Tag Archives: local

Three months later, $2.6 million lottery winner claims his prize

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 18, 2015 —

News-Ledger Staff

The man who won $2.6 million in the Oct. 29 Powerball drawing finally came forward to claim his prize in late January.

Lottery officials identified him as Ronald Meier, and explained that he waited to claim his ticket in order to make sure he had all his “ducks in a row.”

Meier bought the winning ticket at the AM-PM mini-market at 847 Harbor Boulevard in West Sacramento – which will receive a $13,218.96 bonus for selling the ticket.

“I thought to myself, I can retire now,” Meier was quoted by the lottery in a written statement. He told California Lottery officials he also plans to take some vacations after his win.

“I was always hopeful,” Meier was quoted about playing the lottery. “I always felt a million and a half or two would be perfect. Anything else would be overwhelming.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

West Sac seniors looking for a little help with their garden

Ray Ledesma & Mary Emma Olbrich have been taking care of a tiny plot of land, and turning it into a pocket park. If your green thumbs are itching to help out a couple of seniors who love to flower garden but just need a little help, then read on. (Photo by Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger)

Ray Ledesma & Mary Emma Olbrich have been taking care of a tiny plot of land, and turning it into a pocket park. If your green thumbs are itching to help out a couple of seniors who love to flower garden but just need a little help, then read on. (Photo by Al Zagofsky/News-Ledger)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 11, 2015 —

By Al Zagofsky
Correspondent

If your green thumbs are itching for the first signs of spring, and you’d like to help out a couple of seniors who love a flower garden but just need a little help, then read on.

Mary Olbrich and Ray Ledesma have been taking care of a tiny plot of land, and turning it into a pocket park by growing 20 large potted plants in the shade of a Cinnamomum camphora at Riverbend Manor’s senior housing  in the Broderick section of West Sacramento.

As many of the seniors do not get out much, even more so stay in their apartments most of the day, this pocket park serves as a place to meet visitors, to meet neighbors, or to sit quietly and contemplate the outdoors.

Mary, the more practical of the two, calls the pocket park ad hoc committee the Cummings Garden Group, because the garden is located just off Cummings Way.

Ray, the more poetic of the two coordinators, calls the project My Gate to Heaven. Also helping when the garden are Artis Graham and Rosemary Martinez.

“We are just a bunch of people trying to do a volunteer project,” Mary explained. “We have flowers and herbs. Everything is raised— and there is a trellis.”

“We started the plants in pots as it was to be a container garden. As the plants matured, they needed more room,” Mary said. “There is quite a bit of replanting that we have to do. The Geraniums and Pelargoniums need re-potting, and we planted lemongrass in the herb garden and it really took off.”

Years ago, the city repurposed an elementary school for senior housing and in the development set aside office space for the Parks and Recreation Department. A member of the department began the garden project, but the project was abandoned when Parks and Recreation relocated. When the fledgling pocket park study going to seed, that’s when several residents sought to salvage the effort and create the pocket garden.

The opportunity spoke to Mary, largely because Mary has had a green thumb from the age of five when she helped the family in their Victory Garden during World War II.

“When we did something wrong, my parents would send us out to weed the garden as punishment,” said Mary. “I never told them, but I really enjoyed weeding the garden.”

Ray grew up in the Clarksburg farming area. “My father taught me how to irrigate plants the old Spanish-style way. We grew everything from chilies to zucchini.”

When his parents grew older, Ray explained, “I built a garden because I wanted my parents to have a connection to heaven—because that’s where they were headed.”

The pocket park planters are looking for help from anyone who could volunteer an hour a week. Also they could use some large plastic planting pots and soil—and or someone with a vehicle to transport it. They are not looking for additional plants.

They are also looking for some help trimming roses around the development. “We have a couple of yellow and lavender roses—one has a gorgeous scent when it is in bloom,” Mary noted. Until recently, Mary had been trimming the roses, but she’s currently in a wheelchair and the wheelchair get stuck in the dirt or topples on sloping surfaces.

