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RCHS Raiders take to the big ballpark

RUBEN SALAS pitched four innings for the River City High squad, contributing to the shut-out victory.  (Photo by Selena Cazares/River City High School Journalism Program)

RUBEN SALAS pitched four innings for the River City High squad, contributing to the shut-out victory. (Photo by Selena Cazares/River City High School Journalism Program)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 9, 2014 —

By Austin Miller
River City High School Journalism Class

“It felt amazing. The atmosphere was unbelievable.” said team captain, senior shortstop Alex Dodd. He and his River City High School baseball team had just finished playing a game under the lights of Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats.

Last Thursday, River City played a night game against West Campus High School at Raley Field. Fundraising by both teams gave them the opportunity to play a night game on the professional field, and the experience the field brought to the players was unlike any other.

“So many people cheering you on,” continued Alex, “It gave me chills knowing that all of those people were there to watch River City.”

Kevin Burkes, senior outfielder, also added that “seeing our fans and community all there to show their Raider pride was my favorite part of the game, and also being able to experience the feeling of playing on a big league field.”

The feeling of playing on a professional field, with a crowd of people cheering you on, is unreal. It makes the game that much more exciting and that much more intense. Thursday’s game gave our team a glimpse of the pro-ball atmosphere, and in that one-of-a-kind atmosphere, River City came to play.

For the entirety of the game, the River City pitching staff was in control, allowing their defense to make the routine plays as well as creating some strike-outs of their own. All three pitchers put together a shutout for the team.

Ruben “Chito” Salas started 4 innings for River City.  Jake Pridmore made a relief appearance pitching a 3 and two-thirds innings. Lorenzo Pineda closed the game, getting a final out.

With RBI’s from Austin Miller, Eric Beall, and Isac Tacdol, River City came out on top, 3-0. Isac himself also had 3 stolen bases that game, but noted that his favorite part of the game was “winning to get our seniors a ‘hoorah’ in a big game like this one for their last year.” Smart offensive play along with timely hitting allowed River City to earn that win for its seniors.

A special moment for the seniors, however, occurred during the 7th inning. After getting the second out of the inning, Jake Pridmore was met on the mound by the rest of the senior players on the team. As Lorenzo came in from the bullpen to close the game, the seniors walked off the field together to a standing ovation from the crowd.

“It was pretty emotional knowing that all of us seniors will be gone after this year. This is it! It hit me when we went to go take Pridmore off the mound, who pitched a great game by the way,” said Alex.

The game itself was special to the coaching staff as well. Head Coach Alec Smith explained that “It felt amazing [bringing the players to Raley Field]. I am so happy our young men got the chance to experience playing on one of the best fields in all of the state of California, under the lights, with music and a great atmosphere.”

Coach Alec also noted that he hopes the team takes away “the fun part of it [the game].” I want my young men to learn to compete and have fun while executing at a high level.” What this game proves is that River City Baseball can do just that. If the team can continue to play the kind of ball it did tonight, then there are high hopes for the rest of the season.

  EDITOR’S NOTE: Raley Field — home of the River Cats minor league baseball team — opens its field up to play for regional high school teams as part of an annual program.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Drop off unwanted prescription drugs — responsibly & anonymously — on April 26

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Get rid of those expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs – safely and responsibly.

The West Sacramento Police Department and federal Drug Enforcement Administration will sponsor a prescription drug drop-off day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, at the police station, 550 Jefferson Blvd.

Drop off your old prescription drugs anonymously, no questions asked. Free.

Local police advise that flushing drugs down the toilet or tossing them in the trash both pose a potential health and safety hazard.

[adrotate group=”9″]   For other guidance on how to properly get rid of old prescription drugs, visit www.DontRushToFlush.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac Rotarians head south of the border for building project

Volunteer Rotarians from West Sacramento and Winters framing the house during a Rotary International house building project March 14-21 in the hills near Tijuana. A family of four is now living in the house.  (Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Bill Bevier/Rotary)

Volunteer Rotarians from West Sacramento and Winters framing the house during a Rotary International house building project March 14-21 in the hills near Tijuana. A family of four is now living in the house. (Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Bill Bevier/Rotary)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 2, 2014 —

By Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Carol Bogart, Ken Wilson and Peter Anderson, with Rotary District 5180 Assistant Governor Judy Foote.

