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Faith groups ‘lift up’ county’s social workers

Yolo County social worker Phonecia Stone isn’t quick to tell people what she does for a living.

After all, she says, “There’s so much negative connotation around this job.

“We’re treated like the dregs of society some times.”

That’s particularly the case when it comes to child protective services, where Stone worked for a decade …

UCD Extension: ‘Just what you need’

Did you know that about 62,000 students take courses via UC Davis Extension each year? And it’s not just those popular classes in brewing and winemaking.

Instead, people turn to Extension to improve their skills in a current job, prepare for a promotion or to change careers, said John O’Neill, director of marketing.

Since 1960, he said, “People (have) come to us as working professionals,” who after five to 10 years in a career are asking themselves, “What’s next?” …

How fast summer passed; school’s back!

The new school year began Wednesday for the roughly 8,500 students in the Davis school district. And for students entering kindergarten and transitional kindergarten classes, it was literally their first day at school.

One of the new kindergartners at Montgomery Elementary was Lucero Valle, who came to school holding a snack prepared by her mother Marina.

“I’ve got a Z-bar, and a cheese stick and drinking yogurt,” Lucero announced, adding, “I picked out my clothes for today by myself” — a pink outfit with the words “Pretty Sweet” on the shirt.

Davis Shakespeare Fest took ‘a big step forward’

Attendance was up at the Davis Shakespeare Festival this summer, and sales of two-show festival passes nearly doubled — meaning that more people were choosing to see both of the festival’s productions, and getting a discount in the process.

And there were numerous upgrades in lighting, sound and set design during the young festival’s second season, which featured the Shakespeare comedy “Twelfth Night” and a musical comedy that has been rarely staged in this region, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” based on a novel by Charles Dickens.

The two shows — featuring a mix of professional actors, conservatory-trained young actors from around the country and a few community performers — ran from June 25 to Aug. 2 …

Boaters mapping Pacific garbage arrive in S.F.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Far away from California’s coast, where the Pacific Ocean currents swirl, the blue of the sea was replaced by fishing nets, buckets, buoys, laundry baskets and unidentifiable pieces of plastic that floated past the Ocean Starr, a ship carrying a team of scientists and volunteers gathering data on plastic garbage.

“We were surrounded by an endless layer of garbage,” sad Serena Cunsolo, an Italian marine biologist who works for The Ocean Cleanup. “It was devastating to see.”

Cunsolo, 28, was one of a team of 15 researchers and volunteers aboard the Ocean Starr who set out a month ago from San Francisco to study the plastic waste as part of the “Mega Expedition,” a major step in the organization’s effort to eventually clean up what’s known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Davis school district welcomes new teachers

The sun was shining, the breakfast buffet (hot coffee and baked goods) was tempting and hopes for the new school year that begins Wednesday were running high.

That was the scene at the Davis school district’s administrative headquarters on Friday morning, as Superintendent Winfred Roberson and his staff — along with school board trustees Tom Adams, Barbara Archer and Madhavi Sunder, as well as several local business leaders — welcomed nearly 60 newly hired teachers, counselors, specialists and administrators.

Global insights: Trellis students work abroad

They found themselves in Bangladesh, Malawi and Kenya.

Taking their research skills overseas, three UC Davis grad students recently returned from villages across the globe. From dealing with soils thick with chemical pesticides to helping market strategies, the students’ work is part of three month-long projects under the Trellis Fund, an arm of UCD’s Horticulture Innovation Lab.

Trellis works on a smaller scale than the lab, selecting students to …

Hometown favorites fill fair’s opening night

On just 55 acres of land, the Yolo County Fair is the little fair that could.

With all the fair favorites packed into the Woodland fairgrounds, the five-day event brings everyone together for hometown fun. The fair is a celebration of everything Yolo County, from an the local bands to an exhibition of Yolo businesses, vendors, and farmers.

The free-gate fair opened its doors Wednesday night to cheerful crowds of families and friends that swelled the fairgrounds, at 1250 Gum Ave in Woodland.

Sniffing out cancer: UCD goes to the dogs

UC Davis clinicians are hoping to greatly advance cancer screenings with the innate olfactory skills of man’s best friend.

A university team of physicians, veterinarians and animal behaviorists has begun training a pair of very special canines who may represent high-tech health care on four feet in the effort to better screen for cancer, especially at early stages of the disease.

About 4-months old, the puppies Alfie (a labradoodle) and Charlie (a German shepherd) are …

Transportation Fairs focus on bikes, e-cars

Cool Davis’ new Transportation Fair, a celebration of green living and mobility, is just around the corner.

A local nonprofit focused on climate change, Cool Davis is transforming the Cool Davis Festival of years past into a series of events throughout the year.

“We’re taking the transportation section of the festival out into the community,” said Shelby Kelley, transportation field coordinator with Cool Davis.

Rolling into town this weekend is the first-ever Transportation Fair.

‘It Gets Better Every Year’ at the Yolo County Fair

From a battle of the bands to a battle of the lambs, it’s time once again for the Yolo County Fair, which opens its annual five-day celebration on Wednesday in Woodland.

Guests will find classics such as the destruction derby, livestock corrals, fair food and blues music alongside some new additions including monster trucks and a hometown battle of the bands.

Since the fair is the only free-gate fair in the state, guests need only pay the $5 parking fee to gain entrance. The fairgrounds are at 1250 E. Gum Ave. in Woodland. Fair hours are 6 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Sunday.

The Cannery’s open, and ready for buyers

After many months of construction, The Cannery — a 100-acre project that ultimately will include 547 homes on land that once was the site of a Hunt-Wesson tomato processing plant — will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The project is at Covell Boulevard and J Street in northeast Davis.

The open house will include tours of four clusters of model homes, which are being built by The New Home Company, the primary developer of The Cannery, and Shea Homes. Two more clusters of new homes, including some built by Standard Pacific Homes, will follow next year.

The event also will highlight The Cannery’s new 5,800-square-foot working barn and 7.4 acres of cultivated farmland — planted in …

Yolo court prepares for once-in-a-lifetime move

WOODLAND — Moving from one courthouse to another is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so the Yolo Superior Court will reduce its operations over the next two weeks to dedicate as much staff as possible to that extraordinary effort.

Starting Monday, only two courtrooms will remain open (and just one on Aug. 20 and 21) at the court’s current Woodland location for necessary matters such as in-custody arraignments, juvenile court cases, emergency civil and family hearings and some criminal proceedings.

At UC Davis, it’s water conservation 101

The grass is browner at UC Davis, and it doesn’t seem like it will be getting greener anytime soon, as the campus does its part to help save water during the ongoing drought.

Officials are converting turf to drought-tolerant landscaping, using water bags to help young trees get enough to drink and educating students, faculty and staff on water-conservation strategies.

In January 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown declared California in a state of emergency due to the drought and asked for a voluntary 20-percent water-use reduction statewide. In response, the campus took it upon itself to be a frontrunner in water conservation.

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