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By Eric Johnson
Published Dec 18, 2023

JP Reese, a registered nurse, stands with a couple of Ukranian soldiers near the front lines of the war zone. The photo was taken by JP's bride, Dawn Davidson, two weeks after they were married in Sacramento. JP Reese, a registered nurse, stands with a couple of Ukranian soldiers near the front lines of the war zone. The photo was taken by JP's bride, Dawn Davidson, two weeks after they were married in Sacramento.

Californians Supporting Ukraine

In one of his final acts as the most powerful California Republican, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy capitulated to radical members of his party and refused to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address a joint meeting of Congress. Last week, as the brutal dictator Vladamir Putin predicted that Americans will grow weary of helping Ukraine defend itself against his murderous war, the same group of House members seemed to prove him right.

Meanwhile, as the progressive Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has pointed out, House Democrats are being unhelpfully obstinate by refusing to even discuss the situation on our southern border as a condition of funding the war, making things more difficult for Zelenskyy.

In this week's edition of The Newsletter, we bring our focus to Californians who are standing with the Ukrainian people. 


Nurses on the Front Lines

My friend JP Reese is a wound nurse who has worked for the past decade as a home healthcare provider. Most Tuesday evenings we sit in a men’s group together, and occasionally JP will tell a story about visiting one of his patients, most of whom are house-bound and in serious need of his skills as a healer. It’s a powerful gift to witness the depth of his compassion—in my judgment, he was already a hero before he decided to spend his honeymoon in a warzone. 

JP and his bride, Dawn Davidson, who is also a nurse, hoped to spend the weeks after their wedding helping wounded Ukrainian soldiers. As you will see in Graham Womack's wonderful telling of their story, they were unable to accomplish that, but they found other ways to help.

While very few Californians will manage to deliver aid to Ukrainians directly, plenty are doing what they can. Tamara Warta presents here a nunber of organizations that deserve your support.


A Honeymoon in Ukraine

JP Reese (left) and Dawn Davidson (right) celebrated their union with a honeymoon spent serving others.
After their October wedding, registered nurses Dawn Davidson and JP Reese spent their honeymoon in Ukraine, where they distributed humanitarian aid.

From California to Kyiv


With the war between Russia and Ukraine dragging on, California organizations are continuing to take action in support of embattled Ukrainians.

Ambition and Luck

How former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy became Califonria's most powerful Republican leader—and how it all suddenly and predictably came to an end.


Kevin McCarthy: A Look Back

Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield Republican whose fall from power was even more rapid than his rise, gave a farewell speech on Dec. 14.
Many conservatives believe success is achieved through hard work. So how did California’s most prominent conservative politician reach the top? Kevin McCarthy won the lottery.


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Big Brother Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported mentorship. The chapter serves Sacramento and Yolo counties, as well as southern Placer County.

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From Our Media Allies

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The Dirt logo Free Youth Art Studio Programs for Teens

YoloArts has announced a new Youth Arts Studio (YAS) Program for high school students, which features sessions on analog and digital photography, poetry, mixed media, and mural making.

The Dirt logo Artistic Skills of County Employees Highlighted at Gallery 625

The hidden talents of 10 Yolo County employees will be featured in the end-of-the-year art show at Gallery 625 in Woodland. Responding to a call for art sent to Yolo County employees, these civil servants responded with artistic expressions created …

The Dirt logo Picnic Day 2024 Theme Announced

The theme for the 110th Picnic Day will be "Picnic Palooza" and is set to feature Sheri Atkinson as parade marshal.

The Dirt logo Odd Fellows Announces 2024 BINGO Recipients

In Davis, the second Sunday of the month means one thing: BINGO at Odd Fellows Hall.

The Dirt logo Growing Up Online: Davis Parent University Hosts Expert Speaker

One of the most worrisome aspects of parenthood today is social media. How much is too much, or maybe is zero okay?

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Recent Local News

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• CapRadio Interim GM: ‘We Can Get Through the Month of May’

It has been an unprecedented year at CapRadio. And one of extreme hardship. 
This summer, CapRadio laid off 12% of its staff. And that was just the start of its financial challenges.

(12/18/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Supervisor Angel Barajas Secures $65,000 for Woodland and Rural Communities

The Yolo County Board of Supervisors approved a total of $75,000 in projects using the American Rescue Plan Community Benefit Fund.

(12/17/2023) → Daily Democrat

• Woodland to Spend $250,00 on Fire Apparatus Maintenance Due to Staffing Issues

The Woodland City Council will discuss authorizing the city to execute a service agreement with two vehicle repair services companies totaling $250,000 for the ongoing maintenance and repairs of fire apparatus.

