Tag Archives: local news

Spare the air: free bus on Tuesday


With tomorrow’s temperature expected to reach about 112 degrees, contributing to bad air quality, a regional “Spare the Air” day has been declared. Among other things, this means some local bus service will be offered free. Here’s the full text of a press release from YoloBus in Yolo County:

“Tuesday, August 14, 2012 has been designated by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District as a “Spare the Air” day.   Rides on YOLOBUS and Unitrans fixed route services will be provided at no charge to riders because of this “Spare the Air Day” designation. Also, riders of YOLOBUS paratransit services will not be charged a fare on those days.

“This summer, when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to exceed “127” for ozone levels, the Air District sends out an announcement at least the day before.

“Additionally, because the temperature forecast is significant for Tuesday, both YOLOBUS and Unitrans are advising passengers to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and  staying indoors as long as possible (until their buses arrive), particularly in the afternoon.

 “How can a rider find out if their bus is on time without being out there in the heat of the day?  YOLOBUS riders can get real time information on where their bus is simply by going to the Yolobus.com web site and clicking on “automatic vehicle location system”, or going to http://avl.yctd.org/.

“This free-ride incentive program on YOLOBUS is funded by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District.  Likewise, Unitrans, which serves the City of Davis, surrounding area, and U.C. Davis campus, will offer free rides on Spare the Air days as well.  This free-ride offer does not apply to Sacramento Regional Transit buses or light rail and free transfers to that system will not be issued.

“Five-day forecasts for ozone are available at  www.sparetheair.com and Spare the Air days are determined a day in advance which helps people plan to use alternative transportation, including bus, carpooling, walking and bicycling. Residents can also receive personal notification through Air Alert, a free service available by signing up at www.myairalert.net.  On declared “Spare the Air” days anyone can ride YOLOBUS for free.

“Bus schedules are available by contacting YOLOBUS at 530-666-2877 or www.yolobus.com, as well as UNITRANS at 530-752-2877 or www.Unitrans.com.”

From the West Sacramento News-Ledger 2012

Letter from the Publisher: ‘I believe I see the future of the News-Ledger’


A proposal to take the News-Ledger into the distant future — with ambitious plans and true local control.

With this edition of the News-Ledger, we begin our 49th year of service to West Sacramento. Milestones like this always cause me to reflect.

I’ve been the publisher and editor here for over 20 years (a thousand Wednesdays!) and I became the majority owner of the News-Ledger following the death of owner Michael Garten several years ago. Michael and the late Julius Feher founded the News-Ledger in 1964, and it’s been publishing “the first draft of history” in West Sacramento ever since.

Julius Feher — in case you didn’t know this — was a very remarkable man. Newspaper ink was in his blood, it seems. Julius started his first West Sacramento newspaper at age 12. It was no “kiddie” paper; it was the real thing — he wrote the news articles, sold ads, and distributed the paper himself. Julius was written up for his youthful efforts in “Boys Life” magazine and in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.”

First edition of West Sacramento's News-Ledger, from 1964. Subscription rate was one dollar a year. (News-Ledger archives)

Feher’s newspapering career was interrupted several times, including by wartime service in the Army. But for Julius, running a newspaper that served his beloved town was always in his heart. As a reporter and editor, Julius earned a reputation as being careful with the facts and scrupulously fair, even when sharing his own opinions in a newspaper editorial.

His business partner Michael Garten had a different temperament — one full of fire. Michael enjoyed a good argument more than just about anything else. Michael once recounted to me something like this:

“After some local community meeting would go wrong, Julius would be up all night in the office, typing a great editorial,” said Mike. “He’d hold nothing back. He’d really blast the bad guys. It would be perfect — and then he’d tear it up and he’d rewrite the editorial from scratch, and the new version would be the epitome of reason and diplomacy. What a tragedy!”

JULIUS FEHER, in a photo take several decades ago. The founding editor of this newspaper was dedicated to serving his hometown. (News-Ledger archives)

This newspaper has always tried to inform the public and to serve as a local watchdog when needed, and to provide a little entertainment from time to time. We’ve been here through various developer wars, through drinking water troubles, the city’s incorporation, the master planning of Southport, casino proposals, troubles in the school district. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge in 49 years.

Since becoming the majority owner of this newspaper, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about its past and its future. In the meantime, the world has been doing a lot of changing. Julius didn’t live long enough see either the wonders of the Internet or how it would squeeze his beloved industry, but the web is here and it has taught us some things. And the rise of other media (as well as other cultural changes and the Great Recession) have reduced the number of people who read newspapers since Julius’s day.

Yet, there is good news for us, too. We know that local papers are doing better than the big ones, and they will probably continue to do so. We know that the Internet and social media present great opportunities for a news organization to expand and attract readers.

And we know that even in this new era, people still value good journalism. If you make good, relevant news reporting easy for people to get on their smartphone or computer, or on their driveway or in their mailbox, they’ll want to read it. As a lot of websites have learned the hard way, “content” still matters.

