New West Sac water restrictions allow for watering just once a week

New West Sac water restrictions allow for watering just once a week

The West Sacramento City Council has given City Manager Martin Tuttle authority to declare a stage 3 Water Shortage Contingency Plan in order to reach the mandatory 28% water use reduction required More »

“State of the City” Address: Continued growth, innovative partnerships making West Sac “magical”

“State of the City” Address: Continued growth, innovative partnerships making West Sac “magical”

In his annual keynote address to a dinner crowd of 270 inside City Hall on May 5, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon both touted several current achievements and announced some new initiatives and projects, More »

Remembering  Steve Marschke

Remembering Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke, the longtime publisher and editor of this paper, has died. I have never liked that word, since it sounds so harsh and final, and when I edit the obituaries here More »


Former Alaskan crab boat finds home with Sea Scouts in West Sacramento

The ‘Emerald Sea’ heads upriver (photo courtesy of Barbara Smith)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 1, 2012 —

 By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The local chapter of the Sea Scouts believes it has found its new flagship vessel.
The young mariners have shuffled around some of their donations, unloaded a “Forrest Gump”-style shrimp trawler, and took possession of a 95-foot, former Alaskan crab boat more along the lines of the TV show “Deadliest Catch.”

The crab boat “Emerald Sea” had been anchored in Sausalito for several years, disused. The Sea Scouts brought her home to their headquarters in West Sacramento recently on a leisurely voyage.

“Just two weeks ago, she cruised up river on her own power from Sausalito,” said Nate Eckler, “skipper” of the Sea Scout troop. “It was roughly a 14-hour trip – we were just taking it slow.”

The boat – soon to be renamed “Neptune,” in honor of the chapter’s identity – is now docked near the old Cemex cement plant towers, along South River Road at 15th Street. Nearby both  in the water and sitting on blocks above are several other boats in various states of repair, belonging to the Scouts.

Some of the Sea Scouts on hand for a work crew Sunday gather in the bow of the boat. Behind are the Pioneer bridge and downtown Sacramento. Pictured are (standing) Boatswain Ian O’Bryan; Steven Hobbs; Daniel Thweatt; Sam Hobbs; Skipper Nate Eckler; Jr. Officer Robert Turner; and (kneeling) Regatta Cox’n Ryan DeWeese and Storekeeper Kitty Dawson (News-Ledger photo)

The West Sacramento site provides storage and a work area for the group’s many projects.

“We worked out a deal with a few different entities” to get use of the property, Eckler explained. “This was the old Cemex cement plant. We got permission from them to use it, but they had also assigned it to the city, and we also had to get permission from the city. Also, at the front of the property is the utility yard for Ramos Oil. Ramos Oil and Bill Ramos have been a huge supporter of our projects, so they agreed, too. The docks were a donation from the Sacramento Yacht Club.”

The old cement plant has vacated the site, relocating to a new location at the Port of West Sacramento.

Just astern of the Emerald Sea lies a vintage Coast Guard surf rescue boat, a bullet-shaped vessel of 23-foot in length that’s capable of righting itself if capsized. On blocks above them is a “motor whaleboat” that the group plans to fix up and then suspend above deck on the Emerald Sea, to be lowered when necessary to serve as a “shore boat” or tender for the bigger vessel.

That’s Nate Eckler, tucked behind the 850-horsepower engine. The 95-foot vessel was built in 1966 in Wisconsin (News-Ledger photo)

Some of the crab boat’s fittings and equipment won’t be needed by the Sea Scouts, since they don’t plan on doing any large-scale crabbing. The excess equipment will be sold off, when possible, to help pay for modifications and repairs.

“We’ll take the old holds – the ‘live well’ for the crabs – and convert them into bunk areas for the crew,” said Eckler. The old “live well” is underneath the deck.

Even now, though, the boat has bunk space for eight crew, a couple of single cabins, a laundry room and galley area. It has a single 850 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine, a pair of 60 kilowatt generators, and ample systems for navigation in the wheelhouse – all of which offer ample opportunities to train young people in the fine arts of seamanship, mechanics and electronics.

