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School board election recap: comments from Castillo, Kirby-Gonzalez & mayor

SARAH KIRBY-GONZALEZ: Voters’ top choice to fill empty school board seat (News-Ledger photo)

SARAH
KIRBY-GONZALEZ:
Voters’ top choice to fill empty school board seat
(News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 13, 2013 —

Teachers unions and school reform groups choose sides with their checkbooks in record-setting race —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters last week elected a teacher to the school board —  after a record-setting campaign battle between the two top candidates.

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, a Southport resident who teaches in the Folsom-Cordova school district, was picked to fill the remaining 18 months or so of a school board term in the local Washington Unified School District. She received 2,794 votes, or 51.2 percent of the ballots cast in the all-mail election on March 5.

Following her was Francisco Castillo, a public affairs executive with the school reform group StudentsFirst.He pulled in 1,425 votes, or 26.1 percent of the vote.

Rounding out the field were Linh Nguyen, with 782 votes (14.3%), Katherine Gales with 258 votes (4.7%) and Nicholas Scott Turney, with 202 votes (3.7%).

[adrotate group=”9″] 5,520 ballots were cast, or 23.9 percent of local registered voters.

The race – even though it was for only a partial school board term – appeared to set some spending records. Castillo approached $60,000 in campaign contributions as the election neared, with notable contributions from charter school advocates and entities connected to StudentsFirst, a school reform group.

At the same time, Kirby-Gonzalez was approaching half that amount – with strong support from area teachers’ unions.

The campaign contribution numbers may go up further as campaigns finish reporting them after the election.

FRANCISCO CASTILLO Leading fundraiser in election, with a second-place finish (News-Ledger photo) (News-Ledger photo)

FRANCISCO CASTILLO
Leading fundraiser in election, with a second-place finish
(News-Ledger photo)
(News-Ledger photo)

“I think it’s time for us to rally around the candidate who won,” Castillo told the News-Ledger after the ballots were counted. “It’s time to congratulate Sarah, who ran a great campaign.”

“I’m going to continue to stay involved,” he added. “I want to start some kind of parent advocate network in West Sacramento. I want to talk to the business community and see if they will get more involved in education in West Sacramento. We don’t need to be a school board member to implement some of these ideas.”

Kirby-Gonzalez, the winner, will be sworn at Thursday’s board meeting by her father, Auburn city councilman Dr. Bill Kirby, who will visit for the occasion.

What will she try to accomplish from Day One?

“Right away, it’s just about working well with everybody, establishing relationships in town and on the board,” said Kirby-Gonzalez. “My first goal is to make connections.”

As far as policy:

“My biggest focus is always on curriculum, first and foremost,” she said.

The News-Ledger asked Castillo whether the public made its choice based on a perception of him as a “school reform” candidate and her as a “teachers’ union” candidate.

“I think voters made a choice, but this wasn’t about reform voices versus teachers’ unions,” Castillo answered.

“I think he’s right,” Kirby-Gonzalez said after being told of Castillo’s comment. “I talked to hundreds and hundreds of voters. None of them brought up StudentsFirst. We didn’t talk about the opponents, we just talked about us. They wanted to know why I was running.”

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon supported Castillo – as did various city council members, school board members and Yolo County Supervisor Michael McGowan. He agreed that the “teachers versus reformers” characterization didn’t fly among local voters, although similar school board election battles were occurring all over the country.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (News-Ledger file photo)

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon
(News-Ledger file photo)

“I think that (perception) was largely in the minds of mostly-outside pundits,” Cabaldon commented. “Within this community, it was a local election, with the candidates describing their qualifications and not attacking each other. We had a crop of good candidates step forward to run.”

Was Cabaldon shocked by the amount of money in this WUSD campaign?

“Yes and no,” he answered. “As mayor of our city, yes. To say it’s impressive is a vast understatement for a school board race in our community.”

But he said similar battles are now being raged around the country.

Though Castillo lost, Cabaldon said he had confidence in Kirby-Gonzalez.

“Sarah is a very good candidate and she will be a good board member,” he said.

