Tag Archives: yolo

‘Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center’ in Yolo County changes its name

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 19, 2014 —

The “Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center” in Yolo County has changed its name to “Empower Yolo,” a spokesperson reports.

“This change is intended to more effectively encompass our philosophy of service, comprehensive programs and geographical reach of services offered by our agency – with an emphasis on the less-recognized, unincorporated areas of Yolo County,” said Diana Stantz, director of community relations. “While the name of the agency has changed, our philosophy and services have not.”

Empower Yolo is a nonprofit dedicated to the intervention, prevention, and elimination of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking and child abuse in Yolo County, she added.

For more information on Empower Yolo, visit  www.empoweryolo.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Cockfighting conviction in northern Yolo

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 26, 2014 —

A Dunnigan man was sentenced to 20 days in county jail and three years probation for operating a cockfighting operation on his property. That sentence was passed down last week for 63-year old Lorenzo Pena Ponce, who was found guilty by a jury last month for permitting cockfighting on his premises, owning game birds with intent to fight, and possession of gaffs – the knives or blades attached to the legs of fighting roosters.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s office said the charges resulted from a sheriff’s department visit to the northern Yolo County property in February of 2013. Responding deputies found what they estimated to be 70 people enjoying the “blood sport.”

“After dozens of participants ran away, deputies located a barn containing a fighting pit where roosters continued to fight,” reports the D.A.’s office. “The Sheriff’s Animal Control Division arrived shortly afterwards to assist. Many of the roosters found on scene were dead or had to be euthanized due to the inhumane treatment. Deputies also found gambling paraphernalia, gaffs, and vitamin B  shots. . . There were nearly 90 roosters being raised on the premises for cockfighting.”

Ponce was also convicted of cockfighting crimes on his property after a 2005 incident.

The District Attorney’s Office is demanding $106,235 from Ponce for costs to the County for impoundment, care, and euthanasia of the birds taken from his property.  Ponce contested that amount at sentencing, and a restitution hearing is scheduled before Judge Maguire on April 11.

In a press statement, District Attorney Reisig denounced the “sport” of cockfighting:

“Along with inhumane treatment of the birds, cockfighting often involves illegal wagering of thousands of dollars, firearms and other weapons,” said Reisig.  “Cockfighting is not a sport.  It’s a crime.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Former West Sac police officer faces up to life in prison after jury finds him guilty on 18 counts

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

Former West Sac
police officer
Sergio Alvarez
(booking photo)

Former West Sac
police officer
Sergio Alvarez
(booking photo)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — FEB 27, 2014 —

A Yolo County jury today announced “guilty” verdicts on 18 felony counts related to sexual assault and kidnapping, in a case involving former West Sacramento Police Officer Sergio Alvarez, reports the Yolo County D.A.’s office. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

The jury deadlocked on nine other counts.

Alvarez, 38,  was accused of taking advantage of five women he encountered while patrolling West Sacramento on the graveyard shift as a local officer in 2011-2012.  He was arrested a year ago, and pleaded not guilty.

His defense attorney conceded misdeeds by the officer, denying some charges and saying that other relationships involving the alleged victims and Alvarez had been consensual.

More in next week’s News-Ledger.

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Oscar Villegas: from council to county

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 12, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The office of Governor Jerry Brown announced Friday that he has appointed Oscar E. Villegas to fill the remaining term as the District 1 representative to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

That board seat was vacated in December by longtime supervisor Michael McGowan, after McGowan accepted the governor’s appointment to a special position in the Department of Motor Vehicles.

CITY COUNCILMAN OSCAR VILLEGAS said West Sacramento has carefully studied the issue before acting. (News-Ledger file photo)

CITY COUNCILMAN OSCAR VILLEGAS said West Sacramento has carefully studied the issue before acting. (News-Ledger file photo)

Villegas, 47, has been on the West Sacramento City Council since 2000. He has been a field representative for the California Board of State and Community Corrections since 2008.

Among other applicants for the vacancy on the Board of Supervisors was fellow city council member Bill Kristoff, who has served on the council since its inception in 1987.

Villegas told the News-Ledger he hasn’t heard yet when he will begin service on the board. When he sworn in, he will vacate his current city council seat (its term ends in 2016 and the council has yet to take up a discussion of how to fill the remaining part of the term).

“For me, I really feel like it’s the perfect fit,” Villegas said of the seat on the county board of supervisors. “My experience growing up in West Sacramento, my work on the planning commission and city council, and my professional day job working with probation agencies, social service agencies and other agencies all made it look like this role was the perfect fit.”

Villegas’s “day job” is with California’s Board of State and Community Corrections.

“We administer state and federal grants to local municipalities and nonprofit organizations to help those who are going to be released or who are at the risk of being incarcerated,” he said. The grants are intended to help steer people away from a life of crime or give them a “soft landing” back into society when they come out of jail or prison.

Villegas said he will switch to part-time work for the state when he takes the full-time position as county supervisor.

Does he view the county and its government as something that needs “fixing”?

“If you’d asked me that ten years ago, I would have said there were major issues,” Villegas answered. “But Mike McGowan has paved the way for a wonderful relationship between the city and county, and it’s up to me to maintain the relationship.”

Following the recession, he said, “the county is emerging in good shape, and the city is as well.”

He said he hopes to become involved in public safety issues within Yolo County, and also to help the county follow the West Sacramento city council’s disciplined practice of pursuing strategic goals. He called that “focused leadership.”

“We’ve been very fortunate in West Sacramento to have this focused leadership,” he remarked. “I can bring my experience with me. . . We say, ‘here’s where we need to go, and how do we ensure staff has the resources to get it done? How do we stay out of the way and not micromanage?’”

Villegas will fill the remainder of McGowan’s term, which is scheduled to end in December. The seat is up for election in the June primary, and Villegas intends to run for reelection.

Does he have higher political ambitions?

“Right now, I just want to focus on the task at hand,” he answered. “I don’t have the ambitions at this time for something else.”

Villegas’s appointment drew praise from other local leaders. The Sacramento Bee quoted Mayor Christopher Cabaldon as predicting he will be a “terrific asset” to the board, and said  Supervisor Matt Rexroad called Villegas a “first round draft choice.”

State Senator Lois Wolk, in a press release, said she could think of “nobody better suited than Oscar Villegas” to replace McGowan on the Yolo board:

“He is a homegrown leader who cares deeply about his community and has the skills and good working relationships in the region that will enable him to come to the Board of Supervisors and immediately get to work,” added Wolk.

Villegas’s wife, Katie, is on the local school board and serves as executive director of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance, a nonprofit organization.

The county supervisor position pays $59,004 annually, reports the governor’s office. District 1 serves Clarksburg and most of West Sacramento – excluding a slice of the “Bryte” neighborhood in the city’s northwest.

  Villegas is a Southport resident who grew up in the city’s north.  Like Governor Brown and former supervisor McGowan, Villegas is a Democrat.  Do you like what you see here?

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014