Ribbon cutting to celebrate new roadway: the Village Parkway North

Ribbon cutting to celebrate new roadway: the Village Parkway North

Roadway to improve traffic flow from Southport to the Tower Bridge Gateway The City of West Sacramento has completed the Village Parkway North connecting to South River Road (and the Mike McGowan More »

West Sacramento Fire Department Is A Class Act

West Sacramento Fire Department Is A Class Act

By Julia McMichael Effective Dec. 1, 2016, the Fire Department of West Sacramento will be upgraded by the Insurance Service Office (ISO) to a Class 1 rating. An ISO Class 1 fire More »

The Yolo Land Trust honors Clarksburg Farmer Greg Merwin at “A Day in the Country”

The Yolo Land Trust honors Clarksburg Farmer Greg Merwin at “A Day in the Country”

The Yolo Land Trust’s signature event “A Day in the Country” will be held this year on Sept. 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Barger Keasey Family Farm near Davis. More »


It’s A Dog’s Life in West Sacramento

By Julia McMichael

West Sacramento has two off leash dog parks with separate areas for small and large dogs. While Summerfield Park is being renovated for ADA compliance, Sam Combs off leash dog park is in full swing. The visitors vary by time of day.

Ginger, Blue and Belle, Lily, Jinsi, Zeusie, Zowie, Bodie and Bazil, Brownie, Loudean, Reggie and Montgomery, Moose, Lucie and Lizzie, Tiki and Petey, Cocoa and Trixie are all regulars at the Sam Combs dog park. The dogs range from the most beautiful and well trained pedigrees to rescue dogs and just plain mutts. What distinguishes them all however, is that their owners make the effort every morning and sometimes every evening to give them proper exercise and socialization.

Dog owners Christine and Ron Gibbs told me, “Introducing Jinsi to new people and dogs helps him to socialize. It’s healthy mentally and physically for the dogs.”

As the dogs play, residents get to know each other and socialize. New resident, Jamie Mauhay says, “We moved to West Sacramento almost a year ago without knowing a soul, and through the dog park have met so many amazing people, even some we consider good friends! It’s a great place to bring creatures together — both furry and not.”

Each dog, like their owners, has a distinct personality.
Reggie, the standard poodle is a working dog and the diplomat of the dog park. Ginger, the golden retriever is the gentle beauty who has grown from shy puppy to playful and confident playmate.

Loudean may be one of the smaller dogs (a rat terrier), but she is also one of the fastest.

Loudean and her best friend Brownie race the park together during their play dates.

Jinsi is busy learning tricks, until he spots his best friend, Ginger.

All Tiki, Belle and Lucie care about is chasing their ball. They endlessly retrieve. Belle comically hides behind trees to await the throws.

Bodie and Bazil are German shorthair pointers. The German shorthair pointer, incidentally, just won the Westminster Dog show as Best of Show. Bodie endlessly patrols the park and climbs trees in pursuit of squirrels. It is clear that she is always on the job. Her brother, Bazil is more sociable. Montgomery is a much smaller terrier, but also climbs trees in pursuit.

Every hour at the park brings new residents out. The eight o’clock hour is for nine to fivers. Commuters come even earlier. Retirees come out with the sunshine. Others come to the park for an evening romp. West Sacramentan, Mary Jane Zeemer said, “We couldn’t have large dogs in the city without access to a dog park.”

Prior to the dog park being built, many residents told me that Sam Combs park was an unfortunate meeting ground for unsavory characters. When the dog park was constructed, people and their animals were drawn to the park and the undesirables went elsewhere.

The park is supplied with tennis balls during the holidays by some tennis loving benefactors. Many times, treat bags are left for the dogs. The city provides dog bags for clean ups.

Summerfield Dog Park is currently closed while the park has an Americans with Disabilities (ADA) compliance renovation. It has been closed since November. The renovation also includes a new play structure, sidewalks, benches, picnic tables, and a restroom.

Unlike Sam Combs Dog Park, Summerfield Dog Park is lighted for evening use. Summerfield Park, despite the closed areas, still has plenty of grass for games and walks and a new landing for viewing the park.

Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, Sam Cooney, told the News Ledger that Summerfield will reopen on April 1. “It will have improved fencing, improved staging and gates, and accessibility. We have also removed large Poplar trees, but will replant trees on Arbor Day (April 29). We will also remove trees at Sam Combs to add more sunshine so that new turf can grow. We will also improve irrigation. Wood chips ‘cause some dogs have pad problems so turf is a better option. It also makes it easier to remove dog waste for the owners. Future amenities depend on the Budget Committee.”

There are 35 parks in West Sacramento, but for dog owners, the dog parks provide a necessary amenity for their doggy pals. Ginger’s owner, Bert adds, “It’s fun to come here!”

Summerfield Park is located at 2950 Linden Road and Sam Combs Park is located at 205 Stone Blvd.

Yolo County Men Convicted of Burglary Spree

On Feb. 23, 26-year-old Winters man Louis Scott Campos and 28-year-old Woodland man Love Davis III plead no contest to six residential burglaries, which are strikes, and two additional felonies, vehicle theft and burglary of a trailer. The defendants also admitted enhancements alleging that at three residences the victims were inside their homes during the burglaries, according to a press release from District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s office.

The burglaries were all committed between Dec. 23, 2014, and Jan. 17, 2015, in the cities of Winters, Woodland and in rural Yolo County. The spree began after the first victim, Campos’ neighbor, asked him to watch their house while they were on vacation. They broke into many homes, garages and out buildings stealing a variety of possessions including vehicles, ATVs, trailers, electronics, and other valuables, according to the release.

These crimes were particularly brazen and heinous as the thieves broke into homes in broad daylight and, on three occasions, the residents were home at the time of the break in. The spree came to an end when the Yolo County Sheriff deputes apprehended Campos and Davis shortly after their attempt to get away by driving through muddy farmland on stolen ATVs.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig emphasized the importance of prison sentences in these cases. “Residential burglaries are among some of the most serious and offensive crimes our office prosecutes. Yolo County residents deserve to feel safe in their homes and residential burglaries deprive them of that right.” The prosecuting attorney, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer McHugh commended the diligent investigation completed by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department. “The Deputies went above and beyond in piecing together this crime spree which allowed us to obtain justice for the victims.”

On March 21, 2016, Judge Steven Mock will sentence the defendants to eight years and eight months in State Prison. At that hearing the victims will have an opportunity to address the court and the defendants about the impact the crimes have had on their lives.

Source: District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s office

Did You Know Dogs Must Be Licensed in the City of West Sacramento?

Yep. It’s the law, falling under Yolo County Ordinance 6-1.406.
The reason is two-fold. First, licensing increases the likelihood that your pet will be reunited with you if he or she becomes lost. Second, licensing your dog also helps prevent against rabies outbreaks by requiring all dogs to be vaccinated for rabies.

It’s easy to get a new license or renew an existing one. Call Yolo County Animal Control at 916-375-6492 with questions.

Also please remember to keep your dog on a leash. West Sacramento’s leash law (Municipal Code Section 6.16.020, Dogs on leashes) states, “No owner shall permit his or her dog to be in any residential, commercial or industrial area, other than on private property where the dog is maintained by or on behalf of its owner, unless the dog is restrained by a leash not exceeding eight feet in length. The only exceptions are Police K-9s, dogs assisting those engaged in hunting with a license, and dog training or exhibitions conducted with the permission of the property owner.

Further, dog owners are required by law to clean up after their pets (Municipal Code Section 6.16.220).

Please be a responsible dog owner!  

Source: cityilights.org, the city of West Sacramento’s online news source

The city council unanimously approved outside contractor, NeighborWorks Homeownership Center, to provide loans for first-time homebuyers

