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2012: Lincoln’s year in review

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January

Labor dispute conference held today – Former city strikers filed unfair labor practice charge – The city of Lincoln and Local 39 are scheduled to meet for an informal conference this morning to potentially resolve a labor dispute.

The conference is being held because of an unfair practice complaint issued by the board on Nov. 23, according to previous News Messenger reports.

Les Chisholm, division chief for the Public Employment Relations Board, said the goal of a settlement conference “is to resolve the dispute.”

Mother Goose stays with Friends – Popular program to remain at library – As long as Mother Goose on the Loose is run by the library, Friends of Lincoln Library plans to support the popular children’s program.

That’s according to Friends president Karen Jarrell last week.

She said the nonprofit organization’s mission is “to support Lincoln’s public libraries.”

Friends of the Lincoln Library currently provide the city with $7,500 a year to fund the program, according to Jarrell, which she said “ensures that the library is open for an extra three hours each week on Thursdays.”

SACOG meeting takes a hostile turn – A rowdy crowd turned Monday’s Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) hearing into an outburst-filled debate instead of the informational meeting it was meant to be.

SACOG representatives were in Lincoln Monday to give a presentation on the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, which is slated to be adopted by the organization in April.

The plan “is a 28-year plan for transportation in our six-county region based on projections for growth in population, housing and jobs,” according to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments website.

Beermann’s to reopen as … Beermann’s – New owners decide against franchise – The Lincoln father/mother/son team bringing a new restaurant to 645 5th St., the site of the former Beermann’s restaurant, has decided against opening a Cool Hand Luke’s.

Instead Mike and Kelly Drust, and their son, John Drust, will open a steak house, which will also be called Beermann’s, by mid March.

The Drusts decided against the Cool Hand Luke’s franchise two months ago because “as a non-franchise, we can change our menu to what the public and our guests want,” Mike Drust said this week.

Business licenses to bring in $87,000 – Home-based businesses make up a majority of 10 to 15 business license applications received by the city each week.

That’s according to Lincoln’s Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Anna Jatczak.

She cited the economy as a reason for most of those 10 to 15 applications being for home-based businesses.

Lincoln pushed for regional sewer – City would be paid back $12 million – As March 13 approached, a committee meets weekly to review issues and items related to the regional sewer project.

That’s according to Lincoln city engineer Bruce Burnworth.

The regional sewer project means the potential regionalization of sewer services between Auburn, Lincoln and Placer County at Lincoln’s wastewater treatment plant, through building a pipeline from Auburn and North Auburn to Lincoln, according to previous News Messenger reports.

Fiscal sustainability report delayed – City Council OK with postponement – The release of a

much-anticipated fiscal sustainability report has been postponed from Jan. 30 to Feb. 21.

Fiscal sustainability committee chairman Richard Pearl said the decision was made at the committee’s Jan. 18 meeting.

The resident-comprised committee was formed last April at the request of City Councilman Stan Nader and meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays at City Hall.

 

February

Ticks test positive for Lyme – One sample came from Hidden Falls Regional Park – Residents are asked to be cautious after eight tick samples tested positive for Lyme disease in Placer County.

One of the positive samples came from Hidden Falls Regional Park, according to Ada Barros, the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District’s public information officer.

The other positive ticks were collected at Driver’s Flat, Placer Nature Center, Stephen’s Trail and Auburn Overlook Trail.

Lincoln Arts – Oct. 1986 to Feb, 2012 – Organization calls it quits – Every February, Lincoln Arts staff is in final preparations for its signature fundraiser, the four-week Feats of Clay celebration that makes the downtown area a destination for residents and visitors alike.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case this year, which would have been Feats of Clay’s 25th year at the historic Gladding, McBean facility.

Instead of preparing for the annual clay competition, Lincoln Arts executive director Claudia Renati and board president June Reeves were disassembling the office Friday and sending a press release to its 145 members and others that the organization “closed its doors” as of Friday.

The organization, founded in October 1986 “to support and promote the arts, culture and history in the greater Lincoln area,” is now dissolving, according to Renati and Reeves on Tuesday.

“Deciding to close our doors has been an on-going discussion for three months with board members,” Renati said. “It’s because of a lack of funds.”

Lincoln Arts’ five board members unanimously voted last Thursday night to close, according to Renati.

Less police, more calls - A 2010-2011 statistical comparison – With nine less police officers patrolling Lincoln streets, calls for service increased in 2011 compared to the previous year.

That’s according to statistics provided in the Lincoln Police Department’s 2011 Annual Report, which showed that calls for service increased from 16, 728 in 2010 to 17,160 in 2011.

There were 30 sworn officers in 2010, compared to 21 in 2011, according to the report.

“I think if you look at calls for service, the demand for our department has gone up. From last year to now, we have nine fewer officers,” Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren said Monday. “With the reduced number of staffing, our ability to respond to those needs is diminishing.”

The department is currently at 2001 staffing levels, according to Shelgren.

Lincoln’s population in 2001 was 13,819, according to city records coordinator Dia Gix.

Today’s population is about 42,000, according to previous News Messenger reports.

Four public-safety job layoffs rescinded – Lincoln pool to stay open this season – City Council chose to rescind the layoff notices of two cops, one community service officer and one firefighter during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The council also directed city staff to maintain staffing levels for dispatchers at six and to keep the McBean Memorial Swimming Pool open for the upcoming season.

That direction came after Lincoln Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Anna Jatczak provided the council with a presentation of the 2011-2012 Mid Year Budget Review.

Archives-Museum looks great in new location – The Lincoln Area Archives-Museum has a new home in the building that formerly housed the Lincoln Police Department, and before that, the former City Hall; in Beermann Plaza.

The move for the museum was necessary because its previous home in the Civic Center building on the corner of 5th and E streets is being renovated.

