Tag Archives: west sacramento newspaper

Cyclist dies after Southport crash

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 11, 2013 —

A bicyclist hit by a car in rural Southport on August 23 has died of his injuries.

The Sacramento County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as West Sacramento’s Kevin Cavanaugh.

According to Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department, the accident occurred at about 8:40 p.m. He added:

“The preliminary investigation indicates a bicyclist was riding southbound on Jefferson Boulevard.  Witnesses report the bicyclist rode into oncoming traffic and was struck by a single vehicle traveling northbound on Jefferson Boulevard.  The bicyclist sustained serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to the UC Davis Medical Center.”

Cavanaugh died four days later.

Police closed a stretch of Jefferson Boulevard when they responded to investigate.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

‘Cats 101’: a dog person brushes up

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 28, 2013 —

Over the years I have written numerous columns about dogs. I have talked at great length about my own beloved Cocker Spaniel, Mikey, including a column about the terrible day I had to finally put him to sleep. I also wrote a little series of columns about my daughter’s crazy adopted dog, Little Suze, who needed to be put on doggie Prozac because of her separation anxiety and fear of abandonment issues. I even got a good friend mad at me because I wrote about how it’s dachshunds (she loves them) that you need to be worried about biting you, not pit bulls, because weiner dogs bite more people each year than any other breed of dog. In fact, I even got in trouble for calling them weiner dogs, which apparently is something a real dachshund-lover would never do.

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

Anyway, I have really enjoyed writing dog columns over the years, and since there are so many dog owners in West Sacramento who can relate to the trials, tribulations and joys of having a dog, I have often received quite a bit of positive feedback from writing them. However, after last week’s column, which was about what to do with the family dog when vacation time rolls around, I received a phone call that started off with a rather alarming question.

“So,” asked the caller, “what’s your problem with cats?”

“But I don’t have a problem with cats,” I quickly assured her.

“Then how come you only write about dogs?”

“Well,” I said, scrambling for an answer, “I guess it’s because I’ve never owned a cat and don’t know much about them.”

“Then you do have a problem with cats!”

“No, not really, it’s just that I was raised in a house with dogs and have always liked having one around. And then when I got married, it turned out that my daughter was very allergic to cats, so that was the one pet my kids were never allowed to  have.”

“So, you’re blaming your hatred of cats on your daughter’s allergies, hey?”

As our conversation continued, it dawned on me that cat lovers take their relationships with cats very seriously and that in journalistic fairness, I did need to learn more about cats and maybe even write a column about them. The only cat I had ever been around was a big fat black and white one named Timmy, who belonged to my brother and often made us laugh by the way he would sleep on top of my brother’s warm television set in the winter time and then sooner or later fall off of it, landing with a big thud on the carpet. My brother was very proud of the fact that Timmy was apparently the only cat in existence who didn’t know how to land on his feet when he fell off of something.

So, in preparation for writing this column, I decided to call a very nice lady and longtime subscriber of the News-Ledger that I was sure knew everything there is to know about cats (she has a whole house full of them) and our conversation went a little something like this:

“Why do you suddenly want to know all about my cats?” she asked me.

“Because I got called out the other day for only writing about dogs in my newspaper column.”

“Oh, I’ve noticed that, too. But maybe you’re just a dog person. You know, it’s really true that there are dog people and then there are cat people, and they’re very different.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“I’m not really sure,” she said, “but I think it has something to do with the fact that cats are a lot more complicated than dogs, and a cat owner has to expend a lot more mental and emotional energy to successfully cohabitate with them.”

“How so?” I asked with interest.

“Well, first of all, you have to take the time to understand all their peculiar behaviors. For instance, you have to learn what all their different vocalizations mean. Cats meow and purr and trill and hiss and make all kinds of other strange sounds that all have a meaning, and if you don’t know what a cat is trying to tell you, you can end up making them miserable, not to mention getting yourself scratched or bitten. They are also nocturnal and territorial by nature, sleep a whole lot during the day, need to scratch and knead, scent mark everything in sight, and God forbid you don’t keep their litter box clean.”

“You know,” I said, “I’m afraid all I really know about cats is that I read somewhere that they kill over 65 million birds all over the world every year, not to mention all the countless vermin they pounce on and kill nightly.”

