Friday, November 30, 2007

City gives green light to Petrovich rezone of Urban Reserve

According to the Sacramento Business Journal, the city of Woodland is considering annexing 153 acres owned by Paul Petrovich for an auto mall.

The article states, "Petrovich wants the city to annex his land south of the Gateway shopping center now under construction. The conceptual plan, which would require separate approvals if the annexation is approved, calls for a 32-acre auto mall along with stores, restaurants, up to three hotels and as much as 100,000 square feet of offices."

"The city gave the go-ahead this week to begin traffic and odor studies for the proposed annexation at County Road 102 south of Interstate 5. If they say traffic and odor issues can be overcome, the developer could proceed with full environmental studies."

Last year (October 2006), just four months after Woodland voters approved the ULL to include an Urban Reserve area, the city received a petition from Petrovich for the site south of the Gateway project. Petrovich requested to amend the newly created Urban Reserve to General Commercial. The application includes prezoning the land to C-1 and the annexation of 153.4 acres for the purpose of developing an auto mall and related commercial uses. The intent is to relocate the Hoblit Haynes dealership from Main Street and to develop a cinema complex in its place.

The Business Journal also quoted city planner Bob MacNicholl as saying, "We're taking the initial tentative steps. This is a limited look at some of the major issues" before the city proceeds.

Commentary: I think the city should take a real limited look, like none at all. First of all, Petrovich had his chance with an auto mall - it turned into the Gateway project with no car dealers because he couldn't deliver what he promised. But somehow he wedged his way into the favor of former city manager Rick Kirkwood to build the "non-automall" and convinced him to try and rezone what Woodland voters had already decided to be Urban Reserve. Lastly, I do not like the way the Hoblit Haynes property is being leveraged as a potential cineplex site. If there's a cineplex to be built downtown, it should be located adjacent to the State Theatre so the historic movie house can be renovated and used as part of it. This will be very interesting to see what happens in light of the scheduled update of the Downtown Specific Plan.

Sacramento RiverTrain hosts annual Christmas Train

The Sacramento RiverTrain hosts the annual Christmas Train featuring Santa, elves, musicians, storytellers, cocoa, cookies and a gift from Santa for the kids. Guests of all ages are encouraged to wear their pajamas on these 90-minute-long train trips.

Sacramento RiverTrain
Woodland, California • 800-866-1690 • www.SacramentoRiverTrain.com
December 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Child (3-11): $24 • Adult: $31

Directions to Woodland Boarding Area

From North/Redding: I-5 south to Woodland. Take 113 South / Main Street exit. The exit loops around. Take a left (westward) onto Main. Drive a quarter of a mile and take your first right, E Street, and park.

From Sacramento: I-5 north, 15 miles to Woodland. Take Main Street exit. Take left onto Main. Take a right onto E Street, drive over the Railroad tracks and park in the parking area.

From Bay Area/Davis: Take I-80 to Davis. Take 113 north, 10 minutes to Woodland. Take Main Street exit. Turn left onto Main. Take a right on E Street, drive over the Railroad tracks and park in the parking area.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

WOH expansion loan questioned


At Tuesday night's council meeting, some opposition was heard to the proposed Woodland Opera House loan guarantee by the city. Councilman Art Pimentel restated his previous concerns about the possibility of having to pay as much as $300,000 a year for the expansion project. Councilman Skip Davies agreed, claiming the downturn of the economy will negatively affect the Measure E sales tax revenue necessary to cover the loan payback. Downtown property owner Tom Stallard also voiced his concerns about the city "giving" the state $300,000 a year since the Opera house is a state park.

At issue is a $2.6 million private loan from a bank that would finance the Woodland Opera House's plans for expansion. It was previously requested by the Opera House trustees that the City of Woodland cosign for the construction loan - in essence, guarantee to the bank that the funds would be repaid. Those at the meeting were able to hear WOH Executive Director Jeff Kean fully explain the project and the proposed agreement.

Kean explained that although the Opera House is a state park owned by the state, there is an agreement that the City of Woodland, through the WOH Board of Trustees, is responsible for its operations and maintenance. The Opera House, he said, is truly a unique Woodland asset and a regional resource. The expansion will accommodate their growing performances and programs, including children's performing art opportunities that aren't offered by the Woodland school district or any other local organizations. The WOH does own another building in town that could possibly be used as partial collateral for the loan. Kean emphasized that the city is simply cosigning the loan that would be provided by a bank. No general funds would be paid directly to the state, the WOH would pay back the construction loan through voter-approved Measure E sales tax funds and revenue generated by WOH programs and donations.

Councilman Jeff Monroe is a proponent of the loan guarantee. He said it was necessary to see the expansion project through since the council and the community had already agreed to allocate funds for it. Council directed staff to return with alternative financing options, such as a longer mortgage period for reduced annual paybacks, before a final agreement can be reached. Other downtown property owners in the audience were fully supportive of the loan guarantee, stating that the expansion will bring more people to Main Street.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dead Cat Alley proclaimed as city asset, passage should remain open from Cleveland Street to Freeman Park


Last night the Woodland City Council approved the Dead Cat Alley Proclamation, the intent of which is to recognize the passage as a city asset and as a community point of interest. By approving it, council also recognizes that there will be continuing public and private efforts to improve the alley and it should remain accessible as a continuous passage from Cleveland Street to Freeman Park, for future citizens, merchants, and tourists.