The new expanded site with increased space has allowed the Archives-Museum to display more of their interesting Lincoln-area historical items in a wonderful, modern environment.

“Many items we had could not be displayed because there was not enough space before,” said museum volunteer docent Kathy Freeman.

Marathon meeting nets 100-plus ideas – Fiscal sustainability committee to deliver report today – It took a total of 17 hours last Thursday and Friday for the fiscal sustainability committee to approve more than 100 recommendations.

The committee’s recommendations are scheduled to be given to the City Council in a full report today, according to committee chairman Richard Pearl. (The full list of FSC committee recommendations can be viewed at Lincolnnewsmessenger.com – search “The results are in “sustainability committee recommendations.”)

 

March

Layoff notices go out to school employees – Adult education program eliminated – The school board Tuesday night took action to send layoff notices to 30.95 of its 325 certificated employees as part of an effort to cut $5.75 million from the 2012-13 fiscal budget.

Overall, the reductions include eight furlough days for all employees, increased class sizes, classified staffing reductions, no increases in benefit caps and 20 percent reductions to operating budgets.

The cuts will impact every school site and department in the district, according to a district report.

Michigan TV: Lincoln an illegal pot hotbed – Police Chief Shelgren says that’s wrong – Lincoln police say Lincoln is not a “known hotbed for illegal marijuana growing operations” as reported recently by one Michigan television news station.

The WDIV Click on Detroit article and video segment, “Large marijuana operations foiled at Michigan airport,” was published Feb.22 and posted at clickondetroit.com.

In June, New York residents Yigal and Kona Barbera were apprehended at the Pontiac-Oakland airport in Waterford, Mich. For transporting by airplane more than 100 pounds of marijuana from Lincoln to Michigan, according to a June 15 complaint filed with the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The United States Department of Homeland Security was informed of a “suspicious aircraft” on June 14 by an enforcement aviation specialist, according to the complaint.

The specialist said the “flight originated in Lincoln, Calif.,” according to the complaint, and that “Lincoln, Calif. is well-known to law enforcement as an area where marijuana grow operations are very prevalent.”

When asked by The News Messenger if Lincoln is a hotbed of illegal marijuana growing operations, Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren said, “Absolutely not.”

“There is no evidence of a major narcotic problem flying in and out of the airport that the reporter decided to put in the story,” Shelgren said.

Shelgren said Lincoln’s airport is “non-secured airstrip” with no security or inspections taking place and that the airport is used “almost exclusively (by) private pilots/aircraft.”

Tragedy hits Bergman family – Two children, 12-and 16-year-old, killed in Reno apartment fire – The community is joining together to help a Lincoln family cope with the unexpected loss of two children.

The lives of Elizabeth, 12, and Matt Bergman, 16, were claimed in a March 1 apartment fire that occurred in Reno, Nev., said Ron Bergman, their father.

According to Reno public Information Officer Michele Anderson, “the fire investigators said the fire appears to be caused by unattended lit materials that were used for a faith-based ceremonial purpose.”

Lincoln not going bankrupt – Wall Street Journal had it wrong, city officials say – City officials say Lincoln is not going bankrupt, in light of a March 1 Wall Street Journal article.

The article, “California Cities Hit the Wall,” compared Lincoln to California cities Stockton, Hercules and Vallejo.

The Wall Street Journal reported Stockton is taking steps toward bankruptcy and Vallejo declared bankruptcy in 2008.

Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short said “absolutely not” Monday when The News Messenger asked if the city of Lincoln is going bankrupt.

“While we have to always look at every option that is available, that is one we hopefully won’t have to take,” Short said. “It really depends on a number of factors and whether my colleagues on the council will support significant budget decreases this year.”

Short said the bankruptcy of Stockton and Vallejo “made some sense.”

“What you could do was wipe out contracts that were problematic. Both Stockton and Vallejo had very rich contracts for public safety,” Short said. “We’ve already been successful in getting concessions from our employees and I think that’s the big difference between Stockton, Vallejo and Lincoln.”

Residents welcome in Fresh and Easy – Store opens Wednesday on Joiner Parkway – Four hours after Wednesday’s grand opening of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, the line to check out wrapped around to the back of the store.

Joel Larson, one of the store’s two managers, said the line usually dies down after two hours at most grand openings.

“Business is very steady, which is nice because it’s raining,” Larson said. “We are going four hours strong.”

The 10,000-square-foot store “is smaller than the typical supermarket while carrying everything customers need to do their weekly shopping,” said Fresh & Easy spokesperson Candace Jacobson.

Mercy Ministries responds to its critics – Handling of eating disorder questioned by two families – Counseling techniques performed by Mercy Ministries have been called into question lately by at least two fathers.

Mercy Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit organization that helps females between the ages of 13 and 28 work through their major issues at residential facilities, according to its website, mercyministries.org. It is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.

The two fathers told The News Messenger that Mercy’s use of recovered memory therapy caused their daughters to sever ties with family.

Teen stabbed in downtown neighborhood –Police haven’t identified suspect – Lincoln police are investigating the possibility that Monday afternoon’s stabbing was gang-related.

Officers were dispatched to the area of 3rd and R streets to a reported stabbing victim at 4 p.m. on Monday, according to a Lincoln Police Department press release.

Upon arrival, officers found a semi-conscious male, who was lying on the sidewalk “with a severe laceration to his arm,” according to police.

The stabbing victim was identified as a 17-year-old Lincoln resident, who was then transported to Sutter Roseville Hospital by ambulance, police said.

Regional sewer project finally a go – Three more jobs to be added in Lincoln – A week later, Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short is still excited that a long-awaited regional sewer project is officially moving forward.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted March 13 to participate in the project with a 3-2 vote, according to Placer County spokesman Mike Fitch.

The project entails building a pipeline from North Auburn and potentially the city of Auburn and pumping that sewage to Lincoln’s wastewater treatment plant for treatment, according to Fitch.

