<strong>The Outdoors Next Door:</strong> Exploring The Yolo Bypass

The Outdoors Next Door: Exploring The Yolo Bypass

By Thomas Farley If you want to get outdoors but don’t have much time, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is a perfect place to go. It is essentially the entire area visible More »

West Sacramento’s port is on a path of profitability

West Sacramento’s port is on a path of profitability

By Thomas Farley Has the Port of West Sacramento’s ship come in? Or is it still at sea? The landmark facility alongside Industrial Boulevard has struggled for years to keep afloat financially, More »

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 »


‘Heart of the City’: youth sports roundup


DON SCHATZEL: 'Heart of the City' columnist for the News-Ledger

By Don Schatzel

Champions all!

I hope your holiday season was  a happy and joyous one.

Youth sports in our community continue to be an enormous success and a source of community pride.

The Washington Unified School District girls Volleyball and boys flag football seasons came to an exciting  conclusion. Flag football was played at River City High School, under the lights in the football stadium. Final score: Southport 20, Riverbank 14.

Don’t look away this is a lightning-fast game, and if you blink, you risk missing a great play or touchdown.

Quarterback Khari Reiching threw three touchdown passes and Oscar Kee caught the winning TD pass with 16 seconds left in the game. Southport finished with a record of 6-1. Cody Martin and Daniel Thweatt were recognized   by  Coach Matt Ainsworth for outstanding play on defense.

  Girls volleyball  had a great season concluding in an almost-packed house at the River City gym. Bridgeway Island defeated Westmore Oaks in two games, 25-18   and 25-12.

Real volleyball, with classic bump, set and spike moves are on their way. Finally, we’ll have some Northern California High School teams beat the So Cal teams in the state finals and it starts here with youth programs like this.

Taylor Jacke and Jordan Criswell had great games and Michaela Faaif had an unstoppable jump serve. Bridgeway only miscued on five serves during the entire two games. That was definitely the winning difference in the games.

Girls basketball has started for WUSD as their successful after-school sports program continues.
On the soccer “pitch”:

West Sacramento Soccer  conducts and participates in  District Cup tournaments at the end of each season,  followed by District Cup championship games.

This soccer district is enormous, stretching from Rocklin to Placerville to Elk Grove and Woodland, and involves teams in all age groups willing to participate in the District Cup and test their skills and abilities against their age groups top teams. It’s not  a journey for the timid or weak at heart!

The District Cup starts out with a three-game tournament played in one weekend. Then the winner of that tournament plays the winner of a similar tournament being held at the same time in the Cup Final a week later. This year the Cup finals were played in West Sacramento at Bryte Park and on a synthetic turf field Bartholomew Sports Complex in El Grove.

Congratulations to the Under 19 girls team coached by Sam Montoya. The local soccer squad defeated Clarksburg in Elk Grove, 2-1, to win the District cup.

An ecstatic Coach Sam Montoya was quoted: “We started the year practicing five days a week and it ended in a District Championship., It was all worth it and that’s what it takes to win.”

Xandrea Montoya hit a free kick at a severe left angle ten yards out late in the second half to win the game. Goalie Jessica Trussel was outstanding, only giving up the one goal.

The Under 12 girls team Arsenal made it all the way to the District Cup Championship Game in Elk Grove  with an undefeated season, but fell 1-0 to North Natomas.

Vanessa Hensley and  Julie Lara played outstanding games. Arsenal had a great season representing the Under 12’s and were undefeated  in the season and Cup until the finals.

The under-14 Hooligans, coached by Dale Calles, dropped a heart-breaker in the third game of their tournament to North Natomas, losing 1-0. They did so completely dominating the game in every aspect  and having tied North Sacramento 2-2  and defeated Roseville 2-0  in previous torunament games.

Games were played at Kokomo Park in Natomas. Julianna Calles, Cara Talbott and Steffanie Jimenez played great games for West Sacramento in their first Under 14 age group District Cup.

Thanks to all the West Sacramento Soccer volunteers and the City of West Sacramento for conducting the tournament at Bryte Park.

“Tis’ the season” also for a sport of a different kind.

