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GUEST COMMENTARY: join up & fight tobacco


Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coaltion

The Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coalition is seeking new members!

An article in The Sacramento Bee entitled “Wealthy Counties Top the List of California’s Healthiest,” published on April 4,  stated that Yolo County citizens have a far lower smoking rate than the majority of counties in California. This is a huge achievement for Yolo County and we must keep it up. Community members that are willing to do their part to help stand against the effects of the tobacco industries are the key to upholding this consistently low smoking rate, and play a key role in increasing awareness and supporting efforts for a healthier community.

  Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death globally, taking over 5 million lives a year. Today’s cigarettes deliver nicotine more efficiently to the brain, addicting kids more quickly and making it harder for smokers to quit. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause immediate harm to the human body, and can lead to cancer, heart attacks, and lung disease.

The purpose of the Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coalition is to prevent and reduce tobacco use through education, social norm change, and individual empowerment in our culturally diverse county. The coalition tries to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, counter “Big Tobacco” influences, reduce the availability of tobacco to minors, and promote and provide help with quitting tobacco. A few of the coalition’s recent accomplishments include assisting Yolo County cities and supervisors in reducing cigarette sales to children (via licensing retailers), and supporting Woodland and Winters City Councils in adopting resolutions to offer more smoke-free apartments.

  There are so many benefits to joining the coalition! Coalition members are a group of advocates representing the general public and various agencies including those from the Yolo County school districts, law enforcement, and healthcare professionals. Make a difference in your community, be part of the decision making process, and make your community a healthier place. The coalition meets every other month to network, plan activities, and address current tobacco issues affecting Yolo County.

If you have an interest in preventing another generation from becoming addicted to tobacco products, being part of this coalition is a great opportunity to make a difference.

Please contact Steven Jensen with the Yolo County Tobacco Education Program at (530) 666-8616 or email steven.jensen@yolocounty.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

RC student honored for volunteering

FROM LEFT: Lewis Bair, Executive Director of Computers4Kids, with honoree Carlos Robles and with Meg Stallard, President of Yolo Community Foundation. (courtesy photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 23, 2012 —

From the Yolo Community Foundation

Carlos Robles, a senior at River City High School, was awarded one of four Yolo Youth Service Awards (YoYoSA) by the Yolo Community Foundation for his work with Computers 4 Kids.

  “Robles’ application stood out because of his combination of technical know-how, hard work and ability to work with people,” said Babs Sandeen of West Sacramento, a member of the YoYoSa selection committee, in a press release. “It is amazing what high school students do for nonprofit organizations.”

The award consists of a $1000 scholarship to the student and $500 to the nonprofit with which the student worked.  Computers 4 Kids refurbishes donated computers and teaches students in the 4th to 8th grades how to use them.  It has provided hundreds of elementary students with free computers since it started 6 years ago.

  Robles wrote in his application, “It’s great to see a student’s smile when they walk out with their first personal computer ever.  We also get a lot of positive feedback from parents.”

The other awardees were Agustin Villagomez of Winters (RISE,Inc.), Brenna Mockler of Davis (Migrant Education) and Alina Lusebrink of Davis (Acme Theatre Company).

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor, presented each awardee with a certificate of honor from the Supervisors.  Representatives of Mike Thompson, Lois Wolk and Mariko Yamada also presented certificates.

Robles is planning to attend UC Davis and study computer science.

Yolo Community Foundation’s mission is to promote charitable giving in Yolo County.  More information is available at www.yolocf.org.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Need help or a referral? Call 2-1-1 in Yolo


Dialing 211 in Yolo County will get you “211 Yolo,” with 24-hour, free, confidential, multilingual advice on how to connect with any of over 900 community services available to county residents.

If you need help and don’t know where to turn, call 211.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Food giveaway on Tuesday in West Sac


The Food Bank of Yolo County will distribute free food to West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents on Tuesday, May 15. The event will take place from 9-10 a.m. at the West Sacramento County Building, 500 Jefferson Blvd.; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd.; 11-noon at the Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Drive; and noon-1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse.

Please bring a bag and attend only one site.