Lincoln man sentenced in drug ring – Reyes was ringleader to distribute hydrocodone – A Lincoln man remains in custody after being sentenced to nearly five years in prison Tuesday for founding and leading a bydrocodone distribution operating out of 16 cities, including Auburn.

Raymond Reyes, 29, pled guilty to charges of conspiring to distribute hydrocodone, and opiate prescribed for pain, and aggravated identity theft earlier this year, according to a release issued by U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

Walmart set to open grocery store in fall – Will create 75 new jobs; hiring center to open early summer – Green construction fencing signals the start of work on Lincoln’s first Walmart, which is slated to open this fall.

Construction crews have begun tenant improvements on the former Rainbow Market building, located at 255 G St., according to Walmart spokesperson Delia Garcia on Friday.

“We are working with an existing building and the exciting part of the project is being able to revitalize an existing property,” Garcia said. “We are still on track for a fall of 2012 opening.”

 

April

Gang activity on the rise – Police say crimes more violent – While the number of gang members has not grown since last year, the crimes committed by members have become more violent.

That’s what the top two officers in the Lincoln Police Department told The News Messenger this week.

And gang activity – including assaults and drive-by-shootings- is on the rise in this city, according to Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren.

“Officers have contact with known gang members on a daily basis,” Shelgren said. “It could be citizen contact, for investigations or for criminal activity. The criminal activity is for everything from graffiti to assaults. More are occurring that are not being reported.”

Recent gang-related crimes include a stabbing three weeks ago, a shooting in the area of Sixth and B streets last July and a shooting that occurred on First Street last June.

What’s new downtown? Scooter store, restaurant ready to roll – A juicy steak and a scooter might not usually have too much in common, but soon, both will be available within a block of one another in downtown Lincoln.

The two new businesses will open within a week of one another: Grunge Scooter and Skate (661 McBean Park Drive) this past Tuesday and Beermann’s (645 5th St.) on Monday.

What caused the big boom in Lincoln? At this time, it’s anybody’s guess – Earthquake activity ruled out – No explanation has been found for a mysterious boom reported by several Lincoln residents on April 4.

A boom that could be heard and felt was reported by two residents on the Facebook group Good Neighbors of Lincoln at 10:44 p.m. on April 4.

At least 16 residents responded to the post, saying that they too had heard and/or felt a boom from throughout Lincoln.

Several members of the Good Neighbors of Lincoln group said the boom shook their houses.

The News Messenger has checked with several sources to see what could have caused the boom, but as of press time, the cause remains unexplained.

Inappropriate touching an isolated event – Little League parents warned about allegation – Allegations of inappropriate touching involving two girls at McBean Park on April 3 are still under investigation by Lincoln police.

Police officers responded to McBean Park at 7:45 p.m. on April 3 for a report that two juvenile females had been “inappropriately touched by a male subjects,” according to Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren.

The girls were 7 – and 8-years old, according to Shelgren.

“Basically, the information we have was inappropriate touching on the outside of clothing. The girls are definitely upset and scared,” Shelgren said.

Officers contacted the 22-year-old Lincoln man who was said to have touched the girls, according to Shelgren.

“The person of interest was very cooperative and (officers) got everything they needed,” Shelgren said. Shelgren said Monday that the “person of interest has no prior criminal history” that the police department is aware of.

Officers detained the male subject for 30 minutes on April 3 and he was then released, Shelgren said.

School district to cut, reduce 49 positions – Will save schools $766,000 – The Western Placer Unified School District voted Tuesday night to eliminate and/or reduce the number of hours worked of 49 classified employee positions.

Seven positions that are currently vacant were also eliminated.

The reductions approved Tuesday night were part of an effort made by the district to cut $5.75 million from the 2012-13 fiscal budget.

The board also approved a reduction in the work year for senior management, classified management employees and classified confidential employees by eight days, according to the district’s director of human services Ryan Davis.

New businesses on the rise; gangs also increasing – Public invited to tonight’s fiscal committee workshop – A Tuesday Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored meeting has good news and bad news.

Lincoln businesses, the bypass and drug and gang activity were discussed during Tuesday morning’s Government Affairs Committee meeting.

Police find meth lab on 3rd street – Resident was on neighbor’s roof with loaded firearm – A meth lab was discovered by police Tuesday afternoon at a residence in the 2100 block of Third Street, according to Lincoln Police.

The lab was discovered as officers conducted a follow-up investigation at the home of Jason Michael Arnold, 27, said Lincoln Police Det. Sgt. Terry Kennedy.

Several items of interest were located in the garage and Arnold’s bedroom “that would indicate an active methamphetamine lab was in operation,” according to Kennedy.

Placer County Special Investigations Unit agents responded and confirmed the methamphetamine operations and coordinated the investigation with the Lincoln Police Department, according to Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren.

On Tuesday, officers found a “few grams (of methamphetamines) finishing off” (or almost manufactured) with the “potential” of having “several ounces on the street,” according to Shelgren.

Arnold was initially found on Monday with five grams of methamphetamine in his possession, according to Shelgren.

Police Chief Shelgren retires – He will continue in an interim position – Lincoln City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to retain Police Chief Paul Shelgren as an interim police chief, following his retirement next Wednesday.

“I received a retirement letter and he plans to retire on May 2. I have been speaking to him for some time about possibly retaining his services in an interim capacity until that time when we reach fiscal sustainability and can afford bringing in a full-time police chief,” Lincoln City Manager Jim Estep said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “He has generously offered to stay on as a retired annuitant.”

Estep said that means Shelgren can only work 960 hours per year and may work for “six months at half time or some variation.”

As a retired annuitant Estep said, Shelgren would “come at a very reduced rate” at $62,335 per year.

“We won’t have to pay him benefits in his interim role as a retired annuitant and he will be paid at the lowest step as opposed to his current step as police chief,” Estep said.

