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2022 Year in Review

The year 2022 brought with it a sense of recovery compared to recent years, as many aspects of community life came out of COVID-19 pandemic hibernation. Events that had been canceled or virtual for several years came back in person. The city ended its local state of emergency, and the state plans to lift its own emergency declaration after February 2023.

Local law enforcement remembered officers killed in the line of duty but also announced a break in a decades-old Galt cold case. A seasoned Galt police sergeant received honors marking his retirement.

And as an election year, 2022 brought with it new political representation at many levels, while also maintaining some familiar faces.

Read on for a selection of the events that defined Galt’s 2022.

Community events launch, get new twist

The year brought new events, as well as ongoing traditions with new features.

Galtonians got monthly opportunities to visit the new Saturday Market, which took place on the first Saturday of the month from April to October. (The event has been approved to come back in 2023, this time from March to November.)

Every market featured dozens of vendors offering foods, produce and artisan goods, and there was also a theme for each edition. For instance, the May market was themed after Cinco de Mayo, and the July market came right after the Independence Day parade.

The first market, in April, was paired with the city’s Touch-a-Truck event. Vehicles came from the city of Galt, as well as Cal-Waste Recovery Systems, Cosumnes Fire Department, the Galt Police Department and California Highway Patrol and local racecar drivers.

While showing the city’s skip loader and dump truck, a Parks and Recreation employee said the children were “loving playing with the joysticks and the horns.” The beeps of vehicles’ horns could be heard throughout the day as kids tested out the big vehicles.

Eggstravaganza and Kite Day on April 9 were combined into a single event for the first time. Filling McFarland Living History Ranch with hidden Easter eggs and giant kites shaped like sea creatures, the Galt Area Historical Society made sure attendees enjoyed the blustery day.

Anthony Eichele, a member of a kite club that brought many of the giant kites, said he had made kites out of newspaper as a child, but his passion for kites came in adulthood.

“A lot of people tend to think it’s a kids’ thing,” Eichele said. But he said there is more to kites than the ones at the department store, like the science involved in flying more complex kites.

Organizer Gale Webber was optimistic about continuing the combined events.

“I think it was very successful,” she told the Herald. “Especially with this wind that came up with the kites, it’s been very successful. If we do this again, we will definitely combine it (Eggstravaganza) with Kite Day again.”

Activities return after absence

Several events, or beloved aspects of them, came back after years on pandemic hiatus, such as the Herald Community Club’s Christmas in the Barn and Galt Bible Church’s live nativity. The IDC parade included tanks and historical reenactors who had been absent for three years.

The Junior Livestock Auction at the Sacramento County Fair was held in person, giving young FFA and 4-H members a chance to show crowds of onlookers, and potential buyers, the results of months of hard work. Kiera Schloeder, a senior in Liberty Ranch High School FFA, wanted to enjoy herself while selling her market goat.

“I’m just looking forward to having a good last auction,” Schloeder said. “I don’t need a big amount of money. I just want to have a fun time and sell him.”

Galt High School and Liberty Ranch High School seniors once again celebrated their graduations at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, and the graduates said they had used their final year to bring back school traditions.

“So many things happened this year that I wish I could say all, but the most important part was that we all stuck together through the good, the bad and the ugly,” said Armando Perez, then the Liberty Ranch senior class vice president. “We brought normal back.”

Sarah Reece, a former Galt High class officer, said that “it was our job to bring back that Warrior spirit and fill the other kids with the kind of joy and laughter that only Galt High School can bring.”

Law enforcement honors Grewal, Gibson

In a solemn and often-tearful ceremony on April 28, two law enforcement officers with connections to Galt were enrolled in the Sacramento County Police and Sheriff’s Memorial.

Galt officer Harminder Grewal and county sheriff’s deputy Adam Gibson joined 41 other law enforcement officers who are commemorated with engraved bollards arranged in front of a stone obelisk.

Grewal died from his injuries after a car crash August 2021. Gibson, a Herald resident, was shot to death in January 2021 while pursuing a robbery suspect.

“I miss Harmin,” said Navdeep Kaur, Grewal’s sister, using a nickname for her brother. “But I feel proud that he made us proud to come to this ceremony. I really miss him.”

34-year-old cold case solved

Galt police and the Sacramento County district attorney announced on May 17 a major break in a decades-old cold case: 34 years after the fact, DNA evidence had allowed the DA to identify the killer of Lucille Hultgren, who was found stabbed and strangled at her home in 1988.

The culprit, Terry Leroy Bramble, died in 2011. Then-DA Anne Marie Schubert said the advances in forensic techniques had made the discovery possible, with scrapings taken from under Hultgren’s fingernails.

