Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Interfaith event focuses on justice

Justice — and, conversely, injustice — was the theme of the 12th annual Celebration of Abraham, which brought members of the three Abrahamic faiths together at the St. James Catholic Church Memorial Center, 1275 B St. About 165 people attended.

An Interfaith Fair for Justice featured five local organizations, each with a table display presenting their work and opportunities for the participants to fight injustice in Yolo County. The organizations were Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, Yolo Conflict Resolution Center, Phoenix Coalition, Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter and Davis Community Meals.

In addition, participants had an opportunity to purchase 100 hand-thrown ceramic bowls for $20 each, with proceeds to be donated to two organizations that build understanding between children and youths in the Middle East.

Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

According to the California League of Cities, Yolo County would need $27 million to repair and replace all the bridges in its queue. But like the rest of California, there just isn’t enough money to attend to all the repairs at once.

“There’s always prettier or sexier projects than replacing a bridge,” said Panos Kokkas, the public works director for the county.

Caltrans is mandated to inspect bridges all around California every two years, to see if the bridges can withstand natural events like floods and earthquakes, and hold the weight of everyday commuters.

Resolutions you can keep, with help from local businesses

We’re nearly through the first month of 2015. How many of your resolutions are still in place?

The owners of four downtown Davis businesses that focus on good health have some tips to help you stick to your good intentions.

If you walk into NutriShop at 612 Fourth St., owner Brandon Platt doesn’t want to hear which supplement you want to buy. He wants to know what your goal is so he can develop just the right plan for you.

Whether you’re trying to lose 5 pounds or 20, or put on 20 pounds and build muscle, he is ready to help.

Students learn about Greek mythology, theater

Students at Holmes Junior High School will perform the play “Metamorphoses” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The play retells the classic Greek and Roman myths from the ancient writer Ovid’s book “Metamorphoses.”

The show will be presented at 7 p.m. each night in the multipurpose room at Holmes, 1220 Drexel Drive. Tickets are $5 each.

The script was written by Mary Zimmerman, and is directed by Jeff Bryant, a teacher at Holmes, but the show was largely produced through student collaboration.

Featuring a pool of water on stage, around and in which much of the action occurs, the …

There’s no place like Dome at UC Davis

The trill of panpipes from a yurt wafted across the mulch hillocks of the Domes, a 1970s experiment in communal housing in which students live in igloolike fiberglass domes and snuggle up in snow-white interiors of plastic foam.

Although plenty of campuses offer specialized housing — often reserved for vegans, teetotalers, athletes and other like-minded souls — it is probably safe to say that there is no place quite like the Domes, an early venture into sustainable living at UC Davis. The complex of 14 tiny domes (elevation: 52 feet, population: 28-plus) is officially named Baggins End, after the Tolkien characters.

MLK event celebrates King’s concept of service

Many events around the nation Monday commemorated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with a tone of protest, owing to the circumstances surrounding the well-publicized deaths of black men in 2014 by law-enforcement officers.

In Davis, the theme was serving fellow community members, a message King had repeated often.

Various speakers at the 21st annual city of Davis Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration brought up the event’s theme, seeing the community as a body with hands, eyes and limbs representing …

Family resource centers face looming funding cuts

They begin lining up along a chain-link fence at the old Bryte Elementary School in West Sacramento by 8 a.m. every Friday.

Parents and grandparents, infants in strollers, as many as 100 families who come each week to receive fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and other food from the Yolo Family Resource Center located here. The distribution doesn’t start until 10:30, but many regularly arrive hours earlier to wait.

This part of town is a food desert, notes Katie Villegas, executive director of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance, which operates the center here. That means what little fresh food that can be found nearby is at convenience stores that charge exorbitant prices. And in a community like Bryte, with a high poverty rate, that increases the risk of hunger.

Bomb threat forces school evacuation

North Davis Elementary School students spent much of Thursday’s school day outdoors after a bomb threat forced the evacuation of the East 14th Street campus.

