Crime up 50%: East Sacramento residents hear from authorities on safety issues

During the crime and safety meeting sponsored by the City of Sacramento at the Clunie Center Wednesday, Aug. 27, Glen Faulkner, a Pocket area resident and Sacramento Police Executive Lieutenant for East Area Command, told the standing room only crowd that his data indicates the past 90-day period included a total of 70 reported car and home break ins compared to 35 last year.

Not a good sign.

Evidence that indicates a perception that crimes are on the increase in our area may not simply be the result of something like the increase in popularity of Nextdoor.com.

The good news is that due to good community engagement, and new innovative police practices, reported crime overall in Sacramento is down. Large turnouts at community meetings such as this one give Faulkner hope that more progress can be made.

A couple of years ago, the Sacramento Police Department employed 804 officers. After the severe recession that number dipped to a low of 620, a number that has since been slowly climbing. What this means to the police is that an activated well-trained citizenry working closely with the police department is absolutely critical to our safety.

A citizenry that knows how to spot trouble, and what to do when they suspect something is not right, can help reduce crime possibly more than any other factor, says Faulkner. Therefore, one of the police department’s biggest requests is for individuals to join a neighborhood watch and regularly attend neighborhood association meetings where officers often directly assist and inform the public.

Faulkner, and other officers, stayed long after the meeting was over to offer helpful tidbits to concerned neighbors letting them know that using the words “I suspect someone is casing our street” versus “there is a strange person on our street” can make the difference between meaningful police intervention as opposed to virtually no action.

The event was moderated by Council Member Steve Cohn who did a good job ensuring time was well managed in a one-hour presentation that included open Q&A along with public safety updates from Faulkner, parks safety updates from rangers Joe Cushing and Robert Conroy, and neighborhood watch and Nextdoor.com police liaison Jena Swafford. Also in attendance was Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan and candidates Jeff Harris and Cyril Shaw who are both running to replace Cohn.

Jena Swafford helped inform us about trainings the department officers our communities, how the police use Nextdoor.com, and the robust amount of resources available on the www.sacpd.org website. Growing in popularity are home surveillance cameras which connect to home computers and which can now be registered to the police department on their website to allow the police to directly review any incidents caught on camera. Newsletters, a calendar of events, educational videos, and subscription to daily activity reports are also available on the site.

Cushing and Conroy fielded tough questions from the audience about the homeless problem we face. In fact, earlier that day Cushing had spent 10 1/2 hours helping to relocate many of the homeless. He explained that both the police and the park rangers share jurisdiction of the parks. The rangers are also suffering from budget cuts. Often Cushing has only one ranger on patrol to cover 250 parks throughout the city.

Cushing and Conroy confirmed what some in the audience expressed particular concern with – “the revolving door” and its associated expenses. It is a term used to describe when someone, often homeless and in need of help, is booked on a minor charge and then released four hours later only to be re-booked again and again. Officers directly involved say it does, indeed, exist.

As pointed out in prior East Sacramento News coverage the issue of homelessness and its associated challenges (economic and social) is a growing concern – one that has severely impacted not only Sacramento, but other communities throughout the nation.

Rather than simply tossing up one’s arms and resigning to the belief that there is nothing really that can be done about these problems, models of intervention involving the police are proving that such thinking is convenient, but simply not true.

Large cities, even in highly conservative populations such as San Antonio, provide examples of models of care that dramatically improve outcomes while at the same time saving tens of millions of dollars each year.

Faulkner’s newly promoted partner in the police department, Darryl Brian, explained that he is a U.S. military veteran who was stationed in Germany. He has seen many of his close friends struggle with serious issues only to end up homeless and on the street. Faulkner and Brian are now being mandated by their superiors to direct more attention to these models.

Working with Sacramento Steps Forward, a non-government organization, various agencies such as law enforcement, mental health, homeless, addiction, veteran’s affairs, medical health etc. are creating effective “wraparound” services to help ensure that issues such as The Revolving Door change into Doors of Opportunity for those needing help.