On hand to receive copies of the proclamation from Mayor Dave Flory were: George Streng of the Woodland Art Center, Jeanette Molson of the Yolo County Historical Society, Anita Long representing downtown merchants and Jack Din who was one of four siblings born on the alley, right across the street from City Hall.

A draft of the proclamation was first presented to the city council last April, but staff recommended that the proclamation be refined and checked for accuracy before it was officially approved. Here it is:

CITY OF WOODLAND PROCLAMATION FOR DEAD CAT ALLEY

WHEREAS, In 1853, The City of Woodland, then known as Yolo City, was born when Henry Wyckoff built a small box frame store on the southeast corner of what is now First Street and Dead Cat Alley; and

WHEREAS, On February 8, 1873, a Yolo Democrat report mentioned Dead Cat Alley by name, evidence that the alley was so-called prior to that date; and

WHEREAS, In 1886, a Sanborn Map revealed a China Town along Dead Cat Alley between College and Elm; and

WHEREAS, A China Town along Dead Cat Alley developed, and was concentrated between Second and Elm Streets but extended between Fourth to Walnut Streets. Residents of this part of Dead Cat Alley, also known as China Alley, included Man Hop, Ah Min, Boy Ying, Ah Fat, Gee Lee and Quong Sing; and

WHEREAS, On July 2, 1892 the Great Fire of Woodland started in a small barn on Dead Cat Alley in back of Bartolli’s grocery store between First and Second Streets; and

WHEREAS, In 1912, Woodland’s first garage, the Electric Garage Company, was built at Dead Cat Alley and Third Street to sell and repair Studebaker electric wagons manufactured in Placerville; and

WHEREAS, From 1925 until 1947, Chinese immigrants Hew Din and Lock Shee Din raised their family and operated Tai Lee Laundry on Dead Cat Alley, where four of their eight children were born; and

WHEREAS, About 1940, a photograph of young Henry Din, using modified tennis rackets as crutches, taken by Judge Hamilton was circulated across the United States by the Associated Press and became famous; and

WHEREAS, On May 7, 1962, Woodland City Council officially named the passage Dead Cat Alley; and

WHEREAS, In 1984, the California Department of Parks and Recreation published the archaeological report entitled The Chinese Laundry on Second Street Papers: Archaeology at the Woodland Opera House site – California Archaeological Report Number 24, a Study About Human Activities on Dead Cat Alley; and

WHEREAS, in 1999 the Downtown Woodland Historic District, of which Dead Cat Alley passes through a portion, was added to the National Register of Historic Places; and

WHEREAS, In February 2002, the Woodland Art Center created the Dead Cat Alley Nine Lives Project and adopted Dead Cat Alley a an art venue to promote its historical and educational value and its potential as a tourist attraction”; and

WHEREAS, in 2004, the Woodland Art Center received a Preservation Award from the City of Woodland Historic Preservation Commission for the Dead Cat Alley walking tour booklet; and

WHEREAS, the Yolo County Historical Society, the Stroll Through History Committee, and the Woodland Art Center endorse the preservation and enhancement of Dead Cat Alley; and

WHEREAS, the annual Stroll Through History features a tour of Dead Cat Alley which is highlighted by historical plaques; and

WHEREAS, The recently updated Walking Tour book, “Explore Historic Woodland” features a tour of Dead Cat Alley; and

WHEREAS, the Yolo County Historical Society, the Stroll Through History Committee, and the Woodland Art Center endorse the preservation of Dead Cat Alley as extending from Cleveland Street to Freeman Park; and

WHEREAS, Dead Cat Alley is a unique and memorable name; and

WHEREAS, There are more valuable stories and facts about all parts of Dead Cat Alley yet to be revealed.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, We, the members of the Woodland City Council do hereby recognize Dead Cat Alley as an interesting and colorful part of Woodland’s past, as a significant historical and archaeological resource, and as a community point of interest, and through continuing public and private efforts that the alley be enhanced and improved, and should remain accessible as a continuous passage from Cleveland Street to Freeman Park, for future citizens, merchants, and tourists.

Dated this 27th day of November, 2007.

David M. Flory, Mayor
Marlin H. Davies, Vice-Mayor
William L. Marble, Council Member
Jeff Monroe, Council Member
Artemio Pimentel, Council Member

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Council to guarantee WOH loan, set new retreat date, adopt new building code


Tonight, the city council will have a few important issues to discuss, consider and/or approve. Among them is to approve a loan guarantee for the Woodland Opera House expansion project that will take place on state property at Heritage Plaza. Also, council will set the new Council/Staff Retreat Date for December 11, 2007. It was previously postponed due to some budget issues. A new Uniform Building Code ordinance is also scheduled for adoption - hopefully this will enable the city to provide an easy-to-follow checklist for homeowners, merchants, contractors and developers willing to invest in Woodland's economy.

