Tag Archives: city

Authorities will call you in a crisis such as a flood; you can register cell phones & other devices

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUGUST 13, 2014 —

The City of West Sacramento and the Yolo County Office of Emergency Services are joining with other agencies in  Yolo, Sacramento and Placer counties in a “mass notification system to alert residents about emergency events and other important community news, the agencies say. The system is meant to enable officials to get information out quickly “when there is a threat to the health and safety of residents.”

The notification database already includes all of the listed and unlisted landline telephone numbers in Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties serviced by AT&T and Verizon.

To ensure residents receive emergency notices in a timely manner, both at work and home, residents are encouraged to log onto the system and provide other contact options such as home phone numbers not serviced by AT&T or Verizon, cellular and work phone numbers, and email, TTY device and instant messaging information.  All information will be kept strictly confidential, the agencies promise.

Contact information for work and home in all three counties can be added to the database through any of the following web pages:

•    Yolo-Alert.org
•    Placer-Alert.org
•    Sacramento-Alert.org
•    YoloCounty.org (link at the bottom of the homepage).

Alerts and notifications that residents might receive through this system include time-sensitive messages about flooding, levee failures, severe weather, disaster events, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings and neighborhoods in specific geographic locations.

This new emergency notifications system by Everbridge was made possible through a grant from the California Office of Emergency Services and is supported by the State.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

A ‘Night Out’ on the town

‘McGruff the Crime Dog’ is joined by humans (from left) Robin Courtright, Sydney and Lauren Ormand. They met at the “Night Out” block party hosted by Courtright on Redding Road in Southport on Tuesday, Aug. 5. (photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

‘McGruff the Crime Dog’ is joined by humans (from left) Robin Courtright, Sydney and Lauren Ormand. They met at the “Night Out” block party hosted by Courtright on Redding Road in Southport on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
(photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 — WITH ADDITIONAL PHOTOS —

Just about two dozen block parties sprang up in different parts of West Sacramento on the evening of Tuesday, August 5. They were part of the “National Night Out” tradition in which local police departments join with residents in a move to band together against crime.

Residents are encouraged to leave their porch lights on, lock their doors, and go out and meet their neighbors in these block parties. This year’s “featured” site, with extra numbers of special guests, was at Redding Road.

The Redding Road block party crowd gives a wave. Click to enlarge to fit your screen. (photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

The Redding Road block party crowd gives a wave.
(photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

Police & residents at the Redding Road block party. Click to enlarge. (photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

Police & residents at the Redding Road block party.
(photo by PETER FOLKS for the News-Ledger)

A group of girls enjoyed the 'bounce house' at a 'Night Out" block party at Las Casitas on Lighthouse Drive (courtesy of Charlotte Dorsey)

A group of girls enjoyed the ‘bounce house’ at a ‘Night Out” block party at Las Casitas on Lighthouse Drive (courtesy of Charlotte Dorsey)

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac is saving water, but is way behind on water meter use

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 6, 2014 —

CITY OFFICIAL ACKNOWLEDGES THAT WEST SACRAMENTO IS OUT OF COMPLIANCE WITH STATE MANDATE ON WATER METERS

By Steve Marschke, News-Ledger Editor

As California struggles to deal with a drought, West Sacramento has shown good progress toward meeting the governor’s goal of cutting water use by 20 percent.

But the city is out of compliance with state regulations requiring the use of metered rates to bill its residential customers for water, the News-Ledger has learned. Most local homes are still being billed at a flat rate, regardless of whether they use a little water or a lot.  In most cases, in fact, they’re billed at a flat rate even if they have a meter in place.

That’s in contradiction to the California Water Code.

As in other Central Valley jurisdictions, older homes here were not built with meters installed. There is no way to measure the water being used at one of these residences until a meter is added as a retrofit. West Sacramento is still adding meters to many of its pre-1992 homes, working from neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, this spring contractors installed water meters in front of about 600 homes near Park Boulevard.

The city’s public works director, Denix Anbiah, spoke to the News-Ledger by phone and email this week about the issue.

DENIX ANBIAH, West Sacramento Public Works Director (courtesy photo)

“There are 12,615 residential customers,” he wrote. “We have already installed about 8,400 meters.”

But just because a meter is installed doesn’t mean it’s used for water billing. Right now, residential customers with meters in West Sacramento stay on “flat-rate” billing until they contact the city (617-4575) and ask to go to metered service. Until they do, they continue to pay a fixed service amount regardless of how much water they use. (Local businesses are handled differently; they’re already all billed “volumetrically,” according to how much water their meters show they use.)

So out of 8,400 metered homes and 12,615 total homes in the city, only 910 are currently on “volumetric” billing, said Anbiah. The rest – almost 93 percent of the city’s residences – are  still on the old “flat” rates. They’re neither financially rewarded for saving water nor penalized for using a whole bunch of it.

Even where residential water meters are installed, only about 11 percent of them are actually being used as a basis for a water bill.

Does this matter?

Peter Brostom, Water Use Efficiency Project Manager for the State of California, believes it does.

“The state thinks it’s important for customers to be given a financial incentive to save water, which volumetric pricing provides,” he said. “It’s been shown to be an effective tool in reducing water use – up to 20 percent in some localities.”

Metered water rates are also required by the State Water Code.

West Sacramento’s public works director said he believes the city falls under Section 526 of that code. That section required West Sacramento to be selling water at metered rates to all of  its residential customers by March 1 of last year.

Anbiah acknowledged that the city is out of compliance with this directive, but said the city will be fully metered – and fully using those meters – by 2018. He added that this noncompliance shouldn’t cause major problems for West Sacramento as long as it fixes the problem as it plans to.

