Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex was named after legendary sports writer, editor

The Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex is located at 7895 Freeport Blvd. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex is located at 7895 Freeport Blvd. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a two-part series about and relating to the Pocket Little League.

With the beginning of the Pocket Little League season only about a week away, the timing is right to pay tribute to a former, local journalism legend: William Richard “Bill” Conlin.
After all, it was Conlin, a former writer and editor of the sports sections of both The Sacramento Union and The Sacramento Bee, who was memorialized with the naming of the youth sports complex where the league’s teams play their home games.
Five baseball diamonds (including a T-ball field that will become a dog park later this year), two soccer fields, a concession stand, bathrooms and a picnic area with barbecue grills currently make up the Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex at 7895 Freeport Blvd.
It was 10 years ago that this facility, which is located within the city council’s District 7 boundaries, received its present name. The complex had previously been known as the Freeport Shores Youth Sports Complex.
The site was purchased by the city’s Department of Utilities nearly 40 years ago for its originally designated use of providing a water treatment plant.
But due to the low number of playing field facilities in the south area and no immediate plans for the construction of a water treatment plant at that site, it was later decided that the site would be made available for a sports facility for at least 10 years. That facility carried “the option of extended use based upon future assessment of city water needs.”
In providing an update regarding that clause, Pocket Little League President Dave Starnes noted that the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation acquired the Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex three months ago.
“Darrell Fong (the city’s District 7 representative) just let me know this week that (the parks and recreation department) turned (the complex) into a full-fledged park and that we don’t have to worry about losing the fields to a water treatment plant or another use,” Starnes said.
The 1993 master plan for the Freeport Shores Youth Sports Complex called for the construction of three 90-foot diamonds, two 60-foot diamonds, two regulation soccer fields, an intermediate soccer field and a bantam soccer field, as well as a concession stand, restrooms and other improvements.
During the early summer of 1998, the complex’s first phase, which included two ball fields, a soccer field, walkways and a portion of the parking lot, was completed.
On Aug. 1 of the same year, the complex was dedicated. The event included team exhibitions and skill demonstrations by local youth leagues.
In addition to the Pocket Little League’s enthusiasm for the then-new complex, Pocket Girls Softball (which no longer uses the complex) and Greenhaven Soccer benefitted from the opening of the facility.
The proposal to memorialize Conlin through the naming of a sports facility was initially presented to the city in 2002 by a group of local citizens, including Charlie Coyne, R.E. Graswich, Randy Paragary, Gordon Robinson and Jean Runyon.
In responding to that request, city staff members recommended the following locations: the Airport Little League fields, the Sacramento Softball Complex or any of its four fields, a baseball diamond or the then-new jogging/walking path at William Land Park, or the Freeport Shores Youth Sports Complex.
Ultimately, it was the latter site that was selected as the most suitable place to name in honor of Conlin.
Among the early, influential supporters of the renaming of the Freeport Shores Youth Sports Complex was Robbie Waters, a former city councilmember who represented District 7 from 1994 to 2010.
During its Nov. 7, 2002 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Citizen’s Advisory Committee voted in favor of renaming the complex in honor of Conlin.
Nineteen days later, the city council, which then consisted of Waters, Mayor Heather Fargo, Steve Cohn, Lauren Hammond, Dave Jones, Bonnie Pannell, Sandy Sheedy, Ray Tretheway and Jimmie Yee, approved the motion to rename the facility by a vote of 9-0.
The rededication of the complex under its new name was set for Nov. 8, 2003. But due to rainy weather, the event was postponed until the spring.
The rescheduled rededication was held on March 27, 2004 at noon. And considering that the original rededication was postponed due to wet conditions, the gathering was oddly advertised by the city as a “rain or shine” event.
But the selection of that date was not random, as it coincided with the Pocket Little League’s opening day.
For those who are not familiar with Conlin or have limited knowledge about his life, he was one of the more notable journalists in the city’s history.
If he was alive today, Conlin would be 100 years old, and, if healthy, he would possibly still writing for a local newspaper.
Conlin was born in Sacramento, but he moved with his parents to the Marysville area while he was still an infant.
While residing in that area, Conlin’s father introduced him to the publisher of the Marysville Appeal, a paper that would merge with the Marysville Democrat in 1926. Through that connection, Conlin was presented with the opportunity to write his first article for the Appeal when he was only 11 years old.
He would continue writing while he was a student at Yuba Junior College and Stanford University. He graduated from the latter school with a degree in economics in 1934.
Three years later, Conlin was hired as a writer with The Union, which was unaware at that time that the hiring launched the professional career of a man who would become one of Sacramento’s all-time most notable newspapermen.
Conlin’s wife, the former Olivia Moore (1917-1982), who he married in 1939, was also well known in the capital city. She was the owner of Cassandra Antiques, the first antique shop established in Old Sacramento.
During World War II, Conlin served in the Navy and wrote letters back home. Some of those letters were published in The Union.
Conlin, who had strong interests in baseball, horse racing and boxing, was well known for his regular column, “It Says Here.”
In one such column in the Sept. 2, 1949 edition of The Union, he focused on a then-recent report to demonstrate the continued popularity of horse racing in the state.
Many people remember Conlin for his work as the sports editor and a sports writer for The Union and The Bee, but less people are aware that he also spent time serving as The Union’s editor and assistant to the publisher.
Conlin became employed by The Bee in 1976, and with that publication, he continued to write his “It Says Here” column, as well as other articles.
Despite retiring nine years later, he continued to contribute his writings to The Bee until the early part of 1997.
His career as a Sacramento sports writer spanned so many years that when his byline first appeared in a local paper, the Sacramento Solons had not yet won their lone Pacific Coast League pennant (1942), and when he ceased writing for The Bee, both editions of the Solons had departed (1961, 1976) and the Sacramento River Cats were less than three years away from making their 2000 debut.
While Edmonds Field was still in operation at Riverside Boulevard and Broadway, Conlin was among those who urged the Solons’ owners to open the ball park to Little Leaguers on opening days.
He also wrote many articles in support of establishing lighted baseball fields in Sacramento, and he argued that because youth in other communities had superior facilities, they had better opportunities to excel as athletes.
Additionally, Conlin promoted and supported the annual father-son baseball banquet, which drew hundreds of Little League players and their fathers, as well as professional baseball players from Sacramento during the 1960s and 1970s.
In a 2002 city document that focused on the subject, “Request to Rename the Freeport Shores Youth Sports Complex the Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex,” Conlin was described as “a tireless advocate for quality sports and recreational facilities in Sacramento (who) believed that Sacramento youth deserved such facilities.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Learn to fly at Executive Airport!

