Tag Archives: press

A break from the ‘Fix 50’ headache


Caltrans reports that work on the first part of the “Fix 50” freeway project is going ahead of schedule, and previously-closed eastbound lanes opened up today.  That means motorists have a ten-day break with no lane closures at all through Memorial Day weekend. Then work will begin on westbound lanes.

Following is an excerpt from today’s Caltrans message:

“The Fix50 project is ahead of schedule, and motorists will get a nice break for Memorial Day Weekend when all lanes will be open. Eastbound Phase 2, which began five days early to resurface the outside lanes of Highway 50 between 18th and 24th Streets in Sacramento, will finish 6 days early on May 16.


  “All lanes of Highway 50 will be open to motorists for a full 10 days. Work will resume after Memorial Day Weekend so there will be no interruption for travelers over the holiday when the Sacramento Music Festival and County Fair are in town.


 “Caltrans would like to thank our partners for their added outreach, staff, and services that helped to increase public awareness and alleviate traffic issues,” added District Director Jody Jones. “We also thank drivers who changed their regular workday commute, or chose alternate modes of transportation. Those motorists who chose to bike commute, use light rail, bus, train, walk, carpool, and avoided unnecessary trips helped lessen the overall traffic impacts in the region.”


 “On Thursday evening, May 15, crews will begin the process to reopen all eastbound lanes. The change-over will begin at approximately 9 PM, and involves removing K-rail barriers, changing the sign structures, and sealing and restriping the newly completed lanes into their original configuration. The full transition will finish by 7 AM Friday morning May 16, concluding all traffic-interfering work on eastbound Highway 50 in the W-X Viaduct. There will be some finishing work to do once both phases are complete, but nothing that will require major traffic interference.”


 Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Whooo is that in the trees?

Great Horned Owl (Photo by Mary K. Hanson, Tuleyome Association)

Great Horned Owl
(Photo by Mary K. Hanson, Tuleyome Association)

NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 7, 2014 —

by Mary K. Hanson
Tuleyome Association

I was walking with my dog through a stretch of riparian (river side) habitat in the region, and was suddenly attracted to the sound of a group of Acorn Woodpeckers, high up in the trees, having a squawking fit over something, so I went to see what the problem was.

At first, all I saw was the woodpeckers themselves.  They were in quite a tizzy, shouting their loud rasping calls as they jumped from branch to branch, flashing their wings.  I couldn’t see anything in the tree that might have been the cause of such a ruckus, however, so I looked around a bit more.  And then I spotted it.

In another tree just a few feet away was a huge Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).

Basking in the early morning sun, he swiveled his large head around, looked at me with sleepy amber-gold eyes and then proceeded to completely ignore me.  I couldn’t ignore him, though.  In fact, I think I stood there for about 20 minutes or so just watching him and taking photographs.  Great Horned Owls are one of the most easily recognizable owls in the country, but I’d never seen one this close up before.  I was mesmerized.

Sometimes called “Cat Owls” because of their ear-like tufts, Great Horned Owls occupy a wide variety of habitats in California including riparian forests, cliff sides, deserts and even residential areas. And they’re not particular about where they nest either.  These owls may take over the treetop nests of other large birds, or move into an abandoned squirrel’s nest, occupy stumps, ledges, barns and “owl boxes” or other manmade structures.

Nesting season is generally between December and July – so we’re right in the middle of it, now.  Although they only use a nesting site once in a season and don’t return to it the next year, the owls are good tenants with both parents looking after their young nestlings and one another.  Female Great Horned Owls usually lay 2 or 3 eggs in a clutch and then both parents take turns incubating them, with the male leaving the nest only to hunt down food for his mate.

Great Horned Owls have a somewhat broad diet which can sometimes include other birds (which explains why the Acorn Woodpeckers were so upset that the owl was so nearby) and prey larger than themselves, but they most often stick to mice, rabbits, squirrels and other small mammals, including skunks. Like all owls, the Great Horned Owls tend to swallow their meals whole, and then regurgitate up the indigestible parts like bones and fur in “pellet” form.  (It’s not uncommon to find complete mouse skulls in these pellets.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to spot several of these large handsome birds in the local area – including a female in her nest above an outcropping of mistletoe — so keep an eye out for them, especially if you’re walking just before dusk when they’re heading out to hunt or just after dawn when they’re heading back to their daytime resting sites.  And remember to take lots of photos!

