Each week, I curate the best stories in the Sacramento news scene. The stories are chosen based on a combination of storytelling, difficulty, importance, depth, proximity and heart.
These stories are not necessarily the top news topics in the region. Anxiety and anticipation describe the top headlines this week. We knew some of these things would happen; we just had to wait for them. Former Creative Frontiers Principal Robert B. Adams was charged with one misdemeanor and six felony counts of child molestation, Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Think Big Sacramento task force delivered the long-awaited report on potential fundraising options for a new arena and a deal between California lawmakers and Amazon.com to delay sales tax collection capped the end of the Legislative session.
And, yet, they don’t make my list. In addition to the above-stated criteria, originality is important. All things being equal, or close to it, platform dictates consumption. You may prefer the television video report over the newspaper print report, or vice versa. It’s not fun to split hairs on similar stories reported by each major outlet.
Now, on to the 10 best stories in Sacramento journalism:
10. “Business or climate?” by Nick Miller for the Sacramento News & Review
The Sacramento City Council recently approved a strategy to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. “It’s a bold, multidimensional approach to fighting climate change that will impact each and every resident,” Miller writes. Environmentalists, however, claim lobbying by realtors, builders and developers may inhibit the effectiveness of the Climate Action Plan.
9. “Chaplain’s vacation turned into ‘war zone’” by Jim Ratajczak for the Mountain Democrat
Jacob Cohen, a Cameron Park resident and chaplain with Sierra Law Enforcement Chaplaincy, flew into JFK International on Sept. 10, 2001. He and his wife, Stephanie, planned to visit the World Trade Center. The sound of American Airlines Flight 11 woke him the next day. He soon knew he needed to find a way to help. “In the days following the attacks, Cohen spoke to hundreds of people,” Ratajczak writes. “The names, he can’t remember. The faces, he’ll never forget.”
8. “Oak Park ministers make council district a re-election issue” by Ryan Lilis (@Ryan_Lillis) for The Sacramento Bee
Pastors and ministers are not happy with the Sacramento City Council’s plan to move the UC Davis Medical Center out of District 5. They’ve protested, spoken at council meetings and are now considering recruiting candidates to run against the four council members up for re-election in June. “It represents a significant shift for a faith community that largely has shied away from taking an active role in local politics,” Lillis writes.
7. “Woman paralyzed by boyfriend’s beating dies of infection, pneumonia” by Cynthia Hubert (@Cynthia_Hubert) for The Sacramento Bee
There are some stories that you don’t get over, that elicit emotion no matter how many times you read them. Hubert told one these stories in a January news feature on Cindy Hammond. Hammond testified against a former boyfriend and urged others to flee abuse. On Monday, she died after developing a severe infection and pneumonia related to her paralysis. She was 50.
6. “West Sacramento lays ground for riverside renaissance” by Hudson Sangee for The Sacramento Bee
City officials and developers are itching continue redevelopment of the West Sacramento riverfront area formerly-know as the Triangle and now renamed the Bridge District. “The once-dusty little west-bank city is on the cusp of creating the downtown it’s never had,” Sangree writes. However, the weak economy and the legal battle for redevelopment funds may keep the vision from soon becoming a reality.
SacStateSports.com, brainchild of the former sports editor of The Sacramento Bee, launced on Aug. 29 and it didn’t take long for the first major story to emerge. The Hornets scored an unprecedented 29-28 upset of the Beavers on Sept. 3 at Oregon State. In the days after the historic win, Bradley and Parker provided a must-read news source for Sacramento State sports news by combining original reporting with extensive aggregation.
4. “For some priests, the solitary life leads to drink” by Jennifer Garza for The Sacramento Bee
Late last month, Rev. Julian Medina was suspended from ministry after he appeared drunk during a church baptism. He has since entered treatment and apologized for his actions in an announcement read to parishioners. “Medina’s troubles show that priests share their parishioners’ struggles,” Garza writes.
3. “Power flows with the money in California’s Legislature” by Jim Sanders (@jwsanders55) for The Sacramento Bee
The allocation of money to legislators is one of the primary ways leadership attempts to keep legislators in line. “Both houses pad legislators’ staffs by millions of dollars through the assignment of committee chairs – or slash funds just as quickly by taking such plums away,” Sanders writes.
2. “The Cutting Edge: Fighting Fat” series: “Suisun woman struggles with depression, alcohol, following gastric bypass surgery,” “Denair teenager battles obesity the natural way, loses 100 pounds” and “Weight-loss foundation spawned by woman’s gastric bypass” by Keba Arnold (@KebaArnold) for KXTV ABC Channel 10
Arnold introduced us to Tegan Borden, Freddy Fahl and Antonia Namnath in three profiles before the station aired “The Cutting Edge: Fighting Fat” special report on Wednesday. “We’ve decided to take a look at some of our neighbors, right here in our area, who have struggled with weight loss,” Arnold said in introducing the first profile. Each person speaks openly about how they lost weight and how they attempt to live a healthy life.
1. “CPS removes 40 percent fewer children from homes than in 2009” by Brad Branan (@BradB_at_SacBee) for The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento County Child Protective Services removed fewer neglected and abused children from homes in 2009 and is on pace for a second, consecutive below-average year in 2010. “That’s a big change for an agency that just a few years ago placed more children in foster care than any other large county in the state,” Branan writes. The decline is a result of budgets cuts, fewer caseworkers and stricter definitions for intervention.
What do you think? Did I miss a story? Don’t agree with my ranking? Tell me in the comments section.