At its Feb. 17 meeting, the council agreed to authorize the city manager to execute a 12-month contract with the consultant for an amount not to exceed $58,284 for administration of homebuyer assistance programs; and authorize the city manager, or his designee, to extend the contract for up to two additional 12-month terms.
In his report to the council, Raul Huerta, Sr. Program Manager for the city of West Sacramento, wrote that housing staff has historically administered these housing assistance programs, with the First Time Home Buyer Program only being administered by a consultant from 2009 through 2011. The FTHB Program has been one of the most popular city homeownership programs and has provided more than 60 low-income buyers the opportunity to own their first home.
However, because of the housing market collapse that began in 2007, demand for homebuyer assistance loans had been non-existent, according to Huerta’s report. With the resurgence of the housing market and continuing low interest rates, staff began to see an increased demand for homebuyer assistance loans. In response to the increased demand, housing staff applied for and received a $500,000 home grant award for homebuyer assistance in 2014. As a result of staffing changes and existing workload demands, staff has determined that administration of the FTHB program and possibly some components of other homeownership programs would be most effectively managed by a consultant. This approach would ensure efficient and timely processing of applications as well as timely expenditure of the 2014 home grant funds.
Criticizing the proposal, though ultimately voting in favor of the item, council member Bill Kristoff questioned why it didn’t pass through the city’s Economic Development Advisory Commission. “I think EDAC really deserves to hear this. One of the questions I have is –It looks like we have half-a-million-dollar-home-grant award, or we’re going to shoot for that — How many homes can be purchased with $500,000 for first-time homebuyers?”
In response, Huerta said noted the city has already been awarded the funding and that they are anticipating assistance for 10 to 12 homebuyers, depending on the amount of funding each homebuyer receives. “Unfortunately, because of the timing trying to get the contract, it didn’t jive with the current calendar for EDAC; so, we weren’t able to take the contract to EDAC,” he said.
Huerta said there is a waiting list of close to 80 people who are trying to apply for the first time home-buyer program. “We did open applications late last year and we’ll put some on hold until we process. We have a couple of (potential home-owners) that are going through the process and have several on queue to get their applications processed,” he said.
Pressing on, Kristoff reiterated with a limited amount of money from the home grant, it’s imperative that EDAC is involved. “This is a first-time homebuyer program. We are only really talking about eight residences possibly, and I don’t know of too many homes out there that are sitting at $25,000; $30,000; $40,000; $50,000. I don’t know of too many of those that wouldn’t require cash infusion to get that home up to par. So it’s important for EDAC to look at these kinds of things so they can flush out and we get the biggest bang for our buck, and now we’re contracting with some outside company, NeighborWorks, and we’re going to pay them 50 grand. I assume this is coming out of the homebuyers assistance program and so that is even less money… I bring this up because I really don’t want to see this kind of thing happen again.”
The city administers a number of homeownership programs including the First Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, which provides low-interest loans for low-income buyers; an Inclusionary Housing Program, providing units affordable to low- and moderate-income persons; and a Shared Equity Housing Program for low-income buyers. By way of these programs, the city promotes homeownership among a wide range of income levels to retain the vitality of older neighborhoods and to make homeownership an affordable option for the workforce.

Mark your calendars: West Sac art show and reception set for March 3

The West Sacramento Art Guild will be displaying a wonderful collection of their varied talents at the Gallery 1075 located at 1075 West Capitol Ave. During the entire of March, a show will be held within the gallery and on Thursday, March 3 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. a reception will be held. The show provides an opportunity for the public to meet the artists on a personal basis and for folks to ask questions.
Everyone is welcome and anyone interested in joining the guild will be given information by attending. Do make this a date on your calendar to come and enjoy beautiful art, completed by award winning local artists. For more information, call JoJo Gillies at 371-3165.

Yolo Farm to Fork:

