Safeway and Big Lots on Jefferson Boulevard closing

Safeway and Big Lots on Jefferson Boulevard closing

By Monica Stark The Safeway on West Capitol Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard will be closed by the end of the month, Wendy Gutshall, director of public and government affairs, Safeway Northern California More »

West Sac Kids Give Back

West Sac Kids Give Back

Local children help homeless with creation of cheer packs By Michele Townsend Three years ago, a boy from West Sacramento told his mom that he wanted to do something for the homeless. More »

Westmore Oaks 6th graders built solar suitcases for Kenyan students

Westmore Oaks 6th graders built solar suitcases for Kenyan students

By Monica Stark Sixty students in Ms. Garcia’s science club elective at Westmore Oaks built six solar suitcases and sent two of them off to a school in Kenya—a learning experience that More »


Get free fruit trees (apple, plum, Asian pear or peach) by attending workshop


West Sacramento residents may receive free fruit trees from The City of West Sacramento, if they first attend a tree-care workshop from 6-7:30 p.m. on either Feb. 5 or March 5 at the community center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue. Call 617-4620 to sign up.

Fruit trees specially selected for this program include Fuji apple, Santa Rosa plum, 20th Century Asian pear, D’Anjou pear and Babcock peach.

For information, visit

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Neighborhood court’ coming to West Sac: model follows SF and Davis


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The concept of “neighborhood court” is soon to West Sacramento.

Those accused of certain low-level crimes will have a chance to exchange a court appearance and possible conviction for a chance to negotiate a resolution with a group of local volunteers and a facilitator in “neighborhood court.”

JEFF REISIG Yolo County District Attorney (News-Ledger file photo)

Yolo County District Attorney
(News-Ledger file photo)

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig told the News-Ledger that the program focuses on “restorative justice” – a concept that cuts across cultures and across the centuries. A modern version of these citizens’ courts is now in operation across the causeway in Davis. It will launch in West Sacramento during the next few months.

The Yolo County version of the neighborhood court follows San Francisco’s model. Reisig said that he has personally watched the Bay Area model in session.

“We have tweaked it a bit to make it more ‘restorative,’” Reisig said.

“Restorative justice is really just a way of having an individual accept responsibility for the harm they’ve cause to the person or community, and finding a way to make it right. It’s all about accountability – making the victim whole.”

This approach is based on “positive, not punitive,” he added.

The neighborhood court model heading to West Sacramento will involve recruiting citizen volunteers to work with a trained “facilitator.” Together, they will meet with alleged offenders and try to hammer out a deal that fits the crime.

To get to neighborhood instead of criminal court, the defendant in a low-level crime – a misdemeanor or infraction case – has to agree to go. In Davis, such cases have included those accused of public drunkenness, vandalism or simple assault.

The victims of the alleged crimes can, if they wish, show up to tell the perpetrator exactly how the crime affected them.

According to an official report of the Davis neighborhood court, victims often appreciate that opportunity. Also, allowing the victim and the offender to communicate can be an effective way to prevent new offenses. One anonymous victim was quoted in the report as saying the victim/offender conference was very satisfying:

“I enjoyed the positive outcome and insightful process,” the battery victim was quoted. “I learned a lot and it provided me with an opportunity to improve my patience.”

“The program is totally voluntary,” explained Reisig. “If somebody is arrested by the police, they can go through the normal process and go to court. Or, if this is an option, they can go to the neighborhood court. If an agreement is reached between the neighborhood court and the offender, there’s a group called the Center for Intervention that monitors the contract.”

That organization – under contract with Yolo County – monitors the deal. The offender pays a “small fee” to be monitored, but won’t be turned away from the program for being unable to pay the fee.

If the offender fulfills his obligations – say, by volunteering a certain amount of community service hours erasing graffiti – the case is closed. There’s no criminal conviction.

If the offender drops the ball, he or she can end up back in “real” court to face the charges. At the moment, reports Reisig’s office, the Davis and UC Davis communities report having held a total of 153 neighborhood court conferences. 95 of those offenders have completed their contract, 28 more are in the process of doing so, and two offenders have dropped the ball.

What kind of offenses has the Davis neighborhood court been handling?

“Keep in mind, Davis is a very different community (from West Sacramento) because of the college students,” Reisig commented. “You have a lot of alcohol-related problems. Most common, maybe, are public drunkenness and alcohol possession.”

Other offenses eligible for neighborhood court include petty theft, vandalism, public urination, noise violations, battery and resisting arrest.

For a theft conviction, says the Yolo County report, an offender might be told to write a four-page essay on the impacts of shoplifting, along with an apology to the store he or she stole from. To answer a charge of public urination, the offender may agree to spend three hours with a local graffiti abatement team.

West Sacramento may see its neighborhood court addressing a different mix of offenses, although the mix may also include alcohol, he said. To be eligible for neighborhood court, not only does the crime have to be a small one, but the offender can’t be on probation or parole, can’t have a criminal history and can’t be facing other criminal charges.

