Friday, February 29, 2008
SUISUN CITY - Subway Sandwiches has signed an agreement with Main Street West Partners to lease space in the Suisun City developer's Harbor Square project.
The mixed use retail/office building is under construction at the corner of Main and Solano streets.
Main Street West Partners co-manager Frank Marinello said the sandwich franchise is one of two tenants signed so far and that negotiations are in progress with several others. The building's shell should be completed by September.
SUISUN CITY - The North Bay YMCA will hold its annual Crab Feed from 6 to 10 p.m. March 8. Tickets cost $40. To purchase tickets, call 421-8746. All proceeds will benefit the Strong Communities Campaign.
Each year, the funds raised help the North Bay YMCA serve more than 3,700 youth and offer financial assistance for programs and membership to more than 400 families in Solano County.
The North Bay YMCA is located at 586 E. Wigeon Way in Suisun City.To volunteer for the Crab Feed or Strong Communities Campaign, contact Rodney Chin at 421-8746.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
SUISUN CITY - If you have been going to Vacaville to dine at the restaurant that Daily Republic readers have voted that city's best the past three years, you might be able to enjoy a similar dining experience in Suisun City by November.
Merchant & Main Grill and Bar owner Bob Tooke has signed a lease to open a 4,000-square-foot restaurant in Harbor Square at Solano and Main streets in Suisun City's Waterfront District.
Tooke said the restaurant's look and menu won't be identical to Merchant & Main's, but he added the as-yet unnamed restaurant will resemble Merchant & Main in that it will be 'casual, comfortable and fun.' The new restaurant will accommodate 130 to 140 diners.
Tooke believes his new restaurant will draw from Suisun City, Fairfield and some of the '30,000 cars that pass by daily on Highway 12,' he said.
For the complete article, visit the Daily Republic web site.
This is an exciting step in the continuing collaboration between the County and the Cities to shape the economic base of Solano County, which is positioned as the hub county of the Bay to Capitol Megaregion.
Click here to learn more!
Here's the Vacaville Reporter's take on this.
Daily Republic staff
SUISUN CITY - A free March 7 workshop will look at protecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and the state's water supply.
The workshop will run from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Joseph Nelson Community Center, 611 Village Drive. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. Lunch is provided.
People must register in advance.For more information, go to http://water-ed.org/deltavisionworkshops.asp.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The social marketing campaign will create a variety of resources including brochures, tip cards, bookmarks, napkins, coasters, posters and bumper stickers in both English and Spanish on
- How to talk to young people about the effects of drinking
- How to identify alcohol and drug problems
- What the community can do to help
A public service announcement will be broadcast on local cable stations beginning in April to heighten community awareness of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as a danger to the youth and families of the community.
This broad outreach and education program will spur conversation about potential hazards and proactive solutions on teen drinking from Solano County and nationwide.
Need more information, contact Kelly Davis at email@example.com or call 707-421-7200.
SUISUN CITY - The city will likely go ahead with planned street repairs in the summer even if the state withholds money the city counts on to pay for the work.
The city typically spends $150,000 annually to maintain its streets, using its share of gas tax revenue to cover the costs, financial services manager Mark Joseph said.
The state normally sends gas tax payments to cities monthly. In Suisun City's case, the tax provides $40,000 to $45,000 each month, Joseph said. Now, however, the state is in fiscal crisis and may exercise its option to defer those payments for six months.
'The (City) Council does not want to defer the street repairs,' Joseph said. 'The city is in the process of getting summer road projects going.'
Suisun City's streets ranked among the worse in the Bay Area in a three-year survey published by the Metro Transportation Commission in 2005.
'Our streets need a lot of attention,' Councilman Mike Hudson said.
Provided the state has adopted its budget by August, it would forward the deferred gas tax payments to cities in September.
To do the work this summer, Suisun City can tap its cash reserve funds that currently total about $6 million, Joseph said. When the state forwards the deferred gas tax payments, the city would then replenish its cash reserves.
Joseph isn't counting on the state adopting its budget by August.
'That doesn't even happen in good times,' he said.
Compounding the issue is that the city won't earn interest on the deferred state money, Joseph said. The state will keep the interest the deferred payments earn.
'It's good to be king,' Joseph quipped.
The League of California Cities may address the issue in the fall if cities don't receive the money in September, he added.
Having to wait for the money 'wouldn't kill us, but it would make us really grumpy,' Joseph said.
Going ahead with summer slurry sealing could have an advantage for the city.
With the economy slumping, more companies may bid for the work and that could lower costs, Joseph said. But the high price of oil could mean oil-based asphalt will be more expensive and erase any savings, he added.
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
SUISUN CITY - Visitors to Suisun City will soon have a new option for an overnight stay. Within the next few months, ground will be broken on the Hampton Inn and Suites, a 102-room hotel.
The hotel will be bordered by Lotz Way and Civic Center Boulevard. Its entrance will face Driftwood Drive.
To create a pleasing streetscape as visitors approach the hotel, the city is considering a design that would recast Driftwood Drive as a 'meandering cottage lane.' Economic Development Director Jason Garben called the design a 'work in progress,' and it may be included in plans that are being finalized for the city's Harbor Center Drive Extension Project.
Public Works Director Fernando Bravo said the project's core construction costs are estimated at $800,000. Plans call for full street improvements for portions of Lotz Way and Driftwood Drive, he said, to enhance traffic circulation, pedestrian safety and landscaping.
The hotel is slated to open in summer 2009.
The city's willingness to invest 'a lot of money in creating energy along the waterfront' was a big reason that Basin Street Properties, the hotel's Petaluma-based developer, chose Suisun City for the project, said Paul Andronico, the company's senior vice president.