This special election resulted from a citizen’s petition which the mayor had supported, while others decried the election’s cost. Citizens unhappy about how the school board had initially filled the vacant seat called for the election.

Cabaldon said he is pleased at the outcome, despite the fact that the candidate he supported didn’t win.

“The key was that the voters got to make the decision, and the community and district are all better off for having this discussion about the issues in our district,” said Cabaldon.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Gas line error: ‘little danger,’ says FD

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER, MARCH 13, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A mistake by a PG&E work crew led to overpressurization of a business customer’s gas line in January.

The utility company filed a mandatory “non-compliance report” about the incident with the California Public Utilities Commission, but local fire officials told the News-Ledger the event didn’t appear to pose a serious danger to the public.

The event occurred on Jan. 15 at a distribution business on the 1300-block of Jefferson Boulevard, when a PG&E crew responded to the report of a gas smell and a leak.

“During the leak repair, an employee inadvertently shut in the relief valve” on the customer’s line, “allowing pressure to build up in the service pipe,” said the PG&E report. “Approximately 250 feet of 1-inch and ½-inch plastic service was overpressurized for approximately one minute, until the crew corrected the error and opened the valve to allow pressure relief.”

The line was rated for a maximum operating pressure of 60 psig (pounds per square inch gauge. An attached gauge maxed out at its 150 psig reading, “however, the pressure in the service may have reached as high as 650 psig, which was the operating pressure in the upstream transmission line,” said PG&E.

[adrotate group=”7″]  After relieving the pressure, the crew took the equipment out of service for replacement. In the meantime, they provided portable compressed natural gas to the customer.

Fire Marshal Brian Johnson noted that the involved lines were fairly small, and the mishap occurred outdoors.

“It was a small distribution line,” he told the News-Ledger. “Less than one inch. With natural gas, it’s half as light as air, so it will go up into the atmosphere. It’s when it gets up in a building – a room or something – that’s when it gets dangerous.”

Fire Chief Al Terrell agreed, comparing it to a fatal gas line explosion in the Bay Area in 2010.

“From my point of view, it wasn’t as big an event as it may have seemed,” said Terrell. “Everything was well taken care of by the first responders, (city) public works and PG&E. It was nowhere near what happened in San Bruno.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

‘Police Log’ for West Sacramento

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 13, 2013 —

  News items below are collected from police dispatchers’ notes and arrest reports. The information in them has often not been verified beyond the initial reports. This feature is printed virtually every week in the News-Ledger newspaper, and we occasionally make it available online here. To see it every week, look to the bottom for a special subscription offer.

March 8, 5:35 p.m.
A woman returned to her car parked on the 1200-block of Harbor Boulevard to find a passenger-side window broken. Gone from inside were a cello, a clarinet, and a “1937 wooden bassoon,” all worth about $3300.

March 7, 6:20 a.m.
A witness reported there was a man “stumbling along Fernwood, walking into yards (and he) appeared to be weaving.”

March 7, 7:17 a.m.
A businessperson at a hotel on the 800-block of West Capitol reported someone came into the office while staff was in the other room, and stole from the change drawer.

March 7, 7:17 a.m.
A flat-screen TV was removed from a motel room on the 1900-block of West Capitol. The motel had information on a suspect.

March 7, 9:15 a.m.
Someone stole a “fish finder” device worth about $300 from a boat parked on a trailer on Merced Way.

[adrotate group=”7″] March 7, 9:49 a.m.
A resident of Aleutian Island Street “just arrived home to find the house ransacked.” Gone were a laptop, jewelry and other items.

March 7, 11:21 a.m.
A Seaport Blvd. business reported catching an employee trying to steal food items the night before.

March 7, 12:32 p.m.
A man in Southport reported his “ex-girlfriend posed as him on Facebook in an attempt to gain information about him from friends and family.”

March 7, 1:29 p.m.
At a barber shop on Sacramento Avenue: two 20-something men “just got haircuts and ran out without paying.” They were now in a car in the parking lot.

