sacramento connect sacramento blogs & community news around sacramento california Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:32:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Umbria: A room with a view Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:32:14 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 Comic-Con 2014: Peavey Electronics Has Unveiled Their New Licensed Guitars That Include Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Spiderman! Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:55:00 +0000
World-renowned musical instrument manufacturer Peavey Electronics is showing brand new officially licensed guitars and accessories at Comic-Con International: San Diego, July 24 - 27, 2014. Attendees have the opportunity to test drive, purchase and win guitars adorned with graphics based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, Star Wars and more.

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24: Live Another Day WIll Arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on September 30th! Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:15:00 +0000
The year’s most anticipated television event, “24: Live Another Day,” delivers more explosive action than viewers could have hoped for! Exiled in London for four years, former Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer (Sutherland) must spring into action to try to save U.S. President James Heller (William Devane). In retribution for a drone strike he ordered, Heller sits in the crosshairs of the widow of an al-Qaeda leader. Along the way, Jack faces his ex-love, Heller’s daughter Audrey (Kim Raver), who’s married to chief of staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan). Teaming with CTU operative-turned-hacktivist Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Jack risks everything to try to protect the U.S., prevent a global terrorist attack and outrun the CIA head (Benjamin Bratt) – as the pulse-quickening tension unfolds in real time!
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Walnuts lead the way in Yuba County Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:15:00 +0000 0 Shoei optimistic about harvest after fire Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:07:00 +0000 0 Robbery gang makes off with pot in foothills Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:06:00 +0000 0 Area Red Cross CEO to retire Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:01:00 +0000 0 Elderly man Killed in Elk Grove leaves more Questions than Answers Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:11:02 +0000 ELK GROVE —

There are more questions than answers in the suspicious death of a 75 year old man found on a dirt trail, and behind the quiet neighborhood near Whitelock Parkway and Bellaterra Drive Thursday. He had obvious signs

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Yuba River drowning victim identified Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:05:00 +0000 0 Dining News: Pizzeria Urbano to Replace Luigi’s Slice Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:59:17 +0000 0 Jana Kramer was there, too Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:19:00 +0000 0 Power Outage in Citrus Heights Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:12:32 +0000 IMAG1721CITRUS HEIGHTS—

Over 1,800 people are without power in Citrus Heights.

According to SMUD, power went out just after 9 p.m. and the outage is expected to be fixed by 11:30 p.m.

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Study tests whether dog visits can ease stress of young cancer patients Fri, 25 Jul 2014 04:55:39 +0000 0 Deputies at UC Davis Medical Investigating Injuries to Infant Fri, 25 Jul 2014 04:40:29 +0000 breaking newsSACRAMENTO—

According to the Sacramento Police Department, deputies are at the UC Davis Medical Center investigating injuries to an infant.

At this point in time, this is all that has been confirmed by the department’s PIO, Doug Morse.

Sonseeahray Tonsall …

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Truckee Rafting Company closes Early due to Drought Fri, 25 Jul 2014 04:17:20 +0000 TRUCKEE—

The Truckee River just downstream from Tahoe City looked like an L.A. freeway today. But the rafters on the river couldn’t go move too quickly.

The river sole source of water is from Lake Tahoe, and flows have been …

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USC Researcher Comments on the Grant Round Involving StemCells, Inc. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 04:06:00 +0000 A USC scientist late today sent an email that dealt with the 2012 decisions that resulted in the award of $19.3 million to StemCells, Inc., by the California stem cell agency. The award was made on a close vote (7-5) despite being rejected twice by the agency’s reviewers.

It was the first time that the agency’s 29-member board had approved an application that was turned down twice by its respected reviewers. 

The circumstances surrounding the award were unusual in other respects, and we are providing links to stories carried by the California Stem Cell Report at the time to provide additional context. The links are at end of the scientist’s email.

The author of the note is Lon S. Schneider, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and gerontology at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.  He competed unsuccessfully in the round despite having a higher score than the StemCells, Inc., application. 

