A look back at a lively 2011 in Loomis

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Editor
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New leadership, successful sports teams and community pride were the highlights of 2011 for the Loomis Basin. There was a changing of the guard as a new Loomis town manager, new Placer County Sheriff’s substation commander and new Loomis Union School District superintendent took over the reigns from their popular predecessors. Del Oro High School sports teams reigned victorious in league and sections, with some athletes and teams progressing to state competition. The wet, cold winter of 2011 dragged on into spring and, for the first time in remembered history, Del Oro graduation was celebrated amid a sea of umbrellas, under pouring skies. A mild summer followed, with fall bringing a few cold spells. Winter marked one of the driest December on record. January Animal rescuer seeks appeal: A Loomis animal rescuer, who lives on a large lot situated in a higher-density housing tract, was reported by her neighbor for having five dogs, two pygmy goats and 20 chickens, which is not allowed per Loomis code. The woman appealed to the council and numerous offers came in from individuals wanting to help with animal adoptions and town fees. The Loomis Town Council voted not to uphold the staff directive of removing the animals and waived the minor use fee. Del Oro teacher resigns: Popular Del Oro High School teacher Dylan Holcomb resigned after two former students filed sexual harassment charges, although no details of the resignation were given. Beck announces retirement: Loomis Town Manager Perry Beck announced he would retire on Sept. 30 after serving 11 years. Town Council began a search for Beck’s replacement. Council began working on the 2011-2012 budget and Beck advised fiscal caution. He said during the past decade town expenses increased by 55 percent, while revenue only increased by 24 percent. Eagle logo gets makeover: Del Oro was redesigning its Golden Eagle logo after being informed the logo was trademarked by the University of Southern Mississippi. Del Oro staff said the school had no official logo and used it by accident. Low-income housing proposed: At the Planning Commission meeting, Lazarus Project and Mercy Housing proposed to build a 46-unit, low-income housingproject on 8.9 acres next to Loomis RV Park on Taylor Road. The commission requested the proponents hold a public meeting and continued the item. February Pink slips planned: The Loomis Union School District planned to issue pink slips to a number of teachers in anticipation of state tax extensions not being approved. The district said it stood to lose $722,934 from the state. Council responds to Measure A Town Council met to determine their response to the passage of Measure A, which contained two retroactive clauses. State law says term limits must be prospective only. Measure A limits the number of terms a councilmember may serve and would have affected councilmen Miguel Ucovich and Walt Scherer. Student fees nipped: Del Oro officials had hoped for voluntary financial support after the ACLU reached an agreement with then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that schools could not charge students fees for extra-curricular activities, but spring sports wee $25,000 in the red, after parent financial support dipped by 50 percent. Low-income housing put on hold: Heated discussions ensued at a public meeting on the low-income housing development proposed on Taylor Road. Both pro and con opinions were heard, while the proponents tried to present their project. The proponents decided not to go back before the planning commission. Measure A goes to state: Town Council voted to send a letter to the state attorney general to seek resolution on the legality of Measure A. During a public workshop, Perry Beck said the town had already spent $25,000 in legal fees to produce briefs arguing both sides of the issue after council decided in December to file a quo warranto lawsuit with the state attorney general. Beck said staff members at the attorney general’s office said it would take two to three months to get a response once the letter had been received. Sisters propose priory: A group of Roman Catholic sisters, who wear traditional habits, proposed a 100-sister priory for 40 acres of land on the corner of Barton and Rocklin Roads. The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, who have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey television show, said the facility will be built in the California Mission style and most of the property would be left in a natural state. Lady Eagles basketball drives for title: The Del Oro girls basketball team had a 56-game league win streak and were ranked No. 1 in Sac-Joaquin Section Division II power ratings. New members named: Town council appointed Susan Flanagan Bordelon, Mike Hogan and Patricia Miller as new planning commission members and two retired teachers – Al Newton and Steve Davis – became members of the parks committee, along with community college professor Shawna Martinez. New park discussed: The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Committee met to prioritize elements of the new downtown park under construction. A water spray feature, skate plaza and restrooms were all included in the initial plans, but funding was not available for all. Relay For Life comes to town: Two area women teamed up to start a Loomis American Cancer