Men don heels – and a dress

It’s not every day you see a man in a pink dress walking through the mall while pushing a wheelchair.

But Rick Patterson shuffled his way through two laps around the inside of the Yuba Sutter Mall on Saturday afternoon to help raise awareness about sexual violence against women during Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

Patterson said he couldn’t throw on a pair of women’s heels like the rest of the more than 30 men who walked with him because he had bad feet. But that didn’t stop him from joining in the event.

“I couldn’t wear the shoes, so why not throw on a dress?” Patterson said. “It’s for a good cause.”

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is in its fifth year, sponsored by Casa de Esperanza to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. If a woman is intoxicated or asleep, that doesn’t mean she’s consenting, said Sexual Assault Director Lucy Medina.

“If a woman says no at any time, it doesn’t matter what capacity she’s in,” Medina said.

The walk wasn’t just for adults. Richard Hernandez, 23, brought his fiancee’s son, Victor Ramirez, 11, along to don a pair of heels and walk the mile-long course.

“It’s only fair to switch the roles,” Hernandez said, “to endure what they go through every day on these things.”

Those inspiring words didn’t make Ramirez’s 3-inch heels feel any more comfortable.

“It feels bad, very bad,” he said.

Even with the occasional pain and stumbling around the tiled floor of the mall, the men still kept smiles on their faces because of why they were there.

“Whatever brings attention to it is good,” Patterson said. “They need all the attention and help they can get.”

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Literary lessons in Marysville

When is a bookstore more than just a bookstore? When it pulls in the past and hooks the community on writing.

Amicus Books, at 413 D St. in downtown Marysville, has a give-and-take relationship with Yuba and Sutter counties. Kara and James Davis have owned Amicus Books for more than three years. They started in Yuba City, then moved to their current location a year and a half ago. The store sells mostly used books and some new books.

The books they sell and donations from the community help fund the literary arts center that gives back to local authors and the rest of the community.

The Literary Lounge is a program Amicus Books hosts to give authors a way to get their works published. In exchange for shelf space, literary materials and events to promote their books, authors who seek out the program promote each other’s works. The profits from the books go directly to the authors, Kara Davis said.

“It’s a great way to introduce people to the publishing process,” she said.

Part of the promotion process through Amicus is a section of dedicated to local authors. On that Web page, authors are given a chance to share a little bit about their lives in short biographies A table at the front of the store is dedicated to local authors. Some are just starting out on their writing careers, and the beginning can be daunting to some.

“We want to be very supportive and encourage people to follow their desire,” Davis said, “to give the community something that raises the bar.”

But writing isn’t all about trying to make a quick buck off a few thousand words on paper; it’s also about history. Only a small section in the back of the second floor of Amicus Books has fiction. The rest is dedicated to some form of helping people improve themselves through learning about the world around them.

The literary center hosts a plethora of events to reach out and bring in the community. Wordshops are events geared toward pushing people into the world of words. The Art of Transforming a Life into Stories program revolves around preserving family histories by showing people how easy it can be to move their family history from oral history to written history. Origami Zone gives kids an environment to find their groove in writing.

Every month, Amicus Books helps organize the Downtown Marysville Chautauqua, an event that shows off the arts and history of the city.

For the event itself, authors and artists are brought in for lectures about their works and book signings. Saturdays bring history lessons from historian Henry Delamere about the times when Marysville was the third largest town in California.

The goal of Amicus Books is to expose people to the hidden wonders and history of the area to give the community something to be proud of, Davis said.

“People come in and are surprised to see something this beautiful,” she said, “and we show them tons of other beautiful things about the area they wouldn’t have known about.”

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Lovable puppies on parade

After three hours of waiting and whimpering, Houdini is still looking for a home.

The black and white canine escape artist was one of 17 puppies still left after the Puppy Parade held at the Yuba County Animal Care Services shelter Saturday. Three more puppies will be ready for adoption by the end of the month – and they all need homes, shelter supervisor Debra Luis said.

Houdini got her name after shelter workers learned she could climb out of her three-foot-tall kennel to greet people who came looking to bring home a pet. While she was in her kennel Saturday, Houdini was the life of the party, keeping the other dogs entertained by slapping playfully at their paws.

The kennel next to Houdini had six puppies who were lucky to be alive. Someone had seen them tossed into a culvert and called the authorities. While they were not able to catch the person who dumped the pups, they were able to fish out the puppies, Luis said.

“They were so limp and lifeless, I didn’t think they would make it,” she said. “Now they’re just as sweet as can be.”

One of those puppies was adopted Saturday and two more found homes as the day went on. All it took was a loving home, $5 for a puppy and a $40 deposit which owners could get back after having their pet spayed or neutered.

Thirteen-year-old Brooke Campbell of Oroville found what she was looking for in a chihuahua mix.

“I was looking for a smaller dog,” she said. “Plus, he was by himself and all independent. He was cute.”

Along with the three puppies that were adopted Saturday, three cats also found homes. Those six adoptions barely touch the tip of the kennels, where 17 puppies joined the rest of the dogs, cats, a chicken and a duck all waiting for homes.