Then CIRM President Alan Trounson recused himself from the public discussion of the proposal by StemCells, Inc., because of his relationship with Stanford researcher Irv Weissman, who sits on the company’s board.  This month, Trounson was named to the StemCells, Inc., board seven days after leaving the stem cell agency, triggering a flap over conflicts of interest.

Here is Schneider’s note:
“In view of the CIRM’s comment today that they commissioned their own lawyers to investigate and find no conflicts, I thought that I’d share some thoughts with your readers based on my experiences with CIRM.  An investigation of CIRM’s actions during the last month or so would – almost by definition – not reveal a serious conflict because the alleged conflicting behavior would have occurred at the time that the StemCells, Inc. contracts were awarded, if it happened at all.  Bending milestones after a contract is awarded and when one’s foot is out the door is of little concern and can be corrected.

“My interest in Mr. Trounson’s alleged actions is that my colleague and I submitted an Alzheimer's disease grant that was scored higher than StemCells’ Alzheimer’s grant in the same funding cycle. Yet, StemCells’ appeal was funded, while our appeal was not even accepted as an appeal application.  Our recourse was to protest during the public comments part of the CIRM board meeting at which StemCells’ was awarded their contract.  In my opinion, Mr. Trounson and the CIRM staff were clearly antagonistic to us and strongly supportive of StemCells.  Board members were not aware of our appeal.  Indeed, the Alzheimer’s disease advocate on the CIRM board, Leeza Gibbons, who was well-rehearsed in her advocacy for StemCells, Inc, had to be informed during a break on what our grant was about so that she could support it as well.

“StemCell’s sinecure for Mr. Trounson reinforces my opinion that the StemCell/CIRM arrangement was – let’s say -- interesting.  No doubt, others will disagree and point out why our proposal – although rated higher than StemCells – was deficient and should not have been funded while StemCells’ should have been and was.  They, of course, may have a point, and I will continue to believe that the StemCell contract was awarded in no other way than with probity. I thought I would nevertheless share these observations.”
Here are links and excerpts from the 2012 articles.

Following a second impassioned pitch by its former chairman, Robert Klein, the governing board of the California stem cell agency approved a $20 million award to a financially strapped biotech firm, StemCells, Inc., of Newark, Ca.

Bob Klein is nearly an icon in the history of the $3 billion California stem cell agency. And when he appeared before its governing board last month and aggressively touted a $20 million grant proposal already rejected by agency reviewers, his actions raised eyebrows.

Frustrated with politicking, “arm-twisting,” lobbying and “emotionally charged presentations,” the governing board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency today approved short-term changes in its grant appeal process and ordered up a study to prepare long-term reforms.

During the last few months, the $3 billion California stem cell agency, which is approaching its eight-year anniversary, has chalked up a number of important firsts.
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Health Officials host Meeting on TB Control Fri, 25 Jul 2014 04:02:40 +0000 SACRAMENTO—

Parents naturally have a lot of concerns as the new school year is set to get underway next month. City and county health officials are trying to calm those fears though, saying it will be safe for students to …

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Guests Leap off 2nd Story Balcony to Escape Hotel Fire Fri, 25 Jul 2014 03:46:34 +0000 LAKE TAHOE—

Gladys and Pat Nobriga live across the street from the Deer Creek Lodge. They called 9-1-1, then Pat and his son took action.

‘They were across the street knocking on neighbors doors telling them get out, then they …

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Blackjack Billy, redneck rock, did I tell you that this was my kind of show yet? Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:28:00 +0000 0 Police Search for AWOL Tuberculosis Patient Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:54:22 +0000 STOCKTON—

Eduardo Rosas Cruz has tuberculosis, which normally wouldn’t be anyone else’s business.

Today, however, it is our business. The county health department believes this 26-year-old man could be contagious, and a danger to anyone nearby.

“Our aim is to …

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Elk Grove Police Investigating Possible Homicide Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:09:00 +0000
July 24, 2014 |

Elk Grove Police are  investigating a suspicious  death as possible homicideat Whitelock Parkway and  Bellaterra Drive.  

A 75-year-old male was found deceased in a field with obvious signs of trauma to his body this afternoon. The Sacramento County Coroner has taken possession of the body. Officers are canvassing the area.

