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Mom fights back after loss of daughter to drinking driver in West Sac

JESSICA FRAIRE (right) with her mother SONIA RODRIGUEZ. Jessica was cut down by a hit-and-run driver on Sacramento Avenue in 2008 (courtesy photo)

JESSICA FRAIRE (right) with her mother SONIA RODRIGUEZ. Jessica was cut down by a hit-and-run driver on Sacramento Avenue in 2008 (courtesy photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 14, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Sonia Rodriguez can’t undo what happened to her 17-year old daughter five years ago on a dark and drizzly West Sacramento street. But she is trying to keep the same thing from happening to somebody else’s daughter.

“Halloween, 2008, started out just like any other,” Rodriguez reported to friends in a recent email. “We were all getting ready to go trick-or-treating. We were excited that year because our youngest, two-year old Carmen, was finally old enough.”

“On the way home, Jessica’s friend, Rosa, called to see if she wanted to walk around for a little while. Who knew that would be the last time I would speak with my daughter? Two hours later, an officer came to our door and told us Jessica had been in a car crash.”

Jessica Fraire had been walking with Rosa Zaragoza (then 18, and also a River City High School student) on Sacramento Avenue near Douglas Avenue. They were probably walking eastbound, on the side of the street without a sidewalk, when a pickup truck swerved onto the paved shoulder and cut them down from behind.

Rosa Zaragoza was seriously injured.

Jessica died several days later of her own injuries.

The pickup fled the scene – followed by a witness who lost sight of it on the other side of the I Street Bridge.

After massive regional publicity, the next morning 34-year old Jennifer Moran of West Sacramento turned herself in.

“The lady admitted she had been drinking,” police lieutenant Tod Sockman told the News-Ledger in 2008. “She said she realized she had hit something, but was unsure what she hit. She drove around, and talked to a friend during the night, and then turned herself in.”

Moran is now free after serving time for vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run, said Rodriguez. Even during sentencing at the court, said Jessica’s mother, Moran never apologized for the accident.

“I was shocked and outraged that she was released,” Rodriguez told the News-Ledger. “I felt victimized all over again. I was told she would serve at least half her time (a nine-year sentence) and to serve less than three years was unthinkable.”

In court, reports Rodriguez, Moran didn’t show any contrition:

“She said, ‘no, I don’t have a drinking problem, I just shouldn’t have given my friend a ride that night.’”

Because police didn’t have contact with Moran until the morning after the accident, they did not have direct evidence that Moran had been driving with too much alcohol in her blood. But they did a thorough job coming up with circumstantial evidence of DUI, said Rodriguez.

They talked to staff at the drinking establishments Moran and her friends had visited on that dismal night, counting the drinks served to her party. They noted that at one point, a server had declined to serve Moran because she appeared too intoxicated.

Rodriguez and husband Carlos have three other children, ranging from age 7 to 21. They miss their oldest girl.

“She was the eldest,” said Rodriguez. “She was the responsible one. I never had to ask her about her homework or tell her not to stay out after curfew. When it was someone’s birthday, she was the first one to send you a text in the morning wishing you a happy birthday. She would get you a gift that was something special.  She would do things without being asked. . . She was not only my daughter, but my best friend and my biggest cheerleader.”

Rodriguez has become active in MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“I go to panels and tell my story to offenders,” she reports. “I volunteer (for MADD) whenever they ask me to, and I’ve spoken at dinners.”

What she finds especially frustrating is that there is no good reason for her daughter to have died in an apparent drunk driving accident:

“This is 100 percent preventable,” she said. “You can make better choices to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else or to you. There are taxi services that will take you. Some are even free.”

Coming up next in Rodriguez’s fight against drunk driving is a fundraising walk for MADD. She’ll be part of team “MADD About Jess” in the “Walk Like MADD” event, October in Sacramento. She’ll help raise money for the anti-drunk driving organization.     Anyone who wants to donate to the effort, or form their own walking team, may visit www.WalkLikeMADD.org.

Marking the spot where Jessica was killed and Rosa was hurt now is a sign that urges people not to drink and drive.

Has all this work prevented someone else from getting killed by a drunk driver?

“I hope so,” answered Rodriguez.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Open house tonight for PG&E street work: company will replace gas lines

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — AUG 20, 2013 —

(Editor’s note: The News-Ledger newspaper expects to have some additional information on this topic in its Aug. 21 edition.)

PG&E has announced it will be working to replace underground natural gas lines in parts of West Sacramento through late November. The company is expecting the work to cause few disruptions in gas service.

Crews will be working to replace pipes under West Capitol Avenue (Northport Drive to Westacre Road), Westacre Road (Merkley Avenue to Jefferson Blvd.), Jefferson Boulevard to 15th Street, and 15th Street to the Sacramento River.