 

May

Finally tally: 25 teachers to feel cuts – School district says that will save $1.25 million – Twenty-five teachers will either be laid off or have their hours reduced next school year as part of an effort to cut $5.75 million from the 2012-13 fiscal budget.

The layoff of teachers and other certificated staff will save the district $1.25 million. That decision to approve the resolution for the layoffs was made by the Western Placer Unified School District’s Board of Trustees during Tuesday night’s 25-minute school board meeting.

Second meth lab discovered – Police say resident probably acting along – A second meth lab was found in a Third Street home on April 25.

The lab was discovered in the attic of a home in the 2100 block of Third Street, according to Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren.

This came after the April 24 discovery by Lincoln police of a meth lab in the bedroom of Jason Michael Arnold, 27.

“The second lab that was found was stuck up and concealed in the attic in a crawl space,” Shelgren said. “It was an area that wasn’t accessible because there was so much debris and garbage that detectives and (Placer County) SIU (Special Investigation Unit) agents couldn’t get to it.”

Placer County Fair ponders relocation to Sheridan – Supervisors ask staff to move ahead with work plan but make no funding commitments – Could the Placer County Fair make a move from Roseville to Sheridan? That’s the question the Placer County Board of Supervisors may be asking planning staff to study as it updates the Sheridan General Plan.

Sheridan is a rural agricultural community west of Lincoln on Highway 65 near the Yuba County line. Supervisors decided Tuesday to make a tentative move toward a study, asking staff to come back with a work plan for a general plan revision option that would include a fairgrounds relocation to Sheridan.

No potential site has been identified in the smaller community.

State of public-safety services look grim – Department leaders say response times higher, staffing lower – A grim picture of the city of Lincoln’s state of police and fire services was painted during Monday afternoon’s public safety meeting.

Interim Fire Chief Mike Davis and Interim Police Chief Paul Shelgren provided statistics about response times and staffing.

Those at the meeting included City Manager Jim Estep and City Councilmen Stan Nader and Paul Joiner.

“We are at that stage we have been talking about for 2 ½ years and it will get ahead of us and we won’t be able to catch up,” Shelgren said. “Unless something changes with the budget and we get more people, our outlook is not great at all.”

Shelgren said traffic citations are down by 20 percent but traffic collisions are up by 10 percent.

“Response times to priority-one calls are up from seven minutes to eight minutes,” Shelgren said. “I expect in the next couple months that to go up because of staffing issues.”

The number of assaults is up 39 percent compared to last year, Shelgren said, and burglaries are up by 3.7 percent.

Auto theft has doubled, according to Shelgren.

“Those are the results of not having proactive enforcement,” Shelgren said.

District listens to pleas for ESL – Class teachers to be funded by Title I, III – Months of attending school board meetings and pleading with the board to retain English as a Second Language classes for parents of district students paid off Tuesday night.

English as a Second Language (ESL) classes will still be offered next year for parents of students in the Western Placer Unified School District, said the district’s Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services Mary Boyle.

Two teachers will work six hours a week for 30 weeks and both will receive $6,400.80 a year for salary and benefits, Boyle said.

Due to the district’s need to cut $5.75 million from its 2012-2013 budget, the positions of adult education administrator, secretary, clerk and teachers were eliminated, Boyle said.

“The teachers and students in the adult education English as a Second Language program have made impassioned pleas to continue to offer ESL classes to support parents who are learning English, in order to support their children’s education in our schools,” Boyle said.

ESL instructor Ramey Dern and her students were at several board meetings this winter and addressed the board on why ESL should be kept in the district, according to previous News Messenger reports.

The two ESL teachers will be funded by using Title I and Title III parent-involvement funds, according to Boyle.

The district’s Superintendent Scott Leaman said Title I and Title III parent-involvement funds are federal supplemental funds or funds received from the federal government to supplement learning.

City auditor has good news for Lincoln – Finances solid for coming year – Cost cutting by the city has led to the city’s ability to continue to financially for the next year, according to the city of Lincoln’s auditor.

Ingrid Sheipline, a certified public accountant for city auditor Richardson and Company, presented Lincoln’s 2011 audit to City Council on Tuesday night. The audit was for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Observations given by Sheipline were that the “city’s financial condition is strained,” that there has been “significant inter-fund borrowing and interfund loans” and that “accounting staff are being hired to address some of the findings we had” from the previous year.

Tanker fire penalties handed down – Northern Energy appeals five out of five citations – Northern Energy has appealed all five citations received from CalOSHA as a result of last August’s propane tanker fire. Proposed penalties for the five citations are $42,975, but that’s subject to change since Northern Energy has appealed the one citation, according to California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (also known as CalOSHA) spokeswomen Erika Monterroza.

“The employer has the ability to appeal and that’s what they’ve done,” Monterroza said. “As part of the appeals process, the penalties may go down and the violations category may be adjusted.”

The News Messenger asked Richard Martinelli, Heritage Propane (Northern Energy) vice president and general manager, for his comment regarding both the citations and the appeal filed by his company in response to the citations.

“Northern Energy is cooperating with the investigation stemming from the rail car fire at our facility in Lincoln, CA. The investigation as to the cause of the incident is on-going,” Martinelli said. “While we can offer no timetable on our OSHA appeal, Northern Energy expects the ruling will be fair. Northern Energy is committed to the safety of our employees, our customers and our communities.”

 

June

Families kick up dirt to prevent more suicides – Mud run to create awareness – Recognizing that “life gets muddy,” three Lincoln families have organized a mud run on June 23 to raise awareness about suicide.

The Waterlyn, Whalen and Aguilar families from Lincoln each lost a young man to suicide last summer and are hosting Mud Run 4 Life.

Kelly Waterlyn, whose son Jake Waterlyn took his life last June at age 20, spoke with The News Messenger about why the event is taking place.

