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Free movie at Raley Field and other Halloween events in West Sac

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 22, 2014 —

  Looking for something to do for Halloween? Here’s a roundup of some of the stuff going on around West Sacramento for the holiday:

halloween (2)‘Hocus Pocus’ at the ballpark
Raley Field will host a free film and trick-or-treat event on Saturday, Oct. 25. From 5-6:30 p.m. there will be trick-or-treating around the warning track area of the stadium, and children are encouraged to show up in costume (there will be a costume contest). There will also be a photo corner, pumpkin patch and bobbing for apples.
At 6:30 p.m., the Halloween film “Hocus Pocus” (starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, rated PG) will be shown on the stadium’s videoboard. Seating will be on the lower seating bowl or on the field (you’re strongly encouraged to bring a blanket for sitting on the field; no chairs permitted).
The event and parking are both free; refreshments will be for sale. You’re asked to bring a canned food item for the Sacramento Food Bank.

‘Safe Trick-or-Treat’
The West Sacramento Recreation Center will host a “Safe Trick or Treat” event from 4-6 p.m. on Sat., Oct 25, at 2801 Jefferson Blvd. There will be games and activities for kids up to age 14. Costumes encouraged. Please bring a canned food item to donate; one for each child.

Monster Mash
The “garage surf rock” band ‘The Lava Pups’ returns to Capitol Bowl on Oct. 26 for Halloween fun. Halloween costume contests for adults and kids, plus other contests. You’re invited to the event from 1-4 p.m. at 900 West Capitol Avenue. All ages, free admission.

Fall Fun Fest
Your family is invited to the Fall Fun Fest from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct 26, at Bridgeway Lakes Park, 3650 Southport Parkway. There will be trick-or-treating, face painting, a bounce house, music, food, a craft fair and games. Profits will go toward building a multi-age play structure at the park. Volunteers needed (it’s an opportunity for high school students to achieve their volunteer requirement). Visit http://bridgewayplay.com, email wsboathouse@gmail.com or call 216-0180.

Ghost hunters
Learn about ghosts and the paranormal on the eve of Halloween. 6 p.m. on Oct. 30 at the library, 1212 Merkley Ave.

Family Halloween
The West Sacramento Moose Lodge invites you to its family Halloween party at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31, at 3240 Jefferson Blvd. Live music and treats for the kids. Adults: $5. Costumes encouraged, refreshments for sale. Information: 371-9684 or www.Lodge1762.moosepages.org.

Halloween at Ikea
Ikea in West Sacramento will host a free ‘trick or treat’ party for kids on Friday, Oct. 31. Open for kids age 3-12. The store is located at 700 Ikea Court. Call 888-888-4532.

Costume Contest
The Arthur F. Turner Branch Library, 1212 Merkley Avenue, will sponsor a costume contest during the week of Oct. 27. Post a picture of yourself in your costume to the library costume page (facebook.com/yolocountylibrary.org) or visit the library to have your picture taken.

‘Trunk or Treat’

Exclusive Realty & Mortgage and a number of other businesses are sponsoring a Halloween event for the kids, with special guest characters such as Cinderella, Malecifent, Darth Vader and others. Visit the Princess Palace, Wicked Witches Cave and more.  The event lasts 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 30 at 1102 Jefferson Blvd.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Norma Alcala hopes to become ‘most accessible’ school board member

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 15, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

  Editor’s note: during every local election, the News-Ledger newspaper endeavors to present to you an interview with each of the people running for office in West Sacramento. In this edition of our print newspaper, we carried an interview with city council candidate Jeff Lyon, as well as this talk with a school board candidate. Enjoy.

NORMA ALCALA News-Ledger photo

NORMA ALCALA
News-Ledger photo

Norma Alcala hopes to get elected to a West Sacramento school board that she feels is already doing a great job.

“I’m proud of everyone on the school board,” she told the News-Ledger last week. “We have an excellent school board.”

If she’s voted in, Alcala said she would concentrate on sharing ideas with both the schools and the community.