EVA Airlines, Taiwan’s second largest airline, has identified Executive Airport as the potential location for a U.S. based flight training school. The long-term plan for this exciting development is the construction of a new flight training facility.

The project could result in a $13-$15 million investment in Executive Airport, including classrooms, a cafeteria, dormitory housing for students, a maintenance hangar, shade hangars and a private apron. This development is consistent with the Draft Airport Master Plan.

Prior to development and operation of the new facility, EVA must obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a flight training facility.

To support the curriculum development effort and establish an immediate Sacramento presence EVA is proposing to lease building 10318 at Executive Airport. The lease, which was on the agenda to be considered by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, passed on March 12, 2013.

“This type of private investment at Executive Airport is a long-term shot in the arm for our local economy,” said District 1 Supervisor Jimmie Yee. “Sacramento County is committed to exploring these types of projects to ensure a bright future for Executive.”

If the FAA approves the EVA curriculum, training for the first 12-15 students would begin in early 2014. The EVA training program will use modern 2- to 4-seat aircraft similar to other types of airplanes that operate at Executive Airport.

“This is the first step in what will be a long-term partnership,” said Interim Director of
Airports Rob Leonard. “Over the next few months, our staff will work with EVA and other stakeholders on a ground lease and other details for development of the project.”

EVA Air offers a global flight network, with connections to more than 60 cities in Asia,
China, Europe, North America and Oceania. EVA’s parent company, The Evergreen Group, owns a diverse set of companies that include land and air transportation companies and an international chain of hotels.

Sacramento County Airport System, a department of Sacramento County, is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining four of the County’s airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field. The Airport System provides more than $4 billion in annual economic impact to the Sacramento region. For more information, visit www.sacramento.aero

Know your neighbor: Land Park resident invites everyone to learn more about “proud Americans”

“Proud Americans: Growing Up As Children of Immigrants.”

Land Park resident Judie Fertig Panneton was born the child of immigrants. Her mother was from Poland and her father was from Holland. Both her parents were also Holocaust survivors.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, all Panneton wanted was to be like all the other American kids and fit in.

“When I was a kid I didn’t want to be a child of immigrants; I didn’t want to have parents that were Holocaust survivors,” she says. “It was very painful to watch my father have a number on his arm and to know there was horror behind it.”