March 7, 1:44 p.m.
A Roma Court address was reported to have been burglarized about one hour earlier. Missing were two laptop computers, video games, jewelry, an electric guitar and other items valued at over $10,000.

March 7, 2:34 p.m.
A Manzanita Way church reported someone had left graffiti there a week earlier.

March 7, 4:24 p.m.
A woman reported she had left a purse on a counter at the library on Merkley Avenue, then returned to find it gone, along with the wallet, ID and credit cards it contained.

March 7, 5:27 p.m.
A house was reported burglarized on Diane Drive.

March 7, 10:05 p.m.
A Town Center Plaza store reported that a known shoplifter “dumped merchandise while attempting to leave through the fire door.” The man left in a waiting van. The store said it had an open case against the fellow already.

March 8, 11:17 a.m.
A woman asked to speak to an officer in the police lobby, reporting she “knows who has been setting fires” in the area of Jefferson Blvd. and South River Road.

March 8, 1:34 p.m.
A caller from Walnut Street said a female had “attempted to cut (the caller’s) brother with a hacksaw.”

March 8, 2:40 p.m.
A Solano Street home was found burglarized. The back door had been pried open, and jewelry and other items were taken.

March 8, 4:33 p.m.
A car parked at a Harbor Boulevard restaurant was found burglarized. Missing were a laptop and other electronics.

March 8, 5:11 p.m.
A clinic on Industrial Boulevard reported that a patient was threatening to harm himself and said he “had no reason to live.”

March 8, 10:30 p.m.
A woman called from Sacramento Avenue to report that a male suspect just punched her boyfriend in the face and made off with her bicycle from in front of a market.

[adrotate group=”10″] March 8, 11:16 p.m.
A caller from Jefferson in Southport reported “hearing what sounds like an alarm or some kind of beeping in the area,” adding that “when an officer gets in the area he’ll be able to hear it.”

March 9, 3:10 a.m.
A woman at a motel on Halyard Drive called police about “a male who is peeking in from her balcony.”

March 9, 4:29 p.m.
A Riverpoint Court store said a female suspect just stole some shoes and shirts, and fled in a car.

March 9, 12:36 p.m.
A citizen on Walnut Street reported hearing a man threaten to shoot a neighbor, and reported seeing him with gun in his hand.

March 9, 12:48 p.m.
A Yolo Street woman said she was “tired of neighbors putting trash on her sidewalk and lawn.” She asked for an officer to contact her. She couldn’t remember her phone number.

March 9, 3:48 p.m.
A witness said four homeless people were camping near the railroad tracks at the entrance to the barge canal.

March 9, 7:27 p.m.
A citizen provided a tip, saying that a large party with a bonfire was being planned that night for public property in the “Honda Hills” area at Jefferson and South River Road.

March 9, 9:41 p.m.
A caller from in front of a Poplar Avenue liquor store reported that “some kids” had just stolen the caller’s bike.

March 9, 10:07 p.m.
A house on Cummins Way was found burglarized, with the “POE” (point of entry) at the rear patio door. Two shotguns (unloaded) were stolen.

March 9, 10:07 p.m.
A Coyote Road resident returned home to find the “house is completely trashed.” Missing were two laptops, jewelry and possibly more items.

March 9, 10:11 p.m.
A resident of Union Square Road reported two suspicious males had just come to the door, wearing dark clothing and hoodies. The resident “thinks they are going door to door seeing who is home, (and) is not sure of their intentions, but feels they are up to no good.”

March 10, 1:08 a.m.
A Meadowlark Circle resident reported there was a loud party going on in the complex behind the home, and someone had just tossed a vodka bottle over the fence, where it shattered.

March 10, 5:19 a.m.
A Sacramento Avenue resident reported an incident that occurred 45-60 minutes earlier: “a group of subjects pulled up to the residence and threw full cans of beer at the windows, trying to shatter them.”

March10, 9:15 a.m.
A vehicle was found damaged on Canvasback Way. It looked like someone had tried to siphon fuel from it.

March 10, 10:36 a.m.
From Douglas Street: “a neighbor saw a juvenile walk over and throw a pump through the window of this house.”

