Tag Archives: city

Register for kindergarten Saturday


West Sacramento’s local elementary schools will accept registration for kindergarten and transitional kindergarten students on Sat., Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. to noon. Bring your child’s birth certificate, social security card, immunization records, proof of physical (dated after Aug., 2012, for kindergarten students) and a copy of your PG&E bill for address verification, to your local campus. For kindergarten, child’s fifth birthday must be on or before Oct. 1, 2013.

Questions? Contact Bridgeway Island Elementary at 375-7778; Elkhorn at 375-7670; Riverbank at 375-7700; Stonegate at 375-0960; Southport at 375-7890; Westfield at 375-7720; or Westmore Oaks at 375-7730.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Fundraising with firecrackers


If your church or nonprofit is interested in getting a permit to sell fireworks in West Sacramento during this year’s Independence Day (July 4) season, go to the information session scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers, 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

The permit lottery will accept applications March 1-31. For more information, contact City Clerk Kryss Rankin at 617-4500.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Man convicted for growing marijuana on public land, patrolling with gun


Last month, a Yolo County jury found 57-year-old Fidel Alvarez guilty of “cultivation of marijuana” and “possession for sale of marijuana.”  The jury also convicted Alvarez of being armed during the commission of these crimes.

According to the office of Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig:

Last September, agents from the Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigations Team discovered a marijuana grow one third of a mile off Highway 16 in Yolo County on public lands.  The marijuana grow contained over 500 plants that were only a few days away from harvest.  Agents discovered Alvarez walking through the field of plants dressed in camouflage clothing and carrying a .22 caliber rifle with a homemade flash suppressor.

Alvarez admitted to agents that he had been hired by drug dealers in Richmond to come and tend to the marijuana plots.  He stated that he was going to receive a percentage of the profits from the sale of the marijuana.  Experts testified that the plants would produce somewhere between 250 and 500 pounds of marijuana which would have a street value of $250,000 to $500,000, said the D.A.’s office.

“These marijuana grows on public lands are dangerous and the cause of numerous acts of violence across the state,” said prosecutor Michael Vroma, in a press release.  District Attorney Reisig commented on the environmental impact.  “The toll these marijuana grows have on the surrounding environment due to chemicals and fertilizers is immeasurable,” said Reisig in the same release.

Alvarez will be sentenced on February 25 by Judge Timothy L. Fall.  Alvarez faces up to four years in prison.

Editor’s note: the News-Ledger asked the D.A.’s office for a few more details about this case, but the requested information was not provided.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Gales seeks a school board seat


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

What can Katherine Gales bring to the local school board?

KATHERINE GALES: school board candidate believes a board member needs to research the issues (News-Ledger photo)

KATHERINE GALES: school board candidate believes a board member needs to research the issues (News-Ledger photo)

“At the top of the list is research,” she answered. “That’s what I do first if I don’t know something. I’m going to learn about it, especially if I’m going to be held responsible for making a decision about it. I’ll take my experience and I might take other persons’ opinions, but I’m going to go to the Internet and I’m going to Google it, and I’m going to find out exactly what it is.”

Gales, 50, told the News-Ledger that doing the background work is a key part of a school board member’s job.

“It’s important for the school board member to understand what’s going on in that area, so they can make a decision,” she explained. “You have to be up on current events. . . and you can be affected by anything coming into the district. If I don’t know about a certain community, it’s my obligation to get a good understanding or recuse myself from decision-making in that area.”

Gales has been working for the state Department of Education since 1997. She is now an executive assistant at the downtown Sacramento office. She serves as a “branch level office manager,” she said.

Gales said that one reason she took the job was to figure out why different schools taught different ways – a realization that came from comparing her own education at an “old school” in the Monterey area to her daughter’s campuses in Natomas and New York.

  Gales grew up in an Army family and moved around, but she went to high school in  Monterey, at a campus with large classrooms that were well equipped for science, home economics and so forth.

“When (my daughter) got into junior high, it was different from what I experienced in junior high,” said Gales. “That made me get even more involved. . . In home economics, we had kitchens in our classrooms. . . I compared that to my daughter’s school (in Sacramento), and they had portables.”

Working into her adulthood, Gales earned a pair of degrees from the University of Phoenix.

“I have a bachelor’s in business management and a masters in management,” she reported.

She did not marry her daughter’s father, but both parents were involved in the now-grown daughter’s life. For the past three years, Gales has lived in West Sacramento with her daughter and her seven-year old grandson, who attends school in Washington Unified School District. Gales also has several nieces and nephews in town, also going to West Sacramento public schools.

