Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Blood Alley" Hwy 12 Claims 3 Women, 2 Toddler's Lives



ISLETON -- Three women and two toddlers died in a head-on collision Saturday afternoon along Highway 12 in Isleton in Sacramento County.
The accident happened about 5:40 p.m. near Jackson Slough Road and backed up traffic for at least one mile, the station said.
California Highway Patrol Officer Michael Bradley told the Associated Press that the two children were both girls aged about two or three. One died at the scene along with the three women; the second died later at a hospital.
Bradley says all the dead were in a Honda Civic that collided with a Chevy Silverado near Rio Vista about 40 miles southwest of Sacramento.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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The four people in the Silverado were also taken to a hospital, but they had only minor injuries.
Bradley says the Civic was passing other vehicles on the two-way highway and lost control as it tried to get back over in time. The Silverado then slammed into it. .
California Highway safety for this dangerous stretch of Hwy 12 must,at the very least, post warning signs of the lives lost due to its disrepair which has caused so many wrecks over the years. Missouri has reduced fatalities by their sign warning project on their at rick stretches of dangerous roads.  


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

SEXY B4 DAWN presents SOULFUL SATURDAYS At Graciano's Chicago Deep Dish Pizza & Speakeasy




By Steven Masone


It was open mic night with Sexy B4 Dawn Presents "Soulful Saturday's A Place Where a Musician can be a Musician and a Fan Of Live Music can feel at Home. An old country tune sings about "the women all get better looking at closing time" brought to mind a possible play on words for Sexy Before Dawn. but then it dawned on me perhaps it is a reference to the 'Twilight Vampire' series and all night party people. I’ll have to ask where the name originated.

The band however, made sexy music before 10 pm and throughout the night with guitar, bass/synthesizer, drums, and keyboards. The talent that showed up was excellent, and the cover charge is well worth it, if it was just the band! The show was actually concert style seating which was refreshing, and then the crowd was great. Supportive, and enthusiastic.



The showroom was separate from the bar, and "teetotalers" were welcome as well as those who enjoyed a cocktail from the professional bartenders taking care of the packed house.With Latin Music events, Jazz, and much more, if the caliber of other shows are as good as Sexy B4 Dawn Party Promomotions,
I look forward to catching them all in the near future.

The sound engineer for this even was, Shawn Raiford,  and he did a great job. (I will add names and websites soon) I had just eaten so I did not review the Italian fare. I spoke with the friendly owner, Ken Harris, with an invitation from him to return soon to do a review on the cuisine. I did watch the many dishes coming out of the kitchen for some time, and if the food is as good as the presentation and aroma, I will be a happy Italian customer...they all looked great!

This venue is not your typical Old Sacramento tourist trap and mediocre joint. It is both a first-class family style restaurant, and  entertainment destination.
 
see their websites for events, menus and more....


https://www.facebook.com/sexyb4dawn/   


Also email stevemasone@gmail.com for Masone & Associates Talent Agency  website:   http://masoneassociates.blogspot.com/








