Tag Archives: News

What are those gizmos? Are you on camera at local traffic intersections?

ABOVE: Optical detection camera to sense approaching vehicles (white) and optical sensor to pick up the white strobe lights of a police car or fire truck (black). Photo taken on Jefferson Blvd.

ABOVE: Optical detection camera to sense approaching vehicles (white) and optical sensor to pick up the white strobe lights of a police car or fire truck (black). Photo taken on Jefferson Blvd.

NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 6, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Have you ever seen those gizmos mounted on West Sacramento traffic poles, and wondered if they’re cameras? And, if so, who’s watching you?

There are at least three types of pole-mounted sensors around town at different street intersections. And Peter Hanson, an engineering assistant with the City of West Sacramento’s Public Works Department, reminds us that none of them is a “red light” camera. The city doesn’t currently have a “red light camera” program to catch red light runners.

So what, exactly, are these devices?

At the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Stone Boulevard, near the railroad tracks, you may see a thing that looks like a hanging bulb. It’s one of several security cameras operated out of the Port of West Sacramento, which is serviced by the railroad.

“These cameras have a dual purpose,” reported Hanson. “’A,’, to observe the intersection (for security), and ‘B,’ to observe the traffic at the intersection.”

Aside from monitoring security, the camera’s view can be used by city staff to see how traffic light timing changes are affecting the flow of traffic, for example.

ABOVE: The all-seeing eye of a port ecurity camera near the railroad tracks and Jefferson Boulevard, north of Stone Boulevard (photos by Thomas Farley and the News-Ledger)

ABOVE: The all-seeing eye of a port ecurity camera near the railroad tracks and Jefferson Boulevard, north of Stone Boulevard (photos by Thomas Farley and the News-Ledger)

Another type of “camera” seen at some traffic-light controlled intersections is a long, white cylindrical device. Those are directly linked to the traffic light controls.

“Those are video detection systems,” explained Hanson. “It knows if a car is coming or not. It actually sees cars, and changes the light for them. It ‘sees’ through algorithms, and it looks at the differences in contrast” in its field of view.

Then there are the more numerous little black items mounted on many a local traffic light pole.

“That’s a detector for emergency vehicles,” said Hanson. “If you look at an emergency vehicles, you will see a light bar on the roof, and in the center, there is a white strobe light. In our city, the fire and police vehicles each have one.”

Those strobes on top of fire trucks and police cars can, when turned on, put out a pattern of white flashes – which is picked up by the traffic pole sensor, and earns a “green light” for that Code 3 emergency vehicle.

Ambulances serving the town can’t do this trick, said Hanson.

There’s at least one other smart gizmo on the street – or under it, to be precise.  An “induction loop” can be buried in the pavement to sense the magnetic presence of a car that has pulled up to a red light, signaling the traffic lights that they need to change.

   But none of these gadgets does what a “red light camera” would do, said Hanson. If you find yourself entering an intersection illegally after a light has turned red, the “sensor” that gives you a ticket needs to be an actual police officer.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Practice for college entrance tests

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Students can practice for the SAT/ACT tests and get an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. The event will be held at the library, 1212 Merkley Avenue, from noon to 4 p.m. on Sat., April 6, with results available at a session from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. Stop by the library, call it at 375-6465, or visit www.kaptest.com/college.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Free: RCHS plays at Raley Field

Senior Jason Wullenwaber on the mound for the River City varsity (News-Ledger file photo by De'Onna Jack)

Senior Jason Wullenwaber on the mound for the River City varsity (News-Ledger file photo by De’Onna Jack)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER

Raley Field will play host again to a round of high school baseball games this spring. The River City High School team from West Sacramento will be at the minor league park to take on Linden High on April 13. The junior varsity matchup is at 4 p.m. and varsity plays at 7:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free; teams will be selling River Cats tickets as a fundraiser. Visit www.rivercats.com/highschool.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

When a bikini wax goes bad —

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 20, 2013 —

BY DARYL FISHER

NEWS-LEDGER COLUMNIST —

BY DARYL FISHER

BY DARYL FISHER

I, of course, have lots of friends (and non-friends for that matter) who think they could easily write this weekly column a whole lot better than I do, and one of the former had me laughing out loud the other day about something she said she had read on Facebook. She was absolutely convinced it would make for a fabulous column, and our conversation went a little something like this:

“It really would make a wonderful column,” she assured me. “Do you want me to forward it to you so you can see for yourself?”

