Tag Archives: west sacramento news

Controversial, downed ‘butternut’ tree becomes West Sacramento park sculpture

KIDS TEST THE ELEPHANT SCULPTURE headed for Emile ‘Whitey’ Boisclair Park on Lake Washington Boulevard. The beast is currently waiting at a Sacramento art studio. (photo courtesy of artist Adam Bradley)

KIDS TEST THE ELEPHANT SCULPTURE headed for Emile ‘Whitey’ Boisclair Park on Lake Washington Boulevard. The beast is currently waiting at a Sacramento art studio. (photo courtesy of artist Adam Bradley)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 29, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

From something old, something new:

Thanks to the City of West Sacramento, a Sacramento sculptor, a chainsaw, and a deal with a West Sacramento preservation group, a hunk of that old “butternut tree” removed from the Bridge District in 2010 will soon see new life in a local park.

Artist Adam Bradley has turned the chunk into the bust of an elephant, soon to be installed as a climbable play structure in a Southport park. The city has just finished soliciting bids for the installation work. Kids will begin clambering on the elephant sometime in the next few months at Emile “Whitey” Boisclair Park, 1728 Lake Washington Boulevard.

“Butternut tree” is in quotes here because, while environmentalists fought so save the big tree in the belief that it might be the largest butternut specimen in existence, city officials say it really wasn’t.  It was neither a butternut nor “a tree,” they told the News-Ledger, and it hadn’t (as some believed) been alive since the 1850s.

That is: the tree wasn’t one specimen, but three grown together, said city urban forest manager Dena Kirtley. That was apparent after the West Sacramento Conservancy lost its preservation battle and the tree was removed to make way for Bridge District development.

“You could clearly see the three trunks,” she commented last week.

Long before that, UC Davis walnut expert Chuck Leslie looked at the nuts from the tree and concluded they were “classic examples of paradox (walnut) nuts – they don’t even resemble a butternut.” The “paradox walnut” is a hybrid of black and English walnuts. The big tree didn’t have a graft line, so city officials think it grew from seeds and not from nursery stock.

The massive tree on Tower Street -- between Raley Field and the US 50 freeway bridge -- in 2010. (Photo by ERIC HARDING, www.ebharding@me.com.  The original image was stitched together from a number of smaller images)

The massive tree on Tower Street — between Raley Field and the US 50 freeway bridge — in 2010.
(Photo by ERIC HARDING, www.ebharding@me.com. The original image was stitched together from a number of smaller images)

CalTrans photos supplied by the city and the memories of a former resident near the tree site, Dale Payne, seemed to support the theory that the tree was much younger than 150 years old. So did a look at the growth rings after it was chopped, said Kirtley.

But the tree on Tower Street, just north of the US 50 bridge over the river was, by all accounts, very big.

The conservancy’s Jeri Wingfield reported in 2010:

“I went and got a long measuring tape and asked my husband Bill to help me measure it. It was something like 22 feet, four inches around.”

In any event, following a controversy argued out on both sides of the Sacramento River, the big tree came down in 2010.  But not before a legal challenge and a settlement between the City of West Sacramento and the West Sacramento Conservancy. Some of the terms of that deal:

“The city will plant 45 specimen trees (24-inch box) in heritage groves. The selection of the trees, planting sites, and planting process will be determined in consultation with the Conservancy,” a City of West Sacramento press release said at the time. “The city will install a commemorative plaque recognizing the large, hybrid butternut tree. The city will arrange to have the wood from the tree reused in a manner that respects the size and quality of the wood, including artwork, furniture and other interior decorations that can be viewed by the public. A cross-section of the tree trunk showing the rings and age of the tree will be donated to the West Sacramento Historical Society.”

The City also agreed to install a monument honoring the 1850s-era C.W. Reed nursery at the site, although officials don’t believe the big tree came from the nursery. That plaque has been designed by local artist Jahn Kloss. It hasn’t yet been installed.