Delta Tunnel Project Downsizing

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

A dog trotted down the middle of a levee road as red-winged blackbirds darted in and out of the reeds. A few fishermen dangled their baited lines into the muddy brown water.
Only a close look at the Middle River revealed anything amiss in this part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Instead of flowing north toward San Francisco Bay, as nature intended, the Middle was headed south. On the other side of Bacon Island, the Old River was doing the same thing.
The backward flow of these two obscure channels is at the core of a proposal to build California's biggest water project in decades: a $15-billion diversion and tunnel system in the delta, the ecologically failing hub of the state's waterworks.
The long-planned project would draw directly from the Sacramento River as it enters the north delta and send water to enormous pumping plants that now pull supplies entirely from the south delta. The intensive pumping that now takes place causes the environmentally harmful reverse flows that have triggered increasingly tight limits on water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley growers and Southern California cities.
In news releases and tweets, tunnel backers have lamented the "lost" and "wasted" water from the Sacramento River that could have been pumped south during this year's winter storms if only the delta had a "modern delivery system." About 486,000 acre-feet — or enough water to serve 3.6 million people for a year — could have been captured, theproject website proclaims in big, bold numbers.
But scroll down on the website, below those impressive figures, and you now find a cautionary note: "The project on average over time is not expected to provide a significant increase in water deliveries from the Delta."
The language reflects a major scaling back of the project's once lofty ambitions.
The San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts and Southland water agencies that would pay for the project originally envisioned it as a grand delta fix that would push water exports back to — or even above — their peak in the early 2000s of an average 5.3 million acre-feet a year.
But as the project has gone through a protracted environmental review by skeptical federal fishery agencies, reality has set in. Instead of cranking open the pumps, the tunnels will, at best, do little more than maintain the status quo.
"This idea that it's all going to be resolved is fiction," said state Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin, whose agency is overseeing the proposal along with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The tunnels would lessen the damaging reverse flows. But they would not cure the delta's other ecological ailments, many of which stem from the exports and upstream diversions that have profoundly altered delta hydrology and robbed the ecosystem of about half its natural flow to the bay.
Nor would the project escape the regulations concerning endangered species and water quality that will probably grow tougher in response to the delta's cascading environmental woes.
If the tunnels are built, state modeling indicates future delta exports to the valley's thirsty fields and Southern California's faucets would average 4.9 million acre-feet a year — only a small improvement over recent averages.
Without the project, however, Cowin warns that number could fall by 1 million acre-feet — to roughly 1970s levels.
Officially named the California WaterFix, the project has become less a fix than a multibillion-dollar tourniquet.
::
The Old and Middle rivers are in the south end of the delta. There, the state and federal pumping plants draw water to fill the highway-size California Aqueduct and the Delta-Mendota Canal that carry supplies south.
The harder the enormous pumps work, the stronger their wrong-way pull on south delta channels and native fish. Migrating chinook salmon and steelhead wander off course into the mouths of predators or to the dead-end of the pumps.
The finger-size delta smelt — declared a threatened species by the federal government — follow the unnatural flows away from good spawning habitat, edging ever closer to extinction.
Two in three fish drawn into the south delta by the pumping perish, according to government biologists.
Under WaterFix, the new water diversion point on the Sacramento River in the north delta would feed two massive 35-mile tunnels supplying the pumps. Thus, less water would be drawn directly from the south delta, reducing the problematic reverse flows.
It is a variation of an old idea. Decades before the Endangered Species Act was enacted, when delta smelt were so plentiful they were used as bait, water managers foresaw problems with using the delta as a water pipeline for the south.
By the 1960s, government planners were pushing plans for a peripheral canal to carry supplies from California's biggest river, the Sacramento, around the delta to existing federal pumps and the soon-to-be built State Water Project pumping plant.
Among the benefits cited in a 1966 state document: Improvements in the quality of exported water and a halt to "damage to the delta fishery."
But it was cheaper to use the delta. The canal wasn't built. The proposal resurfaced again years later, only to be killed by voters in a 1982 statewide referendum that played on California's perennial north-south water tensions.
This time, opposition is centered in the delta, where the landscape of levee-ringed farm islands and curling water channels hasn't changed much in a century.
"Save the delta. Stop the tunnels," signs are staked next to delta roads. Local growers don't want a mammoth, years-long construction project mucking up islands in the eastern delta. And most of all, they don't want the tunnels sucking up good-quality Sacramento River water before it gets to their irrigation ditches.
Environmentalists worry about salmon losses at the three big river intakes that would be built near Hood, Calif. And state assurances to the contrary, they are convinced the tunnels will inevitably be used to suck more water from the delta watershed.
::
The nerve center of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project is housed in a nameless building in a Sacramento suburb, where managers in the Joint Operations Center monitor data around the clock and relay orders to the field offices that move water supplies around California.
Crucial to that movement are delta conditions, which are religiously measured, recorded and scrutinized.
How much water is being released from upstream reservoirs in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds? How much fresh water is flowing into the delta? How much is going out to San Francisco Bay? What are the salinity levels? How muddy is the water? How many protected fish have been collected at the pumps? How strong are the reverse flows in the Old and Middle rivers?
The reverse flow is measured in negative numbers on either side of Bacon Island and plays such a dominant role in exports that Cowin said he can recite it any minute of the day.
It is by no means, however, the only limit on delta pumping.
In the final months of last year and the early days of January the pumps were turned down to meet water quality and other state standards. If not enough fresh water flows out of the delta to the bay, salty water can intrude, tainting delta supplies.
Then it started raining and "we were meeting the outflow, no problem," recalled state water operations chief John Leahigh. Exports bumped up, though they were still capped to protect out-migrating salmon.
By mid-January, storm runoff had driven up the turbidity levels that trigger delta smelt movement. Daily sampling surveys found some of the translucent little fish near the mouths of the Old and Middle.
To avoid drawing smelt to the pumps, the pumping rate limit was tightened and exports dipped. When smelt were caught at the pumps Jan. 21, the exports were further restricted, only to rise again when turbidity levels dropped during February's dry spell.
On a late February afternoon, the drone of 100,000 horsepower of pumping muscle filled the federal C.W. "Bill" Jones Pumping Plant not far from the walled subdivisions of Tracy, Calif.
Four of the plant's six pumps were discharging delta water into the head of the 117-mile-long Delta-Mendota Canal for a trip to the San Joaquin Valley.
At the nearby diversion point on the Old River, a network of screens guided fish into pipes that carried them to large collection tanks. There they were held until tank trucks transported them to the western delta for release.
As part of a routine check for protected species, a worker hoisted a cone-shaped bucket out of one of the holding tanks and emptied it into a rectangular sorting tray.
Biologist Rene Reyes dipped a net into the water, scooping up a baby catfish. Next came a couple of bluegills and six silversides. "All introduced species, very hardy," he said.
No smelt. No salmon. It was a good day for water exports.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Review: "Graciano's Chicago Deep Dish Pizza & Speakeasy-Sexy B4 Dawn?"



