She’s running against four other candidates for one available spot on the ballot for school board, in a special election March 5.

How does she think the current school board is doing?

“I’ve attended the local school board meetings since December,” Gales answered. “They seem to work fine. Over two or three meetings, I think they’re working through what they need to do. As far as what I saw, they’re doing pretty much what they need to do and what I would do. I don’t know what goes on in closed session.”

How good is the local district?

“They’re about as good as they can be at this time, but anything can be improved and be better. That’s what I can contribute.”

How well are the schools doing in standardized test scores?

“I know Bridgeway Island (Elementary School) did pretty good on the API and Southport was second,” she answered. “The others came behind them. Test scores are important, but I’m focused on what’s coming down the pipeline (from the state board of education).”

New curriculum standards and new tests are on their way, she said.

Fiscally, Gales thinks the district is in good shape.

And she said she would consider new charter schools on a “case by case” basis. What would it take for a new charter school to get her approval as a board member?

“You have to be productive, and you have to follow the requirements of the law, first and foremost,” said Gales.

She was asked what kinds of challenges she sees in WUSD’s future.

“I think the main thing sticking out in my mind is that it’s very important for them to be diverse in their workforce,” answered Gales. “All staff should closely mirror the national average. . . In West Sacramento, we may not have a really high level of ethnicity in one area or the other, but (students) should be exposed to at least the top three or four (ethnic groups) that most people are exposed to on a regular basis.”

“I don’t know that we have any African-American teachers.”

Gales also said she wants to see better conflict-resolution in local schools.

“When my daughter went to school in New York for a year, they had a program set up,” she explained. “It was called peer mock court or peer court, where the kids actually could go to court if they had a dispute or something. They could discuss the issue in front of a body of peers or administrators, to get to the core of a problem before a decision was made for discipline.”

“I don’t know if that’s even done here, but it doesn’t seem like they have any kind of structure set up to deal with discipline. A lot of times, it seems like it’s just decided by the principal and teacher – I’m not sure, I really can’t speak on it.”

Gales was attracted to run in this race because the timing was right to become active in the community, she said. She saw news about the special election on Mayor Cabaldon’s Facebook page. She hasn’t, though, obtained endorsements from him or any of the school board or city council members.

But, as she added by email after the interview:

“What I have received is support from friends and family including, but not limited to, friends in the Sikh community and my church at the Calvary Christian Center.”

  Editor’s note: Five people are running for one vacant seat on the Washington Unified School District Board of Trustees. A winner will be chosen in a special, all-mail ballot in West Sacramento on March 5.

  Katherine Gales, profiled above, is one of the five.

  The News-Ledger newspaper is presenting an interview with each of these five candidates. The series will conclude in our print edition on Feb. 27.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013


Food give-away in West Sac


The Yolo County food bank will distribute free food to eligible West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents on Feb. 19. The schedule includes distribution from 9-10 a.m. at the West Sacramento County building, 500 Jefferson Blvd.; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian, 1500 Park Blvd.; 11-noon at Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr.; and noon-1 at Clarksburg Firehouse.

Please bring a bag, and attend only one site. For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Sobriety checkpoint Saturday night


The West Sacramento Police Department announced today it will conduct a sobriety checkpoint and driver’s license check from Saturday at 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. The department typically does not announce the precise location of the checkpoint in advance.”.

“The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes,” said a press statement from Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department. “Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.”

Officers will be contacting drivers passing through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. Officers will also check drivers for proper licensing and will strive to delay motorists only momentarily, he added. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect jail, license suspension, and insurance increases, as well as fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

CEO of Yolo’s courts will retire


Yolo Superior Court announced today the retirement of James B. Perry, Court Executive Officer. He will retire May 1, 2013.

JAMES PERRY (Courtesy of Yolo Co. Superior Court)

(Courtesy of Yolo Co. Superior Court)

“It has been my honor to work with the best group of judges in the state and a truly remarkable staff. I have enjoyed my time serving the people of Yolo County and the state,” commented Perry in a Yolo Superior Court press release.

The press statement credited Perry with stabilizing funding levels, developing one of the first written succession plans for court staff, and successfully advocating for additional judgeships and staff.  He helped guide the court through state funding for site acquisition and construction plans for the new Yolo Superior Courthouse expected to be complete in 2015, the statement continued.  Perry held key roles on Judicial Branch Committees and Task Forces to include the Domestic Violence Task Force, Facilities Task Force, and the Budget Working Group.

Perry will leave Yolo Superior Court with 10 years of service at his post;  a total of 20 years with the Judicial Branch and 43 years of public service.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013