The News-Ledger is in great position to expand its role as West Sacramento’s best-trusted source of news and local information, in print and on the web. But what the News-Ledger needs most is even more professional journalism, along with more “content” of other kinds. A great city needs at least one news source staffed professional journalists with good skills and high standards — other things can augment good reporting, but nothing has been invented to replace it.

So the News-Ledger needs to grow. It needs to be bigger, to do more, and to reach more people in more ways.

There are different ways to reach these goals. But my purpose today is to tell you about the path I’m pursuing as a first choice. It’s this:

What if we plan for the News-Ledger to be taken over some day by you? How about if we create a nonprofit organization to run West Sacramento’s newspaper (including its digital media)? What if everyone in West Sacramento could be part of this nonprofit, and each of them would have a vote on how the news organization should do its job?

The new organization would be loyal to West Sacramento because it is operated by West Sacramento — and not by some special interest group or out-of-town corporation. It would be free of the need to earn profits to send back to corporate headquarters. It would have a wide base of support from its members in the community. And it would be able to accept grant money and tax-deductible gifts to help make ends meet.

A small group of people has been helping me flesh out this idea over the past couple of years. We’re in the process of creating this nonprofit organization right now. We hope this future nonprofit will acquire the News-Ledger (and the WestSac.com website, and so forth) and build on the assets already in place. We hope it will turn a pretty good little paper into a really great bigger paper. We believe it will help knit together West Sacramento as an online information source as well as a traditional newspaper. We expect it to support local journalism classes and projects, and maybe offer a “Julius A. Feher Journalism Scholarship” someday.

As with most ventures, money matters to this project. The nonprofit will need cash. One vital way you can help is by considering a donation or a gift from your estate. The new nonprofit isn’t ready to accept donations directly, but the well-respected West Sacramento Foundation has graciously agreed to accept any gifts, donations or bequests for this venture through a new “Julius A. Feher Fund” at the West Sacramento Foundation. Contact me or the Foundation for information.

There will be other ways you can help the new organization.  We’ll keep you informed.

So what do you think?

I think that a news organization “by West Sacramento, for West Sacramento” born to serve and connect this community is a terrific idea. It’s not the only choice for the future of the News-Ledger, but it’s absolutely my first choice.

I’d be proud of this new West Sacramento community venture. And I think that Julius and Michael would be proud of it, too.

The News-Ledger
Aug. 8, 2012

  To comment on this article, please visit the same article at WestSac.com by clicking here. Your comment may be published in the News-Ledger.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

City’s preschool now enrolling


The “Learning Ladder” — the City of West Sacramento’s child care and preschool program at the community center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue, is enrolling. The center is open for kids from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Schedules are available for enrollment from two days a week ($450/month) to five days a week ($730/month), with limited scholarships and possible part-day schedules considered.

Visit the Learning Ladder for information, or visit www.cityofwestsacramento.org/learningladder,  or call site supervisor Anne Schultze, (916) 617-5317.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

‘Measure G’ for West Sac voters


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

With the dissolution of its redevelopment agency, a lot of the property tax money West Sacramento used to finance big infrastructure projects and help encourage development will be directed other places — like the State of California.

  But some will find its way back to the City of West Sacramento. City staff estimates the city will get about $2.5 million from the Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund in the current fiscal year.

The city council has a current policy that this money will serve some of the same purposes that redevelopment did, by heading into the Community Investment Program.

There, says a city staff report, the money will go to “core activities [including] infrastructure project funding and project delivery (planning, design and project management), economic development (business attraction, retention and expansion efforts), and real estate transactions (land acquisition and disposition related to infrastructure projects and development site assembly).”

Tonight, the council will talk about making this a long-term city policy by putting an advisory measure on the November ballot in West Sacramento. The ballot measure could ask the following question:

“Should the City direct ongoing revenue it receives from the dissolution of its Redevelopment Agency to fund community investment projects such as streets, bridges, transportation, and public infrastructure?”

CHRIS LEDESMA, West Sacramento City Council Member (News-Ledger file photo)

City council member Chris Ledesma is one of those studying how West Sacramento can promote economic development (think of the renaissance now underway in the Bridge District) without a redevelopment agency. He thinks earmarking these funds for “community investment” is a good idea.

“We’re proposing that some of these residual dollars that come back can be directed to some of the same purposes as redevelopment, to maintain our momentum,” said Ledesma. “What we’re trying to get at with this advisory measure. . . is to go to the voters and see if they think this is a good use of the money.”

Ledesma said West Sacramento is better off than many cities, which are struggling just to keep basic services running at an acceptable level in this economy.

If the council approves the planned advisory measure, it will be added to the November 6 presidential ballot. The Yolo County Elections Department plans to call it “Measure G.”

It would be a non-binding ballot measure. Anyone who wishes to draft an opposing argument for the ballot will have until Aug. 20 to submit an argument of up to 250 words for consideration.

  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