You’ll soon have a shorter wait to catch a Sacramento light-rail train on weekends

Originally published by on Jan. 3, 2019

Light-rail riders will soon have a shorter wait to grab a train on weekends.

Sacramento Regional Transit announced Thursday that beginning Sunday, light-rail service will increase from 30-minute intervals to 15 minutes between pickup times during busier travel hours.

“By offering more frequent service on the weekends, people will be able to travel to their destinations as safely and quickly as possible,” General Manager and CEO for Sacramento RT Henry Li said in a news release.

The new 15-minute intervals will run from approximately 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays, RT said.

The announcement noted that all other times on weekends and holidays as well as service to Folsom stations will continue to run every 30 minutes. RT recommends checking for specific schedule changes before heading out to catch a train.

Other changes RT has made recently include longer service hours to Folsom light rail stations, lower fares and transfer ticket prices, and reduced fees for student monthly passes.

Many of these changes reflect RT’s efforts to combat a decline in ridership since its peak shortly before the recession more than a decade ago.

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Pedestrian struck by Amtrak train in West Sacramento

Originally published by on Nov. 25, 2018

A pedestrian was struck by an Amtrak train in West Sacramento near the Sacramento River just after 5 p.m. Saturday when he entered an area closed to foot traffic.

The train was traveling from Sacramento to Oakland and carrying 52 passengers, none of whom were injured, according to a statement from Amtrak.

“On November 24, Amtrak Capital Corridor train 745 came into contact with an individual illegally trespassing on the tracks near Sacramento,” the statement said.

Officer Michelle Mizzi, a spokeswoman with the West Sacramento Police Department, confirmed the incident and said the male victim was taken to a hospital. The victim’s condition was unknown.

The incident is under investigation by the Amtrak Police Department.

Check back for more information on this developing story.

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Find your umbrella: Rain, light winds to return to Sacramento, capital region Tuesday

Originally published by on Sept. 29, 2018

The calendar says it’s autumn, but summer temperatures have held on across Northern California – that is until next week. A low-pressure system is set to bring a bit of wet weather back to the area.

According to forecasts, steady showers will begin late Monday and continue into the morning hours Tuesday.

The National Weather Service says the wet weather should clear up by late Tuesday afternoon with temperatures expected in the upper 80s by Thursday and into the weekend. Winds of up to 20 miles per hour are also expected.

Sacramento has not seen rain since May 25 with 0.32 inches and next week’s storm is expected to dump less than a tenth of an inch on the region, NWS said.

NWS meteorologist Johnnie Powell cautioned drivers to be careful as the first rains for the season can cause dangerous road conditions.

“We haven’t seen rain since around Memorial Day weekend, so any amount of moisture is going to cause us some slick roads,” he said.


According to the Associated Press, rain has already returned in other parts of California, including in areas that have recently dealt with lasting effects of drought and recent wildfires. Thunderstorms and rain throughout the northern region of the state are forecast through the weekend with some areas getting hit with showers Saturday.

“In the south, surf generated by the cyclone off Mexico is expected to build overnight, followed by rain on Monday as (Hurricane) Rosa’s moisture expands northward from Baja California.,” the AP reported.

Residents near the Holy and Cranston fires are being warned by the Riverside County Emergency Management Department that “intense rain could cause dangerous debris flows,” according to the AP.

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Sustainable energy demonstration at Golden 1 Center turns footsteps into electricity

Originally published by on Sept. 23, 2018

A display at the Golden 1 Center hosted by Bank of the West on Saturday and Sunday transferred several thousand footsteps into electric energy, surpassing a 50,000-step goal and generating a $10,000 donation to sustainable energy initiatives.

Hundreds of passersby in front of the main entrance of the downtown Sacramento arena contributed the power of footsteps for Bank of the West’s two day “Power the Change” demonstration as they walked under six arches and pressed down on floor panels with their feet.

The temporary walkway installation, called the Pavegen System, transferred the foot energy to power green strips of LED lights along the arches, highlighting how the technology could one day be used on walkways, bike paths, in museums or other public venues and even in the homes of millions of people around the world to create human-powered electricity, according to Dan Osipow, Bank of the West’s senior vice president and corporate sponsorship manager.

“It’s all about giving folks different ways to experience energy transition,” Osipow said. “Most folks are aware of, obviously, wind turbines and solar energy and even water to create energy, but this is a really interesting concept where human energy can be captured and stored.”

Bank of the West met its goal of 50,000 steps around 2 p.m. Sunday, and shortly after reaching it, donated $10,000 to GRID Alternatives, an Oakland-based non-profit that specializes in renewable energy transition for low-income communities.

