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The Loss of a Friend California's 5th Congressional District suffers an enormous loss in the new year with the sudden death of U.S. Rep. Robert Matsui. Matsui, who had represented Sacramento in Congress for 26 years, dies in Washington, D.C., on New Year's Day from complications of a rare blood disorder. Called a maestro of politics, Matsui is hailed for his leadership role both by those who agreed and disagreed with his politics.
Congratulations, You're Fired Chris Webber, the No.1 pick in the NBA draft in 1993 and the man credited by ESPN with turning the Kings into a contender, is named NBA Player of the Month in January. That, however, will be followed by a big LOW just a few weeks later when the king of the Kings, after weeks of solid play (averaging 21.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game) is traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for three forwards: Brian Skinner, Kenny Thomas and Corliss Williamson.
The Doug & Jackie Show Canceled! It's a bummer for Doug Christie fans (and there are many) when he's traded to the Orlando Magic for Cuttino Mobley.
Teach America In February, joining a slew of similar national scandals of this nature, our very own Margaret De Barraicua, a 30-year-old student teacher at C. K. McClatchy High School, is arrested for statutory rape after police find her having sex with a 16-year-old male student in a car parked behind Leonardo Da Vinci Elementary School. What makes our story stand out among the others broadcast on Fox News? De Barraicua's 2-year-old son is in the back seat during the tryst.
River Cats Radio On Feb. 1, the Sacramento River Cats announce that all its 2005 games including the Triple-A All Star game in July will be broadcast on Sacramento radio station KTKZ News Talk 1380 AM. The decision no doubt is the result of the team's success in its first five seasons: four Pacific Coast South Division titles and two back-to-back Pacific Coast League championships.
Our 9/11 Connection The state Department of Motor Vehicles reveals that a 9/11 hijacker was able to obtain a California driver's license without a Social Security number. Nawaf Alhamzi used that license to register for flight training. (Alhamzi is one of the terrorists who hijacked airline Flight 77 and slammed it into the Pentagon.) DMV officials closed the loophole shortly after the 9/11 attacks, thanks to efforts by the organization's whistleblower, senior investigator Paul Satkowski, who pressured the government agency to do so.
It's All Relative Finally, something we can all agree on 68 percent of us, anyway. In a special election in March, Doris Matsui wins her late husband's congressional seat by more than 40,000 votes (a margin of more than 70 percent) and is sworn into office by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Local Terrorist Attack Police make an arrest in one of three alleged eco-terror attacks that took place east of Sacramento. Authorities arrest 21-year-old Ryan Daniel Lewis of Newcastle for his alleged role in planting five incendiary devices at an office building under construction in Auburn. (Similar bombs were found at the Placer County Courthouse and a DMV office.) Lewis is believed to have been working for ELF (Earth Liberation Front) and with an anarchist group called CrimethInc. (CrimethInc. was written on his skateboard, police say.)
Muy Bien Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education releases a report noting that California State University, Sacramento, ranks 39th in the nation in awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanic students and 66th in awarding master's degrees. The rankings are based on information provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.
All the Right Stuff In August, shuttle astronaut Steve Robinson, a Sacramento native and UC Davis graduate, gets some surprises (as he calls them) when a piece of foam peels off one of the tanks on space shuttle Discovery while in orbit. He saves the day when he leaves the shuttle, climbs along the outside and removes gap fillers from the belly of the orbiter to replace those that had peeled off, becoming the first astronaut ever to repair the underbelly of the Discovery midmission.
Our Ship Comes In The Port of Sacramento celebrates the arrival of the Greek-owned ship Danny Boy, here to pick up 22,000 tons of rice to deliver overseas. Sacramento port officials stage a jubilant welcoming ceremony to commemorate the stop in West Sacramento. The HIGH may be short-lived, however, as officials consider shutting down the port and sending business to Stockton instead.
