Artwork for Joey Lopes Park

Artwork for Joey Lopes Park

By Thomas Farley thomasfarley@yahoo.com The art installation for Joey Lopes Park will be a knock-out. The City Council voted on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to accept a design from nationally known artist Michael More »

The Sail Inn is Back in Port

The Sail Inn is Back in Port

By Thomas Farley thomasfarley@yahoo.com The Sail Inn on Jefferson Boulevard is being reopened and rechristened as the Sail Inn Grotto & Bar. Launch date is late February. All aboard. The old Sail More »

Shores of Hope partnered with Raley’s Food for Families to provide food to West Sac families

Shores of Hope partnered with Raley’s Food for Families to provide food to West Sac families

On Saturday, Jan. 16, Shores of Hope served families in need and distributed more than 300 bags of groceries thanks to a partnership with the Raley’s Food for Families program. The line More »

 

‘Confessions of a reluctant mouse-assassin’

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 18, 2012 —

I was talking to a friend the other day about my hope of taking a little weekend trip this spring out into the Southern California desert, the goal being to spend at least one night sleeping out under a blanket of stars.

“Don’t they have rattlesnakes out there?” my friend asked with concern.

BY DARYL FISHER

“Well,” I explained, “I plan on sleeping in the bed of my pickup truck and rattlesnakes are more into slithering than climbing. But if I do use a tent, I’ve already promised my daughter that I will make sure it’s hermetically sealed.”

“I hate snakes,” said my friend. “The only good thing about them is that they eat mice, which I hate even more than snakes.”

“Why is that?” I asked with interest.

“Well, I guess it started back when I was teaching and the teacher I shared my room with was always leaving boxes of sugary cereal around, which he loved to snack on. So of course it wasn’t long before there were mice everywhere, including running back and forth under my desk while I was sitting in it.

“But I have a more recent example for you from just last week. I was sitting very quietly in my living room, no loud and obnoxious reality TV shows on, no music playing in the background, and I had even turned my cell phone off because sometimes I just need to completely decompress after a noisy and much too busy day at the office. Then, with the whole house wonderfully still, all of a sudden I heard the patter of little feet up in the attic.

“My husband was out of town, but men are never there when you need them anyway. I immediately knew what the problem was because we have had it in the past. So I very reluctantly got up off my very comfortable couch and went out into the cold garage in search of some of those newish kind of mouse traps which are very easy to set that my husband had purchased the last time we had mice in the house. When I finally found them, I baited two with some very enticing extra-crunchy peanut butter, which I’ve been told mice will kill for – or rather be killed for.

  “Then, also very reluctantly, off to the attic I went. But having no interest whatsoever in seeing – much less confronting – a live mouse, I slowly shoved the baited traps just inside the attic door and scampered back down the stairs. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, since no one wants to think of themselves as an assassin, even if it’s just vermin you’re sending to the other side. So I was in no hurry the next morning to go up to the attic to see how things had turned out. But since I had to get some Easter decorations down from there, I had no choice. And sure enough, there were two squished mice, with their lifeless eyes staring up at me.

“I simply couldn’t deal with it at that moment, so I left everything untouched and got ready for work. But once at work, I made the very big mistake of telling a co-worker about my ordeal, only to find out she is a vegetarian, which to her apparently means all vermin should be treated kindly and shooed out of the house with happy wishes. Maybe she thought Cinderella’s dress-making was going on in my attic or something, but she was very unhappy with me. Plus she kind of hinted around that I could have at least removed the poor mice from the terrible devices which had killed them and given them a decent burial.

“Anyway, later that night I dressed for the mission. Along with a baseball cap to hold my hair back in a tight ponytail, I put on a leather jacket, my hiking boots, and rubber gloves, the goal being to carefully protect myself against any grieving or angry mouse relatives or friends I might encounter. I also put on sunglasses, even though it was dark out and I was indoors, so that I couldn’t see any of the messy details.  Unfortunately, I immediately saw details, and one of the dead mice looked suspiciously like a lactating female, which meant I had probably destroyed a perfectly happy family. It also meant that I would probably have to soon return with more traps to snuff out the babies.

“I was beginning to feel like a mass murderer. Plus the hard part was still ahead – getting the corpses out of my attic. I had a shovel with me, but that was mostly in case any other mice tried to rush me. To actually pick up the dead mice, I used two long corn tongs, and the whole time I was doing it, a scream kept building up in the back of my throat. Then I had to get them – and the corn tongs that of course could never be used again – into a plastic bag, which I finally managed to do.

  “I triple-bagged everything, raced down the stairs and into the backyard, and dropped the whole awful mess into the garbage can. Then I let out the scream I had been holding inside for fifteen minutes, only to scare the bejesus out of my poor neighbors.”

“That’s quite a story!” I told my friend, who still appeared to be quite shaken even though the events she had described in such detail had happened over a week ago.

