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News from around Yolo County

From the West Sacramento News-Ledger — AUG 22, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

— This year’s “Yolo County Teacher of the Year” is Jerry Delsol, a high school teacher from the Woodland Joint Unified School district. Colleagues called him “inspiring.”
The award is given by the Yolo County Superintendent of Schools from among nominations from each district in the county. The winner is submitted to a competition to be chosen as one of California’s five “teachers of the year.”

— County offices in Woodland will get a large ceramic mural “celebrating farming and food” at their entrance.

Artist Susan Shelton of Davis won the selection process for the project at the entrance of the Erwin Meier Administration Building at 625 Court Street.

“I will create a mural that will bring beauty, color, insight and innovation in exploring the theme of agriculture and art in our county,” Shelton said in her application. “I will bear in mind that this building. . . houses government offices and meetings, and welcomes elected officials, county residents and voters, and I will create a work of art that holds to the dignity due to it, and its citizens.”

She will invite community members to paint tiles for the project, which is sponsored by YoloArts.

[adrotate group=”7″]  — Debra Wellbrock is the new principal of the Yolo County Alternative Education Program, overseeing education at juvenile hall, the Einstein Education Center and the Midtown Program. She was formerly in charge of continuation education and other programs at Chino Valley Unified School District.

— Marlon Yarber, the former Yolo County Assistant Chief Probation Officer, was named Interim Chief Probation Officer last month.
Before joining Yolo County last year, he was deputy director of the Corrections Planning and Programs Division at the Corrections Standards Authority.
— The “pre-trial unit” at the Yolo County Probation Department was assessed and lauded by an outside expert earlier this year.

Dr. Marie VanNostrand of the National Institute of Corrections and Bureau of Justice reported “this unit is in the top three of all pre-trial service units I have ever assessed.”

The Pre-Trial Unit began in 2009 with grant funding, and supervises an average of 100 suspects who have been released from jail pending their trials, according to county spokesperson Beth Gabor.

“Of the 441 closed cases under the watchful eye of the Pre-Trial Unit in 2011, only 5.4 percent (of the subjects) were returned to custody due to committing a new offense,” said Gabor in a press release, and “93 percent of clients appeared in court for hearings through the sentencing phase.”

Grant funding is scheduled to end next month, and Yolo County officials were seeking to keep the pre-trial unit.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

The wilderness nearby: Cache Creek

Dean Fulks wades into a pool under the Trout Creek waterfall in the Cache Creek Wilderness (courtesy photo)

By Andrew Fulks

It’s summer, 2012.

The slap, slap, slap of Cache Creek drums on the bottom of my boat as I paddle down the North Fork.  Bobbing, weaving, head down.  Branches have grown since last summer.  The North Fork is the first couple miles of the Wilderness run and the vegetation makes for more difficult obstacles than further down on the main stem of the creek.  Flows are high this year, despite the drought.  It’s an artifact of human water management.

With less water in Clear Lake this year after a meager Winter, Indian Valley reservoir is releasing more to make up the difference for the thirsty farms in Yolo County.  I have to thank the farms for this experience.  If people hadn’t changed the water regime, this creek would be mostly dry in the summer.  Makes me reflect on what it means for things to be truly ‘wild’.  But, that thought is cut short by my scanning an Arundo on the shoreline.

A quick turn, paddle in deep, pulling off on the left bank.  Arundo: also known as Giant Reed, False Bamboo, cutter of hands and eroder of streambanks.  Another human artifact.  Planted as an ornamental and for erosion control, escaped to the ‘wild’, and invades ecosystems.  Our hubris about ‘fixing’ nature has broken it.  Ironically, I’m here doing the same thing.  Tuleyome’s been battling this weed within the Cache Creek wilderness for the last 7 years, and have the infestation down to less than a handful of plants.  This one escaped my detection until now.  A quick herbicide spray, and we’re back on the river.  Where there used to be almost 100 of these giant weeds here in the wilderness, we’ve reduced to a handful.  Soon there will be none.  The system is broken, though, and hidden upstream sources will continue to fertilize our shores with little plants.  We’re in this for the long haul.

The native willows and cottonwoods sway in the slight breeze.  Rushes and sedges line the banks, forming a ribbon of green contrasting the bright yellow of my kayak.  There’s a rumble up ahead, warning of a rapid.  I’ve run this so many times in the last dozen years, my reaction is automatic.  Back paddle, pick my line, hit it straight, dig hard, and avoid the tree branch.  A Great Blue Heron unfolds his wings and heads downstream.  He’ll be our travelling companion for the rest of the trip, always staying ahead of the interlopers.  Turtles on streamside rocks give us a sideways glance.  Some are stacked on each other.  King of the mountain gets the sunlight.  Some slip into the water as we get closer.  They’ll emerge downstream on the next rock that is to their liking.