Bye-Bye, Bobby Bobby Jackson, another popular Sacramento King, is traded along with Greg Ostertag for Bonzi Wells. His billboard ads for Schools Financial Credit Union hang mournfully for months after he's gone.
Here's Looking at You, Kid In August, Davis Senior High School student Fan Yang, 17, wins a $10,000 Davidson Institute for Talent Development scholarship to Johns Hopkins University after discovering a formula for a contact-lens cleaner that prevents eye infections. How does she spend her summer vacations? Why, in the Combinatorial Chemistry Lab and Biofilm Research Center at UC Davis as an intern, of course. Duh.
Reported Trouble A June 26 story published in The Sacramento Bee details the results of an internal investigation of one of its columnists, Pulitzer Prize-winning Diana Griego Erwin. Editors are unable to verify the existence of 43 people who appeared in her thrice-weekly columns. Erwin resigns from the paper, insisting she did not fabricate sources.
Gift of Life After a tragic skateboard accident, Wheatland High School senior Ricky Rivera is left brain dead. When his family ends life support in August, they are able to give his good friend and fellow Wheatland senior, Colby Hans, Rivera's kidney. Hans was in the final stages of severe kidney failure; now he plans to study art at Yuba College in Marysville.
Bad News for Ahnuld According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Gov. Schwarzenegger's job approval ratings are down to 38 percent in September, his lowest since taking office.
Home Unaffordable Home Sacramento, one of California's last affordable housing markets, becomes officially unaffordable for nearly 80 percent of the people who live here, according to a report released by the California Association of Realtors.
Monarchy Rule Finally, an NBA championship WNBA, that is. The Sacramento Monarchs defeat the Connecticut Sun 62Ã'59 in Game 4 of the WNBA finals, bringing home the league's top prize after just eight years of WNBA experience.
Endangered Species in Danger? A big low if you are an endangered species: A bill is introduced in the California legislature requiring the government to compensate property owners at fair market value for losses resulting from protecting endangered species; if compensation is not paid, the government does not have to enforce the act. Environmentalists argue the measure would gut the 1973 endangered-species law.
Can Women Escape a Violent Environment? Deanna Ofoe is stabbed to death in the parking lot of Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento. Her husband, Wisdom Ofoe, is arrested later that day at his home. In her column for The Sacramento Bee, Marjie Lundstrom details how, in the days before her death, the murdered woman filed for a temporary restraining order and a divorce, and received advice and counseling at WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment).
Meeting of the Martina Mindset Tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis play each other in the World TeamTennis Eastern Conference Semifinals in September, held at Allstate Stadium at Sunrise Mall.
He's Baaaack!!!! Michael Newdow wins a round in his challenge of the words under God in the Pledge of Allegiance when U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton rules that teacher-led recitation of the pledge in public-school classrooms is unconstitutional. We're calling this a HIGH because, politics aside, now the case finally may be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court maybe right after they consider Anna Nicole Smith's inheritance case . . . which by contrast alone has just gotta be a LOW.
Food for Fuel In a $100,000 project called Leftovers to Lights, SMUD and UC Davis associate professor Ruihong Zhang will study how food waste can be cultured with bacteria to produce methane gas meaning less waste in our region's landfills and a good excuse for children everywhere not to finish what's on their plates.
Big Game for Davis On Sept. 17, the UC Davis Aggies score a 20Ã'17 upset over the Stanford Cardinal, a Pac-10 team. It was embarrassing, says Stanford coach Walt Harris after the game. Davis students are still talking about it.
Goodbye, Gridlock (We Hope) Commuters seeking an alternative to the gridlock that is Highway 50 finally have one: At 1:04 on Sunday, Oct. 15, a Regional Transit light-rail train pulls out of historic Folsom for downtown Sacramento. RT hopes commuters facing high gas prices and traffic will consider taking public transit at least some days a week. Unfortunately, anyone considering this alternative may be discouraged by the fact that, even for this inaugural trip, the train, scheduled to leave at 1:01 p.m., was three minutes late.