(12/17/2023) → Daily Democrat

• Officials Hope New Flood Strategies Can Help the Sacramento Region Handle an Unpredictable Winter

As soon as this winter, the Lower Elkhorn Basin project area will become a larger overflow area for the Sacramento River when it rises. Crews pushed seven miles of levee back around 1,500 feet, expanding the capacity of the existing Sacramento and Yolo bypass areas.

(12/17/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Davis’ Progress Ranch Honored as Nonprofit of the Year

Davis' Progress Ranch Treatment Services for Children received this year’s Yolo County Nonprofit of the Year Award for its excellence in mental health care and commitment to serving some of California’s most vulnerable children and youth. The organization provides mental health services to boys ages 6 through 13.

(12/16/2023) → Daily Democrat

• PG&E Donates 300 Water Barriers to Winters

Pacific Gas and Electric Company donated 300 water barriers, valued at around $90,000, to the city of Winters before the annual Holiday Tractor Parade.

(12/15/2023) → Winters Express

• Winters Council Approves Water Tender for Fire Department

Standing before the Winters City Council, Fire Chief Jack S. Snyder III explained that during the Mariani Nut Fires on Thanksgiving, Vacaville’s water tender was “perfect” to keep the fire at bay.

(12/15/2023) → Winters Express

• Wildfire Risks Will Continue to Drive Up Rates for California Homeowners

Home insurance policies will likely get more expensive, California’s insurance commissioner said. Seven of the 12 largest insurers doing business in California said they could no longer afford to cover new homes in the state.

(12/14/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Sacramento County to Open Second Tiny Home Village

Sacramento County’s second tiny home village, or Safe Stay Community, is set to welcome unhoused residents to South Sacramento starting next week.

(12/14/2023) → CapPublicRadio
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Recent Statewide News

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• SF Hits New Record for Overdose Deaths

The fentanyl epidemic has pushed San Francisco to a grim milestone: a new record for overdoses. A total 752 people overdosed in the first 11 months of this year, surpassing 2020’s record number of 726.

(12/14/2023) → SFGate

• Newsom Touts California to Seth Meyers

Gov. Gavin Newsom defended his work and that of current or former California leaders like Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris during an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Newsom suggested conservatives focus unduly on California's failures.

(12/14/2023) → SFGate

• Commute Times Highlight Income Divide

Higher-income workers are more likely to work from home, analysis of recent census data shows. Lower-income workers can face long and solitary commutes to get to work.

(12/13/2023) → Los Angeles Times

• Michelin Guide Adds Seven California Restaurants

Three restaurants in San Francisco, three in Los Angeles and one in San Diego have been added to the Michelin Guide. Two of the SF eateries also made Esquire’s list for best new American restaurants in 2023.

(12/12/2023) → SFGate

• Assembly Group on Retail Theft to Hold First Hearing

A new select committee in the California Assembly dedicated to retail theft will hold its first hearing on Dec. 19. This allows the committee to get to work before the next legislative session on an issue that’s drawn much press for California in recent years.

(12/12/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• Supreme Court Upholds California Ban on Conversion Therapy

By declining to hear a conservative group’s challenge, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a California ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth. California is one of 22 states to ban this practice.

(12/11/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• Yosemite Trying New Strategies to Reduce Food Packaging Waste

An estimated 100,000 pizza boxes have been removed from Yosemite’s waste stream. This is because the famed park now serves pizza on trays and puts to-go portions in compostable bags, part of a move to reduce food-related waste.

(12/11/2023) → SFGate
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (12/18/2023)

Field & Pump Track Update: Closed

Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (12/14/2023)

Woodland Police Department Holding DUI Checkpoint December 16th

Woodland, Calif. – On 12/16/2023, the Woodland Police Department will conduct a driving under the influence (DUI)/ Driver License Checkpoint from 7 PM until 2 AM in Central Woodland.
Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (12/13/2023)

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Writing Contest

Students are invited to honor Dr. King's legacy of justice, equity, and peace.
Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (12/13/2023)

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Writing Contest

Students can celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by composing their version of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (12/08/2023)

Community Park Pump Track Closed Due To Inclement Weather

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (12/06/2023)

Sycamore Park Path Work Ends Dec. 13

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/30/2023)

Putah Creek Path from South Davis to UCD Closed During Winter Break Starting Dec. 18

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/30/2023)

Old Lincoln Hwy Multi-Use Path Tree Trimming Starts Dec. 6

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (11/29/2023)

Mace Redesign Final Message 11.30.23

Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (11/28/2023)

Holiday Events in Woodland

Festivities highlighted by Tree Lighting and Holiday Parade