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Word on the Street



By Paula McConnell



Wedding Bells Abound and spring is in the air as two of Vallejo’s most talented people announce their upcoming marriages. The former Activities Director of the Senior Center, the effervescent, wonderful Nancy Yingst, has announced her upcoming marriage to Tim Rainey who now lives ‘up around’ Grass Valley. The happy couple will be married on July 7th at a fabulous Lake Tahoe resort. But first they will take an extended cruise to Alaska with Tim’s parents who are well in their eighties. “They consider me already part of the family already,” said Nancy. Why not? Anybody would want Nancy in the ‘framily’ – friends & family combined.

And Vallejo’s own award winning mystery writer, David Corbett, is tying the knot in October. He met his bride at a conference for mystery writers ‘back East’. She was attending with a friend. They will be married in her home town in the New York Hudson Valley in October. Corbett has penned a few books about crime and the plots often include parts of Vallejo. “Done for a Dime” was particularly visceral & intriguing. Good luck to both Nancy, and David, two great contributors to our little jewel of a city by the Bay.


Peter Wilson, formerly Peter Lepley, until he married his husband, Michael Wilson, (and formerly of the humane society) will take over as the Executive Director of the Florence Douglas Senior Center on Amador Street. He will replace Vicki Conrad who recently left the center due to health concerns. “Peter will get along very well with some of those lovely older women who often frequent the center,” says Larry Kritchfield, pianist/accordionist who often plays for events at the Senior Center. And speaking of the Florence Douglas Senior Center, Council members Malgapo and McConnell can be found there twice a month with reports from the city, and Supervisor Erin Hannigan holds weekly sessions about the county there as well. It’s probable that these local educational forums will continue under Wilson’s watch. For times and information about these meetings, call the Center@ 643-1044.

Please send thoughts or calls of condolence to Rozzanna Verder-Aliga whose mother recently passed away in the Philippines. And condolences also go out to School Board member Adrienne Waterman whose husband passed away recently after a long battle with cancer. There will be an upcoming memorial at a Methodist church in historical downtown.


New Businesses on the Horizon/Business News

Formerly of Petco and Powell Brothers, popular pet groomer, Alejandra, has opened up her own shop. More and more Latina women are opening their own businesses! Alejandra has taken over the space formerly occupied by former Planning Commissioner, and Insurance man, Jimmy Jones. Jones has moved on to the position of President of the NAACP. Alejandra’s shop is located at 2865 Georgia St. which is next door to another Latina owned business: Judith’s Hair Salon, both are near the 7-11.

And as we know, the Dollar General folks are getting close to opening with new landscaping that staff and the Planning Commission mandated as a condition. Lety's hear it for more trees.

And as we know, the controversial Chick-Fil-A is coming to town. Word is they have recently made some amends with the LGBTQ members of society. And Chipotle will open soon near the Vallejo Verizon outlet.

This just in: Tony and Sherry LoForte (owners of Zio Fraedos) recently held a grand opening for their new restaurant named Dickey’s Barbeque in Pinole. They hold the Dickey’s franchise for both Pinole and Vallejo. Tony is confident that he will be able to have the Vallejo franchise of Dickey’s opened by next year. “Right now I am currently looking at locating it on Admiral Callaghan Way,” he said.

And if you have not popped into Stephanie's on Sonoma Blvd., please do so. She is friendly and informative about her merchandise which is reasonably priced too.

And the thrift shop called Wags & Whiskers on the corner of Solano and Benicia Road is a fun stop too. Confused about the location? It’s not too far from the central Police Station. Staff there is working hard to get the low cost spay and neuter clinic open. Tentative name: SNIP – makes sense right?

Mr. Jack Mayblum recently started his business “Have Nail Gun, Will Travel” from his home on El Camino. You need to hammer that one home, Jack!!

Six Flags (a well established business) last year reported a gross figure of $404 million which marks a 7% increase over prior years. They attribute part of their success to staying open on weekends during January and February. Now if they would only clean up Lake Chabot.


Prime Crime, Mis-taken steps, and Get well wishes:

Charlie Aquilina, co-owner of the old Bank of America building on Georgia Street recently had his car stolen. “The police officer who covered the theft could not have been nicer,” said Charlie; “I wish I had obtained his name.” If you run into a nice cop, pass the word on to Chief Joe Kreins. It goes a long way for morale.

Charlie’s car was retrieved two weeks later, but his beloved daughter’s treasured violin is gone for good.