March 10, 11:23 a.m.
Someone stole clothes and tools from a Glide Avenue home. Shortly afterward, the residence reported that a dog had also been stolen from a shed. There was a suspect.

March 10, 12:45 p.m.
There was an “ill possum” in the front yard of a home on the 4300-block of South River Road.

March 10, 12:54 p.m.
Two males about 18 years old were reported to be “racing around the residential streets” near Marshall Road and Golden Gate Drive, in a white convertible Mazda Miata.

March 10, 2:52 p.m.
A caller reported that a van had been parked in a handicapped spot at Raley Field for about an hour, with a dog inside. “The windows were a little down but the dog appeared to be in distress.”

March 10, 4:57 p.m.
A resident of Sandypoint Court reported discovering that the home’s air conditioning unit, valued at about $4,000, had been stolen.

March 10, 5:20 p.m.
A Deerwood Street resident called dispatchers with questions about “Yolo County’s rules for growing marijuana.”

March 10, 5:44 p.m.
A caller from an auto shop on F Street reported that shop, and the one next to it, were filled with smoke from an unknown source.

March 10, 6:32 p.m.
Tahoe Court: “vehicle into house, driver appears injured.”

March 10, 6:43 p.m.
A resident of California Street reported that two dogs from the same address, with a history of aggression, were loose. One was a German shepherd and the other a “medium-sized” dog. They were “both barking at citizens and chasing others on bicycles.”

March 10, 12:29 a.m.
An officer reported seeing a car “recklessly exit the freeway, squealing tires.”
“I tried to follow (the) vehicle and it drove at a high rate of speed through a residential area” before stopping at a 13th Street house,” he wrote. “Suspect looked at me and fled.”
The officer detained the man, a 33-year old who lived at the home. The suspect appeared drunk but refused a field sobriety test. He was arrested.

March 11, 1:34 a.m.
An officer pulled over a car near Sunset Avenue and Lisbon Street for a headlight violation. The 47-year old driver “gave a false name and finally provided officers with his real name and stated he had a warrant.”
The man was confirmed to have an arrest warrant, and went to jail.

March 11, 1 a.m.
Residents of a Glide Avenue mobilehome reported there was a man trying to break in. Police contacted a drunk 29-year old transient outside the unit. There was a broken side-view mirror from the victims’ car on the ground next to him. The victims reported that the guy had kicked and damaged their door, then opened a window and reached in and pulled the drapes down. When police sirens drew close, the man stepped away from the trailer.
The suspect was on parole, and went to jail.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Big kids helping little kids

Volunteers Lily He and Jessica Ngo showed up for the ‘Reading Buddy’ program held at the library, 1212 Merkley Avenue.

Volunteers Lily He and Jessica Ngo showed up for the ‘Reading Buddy’ program held at the library, 1212 Merkley Avenue.

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 6, 2013 —

[adrotate group=”10″] The volunteers’ mission was to listen to second-grader Abby Saechin (center) practice her reading skills.

The program runs Fridays 4-5 p.m., courtesy of the River City High School Interact Club and a local Rotary Club chapter.

For information, or to sign up a youngster, call 375-6465.

(Courtesy of Charyl Silva, West Sacramento Rotary Club)

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Weekend book sale in West Sac

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The West Sacramento Friends of the Library invite you to their spring book sale, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., March 16, and 10-3 on Sun., March 17. Hardbacks will go for $1, paperbacks 50 cents, children’s books 10-25 cents, and some items will be specially priced. It will be at the library, 1212 Merkley Avenue.

On Sunday, books are only $3 per bag. For information or to volunteer, call 375-6465 Ext. 4 or email wsfol99@yahoo.com.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

UPDATE: Feb. 27 crime sweep

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The West Sacramento Police Department just announced an operation this morning in which about a dozen warrants were served — all but one of them in West Sacramento — after an investigation into a string of vehicle and residential burglaries in town.