“In that time frame since 1988, clearly the science has gotten better, it’s become more meticulous, and our ability to solve this case became a reality,” Schubert said.

Galt Chief of Police Brian Kalinowski said law enforcement “never forgets about their cold cases and always works hard to make sure we can get some resolution to that, and this is a prime example under the leadership of our current district attorney.”

Walton retires from Galt force

Longtime Galt officer Craig Walton retired this year in order to head the Cal Expo police department. Kalinowski commended Walton’s contributions over nearly 29 years of service at a ceremony on June 16, and a community event on the 19th brought further recognition.

“Make no mistake: The Galt Police Department will always be my law enforcement home,” Walton wrote in a letter announcing his retirement. As he made clear to those he spoke to, he planned to remain active in the community.

Galt Super sold

On Oct. 12, the family that owned Galt Supermarket for nearly 53 years and three generations placed the local institution in new hands. The Lee and Hom family had owned and managed the store since Frank and Cynthia Lee purchased it in 1969.

Catherine Hom, the store manager at the time and the Lees’ granddaughter, said the sale was a family decision prompted by economic pressures such as supply chain issues. She said her involvement with the store has been lifelong, with supermarket employees whom she considered like family.

“I was born here,” Hom said with a chuckle. “(There are) pictures of me as a baby here, working my whole life here.” She said she would remember the people who visited when she had her own baby — “just the memories, you know, of my grandparents, of my uncles, of everything. That’s what I’m going to remember.”

Elections bring new leaders

The 2022 elections installed new leaders in multiple positions while also staying the course in other areas.

On Galt City Council, voters chose to give Paul Sandhu, Shawn Farmer and Rich Lozano each their second term, and the council chose Jay Vandenburg as the mayor and Sandhu as vice mayor. Katherine Harper and Annette Kunze joined the Galt Joint Elementary School District Board of Education.

In a significant development for parks and recreation funding, the city’s Measure Q sales tax passed, paving the way for a projected $3.6 million in yearly revenue that Council has said it wants to devote to parks and landscaping.

The primaries saw Jim Cooper elected as Sacramento County sheriff and Thien Ho as district attorney.

In the general election, Pat Hume was voted in for District 5 Sacramento County supervisor, and in Galt’s legislative districts, it will be represented by Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, in Congress; Roger Niello in the state Senate; and Heath Flora in the Assembly.

Those we lost

In 2022, the toll from COVID-19 eased, but the community still lost loved ones to the virus, about 25, and many other causes took away beloved local figures. Following is a small set of people in or connected to Galt who passed away in 2022.

Ty Lenehan: The Elk Grove Police Department motorcycle officer was killed in a crash with a wrong-way driver Jan. 21. The 44-year-old had served two years, from 2014 to 2016, with Galt police.

“We are heartbroken and offer our condolences as we grieve alongside our brothers and sisters with the Elk Grove Police Department, Officer Lenehan’s family, friends, and loved ones,” the Galt police wrote in a post on social media.

Social media posts from Lenehan’s time in Galt show an officer interested in community engagement. In 2016, Galt residents thanked Lenehan for playing basketball with neighborhood children.

The Galt police posted in 2014 that Lenehan had rescued two dogs running through traffic on Simmerhorn Road.

Hank Harrison: An author and former Galt resident, Harrison died at the age of 81 on Jan. 23. He was the former manager of The Warlocks, a band that would go on to become the Grateful Dead, and he gained recognition as the father of Courtney Love, who fronted alternative/grunge rock band Hole. His passion was for writing, whether fiction, nonfiction or poetry, and he covered topics as diverse as the Grateful Dead, the Haight-Ashbury movement of the 1960s, medieval Arthurian literature and hang gliding.

Bill Forrest: A longtime city engineer, Forrest died on April 4, after more than 15 years with the Public Works Department.

“(Forrest) was responsible for all aspects of development on the public works side,” Public Works Director Mike Selling said during a City Council meeting. “He was a stalwart engineer and was a wealth of knowledge for staff, myself included.”

The city planted a tree in Forrest’s honor outside the Public Works building. At the planting ceremony, Forrest’s family members “christened” the Redpointe maple with beer from Track 7, his favorite craft brewery.

Jim Spaans: A fixture of the community, known lovingly as the “Cookie Man” around town, Spaans died on July 29 at the age of 80 after complications from a heart attack. Spaans had been the owner of Spaans Cookie Co. and played an important role in the development of Old Town Galt, as well as community-based nonprofits, community engagement, school support, FFA support and more.

As the Herald noted at the time, Spaans will always be remembered for his dedication to family and community support, all with cookies in hand.