Make way for another West Sac brewery:

Make way for another West Sac brewery:

Revision Brewing Company signs Mussetter distributor as first distributor By Monica Stark Come late summer, early fall, there will be a fifth brewery in town. Revision Brewing Company, to be located More »

Washington Unified Loses Assistant Superintendent

Washington Unified Loses Assistant Superintendent

By Michele Townsend This article is going to be a little bit different for me, as it touches my heart and my home, as it should yours. I have one child that More »

Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Start of Annual CAASPP Testing

Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Start of Annual CAASPP Testing

Last week, at Bridgeway Island Elementary, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that students have begun taking the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, the state’s computer-based, online assessments More »


Japanese plant breaks ground in Southport

Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa (left) accepts a gift from Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. (News-Ledger photo)


NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 15, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A groundbreaking in Southport on Thursday, Feb. 9, took on a notably Japanese flair.

Company officials from Nippon Shokken – a firm that produces Japanese seasonings and food products – joined local officials in a ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of a new, 70,000-square foot factory at 2970 Ramco Street in the Southport Business Park.

Local dignitaries gathered in a tent at the spot. The festivities included an exchange of gifts between Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and company chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa, amid bows and smiles. Ozawa presented the mayor with several gifts, including a set of porcelain figures, and Cabaldon responded with presentation of a painting of the iconic Tower Bridge.

Nippon Shokken reps joined local officials including Mayor Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan (center and center-right, respectively) in shoveling sand to launch the construction project. (News-Ledger photo)

The mayor’s remarks – translated into Japanese for guests – included a compliment to the company and its products.

“I had the opportunity to be in Japan in December, and had the chance not only to try many of the Nippon Shokken products,” said Cabaldon, “but also to speak with local leaders and those in the country. I was not surprised to learn in Japan the deep honor and respect the leaders of Nippon Shokken hold with the people in Japan.”

One of three gifts presented to the Mayor of West Sacramento by Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa. The gifts may later go on display at city hall, said a City of West Sacramento official. (News-Ledger photo)

Cabaldon also put in an endorsement for the flavor of the company’s products.

Through a translator, Chairman Ozawa said that one of the reasons his company chose the Southport site was a “bounty of quality water, which is essential for production of seasonings, and to have the utmost land of well-built infrastructure.”

[adrotate group=”9″]   The new factory will help the company expand its U.S. presence. It expects to open in March, 2013, with a hundred employees and a production capacity of 2,400 tons per year – expanding to 300 workers by 2015.

“One of my favorite actions of Nippon Shokken was to identify two of our West Sacramento high school students who speak Japanese fluently,” said Cabaldon. The company then hired these two –  and plan to train them in Japan to return and serve in management positions at the new West Sacramento plant.

Artist’s rendering of future Nippon Shokken plant in West Sacramento

  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 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 (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012


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!”

[adrotate group=”9″]   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,

[adrotate group=”10″] 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