Here is the short list of agenda items:

• Present Certificate of Appreciation to city staff George Ahlgren
• Adopt Resolution Approving 2007/2008 Appropriations Limit
• Adopt Proclamation on Dead Cat Alley
• Approve Opera House Expansion Loan Guarantee
• Set Council/Staff Retreat Date for December 11, 2007
• Introduce Ordinance Regarding Affordable Housing Requirements
• Adopt Ordinance Approving Uniform Building Code
• Prioritize Additive Alternates for Sports Park Phase I
• Introduce Ordinance to Allow Green Waste Placement in Street Up to One Week Prior to Pickup

On the lighter side, park staffer George Ahlgren will be recognized for his service to the community and the Dead Cat Alley Proclamation will be adopted. More on that tomorrow.

CITY COUNCIL MEETING TONIGHT
November 27, 6 to 7:25 pm
300 First Street
Click the title of this blog to access full agenda.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Woodland holiday events this week

'Tis the season... here are the first few Christmas events coming up this week:

Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony
Friday, November 30, 2007 5:30 to 7 pm
Tree lighting will take place at City Hall, then festivities will follow at Heritage Plaza and up and down Main Street.

Festival of Trees at the Gibson Museum, Gala
Friday, November 30, 2007 5 to 7 pm
512 Gibson Road
Decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces donated by local designers will be up for silent auction. An evening filled with music, song, light holiday fare and beverages. Tickets to the Gala are $25 each and are available for purchase now at the Museum. For more information call 666-1045.

Festival of Trees at the Gibson Museum, Kids Day
Saturday, December 01, 2007 2 to 4 pm
512 Gibson Road
Santa will arrive in an antique fire engine, accompanied by Mrs. Claus, ready for photo opportunities. There will be holiday arts and crafts for children including making ornaments and face painting in the Cottage Workshop. Admission on December 1 and 2 will be $5. Children under age 12 free when accompanied by adults.

Festival of Trees at the Gibson Museum, Open House
Sunday, December 2, noon to 4 pm
512 Gibson Road
The museum will host a holiday open house. Admission on December 1 and 2 will be $5. Children under age 12 free when accompanied by adults.

Holiday Craft Faire
Saturday, December 1, 10 am to 4 pm
Woodland Community/Senior Center. For more information call 661-5880

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful for Woodland's giving side

Time and again you hear about Woodlanders giving what they can to causes, programs and individuals. Last month we witnessed many community members donating hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to the Ferns Park Playground Rebuild. Right next door to the park, at Whitehead Elementary School, Rose Bacchini continues to volunteer for children's activities and was recognized as "Woodlander of the Month" by a committee made up of even more volunteers. (Bacchini also volunteers for Yolo County's Habitat for Humanity.)

If you walked around Woodland, block by block, you'd find giving people all along the way.

This past week, volunteers working for the Yolo Wayfarer Center and Outreach Treasure Ministry organized a "Walk the Walk" against hunger as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The Yolo Wayfarer Center also benefitted from the efforts of Matt Rexroad and Dotty Huber as they exceeded their goal of providing 350 turkeys for families in need this Thanksgiving. Boxes and boxes of food, representing hundreds of meals for hungry families, were distributed from the center on Tuesday.

Today, the Yolo Wayfarer Center is also sponsoring a hot meal to be served in the Fellowship Hall of the United Methodist Church. The Community Thanksgiving Meal is also co-sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The dinner will be served at 212 Second Street from 1 to 3 p.m. All the food, which includes traditional turkey and side dishes, were donated by various groups and individuals within the community.

Despite the everyday challenges Woodlanders face in providing for their own families, despite the limited hours in each day or the finite dollars in each paycheck, and yes... despite the complaints that somehow come with the territory of volunteerism, this town truly has a year-round Thanksgiving spirit.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Woodland watches as Ivy Leaguer Flato scores 22

Chants of "Let's go, Flato" could be heard during last night's basketball matchup at Stanford University's Maples Pavillion. Certainly, there were similar cheers from Woodlanders tuned into FSN to watch the Cardinal play the visiting Yale Bulldogs. You can be sure Barbara and Bill Robinson were watching grandson Eric Flato pour in five three-pointers, the senior guard's specialty.

The game was a homecoming for Flato, a native of Piedmont and son of former Woodlander Mary Robinson Flato. Flato, a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection last year, was named the Ivy League preseason player of the year by the Sporting News. Yale practiced at Piedmont High School on Monday and then went to Flato's house for dinner. Members of the Piedmont team were at the game, along with about 100 friends and family cheering him on - including mom and uncle Dan Robinson of Albany (another former Woodlander).

