Tag Archives: press

Yolo’s booth at state fair celebrates farms, earns a medal

Yolo County’s exhibit at the California State Fair focuses on its efforts to connect local kids to locally-grown food through a ‘Farm to School’ program.      (Courtesy of Beth Gabor, County of Yolo)

Yolo County’s exhibit at the California State Fair focuses on its efforts to connect local kids to locally-grown food through a ‘Farm to School’ program.
(Courtesy of Beth Gabor, County of Yolo)

NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 16, 2014 —

From Beth Gabor
Information Officer
County of Yolo

This year, Yolo County took home a gold ribbon in the California State Fair Counties Exhibit competition, as well as a blue ribbon for ‘best content’.  With this year’s counties exhibit theme, “From (our) County to Your Table,” Yolo County is excited to feature its successful Farm to School Yolo program with a giant tomato-shaped school house, an animated school room scene, a school garden with fresh produce from local farms and an informational slideshow.

“Farm to School Yolo” is a public health and agricultural marketing initiative that is changing the way students and young people eat, think about food, and improve their health through the development of life-long healthy eating habits.  Farm to School Yolo works with all five Yolo County school districts and the Yolo County Office of Education’s Head Start Preschool Program to increase the amount of fresh, local produce offered in breakfasts, lunches and after school snacks.  The program offers an opportunity to educate students and staff on food origins, how it was grown and how to prepare it for peak flavor and nutritional value.

The program is currently funded through a three-year California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant.

“Farm-to-School Yolo is a piece of the puzzle in building a local food economy, turning the tide of childhood obesity and reconnecting our residents to the land and the people who produce our food,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Don Saylor in a press release.  “We have a lot to be proud of here in Yolo County and are pleased to be recognized by the California State Fair for telling our story in this way.”

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‘Great Horror Campout’ leaves fans & neighbors in two camps

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 23, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

  (EDITOR’S NOTE: the News-Ledger is seeking some additional information on the city’s approval process for this special event. There may be a follow-up story in an upcoming edition of the newspaper.)

At least a few residents of rural Southport were upset to learn that the “Great Horror Campout,” a spooky interactive event for overnight campers, was coming to their neighborhood last Friday night.

The event’s web pages describe it as a carefully controlled scary experience featuring a kind of a scavenger hunt and various frights, for around $99.

Several residents of Burrows Avenue came to Wednesday’s city council meeting and protested the special events permit being considered for the commercial event on Dave Vierra’s nearby farm.  The event was scheduled to start just two nights later.

“While this is an agricultural area, it is really a neighborhood,” Burrows Avenue resident Don Johnson told the council. “(The event) is a horror show on steroids where there will be several hundred people with loudspeakers camping there all night long going through some regimen or routine. My concern is I found about about it this afternoon . . . This is something where they practice bondage. There’s Satanic rituals, according to their web page.”

(The News-Ledger used city video of the council meeting for some of the content of this article.)

Neighbor Kimber Goddard said the preparation at the property made it look like “a refugee camp,” and then reported what he said he found on a Youtube video of a previous “Great Horror Campout” event.

“I see a picture of individuals dressed in apparently witch-like costumes, birthing a baby, cutting off the baby’s penis and throwing it to screaming teenagers with bloody hands,” said Goddard. (A “Great Horror Campout” representative later rebutted that description, saying it was the fake baby’s umbilical cord that was cut.)

Goddard added said that neighbors of the farm had not been notified in advance – as required by the city’s special event permit process.

“The police chief is supposed to notify the residents. That didn’t happen. That apparently didn’t happen. The landowner did not notify the residents.”

A pair of representatives of 1031 Productions in Los Angeles, which produces the campouts, answered some of these concerns and charges.

Melissa Meyer, the company’s chief operating officer, said:

“If you look at our history, we have zero complaints. It’s an interactive haunted camping experience. We take the creepy horror haunting allure and turn this into a haunted event.”

