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 »

“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

West Sacramento Holiday Tree Lighting Friday, Dec 1

The annual holiday tree lighting will be held on Friday, Dec. 1 in front of city hall as the streets will transform into an event all generations in West Sacramento will enjoy More »

 

Beer garden eyes site on South River Road: partial reincarnation of ‘Brew It Up!’

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 26, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

One of the first things into the re-purposed “Pioneer Bluffs” area of West Sacramento may be a brewery and beer garden from a principal at the former “Brew It Up!” restaurant in downtown Sacramento. Mike Costello, the former president, general manager and CEO at that establishment, said last week his current group is  “very close” to signing a lease on South River Road.

MICHAEL COSTELLO: at center of plan for beer garden on South River Road (file photo, courtesy of Jennifer Schumacher/River City High School faculty)

MICHAEL COSTELLO: at center of plan for beer garden on South River Road
(file photo, courtesy of Jennifer Schumacher/River City High School faculty)

Costello aims to create a “regional draw,” saying “we’re really excited about being able to fill in the gap for casual, family-friendly dining.”

He declined to specify the exact site under negotiations, but acknowledged it is on South River Road, south of the Pioneer Bridge freeway overpass, and not directly on the water.

“It’s huge – more than 20,000 square feet,” he added, saying the site will likely be home to other tenants including, possibly, a farmers’ market and a coffee roaster. Those tenants, too, could come in quickly.

“Our goal is to be brewing in four months, and have the pub fully outfitted in six months,” said Costello. “It’s on the Pioneer Bluffs, so its name will have something to do with Pioneer Bluffs.”

Those bluffs are most notable where the deep water ship canal currently severs South River Road. But the City of West Sacramento is now proceeding on a long-planned new bridge to connect South River Road across this canal, linking the city’s eastern riverfront from Southport to the freeway and Bridge District. The new brewery and commercial center could be the first major tenant in as the “Pioneer Bluffs” begin an expected transition from older industrial uses to a more urban, riverfront style.

What is on tap, so to speak, at the new establishment?

“There will be a beer garden and outdoor event space,” said Costello. “There will be a personal brewery (where customers can make their own beer). That’s one of the things that sets this brewery. . . . apart from every other craft brewer in Northern California. It creates a fun relationship with customers.”

“Brew It Up!” went out of business in 2011 after about eight years in Sacramento and about seven previous years in Davis. Costello said there were some lessons learned, and there will be adjustments to the business plan.

“The big, glaring mistake we made. . . was to walk in on day one with two much debt,” he said. “We also had a lease structure that started out all right, but over the years increased as most leases do.”

The economy also took a toll, and the menu probably overreached.

“Conceptually, one of some of the things we realized we probably should have changed was to tighten the menu, tighten the focus,” he said.

“This will be a much tighter-focused menu. . . really creative and tasty hot sandwiches, and a good set of entrée salads, and a great set of appetizers that will go well with beer. We’ll tighten up the wine menu and the liquor menu. The focus will be on the beer side.”

“There will be about 30-36 taps, with maybe 20 or two dozen of our own (beers) and a great selection of guest taps.”

“Our target is to produce about 1,200 barrels a year in the first year,” said Costello. That’s 37,200 gallons, at 31 gallons per barrel. The new brewery will focus on on-site sales at first, because that’s where the higher profit margins are.

Special events and outdoor events will be stressed – and some of those could even begin within the next few months, said Costello.

“Of course we’re going to do Brew Fest, also Oktoberfest,” he commented. “One of the other ideas we have is to do a huge pumpkin carving festival. And we could start doing some food trucks and festivals on the site as soon as we get the lease, just to draw attention.”

About a dozen investors are involved, reports Costello, adding that his role will be that of an employee.

At “Brew It Up!,” said Castillo, “I was president, C.E.O., general manager and all that. Basically, this time around, I’ll be general manager. I’ll have a front house manager, a kitchen manager. I’ll be involved in the brewing, but there will be a team of brewers.”

The year 2013 seems to be a big one for beer brewing in West Sacramento. Sacramento’s Rubicon Brewing is opening a production facility near Ikea, and a couple of “nano-breweries” called Jackrabbit and Bike Dog plan to open up near Industrial Boulevard and the port.

Costello believes this growth is partly because of brewery-friendly zoning laws in West Sacramento. It may be easier to navigate the red tape here than it is across the river, he said.

The brewery appears to be landing in this city after a regional site search.

“Over the last year and a half, we’ve been looking at dozens of sites downtown (Sacramento), eastern Sacramento and in West Sacramento,” he reported.

“As I talk to other businesses. . . there is definitely a sense of West Sacramento being more attuned to start-ups in the beverage industries,” said Costello. “The zoning changes they made here really make it simple for a star-up brewery, or even an existing brewery, to do business.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are two or three more on our heels that decide to land over here, which is going to make this city alone a real destination for beer tourists.”

