Tag Archives: city of west sacramento

‘Serpentine soil’ is a pretty special habitat


By Mary K. Hanson
Tuleyome Association

“Serpentine Soil”: when talking about the various habitats under consideration for a National Conservation Area designation in the Berryessa Snow Mountain region, that term comes up a lot.  For most people, though, it’s rather meaningless. Most of us, after all, aren’t geologists or botanists, and if we’ve ever had an encounter with serpentine soil we probably didn’t even realize it.  The truth is, though, if you live in the Coast Ranges of California just about anywhere between Santa Barbara County and the Oregon border (or in the Sierra foothills) you’re living in a region rich in serpentine outcroppings.

Some plants have adapted the challenging structure of ‘serpentine soil’ (courtesy photo)

Some plants have adapted the challenging structure of ‘serpentine soil’ (courtesy photo)

So what is “serpentine soil”?  Simply speaking, if you think of the Earth as an onion made up of several different layers surrounding a molten core, we live on the very outer layer, on top of the soil that is a thin skin on the Earth’s crust and on our layer the soil is for the most part full of nutrients and organic matter which allow a lot of plants and trees to thrive.  Below us is another layer called the mantle.  This layer is made of more dense, pressure resistant, 4-billion year old “ultramafic” minerals and rocks that are low in plant-nurturing calcium, potassium and other minerals, and high in things like magnesium, nickel and cobalt.  When through tectonic action, veins or plugs or whole sheets of this mantle layer are thrust up to the surface, they come in contact with water, metamorphose and become “serpentinized” (converted into serpentine).  And when these serpentinized outcroppings breakdown and mix with organic matter they form what is called “serpentine soil.”

You’ve probably seen expanses of serpentine soil and didn’t realize it. Like scrubby islands in a sea of green, they look misplaced, almost “unearthly” – barren, rocky, and sparsely vegetated by only occasional large trees and plants with few or very hardy leaves designed to reflect sunlight.   And you may ask yourself, why should we care about this place?  It’s kind of ugly.  But what’s really exciting about these serpentine expanses is that within their boundaries you can readily view examples of plant adaptation, natural selection, and species differentiation at work.  Many of the plants and trees that can grow in serpentine soil are specialized and unique, not found anywhere else.  In fact, about 280 of these serpentine species are listed as “rare” by the California Native Plant Society.  Where the serpentine soils are, so are floral treasures not found in any other ecosystem… and they’re here right in your backyard!

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and to celebrate that you might try walking through some of the local wilderness areas, like Cedar Roughs which is rich in serpentine soil and holds the largest stand of Sargent Cypress trees in California.  Other serpentine areas include Walker Ridge, the public lands of the Bureau of Land Management Knoxville Unit (located north of Lake Berryessa, part of which is designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern because of the rich serpentine flora) and throughout the Putah and Cache Creek areas.

The Bare Monkey Flower is an example of a plant species endemic to serpentine.  With its “pouty-lipped” yellow flowers and feather-like leaves, it is found only in Lake and Napa County.  You may also find about twelve different species within the mustard family that grow in serpentine, including the Most Beautiful Jewelflower which grows in both Yolo and Solano Counties.  The best time to see these specialized plants in bloom are between late February and early June.

Also, even though serpentine areas looked “unusable” or “uninhabitable”, they are not.  To geologists they offer a unique opportunity to see and analyze rocks and minerals from deep within the earth’s mantle, and for the rest of us they are a cache of wholly unique, highly-adaptable and rare plants just sitting out there waiting for us to view them on hikes and photo-outings.

For more information about serpentine soils, check out “California Serpentines” by Arthur R. Kruckeberg and “An Introduction to the Serpentine Plant Community of the Putah-Cache Bioregion” by author Kelly G. Lyons.  There’s also “Serpentine: Evolution and Ecology of a Model System” by Susan Harrison and Nishanta Rajakaruna.

  Tuleyome Tales is a monthly publication of Tuleyome, a nonprofit conservation organization based in Woodland, CA. For more information about Tuleyome go to www.tuleyome.org.  Mary K. Hanson is an amateur naturalist and photographer. 

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Assisted living complex proposed for Jefferson Boulevard in Southport


A 178-unit assisted living complex is proposed for the northwest corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Gateway Drive in Southport.

“Summerplace Living at Westgate” hopes to place up to 205 residents in a combination of 94 “assisted living” units and 84 “memory care” units at 2305 Jefferson Boulevard. The 5.33-acre, two-story development would be bounded by Jefferson, Gateway and the Clarksburg Branch Line trail, along with existing homes.

It’s proposed by FCM Capital Partners of Roseville for most of a 6.72-acre parcel owned by Lighthouse Cove, LLC, of Bellevue, Washington.