Flato scored 22 in the loss as Stanford beat Yale, 72 to 61. Yale is in the middle of a four-game road trip, traveling to No. 2 UCLA on Friday. The Bulldogs will spend Thanksgiving in Orange County, hosted by Bulldog Travis Pinick's family. You can jump to the official Yale profile of Eric Flato, last year's team MVP and this year's captain, by clicking on the title of this story.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tazzina Bistro hosts CW31 Good Day Sacramento's "Small Town Superstar"

Tazzina Bistro, the cool downtown Woodland eatery at 614 Main Street, played host today to Mark S. Allen and his Good Day Sacramento crew. The CW31 show is producing a segment called "Small Town Superstar" at "super secret" locations in the Sacramento area.

Included in the TV spots were Woodlanders Ward Matal, who sang the Marshall Tucker song "Can't You See," and Samantha Barton, who sang "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat. But it was Angel Alvares of Woodland who stole today's round of "Small Town Superstar." His rendition of Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never" earned him the title of Woodland Male Winner. Amanda Grey of Yuba City was named Woodland Female Winner for "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles.

You can watch both winning performances after clicking the title of this story.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Barry's numbers speak for themselves

This past baseball season was great for Woodlanders. Our home-grown Dustin Pedroia made his mark in the Major League and enamored Boston fans 3,000 miles away. Dustin made the top ten in AL batting hitting .317 and was the number one AL Rookie on two fronts - voted by baseball writers and his peers. His play at second base was exemplary, with an outstanding fielding percentage of .990 through his first season.

Down the road, only 80 miles from Woodland, Barry Bonds added to his incredible career numbers in his 22nd year. Many Woodlanders have been Giants fans long before Dustin was born and we remember watching Barry's dad, Bobby, and his godfather, Willie Mays, at Candlestick Park. As we all know, this summer in San Francisco Barry passed Hank Aaron's home run mark of 755.

As it stands, Barry is number one on the all-time MLB home run list with 762. He is 14th in doubles at 601. 10th in games played at 2,986. 5th in slugging percentage at .607. 4th in runs batted in at 1,996. 4th in total bases at 5,976. 3rd in runs at 2,227. 3rd in on base percentage at .444. 1st in bases on balls at 2,588. He also has won 8 Golden Glove awards for his defensive skills in left field. Click on the title of this story to access MLB career batting leaders.

Now a former San Francisco Giant, Barry has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 4 counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly lying when he said he did not use performance-enhancing drugs in previous grand jury testimony. If convicted, Bonds could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison. The investigation into the case against Bonds has spanned 4 years, and 3 grand juries. The indictment, which cites 19 occasions in which Bonds allegedly lied under oath, also stipulates that Bonds withheld evidence and thus knowingly intended to obstruct the due administration of justice.

Bonds had been widely suspected of using steroids, particularly from 1999 to 2002 when his power numbers increased and he broke Mark McGwire's single-season home run record by hitting 73 during the 2001 season. Though most peformance-enhancing drugs were illegal to procure in the U.S. without a prescription at the time, they were not explicitly banned in baseball, which began testing at the Major League level in 2003.

This indictment is another case of government waste in time and money. I think the government is foolish in pursuing the perjury charges since the basis of most legal cases involves the defendent saying one thing and the government saying another. In this case, the government has been overzealous in achieving its goal. Whether Barry is a liar, or not, I just don't see the US government proving it. Especially when you consider the numbers that count... the millions of dollars that Barry has at his disposal.

My prediction: Barry - 5, US Government - 0.

Experts on education: Achievement gap is racist... huh?

In a Daily Democrat Opinion piece called "Poverty is not an excuse for failure to educate," the editorial staff at the paper took issue with supposed racist connotations of the educational achievement gaps. The article was published on November 16 and can be read in its entirety by clicking the title of this story.

The positive side of the article is that it makes no point. The negative side is that it makes no point. It's clear the editorial is merely an exercise of cutting and pasting educational sound bytes in order to substantiate the earth-shattering conclusion that "challenging young minds is still the best way to help them learn how to think." Wow. That's insightful.

The Democrat states that, "For decades, officials have insisted the failure of our public schools has nothing to do with the schools themselves. It's poverty, the apologists claim. These poor (by which they really mean minority) kids just can't learn fast enough." The editors conclude that is racist thinking.

What public officials are saying this? Who are implying that poor kids (socio-economically disadvantaged) are all "minority?" What is racist about identifying under achieving subgroups?

The article failed to mention the place of the achievement gap within the context of the California education system today. The achievement gap identifies the performance of subgroups based on the results of particular tests taken on particular days as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. The subgroups performing below standards include more than poor English language learners. Under NCLB, our district identifies achievement data for the following subgroups:

African American
American Indian or Native Alaska Native
Asian
Filipino
Hispanic or Latino
Pacfic Islander
White
Socio-economically disadvantaged
English Learners
Students with Disabilities

Stating that public officials, whomever they may be, blame poverty for failing schools is a simplistic generalization of nothing relevent to today's educational environment. The bottom line is that "public officials" instituted NCLB and its standardized testing in order to identify overall student achievement and gaps between the subgroups. Therein lies a contradiction in the opinion piece. For example, here are two conflicting statements: "This gap is exacerbated by inadequate, one-size-fits-all programs and skill assessment tools" vs. "There's also no shortage of evidence that when educators offer superior instruction while holding all students to the same high standards, all students can and do thrive."