Those readers wishing to find out more about our police and safety in our neighborhoods are invited to meet at Starbucks on 38th and J Street with East Sacramento area Lt. Alisa Buckley Thursday Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The meeting was set up by Eastsacpetpal.com owner Leanne Mack.

Community reacts to fatal accident on Riverside Boulevard

A collision took place on Riverside Boulevard at Swanston Drive on Thursday, Feb. 13 at about 10:50 a.m. The Pocket News was at the scene several minutes after the accident occurred and it was observed that the police had closed Riverside Boulevard, between Swanston Drive and 4th Avenue, to automotive traffic. Here is a selection of photographs from the incident. Photo by Lance Armstrong

A collision took place on Riverside Boulevard at Swanston Drive on Thursday, Feb. 13 at about 10:50 a.m. The Pocket News was at the scene several minutes after the accident occurred and it was observed that the police had closed Riverside Boulevard, between Swanston Drive and 4th Avenue, to automotive traffic. Here is a selection of photographs from the incident. Photo by Lance Armstrong

A fatal automobile accident occurred in Land Park during the middle part of last month, causing some neighbors and others to comment about the topic of speeding along this thoroughfare.
The collision took place on Riverside Boulevard at Swanston Drive on Thursday, Feb. 13 at about 10:50 a.m.
According to a Sacramento Police Department on-the-scene, post-accident video, the driver of a Mercedes-Benz was heading north on Riverside Boulevard and crashed into a Toyota Avalon, which was reported to have been turning onto Riverside Boulevard in a northwardly direction.
The Mercedes-Benz was determined to have been traveling at a rate of speed well above the 30 mph speed limit. And although it was not officially confirmed, some residents in the area spoke about the Mercedes-Benz as having been traveling at a speed of about 70 mph.
Linda Shaw, 66, who was the driver of the Toyota, was pronounced dead at a hospital later that day. A man in his 60s who was a passenger in the same vehicle was seriously injured.
Floyd Martin, 57, the driver of the Mercedes-Benz, was hospitalized in the University of California, Davis Medical Center, where he remained until March 6 when he was released into police custody.
According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, Martin was “booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.”
The Land Park News was at the scene several minutes after the accident occurred and it was observed that the police had closed Riverside Boulevard, between Swanston Drive and 4th Avenue, to automotive traffic.
It was also found that debris from the vehicles were spread a great distance and in many directions, and the Mercedes-Benz did not come to halt until it reached the vicinity of 4th Avenue.
Ninety-year-old Mary McLane, who resides on 4th Avenue, said that she feels fortunate not to have been walking on Riverside Boulevard at the time of the accident, considering the amount of debris that made its way to the sides of that street.
“I came down here for a walk (on Riverside Boulevard) about an hour (after the accident occurred),” said McLane, who is a 37-year resident of the neighborhood. “There wasn’t very much going on (at the accident scene), but there were a lot of neighbors who were talking about (the accident).”
Sherry Deangelis, who provides home care for McLane, said that the sidewalks along the boulevard are used quite frequently.
“There are a lot of people that walk and jog here,” Deangelis said. “And elderly people who walk around here, it’s their exercise. You can’t walk around this block without walking into at least one person, if not more.”
Adding to the concern of any vehicle being driven at an excessive speed along the boulevard in that area is the fact that Crocker/Riverside Elementary School is located at 2970 Riverside Blvd.
Last week, Daniel McCord, principal of the local elementary school, spoke out against those who speed along Riverside Boulevard.
“Obviously, anyone going over the speed limit concerns me, especially at that rate of speed, whatever it turns out to be,” McCord said. “It’s a huge concern and that was just born out by the results of the accident unfortunately. I can’t imagine there’s just one person who speeds up and down through there. At the same time, there’s a stop light right there at the school. We have flashing lights up to there, letting people know it’s a school zone. We have a crossing guard who has got her stop sign. We’ve made sure our parents and the students know: do not cross the street unless you’re in the crosswalk. So, I feel comfortable with those steps. At the same time, that doesn’t necessarily stop people from speeding.”
After being asked what message he would like to give to those who speed in front of the school, which is located in a 25 mph – when children are present – zone, McCord said, “I would say, be considerate of the children. We’re very much a family school. It’s not just students who are 5 to 12 years old that come to the school, but a lot of the younger siblings. Sometimes their parents may not have the hand right on them. I can’t imagine how somebody would feel if something happened that involved a student, let alone somebody, as it just happened with the woman, who was killed.”
Photo by Lance Armstrong