'We saw Suisun as an emerging market with a downtown that's in the process of being revitalized,' Andronico added. 'They really provide the anchors that allow the private development to go forward and be successful.'
Andronico also pointed out that the involvement of Frank Marinello, a managing partner of Suisun City-based Main Street West Partners, was a key in Basin Street's decision to build in the city. Andronico said Marinello helped find the site and worked with Basin Street on the hotel's design.
Main Street West's Harbor Square retail/restaurants/office space project in the city's Waterfront District is scheduled to open in September.
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at email@example.com.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Tauscher is encouraging constituents who have problems with federal agencies to make an appointment to meet with her staff during these upcoming office hours.
Tauscher said she can act as a liaison between federal agencies and constituents to ensure that concerns are addressed. Caseworkers will be assigned to assist constituents with federal issues such as immigration, social security, income taxes, and postal matters. Caseworkers can also help constituents deal with federal agencies including the Departments of Veterans Affairs, defense, labor, and housing and urban development.
Dates for visits from Congresswoman Tauscher's Caseworkers include:
- Feb. 29 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Fairfield Senior Center
- March 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Suisun Senior Center.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Suisun City experienced a slight uptick in major crimes last year as compared to 2006, but overall, officer response times were faster and staff actions were up, according to statistics released this week.
Figures show that crime had bumped three percent; essentially, that's a mere 25 crimes during a 12-month period, Suisun City Police Chief Ed Dadisho said.
That breaks down into 10 more violent crimes - including homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault - and 15 more property crimes - including burglary, larceny and auto theft - in the last year.
Meanwhile, the city has grown, calls for service have increased and police have managed to keep crime from spiraling out of control.
"We had a good year," Dadisho said. "And I think we're going to do good things this year, too."
Pedaling back a bit, instances of rape decreased by nine in 2007 even as robberies advanced by the same number. And aggravated assaults jumped by 12 occurrences.
On the property crime side, burglaries slid by 12 cases and auto thefts by 29. But larcenies shot up by 56 cases.
Multiple crimes in certain areas, such as auto thefts, were linked to the same suspect, Dadisho said. So when that suspect was arrested, the climbing crime stopped.
A man arrested in December, for example, was linked to at least 10 auto thefts, the chief said. And after the man was safely stowed behind bars, instances of vehicle theft stalled.
"We're focusing on known criminals," Dadisho explained, residents who make a career out of, say, stealing or robbing or burglarizing. When a similar crime occurs, officers take a harder look at these career criminals to check if they're involved. If they are, they go to jail.
The emphasis in Suisun, Dadisho said, is proactivity. Officers spend even more of their duty time out in the field.
Aiding them during the peak hours of 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., he said, are dispatchers who tag-team calls so that one can take down all the pertinent information while the other dispatches help. Previously, one dispatcher did all the work.
As a result of the new "dispatch team," response times to emergency calls dropped from a shade over five minutes in 2006 to three minutes and 42 seconds in 2007.
Response times to non-emergency calls, on the other hand, dropped from 21 minutes and 23 seconds in 2006 to 14 minutes and 53 seconds last year.
Goals for this year include implementing a patrol beat system, enhanced usage of surveillance cameras, instituting the crime Free Multi-Housing Program through the "Targeting Violent Crime Task Force" and continuing the department's partnership with the FBI/Solano County Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Force.
Kimberly K. Fu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, February 22, 2008
SUISUN CITY - Sedit the coyote watched expectantly as Lee Munoz, 70, approached with food. The coyote, found tied to a post as a pup, never learned how to be 'wild.'
Sedit, the American Indian word for coyote, has resided at the Suisun Wildlife Center in Suisun City for many years.
For the past two years, Munoz has been volunteering at the center. She prepares meals for an aging opossum that regards visitors balefully from beneath a blanket. Munoz feeds dead mice to raptors at the center such as a great horned owl. Her favorite resident, though, is Sedit.
'I just love animals,' Munoz said.
Munoz retired from the Fairfield-Suisun School District and still lives on the Green Valley ranch where her mother was born.
She has had more exposure to animals than birds at the ranch, so she is drawn to the animals at the wildlife center.
Matching volunteers with the animals and birds that interest them is the goal of Cindy Forrest, the center's rehabilitation director.
For example, Sherry Moyce, 48, has turned her Suisun City home into a nursery of sorts. Moyce uses a dropper to feed two baby gray squirrels blown out of a tree during a recent storm.
It's clear the two have embraced Moyce as 'mom.'
After their meal, they burrow under her sweater and nestle against her neck. 'I get real attached,' Moyce said. 'I like having babies. This gives me my 'mommy' fix.'
Jim Furco, 68, who retired as a sergeant in the Fairfield Police Department in 1993, has volunteered at the wildlife center for 12 years. His wife, Margie Furco, 61, is also a volunteer. The couple took a three-day course at UC Davis to learn how to handle raptors.
Furco is the center's primary handler of a resident male golden eagle. Sool, the American Indian word for eagle, lost half a wing and can't fly.
Sometimes, Furco said, Sool will make a barking sound when a hawk or another raptor passes overhead.
Sool may be trying to attract a female, Furco said. 'After 11 years in a cage, he'll take anything that flies,' he joked.
All jokes aside, Furco would love to see Sool soaring free. Knowing that's not possible, Furco arrives at the center at 1:30 p.m. each day except Sunday to work with the disabled eagle.
Leather protects Furco's hand and arm from Sool's huge talons.
As he held the enormous bird on his forearm, Furco fed Sool and told stories. For instance, Furco said Sool has so much strength in his feet that he could crush his handler's hand.
When Furco first started working with the bird five years ago, Sool was so aggressive Forco was 'scared to death.'
The two have since formed a bond. 'He's not tame,' Furco said. 'He's just got manners.'
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at email@example.com.