According to the Democrat's reasoning, the racist assertion of the achievement gap (that is simply low testing by poor minorities) exists because there's standardized testing... yet, you must have standardized testing for superior instruction. This is nonsensical.

I can't leave out the added dig about educators, "But other obstacles [to EL learning] include parental education level and income, the challenge of learning a second language, inequitable schooling conditions and teachers who are poorly trained to teach non-native English speakers." California requires teachers who are assigned to provide instruction to ELs to have the appropriate authorization for the EL services that they provide. If they are assigned to provide primary language instruction, they should have a Bilingual Crosscultural Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) authorization. If they provide ELD (English language development) or SDAIE (specially designed academic instruction in English), they should have a CLAD authorization or equivalent.

So... according to the Democrat, despite the state's mandate that teachers be trained to teach ELLs, poor EL instruction is a contributor to the low test scores by Hispanic socio-economically disadvantaged English learners.

Okay, got all that? Now let me summarize this expert analysis of "Poverty is not an excuse for failure to educate." The Democrat's position on education is that identifying poor kids is racist because "officials" really mean that poor kids are minorities. These poor minorities need challenging, standardized tests but standardized tests negatively affect them. And lastly, poor teaching contributes to the achievement gap, but "public officials coddle "so-called 'disadvantaged' youngsters." So... since poverty doesn't really exist as a subgroup, then I guess their entire opinion (whatever it is) is moot.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yolo County 101 videos available online

Yolo County 101 concluded last week at Woodland Community College. It was a nine-week course for those interested in learning about our county government – its services and processes. Discussion topics included:

• Yolo County government history and structure
• Budget and fiscal issues
• Public safety
• Agriculture history, land mitigation and use
• County general plan
• Court system
• Social services
• Public health services
• Tribal relations; and
• Water and flood management.

Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad created the seminar series and stated on his Web site that, "We will hold some other kind of class after the first of the year." So far, classes two and three are available at rexroad.com (click the title of this story to go there).

Maybe class participants can share some interesting Yolo County facts with Woodland Journal readers. Or... do you think the City of Woodland should offer such a class?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Woodlander featured in KVIE's ViewFinder show


Woodlander Anne Wilcox, who grew up on an Alabama farm, is featured on a ViewFinder episode entitled "Memories: Rosie the Riveter." Anne is very charming and articulate as she reminisces about her work as a painter. She recalls painting airplanes and applying a special coating called dope to mechanical parts.

The KVIE production highlights a few women from around Sacramento who worked at McClellan Air Force base during World War II. Rosie is the iconic image of the American women who were actively recruited to work in traditionally male jobs. The show is a very interesting account of the Rosie the Riveter campaign, the growth of women's jobs at McClellan AFB, the importance of their work, and the disparity of pay between males and females. An encore show will air Sunday at 6 pm on Channel 6.

Click on the title of this story to learn about McClellan AFB and the Aerospace Museum of California, whose mission is to emphasize education and aerospace science while continuing to display the proud heritage of aviation and aerospace activities in the region.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More gobblers needed for Wayfarer Thanksgiving

Supervisor Matt Rexroad has announced that county residents and businesses have pledged enough contributions for about 275 turkeys, short of the targeted amount to aid the Yolo Wayfarer Center. The goal is to provide 350 birds for Yolo County families by November 19.

You can help by either dropping off a turkey to the Yolo Wayfarer Center in Woodland or sending a check made out to the Yolo Wayfarer Center. Mail it or deliver it to 711 College Street, Woodland CA 95695.

The Yolo Wayfarer Center's mission is to feed, clothe and shelter those in need by providing programs that meet the emergency, transitional and spiritual needs of people in crisis. Their goal is to empower individuals and families to make the necessary lifestyle changes that enable them to exchange homelessness for a full and productive life.

You may click the title of this story to keep tabs on Rexroad's Turkey Alert.

Monday, November 12, 2007

DUSTIN IS AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR!


Let's see... How can you top this season? AL Player of the Week (May 28-June 3), AL Rookie of the Month for May, AL Top Ten in Batting, MLB Players Choice Award for Outstanding Rookie, member of AL Division Champs, member of AL Pennant winners, and a World Series ring... how about by being selected as AL Rookie of the Year as voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA)?

It's true. Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia of Woodland has been selected as the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year! Pedroia received 24 of the 28 first place votes in balloting conducted by two writers from each of the 14 American League cities.

Dustin is the sixth Red Sox player to be named as the AL’s top rookie by the BBWAA, the first since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. Dustin batted .317 with eight homers and 50 RBI in 139 games with the Red Sox this year. His batting average was tenth highest in the American League and the best ever for a qualifying major league second baseman. Dustin led all big league rookies with 39 doubles, ranked second with a .380 on-base percentage, and was third with 86 runs scored. He was also second among AL rookies with 165 hits, 49 multi-hit games, and 230 total bases.

Click the title of this story to access the official MLB article about Dustin!