Now years later, Panneton has realized she is proud of the fact she is a child of immigrants, thanks in part to the research she conducted while writing her new book, “Proud Americans: Growing Up as Children of Immigrants.”

Touching Stories
Panneton decided to write “Proud Americans” as she had always felt different and wondered if there were other children of immigrants who felt the same way. Through her journalism background and curiosity, she decided to start interviewing other children of immigrants to see if they had the same feelings.

Over seven years, Panneton interviewed about 50 people for her book, many of which are from Sacramento. For example, she interviewed Board of Supervisors District 2 Representative Jimmie Yee, who in his story talks about how poor his family was growing up. And Tony Xiong, one of 10 children of Laotian immigrants, grew up in a poor Sacramento neighborhood, battled hunger, violence and the lure of gangs who is now training to be a police officer.

“You interview these people and they just become part of you sometimes,” Panneton says about her experience. “I was very touched by a lot of the stories. And I learned from all of them – that was a great part of it too … Not only do I hear these special stories and memories, but I get to learn about history and people’s lives and how they made a go of it.”

Panneton said although many of her book’s subjects come from Sacramento, it wasn’t done on purpose – it just happens that Sacramento is that diverse. In fact, she makes reference to the fact that Sacramento was named the most diverse city in the United States by Time magazine in 2002, and for that reason she asked Mayor Kevin Johnson to write an introduction for her book.

(From left) Author Judie Fertig Panneton poses with “Proud Americans” subject Dorothy Mitsu Takeuchi during a past book signing event. Photo courtesy Judie Panneton.

Spreading the Word
Through her project, Panneton said she has learned that some of the most proud Americans are children of immigrants, and their families really appreciate what America brings to their family.

“I also take away that being a child of immigrants is actually an honor. You just don’t realize it sometimes,” she adds. “There are some people who certainly have embraced it from the moment they were born in the family they’ve been in, but there are others that don’t realize how great it is until they’re older.”

Panneton hopes to spread this message across to others. For instance, she has done talks at California State University, Sacramento and colleges on the East Coast about her book, and has made the book available to some CSUS and high school educators to use in their curriculum.

She may develop “Proud Americans” into a play. As she sees many of these stories as looking through the window of someone’s home, she believes her book would format itself well to theater. “I’m not moving on from this book because it lives in my heart and my soul and I’d still like to build upon it,” she said.

In July, Panneton was part of a presentation of citizenship certificates to 14 new children of immigrants at the Old Schoolhouse in Old Sacramento. “My message to them was you go to school and you’re going to want to fit in with your friends and that’s all good, but remember your parents sacrificed a lot to come to this country, so be proud of them, too,” she says.

To continue spreading the word on what she’s learned, Panneton will be conducting three presentations through the Sacramento Public Library in October – Pocket Greenhaven Library on Oct. 10 from 6:30-8 p.m.; South Natomas Library on Oct. 17 from 7-7:30 p.m.; and Arden Dimick Library on Oct. 20 from 2-3:30 p.m.

For the library events, Panneton plans to have read four to five stories from “Proud Americans” and open up a discussion with attendees. She also hopes to have some of the people from her book attend the library events so attendees can meet them.

“I hope people come to the events at the library because it’s always a great opportunity to form a little community in a room and have really special time spent together sharing ideas and memories,” she says. “I would love to see everybody come out and join together as a community and talk about this great country of ours.”

corrie@valcomnews.com

Preparedness and Self-Reliance Fair to prepare Sacramento residents for potential emergencies

California is home to natural and man-made disasters: earthquakes, fires, flooding and even extreme weather situations, such as tornadoes, are not out of the realm of possibility here.

Because of the on-going potential for emergencies in the Sacramento region, city and county organizations and officials are co-sponsoring the Sacramento Emergency Preparedness and Self-Reliance Fair on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Guest exhibitors will include the Sacramento Office of Emergency Services, the American Red Cross, the Sacramento City Fire Department, the California Emergency Management Agency, the Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART), the Sacramento Police Department, Army Corps of Engineers, United Animal Nations, Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Conservation Corps, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and many more.

Visitors to the event can learn about: building disaster-resilient families, having an emergency plan, emergency communication, emergency shelters, power generators, first aid kits, employment, wills, trusts, estate planning, budgeting and saving, a three-month supply of rotatable food, crime prevention, Neighborhood Watch, flood preparedness, water storage and purification, children’s emergency activities and much, much more.

This event is open to everyone in the community.

The event will be hosted by members of The Sacramento California Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sponsors include the Sacramento City and County Office of Emergency Services, Council Member Robbie Waters, Council Member Bonnie Pannell and County Supervisor Jimmie Yee.