We pull off at Trout Creek.  Even though it’s summer, there’s a steady flow coming out of the side canyon.  We know the spring-fed creek will be flowing late into the summer.

We also know what’s up the canyon.  Scrambling up the rocks and ducking under the willows, we pick our way toward the sound of falling water.  I’ve been here before, and many times.  A large stream of water shoots off a rock ledge, falling vertically into a perfectly round pool.  Behind the pool is a grotto.  Water droplets drip from rocks onto ferns.  This oasis is largely unknown, save for a few boaters that follow the bear path up the canyon.  No roads, no trails.  Wild.

[adrotate group=”7″]   Back on the water, the breeze picks up.  We’re floating downstream, but getting pushed backwards.  Time for the arms to start working again.  The drumming of the water gets an accompaniment with the swoosh of paddle strokes.  The rhythm is broken by the crunch of branches.  Mother bear and her cub run up the hillside, their bronze fur rippling with each stride.  The exhilaration of seeing such a creature is replaced by the analytical mind.  Bear, check.  Turtles, River otter, Bald eagle, Osprey, Green heron, Blue heron, garter snake, deer…all, check.

Later, as we drag the boats up to the car, I reflect on the human infrastructure that was required to allow me to enjoy this wilderness.   Cars, gas, rubbers, plastics, and a sinuous serpentine asphalt ribbon.  It’s paradoxical, and uniquely human.  The artificial gets me closer to the natural.  It’s a paradox, but also a balance.  Preserving wild areas provides that balance.

  Andrew Fulks is the president of Tuleyome, a regional conservation nonprofit, and is presently the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve Manager for UC Davis, managing 6 miles of stream and several hundred acres. His interest is in open space preservation and public access.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

West Yolo hills seek ‘conservation area’ status

FROM THE WEST SACRAMENTO NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 1, 2012 —

The office of Senator Barbara Boxer announced last month that she had introduced legislation to create a 319,000-acre “Berryessa Snow Mountain Conservation Area” from a region that spans the counties of Yolo, Lake, Mendocino and Napa.

“The Berryessa Snow Mountain region is one of California’s treasures,” she was quoted, “and this bill will help ensure that it is protected for future generations to enjoy.”

[adrotate group=”9″] The new designation would put all the land into one management plan to better protect it, said Boxer’s office.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Yolo Fair booth: baseball, wine & more

Silver medal winner: Yolo County's booth at the state fair advertised quality-of-life issues like bikes & baseball (courtesy of Beth Gabor, County of Yolo)

NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 25, 2012 —

From the County of Yolo

   This year, Yolo County took home a silver medal for its California State Fair booth in the counties’ exhibit competition. Yolo’s theme was “Yolo: You Only Live Once.”  there were 29 participating counties.

[adrotate group=”7″]   Yolo County’s unique exhibit evidently impressed the judges with its “bucket list” of great things to see and do in Yolo County.

  This year’s display was made possible by donations from Cache Creek Casino Resort; Fred C. Heidrick Museum; Clarksburg Wine Company – Old Sugarmill; PreStar, Inc.; Yolo County Supervisor Duane Chamberlain; Yolo County Visitors Bureau; YoloArts; Yolo Solano Cooperative Extension.

  The display offered the following Yolo County highlights:

“Surprisingly diverse and engaging, Yolo County offers its own “bucket list” of great things to see and do.  Savor the flavors of farmers markets, award-winning local wines and crazy-good cuisine from American to Thai.  Thrill to the rush of skydiving or river rafting, pro baseball, festivals, parades and world-class performing arts.  Hike or bike the verdant countryside, explore one-of-a-kind museums, dive in to charming small downtowns, and unwind at a soothing spa.  Whatever the season, you’ll find a reason—so come experience the fullness of life in Yolo County.  After all, you only live once!”

[adrotate group=”4″]

  Yes, 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 2012

Help equip local kids for school

[adrotate group=”9″] NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 11, 2012 —

  IKEA West Sacramento is asking the community to help low-income kids start the school year loaded with new backpacks and classroom supplies.  The “Getting Yolo County Kids Ready for School” collection drive is underway through July 29.