By Steven Masone


Back in Sacramento, looking for signs of nightlife in Old Sacramento, I wandered into Graciano's Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Speakeasy- Cocktail Lounge . It was open mic night with Sexy B4 Dawn Presents "Soulful Saturday's A Place Where a Musician can be a Musician and a Fan Of Live Music can feel at Home. An old country tune sings about "the women all get better looking at closing time" brought to mind a possible play on words for Sexy Before Dawn. but then it dawned on me perhaps it is a reference to the 'Twilight Vampire' series and all night party people. I’ll have to ask where the name originated.


The band however, made sexy music before 10 pm with guitar, bass/synthesizer, drums, and keyboards. The talent that showed up was excellent, and the cover charge is well worth it, if it was just the band! The show was actually concert style seating which was refreshing, and then the crowd was great. Supportive, and enthusiastic.




The showroom was separate from the bar, and "teetotalers" were welcome as well as those who enjoyed a cocktail from the professional bartenders taking care of the packed house.With Latin Music events, Jazz, and much more, if the caliber of other shows are as good as Sexy B4 Dawn Party Promomotions,
I look forward to catching them all in the near future.


The sound engineer for this even was, Shawn Raiford,  and he did a great job. (I will add names and websites soon) I had just eaten so I did not review the Italian fare. I spoke with the friendly owner, Ken Harris, with an invitation from him to return soon to do a review on the cuisine. I did watch the many dishes coming out of the kitchen for some time, and if the food is as good as the presentation and aroma, I will be a happy Italian customer...they all looked great!


This venue is not your typical Old Sacramento tourist trap and mediocre joint. It is both a first-class family style restaurant, and  entertainment destination.

see their websites for events, menus and more....



https://www.facebook.com/sexyb4dawn/   

Also email stevemasone@gmail.com for Masone & Associates Talent Agency  website:   http://masoneassociates.blogspot.com/











Tuesday, March 22, 2016

'Disastrous' Salmon Run May Bring Fishing Ban

'Disastrous' Salmon Run May Bring Fishing Ban

     (CN) - As salmon populations struggle against searing water temperatures fueled by climate change and El Nino, officials are recommending closing the 2016 coho and Chinook salmon ocean fishing seasons in Washington state indefinitely.
     Calling the expectations for wild coho runs off Puget Sound "disastrous," the Pacific Fishery Management Council announced three proposals that would dramatically affect commercial fishing along the entire West Coast.
     The potential closure of salmon fishing off the coast of Washington state and other proposals will be decided by the council in April. Several years of drought combined with an extreme El Nino event also caused the complete closure of the Evergreen State's ocean salmon fishing in 1994.
     Ancient salmon runs along the West Coast are struggling with record-high water temperatures and a diminishing food supply, the council said
     "This will be a challenging year for salmon fisheries. Several key stocks are less abundant than usual due to environmental conditions like the California drought and El Nino, which have affected ocean abundance for some stocks," council vice chair Herb Pollard said in a statement.
      The council is responsible for setting commercial and recreational fishing guidelines each year and is made up of 14 members appointed by the governors of California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington state. The regulator oversees fisheries of over 119 species covering 317,000 square miles.
     The drastic proposal to close Washington state's salmon fishing is the result of several years of declining salmon populations. Warm ocean water temperatures caused by a damaging high-pressure ridge nicknamed "The Blob" have persisted since 2013, destroying the plankton populations that salmon feed on.
     While environmental conditions have decimated wild salmon populations, California and federal officials have also been blamed for accelerating mortality rates of the legendary fish by mismanaging water supplies. Water agencies failed to release enough cold water into the Sacramento River during the last two years of California's historic drought and as a result, less than 5 percent of wild winter-run Chinook salmon survived.
     Environmentalists and scientists warn that another year of salmon die-offs could cause the extinction of the fish, which have a three-year spawning cycle.
     The council is considering various California fishing restrictions, including closing several open-fishing periods to protect the Sacramento River winter Chinook. California's salmon fishing season was completely shut down in 2008 and 2009 and fishermen suffered more than $500 million in damages.
     While West Coast commercial fishermen await the council's April decision, California's commercial Dungeness crab-fishing remains closed. Since November, commercial crab-fishing boats have remained docked due to a toxic algae bloom linkedto El Nino.
     The four-month closure caused California Gov. Jerry Brown to ask Congress for federal disaster relief in February. The algae bloom also delayed the start of Dungeness crab fishing in Oregon and Washington last year.
     Public comments are being accepted by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and a public hearing on the three proposals takes place March 28.