“It’s true that cats are little killing machines,” said my friend, “and many of their unique behaviors come from the fact that we only think we can totally domesticate them. All I know is that I have always loved cats and I can’t imagine life without having them around.”

“So, of all your cats, which one is your favorite?” I asked.

“Oh, that would be a big old loveable tomcat I’ve had for ages.”

“What makes him so special?”

“Oh, I don’t know, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that he’s just like my husband.”

“Really? How so?”

“Well, among other things, he expects to be fed on time, he walks away from me when I’m talking to him, and, if I were to ever let him stay out at night, he would get himself into all kinds of trouble.”

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

New park is part of health outreach for northern West Sacramento

Kids on the playground at the August 20 opening of Westfield Park. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser)

Kids on the playground at the August 20 opening of Westfield Park. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 28, 2013 —

  Information in this report comes chiefly from Edwin Garcia, Media Relations Specialist for Kaiser Permanente.

On Tuesday of last week (August 20), local civic leaders and local families celebrated the opening of West Sacramento’s newest city park. Westfield Park — adjacent to Westfield Village Elementary School — resulted from a “grassroots effort led by parents, a unique partnership between a coalition of stakeholders – including the city of West Sacramento, and Washington Unified School District – and a $150,000 Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grant awarded to Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA),” reports Edwin Garcia, a Kaiser Permanente spokesman.

“This is an amazing day for all of us,” said Katie Villegas, executive director of the YCCA, in a press release from Kaiser. Villegas is a West Sacramento resident and local school board member. She leads the YCCA, a Davis-based organization that worked with parents, city officials, county representatives, school board members and local organizations to create the park.

Visitors at the park’s inauguration included Robert Azevedo, M.D., the physician-in-chief of Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento; West Sacramento City Councilman Oscar Villegas and other city officials; Washington Unified School District Superintendent Dayton Gilleland; school district board President Mary Leland; Westfield Village School Principal Ryan Gonzales; and Yolo County Supervisors Mike McGowan and Don Saylor.

Several of the speakers at Tuesday’s ceremony recalled how a group of neighborhood parents several years ago lobbied the city council, parks and recreation staff, and school district representatives, for a park in a neighborhood that never had one.

The neighborhood might be called an “underserved” community, with few local recreation assets.

Eventually, city and school district officials came up with a plan, reported Kaiser spokesman Garcia: the district would transfer to the city part of a grassy field at Westfield Village School, and the city would design and build a park. Funding, however, was a major obstacle.

In the meantime, YCCA, a non-profit, was working on projects to improve the health of children and adults in West Sacramento – and some of the parents involved in its programs were the same ones who, years earlier, had lobbied the city for a park.

The effort to create the park, and the neighborhood initiatives headed by YCCA – such as the desire to reduce childhood obesity, increasing nutrition awareness, and offering Zumba classes to parents – found to be in alignment with Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating Active Living initiative.

The Kaiser Permanente grant in late 2011 added momentum to the effort to build the park.

Dr. Robert Azevedo Physician in Chief for Kaiser Permanente in the region, addresses the West Sacramento crowd (photo courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser Permanente)

Dr. Robert Azevedo
Physician in Chief for Kaiser Permanente in the region, addresses the West Sacramento crowd
(photo courtesy of Edwin Garcia/Kaiser Permanente)

“This really fits well with what Kaiser Permanente is about, in promoting good health and disease prevention,” said Dr. Azevedo. “We’re very pleased to be part of this program. It is wonderful to see these families out here being active and part of the community.”

As Dr. Azevedo spoke, several children were already climbing, jumping and running at the park’s new play structure.

“I am very happy because now we have a place to bring our children to play; we know how important it is for them to exercise,” said Lourdes Maya, a mother of a 9-year-old girl, and boys ages 7 and 5, who live within a 10 minute walk of the new park.

West Sacramento’s park master plan calls for a play structure for older kids, a covered barbecue area, a drinking fountain, a 6-foot-wide walking path, an exercise par course, and connections to a bike/pedestrian trail located at the western edge of the park.

The park is located on Poplar Avenue just across a newly built fence from Westfield Village School, between West Capitol and Sacramento avenues.

Councilman Oscar Villegas thanked the parents for their efforts. Some of them have since taken the role of promotoras – lay people who are trained to be neighborhood health advocates through YCCA and funded by the Kaiser Permanente grant. “I really want to thank the promotoras,” Councilman Villegas said. “Without their initiative and their stick-to-it-iveness this would not have happened. As you can see, many of them are enjoying the park right now, with their children.”