Individuals of all ages will have the opportunity to learn how to better prepare for natural and man-made disasters at this free event.

The Fair will include over 40 exhibits and displays highlighting topics such as: food and water storage, stretching your food dollar, employment, family evacuation plans, 72-hour kits, water purification, first aid, fire safety and much more.

Emergency vehicles will also be available for tours and close-up inspection, including an Army National Guard HH60 helicopter, a Coast Guard rescue boat, ambulance, highway patrol car and a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trailer. The Army National Guard HH60 plans to land around 10:30 a.m. and CERT will be performing several “triage” demonstrations throughout the day.

“The fair has been designed to provide useful information to families regardless of where they are in the wide spectrum of emergency preparedness and self-reliance,” said John Cassinat, president of the Sacramento Stake. “There will be meaningful experiences and valuable information for the person or family who doesn’t know where to begin, as well as for those who are well on there way to sustainable independence and self-reliance during most emergencies.”

The Fair will be held at a large property owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 7401 24th Street in Sacramento.

This event is free and family oriented. Translators will be available for multiple languages.

“It is important that we as a community are prepared for any kind of unanticipated event,” Cassinat said. “The more educated we are as a community, the more resilient we will be.”

Election Results: Sacramento City Council shake-up

 

*THIS INFORMATION BASED ON SEMI-OFFICIAL RETURNS REPORTED BY THE SACRAMENTO COUNTY REGISTRAR OF VOTERS.

 

 

Since 1992, no incumbent Sacramento City Councilmember has lost a re-election bid; on Tuesday night, that all changed.

The June 8 Primary Election has changed the make-up of the Sacramento City Council.
The June 8 Primary Election has changed the make-up of the Sacramento City Council.

 

The June 8 Primary Election was a defining moment in politics statewide: for the first time, the California Republican Party was running not one, but two women for statewide office, with Meg Whitman as the party’s gubernatorial nominee and Carly Fiorina as the GOP pick to run against Barbara Boxer in the U.S. senate race. Adding to this historic development was the local result – Sacramento City Councilmembers Ray Tretheway, from Natomas’ District 1, and Robbie Waters, representing Pocket-Greenhaven’s District 7, have apparently lost in their race to serve another four years at City Hall. It’s been 18 years since such an upset has occurred in Sacramento City politics.

 

According to semi-official results released June 9 at 1:48 a.m. by the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters, both incumbents lost to political newcomers, Tretheway falling to Natomas grassroots campaigner Angelique Ashby, and Robbie Waters being edged out by Ryan Chin and Darrell Fong. Tretheway, who claims he was a target because he would not support Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s strong-mayor initiative, had been recently seen by political watchdogs as very vulnerable, especially as Ashby scored a number of major endorsements and political allies (Johnson being one of them). Waters, who ran twice unopposed (most recently in 2006), faced a tough fight of his own, desperately trying to fend off two candidates that were as equally funded and organized.

 

 

The District 7 Race

According to the semi-official results, Chin was the big winner Tuesday night, taking in 38.45 percent of the vote; Fong came in second with 31.41 percent; Waters, the four-term incumbent and only Republican on the City Council, garnered 27.44 percent; and college student Diedre Hobart came in a distant fourth place. With no candidate earning a clear majority, the results set up a likely run-off election this November between the first- and second-place winners, Chin and Fong, respectively.

 

Waters, who has served on the City Council since 1994 and raised more money and spent more money in this election than any other City Council candidate, was fighting a determined battle in his re-election bid. Challengers Chin, a strategic communications officer with Sacramento State, and Fong, a retired Sacramento Police captain, seized early on to the anti-incumbent sentiment sweeping the U.S.

 

In their first public debate held last spring, the District 7 challengers came out swinging, saying that Waters was out of touch with the current needs of the district. Waters, for his part, pointed to a number of recent accomplishments, such as the building of a new library; however, the library issue had turned into a slight political misstep among some Pocket voters as the new building was named after Waters. Some screamed impropriety; Waters and his supporters have said the councilmember simply followed the wishes of library volunteers.

 

Also dampening Waters’ re-election momentum was news that his son, Dan, had been allegedly involved in a city scandal involving building permits in Natomas, an area off-limits to new construction due to persistent flood concerns. Although the councilman had no direct connection to the permit mess, Waters nonetheless appeared in a number of news reports discussing the situation and deflecting character attacks.

