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By Eric Johnson
Published Jan 02, 2024

Family and friends are the best part of any year. Family and friends are the best part of any year. Image credit: AlessandroBiascioli   Shutterstock/standard

The Best and Worst of 2023

Happy 2024 from your friends at California Local. In this week’s edition of The Newsletter, you will find more of what you’re looking for, if what you’re looking for is reliable information about the place you call home.

This week’s News Digest, as always curated by our good friend and executive editor Sharan Street, is the most robust ever, and can be your guide to the most important stories you may have missed over the holiday.

Our Year in Review, also cat-herded by Sharan, will remind you that this was (another) nut job of a year—and that there’s some good stuff happening in California, too.

Speaking of good stuff: Chris Neklason, our good friend and fearless leader, compiled a list of the big changes that have happened here at California Local over the past 12 months. It kind of blew my mind, and I work here every day—so I’m not sure why I was surprised.

And yes! Even more good stuff. From our good friend and publisher, Mike Gelbman, some retrospection and inspiration.

What Happened in the Year 2023?

In October of this year, California’s own Kevin McCarthy lost his job as speaker of the House of Representatives following a long and ugly fight with extremist members of his own party. It was the first time in U.S. history that a house speaker was fired, was one of the biggest stories of 2023, and in some ways epitomized the year. As you will see, there were some tectonic shifts in the year just past that will reverberate into the future, and not all of them were bad.

Facing the New Year

California Local looks back at 2023, with an eye toward what stories will matter most in 2024.

A Note from CALocal's CEO

No brag—just fact: Some good stuff happened here at California Local over the past year. Teaser: We are publishing a book boldly and accurately titled How California Works. We won two big awards from the California News Publishers Association. Click below to learn more. (And please consider joining our family by taking 10 seconds to click the red button and sign up for a free membership ;-)

2023 at California Local in Review

We look back as we rush forward.
In which we count our accomplishments, and blessings, at the turning of the year.

A Letter from Our Publisher

Michael Gelbman had a big reason to give some thought to the meaning of his life and his work, and he had some longtime beliefs confirmed.

Reflections on My 2023

Michael Gelbman finds some perspective amid the divisiveness.

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Our overview page for Yolo County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and Yolo County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

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Big Brothers Big Sisters logo Big Brothers Big Sisters

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.

→ Learn more

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From Our Media Allies

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West Sacramento News Ledger logo Fourth Annual Bumble Bee of the Year Contest Begins

The Bohart Museum of Entomology is sponsoring its annual Robbin Thorp Memorial First-Bumble Bee-of-the-Year Contest. The first person to photograph a bumble bee in either Yolo or Solano and email it to the museum will receive a coffee cup featuring …

West Sacramento News Ledger logo Get Sandbags at the Port of West Sacramento

With rain expected through this week, West Sacramento’s Public Works department is making sandbags available for residents and businesses at the Port of West Sacramento entrance, 2895 Industrial Blvd.

West Sacramento News Ledger logo Yolo County Is Working to Keep Roads Safe

Yolo County officials’ commitment to road safety garnered awards in 2023, including a combined award of $704,496 from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  California Local Pin Marker  

Recent Local News

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• UC Davis Launches Mobile Clinic to Help Students

A new 24/7 mobile team at UC Davis is working to prevent crises before they happen, answering calls every day from students experiencing overwhelming stress and food and housing insecurity.

(01/01/2024) → CapPublicRadio

• Need a New Year’s Resolution?

Here are 50 ways to improve your life in 2024.

(12/30/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Ex-Student Found Competent to Stand Trial for Stabbing Deaths Near UC Davis

Former college student Carlos Reales Dominguez, accused of stabbing two people to death and wounding a third in Davis, will return to court on Jan. 5 and criminal proceedings will be reinstated if there isn't any challenge to his mental state.

(12/29/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• MOSAIC Children’s Museum Welcomes Woodland Community

After seven years of hard work, a two-year pause due to the pandemic and an extended search for a home, the MOSAIC Children's Museum enjoyed a much-awaited soft opening on Dec. 15.

(12/29/2023) → Daily Democrat

• One Man, Many Hats

For as long as he can remember, David Rosenberg has never held just one job. The
longtime judge, who is retiring from the Yolo bench after two decades, was a journalist, an attorney, and an elected official before he became a judge.

(12/29/2023) → Read the full Davis Enterprise report

• Bailes Named Brinley Award Winner

Davis resident Shelly Bailes has made an impact on the LGBTQ+ community in Yolo County and beyond. Her work in obtaining respect and acceptance for the community earned her the honor of being the 2024 recipient of the Brinley Award.

(12/29/2023) → Read the full Davis Enterprise report

• Winters Chamber Honors Community Members, Businesses

The official selections are in for the Toast to Winters honorees, chosen by the Winters District Chamber of Commerce.