Four members of the Rotary Club of West Sacramento – President Mike Campbell, President-Elect Ken Wilson 2014-2015, Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik – were joined in Tijuana, Mexico March 14 through March 21 by Winters Rotary Club member Cecil Padilla. The group’s mission: Build a house for Ricardo and Sara Vargas and their two children.

A resident pig seems to supervise the construction project. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Bill Bevier/Rotary)

A resident pig seems to supervise the construction project. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Bill Bevier/Rotary)

The Rotarians and a handful of other volunteers, some as young as 18, slept in tents during the project. Wilson said, “The tent was great, but it was very cold in the mornings.” Nighttime and early morning temperatures were in the 40s.

Although Mexico can be hot when the sun is high, only once did the daytime temperature approach 100 degrees. The construction crew benefited from daytime temperatures that largely were in the 70s.

Local professionals hired by the Rotarians poured a level concrete slab for the two-room house. Perched on the side of a steep incline, the finished house will have views of the city below and the distant mountains.

Sometimes balanced on a sawhorse wedged between the back wall of the house and the hill, the Rotarians framed walls with openings for windows. Then, they added a slanted roof. Tarpaper and chicken wired tightened up the framing. The chicken wire supported two coats of stucco.

The Vargas family owns the land – a condition for ownership of the house. The Vargas family could finish the interior of the house and paint the stucco once it dried. Built into the side of a hill, the house will last 10 to 15 years.

While in Mexico volunteering for Rotary International, the Yolo County Rotarians visited a cancer hospital founded by two young men, cancer patients who eventually lost their lives to cancer. The group also visited an orphanage.

RIGHT: Mike Campbell, Rotary Club of West Sacramento President, receives a grateful hug from Sara Vargas. Click to enlarge.  (Photo by Bill Bevier)

RIGHT: Mike Campbell, Rotary Club of West Sacramento President, receives a grateful hug from Sara Vargas. Click to enlarge.
(Photo by Bill Bevier)

Over spring break, student volunteers from various colleges will be arriving at the site to build more houses for thankful families.

Before the Vargas family got its new house, the four were subsisting in a tiny hovel made of salvaged materials from a dump. Padilla gave the mother the first of four blankets, Wilson says, and when he did, “she was so thankful she cried and cried.”

As the volunteers told the gathered Rotarians about their trip, it was clear these men found the family’s gratitude very moving.

For more information about Rotary International’s worldwide projects and missions, visit www.rotary5180.org. For information about Rotary Club of West Sacramento (one of two local chapters), go to www.rotaryclubofwestsacramento.org or look for the club on Facebook.

With Tijuana in the background, the happy Vargas family poses for a photo with the Rotary volunteers who built their new house. LEFT TO RIGHT: Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik; West Sacramento Rotary President-elect Ken Wilson holding one of four blankets the group gave the family; the Vargas daughters, Winters Rotary Club member Cecil “Pancho” Padilla, Sara Vargas and Rotary Club of West Sacramento President Mike Campbell. Two donated blankets were made by members of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at West Sacramento’s River City High School in West Sacramento.  Click to enlarge.  (Photo by Ricardo Vargas)

With Tijuana in the background, the happy Vargas family poses for a photo with the Rotary volunteers who built their new house. LEFT TO RIGHT: Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik; West Sacramento Rotary President-elect Ken Wilson holding one of four blankets the group gave the family; the Vargas daughters, Winters Rotary Club member Cecil “Pancho” Padilla, Sara Vargas and Rotary Club of West Sacramento President Mike Campbell. Two donated blankets were made by members of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at West Sacramento’s River City High School in West Sacramento. Click to enlarge.
(Photo by Ricardo Vargas)

 

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Upcoming freeway project may cause trouble on West Sac city streets

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 2, 2014 —

West Sacramento officials expect planned freeway repairs in Sacramento to create a traffic impact on key West Sacramento roadways.