Photo by Lance Armstrong

McCord added that it is not uncommon for people to exceed the speed limits posted on Riverside Boulevard.
“I see how much of a challenge it is for me and many of our staff and parents for that matter to pull out of the school onto Riverside (Boulevard), not just because it’s congested, although that can certainly be the case (generally during morning and evening hours), but because there are people who go at a higher rate (of speed) than I would hope that they would go,” McCord said. “And just where I travel (on the street), I can see where people are traveling at a higher rate of speed. I just know the flow of traffic is certainly much higher than 30 (mph).”
Michael Neff, an 11-year resident of Land Park, estimates that the average speed of vehicles traveling along the boulevard in Land Park is 40 to 45 mph.
“Most people go 40 to 45 (mph on the boulevard),” Neff said. “I’m in the bike lane (on his bicycle) all the time and they’re moving by pretty quick. I would say it’s not that safe. Does it scare me? Yeah.”
In offering his own suggestion to slowing down the traffic flow on Riverside Boulevard, Neff said that he would not mind seeing a few more stop signs.
Troy Magness, who resides with his wife, Katherine, on 3rd Avenue in Land Park, also shared his views about decreasing the speed of traffic along the boulevard.
“I almost like the idea of maybe stepping up the presence of law enforcement, like black and whites, that sort of thing,” Troy said. “I’m not exactly an advocate of more government intrusion. Speed bumps? I think they’re pretty effective. I don’t think there’s any stretch along here that a roundabout would be appropriate, but that’s a good way to try to curb (excessive) speed, as well.”
Another local resident, Maya Walters, said that she has had discussions with others in the community about different ways that traffic could be slowed down on Riverside Boulevard.
“We need something to slow down (the traffic),” Walters said. “We were saying there should be police officers around giving tickets, but we haven’t seen any. But that’s a temporary fix. We’ve all been trying to talk about what we’re going to do to let people know (to slow down).”
Eric Baldwin, who resides on 2nd Avenue, spoke about an entirely different accident – a car versus wooden fence collision, which occurred on Riverside Boulevard, between Vallejo Way and 3rd Avenue, on Saturday, March 1.
“I was walking (on Riverside Boulevard) on early Saturday (morning),” Baldwin said. “Another guy actually teed me off to it. He was walking (in one direction on the boulevard) and I was walking (in the other direction). The front end of the car was kind of smashed in and the bumper was down and I would assume whoever had been driving realized what happened and left it there.”
Ericka Jones, who also lives in the area, remembers seeing the same vehicle.
“I saw a car up on the lawn, and the whole front of the car was busted up,” Jones said. “Everyone evacuated the car. I don’t know who was in it.”
Jones added that she feels safe when she regularly jogs along Riverside Boulevard, and is “indifferent” when it comes to the idea of taking any measures to slow down the flow of traffic.
Another local resident Hoshi Fujioka has a different opinion on that topic.
“I know the speed limit here (is 30 mph), but you would never know it,” Fujioka said. “I think they should be more strict about that. People go too fast here.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Anonymous donor to match funds to help rebuild Caroline Wenzel’s playground

An anonymous donor recently agreed to match every dollar donated to the playground rebuild fund, which began on Sept. 3 by the Sacramento Unified Education Foundation, SCUSD’s official nonprofit organization.