The Kaiser HEAL grant also has helped fund the implementation of “Playworks: Make Recess Count,” a school-based program that trains adult volunteers to lead out in physical activities during recess at Westfield Village.

 

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  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

 

Donate your household stuff: charity will collect goods in West Sacramento

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — 

Donate your extra household items (appliances, area rugs, furniture, blankets, clothing, lamps, cookware, lawn furniture, computers and more) and help those in need. “Bundle Sunday” is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 7-8. The donation truck from St. Vincent de Paul will be at Our Lady of Grace Church, 911 Park Blvd., from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday and 8-1 on Sunday. Certain items can’t be accepted. For more information, call Paul Starkey at 972-1212 or email paulstarkey@wavecable.com.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

9/11 flag display returns to West Sac

VISITORS TO LAST YEAR'S DISPLAY: West Sacramento’s Cheng Saetern takes a photo of son Derrick Saelee; watching are family members Sharon Saechao and (partially hidden) Abigail Saelee (News-Ledger photo, 2012)

VISITORS TO LAST YEAR’S DISPLAY: West Sacramento’s Cheng Saetern takes a photo of son Derrick Saelee; watching are family members Sharon Saechao and (partially hidden) Abigail Saelee (News-Ledger photo, 2012)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — SEPT. 6, 2013 —

John Vinson will bring back his big annual flag display tomorrow.

He promises 400 large American flags and almost 3,000 smaller flags, with each one commemorating a single one of the lives lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The display will go up Saturday at its usual location, the east side of Jefferson Boulevard at South River Road.

This year’s memorial will also include a display honoring those who died in the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013.

JOHN VINSON (courtesy photo)

JOHN VINSON (courtesy photo)

Vinson, a former West Sacramento resident, has led a team of volunteers putting up the display every year since 2001.

The memorial will be open to the public 24 hours a day through Wednesday, September 11, he reports. In addition to the flags, the display typically includes an exhibit honoring firefighters who responded and perished in the Twin Towers bombing on 9/11/01.

This year, the West Sacramento flag display will be the site of a coordinated, nation-wide observance of the terrorist attacks. A bugler from “Buglers Across America” will be on hand to play “Taps” at the exact anniversary of the moment of impact of each of the airplanes that crashed during the 2001 attacks.

Visit the Southport site at 5:45 a.m., 6:03 a.m., 6:13 a.m. or 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11, to hear “Taps” played.

Afterward, there will be silent prayer and follow-up rendition of “Taps” at this site and at other locations across the U.S.

“Last year, we had over 2,000 attendees and we hope it will be well attended again this year,” emailed Vinson.

The site is located along Jefferson about a mile south of U.S.50, at South River Road.

 

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  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

 

Air Force JROTC starts up at River City High School

NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER — AUG 28, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A military officer prep program has returned to West Sacramento’s main high school after an absence of many years.

This time, it’s the Air Force which is on the River City High School campus for its “JROTC,” or Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Principal Katie Nemer says the program is being held in three class-loads. And it’s popular.

KATIE NEMER Principal at RCHS in West Sacramento (WUSD website photo)

KATIE NEMER
Principal at RCHS in West Sacramento
(WUSD website photo)

“We have about 110 signed up,” said Nemer. “We actually have a waiting list of about 45 kids. It’s a year-long class – it teaches military history, avionics, national security – everything you could think of to prepare for a career in the military.”

“But,” added Nemer, “the purpose is not necessarily for them to join the military, it’s to learn what they need to know to become good members of the community.”

The coursework is led by Air Force Colonel Russell Warner and an enlisted Air Force enlisted man. In an email, Warner echoed Nemer’s comment, saying the JROTC program’s mission  is to “develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.”

For some students in the new program, JROTC may be a path towards officer status in the Air Force. But for how many?

“It’s too early to tell that,” Nemer told the News-Ledger. “Many think they will go into the military. But that’s not our purpose. The purpose is to provide what they need to become excellent citizens.”

The year-long coursework is heavy on physical conditioning. Participating freshmen get physical education credit; higher-level students get “elective” credit for the JROTC class.

Principal Nemer said nobody has protested the involvement of a military program on campus.