“There are a lot of individual systems on board,” said Eckler, “and we need to learn them and create repeatable procedures for the kids to use each one.”

“(The kids) definitely get a lot of hands-on mechanical work. They had to a lot of engine work. We went in there and pulled the valve covers off. . . they’re also learning welding and woodworking.”

Currently, there are about 12-14 “active” members in the group, including one girl among the boys. The Sea Scouts range in age from about 13 to 21. When the News-Ledger visited on Sunday, a handful of the youths were working under supervision, hauling equipment back and forth as they start to refit the Emerald Sea.

Eckler believes the boat has the potential to be a great flagship for this little West Sac navy.

“It’s going to be a training boat, to be cruised around here or on the Delta and Bay – even offshore, eventually. The kids will be operating it with adults providing oversight.”

The group also spends time on sailboats, with a summer sailing program at the Port.

Anyone interested in the Sea Scouts can find them at www.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Japanese factory breaks ground in Southport


A Japanese food plant breaks ground in Southport on Thursday.

Nippon Shokken is the “top producer of Japanese blend seasonings in the world,” according to a City of West Sacramento press release. Construction is expected to finish next January.
The company makes seasonings, sauces and tempura mix.

The plant would be its first manufacturing facility in the U.S. The company has bought 10 acres at 2970 Ramco Street for the 70,000-square foot plant, which it plans to open next year.

The factory is expected to produce 2,400 tons of product annually to begin with, and up to 5,000 tons per year maximum. It has been projected to employ over 100 people in the $16 million plant, according to reports from announcements made a year ago, when the site was selected.

The Japanese firm also expects to move its U.S.A. headquarters from Torrance to West Sacramento.

Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa is expected to attend a ground-breaking at 10 a.m. on Feb. 9,  joined by Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Growing Yolo County’s ag industry

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 1, 2012 —


Telling you that agriculture is important in Solano and Yolo counties is not news to any of us.  But if we told you that agriculture is the engine behind a $2.5 billion sector of our economies, you might be interested.  When we add that agriculture is our region’s brightest promise to increase jobs and prosperity, we know that we now have your full attention.

That’s exactly what happened when a study on this subject came out last year.  It got the attention of farmers, processors, bankers, government and academia.  They all wanted to know how they could be a part of growing this broad, yet integrated sector known as the food chain industry cluster, which makes up 10 percent of our shared economy.  That interest resulted in a tremendous turnout for the Solano and Yolo Counties Joint Economic Summit in December.

  “The Food Chain Cluster: Integrating the Food Chain in Solano and Yolo Counties to Create Economic Opportunities and Jobs” report describes the food chain as the full spectrum of economic activity related to agriculture – from seed to the table – from before the crops get into the fields, to the goods and services used in farming, to the value-added processing that converts crops into consumer goods.

The report highlights some opportunities and challenges to adding more value to agriculture.  The opportunities range from increasing demand for high-value products that we grow, such as almonds and walnuts, to the fact that seven out of the top 10 seed producers in the world are located here. While having established food processing facilities is one of our strengths, the need for additional slaughtering facilities and other essential processors was identified as a weakness. Regulatory issues, costs of operations and the lack of a chilling capacity are some of the other challenges to overcome.

The purpose of the summit was to engage participants in building strategies that will preserve, promote and expand our agricultural industry and all of the value it brings to our communities. A key message we heard was the need for the urban public, the business community and economic development staffs to have a better understanding of the importance of bringing processing facilities to the region. This will bring growers much-needed contracts for their commodities – an economic incentive to keep agricultural production local.  New processing facilities will also generate a wave of other job-producing companies that will spur retail purchases, home sales and other positive drivers for our local economy.