“Caltrans plans to replace the top deck on a segment of Highway 50 between 18th and 24th streets in Sacramento, a segment often identified as the ‘W-X freeway,’” reports city spokesman Art Schroeder.

It’s a key east-west connection in Sacramento.

Work will run from April 22 to about June 25.

[adrotate group=”9″]   It starts with construction on the eastbound lanes from April 22 to May 21, with three eastbound lanes (and all westbound lanes, onramps and offramps) remaining open.

From May 22 through the Memorial Day weekend May 24-26), all eastbound ramps and lanes reopen.

From May 27 to the completion date, work will proceed on the westbound side, with three westbound lanes (and all eastbound ones) open.

Local officials believe the work will cause traffic spillover onto other freeways as well as certain boulevards in West Sacramento. Those include Jefferson Boulevard, Harbor Boulevard, 5th Street, Tower Bridge Gateway and West Capitol Avenue.  Schroeder asked local motorists to drive patiently and consider mass transit, carpools, adjusted work schedules or working from home when possible during the course of the project.

West Sacramento asked Caltrans officials to delay the project until after kids are out of school in June, but Caltrans responded that it couldn’t.

West Sacramento has also asked Caltrans to reimburse the area’s businesses for losses incurred as traffic avoids U.S. 50.

For project information, visit www.fix50.com.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Two from Washington Unified School District are honored by county officials

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — March 26, 2014 —

The Yolo County School Boards Association honored a number of educators throughout the county at its annual dinner on March 17.

From the Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento, the association singled out for excellence Julie Hoskins, an “ELD” and categorical programs administrator, and the “BEST” program, led by Jerry Smith.

For local efforts of the Los Rios Community College District, the association gave honors to chemistry professor Dr. Bruce Zenner at Sacramento City College and the college’s program involvement in the West Sacramento Early College Prep Charter School. The college’s involvement in the charter school is led by Elizabeth Altschule.

Awards were presented by State Senator Lois Wolk and Assembly Member Mariko Yamada.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Volunteers from RCHS help out at ‘Shamrock Run,’ a trot for charity

 Interact Club members Shabrina Kumar, Karishma Betcha, Phillip Dinh and (RIGHT, front to back) Vanessa Yang, Rebecca Guan, Joelle Panugaling, Gordon Au stationed near the Auto Museum in Sacramento. At the Shamrock Run cancer/youth services benefit Saturday March 15, 30 Rotary-sponsored Interactors were among the volunteers. The Shamrock Run finished at West Sac’s Raley Field. (Photo by Lily He, River City High School Interact Club. Information submitted with assistance of Carol Bogart).

Interact Club members Shabrina Kumar, Karishma Betcha, Phillip Dinh and (RIGHT, front to back) Vanessa Yang, Rebecca Guan, Joelle Panugaling, Gordon Au stationed near the Auto Museum in Sacramento. At the Shamrock Run cancer/youth services benefit Saturday March 15, 30 Rotary-sponsored Interactors were among the volunteers. The Shamrock Run finished at West Sac’s Raley Field. (Photo by Lily He, River City High School Interact Club. Information submitted with assistance of Carol Bogart).

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 26, 2014 —

By Danny Thirakul
Interact Club, River City High School

Thirty members of the Interact Club at River City High School helped out with the Shamrock Run Saturday, March 15, which ended at West Sac’s Raley Field. The Shamrock Half-Marathon and 5k, sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds, benefited Project FIT, a non-profit youth fitness initiative. The Triumph Cancer Foundation, a Sacramento-based registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, benefited from the 5K.

The course began right outside Raley Field and traveled as far as Discovery Park to the streets of downtown Sacramento. Participants would see the First Aid Station positioned on 13th and F St. The last station they would see before crossing the finish line was on Front Street near the Auto Museum. They would then finish right where it started, but inside Raley Field. (Information source: http://www.shamrocknhalf.com.)

