Santa to arrive on fire truck: Here’s St. Nick’s schedule

Santa to arrive on fire truck: Here’s St. Nick’s schedule

The West Sacramento Fire Department, in conjunction with the West Sacramento Firefighters’ Association, is preparing for the annual “Santa Run” through West Sacramento. With the help of many off-duty firefighter “elves,” Santa More »

Toys For Tots collection efforts now underway

Toys For Tots collection efforts now underway

Since 1948, The Marine Corps League, Toys for Tots Foundation has been around for the distribution of toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign More »

Council Member Bill Kristoff Retires After Thirty Years of Service

Council Member Bill Kristoff Retires After Thirty Years of Service

By Jan Dalske for the News Ledger Bill Kristoff will officially retire on November 16th when he attends his last city council meeting. His friends, family and colleagues came together recently at More »

 

Sting: eight arrested in West Sacramento for buying alcohol for underage decoys

NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 21, 2012 —

The West Sacramento Police Department joined about 100 agencies statewide in “Operation Shoulder Tap,” a decoy operation meant to catch adults who buy alcohol for minors.

[adrotate group=”7″]   Local police visited 12 locations for the project on Friday, March 16.

“Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol,” explained Sgt. Nathan Steele of the W.S.P.D., in a press release. “The minor indicates in some way that he or she is underage, and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adults agree to purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.”

Eight adults were arrested from among the 78 subjects contacted during the decoy operation.

It was the first such statewide sting in California history, reports the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Horse club pitches in, cleans up

Kevin Baker tries to organize the collected refuse and make some more room in the garbage bin (photo courtesy of Julie Dennis, WSTRA)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 21, 2012 —

From Don Schatzel
West Sacramento Trail
Riders Association

The West Sacramento Trail Riders Association completed their annual clean-up of the ”Honda Hills” area by the corner of Jefferson Blvd. and South River Road on Feb. 26.

The group is , an organization of community members dedicated to the love of horses and the protection and preservation of rural lands

WSTRA President Jason Williams announced that over 20 club members dedicated more than 100 hours, plus the use of their trucks, trailers and tractors to pick-up over 40 yards of trash, couches, mattresses, wood, bottles, cans, carpet remnants and 82 tires from the publicly-owned area.

[adrotate group=”9″]   “We do this several times a year and we are happy to be able to clean up this area to beautify our community,” said Williams.  “It is hard work but a fun activity for our WSTRA members.”

The Baker boys take a break in the foreground. Rich Littleton works the tractor, Brenda Morazzini handles the rake, and Kevin Baker is in the refuse container. At right are Penny Schatzel and Tammy Zonneveld. Photo courtesy of Julie Dennis, WSTRA

For additional information and pictures about WSTRA search for “WestSacramentoTrail-RidersAssociation” on Facebook.  The group meets on the first Monday each month at Wicked West Pizza at 7 p.m., and new members are welcome.

  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

Board restores p.m. school buses at RCHS

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 14, 2012 —

West Sacramento’s school board voted 3-0 on March 15 to restore plans for afternoon bus service from River City High School next year(with trustees Dave Westin and Mary Leland absent). A previous board vote had slated afternoon service at RCHS to be canceled.

[adrotate group=”9″]   The board left in place its plans to cut bus service to local K-8 schools in Washington Unified School District for most kids next year.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Police department offers new text/email alert system and smartphone app

[adrotate group=”10″] FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 21, 2012 —

Sergeant Nathan Steele of the West Sacramento Police Department announced this month that the department is making new ventures into “social media” and communications.

Using the “Nixie” system, citizens can sign up to receive information from police as a text message on their cell phone or by email. Citizens can also find notifications from W.S.P.D. at www.nixie.com.

“Messages may include traffic alerts, at-risk missing persons, road hazards, as well as other relevant safety and community event information,” said Steele in a press release.

The messages can target people within a quarter-mile radius of a targeted area, “giving them the opportunity to receive trustworthy information relevant only to their neighborhood,” he added. “Residents decide from which local agencies they want to receive information.

Get information and register at www.nixie.com.

The department has also launched a new “app” for Android or iPhone smartphones.

The MYPD app, produced by Wired Blue, allows you to access all of the local police department’s social media platforms, submit crime tips including photos or GPS location, access the W.S.P.D. phone directory, provide feedback to the department, participate in surveys, and go to the W.S.P.D. web page for information such as crime statistics.

You can get download the MYPD App by Wired Blue free from the Android Marketplace or iPhone App Store.

  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

Five break-ins at kids’ snack bar

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 14, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

PETTY THEFT: A thief or thieves has been breaking the lock on this equipment storage bin belonging to a youth sports league (courtesy of Jr. Raiders)

It’s getting to be a nuisance, says Sarah Sieck, league treasurer for the West Sacramento Junior Raiders youth football team.

The squad’s snack bar and storage facility have been burglarized way too often in recent weeks, with the most recent break-in on Feb. 27.

“We’ve had five break-ins now,” said Sieck. “We’ve stopped reporting them. All of them were in February.”

The team plays at the “old” River City High School stadium, on the campus on Clarendon Street that is now home to Westmore Oaks Elementary School. Near the school’s field and track are a snack bar, ticket booth and a corrugated metal storage container.

“The snack bar has been broken into, and now also the ticket booths,” said Sieck. “There were some older cheerleader skirts in storage,  and someone just grabbed them and threw them all over the track.”

The equipment bin suffered two break-ins in one week alone:

“They took a P.A. (public address) system with speakers, and also the control panel that controls the scoreboard.”