Earlier this summer, playground structures at Wenzel and John Sloat Elementary School were set ablaze. Damage was extensive and both structures were removed for safety reasons. Sacramento Fire Department in conjunction with the Sacramento Police Department made an arrest in connection with the crimes. Although SCUSD is moving swiftly to replace the structures, the schools opened on time without them. The district’s insurance deductible is $25,000 for each incident. Without donations, that $50,000 will come out of the general fund budget, further hampering the district’s work to rebound from recessionary budget cuts.

“We are so grateful for these generous contributions,” said SCUSD Superintendent Jonathan Raymond. “Our fundraising has a ways to go, but we have a wonderfully supportive community that I believe will help us get our kids playing again.”

On July 31, a neighbor of John Sloat Elementary School reported to Sacramento Fire Department that the playground structure was on fire. The extent of damage caused by the blaze required removal of the entire structure. Fire officials later confirmed that the fire was deliberately set.

The following night, on August 1, the playground structure at Caroline Wenzel Elementary School in the Pocket neighborhood was set ablaze. Although the damage was not as extensive as that of the John Sloat incident, the structure was torn down for safety reasons.

Visit scusd.edu for more information. Community members can donate to the Sacramento Unified Education Foundation through checks made out to: 

Sacramento Unified Education Foundation
P.O. Box 246353, Sacramento or donate through PayPal.

PACT Seminar A Success For Seniors: Greenhaven organizations gather to provide financially savvy seniors workshop

“(We) strongly encourage you to do your banking and bill paying through online banking services.”  That was just one of the hard messages provided by the keynote panel speakers to the crowd of more than 130 attendees at PACT’s Oct. 18 Financially Savvy Seniors seminar.

Detective Jenny Wirtz of the Sacramento Police Department went on to explain, “There are just too many ways that crooks can drain your bank account if they are able to obtain the bank routing information from the bottom of your check, and online banking is extremely secure.”

Attendees also learned, from Jane Kreidler of the California Contractors State License Board, about the importance of checking potential contractors’ license status on that agency’s website (https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicenseII/checklicense.aspx) before entering into any contracts; a city business license is not any indicator of reliability.  Or, better yet, said Jane, “Call the Board at 800-321-CLSB to get full-service information from Board staff.”

Caryl Rose, from Sacramento County Adult Protective Services, advised the seniors present to be on the lookout for potential abuse of other seniors and to not hesitate to report suspected cases to a trusted doctor, the police, or Adult Protective Services; it is estimated that no more than 10 percent of the actual cases do get reported in a timely manner.  “Unfortunately,” she said, “the video presentation at the beginning of this seminar (An Age for Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America) is all too accurate a portrayal of the truth of elder abuse in our nation.”

Telephone “slamming,” “cramming,” and “phishing,” which affect more than 20 million telephone subscribers per year, were described by Susan Sarinas of the Asian Community Center, our neighbor in the Pocket-Greenhaven area and a co-sponsor of this event.

Participants were also made aware of online and telephone resources they should connect with when “I just don’t know where to turn:”

California Consumer Affairs Hotline: 800-952-5210
CA Seniors Gateway to all state services: www.seniors.ca.gov
Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov
Federal Bureau of Investigation: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud
Internal Revenue Services (phishing):  http://www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection

In addition, seminar participants were able to browse information tables set up for these resources by a dozen different agencies serving seniors in the Greenhaven-Pocket area and addressing their various, specific issues.

And as a bonus, attendees were treated to a talk by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, who is chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care.  She outlined a variety of recently-passed state and federal legislation addressing senior issues.  At the federal level one critical piece of legislation is the 2011 Elder Justice Act, which is providing federal resources to address various aspects of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  An example at the state level is SB 1021, just signed by the governor to set up a Silver Alert system, similar to the Amber Alert system, but which will be used to aid in the search for seniors who are missing, as the Amber Alert system does for children.