“At times, you may smell gas and hear a loud, steady noise as we vent natural gas from the pipeline using safe and common techniques,” said a PG&E advisory sent to property owners along the route. “Although this is normal when crews are working, we encourage anyone who has concerns about the smell of gas to call us 24 hours a day at 1-800-743-5000.

The work will close one lane in each direction on West Capitol. One lane will be left open at Harbor and West Capitol, reports PG&E, and and traffic will be diverted to one side of the median on West Capitol between Glide and Poplar avenues.

Other lane diversions will take place on Merkley and Jefferson (between Park and 15th) during construction.  A lane will be closed on Jefferson near the freeway. A detour will be available for Westacre Road and West Capitol.

“Although access to some driveways may occasionally be affected,” reported PG&E, “crews can provide access within a few minutes of your request.”

Local motorists are asked to allow a little extra time for their trips during the construction period.

Interested people may attend a project workshop from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at West Sacramento City Hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue, Galleria rooms 157-160.

 

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  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 2013

 

Tomatoes again lead Yolo’s cash crops — but can you guess the next top 5?

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 14, 2013 —

From Beth Gabor
County of Yolo

Last week, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors received the 2012 Yolo County Agricultural Report – an annual report which summarizes the acreage, production and gross valuation of all agricultural commodities produced in Yolo County in 2012.  The total gross valuation for all agricultural commodities in 2012 was $645,766,504; an all-time high and an increase of 17.5% from 2011.

“These production figures reflect an overall higher price per unit for commodities and increases in acreage,” said Yolo County Agriculture Commissioner John Young, in a press release.  “Field labor, processing, transporting, marketing and other farm-related services significantly multiply the value agriculture has to our county.  When the multiplier effect of related industries is considered, agriculture contributes well over $1.5 billion to the economy of Yolo County.”

Processing tomatoes remain Yolo County’s lead  ing commodity with a gross value of $111,566,739, up from $106,792,881 in 2011. Although harvested acres were fewer than in 2011, the commodity increased in value due to a slightly increased price for the 2012 cropping season.

Wine grapes, rice, alfalfa hay and walnuts remain in the top five commodities according to gross value, with wine grapes moving to the number two position ahead of rice.  Almonds edged into sixth position in gross value ahead of organic production.  Nevertheless, the gross value of organic production increased by nearly 33% to just over $40,000,000 for 2012.  Field corn, sunflower seed and wheat round out the top ten commodities for 2012.

For more information on the acreage, production and gross valuation of agricultural commodities produced in Yolo County in 2012, visit: www.yolocounty.org > Departments > Agriculture and Weights & Measures) or contact the Yolo County Agriculture Department at (530) 666-8140.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Free food in West Sacramento, Clarksburg

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The Food Bank of Yolo County will give away free food to eligible West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Distribution times include 9-10 a.m. at the county building, 500 Jefferson Blvd.; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd.; 11-noon at Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr.; and noon to 1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse. Please bring a bag and attend only one site.

For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

West Sac breaks ground for apartments near Tower Bridge and Raley Field

Pictured at the groundbreaking, left to right: City Manager Martin Tuttle; Community Development Director Charline Hamilton; The Wolff Company’s Development Team Manager Dan Nethercott; The River Cats’ Dinger; Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; and David Mogavero, Principal Architect, Mogavero Notestine Associates. (Information & photo courtesy of Art Schroeder, City of West Sacramento)

Pictured at the groundbreaking, left to right: City Manager Martin Tuttle; Community Development Director Charline Hamilton; The Wolff Company’s Development Team Manager Dan Nethercott; The River Cats’ Dinger; Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; and David Mogavero, Principal Architect, Mogavero Notestine Associates.
(Information & photo courtesy of Art Schroeder, City of West Sacramento)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 14, 2013 —

The Wolff Company hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 8, at the West Sacramento location of their new development, The Capitol Yards. The new apartment project represents an important piece of the City of West Sacramento’s plan for a redeveloped riverfront.

The project is located at 777  5th St., near Raley Field, the Tower Bridge and the ziggurat building. The first phase, with 270 apartment units, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Police log: weekly round-up of crime calls includes wild marijuana plants

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 14, 2013 —

  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. This feature appears every week in the West Sacramento News-Ledger newspaper — to subscribe, see the special offer at bottom.

Aug. 7, 10:29 a.m.
A religious facility on Glide Avenue reported it would be holding a celebration for the end of Ramadan, and asked for police help with security for the event.

Aug. 7, 10:47 a.m.
A caller reported that there was a “heavy growth” of marijuana plants along Jefferson Boulevard between a bar and a convenience market, and in a vacant lot along the busy street.

Aug. 7, 1:07 p.m.
A Carolina Avenue resident reported “continuing to receive calls and texts from a person saying she is being held for ransom.”

