The Rise of Urban Farms

The Rise of Urban Farms

Volunteer Day at Lake Washington Farm By Bia Riaz The City of West Sacramento, an urban center situated in the midst of Yolo County’s rich rural farm traditions and home to More »

West Sacramentan to be featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery

West Sacramentan to be featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery

You spend your life trying to perfect your technique, But you only make an impact when you find your own language. That’s when you start communicating your art… John Nichols will be More »

City Partners With West Capitol Ave. Businesses To Curb Alcohol Abuse

City Partners With West Capitol Ave. Businesses To Curb Alcohol Abuse

The City of West Sacramento has launched a campaign encouraging local businesses to refuse alcohol sales to inebriated customers. The program, T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More), is a partnership between West Sacramento More »


Fathers of newborns: get some skills


Fathers can learn hands-on skills for helping to raise newborns – including the “ever-popular diaper toss,” promises First 5 Yolo.

Three “Daddy’s Tool Bag,” workshops are planned, including one from 5:30-7 p.m. on Feb. 22 at West Sacramento’s library, 1212 Merkley Avenue.

The free workshops are led by a dad, Ted Hendricks, and will also cover skills such as swaddling the newborn, helping during breastfeeding, and comforting a baby. Free, and participants get a T-shirt and DVD (in English & Spanish). Call (530) 669-2475 to sign up or learn about workshops elsewhere in the region.

Food bank distributes free food today


The Food Bank of Yolo County will distribute free food in West Sacramento and Clarksburg on Feb. 21.

The schedule will be:

Starting at 9-10 a.m. at the county building, 500 Jefferson Blvd.; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd.; 11-noon at Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr.; and noon to 1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse. Please bring a bag, and attend only one site.

For info, call (530) 668-0690.

Hero’s memory revived by school project

Joe at the stick of his helicopter, with his door gunner behind him



Amid all the wonders out there on the Internet is a website specifically dedicated to remembering the 58,178 American soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. It is called the Virtual Wall, and on it are countless remembrances, poems, photos, videos and letters honoring those who never made it back home from that long ago war. And from time to time, usually on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, I have left a remembrance or two on the Virtual Wall in memory of some of the fine young men I served with overseas back in the late 1960s, which brings me to my little story.

DARYL FISHER, the author

MADDY HINES: Texas student doing an English project focused on the Vietnam War -- and in particular, on helicopter pilot Joe Vad, who didn't make it home

The other day, while checking my email messages on my computer at work, I noticed that one of them had the name Joe Vad in the subject line.  Henry (Joe) Vad was a very fine helicopter pilot who lost his life back in November of 1969 while providing combat air support for the Aero Rifle Platoon I served in, so I was of course very eager to open up the email and find out who had sent it. And as I began to read, I also began to feel pretty good about this new generation of Americans.

“Hi Mr. Fisher. My name is Maddy Hines and I am a junior at Westlake High School is Austin, Texas. My English III AP class is learning about the Vietnam War. We were each given the name of an American soldier who passed away in the war to create a memorial about. I am honored to have been given the name of your friend, Henry Joseph Vad. I will be creating a video memorial of his life and would love to get some information from you about him. If you have any pictures, stories, or general information about Mr. Vad that you would be willing to share with me, I would greatly appreciate it. For more information about this project, please feel free to contact my teacher, Rebecka Stucky, and if you would like to see some of the memorials her classes have created in the past, you can go to And thank you so much for your help. Maddy Hines.”

PILOT JOE VAD, strolling near the aifield (background) and soldiers' "hooches"

Many years ago, I had written a column about Joe Vad, so I sent off the following paragraph from it to Maddy:

“Joe was from the tough streets of New York City and he had spent quite a bit of time in the Marines before deciding he wanted to be an officer and go to flight school and learn how to fly a helicopter. He liked being in the military, and since he had once been an enlisted man, he was really nice to those who flew with him. He was a very sweet guy with a great sense of humor and he got along well with everyone on the base. As a Chief Warrant Officer with D Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, of the 1st Infantry Division, his job was to fly air reconnaissance and combat air support for the Aero Rifle Platoon I served with on the ground below him. He was a truly amazing pilot who could make his OH-6A scout helicopter do the most remarkable things. He was easy to smile, fearless to a fault, seemingly invincible, and on the day he and his doorgunner, SP5 James Downing, were shot out of the sky by enemy fire and killed, the whole troop had a very difficult time believing, and dealing, with it. He left behind a loving wife and an infant daughter, Lisa, who over the years has contacted numerous members of our troop in an effort to learn more about the father she never knew.”