The City’s Dena Kirtley said local government made several big chunks of the downed tree available to “as many local wood sculptors and artists as we could find.”

Artist Robert Beauchamp of Zamora made a “really nice bench with end tables” that will go outside the city council chambers,” she told the News-Ledger.

“Adam Bradley ended up with the very large chunk,” added Kirtley. “It was from the base of the tree, so it was pretty massive.”

That’s the one that is headed for the park playground.

“I think it was just under 5,000 pounds when I received it,” Bradley told the News-Ledger. “It probably lost 500-600 pounds of water weight (before carving).”

Why an elephant?

“He lets the wood talk to him,” said Kirtley. “We both saw the elephant, actually.”

“We looked at this piece we liked, and at the material, and imagined what it could be,” said Bradley. “It definitely had the shape of an elephant’s head. I did some drawings with an elephant’s bust in mind, and the city liked that.”

The entire elephant project – including installation – will cost about $16,000, said Kirtley. She said that is not too different from the cost of installing a play structure at a park. The carving cost was about $4,500.

“I didn’t count the specific (labor) hours,” said Bradley. “I’ve probably got about 50 hours into carving it. We used chainsaws and power tools. We sculpted it with the chainsaw and detailed it with power tools.”

Because of the elephant’s massive size and the fact that it will be mounted off the ground, Kirtley and Bradley believe it will last “for decades.” That’s even with a bunch of little kids climbing up the elephant’s trunk.

Information about Bradley’s “DAB Art Studio” in Sacramento is at dab-art.weebly.com.

The tree came because the low spot it sat in was deemed the best place for some infrastructure in the city’s Bridge District, north of the freeway.

  JERI WINGFIELD, member of the West Sacramento  Conservancy (courtesy/file photo)

JERI WINGFIELD, member of the West Sacramento
Conservancy
(courtesy/file photo)

What does the West Sacramento Conservancy think of the elephant sculpture that is coming out of the deal over the old “butternut tree”?

Member Jeri Wingfield, speaking for herself, still mourns the old tree on Tower Street.

“It was a beautiful tree, and it’s too bad it had to go, but the way the world is, you have to go with it,” she recently told the News-Ledger. “I think the City tried to make a good bargain with us. . . Having a beautiful sculpture come out of it is terrific.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Help name a new city park

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Do you know someone or something worth honoring through the naming of a local park?

The City of West Sacramento is accepting nominations for a name to attach to a new park to be built at the confluence of West Capitol, Evergreen and Sycamore avenues. Name suggestions will be forwarded to the city parks commission and then the city council. Pick up a nomination form at the Parks & Recreation desk at the community center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue, or online at westsacfun.org.

Turn it in at the community center desk by 5 p.m. on June 21.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

EDITORIAL: ‘guerilla gardening’ can be taken to the next level

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 22, 2013 —

NEWS-LEDGER EDITORIAL

Last week, the mayor and city council honored a local community group for its civic improvement efforts. That honor came with a plaque, along with a wink and a nod.

The plaque came for the efforts of the “Friends of the Main Drain Parkway” to reclaim a strip of city land near Venice Street and put it to good use. Several years ago, these Southport residents created a community garden on that spot, The garden is a success, governed by a sense of neighborhood etiquette.

Paying heed to the adage, “Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission,” they didn’t get a city permit at first. It was a fine example of “guerrilla gardening,” and these folks created a community asset by skipping the usual red tape.

The city council more recently made the group a more formal, legitimate user of the land.

There are those, elsewhere, who take “guerrilla gardening” to the next level, the New York Times has reported on several occasions. Sneak-gardeners do hit-and run plantings of butterfly bush on neglected traffic circles in London, they plant community vegetable gardens in vacant lots in Los Angeles and they surreptitiously graft branches of fruit trees onto compatible ornamentals in San Francisco parks.

Their motives?

Performance art, civic beautification, serving the “local food” movement or just bringing fresh produce to poor neighborhoods.

Growing food, in fact, is a frequent theme of these gardeners.