Society Relay For Life, slated for May at Del Oro High School. Candice Vaughan and Kay Brown set goals of having 30 teams and raising $30,000. Hollywood-type Expo planned: Peter Oakes, of Loomis, announced he was planning the first ever Content, Creation and Distribution Expo in downtown Loomis on Sept. 16 to 17. The event would showcase new technology for the creation and distribution of content for video, film and music. March Wrestlers crowned: For the first time since 1996, the Del Oro wrestling program crowned two CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Champions – Austin Branum and Kevin Burrage – who along with 7th-place finisher Foster Fretland would compete at the state meet in Bakersfield. Loomis going green: Loomis teamed up with Recology to promote a super-recycling program that emphasized downsizing resident trashcans by sorting recyclables and using blue bags. The smaller size cans would cut the trash bills by almost half. Traffic cop funding questioned: Loomis took a hard look at the $171,000 cost of having a traffic cop after the state cut the $100,000 grant that helped pay for it. The town continued to ponder the features to be included in the initial building of the new park. Del Oro student dies in crash: The community mourned the loss of Brad Schlimmer, 17, a Del Oro junior who died in a solo accident, after his car collided with a tree on Taylor Road in Rocklin. Brad was active in the school’s FFA program and was known for his big bear hugs and loving and affectionate ways. Term limits goes to Gaines: The Loomis Term Limits issue detoured to the office of Sen. Ted Gaines on its way to the attorney general’s office, after it was determined the issue had statewide ramifications and the letter had to be submitted by an elected representative. Resident clears wetlands: A Loomis resident found himself in hot water after he used a bobcat to clear protected, town-owned wetlands adjacent to his property. He then planted 15 trees and sowed grass seed. The town scheduled a public hearing. Japanese students worry after quake: Japanese exchange students staying with host families and attending Del Oro learned of the horrific earthquake and tsunamis that devastated their country and anxiously attempted to reach their family members. After many harrowing hours the students were relieved to learn their families were safe. Teacher pink slips avoided: The Loomis school district struck a deal with teachers that restored most furlough days and avoided the issuance of pink slips. The agreement also added five student school days back to the 2011-2012 school year. The district used federal money and one-time state funds to bridge the $342,000 funding gap. Girls basketball places second: The Golden Eagles girls varsity basketball team finished its season in second place in the CIF NorCal Championship after losing to St. Mary’s of Stockton, 56-48. The girls went down as possibly the best in the school’s 52-year history – finishing the season 24-4, winning their sixth-straight Sierra Foothill League championship and extending their league-winning streak to 59 games. Town seeks new attorney: Loomis began a search for a new town attorney sending letters requesting proposals to 12 law firms. Dave Larsen, town attorney at the time, received a retainer of $68,250 per year and billed $135 per hour for additional hours that averaged about $12,000 annually. Freshman called ‘hero’: A Del Oro freshman was called a hero for saving a man from choking while attending the state wrestling championship. Santino Garcia, 14, was hailed by a Selland Arena employee to help a man who was choking. Santino performed the Heimlich maneuver. Winds cause damage: After days of saturating rain and strong winds, countless oak trees were uprooted including one large one on King Road that narrowly missed two people as it fell and crushed a car. Brewery opens: A father and son teamed up to brew handcrafted premium ales and lagers and opened Loomis Basin Brewing Company. The beer tasting room was an instant hit. Superintendent resigns: Paul Johnson, superintendent of the Loomis school district, announced he had accepted a superintendent position in Mill Valley and would leave at the end of June. April Wetland clearing defended: A Loomis man said he was just protecting his home when he cleared blackberry brush on wetlands on a portion of town-owned property and said the brush was invasive, posed a fire threat, and harbored vermin. Under the brush two abandoned cars and debris were found. The town planned to remove the debris and determine what actions, if any, to take against the man. Priory site toured: The community turned out for a public workshop held on the 40-acre property proposed for a new 100-sister priory for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. High Hand high-fived: Scott Paris, owner of High Hand Nursery and Café, was honored by the Placer County Economic Development Board with a private sector agricultural award. The business was recognized as a destination that draws visitors to Placer County. Coach harasser convicted: Del Oro football coach Casey Taylor was resting easier after a 66-year-old Del Oro grad was convicted after he made threats against the coach. The man was angry that a player jersey number that had reportedly been retired in 1961 continued to be used. District seeks input: The Loomis school district spent $17,500 to hire a search firm to facilitate the hiring of a new superintendent. First on the list