The city planning commission will hold a public workshop on the project as part of its meeting on Thursday evening, Feb. 6, beginning at 6 p.m. at city hall.


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POLICE LOG: West Sacramento’s weekly roundup of police calls, arrests


News items below are collected from police dispatchers’ notes and arrest reports. The information in them has often not been verified beyond the initial reports.

Jan. 27
A property manager reported a burglary to a vacant residence on Evergreen Avenue. Gone were a fridge, electric wiring and copper value. Estimated value of the loss: $10,200.

Jan. 27, 4:15 a.m.
Someone burglarized a row of propane tanks stored outside a market on the 3100-block of Jefferson Boulevard in Southport. They took two tanks, worth about $88.

Jan. 27, 6:30 a.m.
A construction site on Embardadero Drive was found burglarized. Thieves took six power cables – about 100 feet – worth an estimated $1,800.

Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m.
A 28-year old woman reported someone entered her Carbon Court home through an unlocked door, taking a laptop, iPad tablet computer and bank statements. The loss was estimated at about $1,000.

Jan. 27, 9:30 p.m.
A Hobson Drive man reported someone stole a safe from inside the house. In the safe were checks and bank documents. The loss was about $60.

Jan. 28, 7:45 a.m.
An Evergreen Avenue business was found burglarized. Gone were a laptop computer and $3,297 in cash.

Jan. 28, 8 a.m.
An Evergreen Avenue woman reported her apartment had been burglarized. Thieves left with an iPad, iMac, camera and headphones, for a total loss of around $6,900.

Jan. 28, 10:30 a.m.
The police “special investigations unit” served a search warrant on a residence on the 1700-block of Merkley Avenue. The 28-year old man sleeping in the home – a convicted felon – was found to possess four .38 caliber bullets, prescription drugs including liquid codeine, a digital scale and $940. Prescription labels had been removed from the drugs.
The man admitted the drugs and ammo were his, and said he had a drug problem, saying the prescription drugs “helped him with withdrawals.” He could not show a record of prescription for the drugs. He went to jail.

Jan. 28, 1 p.m.
A woman said she was robbed on Douglas Street, by a man who claimed he had a gun and demanded her wallet.

Jan. 28, 4:04 p.m.
A police officer driving on Douglas Street saw a car going the other way with two males in it. He checked its license, and learned the Honda Accord had been reported stolen out of Sacramento.
The officer followed the Honda into the rear of a Lighthouse Drive complex. He conducted a vehicle stop.
The 18-year old driver, a resident of James Street, was found to be “driving a stolen vehicle and using a shaved key to operate the vehicle.” He had no driver’s license.
The officer phoned the Honda’s owner, who confirmed he did not know the driver and the vehicle was gone without permission. The driver went to jail.

Jan 28, 5:20 p.m.
A department store in Southport’s Town Center Plaza detained a 37-year old Valley Oak Lane woman who tried to walk out with $199 worth of “various makeups.”

Jan. 28, 6:27 p.m.
An officer saw a bicycle with no lights going southbound on Ash Avenue.
The officer did a U-turn to catch up, turning on the patrol car’s lights and conducting a stop.
The 43-year old cyclist, a resident of Proctor Avenue, admitted he was on parole for drug charges. The officer searched him finding a glass methamphetamine-smoking pipe in the man’s pants, as well as a small bag with a crystal substance that later tested positive as “meth.”
The suspect then made the following claim of innocence:
“I didn’t know that was there, I swear to God! I thought I left it in the room.”

Jan. 28, 9:15 p.m.
A Hardy Drive woman reported her two vehicles were burglarized, with losses of about $1,000.

Jan. 29, 12:48 p.m.
A citizen reported seeing a “male walking a bike and carrying a large knife” going into a motel on the 1000-block of West Capitol.
A responding officer saw a bike parked next to a motel room door, with the door open. There was one man standing in the doorway and another inside – motioning for the officer to come over.
The officer detained the 49-year old man in the doorway, placing him in a patrol car.
The man inside said the suspect had entered his room and threatened him with the knife, swinging it at him. The victim dodged the knife. The suspect then walked into the room’s bathroom briefly, came out and started yelling some more. The victim thought the man may have left the knife in the bathroom or thrown it out the window.
The officer looked out that window, seeing a large knife in a sheath on the ground below.
The suspect went to jail.

Jan. 29, 6:35 p.m.
Police responded to the report involving three men arguing with another man over the repossession of a “semi” truck near the west end of West Capitol Avenue. None wanted to press charges, but all asked for police to document the incident.