The name of the vicitm will be released by the county coroner pending notification of next of kin.

Story Developing.

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Watermelon Lemon Fresca Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:09:00 +0000 0 Plumas National Forest – Still wild at 50! Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:03:52 +0000
The kick-off event is a special "Celebrate the Wilderness Act" art show featuring well-known local artist Sally Yost and numerous others. The show runs July 29th through August 30th at the Main Street Artists Gallery in Quincy. An opening reception will be held Friday, August 1st from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964, the historic Wilderness Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System and designated 9.1 million acres of wild lands for the use of and benefit to the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America's support for wilderness, Congress has added more than 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system.

The celebration continues at the Plumas-Sierra County Fair August 13th-17th where national & local wilderness information will be on display in addition to fun-filled activities.

Spend all day at Bucks Lake & Bucks Wilderness on September 20th enjoying activities which embrace the wilderness spirit of beauty and solitude. The day will kick off with early morning bird and guided wilderness hikes. Festivities will continue at the Sandy Point Day Use Area starting with a drum circle on the beach and followed by demonstrations of wilderness compatible activities. All activities and parking are free.

The Feather River College Outdoor Leadership program will provide a demonstration of Leave No Trace techniques while the Pacific Crest Trail Association will show how traditional tools are used in a wilderness setting. A traditional plant use exhibit will be presented by Ted Dawson of the Nor El Muk Tribe. In addition, a horse packing demo will be presented by the Backcountry Horsemen. Centering the activities will be noted, national keynote speaker, Mr. Doug Scott from the Campaign for America's Wilderness. There will also be wilderness art activities for kids to enjoy and wonderful live music from local musicians.

Saturday evening, plan to end the day with dinner (no host) at the Bucks Lake Lodge and enjoy a special anniversary awards evening and art show.

Also in September, Feather River College will be hosting a Wilderness advocate speaker panel led by Outdoor Afro CEO Rue Mapp and a panel of local wilderness advocates. More details on this and other events will be forthcoming as presenters and times are confirmed.

For more information about the local event, contact Leslie Edlund, or visit the PNF website at: .

And there's more! Reserve October 10-12, 2014, the northern California regional celebration "Wilderness Treasures Rendezvous," being held at the Tehama County Fairgrounds in Red Bluff, CA. See]]> 0
Police seek help finding missing Placerville woman Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:52:31 +0000
Loretta “Lisa” Crawford]]> 0
Elk Grove City Council Conditionally Approves ‘Silverado,’ Further Toxicity Tests Required Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:45:00 +0000
July 24, 2014 |

At their regular meeting last night, the Elk Grove City Council conditionally approved a controversial housing subdivision but not before further environmental testing is conducted.

The so-called Silverado housing project, which is located on the northeast corner of Waterman and Bond roads, was unanimously approved after a nearly 10-year process. The 230-acre project, which is being built on a parcel being purchased from Sacramento Area Sewer District, will have a total of 651-residential units when built-out. 

Although the project proponents Vintara Holdings got the approval they have long sought, the project still faces another hurdle after the city council agreed the parcel needed further environmental testing for hazardous materials. In numerous public meetings, several long-time and well-respected Elk Grove residents acknowledged using the parcel as a dumping site for a variety of hazardous materials.

Prior to the their June 25 meeting, Elk Grove resident Lynn Wheat presented maps and documents from 1988 and 1993 to the city council from Sacramento County that suggested that hazardous material including lead may be present on the site. One letter from 1993 letter from the County of Sacramento Environmental Management Department that says 'Due to the lead analysis result of the initial site assessment, further testing for lead . . . should be conducted in the Independent Disposal Service Area."

During last night's meeting Elk Grove resident Steve Lee urged the council to conduct further soil testing beyond what was required in the projects environmental impact report. Lee stressed that soil contamination tests should have been done during the entire EIR process and that the council should force Vintara to do further analysis before the project progresses with soil samples being take from as deep as 15-feet. 

"It is an easy solution to a potentially very serious problem, " Lee said. "Please take care of that."