was to garner community input through personal interviews with community members, parents and staff along with online surveys. Del Oro teacher honored: Del Oro leadership teacher Terry Barker was honored with an award from the California Association of Activity Directors for making a positive different on his campus and for emphasizing inclusion among students. School bus catches fire: No one was injured when a bus carrying Loomis district sixth-graders to science camp caught fire. Students were not on board the bus when it ignited after getting stuck in mud while the driver was attempting to turn the bus around. Golf course closes: Indian Creek golf course shut its doors and layed off its three full-time employees. In April 2006, the golf course was reportedly purchased by J.B.A. Golf1 LLC. Del Oro earns state honor: Del Oro was named a 2011 Distinguished School because of its steady growth in its Academic Performance Index score, more focus on student classroom performance, more advanced placement offerings and an increased number of students taking 4-year college entrance requirement classes. Del Oro grad killed: David Pinegar, 33, a 1996 Del Oro graduate, died in a rock climbing accident in Joshua Tree National Park. Pinegar, a nuclear physicist, was an Eagle Scout from Loomis Boy Scouts of America Troop 12 and attended Placer Elementary School. May Editorial changes made: Gold Country Media announced that Martha Garcia would be the new editor at the Colfax Record and Joyia Emard would be the new editor at The Loomis News. PCWA declares emergency: Placer County Water Agency officials declared a water emergency and implemented water rationing after its main water supply was severed. A section of the PG&E-owned canal, located in a rugged area near Colfax, collapsed in a landslide. Penryn plays: Penryn Grammar School students, parents and staff celebrated the opening of their new playground which was funded by $54,000 in cash raised by parents and alumni and $62,000 worth of in-kind donations. Indian Creek reopens: The original owners of Indian Creek Golf Course took back ownership and operations and reopened the course after it was closed by former owners J.B.L. Golf1 LLC. Terms Limits moves ahead: The Loomis Term Limits issue finally made its way to the attorney general’s office for a decision on the retroactive portions of Measure A, and a case reference number and deputy attorney general was assigned to it. Town manager input sought: Loomis residents were invited to share ideas on a new town manager. The town hired a search firm to conduct the search. Golfers win CIF: The Del Oro boys golf team captured the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Golf Division II title and advanced to the CIF Northern California Regional tournament. Golfer Austin Smotherman ended up advancing to the state tournament. Track takes titles: Del Oro’s track squads brought home three league championships and one runner-up finish at the Sierra Foothill League competition. The girls varsity team, girls JV team and boys JV team all took first place; boys varsity took second. Walking for the cure: The first Loomis Relay For Life, held at the Del Oro track, succeeded in fielding 19 teams and raising more than $21,000 for the American Cancer Society. Softball takes League: The Lady Eagles softball team took the Sierra Foothill League championship for a third straight year. Equine virus reaches county: The Loomis Basin Horseman’s Association closed its arena, horse shows were cancelled and riding trails emptied as the often-fatal equine herpes virus reached Placer County. Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic said there is no cure or immunization for the virus. New park opens: Blue Anchor Park, the new downtown park located next to the Loomis Train Depot, opened with a playground at the site of the original Blue Anchor fruit shed. Girls track: The Del Oro girls track and field team became the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II champions. Three people murdered: Nanette Florance, John Camara and Lawrence Fay were found murdered in a home on Rachel Lane on May 28. Jeremy Ray Baker, of Roseville, was arrested for the shootings and plead not guilty. Florance, 47, grew up in Loomis and was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She had been an active volunteer with the South Placer Heritage Foundation. June Class of 2011 graduates: Del Oro’s Class of 2011 graduated in pouring rain during a winter-like storm, but was hailed as an academic record-setter – sending 12 grads to the University of California, Los Angeles, setting a record high for state test scores and setting a record of garnering more than $3 million in scholarships. Tevis Cup rescheduled: The 56th annual Tevis Cup endurance ride was rescheduled from July 16 to Oct. 8, because late winter snows made trails in the high country impassable. Relayers medal: The Del Oro boys 4X400 relay team, champions at the CIF Div. II and III sectional and the Sac-Joaquin Masters meet, ran a school record-setting time in the preliminaries before finishing seventh in the CIF State Track and Field Championship. Icons retire: Monty White retired from Del Oro after 24 years of service as an athletic director, assistant principal, teacher and coach. Charles Gieck and Mark Hayward also retired. Teen escapes train crash: Recent Del Oro graduate Christian Freed narrowly escaped injury after a semi truck slammed into the side of the Amtrak train he was riding