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 »
The Rise of Urban Farms
Volunteer Day at Lake Washington Farm
By Bia Riaz
The City of West Sacramento, an urban center situated in the midst of Yolo County’s rich rural farm traditions and home to farms such as Peabody Ranch and Vierra Family Farm, is seeing a surge in small urban farms. You might be wondering, why does West Sacramento need small urban farms? Wouldn’t we just visit the larger farms?
The Center for Land Based Learning’s West Sacramento Urban Farm Program addresses that exact question by bringing agricultural education, support for new farmers and resources to areas of West Sacramento described as food deserts. Urban farms replace vacant lots, remove urban blight and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables. “The idea of an urban farm is to be surrounded by the people, in the action; feeding neighbors in need,” said Mary Kimball, Executive Director, Center for Land Based Learning.
Across form the Southport Town Center, lies a 3.3-acre site known as Lake Washington Farm. It’s one of four sites procured by the Center for Land Based Learning, and converted to use as part of the West Sacramento Urban Farm Program. It is home to three local farmers; each with approximately an acre of land: (1) Fred Blum of Flowerstone Farm, (2) Glen Baldwin of 6 O’Clock Farms; and (3) Tommy Yang of Zen Farms.
On Oct. 16, in celebration of World Food Day, Lake Washington Farm welcomed about 100 volunteers, for Bayer Crop Science’s Annual Urban Farm Work Day. Bayer’s Research and Development Center moved to West Sacramento two years ago from Davis and has been supporting the work of the Center for Land Based Learning.
“In order to leave a better world for the citizens of West Sacramento, we are pleased to provide support to the Center for Land-Based Learning through our time and funding, as well as community service efforts such as the Annual Urban Farm Work Day,” said Mike Miille, Head of Biologics at Bayer Crop Science and site lead for the volunteer work day. “We hope that the Lake Washington Farm will continue to expand and serve as a model for sustainable agriculture in West Sacramento as well as educate participants on the importance of growing safe, healthy food to nourish our growing population.”The volunteers were split into three working groups for the day: manual weeding and clearing, harvesting; and painting an agricultural mural on the food storage bins. Arturo Romero, artist, heading up the mural team; also created the mural at the 5th and C Street urban farm.
I took some time to walk around and speak to the volunteers and the farmers. The volunteers enjoyed being out of the office and working “in the dirt,” supporting the community.
Council member Chris Ledesma, stopped by to thank the Bayer Crop Science volunteers and expressed his excitement for the partnership with the Center for Land Based Learning and the city of West Sacramento.
In addition to donating labor for the day, Bayer Crop Science also donated $10,000 to the Center for Land Based Learning. “Their donation helps fund the Urban Farm Program for new farmers, helps us acquire land, build agricultural infrastructure, and continue agricultural education programs for youth and the new generation of urban farmers,” said Mary Kimball.
The food harvested from Lake Washington Farm is sold at the weekly Sunday morning Lake Washington farm stand. The rest is donated to the River City Food Bank.
For more information about Lake Washington Farm: landbasedlearning.org/west-sac-3
For more information about the Center for Land Based Learning and the Urban Farm Program, call Sara Bernal, West Sacramento Urban Agriculture Program Director, at (530) 383-2019 or email email@example.com.
West Sacramentan to be featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery
You spend your life trying to perfect your technique,
But you only make an impact when you find your own language.
That’s when you start communicating your art…
John Nichols will be the featured artist at Blue Wing Art Gallery, 405 Main Street, Woodland, Nov. 6 through Nov. 27. An artist’s reception for John will be held at Blue Wing Gallery on Nov. 6, between 6 and 9 p.m.
John, a lifelong resident of West Sacramento, discovered his passion for creating art at an early age. Continued encouragement from family members along with a motivational art instructor while attending James Marshall High School (Mr. Clarence Locke) instilled his interest in painting with oils and acrylics. Further studies at Sacramento City College in the 1970s, focusing on art history and fundamentals of drawing, continued to inspire his early art.
John has found his love for nature and the outdoors makes his landscape paintings a never-ending interpretation of the connection of nature as it translates into his art. His years of experience in creating art is evident in the realism of his California landscapes and still life subjects, capturing the beauty of light, shadows and a sense of tranquility in his works. Along with plein air painting, his method includes taking photographs or painting a small study on location. From these references he creates larger finished paintings in his studio.
John continues to take advantage of several art classes and workshops offered by a variety of highly-acclaimed art instructors in the Northern California area. John has been able to showcase his artworks throughout the Sacramento area. He continues as a resident artist and teaching workshops at “Gallery 2110” in Sacramento.
