Tule Story

Researchers examine tule reeds and rice fields in the Delta

On Twitchell Island, near the Delta town of Isleton, tules covering 15 acres grow twice as tall as the average man. A gravel road separates the wetlands from a cornfield, sunken 25 feet at its lowest point. Every year, the wetlands’ soil rises a few inches, while the cornfield sinks. The discovery that tules increase land elevation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is fueling a joint experiment conducted by the state Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey, along with UC Davis researchers, other universities and private consultants.

Dec 1, 2009 Joanna Corman
The Folsom Lake College Visual and Performing Arts Center by LPAS.

(Photo courtesy of LPAS)

Storm Shelter

Architects and engineers find ways to build around a rough market

The design-build industry has been absolutely battered by the spoiled economy. Architecture and design firms lament layoffs, nonexistent financing and an utter lack of optimism for 2010. Yet a number of large regional projects are keeping local firms afloat and offering a silver, albeit temporary, lining.

Dec 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

GreenHouse Grows

A youth program struggles to expand

Each week, more than 50 children from Sacramento’s Gardenland/Northgate neighborhood fill a small room and computer lab in River Garden Estates apartments. They’re seeking help with homework, signing up for outings and volunteering for community service.

Dec 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

Delta Vision

Phil Isenberg on the state's water policy

Phil Isenberg, a longtime environmental advocate and former Sacramento mayor and state assemblyman, will lead the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force. We sat down with him recently to talk about the state’s efforts to bring its water system into the 21st century.

Nov 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
Elk Slough, near the Delta town of Clarksburg

Peripheral Vision

Can state and federal officials agree on comprehensive reform before it's too late?

For centuries, the biggest environmental concern for most California water users was how to squeeze every last drop from nature. While a wet year might shift concerns to flood control, grab-as-grab-can gusto came back almost as soon as the waters receded. But that was then. Today, environmental concerns are center stage in the state’s ongoing effort to reform its water system.

Nov 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
The El Dorado Hills Town Center mostly houses small independent merchants and a handful of national chains.

Plea Market

Retail along Highway 50 looks to fill some gaps

No part of the region has been immune to the retail woes that come with a lagging economy, but the Highway 50 corridor — Rancho Cordova, Folsom and El Dorado Hills — entered the slowdown crippled by its own geography.

Nov 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli

From Gritty to Groovy

Planners and developers plow ahead on K street

City planners and private developers in Sacramento envision a downtown shopping and entertainment hub pulsing with revenue and pedestrians. The mind’s eye replaces vagrants with decorative park benches and rundown storefronts with shiny new facades. And rather than dispersing at sundown, restaurant patrons and theatergoers would linger into the wee hours.

Nov 1, 2009 Christine Calvin
Alfalfa fields near the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Steamboat Slough.

Spending Water Like Money

When conservation alone can't solve the state's water problems

For many environmentalists and residents of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the solution to California’s water supply sounds brilliant in its simplicity: Use less than we do now, particularly in areas of the state that have precious little of their own to begin with, thereby eliminating the need for spending billions of dollars on new water storage. But don’t try selling that idea to the bulk of California’s most powerful water stakeholders, many of whom contend that all the low-flow toilets and drip irrigation systems in the world won’t mean much without more dams and reservoirs to capture water during wet years and reap the benefits in dry times.

Oct 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
Cache Creek Casino Resort began as a bingo hall but has slowly added amenities, such as this year-old 18-hole championship golf course, in its push to become a destination resort.

Full House

Have casinos reached market saturation in the Capital Region?

Red Hawk Casino opened in December, just weeks after economic woes sent the stock market plunging. The launch of the new venue just off Highway 50 coincided with a sharp drop in gross gaming revenue at Nevada’s Lake Tahoe casinos, and California casinos also felt the sting as gamblers gave Red Hawk a try.

Oct 1, 2009 Adam Weintraub
Newton Wallace purchased Winters Express in 1947 and has since handed the reigns to his son, Charles.

Wintry News

A community newspaper stays afloat in Winters

Newspapers across the nation have been in a painful freefall for the past couple of years, cutting budgets, pages and staff nearly as quickly as they can relay information. The culprit, of course, is a lackluster economy that has severely hindered advertising revenue piggybacked on a readership that’s demanding free content in new mediums. So it comes with a few raised eyebrows to find Winters Express, a small weekly, still plodding along.

Oct 1, 2009 Christine Calvin
Manufacturer Siemens Transportation Systems Inc. recently completed a major expansion in an enterprise zone and added jobs.

Baiting Clean Tech

How local economic developers are getting creative

On paper it looks like the Capital Region has the makings of a world-class clean-tech hub: access to policy makers at the Capitol, access to innovative research churning out of UC Davis, and housing that’s affordable for green-collar workers. What this equation doesn’t account for, however, is how fast California is losing its competitive edge to other states and the global economy.

Oct 1, 2009 Ken James

Litigation Litany

When employers and workers can't get along in today's economy

Even in the best economy, employers fight a financial tug of war with the people who work for them. One side wants more pay and benefits while the other side wants to trim costs. When the economy takes a nose dive, though, the tug of war can get a lot rougher. State and local government jobs are getting much of the attention in Sacramento this year as furloughs and layoffs have increased tension with workers. But Sacramento’s private sector has seen temperatures rise, too.

Oct 1, 2009 Robert Celaschi