There’s no bondage, she said, although campers sometimes have pillowcases placed over their heads as they are led blindly from one place to another. And there are no Satanic rituals, said Meyer, although there are professional dancers leading something called a “voodoo dance.”

Meyer added that the organizers would keep the sound levels low, placing loudspeakers as far from homes as possible.

As far as whether the public was notified of the proposed city event permit:

“That’s something I do apologize for,” said Meyer. “That’s something (our representative) wanted Dave Vierra to do,” she added, referring to the landowner.

Another concerned neighbor was pediatrician Dr. Linda Copeland, who said she and her psychiatrist husband bought their home on Burrows as their “sanctuary.”

Copeland said that while some people aren’t harmed by participating in make-believe horrors like those in the “Great Horror Campout,” others – such as high-functioning autistic people – can be damaged. Copeland said she has “already been harmed” by the event, as she learned of it while still grieving for a pair of acquaintances in Davis brutally murdered by “a deranged young person who went to horror events.”

“I don’t think the 1031 company has done adequate screening of who attends,” said Copeland. “They are not experts in mental health issues.”

Responding to the comments, city officials generally said that the permit was in the hands of the police chief, who could only judge it based on impacts such as traffic and noise – not on whether they like the content of the event.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon said that once the city sets down its zoning regulations, it has to enforce them impartially:

“The rules of the game have to be stated clearly and consistently and stably and applied equally across the board to everyone in advance,” he said. There wasn’t anything the city could do about this event on short notice, he said – but Cabaldon did allow that city officials might be able to learn from what happened and adjust its procedures for the future.

City council member Chris Ledesma asked staff to look into the question of whether the neighbors had been notified of the permit application as required, but the council did not otherwise take up that issue.

The News-Ledger called the property owner – Vierra Farms – after the event, and spoke to farm manager AnDee Solis.

How did everything go?

“Perfect, no problems,” said Solis. She said she was not aware of any complaints from neighbors either during or after the event.

“Not a word. Everything went perfectly. 1031 Productions did an outstanding job as far as security and everything.”

The News-Ledger also reached neighbor Kimber Goddard – one of those who had protested the event’s approach at the council meeting.
“I’d say that because there was such close scrutiny of it, it was better than it might have been,” said Goddard. But “the loudspeakers went all night with profanity – bad words, bad phrases, bad content.”

“I guess the thing I was happiest about was the commitment of the city council to review the special event permit and review the procedure,” added Goddard. “This one didn’t belong where they put it.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac parks commission member packs some muscle, takes a medal

FRANCISCO CASTILLO (left) with his trainer Devon Lindner. Castillo is a Southport resident and a member of West Sacramento's parks commission who recently took up bodybuilding and won a competition medal for it. (courtesy photo)

FRANCISCO CASTILLO (left) with his trainer Devon Lindner. Castillo is a Southport resident and a member of West Sacramento’s parks commission who recently took up bodybuilding and won a competition medal for it. (courtesy photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 16, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Francisco Castillo, a Southport resident and a citizen member of West Sacramento’s Parks & Community Services Commission, has a new hobby. It’s working out pretty well so far.

Over the weekend, Castillo put his biceps, etc., on display at the San Jose National Physique Competition. He took third place in his class in the bodybuilding competition.

Before he started training as a body builder a year ago, Castillo hadn’t been seriously involved in any sport.

“This was something I’ve always been interested in,” he told the News-Ledger. “I wanted to set a goal of being in a competition.”

Castillo has been training at a Sacramento gym – at first on his own, but with professional trainer Devon Lindner for the past six months.

Castillo stands about 5’ 11” tall and weighs 185 pounds. Apparently, not a lot of that is body fat.

His day job is as deputy communications director for Students First, an educational reform group.   Does he intend to compete in bodybuilding again?