For information on becoming a volunteer at the Suisun Wildlife Center, call 429-HAWK (4295). The center, located at 1171 Kellogg St. in Suisun City, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
FAIRFIELD - A big state push to try to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and solve California's long-running water wars is also addressing Suisun Marsh.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Blue Ribbon Task Force is not giving the marsh the same emphasis as the Delta itself. But every now and again, the group's much-publicized Delta Vision released in December 2007 refers to 'the Delta and Suisun Marsh.'
What this means will become clearer this year as the task force turns the broad statements of its vision into an actual plan. But Steve Chappell, executive director of the Suisun Resource Conservation District, is among those working to make certain Suisun Marsh isn't an afterthought, and perhaps even a victim, of the state's great Delta rescue effort.
Officially, 116,000-acre Suisun Marsh isn't part of what the report calls the California Delta. Even though the marsh contains 10 percent of the state's remaining wetlands and is home to an array of migratory birds and rare species, its location doesn't grant it that status.
But it's adjacent to the Delta, shares the same water, faces similar levee problems and has many of the same rare fish species that are facing sudden, big population downturns.
'They're linked,' Chappell said. 'Thinking of them as separate is kind of dangerous.'
Solano County Supervisor Barbara Kondylis is among those who thinks the marsh might end up on the short end of stick. She is afraid the state might build a peripheral canal to take fresh water across the Delta to Southern California, leaving too much salty ocean water encroaching into the Delta and Suisun Marsh.
Another scenario causing local concern is that the state neglects already fragile Delta levees once a peripheral canal is built. Should levees break and large Delta islands flood, salty ocean water would get pulled inland, once again leaving Suisun Marsh saltier than it is now.
'The Suisun Marsh is the biggest ecological disaster waiting to happen,' Kondylis said at the Nov. 27 Board of Supervisors meeting.
The Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force has only seven members, and none are from Solano County. But it is advised by a 45-person stakeholders group. Members from Solano County are Chappell and former Rio Vista mayor Marci Coglianese.
Chappell is uncertain how Suisun Marsh will fare once everything is said and done. He called the Delta Vision report a 'pretty blunt instrument,' with broad goals, such as improving Delta ecological functions.
But now the Blue Ribbon Task Force is working on a plan that will turn sweeping statements into policies. Ending the state's protracted water war -- a clash involving the environment, irrigation water for Central Valley farms and drinking water for 25 million Californians -- is bound to have winners and losers.
'Everyone acknowledges there is a problem and we need to find solutions to the problems,' Chappell said. 'There is some regional acknowledgment that change is needed to find solutions. But no one has identified a victim yet. Who is the sacrificial lamb to make this change?'
Coglianese said many people don't understand the connection between the health of the marsh and the health of the Delta and its water supply.
'I think Steve Chappell is doing a good job trying to raise people's understanding of that,' Coglianese said. 'But it's a tough road.'
Coglianese sees not only the marsh at risk, but also all of eastern Solano County. Among other things, the state is going to attempt to control land use in the Delta, she said.
'This is very serious,' Coglianese said. 'People cannot afford to take a pass on this. This is a very important year.'
Meanwhile, an array of agencies is putting together a Suisun Marsh plan that, among other things, calls for restoring 3,000 to 9,000 acres to tidal marshes. A draft state and federal environmental report could be released in the fall.
If all goes as planned, the new Suisun Marsh Plan and the ideas adopted by the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force will dovetail.
Both the Delta and Suisun Marsh are landscapes radically transformed by humans.
The marsh in its pristine state was wild, overgrown and mosquito-infested, a place where early explorers feared getting lost amid a labyrinth of sloughs and tules. The occasional grizzly bear was among the wildlife.
That marsh is gone forever. Levees were built 100 years ago to create dry land for farms and later duck clubs that are periodically flooded. State and federal water projects store massive amounts of the fresh water in such faraway places as Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, water that once ran down the Delta and into the marsh unimpeded each spring.
Humans now share water with the Delta and marsh.
'The reality is we're never going back to unimpaired hydrology because that would mean zero consumption,' Chappell said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, Ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suisun Marsh facts
- Suisun Marsh encompasses 116,000 acres. About 52,000 acres are managed wetlands, 6,300 acres are tidal wetlands, 30,000 acres are bays and sloughs, and 27,000 acres are uplands.
- The marsh is home to 221 species of birds, 45 species of animals, 16 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 40 species of fish.
- Marsh property owners are both public and private. The marsh has more than 150 duck clubs.
- Places to visit in the marsh include Rush Ranch open space preserve at 3521 Grizzly Island Road; Beldon's Landing boat launch at Grizzly Island Road and Montezuma Slough; Grizzly Island state wildlife area at 2548 Grizzly Island Road; and Peytonia Slough preserve at the southern end of Kellogg Street in Suisun City.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
SUISUN CITY - Seventeen-year-old D'Angelo Johnson has learned the importance of choosing his friends.
Johnson failed three classes at Armijo High School as a sophomore. To have enough credits for graduation, he took extra classes at Sem Yeto Continuation High School. At Sem Yeto, he said he got caught 'holding a bag of marijuana for a friend' and was expelled.
Today, the Suisun City teen is refocused on success after completing the four-week 'Choices' program for expelled high school students at the North Bay YMCA. The life skills class meets once a week and is led by Youth Program Director Deon Price. To date, about 240 expelled students have completed the class.
D'Angelo Johnson said his father, Derrick Johnson, urged him to take the Choices class. Derrick Johnson had been working 12-hour days to support his family, Price said, after his wife died when D'Angelo was 13.
Losing his mother at such a young age, in combination with his father working '7 to 7,' Price said, set the stage for D'Angelo Johnson's downward spiral.
Most of the expelled students in Price's class don't volunteer to be there. They have been referred by area high schools as a condition for reinstatement.