With the range and relevance of the information provided, the seminar was rated a rousing success by attendees, and plans are in the works for developing similar information seminars into the future.  They will be developed via additional collaborative efforts by the PACT-cooperating churches and their partners who put on this event — PACT:  Faith Presbyterian, Greenhaven Community, Greenhaven Lutheran, Riverside Wesleyan, and St. Anthony Catholic churches; the Asian Community Center; and St Anthony Senior Club.

Liz Gibson is a member of the Faith Presbyterian Church on Florin Blvd.

Community rallies to support of wounded Sacramento K9

The Sacramento community is rallying to the side of a Sacramento K9 that was seriously wounded in the line of duty on Friday, May 18.

K9 BODIE was wounded in the line of duty while he and his handler were pursuing two car theft suspects on May 18. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento Police Canine Association

K9 BODIE was wounded in the line of duty while he and his handler were pursuing two car theft suspects on May 18. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento Police Canine Association

K9 Bodie suffered one gunshot wound to the jaw and another to the right front paw when pursuing a car theft suspect in Sacramento’s Land Park.

The incident was the result of an earlier stolen car pursuit by the Sacramento Police Department. Soon, the abandoned vehicle was found off Riverside Boulevard and police surrounded the area. K9 Officer Randy Van Dusen and K9 Bodie came upon the fleeing couple.

“A short foot pursuit ensued and the male suspect fired rounds at the canine, striking the canine,” said Sgt. Andrew Pettit with the Sacramento Police. “Fearing for the safety of himself and the other people around, the canine handler fired rounds at the suspect.”

The incident ended with the death of the male suspect, 33-year old Lucus. J. Webb of Chico. The female suspect, 28-year old Leslie McCulley, taken into custody.

Shaken parents picked up their children at Crocker Elementary on Friday afternoon, grateful to Bodie, his partner and the Sacramento Police Department that their children were kept safe from the danger that came all-too-close to the school.

Van Dusen immediately took the dog to the VCA Animal Hospital in Rancho Cordova, where Bodie underwent two surgeries – the second one was to stop bleeding. He was listed in serious condition, but by Tuesday, May 22, Bodie was upgraded from “stable” to “fair” condition. The dog underwent multiple blood transfusions over the weekend, but his blood count is now near normal, so he should not require any further transfusions, according to the Sacramento Police Canine Association’s Facebook Webpage. Bodie faces future surgeries to deal with shrapnel and bone fragments in his face and paw, as well as significant repair to his damaged tongue.

Bodie was able to get out into the sunshine for a brief period of time on Sunday. With the support of his handler, who has not left his side, the dog is rallying.

WOUNDED SACRAMENTO POLICE K9 BODIE is steadily improving. His now listed in fair condition at a Rancho Cordova veterinary hospital. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento Police Canine Association

WOUNDED SACRAMENTO POLICE K9 BODIE is steadily improving. His now listed in fair condition at a Rancho Cordova veterinary hospital. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento Police Canine Association

In a statement released on Facebook on May 23, Van Dusen said, “I want to thank everyone for all the support and well wishes for Bodie!!! I’ve spent every day and night with him on his bed since Friday and the improvement I’ve seen him make is amazing!! Tonight when I walked in out kennel he wagged his tail non stop and jumped up on me to put his paws on my shoulder and lick my face! That’s a long way from driving him to the vet with lights and sirens and begging him to hold on. He truly saved my life in that back yard that day and I can’t thank him enough! Please keep Bodie in your thoughts for a speedy recovery. We’re looking forward to being out there catching bad guys soon!!”

Bodie’s medical expenses may run between $20,000 and $25,000. Offers to help with the K9’s medical expenses are coming in from the community, as are offers to purchase a new K9 for the department. A trained dog, K9 Echo, was purchased for the Sacramento Police Department by the Rotary Club of East Sacramento for $10,000 earlier this year.

K9 teams from both the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff often work together to keep the community safe.

