Westmore Oaks 6th graders built solar suitcases for Kenyan students

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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 »

“Subtile” unveiling: Public art piece unveiled in the Bridge District

“Subtile” unveiling: Public art piece unveiled in the Bridge District

By Michele Townsend On Thursday, Nov. 30, Mayor Cabaldon enthusiastically represented the City of West Sacramento in the official unveiling of a new public art piece titled SUBTILE (pronounced: subtle). This art More »

West Sacramento Holiday Tree Lighting Friday, Dec 1

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One last column Don Schatzel, chronicler of West Sac youth sports

BY DON SCHATZEL:  Don has been writing a periodic column on youth sports and activities in West Sacramento for the News-Ledger. He hangs up his pen this week.

BY DON SCHATZEL: Don has been writing a periodic column on youth sports and activities in West Sacramento for the News-Ledger. He hangs up his pen this week.

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 25, 2013 —

Time flies!

We all know that intellectually. But when your time zips by, and you wake up one day and you are 60 (yes, 60) and the AARP info starts coming and you get a copy of the Senior Resource Services Guide from Assemblyman Roger Dickinson in the mail. . .

Now, Roger is a good guy. But what are you telling me, Roger?

I remember the first Super Bowl, and a time when the United States Men’s Soccer team struggled to make the World Cup Finals. Now they have qualified seven times in a row.

I used to be a member of the noon-meeting Rotary Club and am a proud past president of that chapter. Eighteen years ago, my older daughter Jordan would be asleep and I would put her in a kid carry-all and take her to the Rotary meetings to make sure I would not miss one.

That was 18 years ago, and now she is a college student. My younger daughter, Emily, and her friends  are now  freshmen at River City. Remember when they were 8-year old soccer and softball players?

My family and I  are simply no longer involved in youth sports as we once were. I no longer coach the Hooligans Soccer team.  Dale Calles does his usual great job in coaching them, and my family is just not around youth sports as much as we have been.

I have always thought there were great things happening  in our community and school district and a lot of them were pretty much a secret. There were stories that needed telling and I tried to do that in this periodic column in the News-Ledger.

I now enjoy listening to the folks in surrounding cities and communities who are losing the economic battle to West Sacramento, and they still bring up our gang issues and our schools in a critical way. Nice try, folks. No room to criticize anymore.

Oh, by the way, have you seen our riverfront development lately?  That really isn’t a Delta breeze that’s blowing — it is region’s power and influence shifting to West Sacramento!

But, not being around youth sports as much as before, it is nearly impossible for me to get any information and write about it. So I guess this is the end.

I want to thank Editor Steve Marschke for giving me the opportunity to write about youth sports in town. I am not a “writer” (obviously) but attempting to highlight the great people in  our community and their tremendous accomplishment is worth writing about.

These people can be very proud. I was very proud of them, even though (ironically) we occasionally found ourselves on opposite sides of the field. But no matter who won, I couldn’t lose.  If our youth sports team won, well we won. If our team lost to a West Sac team, and all went well, then, we eventually all became teammates at River City High School as the kids got older. It’s a win either way for my family.

I also very much appreciated those of you who would catch me at the store and tell me you have read the articles and enjoyed them. I found that very gratifying and hope these columns gave some helpful information that made living in West Sacramento a little more fun.

Thanks for everything and a special thanks for reading this last article.

Time for me to go take care of my horse!

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Workers hurt in West Sac street project

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 25, 2013 —

Two men working for a PG&E subcontractor were badly hurt early last Wednesday in a pipe replacement project.

The accident happened at about 4 a.m. near Jefferson Boulevard and 15th Street – part of a major project in which old gas pipe is being removed and replaced.

Reports say a large metal part such as a plate to support a trench slipped from a lifting device and hit the men.  One responding police officer reported:

“Two male workers had been injured by a steel piling that had come unhooked and fallen from the lift.”

One worker had what appeared to be a broken and swollen leg, reported the officer. Another had “obvious head trauma” and was unconscious. Both went to nearby hospitals. At press time, there was no word of their condition.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

West Sacramento’s council preps for ‘action plan’ on area homeless problem

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 18, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Tonight (Sept. 18), the West Sacramento City Council will discuss “next steps” for the prevention and treatment of homelessness in this town.