The YMCA started the Choices program two years ago after noticing there seemed to be a spike in expelled students, Price said. The time between the expulsion and when students were being placed in an alternative school could be two months or more, he added.
Students were falling so far behind academically, with no hope of graduating on time, that they become discouraged, Price said. The Choices class is designed to help get students straightened out and prepare them for achievement.
D'Angelo Johnson is a good example.
After being expelled, he said it was two months before he was placed in an alternative school, the Golden Hills Education Center. In Price's class, he listened to anecdotes that he said made him rethink the choices that had caused him so much trouble.
For instance, he remembered Price's story about a 16-year-old who fired a friend's gun into the crowd at a high school basketball game 'just to scare them.'
That 16-year-old is now serving a 19-year prison sentence because the bullet narrowly missed the principal, Price told his new class of five on Wednesday.
Clarence Jordan, 14, listened intently as Price finished the story by saying the 16-year-old told authorities, 'It wasn't my gun. I just wanted to do something.'
'One bad decision cost him 19 years of his life,' Price said.
Clarence shook his head and replied, 'He ain't never gonna get those years back, either.'
Talking back to the principal at Armijo High and other infractions landed Clarence in the Choices program. After hearing Price's story, he said he planned to apologize to school officials.
The story also made an impression on D'Angelo Johnson when he heard it in the class. He said he no longer associates with the 'friend' who asked him to hold his marijuana.
Price, who lives with his wife and four children in Suisun City, has unique skills for holding the attention of his captive audience. He's a former standup comedian and worked in juvenile probation for a decade.
Derrick Johnson, whom Price described as a 'great father,' has cut back his hours and taken a cut in pay to spend more time with D'Angelo and his younger son.
D'Angelo Johnson said in just his first two months at Golden Hills, he earned 50 credits toward reinstatement at Armijo High. Now a junior, he said his grades are good and he plans to go to college.
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at email@example.com.
By Nika Megino | Daily Republic
FAIRFIELD - Kyra Duncan squinted at a test tube containing a thick orange liquid. She added drops of blue Biuret solution and then watched in amazement as the liquid turned purple, indicating a presence of protein.
The eighth-grader at Sullivan Middle School is a member of the school's Science Olympiad team, which will face Crystal Middle School (located in Suisun City) in the Sullivan Science Olympiad competition from 8 a.m. to noon today.
The competition requires students to compete in 12 stations that involve building, analyzing and problem solving. To prepare for the event, both teams have worked since September on the various types of challenges.
Duncan has become familiar with the Food Science challenge, an experiment that tasks students to find the composition of foods by testing substances for carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.
The 13-year-old said it's her favorite activity because she gets to look beyond the surface with the use of chemicals.
'They tell you stuff you wouldn't know just by looking at it,' Duncan said.
All around her, students were perfecting their knowledge in various subjects. Behind her, seventh-graders Emily Lamb and Michelle Reyes, both 12, began building a monoplane glider to be launched by a balloon.
The girls said their experience on the team has been fun.
'But we still work hard,' Reyes said. 'We have to know a lot of stuff.'
As part of the Science Olympiad team, students are exposed to Earth and life sciences, chemistry, physics and astronomy. Teacher Denise Gordon, who has been a coach with Sullivan's team for seven years, said the activities cause students to exercise their critical thinking abilities.
'It gives us a chance to go beyond what we can in the classroom,' Gordon said. 'They have the opportunity to explore.'
At Crystal Middle, seventh-graders Jessica Sims, 13, and Giovanna Singh, 12, have been working on a Food Science project. The girls said they joined the school's team because of their love of science.
'Science is pretty cool,' Sims said. 'You can experiment with things and get outcomes you never believe you would.'
Singh said she was surprised to learn that food has DNA.
'There's more things in (food) than you believe,' said Sims, who added she was shocked to find Vitamin C in apples.
This is Crystal Middle's return to Science Olympiad after taking a one-year break. The school brought it back because of high student interest, said teacher Tara Spinelli, who has coached the team for six years.
'They enjoy it. We enjoy it,' Spinelli said.
The teams are competing in preparation for the Northern California Regional Science Olympiad, which will be held in April at Cal State Sacramento. Today's competition, which will be held at Sullivan Middle, is open to the public. The school is located at 2195 Union Ave.
Reach Nika Megino at 427-6953 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SACRAMENTO - A Suisun City man has won $25,000 on the California Lottery's 'The Big Spin,' which aired Saturday.
Thomas Delgado Sr., a retiree, won the reward over nine other contestants in the Aces High game, according a press release from the California Lottery headquarters. Delgado said he plans to buy his wife a new car and take her on the honeymoon they never had, according to the press release.
On the show, three contestants won a total of $125,000. The other awards were won by Eman Helo from Thousand Oaks and Felipe Adlawan from Westminister.
Friday, February 15, 2008
SUISUN CITY - Metal scaffolding rises from the construction site, framing has begun, and Harbor Square is quickly taking shape at the corner of Main and Solano streets in the city's Waterfront District.
The office/retail/restaurant complex is being developed by Suisun City-based Main Street West Partners. Managing partners Frank Marinello and Mike Rice said the 40,000-square-foot, two-story building is on track to open in September as projected.
Harbor Square will lease space in the range of $2 per square foot per month, Marinello said, and have as many as 10 offices on the second floor, ranging from 1,500 to 5,000 square feet. There will also be an open courtyard.
Marinello said no two restaurant tenants will offer the same cuisine. He believes the addition of dining options may bring more patrons to existing establishments such as the Athenian Grill and Babs Delta Diner.
Ground will be broken next month on the 102-room waterfront Hampton Suites Hotel, said Marinello, who added the hotel won't have a restaurant. The hotel's patrons will be able to walk to what will soon be an array of restaurant choices.