Aug. 7, 8:21 p.m.
An injured raccoon had been caught in a trap by a resident of the 2800-block of Summerfield Drive. The trap had been dropped off by animal control officers, as the raccoon had been a problem “for quite a while.”

Aug. 8, 5:30 a.m.
Burglars got into an F Street home “and took laptops and ate food.”

Aug. 9, 5 a.m.
The copper drain pipes were found stolen from about 45 HVAC units at the Westmore Oaks Elementary School campus.

Aug. 9, 8:49 a.m.
A taco restaurant on Harbor said there were about 10-12 “very intimidating” subjects who had been parked in the parking lot since the day before. “Subjects have been coming into the business and using the restroom and taking drinks without paying.”

Aug. 9, 10:41 a.m.
Military police and their K9s were planning to use the K9 training course on Oak Street, and “may be firing blanks.”

Aug. 9, 11:51 a.m.
A drug store on the 1200-block of West Capitol said there was a woman on scene who had been “taking pictures of employees.” The woman told staff she was part of a “social media gang.”
After the confrontation, the store asked for an officer to respond. So did the woman with the camera.

Aug. 9, 12 p.m.
A Southport parent reported that, according to a daughter’s Twitter account, a “big bonfire” was planned at the end of Linden Road at night.

Aug. 9, 12:58 p.m.
Two women with “platinum hair extensions” had taken some wigs from an Ikea Court store and were now getting into a brown car outside.

Aug. 9, 3:05 p.m.
A Town Center Plaza department store said a man had been using a knife or box cutter to open some packages and steal perfume. The store did not stop him because he had the weapon.
The man was now outside with a woman, standing near a red Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Aug. 9, 6:52 p.m.
A citizen said there were some suspicious people at the site of a structure that had just been demolished near Golden Gate Drive and Marshall Road, and the people “seemed to be loading up wires and metal items.” They had arrived in a couple of vehicles.

Aug. 9, 9:34 p.m.
A woman on Delaware Avenue reported that a man had come into her yard and “said he just wanted to pet her cat.”
She said “no” to the man (who had a golden retriever), and the man then “got upset and started yelling profanities” before walking away.

Aug. 9, 5:38 p.m.
A 46-year old homeless man was arrested after a citizen saw him defecate on the sidewalk in front of a Merkley flower business. The citizen signed a citizen’s arrest after police detained the man.

Aug. 9, 3:12 p.m.
“Multiple” animals were found inside an abandoned 7th Street apartment, in inhumane conditions. The suspect was a 43-year old woman, address unknown.

Aug. 9, 1:17 p.m.
Police responded to the 2700-block of West Capitol, where a woman said she was assaulted under “vague” circumstances. Her husband was on searchable probation.
Their room was searched – resulting in the discovery of methamphetamine, marijuana, baggies, a glass pipe, and several large resealable bags “marked with previous amounts of marijuana (and) located in the top dresser drawer.”
Also found in the drawer, a trash can, a backpack and elsewhere were at least five cell phones, more baggies, a cup with $23 in cash, a digital scale and four more bags of marijuana that added up to about 45 grams. The pair went to jail.

Aug. 9, 8:46 a.m.
The air conditioner was stolen from a Milano Drive condo. Someone “sheared it off and cut all the large wires, (and) debolted the entire unit.”

Aug. 10, 2:47 a.m.
Staff at Raley Field detained three juveniles trespassing on the field. One was 10 years old. Police were requested to respond.

Aug. 10, 11:17 a.m.
A witness said a man and woman on Evergreen Circle were arguing about a child.
“Both were pulling and grabbing the child.”
The woman then left with the child.

Aug. 10, 1:52 p.m.
A 4th Street resident reported a “foul odor” over the past 24 hours. The resident then found a black bag nearby close to the railroad tracks with “something dead inside.” But the “smell was so bad, (the resident) wasn’t able to open the bag.”

Aug. 10, 3:46 p.m.
An elderly couple on Jefferson in Southport received a phone call that frightened them.
An unknown person named “Bob” phoned them, “asking how strong they were.”
The pair was now concerned someone was out to hurt them.

Aug. 10, 6:23 p.m.
There was “something on fire just outside the door” of a Carmel Bay Road home.
A resident was trying to put water on it, and everyone was now outside the house.

Aug. 10, 10:20 p.m.
Illegal fireworks were reported being used on Westacre Road, Michigan Blvd. and West Capitol Avenue.

Aug. 10, 11:48 p.m.
A man in a motel room on the 1800-block of West Capitol reported that a woman had just opened his room’s window blinds from outside “and asked him where she could get some drugs.”
He told her to leave.

Aug. 10, 10:13 a.m.
Police responded to a vehicle parked on the Broderick Boat Ramp, with one person loading stolen fencing into it and at least one more person inside. A 52-year old Perez Court woman and a 47-year old Cummins Way man were arrested. While the car was being towed, 3.9 grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe were found under the driver’s seat.

