Tag Archives: county

What do you do with an old courthouse?


News-Ledger Staff

What would you do with this landmark courthouse building erected in 1917? Would you convert it to office space? A museum? A school? Some sort of public market?

Now that Yolo County is constructing a replacement court, the old structure in Woodland will lose its original purpose. So county officials are looking to “consider alternative and innovative approaches to the reuse of the facility,” reports spokesperson Beth Gabor.

Yolo County Courthouse, finished in 1917 and seen here in 2011 (public domain photo/Wikipedia Commons)

Yolo County Courthouse, finished in 1917 and seen here in 2011 (public domain photo/Wikipedia Commons)

So, just what will you have to work with?

You get a building on the National Registry of Historic Places that was designed with Greek and Roman influences, encompasses 50,000 square feet and sits on 2.75 acres along Court Street, a block away from Woodland’s main drag.

“Yolo County’s objective is to consider this property in its suburban context as a fully utilized and valued asset that invites innovative design,” said Gabor. “Potential use could involve a lease of the property from the county. Any future use would need to take into account historic preservation restrictions and environmental conditions.”

Gabor quotes Mindi Nunez, deputy county administrator:

“We intend to use the ideas received from citizens, developers and others for planning purposes to make strategic decisions regarding future use of this property.”

Interested parties can arrange a tour by calling (530) 666-8426.

Ideas may be submitted by email (mindi.nunes@yolocounty.org) or mail (Office of the Yolo County Administrator, Attn: Mindi Nunes, 625 Court St., Suite 202, Woodland CA 95695).

For more information on submitting ideas, visit www.yolocounty.org.

Ideas are due by November 25.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

New park is part of health outreach for northern West Sacramento

Kids on the playground at the August 20 opening of Westfield Park. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser)

Kids on the playground at the August 20 opening of Westfield Park. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser)


  Information in this report comes chiefly from Edwin Garcia, Media Relations Specialist for Kaiser Permanente.

On Tuesday of last week (August 20), local civic leaders and local families celebrated the opening of West Sacramento’s newest city park. Westfield Park — adjacent to Westfield Village Elementary School — resulted from a “grassroots effort led by parents, a unique partnership between a coalition of stakeholders – including the city of West Sacramento, and Washington Unified School District – and a $150,000 Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grant awarded to Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA),” reports Edwin Garcia, a Kaiser Permanente spokesman.

“This is an amazing day for all of us,” said Katie Villegas, executive director of the YCCA, in a press release from Kaiser. Villegas is a West Sacramento resident and local school board member. She leads the YCCA, a Davis-based organization that worked with parents, city officials, county representatives, school board members and local organizations to create the park.

Visitors at the park’s inauguration included Robert Azevedo, M.D., the physician-in-chief of Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento; West Sacramento City Councilman Oscar Villegas and other city officials; Washington Unified School District Superintendent Dayton Gilleland; school district board President Mary Leland; Westfield Village School Principal Ryan Gonzales; and Yolo County Supervisors Mike McGowan and Don Saylor.

Several of the speakers at Tuesday’s ceremony recalled how a group of neighborhood parents several years ago lobbied the city council, parks and recreation staff, and school district representatives, for a park in a neighborhood that never had one.

The neighborhood might be called an “underserved” community, with few local recreation assets.

Eventually, city and school district officials came up with a plan, reported Kaiser spokesman Garcia: the district would transfer to the city part of a grassy field at Westfield Village School, and the city would design and build a park. Funding, however, was a major obstacle.

In the meantime, YCCA, a non-profit, was working on projects to improve the health of children and adults in West Sacramento – and some of the parents involved in its programs were the same ones who, years earlier, had lobbied the city for a park.

The effort to create the park, and the neighborhood initiatives headed by YCCA – such as the desire to reduce childhood obesity, increasing nutrition awareness, and offering Zumba classes to parents – found to be in alignment with Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating Active Living initiative.

The Kaiser Permanente grant in late 2011 added momentum to the effort to build the park.

Dr. Robert Azevedo Physician in Chief for Kaiser Permanente in the region, addresses the West Sacramento crowd (photo courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser Permanente)

Dr. Robert Azevedo
Physician in Chief for Kaiser Permanente in the region, addresses the West Sacramento crowd
(photo courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser Permanente)

“This really fits well with what Kaiser Permanente is about, in promoting good health and disease prevention,” said Dr. Azevedo. “We’re very pleased to be part of this program. It is wonderful to see these families out here being active and part of the community.”

As Dr. Azevedo spoke, several children were already climbing, jumping and running at the park’s new play structure.

“I am very happy because now we have a place to bring our children to play; we know how important it is for them to exercise,” said Lourdes Maya, a mother of a 9-year-old girl, and boys ages 7 and 5, who live within a 10 minute walk of the new park.

West Sacramento’s park master plan calls for a play structure for older kids, a covered barbecue area, a drinking fountain, a 6-foot-wide walking path, an exercise par course, and connections to a bike/pedestrian trail located at the western edge of the park.

The park is located on Poplar Avenue just across a newly built fence from Westfield Village School, between West Capitol and Sacramento avenues.