“So,” I asked, “have you heard any more mice up in your attic?”

“No, not yet. But my husband thinks we should get a cat.”

“Now that’s a good idea.”

“But I’m allergic to cats. I guess it would probably be okay if the cat was only around for a few days every now and then. Do you know any place that rents cats?”

  Yes, 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 2012

18 arrests in gang/drug operation

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — APRIL 25, 2012 —

The office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today the conclusion of an operation combating gangs and narcotics trafficking in the West Sacramento, Sacramento and Roseville areas.

  Over 100 law enforcement officers participated through the Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Team (YONET) — a coalition led by the state department of justice and which includes the West Sacramento Police Department and other Yolo-area agencies.

“The investigation resulted in 18 arrests, four guns, body armor, a stun gun, and drugs,” said a press release from Harris’s office. “Everyone arrested will be booked into Yolo County Jail.”

In West Sacramento, the operation was called “Operation Red Sash,” “because of the Northern Riders and Broderick Boys criminal street gang affiliation with the color red and Nortenos street gang,” the news release added. The operation “targeted mid-level to high-level members who were distributors of illegal narcotics.”

Arrests were made for felony charges related to narcotics trafficking, conspiracy to traffic, and participation in a street gang.

“Today’s operation will cripple these street gangs and their criminal enterprise network,” said Harris’s office.

No details were provided on the identification of those arrested.

The operation began in November, said the attorney general’s office.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Fun run Saturday to fight child abuse

  FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The Yolo County Children’s Alliance and Child Abuse Prevention Council hope you’ll join them at a Child Abuse Prevention Fun Run, on Sat., April 28, at Marguerite Montgomery Elementary School, 1441 Danbury St. in Davis.

There will be a 5k walk/run at 8 a.m. and a 1k kids’ fun run at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $25 for adults and $10 for kids. Proceeds benefit the YCCA’s “Baby Steps Child Abuse Prevention Campaign. For information or to register, go to www.yolokids.org or call (530) 757-5558.

Firefighter response times slow down

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 11, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Firefighter response times got slower in 2011 – apparently a product of fire department budget cuts.

AL TERRELL, West Sacramento Fire Chief (courtesy of W.S.F.D.)

The West Sacramento Fire Department reports its average response time for emergencies went from four minutes and 20 seconds in 2009 to four minutes and 13 seconds in 2010, followed by a 30-second increase in 2011 to four minutes, 43 seconds.

Local firefighters were not busier with emergencies in 2011 – they had fewer calls for fires, emergency medical services and other emergencies in 2011 than in 2010.

The department was, however, smaller in 2011.

“It boils down to what is an acceptable risk for the community,” Fire Chief Al Terrell told the News-Ledger. “Basically, due to the state of the economy, we’ve had to deploy a flexible employment staffing model. When we don’t have everyone at work, we’ve had to take an engine out of service. We’ve always had five engines and a truck in service, and now (some of the time) we have four engines and a truck.”

  Terrell said that this happens when enough personnel aren’t available – due to vacations, extended training, or other reasons. Normally, Fire Station 45 on Lake Washington Boulevard in Southport has two fire companies. But when that’s not possible, it drops to one company – and the department finds itself spread thinner.

“About 80 percent of the time or more, we’re fully staffed,” said Terrell.

How dangerous is it to have response times slow to four minutes, 43 seconds?

“At this stage, I’m not really concerned – when it gets into the five-minute range, I’d be more concerned,” said Terrell. He explained a bit about why that is, and how a city decides to deploy fire stations:

“Medically speaking, if the brain goes without oxygen for six minutes, your brain is dead, even if your body is still alive,” said Terrell. “So in the fire industry, fire stations are strategically located to be able to arrive anywhere in their district in six minutes or under. We’ve strategically located our fire stations so we should arrive anywhere in our area within six minutes. Getting there in less than five minutes is doing really well.”

West Sacramento now has five stations, including the Lake Washington Boulevard station that usually holds two companies.

Has anyone died or been seriously injured because of the slower response time average?

“To my knowledge, that hasn’t happened,” said the chief. “If I had my way, I’d prefer to always have five engines and a truck – 30 seconds can make a difference.”

Terrell said that when he arrived to take over the department about four years ago, it had 71 personnel. Now, it has 66, a decrease that includes four uniformed firefighters.

“There are less people to fill in the gaps, so we have to flexibly staff,” said Terrell.

The cuts to the fire department are part of city-wide budget cuts approved by the city council in response to the recession and city budget troubles.  Police and fire services were among the last departments to feel the weight of the city’s cuts.

  The West Sacramento Fire Department reports it responded to 253 fires in 2011, down from 281 in 2009. It also responded to 4,905 emergency medical calls and 128 hazardous materials calls in 2011, in addition to 367 false alarms. In general, the department responded to more emergencies in 2010 than in either 2009 or 2011.