Led by President Jason Williams, in its “Trots for Tots,” The West Sacramento Trail Riders – all 20 strong including horses – delivered over $300 of toys to the West Sacramento Fire Department for kids in the community. All riders converged at Davis Road  and the Clarksburg Trail and rode as a group with decorated-for-the-season horses up the trail to the  fire station. WSTRA has a pony club and lots of room for youth members if interested. Look for the group on Facebook.

Centennial Rotary Club of West Sacramento conducted their annual holiday lunch and gift giving. Santa and Mrs. Claus visited the Collings Teen Center. Rotarians Charlie Moore, Tony Schwall, Armando Omega, Walt James, Catherine Van Diest, Tom Engle, Ron Morazzini and Carol Thomas  all participated by serving food and helping Santa distribute gifts to the teen center center participants.

Youth sports and community involvement: the Heart of the City!

  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 freetrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

Fireworks tonight: 9 p.m. & midnight

Fireworks will shoot from the West Sacramento waterfront up into the skies above Old Sacramento tonight, in a 10-minute show at 9 p.m. and a nearly-15 minute show scheduled for midnight.

The shows are in celebration of New Year’s Eve, and sponsored by www.sacramento365.com and the Sacramento Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

The midnight show will be set to music broadcast simultaneously on FM 96.9, The Eagle.

The fireworks are intended for viewing from Old Sac, but will no doubt be seen from vantage points near Raley Field and River Walk Park in West Sacramento as well. Pay-parking will be available in Old Sacramento and near Raley Field.

The Tower Bridge will be closed to vehicles for safety from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. It will also be closed to pedestrians from 15 minutes before and after each show.

The fireworks will be complimented by a number of concerts and activities in Old Sac tonight from 6:30 p.m to 12:30 a.m.

For more information, visit www.oldsacramento.com.


Dixon gets best of RC boys

Michael Briscoe drives to the basket during last week’s tight matchup for the RCHS j.v. squad (Photo by DE’ONNA JACK)


On Dec. 20, the River City High School boys basketball teams faced Dixon Rams.

Dixon pretty much controlled the freshman and varsity games, while the JV game was tighter. In the junior varsity match, River City was down, and came back to take the lead with just a few seconds left. Dixon answered at the buzzer to win the game

Final scores for the Dixon victories were:  Freshman 65-36; JV 44-45; varsity 71-60. The Raider varsity is now 5-5 overall.

River City’s boys teams will be back home again on January 13  when they will face Union Mine.

River City girls basketball takes its 11-1 record into the Lincoln Tournament today. The squad plays at home next on Jan. 6, hosting Galt with a varsity game time of 7:30 p.m. at the RCHS gym.

Jose Chacon in action for the River City varsity in play against the Dixon Rams last week (Photo by DE’ONNA JACK)

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

  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 2011

Authorities can call your cell phone in emergency


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

If you have a telephone landline in West Sacramento, you’re probably already in the city’s emergency calling program. It’s part of a regional system that lets authorities reach you with a recorded message in case of a major emergency.

But those of you with cell phones can register those numbers with the system as well.

The system “is intended to be used for large scale phone calling in the event of a disaster like a flood, fire or so forth,” said Sergeant Nathan Steele of the West Sacramento Police Department. “Generally speaking, most land lines in the city have been entered.”

  The system can target neighborhoods, and has been used to warn residents of a fleeing felon on the loose nearby, or to get the word out when an “at risk” person has gone missing. It could also be used to help get the word out if an evacuation is needed, automatically dialing homeowners in an affected area.

You can match your cell phone number to your address for the system by going online this link at the West Sacramento Police Department: click here.

Copyright News-Ledger

McGowan to run again

Michael McGowan: Representative of West Sacramento and Clarksburg on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors (courtesy photo)



By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento’s Mike McGowan announced this month he will run to defend the Yolo Board of Supervisors seat he has held since 1993. He has also just been named president of the California State Association of Counties – which is now involved in serious negotiations with the administration of Governor Jerry Brown as Brown tries to tackle state debt.

  “The primary issue now is ‘realignment’ and reform, and what might happen if the planned $6 billion (in new state cuts) are triggered,” said McGowan. “Counties are really an extension of the state, and we are the folks who implement a whole lot of federal and state programs – like welfare, food stamps, indigent health. In a city, the functions are primarily police, fire and public works, sewer, water and garbage. . . We (counties) have to do that in our unincorporated areas, but we have to provide state services as well.”

