Davisville Archives

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Davisville, April 15, 2024: Happiness in spite of the problems of the world

In Harboring Happiness: 101 Ways to be Happy, author Dan Brook says happiness is worth pursuing despite all the awful things happening across the globe. He bases this on research and on what he has learned during his decades as an instructor and sociologist (he earned master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology from UC Davis in the 1990s).

So how do you become happier? You probably have to work at it. His suggestions range from “getting more experiences,” and feeling gratitude, to “being around people who make you happy” and converting the fear of missing out into the joy of missing out.

“I’m happy not because I ignore the problems of the world, but in spite of them,” he says. Work to fix what’s wrong, but “being miserable does not help solve those problems.” He elaborates on his ideas during today’s Davisville.

Davisville, April 1, 2024: A year later, less panic about chatbots

In winter 2023 we talked with Andy Jones and Margaret Merrill of UC Davis about ChatGPT, a new artificial-intelligence app that was setting off alarms for its advanced ability to "write" reports and articles. On today’s Davisville they report that among the faculty they work with, the sense of panic present then has now eased “quite a bit.” People know more about the limits of chatbots, and are asking more about how and where to use the tools in teaching, instead of just fearing them as a plagiarism machine.

We talk about handling chatbot hallucinations, resisting the biases that chatbots suck into their text databases, and hear a few examples of how UC Davis instructors are using the tools in their classrooms.

Davisville, March 18, 2024: Secret Spot creates a new home for the creatively weird in Davis

Today’s Davisville is a story about the new — and about getting started in Davis, as well as art, life after the pandemic, ambition, and the weird. We talk with Toni Rizzo and Harry Greer, who along with Stephanie Peel have started the Secret Spot, an arts gallery and music lounge business that opened this month in a former house at 117 D St. downtown. #ConstructiveDiscomfort #RookieRoom #ArtMania! #LockdownArt #DavisSound #ArtAsTherapy #PsychicScream #HelpingOthers The photo shows, from left, Toni, Harry and Stephanie

Davisville, March 4, 2024: DMA looks into creating a new information source for Davis and Yolo

Finding information and news about Davis is harder than it should be. The Enterprise still prints and posts local stories, but lacks the scope and heft it had before the rise of internet technology decimated newspapers as a business. Other paid sources of news and information have also retreated, turning what used to be a town commons for communication into a series of walled gardens, with information about local events and news scattered across a variety of formats, outlets, and channels. If the information is present at all.

Autumn Labbe-Renault, the executive director of Davis Media Access (the parent of KDRT), thinks DMA could work with the community to create a new source of information and news about Davis, and eventually Yolo County. The venture has the working title of civic information hub. The idea is in its very early stages, and we talk about it today on Davisville.

Davisville, Feb. 19, 2024: Measure N is normal in Davis, unusual in California

Measure N is the latest Davis schools parcel tax to come before voters — the latest in a string that goes back 40 years. Relatively few school districts in California have such taxes, and few levy as much as Davis does.

The sample ballot for the March 5th election presents the arguments for and against Measure N, plus a list of what the $768 tax supports. For context, today’s Davisville talks with John Fensterwald, an editor at large with EdSource, about how Californians pay for public schools, the pros and cons of parcel taxes, and why Davis receives less money per student from the state than most other districts receive. EdSource, a nonprofit, reports on education issues in California.

Davisville, Feb. 5, 2024: The Artery at 50, Cuteware, and painting Putah Creek

The Artery co-op/gallery/store turns 50 this year. Most of its downtown Davis neighbors from the 1970s are gone, so how has the Artery lasted? Heidi Bekebrede and Adele Shaw, two of its members, list several reasons on today’s Davisville, and some might surprise you — they include the hours (most art galleries don’t open daily), the variety (most don’t display so many artists), members who work in the shop, turnover that brings in new artists, fresh displays, and a town with lots of people interested in the arts. The train station a block away helps too.

We also talk about the store’s name, how they find members, the other meaning of “cute” in Bekebrede’s Cuteware, the way Putah Creek inspires Shaw’s paintings, and how managing a 32-machine laundromat in San Francisco introduced Shaw to first- and second-hand stories of her neighborhood from many decades before.

Davisville, Jan. 22, 2024: Louie Toro demystifies smartphones

You’ve probably got a smartphone. Does it ever confuse you, or do anything you don't expect? When you have a question, where do you get answers? From friends? YouTube videos? Many of us just click different things and hope for the best.

Smartphones do wonderful things, but they’re also tricky, sometimes inscrutable, change frequently, and are almost essential in the modern economy. Today’s guest on Davisville, Louie Toro, is teaching classes this winter and spring at Davis Adult and Community Education for people who want their smartphones to be less of a black box. We talk about common questions (“a big one is almost always downloading files”), how he teaches, and how to live more of your life outside your phone. The phone is “just a tool,” he says. “You should be the one who chooses how to use that tool.”

Davisville, Jan. 8, 2024: Catching up with Davis housing

Housing in Davis has kept evolving since we last talked about it on Davisville in summer 2022. The supply has grown, more new housing is in the works, and the city logged just 354 home sales in 2023, when in “a really strong year, [Davis will] get upwards of close to 600 home sales,” says Davis real estate broker Steve Boschken. Rising interest rates were a cause.

Today’s returning guests on Davisville are Steve; Kit Boschken, manager of Boschken Properties, which she co-owns with Steve; and their son James Boschken, a real estate agent and property manager who moved back to Davis from Texas a year ago. We talk about rents, prices, the G Street downtown apartment proposals, opting to live in Woodland, and a few interesting details from the market last year — like the three UC Davis seniors who moved from Davis to Sacramento, Kit says, because they had to be in Davis only two days a week and Sacramento had “more of a nightlife.”

Davisville, Dec. 25, 2023: Expanding Interstate 80 through Davis

Traffic on Interstate 80 is often frustratingly slow through Davis, and has been for years. What’s the remedy? Caltrans proposes adding a fourth lane, and the options include allowing free use of the lane only to vehicles with at least three occupants — anyone else using the lane would pay a toll. That’s the option the Yolo Transportation District Board unanimously endorsed a couple weeks ago.

In other words, there are two big changes on the table — a bigger freeway, plus the start of tolls for some of the traffic on I-80 in Yolo County.

The project is in the news this season as people respond via surveys, comments, and various events (including this Davis teach-in). On today’s Davisville we talk with Autumn Bernstein, executive director of the Yolo Transportation District, and Lucas Frerichs, who chairs the county Board of Supervisors and is a former mayor of Davis, about what's proposed, and why.

Davisville, Dec. 11, 2023: A marquee writer returns to the Enterprise

Some individuals’ work in Davis is so visible that they end up personifying their jobs. Today’s guest is one of those folks — Bruce Gallaudet, a longtime, prolific writer about sports in Davis. A former editor and sports editor of the Davis Enterprise, he has retired from the news organization twice, and recently returned for the second time. Officially, he’s now a sports correspondent for the paper.

On today’s Davisville our topics include why he’s back, how he’s working within the limits imposed by a publication that’s a fraction of its former size, and what people miss when they dismiss sports stories as uninteresting. "There's a great deal of flavor in sports," he says.

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