It turns out that Maddy was already in contact with Lisa, who was providing her with lots of photos and information about her father. I also sent her the email address of Terry Houck, a member of my squad who knew Joe much better than I did, knowing that he would also be able to get Maddy in contact with some of the helicopter pilots Joe flew with before his death.

The next time I heard from Maddy she wrote, “I am so honored to be making a memorial for Joe Vad. My teacher has been giving her students this assignment for years, but I didn’t know hardly anything about the Vietnam War before this project. I knew that it happened in the late sixties and that there was a Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC, but that was about it. My parents really enjoy watching me do all my research for this project. They think it is important for me to realize what really happened in the Vietnam War and they are happy that I am coming in contact with people from all over the United States who knew Joe Vad. My friends and classmates are all doing this project, too, and they love it. Everyone is really getting into it and think it’s very interesting. I have learned so much about American culture and the history of that time and it has explained a lot about veterans that I didn’t understand before. I have also learned that war is a very serious thing, and that it should not be taken lightly, and how awful and traumatic it can be for so many people. It has also allowed me to get to know a person in a different way than normal and feel very connected to him. I am so excited to be doing this project!”

  Someone once said that if we are remembered by just one other person, then we never really die. And Maddy’s video memorial to Joe means that many more people will get to know about a good, brave and decent man, who once lived and loved, “felt dawn and saw sunset glow.” And for having done that, Maddy, those of us who served with Joe Vad will always be in your debt.

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailboxl.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

‘Heart of the City’: West Sacramento’s vibrant youth sports scene


Wow! Youth basketball season!

The Washington Unified School District girls basketball program wound down with great playoffs and a championship series.

BY DON SCHATZEL for the News-Ledger

The playoffs began at Riverbank School that used to be Golden State Middle School that used to be James Marshall High School (small history lesson. . .) I mention this because the schools gym is high school-dimension,  complete with Rotary- sponsored scoreboard.

The four teams that qualified for the playoffs were regular season winner Stonegate Elementary and prospective championship opponent Bridgeway Island, whose only loss was to Stonegate. Upstart Elkhorn and always-in-the-playoffs Southport joined the post-season party!

What was expected was not to be.

Elkhorn pulled off the upset of the season in the first round, beating Bridgeway Island 30-21. Elkhorn became West Sac’s own version of a Cinderella team. Joanna Lira led Elkhorn with 8 points and Elkhorn held Bridgeway’s powerful offense to just 8 first-half points. Michaela Faaifo had 8 points and Melissa Bustamante had 4 for Bridgeway.

This was Elkhorn’s first trip to the championship game.

Stonegate and Southport squared off to determine Elkhorn’s championship opponent. Stonegate ran off to an 8-point halftime lead, 19-11, then pulled away for a 36-14 victory and a chance to play Elkhorn for the local title. Gabby Mistler had 8 points and Niki Singh  7 points for powerhouse Stonegate. Anniyah Furlow 4 points for Southport.

The consolation and championship games were played at Westmore Oaks Elementary School, formerly River City High School, and its gym, too, has high school dimensions.

In the Southport vs. Bridgeway Island match for third place,

Bridgeway rebounded from its disappointing opening round loss with a 26-11 win. Jordan Criswell had 9 points and Michaels Faaifo  7 points. Mikaela Drewry led the Southport scoring.

The long-awaited championship between Elkhorn and Stonegate was a tough physical game, with Stonegate winning 32-9 for their first championship. Elkhorn battled the entire game, but Stonegate brought a  deep a bench and kept the pressure on the entire game.

The unstoppable Alina Castillo scored 17 points and Nikki Singh had 8, both for Stonegate. Joanna Lira earned 5 for Elkhorn. Congratulations to all four teams for making the playoffs and playing great basketball.

Our Lady of Grace School is  in mid-basketball season. The J.V. team, made up of 5th and 6th graders, beat St. Elizabeths of Elk Grove 14-2 to stay in first place. Krystal Robles,  Lauren Bykowski and Julianna Calles had great games for the OLG win.

What youth sports league started in 1974 has 25,000 teams worldwide, 360,000 participants,ages 4-18, four world series tournaments, and is an international program not just in the U.S?

GIVE UP? It’s little league girls’ softball – not boys baseball!
West Sacramento Girls Softball Little League is registering players. As are the West Sacramento Dolphins, West Sacramento Little League and Washington Little League, with separate registration for summer programs. They have web sites so they are easy to find!