As of 4:50 p.m. Sunday, visitors had stored more than 52,000 steps worth of energy in the walkway, which was recorded on a nearby monitor. That translates to more than 115,000 joules of energy, which could power more than eight hours of light from an LED bulb, or 550 feet in an electric car, or 60 hours of talk time on a smartphone.

“In an average day of walking 10,000 steps, you could power your smartphone for 16 hours and 40 minutes,” Bank of the West said in a press release. “When you multiply that by the number of pedestrians in a major city, like (Sacramento), the possibilities are endless.”

The display had previously been installed in San Francisco and is scheduled to be shown next in Portland and Los Angeles.

“At Bank of the West, we’re really now all about sustainability and finding smart ways to have a more sustainable world and sustainable future,” Osipow said. “We’ve taken a pretty interesting position of a more sustainable focus for us. We see what this world needs for us now and our children and so on.”

See photos and video of the demonstration by Renée C. Byer at

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See the large illegal ‘sideshow’ that led to impounded cars, arrests in Oakland

Originally published by on Sept. 23, 2018

Oakland police responded to “sideshow” activity in east Oakland late Saturday that resulted in two arrests and injuries to two officers, according to tweets by the Oakland Police Department.

Nearly 100 cars had been towed as of early Sunday morning. The illegal street racing, which ended around 5 a.m., took place overnight and shut down several roads near the area of 42nd Avenue and Interstate 880.

Sideshows are illegal demonstrations involving dozens or sometimes even hundreds of vehicles, held on vacant streets, intersections or parking lots.

The Associated Press reported that one officer suffered an injury when hit by a flying object, and another officer in a patrol car was hurt when it was rammed by a vehicle participating in the sideshows.

Police also reported gunfire and said several of the people participating in the sideshow activity were throwing rocks and bottles at officers.

See the CHP Valley Division video at

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Suspect arrested in connection with north Sacramento stabbing homicide

Originally published by on Sept. 23, 2018

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a suspect in connection with a stabbing homicide in north Sacramento.

On Thursday, the Sheriff’s Department responded to an anonymous 911 call that two adult men were fighting on the 3700 block of Bainbridge Drive. The caller indicated that one of the men was bleeding and the other was leaving the area.

When deputies got to the scene just after noon, they found that a male victim had sustained multiple stab wounds during a “violent physical encounter,” Sheriff’s Spokesman Sgt. Shaun Hampton said in a press release Sunday.

The victim was transported to a local hospital where he later died as a result of his wounds.

The suspect was identified as Michael Womack, 54, of Sacramento. The victim’s name has not been released, but Womack was determined to be the adult foster brother of the victim.

Womack is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail on charges of murder. He is not eligible for bail due to the nature of his charges.

Anyone with information regarding the stabbing is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 916-874-5115 or Sacramento County Crime Stoppers at 916-443-HELP (4357). Tips can be sent anonymously at or by calling 916-874-TIPS (8477).

A version of this story was also published in the print edition of The Sacramento Bee in the local section on page 4A Sept. 26, 2018.


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Lodi police seeking public’s help with information regarding double homicide

Originally published by on Sept. 10, 2018

Police in Lodi identified the victims of a double homicide Monday as Gerardo Maldonado De Santiago, 35, of Lodi and Brian Soto 21, of Stockton, according to a news release.

The Lodi Police Department responded to a report of a two-victim shooting in the area of Cherokee Lane near Lodi Avenue at around 2 a.m. on Sunday. Upon arrival, officers located the two men, who were suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Santiago was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the use of “lifesaving measures,” the press release said. Soto was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

The investigation remains open, but police believe there was an altercation that resulted in gunfire in a parking lot at the location where the victims were found. It does not appear that the men were in an altercation with one another, the release said, suggesting that another person or persons were involved.

A gun that may have been used in the shooting was found at a nearby business, police said.

The Lodi Police Department is asking for anyone, including several witnesses who are said to have been in the parking lot at the time of the shooting, to contact them at 209-333-6727.

Anyone with information can alternatively contact Detective Adam Lockie directly at 209-333-5541 or the Lodi Area Crime Stoppers at 209-369-2746 to remain anonymous. Police ask that callers reference case number 18-5623 when calling.

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Need to see a doctor? How to get free medical, dental or vision care at Cal Expo

Originally published by on Sept. 5, 2018

If you’re one of the approximated 112,000 people in the Sacramento area with little or no health insurance, a California volunteer group wants to help you see a doctor.

Between Sept. 21 and 23, California CareForce, a charitable branch of the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, in partnership with local nonprofits and health care professionals, is providing a clinic at Cal Expo to offer free dental, vision and medical care to individuals and families in the region, according to a press release.

The event starts at 7 a.m. each day and is expected to end around 4 or 5 p.m. depending on the number of patients seen.