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Standoff at Bryte Avenue apartment


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A north-city police standoff lasted several hours but ended peacefully Friday night.

The incident occurred at an apartment at 815 Bryte Avenue. Police responded when a woman called 911. A dispatcher noted that “banging and yelling” was heard in the background of the 911 call.

A pregnant woman at the scene told an officer that her live-in boyfriend had picked up something heavy inside the apartment, damaged some property, and told her “B—, now I’m going to have to kill you.”

A records check showed that suspect Adam Christopher Rudi, 31, was on searchable probation and was the subject of a restraining order. But “when officers tried to contact Rudi, he ran inside the apartment, barricaded the doors and windows with furniture, and refused to cooperate with lawful orders from officers for approximately four hours,” according to a police report.

The report also alleged:

“During this time, Rudi broke multiple windows, damaged walls and other property inside the residence. . . and threw several large heavy objects out of the windows in the direction of officers. Rudi also threatened to kill officers.”

Rudi was taken into custody without incident to conclude the standoff.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Blues in the Black Box’ will benefit city preschool program


On May 17, “The Legendary Mike McGowan and the Mighty Delta Roadmasters” are returning to the Black Box Theater for their second installment of ‘Blues in the Black Box,’ located at 1075 West Capitol Ave.

The concert is a fund raiser for the West Sacramento Learning Ladder, a preschool program that is located in the Community Center.

Support the preschool program by enjoying the blues in a local venue.

‘Broderick’ restaurant will be selling beer and wine before and during the show so guests are encouraged to arrive thirsty.

Doors open at 6:45pm, the show begins at 7:30pm and tickets are $25 and are sold at the door.

For more information contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 916-617-5320.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Capitol Bowl’ owner to be on TV program


KVIE public television is debuting a new series called “Yes, We’re Open,” intended to celebrate California entrepreneurs.

The first episode airs Monday, May 12, on Channel 6. Included are several business profiles — including one on Ross Amin and his “Capitol Bowl” alley at 900 West Capitol Avenue.

Also in the show are Dave Leatherby of the ice cream world and other California entrepreneurs.

Check TV listings for show details.


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Copyright News-Ledger 2014


West Sac residents take a look at city’s long-term ‘general plan’

At a public workshop Monday evening, Mayor Cabaldon asked West Sacramento residents to ask what they wanted their city to look like in the future.  The city is updating its long-term ‘general plan,’ which has a 20-year horizon. (News-Ledger photo)

At a public workshop Monday evening, Mayor Cabaldon asked West Sacramento residents to ask what they wanted their city to look like in the future. The city is updating its long-term ‘general plan,’ which has a 20-year horizon.
(News-Ledger photo)


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

About 75 citizens attended a meeting Monday evening to provide input on the West Sacramento’s long-range “general plan,” and to make comments four specific planning projects. Hosted by the city’s planning department, the workshop took place in the community center on West Capitol Avenue.

Several residents asked questions and showed concern about new growth bringing about more traffic problems, and about the city’s level of protection from floods.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon attended briefly.

“The general plan, as you’ll hear, is one of the most important plans we have in the city,” Cabaldon told the crowd. “It is a long-term plan. It goes to 2035 – but that doesn’t mean nothing is going to happen until July of 2034.”

He asked participants at the workshop to envision the city they want.

“What do you want this place to be like, in value-based terms?,” Cabaldon asked. “What do you want your neighborhoods to be like?”

The mayor himself said the future city ought not to be “all residential suburbs” or “just rural, with horses,” but ought to be combined of different elements, including housing opportunities for the different stages of life.

West Sacramento’s city manager for the past two years is Martin Tuttle, a former executive with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Tuttle talked to the crowd about the “Blueprint,” a six-county regional guide to future development.