“Actually, I have another competition coming up on August 2nd in Sacramento,” said Castillo. “I’m booked to compete and I hope to bring home another medal to West Sacramento.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

 

Nature-curious? Free lectures on the wildlands, wildlife around us:

Hiking in the Snow Mountain-Berryessa wilderness to the west (photo by Charlotte Orr, Tuleyome)
Hiking in the Snow Mountain-Berryessa wilderness to the west
(photo by Charlotte Orr, Tuleyome)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 16, 2014 —

by Mary K. Hanson
Tuleyome Organization

Tuleyome is launching a new “Nature and You” – Thursday Talks at the Library lecture series in partnership with the Yolo County Library starting in this month.  All of the lectures are FREE to the public and will be held once a month on a Thursday evening at the Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St., Davis, CA 95616 in the Blanchard Room from 6:30-7:45 pm.

The series will focus on nature (including the earth-sciences, the environment and conservation, clean water, climate change, etc.).  Piggy-backing on the nationally acclaimed STEM program, which encourages young people — especially young women — to enter into the educational fields of science, technology, engineering and math, Tuleyome’s lecture series this year will predominantly feature female speakers: strong models of women in the scientific and academic fields.

Families, seniors, youth groups and women’s group are all invited to attend.

•    Thursday, July 24, 2014: “How Plants Deal with Environmental Stresses” with Anna Davidson, bioartist and host of WISE and LASER

•    Thursday, August 28, 2014: “Exploring virus-vector-plant interactions” with Diane Ullman, Professor of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis

•    Thursday, September 25, 2014: “Honey Bees and the Haven” with Christine Casey, Manager of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven

•    Thursday, October 23, 2014: “What Does a Plant Taxonomist Do?” with Ellen Dean, Herbarium Curator at UC Davis

•    Thursday, November 20, 2014: “Solar Energy for Everyone” with Rebekah Casey of GRID Alternatives North Valley

More lectures are also slated for 2015, and there is a possibility that Tuleyome’s lecture series may dovetail with the Putah Creek Council’s CreekSpeak lecture series next year in order to provide more free lectures to the public!

For more information visit to the Tuleyome website at www.tuleyome.org or email mhanson@tuleyome.org.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Night Out’ returns to West Sac neighborhoods on August 5

Police Chief Tom McDonald has a hot dog with other visitors to the Meadow Road “National Night Out” block party -- a rally to network against crime. (News-Ledger photo by PETER FOLKS)

Police Chief Tom McDonald has a hot dog with other visitors to the Meadow Road “National Night Out” block party — a rally to network against crime.
(News-Ledger photo by PETER FOLKS)

NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 9, 2014 —

FROM THE CITY OF WEST SACRAMENTO —

The “National Night Out” event  returns on Tuesday, Aug. 5. In West Sacramento, as in cities across the nation, “National Night Out” will be celebrated throughout the city with block parties and barbecues.

The West Sacramento Police Department joins residents and neighborhood groups in support of the program’s 31st year. The following hosts and neighborhoods will have National Night Out activities, between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 5:

— 1400 Anna Street (Baptist Church)
— 685 Lighthouse Drive (Las Casitas Apartments and Bryte & Broderick Community Action Network)
— 500 7th Street (Washington Courtyard)
— 1611 Madrone Street (Sunset Village Apartments)
— 2455 West Capitol Ave. (West Capitol Apartments)
— 3429 Evergreen Ave (Courtyard Village Apartments)
— 1016 Meadow Road (this will be the featured location this year)
— 1613 19th Street
— 19th and Pennsylvania (Corner)
— Barona Court
— Aster and Manchester Avenue (Corner)
— 2692 Mandeville Way
— Sumatra and Mandura Street (Corner)
— 1527 Redding Road
— 3733 Elsinore Court
— 3590 Antigua Place
— 3170 Venice Street (hosted by the Main Drain Association group)
— 2999 Apache Street

Neighbors are invited to leave their porch lights on, come out and meet with their neighbors to network against crime.

