Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Zombies by rail: It’s not just a show, it’s a trip

The living dead have been projected onto the big screen, filled comic books and captured the imagination of many. Now, thanks to brothers Chris and Mike Hart, they’ve taken up a new frontier: the train.

“We were sitting around, having a few beers on the train one day and thought to ourselves, what would make this better?” said Sierra Railroad Company president Mike Hart. “Shooting zombies!”

The Sierra Railroad Company — which operates the Sierra Dinner Train, the Sacramento River Train and the acclaimed Skunk Train — brought the idea to life last year …

Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

Forecasters are predicting afternoon highs in Davis of around 100 F or higher starting Friday and continuing through next Wednesday. While it appears unlikely that any new temperature records will be set this week, six consecutive days of temperatures over the century mark nonetheless constitute a heat wave.

Davis residents have several places where they can go to beat the heat. City authorities also will monitor the weather, and will notify the community if a cooling center is opened.

Public locations offer a place to cool down at no cost …

Ag officials predict bumper almond crop

After the warmest winter on record, almond trees bloomed early this year, pink-white blossoms blanketing orchards in the early weeks of February. Now, farmers who would normally wait until late August or early September are dusting off tree shakers or hiring hands to begin harvesting a month before they would in a normal year.

But despite the heat and the drought, this year may mark California’s biggest almond crop to date …

Second Mellon grant supports Mondavi events

The Mondavi Center has received another grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — a $400,000 award, spread over three years, through 2017. The new grant will support several innovative performances — and the way in which those performances will be presented — as well as residencies by American orchestras, and Mondavi-hosted festivals.

The Mellon grant “will give us the opportunity to deepen our work to engage audience members with classical music by supporting nontraditional and less formal concert formats, by collaborating with UC Davis artists and faculty to create multifaceted music festivals, and by creating major artist residencies that bring community members and artists in closer contact,” said Don Roth, the Mondavi Center’s executive director.

More homes for sale in Davis, at higher prices

Davis is a university town, and home sales in Davis tend to be driven by the academic calendar, with the busiest months in late spring and summer.

This year is no exception — some 72 Davis homes were sold in June, including 57 single-family homes, according to Cory Gold, vice president of Coldwell Banker-Doug Arnold Real Estate. It was, Gold said, “the busiest June in several years.”

Gold said the median price for Davis homes in June was $551,272 for all homes (including duplexes and other multi-unit dwellings), and …

UCD, Davis Surgery Center team up for operations

In an effort to provide Yolo County residents with a more convenient patient experience, UC Davis and the Davis Surgery Center have partnered to offer some same-day operations in Davis.

Originally, patients dependent on UCD for their health care had to make the trip across the Yolo Causeway to the university’s Medical Center in Sacramento in order to undergo surgery.

Now, with the new agreement in place, those in need of non-invasive arthroscopic repairs to bone and joint injuries of the hand, shoulder, knee, wrist and elbow can receive treatment …

Fifth Street redesign will start next week

If you regularly travel on Fifth Street, you might want to rethink your routes next week.

Work is scheduled to begin in earnest on reconfiguration of the east-west corridor, a safety project that’s been in the works for approximately a decade.

Daytime and nighttime work is planned next week, with partial closures taking place at night on Thursday and Friday. Daytime work on Monday will be focused on carving out the existing lane striping and replacing it with temporary tabs.

New traffic signals banded by …

Sudwerk’s flagship beer will be available in cans

Cold, hoppy beer sprays out from the conveyor belt, as a lid is spun and sealed onto Sudwerk Brewing Company’s first line of cans.

With the help of the Can Van, a mobile canning outfit out of the Bay Area, Sudwerk’s flagship Dry Hop Lager will reach stores in a snappy new aluminum package next week.

With no summer seasonal this year, Davis’ local brewery decided to join the dozens of craft brewers around the country who have begun canning some of their beers.

“Hopefully, it gets new people to try the brand,” said Caleb Weeks, Sudwerk’s office manager. “It’s all about quality and making the product more accessible.”

Network will help CSA programs stabilize

Food arrives in paper, cloth and plastic bags, delivered by bright green Amazon trucks or local pizza joints, carried home from supermarkets, delis and drug stores.

With thousands of brightly packaged choices and pyramids of clean produce, it’s easy to forget that food starts on the farm — even in an agriculture-heavy county like Yolo.

“People may have become used to having things home-delivered and getting whatever they want, and that’s not what a CSA is really about,” said Judith Redmond, co-owner of Full Belly Farms.

For upwards of 40 years, Community Supported …

Yolo County wins blue, gold ribbons at State Fair

Yolo County took home a gold ribbon in the California State Fair Counties Exhibit competition, as well as a blue ribbon for “best content.” With the theme, “From (our) County to Your Table,” Yolo County featured its Farm to School Yolo program with a giant tomato-shaped school house, an animated school room scene, a school garden with fresh produce from local farms and an informational slide show.

Farm to School Yolo is a public health and agricultural marketing initiative that is changing the way students and young people eat, think about food, and improve their health through the development of …

Summer classes expand educational offerings

What began as an experimental summer series of summer enrichment classes has put down roots and become a popular annual series. Students have been enjoying classes since June 16, and a new series will start on July 21 (with some seats available in a number of classes).

Grace Sauser, principal of Davis Adult and Continuing Education, said, “We are enjoying our third year of K-12 summer enrichment and have seen the students do and create some awesome things.

“In the first session, students painted beautiful landscapes …”

New cycletrack streamlines intersection

One of the city’s overarching bicycling goals is to close gaps in various city bikeways, making the act of cycling around town safer and easier.

The intersection of Sycamore Lane and Villanova Drive was — until this week — the end point for a bikeway that crossed over Highway 113 and traversed through Sycamore Park, but ended at Sycamore Lane.

Bicyclists traveling east-west or west-east were left to their own devices to figure out how to get to and from the bikeway in order to cross …

Olympian vision for Girl Scout camp

Behind every Davis teen doing something exceptional invariably stands an adult or two who help make exceptional possible.

Sometimes it’s a parent or a teacher, and sometimes it’s someone like longtime Girl Scout leader Brenda Cameron.

Cameron has served as director of the popular Davis Girl Scout Day Camp since 2008, and before that as an adult volunteer and registrar.

The weeklong camp takes place every summer at the Girl Scout Cabin in Slide Hill Park, drawing as many as 100 Girl Scouts between the ages of 6 and 12 from the greater Sacramento area for a week of fun activities, including a traditional Thursday night camp-out in the park.

A playground where wheelchairs can roam

Somewhere in the buzz of dozens of climbing, sliding and dashing children at the new Central Park playground Monday morning, 11-year-old Leo Bugni was busy testing its worthiness as the city’s first universally accessible play area.

His favorite: The “Sway Fun” wheelchair-accessible modified teeter-totter, which allows Leo to get on and rock up and down with a group of other kids and parents.

Not all areas are accessible, but the prevalence of things to do for special-needs kids — while being interesting for other children …