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailboxl.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

‘Carol’ of Carol’s Restaurant is honored

Carol Baker is pictured above at center, with “Women of AT&T Employee Resource Group” members (left-right) Mary Felicio, Laurie Clay, Randella Griffin and Yen Marshall.


The ‘Carol’ behind Carol’s Restaurant in West Sacramento has been honored for her support of a breast cancer fundraising project organized by a women’s employee group at AT&T.

For two years, the group has sold Easter Bunny Baskets as a fundraiser for the fight against cancer.

“(Baker) sold over half of the total baskets we made for this event every year in the last two years,” said Yen Marshall, group president. “We netted over $1,000. She is a hard-working, unselfish woman who puts the needs and wants of others in front of her own.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Adopt a dog or cat and save


The Yolo County Animal Shelter is offering half-priced adoption fees for dogs and cats, between Feb. 21-25.

Adopt a dog for $75 or a cat for $55 between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. or 2-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, or on Saturday 10-12:30 or 2-3:30. The shelter is at 2640 E. Gibson Rd. in Woodland. To adopt, show proof you own your own home, or provide a copy of your lease stating you may keep a pet. Browse the prospective pets: visit

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

POLICE LOG for West Sacramento

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 8, 2012 —

  Information for this ‘Police Log’ has come directly from original police reports and documents It’s just a sampling of the reports, calls for service and arrests made by the West Sacramento Police Department during the past week. The information includes citizen complaints and other statements that have not substantiated or verified by an investigation or a courtroom.

This police log comes from our Feb. 8 print edition. To see the log every week, make sure to subscribe! See the special offer beneath this article.

Feb. 1, 8:17 a.m.
A 17-year old boy was caught shoplifting at a Southport supermarket. He was “cooperative.” The boy’s parent asked that he be cited for the offense.

Feb. 1, 1:23 p.m.
A business on Commerce Drive reported the theft of about $20,000 worth of construction equipment.

Feb. 2, 7:35 a.m.
A caller from at or near Westmore Oaks Elementary School reported an ongoing problem with school parents double-parking on the street, or parking across driveways. The caller asked for extra patrols of the area.

Feb. 2, 1:23 a.m.
Vandalism was reported at a home on Kaui Road. Somebody “put weed killer on the lawn and spray-painted the house.”

Feb. 2, 11:36 a.m.
Wheelchair hit & run: A citizen reported that a woman pushing a wheelchair hit him or her in the leg with it, in an incident near West Capitol Avenue and Poplar. The victim believed the woman may have mental issues, and may have struck him on purpose. Police were asked to look for her.

Feb. 2, 12:31 p.m.
A real estate company reported that somebody took a heating & air conditioning unit from a vacant house on Chinook Road. The unit was worth about $3,000.

Feb. 2, 2:24 p.m.
A parent reported getting off the bus with a four-year old son at the 2100-block of West Capitol, when a woman at the bus stop spit on the boy. The woman was still there, drinking alcohol.

Feb. 2, 4:35 p.m.
A Maple Street resident said someone took some rings worth about $16,000 from the residence during the past two months. There was a suspect.

Feb. 2, 6:28 p.m.
A woman called dispatchers after a near-miss: She had just driven across the railroad tracks at Stone Blvd. and Jefferson, with a green light and the crossing guard arms up. But as she crossed, a train almost hit her car. “She is in tears and upset, but not injured,” noted a dispatcher. Railroad officials were notified that the crossing arms had malfunctioned.

Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Security personnel at a Riverpoint Court store saw a 23-year old male transient pick up some receipts in the parking lot, and then go inside, pick up some merchandise, and attempt to use a receipt to return the item for store credit. The man was detained and arrested.

Feb. 3, 9:43 a.m.
A man told dispatcher he had been putting gas in his car at a station on the 2800-block of West Capitol, when a man in a city uniform started yelling at him because gas was leaking from the pump. There was about a half-gallon of gas spilled in the parking lot.

Feb. 3, 10:50 a.m.
A teacher at Yolo High asked for an officer. The teacher wanted to file a complaint against a student.

Feb. 3, 4:29 p.m.
A 27-year old Brannan Way woman was in custody for attempting to shoplift about $59 in “cosmetics and lighters” from a Southport supermarket. The woman was “cooperative.”

Feb. 3, 5:21 p.m.
A disabled man riding a Paratransit bus called police from on the bus. It had stopped at the man’s Peachtree Road home, but the man refused to get off until the driver unloaded his groceries. The driver had refused. The pair were in an argument.

