Earth Day celebrated in West Sacramento with fifth annual festival

Earth Day celebrated in West Sacramento with fifth annual festival

Photo courtesy Neighbors and friends gathered at city hall on Sunday, April 23 for the Fifth Annual West Sacramento Earth Day Festival. Treated to vendors offering information on resource and money saving More »

Wildlife Conservation Receives Public Funding at Elliott Ranch

Wildlife Conservation Receives Public Funding at Elliott Ranch

By Jan Dalske In June of 2016, a California state agency, the Delta Conservancy, awarded the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) a grant of $380,000. The money will be used to implement a More »

You Are Not Forgotten

You Are Not Forgotten

By Michele Townsend “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN” are the words that are carved into Lt Gregory Hodson’s paving stone, that is located in the All Veterans Memorial section of Capitol Park.This section More »

 

A new generation takes the field, joins Little League tradition

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 6, 2013 —

Well, spring is already here, or at least it sure feels like it. The sun has been out for weeks, birds are chirping, and I’ve already had my first mosquito bite. Actually, the way I have always known that spring has finally arrived in Northern California is that major league baseball players have reported to their spring training camps in warm places like Arizona and Florida, and our own West Sacramento Little League is beginning to hum with activity. Teams are being picked, fundraisers have begun, Picture Day has been scheduled, and best of all, Opening Day will be here before we know it (March 16th this year), complete with the only Annual Little League Parade in the whole Sacramento area.

When I was growing up in West Sacramento back in the 1950s and 1960s, there was simply nothing more important than the start of the Little League baseball season. It seemed like the whole town was full of men and boys who loved the sport of baseball and many of the former had worked tirelessly to create one of the best Little Leagues in the greater Sacramento region. Men like James Cameron, Jack Dunlap, Clyde Burt, Carl Youngblood, Joe Bottino, Herb Hoskins, John Kimbrough, Leroy McReynolds, Red McKinnon, Bob Lukins, Bob Domasky, Bill Havey, and many, many others whose names I no longer recall had used determination and lots of hard work to bring Little League baseball to West Sacramento, and by 1959 they had built baseball diamonds at Memorial Park considered so good that they were used to host that year’s Little League Western Regionals.

Back in those early years of Little League baseball in West Sacramento, it seemed like every mom and pop business in town was a proud sponsor of one of the teams, and you can still walk into places like Havey’s Barbershop and Crest Jewelers and see framed photos of long ago WSLL teams.

[adrotate group=”9″]  Anyway, back when I was nine years old and convinced that I would someday be the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees or the Milwaukee Braves (I wasn’t quite sure yet if I wanted to play in the American or National leagues) I knew that the first real step to baseball fame and glory started with getting chosen to play on one of the teams in the West Sacramento Little League. So off I eagerly went to my first tryout where I did pretty good in the field, but not so good with a bat in my hands. But the manager of the major league Braves, Bill Havey, decided to take a chance on me and selected me to be on his team.

West Sacramento Little League’s “Braves,” around 1960. The author is standing, third kid from the right

West Sacramento Little League’s “Braves,” around 1960. The author is standing, third kid from the right

I can still remember my excitement when I was given my first West Sacramento Little League uniform to wear. It had “Braves” written boldly across the front of the jersey exactly as the real Milwaukee Braves logo looked and best of all I had been assigned uniform #10, which for some reason long forgotten I had actually prayed would be given to me. Since only numbers 1 through 15 were handed out back in those days, no one wanted to get #11 or #13 or some other really uncool number, so I was beyond thrilled knowing that I would be wearing #10 throughout my Little League career.

Nowadays, you can start playing Little League at a much younger age than when I was a Brave. Back then there were only two divisions, the majors and minors. The minor league teams had wonderful names taken from some of the old Pacific Coast League teams like the Solons, Stars, Padres, Oaks, Angels and Rainiers, and 9 and 10 year olds mostly played on those teams. Then when you got to be 11 or 12 years old, you usually went up to the majors and played on teams like the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs and Braves. But now young boys and girls can start playing pee-wee baseball as early as the age of four or five, which finally brings me to my little story:

The other day my son-in-law showed up at my house as excited as I had seen him in some time.

“What’s Dallas so happy about?” I asked my daughter.

“Oh, he was out playing baseball with Will (my five-year old grandson) this morning and I guess Will hit a couple of home runs or something,” answered my daughter matter-of-factly, having never been much of a baseball fan herself.

“You should have seen him,” said Dallas with genuine pride and excitement. “For some reason he turned around all on his own and started hitting left-handed instead of right-handed and bingo, he was just crushing the ball!”

“But Will is right-handed,” my daughter reminded her husband. “Maybe you shouldn’t be trying to teach him to hit a ball left-handed? Maybe it will confuse him or screw something up? His little brain is still not completely formed yet you know.”