Gala to raise awareness for local edible garden learning projects

The first day of spring, March 21, will see a celebration of Yolo County’s agricultural bounty at Park Winters in a Gala to benefit the programs of Yolo Farm to Fork. Foods from the farms, ranches and vineyards of Yolo County will be featured in the Gala dinner that begins with a wine and appetizers from 5:30 p.m., continuing with a gourmet dinner at 6:30 p.m. The elegant event is an opportunity to enjoy a gourmet dinner using fresh local and hyper-local food in an amazing setting, the simple country luxury of Park Winters.
The Gala will raise awareness and support for the 37 edible garden-learning projects supported by Yolo Farm to Fork throughout Yolo County through its three locally-based programs: Davis Farm to School, Kid Dig It!, and the West Sacramento School Garden Network. “Edible gardens are extremely cost-effective, hands-on learning environments where students experience the real world of biology, physics, math and literacy and link them to their classroom learning,” according to Suzanne Falzone, a career educator and current president of Yolo Farm to Fork, “not to mention the links to better nutrition, recycling, sustainable growing practices, and the life-long satisfaction that comes from eating food fresh from one’s own garden.”
Yolo Farm to Fork, a private nonprofit organization, supports garden-centered and farm-based education for students. The organization is dedicated to bringing locally grown farm-fresh food to school meals and to reducing waste through recycling and composting. Its programs provide the real-life resources for kids to improve nutrition habits, fight obesity and integrate garden learning with classroom instruction while sustaining edible gardens.
The Inn at Park Winters is the ideal venue for this elegant event, for its luxurious country setting and its commitment to growing and serving only fresh local foods. Built in 1865, the Victorian farmhouse has been lovingly restored and landscaped to emphasize its roots in Yolo County’s rich agricultural heritage. An organic farm on its land provides the freshest produce for its gourmet kitchen, and Chef Scott Ostrander is planning a Gala menu of the best Yolo County has to offer.
Only 100 tickets will be available for the Gala. Tickets at $125 per person include all food and beverages, and will be available online through Brown Paper Tickets (www.brownpapertickets.com). A portion of the cost of each ticket will be a tax-deductible donation to Yolo Farm to Fork. More information about the event and the programs it supports is available on the Yolo Farm to Fork website (www.yolofarmtofork.org) or on the Davis Farm to School website (www.davisfarmtoschool.org)

West Sacramento Waterfront Stories

By Thomas Farley

West Sacramento’s waterfront has stories behind every tule, wharf, and wetland. Here’s a few partial sketches about three different properties. Together, these accounts and anecdotes form a larger tale far from finished.

Seaway is a mostly rectangular shaped land directly south of the port. Some 200 acres, it stretches from the port’s border on the west to the Palmadessi Bridge on the east. Despite its name, this is actually lakefront property. How’s that?

When you look at the port’s turning basin, its widest part, you are looking at Lake Washington. This old and isolated lake of the Central Valley is now a Frankenstein lake, its depths and contours dredged and altered to make room for the port. To boggle your mind even further, you’ve probably driven over Lake Washington without even knowing it.

As you travel across the Seaway acreage on Southport Parkway, you pass over the vestigial remains of the lake. See the photo. Ever notice those “Wildlife Crossing” signs on parkway? This area is part of Lake Washington, a finger that extends almost to the Pheasant Club at the intersection of Lake Washington and Jefferson boulevards. A true wetland when flooded, all parts make for good birding and wandering.

The Stone Lock District was named for William G. Stone, “The Father of the Port.” It extends from the Palmadessi Bridge on the west to the Sacramento River on the east. Its distinctive features are the Barge Canal, the navigation lock, and its accompanying control tower. A civil engineering rarity in California, the lock is one of only three others in our state. Why is there a lock at all?

Sacramento River water can be 20 feet higher than the port. The lock’s gates keep the river from flooding the property and from depositing silt. Boats traveling between the river and the port used the lock to lift or lower craft to the proper level. Decreasing boat traffic and high operating costs doomed the lock and it was decommissioned in 2000.

The Mike McGowan Bridge is a new addition to the district. Its roadway connects two parts of South River Road at a “T” intersection. Soon, Village Parkway will join that intersection. Note the dashed line in the photograph. This extension of Village Parkway through the Honda Hills will provide an alternative to Jefferson Boulevard and a corridor to Raley Field and The Bridge District.

A few years ago, the Cordish Companies proposed ambitious plans for the Stone Lock District but negotiations fell through. The architectural renderings are still online and show a tree-lined waterfront community bustling with pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Shops and recreation were depicted, with the Sacramento River and the canal providing a cool and scenic background. It’s the kind of marina village that the city still hopes for, and the kind of community most people would also like in another waterfront area, The Pioneer Bluffs.

The Pioneer Bluffs starts at the Barge Canal and runs north to Highway 50 where the Bridge District begins. South River Road bisects the area. Jefferson Boulevard marks the bluff’s west boundary but redevelopment will probably come first on its eastern side along the Sacramento River. Removing the CEMEX concrete silos was a vital step in repurposing this riverfront. What’s next? Perhaps a decade long process of relocating the tank farms, filling stations, and maintenance yards that line South River Road.

The stories of West Sacramento and its waterfront are still being written. In time, they should make quite a book.