“I want to be the most accessible school board member,” she commented. “I give everyone my cell phone number, 916-821-9639. People have to feel – parents, especially – that somebody is reaching out.”

That meshes with her view on the fundamentals of a school board member’s job duties.

“I think accessibility is the most important thing – the willingness to listen to what people have to say, to learn from what people have to say, to invite people into the conversation and find out what their concerns are and what great ideas they might have,” she said. “As a board member, I plan on visiting every one of the schools at least once a month and making myself available to hear what the parents have to say, the teachers have to say and the kids have to say.”

Alcala, 53, is married. She and her husband own (but don’t themselves run) a business that distributes “interlock” systems which can be installed on cars to prevent the ignition from working if the driver fails a breathalyzer test for alcohol.  The couple lives in The Rivers, a north-city subdivision.

Alcala doesn’t currently have any children or grandchildren in Washington Unified School District schools. But her kids went to school locally and have earned college degrees. Alcala holds an Associates of Arts degree in Sacramento before having to leave college and help support her family.

Alcala is the president of the local Democratic club and is active in the Chicano-Latino caucus of the state Democrats. Earlier this year, Alcala unsuccessfully challenged local Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas for his seat.

Her community involvement also involves volunteer duties with Holy Cross Church..

“I’ve always been involved in the schools since my children were young, and I’ve always been on the board of the PTA for my children’s schools,” she explained. “I continued that with my grandchildren.”

Last year, when a grandchild was attending Westmore Oaks Elementary School, Alcala helped out there, wielding a broom and mop to refurbish a school room.

“I went in there and swept windows, I cleaned window boxes that hadn’t been used. It became a beautiful functional room that everybody could use. I helped my daughter with a (school) carnival, with movie nights they had, with a library affair, and with every (school) function.”

Alcala supports Measure V – the school bond on November’s ballot. She believes local student test scores are headed up, and local teachers are dealing well with the new “Common Core” curriculum mandates. She also believes Washington Unified is responsibly managing its money.

“My understanding is it’s probably the best fiscally maintained district in Yolo County,” said Alcala. “It’s been very carefully managed. . . the majority of the monies are going to the children.”

The local teachers union has endorsed Alcala along with incumbent board member Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez (who is a teacher working in a different district).

“I’ve been endorsed by the teachers as well as Sarah, because they know of our strong commitment to education,” said Alcala. “She’s a teacher, but I’ve always been involved in the schools at a lot of levels.” (Her teachers’ endorsement comes from the local teachers’ union.)

Alcala doesn’t wish to change the district’s priorities, but she does allow that she would like to see more programs in the arts and “perhaps more labs” to prepare local kids for jobs of the future. And she would like to find more grant money and more private partners – perhaps, as an acquaintance in another school district reports, to provide local children with refurbished computers they can take home.

Alcala also said West Sacramento – despite the honors it has received for promoting “universal preschool” – doesn’t really have universal preschool. Not every family is choosing it.

“We have wonderful (preschool) programs here, but we don’t have universal preschool,” she explained. “Universal preschool would mean that every child of that age would have it. We have to do that outreach. The (educational) foundation is so important.”

Alcala finds herself on the November 4 ballot facing off with Kirby-Gonzalez and Joshua Alves.

Voters will be asked to pick two of them for the board of trustees on Washington Unified School District.

  Do you like what you see here?

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  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 2014

Flood Preparedness Week kicks off in West Sacramento

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — OCT 20, 2014 —

Officials from the State Department of Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of West Sacramento will come together to kick off “California Flood Preparedness Week” at a West Sacramento school on Tuesday.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Oct. 21 at Westmore Oaks Elementary School.

After a news conference, there will be a chance for students, parents, teachers and business owners to talk to experts about flood protection, flood insurance and related issues. There will be representatives from FEMA, the National Weather Service, California Office of Emergency Services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The event will also kick off a student poster contest that promotes flood protection.

 Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac factory hiring high school grads

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The new Nippon Shokken food product plant in Southport is hiring high school grads for entry-level work on the production line. Starts at $10.20/hour. Fax resume to 375-6287 or email it to LisaKing@yolocounty.org, or drop it off at the Yolo County One-Stop Career Center, 500-A Jefferson Blvd., West Sacramento.
Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Lyon wants to make crime-fighting the number-one priority in West Sac

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 15, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Jeff Lyon wants to make changes on the West Sacramento’s city council – perhaps more so than anybody else on the ballot.

Almost two years ago, Lyon and his wife bought an 1897 Victorian in the “Washington” neighborhood, a couple of blocks from the state Department of General Services offices (which are in the ziggurat building). He’s been working in those offices for some time. After moving in, Lyon started talking to his new neighbors in West Sacramento.

JEFF LYON: Running to change the city's top priority (News-Ledger photo)

JEFF LYON: Running to change the city’s top priority
(News-Ledger photo)

“It was a shock to my wife and me to hear that many of the neighbors had just got used to the fact that there are homeless transients and panhandlers and beggars walking the streets,” he told the News-Ledger. “Almost all of my neighbors had been the victim of a crime from a homeless person.”

And a nearby church was exacerbating the problem, he felt, by “feeding the homeless seven days a week and giving them clothes and camping supplies.”

“It was a daily parade of homeless people coming from the river. Since our house is right on their travel corridor, they’d come by twice a day, back and forth,” Lyon added. “Whenever you have them coming by, you have the resultant activity, which can include everything from public urination, to drinking in public, drugs in public, shouting each other, fighting – there were many fights in the church.”

Lyon said he encouraged the church’s landlord to sell, and encouraged the new landlord – developer Mark Friedman – to terminate the  church’s lease while the property awaited a new use. The church is gone now.

But the experiences led Lyon to become a spokesperson for the loosely-formed Washington Neighborhood Association, and he has been to the city council to lobby for a crackdown on illegal activities many times since moving in.

The group’s “action plan” for the homeless situation (you can see it at Lyon’s website, www.CleanUpWestSac.com) includes three piers, said Lyon. The first is “compassion” in attacking the homeless issue.

“If a homeless person wants food, shelter, substance abuse training, job training, mental health services, we’re going to get them to that service,” he explained. “Right now, Yolo County has services for each of those needs. . . We don’t need to replicate those services in West Sacramento.”

“Enforcement” is the second tenet of the plan. Lyon wants the local city and police to “make it clear we will not tolerate illegal camping in this city.”

And the third element?

“The third part of that plan is that we are going to elect representatives to the city council who support our cause, it’s as simple as that.”

Reducing the city’s crime rate is, in fact, Lyon’s number one priority. Currently, the city’s leaders have assigned “flood protection” to that number-one spot.

“I think that flood protection is a high priority, but not higher than public safety,” argues Lyon. Let’s say (flood protection) is second to public safety. . . Everything else is secondary because it does not do us any good to have new streetcars, new hotels or new development if 100 percent of the citizens do not feel safe 100 percent of the time.”

The council’s response to Lyon’s arguments has been silence, he said, and that’s part of why he gives the current council poor marks for its job performance.

“In general, the city council of West Sacramento is doing a lousy job, and I’ll tell you why,” he commented. “The main reason is I’ve publicly asked them in one of my speeches to meet with myself and my neighbors here in the Washington neighborhood to talk about our concerns about the homeless. We got no response. They completely rebuffed us.”

Nevertheless, he believes he can work with the incumbents if he’s elected to serve with them.

“I believe in the democratic process, which is majority rule,” he commented. “It’s my goal to win over each member of the city council to the way of the people’s thinking. When I get elected, they will see that my main priority is public safety. I’m going to reach out to get them aboard.”

Lyon supports the city’s development plans:

“Any development of the City of West Sacramento, whether it’s the Bridge District, Southport, the new hotels – they’re okay as long as public safety is the top priority and crime is reduced.”

He has a couple of other primary goals.