Those who wish to make a donation for Bodie’s care can do so by visiting www.spdk9.org. Donations can also be mailed to Sacramento Police K9 Association, 550 Bercut Drive, Sacramento, CA 95811. Checks should be made out to the Sacramento Police K9 Association.


Sacramento Police officers receive MADD awards

On April 25, 2012 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognized 18 Sacramento police officers and one sergeant for their dedication in education and enforcement to combat impaired driving.

COMMENDABLE WORK. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognized individuals in local law enforcement for their actions to combat impaired driving. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento Police Department

COMMENDABLE WORK. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognized individuals in local law enforcement for their actions to combat impaired driving. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento Police Department

MADD awarded the following officers for their superior effort: Luis Canela, Stephen Chipp, Christopher Clatterbuck, William Conner, Tim Davis, Deo Farrales, Curtis Gates, Ethan Hanson, Amber Hawley, Ken Leonard, Marcel Loriaux, Tim Monelo, Daniel Morlan, Nvard Msryan, Christina O’Shea, Christopher Swift, Andrew Stewart, Keri Wilson and Sergeant Chris Prince.

Officers Stephen Chipp and Chris Clatterbuck were additionally recognized for their outstanding performance in “Avoid the 17″ campaign.

The “Avoid the 17″ campaign is a partnership of 17 law enforcement agencies in the county combined to fight impaired driving and enforce traffic related laws.

Officer Stephen Chipp received the State regional award for the highest number of impaired driving arrests in 2011.

Hunting with My Father

My father worked as a police officer in Sacramento.  He grew
up during the great depression, and served in the Navy during
World War II.  When he returned home after the war, he eventually landed a job with the Sacramento Police Department.
He told this story of his hiring by the Department.  He
had passed both the physical and mental tests for the job,
completed his interview process, then had to be measured.
Sacramento police officers had to be five feet, nine inches tall.
Dad probably stood on tip toes to reach that height, but they
hired him anyway.  They needed men of his caliber.
During his first several years on the police department,
Dad worked in sequence all shifts:  day, swing and graveyard.  During those times, we saw him mostly on his days off.
Eventually though, Dad landed a job with the Detective Division.  They worked Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  I saw
my dad much more often after that.
Raising a family with four children, on a police officer’s salary,
required all of Dad’s time and energy.  When he wasn’t working
at the police department he often worked off-duty on various
security assignments like concerts at the Memorial Auditorium, football games and dances.  The extra money he earned
really helped our family, but it meant time spent away from us.
Eventually though, Dad’s pay increased giving him more recreational opportunities.  Dad’s favorite hobbies were hunting and
fishing.  My brothers and I went on fishing trips with him and by
the early 1960’s, I began to go hunting with dad.  I didn’t actually
shoot, but rather stood by his side and retrieved downed birds after
he shot them.  Spending one- on-one time with my father always
seemed special and these hunting trips proved extra-special.
I remember the first day of hunting season each year took
place on September 1
st
.  On the night before that hunt I hardly slept, so when the alarm went off at 4:00am, and Dad came
in to wake me, I had already dressed.
Dad cooked breakfast, then made us lunch, and off we went out
to a ranch somewhere near Lincoln.  That in itself was an experience.
This was before Indian Casinos, and before the building of the new
highway out to Lincoln.  We drove to Roseville first in the dark, then
took a small rural highway out to the ranch where we hunted with
several off-duty police officers.  It stood next to a stream called Raccoon Creek.  I don’t know if I ever saw any raccoons there.  They
must have hid while the 25 or so policemen hunted.
When we got to the ranch, I remember driving on an old dirt
road, parking next to a grove of oak trees, then walking out in
the dusk to our hunting spot.  Dad always chose the same place
to hunt, and he always shot his limit of 10 birds.  He was a good
shot.  I retrieved every bird and put it in his hunting pouch.  After the hunt, we walked back to the grove of oak trees where we
had parked, to eat our lunch and enjoy the camaraderie with
the other policeman who had hunted.  After lunch, the officers
often sat out targets and did some practice shooting.  Sometimes, someone’s prized new hunting cap became one of the
those targets.  The men of the Sacramento Police Department
really enjoyed these annual hunts and in the end, a good time
was had by all.  For me though, these trips were about more
than just hunting, they were about spending time with Dad.  I
will never forget the good times we shared together.
I stopped hunting many years ago.  I enjoy seeing the wild
turkey, geese, quail and pheasant when I take my daily rides
on the American River Bike Trail.  Now the days of hunting
with my dad are just another happy Janey Way memory.
My father worked as a police officer in Sacramento.  He grew up during the great depression, and served in the Navy during World War II.  When he returned home after the war, he eventually landed a job with the Sacramento Police Department.
Marty Relles