The governor proposes to shift more duties from the state to the counties, and the struggle is over making sure that enough revenue comes along with it.

‘Realignment’ is a fancy word for shifting more work to the counties,” said McGowan. “We want to make sure the money will be there, too.”

McGowan said he thinks that local agencies can serve their communities better on a lot of fronts than the state, so in principal, “realignment” could work well.

“I think it depends on the funding,” he said. “I believe locals are really better at identifying a problem, because we live in it, we’re here.”

And how’s Yolo County doing on the whole?

McGowan said he and his fellow board members, fortunately, have shared a common vision for development. As a former West Sacramento mayor (the city’s first, actually) McGowan saw growth as the city’s friend. It’s different for the county.

  “There’s a strong buy-in from the average citizen in Yolo of what we’re trying to do here,” he told the News-Ledger. “One of the best things about Yolo County is what hasn’t changed. We haven’t developed much at all in the unincorporated area, and have stayed true to the notion that development should occur in the cities. When you leave any city limit in Yolo County, you are immediately in the country. There’s no blur.”

After almost 20 years on the board, McGowan sees himself as something of the “grayback gorilla,” he said. He’s been involved in health administration, Native American casino issues, water rights from Conaway Ranch, and more.

“It is busy. I love it.”

  To comment on this article, please visit the same article at our sister website, www.WestSac.com.

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

  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 2011

OPINION: whether to answer ‘just a few questions’

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 21, 2011


The local school board has approved a contract with a political consultant to explore a new school bond or parcel tax in West Sacramento. The measure would seek to raise funds to build a performing arts center at the new high school, and to start a new technical education center for some of the district’s non college-going students.

A new ballot measure would probably also fund other projects around the district – partly out of widespread need for things such as facility repair, and partly out of a political strategy to get as many community members as possible to “buy in” to a new bond measure. Typically, in a new bond measure, there’s a little something for everybody – something for the high school in Southport, and something for parents of a kid in the second grade in Broderick.

  WUSD’s consultant will conduct interviews to try to determine community concerns and also to explore the campaign politics likely to surround a ballot measure for November, 2012.

This news is a reminder about political surveys and interviews in general: things are often not what they seem when someone is interviewing you for the political issue or campaign of the day. And, merely by participating, you may end up accidentally helping a political effort you oppose.

Often, when a survey company calls you, you aren’t told exactly who they’re working for. But even when you are told (as you presumably will be if you’re picked for one of these WUSD school bond interviews), your answers will probably be used in ways you don’t foresee.

A few comments about campaign surveys in general:

Some surveys are known as “push polls” – under the guise of asking for your opinion, the surveyor is asking you carefully crafted questions designed to push you in the direction they want you to go: “Would you support Measure Q if you knew it would cost this city over 4,500 jobs?”

Well, you may have been in favor of Measure Q before you got that phone call. But now, they have you wondering. There may be no factual basis at all to believe that Q would cost anybody a job – but now, you’ve got that job-killing idea stuck in your head.

Political surveys can also be designed to figure out how to get a campaign around your defenses, and the defenses of voters with like minds to yours. By answering questions from a survey commissioned by one of these people, you may help them figure out how to better craft their campaign – and defeat your own point of view.

So be careful when you pick up the phone and agree to answer “just a few questions.”


When a discount liquor store applied for a permit to take over the former Blockbuster Video site at West Capitol Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard, the News-Ledger objected.

West Capitol has a troubled reputation already for crime, drugs and alcohol. There are plenty of other liquor-vendors on the same block. And the site was just too prominent, facing one of the city’s busiest intersections and viewed by just about everybody heading to the nearby city hall, community center and city college campus.

The city planning commission evidently had some of the same concerns, giving the liquor store a thumbs-down.

Instead, a Chase bank branch has just opened at the location, boasting a spiffy and attractive new façade. Now, Chase is one of those American mega-banks whose mortgage lending practices helped create the economy we’re in today.

That begs the question: would that streetcorner’s image have been better off with the liquor store?

  To comment on this editorial, please visit the identical article at our sister website, www.WestSac.com.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

New K9 training facility open


Dogs practice climbing over & around obstacles — and taking on the ‘bad guys’ —

On command, the police dog goes after handler Nick Barreiro, who is wearing protective clothing. The officer will shortly be looking for a police dog of his own, as he is scheduled to become a K9 team member in 2012. (Photo by ERIC HARDING, www.ebharding.com)

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Police dog teams from the region celebrated the opening of a new West Sacramento K9 agility training course on Nov. 30 with a demonstration of their dogs’ skills.