Questions? Call Community Service Officer Nora McDowell of the West Sacramento Police Department at (916) 617-4937.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Shop for cheap books & more at ‘Friends of Library’ sale

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER –

The West Sacramento Friends of the Library will hold a summer book sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., July 19, and from 10-3 on Sunday, July 20, at the library, 1212 Merkley Avenue.

Hardback books for $1, paperbacks for 50 cents, kids’ books for 10-25 cents, along with special-priced books, CDs, movies and puzzles. On Sunday, prices drop to $3 per bag.

For information or to volunteer, call 375-6465 ext. 4 or email wsfol99@yahoo.com.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac looks at tightening zoning rules for gun shops

NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 9, 2014 —

TWO GUN BUSINESS OWNERS SAY PROPOSED RULES ARE ACCEPTABLE —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento’s planning commission on June 19 approved a tightening of the permitted locations for gun shops in the city. But those restrictions were made with the approval of a couple of gun-related local business owners.

As David Tilley, the city’s principal planner, told the commission members:

“We are proposing that they become a ‘conditional use’ in our business park, limited industrial, light industrial and heavy industrial zones, and that we take them out of our community commercial, central business district, waterfront and mixed-use zones.”

(Comments here are taken from the City of West Sacramento’s video of the meeting.)

As a “conditional use” in any of these zones, gun and ammo sales would need city approval on a case-by-case basis.

Lieutenant David Delaini of the West Sacramento Police Department expressed his support for the changes.

One of two people in the local firearms trade to speak at the public hearing was Brent Dawson, who described himself as a disabled veteran and business owner of American Tactical Outfitters. That business was formerly on Northport Drive in an industrial part of West Sacramento.

Dawson said he had used to operate under the rules of a firearms “broker” –  with with no gun inventory on hand. He’s now seeking a larger location that would, in part, sell guns it kept in stock. Dawson said the new zoning seems to give him enough real estate options to find such a location.

State and federal governments already “regulate all aspects” of firearm sales, said Dawson, before voicing his support for the new zoning rules.

Dawson raised concerns that another West Sacramento business – Aim U Nation, in an industrial part of Southport – may not be in compliance with city rules. As a stand-alone retail shop that sells guns, ammo and other things, the business may not qualify as one that sells firearms only as an “accessory use” as listed.

Ken Garrett, an owner of Aim U Nation and the separate All Phase Security business, was on hand at the meeting. He said that he, too, supported the proposed zoning changes. He told the commission that his business “may not be in compliance,” but “we’re willing to take steps now.”

Planner David Tilley said the new zoning rules may clarify things and “provide a path” for Aim U Nation to solve any local licensing trouble.

Several planning commission members had comments on the issue before they voted.

Commissioner Russ Leibig gave an “aside” about Aim U Nation:

“I have a hard time seeing (firearms) as an accessory use today,” he said. “Especially with the ad that’s in even our local paper today, the primary use seems to be firearms sales, ammunition sales, and then training. . . Moving forward, maybe we can get them into this permitting process and in compliance.”

Commission member Jeremy Olsen wondered if the zoning was too strict – never allowing firearms sales as an automatically “permitted” use, and always requiring city approval of a “conditional use” permit:

“There’s no zoning designation here where it’s not ‘conditional,’” said Olsen. “If a Cabela’s or large retailer was looking to site a retail location in our town, I’m afraid they would look at it and get the wrong idea.”

Colleague Charlie Moore talked about Aim U Nation’s possible need to get into city compliance, saying “I’m just trying to make sure we’re not putting somebody out of business.”

Tilley assured Olsen that only the gun-related portion of a Cabala’s store would need a conditional use permit, and told Moore staff was communicating with Aim U Nation and trying to help that business work within the rules.

The commission approved the proposed zoning changes, and the matter will now head to the city council.

  If you comment, we may share your comment in the News-Ledger newspaper.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014