Also within walking distance of new waterfront amenities will be people who buy one of 16 homes in a Lotz Way development, which Rice and Marinello said will break ground later this year.
Rice said Main Street West is sufficiently optimistic about the future of the housing market that the developer hopes to build as many as 80 homes on a waterfront parcel located between City Hall, the lighthouse and the new hotel, which is slated to open in spring 2009.
Suisun City is uniquely situated to take advantage of its waterfront appeal, Marinello said, in that it has Solano County's only commuter rail, the Capitol Corridor. He points to a growing demand from consumers for mass transit that is within walking distance of coffee shops, stores and restaurants.
'It's all walkable,' he said.
Main Street West Partners controls 14 parcels in Suisun City, Marinello said, and planned developments 'represent a $100 million investment in Suisun.'
Harbor Square is currently in discussions with multiple high quality potential tenants, Marinello said. Once the building opens in the fall, 'I'm confident it will be filled soon thereafter,' he said.
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at email@example.com.
SUISUN CITY - The story of a 35-year-old unmarried African-American woman who makes a living sewing women's undergarments is the focus of 'Intimate Apparel,' which opens next week.
The woman, Esther, has customers from all walks of life. And, for some reason, helping them adjust their new corset breaks down the traditional barriers of propriety and she becomes privy to all sorts of private information.
'Intimate Apparel' was penned by Lynn Nottage. The SCT production is directed by Robin Stanton.
Cast members are from around the Bay Area, including Vallejo's Millee Holliday as Mrs. Dickson and Justin DuPuis as Mr. Marks; Fairfield's Mayme Morgan Frazer as Mrs. Van Buren and Vacaville's Stewart Evan Smith as George Armstrong.
Rounding out the cast are Karen Aldridge, of Richmond, as Esther and Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, from Alameda, as Mayme.
Nottage brings together a cast ranging from Mrs. Van Buren, a wealthy white woman in an unhappy marriage, to Mayme, an African-American prostitute.
While Esther visits both worlds, she seems most comfortable in that of Mr. Marks, a Romanian Jew, from whom she buys her fabric.
This is just the background. The main plot is Esther's attempt to find love. While Nottage's story addresses the difficulties faced by unmarried black women in the work force circa 1905, it also looks at the gender roles at the time.
'Granted, the main character is a woman,' said Smith. 'And the cast is four women as opposed to two men. But the show transcends gender. It transcends race. It transcends class. It's really a people play.'
While Smith bashfully said, 'being in a play with a bunch of women in underwear is nice, I guess,' he added: 'It's really more of a secondary thing with me.'
He has spent most of his time focusing on his character George Armstrong. 'He's a guy who wants to dream big. He's ambitious. He's just trying to establish himself.
'But he gets caught up in this vicious class and race struggle going on at the turn of the 20th century. That hardens and embitters him. At his core, he's a pretty decent guy. He gets frustrated when things don't go his way,' Smith said.
This is his fourth show with SCT. Smith was in the ensemble for 'Seussical the Musical' and 'Beauty and the Beast.' He was also in 'Raisin in the Sun.'
He's a graduate of the Actor Training Program. While doing 'Comedy of Errors' someone approached him with the script and suggested he try out for the show.
'I like it because it's subtle, but not in the sense you can't tell what goes on,' Smith said of 'Intimate Apparel.' 'There are a lot of undertones. There are a lot of things said and a lot of things that are not said.'
The 2003 Will C Wood High School graduate began his acting career as a junior when he played the Mad Hatter in the school's production of 'Alice in Wonderland.'
This is Holliday's first SCT show. She likes her character, who is Esther's landlord for many reasons. 'She has an elegance about her,' Holliday said. 'She's not what you would consider a traditional woman of color for that era. She is a woman of substance.'
Holliday wanted the role. 'The characters are strong and true to life,' she said.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 ($12); 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 6; 8 p.m. Feb. 22, 23 and 29 and March 1, 7 and 8; 2 p.m. Feb. 24 and March 2 and 9
Harbor Theater, 720 Main St., Suisun City
$12-$20 adults; $12 seniors and military and $10 students with valid identification and children
Thursday, February 14, 2008
In a unanimous decision, the Suisun City Council voted late Tuesday night to approve a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the city. The decision has opponents to the plan saying they are considering filing a lawsuit to stop the project as well as a separate recall efforts against the council members.
The proposal for the store to be located on a 20.8-acre parcel near Highway 12 and Walters Road includes 230,000 square feet of commercial space including a 215,000-square-foot store building plus a fuel station and mini-mart and an 8,000-square-foot sit-down restaurant or commercial use site and parking.
The decision came after a lengthy meeting that stretched into the wee hours before an overflow crowd that was at times boisterous.
Opponents issued a press release Wednesday vowing to fight on and blasting the council for what they said was its decision to build in an unsafe area.
The council's decision was made in three parts. First, was to overrule an Airport Land Use Commission finding that the store is not compatible with nearby Travis Air Force Base. Second was to certify an environmental impact report on the project. Third was to approve the project itself.
City Public Information Officer Scott Corey said the council demanded and Wal-Mart agreed to a number of conditions to win the approval. Among those conditions was an agreement to build an enhanced sound wall to separate the project from homes on the north side of nearby Petersen Road. Wal-Mart officials agreed to extend the wall an additional 300 feet and will pay for a study on extending it even further.
Wal-Mart also agreed to conditions designed to ease fears about the future of the site. If the store closes and goes dark for 36 months, Wal-Mart agreed it would demolish the building or give the city payment for demolishing it.
"That agreement is designed to ease fears about future blight," Corey said, adding that the firm believes the store site will flourish economically.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
SUISUN CITY - The Wildlife Center next week will begin teaching prospective volunteers how to care for injured and orphaned creatures.