Duing her comments to the council Wheat also urged further testing based on a 1988 Sacramento County Public Works report  that she said report that the "northern portion of the parcel should not be developed for sensitive land uses such as day care facilities, school."

During their deliberations and after calling Lee back for further testimony, the council agreed to condition their approval of the project after further toxicity testing at 10 locations on the site. No time frame for when the tested will be conducted or when the result will be made public were provided. 

The project proponents indicated they would like the test done very quickly. Another condition the council placed on the project was funding for a new round-about for the Bond and Waterman intersection.    



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Porcelain Dolls Resembling Young Girls Placed in front of 8 Families’ Homes Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:42:56 +0000 SAN CLEMENTE, California ( KTLA)—

Eight families in San Clemente have been targeted in a disturbing pattern under investigation by authorities: porcelain dolls have been left at their homes resembling young girls who live there.

Some of the girls, …

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Two Weeks Since Last CyberKnife Shot Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:40:00 +0000 July 24, 2014

Two weeks ago today, I had my last cyberknife radiation treatment for my prostate cancer. Piece of cake, walk in the park, easy pease. The easy part was the 4 sessions of about an hour. Most of the time was spent adjusting the over 50 plus different angels for the cyberknife to take aim and shoot the radiation.

The more difficult part of the treatment was the side effects. Fatigue got worse after each of the 4 treatments. That is gone now. The other side effects were plumbing in nature. Urination issues of confusion, on again and off again and over and over.

I must say those have gotten better and I was told my Dr. Gottschalk right after the last treatment July 10 th and Dr. Cooperberg; back when we were in the talking stages…it gets better slowly but surely. After a couple of months in most cases all the side effects except one are gone. Sex is the most problematic. Different in each case.

I am happy to have it over and now all I have to do is wait 90 days and see what the PSA says. Dr. Gottschalk says there ought to be a big drop in the PSA number and then is falls slowly to zero.

If not then there are other forms of treatment. I am confident this episode in my life if over. God Bless all my doctors at UCSF and Sutter Medical Group. Thank God for Medicare.

Life is Good

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Nicolls Fire Investigation Leads to Charges for Marijuana Cultivator Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:31:01 +0000 0 Three to see: Honey Island, GRMLN and Denise Perrier Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:00:00 +0000 Honey Island Swamp Band


9:30 p.m. Friday

Crazy Horse Saloon

As we sneak up on the nine-year anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, one can find some shreds of good that were born of horrific tragedy. One such shred is the Honey Island Swamp Band, which jelled in San Francisco at the Boom Boom Room, a local favorite juke joint, when all four members (two previously unacquainted with the other two) had taken up residence after Katrina besieged their native New Orleans. The result is a sticky, steamy soul-smacked swamp brand of blues and Americana rock ’n’ roll that works up shreds of genuine Southern sweat. 230 Commercial St., Nevada City. $8.



8 p.m. Tuesday

Witch Room

If you use his music as a guide, it’s tough to know what’s going on inside the mind of Yoodoo Park, the 21-year-old native of Japan and UC Santa Cruz student who fronts GRMLN. This much is obvious: He is moved by nature – from the atmospheric qualities and gusty melodies of GRMLN’s indie pop rock sounds. But it also seems he wouldn’t mind picking up the pace and splashing those soundscapes with colors missing from Mother Nature’s standard palette, taking his sound to the places Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. went on their most euphoric days and warmest summer nights. With Same Difference. 1815 19th St., Sacramento. $6.

Dinah Washington tribute with Denise Perrier

Classic jazz/blues

5 p.m. Sunday

JB Lounge (Clarion Hotel)

Despite a career spanning more than 30 years, Bay Area singer Denise Perrier is hardly what you would call a household name in the popular eye – but, you won’t see “just anyone” invited to perform at a Jazz at Lincoln Center event. This soul songstress is headed that way next month, and on Sunday at JB’s she’ll be warming up her newest tribute show, “Unforgettable Dinah Washington,” aligning with the would-be 90th birthday of the self-proclaimed “Queen of the Blues.” 1401 Arden Way, Sacramento. $15.