City Council Member Mark Johannessen: involved in production of new analysis of local homeless problem (News-Ledger file photo)

City Council Member Mark Johannessen: involved in production of new analysis of local homeless problem (News-Ledger file photo)

Using state grant funds, city officials (including City Councilman Mark Johannessen) have counted the local homeless, tried to analyze the reasons for their plight, interviewed “stakeholders” such as neighbors and businesspeople, and tried to point a way forward in dealing with the problem. This two-year effort has produced an informational report for tonight’s city council meeting. They hope to pick up some reactions and return with more details on an “action plan” next month.

In a coordinated “snapshot” census across Yolo County, the counters found 165 homeless people living in West Sacramento, compared to 186 in Woodland, 114 in Davis and nine in rural areas, reports the city’s staff report prepared for the council meeting.

West Sacramento is fairly unique compared to some places – like Sacramento – in that a lot of homeless people live near residential neighborhoods instead of downtown areas, the report added.

No “unaccompanied children” were counted among Yolo County’s homeless in the January census.

“West Sacramento traditionally has by far the highest number of ‘unsheltered’ homeless in Yolo County,” the report stated. “These are people primarily living in camps or on the street. . . While emergency shelter is available in Woodland and Davis, there is no emergency shelter available in West Sacramento.”

And West Sacramento riverfronts offer a camping spot not too far from social services provided to homeless people from across the river in Sacramento.

“(Also), persons camping along the river in West Sacramento report that it is desirable because they can fish for food and the wooded areas are sufficiently secluded that they feel private and secure. Some of the campers have lived there for years.”

126 of the 165 West Sacramento homeless reported they were “unsheltered” and living in tents, vehicles, garages or the like.

Over half of the West Sacramento homeless were also reported to be adult men, with the remainder made up of both women and children. Many “chronically” homeless people are mentally ill.

The cost of not treating these people for homeless and some of the conditions that can lead to – illness and injury – can be expensive in terms of “repeated costly ambulance calls and emergency room visits,” argues the city report.

In one famous case, Reno police tracked the case of “Million Dollar Murray,” the report adds. Murray was a homeless man who died in 2005. Whenever he was in a rehab program, “he was able to get jobs and do quite well.” When not, he didn’t.

“(Police) were able to document $100,000 in medical costs over a six month period and nearly $1 million in police, jail, fire department, emergency medical, hospital costs and substance abuse treatment over a ten-year period.”

The staff report suggests that in addressing the homeless problem, such people must still be held accountable for their legal actions and impacts on the rest of the population.

West Sacramento’s police had two officers working full time on homelessness, spending staff time taking apart homeless camps, often along the riverfront. In addition:

“Nearly hourly, regular patrol officers are dispatched to related issues, such as illegal camping, public intoxication, fights, public nuisance and other vagrancy calls for service. Confiscated property from camp clean-ups is stored in commercial containers at the police department, separate from other property “for health reasons.”

Firefighters also answer hundreds of medical aid calls for homeless people each year. And each time a shopping cart is requisitioned for someone’s personal use, that costs a store $150 to $450.

Aggressive panhandling is also a problem. Although asking for money is not itself illegal, “aggressive” panhandling isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

The report calls for West Sacramento to partner with other agencies and with private parties, and to look for grant funds to help attack its homelessness problem.

A future plan might include having programs in place to help “at risk” people – such as those who just lost a job or suffered a health problem – from becoming homeless. It might include cracking down on aggressive panhandling, and fighting trespassing, littering and dumpster-diving.

The plan might also include finding more ways to offer food, water, shelter, mental health care, substance abuse care and medical care.

Tonight’s (Sept. 18) council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at city hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Fire takes barn & vehicles

courtesy of West Sacramento Fire Department

courtesy of West Sacramento Fire Department

 

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 18, 2013 —

West Sacramento and Sacramento firefighters both responded to a challenging fire in rural Southport on September 6. They found a “fully involved” detached garage and barn — with no fire hydrants nearby at the Hilary Avenue location.

Firefighters shuttled fire from a water tender vehicle, and kept the fire from spreading to nearby homes. The barn was lost, along with four vehicles and various equipment, with damage estimated at $150,000.

 

  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-Ledge 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 FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013