Meet Doug Hatton, one of Davis’ Santas

Today’s year-end program has one guest and two subjects: Tales from a man who portrays Santa Claus in Davis, plus some of his memories of Davis through the years. Both are fit subjects for late December, when the year-end holidays, and the changes that accompany the turn of the year, are front and center. My guest Doug Hatton talks about what he sees as one of the town’s Santas—he has played the character in hundreds of appearances for thousands of local kids—and how Davis has changed since he moved here at 13. His local roots go deeper than that, though. For example, his mom was Miss Davis of 1939.

UC Davis greenhouse expert Garry Pearson reports back from Iraq

Twice this year, Garry Pearson has gone to Iraq as part of a program to help Iraqis grow more vegetables. He oversees about 160 research greenhouses at UC Davis, and an ag project recruited him as a technical expert. On today’s Davisville he talks about what he saw. Pearson wanted to “see what’s going on [after the U.S. war] ... It’s my own natural curiosity. I know I have technical skills that can be passed on to different people, if it’s presented in the right way. On the ground my experience was just meeting the people everyday, the day-to-day folks. I got the opportunities to be out and to mix.”

He spent his time in Kurdistan, the less-violent northern part of the country, working with Kurds, Shias and Sunnis. Pearson describes both tension and reasons to hope—hotel guards with AK-47s, and a lively democracy. A few years ago he went to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Afghanistan is probably next. “Davis,” he says near the end of the show, “needs to get out and see the rest of the world.”

Davis school funding cuts end, but there’s no long-term fix yet

The financial picture for Davis schools looks better than it has in years … and yet that doesn’t mean the recent era of cuts is history. Too much remains undecided, including the impact of the fiscal cliff if Washington can’t resolve the nation's tax-and-spending dispute in the next few weeks; the recovery of the California economy; upward pressure on wages and other costs; and the fact that Measure E and Proposition 30, which put a floor under the school budget this fall, will expire in several years, unless extended. In today’s Davisville we discuss all this with Jeff Hudson, education writer for the Davis Enterprise.

‘Hobbit,’ year-end films, and great projections in Davis theaters

yolo archiveDavis film critic Derrick Bang returns to Davisville this week to talk about some of the big December movies, including The Hobbit debuting Dec. 14, and Quentin Tarentino’s Django Unchained “southern,” which opens on Christmas. We also take up related questions about movies, such as the continuing slump in ticket sales. He blames the degraded experience of going out to a movie, including the pre-show commercials and mediocre presentation—but says the three Davis theaters do a consistently good job in sound and projection. Maybe that’s a selling point for a city banking on arts and entertainment as a major draw for downtown.

New Davis theater group opens with a ghost story, 'Woman in Black’

yolo archiveToday’s guests are Brianna Owens (far left) and Steph Hankinson from Common House Productions, a new theater troupe that is producing its first show, "The Woman in Black," in Davis. The play will debut at 8 p.m. on Halloween, in what they describe as a "huge, really creepy" backyard with a campfire pit on Loyola, and run through Nov. 11. Owens and Hankinson, vets of local theater who met at Sacramento State, are co-directing the play. On Davisville they talk about "The Woman in Black," their plans for Common House, why they created a new theater company, the co-operative structure of their enterprise, why they opened with a strong narrative story where the sound is a defining part of the experience, and what they’d like to do next.

Tales from the world’s largest temporary corn maze

yolo archiveFor my Halloween show, I thought it’d be fun to talk with the people behind Cool Patch Pumpkins at the north edge of Dixon, just southwest of Davis. Guinness World Records says the farm has the world’s largest temporary corn maze (53 acres this year, with a path 2.5 miles long). Cool Patch co-owner Matt Cooley obliged, and told me things about the farm I hadn’t read or heard before.

For example: They end up with a lot of shoes. Some pumpkin hunters amass so much gummy clay on their soles after a trek through the patch, they abandon their footwear next to their cars when they leave. Other facts: The Cooleys (Matt and his brother Mark) thought about adding a mud pit, to go with the hay bales, scarecrows and corn bath; they might move the maze south of Interstate 80, and/or offer two mazes, one harder than the other; and Matt gets calls in the middle of the night about or from people lost in the maze. People ask him if the maze is haunted, and he says no, except if you’re out there alone in the night amid the rustling stalks, and a bird suddenly takes off skyward near you … yeah, it can be scary.

With a key vote due soon, Mayor Krovoza discusses Davis' water project

yolo archiveToday’s subject, water, could not be more basic. Everyone who uses water in Davis is going to pay more for it, probably significantly more, in the next few years. The reasons why, and how this might all play out, are among the points we cover in today’s discussion with Joe Krovoza, the mayor of Davis and vice chair of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency. This complex subject goes back years. It involves issues of where Davis gets its water, potential partnerships with Woodland or West Sacramento, conservation, a great deal of analysis by the citizen’s Water Advisory Committee, and more. Tune in for a rundown on how we got here, and what might happen next.

Davisville Sep 10th, 2012

This is the Sept. 3rd show, repeated. (I haven't deleted it because there might be some links out there to this copy of the show, instead to of the Sept. 3 original.)

Rick Reed’s local jobs forecast was correct a year ago. Hear what he’s saying now.

yolo archiveMost people would probably agree that one of the key public problems this fall—for the last several years, really—is the scarcity of jobs. To size up the local prognosis, today’s show interviews Rick Reed. He has surveyed area employers several times a year since 1992 for what is now a quarterly employment forecast, the Pacific Staffing Employment Trends Survey. He last appeared on Davisville a year ago, when he correctly forecast job growth for the region. According to the California Employment Development Department, the Davis unemployment rate was 6.7% in July, down from 7.6% in summer 2011; Yolo’s rate was 10.5%, down from 11.8%; and regional unemployment was 10.7%, down from 12.3%. Of course, those numbers are still much worse than they were in 2006. On today’s show we discuss why the job market has improved since 2011, plus the most promising sectors for growth. Reed also looks ahead. ...


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