Marty Relles

He told this story of his hiring by the Department.  He had passed both the physical and mental tests for the job, completed his interview process, then had to be measured.  Sacramento police officers had to be five feet, nine inches tall.  Dad probably stood on tip toes to reach that height, but they

hired him anyway.  They needed men of his caliber.
During his first several years on the police department, Dad worked in sequence all shifts:  day, swing and graveyard.  During those times, we saw him mostly on his days off.
Eventually though, Dad landed a job with the Detective Division.  They worked Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  I saw my dad much more often after that.
Raising a family with four children, on a police officer’s salary, required all of Dad’s time and energy.  When he wasn’t working at the police department he often worked off-duty on various
security assignments like concerts at the Memorial Auditorium, football games and dances.  The extra money he earned really helped our family, but it meant time spent away from us.
Eventually though, Dad’s pay increased giving him more recreational opportunities.
Dad’s favorite hobbies were hunting and fishing.  My brothers and I went on fishing trips with him and by the early 1960’s, I began to go hunting with dad.  I didn’t actually shoot, but rather stood by his side and retrieved downed birds after he shot them.
Spending one- on-one time with my father always seemed special and these hunting trips proved extra-special.
I remember the first day of hunting season each year took place on September 1st.  On the night before that hunt I hardly slept, so when the alarm went off at 4 a.m., and Dad came in to wake me, I had already dressed.
Dad cooked breakfast, then made us lunch, and off we went out to a ranch somewhere near Lincoln.
That in itself was an experience.
This was before Indian Casinos, and before the building of the new highway out to Lincoln.  We drove to Roseville first in the dark, then took a small rural highway out to the ranch where we hunted with
several off-duty police officers.  It stood next to a stream called Raccoon Creek.  I don’t know if I ever saw any raccoons there.  They must have hid while the 25 or so policemen hunted.
When we got to the ranch, I remember driving on an old dirt road, parking next to a grove of oak trees, then walking out in the dusk to our hunting spot.  Dad always chose the same place
to hunt, and he always shot his limit of 10 birds.  He was a good shot.  I retrieved every bird and put it in his hunting pouch.
After the hunt, we walked back to the grove of oak trees where we had parked, to eat our lunch and enjoy the camaraderie with the other policeman who had hunted.  After lunch, the officers
often sat out targets and did some practice shooting.  Sometimes, someone’s prized new hunting cap became one of those targets.
The men of the Sacramento Police Department really enjoyed these annual hunts and in the end, a good time was had by all.
For me though, these trips were about more than just hunting, they were about spending time with Dad.  I will never forget the good times we shared together.
I stopped hunting many years ago.  I enjoy seeing the wild turkey, geese, quail and pheasant when I take my daily rides on the American River Bike Trail.  Now the days of hunting with my dad are just another happy Janey Way memory.

Going to Edmonds Field with my father

Before the Kings came to Sacramento, before the Sacramento River cats began playing at Raley Field, Sacramento had another venerable sports franchise: the Sacramento Solons triple A baseball team.
Marty Relles

Marty Relles

In the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s, the Solons played ball at a storied old wooden ballpark named Edmonds Field located at the intersection of Riverside Blvd. and Broadway.