Delta Tunnel Plan Failing?

By: Dan Bacher
March 21, 2016 - In the video from a recent hearing in the California Legislature, it appears that a Brown administration official is admitting that financial support for Governor Brown’s controversial Delta Tunnels Plan is rapidly collapsing.

On March 11, Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird spoke on behalf of the administration during a hearing in San Francisco by the Senate Select Committee on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta entitled, “Pending Delta Decisions and their Potential Economic and Other Impacts on San Francisco & the Bay Area.”

Laird responded to the news that the Westlands Water District , the largest agricultural water district in California and longtime proponent of the tunnels, used “Enron accounting” to mislead investors about a $77 million bond sale, resulting in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over civil charges. He described the news as "disturbing" - and then admitted that "it (the California Water Fix to build the Delta Tunnels) won’t move ahead unless people, it pencils out for people and they sign up and they pay.”

Westlands agreed to pay $125,000 to settle the charges, making it only the second municipal issuer to pay a financial penalty in an SEC enforcement action. The district’s general manager Thomas Birmingham agreed to pay a penalty of $50,000 and former assistant general manager Louie David Ciapponi agreed to pay a penalty of $20,000 to settle the charges against them.

“It is disturbing,” said Laird during the hearing. “It’s disturbing to us. We found out about it just as you did, from the press reports of the SEC decision.”

“And, overall, this is, as you say, a beneficiary pays project, where the beneficiaries themselves have to decide to do it,” Laird continued. “[I]t really depends totally on their ability and their willingness to pay for the project. And I think it is totally clear that the urban users have the financial wherewithal to do it.”

“I think the real question is how does it pencil out in the agricultural regions? But the Governor has been really clear. It’s beneficiary pays and that’s what it takes to go ahead and I think it’s just a law of economics that it won’t move ahead unless people, it pencils out for people and they sign up and they pay.”

Senator Wolk made the full hearing available to view online. Laird’s comments come up about 1:04 on the hearing video: sd03.senate.ca.gov/...

You can read the SEC decision here: www.sec.gov/...

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD), responded to Laird’s comments, noting that financing the tunnels will be difficult even for “wealthy urban water agencies.”

“Paying for the tunnels in a drought, when water revenue sales are low, will be difficult even for wealthy urban water agencies,” she said. “What will make it even worse is when their agricultural partners begin to miss payments. “

“Even this year, El NiƱo has not eradicated the drought. Dry is becoming the new norm. The tunnels are not the solution for water reliability,” noted Barrigan-Parrilla.

Several experts testified at the hearing that the Water Fix, a controversial proposal to build two huge tunnels to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Bay Estuary for use by corporate agribusiness interests, would have a disastrous impact on the Bay Area’s environment and economy, including the region’s tourism and fishing industries.

“California’s world class economy relies on the sustainability of the state’s own natural water conveyance system, the entire San Francisco Bay Delta system,” said Senator Wolk in a statement. “In fact, two-thirds of Californians and millions of acres of farmland rely on the Delta for its water supply. Yet the connection between pending Delta policy decisions, specifically the Delta Tunnels proposal, and the State of California—its ecosystem and economy—is often lost, overlooked or completely ignored.”

The hearing finished off with the question of “What, then, is Plan B?” marking a “starting point to explore viable alternatives that will not damage the integrity of the Delta economy and ecosystem,” Wolk’s Office noted.

Laird’s comment comes as opposition to the Tunnels by ratepayers in Southern California, the Livermore Valley and Santa Clara Valley is mushrooming. Faced with massive opposition to the Delta Tunnels by ratepayers packing a hearing room in Livermore on Wednesday night, the Zone 7 Water Agency Board, a State Water Project contractor, rejected a request to pass a resolution supporting Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnels (WaterFix) project. (http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29649995/tri-valley-water-supplier-wont-endorse-states-delta)

“Board members noted the lack of key information including environmental impacts, costs, and willingness of agricultural contractors to pay their share,” according to Restore the Delta.