Classes will be 7- 9 p.m. Feb. 19, Feb. 21, Feb. 26 and Feb. 28. The center receives more than 200 species of birds and animals. Spring is a particularly busy time, with volunteers caring for orphaned baby birds.
People who are members of the nonprofit Suisun Marsh Natural History Association pay a $6 book fee for the classes. Non-members must join at a cost of $15 for individuals or $25 for families in addition to the book fee.
The Wildlife Center is located at 1171 Kellogg St., near the Suisun City boat ramp. For more information or to register for the classes, call 429-4295.
SUISUN CITY - Flu is suddenly hitting children hard across the country, and those at Suisun Elementary School are no exception.
What was a mild flu season has taken a dramatic turn, said Dr. Ron Chapman, Solano County Health Officer.
Two weeks ago Suisun Elementary attendance clerk Terri Phillips might fill 'half a page' a day with the names of 14 or 15 absent students, she said. Now, she has days when she fills 2.5 pages, 30 names to a page, and a page and a half is not unusual.
Chapman has been following reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, which tracks flu outbreaks. Severe pediatric cases are on the rise across the country, he said, with 20 children so ill they had to be hospitalized just in the past week.
'We watch the number of childhood cases very closely because it's an indicator of what's going on in the bigger picture,' said Chapman, who added that most of the 36,000 people who die from the flu each year are older than 65.
The flu strain causing at least 30 percent of the current spike 'mutated' from one that is in flu shots administered this year, Chapman said. Symptoms are those of a respiratory flu: cough, fever, muscle and joint aches, occasional headaches or dizziness, weakness and fatigue.
Suisun Elementary staff members call a student's family whenever the child is out sick. Phillips said. She has heard of symptoms such as 'hoarseness, stuffy nose and stuffy head, a lot of ear infections.'
At NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, spokeswoman Marilyn Ranson said one employee has four children and 'all four have the flu.' Pediatricians she contacted Tuesday said, as yet, they are not seeing an increase in children with the flu.
Statewide, however, severe pediatric cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks, with a 50 percent increase in those requiring hospitalization, Chapman said.
Nationally, 31 states so far are reporting widespread flu activity, Chapman said, while California is experiencing pockets here and there.
Children and others who have had the flu shot may experience less severe symptoms of the strain that has mutated, Chapman said.
'The way it's changed, it's similar to what's in the vaccine, but not the same,' he added. 'With 'partial coverage,' those infected may not get as sick as they might have otherwise.'
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at email@example.com.
SUISUN CITY - Sabers are rattling in the 'no supercenter' camp.
Some opponents of the Wal-Mart Supercenter project, which was approved late Tuesday by the Suisun City Council, want to recall the five councilmembers.
The City Council voted unanimously to override the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission's decision that the project wasn't in the best interests of Travis Air Force Base.
A sizable anti-project contingent attended the City Council meeting. Richard Pracht of Suisun City counted 160 people wearing anti-supercenter stickers, he said. In addition to the threatened recall effort, he said others are threatening lawsuits.
'The council didn't listen to the citizens,' Pracht said.
A large number of people also spoke in favor of Wal-Mart, including many who could be directly affected by the location of the supercenter.
Mayor Pete Sanchez and councilmembers Jane Day, Mike Hudson, Sam Derting and Mike Segala were in complete accord in their decision to overrule the ALUC. But before approving the project, the five first insisted that Wal-Mart agree to a number of conditions.
Wal-Mart has agreed to add at least 2 feet to walls designed to mitigate excess noise, Mayor Pete Sanchez said. The retailer also agreed to work with city staff to provide Travis Air Force Base advance notice before any work is done that could affect the base's jet fuel pipeline.
The council pushed Wal-Mart on what will happen to the building if sales don't match expectations of the supercenter. Sanchez said the retailer has agreed to pay the city at least $300,000 to cover the costs of demolishing the building, although the city might find other uses for the structure.
Suisun City's waterfront businesses aren't threatened by Wal-Mart, Business Improvement District president Garry Rowe said.
'I'm sure we can leverage our relationship with Wal-Mart to bring Wal-Mart customers downtown,' he added.
Pracht, 59, and his wife, Pam Pracht, 51, are both veterans. They live four blocks from the Wal-Mart site and said they believe the supercenter will mean more truck noise, traffic and crime.
Marilyn George, a 15-year resident of Suisun City, doesn't believe increased traffic will be a problem and said she looks forward to one-stop shopping.
George also liked that her sales taxes will stay in her own community and added that she's 'just glad to help get this project going.'
A complete list of the conditions can be found at http://www.suisun.com.
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The proposal outlined a 215,000-square-foot Supercenter with outdoor garden center and grocery section on a 20.8-acre triangular parcel zoned for General Commerical use for nearly two decades.
During the 6 hour and 45 minute hearing, 65 members of the public addressed the City Council presenting passionate arguments both for and against the proposed development.
The Council cast unanimous votes to:
- Override the recommendation of the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission, which found the project to be inconsistent with the Travis Airport Land Use Plan;
- Certify the Final Environmental Impact Report with appropriate statements of overriding consideration; and
- Approve all project applications, including many additional mitigation measures negotiated with Wal-Mart officials during the course of City Council deliberations.
The new Wal-Mart will provide new shopping opportunities much closer to home for Suisun City residents - something heard repeatedly articulated as a "need" by the public at both the Planning Commission and City Council hearings.
The City Council secured enhanced mitigation measures from Wal-Mart, including:
- Extended sound walls and a committment to study further extension of sound barriers at Wal-Mart's expense;
- Committment to use anti-theft devices on shopping carts to keep them on the store's property and out of nearby neighborhoods;
- Committment to comply with strict City ordinances governing grafitti prevention and removal;
- Committment to comply with strict City ordinances mandating removal of abandoned vehicles; and
- Committment to include the Suisun City store in Wal-Mart's pilot solar power program and install the system should it provide feasible.
