How West Sacramentans celebrated the Fourth of July

How West Sacramentans celebrated the Fourth of July

By Michele Townsend To 8-year-old (“About to turn 9!”), Ella Godina, the Fourth of July is about “Staying up all night, with lots of fun and fireworks!” To 15-year-old Laura Garcia, “Independence More »

Girls softball team eligible to play at the California State Games, looking for donations

Girls softball team eligible to play at the California State Games, looking for donations

Congratulations to the West Sacramento Girls Softball (WSGS) 10U-All Star Team in attaining a berth to play at the California State Games on July 13 -16, 2017, in San Diego. The WSGS More »

Get ready for the Fourth! Here’s where to get your fireworks

Get ready for the Fourth! Here’s where to get your fireworks

The West Sacramento City Council adopted Ordinance 11-2 which regulates the possession, sale, and use of fireworks within city limits. The State of California approved Safe and Sane Fireworks are permitted to More »

 

New park is part of health outreach for northern West Sacramento

Kids on the playground at the August 20 opening of Westfield Park. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser)

Kids on the playground at the August 20 opening of Westfield Park. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 28, 2013 —

  Information in this report comes chiefly from Edwin Garcia, Media Relations Specialist for Kaiser Permanente.

On Tuesday of last week (August 20), local civic leaders and local families celebrated the opening of West Sacramento’s newest city park. Westfield Park — adjacent to Westfield Village Elementary School — resulted from a “grassroots effort led by parents, a unique partnership between a coalition of stakeholders – including the city of West Sacramento, and Washington Unified School District – and a $150,000 Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grant awarded to Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA),” reports Edwin Garcia, a Kaiser Permanente spokesman.

“This is an amazing day for all of us,” said Katie Villegas, executive director of the YCCA, in a press release from Kaiser. Villegas is a West Sacramento resident and local school board member. She leads the YCCA, a Davis-based organization that worked with parents, city officials, county representatives, school board members and local organizations to create the park.

Visitors at the park’s inauguration included Robert Azevedo, M.D., the physician-in-chief of Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento; West Sacramento City Councilman Oscar Villegas and other city officials; Washington Unified School District Superintendent Dayton Gilleland; school district board President Mary Leland; Westfield Village School Principal Ryan Gonzales; and Yolo County Supervisors Mike McGowan and Don Saylor.

Several of the speakers at Tuesday’s ceremony recalled how a group of neighborhood parents several years ago lobbied the city council, parks and recreation staff, and school district representatives, for a park in a neighborhood that never had one.

The neighborhood might be called an “underserved” community, with few local recreation assets.

Eventually, city and school district officials came up with a plan, reported Kaiser spokesman Garcia: the district would transfer to the city part of a grassy field at Westfield Village School, and the city would design and build a park. Funding, however, was a major obstacle.

In the meantime, YCCA, a non-profit, was working on projects to improve the health of children and adults in West Sacramento – and some of the parents involved in its programs were the same ones who, years earlier, had lobbied the city for a park.

The effort to create the park, and the neighborhood initiatives headed by YCCA – such as the desire to reduce childhood obesity, increasing nutrition awareness, and offering Zumba classes to parents – found to be in alignment with Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating Active Living initiative.

The Kaiser Permanente grant in late 2011 added momentum to the effort to build the park.

Dr. Robert Azevedo Physician in Chief for Kaiser Permanente in the region, addresses the West Sacramento crowd (photo courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser Permanente)

Dr. Robert Azevedo
Physician in Chief for Kaiser Permanente in the region, addresses the West Sacramento crowd
(photo courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser Permanente)

“This really fits well with what Kaiser Permanente is about, in promoting good health and disease prevention,” said Dr. Azevedo. “We’re very pleased to be part of this program. It is wonderful to see these families out here being active and part of the community.”

As Dr. Azevedo spoke, several children were already climbing, jumping and running at the park’s new play structure.

“I am very happy because now we have a place to bring our children to play; we know how important it is for them to exercise,” said Lourdes Maya, a mother of a 9-year-old girl, and boys ages 7 and 5, who live within a 10 minute walk of the new park.

West Sacramento’s park master plan calls for a play structure for older kids, a covered barbecue area, a drinking fountain, a 6-foot-wide walking path, an exercise par course, and connections to a bike/pedestrian trail located at the western edge of the park.

The park is located on Poplar Avenue just across a newly built fence from Westfield Village School, between West Capitol and Sacramento avenues.