The construction of the Delta Tunnels would hasten the extinction of winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead runs on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. It would cost taxpayers and ratepayers up to $67 billion — and not create one drop of new water.

The California Water Fix Plan to build the Delta Tunnels makes no financial, economic, environmental or scientific sense. When will Governor Jerry Brown finally admit that the tunnels proposal is doomed to fail — and withdraw all support for the plan?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fishing Week Shout-Out 04/16/16



Delta
Striped bass are arriving daily on their migratory spring run but finding a school can be tricky thanks to heavy runoff and murky water. As early as March 2 some sport anglers were able to catch and release upwards to 100 stripers in a day, trolling shallow and deep running lures such as Rat-L Trap, Rebel, Yo-Zuri and P-Line.
This week the most precocious bass are spawning, though many of the females still hold small eggs, many weeks from reproduction.
Stripers vary in size from sub-legal 14 to 17 inchers and modest-sized keepers, 18 to 24 inches. The larger fish go 5 to 10 pounds. It’s a matter of hooking and culling.
“There is way too much water and it’s very muddy,” said Barry Canevaro of Fish Hookers Sport Fishing in Isleton. “Hopefully conditions will clear and be right for stripers about April 1. That’s my favorite time of the year, especially trolling at the Isleton Bridge.”
Currently sturgeon provide the better option for anglers, though the large prehistoric fish haven’t been too cooperative. “I’d call it a 50-50 proposition,” Canevaro said. “Things are perfect for sturgeon but catching them has been tough.”
Some of the best chances of striped bass and black bass are found inside Mildred Island, Fourteen Mile Slough and Grant Line Canal, where the water is not as dirty.
Salt water
Ocean — If you put stock in rumors, recreational salmon fishing season could open April 2. Expectations are for a shorter season with reduced limits, with commercial fishermen taking the biggest hit. Forecasters expect less than half the normal number of adult king salmon off the California Coast, so be forewarned. Crab pot pulling has been shelved because of rough seas and wild surf.
San Pablo Bay — Rough weather most of last week but sun and no rain encouraged sturgeon fishermen to get out on Monday. Kevin Wolfe at Loch Lomond Live Bait in San Rafael reported a massive over-sized sturgeon was hooked at the mouth of the Petaluma River and another monster, estimated at close to 8 feet in length was caught at McNear’s Pier. Boaters on the anchor found 40- to 6-inch sturgeon off China Camp, dunking shrimp baits. There is so much fresh water runoff the bay is more fresh than salt just now, a good sign.
Lakes
Amador — Lake is brim full and spilling. The current has turned on trout, some up to 6 pounds, for bank anglers. Off the dam folks cast crappie jigs and Kastmasters, or Power Bait and nightcrawlers, floated off the bottom with a three-foot leader. Water is too cold for effective trolling. Some large crappie are showing, gobbling jigs and live minnows.
Camanche — Water rises 11 feet the past month and starting to fill the Couth Cove, that has been dry for months. Boat ramps are operational at both marinas. A major 3,600-pound trout plant is scheduled this week, equally split between the north and south shore, and Trout Pond. Trolling is decent along the dam and Hat Island with fast speeds to 3.2 miles per hour with a wobbling lure for terminal tackle. Some limits.
Don Pedro — Water is rising one foot per day and the boat launching ramp at Blue Oaks is operating. There is a 5 miles-per-hour speed limit between School House and Fleming Point. Trout fishing remains slow. Most anglers target spotted bass and the occasional whopper-sized largemouth. There’s a lot of debris on top.
Los Vaqueros — Reservoir holds steady with plenty of clear water and good trout fishing. Another 1,000 pounds of Mount Lassen trout was released this week. Shoreline trout fishing is good at South Cove, Oak Point and Cowboy Cove, primarily with floating baits. A 10-pound rainbow was caught recently. Most trout run 1 1/2 pounds. Striped bass are active, too, but most don’t reach the minimum 18-inch size. The exception was a 14.08-pound striper caught on sardines this week at South Cove.
New Melones — Up 8 feet the past week with water reaching the base of the concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point. The launch should be useable by the end of the week. Meanwhile, boats put in off the gravel road. Channel catfish to 7 1/2 pounds and crappie to 2 1/4 pounds top the charts this week with the bite improving for both. Spotted bass are in a re-spawn mode and willing to his plastics, Senkos and tube baits. Trout seem inactive.
Pardee — Slow opener on March 11 due to unprecedented, though much need rainfall. Some catchable trout were logged thanks to a Department of Fish and Wildlife plant. No additional plants scheduled this week. Lake is close to full with some debris. Refurbished, full service marina is operating.