Select Exhibits and Galleries:
August 2003: Guest Artist, Midtown Gallery, Sacramento
2002- 2004: Various art exhibitions in West Sacramento
2003 & 2005: Erwin Meier Yolo County Administration Building, Woodland
February 2015: Red Dot Gallery, Sacramento
2014 to Current: Gallery 2110, 1023 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento
Selected awards include the “Peoples’ Choice Award”, First Annual Art Show, West Sacramento Civic Center and various awards at the State Fair including “Best Over All.” He has received accolades from this publication and The Daily Democrat in Woodland, as follows: “John’s landscapes and ocean scenes demonstrate his many years of honing his craft,” state the The Daily Democrat. “John’s fascination and love of the great outdoors is evident in his selection of themes to paint,” wrote the News-Ledger. And again another time in the Ledger was the following statement: “The September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York had a deep effect on Nichols. ‘We Will Always Remember’ is his memorial to the sad event. He paints the towers before the attack in a night scene. The lights in the building contrast with the dark midnight blue sky as the moon shines down on the unsuspecting city.”
(News Ledger, West Sacramento)
City Partners With West Capitol Ave. Businesses To Curb Alcohol Abuse
Fifteen businesses have signed up to join the T.E.A.M. program and have received official decals to post at their entrances.
“We’re thrilled that so many businesses have joined police in this effort,” said City Manager Martin Tuttle. “Working together, the City and store owners can promote a clean and safe shopping environment built upon responsible alcohol sales.”
Through the program, West Sacramento Police visits store owners to discuss alcohol sales to apparently intoxicated people. The T.E.A.M. targets liquor stores, mini marts, grocery stores and gas stations along West Capitol Avenue frequented by a transient population.
Aside from public intoxication incidents, the issue generates additional community problems, including trespassing, littering, loitering, public nuisance and criminal assaults.
To alleviate these issues, the West Sacramento Police Department has already:
Increased police presence in the form of routine foot and vehicle patrols of properties;
Maintained regular contact and relationship-building with property owners and management;
Reviewed responsible alcohol sales with owners and managers.
In addition, the City is addressing such topics as lighting, clear and visible signage, and trash and graffiti at the store properties.
The City adds that businesses engaged in selling alcohol assume a major responsibility in preserving public safety. Selling alcohol to minors and apparently intoxicated persons can result in serious liability including criminal citation, lawsuits, liquor license suspension or revocation, and jail time.
During a six month trial run of the T.E.A.M. program with several liquor stores participating, the City recorded a 92 percent decline in alcohol intoxication within the area.
Source: City of West Sacramento online publication, CityiLights
Margaret McDowell Manor – Graceful Aging
By Julia McMichael
For 16 years, Margaret McDowell Manor on Merkley Avenue has been a refuge for aging residents in West Sacramento. Susan Tarleton opened the facility and still serves as the community administrator. Sue could be a model for graceful aging. She has a positive outlook on life and is unfailingly cheerful. That is only one aspect of Sue’s character. She is hard- working at the Manor and volunteers in the community.
Sue is also a great conversationalist and book lover. Her background and education are in social work. She worked with teenagers for Yolo County until she decided to specialize in an older population. Sue believes that everyone deserves a “safe and clean place to live.” She feels there are not enough resources for elderly low income housing, medical care and care facilities. “Many elderly cannot qualify for assisted living and there aren’t many alternatives. I am fortunate to be providing housing which is so needed,” she says. Sue feels privileged to get to know the residents and their vibrant life stories. “They are all so different: where their lives have led them, where they come from and what they have overcome. Many have worked hard all their lives. When I walk around, I realize that every apartment tells a life story.”
Margaret McDowell Manor is owned by Christian Church Homes of Northern California but is non denominational in its operation. It was built in cooperation with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the City of West Sacramento. It has an eight-member Board of Directors. The Manor was named by the City of West Sacramento in honor of one of the founding citizens who was a teacher and developed Broderick and Washington.
At this stage, there is a long waiting list (two years) for apartments. Sue is ‘”heart broken'” about the number of phone calls she receives from the public. It has always been fully rented. There are both one- and two-bedroom units. Rent is based on 30 percent of a renter’s monthly income. Residents must be 62 years or older. The Manor has 86 units. Seventy-two units are federally subsidized. The remainder feature reasonable rents. The 100 residents are a miniature United Nations. They hail from all parts of the globe. Sue speaks very highly of, her residents. “They pay rent on time. I feel lucky we have some residents who have lived here all sixteen years.”
Initially, Sue was challenged by learning about facility management, but training was provided. The amount of paperwork and the HUD audits she receives is still daunting, but she gives credit to her ‘”great staff.'”
The Manor is as pristine today as when it opened. It is clean and beautifully landscaped, although the drought has presented Sue and her staff with challenges. There is an inner courtyard for barbecues in a peaceful outdoor setting. There is a laundry room and beauty shop on site. There is also a community garden which yields an abundance of summer vegetables. There is a large community meeting room and a private dining room for family and party functions. The residents have many visitors who are greeted at the front desk by a resident volunteer.
The residents have a monthly “lunch bunch” pot luck. There is also a resident of the month honor. Best of all for the residents is the independent living which is featured: a resident can socialize and make friends as they choose. Bonnie Rascon is the part time social worker who provides access to services for the residents. On Thursdays, a bus takes the residents to bingo at the community center. Every May for Older American’s Month, the West Sacramento Police Department hosts a barbecue for the residents. Chair yoga is held on Tuesday at 4:45 and is open to the public.