The summit reinforced this region’s capacity to continue to grow our food chain cluster. One speaker suggested we could make our Agricultural Valley the next Silicon Valley. For this to be possible, we need to capitalize on our competitive advantages – highly productive lands, plentiful water, top-notch research at the UC Davis, an entrepreneurial spirit, and an unwavering passion to preserve and promote agriculture.

In addition, the summit underscored how agriculture – farming and ranching – has evolved to remain competitive. Agriculture is more mechanized and less people-intensive than it once was. The vast majority of the jobs along the agriculture food chain – 77 percent – are in processing, distribution and support services. On average, the future growth in these sectors represents jobs paying around $24 per hour. These jobs will more than likely be in our cities, but some – in the best interests of both agriculture and the cities – will be located in unincorporated areas. Both counties have already set aside areas for this type of growth.

Summit participants discussed obstacles, such as ready access to capital and competing regulatory interests of federal, state and local governments. Overcoming these obstacles will require a new kind of collaboration. Bankers and government need to rethink their roles to become even better partners in growing the food chain.

In the coming weeks and months, you will see more results from this joint economic effort.  Our respective Boards of Supervisors received presentations on Jan. 24 on the basic road map of the most promising actions we can take together. You have our commitment to finding the funds for a public-private partnership for an agriculture ombudsman program to serve Solano and Yolo counties.  We need an ombudsman to help agriculture-related entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality and create better partnerships between our businesses and regulators.
In many ways, what we have in front of us is an old-fashioned barn-raising. Our challenge is how each of us can commit to adding more value to agriculture. This cannot be about what the “other guy” should be doing. In a barn-raising, everybody pitches in because that’s what communities do to meet the need. Our communities are in need right now and agriculture is at the heart of the solution.

Supervisor, County of Solano

Supervisor, County of Yolo

Supervisor, County of Solano

Supervisor, County of Yolo

Raider boys sweep Liberty Ranch

RCHS sophomore Maurice Cordova with the lay-up. Maurice had 9 points in the game. (Photo by DE’ONNA JACK)


On Friday, the River City High School boys’ basketball squads faced Liberty Ranch Hawks, and River City came away with a win in each division.

Final Scores: Freshmen: 65-56 (W), junior varsity: 56-52 (W), and varsity: 53-47 (W).

High scorers for the River City jayvees were Mike Briscoe with 15 points and Maurice Cordova and Zabi Jon each with 9 points.

RCHS varsity high scorers: Jose Chacon with 20 points and Nico Rocha had 16 points.

The boys basketball teams will be on the road this week and will be home again on February 15. That will be their last  home game of the season, when they will celebrate “senior night” for the graduating players.

The Raider varsity is currently 10-13 overall and 4-5 in league play.

The Raider frosh in action (photo by DE'ONNA JACK)

River City senior Nico Rocha with the jump shot. Count the basket – Nico had 16 points in the game. (Photo by DE’ONNA JACK)

(Facebook members can find up-to-the-minute info on RCHS sports at contributor De’Onna Jack’s Facebook page. Click here.)

  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, by mail..

  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

RCHS hands Vista Del Lago a league loss

RCHS sophomore Jalen Davis in j.v. play: Jalen was one of the high scorers against Vista del Lago with 12 points (photo by DE'ONNA JACK)

Sophomore Rene Sapiandante with the jump shot for River City JV team. Rene was one of the high scorers against Cosumnes Oaks with 13 points (photo by DE'ONNA JACK)


On Jan. 24, the River City High School boys basketball squad faced Vista del Lago.

River City’s freshman were routed by a final score of 74-32.  The Raider   JV won by a final of 57-46 (W) with Rene Sapiandante and Jalen Davis serving as the high scorers in the game for River City with 12 points each.

The River City varsity team won a 61-60 thriller against Fista Del Lago, taking their record to 8-12 overall and handing Vista del Lago its first loss in league play.  High scorers for RCHS varsity were Jose Chacon with 19 points, Malik Dumetz with 13, and Vincent Chelini with 12.

On Jan. 27, the team took on Cosumnes Oaks. The Raider freshman had the night off, while JV and Varsity played.

