Sunday, May 3, 2015

Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

Only in its second year, the Big Day of Giving is already a household name.

The 24-hour marathon of charity giving — which happens on Tuesday from midnight to 11:59 p.m. — has become a celebration of sorts, and donors are encouraged to join the fun for a cause.

Shirlee Tully, chief marketing and development officer for the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, which has partnered with the Yolo Community Foundation, said this year’s goal is to raise $5 million for 500 nonprofit agencies from 25,000 donors …

Officers: Illegal pot farms pose threat to environment

In the face of a statewide trend toward growing numbers of marijuana farms, Californians now are confronting the environmental impacts of illegal pot cultivation.

While marijuana farming is no stranger to Northern California, these incidents are not isolated to coastal counties such as Humboldt and Mendocino. Operations are periodically found in the hills of Yolo County, said Davis police Lt. Paul Doroshov. “Our grows tend to be sizable, too; they’re no different than anyone else’s,” he said.

The crime and violence that follow these operations are often the focus of media attention, such as the fatal …

Celebrate UCD Arboretum GATEway Garden Sunday

A shovel sculpture that has quickly become a local icon, gorgeous murals that pay homage to the importance of oaks, fields of tens of thousands of water-wise plants native to this specific area — these are just a few of the attractions you may have noticed emerging from a formerly barren field behind the Davis Commons Shopping Center.

How did this once-orphaned area become what is now the UC Davis Arboretum GATEway Garden? The answer is simple and at the same time incredibly involved: It took a community.

In celebration of the effort of multiple groups and individuals coming together to create …

Vanderhoef’s memoir embraces UCD’s heart

UC Davis stories told from the heart, about a place with a heart, and the people and values within.

This is what you will find in Chancellor Emeritus Larry Vanderhoef’s just-released memoir, “Indelibly Davis: A Quarter-Century of UC Davis Stories … and Backstories.”

Vanderhoef — who stepped down in 2009 after serving as chancellor for 15 years, and as provost and executive vice chancellor for 10 years before that — writes on such topics as diversity, no-confidence votes, intercollegiate athletics (and the Aggies’ move to Division I), academic diplomacy in Iran and the amazing transformation of the old Sacramento County Hospital into the UC Davis Health System.

Yolo Basin Foundation celebrates 25 years

Shallow rolling waters, reeds poking up to the sun and a light chorus of birds chirping — that’s what visitors see at the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area.

Nestled between Davis and Sacramento, and bisected by Interstate 80, the Wildlife Area comprises 16,800 acres of sprawling wetlands and rice fields that farmers and critters alike call home. For 25 years, it has been an invaluable resource to the community, combining a mix of conservation, agriculture, hunting and education.

On Monday, nearly 100 people gathered to celebrate 25 years of conservation and hope for 25 more with the Yolo Basin Foundation, an organization dedicated to educational outreach and preservation of the wetlands.

Davis team wins world robotics championship

The Citrus Circuits are world champs.

The Davis high school robotics team and its alliance partners took home the top prize at the FIRST Robotics world championships in St. Louis on Saturday, beating out more than 600 high school robotics teams from around the world during the course of three days of competition.

The win caps off an amazing season for the team, with Citrus Circuits winning every competition it entered this year — by far the best season in the team’s 11-year history.

Citrus Circuits is made up of students from Da Vinci Charter Academy, Davis High …

New design submitted for conference center

The Davis Planning Commission will take a look next month at new designs for a six-story Embassy Suites hotel and conference center to rise where the University Inn and Suites Hotel and the building that houses Caffe Italia on Richards Boulevard sit.

A previous plan for the area — near the interchange with Olive Drive — called for a seven-story hotel and a conference center that was more traditionally configured and smaller in size …

King High brings cycling specialist full circle

King High School has given a lot to Theo Buckendorf.

Raised by a single mom who was too busy to supervise him, Buckendorf “ran wild” while growing up in Davis and says he was destined for dropping out of Davis High School during his sophomore year.

He was referred to King High and didn’t know what to expect.

“As soon as I got there, it (had) this relaxed, familial kind of vibe to it. … ”

Young UCD minds tackle Nishi property

Talk about separating the wheat from the chaff.

For a class of senior undergrads at UC Davis, the path from school to career has a 45-acre obstacle: an expanse of winter wheat south of the university and north of Interstate 80 that could mean passing a key course, graduation and a career boost all in one for the next generation of UCD-produced civil engineers.

Local developer Tim Ruff and a group of investors want to turn those 45 acres — what’s known as the Nishi property — into a large-scale mixed-use project including 650 high-density residential units, 325,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of ancillary retail, like a gym or coffee shops.

Log cabin home is a true labor of love

Pulling into the long driveway off Currey Road, a couple of miles from the Pedrick Produce stand — where farmland stretches off in every direction and the closest thing to mountain life is the hills way off to the west — a log cabin is about the last thing you’d expect to see.

A barn, yes. Houses, sure. And they’re here, too. But in the midst of it all stands the shell of a log cabin, walls made of Ponderosa pine salvaged from a forest fire, awaiting the addition of a loft, a roof, windows and flooring.

Built by hand over the past five months, the cabin won’t stand here much longer. It’s destined for a plot of land near Donner Lake. But first it will have to be disassembled, drilled for electrical wiring and loaded log by log onto two large trailers that will haul all 100,000 pounds of pine up into the Sierra, all to be reassembled again.

Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

UC Davis showed off its best to Davis residents, alumni and visitors from throughout Northern California at the 101st Picnic Day on Saturday. The fun began with a rousing parade in the morning that featured everything from Whymcycle bikes to the Wells Fargo stagecoach, from the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh to Chinese School students, from Trike Masters to Team Davis.

Here, ASUCD student leaders cheer as they ride past the main grandstands in the Picnic Day Parade on Saturday. On the back of the fire engine are members of the Aggie men’s basketball team.

Defending grand champion Pickles, left, surprises Charlie down the stretch of the first heat of the minis races in the Doxie Derby.

Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

Fifty years ago, a UC Davis undergrad named Thomas Morris got his start as a graphic artist creating psychedelic posters for rock concerts at Freeborn Hall on campus. Now, eight of those now-historic posters have been reprinted as a box set.

Morris came to Davis from Sacramento’s El Camino High School in 1964, intending to major in engineering, and play for the baseball team. He recalls how his career as a poster artist began: “I was walking though Lower Freeborn Hall, coming out of the bowling alley (in the Memorial Union building). And I smelled the unique smell of printer’s ink.”

Test-taking goes digital next week

Students in the Davis public schools will start taking California’s new SBAC tests — online — starting Monday, April 20. Testing will continue through May 8.

This spring’s round of testing will complete the transition from California’s old STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) test regime, which became an annual spring ritual for students in 1999. The STAR tests had students use a pencil to fill in “bubbles” on a paper form to indicate their answers. The STAR tests were based on a set of California academic standards developed in the mid-1990s, and did not presume online fluency.

Shriners photos selected for national exhibit

Julia Serat, a Woodland resident and photographer at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California, had three of her photos selected for display in a national exhibit organized by the Children’s Hospital Association.

The exhibit features images of brave patients, supportive families and compassionate health care providers. It celebrates the commitment to the health of all children shared by children’s hospitals throughout America and showcases what makes children’s hospitals unique.

“Photography has the power to move us, as it captures both ordinary and extraordinary moments that may otherwise pass unremarkably,” Serat said in a news release …