And Jeff Lowe of Bay Area Stage left his car full of tools, and theatre equipment to answer the phone. “He was away for only twenty minutes and look what happened,” said devoted pal and business partner, Stacey Loew.

Dan Scott of Exit Realty had his Nissan stolen on the East side of Vallejo. It was totally trashed, but he retrieved it from a Richmond, Ca. tow yard to the tune of $600. He could only sell it for $700 due to the trashing and graffiti on top. “Guess I should have left it in Richmond,” said Dan. So, lock it up, nail it down and don't leave anything out to attract the sharks cruising Vallejo folks!

Well wishes go out to Jesse Bethel teacher, Jean West, who tripped over a severed sidewalk on campus and shattered her femur. She is looking at months of recuperation; so think of her and her class for a speedy recovery.

And a shout out of get well wishes to Vallejo activist Steve Swanson of Marion & Steve Swanson fame; Steve has been under the weather lately, so send your good thoughts his way.


MUSEUM CELEBRATES 40 YEARS. The Vallejo Naval Historical Museum should change their name to simply the Vallejo Historical Museum, don’t you think? Now that Ken Zadwick and company have started a formal ‘Naval Museum’ on Mare Island, it would make sense. At any rate, the original (this is so confusing) on the mainland is due to celebrate forty years this September. But, they really need money. So be sure to catch their ever-popular garden tour in May. There will be more about that in a future column. The board is soliciting businesses to run ads in their tour program, so call board members Tony Pearsall, Nancy Yingst, & Kathy Hoffman, or call Executive Director Jim Kern for more info on rates and space. Meanwhile, the Mare Island Historical Foundation needs $5 to $10k to restore their historical signage along the causeway bridge. Can you believe it? According to the City’s grant writer, Dan Armenta, there are “600 non-profits in the City of Vallejo vying for dollars.” Gee, I wonder how many of them are churches! Betcha there are upwards of 300 churches here alone looking for extra buckaroos. What's next? Non-profit tattoo parlors?


Upcoming Events

April 22 thru 24 Solano College (both Fairfield & Vallejo campuses) will hold a forum and “Stop the Violence & Peace Summit” along with a segment on “Stop the Bullying.” Call the college for more info.

Also PFLAG (Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) will hold a seminar in Napa. For those of you who might not know, it stands for ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual Trans-Sexual and Queer’. So there, now you know!

Adrienne Waterman’s Food Rescue is gearing up again for another harvest. Food Rescue is a harvest and food share non-profit If you have fruit trees that need harvesting, or want to volunteer for a fun day making friends, and picking produce, you will be on the right team. Check it out on line at

The Coal Shed (artists’ studios housed in what was literally a coal shed for the Navy) on the Mare Island waterfront will host an upcoming show featuring artist Jose Martinez who does fabulous portraits in oil on canvass as well as some eclectic ‘push pin’ portraits. It is not to be missed. The fun begins at 5p.m. on April 26th. Openings there are always a blast! It is a chance to meet Jose along with other talented Vallejo artists. Hope to see you there.

Speaking of art, Luna Gilligan of Arc Solano reports that they are badly in need of art supplies for upcoming art classes. If you can contribute, or have extra art/classroom supplies around, please contact Luna at

The Vallejo Symphony has recently moved their offices from the former Fetterly Playhouse in Redwood Plaza to 715 Marin Street. Stop in to learn more about our eighty plus year old world class professional symphony. Upcoming offerings feature world famous Soprano Lauren Woody who will perform on May 10th.

And don’t forget the wine walk (hosted by Marion Swanson) finale to raise more funds for the downtown lights project , 5p.m. on May 3rd. Of course Fred Menard, the master mind behind these events will be selling tix at his Indian Alley Antique Shop on Georgia Street. A mere $20 will help keep the lights on in downtown. Now if we can just get our City Manager, Dan Keen, to get after our Public Works Director, Mr. Kleinschmidt to keep the darn lights ON. Too many people have contributed too much money, time and effort for us to have the City ignore it when they go out. Come on City Hall, Vallejo deserves better.

Oh, and btw, if you know anyone who needs free, yep, FREE dental work, the California Dental Association will host a free dental clinic on April 25 and 26. There will be dozens of dentists on hand to treat people on a first come/first serve basis. The event begins at 5:30a.m., and will take place at the Solano County Fairgrounds at 900 Fairgrounds Drive. So chomp, chomp and take a bite out of a great opportunity to get those TEETH CLEANED and get your fillings filled now.

And for the golfers, please make it to the 6th annual golf ball hunt on April 19th at the Shoreline Preserve. That is always a fun time.