Veterans Day in Woodland: Perez, Head, WWII women honored




Area veterans were honored yesterday at the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland. A pre-ceremonial musical presentation by the Woodland Community Band kicked off the event, followed by a welcome speech by Alberto Castillo, Second Vice-Commander American Legion, Yolo Post 77.

The ceromony included a presentation of war medals to Vietnam War veteran Isaiah Perez of Woodland. Earlier this year, Perez finally received a purple heart medal from Doris Matsui, D-Calif., an honor given to U.S. Soldiers who are wounded during combat. Davis resident Ernie Head, 87, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1944 was alsohonored. After basic training, Head was sent by way of New Guinea and Leyte in the Philippines to Luzon, also in the Philippines.

Also honored are the Yolo County women veterans of World War II. Veterans include Margaret Nicolson, Artemis Bolnik, Beth Wilson, Anne Wilson, Marya Welch, Joy Smith, Alene Howe, Barbara Smith, Virginia Seamans, Elfreida Sauers, Kathleen Redmond, Catherine Blizzard, Jeanne Casey, Katherine Cheever, Judy Christiansen, Evelyn Dahl, Marjorie Davis, Evelyn Desendorf, Patricia Dinwiddie, Arlene Duffy, Jean Edgar, Eve Fowler, Maxine Guthrie, Kathryn Hare, Pearl Jacobson, Jeanne Kelly, Edith Klenhard, Mary Lohse, Carol May, Doris McKnight, Beverly Merkley, Mary Park, Eleanor Payne, Jeanne Pelissier, Virginia Penrose, Nancy Pollock, Geraldine Putnam, and Eileen Byrne.

Matt Rexroad, veteran Marine and Yolo County Supervisor, was the featured speaker at the event which concluded at the American Legion Hall, host of a buffet luncheon.

According to hellosacramento.com, here are some statistics about Woodland veterans by zip code:

95695 (Total Adult Males: 13,437)
Male Civilian Veteran 18-64: 1,955
Male Civilian Veteran 65+: 1,218

95695 (Total Adult Females: 14,260)
Female Civilian Veteran 18-64: 119
Female Civilian Veteran 65+: 52

95776 (Total Adult Males: 5,091)
Male Civilian Veteran 18-64: 488
Male Civilian Veteran 65+: 242

95776 (Total Adult Females: 5,088)
Female Civilian Veteran 18-64: 69
Female Civilian Veteran 65+: NA

Saturday, November 10, 2007

For sale: Former City of Woodland Senior Center


The City of Woodland is selling its old Senior Center according to a public notice in the Daily Democrat. The city is accepting closed bids for the property on the corner of Second and Lincoln streets (APN 006-192-20). The half-acre plus lot includes the 6,750 sq. ft. building and a parking lot. The property is zoned Central Business District and is lies in the Transition District, one block south of Main (SOMA) and the Historic Downtown.

Facilites include an auditorium and stage, kitchen, offices, fireplace and small basement. The brick building is surrounded by a nicely landscaped yard, including a barbecue area. Ideal buyers include churches, nonprofit organizations or service businesses.

The minimum bid is $1.5 million. Bids will be opened in the Council Chambers on December 5 at 2 p.m. Bids must be addressed to the City Clerk, 300 First St. Woodland CA 95695, and must include evidence of prequalification. The property is being sold as a condition to building the new Community and Senior Center on East Street. No information was found on the city's Web site.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

County spent almost $38 for each vote cast at polls


Yolo County Clerk Recorder Freddie Oakley had a Guest Opinion entitled "Look at how much it cost to vote" published in today's Daily Democrat.

It was a light, but costly, turnout for Tuesday's election. Oakley stated that we have 84,889 registered voters in Yolo County, and only 23.39% of them, a total of 19,856, cast their ballots.

By using numbers from past elections, Oakley estimated the cost of the election to be about $4 per registered voter. "That means the taxpayers of Yolo County just paid about $17.10 per voted ballot," she wrote.

Here's some other costs she itemized:

• $340,000 - Approximate total cost of the election
• $10,000 - For accessible technology for voters with special needs, whether they show up or not
• $29,000 - For 11,658 absentee votes (58.71% of the votes cast were mailed in)
• $2.50 - Per vote cast from a mailed "absentee" ballot
• $37.94 - Per vote cast at the polls

Ultimately, Oakley summarized the article with, "I believe it is time to fold up our old polling place tents and steal away from our wonderful neighborhood-based past. Few people want us in the neighborhood, few people visit us in the tent on election day, and we are supporting an expensive infrastructure for little apparent benefit."

She also said she will work to pass a law permitting Yolo County to conduct some, if not all, elections by mail - along with fully accessible early-voting polling places and regional voting centers on election day.

