Mill Street Pier Opens In Bridge District

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 More »

West Sacramento Deputy Fire Chief hopes to inspire more diverse fire crews as she takes over as Fire Chief in Woodland

West Sacramento Deputy Fire Chief hopes to inspire more diverse fire crews as she takes over as Fire Chief in Woodland

By Daniel Wilson Early in her career, West Sacramento Deputy Fire Chief Rebecca Ramirez, who will take over as the first female fire chief for the Woodland Fire Department on Feb. 27, More »

A Day in the Life of A Palestinian Immigrant

A Day in the Life of A Palestinian Immigrant

By Stacy Grow A stay-at-home mother of three children, West Sacramento resident Nasreen F.’s life is currently filled with caring for her children and home. Born and raised near Jerusalem in a More »


River Cats announce 2016 Opening Day roster

New manager José Alguacil leads roster with familiar faces and promising talent

0a7422fe-c257-4182-89f5-42837959c9aeThe Sacramento River Cats are excited to announce the 2016 Opening Day roster. The River Cats open their 17th season in Sacramento with five players who spent time with the San Francisco Giants last year. The Opening Day roster also includes seven of’s Top 30 Prospect Watch players in the Giants organization in Mac Williamson (7), Clayton Blackburn (12), Steven Okert (17), Jarrett Parker (19), Ty Blach (24), Derek Law (27), and Chris Stratton (28).

The pitching staff will look to continue its success from last season after coming off a team record single-season ERA of 3.85. The rotation is headlined by Blackburn, who claimed the ERA title for the Pacific Coast League (2.85) in 2015, and Blach, whose 11 wins were tied for third best in the league.

Behind the plate for the River Cats is local product Andrew Susac, a former Jesuit High School star, along with veteran talents in George Kottaras and Miguel Olivo, who have a combined 20 years of Major League experience between them. Manning the infield are five new faces with Juan Ciriaco the only returner from the 2015 season.

The outfield will see a number of familiar faces in Parker, Williamson, and Darren Ford. The already talented outfield will be deeper than ever with the addition of Gorkys Hernandez, a fleet-footed centerfielder who swiped 24 bases last season across three different levels.

Leading the way in 2016 will be new manager Jose Alguacil, who joins the River Cats after one season as the skipper in Double-A Richmond. Alguacil – or Augi, for short – led the Flying Squirrels to a 72-68 in what was his managerial debut. Joining him on the staff is new Hitting Coach Damon Minor, who re-joins the Giants organization from the New Orleans Zephyrs, where he served as the hitting coach for five seasons. Pitching Coach Dwight Bernard returns for his second season in Sacramento, as does Athletic Trainer LJ Petra. Rounding out the staff is Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam Vish, who, like Alguacil, comes to Sacramento from Richmond.

Full 2016 Sacramento River Cats Roster*

Pitchers (14)
Blach, Ty
Blackburn, Clayton
Broadway, Mike
Dunning, Jake
Fleet, Austin
Lara, Braulio
Law, Derek
Lujan, Matt
Mazzaro, Vin
McCormick, Phillip
Okert, Steven
Romero, Ricky
Stratton, Chris
Suarez, Albert

Catchers (3)
Kottaras, George
Olivo, Miguel
Susac, Andrew

Infielders (6)
Ciriaco, Juan
Delfino, Mitch
Gillaspie, Conor
Lee, Hak-Ju
Pena, Ramiro

Outfielders (5)
Ford, Darren
Hernandez, Gorkys
Lollis, Ryan
Parker, Jarrett
Williamson, Mac

The River Cats will be making three moves to cut the active roster to 25.

The River Cats will open their season at home on Friday, April 15 against the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Game time is 7:05 p.m. PST. Tickets are still available. For more information, please call 916.371.HITS or visit

Washington Unified Loses Assistant Superintendent

By Michele Townsend

This article is going to be a little bit different for me, as it touches my heart and my home, as it should yours. I have one child that has gone through school in West Sacramento, and one child still in school. I have been on Site Councils and the Curriculum Council for about 10 years. I am not a teacher, nor am I an educational specialist of any kind; I am just a mom who was not happy with the education that my children were receiving, so I got involved.

Five years ago, when William Spalding (Bill) took over the job of Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, after Sue Brothers, he had some big shoes to fill. But he jumped in with both feet! The administration that was led by Stephen Lawrence, and his staff, influenced a complete turnaround of our school district. There had been so many changes and improvements in all aspects of our district that it would have been natural for that progress to slow, while a new administrator was brought up to speed.