Lt. David Delaini of the West Sacramento Police Department talks about a sweep done in response to a local wave in car and home burglaries (News-Ledger photo)

Lt. David Delaini of the West Sacramento Police Department talks about a sweep done in response to a local wave in car and home burglaries (News-Ledger photo)

Lieutenant David Delaini of the West Sacramento Police Department said about $20,000 in illegal drugs — including methamphetamine and marijuana — were seized, along with cash, an assault rifle and other guns.

“Any time we take guns off the street and drugs off the street, that’s a victory for us,” Delaini told a press conference at about noon today. “You can see the weapons with lights (mounted) on them and you seem some stabbing weapons,” he said, referring to a table of seized items spread out for the press.

A department press release described the operation:

“The California Department of Justice, Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team (YONET) and The West Sacramento Police Department conducted a collaborative investigation into a burglary ring, stemming from over 80 residential burglaries and 51 vehicle burglaries from December 2012 to present.   These burglaries extended throughout the city and outlying regions.  One state arrest warrant and 12 state search warrants were executed today in an attempt to recover stolen property.”

“The investigation has resulted in 13 arrests, three assault rifles, four handguns, (several of which had been stolen), an active honey oil lab (used to create marijuana extract) , five pounds of marijuana, a quarter pound methamphetamine, ammunition, and body armor.  Additionally, three locations contained children who were removed by CPS due to their access and proximity to the firearms and drugs.  Everyone arrested will be booked into the Yolo County Jail and juvenile hall.”

“The operation in West Sacramento was named ‘Operation Red Bandits’ because the members of this burglary ring have been identified as active members of the Norteno criminal street gang,” said police.

[adrotate group=”9″]  The operation aimed for young perpetrators responsible for robberies, home burglaries, carjackings, and shootings in and around the Sacramento region.

“These gang members and associates have supported their gang life style through illegal sales of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as stolen property,” said the police press release. “These street level gang members have been identified and range in age from 16-20 years old.”

Those arrested face charges including possession of narcotics, narcotics sales and distribution, conspiracy, property crimes (burglaries, possession of stolen property), and violent crimes against persons (such as robberies, carjackings, and firearms charges.

Guns seized in the West Sacramento-based operation -- some were stolen and at least one was an illegal assault weapon, according to WSPD. (News-Ledger photo)

Guns seized in the West Sacramento-based operation — some were stolen and at least one was an illegal assault weapon, according to WSPD. (News-Ledger photo)

Wrist-mounted slashing weapon with three blades, seized in the raids (News-Ledger photo)

Wrist-mounted slashing weapon with three blades, seized in the raids (News-Ledger photo)

Bags of marijuana, and seized cash (News-Ledger photo)

Bags of marijuana, and seized cash (News-Ledger photo)

 

 

Assistance in the operation came from the CHP, Department of Justice Task Forces (Placer SIU, MAVMIT), Davis Police Department SWAT, FBI SAFE Streets Task Force, Woodland Police Department SWAT, Yolo County Sheriff’s Department SWAT, Yolo County District Attorney’s Office and the Yolo County Gang Task Force, said local police.

West Sacramento Police Department’s Lt. DeAnna Stevens provided the News-Ledger with a list of the West Sacramento locations raided on Wednesday:
540 Arthur Dr.; 614 Andrew St.; 829 Elm St.; 300 4th St.; 430 Maple St. #120; 510 Maple St. #1; 2120 Evergreen Ave. #A; 1809 Proctor Ave.; 2131 Hickory St.; 1020 Haverhill St.; and 1705 Westwood Circle.

Also on the list was an Elk Grove address.

  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.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

A new generation takes the field, joins Little League tradition

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 6, 2013 —

Well, spring is already here, or at least it sure feels like it. The sun has been out for weeks, birds are chirping, and I’ve already had my first mosquito bite. Actually, the way I have always known that spring has finally arrived in Northern California is that major league baseball players have reported to their spring training camps in warm places like Arizona and Florida, and our own West Sacramento Little League is beginning to hum with activity. Teams are being picked, fundraisers have begun, Picture Day has been scheduled, and best of all, Opening Day will be here before we know it (March 16th this year), complete with the only Annual Little League Parade in the whole Sacramento area.