For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Where the Delta came from

SEABIRDS on a flooded Delta Island (courtesy of Tuleyome)


By Glen Holstein
Tuleyome Organization

Fifteen thousand years ago what became California had no Delta and was in a very different world in which much of North America and Europe were covered by vast continental ice sheets.  By then people occupied most of the eastern hemisphere but few, if any, had yet reached the Americas.

Then what is now central California’s coastline was 26 miles west of its present location.  The Farallons were then not islands but coastal headlands overlooking an open ocean dropping abruptly to great depths.  What is now the continental shelf was a vast dry land plain bisected by an ancestral Sacramento River swollen to great volume by melting glaciers then widespread in the Sierra Nevada.  It entered the Pacific south of the Farallons and flowed through the Coast Range 300 feet below present water level in deep canyons at what are now the Golden Gate and Carquinez Strait.

The climate then along the lower Sacramento was much like the present coast of southern Alaska and British Columbia, but the world was warming.  The great continental ice sheets began retreating, and their meltwater caused seas to rise everywhere.  By ten thousand years ago they neared the present shoreline and by eight thousand had entered the Golden Gate.

  People were definitely in what would become California by then and had established villages in a broad valley just inside the outermost Coast Range ridge.  Soon, however, rising seas following the ancestral Sacramento River’s channel inland completely flooded their valley and created what later arrivals would call San Francisco Bay.  Inexorably seas pushed farther inland flooding more valleys and creating new bays like San Pablo and Suisun until they finally stopped near the present Montezuma Hills five thousand years ago.

There freshwater flowing downstream from the Sierras and Cascades through the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers met seawater flowing inland through the Golden Gate.  They mixed some, but the freshwater mostly flowed outward some distance in a shallow lens above the heavier salt water, which also acted as a hydraulic dam to stop most river flow at the Montezuma Hills and cause freshwater to backup and flood a vast area in the lowest part of the Central Valley.

This flooding starting just five thousand years ago created California’s Delta.  Because sea level rise was gradual, the flooded area always remained very shallow beyond the deeper river channels and became covered by tall marsh plants called tules.  Seas still slowly rose, though, and freshwater in the flooded Delta area also did just slowly enough for each new tule generation to grow on the last’s flooded remains.

  Eventually the latest tule generation grew on many feet of ancestral organic remains which became the Delta’s famous peat soil.  A similar process in the same time period north of East Anglia created England’s famous Fenlands and provided the term fen for similar wetlands around the world.  Consequently the Delta is California’s largest fen and one of the largest in the world.

What happened to it next is another tale.

  Dr. Glen Holstein received his PhD in Botany from UC Davis and is a Senior Scientist with Zentner and Zentner, a local biological consulting company. Glen is Chapter Botanist for the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society , represents that Chapter at Habitat 2020 and was the California Prairie spokesman at its Wildflower Weekend in April , 2005 . He’s also on the Board of Tuleyome, a non-profit organization working to protect the wild and agricultural heritage of California’s Inner Coast Range and Western Sacramento Valley.

Crime drama started on Harbor Blvd

Three of the owners of B&R Head & Block Repair: Bill Kutsch, Dieter Kutsch Sr., Billy Kutsch (News-Ledger photo)


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A regional crime drama that included a huge manhunt and the six-hour closure of a major local freeway got its start when some employees of a West Sacramento repair shop arrived at work just before 6 a.m. on Friday.

B & R Head & Block Repair is a “family business,” reported Dieter Kutsch, a member of the family that runs it. The shop services big engine parts for a wide area around West Sacramento, and it’s located on an industrial stretch of Harbor Boulevard north of the freeway, where there isn’t a lot going on outside daylight hours.

Kutsch’s son, Dieter Kutsch, Jr., opened the door that morning for two employees, Keith and Robert.

  “He turned the alarm system off for the guys, and the other two went in, while he went to get coffee. They walked toward the back, hitting the lights. It was still dark inside.”

They made a turn and started heading back on the other side of the building.

“There were lights upstairs,” said Dieter Kutsch, Sr. “Robert yelled ‘what’s going on?’ At that time, the shooter opened the door and started shooting at Keith and Robert. He shot three rounds at first. The guys went down onto the ground. They weren’t hit.”