After sixteen years, Margaret McDowell is still a welcoming place and a credit to the West Sacramento greater community.
The Sweet Kid at the Wicked ‘Wich
by Bia Riaz
West Sacramento natives may remember the Wicked ‘Wich food truck, one of the original food trucks of our city, serving up scratch-made sandwiches and street food inspired by the Broderick Roadhouse menu. The concept and energy of the food truck found a new brick and mortar home at the cafe. The Wicked ‘Wich cafe opened in March of 2015.
Chef Matt Cannedy and Brian Bush from Broderick, have crafted a sweet and savory menu to bring this cafe to life; which includes panini pressed sandwiches, healthy salads, hearty soups and an assortment of baked goods. Each week they offer new featured items and a vegetarian soup of the day. Everything is hand crafted and prepared on-site with fresh ingredients. This week, the new panini sandwich addition is oven roasted turkey, caramelized onions, jack cheese, sage aioli and a house-made cranberry sauce with mixed greens and tomato.“We really feel like we are part of the community, and we love that the City of West Sacramento has really supported us. They even put up a poster of us on the bus stop!” – Chef Matt.
Within a year, the Wicked ‘Wich has become a local favorite with the students of neighboring, Sacramento City College – West Sacramento Center. Chef Matt sees the cafe as an uplifting place where people gather, have meetings, plan events, and enjoy good quality local food. He envisions it as a place that is new and evolving to serve the needs of the community and hopes to grow into a place that can cater and host events. Chef Matt and Brian see the City of West Sacramento as the perfect location for an urban cafe connecting with all members of the community, including everyone from the seniors and youth that visit the center, to the Arthur F. Turner library patrons, and the students next door.
People love Chef Matt’s coffee creations, especially the latest favorite, a mocha latte with salted caramel. I was lucky enough to try this concoction; rich creamy chocolate caramel with just a hint of salt. It’s the perfect alternative to a regular hot chocolate. You might ask, what is the name of this delicious drink? Chef Matt calls it the “Sweet Kid,” named after the students that visit the Wicked ‘Wich.
The Wicked ‘Wich is located at 1075 W. Capitol inside the West Sacramento Community Center. Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information and weekly specials are featured on their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/wichonwheels
Flood Agency Visits Southport Elementary
By Michael Dunham
On Monday October 19 the West Sac Flood Protect the City Agency held a presentation at Southport Elementary school regarding flood preparedness.
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Darren Suen of the California Department of Water Resources, and Rachael Orellana from the US Army Corps of Engineering all attended the presentation to stress the importance of preparing for a major flood in the city.
Public outreach firm Crocker & Crocker has worked with the West Sac Flood protect the city agency for several years helping them organize their events to reach out to communities to warn them about the dangers of flooding in a city surrounded by levees.
Crocker & Crocker representative Justina Janas said, “We’re hoping that students and the community understand that although West Sac is protected by levees they are still surrounded by water. And even though we’re in a drought even a small rain event can back up storm drains and cause localized flooding.”
The motto of the program is to Plan, Pack, and Protect which refers to the act of communities planning for floods, packing an emergency kit, and protecting yourself with flood insurance.
Janas continued saying, “West Sacramento residents need to remember that the city is basically an island surrounded by 52 miles of levee. If there ever was a large flood, residents may need to evacuate and their home and belongings may be damaged.”
An important part of the program is to educate homeowners on the importance of flood insurance. Many people may not know that homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flooding and flood insurance policies take 30 days to become active.
Southport Elementary third grade student Drake Nielsen who attended the event said the most important message he learned to be prepared for a flood was, “To have a plan.”
RCHS welcomes new honorary cheerleaders
By AnnaMaria Corona
RCHS Journalism Student
Two River City High School students from Nancy Abplanalp’s special needs class were invited to cheer with the junior varsity cheerleading squad last Friday night during the Raider’s home game against Yuba City.
Students Alina Corona and Mia Corralejo had the opportunity to help excite the crowd and encourage the football team in what turned out to be very close and tense game that came down to the last play.
Besides being close to all the action on the field, Corralejo said that what she liked most about cheerleading was the new friendships she has been able to make with the other members of the squad.
The two new honorary cheerleaders participated in the routines with the assistance of senior cheerleader Samantha McCormack.
McCormack is Abplanalp’s teacher assistant in her class. It was McCormack’s idea to have the two girls come out and cheer and she took the lead in organizing the details of this event. McCormack also designed and ordered custom t-shirts online for the two girls to wear during the game.
“It was really fun. Seeing Mia and Alina having fun and being so excited, they took the stress away,” says McCormack.
Mia and Alina have been invited to join the cheerleading squad for the remainder of the football and basketball seasons at all home games. They will cheer next Friday the 23rd at River City’s senior night during junior varsity’s last home game of the season against Woodland.
When asked her reaction to seeing her daughter cheer for the first time, Alina’s mom, Melissa Corona said, “It makes me so proud of our community’s high school students and cheerleaders to see how welcoming and supportive they have been. It was such an emotional experience to see the girls do something I never thought they could.”