Aug. 10, 2:20 a.m.
At a Southport department store, there were five boys and a girl “loitering and climbing pillars.”

Aug. 11, 2:59 a.m.
At Linden Park: “Midsized pickup with its lights off was on the grass, driving around and tearing it up.”

Aug. 11, 8:07 a.m.
A woman requested an ambulance on the 800-block West Capitol. She said “she was hit by a bucket in the chest.”

Aug. 11, 12:05 p.m.
A citizen reported that a dog had been stabbed about two hours earlier, and was being taken to an after-hours veterinarian. The citizen had possible information on a suspect.

Aug. 11, 12:23 a.m.
A 61-year old Shasta Lake man was arrested for DUI on Michigan Blvd. He refused to take a field sobriety test, and blew 0.22 and 0.23 in alcohol breath tests (the “presumed intoxicated” limit is 0.08). He named the West Capitol bar he had been drinking at.

Aug. 11, 7:07 p.m.
A caller reported having left a blue FBI bag in a motel room on Stillwater Road.
He phoned back to ask about it, and a clerk reported it was no longer there.
“Inside (the bag) were two guns: a .45 auto and a Walker P3080. Both weapons were registered to Irvine police.”

Aug. 11, 7:55 p.m.
At Patwin Park, there was a man around 18 years old “riding a dirt bike in the grass, doing donuts.”

Aug. 11, 8:37 p.m.
“Cat stuck with its head under a trailer.”
The cat was unable to get out, reported a citizen, and “was in distress.” Police were asked to summon animal control services to this mobilehome park.

Aug. 11, 8:56 p.m.
A witness said there was a man standing in front of a West Capitol gas station, yelling at a woman and throwing rocks at her.
The woman wasn’t hurt, but the rocks were hitting passing cars.

Aug. 11, 3 p.m.
A citizen reported there was a subject selling “cat trees” from a pickup truck in a Riverpoint Drive parking lot. The fellow didn’t have a permit, and the citizen asked police to move him along.

Aug. 11, 4:17 p.m.
A Portola Street resident reported having lost a cell phone the prior night. A tracking device on the phone now showed the location of the phone, and the victim asked for police to help recover it.

Aug. 11, 4:17 p.m.
An “ongoing problem was reported”
A 13th Street neighbor of a fire station was hopping the station’s back fence to cut through to 15th Street.

Aug. 11, 5:58 p.m.
An Anna Street resident reported having lost a phone at a concert the prior night at a party. Today, a friend who had also been at the concert had posted an ad to sell the phone. When confronted, the friend denied having done this.

Aug. 11, 6:07 p.m.
A woman reported subjects “coming and going” from an 11th Street house, and “money and baggies being exchanged.” Some of them were also smoking marijuana in the driveway.
A dispatcher advised her to report the suspected drug activity to the Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Team (YONET), and the woman said she had already “called and left several messages for them.”

Aug. 12,  3 a.m.
A 29-year year old Holly Street man was arrested after an officer contacted him and found him drunk, in the driver’s seat of a car parked near Evergreen and Pecan, with the keys in the ignition. After being read his rights, the man admitted having some vodka and beer. There was an open container of beer in the center console.

 

  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 2013

 

‘Fun Barn’ at fair attracts kids

LILY ANDERSEN -- then, three years old, enjoying the ‘Family Fun Barn’ at the Yolo County Fair in 2011. (Photo & information courtesy of Lori Aldrete for First 5 Yolo)

LILY ANDERSEN — then, three years old, enjoying the ‘Family Fun Barn’ at the Yolo County Fair in 2011.
(Photo & information courtesy of Lori Aldrete for First 5 Yolo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 14, 2013 —

What’s not to like for kids, when the “Fun Barn” is in town at the Yolo County Fair in Woodland today through Aug.18?

Free stuff, arts and crafts, and fun science projects abound at the Family Fun Barn.  Daily themes range from “picnics” to “beaches” to “camp” and “backyard” fun. Parents like it too because its family-friendly and offers a place to relax between all the walking and other Fair activities.Always entertaining specialty crafts include “glow bugs,” “pool noodle art,” “charming necklaces,” “crab hats,” “lightning bugs” and “homemade Kaleidoscopes.”  Children delight in the hands-on science activities including “edible finger paints,” “no cook play dough,” and “moldable sand art.”

The Family Fun Barn is sponsored by Woodland Healthcare .Volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts. Through the financial support of Yolo County Supervisor Duane Chamberlain volunteers are given a free parking pass for helping out.  To volunteer, go to www.yolokids.org or call the Yolo County Children’s Alliance at 530-757-5558.

For information on the fair in general, visit www.yolocountyfair.net.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013