When I was growing up in West Sacramento back in the 1950s and 1960s, there was simply nothing more important than the start of the Little League baseball season. It seemed like the whole town was full of men and boys who loved the sport of baseball and many of the former had worked tirelessly to create one of the best Little Leagues in the greater Sacramento region. Men like James Cameron, Jack Dunlap, Clyde Burt, Carl Youngblood, Joe Bottino, Herb Hoskins, John Kimbrough, Leroy McReynolds, Red McKinnon, Bob Lukins, Bob Domasky, Bill Havey, and many, many others whose names I no longer recall had used determination and lots of hard work to bring Little League baseball to West Sacramento, and by 1959 they had built baseball diamonds at Memorial Park considered so good that they were used to host that year’s Little League Western Regionals.

Back in those early years of Little League baseball in West Sacramento, it seemed like every mom and pop business in town was a proud sponsor of one of the teams, and you can still walk into places like Havey’s Barbershop and Crest Jewelers and see framed photos of long ago WSLL teams.

[adrotate group=”9″]  Anyway, back when I was nine years old and convinced that I would someday be the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees or the Milwaukee Braves (I wasn’t quite sure yet if I wanted to play in the American or National leagues) I knew that the first real step to baseball fame and glory started with getting chosen to play on one of the teams in the West Sacramento Little League. So off I eagerly went to my first tryout where I did pretty good in the field, but not so good with a bat in my hands. But the manager of the major league Braves, Bill Havey, decided to take a chance on me and selected me to be on his team.

West Sacramento Little League’s “Braves,” around 1960. The author is standing, third kid from the right

West Sacramento Little League’s “Braves,” around 1960. The author is standing, third kid from the right

I can still remember my excitement when I was given my first West Sacramento Little League uniform to wear. It had “Braves” written boldly across the front of the jersey exactly as the real Milwaukee Braves logo looked and best of all I had been assigned uniform #10, which for some reason long forgotten I had actually prayed would be given to me. Since only numbers 1 through 15 were handed out back in those days, no one wanted to get #11 or #13 or some other really uncool number, so I was beyond thrilled knowing that I would be wearing #10 throughout my Little League career.

Nowadays, you can start playing Little League at a much younger age than when I was a Brave. Back then there were only two divisions, the majors and minors. The minor league teams had wonderful names taken from some of the old Pacific Coast League teams like the Solons, Stars, Padres, Oaks, Angels and Rainiers, and 9 and 10 year olds mostly played on those teams. Then when you got to be 11 or 12 years old, you usually went up to the majors and played on teams like the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs and Braves. But now young boys and girls can start playing pee-wee baseball as early as the age of four or five, which finally brings me to my little story:

The other day my son-in-law showed up at my house as excited as I had seen him in some time.

“What’s Dallas so happy about?” I asked my daughter.

“Oh, he was out playing baseball with Will (my five-year old grandson) this morning and I guess Will hit a couple of home runs or something,” answered my daughter matter-of-factly, having never been much of a baseball fan herself.

“You should have seen him,” said Dallas with genuine pride and excitement. “For some reason he turned around all on his own and started hitting left-handed instead of right-handed and bingo, he was just crushing the ball!”

“But Will is right-handed,” my daughter reminded her husband. “Maybe you shouldn’t be trying to teach him to hit a ball left-handed? Maybe it will confuse him or screw something up? His little brain is still not completely formed yet you know.”

“Are you kidding?” said Dallas. “Do you know how much better your chances are of making the big leagues if you can throw right-handed and bat left-handed? Who knows, maybe I can even make him into a switch-hitter down the road? Wow, a switch-hitting shortstop. Now that really could be his ticket to the Big Show! I can hardly wait for Little League to start this year!

“Dallas,” pleaded my daughter, “don’t forget, he’s only five years old. He’s not exactly ready for the major leagues yet.”

“You can never get them started too young when it comes to baseball, right Daryl?” asked Dallas.

“Not in West Sacramento!” I answered.

  Do you like what you see here?

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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