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 »
Centennial Rotary Club joins with West Sacramento Trail Riders to improve literacy
By Jan Dalske
News Ledger, West Sacramento
This was the third year that the Centennial Rotary Club, the local chapter of Rotary International co-sponsored a program to improve literacy among the second graders in West Sacramento schools. The CRC teamed with the West Sacramento Trail Riders Association.
The plan was to launch a two-pronged, equestrian attack. Don Schatzel of CRC explained the concept: “Thanks to support from the Southport PTO (parent-teacher organization) and the WSTRA, we bought a book with horses in them for every second grader at Westmore Oaks Elementary, Sac Valley Charter School, Stonegate Elementary and Westfield Village Elementary.
The News-Ledger followed up with the actual horses that the students had read about. The students came to Westmore Oaks (the “old” River City High campus on Clarendon Street) for a special assembly last week. The horse trailers were parked on the school’s football track. Emcee Roberta Firoved, a member of CRC, introduced the riders and horses when they each came closer to the excited children who had gathered near the field.
She told the assembly about the horses’ breeds and explained where the horses came were from and what they were trained to do.
She explained some details about the horses, such as why their eyes are on the sides of their heads. Because their eyes are located there, they are able to see nearly 360 degrees at one time and watch for predators. Horses can gallop at around 27 miles per hour. Domestic horses have a life span of around 25 years. A male horse is called a stallion. A female horse is referred to as a mare. A young male horse is called a colt, and a young female horse is a filly. Ponies are small horses. There were no ponies at this event.
Roberta pointed out the variety of breast collars which help keep the saddle from sliding back on the horses. Jim, a schoolteacher who recites Cowboy Poetry was riding a 20 year old Quarter Horse whose color was buckskin. Sam, short for Samuel, is a 14-year-old Spotted Appaloosa who came from an Idaho Indian Tribe. He pulls a wagon and makes funny sounds when he eats.
Robin was riding Batman, a trail quarter horse. Anne Tatum was riding Phil bareback. He was bred to have a short tail and was trained in the Amish country to pull a wagon or cart. He pulls carts in Old Sacramento.
Morrie, which means “more storms coming” is nine years old, and is taller and thinner than a standard build horse. He is a Cal Expo horse and jogged on the race track as what is called a pacer or trotter. His leg was injured and his home is in West Sacramento now.
Rod Beckwith with Charlie loves trails and just hanging. Some horses came from the Bureau of Land Management and were previously wild. The second graders were told they could pet the horses but that there would be no riding that day. After the talk, kids were invited to line up on one side of a fence while the horses came by within touching distance along the other side: “Read it, see it, touch it.”
By Jack Chandler
Somewhere around the year 2,000 B. C. (or possibly 500 A. D.; there are conflicting reports as to the timeline), the Patwin (Pat-ween) Indians were the first inhabitants of the area we now know as West Sacramento. The Patwin were connected by language with the Nomlaki and Wintu people, to the North. The Patwins lived between what is now Suisun, Vacaville, and Putah Creek.
The Patwins were a peaceful lot, operating as hunter-gatherers. This was in contrast to the more nomadic and temperamental warrior tribes in Southern California and the Plains states. Apparently, the abundance of flora and fauna in the territory put the Patwin at ease. They had a banquet of ducks, geese, deer, elk, salmon, sturgeon, mussels, pine nuts, blackberries, wild grapes, and other menu items at their disposal. Acorns were fashioned into a mush which was baked in below-ground pit ovens and re-appeared as bread.
Small groups of Patwin men would venture out, looking for deer. One man would wear a deer head, in order to get closer to a deer without alarming it.
This raises questions. Was the wearing of deer’s head an honor, or the result of someone in the group drawing a short straw ? The head had to have been cumbersome, no doubt. And, wouldn’t the deer notice that the “deer” walked upright on two legs and had several accomplices waiting expectantly behind the nearby trees ? Perhaps not.
Patwin life was dictated by three things: the Seasons, the Weather, and the Creator. Each day was a brand new beginning and significant. Each day brought new messages.
It was on such a morning, a little over four thousand years ago
(or 1, 516 years ago), that Dark Hawk, the headman of his village, assembled his tribelet around a campfire at sunrise. It was mid-July. He stood in a noble pose, his back ram-rod straight, and squinted at the sun burning through the oak tree leaves, and thought to himself, “Gonna be HOT today…”
On cooler days, he would be wearing a cape made from rabbit skins and a headdress sprouting raven or woodpecker feathers.
As the group chose their positions around the fire, and dug into their fresh chunks of acorn bread, Dark Hawk recalled something that his own father and previous tribelet headman had told him:
“I know it gets hot out here, but…remember to hydrate.”
He sat down and motioned to Singing Bird, his squaw, to bring a gourd of water.
One by one, Dark Hawk went around the circle and asked each one directly,
“What did you dream of last night ?”
This was a customary way of orchestrating the day’s events. Dark Hawk would methodically take into account, on some level, the details of each dream and plan accordingly. For each day was singularly important. Nothing was to be taken for granted.
Great Elk, who was considered a seer of sorts since a number of his dreams had predicted the weather and crop factors, was always first to speak.