(12/29/2023) → Winters Express

• CHP Highlights New Traffic Safety Laws

As we head into the new year, the California Highway Patrol is educating the public on traffic safety laws that were passed during this year’s legislative session and take effect on Jan. 1.

(12/28/2023) → West Sacramento Sun

• Yolo County Recommends Residents Vaccinate, Mask Indoors

Rates of COVID-19, RSV and influenza are rising in Yolo and Sacramento counties and local public health officers are encouraging precautions for the fourth holiday season in a row.

(12/28/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Woodland Police Department Holds Promotion Ceremony

The Woodland Police Department celebrated a familiar and prominent face within the department: newly promoted Deputy Chief Dallas Hyde.

(12/28/2023) → Daily Democrat
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Recent Statewide News

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• Sierra Snowpack at 25% of Usual Levels

The California Department of Water Resources has found that the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains is at just 25% of normal levels for this time of year. This could potentially impact water supply and wildfire protection.

(01/02/2024) → Sacramento Bee

• Hospitals Seeing More People with COVID-19 and Flu

Los Angeles County has entered the medium category of COVID-19 hospitalization defined by the CDC, with providers warning that illnesses like RSV like to travel in tandem with the virus. Officials are urging the public to mask when visiting hospitals or other indoor facilities.

(01/02/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• CA Minimum Wage Hits $16 an Hour

The dawn of 2024 meant that California’s minimum wage rose from $15.50 to $16 an hour. That puts the Golden State at the second-highest minimum wage for a U.S. state, trailing only Washington state at $16.28 an hour.

(01/02/2024) → New York Times

• Law Goes Into Effect Blocking Guns in Many California Public Places

A law passed by the California legislature in 2023 has gone into effect banning licensed gun holders from bringing their firearms to places like playgrounds, churches and casinos. The law faces an ongoing challenge in the federal court system.

(01/02/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• 7 Ways to Hang On to More Money in 2024

Just as you might intend to change your diet or workout plan, resolve to make changes that will allow you to meet financial goals.

(12/27/2023) → Daily Democrat

• American Graffiti is Back: Cruising Now Legal Again in California, But So Are Speed Cameras

Under new state laws, five cities will test cameras to catch speeding drivers and cruising bans will be lifted statewide. The first is supposed to improve road safety, but critics of the second say it will endanger the public.

(12/27/2023) → CalMatters

• San Diego Zoo Displays World’s Rarest Insect

Visitors can see the critically endangered Lord How Island stick insect, on display for the first time in North America, in a special habitat at the zoo’s Wildlife Explorers Basecamp.

(12/27/2023) → San Joaquin Valley Sun
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (01/02/2024)

City Invites Public Input on Downtown Davis Lighting

Image of United States seal. United States   (12/31/2023)

Valley Meats, LLC, Recalls Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2023 - Valley Meats, LLC, a Coal Valley, Ill. establishment, is recalling approximately 6,768 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli...
Image of United States seal. United States   (12/30/2023)

Reckitt/Mead Johnson Nutrition Voluntarily Recalls Select Batches of Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Infant Formula Powder Because of Possible Health Risk

Reckitt/Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN), a producer of nutrition products, announced today that it has voluntarily chosen to recall from the U.S. market select batches of Nutramigen Powder, a specialty infant formula for the dietary management of Cows Milk Allergy (CMA) in 12.6 and 19.8 oz cans, due to
Image of United States seal. United States   (12/28/2023)

Nam & Son of MD Recalls Soybean Sprouts Because of Possible Health Risk

Nam & Son of MD, Jessup, MD is recalling one-pound bags of soybean sprouts, with the sell-by date of December 14, 2023, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (12/28/2023)

Yolo County Residents Encouraged to Mask and Vaccinate Against Respiratory Illnesses

Recent data indicates high levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, along with high levels of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Image of United States seal. United States   (12/26/2023)

World Variety Produce, Inc. Recalls Kimchi Hot Because of Possible Health Risk

World Variety Produce, Inc. of Los Angeles, CA is recalling Melissa's Kimchi Hot 14 oz, because of mislabeling of allergen ingredient "Fish" was not listed in the ingredient panel within the allergen information panel. Food allergic reactions vary in severity from mild symptoms involving hives and l
Image of United States seal. United States   (12/22/2023)

Scanga Meat Company Recalls Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. Coli O103 Contamination

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2023 - Scanga Meat Company, a Salida, Colorado establishment, is recalling approximately 563 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103, the...
Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (12/22/2023)

Field Update-OPEN

Image of City of Davis seal. City of Davis   (12/22/2023)

Toad Hollow Dog Park - OPEN

Image of United States seal. United States   (12/21/2023)

Tampa Bay Fisheries, Inc. Dover, Florida is Voluntarily Recalling 1 Lot of 365 Whole Foods Market Beer Battered Pollock Fillets and 2 Lots of 365 Beer Battered Cod Fillet Due to an Undeclared Soy Allergen