Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A pot o’ gold for Rainbow City revival

For more than 23 years, local children have climbed on the tire bridge, crawled through the wooden tunnels and “talked” on the telephone at Davis’ Rainbow City.

But the beloved playground in Davis’ Community Park — designed by local children and built in 1991 by an army of volunteers — needs a makeover.

City leaders have $608,000 on hand to accomplish the task. And once again, they are seeking input from the community, guided by a landscape architect, at a series of meetings starting this weekend.

The first session will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. …

DHS needs just 10 boys to top Elk Grove

Missing influential playmaker D.J. Villegas due to a first-half red card on Monday, the Davis High boys soccer team needed someone to step up and break the halftime deadlock if the Blue Devils were going to start Delta Valley Conference play with a winning result.

Luckily for DHS, Ricky Gonzales put the team on his back, scoring two goals and adding an assist to lead the Devils to an imperative 5-0 home victory over Elk Grove, ahead of Wednesday’s match against rival Jesuit.

Looking for a few good residents

A city can’t run itself, you know.

Continuing a trend of community entreaties with cookies, face-painting, a chance to ogle heavy equipment and chomp snow cones, the police and city parks department set up shop in Chestnut Park on Thursday evening with a mission: Find local people willing to give their time and perhaps money to help with a variety of projects.

From small-scale graffiti abatement, helping clean tables at local parks or being the eyes and ears for potential crime in a neighborhood, the police and parks are bent on recruiting …

Around the world on just two wheels

Flying feels too fast for Peter Smolka, so when he crosses oceans, he prefers to take a boat.

The rest of the time, he pedals.

Last March, Smolka, 54, left his home in Erlangen, Germany, to bike around the world for the second time. Twenty friends followed him out, three planned to see him to Vladimir, Russia, the first of Erlangen’s sister cities. Smolka carries a letter from the mayor to each of the eight cities, including Riverside.

The weather usually warms up by March, Smolka said, but that first morning, he awoke to 8 inches of fresh snow.

Is UC Davis ready for more international students?

It’s nearly impossible to talk to administrators at UC Davis without hearing some mention of the “2020 Initiative,” the university’s plan to increase its population by 5,000 students over the next six years.

The ramifications of this growth are numerous, but there’s a special impact that needs to be considered: Namely, are the campus and city of Davis ready for a sizable influx of international undergraduates?

Campus administrators acknowledge that the growth between now and 2020 will come in large part from out-of-state and international students, although they will not displace California students. In an article in The California Aggie from …

Parking? Let this sign count the ways

It can be the little things that count when it comes to city amenities.

Especially if you’re a regular downtown parking hunter and it’s an LED sign accurately displaying how many spaces are available in the garage at First and F streets.

The old, inaccurate neon sign was a sore spot for downtown visitors, employees and eventually city staff, whose trouble-shooting and relatively inexpensive fix recently resulted in a sign that is new, correct and energy-conscious.

The old sign only told parking hunters when the lot was full. But …

Witnesses testify about Marsh’s mental health

WOODLAND — Daniel Marsh’s mental-health history took center stage Monday as Yolo County prosecutors questioned the medical professionals who treated him prior to his arrest on suspicion of killing an elderly Davis couple.

Much of the testimony focused in Marsh’s behavior in December 2012, when he underwent a psychiatric hospitalization following an emotional outburst on the Davis High School campus.

Four months later, Marsh, then 15, allegedly stabbed Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, to death in their Cowell Boulevard condominium, later telling police he was acting on homicidal urges he had experienced since the age of 10.

Witness: Marsh spoke of insanity plea before arrest

As he shared his fantasies of hurting and killing others in the spring of 2013, double-murder suspect Daniel Marsh told one person he would “just plead insanity” if police ever caught him, according to testimony given Friday in Marsh’s Yolo Superior Court trial.

“He said he didn’t want to go to prison, and that’s why he would plead insanity” in order to be hospitalized in a mental-health facility, said Davis resident Kevin Green, 20, a onetime friend and former bandmate of Marsh.

Suspect’s friend testifies about stabbing attack

Before the news broke that a well-regarded Davis couple had been slain in their own home, one person other than the alleged killer knew about the horror inside 4006 Cowell Boulevard.

Alavaro Garibay, who befriended Daniel Marsh in the 7th grade at Holmes Junior High School and considered him like a brother, said Marsh admitted to his role in the April 14, 2013, killings just hours after they occurred.

“I didn’t want to hear about it,” a visibly nervous Garibay, 18, said on the witness stand Thursday in Yolo Superior Court, where Marsh is being tried as an adult in connection with the stabbing murders of Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76.

Witness recalls victim as ‘caring and wonderful’

For the 12 years she cleaned house for Oliver “Chip” Northup and Claudia Maupin, Delonda Jones always began the workday with a cup of cappuccino and a long talk with Maupin.

“She insisted on a chat before I started cleaning,” Jones said on the witness stand Wednesday morning in Yolo Superior Court. “We would always laugh, and she called me her fourth daughter. She was very loving — very caring and wonderful.”

Maupin shared that warmth with everyone, Jones said — even the solicitors who reached her by telephone.

Marsh recording describes fatal stabbings

They’re expected to call numerous witnesses in their case against alleged killer Daniel William Marsh, but Yolo County prosecutors first let the defendant speak for himself.

“I’m not gonna lie. It felt great — it was pure happiness and adrenaline rushing over me,” Marsh, then a 16-year-old Davis High School sophomore, told a Davis police detective and FBI agent as he allegedly confessed to the April 14, 2013, stabbing murders of attorney/musician Oliver “Chip” Northup and his wife Claudia Maupin, active in her church and local theater.

Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor played a portion of Marsh’s video-recorded police interview in Yolo Superior Court …

Davis is not immune: Are you ready for a big quake?

In California, science, safety and surety can be upended in seconds.

The 6.0 earthquake near American Canyon early on the morning of Aug. 24 was on a previously unknown fault, plus other faults that scientists thought were inactive.

While unknown faults are just that, Yolo County and Solano County are ripe with faults that are thought to be inactive. But, as one 1.6 million-year-old fault near Napa that suddenly re-awakened last week proved, anything can happen. Worse, there is one active fault just north of Woodland.

Prior to last week, speculation about the next Northern …

Davis audience hears from civil-rights hero

The promise of equality contained in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark desegregation ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, might have remained little more than a promise were it not for people like Melba Pattillo Beals.

At the age of 15, Beals was chosen as one of what would become the “Little Rock Nine” — nine African-American teenagers selected because of their excellent grades and attendance to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957.

Not many in Little Rock wanted the high school integrated …

Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

The first time I visited Putah Creek on my own, I ended up there by accident. I was pedaling along Russell Boulevard, where the sidewalk is a bike path, its asphalt bumpy with roots. An avenue opened to my left, and metal pegs that blocked cars invited bicyclists and pedestrians to wander in. Under old olive trees, a couple strolled hand in hand; an older man without a shirt ran with perfect form.

I was too warm in my jeans, which clung to my legs as my feet moved around and around, but I wasn’t ready to go home. The evening hung easy around me.