a large telecommunications company for forty years.
There are people like myself and others who take pride in their homes.  Why should we be penalized for those that don’t.
Why don’t you and the council members take a ride over to Beardsley and see the house that has trash all the way from the back to the front.  You could take a ride down almost any street here and see at least one house in this type of condition.
Why should I have to call Code Enforcement?  Don’t they see this?  What about the Fire Department?  The house on Beardsley is definitely a fire hazard.
There are issues going on here that would never be tolerated in South-port or South of the Barge. When we incorporated I hoped we would become one city.  But that isn’t the case.  We’re still considered Broderick.  Were are our improvements?
Perhaps we should take a hint from the Oak Park Triangle and work on areas other than South-port and South of the Barge.
I have written before this but received no response.  I would hope I would receive one now.
West Sacramento



The police & Southport
I have been a Bridgeway Island resident since 2001.
I have noticed over the years that West Sac Police Department officers patrol Southport Parkway frequently to catch speeders. This occurs, from my experience, during daylight/commute hours such that those who may be caught speeding  are working adults or students commuting to and from daily responsibilities. The safety of the residents doesn’t appear to be at risk during these hours.
There are those that believe the officers patrol during periods where residents who can afford to pay the fines for the distributed tickets are traveling on this stretch of roadway. Still others state that the police department has to make money in some fashion so this is the easiest and fastest method in which to accomplish this.
My issue is this: officers would be better served, as would the residents of both Bridgeway Island and Bridgeway Lakes, if they were patrolling these areas after-hours. This is when the street racing, the “peeling-out,” tagging with graffiti and accidents where vehicles have crossed the center divide on Southport Parkway ripping out the established trees has occurred over the years.
Many nights, as I lay in bed, I can hear cars screeching around the neighborhood. I would like to be able to report them to the Police Department, however, such activities are hard to pin point as the sounds travel making it difficult to identify from where they may be coming.
Just recently, there was graffiti on the retaining walls of a Bridgeway Island community. One wonders if this would have occurred had the officers been patrolling during the late night hours. I realize there are other areas in West Sacramento in the late night hours which require almost constant patrol. There is no question that there should be focus in these areas.
I don’t agree with the mindset that the police department is only patrolling these areas to make money, but I do take issue with the timing of some of the patrols. As a longtime resident of the Bridgeway Island community, I would hope the West Sacramento Police Department would, in the best interest of the residents, review such practices and determine how best to improve the safety of these residents.
West Sacramento

  Send your ‘letter to the editor’ to the News-Ledger newspaper at  Please include your real name, address and phone number.  We’ll only publish your name and city.


  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 (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014