Attendees will be given wristbands on a first-come, first-served basis at 4 p.m. each day for use on the following day, according to information provided to The Bee by CareForce. Everyone with a wristband will have a chance to be seen. The number of wristbands given will depend on how many medical professionals volunteer to see and treat patients.

Wristbands for the first day of services, Sept. 21, will be handed out on Thursday, Sept. 20.


The organization expects 600 to 1,000 attendees per day and more than 500 volunteer health care professionals from the Sacramento area are expected to participate. The clinic, which will be held in Buildings C and D at Cal Expo, will provide 70 dental stations, 20 medical exam rooms and 10 vision lanes. A vision lab will also be on-site to provide prescription eye glasses, according to the release.

CareForce’s partner organizations include, Sacramento Covered, Opening Doors, Salvation Army, Wellspring Women’s Center, Union Gospel Mission and Wellspace Health. CareForce said it is still looking for several volunteers, including medical professionals and general volunteers for the three-day event.

No personal identification, employment verification or proof of insurance is needed at the clinic. Services will include consultations and diagnosis and treatment of minor medical issues, the release said.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring prescription medications, loose-fit clothing appropriate for medical exams, food and drinks and some form of entertainment as wait times will be lengthy. CareForce limits services to one per day, per person.

CareForce has held the clinic several times in Sacramento since the first one in 2011. Last year’s clinic drew 1,500 people. The clinic will return to Sacramento next October, CareForce said.

A version of this story was also published in the print edition of The Sacramento Bee in the local section on page 2B Sept. 11, 2018.


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Area around ARC ranks high for alcohol-related driving deaths, study says

Originally published by on Sept. 5, 2018

American River College ranked fifth deadliest in the nation for alcohol-related car crashes on or around college campuses with 87 reported fatalities between 2012 and 2016, according to a recent data analysis by Cheap Car Insurance.

The study used a 3-mile radius for rural, suburban, and town colleges as well as a 1.5 mile radius for city colleges.

In addition, using data collected from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, which is hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics and provides information on higher education institutions in the U.S., the study included all public and private nonprofit schools with at least 5,000 students enrolled.

Other California schools in the top five included Southwest College in Los Angeles, which ranked No. 1 with 146 deaths, and El Camino College’s Compton Center at No. 4 with just one more reported death than ARC at 88.

The analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that nearly 29 people die each day as a result of alcohol-related car accidents in the U.S. That’s more than one person every hour, and the NHTSA says the nationwide total of DUI fatalities increased to more than 10,000 in 2016.

Furthermore, California was the deadliest state in the nation during that same period with one in four car crash deaths on or around college campuses being related to alcohol consumption and 2,625 fatalities in total.

By comparison, the data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System points out that Nevada, Oregon and Arizona had a combined total of 474 alcohol-related car crash deaths near college campuses, Cheap Car Insurance said.

The NHTSA also reports, according to the analysis, that approximately 60 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 drink alcohol, even though many of them are not of legal drinking age.

Most drinking-related car crashes near college campuses occur on Saturdays and Sundays, which is on par with the rest of the U.S., according to information from Mothers Against Drunk Driving as cited in the report.

“Fatal alcohol-related crashes are 17 percent more likely to occur between midnight and 2 a.m. around college campuses than anywhere else in the country,” the report said.

A version of this story was also published in the print edition of The Sacramento Bee in the local section on page 2B Sept. 09, 2018.


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UC Davis social justice group seeking Sacramento’s next youth poet laureate

Originally published by on Aug. 29, 2018

Words can inspire, advocate and empower.

Teenage writers, poets or spoken word performers have an opportunity to reach the community in Sacramento and affect change in an even stronger way by entering a contest organized by Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, a UC Davis-based social justice group, for a chance to become the next Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate.

The group, known as SAYS, was founded in 2008 by Dr. Vajra Watson, the Director of Research and Policy for Equity at UC Davis, according to a description on the official SAYS website. The group says it “breaks the barriers of underachievement by elevating the voices of students as the authors of their own lives and agents of change.”

The contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sept. 23 and entrants must be from 14 to 19 years old, should be writers and leaders and be “committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity and education across Sacramento,” according to the application.

The application asks whether applicants are poets, rappers, spoken word artists, performance poets, youth leaders or a combination of all of those. In addition, five writing samples, a video sample of a reading and information on why the applicant wants to be poet laureate, past experiences in leadership, and skills and accomplishments are required.

In May, the Black Child Legacy Campaign worked with Sacramento Area Youth Speaks to present ‘poetic service announcements’ at the Crocker Art Museum about the challenges of growing up while black.

To apply, fill out the application located here.

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