Bill Paxson

Bill Paxson I am a native of Chicago, a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, a former Air Force navigator, and one-time technical writer. Now retired, I have lived in Sacramento since 1966.

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Trouble in River City; Or, Sacramento’s Rough Beginning

Apr 17, 2014
Trouble in River City; Or, Sacramento’s Rough Beginning

“Trouble, oh we got trouble, right here in River City!”–Meredith Willson, The Music Man.

In 1849 the name Sacramento was applied to the collection of tents and wood buildings that housed people come to get rich in the gold fields to the east.  It was a ramshackle town that was incorporated in 1850. 

That first year...

"The Future of the Sacramento Delta Hangs in the Balance: But Few Californians Seem to Grasp What Is at Stake."

Apr 9, 2014

Concerning the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the host document for the Twin Tunnels project, all seems quiet on the western front.  Public meetings ended in February, and a great silence prevails while we wait to hear what the public had to say about this latest attempt at a water grab.  Or maybe the public...

Posted One Day Early As a Warning That Tomorrow Is . . .

Mar 31, 2014

Watch Out for The Kid

In Sacramento a person called The Kid was to be distrusted, for he looked innocent and guileless standing at the edge of the sidewalk with his hands behind him, ready to paint an elephant, pig, or "April Fool” on the backs of unaware passersby–Sacramento Daily Union, April 1, 1885 (California...

Atlantic Monthly dives into the California’s Delta tunnels project

Mar 24, 2014

An excellent article about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the twin tunnels project appears in The Atlantic Monthly (online edition February 24, 2014).   Communities such as Hood and Elk Grove are mentioned along with a summary of C...

Detour to Another River

Mar 20, 2014

The Sacramento River is sort of what you'd expect of a river.  It has the minimums--water and banks. It has levees and bridges. It flows through or around towns and past barns and houses.  And it has vegetation--farm fields that stretch to th...

How Wolves Change Rivers, and More

Mar 6, 2014

If you arrived at this blog because you are interested in the Sacramento River, then there's a good chance that you would be curious about any river.With that thought in mind, there's an excellent video online about "How Wolves Change Rivers."  Wh...

OR-7: Frustrated Bachelor or One Happy Dude?

Mar 1, 2014

For awhile I had on this blog a feature about OR-7, a wolf that roamed around his home state of Oregon, dropped down into northern California, then sauntered back north across the state line.  He's got a tracking collar on, enabling his travels an...

Sheep on the Loose?

Feb 19, 2014
Sheep on the Loose?

We owe a lot to sheep, mainly fleece and meat.  There’s more.  Without sheep, there would be no Little Bo-Peep.  Without sheep, shepherds would be out of work.  Without sheep there would be no need for border collies and all their frantic energy.

Sheep are usually fenced in where I see them in the Sacramento...

Bay Delta Conservation Plan: Don’t Worry about Money! Oh, Yeah?

Feb 13, 2014

If the Bay Delta Conservation Plan comes to pass, tunnels would siphon Sacramento River water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and send it south.  South means water users in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.  It is a big project.

What would the BDCP cost?  Billions and billions of dollars, but your guess about...


Feb 5, 2014

It's like this:  I went for one of my usual drives to the Sacramento River and got stumped by a stump. A tall stump.  Can a stump be tall and still be a stump?  And it didn't really look like a stump.  Can a stump look like somethin...

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