Freddie Oakley can be reached at oakley@dcn.org. Click the title of this story to access the complete Daily Democrat article.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

News from the Yolo County Historical Society


My newsletter arrived last week from the Yolo County Historical Society. In the mailing was a survey to help plan a Yolo County Cultural and Arts Center. This is part of a design grant the society and the Yolo County Arts Council received. The questions dealt with the spaces to be included in the facility as well as the activities that should take place. One question asked if I felt it was important to locate the facility in an urban environment... thus the overhead photo of the Elkhorn development site. I think a cultural and arts facility in conjunction with a visitors center at the "Gateway to Yolo County" is a perfect match. I posted a story about Elkhorn previously. With the cultural and arts facility, the Elkhorn "Gateway to Yolo County" development could also include:

1. Sacramento River Museum, Aquarium and educational fish hatchery
2. Marina with restaurants and recreational facilities
3. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge monument
4. Hotel with conference facilites
5. Ferry service or small bridge connection to Sacramento County
6. Park and water taxi stop connecting Knights Landing and Old Sacramento

What do you think? A county cultural and arts center in Davis, West Sac., Woodland, Winters, Elkhorn... where? If you think nowhere, why?

Other news from YCHS:

1. President BJ Ford has sent a letter to the City of Woodland expressing concern over two Victorians in town (the recently relocated Keehn house now at Court and East and the small stilted house at Cleveland and Lincoln)
2. The City of Woodland is seeking Historic Preservation Commission members
3. YCHS is looking for a representative to the Sac. Area History Consortium
4. There's a Sutter's Fort Candlelight tour on Nov. 17 (visit parks.ca.gov/suttersfort)

One more question in closing... there's a Davis Historical Society and a West Sac. Historical Society, why not a Woodland Historical Society?

Souza Cole, Ruiz-Dark, Rodriquez elected to school boards

According to the Yolo County Elections Web site, Carol Souza Cole and Rosario Ruiz-Dark will be the new members of the WJUSD Board of Directors. Cirenio Rodriquez won the county seat representing Area 3. Here are the results:

WJUSD Governing Board Member
Trustee Area No. 3
Two Elected (Votes - Percent follow candidate)
Carol Souza Cole, 2,834 - 44.3%
Rosario Ruiz-Dark, 1,438 - 22.5%
Michael Blackwood, 1,301 - 20.4%
Evis Morales, 818 - 12.8%

Yolo County Board of Education Member
Trustee Area No. 3
One Elected (Votes - Percent follow candidate)
Cirenio A. Rodriguez, 1,410 - 58.7%
Cecelia Calmes, 991 - 41.3%

To find complete county-wide results, just click the title of this story to access the Yolo Elections site.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Take a tour of the former Blue Shield building


A previously distributed lease flyer for the 40,000 sq. ft. building at 435 Sixth Street, Woodland, is now available by clicking the title of this story. The office space, commonly known as the former Blue Shield building, was the work place for over 300 insurance company employees.

Here's the pitch from the flyer:

OPPORTUNITY FOR TENANT: Existing, immediately available, adaptable office space for use as a back office, call center, corporate office, data processing or administrative center, or a special use property such as a church or athletic club. Suites as small as 4,430 SF and as large as 40,000 SF. Access to nearby amenities and services, the majority of which are just a few blocks away from the building. Open floor plan, along with numerous meeting, training rooms, and private offices that line the exterior walls. Landlord will provide a tenant improvement allowance to help meet Tenant’s requirements for build-out. 4/1000 sf parking ratio.

FOR LEASE: $1.60 PSF, FSG. 435 6th Street offers an opportunity to lease a 4,430 SF to 40,000 SF offi ce building in Woodland. The property is located close to the corner of Main Street and East Street and offers access to I-5 and Highway 113 (connector to I-80). The property has been well-maintained and has good curb appeal.

Woodland Journal readers can recall that in an April 26 closed session, the WJUSD trustees were informed that the Blue Shield building was in escrow. Never-the-less, on May 23, the superintendent directed a Letter of Intent and negotiations to purchase the building. On June 28, also in a closed session, the trustees learned of the Blue Shield building costs, then met on August 9 in another closed session to take a tour of Blue Shield building.

Other dates of importance include:

• Sept. 27 - Closed session, BOT updated on Blue Shield negotiations
• Oct. 6 - Supt. emails BOT indicating purchase agreement near completion
• Oct. 8 - GFSI conducts financing workshop with BOT
• Oct. 16 - Architects begin space begin space planning for Blue Shield building
• Oct. 17 - Supt. signs final draft of purchase agreement
• Oct. 25 - Closed session, BOT updated on financing and appraisal

Finally, during a November 20 closed session, the trustees were given a presentation on other location options and the appraisal of the Blue Shield building. On December 13, also in a closed session, trustees discussed the purchase agreement and financing options, then - in a brief open session - approved purchase agreement in 4-3 vote.

A look at the linked flyer reveals: 1) An overview of the property, 2) Existing a potential floor plans, 3) Site plan with parking, and 4) Aerial photo of the neighborhood and photos of the Main Entrance, Outdoor Break Area, Reception Area, Large Training Room, Conference Room and the Break/Lunch Area (seen above).

After reviewing the flyer (and what the trustees may have seen on their August 9 tour), one might wonder why space planning was authorized. It seems like it has everything a school district office might need... and then some.