The dog training park is at a fenced, grassy facility on Oak Street, near Home Depot. And it features refurbished equipment largely thanks to the Wyotech auto repair trade school in town, which turned the needed metalwork into something of a class project.

Officer Roger Kinney – partner of “Zar,” the Dutch shepherd – said the whole project cost upward of $20,000, and took a lot longer than he expected.

“There are 14 pieces of equipment, including ladder-climb, wall jumps, a teeter-totter to test balance, culverts to walk through, barrels to jump over – these are things similar to what these dogs may encounter on the street,” said Kinney. “We put down 6,000 square feet of sod, and it’s fenced, with cameras around. I started this in October of 2010 and thought it would take two months to do, but it took 13 months.”

FAR LEFT: Zar bounds off a barrel on the new agility training course for K9s in West Sacramento (Photo by ERIC HARDING, www.ebharding.com)

The property belongs to the city (part of a public works operation) and it used to be a grassy field with old K9 training equipment on it. The land was graded and sodded, with sprinklers and Trex decking material added where needed. The old equipment was disassembled, rebuilt, sandblasted and powdercoated.


“We didn’t skimp on anything,” said Kinney. “It’s the nicest agility course in the whole area. When I’m retired as a dog handler, it will still be going strong.”

Who will maintain the training facility?

“The field is maintained by the Department of Probation – people arrested for drunk driving and so forth come out once every couple of weeks and mow it and keep it nice.”

Kinney and Zar are one of two K9 teams currently on duty in West Sacramento. The other team is made up of Officer Dave Stallions and “Champ” – who are scheduled to cycle out of K9 duty to be replaced by Officer Nick Ferrero and a dog yet to be selected.

“We go to any calls of violence, whenever a K9 is on duty,” explained Kinney. “Certainly, we go to any call with a weapon involved. The dogs can locate somebody who is hiding, and they can run very fast if the suspect decides to flee that way. I live in West Sacramento, so if something happens (when I’m off-duty) I can usually be anywhere in the city with Zar in around ten minutes.”

“When a suspect is hiding, we make an announcement when we show up,” added Kinney. “We’ll say ‘Police K9 is here – come out now or get bit.’ Only about five to ten percent of the people decide to get bit by a dog. Fully 90 or 95 percent that are hiding will come out and surrender.”

Zar – who happens to be a mild-mannered socialite when not chasing a bad guy – his trained for other duties, as well.

“Are you sure he’s a police dog?” is a question Officer Kinney is used to hearing, after Zar starts schmoozing with the public. Here he gets some face time with a young student at Bridgeway Island Elementary School. Unlike some K9s, Zar doesn’t need a muzzle to mingle. (photo by Ruth Pagano, West Sacramento Police Department)

Zar will search houses and cars to find drugs,” added Kinney. “He can also locate evidence – if somebody tosses a gun in the bushes, he can look for that.”

It was apparent watching work at the demonstration on Nov. 30 that Zar was having fun, going after a “suspect” in a padded suit with joy, a wagging tail, and obvious relish.

“It is absolutely a game to them,” said Kinney. “But Zar does know the difference between work and play. I would say he just gets more excited when it’s real. Once, he had a guy beat him really bad with a stick, opening a wound on his head. I had to take him to the vet – but Zar’s tail was still wagging, as if to say, ‘I’m OK!’”

K9 exercises at the new training field in West Sacramento (photo by Eric Harding)

Above, left-right: Jimmy Sandison, who regularly helps Sacramento police and just graduated from the academy; Sacramento PD Officer Aaron Thompson and K-9 Hutch; Sacramento Officer Randy VanDusen and K-9 Bodie; Corning PD Ofc. Jeremiah Fears and K-9 Oso; West Sacramento Officer Nick Barrerio, who will become a K9 handler in January; West Sacramento K-9 Officer Roger Kinney and K-9 Zar; West Sacramento K-9 Officer Dave Stallions and K-9 Chance (Stallions will become a School Resource Officer shortly) (photo by ERIC HARDING)

Photo by Eric Harding

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

  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 2011