Local service organizations and nonprofits will be invited to become involved so that offenders serve their penance by performing unpaid public service.

The search for West Sacramento neighborhood court panelists and facilitators begins Feb. 20, with a public workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. at the library (1212 Merkley Avenue). Recruitment and training will follow. The volunteers will serve on a single city-wide court.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014


A book, in a plain brown wrapper


The local library branch invites you to take a chance. Try a “blind date” with a book: there are a number of titles wrapped mysteriously in brown paper, so you can check one out and take it home to find out what you have. The library is at 1212 Merkley Avenue.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

How one woman opts out of holiday madness: Daryl’s column sheds some light

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 29, 2014 —

With another lengthy holiday season finally behind us, I am reminded of a friend who doesn’t think too highly of the Christmas holidays and is always thrilled when they are completely over. And she gets especially upset by the fact that they seem to start earlier each year.

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

“It wasn’t even Halloween yet,” she told me the other day, “and all the same useless garbage they sell every year during the holidays was already popping up in all the stores, not to mention all the items that were marked `sale’ when in reality they weren’t truly on sale at all. The whole holiday season has become much too commercialized and I simply refuse to participate in Christmas anymore.”

“What do you mean?” I asked with interest.

“Well,” she explained, “a few years back I just decided that enough was enough. I was sick of slaving away making Christmas cookies and spending countless hours in crowded shopping malls picking out gifts that just got returned anyway. Plus it was really starting to cause problems for me and my husband.”

“Christmas?” I asked, wondering how my favorite holiday could possibly be detrimental to a marriage.

“You see,” she continued, “most men just don’t realize how much time and effort goes into making the Christmas season the merry old time it’s supposed to be. They don’t have to do all the shopping, the cooking, the stupid Christmas cards, the thank you notes, nothing. In fact, once the football season is underway, I can’t get my husband to do much of anything. You’re not like that, are you?”

“Of course not,” I lied.

“For instance,” she said, “just before Halloween, I took the grandkids over to the local pumpkin patch and I had to chase after them all by myself because my husband’s favorite football team was losing by 150 points and he still couldn’t get off the couch because he was sure they were going to make a miraculous comeback. Anyway, we always seem to have lots of fights during the holiday season and when we started throwing Christmas ornaments at each other a few years ago, I knew I had to do something.”

“So what did you do?” I asked with interest.

“Well,” she said matter-of-factly, “now that the kids are all grown and on their own, my husband and I simply don’t do Christmas anymore.”

“You’re kidding?”

“Nope. No more lighted reindeer in the yard, no outrageously expensive Christmas tree to take up half the living room, and best of all, no having over a bunch of relatives and cooking a big dinner for people I can’t stand for more than a few hours at a time. We don’t even exchange gifts.”

“Really?” I asked in awe. “You completely ignore Christmas?”

“That’s right, except for going to church, of course. You ought to try it. It’s heaven.”

“But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone totally ignoring Christmas.”

“Believe me, more people are doing it every year. We even leave town. In fact, next Christmas we are going on a cruise. Have you ever been on one?”

“No, I haven’t,” I admitted.

“Well,” she said with excitement in her eyes, “you just float around on a huge boat with all the comforts of home and then every now and then it pulls into a port and you get to spend the whole day going in and out of all these cute little shops. It must be wonderful!”

“Well,” I said, knowing that my friend is extremely weight-conscious , “I don’t think you want to be taking one of those Alaskan cruises.”

“Why do you say that?” she asked with interest. “It’s actually right up there on top of our list.”

“Well, a friend of mine went on one and said that they served her five meals a day, including lots of fancy desserts, and that she gained ten pounds and came home fat as a cow.”

“Ten pounds?” said my friend with horror. “You can’t be serious?”

Quickly realizing I had said the wrong thing, I decided to try and change the subject, but for some reason, the following words came tumbling uncontrollably out of my mouth:

“You know, I just read somewhere that there’s this new scientific study which shows that women – particularly those of European descent like you – are actually designed not only to store fat, but to resist losing it. In fact, it turns out that women have an enhanced ability to accumulate fat and are supposed to maintain at least a two-to-one fat-ratio to men. You see, these scientists were dissecting these female gorillas, and underneath all that furry skin, particularly around the thighs, they found this really impressive layer of fat. So they asked themselves why that should be and they came up with this new theory – that women just aren’t supposed to have thin thighs, narrow hips and flat stomachs. Apparently women were given a body shape by evolution designed to store fat for lactation and hard times. Now, unlike rabbits, who average only four percent body fat because a slow rabbit is a dead rabbit, women are…..

“Stop it!” she suddenly shouted.

“But all I’m saying is that it’s just not fair for society to hold women to a low-fat standard of beauty and that you ought to be able to eat anything you want on your holiday cruises.”

Although she didn’t say so, I got the distinct impression that had a Christmas ornament been available, she would have thrown it at me.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014