The 8,000-sqaure-foot sit-down restuarant, tenanted by a national chain, will be located west of the Wal-Mart Supercenter. A 12-pump independent gas station with associated 4,100-square-foot convenience store and automated car wash is planned at the corner of Highway 12 and Walters Road.
The project also will include a 35-foot tall sign welcoming highway travelers to Suisun City and featuring a message board that can be used to promote City events and present important messages.
Based on the results of an independent study conducted for the City, the project is expected to generate approximately $800,000 in sales taces the first full year of operation, which increases to $1.6 million after 20 years. Overall, the net fiscal impact to the General Fund from this project is estimated to be roughly $965,000 a year, after costs to serve the project are deducted from gross revenues generated.
Currently, Suisun City experiences a loss of upwards of 70% of potential sales tax revenue to neighboring communities. Suisun City captures about $2,875 per capita in annual taxable sales compared to $12,693 per capita for Fairfield, $9,892 per capita average across all Solano County jurisidictions and $10,068 per capita average for all California cities.
Monday, February 11, 2008
SUISUN CITY - Not since the city demolished apartment buildings, bars and bait shops in the late 1980s and early '90s to redevelop the waterfront and Civic Center Drive has an issue drawn hundreds to city meetings.
The proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter is the first project since then to provoke such strong attendance, said Councilwoman Jane Day, who added it is 'much more organized.'
On Tuesday, the Suisun City Council will settle the feud that has split the city. Councilmembers will cast their votes on whether to override the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission's November 2007 decision that the project would create public safety issues for Travis Air Force Base.
Travis officials have said they have no such concerns.
Although the meeting starts at 5 p.m., the City Council is braced for an exhaustive evening that could stretch into the early morning.
Councilmembers will first decide whether to follow the Planning Commission's recommendation that the council certify the environmental studies for the project at Walters Road and Highway 12. The council will also review documents related to the airport commission's 'adverse use' decision.
A public hearing will allow residents and others one last opportunity to speak.
Because the issue has emotions running high, there was a visible police presence when the Planning Commission met Jan. 29 to address the project. City officials are preparing for an even larger turnout Tuesday.
If four of five councilmembers vote to override the airport commission's decision, they will pave the way for the project to move forward.
Councilman Sam Derting said although last thing he wants is for the project to divide the city, 'I ran on a platform to bring businesses to this city, to put businesses on those empty (Highway 12) lots that have sat vacant for 30-plus years.'
Councilmen Mike Segala and Derting may be most at risk politically with the vote, given they could seek re-election in November.
Some opponents of the project have vowed to launch a recall of any councilmember who votes to override.
Segala pointed out that three Highway 12 parcels zoned commercial drew no interest from developers until the city launched a series of improvements aimed at improving traffic flow.
Now, he said, developers are interested.
'It was a matter of time' before a developer submitted an application, Segala said, and 'the application before the council now is Wal-Mart's.'
Sales tax revenue projected from the supercenter would go into the city's General Fund while the property tax will go to the Redevelopment Agency.
Mayor Pete Sanchez lives at Lawler Ranch, directly across from the Wal-Mart site. Although 'personally' he would prefer to see the supercenter go somewhere less likely to disrupt neighborhoods, he said the city 'doesn't have the luxury of time to wait for annexation.'
Sanchez doesn't intend to 'preside over a bankrupt city,' he said, adding 'there will eventually be a retail box (store) there anyway.'
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at email@example.com.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
The fate of a proposal for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Suisun City likely will be decided Tuesday night by the city council.
If the Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 29 was any indication of what Tuesday's attendance will be, there likely will be standing room only and hours of public comment for and against.
The proposed project earned advisory approval from the planning commission at the January meeting, and now the city council must decide three things:
- whether or not the environmental documents address and mitigate any problems;
- whether the project fits into the city's general plan, and;
- whether to override the November decision by the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission against the project.
One of the biggest issues facing the council is overriding the ALUC's vote against the project. The commission felt it violated the Travis Air Force Base Land Use Compatibility Plan. For an override, there would have to be a 'super-majority' vote by four of five council members.
Suisun City staff reports claim the Wal-Mart Supercenter would bring in nearly $1 million annually in sales tax revenue and could act as an anchor to other businesses wanting to come to the area.
Opponents say the Walters Road location is not the right place for the store and would create safety issues in intersections along Highway 12. Opponents also have stressed their fear of falling parts or a plane crashing while taking off from nearby Travis.
The city of Suisun City Council meets in the Suisun City Government Center at 5 p.m.
Danny Bernardini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUISUN CITY - It's not easy being a single mom. Just ask Margie Russell.
The 49-year-old mother of two said one of the biggest reasons she moved to Suisun City from Vallejo five years ago was the North Bay YMCA's summer day care program.
Her daughter, Timarie Mason, was 7 at the time. Her son, Timothy Mason, was 5. The children could go on weekly YMCA field trips and swim at the center, located at 586 E. Wigeon Way, as their mother went to work as a home care provider.
'Oh my god,' Russell said. 'I thought I was in paradise.'
A year later, Russell and her children became YMCA members and paid a reduced fee for a monthly membership. North Bay YMCA Executive Director Rodney Chin said membership and program fees can be reduced for income-eligible families through the Community Support Campaign.
Russell pays just $30 a month for her single parent membership, $38 less than the usual single parent rate. She pays her rent with a Section 8 voucher but no longer needs financial aid and food stamps because of the help she has received from area service clubs and others.
'It's just me and Timarie and Timothy -- just us three,' Russell said. 'We're the family. But we're thriving.'