“Dark Hawk, my brothers and sisters. I dreamed of a man stepping on the moon. He stepped out of a silver house, and wore the skins of a bear. But, they were white skins.”
Murmurs rose from the circle. There was much nodding of heads and stroking of chins.
“I had another dream. I saw a man walking on a road. He was looking at a thin, black stone in his hand. Looking hard. He was very serious. He tapped the stone with his finger, and spoke as he held it up to his ear.”
There was a snicker from one of the young boys in the group. A sharp glance from Dark Hawk silenced him.
“He continued to look hard at the stone, as he was walking across a second road. But, he didn’t notice a large silver, noisy wagon that ran over him.”
A barely-subdued gasp broke from the circle. This sounded like something closer to the bone, more immediate than a fantastic image of a man on the moon. Dark Hawk and the tribelet pondered this dream of the thin, black stone and the silver wagon. What could it mean ? It sounded like heavy stuff, and could not be taken lightly.
After all, each day was singularly important, and nothing was taken for granted.
Largest long-term care union nationwide opened headquarters in West Sac
Dozens of elected officials joined hundreds of caregivers for the elderly and disabled who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2015 as they celebrated the opening of their new West Sacramento headquarters on Wednesday, May 11. SEIU Local 2015 is the largest union of long term care workers in the nation with representational responsibility for over 325,000 long term care workers – nursing home and home care workers – throughout California, 20,000 in Sacramento County alone.
The Sacramento office, located at 681 W. Capitol Ave, Suite 100, will serve as the home base for efforts to advocate for improvements to California’s long term care services, economic justice for all Californians in low-wage jobs, among other policy priority issues impacting care workers. With a dozen worker leaders and organizers, the new headquarters also gives the nation’s largest union of long-term care workers a significant footprint in the Sacramento region as represented workers begin contract bargaining with local counties in the coming months.
Some current legislative priorities for Local 2015 include:
-Caregivers Count Bill (AB 2079): Bill which would increase direct care staffing levels at skilled nursing facilities to improve the quality of care for seniors, the infirm, and the disabled.
-Secure Choice Board Retirement Bill (SB 1234): Bill which would require employers to afford California workers a retirement benefit.
-Under the “Dignity Can’t Wait” slogan, Local 2015 will continue to work closely with SEIU State -Council to ensure the 7 percent restoration of hours cut to the In-Home Supportive Services program.
Causeway Celebration Centennial to be held on Saturday, May 14
By Dean Haakenson of “Be Brave Bold Robot”In 1916, the Sacramento region had a party to celebrate the then recently completed, long and luxurious Yolo Causeway Bridge. Even at just two lanes wide, it was cause for celebration that a pathway now existed to allow unimpeded automobile (and, I’d imagine, the occasional horse) transportation over the Yolo Bypass floodplain. I will refrain from admonishing any perpetuated car culture less worthy of celebration, but use this sentence to encourage eschewing of the car for fun walks and productive bicycle commuting whenever possible. The causeway, widened over the years and rebuilt to what we use today in 1962, is taken for granted, but the poster they made for the event remains striking: A pleasing deep blue field behind a fantastical illustration of a floating woman and old timey cars on the causeway, blending outward into some flowery filigree. I recently discovered it and it brought me to inspiration: I’d endeavor to stage an event on the centennial of the dates reflected on the 1916 poster, “May 11-14”. May 14, 2016 is a Saturday – perfect. Permission granted to have the show at the old wood infested, historical-feeling Fox and Goose Public House – Mastery. Permission granted by the California State Library to use the poster image – DISCO. Well… BORING PRE-SWING 1916 MUSIC… not quite the same ring as “DISCO”, I suppose… Where was I?
Yes, History. Historical date, Historical poster, Historical building… Historical Fundraiser? YES! DO YOU KNOW that the Sacramento County Historical Society gets most all of their operational funds from viewers like you and me? Historical Society grants are few and far between, so they rely on funds raised, and make and sell those fun paperback history books with sepia photos on the covers, written by people like William Burg. Bill Burg to his friends, he’s written several of those historical society commissioned history books, and some more in depth books of his own, about Sacramento, and the number of commuter trains and the population density that have both shrunken since.
Bill Burg will M.C. this show on May 14 and the funds will go to the Sacramento County Historical Society. Bill is very informative and entertaining when he holds forth historical lecture the likes of which he will in between bands on May 14.
We’ll start the night with an old timey (Historical?) three piece string band, “Jimbo, Johnnie and Junior”. The Stummies next will delight with poppy rock crispness. My band Be Brave Bold Robot will storytell you some folk rock genius? (question mark inserted to simulate humility). The Dirty Feet will reunite to hold forth (good phrase, no?) “Prog-rock” with a very original flavor. And 50-Watt Heavy, renowned local “straight rock”, “rough n’ ready” Rock Band that everybody loves. Lyrically Historical, Historically Informative, Communally Edifying. Please come out.
If you go:
What: Causeway Celebration Centennial
Why: To celebrate history and to raise funds for the Sacramento County Historical Society
Where: Fox and Goose (1001 R St., Sacramento)
When: Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m.
Cost is $10