That’s another reason that Mary enjoys the garden. “My energy level goes way up when I’m out here, and I’m not as sleepy the rest of the day. Especially in the summer time when the plants bloom. The yellow rose bush is incredible—it just blooms and blooms.”

Mary is looking for volunteers at any level of expertise from unfamiliar to master gardener.

If your green thumb is itching to make a difference, call Mary at 916-372-9371.

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Driving lesson: officer talks to RCHS teens about real danger behind the wheel

CHP Officer Martine Olivares asks RCHS students to think about what they think is risky behavior behind the wheel.  (Photo by Kaitlyn Donoghue/River City High School)

CHP Officer Martine Olivares asks RCHS students to think about what they think is risky behavior behind the wheel. (Photo by Kaitlyn Donoghue/River City High School)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 11, 2015 —

By Farina Khalil
River City High School Journalism Class

River City High School students attended a driving awareness presentation held by the driver’s education teacher, Shannon Woods, in partnership with Impact Teen Driving, an organization that was founded in response to the high frequency of crashes involving teens to which California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers respond.

The goal of the organization is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths suffered by teens as a result of distracted driving and poor decision making. According to their website, impactteendrivers.org, 4,000 teens die each year due to vehicle collision, that’s roughly 11 per day. 75% of it is not related to drugs and alcohol but due to distractions such as cell phones or applying makeup.

“I’ve worked in many areas and on average, in a big area you’ll see 5 crashes [per day] from minor property damage to fatality,” said Officer Martine Olivares, who also talked about how cell phones are a common distraction while driving. In fact, a majority of the calls he gets about teen vehicle collisions are caused by distracted driving.

Debbie Smith, a speaker at the Impact Teen Driving event, spoke about her son Joel Davis, who had died in a car accident in 2005 in Pleasanton because the two passengers in the front were arguing and crashed into a tree. She spoke about her reaction when she found out her son died when she received a coroner’s note she got in the mail.

“My son went from being a person to now being a case number,” said Smith.

The Impact Teen Driving presentation hopes to raise awareness to prevent any type of distraction in the car from taking a driver’s focus from the road, especially for teens because they are young and inexperienced drivers.

“Respect life — you can’t bring it back once it’s lost,” said Smith.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Most years, the Amgen Tour of California has bypassed West Sacramento. But back in 2007, riders sped through town as part of their Sacramento-area stage. Here, they round the corner from Sacramento Avenue to Jefferson Boulevard on their way to the Tower Bridge (News-Ledger photo)

Most years, the Amgen Tour of California has bypassed West Sacramento. But back in 2007, riders sped through town as part of their Sacramento-area stage. Here, they round the corner from Sacramento Avenue to Jefferson Boulevard on their way to the Tower Bridge (News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — FEB 19, 2015 —

Cyclists in this year’s edition of the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race will pass through West Sacramento twice on Sunday, May 10, after the race kicks off its first stage at the state capitol. There should be plenty of local spectator opportunities both in the morning as the racers get their start and in the afternoon as they approach the finish.

Stage 1 of the 724.1-mile race will both start and end at the capitol building. It starts at 11 a.m.

“After an initial crossing of the Sacramento River via the iconic Tower Bridge, the race will pass quickly through West Sacramento to River Road,” organizers reported today. “From here, the race will follow the winding Sacramento River through the small towns of Clarksburg, Courtland and Walnut Grove. The stage’s fourth bridge crossing will take the race back over the river into Isleton.”

Later, the athletes will re-cross the river into Rio Vista and travel through Solano County, Davis, Woodland, and back to West Sacramento and across the Tower Bridge. The stage is measured at 127 miles.

Stage two carries the riders from Nevada City to Lodi, and following stages will take place all over the state.

The race finishes with Stage 8, ending at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on May 17.

The News-Ledger will bring more details of the exact local race route as the race approaches.

For more information, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2015