Councilman Oscar Villegas thanked the parents for their efforts. Some of them have since taken the role of promotoras – lay people who are trained to be neighborhood health advocates through YCCA and funded by the Kaiser Permanente grant. “I really want to thank the promotoras,” Councilman Villegas said. “Without their initiative and their stick-to-it-iveness this would not have happened. As you can see, many of them are enjoying the park right now, with their children.”

The Kaiser HEAL grant also has helped fund the implementation of “Playworks: Make Recess Count,” a school-based program that trains adult volunteers to lead out in physical activities during recess at Westfield Village.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Donate your household stuff: charity will collect goods in West Sacramento

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — 

Donate your extra household items (appliances, area rugs, furniture, blankets, clothing, lamps, cookware, lawn furniture, computers and more) and help those in need. “Bundle Sunday” is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 7-8. The donation truck from St. Vincent de Paul will be at Our Lady of Grace Church, 911 Park Blvd., from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday and 8-1 on Sunday. Certain items can’t be accepted. For more information, call Paul Starkey at 972-1212 or email paulstarkey@wavecable.com.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

9/11 flag display returns to West Sac

VISITORS TO LAST YEAR'S DISPLAY: West Sacramento’s Cheng Saetern takes a photo of son Derrick Saelee; watching are family members Sharon Saechao and (partially hidden) Abigail Saelee (News-Ledger photo, 2012)

VISITORS TO LAST YEAR’S DISPLAY: West Sacramento’s Cheng Saetern takes a photo of son Derrick Saelee; watching are family members Sharon Saechao and (partially hidden) Abigail Saelee (News-Ledger photo, 2012)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — SEPT. 6, 2013 —

John Vinson will bring back his big annual flag display tomorrow.

He promises 400 large American flags and almost 3,000 smaller flags, with each one commemorating a single one of the lives lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The display will go up Saturday at its usual location, the east side of Jefferson Boulevard at South River Road.

This year’s memorial will also include a display honoring those who died in the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013.

JOHN VINSON (courtesy photo)

JOHN VINSON (courtesy photo)

Vinson, a former West Sacramento resident, has led a team of volunteers putting up the display every year since 2001.

The memorial will be open to the public 24 hours a day through Wednesday, September 11, he reports. In addition to the flags, the display typically includes an exhibit honoring firefighters who responded and perished in the Twin Towers bombing on 9/11/01.

This year, the West Sacramento flag display will be the site of a coordinated, nation-wide observance of the terrorist attacks. A bugler from “Buglers Across America” will be on hand to play “Taps” at the exact anniversary of the moment of impact of each of the airplanes that crashed during the 2001 attacks.

Visit the Southport site at 5:45 a.m., 6:03 a.m., 6:13 a.m. or 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11, to hear “Taps” played.

Afterward, there will be silent prayer and follow-up rendition of “Taps” at this site and at other locations across the U.S.

“Last year, we had over 2,000 attendees and we hope it will be well attended again this year,” emailed Vinson.

The site is located along Jefferson about a mile south of U.S.50, at South River Road.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Air Force JROTC starts up at River City High School

NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER — AUG 28, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A military officer prep program has returned to West Sacramento’s main high school after an absence of many years.

This time, it’s the Air Force which is on the River City High School campus for its “JROTC,” or Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Principal Katie Nemer says the program is being held in three class-loads. And it’s popular.

KATIE NEMER Principal at RCHS in West Sacramento (WUSD website photo)

KATIE NEMER
Principal at RCHS in West Sacramento
(WUSD website photo)

“We have about 110 signed up,” said Nemer. “We actually have a waiting list of about 45 kids. It’s a year-long class – it teaches military history, avionics, national security – everything you could think of to prepare for a career in the military.”

“But,” added Nemer, “the purpose is not necessarily for them to join the military, it’s to learn what they need to know to become good members of the community.”

The coursework is led by Air Force Colonel Russell Warner and an enlisted Air Force enlisted man. In an email, Warner echoed Nemer’s comment, saying the JROTC program’s mission  is to “develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.”

For some students in the new program, JROTC may be a path towards officer status in the Air Force. But for how many?

“It’s too early to tell that,” Nemer told the News-Ledger. “Many think they will go into the military. But that’s not our purpose. The purpose is to provide what they need to become excellent citizens.”

The year-long coursework is heavy on physical conditioning. Participating freshmen get physical education credit; higher-level students get “elective” credit for the JROTC class.

Principal Nemer said nobody has protested the involvement of a military program on campus.

“It’s just the opposite,” she commented. “I can’t tell you how many people have been saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’”

 

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  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 2013