Feb. 3, 7:07 p.m.
A bomb threat was reported at an Industrial Boulevard workplace. A laid-off employee sent a text message saying there were two pipe bombs hidden on the site. The 43-year old Folsom man later admitted it was a hoax.

Feb. 3, 7:35 p.m.
A caller told a dispatcher that he or she was waiting near the River City High School gym, with a student and a bicycle. The student said the bicycle had been stolen on Tuesday (but not reported to police). Another person had just shown up at the campus with it. The suspect was possibly in the school gym.

Feb. 3, 8:41 p.m.
A citizen reported a “strong smell of marijuana” coming from the Bridgeway Elementary School. Nobody was visible at the scene.

Feb. 3, 1:50 p.m.
A cell phone company on Shore Street reported the theft of about $2,000 in copper wire from several cell towers.

Feb. 3, 2:15 p.m.
A 50-year old woman from Upland was detained by security at a Riverpoint Court store. She had apparently tried to steal $236 worth of Eveready batteries in different sizes. The woman was arrested and released with a notice to appear in court.

Feb. 4, 1:18 p.m.
A witness said a Chevy Tahoe was going fast, eastbound on Rice Avenue, and a single gunshot had been heard. A minute after this report, a resident of Michigan Blvd. reported hearing one, possibly “smaller” caliber, gunshot.

Feb. 4, 3:04 a.m.
A man said he was trying to get his belongings out of a motel room on the 900-block of West Capitol. But a female acquaintance at the room had refused him entry while holding a pocket knife with a 2-3″ blade. The man felt he had been threatened.

Feb. 4, 8 a.m.
A citizen reported that a gray Ford Tempo had been parked at a corner at 15th Street and Maryland for three days. Police checked it out and found the vehicle had been reported stolen.

Feb. 4, 2:52 p.m.
A caller at a Lisbon Avenue market said some tenants had reported that four or five homeless men had set up camp across the street. The tenants were uncomfortable with these neighbors, and asked that police move the men along.

Feb. 4, 4:09 p.m.
A citizen called police, saying that a brother was schizophrenic and off his medication. The brother was “going up and down Meadow Road throwing toilet paper.”

Feb. 4, 8:32 p.m.
In the northern city, a woman reported that her 22-year old daughter was “out of control and punching holes in the walls.”

Feb. 4, 10:48 p.m.
From a guest at a motel on the 800-block of West Capitol: “the occupant inside the next room had his bed pushed up against the (caller’s) adjacent wall. The occupant is playing ‘Stack Attack’ (evidently a video or smartphone game) and tends to get excited, and jumps up and down, causing the headboard to bang against the (caller’s) wall, waking him up.”

Feb. 4, 11 a.m.
An officer responded to the report that there was a man in a dark area at a closed business on Northport Drive. The officer found a man there, and also found a two-foot tall marijuana plant in a black pot in the bushes nearby. The subject denied owning or knowing about the plant. The officer booked the plant for destruction.

Feb. 5, 12:19 a.m.
Near Norfolk Avenue, a resident reported hearing shots or fireworks.

Feb. 5, 8:05 a.m.
A woman on Todhunter Avenue reported, through a Russian translator, that her car tires had been slashed in the apartment parking lot. It wasn’t the only car, and it wasn’t the first time.

Feb. 5, 9 a.m.
A caller said someone had parked a Dodge Caravan in a church parking lot on Linden Road. The van had been there at least three days, and there were “several cats locked inside.” No one had been seen coming or going from it.

Feb. 5, 9:03 a.m.
A 2011 Freightliner truck was reported stolen from a Ramco Street business, sometime since 11 p.m. on Friday.

Feb. 5, 9:49 a.m.
A man was reported to be “aggressively panhandling” at an ATM in front of a West Capitol bank.

Feb. 5, 12:12 p.m.
A citizen on Crown Street said a teenage male had just stolen a bike from the front yard. The youth was last seen heading toward Manchester, riding it.

Feb. 5, 12:53 p.m.
In central West Sacramento, a husband reported that a “childhood friend of (his) wife is leaving notes and presents” at their home, and he is concerned the friend “might be dangerous.”

Feb. 5, 2:57 p.m.
A neighbor complained of loud music at a home on Snapdragon Circle.

Feb. 5, 8:50 p.m.
A woman returned to her 6th Street apartment to find that somebody had evidently broken in by getting through the pet door. A TV was missing.

Feb. 5, 9:31 p.m.
Police were notified that a team of four bail bondsmen in a Cadillac were on Savannah Lane in an attempt to pick up a wanted man.

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailboxl.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012