Monday, November 05, 2007

City to buy a little slice of heaven


During Tuesday's closed sermon of the council gathering, our city fathers will be negotiating for a little slice of heaven. Apparently... the First Baptist Church is asking our town to purchase a small sliver of land next to the new community center, adjacent to SR 113. The price and terms of this Garden of Eden, a.k.a. Assessor’s Parcel Number 040-080-13, are to be conferred. Hopefully, council and clergy will keep the appropriate degrees of separation in order to consecrate the deal. From his pulpit, Mayor Flory will be ADAMant in keeping the three-minute preaching rule as there are many items on the EVEning's program.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Acorn Poll: Talking points about Woodland youth


The first Acorn Poll conducted in September initiated blog topics such as the dog park, Gay-Straight Alliance, a few school related stories, graffiti, medical marijuana, city government reorganization, general plan update, toters, and developer issues.

What I haven't posted yet are blogs related to youth in Woodland, but I know there were some comments made about:

Teen moms
Music programs
Youth dance clubs
Age 14 and up activities
Community Center possibilities
Alternatives to sports programs
Making Downtown more interesting
Occupational training or apprenticeship programs

The purpose of this Acorn Poll is to generate ideas for blog topics related to how the City of Woodland can address youth issues. I know there will be lots of great ideas - more than what's listed above, for sure. Or... who knows, maybe a specific thread will just happen naturally.

15 shopping days until Christmas, and counting

Even before Halloween, the winter holiday merchandise and decorations started popping up in local stores. In fact, during my frequent trips to OSH (estimated average of 17 trips per project) I noticed that all the Halloween products were totally replaced by Christmas stuff even before the trick-or-treaters had their night. While the door bell got a work-out from the little goblins, a Ross Christmas ad appeared on my television screen. I guess it's time to start thinking about gift shopping.

If you had started at the time of this writing (Saturday, November 3), you would've had 52 days to collect those perfect gifts. Especially for relatives who live in other states, I like to give Yolo County products or items unique to Woodland... Mariani nuts, Ludy's BBQ sauce, River Cat merchandise, PureRoast Coffee - things like that. Perhaps this year I'll put a Dustin Pedroia baseball card in the box.

I'd like to see how many unique Woodland or Yolo County gift ideas Woodland Journal bloggers can come up with. (Shameless plugs are welcome!) Maybe we can even send a basket to Woodlander from the Land Downunder so she can get a little taste of home on her sunny Christmas.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Woodland schools fall short of No Child Left Behind standards, California teachers say it isn't working


On Monday, the Daily Democrat published an article by Lizeth Cazares entitled, "School district still below federal NCLB standards." Cazares reported that the Woodland Joint Unified School District continues to fall below the federal standards outlined by the No Child Left Behind Act - and that for the second consecutive year, the district was placed on "Program Improvement Status" for failing to meet the performance requirement as part of that law.

The district has failed to meet the federal requirement to have 23 percent of students meeting or exceeding math and language arts proficiency levels, but the district claims it is because we have students who are English learners, children in poverty and students with disabilities. Now, the district must evaluate its own plans to meet the standards. But will the district also evaluate the position of its teachers and take action to protect our children from an ineffective law? This is a question for those four candidates seeking two positions on the WJUSD Board of Directors.

California educators have supported the Elementary and Secondary Education Act since its inception in 1965. The California Teachers Association (of which all county teachers belong) supports improving student achievement, closing achievement gaps and accountability, but when the law was reauthorized in 2002 as NCLB, it became a system of sanctions rather than assistance to local schools, students and teachers.

The irony is that NCLB is now up for reauthorization. And the proposal by our own California Congressman George Miller and California's own House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does nothing to improve the law. The CTA is currently running a compaign to urge Congress to vote NO on the Miller/Pelosi NCLB reauthorization plan.

Here are the CTA talking points gathered from their Web site (click the title of this story to access):

• NCLB is hurting our students, teachers and schools. Its one-size-fits-all approach to education ignores the individual needs of our students. Children do not learn in the same way or at the same pace.

• NCLB grades student and school success based on a snapshot of mandated, standardized tests given on a single day. The focus on testing forces teachers to teach to the test and has decimated programs like art, music, social studies and physical education.

• NCLB sets up schools to fail. This year NCLB labeled one out of every four California public schools as failing. Instead of punishing schools, we need a system that provides assistance and resources to help all students and schools succeed.

• NCLB has not improved student learning. According to the Harvard Civil Rights Project, NCLB did not have a significant impact on improving reading and math achievement scores and it has not helped narrow achievement gaps.

• Congress has not fully funded the law, making NCLB a federally mandated burden on local school districts. The shortfall in promised federal funding now exceeds $56 billion.

• The Miller/Pelosi reauthorization bill continues to measure student and school success based on standardized test scores and fails to include multiple measures like attendance rates, graduation rates, or rigorous curricula like honors and AP programs.

• The Miller/Pelosi reauthorization bill creates four new levels of sanctions for schools that are struggling. It punishes lower-performing schools rather than giving students and teachers the assistance and proven tools they need to improve student learning.

I'd like to hear from some educators on this one. I don't think the average taxpayer understands how NCLB impacts local districts and more importantly... what happens inside your child's classroom.