Jan. 29, 11:15 p.m.
A woman called from a 4th Street complex. She told police “she had locked the door to a detached enclosed laundry room, and now someone was banging around inside, and (she) thought the person was burglarizing it.”
An officer detained a 31-year old man from St. John’s Road found inside the room. The officer noted “fresh damage” to the door and to washers and dryers inside. There was also a wrench and screwdriver in the room. During a search while arresting the man, the officer found a glass pipe with possible methamphetamine residue.
The officer read the suspect his rights.
The suspect then said “he did not live anywhere near (the complex) and just found the crow bar inside an unlocked laundry room.”

Jan. 31, 9:12 a.m.
A Bodega Bay Road man told police he had received a call from his credit card company, reporting fraudulent charges on his account.

Jan. 31, 10:45 a.m.
Police responded to a drug store on the 1200-block of West Capitol, where store security had detained a 60-year old homeless woman for shoplifting $11 in food and cosmetics.
After being read her Miranda rights, the woman said she had been hungry, confirmed her intent to steal the items, and explained that “Jesus told her to.”

Jan. 31, 5 p.m.
A 32-year old Southport woman reported her purse stolen at Drew Street. Since then, her credit cards had been used for $85 in charges at a West Sacramento department store, cell phone store and gas station.

Feb. 1, 4:48 p.m.
Several police reports involving an incident that took place over more than an hour detail something like this:
Police were dispatched to Simon Terrace regarding several people fighting, “armed with knives. There were two male victims, who reported that a couple of suspects had fled in a white SUV. The victims said they had earlier been sitting in a Honda Accord on Elder Drive when that SUV had pulled up and blocked them in. Three males (including the two who just fled) “exited the SUV and began threatening (the victims), calling them ‘scraps’ and pounding on the glass.”
The victims put the Honda in reverse to get away.
The SUV pursued them to Simon Terrace, where the SUV “rammed the rear end of the Honda.” Both vehicles stopped and the three suspects got out and pounded the windows of the Honda.
At some point, one of them swung a knife at one of the victims before they left the scene. Also, before they left the scene, they “observed witnesses” and may have threatened them as well.
Police found the SUV, arresting an 18-year old and 20-year old from Bryte Avenue. The men were identified as gang members, and reported as using “gang slang and gestures” during the assault.

Feb. 1, 7:10 p.m.
A car tire was found slashed on Madrone Avenue.

Feb. 1, 9:30 p.m.
A 22-year old Hobson Avenue man reported being robbed near Glide and Rice avenues. He said a group of suspects “simulated a handgun and demanded property.”

Feb. 2
An officer found a cell phone in the back of a patrol car. The phone’s owner was unknown.

Feb. 2, 7 a.m.
Someone entered the gated property of a distribution company on Carlin Drive. They then got into an unlocked trailer and took cases of alcoholic beverages worth about $500.

  EDITOR’S NOTE: The West Sacramento Police Department is undergoing a transition in its data management. Because of this, we currently have access to many of the department’s arrest reports, but not to the logs of calls for service and reports of crime.
 Responding to an inquiry from the News-Ledger, a spokesman said the department hopes for a solution in early 2014.
  We hope to be able to share a wider variety of police call information at that time.


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Copyright News-Ledger 2014


West Sac grocery bagger will compete for national championships, possible TV appearance

Armando ‘Mondo’ Alvarez will represent the state   (Courtesy of Nugget Market)

Armando ‘Mondo’ Alvarez will represent the state
(Courtesy of Nugget Market)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 5, 2014 —

West Sacramento’s Armando Alvarez, a courtesy checker for Nugget market, will represent California in the National Grocers Association “Best Bagger” national championship on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas.

Alvarez took on 18 other Nugget clerks at a match in September at Crest Theater to earn the state’s bagging bragging rights. (Other independent grocery stores did not send checkers to that competition).

Top prize in the national contest is $10,000 and a probable appearance with TV’s Dave Letterman. Second prize is $5,000, and three additional winners each get $1,000.

  (Information courtesy of Venessa Ricardez)

Copyright News-Ledger 2014


A West Sacramento man was arrested by Yolo County sheriff’s deputies on January 27. He was allegedly in possession of a large amount of methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

The sheriff’s department reports that deputies conducted a traffic stop at about 11:49 p.m. that night, pulling over 56-year old Gerald Ray Osbourne on Harbor Boulevard, south of Sacramento Avenue.

“Upon contact with the subject, deputies detected the strong odor of marijuana emitting from the interior of the vehicle,” said sheriff’s spokesman Mark Persons in a press statement. “A search of the vehicle revealed 73.56 grams of methamphetamine, 63.26 grams of heroin, 41.51 grams of marijuana and non-prescribed pills.”

Osbourne was booked in to Yolo County Jail, and bail was set at $280,000. He was scheduled to be arraigned last Friday.