Councilman Oscar Villegas thanked the parents for their efforts. Some of them have since taken the role of promotoras – lay people who are trained to be neighborhood health advocates through YCCA and funded by the Kaiser Permanente grant. “I really want to thank the promotoras,” Councilman Villegas said. “Without their initiative and their stick-to-it-iveness this would not have happened. As you can see, many of them are enjoying the park right now, with their children.”

The Kaiser HEAL grant also has helped fund the implementation of “Playworks: Make Recess Count,” a school-based program that trains adult volunteers to lead out in physical activities during recess at Westfield Village.


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Copyright News-Ledger 2013


More business news from West Sac


Festivities around the opening of the Japan-based Nippon Shokken food seasonings plant in Southport weren’t the only thing in West Sacramento business news this month.

According to various media reports:

—  Petco opened one of two new Sacramento-area stores on Aug. 19 near Ikea in West Sacramento. The pet-supply store operates from 11,500 square feet in the RiverPoint Marketplace, near Reed Avenue and I-80.  And:

—  A Norway-based French fry processing firm announced plans to build a 60,000-square foot facility on Embarcadero Drive in the Riverside Commerce Center of West Sacramento, also near I-80 and Reed Avenue.

TOMRA Sorting USA hopes to open in March, with a 12-year lease from Harsch Investment Properties. West Sacramento’s Brown Construction Inc. is the builder in this build-to-suit deal. TOMRA expects to expand from about 45 to 70 employees upon this expansion.

—  Yolo County’s landfill recently announced a program designed to save local farmers money – an estimated $45,000 annually for every thousand acres farmed, reports county spokeswoman Beth Gabor.

Instead of disposing of plastic ag waste by paying fees to drop it in the landfill, farmers have a new option. The county has partnered with Encore Farming Solutions to create a recycling program. Items such as irrigation drip tape, almond film plastic, mulch film plastic, greenhouse plastic and strawberry fumigation tarp can now be recycled into plastic bags, at no cost to the farmer.  The farms do have to roll or bale the material before it goes to Encore.

For more information, ag firms may call Yolo County Recycling Coordinator Pamela Hedrick at (530) 666-8856, or email her at phedrick@yolocounty.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Skydiving accident at Yolo airport kills jumper from Lodi


A skydiving accident near Davis on Saturday killed an experienced, 23-year old skydiver.

Mark Persons, a spokesman for the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department, said deputies responded at about 6 p.m. on August 24 to the Sky Dance facility at the Yolo County Airport.

“Upon arrival, deputies located the body of the deceased skydiver approximately one mile southeast of the Sky Dance drop zone,” reported Persons in a press statement. “His canopy and harness were also located, one mile northeast of the drop zone. At this point in the investigation, it is unknown how the victim became detached from his skydiving gear.”

On Monday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Department released the identity of the victim: Andrew Todd Cofer, of Lodi. (An earlier report that Cofer was from San Jose was based on an address on Cofer’s driver’s license). Witnesses said Cofer was an experienced skydiver with more than 600 jumps.

An autopsy performed Monday showed that Cofer died from “multiple blunt force trauma, with fractures,” Persons told the News-Ledger. The manner of death — how Cofer came to be completely separated from his harness and chute — is still under investigation.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

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


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

‘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)


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

Why your kids need their shots before school, & how to get them



Although the long, warm days of summer are still upon us, the time is ripe for parents to prepare their youngsters for the first day of school.  For most Yolo County children, the big day is just weeks away.  On that morning, not only will children need a good night’s rest and a healthy breakfast to ensure success, they will also need to be fully immunized.  California state law requires that all children attending school receive their shots.  Dr. Constance Caldwell, Yolo County Health Officer encourages parents to make sure their children are fully immunized now, before classes start.

“Childhood immunizations are one of the best ways that a parent can assure good health for their child,” said Dr. Constance Caldwell, Yolo County Health Officer, in a county press release.  “As families plan the final vacation trips and gatherings of summer, make sure to include time for a visit to your clinic or medical provider for needed check-ups and immunizations.  Your healthcare provider will make sure that your child is up to date on required immunizations for school, including an adolescent whooping cough booster shot (Tdap) for incoming 7th graders.”

Schools are required to verify each child’s immunization record to ensure all shots and boosters are completed before entry to kindergarten and 7th grade.  The only exceptions are those with a medical condition in which their doctor has determined puts the child at risk for vaccine-related complications, or parents with a personal or religious belief which prohibits them from vaccinating their child.  Kindergartners need a total of five DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), four polio, three hepatitis B, two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and one varicella (chickenpox) shot.  Kindergarten boosters for DTaP, polio and MMR are given at 4 or 5 years of age.  Last school year, 91% percent of Yolo County kindergartners were fully immunized.   For students entering 7th grade, 97% had received the whooping cough (pertussis) booster before starting school.

If a child does not have health insurance, or is only partially insured, the Yolo County Health Department can give parents information about which local healthcare providers offer free or low-cost immunizations.  Call the Yolo County Child Health Disability Prevention Program at (530) 666-8249 for help finding a provider.  In addition, the Health Department offers a children’s immunization clinic for families that qualify for the Vaccines for Children program.  Children that have no health insurance to pay for their immunizations, or who are on Medi-Cal, are eligible to receive shots from the Health Department.  The clinic schedule can be found at www.yolohealth.org or call (530) 666-8562.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013