And from the snack bar:

“The first time, they took all the sodas and candy,” said Sieck. “We had several cases of water, and it’s like they just took one and threw all the others around. They ransacked it, but they didn’t destroy it. We just have to get out there and clean it up.”

The first break-in was noticed by members of the River City Gators semi-pro football team, which also practices on the field.

[adrotate group=”7″]   “Jason Kang, the owner, called us and said ‘your snack bar is open – I’ll prop it closed until you can get here.’” But the break-ins didn’t stop. It probably doesn’t help that the field isn’t very visible at night, and some lights aren’t working.

“We have since re-keyed everything,” said Sieck. “The first time it appeared someone opened it but there was no damage. We were thinking that it was someone with a key. After that initial break-in, when the candy and sodas were taken, the doors were crowbared open each time and the bolt on the bin was cut.

The damage, all told, is about $4,000 for the youth sports league, including $3,000 for the P.A. system alone.

“That’s including boarding up, re-locking, and replacing equipment and supplies,” said Sieck. There was no cash stored in the snack bar or ticket booth. But the real cost to those who run the Junior Raiders is not necessarily money.

“It’s just so frustrating,” said Sieck.

The league is planning a fundraising benefit concert – possibly in June – to help defray some of the costs of the burglaries. The River City Jr. Raiders can be found on the Facebook social networking site for more information.

  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

Voters lukewarm on school bond

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 14, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento’s school board appeared interested in pursuing a new local school bond or parcel tax on November’s ballot, despite a poll showing tepid public support for the idea right now.

TERESA BLACKMER: President of West Sac's school board

At the board’s meeting on Feb. 23, district officials heard a report from their polling consultant, Jonathan Kaufman of Solem & Associates.

“We interviewed a sampling of 400 randomly selected voters in the school district,” Kaufman told the board.

One of the questions posed was whether such voters would support a $55 million bond that would cost a “typical” homeowner $88 per year in extra taxes. Such a bond on a general election ballot would need 55 percent of the vote to pass. The poll showed 39 percent support, so “we’re quite a ways away,” said Kaufman.

One probably reason is the economy, he added.

“We’re in a ‘down’ economy, people are (having trouble) paying mortgages, there’s high unemployment, and the 2007 (school bond) measure failed,” he said.  On the other hand, voters responded positively to some of the specific plans that were floated during the interviews, including the offer of creating a citizen’s committee to oversee how the tax money is spent. They also liked some of the ideas their money would be used for.

[adrotate group=”9″]   “They liked the idea of a citizens’ oversight committee, and they liked the idea of fixing leaky roofs,” said Kaufman.

Voters were more receptive to the concept of a smaller bond, such as a $27 million measure that might cost the typical homeowner $44 per year. If there was a large turnout of voters, said Kaufman, such a measure “might squeak through.”

As far as a parcel tax, voters were “way short” of supporting an $80/year measure and slightly shy of adequate support for a $40/year tax.

“Only a $27 million bond issue costing homeowners $30/year of assessed value, or (for the typical homeowner), $44/year, receives the required 55 percent (approval),” said Kaufman of his polling results.

The board had talked about a new bond or tax in order to finish work at the new high school campus, build a career & technical education center elsewhere, and perhaps do work such as fixing roofs and updating fire sprinkler systems. A big part of the campaign, said Kaufman, is convincing people the school district would be trustworthy and responsible with their money. And a lot of that trust comes from the district’s image in the public eye.

“The more you can communicate to the community that you are good at these tasks, the better you will do,” he said. “For public information and education, I think it’s important to do that now. The more you can educate people about all the good things you’ve been doing in the district, the better off you’ll be.”

How might the economy over the next few months affect the vote:

“If people feel things are moving in the right direction. . . they will be more open to spending money out of their pocket for public things,” Kaufman added.

Washington Unified School District has had two years of 20-plus point improvements in its student test scores. Several board members felt the polls showed that West Sacramento voters weren’t adequately aware of these gains and other accomplishments.

[adrotate group=”10″]   “We just went through budget cuts and we didn’t have to lay off teachers,” said board member David Westin. “The numbers coming out of this research are just showing what a mediocre job we’re doing (communicating district success). . . The school district has an unbelievable story to tell. We’re achieving a lot without laying off teachers.”

Board president Teresa Blackmer said that new taxes will be problematic to some:

“There are a lot of people on fixed incomes who would be affected drastically by these kinds of decisions,” she commented.

Board member Adam Menke requested a special meeting just to focus on where any new bond or parcel tax money would go.

“We can talk all day about going for a bond, but the question would be, how much and for what?” said Menke.

The board agreed to tackle those details in a future meeting.

  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

$1,000 reward for theft of video cameras

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MARCH 21, 2012 —

Just received from the West Sacramento Police Department:

“On March 8, 2012 at approximately 5:55 a.m., two unknown male subjects stole six video surveillance cameras mounted on the exterior of the Afghan Community Center located at 700 Glide Ave, West Sacramento. The two suspects’ images were caught on surveillance cameras.

REWARD for this theft suspect (surveillance video image)

“There appeared to be two male subjects responsible for the thefts.  One subject was captured on video as he stole one of the cameras.  He appears to be a Hispanic male subject wearing a light colored zip up jacket with a round shaped face and wearing a dark colored hat.  The second subject that was with him (possibly Hispanic) was taller with a goatee and was wearing light colored shorts, a light colored zip-up “hoody, sunglasses,” and carrying a dark colored backpack.

“Anyone with information is urged to contact the West Sacramento Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau at 916-617-4915.

From footage of suspects in theft of video cameras from Afghan Community Center in West Sacramento

“The Afghan Community Center is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects responsible.”

[adrotate group=”9″]   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