Danny Thirakul, 16, is a Junior at River City High School. He is writing here of his experience at the Shamrock Run while representing the school’s Interact Club. (courtesy photo)

Danny Thirakul, 16, is a Junior at River City High School. He is writing here of his experience at the Shamrock Run while representing the school’s Interact Club. (courtesy photo)

My duty as a volunteer was to work the Medal and Water Distribution station. As were all volunteers for that station, I was instructed to check in and be there at 7 a.m. After checking in, I headed straight for my station. To my surprise, though, there wasn’t a supervisor there to tell the other volunteers and me what to do.

However, there were staff members, but they only guided us in our ways of managing the station.

Since there was no real leadership, I took the initiative in leading the volunteers and a few Interact members. After I consulted with the staff, I then instructed everyone on what to do, assigning and grouping individuals with a task. When completed, I would give them a new one to do or tell them to help others who were struggling.

The true test of my leadership abilities occurred when waves of athletes finished running. As they came, I feared the runners receiving water and medals would crowd the exit for others. To prevent this from happening, I set up mini-stations along the cool-down path. This would allow the volunteers and me to distribute more and keep the runners moving. I was very proud of my handling of the situation, even when a few volunteers had to leave.

The staff also provided great support. They kept control of the crowd and maintained a steady pace of movement throughout the event. I was glad to see the volunteers and the staff working so well together. I want to thank the staff and other volunteers for collaborating with me. I know without them we wouldn’t have done such a great job. Thank you to Blue Diamond Almonds as well, for putting together this charitable event.

Carol Bogart, an adult volunteer, adds:
A first year Interactor, student writer Danny Thirakul says he originally joined Interact Club at River City High School “for the community service hours.” Then, he says, it was “so fun helping others in need with my Interact Club friends beside me” that he wishes he’d joined his Freshman year. He says, “If I could go back in time and run for a board position, I would do that as well.” Danny describes Interact as “a phenomenal club.” Danny and the other Interactor volunteers exemplify Rotary’s motto: ‘Service Above Self.’ Through the Interact Club, Interactors like Danny become connected to the community and, in Danny’s words, enhance their awareness of the difficulties of the world. River City High School’s Interact Club is co-sponsored by Rotary Club of West Sacramento and the Centennial Rotary Club of West Sacramento. The Interact Club Rotary adviser is Charyl Silva, Rotary Club of West Sacramento. The Interact Club adviser at RCHS is Brandon Duff, who teaches English.

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Former cop to serve life in prison

SERGIO ALVAREZ, accused West Sacramento Police Officer (booking photo, Yolo County Jail)

Former West Sac
police officer
Sergio Alvarez
(booking photo)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE – APRIL 5, 2014 –

  Disgraced former West Sacramento Police Officer Sergio Alvarez will spend the rest of his life in prison. He was sentenced Friday to a sentence of “205 years to life” for sexually assaulting a number of women while on patrol on the city’s streets.

  Prosecutors say he used his authority to coerce sex acts from at least five women. The victims were generally people living on society’s margins, whom Alvarez met while patrolling alone on the night shift. The women were “vulnerable members of our society,” said prosecutor Garrett Hamilton of the Yolo County District Attorney’s office.

  When one of the victims complained to the West Sacramento police department, detectives from the Sacramento Police Department helped investigate. A police spokesman told the News-Ledger that Sacramento police helped out due to the manpower demands of the investigation.

  Alvarez, 38, was arrested in early 2013. He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, and his attorney unsuccessfully argued that the officer had sex with several of the victims, but on a consensual basis, and that he had never met other alleged victims. He was a West Sacramento resident and family man before his arrest.

  After nine days of deliberations, a Yolo county jury on Feb. 27 found Alvarez guilty of 18 felony counts. On Friday, the sentence came down from Judge Timothy Fall.

  Said Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig in a press statement yesterday:

   “Hamilton and the Sacramento P.D. detectives put their heart and soul into this case. As a result of their dedication, justice was served and Alvarez will never be able to harm again.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014