on in Nevada. Six people died in the accident. Golfers dodge gunfire: Loomis residents Louie Euer, 14, and teacher Greg Hunt were caught in the middle of an armed robbery and bullets whizzed past them as they golfed at Haggin Oaks Golf Course, in Sacramento. The pair was unhurt and went on to win top honors in the 20th Annual Junior/Senior Golf Championship at the course. New sup named: The Loomis school board hired Gordon Medd as the new superintendent. He served as the assistant superintendent of administrative services for the Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District. Family pledges pool support: Rex and Grace Kamphefner pledged to match $1 million in donations towards a $4-million renovation of the Del Oro pool. The Granite Bay family has two children who utilize the pool and they want to see a hydrotherapy pool included in the rebuilding of the aged and outdated facility. July New substation commander: Placer County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Wayne Woo took over the command position at the Loomis Substation after Capt. David Harris retired on June 6. Woo lives in Loomis. FamilyFest highlights summer: Every Thursday night in June, July and August, the FamilyFest was held in downtown Loomis at the Train Depot parking lot. The street fair drew hundreds of people weekly for entertainment, food, shopping and activities. Senior projects cut: The Placer Union High School District voted to eliminate senior project requirements for graduation to allow time for the program to be revamped. A committee was expected to be formed to research alternatives and create a new program. Animals rescued: A Loomis property was raided by the Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills and 13 ill and neglected dogs and puppies, along with dozens of other farm animals were rescued. Del Oro grad dies in Afghanistan: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James M. Christen, 29, a 2000 Del Oro graduate, died in Afghanistan after enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Dad runs for school: Greg Bomhoff, a Franklin Elementary School parent, competed in the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley and raised $10,000 for the school. August Thrift store OK’d: The Loomis Basin United Congregational Church of Christ received a minor use permit from the planning commission to open a thrift store to provide funding for low-cost childcare for working mothers. Students get Tdap: Local parents scrambled to get their students vaccinated before the start of school after a state mandate that all students in grades seven to 12 receive the whooping cough booster shot, called Tdap. Car break-ins increase: Auto burglaries were on the rise after eight vehicles were broken into in Loomis neighborhoods and at the Del Oro parking lot. An expensive car stereo system, computer equipment, iPad, cameras, a purse, a backpack and gift cards were stolen. Penryn apartments debated: Loomis entered the debate over a proposed 150-unit apartment complex on Penryn Road and called the projected traffic increase unacceptable at a county planning commission meeting. Numerous Penryn residents spoke against the project. Fire destroys home: A Humphrey Road home was destroyed by a fire started by a gas barbecue placed too near the wood-sided home. The Dubois family escaped the fire without injury. September Berg Lane murderer pleads: Kenneth Lewis Massey Jr., 23, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the bludgeoning death of Rudy Ramos, 23, who lived on Berg Lane. A second suspect remained in custody. Football tournament held: The Battle at the Capital football tournament was held at Del Oro High School with proceeds benefiting programs and services for severely wounded veterans through the Wounded Warrior program. The Golden Eagles narrowly lost to Southland powerhouse Westlake High School in triple overtime. Homewood is happy: Homewood Lumber and Building Supply settled into its new location on the corner of Brace Road and Sierra College Boulevard. The company has 65 employees between its two locations. Loomis schools score: Loomis district schools continue to rank tops in the county according to the state Academic Performance Index test results. The district earned an 896 – one point higher than last year. Town holds energy fair: Town officials held an energy fair to help locals save money and energy before financial incentives ran out. CCD Expo held: The first ever Content, Creation and Distribution Expo, held in downtown Loomis, brought an eclectic mix of entertainment industry creators, vendors and entertainers to town and gave attendees an insider’s view of how to utilize new digital and handheld media. Fire chief revisits 9/11 site: Loomis Fire Chief Dave Wheeler returned to New York for the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Wheeler led a search and rescue team at the site after the attack. Beck retires: Perry Beck retired from his town manager position, but said he would stay on until a replacement was hired. October Freshman in coma: Del Oro freshman and cross-country runner Lucas Armand, 14, suffered an unexplained sudden cardiac arrest, received CPR and his heart was restarted after 45 minutes. A community outpouring of prayers and support went out to his family as they maintained a bedside vigil. Apartments opposed: Residents showed up in force at the Penryn Municipal Advisory Council workshop on the proposed 150-unit apartment complex to voice