“If we are not in compliance, the consequence is that we don’t get a preferred rate the next time we negotiate a (Central Valley Project) water contract, which will go into effect in 2020,” said Anbiah. “We are scheduled to be in compliance by 2018.”

INSTALLED WATER METER (Courtesy of City of West Sacramento)

INSTALLED WATER METER
(Courtesy of City of West Sacramento)

The state’s Brostrom said there could be other consequences for West Sacramento if it stays out of compliance with metering requirements.

“They won’t be eligible for grants and loans (from the state) because they have to self-certify that they are meeting the metering regulations of this code section,” he said. But he added that the State of California doesn’t have an active method to enforce metering or to levy penalties on the city for failing to use meters. “A third party could challenge the city in court on their noncompliance with the law,” he said.

Even without water meters in use for most West Sacramentans, though, a voluntary local conservation drive has started to pay off in the city.   Governor Jerry Brown asked Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. West Sacramento is almost on that mark.

“We are going to the city council this Wednesday and we are going to report 19.4 percent savings,” said Anbiah of the local public works department. That number compares water usage during several recent months with use during the same period here last year.

That conservation rate stands well against savings reported elsewhere in the Sacramento area. The Sacramento Regional Water Authority says “residents in the Sacramento region have reduced their water use by 18 percent from January through June compared to the same timeframe in 2013.” (Their comparison may include a slightly different group of months from West Sacramento’s analysis.)

But as the drought continues and some parts of the state fail to save much water, California is now mandating that some “voluntary” conservation measures become “mandatory.” West Sacramento officials plan a campaign by social media, the city website, digital message boards on the streets, and other means to get the conservation message out.

“State regulations prohibit certain actions – for example, it is illegal to wash your sidewalk or driveways with potable (drinking) water,” said Anbiah. “If somebody is washing a vehicle without a shut-off nozzle at the end of the hose, that is illegal. If somebody is over-irrigating a landscape and if the water is going into the drainage system a significant amount of time, that is illegal.”

Watch for more news on odd day/even day lawn watering rules and other water use restrictions to come out in the near future. (Editor’s note: the West Sacramento City Council approved new mandatory water restrictions on August 6; the News-Ledger will report on those shortly.)

Do you have a neighbor who is still flooding the storm drains with runoff from a sprinkler system?

You can report water wasters by calling the city’s new dedicated message line at (916) 617-4545. According to a city staff report, they’ll be checking these messages twice a day and following up with landowners when necessary.
_____

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Yolo Fair boasts some West Sac talent

ALINCIA VELA (right) and members of her Vela family band will be on stage next week at the Yolo County Fair. She won the amateur ‘Yolo Idol’ contest at the fair four years ago.  There’s still time to sign up for this year’s ‘Yolo Idol’ singing contest. (Courtesy photo/Suckseeding Photography)

ALINCIA VELA (right) and members of her Vela family band will be on stage next week at the Yolo County Fair. She won the amateur ‘Yolo Idol’ contest at the fair four years ago. There’s still time to sign up for this year’s ‘Yolo Idol’ singing contest.
(Courtesy photo/Suckseeding Photography)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 6, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

As Yolo’s free-admission county fair gets set to kick off next Wednesday, Marty DeAnda invites West Sacramentans to partake of its free entertainment – and maybe become part of the show.

DeAnda, born-and-raised in West Sacramento, is the Woodland fair’s entertainment director for the second year in a row. That means he is the guy in charge of booking the professional acts as well as running the “Yolo Idol” talent contest.

Opening night (August 13) will feature “The Legendary Mike McGowan and the Mighty Delta Roadmasters.” McGowan is a retired West Sacramento mayor and county supervisor.

Drummer Mike McGowan (right) and vocalist Cindy Tuttle (center) are part of the ‘Legendary Mike McGowan and the Mighty Delta Roadmasters.’ They’re also both former West Sac mayors. (courtesy photo)

Drummer Mike McGowan (right) and vocalist Cindy Tuttle (center) are part of the ‘Legendary Mike McGowan and the Mighty Delta Roadmasters.’ They’re also both former West Sac mayors. (courtesy photo)

Another West Sac-oriented band is “Alincia and the Banda Velas.”

“Alincia actually won the Yolo Idol contest four years ago,” said DeAnda. “She’s an amazing singer.” Alincia and her Vela family band will play on Friday, Aug. 15.

And there’s plenty of outside talent planning to show up.

“Our talent is at even a higher level than last year,” DeAnda reports. “Cold Blood is a great band – it was the sister band of Tower of Power. Lydia Pense is the heir apparent to Janis Joplin.”

That band will hit the stage on Saturday, August 16.  It’s free to listen to Cold Blood at the fair, DeAnda notes, although “usually Cold Blood is a $30 ticket” when you catch them elsewhere.

And on Thursday, August 14, the will feature “Walking Spanish,” led by 25-year old Alex Nelson – brother of Sacramento sensation Jackie Greene. That’s also the night for Yolo Idol – an “American Idol”-style talent contest to which you are invited to try your finely-honed karaoke skills.

There’s still room for a few more entries into Yolo Idol, DeAnda said.

“I think we’re at 14 or 15 acts, and we’re only going to take 20,” he said. “There are cash prizes, and we’re also planning on giving the winner a highlighted spot on ‘Good Day Sacramento.’ It’s a great place to showcase your talent – the event usually draws 600 to a thousand spectators.”

Interested in bringing your voice (and your stage presence and your appearance) to Yolo Idol to be scored competitively? Contact DeAnda at marty@digmusic.com.

For more information about all the entertainment and other attractions at the Yolo County Fair this year, visit www.YoloFair.net. The fair runs Aug. 13-17 at 1250 E. Gum Avenue in Woodland. Entry and most entertainment is free; rides, food and some events require a ticket purchase.

You may also call (530) 402-2222 for information.

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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