“It’s just the opposite,” she commented. “I can’t tell you how many people have been saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’”

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Native plants bring native pollinators: the right plants bring butterflies in Yolo

Anise Swallowtail Butterfly, photo courtesy of Mieko Watkins of Tuleyome. (Click to enlarge)

Anise Swallowtail Butterfly, photo courtesy of Mieko Watkins of Tuleyome. (Click to enlarge)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 28, 2013 —

By Nancy Bauer
Tuleyome Association

My native habitat gardening journey started almost 20 years ago, right after viewing a slide show presentation by two passionate butterfly gardeners. The magic of those butterfly gardens resurrected memories of a favorite childhood garden— a glorious tangle of fragrant flowers, hanging vines, and sweet purple grapes.  Growing wild next to the vegetable garden was a stand of milkweed that brought in Monarch butterflies in the late summer, and later fascinated me with fluffy seed heads that floated off in the wind.

Most everyone wants to see butterflies in the garden, but true pollinator habitat means planting for the butterfly caterpillars, too. The female butterfly lays her eggs on specific host plants and these are the only plants that caterpillar species can feed on.  They can be anything from trees and shrubs to grasses and other ground plants.  For some butterflies, like the Monarch, there is only one host plant—milkweed.  With Monarch populations in serious decline we need to plant milkweed, especially along the Monarch’s migratory route.  (In northern California, Monarchs migrate around September.)  There are various native milkweeds to choose from including narrowleaf milkweed and showy milkweed.

In the Sacramento area, the once common West Coast Lady and Anise Swallowtail butterflies are now much harder to find.  The West Coast Ladies and Painted Ladies use lupines and members of the mallow family, such as checkerbloom, desert or bush mallow, and cheeseweed for their host plants. The black and yellow Anise Swallowtail uses members of the carrot family (umbellifers).  Avoid non-native invasive wild fennel, and stick with lovage, angelica, bronze fennel, culinary fennels, parsley, or dill to attract this butterfly to your garden.  The Western Tiger Swallowtail is also frequent visitor and use willows as host plants.  Another common garden butterfly in our region, the Buckeye, uses snapdragons and their relatives as hosts.  If you find black caterpillars on your snapdragons, you may be hosting Buckeye butterflies.  Be sure to plant enough to share!

Where the orange-and-black Monarch butterfly comes from: this caterpillar. Photo courtesy of Mary Hanson, Tuleyome. (Click to enlarge)

Where the orange-and-black Monarch butterfly comes from: this caterpillar. Photo courtesy of Mary Hanson, Tuleyome. (Click to enlarge)

If you want to find out which butterflies hang out in your neighborhood, plant a butterfly bush and buy a good butterfly guide.  When you have identified the butterflies, plant their caterpillar food plants.  The huge aster-sunflower family provides us with many good butterfly nectar plants, and they offer a broad landing platform. Be sure to plant your nectar flowers in drifts of just one species, which is much more attractive to butterflies and other pollinators than if you plant many different nectar flowers, but only one of each kind. The key to creating habitat for butterflies and other pollinators is to grow a diversity of good nectar plants that bloom in different seasons.  Put your butterfly host plants near nectar plants but in the more “wild” parts of the garden where there is less activity and foot traffic.  Be an informal (and organic) gardener.  Be less eager to prune and clean up:  butterfly chrysalides could be hiding most anywhere in the garden

The first butterflies to arrive in my garden nectar on my native sages which bloom early in spring.  In late spring and summer, they have moved to the buddleias, verbenas, and scabiosa, and in the fall, they nectar on asters, Michelmas daisies and Mexican sunflowers (which is a favorite of Monarch butterflies).  This year, I was thrilled to see pipevine swallowtails and their caterpillars on the Dutchman’s pipe; and because I grow coffeeberry, creambush, willow and ceanothus, I frequently see Pale Swallowtails, Spring Azures, and Lorquin’s Admirals in my garden. Plant for butterflies.  They will come.

  Nancy Bauer is a wildlife habitat gardener in Sonoma County, and is the author of “The California Wildlife Habitat Garden” (UC Press, 2012, ISBN 0520267818).  Photos by Mieko Watkins and Mary K. Hanson; used with permission.  Tuleyome Tales is a monthly publication of Tuleyome, a conservation organization with offices in Woodland and Napa, California. For more information go online to www.tuleyome.org.

 

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  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