Chin said generous donations from the community help fund the reduced fees program. He said the Suisun City Kiwanis, which will celebrate its 20-year anniversary Tuesday, contributed $1,000 in 2007. The club will do so again this year, Kiwanis President Mike Hudson said.
Hudson, a Suisun City councilman and founder of the YMCA's volunteer advisory board, said the reduced fees program 'allows everyone to really participate who might not have that opportunity.'
Suisun City Kiwanis has also sponsored 'Kids Day of Fishing' at Lake Solano the past two years. Club member Mike Segala, also a Suisun City councilman, took Russell's children and other youths to the lake two years ago. Each child received a T-shirt, hat, fishing pole and tackle box.
'You could tell they had fun,' Russell said. 'The kids got off the bus exhausted.'
Segala said the Kiwanis' latest project is contributing to the YMCA's Community Support Campaign to help families such as Russell's. Chin said the campaign has collected $28,000 in donations, and the goal is $33,000.
Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at email@example.com.
North Bay YMCA
For more information about the reduced fees program, call 421-8746 or go to http://www.ymcasf.org/NorthBay/index.html.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Garry Rowe, president of the Suisun City Business Improvement District, and Sandi Hudson, of Hudson Business Networks, are spearheading this effort. They are working with Arcadia Publishing, a specialty publisher that works with local authors to put together picture-based niche histories.
This notice was posted by Carol Bogart in the Daily Republic this morning:
HELP NEEDED TO CREATE SUISUN CITY PHOTO HISTORY
SUISUN CITY - A historical photo essay book and self-guided walking tour are in the works and promoters believe both will heighten interest in Suisun City, past and present.
Residents are being asked to submit historical photos they may have to Suisun City Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District board president Garry Rowe, 707-631-0609, or Sandi Hudson at 707-429-9794.
Hudson can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAIRFIELD - Two red banners, one with the letters UNLV and the other with a giant Bulldog draped behind Michael Johnson and Marcel Jensen at the Rodriguez High library Wednesday afternoon, as they signed their letters of intent to go to college and play football.
Johnson, a versatile and explosive player, is headed to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, while Jensen, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 230 pounds, will travel to the Central Valley to play for Fresno State.
'This is one of my favorite days as a coach,' Rodriguez coach David Fishleigh said. 'We are sending two great young men to the next level where they can get a good education and represent their school.'
Johnson and Jensen were both relieved that the process was finally over and excited about their future as college students and football players.
'I'm going to miss my friends here, but I have a lot of good memories,' Johnson said. 'We won a section championship in football and I have also done well with the baseball and basketball teams.'
In his final year at Rodriguez, Johnson helped the Mustangs to a section championship, running for 775 yards, throwing for 1,257 more and scored 15 touchdowns. He also returned a kick and two punts for TDs and intercepted four passes.
Johnson said he is also going to walk-on the UNLV baseball team.
'He is the ultimate athlete,' Fishleigh said. 'He has done things on the football field that I don't think I will ever see a high school athlete do again.'
Johnson said it wasn't a hard decision for him because UNLV showed the most interest and he enjoyed his recruiting visit to the Mountain West Conference school. And it sounds like it won't be long before Johnson starts plays a role for the Rebels on Saturdays.
'They told me that they expect me to return kicks and punts next year,' Johnson said. 'They also want me to battle for the slot receiver position.'
Jensen missed five games last year for the Mustangs, but still made his presence felt with 35 tackles, two sacks and three pass deflections.
'With his size, he is such a disruptive force on defense and makes the other team use multiple players to block him,' Fishleigh said. 'I have no doubt he is going to be a great success at the next level.'
Jensen isn't sure if he is going to play next year or redshirt, but is happy to know where he's going to go to school in the fall.
'This is a big weight off my shoulders,' Jensen said. 'I had Reno, Sacramento State and Fresno State recruiting me, but when I made a trip to Fresno, I knew it was the perfect fit for me.'
Vacaville also had three players sign Wednesday, with running back Terrance Dailey heading to Washington, Josh Kaddu going to Oregon and Johnny Feaster to play college football at Sacramento State.
'The NCAA raised it standards for eligible Division I players this year and I am proud that all of the players easily qualified,' Vacaville coach Mike Papadopoulos said. 'I have no doubt they are going to succeed playing football and most importantly with their academics.'
Solano Community College had offensive lineman Zach Diaz sign with Portland State, and earlier this year, Bobby Guillory (Central Missouri), Daniel Stantz (Texas A&M Commerce), Maurice Dupont (Texas A&M Commerce), Stephen Harris (Arkansas-Monticello), TJ Ross (Sioux City College) and Jared Reding (Sioux City College) all signed to play football at a four-year university.
Reach Patrick Creaven at 425-4646 ext. 266 or email@example.com
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
But we still love trains! In fact, we have 36 passenger trains a day that come right through our rail depot plus a growing number of freight trains carrying goods from the Port of Oakland out to the rest of the country.
Suisun City is the only stop in the county for the Capitol Corridor! Sitting at the center of the growing Bay to Capital Megaregion, it only makes sense that Suisun City would be a great place for sophisticated, urbane professionals working in the state Capital or the Bay Area.
Sam Whiting of the San Francisco Chronicle recently rode the Capitol Corridor from San Francisco to Sacramento. Though our fair city gets only a passing mention, it's a fun article and a good survey of just who is on that train anyway?
Friday, February 1, 2008
- Police Commander to work closely with the Chief of Police on all aspects of departmental functions (Recruitment to close March 7, 2008)
- Police Support Services Manager to oversee all the department's non-sworn personnel (Recruitment to close March 14, 2008)
Visit us at www.suisun.com to learn more about this dynamic Northern California waterfront community and these exciting career opportunities.