The mud run is a non-competitive 5K featuring obstacles, including hay bales and giant tires, Waterlyn said. There will also be information about suicide awareness and prevention from organizations including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Lighthouse Counseling and Family Resource Center.

“The whole theory behind it is life gets muddy and is crummy but we’ve got people to help us,” Waterlyn said. “Stick your hand out and we’ll grab it.”

The mothers and fathers from the three families will speak prior to the run and then, Waterlyn said, “we are going to go celebrate life.”

Loper family appreciates the support – Spencer, 18, unexpectedly died while at Camp Far West – The 18-year-old Lincoln man who was found dead the morning of May 30 at Camp Far West Lake was described by his grandfather as a “good guitar player who enjoyed his music.”

Spencer Loper’s body was discovered by a California Highway Patrol Helicopter just after 10 a.m. on May 30, according to Yuba County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Damon Gil.

Loper went missing the morning of May 27 while camping at Camp Far West Lake with friends, Gil said.

Contractor killed when wall collapses – A Newcastle contractor was killed Tuesday morning when a wall collapsed at a Lincoln home on the 300 block of E Street.

Emergency responders were called to the alley behind a private residence at 7:40 a.m. Tuesday, according to Lincoln Interim Police Chief Paul Shelgren.

A wall, which was 50-feet-long and made of 4-foot-tall ceramic pipe, fell on the 53-year-old man, killing him instantly.

City budget approved – no layoffs – General Fund revenues were $739,000 higher than projected – Lincoln City Council approved a total city budget of $50.1 million during Tuesday night’s meeting, which pales in comparison to the $136.5 million city budget adopted in 2007-08.

Ordinance a sign of the times – A-frames, banners under fire – An abundance of temporary signs on the fence at the intersection of McBean Park Drive and G Street will soon be a memory.

The city of Lincoln began re-enforcing its public-event sign ordinance on June 1, according to Lincoln’s assistant director of development services George Dellwo.

Re-enforcement of the city’s business temporary sign and a-frame sign ordinance will follow mid-June and businesses will have a month to come into compliance.

Local 39 complaint dismissed – Union may appeal State board’s decision – An unfair labor practice charge filed against the city of Lincoln by Local 29, the city’s public-services classified staff, last fall was dismissed on June 7.

City officials contacted were pleased with the decision.

But one public-service worker, who was on the employee’s negotiating team, said Local 39 would appeal the decision.

Local 39 representatives filed the charge with the Public Employment Relations Board against the city on Oct. 5, 2001. The charge was filed because City Council did not vote on a tentative labor agreement for the city’s public-services classified staff, Local 39 International Union of Operating Engineers, according to previous News Messenger reports.

District approves new budgets - $5.6 million in cuts are planned – The Western Placer Unified School District’s 2012-13 budget was approved Tuesday night, with very little discussion on the school board’s part. The budget was presented to the board by the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Joyce Lopes, who talked about how the budget will be impacted by the state’s budget and Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2012 tax initiative.

$60 to $80 million? Cost to leave CalPERS ‘astounding’, city manager says – Leaving the California Public Employees’ Retirement System could mean a price tag of between $60 to $80 million for the city of Lincoln, according to Lincoln’s city manager.

In fiscal year 2011-12, the city contributed $1.9 million into CalPERS for its employees.

Lincoln City Council gave direction Tuesday night to city staff to “receive and file” data received from CalPERS about terminating the city’s contract with the agency.

“Council directed staff over a year ago to contact CalPERS and passed a resolution of intent to terminate so we could get the information necessary to see if it’s feasible for the city to leave PERS and essentially go it alone on a retirement program,” City Manager Jim Estep said during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Grand Jury Report – Sierra College owes Lincoln $747,823 – Library funds to be repaid by June 30, 2013 – Reduced staffing and hours at the Twelve Bridges Library, as well as a joint agreement between the city, school district and Sierra College were pinpointed in this year’s Placer County Grand Jury Report.

The grand jury found the library is understaffed and has severe budget restrictions.

The library is taken care of through a joint use cooperative agreement among the city of Lincoln, Sierra College and Western Placer Unified School District.

The library cost was originally determined to be $16,034,366.

Of that, 65 percent, or $10,422,338, is covered by a grant. The remainder was funded equally by the three member agencies.

Under that grant agreement, if the Twelve Bridges Library closes anytime within 40 years of its opening date, the city of Lincoln will have to pay a $10,422,338 liability, according to the grand jury report.

The grand jury found that Sierra College has only paid a portion of what it owes on the library and that staffing levels have been significantly cut in the past three years.

The library is also only open to the public 23 hours per week.

It was also found that the Twelve Bridges Library is mostly dependent on the Friends of the Lincoln Library group, which provided almost $34,000 for library programs in 2011 alone.

The grand jury recommends that Sierra College pay what it owes to the library immediately and that the library develop a better, itemized budget along with a plan to collect fees it is owed and increase its operating hours.

 

July

City focuses on cost-saving measures – Special session weighs public safety contracting options – An “apples to apples” comparison for in-house versus contracted-out public safety services is being sought by the city after Monday’s 5 1/2 –hour special Lincoln City Council meeting.

The special meeting, requested by Councilman Stan Nader, was to “review fiscal sustainability report, prioritize and make recommendations to staff.”

At least 20 audience members were present for the meeting, including 10 on and off-duty police officers and firefighters.

All 115 recommendations were discussed by the City Council and direction was given to city staff for what to do with ones labeled as “needing direction.”

Man dies after car crashes into house – A man died after a medical condition caused him to crash his car Monday night into a Lincoln Hills home.

The man was “believed to be” a Lincoln Hills resident in his 80s, according to Lincoln’s Interim Fire Chief Mike Davis.

When police and fire crews arrived at the scene, it was discovered that the “vehicle had left the roadway and collided with not one but two homes,” Davis said.