 

In a special interview prior to the election with Valley Community Newspaper reporter Celia Green, Waters had said that he hoped to serve one more four-year term and then retire from city politics. That retirement, it seems, will come early.

 

 

The District 3 Race

Although the Pocket-Greenhaven community saw quite the political upset, the District 3 race was anything but; Councilmember Steve Cohn, Midtown and East Sacramento’s longtime representative on the City Council, will remain in office for another term. The incumbent had faced a strong challenge from East Sacramento Chamber of Commerce President Chris Little and Midtown business owner Shawn Eldredge, but the incumbent persevered, winning his bid for a fifth term as the District 3 representative.

 

Cohn, who will now be one of Sacramento’s longest-serving councilmembers, garnered 53.95 of the vote, winning a clear majority and avoiding a run-off election in November. Little and Eldredge scored 37.73 percent and 5.52 percent, respectively, while candidate Jeff Rainforth garnered the remaining votes.

 

 

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Race

A bruising primary election will likely turn into a bruising general election: candidates Scott Jones and Jim Cooper, both captains with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, did not win a clear majority of votes and will now face one another again in the November General Election.

 

In what has been one of Sacramento’s most hotly contested races, Jones and Cooper threw mud, hurled accusations, and laid charges of political impropriety and professional misconduct. The race has also come to represent a battle between two law enforcement legacies, as Cooper, endorsed by former Sheriff Lou Blanas, and Jones, endorsed by outgoing Sheriff John McGinness, attacked one another for their political connections as much as their administrative philosophies.

 

Jones came out on top in Tuesday’s race, but not by much, taking in 46.17 percent of the vote; Cooper came in second and garnered 41.37 percent of the vote; a third candidate, Bret Daniels, drew the remaining votes.

 

Sacramento County voters can expect the war of words to continue into the fall. The 2010 General Election is Nov. 2.

 

 

Sacramento Area Race Results listed as “semi-official” by the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters (winners listed in CAPS, % of vote listed in parentheses, incumbents listed as necessary):

Sacramento City Council, District 1

ANGELIQUE ASHBY (50.98%)

Ray Tretheway, incumbent (41.55%)

Efren M. Guttierrez (7.36%)

Write-in (.12%)

 

Sacramento City Council, District 3

STEVE COHN, incumbent (53.95%)

Chris Little (37.73%)

Shawn Eldredge (5.52%)

Jeff Rainforth (2.69%)

Write-in (.11%)

 

Sacramento City Council, District 5

JAY SCHENIRER* (47.04%)

Patrick Kennedy (34.32%)

Henry Harry (6.41%)

Terrence Johnson (6.04%)

Leticia Hilbert (6.00%)

Write-in (.19%)

*(As no candidate won a clear majority of 50-percent-plus-1-vote, Schenirer will likely face Kennedy in a run-off election in November, according to semi-official results)

 

Sacramento City Council, District 7

RYAN CHIN* (38.45%)

Darrell Fong (31.41%)

Robbie Waters, incumbent (27.44%)

Diedre Hobart (2.67%)

Write-in (.04%)

*(As no candidate won a clear majority of 50-percent-plus-1-vote, Chin will likely face Fong in a run-off election in November, according to semi-official results)

 

Sacramento County Board Of Supervisors, District 1

PHIL SERNA (71.60%)

Keith Weber (28.15%)

Write-in (.25%)

 

Sacramento County Board Of Supervisors, District 2

JIMMIE YEE, incumbent (78.05%)

Raymond Kemp (21.73%)

Write-in (.22%)

 

Sacramento County Board Of Supervisors, District 5

DON NOTTOLI, incumbent (70.01%)

Lovie Kirkland (29.75%)

Write-in (.24%)

 

Sacramento County Assessor

KATHLEEN E. KELLEHER (63.98%)

David A. Benson (21.60%)

Margaret Pennington (14.28%)

Write-in (.14%)

 

Sacramento County District Attorney

JAN SCULLY, incumbent (79.39%)

Julius M. Engel (20.44%)

Write-in (.14%)

 

Sacramento County Sheriff

SCOTT JONES* (46.17%)

Jim Cooper (41.37%)

Bret Daniels (11.77%)

Write-in (.70%)

*(As no candidate won a clear majority of 50-percent-plus-1-vote, Jones will face Cooper in a run-off election in November, according to semi-official results)

 

 

For complete Sacramento County election results, visit http://sacresults.e-cers.com/default.aspx. For information on statewide races and ballot measures, visit www.sos.ca.gov.

 

E-mail Ryan Rose at ryanrose@valcomnews.com.