Looking ahead: Against Me! Aug. 15 at Ace of Spades

Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace nabbed headlines in 2012, coming out as a transgender woman, but the band has been grabbing the real headlines with its spitfire punk for the past 15 years. 1417 R St., Sacramento. $18.

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California Stem Cell Agency Scores on Early Coverage of Today’s Trounson Story Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:44:00 +0000 Two media outlets were quick today to write about the Trounson Affair and the reaction from the California stem cell agency, but did not note what the agency itself described as the limited nature of its investigation into the matter.

They focused on what Randy Mills, the new president of CIRM, promised regarding his future employment and acceptance of gifts and travel. The upshot was a PR plus for the agency, which has been caught in a “bit of stink” since Alan Trounson, its former president, was named to the board of directors of a firm that has received $19.4 million from the agency.

John M. Simpson of Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, Ca., who has been sharply critical of the Trounson appointment, released a statement, declaring,
"CIRM President Randy Mills clearly recognizes the importance of ethics and personal integrity.  His formal agreement to refuse employment with a company CIRM has funded for at least a year after his departure proves he understands the potential for conflict and is committed to maintaining a high standard of integrity.   
"His action helps correct the damage  done to CIRM’s standing by former President Alan Trounson rashly and inappropriately joining the board of StemCells Inc, a mere week after leaving the agency.


"Meanwhile, CIRM should make public all emails and letters between Trounson, StemCells Inc, and its employees and directors.” 
Ron Luety of the San Francisco  Business Times wrote that Mills’ action stopped short of rebuking Trounson.  Luety also said that Mills’ response seemed like a “no-brainer” but appeared necessary.  Simpson was quoted along with Mills.

Bradley Fikes of the San Diego U-T also quoted Simpson. Fikes additionally wrote,
“Mills made the right decision, said Jeanne Loring, a CIRM-funded stem cell researcher at The Scripps Research Institute.
"’There's a difference between what is legal and what is ethical,’ said Loring, who attended the meeting. ‘And he's going to be pushing the needle a lot more toward the ethical side without worrying whether he can get away with stuff.’"
It was Kevin McCormack, senior director of public communications for the agency, who told CIRM directors late in the meeting that the agency had been caught in a “bit of a stink” this past month as a result of the coverage. 
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Stockton Community Members Building for a New Tomorrow Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:39:29 +0000 STOCKTON—

One week later, the crime scene tape is gone; Jaime Ramos, 19, is in custody, and two other suspects are dead.

But the community is still in Stockton, and the city’s future is a blank canvas.

Right now, there …

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El Dorado Savings Bank saw robust profits in first half of year Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:32:24 +0000 0 State and IBM Introduce CalCloud at Kickoff Event Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:04:47 +0000 The system is California’s answer to increasing demand for cloud computing infrastructure among government users.

The post State and IBM Introduce CalCloud at Kickoff Event appeared first on

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Elk Grove Walking Trail Death Called “Suspicious” Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:00:02 +0000 BreakingNewsELK GROVE-

Police are investigating the suspicious death of an older man along an Elk Grove walking trail.

Elk Grove Police say the 75-year-old man was found dead near Whitelock Parkway and Bellaterra Drive. The Toby Johnson Trail follows Whitelock …

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Law Firm Memo on Trounson Investigation Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:41:00 +0000 Here is the memo provided by Remcho, Johansen & Purcellconcerning its limited investigation of Alan Trounson and his contact during May and June with StemCells, Inc. It contains additional details and the names of persons interviewed.

 Here is one paragraph that deals with what CIRM might have done had they known Trounson was in contact with the firm concerning employment. The full text follows.
“Dr. Trounson contacted Martin McGlynn, SCI’s President and Chief Executive Officer, on May 1, 2014 to set up a meeting to discuss his future plans. Based on a calendar entry, it appears that Dr. Trounson and Mr. McGlynn met on June 4, 2014. On June 9, 2014, SCI offered Dr. Trounson a seat on SCI’s Board of Directors, subject to the Board’s approval. SCI made the appointment on July 7, 2014. Had SCI notified CIRM at the time of its offer to Dr. Trounson, CIRM would have taken steps to wall Dr. Trounson off from any involvement in decisions relating to SCI.”
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Midlife Blogging: Some Thoughts on Where We Are Today Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:59:24 +0000 0 NID Prepares for New State Drought Rules Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:57:20 +0000 0 Way Down in the Valley: Collinsville, Bird’s Landing, Shiloh Church, Western Railway Museum, and The Hump Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:54:00 +0000 At about the midpoint of this trip, I was talking with a docent at the Western Railway Museum.  I mentioned that I had just driven up from Collinsville.