5 samples positive for West Nile – Yellow jackets are on the rise, county officials say – This year is considered to be a “bad yellow-jacket year” for western Placer County, while five mosquito samples have tested positive for the West Nile virus from traps in Roseville to Loomis, as of Tuesday.

Majors All Stars fight back at Sections – Local hang tough – Lincoln’s offense exploded Tuesday for 24 runs to defeat Land Park in the Section 4 Majors All Stars Tournament at Tahoe Tallac Little League and earn a rematch with Lakeside in the championship round scheduled for Wednesday. Lakeside won the first meeting 11-9.

Seven candidates so far in local races – One incumbent has taken out papers, as of now – As of Wednesday morning, seven City Council hopefuls have pulled papers to run for office this election, including incumbent Paul Joiner.

In addition, downtown business owner and appointed outside director for the city’s investment committee Terry Dorsey has pulled papers to run for city treasurer.

City Council meeting – Members’ health benefits changed – Decision could save city $38,000 annually – A change to healthcare benefits for both acting and retired City Council members was approved Tuesday night by Lincoln City Council.

Tuesday’s change has a projected savings of at least $38,000 per year.

That’s according to City Manager Jim Estep, who introduced a proposal for a “cafeteria plan” to change health-care benefits for council members.

The new cafeteria plan takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013, according to Estep, because “state law provides that a change in City Council compensation and benefits may only occur at the beginning of a new tern of office of any City Council member.”

 

August

Gateway sale shuffles businesses – New 18,000-square-foot gym to move in, some tenants will relocate within center – A gym and retail shops that could “complement” a fitness facility will come to Lincoln, via the recent sale of the Lincoln Gateway shopping center.

So said Robb Osborne, senior vice president for Sacramento’s Voit Real Estate Services office.

Osborne represented the buyer, Lincoln Gateway Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Vanir Group of Companies.

Lincoln schools to offer transitional kindergarten – 19 children already enrolled at Twelve Bridges Elementary – Children too young to start kindergarten this year due to the state-mandated Nov. 1 cut-off for turning 5 will have a place within the school district to learn.

School board eyes building 14 schools – Plan is to meet expected development – Western Placer Unified School District is working on a plan to determine how to come up with enough money to pay for schools for future students.

The district’s facilities planner Heather Steer gave a presentation to the school board Tuesday night outlining the housing developments anticipated to be built in the next several years, how many schools will be needed, how much money the district will need to build those schools and what may happen if the district cannot afford to build new schools.

The district needs approximately $762 million to build nine elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools for approximately 24,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade for 33,731 dwelling units from seven villages outlined in the city of Lincoln’s 2050 General Plan Update adopted in 2008.

Burglaries on the rise in Lincoln – Sun City says 12 break-ins during past two months – Lincoln Police Department is providing extra patrol around the city in response to an increase in burglaries in Sun City Lincoln Hills, Lincoln Crossing, the west side of Lincoln and downtown Lincoln.

Interim Police Chief Paul Shelgren said 92 burglaries were reported between Jan. 1 and July 31 last year. For the same time period this year, 120 burglaries were reported.

Incumbent Tom Cosgrove calls it quits – Councilman served for 18 years, cites changes to health plan as part of the reason – Lincoln Councilman Tom Cosgrove has decided not to run for reelection this November while Dan Cross is the newest candidate to file for this year’s City Council election.

The filing date for the City Council race was extended from Aug. 10 to Aug. 15 since incumbent Cosgrove did not file for candidacy.

City Council – Lincoln to save $1.27 million – Labor groups agree to concessions – Contracts for five of the city’s six labor groups were approved by City Council Tuesday night, with Councilman Gabriel Hydrick the lone council member to vote no.

Council voted four to one to enter into new labor contracts with the Lincoln Police Officers’ Association, Lincoln Professional Firefighters’ Association, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 Classified and Professional Administrative Groups and the Mid-Management/Confidential Groups.

City’s sale tax revenue slowly increasing – Finance consultant Bill Zenoni’s message Monday to the city of Lincoln’s finance committee is that the city’s sales tax revenues are recovering “at a slow and steady improvement.”

As of Monday, the city had collected $1.9 million of a projected $2 million from 780 retail sales generators for the 2011/12 fiscal year.

City, board differ on costs to build schools – School and city officials clarified what each needs to do to collaborate on building future schools in Lincoln during Tuesday’s Western Placer Unified School District board meeting.

The officials disagree regarding how the school district is calculating the cost to build future schools.

“We need to determine how much of the tax base we can put on residents and still have quality schools and city services,” said Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman.

Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short addressed the board.

“We’re behind anything the school district is required to do,” Short said, “but tell us the authority that you are operating under and we’ll back you up.”

Short said the price figures and the backup for the model schools don’t match.

“For example, Rocklin and Roseville built schools using bonds. Western Placer is correlating our school costs with theirs but Western Placer has no bonds,” Short said. “There’s got to be some way to build the facilities you want. What we are asking is what is going into that price.”

The school district’s facilities planner Heather Steer presented the school board with a set of options to consider.

Jr. Zebra recovering from West Nile disease – Players advised to spray themselves before practice – The family of an 8-year-old Jr. Zebra football player does not know exactly where their son contracted West Nile disease but they aren’t going to let that keep him from playing football once he recovers.

New auditing firm takes on city books – Second change in five years – Lincoln officials are hoping to have a smoother audit of the city books this year.

The new auditing firm, Smith & Newell of Yuba City, replaces Richardson & Company of Sacramento. Richardson & Company was the city’s auditor for five years.

“It’s a good practice to rotate auditors every five to six years,” said city financial consultant Bill Zenoni of the Municipal Resource Group.

 

September

Cruz, 12, loses her struggle – After hoping that 12-year-old Karla Cruz was recovering from bone cancer, her family is now grieving.

The Lincoln sixth-grader unexpectedly died last Thursday from leukemia.