Both games were intense and exciting till the end – but Cosumnes Oaks took narrow victories in both the varsity and j.v. matches.

Final scores J.V.: 51-50 (L), and varsity: 52-49 (L). High scorers for the game RCHS JV: Rene Sapiandante with 13 and Mike Briscoe with 13. Varsity: Vince Chelini with 17, Mark Gidenko with 8  and Jose Chacon with 8.

Senior Mark Gidenko of the River City High School varsity team, in action against Cosumnes Oaks on Jan. 27. Mark had 8 points in the game. (Photo by DE’ONNA JACK)

(Facebook members can find up-to-the-minute info on RCHS sports at contributor De’Onna Jack’s Facebook page. Click here.)

Copyright News-Ledger 2012


Storm & outage tips from PG&E

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 25, 2012

From PG&E

Be prepared for power outages year-round:

·    Have battery-operated flashlights and radios with fresh batteries ready. Listen for updates on storm conditions and power outages.

·    If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone or pager ready as a backup.

·    Avoid using candles, which pose a fire risk. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.

·    Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be left in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.

·    If you have a stand-by generator, make sure that it’s installed safely and inform PG&E to avoid risking damage to your property and endangering PG&E crews. Information on the safe installation of generators can be found on our website at

·    If your power goes out, unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and creating fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.

·    Treat all downed power lines as if they are “live” or energized.  Keep yourself and others away from them and immediately call 911 then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Before calling PG&E about an outage:

·    Check to see if other neighbors are affected. This will confirm if an outage has occurred in just your residence or in the broader neighborhood.

·    If only your residence is without power, check circuit breakers and/or fuse boxes to see if the problem is limited to the home electric system.

·    After performing the steps above, report your outage to: PG&E’s 24-Hour Emergency and Customer Service Line 1-800-743-5000.

EDITORIAL: Public wireless in West Sac never lived up to the hype

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 25, 2012 —

Evidently, the Internet is not a fad.

Americans, like those in much of the rest of the world, are getting more and more entwined in the world wide web as the years go by. They use the web not only from desktop computers at home, but while on the road with their laptops, smartphones, tablet computers and other portable devices. They work, study, access music and photos, and communicate through the web.

But when you buy an Internet-compatible gizmo, it doesn’t just automatically come pre-loaded with the Internet inside: you have to have a connection to the web. A lot of people have Internet connections at home – it comes to their home by cable, phone line or satellite. But when on the road, a lot of people want – or need – a good Internet connection outside their homes. Often, they find it at coffee shops and such – usually, a wireless connection is available to paying customers, and requiring a password obtained from the proprietor. Your computer helps you connect to the invisible network streaming into the coffee shop, and you can surf the web all you want with no cables required.

  Some cities provide free wireless Internet connections in their downtown areas. It’s not expensive to provide connections in a limited area where a lot of people gather to work and play. Providing free access is meant to be friendly to businesspeople, shoppers and tourists who want to check their email or do something else on the Net, without a lot of hassle.

In 2005, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento called for this city to join that crowd. He promised free wireless access in West Sacramento’s downtown business corridor, including a stretch of West Capitol Avenue.

The city installed some antennas at a cost of roughly $10,000 – a pretty small item in the city’s budget. Monthly charges to keep up the connection were negligible, beginning at about $60/month. But the free wireless never worked as well as it should, and except for a few lucky spots where connection was good, users found that connecting to the free service was tough or impossible.

So the question remains: is free wireless in key areas of West Sacramento worth doing right? Can it be used not only to make it easier to do business near city hall, but perhaps to serve shoppers, travelers, students and business people at other key parts of West Sacramento, like shopping centers?

The access promised by Mayor Cabaldon at his 2005 State of the City address never materialized. The city should plan to fix its public wireless access, or else admit the project was a failure and move on.

To comment on this article, please visit the same article at our sister website,, by clicking here

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, by mail..

  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