KATIE VILLEGAS, executive director of the Yolo County Childrens Alliance (News-Ledger/2011)

  The school supply drive will gather essential school items for children grades kindergarten through high school, reports the Yolo County Children’s Alliance.  All donations made at the IKEA store will be delivered to the Yolo County Children’s Alliance for distribution.

  A donation bin will be located at the store’s entrance at 700 IKEA Court, West Sacramento. Donors are invited to bring some school materials to drop off or buy some in the store for donation.

  “IKEA is committed to working within the communities where both our customers and co-workers live and work, and we’re excited to host our first ever school supply drive for the Yolo County Children’s Alliance,” said Heine Roikjer, West Sacramento IKEA store manager, an a press release from the alliance.  “Together, we hope to improve the lives of children within Yolo County and help them start the new school year on the right foot with much needed school supplies.”

   “We really need general school supplies and backpacks,” said Katie Villegas, executive director of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance. “Last year hundreds of Yolo County children received new backpacks and school necessities through the generosity of businesses and individuals in our communities.  We hope to be able to provide even more children with the materials they need for a successful school year this year through the donation center at IKEA.”

  Solid colored backpacks are preferred, but not in red since many schools prohibit red backpacks (for gang-related reasons).

  Other needed items include single subject spiral notebooks; packs of pencils, pens, crayons, and washable markers; large pink erasers, 9 x 12 sturdy two-pocket folders; college-ruled loose-leaf paper; 3-inch binders; pencil cases/pouches; children’s safety scissors;  colored pencils; glue sticks; hi-liter pens; binder diver sheets; graph paper; and index cards.

[adrotate group=”7″]  For more information about the IKEA West Sacramento Getting Yolo County Kids Ready for School campaign, contact the Yolo County Children’s Alliance at 530-757-5558 or 916-572-0560.

  Yes, 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 2012

Citizens learn about local justice system

Graduates of the 2012 “Citizens Academy,” with Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig at right. (Courtesy photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 4, 2012 —

  Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig has announced that 23 county residents graduated from the inaugural session of the Yolo County Law Enforcement Citizens Academy.

[adrotate group=”10″]  The graduation ceremony was held June 21. The Academy was sponsored by the District Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, the Probation Department and police departments from Davis, West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland.

  The Citizens Academy is an eight-week course “designed to involve diverse communities in participating in mutual learning about the criminal justice system, diversity, and racial issues within the framework of our system of justice.  The goal is to achieve improved relationships and communication between diverse communities and the criminal justice system,” reported the D.A.’s office.

  Weekly sessions included: The Role of the District Attorney; The Role of Law Enforcement, including Internal Affairs and Review Boards; Special Challenges of Prosecution, including Three Strikes and Domestic Violence; Race as a Factor in the Criminal Justice System; the FBI and US Attorney’s Office; and Gangs.

  “Based on the feedback received from class participants, the first Academy was a huge success,” Reisig said in a press release. “I think participants learned about the challenges of law enforcement in our diverse communities throughout Yolo County and what its public servants here accomplish.”

[adrotate group=”9″]   One student was quoted, “This academy has changed my perspective on law enforcement and with the knowledge I have gained here I will definitely share it with others in my community.”

  Another offered, “It was great to put the faces with the departments and see what the different community challenges are.”

  The Academy will be offered again in the spring of 2013.  For more information, log on to http://www.yoloda.org.

  Yes, 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 2012

Eight locals on new grand jury

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 20, 2012 —

The Yolo County Superior Court has chosen 33 citizens to serve on the grand jury for a year, beginning July 1. The grand jury has the power to indict suspected criminals, and also can respond to citizen complaints about public agencies by conducting an investigation. Below are the new jurors:

From West Sacramento: Jessica Appling, Jeanne Binns, Scotty Desper, Bert Fulwider, Gloria Harrington, Reuben Jimenez, Jorge Morales, and Iris Newton.

[adrotate group=”7″]   From Woodland: Charlotte Beal, Helen Bouslaugh, Laura Caruso-Kofoid, Rebecca Challender, George Gartung, Christopher Griffith, Ted Holtry, Joshua Jones, Jane Naekel, Roberta Paul, Paul Penrose, Erik Shank, Jeanine Weeks.

From Davis: George Hague, Ahna Heller, Paul Jacobs, Margaret Ong, Erik Shank, Etecia Spencer, Alia Tsang, Dennis Turnipseed, Audrey Vaughn, Dave Zavatson.
From Winters: Alea German and John Sexton.

From Esparto: William Cox.

  Yes, 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.

[adrotate group=”9″]   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 2012