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

New light may become West Sac landmark

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — JULY 1, 2013 —

EDITOR’S NOTE: The News-Ledger reported in May that a blue ribbon of light was scheduled to go up — about 200 feet up — around a grain storage facility at the Port of West Sacramento. Tonight’s the night it turns on.

Here’s the full statement from Art Schroeder, spokesman for the City of West Sacramento:

Beginning tonight about 9:30, a bright blue LED light band becomes part of the region’s skyline, to be seen on the horizon for miles. The blue light, nearly 200 feet above ground, circles the Port of West Sacramento’s bulk grain facility at 2895 Industrial Blvd. It signifies an important change: for the first time in its 50-year history, the Port’s terminal operation was now in the hands of a private company, SSA Pacific (SSA).

  The 200-foot tower at the Port of West Sacramento lit up with an LED band of blue light, above, in an artist’s simulation (Courtesy of the City of West Sacramento)

The 200-foot tower at the Port of West Sacramento lit up with an LED band of blue light, above, in an artist’s simulation (Courtesy of the City of West Sacramento)

The new lighting band was installed to celebrate the new lease agreement with the Port, marking the transition of the Port’s maritime facilities to SSA. The agreement goes into effect July 1. “The new lease arrangements will allow SSA to further expand our role, attract new investment, and increase business through the Port, which will be good for the City of West Sacramento and increase jobs in the area,” said Mark Knudsen, President of SSA Conventional, parent company of SSA Pacific.

The new agreement provides guaranteed rent payments to the Port of West Sacramento and shifts all maritime-related operational expenses to SSA, enabling the Port to reduce administrative costs and focus on development of its real estate assets. “We’re redefining and redesigning the Port and this is a critical first step,” said Mike McGowan, chairman of the Port Commission.

The lease is in effect for the next five years and can be extended by 5-year increments for a maximum of 20 years. Minimum annual rent payments to the Port begin at $650,000. The lease also provides for additional revenues to the Port, in the event of shipping tonnage increases. As part of the agreement, the Port is absolved of $850,000 in existing debt to SSA. The lease serves as a cornerstone of the Port’s recently-adopted business plan, which positions the Port as a landlord entity focused on new real estate revenue.

The LED-lighting design now widely in sight atop the Port facility was created by Fluoresco, a West Sacramento-based lighting company.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

West Sac: summer reading promos underway for kids, teens & adults

NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER — JUNE 19, 2013 —

From the County of Yolo

The Yolo County Library’s ever-popular Summer Reading Program, currently under way, has something for everyone.  This year’s program – “Our Reading is So Delicious” – runs now through mid-August and includes free reading clubs, exciting events and prizes.

“A summer reading program is a critically important tool to keep children learning and reading over the summer months,” said Yolo County Librarian Patty Wong in a press release.  Research indicates students who read recreationally out-perform those who do not.  Studies have also shown school-aged children lose up to one month of learning over the summer break.  “Our programs provide quality summer learning opportunities,” continued Wong. “Sign up and join the fun at your local Yolo County Library branch today.”

This year’s reading incentive program is for participants of all ages.  Sign up at your local library’s service desk and pick up a game board that includes healthy and fun activities designed especially for your age group.  Each child who completes the program receives a free book and a Round Table Pizza or Steve’s Pizza coupon, while supplies last.  Teens who register can enter a system-wide drawing for an Android, and teens and adults who register can enter a system-wide drawing for a chance to win a Kindle.  All who visit a Yolo County Library branch this summer can pick up a schedule of events, and sign up for the program of their choice.  The lineup for all ages includes:

•         Children: Fancy Nancy Meets the Mad Hatter tea party, Uncle Jer’s Traveling Bee Show and a visit from the Mad Scientist.

•         Teens: Try a Smoovie (movie & smoothies, get it?) and an architectural competition involving dry spaghetti and marshmallows.

•         Adults: Try Nutritional Jeopardy and a visit from the Davis Food Co-op intriguingly named Fast French Cooking with Julie and Julie and Julie and Julia.

Events vary from branch to branch.  Stop by your local branch or visit www.yolocountylibrary.org for more information. West Sacramento’s branch is at 1212 Merkley Ave.

Summer Reading Program 2013 sponsors include: California Library Association, First 5 Yolo, numerous local businesses, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Round Table Pizza, Steve’s Pizza and Friends of the Library groups for each Yolo County Library branch.

Summer Reading Program 2013 sponsors include: California Library Association, First 5 Yolo, numerous local businesses, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Round Table Pizza, Steve’s Pizza and Friends of the Library groups.

 

  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

 

Local chorus performs today at capitol

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — 

The West Sacramento Community Singers have a free concert on schedule. You’re invited to listen to them at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, at the Capital Museum rotunda in Sacramento, where they will present hits by ABBA and the Manhattan Transfer. Park near 11th and L streets and enter from 11th.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013