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Trotting off the written page

Students from Southport and Westmore Oaks elementary schools get a close look at a pair of Belgian draft horses, “Tip” and “Champ” who weigh in at close to a ton apiece. Originally from  an Amish farm, they are carriage horses in Old Sacramento. Click to enlarge.  (News-Ledger photo)

Students from Southport and Westmore Oaks elementary schools get a close look at a pair of Belgian draft horses, “Tip” and “Champ” who weigh in at close to a ton apiece. Originally from an Amish farm, they are carriage horses in Old Sacramento. Click to enlarge. (News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 30, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

They called it “Horsin’ Around for Literacy.”

The regional district of Rotary International asked its local chapters, like the Centennial Rotary Club in West Sacramento, to do something to improve literacy among children. So the local chapter several months ago launched a two-pronged, equestrian attack.

Explained Don Schatzel of Rotary:

“Thanks to support from the Southport PTO (parent-teacher organization) and the West Sacramento Trail Riders Association, we bought a book for every second grader at Southport and Westmore Oaks – books with horses in them. Now, in the spring, they get horses. We’re trying to teach it, see it, read it.”

The Southport students came to Westmore Oaks (the “old” River City High campus on Clarendon Street) for a special assembly Thursday morning. On the school’s football track were a bunch of horse trailers, horses and riders.

Charyl Silva and Don Schatzel, riders and Rotarians. Click to enlarge.  News-Ledger photo

Charyl Silva and Don Schatzel, riders and Rotarians. Click to enlarge.
News-Ledger photo

Wrestling with a struggling microphone system on a windy day, emcee Roberta Firoved introduced each horse and rider to the attentive students. She also explained some things about horses, including why their eyes are on the sides of their heads (as a prey animal, horses need to keep watch for predators) and how to measure a horse’s height (by using “hands”). Among the horse teams were:

— Ron Morazzini (trail riders’ president) with his quarterhorse “Jiggers.”
Jiggers “loves to follow Ron around the pasture like a puppy,” said Firoved.

— Rod Beckwith with a mule names “Socks.” A mule is a cross produced from a male donkey and female horse, explained Firoved.

— A pair of impressive Belgian draft horses, weighing in at 1,600 and 1,800 pounds, respectively.

— And a pony.

Jason Williams, an employee of the Bureau of Land Management, showed a little bit about how he helped round up wild horses with help from his dog “Hannah.” He rode “Stinger,” a horse born wild and bearing a BLM brand on its neck. He told the kids how he used his dog to help round up a wild horse.

Jason Williams with his horse “Stinger’ and his working dog ‘Hannah.  ‘ Williams works for the Bureau of Land Management and sometimes helps round up wild horses -- animals like Stinger.  (News-Ledger photo)

Jason Williams with his horse “Stinger’ and his working dog ‘Hannah. ‘ Williams works for the Bureau of Land Management and sometimes helps round up wild horses — animals like Stinger.
(News-Ledger photo)

“If I say ‘come by,’ she will go around the horse to the left,” said Williams. Another command sends Hannah to the right of the targeted animal. Hannah is prone to giving a horse a little nip on the heels as he scoots past, helping to herd the animal.

“A lot of times, that’s what I’ll do to gather horses,” said Williams.

After the talk, kids were invited to line up on one side of a fence while the horses came by in touching distance along the other:

“Read it, see it, touch it.”

 

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Hundreds on West Capitol for Earth Day

A young visitor shows off a grin almost as toothy as that of ‘Mooie,’ the city parks department mascot.  Click to enlarge. (News-Ledger photo)

A young visitor shows off a grin almost as toothy as that of ‘Mooie,’ the city parks department mascot.
(News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 23, 2014 —

By Lina Vang
& Danny Thirakul
River City High School Volunteers

The sun was shining, the band was playing, and lots of little kids were smiling as teenage volunteers from River City High School’s Interact Club painted faces and more April 19 at city hall (1110 West Capitol Ave., West Sacramento).

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., children and their families enjoyed the city’s annual Earth Day event. This year, the event included the Interact Club’s annual Spring Carnival. Interact Club board member Joelle Panugaling, one of 10 who painted faces, said, “I had lots of fun at the Spring Carnival this year in comparison to last year’s Earth Day. Fellow face painter and board member Beatrice Bui agreed, saying her favorite part was the live music and performances.”

River City High School-Rotary Interact Club board member Beatrice Bui, 16, paints a child’s face Saturday as part of Spring Carnival/Earth Day festivities in West Sacramento. Thirty Interactors volunteered to help out with the event, painting faces and helping with the egg hunt.  Click to enlarge. (Photo courtesy of Rotary/RCHS Interact Club)

River City High School-Rotary Interact Club board member Beatrice Bui, 16, paints a child’s face Saturday as part of Spring Carnival/Earth Day festivities in West Sacramento. Thirty Interactors volunteered to help out with the event, painting faces and helping with the egg hunt. Click to enlarge.
(Photo courtesy of Rotary/RCHS Interact Club)

The Interactor face painters had ‘training’ in face painting prior to the event and the 10 who volunteered to paint faces demonstrated their artistic skills on assorted faces. Interactor and 2013-14 board member Lily He graduates this year from River City and will study architecture this fall at UC Berkeley. Lily said she this year’s Spring Carnival was much bigger than years past and added, “It was a lot of fun for the volunteers and the kids.”