The animal shelter is located at 5245 Feather River Blvd. in Linda/Olivehurst. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

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Nurses begin vote on strike

Fremont-Rideout Health Group nurses began deciding Tuesday if they would strike over contract negotiations that they said have taken too long.

The possibility of a strike took another step toward reality as union members began voting on whether to give the union the authority to strike. Voting will continue through Thursday.

Before voting started, about 80 nurses and family members rallied and marched outside the Fremont-Rideout administrative office in Yuba City.

During a break from picketing on Plumas Street, the crowd was encouraged by five speakers, including a member of the California Nurses Association board of directors.

“It seems like a terrible, long road,” said Dave Welch. “Hospitals never give it up for free; you have to fight for it.”

In a prepared statement, administrators said picketing was OK legally, but was not helping negotiations.

“We are aware that a small number of our nurses and some supporters exercised their legal right to engage in informational picketing,” according to the written statement, “but negotiations must take place at the table, not in public or in the media.”

Nurses and administration members have been negotiating since November.

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Yuba sex offender list on the Net

Yuba County residents can find local sex offenders on the Internet.

OffenderWatch brings the Yuba County sex offender registry to the sheriff’s Web site. Residents can now enter their address and find any registered offender within a mile of their homes. Additionally, they can sign up for e-mail updates about additional sex offenders who move into the neighborhood.

Sheriff Steve Durfor believes this will be an important tool to keep the county aware of where sex offenders are living in relation to their homes and places their children could be going.

“We take a very aggressive stance toward our offenders,” Durfor said.

OffenderWatch draws its data from various public sources that is regularly updated, according to the Web site.

Throughout the site are many warnings telling users that the site is not to be used for anything more than keeping them informed about people in the area. If it’s used for unlawful reasons such as harassment, the user can be prosecuted.

Funds for the site came from the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Grant through the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. It’s part of a 13-county effort in Northern California to get law enforcement agencies collaborating to keep track of sexual offenders.

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Agencies’ hands tied on sex-offender law

Yuba and Sutter county law-enforcement officials are preparing to push sex offenders farther away from schools and parks, but they’re currently waiting for the state to tell them what they can do.

Under Jessica’s Law, passed by 70 percent of California voters last November, sex offenders cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or park. Enforcing the law has become tricky, with a few legal challenges to the requirements still pending.

Both Sutter County Undersheriff J. Paul Parker and Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor are waiting to see what direction the state takes regarding Jessica’s Law, but are continuing to take any steps they can to enforce the existing laws.

“We take care of it case by case,” Parker said. “If there’s any way we can enforce it, we will to the maximum.”

Out of the 240 sex offenders who call Sutter County home, 19 are considered noncompliant with the requirements to keep in contact with the county.

“We try to keep as close a tab on them as we can,” Parker said.

Some of the challenges have shown some of the unforeseen difficulties with cracking down so strongly on sex offenders. The answers aren’t clear for either county.

“If they became an offender and already owned a home, does this mean they have to sell?” Parker said.

In Yuba County, Durfor said his department’s approach to dealing with sex offenders is simple: Keep track of them as much as possible and keep the community aware.

“More awareness keeps the community safer and fewer offenders move in,” he said.

Current enforcement over the 202 sex offenders in Yuba County revolves around frequent visits to their homes, announced or not.

The county also launched a program called Offender Watch that allows residents to not only check for offenders within a mile of their homes, but to also get e-mail updates on any future offenders who move in.

The areas that aren’t taking an aggressive approach with their offenders will likely see their sex offender population rise as Jessica’s Law pushes more of them out of their homes near schools and possibly into more rural areas, Durfor said.

But until the state figures out how to enforce all or the parts of the law, there isn’t much that can be done about the five sex offenders in Yuba County and the two in Sutter County who would be inside the newly-expanded restricted zones.

“If a sex registrant is keeping in touch with us, there isn’t much else we can do,” Durfor said.

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Kelly Danna named chief at Sutter North

A Yuba City woman will take over as chief operating officer of Sutter North Medical Foundation.

Kelly Danna will step into her new position on Oct. 1. She’s served as Sutter North’s chief financial officer for more than eight years and will succeed Tom Walther, who retired in July.

Danna will oversee Sutter North’s business lines, such as physician clinic operations, facilities planning and the construction and development of the $34 million, 14-bed Sutter Surgical Hospital on Plumas Street in Yuba City.

Danna, 40, said she has two major goals.

In the short term, she wants to continue to build a good working relationship with Sutter North’s physicians. A longer- term goal is to improve patient care.

While she enjoyed her time on the financial side, Danna said she looks forward to the challenges of her new post.

“I see a need to build relationships with the people here, and now I’m at that point in my life where I want to do that more.” she said.

Danna graduated from Yuba City High School and moved on to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Her first job was teaching swim lessons at age 14 for the Yuba City Parks and Recreation Department.

She and her husband, Steve, have a daughter, Lauren, 9, and a son, Sam, 6.

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Bus business booming

More people are catching a bus ride in Yuba-Sutter because of higher gas prices and programs finally coming into bloom, according to a system performance report.