For the past 13 months, she had chemotherapy to shrink her leg tumor and then to shrink tumors found in her lungs.

But she was doing much better, according to mother Deborah Gutierrez, and the doctor was going to give Karla permission to soon return to school.

Karla was homeschooled after being diagnosed last year with bone cancer.

City Council – Nonprofits get a break through year’s end – City rental facility rates to go up – Lincoln City Council raised service fees Tuesday night but gave nonprofit organizations that use the McBean Park pavilion and barbecue area a grace period.

New fees went into effect after the council adopted the changes to the master fee schedule.

Police say two stabbings are unrelated – Tuesday’s early morning incident was at mobile home park on O Street – Connections between a R street-area stabbing in March and a nearby stabbing after midnight Tuesday at a mobile home park on O Street are that the suspects knew the victims and both victims are telling police they don’t know who the suspects are, according to Police Sgt. Kevin Klemp on Tuesday. “These victims were targeted specifically by the suspects,” Klemp said. “These were not random stabbings.”

Character education program must raise $20,000 – Lincoln High School wants to thank the families of Travis Whalen, Jake Waterlyn and Aldo Aguilar for their generous contribution of $5,000 to “We are Lincoln – Building GREATNESS within, one student at a time.”

This money is going to go toward the character education program that will be implemented at Lincoln High School.

Four cars damaged by fire Tuesday near Jack in the Box – No one was injured although a 2006 Dodge Charger and three other cars were damaged Monday afternoon in the Safeway shopping center parking lot when the trunk of the Charger caught fire.

Big turnout for Walmart opening – Visitors took every parking spot Wednesday morning – Approximately 30 Walmart Neighborhood Market associates welcomed several hundred visitors to the new store with a store map and big smiles at 8 a.m., following the official grand opening ceremony Wednesday morning.

Lincoln Regional Airport celebrated Saturday – Karl Harder’s family participates – It was the 70th anniversary of the airport’s founding and the 100th birthday anniversary of the man for whom the airport was named – legendary local aviator Karl Harder.

An estimated 700 kids and adults visited the Lincoln Regional Airport on Saturday, Sept. 15 for a special event.

In addition to the monthly “classic” aircraft display, the local Experimental Aircraft Association’s Chapter 526 offered free flying experiences to 59 area youth under the “Young Eagles” program.

Jr Zebras shut out Bear River in complete sweep – The Lincoln Jr. Zebras faced their third Sierra Valley foe in the Bear River Jr. Bruins and pitched shutouts across the board for a clean sweep of the visitors Saturday.

 

October

Council candidates battle at the forums – Next one is today, then next Thursday – Talk of the city’s finances dominated the Sept. 26 and 27 candidate forums hosted by Lincoln Crossing and the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce.

Is the city of Lincoln bankrupt or not?

Incumbents Mayor Spencer Short and Councilman Paul Joiner said the budget is balanced, the city has a small reserve, 100 jobs have been cut over the past four years and viable recommendations from the fiscal sustainability committee report are being researched and/or enacted.

Non-incumbent candidates Allen Cuenca, David Kawas and Peter Gilbert sad the city is on the verge of bankruptcy and the current leadership has failed.

Candidates Cuenca, Gilbert, Kawas and Candi Schipper said the city has not acted on the recommendations of the fiscal sustainability committee and not enough has been accomplished by the current City Council toward the goal of fiscal solvency.

Lincoln tops standings with third straight shutout – The Lincoln High boys soccer team strengthened its hold on the Pioneer Valley League standings by handing Center a 3-1 loss on the Cougar’s home field Monday.

By-passing through – Hundreds show for highway opening – Infrastructure opens Sunday – Horns honked. Friends and acquaintances waved at each other. Cameras flashed. Engines revved.

No, Lincoln isn’t home to NASCAR racing.

But Lincoln is home to the longest stretch of freeway built in California in the last 10 years and Lincolnites couldn’t wait to drive, walk, skateboard and ride bicycles on the roadway during grand-opening festivities Friday before the highway officially opened Monday morning.

School district to save $24,500 – That’s because only incumbents are running for two seats on the Western Placer Unified Board – Approximately $24.5000 will be saved as a result of the election for two school board seats not appearing on the ballot Nov. 6.

That’s according to Ryan Ronco, Placer County assistant registrar of voters.

The state of the Art League – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has officially recognized Art League of Lincoln as a federal tax-exempt organization in a noticed mailed to the art league last August.

According to IRS regulations, that tax-exempt status dated back to March 27, 2012, which was the date of the Art League’s incorporation in California.

Differing points of view – City Council candidates make opposing statements – Will franchising the city of Lincoln’s garbage department result in $45 million to the city for the next 20 years?

City Council candidate Peter Gilbert has made this assertion at each of the four council candidates’ forums conducted, including the last forum Oct. 11 hosted by The Lincoln News Messenger and the League of Women Voters.

“I am advocating for contracting out garbage,” said Gilbert, a retired banker and past city councilman for Foster City. “This is our solution.”

Thousands party downtown – Saturday marked Lincoln Boulevard’s dedication – Lincolnites and friends of Lincoln welcomed the renaming of the town’s main street to Lincoln Boulevard Saturday with smiles, cameras, style and joy.

A crowd of a few thousand enjoyed Saturday’s Lincoln Boulevard Celebration festivities, which included a dedication, ribbon cutting, parade, music by Dudley and the Doo Rights, vendor booths, children’s activities and a car show.

Lincoln community service officer Paul Tyler estimated “that 3,000 people took part in the celebration.”

City to get a new seal – Current emblem stays on historic buildings – Lincoln City Council members agreed at Tuesday’s meeting to move forward with a proposal for an updated city seal for the new city website.

City officials conducted a survey via the city website, social media and the city’s e-bulletin to ask residents if they want the city seal to remain the same or be updated.