The event also included Earth Day-themed information, bounce houses, and a live outdoor band.

The Interact Club at River City High is co-sponsored by Rotary Club of West Sacramento and West Sacramento’s Centennial Rotary Club. The Interact Club advisers are River City High School English teacher Brandon Duff and Rotary Club of West Sacramento member Charyl Silva.

The crew from River City Dance Academy in front of city hall. Click to enlarge.  (News-Ledger photo)

The crew from River City Dance Academy in front of city hall. Click to enlarge.
(News-Ledger photo)

Hunting for eggs on the city hall lawn . (News-Ledger photo)

Hunting for eggs on the city hall lawn .
(News-Ledger photo)

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West Sac Rotarians head south of the border for building project

Volunteer Rotarians from West Sacramento and Winters framing the house during a Rotary International house building project March 14-21 in the hills near Tijuana. A family of four is now living in the house.  (Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Bill Bevier/Rotary)

Volunteer Rotarians from West Sacramento and Winters framing the house during a Rotary International house building project March 14-21 in the hills near Tijuana. A family of four is now living in the house. (Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Bill Bevier/Rotary)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 2, 2014 —

By Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Carol Bogart, Ken Wilson and Peter Anderson, with Rotary District 5180 Assistant Governor Judy Foote.

Four members of the Rotary Club of West Sacramento – President Mike Campbell, President-Elect Ken Wilson 2014-2015, Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik – were joined in Tijuana, Mexico March 14 through March 21 by Winters Rotary Club member Cecil Padilla. The group’s mission: Build a house for Ricardo and Sara Vargas and their two children.

A resident pig seems to supervise the construction project. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Bill Bevier/Rotary)

A resident pig seems to supervise the construction project. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Bill Bevier/Rotary)

The Rotarians and a handful of other volunteers, some as young as 18, slept in tents during the project. Wilson said, “The tent was great, but it was very cold in the mornings.” Nighttime and early morning temperatures were in the 40s.

Although Mexico can be hot when the sun is high, only once did the daytime temperature approach 100 degrees. The construction crew benefited from daytime temperatures that largely were in the 70s.

Local professionals hired by the Rotarians poured a level concrete slab for the two-room house. Perched on the side of a steep incline, the finished house will have views of the city below and the distant mountains.

Sometimes balanced on a sawhorse wedged between the back wall of the house and the hill, the Rotarians framed walls with openings for windows. Then, they added a slanted roof. Tarpaper and chicken wired tightened up the framing. The chicken wire supported two coats of stucco.

The Vargas family owns the land – a condition for ownership of the house. The Vargas family could finish the interior of the house and paint the stucco once it dried. Built into the side of a hill, the house will last 10 to 15 years.

While in Mexico volunteering for Rotary International, the Yolo County Rotarians visited a cancer hospital founded by two young men, cancer patients who eventually lost their lives to cancer. The group also visited an orphanage.

RIGHT: Mike Campbell, Rotary Club of West Sacramento President, receives a grateful hug from Sara Vargas. Click to enlarge.  (Photo by Bill Bevier)

RIGHT: Mike Campbell, Rotary Club of West Sacramento President, receives a grateful hug from Sara Vargas. Click to enlarge.
(Photo by Bill Bevier)

Over spring break, student volunteers from various colleges will be arriving at the site to build more houses for thankful families.

Before the Vargas family got its new house, the four were subsisting in a tiny hovel made of salvaged materials from a dump. Padilla gave the mother the first of four blankets, Wilson says, and when he did, “she was so thankful she cried and cried.”

As the volunteers told the gathered Rotarians about their trip, it was clear these men found the family’s gratitude very moving.

For more information about Rotary International’s worldwide projects and missions, visit www.rotary5180.org. For information about Rotary Club of West Sacramento (one of two local chapters), go to www.rotaryclubofwestsacramento.org or look for the club on Facebook.