Our Mad Hatter, Frank Malifrando says stay tuned for many great upcoming activities in historic downtown and on the waterfront. Frank is planning such events as a ‘Senior Sneaker Day,’ a Doggie Parade, a kite flying event, maybe even a boat race or two, bicycles abounding, banjos, Vallejo’s version of Hot August Nights and other fun stuff. Looking forward to it all!

Be sure to catch the art show featuring the work of Vallejo artist Steve Davis. Steve is the partner of Jimmy Genn. His work consists largely of California landscapes and bucolic scenes. Steve and Jimmy report that it will remain up for a month through mid May, so try not to miss it. There is also an interesting display of recycled art in the lobby of City Hall just in time to celebrate Earth Day.



Solano County District Attorney, Don duBain, is GETTING TOUGH on parents around the county. As the top cop in the county criminal justice department, duBain sees the correlation between missed school days vs. dropouts and an ultimate path to crime. So he has implemented a truancy court program. From now on, if a child in the county (Kindergarten through 6th grade) is chronically absent (more than 9 days), parents will be held accountable. According to former council member Joanne Schivley. “We used to have a truancy program in Vallejo. If we were found out of school during school hours, the local police would stop you, take you down to the police station, and your parents were called. The next day the names of the parent would be in the local newspaper. People were so embarrassed by this, they made certain their children were in school every day,”

These days, the cops see kids loitering and most often do nothing. Despite duBain’s efforts at truancy, he is only as good as the reports received from the schools. Vallejo, allegedly, has not consistently reported absences, as noted at a recent meeting. Sadly, DA duBain also announced that there are currently “thousands” of reported cases of child abuse annually in the county.

The Vallejo School Board is a critical subject right now with the election in November. It is indeed about policy and not personalities. But it is also about money. The school board has a new bond request coming up for a vote in November. Memories are short, but the last bond met with extreme controversy. I’m just sayin’….

The good news is that we have some stellar poterntial new school board candidates on the horizon. One holds a doctorate degree with his dissertation review and analysis of “Black on Black Violence”. He has a degree from Harvard, and received his Doctorate from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The other has taught school in the past, and holds a degree in Economics having worked for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are respectively, Dr. Fred Smith and Mr. John Lewis. Stay tuned for more on these two.

And it was recently announced that attorney Robert Young recently took over ownership of the Admirals baseball team. Several Vallejo hopefuls have participated in try-outs. As an avid Giants fan, Mr. Young has always loved baseball. He also appreciates the Bay Area. He received his Batchelor’s degree in Political Science and his Juris Doctorate degree from George Washington University. He has law offices in both New York City and Los Angeles, and has owned baseball teams in Hawaii. Young is the fourth owner of the Admirals in their brief history. Let’s hope the fans come out and make it finally happen for the team this summer. Vallejo’s own Kristina Naughton is helping to market the team; knowing Kristina, she will do a great job! Go Admirals!!

Dan Scott of Exit Realty (our recent car theft victim) will soon be moving from his offices on 425 Virginia Street over to the waterfront near the transit center. It is bitter sweet for Dan because he put big bucks in capital improvement on the building when he leased it ten years ago. One of his clients recently reported that a downtown merchant walked by when they first moved in. Instead of saying welcome to Exit Realty, they said they would prefer Exit Pizza. This person is currently buying lots of property downtown, and wants to see more restaurants there. Dan says his new potential spot is brighter and more cheery with views of the waterfront. That part sounds nice. The only problem is the man who owns the building, Criminal Defense Attorney Jim McEntee was not immediately upfront about selling the building. But you can bet the movers and shakers including, Mel Gomez and Robert Litwin, were on it. Some say that the Chamber of Commerce is vying to purchase the building from McEntee. Anybody wanna take bets that Uncle Buck Kamphausen might be involved?



Did you know that in 1885 Sarah E. Goode was the name of the first woman ever to be granted a U.S. patent for her fold out bed which converted to a desk? Today it could (and probably is) found at Ikea.

County Supervisor Erin Hannigan is working feverishly to help get rid of plastic bags in Solano County stores. If she succeeds, it means that like Berkeley and other places, shoppers will need to bring a canvas bag with them. Not too much to ask to save the fish and other creatures, right?

Journalist Jessica York has moved on. She left the Vallejo Times Herald recently to take a job in Santa Cruz. Too bad, Jessica was a fair and somewhat balanced political/city news reporter. But did she have real buy-in here? Nope!

And that’s it for the word on the street. Have nail gun, willing to travel!