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Police probe second in-custody death

Friday’s death of a 56-year-old man while in Davis police custody marked the law-enforcement agency’s second such incident to occur in less than four months.

“To have two in such a close amount of time, it’s very disturbing,” said Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel, whose agency’s only prior in-custody death was a burglar that an officer shot and killed after being fired upon first back in the 1980s.

While officers frequently train to prevent such situations, “we just hadn’t experienced it first-hand,” Pytel said.

Downtown retailers get creative as they face change

Change is in the air in downtown Davis, but longtime retailers want to reassure local customers: They’re still open for business.

The pending sale of several downtown Davis buildings by the Brinley family — which has owned the properties for decades, as far back as the 1920s in the case of one building — is causing some nervousness and anxiety. Many of the downtown’s most prominent stores are in the Brinley buildings, and the owners are assessing what they may need to do to stay profitable.

Perfect equation: DHS senior aces AP exam

Davis High senior Matthew Cheung has posted a lofty achievement — acing the AP Calculus AB exam with a perfect score, one of only 12 students around the world to do so. A total of 302,531 students around the globe took the test.

Davis High Principal Will Brown said “Only 12 people in the world have done this; that’s really significant. Matthew’s tremendous accomplishment is a reflection of his hard work as well as of his teachers, family, friends and community. This happens when everyone is pulling together.”

Cheung took the AP test last May. AP tests are scored on a 5-point scale, where a 5 is equivalent to …

Downtown bar owners fear the party’s over

What happens when last call is at 11:30 p.m.?

Anticipating the potential changes a nightclub ordinance could bring in, Davis bar owners are calculating what early closures could mean for their businesses.

Crime downtown has increasingly been in the limelight since a Sept. 19 stabbing at the KetMoRee Restaurant and Bar that took the life of 23-year-old Peter Gonzales, a Los Angeles student visiting Davis for his sister’s wedding.

Iron Chef challenge whets the appetite for more

The whiteboard announced, “Mystery ingredient: Root vegetables” as visitors to the inaugural Carlton Senior Living Iron Chef competition took their seats Wednesday.

The format is familiar to many who enjoy cooking shows: Two chefs compete in a timed event, each creating dishes with a distinct ingredient, in hopes of wowing a panel of judges.

The hometown favorite was Carlton Senior Living’s own chef, Andrew Moret, “who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine in China and Ideas in Food in San Francisco,” a news release said. Moret has been the head chef at Carlton Senior Living for nearly two years.

Explore Asia’s nature, culture at Arboretum

The UC Davis Arboretum Ambassador team has organized an event for participants of all ages to explore the cultural and natural world of Asia on Sunday, Jan. 31, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Wyatt Deck, just west of the T. Elliot Weir Redwood Grove. (If it rains, the program will move indoors to 146 Environmental Horticulture.)

Overlooking the Arboretum’s picturesque East Asian Collection, the free event will teach participants about Taiwan, Korea, China and Japan through games, stories and crafts. These will include calligraphy lettering, lantern making, kite designing and red envelope crafting — a Chinese New Year tradition.

Rocking the house

The Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh parades through Betty and Howdy Howard’s front lawn Thursday to mark Betty’s 99th birthday. Aggie fans for more than 70 years, the Howards love the annual Picnic Day celebration at UC Davis, but with their respective 99th birthdays approaching, it isn’t feasible to attend the parade anymore, so their neighbor, Leslie Tuel, arranged for the parade to come to them!

Walter E. “Howdy” Howard is a Davis native, the son of a UCD director (that’s “chancellor,” nowadays) and a Davis High graduate. He met Betty at UC Berkeley during freshman year …

Davis youth mentoring challenge is underway

Each one, teach one.

Whether it’s a retired teacher working with a transitional kindergartner on reading skills once a week or a local engineer teaching computer-assisted design to a high school robotics team member, every adult has a skill to pass on to a child, and local leaders hope 1,000 such adults step up this year to do so.

“Each one, teach one,” City Councilman Lucas Frerichs saidWednesday night, quoting the old African-American proverb.

“We really hope that becomes your mantra for the year,” Frerichs told an audience at the Stephens Branch Library as the Davis 1,000 Mentors for Youth Challenge kicked off.

The joint effort between the city of Davis and the Davis Joint Unified School District hopes to draw on and expand the community’s existing …

Council firms up Nishi details, delays vote

The Davis City Council made strides Tuesday night on the Nishi Gateway project — nailing down the project’s phasing, affordable housing, fiscal, parking and sustainability components.

But the four members present — Rochelle Swanson was home sick — decided they need more time to tie up loose ends on the innovation center proposal at the council’s next meeting on Feb. 2. On that night, the council may vote on whether to place the project on the June 7 ballot. (A vote of the people is required under Measure R/Measure J.)

Burlesque: Sisterhood, safe spaces, striptease

I arrived at Momentum Dance & Fitness studio in Davis about 15 minutes early and peeked down the hall at the Bollywood class in progress.

While I was sitting in the lobby, a couple of young women came in and chatted about the burlesque class we were all here for. When a young woman emerged from a dressing room, fussing with her outfit and doing a lot of adjusting, the scope of the evening became a little clearer.

As the other two women in the lobby oohed and ahhed at her, admiring her gold lamé costume, her long blond wig and sultry makeup, I thought, “She seems kind of dressed up for a fitness class.”

UC Davis prepares for large influx of students

UC Davis is marshaling its efforts and resources to accommodate 2016-17 enrollment growth of 1,100 new undergraduates beyond last fall’s entering class.

The campus is responding to targets that UC President Janet Napolitano set under a plan to increase systemwide enrollment of new California undergraduates by 10,000 over the next three years, including 5,000 freshman and transfer students in 2016-17.

Last spring, the Legislature allocated an additional $25 million to UC to increase the number of in-state undergraduates by 5,000 no later than 2016-17.

Superhero science explored in new engineering course

Ever wonder whether Captain America’s “vibranium alloy” shield actually could absorb kinetic energy, or whether Iron Man’s weaponized “repulsor beam” could deliver such concussive force?

Thanks to Ricardo Castro, an associate professor in the UC Davis department of chemical engineering and materials science, the scientific credibility of such fanciful superhero physics can be analyzed in his new winter-quarter freshman materials science course: EMS 2, “Materials Marvels: The Science of Superheroes.”

As originally conceived, many superheroes — such as Superman and the Hulk …

Wonder and delight: Catching up with Dolph Gotelli

“I did a lot of stuff on campus that grabbed attention,” said artist Dolph Gotelli about his time as a design professor at UC Davis.

Things like putting aliens out in front of Mrak Hall garnered responses from UCD administrators, “little notes like ‘be careful with what you’re doing, don’t cover the statues!’ ” Gotelli said.

Grabbing attention now is his newly opened museum in Folsom, the Museum of Wonder & Delight, which features Gotelli’s collection of vintage toys and antique dolls, international folk art and holiday-themed exhibits.

UC Davis pilot finds Porter Ranch methane emissions sky-high

A UC Davis scientist flying in a pollution-detecting airplane provided the first, and so far only, estimates of methane emissions spewing from the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in Southern California since the leak began on Oct. 23.

Those estimates were provided to the California Air Resources Board in November. Pilot and UCD project scientist Stephen Conley continues to measure emissions from the still-uncontrolled leak, which has displaced thousands of residents in the affluent Porter Ranch neighborhood in northern Los Angeles. On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the community.

To date, Conley estimates that the leak has emitted nearly 80,000 tons of methane, or about 1,000 tons per day.

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