The Blueprint aims to promote transit-oriented development, encouraging compact growth near transportation options and attempting to avoid sprawl into farmlands.

“This community has incredible assets,” said Tuttle of West Sacramento, including “the port area, the riverfront and the emerging downtown area. . . You really are seeing more compact development, more development near transit. When we started ‘Blueprint,’ Sacramento was on its way to 35 miles per day of driving per person. Now it’s around 21 miles.”

David Tilley, the city’s senior planner, explained that the general plan contains a number of distinct elements – most mandated by the state. The plan includes a “preferred land use alternative,” a climate change plan and other elements.

“Our general plan will keep the child care element (in) and also have a ‘healthy communities’ element,” reported Tilley. Cities are required to create a general plan and update it periodically.

He introduced the four specific project areas being shown off at the workshop, inviting residents to look at drawings, chat with staff and leave comments, which staff would try to tabulate afterward.

The “Stone Lock District,” he said, surrounds the barge canal near Jefferson Boulevard, and includes the bluffs known as “Honda Hills” often used by motorcyclists.

“This is roughly 210 acres,” said Tilley. “It could be ripe for a master plan of some sort.”

An earlier plan to jointly develop Stone Lock with the Cordish Company expired during the economic downturn.

“Seaway” includes about 300 acres west of Lowe’s, on Port of West Sacramento property along Southport Parkway. It has been zoned for industrial and business park uses.

“It’s on the table,” Tilley said. “We want to hear what you think is best for the community.”

The “Liberty Specific Plan” is the only one of the four projects with a working developer on board. The acreage is east of the Clarksburg Trail in Southport, between Linden Road to the north and Davis Road to the south. It could hold up to 1,900 residential units.

“This is the last major piece in Southport that’s unentitled,” said Tilley.

Lastly mentioned was “Pioneer Bluffs.”

“This is the area along South River Road south of 15th Street, going down to where it presently dead-ends.”

This stretch is home to “legacy uses,” said Tilley, including the city’s old wastewater treatment plant and industrial uses including petroleum “tank farms.”

“It’s been long-planned to transition to mixed-use, but the question is how do we do that,” said Tilley. “It’s likely to be served by not one, but two new bridges: the South River Road Bridge, and another, perhaps in the area of 15th Street, crossing from Sacramento.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Streetcar project gets a bump up


West Sac officials are now in Washington, D.C., to gather support for local flood projects and other local priorities —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon reported yesterday that the Sacramento/West Sacramento streetcar project has hit a milestone in the process of earning federal funding.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (News-Ledger file photo)

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon
(News-Ledger file photo)

“I just got word we’re approved to move into ‘project development’ for the streetcar,” said Cabaldon. “We’re now a ‘federal project.’ It’s not approved yet as a final project.”

Among other things, the new status means that money spent by the two cities can be counted later towards a required “local match” of dollars for the streetcar system.

The first phase of the streetcar line is envisioned to send one spur across the bridge down the middle of West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento, terminating at city hall and the transit center at the 1100-block of the street. City officials would like to later extend the spur further west on West Capitol. They’d also like to add a north-south branch that might stretch (tentatively) from the CalSTRS and ziggurat buildings in the north down into Southport, said Cabaldon.

The first phase of the line would wind through downtown Sacramento, with stops near the planned new arena, the railyards, downtown and midtown.

Planners hope to open the line in 2017.

“We have a lot of work to do yet,” Cabaldon told the News-Ledger. “We identified the 2017 timeline about a year ago, and all the ducks are lined up.”

Cabaldon reported the news from amid the annual “Capital to Capital” trip, in which leaders from all around the Sacramento area drop in on federal officials in Washington, D.C., to talk about local priorities.

The West Sacramento delegation this year includes city council members Beverly Sandeen andChris Ledesma, city manager Martin Tuttle and department head Mike Luken. Local county supervisor Oscar Villegas and officials from the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce are also making the trip.

Their lobbying priorities include continuing the work on getting partners for local flood control projects and for planned construction of new bridges across the river at I Street and Broadway, said the mayor.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014