To comment on this article, please visit the same article on our sister website, WestSac.com, by clicking here. Your comment may be published in the News-Ledger.

  Yes, 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 2012

‘HEART OF THE CITY’: West Sac’s youth

NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 18, 2012 —

BY DON SCHATZEL —

Congratulations to  Stonegate Elementary, the local 2012 boys scholastic basketball champions!

Stonegate was crowned the Washington Unified School District 2012 boys basketball champs after a 47-38 win over Westmore Oaks. As usual, the road wasn’t easy!

Stonegate had an overall record of 6-1. Starting players for Stonegate were Richard Horn, Franklin Stowers,  Kalvin Chavez, Daylen Carter and Adal Rasaphangthong. Alex Yang was the coach.

For Westmore Oaks, Nate Barrett had 15 points, Brian Saeteang 12 points, Savion Washington 10 rebounds and 3 points.

For Westmore Oaks, the road was tough just to get to the championship game. Against Southport, Westmore trailed for three quarters but pulled it out in the fourth quarter for a 33-31 win. Westmore standouts included. Nate Barrett 9 points Jesse Zalasky 15 rebounds. Coaches were Ron Ruaro and  Willow Daykin

Congratulations on another great season.

Something new has been added!

  Well, not brand-new, but United States Youth Volleyball League is up and spiking, thanks to Tammy and Steve Bacon, the River City volleyball coaches.

They run a great program while recognizing that their girls and their league coaches have not had as much volleyball experience as they’ve had in other sports. Each girl gets her own volleyball and a T shirt uniform. Heck, even us coaches get a shirt!

They have a preseason coaches clinic, and once a week for an hour practice is another coached clinic, with each practice scripted as to what basic skills will be taught that day. Then, Tammy and Steve walk around and help the coaches and players learn the basics. After an hour of practice it is not unusual for the players to comment, “Wow that was fast – we’re done already?”

The league has four age groups and game days against Folsom and Elk Grove are on the way/  You can see the teams at River City High School on Saturday mornings, over by the tennis courts, spiking and  serving away.

  Heck, when a challenger for the state championship , Union Mine High School, is in your high school’s league, why not start a youth program and catch up? Way to go Tammy and Steve!

Noting, quoting and emoting:

Congratulations to  District  6 Little League for submitting a proposal to O.C. Jones Company TLC program and receiving  a grant chosen from hundreds of proposals. The grant will help the City and West Sacramento Little League make improvements at Memorial Park, home of West Sacramento Little League.

Congrats to Centennial Rotary Club of West Sacramento and member Tony Schwall for coordinating and  sponsoring a Rotary Youth Exchange student from West Sacramento to Chile and hosting a student from Japan. Now, Uvaldo Perez of West Sacramento will be sponsored to go to Austria! Wow, Austria for a year! Cool.

Finally hats off to the  River City  Girls J.V. and  varsity soccer teams. We are all familiar with the extreme cold and rain this past month but these girls are out there in it, practicing every day and play.

  Yes, 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 2012

Free tours of training ship at port

The Golden Bear, training ship of the California Maritime Academy (from the ship's website)

 

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 18, 2012 —

Visitors will be welcome on the Golden Bear – the 500-foot teaching ship of the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo – when the ship visits the Port of West Sacramento on Sunday, April 29.

The vessel will arrive around 1:30 p.m., and free tours will be offered from 2-4 p.m.

Other agencies and community groups will be on hand, including the West Sacramento Fire Department Prevention Trailer, the local police, chamber of commerce, River City Rowing Club, Washington Outboard Club, and the local chapter of the Sea Scouts.

  Children must be accompanied by an adult, and adults must have government photo identification (driver’s license/veteran ID, city badge, university card, etc.). A bus will take visitors from the port parking lot to the ship.

The port is located at 2895 Industrial Boulevard at Harbor Boulevard. For more information, call Amy Cameron at the port, 617-4733.

  Yes, 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 2012

Shooting, carjacking suspect ID’d

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — APRIL 21, 2012 —

The Sacramento County Coroner’s office has released the identity of the suspect shot and killed after a crime spree that started in West Sacramento Friday morning and led to the closure of I-80 on the Yolo Causeway (see earlier posts on this site).

JIMMY LEE GRAVES: dead after crime spree that closed the Yolo Causeway

He was 38-year old Jimmy Lee Graves, of Sacramento.

Sergeant Nathan Steele of the West Sacramento Police Department described what happened to bring the pursuit to a conclusion, after what he described an “exhaustive investigation” involving many surrounding law enforcement agencies:

“While attempting to secure the scene in the 1900 block of Ethan Way a suspect fled from Sacramento County Deputies, barricaded himself and started a fire in the apartment,” reported Steele in a press release. “After a standoff in which the suspect was repeatedly ordered to surrender the suspect was shot by Sacramento County Deputies to allow for emergency personnel to extinguish the rapidly growing fire.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012