Fixed route and Sacramento commuter ridership has increased by more than 10 percent compared to last year, according to the 2006-07 report. Fare revenues increased by around 11 percent.

Part of the reason for the increase in riders is the ever-increasing cost of gas, making bus fare a better deal, said Keith Martin, Yuba-Sutter Transit manager.

“It’s a great motivator to move people onto the bus,” he said.

An unexpected side effect of a youth program also helped boost ridership. Riders between 5 and 18 years old can buy a monthly pass for $5. This is a significant discount for riders between 12 and 18 who would normally pay $1 for a one-way ticket. Those savings resulted in 63 percent more youth pass purchases than last year, according to the report.

Even more surprising is that youth paying by cash instead of buying a pass also increased, Martin said.

“We thought we’d lose a lot of cash riders,” he said. “It looks like youth with the passes are bringing their friends with them.”

With more improvements planned, Martin said he expects more riders to avoid the gas pumps and take the bus.

The report was presented during the Yuba-Sutter Transit board of directors meeting Thursday.

The transit system is also holding a public hearing Aug. 9 to consider adding two new morning and two new afternoon runs to Sacramento, bringing to 21 the number of weekday commuter or mid-day rides to the capital.

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Summer Kids: Science goes wild

By the end of her extreme makeover, Sheila’s face was a melted mass of goo. The acetone didn’t take too kindly to her Styrofoam pores.

The children watching wanted more nail polish remover added to her decaying face, but it was time to move on to the next experiement.

Jordan “The Science Wizard” Reading brought his light-headed friend to entertain a group of about 100 children with a little science magic at the Sutter County Library July 12.

From potions to putty, the hour-long show brought science to children in something more than a cold, sterile laboratory setting.

Reading didn’t spend his time lecturing the crowd on how potassium iodide acts as a catalyst for the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.

Instead, he combined the two with a little soap to thrill kids with the eruption of green foam that leapt from the beaker. Reading performed the experiment two more times until he reached what he called “The Big Mama” beaker. Every time he would add ask the kids if he should add more of each ingredient.

“That was really cool,” said James Anderson, 9, Browns Valley. “I told him to only put a little bit of soap in.”

Keeping the amount of soap small, Reading pointed out, is what kept the eruption interesting. Too much soap would have smothered the reaction.

“You wouldn’t know it unless you did it,” he said.

Wizards of Ozz

and Ashley Gebb

The black masses rocked in unison as Ozzy Osbourne instructed his fans to “let the madness begin.”

In his heavy eye makeup and black nail polish, Ozzy gripped the mic and howled out “Bark at the Moon” for his first song at Tuesday’s Ozzfest 2007. He gave animated performances of both his classic and newer songs as a strobe light flashed over the waving, jumping crowd.

Fourteen bands entertained the throngs at Sleep Train Amphitheatre before headliner Ozzy took the stage around 9:30 p.m. No attendance figures were available, but the Yuba County venue has a capacity of 18,500 people. The free tickets were “sold out” days in advance.

The “madness” started around 9 a.m., with 20 people already waiting in line even though the gates didn’t open until noon. Joseph Blackstar, 38, came from Pacifica to see the former frontman for Black Sabbath. He saw Ozzy in 1974 when his mom took him to his first concert.

“He’s good for 45 minutes, maybe an hour,” Blackstar said of Osbourne. “Ninety minutes is rare. He’s too old; his bones won’t hold up.”

One man from the Sacramento suburb of Antelope, wearing a black leather jacket over a pink tank top, had enough piercings to blow up a metal detector. “I’ve got 20 years of metal in my face,” Porkchop said.

Porkchop refused to give his real name, but he said he’s been inspired by Ozzy since the days of Black Sabbath.

“Black Sabbath are like the Beatles to me,” Porkchop said. “Them, the Ramones – they started a revolution.”

Once inside, fans flocked to the second stage to see metal bands including 3 Inches of Blood, Hatebreed and Chthonic.

Gabrielle Peters, 17, of Yuba City said she came to see Hatebreed, Lamb of God and Ozzy. She said she also likes to watch “all the weirdos.”

“You see girls in leather get-up and people who shouldn’t be walking around with their shirts off,” she said. “Please just cover yourself, that’s all I ask of you.”

Her friend, 16-year-old Caty Maple of Yuba City, said nothing seems weird after attending last year’s Ozzfest.

“I’m trying to take it easy this year,” Maple said. “Last year I got my jaw dislocated moshing to Hatebreed.”

Despite a short break in the summer heat, with Mid-Valley high temperatures in the low 90s, some fans became sunburned and dehydrated. The “Rock Med” first aid booth provided sunblock, water and Gatorade.

The sunshine didn’t bother Kris Williams, 19, of Klamath Falls, Ore., who said he enjoyed getting up close and personal with the crowd.

“The harshest band of all was Behemoth. You turn one way, you get punched in the face, you turn the other way, you get punched in the face. It was crazy!”

He added, “All the bands got me so pumped up, my neck’s sore from head-banging.”

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