Unlike the Kings, the Solons actually won a Pacific Coast League title in 1942.

Back then, Hall of Fame players with names like Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider and Ted Williams took their first cuts in the Pacific Coast League. So, when I was growing up in the 1950s, attending a Solons game at Edmonds Field with my dad was always a memorable experience.

The structure itself stood out like a sore thumb on little old Broadway. At full capacity it accommodated about 10,000 fans, a pretty big venue for its time. Fans attending the Solon games parked for free all along the north and west sides of the park and entered the stadium from a main gate located on its northwest corner.

Vendors lined the underbelly of the park, selling hot dogs, sodas, Cracker Jack and peanuts: all the traditional baseball fare.

From there, fans proceeded up through arches lining both sides of the field to the stands. From home plate, the right and left field lines stretched out 330 feet to an 18 foot high fence. The center field fence stood 400 feet away from the plate, so a home run hit to that part of the field had to carry about 450 feet.

Some of the home runs I saw hit at Edmonds Field were memorable, towering blasts. I can remember the sounds of the fans cheering as if it were yesterday.

Going to the games at Edmonds Field with my father was memorable for other reasons.

My dad grew up in Sacramento and because he was a policeman, he always encountered lots of friends from all walks of life at the ballpark. People with monikers like Izzy, Tiny and Lefty.

He always started his conversation with them by saying, “This is my oldest son Marty, you remember him.” The guys would reply, “He’s grown up a lot since the last time I saw him Mart,” and I would swell up to my tallest possible height. Then we headed up to the stands to watch the game.

During their whole tenure, the Solons won only one championship, but they always competed and fought hard for every victory. I remember the outstanding center fielder, Al Heist, injuring his knee, making a diving catch to save a no-hitter for his pitcher.

In this modern day of cash-register sports, you don’t often see that kind of effort anymore.

My dad actually played several games in Edmonds Field with the Sacramento Police Department baseball team. They competed once every year in a charity game with the San Francisco Police Department team.

I served as a mascot for the local police team. One year as the teams played, I did a dance atop the dugout like good mascots do. In doing that, my enthusiasm got the best of me, and I fell off the roof down to the floor of the dugout. Fortunately, I fell right into the open arms of my dad’s good friend, Lefty Rogers who shrugged and said, “What are you doing here, Marty.”

That might have been the best catch Lefty ever made.

The days of Edmonds Field and the Sacramento Solons are a long forgotten memory now. They leveled the field and built a grocery store at the site almost 50 years ago. But I, for one, have not forgotten the old ballpark. Now it’s another inspirational Janey Way memory.

marty@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.”

Patriots recognized by Elks Lodge No. 6

 

Elks Lodge No. 6 commemorated the memory of 9-11 with a Patriots Day celebration on Sept. 11. At the dinner, which included patriotic items such as “Yankee Pot Roast” and “All-American Apple Pie,” Elks Exalted Ruler Ron Brusato presented plaques to “honor a fire fighter and a police officer who have done meritorious work for the community.”

Captain Mark Ramirez of the Sacramento City Fire Department and Officer Jeffrey Silva were both honored by the Elks that evening.

The purpose of the celebration, according to Brusato, was to never forget those who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

“If 9-11 is ever forgotten, the terrorists have won,” he said. “We won’t let that happen.”

susan@valcomnews.com

 

Patriots were recognized at the Patriot Day celebration held by Elks Lodge No. 6 on Sept. 11. Left to right, Ron Brusato, Fire Captain Mark Ramirez, Police Captain Jim Maccoun and Police Officer Jeffery Silva. / Valley Community Newspapers photo by Linda Pohl

Patriots were recognized at the Patriot Day celebration held by Elks Lodge No. 6 on Sept. 11. Left to right, Ron Brusato, Fire Captain Mark Ramirez, Police Captain Jim Maccoun and Police Officer Jeffery Silva. / Valley Community Newspapers photo by Linda Pohl