With Tijuana in the background, the happy Vargas family poses for a photo with the Rotary volunteers who built their new house. LEFT TO RIGHT: Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik; West Sacramento Rotary President-elect Ken Wilson holding one of four blankets the group gave the family; the Vargas daughters, Winters Rotary Club member Cecil “Pancho” Padilla, Sara Vargas and Rotary Club of West Sacramento President Mike Campbell. Two donated blankets were made by members of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at West Sacramento’s River City High School in West Sacramento.  Click to enlarge.  (Photo by Ricardo Vargas)

With Tijuana in the background, the happy Vargas family poses for a photo with the Rotary volunteers who built their new house. LEFT TO RIGHT: Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik; West Sacramento Rotary President-elect Ken Wilson holding one of four blankets the group gave the family; the Vargas daughters, Winters Rotary Club member Cecil “Pancho” Padilla, Sara Vargas and Rotary Club of West Sacramento President Mike Campbell. Two donated blankets were made by members of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at West Sacramento’s River City High School in West Sacramento. Click to enlarge.
(Photo by Ricardo Vargas)

 

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Volunteers from RCHS help out at ‘Shamrock Run,’ a trot for charity

 Interact Club members Shabrina Kumar, Karishma Betcha, Phillip Dinh and (RIGHT, front to back) Vanessa Yang, Rebecca Guan, Joelle Panugaling, Gordon Au stationed near the Auto Museum in Sacramento. At the Shamrock Run cancer/youth services benefit Saturday March 15, 30 Rotary-sponsored Interactors were among the volunteers. The Shamrock Run finished at West Sac’s Raley Field. (Photo by Lily He, River City High School Interact Club. Information submitted with assistance of Carol Bogart).

Interact Club members Shabrina Kumar, Karishma Betcha, Phillip Dinh and (RIGHT, front to back) Vanessa Yang, Rebecca Guan, Joelle Panugaling, Gordon Au stationed near the Auto Museum in Sacramento. At the Shamrock Run cancer/youth services benefit Saturday March 15, 30 Rotary-sponsored Interactors were among the volunteers. The Shamrock Run finished at West Sac’s Raley Field. (Photo by Lily He, River City High School Interact Club. Information submitted with assistance of Carol Bogart).

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 26, 2014 —

By Danny Thirakul
Interact Club, River City High School

Thirty members of the Interact Club at River City High School helped out with the Shamrock Run Saturday, March 15, which ended at West Sac’s Raley Field. The Shamrock Half-Marathon and 5k, sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds, benefited Project FIT, a non-profit youth fitness initiative. The Triumph Cancer Foundation, a Sacramento-based registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, benefited from the 5K.

The course began right outside Raley Field and traveled as far as Discovery Park to the streets of downtown Sacramento. Participants would see the First Aid Station positioned on 13th and F St. The last station they would see before crossing the finish line was on Front Street near the Auto Museum. They would then finish right where it started, but inside Raley Field. (Information source: http://www.shamrocknhalf.com.)

Danny Thirakul, 16, is a Junior at River City High School. He is writing here of his experience at the Shamrock Run while representing the school’s Interact Club. (courtesy photo)

Danny Thirakul, 16, is a Junior at River City High School. He is writing here of his experience at the Shamrock Run while representing the school’s Interact Club. (courtesy photo)

My duty as a volunteer was to work the Medal and Water Distribution station. As were all volunteers for that station, I was instructed to check in and be there at 7 a.m. After checking in, I headed straight for my station. To my surprise, though, there wasn’t a supervisor there to tell the other volunteers and me what to do.

However, there were staff members, but they only guided us in our ways of managing the station.

Since there was no real leadership, I took the initiative in leading the volunteers and a few Interact members. After I consulted with the staff, I then instructed everyone on what to do, assigning and grouping individuals with a task. When completed, I would give them a new one to do or tell them to help others who were struggling.

The true test of my leadership abilities occurred when waves of athletes finished running. As they came, I feared the runners receiving water and medals would crowd the exit for others. To prevent this from happening, I set up mini-stations along the cool-down path. This would allow the volunteers and me to distribute more and keep the runners moving. I was very proud of my handling of the situation, even when a few volunteers had to leave.

The staff also provided great support. They kept control of the crowd and maintained a steady pace of movement throughout the event. I was glad to see the volunteers and the staff working so well together. I want to thank the staff and other volunteers for collaborating with me. I know without them we wouldn’t have done such a great job. Thank you to Blue Diamond Almonds as well, for putting together this charitable event.

Carol Bogart, an adult volunteer, adds:
A first year Interactor, student writer Danny Thirakul says he originally joined Interact Club at River City High School “for the community service hours.” Then, he says, it was “so fun helping others in need with my Interact Club friends beside me” that he wishes he’d joined his Freshman year. He says, “If I could go back in time and run for a board position, I would do that as well.” Danny describes Interact as “a phenomenal club.” Danny and the other Interactor volunteers exemplify Rotary’s motto: ‘Service Above Self.’ Through the Interact Club, Interactors like Danny become connected to the community and, in Danny’s words, enhance their awareness of the difficulties of the world. River City High School’s Interact Club is co-sponsored by Rotary Club of West Sacramento and the Centennial Rotary Club of West Sacramento. The Interact Club Rotary adviser is Charyl Silva, Rotary Club of West Sacramento. The Interact Club adviser at RCHS is Brandon Duff, who teaches English.

 

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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