Now, sometimes this kind of thing isn’t practical. For example, there are places where a fruit tree might make an undesirable mess.

But the upsides are clear: lots are beautified and people get some good food. And, like their compatriots in Southport, the fact that these urban garden warriors are willing to take the time and trouble to plant, graft and tend their public crops shows, at the very least, that somebody cares.

It’s important to remember that caring itself is something that can grow and thrive like a carefully tended bean plant basking in the sun.

 

  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-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

 

West Sacramentans participate in mail carriers’ food drive, help out local food bank

[adrotate group=”7″] FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 22, 2013 —

The annual food drive collected by the area’s mail carriers was called a success by the Yolo County Food Bank, which benefited from the drive.

Residents were asked to leave their bagged food donations outside for mail carriers to pick up on Saturday, May 11. The “Stamp Out Hunger” operation was the 21st annual such drive.

“The grand total of donations received by (the food bank) on behalf of the food drive is 16,525, with 6,720 from West Sacramento residents and 9,805 from Woodland residents,” reported Amanda McCarthy of the Food Bank of Yolo County. “This sets a new record for donations through ‘Stamp Out Hunger’!”

The drive takes place across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

[adrotate group=”9″] Donations from West Sacramento and Woodland were earmarked for the Food Bank and its nonprofit partners. Donations made in Davis went to the Short Term Emergency Aid Committee (S.T.E.A.C.). Donations in Winters went to the food closet at the Winters Baptist Church.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Placer High ousts River City tennis

From River City
High School

After playoff wins over Marysville, Colfax, and Escalon, the 2013 tennis season ended for the River City High School Tennis Team with a 7 to 2 defeat against Placer in the final of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III team championships on May 17.  The Raiders received wins from Lily He, 6-1,3-6,7-5 at #2 girls singles, and the #2 girls doubles team of Lilly Tong and Nicole Melido, 7-5,6-0.

“We came out a little flat, with not enough energy for such an important match,” said RCHS Coach Dave Brooks.  “I don’t think we were overwhelmed by the occasion, playing in the Section final, but I think we were just a little too low on fuel after the big wins over Colfax in the quarterfinals and Escalon in the semis.  We battled back in some matches, but Placer was too strong today.  It was a great season for RC Tennis, and this was the furthest we’ve gone in the playoffs since 2004.”

The Raiders finished the year 11 and 1 in the Sierra Valley Conference to secure the team’s 17th league championship in the past 18 seasons, and 23-2 overall.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Band of blue light atop port tower

  The 200-foot tower at the Port of West Sacramento lit up with an LED band of blue light, above, in an artist’s simulation (Courtesy of the City of West Sacramento)

The 200-foot tower at the Port of West Sacramento lit up with an LED band of blue light, above, in an artist’s simulation (Courtesy of the City of West Sacramento)

NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 29, 2013 —

A tall structure at the Port of West Sacramento will soon sport a blue band of light near the top – part of a general effort to spruce up the facility and increase public awareness about it.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon recently quipped that a lot of West Sacramento residents don’t know there is a port, even though some of them live in a neighborhood called “Southport.” The facility is actually near the geographical center of the city, near Harbor and Industrial boulevards.

For just about $20,000, the port is contracting with Fluoresco Lighting and Signs to put up the LED lights with blue acrylic facing. The ten-inch wide lights will be mounted near the top of the 200-foot grain elevator.

Electricity costs will be part of the operation cost for the port, which is now leased to a private operator.

The blue band is expected to be lit at night beginning by July 1, a city official told the News-Ledger.

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-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).

Copright News-Ledger 2013

Free help for dogs, owners

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MAY 30, 2013 —

“West Sacramento Neighborhood Dog Days” is coming to West Sacramento on Sunday, June 2. A bunch of free help is available to dog owners.

Bring your dog in for free rabies & puppy shots, vouchers for spaying & neutering, free collars and leashes, free veterinary exams and ID tags.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Riverbank Elementary School, 1100 Carrie Street.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013