“One is to roll out the red carpet for businesses that create jobs,” Lyon said. “I built a restaurant in Texas 20 years ago and my permit only cost me $500. . . I couldn’t have opened my restaurant if I had to pay $50,000, $70,000 or $100,000 in fees like they do here in California or West Sacramento.”

In the 20 years since that restaurant opened, he reports, it has paid over $2 million in local sales tax, $180,000 in property taxes and “the best benefit is that my restaurant has employed 40 people for over 20 years.”

So Lyon would like to reduce business fees “as low as I can get them.”

He also hopes to “right-size” the city government, after doing a study of work flow at city hall.

“When I got to be chief of my section at (Department of General Services), it was the first time in history they reduced the size or downsized the staff,” he said. That happened after he studied the work flow and made a recommendation to reduce staff, by attrition.

If similar studies show there are too many people in one department or not enough at another in city hall, he said, changes could be made. Layoffs won’t be necessary.

“We don’t have to fire anybody,” said Lyon. “Through attrition, we just don’t have to backfill anybody.”

Lyon, 58, lives in his north-city home with his wife, Grace. They have five adult children in their blended family, all living outside the home.

Lyon lived in different areas while growing up, and earned bachelor’s of science degrees in both chemistry and chemical engineering. He has worked for oil companies as an engineer, in public affairs and in real estate management.

He worked for the state’s Department of General Services office (two blocks from his current home in West Sacramento) for about 13 years before retiring this year.

Other candidates seeking the two available seats on next month’s city council ballot are incumbents Mark Johannessen and Chris Ledesma as well as fellow challenger Nancy Heth-Tran.

  Do you like what you see here?

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  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 2014

Rowing regatta takes over Port

One of the Marin Rowing Association high school girls’ eights, as seen from the Daniel C. Palamidessi Bridge. (News-Ledger photo)

One of the Marin Rowing Association high school girls’ eights, as seen from the Daniel C. Palamidessi Bridge.
(News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER OF WEST SACRAMENTO — OCT 15, 2014 —

Over the weekend, West Sacramento’s riverfront may have been taken over by ‘Sactoberfest’ revelers, celebrating German beer and associated pleasures.

But on Sunday, it was a few hundred rowers that provided a different invasion at the Port of West Sacramento. The occasion was the annual ‘Head of the Port’ regatta hosted by the local River City Rowing Club (RCRC).

Singles and multi-person crews churned down a three mile race course (taking around 20 minutes, give or take) sometimes facing into a brisk north breeze and choppy waters.

Highlights for the local club and for the UC Davis rowing teams included a victory for RCRC’s girls varsity eight over rival Marin Rowing Association and a win by the UCD men’s four over visitors including California Maritime Academy, Sonoma State, Sacramento State and Norcal Crew.

A River City Rowing Club crew (foreground) chases competitors toward the finish line in front of Stone Lock and Jefferson Boulevard, in last weekend's 'Head of the Port' competition in West Sacramento.  Click to enlarge. (News-Ledger photo)

A River City Rowing Club crew (foreground) chases competitors toward the finish line in front of Stone Lock and Jefferson Boulevard, in last weekend’s ‘Head of the Port’ competition in West Sacramento.  (News-Ledger photo)

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Religious slur? Author is unknown —

(News-Ledger photo)

(News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 15, 2014 —

A number of these simple signs showed up sometime prior to October 3 around Golden Gate Drive and Bridgeway Island Park. The News-Ledger spotted around ten of them in the neighborhood.

The signs are an apparent reference to the local mayor’s race, in which Narinderpal Singh Hundal is challenging incumbent Christopher Cabaldon.

But Hundal is not, of course, a Muslim. He’s active in the local Sikh temple.  (And his name is not spelled the same as in these posted signs).

Whether the unsigned posters are meant to influence the mayor’s race one way or another, or just to engage in a religious provocation, is unclear. Police spokesman Lieutenant Tod Sockman told the News-Ledger the posters are not a matter for police investigation.

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  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 2014