“That’s alright,” I said, my computer already overflowing with stuff other people have sent me that they think is a lot funnier than I do. “But why don’t you go ahead and tell me about it.”

“Okay,” said my friend, already smiling. “This recently-divorced lady with young kids decided it was about time for her to stop moping around the house and start doing some dating. So she joined one of those social networking sites and soon had a date all lined up for a Friday night. So she gets off of work a little early, comes home, fixes dinner, plays with the kids, makes sure the babysitter is going to be there on time, and then goes into the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for her big going-out-to-the-movies date.”

“What’s funny about that?” I asked.

“Well, while taking her shower she quickly realizes that she has kind of let her body get out-of-hand, so to speak.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, parts of her body had become completely over-run with unwanted hair.”

“Oh, I see,” I said, returning her smile.

“So, she goes into her medicine cabinet and pulls out this waxing kit that she had purchased ages ago when she was still married. It’s one of those cold wax kits, you know, the kind that you just rub the strips together in your hands until you get them warmed up. Then you pull the strips apart, apply them to your legs or wherever, and the hair is supposed to come right off. It’s also supposed to be really easy to do, even if you’re not very courageous at such things. But she gets the bright idea of using her hairdryer to heat up the strips, which is when things start going downhill. Anyway, although what she really wants to do is wax her bikini line, she wisely decides to try one of the much too hot strips on her leg first. Although the added heat and pulling off the strip turned out to be pretty painful, she decided to suck it up and move on up north.”

  “But why would she need to wax her bikini line if she was just going on a first date to the movies?” I asked naively.

“Trust me, women just feel better about themselves if they’re prepared for every possibility and not all covered in unwanted hair.”

“I see.”

“Anyway, she checked on the kids, made sure she had plenty of time left before the babysitter and her date were scheduled to arrive, and then hurried back into the bathroom. She took off her robe, placed one foot up on the toilet, and then bravely applied a wax strip across the right-hand side of her bikini line, covering the whole right-half of her hoo-ha. Then she inhaled deeply, held her breath, and ripped it off.”

“Then what happened?” I asked with interest.

“She went blind.”

“Blind?”

“Blind with pain! She didn’t scream, though, not wanting to frighten her children. But once her vision returned, she realized she had only pulled off half the strip, so she had to woman-up again and rip the other half off. Thinking she might pass out, but knowing that she was only half-done with getting her bikini line just the way she wanted it, she reluctantly decided to apply another strip to cover the left side of her bikini line. But in the process her foot accidentally slipped off the toilet and she ended up with the new wax strip covering up most of her butt and nether regions. Then….”

“Wait a minute!” I interrupted my friend, obviously eager to finish her tale, “I can’t possibly make a column out of what you’ve been telling me!”

“Why not?”

“Because the News-Ledger is a family newspaper and I can’t be talking about bikini lines and hoo-has and a woman’s nether regions! Our crack editor would quickly spot how inappropriate that is and I will be in big trouble.”

“But I thought you told me he never reads your stuff anymore.”

“Well, he doesn’t, but I’m sure the headline to any story like that would quickly catch his attention.”

“But if you just let me tell you the end of this story I’m sure you can make it into one of the funniest columns you have ever written! Believe it or else, she ends up taking a hot bath trying to get that wax strip off only to have her butt cemented to the bottom of her porcelain tub. Thankfully her cell phone was nearby and she was able to call a friend who told her there should be some lotion in the wax kit box for just such emergencies.”

“You mean stuff like that happens to women all the time?”

“Oh, Daryl, if you only knew what we women have to do to try and please our men!”

“Well,” I said, “it is a cute story, although I’m surprised that anyone would want to put it up on their Facebook page, and I do appreciate you taking the time to tell it to me.”

“But like I said,” I added, “I’m afraid it’s just not something I can put in my column. I do have my standards, you know!”

  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 2013