“Collinsville!  What were you doing there?”

“I have a hobby that involves taking pictures of–-”

“Weird stuff?”


Collinsville is way down in the Sacramento Valley, at the very bottom, just before you fall off land and into the water rushing out into the Pacific Ocean.  All that water is the drainage of California’s two great valleys, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin.  Technically, Collinsville is on the Sacramento River, but just barely before the San Joaquin comes pouring in, and the two meld into one and run past Bay Area communities and into the great Pacific.  All things considered, Collinsville sounds like a fine stop for waterborne commerce, and it was, for a while.

The place was named after  C. J. Collins, who in 1859 settled on government land there and built a wharf and store.  Within two years, Collinsville was an important shipping port for hides and tallow. Emory Upham took over  in 1869, and Collinsville added more docks, a telegraph, hotels, general stores, saloons, a salmon cannery, and other businesses.  Built on stilts to avoid tidal flooding, the town boomed in the 1870s.

“The principal enterprise was the cannery and when commercial fishing started to fail, the town began a long spiraling decline,” according to a Solano County historical database.  The decline almost turned Collinsville into a ghost town.

I wouldn’t call Collinsville weird, as the museum’s docent did.  It’s certainly an old town, decrepit and ramshackle in places, but it’s been experiencing a rebirth.  People have moved in, perhaps seeking a life away from the rat race that is mainstream California.

But on July Fourth of this year, a wind-whipped fire burned through the town, destroying eight homes, leaving 25 people homeless, but fortunately killing no one.

The remains are a tragic sight that I could not take a picture of.  I could, however, take a picture of the river.  That is, I thought I could until I walked over to the levee and found my way blocked by a fence and a no trespassing sign. That was that.  My visit to Collinsville was at an end.

Birds Landing

Birds Landing is a small community a little north of Collinsville.  Birds Landing has a saloon that is open for business during drinking hours but was closed the morning I was there.  Across the street is a large building that once housed a general store, now being restored.

On the general store is a historical marker that reads:

Birds Landing--Benjamin's Store
In 1869 John Bird constructed a wharf and warehouse on Montezuma Slough. Soon, one mile east of the wharf, a community began to evolve. A blacksmith shop came first, and then the store was built in 1875. In this year the town was officially named Birds Landing and Bird was named postmaster. By 1878 the town boasted a butcher shop, a saloon, shoemaker and a furniture business. In 1880 Bird bought one half interest in the store. Chris and Evelyn Benjamin bought the store from Bird in 1921 and Evelyn served as postmaster for 50 years. The post office then relocated to a tool shed and held the distinction as being one of the nations smallest full service post offices. 
Dedicated April 26, 2008 By Sam Brannan Chapter #1004 E Clampus Vitus
The general store is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Why is a general store considered a historic place?  Perhaps in recognition that even the earliest settlers were addicted to shopping.

Shiloh Church

The Shiloh Church is fenced off these days and used only for special events such as weddings.

A historical marker inside the gate gives the history of the church.

Western Railway Museum

You arrive in your modern car, park in a paved lot, enter a handsome building, and there you are, well back in the last century.

Could time travel be this painless?

The Western Railway Museum works to preserve the regional heritage of electric railway transportation.  The key word is electric, as in electric streetcars and electric interurban trains.  In other words, if you want to see a steam engine at work, you’ll have to find another museum.

The price of admission includes a train ride.  My ride was on the Alcatraz, and we rode through farmland of Solano County.  According to the docent narrating the ride, the Alcatraz was built in 1910 and was for a long time an Oakland streetcar.