“Are you kidding?” said Dallas. “Do you know how much better your chances are of making the big leagues if you can throw right-handed and bat left-handed? Who knows, maybe I can even make him into a switch-hitter down the road? Wow, a switch-hitting shortstop. Now that really could be his ticket to the Big Show! I can hardly wait for Little League to start this year!

“Dallas,” pleaded my daughter, “don’t forget, he’s only five years old. He’s not exactly ready for the major leagues yet.”

“You can never get them started too young when it comes to baseball, right Daryl?” asked Dallas.

“Not in West Sacramento!” I answered.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Sac Gold plays at RCHS Saturday

In 2012 action, the Gold's Abrahm Prado (left) rushes the net, but the goaltender is able to grab the ball preventing a goal for the Gold.  Manolo Pina (white jersey in background) looks on.  (News-Ledger photo by Eric Harding)

In 2012 action, the Gold’s Abrahm Prado (left) rushes the net, but the goaltender is able to grab the ball preventing a goal for the Gold. Manolo Pina (white jersey in background) looks on. (News-Ledger photo by Eric Harding)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MARCH 14, 2013 —

With a 3-0 victory over CD Aguiluchos on Sunday, the minor league “Sacramento Gold” soccer team earned direct entry to the “U.S. Open Cup” tournament in the National Premier Soccer League.  They will host Real San Jose this Saturday at 7 p.m. in West Sacramento.

The playoff game will be held at River City High School in West Sacramento. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth. Youth 15 years old and younger who are wearing a jersey get in free.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

What are those gizmos? Are you on camera at local traffic intersections?

ABOVE: Optical detection camera to sense approaching vehicles (white) and optical sensor to pick up the white strobe lights of a police car or fire truck (black). Photo taken on Jefferson Blvd.

ABOVE: Optical detection camera to sense approaching vehicles (white) and optical sensor to pick up the white strobe lights of a police car or fire truck (black). Photo taken on Jefferson Blvd.

NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 6, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Have you ever seen those gizmos mounted on West Sacramento traffic poles, and wondered if they’re cameras? And, if so, who’s watching you?

There are at least three types of pole-mounted sensors around town at different street intersections. And Peter Hanson, an engineering assistant with the City of West Sacramento’s Public Works Department, reminds us that none of them is a “red light” camera. The city doesn’t currently have a “red light camera” program to catch red light runners.

So what, exactly, are these devices?

At the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Stone Boulevard, near the railroad tracks, you may see a thing that looks like a hanging bulb. It’s one of several security cameras operated out of the Port of West Sacramento, which is serviced by the railroad.

“These cameras have a dual purpose,” reported Hanson. “’A,’, to observe the intersection (for security), and ‘B,’ to observe the traffic at the intersection.”

Aside from monitoring security, the camera’s view can be used by city staff to see how traffic light timing changes are affecting the flow of traffic, for example.

ABOVE: The all-seeing eye of a port ecurity camera near the railroad tracks and Jefferson Boulevard, north of Stone Boulevard (photos by Thomas Farley and the News-Ledger)

ABOVE: The all-seeing eye of a port ecurity camera near the railroad tracks and Jefferson Boulevard, north of Stone Boulevard (photos by Thomas Farley and the News-Ledger)

Another type of “camera” seen at some traffic-light controlled intersections is a long, white cylindrical device. Those are directly linked to the traffic light controls.

“Those are video detection systems,” explained Hanson. “It knows if a car is coming or not. It actually sees cars, and changes the light for them. It ‘sees’ through algorithms, and it looks at the differences in contrast” in its field of view.

Then there are the more numerous little black items mounted on many a local traffic light pole.

“That’s a detector for emergency vehicles,” said Hanson. “If you look at an emergency vehicles, you will see a light bar on the roof, and in the center, there is a white strobe light. In our city, the fire and police vehicles each have one.”

Those strobes on top of fire trucks and police cars can, when turned on, put out a pattern of white flashes – which is picked up by the traffic pole sensor, and earns a “green light” for that Code 3 emergency vehicle.

Ambulances serving the town can’t do this trick, said Hanson.

There’s at least one other smart gizmo on the street – or under it, to be precise.  An “induction loop” can be buried in the pavement to sense the magnetic presence of a car that has pulled up to a red light, signaling the traffic lights that they need to change.

[adrotate group=”7″]   But none of these gadgets does what a “red light camera” would do, said Hanson. If you find yourself entering an intersection illegally after a light has turned red, the “sensor” that gives you a ticket needs to be an actual police officer.

  Do you like what you see here?

  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

Wednesday: college info night

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Freshmen, sophomores and juniors at River City High School are invited to attend College Information night on Wed., March 13, from 6-7 p.m. at the school career center. Parents welcome. There will be information on community colleges and four-year colleges and universities as well as trade schools.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013