The suspect – later ID’d as 38-year old Jimmy Lee Graves of Dieppe Way, Sacramento – had a revolver with him. Kutsch’s employees were pinned down, but they had some cover from posts and engine parts inside the building.

The pair hurriedly talked to each other and agreed to make a break for it, one at a time. They did — and the gunman shot at them again.

“They ran out (of the building) and at that time, Robert called 911 and then he called me,” said Kutsch. “They also wanted to contact my son, so he wouldn’t go back into the building not knowing what was going on.”

Kutsch’s son didn’t get the message – and he returned to the building to enter it evidently just as the shooter went out a window elsewhere.

William Lee Graves: shot by deputies in Sacramento after allegedly starting a fire, refusing to surrender

Police arrived, not sure whether all the suspects were out of the building. They used tear gas to make sure it was clear.  They established a perimeter, but the shooter was gone.

Graves allegedly took a Remington rifle with a scope from the shop – but dropped it nearby.

“I had my gun there because I had been hunting the previous day,” said Kutsch.

Why the break-in?

“It was a random deal,” said Kutsch. “There was no money in the shop, all our business is through accounts.”

Then, at 6:39 a.m., police received a phone call from near a liquor store at Poplar Avenue and West Capitol: the caller reported that a man in a long coat, with a gun, had just carjacked a brown Ford Focus.

  Police spotted the vehicle and pursued at high speed. The suspect bailed on foot on the 2900-block of West Capitol, and then carjacked a white Ford F-150 pickup.

“Officers confronted the suspect, ordering him to surrender, and were fired on by the suspect,” reported Sgt. Nathan Steele of the West Sacramento Police Department.

The pickup fled west, shooting again at an officer and ramming a patrol car on West Capitol, causing the officer driving it to lose control. Then the pickup got on I-80 westbound, losing control and hitting a center divider. Law enforcement personnel set up a perimeter around this Yolo Causeway site – and entirely shut down traffic on the causeway.

The freeway wasn’t reopened until after noon. The closure by then had caused major Sacramento-area traffic trouble. Before stopped traffic was allowed to pass, vehicles were inspected by officers to make sure the suspect wasn’t hiding inside.

At this point, there were several law enforcement agencies involved – including SWAT teams, K-9 teams and helicopters, said Steele. The manhunt eventually grew to involve 12 agencies.

Now there were two “active crime scenes” – but a call came in at about 10 a.m. that there had been another carjacking, near County Road 127 and River Road. Yolo sheriff’s deputies responded, learning that somebody in a suspected-stolen tractor had approached a male victim and struck him over the head. The victim’s vehicle – a 2008 Ford F-150 – was taken.

The victim was said, in some media reports, to have been a birdwatcher. He wasn’t seriously injured.

That victim’s pickup was later found abandoned near Lenwick and Morse Avenue in Sacramento, said Steele.

Investigators followed leads, checking on “numerous potential suspect locations.”

  At about 6:55 p.m., the Sacramento sheriff’s department checked out one of those locations, an apartment at 1968 Ethan Way.

“While attempting to secure the scene in the 1900 block of Ethan Way a suspect fled from Sacramento County Deputies, barricaded himself and started a fire in the apartment,” reported Steele in a press release. “After a standoff in which the suspect was repeatedly ordered to surrender, the suspect was shot by Sacramento County deputies to allow for emergency personnel to extinguish the rapidly growing fire.”

Graves was killed.

Steele declined to discuss whether the suspect had a criminal history.

The Sacramento Bee reported that family members said the man had trouble holding a job, as well as drug problems, a failing marriage, and pending charges on a robbery.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Fun run Saturday to fight child abuse


The Yolo County Children’s Alliance and Child Abuse Prevention Council hope you’ll join them at a Child Abuse Prevention Fun Run, on Sat., April 28, at Marguerite Montgomery Elementary School, 1441 Danbury St. in Davis.

There will be a 5k walk/run at 8 a.m. and a 1k kids’ fun run at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $25 for adults and $10 for kids. Proceeds benefit the YCCA’s “Baby Steps Child Abuse Prevention Campaign. For information or to register, go to www.yolokids.org or call (530) 757-5558.