Now, 104 years after being put together–-that’s a heck of a long time for something mechanical–-the Alcatraz clickety-clacked along the rails, wobbling along a roadbed that had been in use since before the Great Depression.  The view out the front window of the horizon gyrating up and down could make a queasy person seasick.

The docent narrator, a woman, wore a cap that carried the label “Motorman.” She would have to be a Motor man.  Things here had be period correct but not politically correct.
Of course.  There was no such thing as a Motorwoman back then.

The Western Railway Museum runs its trains on the tracks of the old Sacramento Northern Railroad.

In its heyday of the 1930s, the Sacramento Northern was the longest electric interurban railroad in the United States, with 185 miles of mainline from Oakland to Chico, along with  branch lines to other valley towns.  Built to steam railroad standards, it had everything–streetcar routes; beautiful varnished, and later steel, interurban cars; a car ferry; and dining service.

Like all good things, the Sacramento Northern came to an end, and after it went out of business, some of its remaining trackage eventually became the property of the Western Railway Museum.  Today the museum offers streetcar and interurban rides, a ride to a pumpkin patch in the fall, and a wildflower ride in the spring.  A train can be chartered for a special event such as taking a wedding party to the picturesque Shiloh Church.  And on the museum grounds is a small park with a picnic area.

More info about the Western Railway Museum is available at 

(Incidentally, if you’re in the southern part of the Sacramento Valley and see a railroad named California Northern, it’s not the same thing.  The California Northern Railroad hauls agricultural products and is part of Genesee & Wyoming Inc., which owns short line and regional freight railroads in the United States and other countries.)

The Hump

The Hump was in a building that used to be the rail station of Rio Vista Junction.

A historical marker on the front of the building mentions another use of the building.  Someone with a sense of whimsy cast the marker shaped like a heart.  The intention is misdirected, for went on here did not constitute affairs of the heart.

The building is on the grounds of the Western Railway Museum, just inside the gate and to the right.  It is not accessible when the museum is closed


I could not leave this topic without running a snapshot of one of the ads in the streetcar Alcatraz.

Back in my childhood and youth, we were warned that cigarette smoking was harmful, and we called cigarettes coffin nails.  Despite the health warnings, it was pretty much a common thing to see a doctor smoking.  A running gag of the time was about the doctor who exhaled cigarette smoke in your face while telling you not to smoke.  Maybe it was the same doctor pictured in the ad.



You get to the places described here via California Route 12.  From downtown Sacramento on Interstate 5, the interchange is at Exit 485.

Birds Landing and Collinsville.  From Interstate 5, head west on Route 12.  Cross the Sacramento River at Rio Vista.  Watch for the Bird’s Landing Road/State Route 113 intersection after 6 miles.  Turn left (south) onto Birds Landing Road and proceed 5 miles to Birds Landing.  At Birds Landing, Collinsville Road travels 4 miles until it ends at Collinsville.

Western Railway Museum and The Hump.  From Interstate 5, head west on Route 12.  Cross the Sacramento River at Rio Vista.   Watch for the museum on your left (south side of the road), about 9 west of Rio Vista.  The Hump is on museum grounds,

Shiloh Church.  Less than a mile west of the Western Railway Museum, Shiloh Road will be to the left (south).  Shiloh Church is about 3 miles south of Route 12.

Another way to see these places is to drive down to Collinsville by following the directions above for Birds Landing and Collinsville.  On the way north out of Collinsville, at Birds Landing, bear left onto Shiloh Road.  You’ll pass the church on the way to State Route 12.  At Route 12, turn right and into the museum parking lot.

For a map, click on Bing or Google or Mapquest or  Yahoo!

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Police, FBI Announce $50,000 Reward for Information on 4th Suspect in Stockton Robbery, Chase Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:50:37 +0000 STOCKTON-

A week after a bank robbery, deadly chase and shootout with police in Stockton, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and police announced up to $50,000 available in reward money for information about the crime and the fourth suspect.

On …

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1-year-old still listed in critical condition Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:46:00 +0000 0