concerns against the project Doupnik closes: Gary Doupnik Manufacturing, Inc., announced the closure of its manufacturing facility after 35 years. The company built portable school classrooms and with state budget cuts there is a glut of surplus classrooms because of teacher layoffs and increased class size. Local woman published: Loomis resident Alison (Mary) Shelton’s short story “The Other Toy Story” was published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for the Young at Heart.” Council OKs Thrift Store: Despite an appeal, town council gave the green light to Second Blessings Thrift Store operated by the Loomis Basin Congregational United Church of Christ. Runner out of coma: Lucas Armand, 14, was out of his medically induced coma after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. The Del Oro freshman remained in a low-level state of consciousness and the family asked for continued prayers for his recovery. Grad says thanks: Hayden Rosenaur, a 1986 Del Oro grad, wrote a letter to former teacher Jack Pchelkin thanking him for teaching him industrial arts skills that he uses daily in his career as a Hollywood animal trainer. Bears slated for death: A mother bear and her three cubs were slated to be trapped and killed if they returned to a Granite Bay residence where they killed 20 chickens. The bears had wandered through Loomis, Granite Bay and Roseville. New manager named: Rick Angelocci was named as the new Loomis town manager. He was the former assistant city manager and community development director for the City of South Lake Tahoe. New parish opens: St. Joseph Marello Catholic Parish, which serves Loomis, opened in Granite Bay. Water polo wins league: The girls varsity water polo team became Sierra Foothill League champions for the first time in the team’s 15-plus-year existence, with a perfect 12-0 league record. November Murderer sentenced: Berg Lane murderer Kenneth Lewis Massey, Jr. was sentenced to a 21-year-term for the fatal baseball bat bludgeoning homicide of 24-year-old Rudy Ramos. Massey was having an affair with Ramos’ wife. Bears head for hills: The bear family who raised havoc appeared to have escaped unharmed as they moved back up to the Auburn area. WW II vet honored: Japanese American Frank Kageta, 91, formerly of Penryn, traveled to Washington D.C. to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for serving in the 100th Infantry Battalion in the 442nd during World War II. Winery opens: Casque Wines opened a production facility and wine tasting room on Swetzer Road. Football wins league: Del Oro varsity football took the Sierra Foothill League crown with a perfect 5-0 league season and was awarded the No. 2 seed in the Division III playoffs. Girl runners win: Three Lady Eagles cross-country teams took first-place finishes at the CIF Sac-Joaquin Div. III sub sections. The varsity, junior varsity and frosh-soph girls teams each took first place. Water polo wins sections: The Lady Eagles water polo team capped a perfect season by winning the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II playoffs. Courtney Weddle and goalie Katelynn Thompson were named All Americans. Track work to close roads: Union Pacific track upgrades will close Loomis roads while rails are replaced, raising concerns over public safety. Six sign for colleges: Six Del Oro athletes signed letters of intent to play collegiate sports. Placer invades: Del Oro and Placer High schools met on the football field for the first time since 2005. The Golden Eagles hosted and beat the Hillmen during the second-round, Div. III, Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. 1970’s art auctioned: A large artwork created in 1979 by the Placer Elementary School sixth-grade class appeared at an auction of personal items belonging to the late Hollywood acting icon John Wayne. December Football wins crown: The Golden Eagles beat Oakmont High School, 21-7 in the final game at California State University, Sacramento to claim the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship title for a second year in a row. Del Oro goes to state: The Golden Eagles football team was selected for its first-ever state championship game against Helix High School in the Div. II bowl game, in Southern California. Hundreds lined the streets of Loomis to cheer on the team as their bus headed down Taylor Road enroute to the big game. Penryn girl makes TV debut: Del Oro junior, Cheyann Ortman, of Penryn, appeared in a reality television miniseries as one of several aspiring fashion models. The segment was filmed locally. Loomis turns out: Thousands of Del Oro fans showed up in Carson when the Golden Eagles played in their first-ever state bowl game. Countless more watched the game on television at Loomis eateries and in their homes. Team paraded: Even though the Golden Eagles lost 35-24 at their first state bowl game, the town and community lauded them with a parade down Taylor Road celebrating their winning season. New mayor seated: Second-year councilwoman Sandra Calvert was seated as the new mayor of Loomis. Coach honored: Mike Takayama, Del Oro girls basketball coach, was named a Model Coach by the Sac-Joaquin Section of the CIF. His teams have won 13 Sierra Foothill League titles, including his current streak of seven straight. Takayama has a quiet way of coaching and emphasizes each player’s importance. Editor’s note: The full stories from throughout the year are available at Older stories can be found by searching the archives.