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Copyright News-Ledger 2014


A tasty trip down Memory Lane in old-time West Sacramento

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 5, 2014 —

Last week a longtime West Sacramento resident and family friend, Sharon Cuff, stopped by the News-Ledger office to give me a book she thought I would enjoy reading.  The book was entitled “Lost Restaurants of Sacramento” and was penned by Sacramento natives Maryellen and Keith Burns. It almost lovingly tells about all the many Sacramento restaurants from the past 150 years or so which have been visited by countless patrons, many of whom left with lasting memories of their favorite eateries and the yummy food that was served there. I especially liked some of the colorful photos in the book, which showed everything from one of the first rough kitchens at Sutter’s Fort that served about 30 men, to the soda fountains and ice cream parlors of the 1950s, to the fancy and popular downtown Sacramento restaurants of today. It was also fun to be reminded that a good meal once cost only twenty-five cents and to see old pictures of places I recalled from my youth, like Stan’s Drive-In and Sam’s Hof Brau.

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

I first met Sharon many years ago when she and her husband, Jim, lived right behind my West Sacramento home.  One of their daughters, Janel, became very good friends with my daughter, Carrie, and when they were in grade school I would often find them out at the chain link fence which separated our two properties playing dolls or just talking endlessly about all the things that are important to young girls. And even though we are no longer neighbors, the Cuff’s Christmas card is usually the first one that arrives in the mail each holiday season.

“So, what is it that you really like about this book?” I asked Sharon.

“Well, it takes a person down memory lane and after I read it, I found myself thinking about the Page from the Past that is often in the News-Ledger, and I thought you might want to put something in the paper about all the restaurants that have come and gone in West Sacramento over the years. In fact, I even decided to write down all the ones I could remember and see if you recalled some of them, too.”

“I’m afraid my family didn’t do a lot of eating out,” I told Sharon, “although my dad liked to take us to the old Goose Club once a month or so because their prices were really reasonable, and of course going to the Pheasant Club was always considered a real big treat, too.”

Anyway, as I started looking over Sharon’s lengthy list of West Sacramento eateries and take-outs (past and present), I found myself recalling wonderful places like the old Country Maid drive-through where my mother would send me on my bicycle to get milk and bread, my reward being that I could buy myself one of the biggest ice cream sandwiches imaginable, especially compared to the ones you get in grocery stores nowadays that look like little chocolate pancakes with something that isn’t even real ice cream stuck between them. In fact, those old Country Maid ice cream sandwiches were so huge I couldn’t even get the whole thing in my mouth to take a bite out of it and had to always start at the edges first.

Other places Sharon had listed also quickly rang a bell, like Smorgy Bob’s, A & W Root Beer, Sambo’s, Kelly Jr.’s, Zeps,  and of course Whitey’s Jolly Kone, where I am still addicted to the same secret family recipe for their deluxe tacos that I fell in love with many decades ago. But the name of the long gone restaurant that really took me down memory lane was the El Rancho Hotel, since that is where you dressed up real fancy and went out to eat on West Sacramento rites of passage nights like the Junior and Senior Proms. And I can still remember the horror on my twin sister’s face when her date, who was used to eating much bigger portions of food at home, started scraping everyone’s leftovers from their plates onto his because he was still hungry, not to mention a very worried friend who thought that they had really screwed up his order because they were already serving him his dessert by bringing him a little cup of strawberry sorbet first, having of course never heard of the word “palatizer” before, much less seen one.

Some of the other restaurants that appear on Sharon’s list of fun West Sacramento places to eat (past and present) include Vince’s, King’s, Emma’s Taco House, Freddy’s Gourmet, Carol’s, Eppie’s, and Don’s Chuck Wagon, just to name a few. She even listed some of the wonderful old West Sacramento businesses that are no more, like Willie’s Market, Gorman’s Stationary, Hollywood Hardware, Homer’s Florist, Miller’s TV, and the old Last Chance gas station.

Anyway, since Sharon was kind enough to take me for a fun little stroll down memory lane, I think I will offer you the same opportunity, and if you would like to share some of your fond memories from eating out in our wonderful little town over the years, you can do so by going to our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/TheNewsLedger. Just look for our post inviting comments. You can also write to me at daryl@news-ledger.com with any funny/tasty recollections you may have that I could use in a future follow-up column.

It’s been my experience that in addition to delicious food, it’s the interaction of great local restaurant owners, employees and patrons that make for a wonderful dining experience, and West Sacramento has always had more than its fair share of all three!


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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


Wrong-way driver killed on freeway


The Yolo County Coroner’s office has identified the woman killed in an early-morning freeway accident today in West Sacramento.

She was Cassandra Caruthers, a 28-year old from Sacramento.

Caruthers  was driving the wrong way on I-80 in West Sacramento at about 2:17 a.m. when she struck another vehicle head-on, reports the coroner’s office. Other aspects of the accident are still ongoing.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014