Nothing suspicious was discovered during the nearly three-hour evacuation, during which Davis police and members of the Yolo County Bomb Squad searched the campus, at one point with the aid of an explosives-detecting dog.

While the motive for the threat remains unknown, “hopefully through our investigation we’ll find out what happened,” Police Department spokesman Lt. Tom Waltz told reporters at the scene.

Twinkle Light Crew shines with new support

Once, city contractors maintained the twinkle lights downtown. Once, the state allowed the city to have more money.

But when redevelopment agencies around the state were eliminated a few years ago, money that was earmarked for Davis’ downtown beautification and for affordable housing went with it. Then the economy sucked some of the life out of the city budget. The twinkle lights, a long-adored downtown fixture, looked like they would be turned off.

Fish rescue underway at Knaggs Ranch

Out of 3-foot-deep water, employees of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife winch up a 15-foot-wide cylinder of fencing and plastic weave they placed between two sections of fence on Monday. In the Knights Landing Ridge Cut, the cylinder holds two dividers of protruding plastic mesh with a narrow opening in the middle of each.

In a loose wetsuit, Brian Raleigh, a scientific aide for the department, opens the gate and climbs in with a net hanging off a long pole. He winds it through the water, searching for any fish they might have caught in the trap. Everyone’s hoping he finds an endangered winter-run salmon.

“We want to catch a lot of ‘winter run’ so we can show that it’s on fire,” said John Brennan, a rice farmer who helps manage the Knaggs Ranch, LLC, which owns property along the southern edge of the ridge cut. That fire? He wants to demonstrate to regulatory agencies how dangerous the canals are to endangered fish.

A big court victory for little delta fish

California farmers struggling with drought say a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued Monday that keeps strict water restrictions in place to protect a tiny, threatened fish has forced them to leave thousands of acres unplanted in the nation’s most fertile agricultural region.

The justices rejected appeals from farmers in California’s Central Valley and urban water districts who had challenged a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to safeguard the 3-inch-long delta smelt, a species listed as threatened in 1993 under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The smelt only lives in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast that supplies much of California with drinking water and irrigates 4.5 million acres of farmland.

Mini Medical School just what the doctor ordered

“This is not just a health lecture series … this is fantasy camp medical school!”

So declared Dr. Michael McCloud, a clinical professor of medicine at UC Davis who also is the creator and course director of UCD’s wildly popular Mini Medical School.

Now in its 13th year, Mini Medical School is geared toward “the foresighted middle-ager and novice senior,” according to the website — http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/minimed — although students have ranged in age from their early 20s to 90s.

Abduction. Lost finger. Now, a rock climber’s tallest hurdle

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — Whatever part inside of Tommy Caldwell that made him attempt the seemingly impossible — a free climb of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall — might have been born in 2000 when he and three others were kidnapped by militants while climbing in the Pamir-Alai range of Kyrgyzstan.

The group (which included Davisite Beth Rodden) escaped after six days on the run when Caldwell shoved an armed guard over a cliff.

Or it might have come shortly after, when Caldwell severed his left index finger with a table saw during a home renovation.

As with a concert pianist or a surgeon, the index finger is a useful digit for a world-class rock climber, and some worried that Caldwell’s career was over.

Make the ArtAbout part of your fitness routine

If you have a resolution to be more active this year, then make it a goal to walk, power-walk or bike to all of the 24 Second Friday ArtAbout venues on Friday evening. ArtAbout venues are concentrated in downtown Davis, but a few are outside the core.

Since this is a self-guided tour, you can customize the artwalk to your taste. But if you’re looking for a little more guidance, Davis Odd Poets are putting on a walking poetry tour that starts at 6 p.m. in front of Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St.

The evening features pop-up art shows, live music, refreshments and artists’ receptions. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit DavisDowntown.com or email ArtAbout@DavisDowntown.com.