As an administrator, he didn’t just come in and take over. He had ideas of what he’d like to see, but he didn’t bulldoze over the work we had in progress. He didn’t stop the forward motion that our district was in. In fact, amazingly enough, he didn’t even slow it down!

He came into the district, he introduced himself, and he asked us to talk to him. He wanted to know where we were going with things and why.

There are obviously many aspects to anything that is done in the education system. It doesn’t just take a good idea. That idea needs to put into a format related to its goal, such as a lesson plan, or some other conceptual plan. In addition, the need and benefits, along with how the idea will be executed and any training that will be needed, must be included. It then needs to be presented to counsels to be passed, and possibly the Board of Education.

From there, funding must be planned, found or acquired. Budget plans, categorizing funds, applying for grants, etc., are just a few examples of the financial challenges. These are the basic steps just to get something approved. As much work as these things entail – that is only the beginning. Getting it done is the impressive part. The list of changes, improvements and programs that Bill Spalding has completed in his five years of being with WUSD is astounding. This is not to say he is a one-man army. Everything done takes a team, but Bill listened, took in ideas and suggestions, addressed issues and challenges, and steadily moved us forward by leaps and bounds.

When asked what he was most proud of since he’s been here, he mentioned the Bryte Garden Café (637 Todhunter Ave.) Not only is he proud of the beautiful building and first-rate equipment, but also the outstanding program that is now offered to our kids. He’s extremely proud of the caliber of work that the children are producing, and the excellent instructors and guest chefs who are teaching them. He didn’t just get the culinary program up and running, and stop there; he had a vision of bringing in the Farm to Fork program, where the kids will have the opportunity to be involved in the farming, and business regarding the agriculture. He also prepared for the Future Farmers of America program to come into our school, allowing another aspect of the food supply business to be taught. These programs are just a few examples of the progress that Bill brought into our schools, all while watching and ensuring that our test scores continued to rise, our drop rate went down, and our staff received continued training. New curriculum has been adopted and put into place, not only for our existing subjects, but for new and current subject matter as well. Programs to help struggling students catch up, as well as to bring them back into mainstream are now in place.

The Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services is the Chief Academic Officer of the district. He, or she, along with the Assistant Superintendents of Human Resources and Business Services, serves on the Superintendent’s Executive Cabinet. Bill’s job was to provide support to schools, teachers and students with the mission of providing the highest quality of education and best possible opportunities for ALL students. Bill took his job seriously, and did it with genuine concern and care for our students as well as the staff throughout our district that work so tirelessly for our kids.

Bill’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. He has been offered a job as superintendent for another district, and left WUSD this week. Though we are happy to see him get recognized for his work, their gain is our loss! We do not yet have a replacement for his position, but I’m sure it will be no easy task to replace him with someone that has as much passion and care that Bill put into the job. So, thank you, Bill, for all of your heart that you left behind; we wish you the best of luck.

River City weekly sports highlights

Weekly sports calendar: April 6 to 13

Wednesday, April 6:
-Boys Tennis: Home vs. Pioneer at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys Volleyball: Away at River Valley at 6 p.m.
– Track and Field: Home, TCC Center Meet #2
-Raiders Softball: Home vs. Woodland 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, April 7:
-Girls Soccer: Home vs. Pioneer, JV at 5 p.m.; varsity at 6:3 p.m.

Friday, April 8:
-Boys Tennis: Away at River Valley at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys JV/Varsity Baseball: Home vs. Woodland at 4:15 p.m.
-Raiders Softball: Away at River Valley at 4:15 p.m.

Saturday, April 9:
-Track and Field: Away, Thunder Invitational
-Boys Volleyball: Away at West Campus, West Campus Tournament

Monday, April 11:
-Boys Tennis: Away at Inderkum at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys Volleyball: Away at Rio Linda at 6 p.m.
-Girls Softball: Home vs. Yuba City at 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, April 12:
-Girls Soccer: Away at Inderkum, JV at 5:30 p.m.; varsity at 7 p.m.
-Freshman Baseball: Home vs. River Valley, at 4:15 p.m.
-JV/Varsity Baseball: Away at River Valley at 4:15 p.m.

Wednesday, April 13:
-Boys Tennis: Away at Yuba City, at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys Volleyball: Home vs. Pioneer at 6 p.m.
-Girls Softball: Away at Rio Linda at 4:15 p.m.

Sports photo of the week

Photo by Saba Khan
River City forward, Jaylen Crim is stopped by Woodland’s goalkeeper on Wednesday night during their 3-1 loss at home against their league rival. The Lady Raiders are now 3-1 in league play and 10-2 overall. They will have a chance to get revenge against Woodland on April 21st.