 

November

Three-year-old needs community help – Sunnie Hoekstra suffers a stroke – Family and friends are rallying around 3-year-old Lincoln resident Sunnie Hoskstra following her stroke.

Sunnie was taken to Sutter Memorial Hospital on Oct. 21. Medical professionals determined, following a series of tests, that she had a stroke.

Association makes downtown a destination – Wayne Sisneroz has a plan for downtown Lincoln.

“I have a vision of our downtown with boutiques, shops outdoor dining, places people can congregate and bring family and friends to enjoy themselves,” said Sisneroz, Lincoln Downtown Association co-chairman. “We will be scheduling a lot more events and block parties.” The Lincoln Boulevard celebration Oct. 20 “got the ball rolling,” he said.

Joiner, Gilbert, Short lead early returns – Unofficial results show two councilmen retain seats – In unofficial results Tuesday night, incumbent Councilman Paul Joiner, incumbent Mayor Spencer Short and candidate Peter Gilbert captured three seats on the Lincoln City Council.

Raley’s employees go on strike – Store remains open as workers seek better health-care benefits – Raley’s workers are on strike but stores in Lincoln and Auburn remain open.

The strike, which started Sunday, followed a stalemate in contract talks that extended over the summer and into the fall as Raley’s and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 8 failed to reach agreement on a new pact.

Raley’s stores are being picketed throughout the region.

Engine failure forces Highway 65 landing – Aircraft takes off from Rio Linda, loses power 10 minutes into flight – “No, I wasn’t afraid at all,” pilot John Marer joked Wednesday morning after surviving an engine failure in the sky and then landing his plane on Highway 65 alongside rushing traffic.

Marer was forced to execute a makeshift landing in the center median of Highway 65 near Sunset Boulevard. The plane swooped in, touching down near the very edge of the eastbound lanes of traffic before steering into the center of the median.

The pilot estimates his final landing speed to be around 65 miles per hour.

Public safety package approved – Hydrick the lone dissenting vote – A question of fairness was debated amongst the Lincoln City Council members Tuesday when a councilman questioned why the city is changing the compensation package for the bargaining unit representing police and fire mid-management.

“Why are they being treated more favorably?” Councilman Gabriel Hydrick asked.

Councilman Tom Cosgrove said he “does not believe” mid-management is being treated more favorable. “It’s more about them being treated fairly,” Cosgrove said.

Head-on collision results in fatality – Driver arrested for DUI – Andrey Yushchuk was arrested Wednesday after a fatal head-on traffic collision on Sierra College Boulevard for driving under the influence of alcohol, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP) public information officer David Martinez.

Yushchuk, 43, is from Lincoln.

Highway 65 Bypass – Onramp closure delayed – New traffic signal will wait out the weather – A planned closure of the Lincoln Boulevard onramp to southbound Highway 65 is being delayed due to weather and the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Caltrans.

City Council decides Tuesday whether Village 1 final EIR is OK – District concerned over impact to schools – Lincoln City Council will decide on Tuesday if the final environmental impact report for the Village 1 project is adequate.

Village 1 Specific Plan Area is located east of the Auburn Ravine and includes land on both the north and south side of Highway 193.

2012 Election – Final tally in: Gilbert to join Short, Joiner – 49,412 votes cast for three seats – Paul Joiner, Peter Gilbert and Spencer Short are the winning candidates for three seats on the Lincoln City Council, according to the official election summary from the Placer County Elections Office released Nov. 21.

Joiner was the top vote getter at 10,853 votes. Two votes separated Gilbert and Short. Gilbert’s total vote was 6,474 and Short’s was 6,472.

Council welcomes new treasurer – Terry Dorsey should feel good about the Nov. 6 election results for the city treasurer race on two accounts.

First, Lincoln voters decided they wanted their city treasurer to be elected (and not appointed) by a 58.19 majority (or10,627 votes versus 7,637).

Second 97.23 percent (or 14,309 votes) of residents voted for Dorsey, the sole candidate for city treasurer. Write-ins totaled 2.7 percent (407 votes).

 

December

Who violated the Brown Act? Council members not saying who did it – None of the five Lincoln City Councilmen are saying how information was leaked between their Nov. 27 5:30 p.m. closed session meeting at City Hall that ended at 5:45 p.m. and their regularly scheduled 6 p.m. City Council meeting at McBean Park Pavilion.

The leaked information was about pulling a consent agenda item about the city manager’s contract concessions.

Interim Police Chief Shelgren leaves February – Search is on for his replacement – The city of Lincoln is in the process of hiring another interim police chief to replace Paul Shelgren when his contract is up in February.

“The best direction for the city is to hire an interim chief although the city should hire a full-time chief,” Lincoln City Manager Jim Estep said. “We don’t want to hire someone only to lay them off.”

Public says goodbye to Cosgrove – Nader becomes new mayor – The city of Lincoln, City Council members and the public bid a fond farewell to Councilman Tom Cosgrove during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Cosgrove, who served on the council 18 years and was mayor four times, decided not to run for re-election this year. He was first elected in 1994.

Following the presentation, Lincoln City Clerk Pat Avila swore in newly-elected council members Peter Gilbert, Spencer Short and Paul Joiner and city treasurer Terry Dorsey and administered the oath of office to incoming mayor Stan Nader.

Short and Joiner ran as incumbents.

Nader announced that an all-day strategic planning meeting is scheduled Jan. 29 for the City Council and staff to set goals and objectives. Although the meeting is primarily for the council and staff, there will be time set aside for public comment.

School board gives go ahead to lawsuit – Questions about adequate schools in Village 1 leads district to initiate litigation against developer, city – The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize the Western Placer Unified School District to initiate litigation against Lakeside Development and the city of Lincoln in reaction to the city’s approval of environmental documents over the district’s objections.

The deadline for the district to file a legal action is Jan. 2, based on the California Environmental Quality Act timeline.