Tag Archives: park

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.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 2015

West Sac looks to public art to help unify Sac/West Sac streetcar line

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 14, 2014 —

The West Sacramento City Council voted last month to work with regional partners to apply for a public arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) . The “Our Town” grant of up to $200,000 would focus on bringing art pieces to the city’s Washington neighborhood and the future streetcar route connecting Sacramento and West Sacramento.

Also involved in the art planning project are the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the City of Sacramento and Crocker Arts Museum.

“The ‘Our Town’ proposal envisions art installations as a place-making feature of the planned streetcar route and way-finding for bicyclists and pedestrians moving between West Sacramento’s waterfront neighborhoods and civic center and Sacramento’s railyards, capitol and museums,” said a staff report. “The cities would also use the funds to select one artist that will create two pieces which will engage, interact or connect with each other to be installed in each side of the river respectively. Another installation will be analyzed within the Washington District depending on the final grant award amount and budget.”

The plan being proposed to the NEA calls first for a consultant to work with the public and create a “curatorial vision” for the Washington district and streetcar area. No actual art pieces have yet been picked.

The city has already received a $400,000 grant for art from the state parks department, for art at the corner of Riverwalk and Tower Bridge Gateway, with a $200,000 local match.  These funds will be used as the “local match” needed for the proposed NEA grant.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 2015

Mayor Cabaldon: West Sac is achieving a lot for a city of its size

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 29, 2014 — EDITOR’S NOTE: Continuing with the News-Ledger’s tradition, we’ve invited every candidate running for local office on the upcoming ballot to sit down for an interview that we can share with our readers. That series of interviews for the November, 2014, election finishes up with the following feature interview with Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. Enjoy. — By Steve Marschke News-Ledger Editor

MAYOR CHRISTOPHER CABALDON: "thrilled' to have agricultural research company move to West Sac (News-Ledger file photo)

MAYOR CHRISTOPHER CABALDON: “thrilled’ to have agricultural research company move to West Sac (News-Ledger file photo)

It’s easy to get Mayor Christopher Cabaldon talking about the exciting projects going on in West Sacramento – the recent award from a U.S. mayors’ conference for making preschool widely available, the development of the Bridge District and Washington neighborhood, the coming replacement of the I Street Bridge, the city’s growing presence as a site for the food industry, and so on. But he says these highly visible successes can create a perception in the community that it should be really, really easy, to do the small things. Like put a certain restaurant at a certain intersection. “People say, ‘Why don’t you put X over at the corner of Y and Z?’” he remarked to the News-Ledger in a recent interview. “I don’t have that power.” “The mayor’s job is mostly in enabling,” Cabaldon continued, “and it’s mostly enabling through context-setting. I can make it more likely that a restaurant will locate at that location by doing the following 700 things. Those 700 things include making sure it’s the right zoning – that’s the easy part. I need to make sure there are enough people around it so they can get to it by biking or walking, and there’s adequate parking or it’s served by the bus, and that the sewer connection fee is lower for  a restaurant than for a use that we might not want to have. But if you do all that and it ends up a McDonalds and not an Argentinian restaurant, well, you don’t have the right to make that decision.” But the city is on a winning streak, Cabaldon said. Are he and the council members on the same page here in 2014? “I think we’re in the same book,” the mayor responded. “We want to take the city in generally the same direction, but within that we are on many different pages. I think it’s quite effective because you don’t want a council where all five people have the same opinion every time.” Cabaldon is seeking another two-year term as mayor.  He’s running against challenger Narinderpal Hundal. Cabaldon has served as West Sacramento’s mayor ever since voters decided in 2004 that they would make the job a separately-elected position, apart from city council elections. And he was mayor for several one-year terms before that, when the position was chosen from among the council members. A native of Los Angeles, Cabaldon earned a degree in environmental economics from UC Berkeley and came to Sacramento to work on public policy at the legislature. He found a home here on Meadow Road in 1993. He’s 48 and single currently living near Raley Field in “Ironworks.” Now, Cabaldon’s day job is running a firm that works for “systems-level change” in the state’s education system. “The main project I have at the firm is I am the head of Linked Learning Alliance,” said Cabaldon. “It brings together a bunch of teachers and superintendents and business folks and college folks and civil rights activists (to) improve college readiness for students in California.” Just a year after becoming a West Sacramento resident, Cabaldon ran for city council in his new hometown. “It was a great campaign,” he recalls, “and I fortunately lost. Because the voters said ‘Whoa, we like you, you’ve got a lot of energy, you have some great ideas, but you don’t know the first thing about this place.’ And they were exactly right.” Cabaldon worked on a couple of local county commissions before trying again in 1996. This time he won a place on the city council. He has since morphed into arguably the most prominent city official in West Sacramento history. If Cabaldon gets another term, there are some things he hopes to keep working on – the massive local flood protection project, various development plans, the regional streetcar project and so on. But he sees a couple of new possibilities starting to form as well. One of those is to capitalize on the national visibility West Sacramento earned when it received an award for making preschool “universally” available. The award came from the nation’s conference of mayors. Cabaldon will visit the White House to accept congratulations on the award, and he said various organizations have been paying attention. This presents an opportunity to expand some aspect of childhood education with some new partners, he believes. “It would be terrible to waste that and not go radically up to the next level,” Cabaldon commented. “I think we’ll definitely do more in terms of infants and toddlers, not just four-year olds.” And other new education initiatives may also be possible as well. Also on the radar is an idea for what to do with an iconic old bridge after it’s soon replaced by a new span: “One other project I’d like to take on is the upper deck of the I Street Bridge – to create some kind of linear park or ‘high line’ park,” proposed Cabaldon. Judging by the success of similar bridge-top parks like one in Louisville, he said, such a feature could become a top regional attraction. But in the meantime Cabaldon and other city officials have the small city’s $500 million flood protection to manage, in partnership with the feds and state government. And a burgeoning redevelopment about to encourage along South River Road as new bridges are phased in at the “Pioneer Bluff District.” And other local projects that remain in the works. “If absolutely nothing else happens, we’ve got enough on our plates,” said Cabaldon.   Do you like what you see here?   You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 2014

‘John Santos Sextet’ offers free concert on West Sac riverfront

JOHN SANTOS, five-time grammy nominee, will play on River Walk Park this Saturday. Free. (courtesy photo)

JOHN SANTOS, five-time Grammy nominee, will play on River Walk Park this Saturday. Free. (courtesy photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 10, 2014 —

John Santos & the John Santos Sextet will perform a free concert of Afro-Latin influenced jazz music at 7 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 20, at Riverwalk Park (seating opens at 6). The concert will be held behind the ziggurat building at 707 3rd Street.

Santos is a five-time Grammy nominee.

The concert is presented by La Raza Galeria Posada and the City of West Sacramento Parks and Recreation Department.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger 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 2014