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RIVERGATE HOME Wonderful four bedroom home on a quiet street. This home has a great Àoor plan with lots of light! Private living room, kitchen family room combination and spacious master suite. Sliding glass doors in family room and master suite leading to generous sized backyard. $349,000 PAM VANDERFORD 799-7234
STYLISH SOUTH LAND PARK Gracefully appointed, 3 bedroom 2 bath home. The home combines natural elements of wood, masonry and light to create alluring spaces throughout. Lush landscaping, pool and koi pond and spacious 2 bedroom guest cottage. Come see the magic! $667,000 STEPHANIE GALLAGHER 342-2288
QUALITY WEBER BUILT HOME 4 bedroom 2½ home on almost 1/2 acre lot with RV access. Gorgeous remodeled items: kitchen, baths, Àooring, imperfect smooth ¿nished walls, windows, sliders, counter tops, custom cabinets, stainless steel appliances, high-end granite, designer lights, ¿replace & more. Tons of quality upgrades! $569,000 MONA GERGEN 247-9555
WALK TO DIDION SCHOOL A rare opportunity to live close to Didion School. Spacious 4 bedrooms 2½ baths, 2264 square feet, with new interior paint, Àooring, light ¿xtures, granite counter tops in kitchen and all 3 baths, new dishwasher, and new gas range. Huge family room is just waiting for fun and games! $349,000 PAULA SWAYNE 425-9715
HOLLYWOOD PARK Welcome to one of the ¿nest streets in Hollywood Park! Great curb appeal and a huge professionally landscaped backyard. This adorable 2 bedroom home offers plantation shutters, an updated bath, California Custom closets and a home theater center ready in the living room. Newer HVAC. $290,000 KAREN SANDSTROM 803-0530
LOT ON THE RIVER Must see this beautiful lot! A rare opportunity to build your own home on a riverfront lot in the Little Pocket area close to the freeway and downtown. Riverside Blvd close to 35th Ave. Go by, walk around the lot and enjoy the Sacramento River. Call agent if you have questions. $279,000 MONA GERGEN 247-9555
DUNNIGANREALTORS.COM 916.484.2030 916.454.5753 Dunnigan is a different kind of Realtor.
POCKET MAR n 14
S LAND PARK HILLS DUPLEX This is a wonderful duplex in a great location! Spacious 1500+ square feet units, 3 bedrooms 2 baths with formal living room, family room and master suite on each side. Central heat and air, dishwasher, disposal, garages and small yards. $400,000 PAULA SWAYNE 425-9715
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WONDERFUL WEST SAC Wonderful single-level home in a quiet cul-de-sac. 4 bedrooms, 2½ baths on almost a quarter acre. Granite counters and glass subway tiled back splash set the kitchen apart. Solar heat for pool and house (annual electric bill $300 - $500!), dual pane windows and a tile roof. $430,000 NANCY WEGGE 600-5458, LISA MARTIS 612-7548
HOLLYWOOD PARK CHARM Hard to ¿nd updated 3 bedroom charmer with central heat and air. Country kitchen is large with granite counters, new cabinets and stainless steel appliances. Dual pane windows, hardwood Àoors and a wonderful ¿replace in the living room. Big backyard a garden delight! $235,900 LISA McCAULEY 601-5474
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COVER ARTIST Kerry Van Dyke Kerry founded Kerry's Art in 1986, for children and adults. She offers small, mentor-style classes for adults in her East Sacramento studio, and a children-adult summer art camp on Impressionist-style, on location oil painting at McKinley Rose Garden and other picturesque locations. To date, her students have produced well over 1,000 park paintings. She began rowing in 1994 at River City Rowing Club, which offers inspiring sunrise vistas for her art. The artist can be reached at 455-8994, kerryvandyke.com and Kerry’s Art on Facebook.
L A N D PA R K
MAR 14 V O L U M E
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Publisher's Desk.............................................................. ....5 Pocket Life ..................................................................... ....6 Know the Candidates ......................................................... 8 City Beat.......................................................................... 10 Life in the City .................................................................. 12 Meet Your Neighbor ......................................................... 14 Shoptalk .......................................................................... 16
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POCKET MAR n 14
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Lip Service IT MAY BE BETTER TO COMPLAIN ABOUT BAD SERVICE THAN TO YELP ABOUT IT
BY CECILY HASTINGS PUBLISHER’S DESK
t’s surprising how many touchpoints you have with customer service. In a typical day, you may visit your local coffee shop, dry cleaner and gas station— all before 10 a.m. Add a few phone calls for service needs, a trip to the library, the grocery store or a specialty shop, end your day with dinner out and you will have encountered a dozen or more people who perform customer service. Multiply that over a year and you have thousands of experiences. Most of us know the difference between great, good and poor service. Do you look forward to the same pleasant people you see on a repeated basis? If so, chances are they get your repeat business. Even when you have more infrequent service needs, you tend to remember and rate the last encounter. Doing business with someone for the first time can be either a pleasant surprise or a total drag. I recently had a service experience that I found extremely unsatisfying. When we built our home seven years ago, we put in a Heat & Glo
gas fireplace. Last fall, the remote control (I still wince at the thought of using a remote for this!) stopped working. I researched the brand online and found a local dealer on Fulton Avenue. It took numerous calls and messages to get a service appointment. Finally, I spoke with a cranky woman on the other end of the phone who barked the only time available and said it would cost me $120 to have a repairman come out and diagnose the problem. When the technician arrived, he was pretty competent, although he called twice on the way over for clarification on directions. After telling me I needed a new remote control, he put me on the phone with the store, and I gave my credit card number so they could order it. I was told it would be in the following week. The technician asked me to pay him for the service call via check and had me make it out to him personally. That took me back a bit, but I did as asked. It would have been nice if the company had explained that to me in advance. About three weeks later, I still had not received the new remote. I called the dealer and left several messages. When I finally reached the same cranky lady, she snapped that it had arrived but that they needed payment. We scheduled an appointment to have it brought over. It turned out to be wrong model, so I had to order another one. Again, I had to give the company my credit card. The correct remote finally arrived and now works fine. When I shared this experience with my three tennis partners one Saturday morning, it turned out that
all of them had had the same nasty service experience that I had! Small world. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to share good and bad service experiences? It turns out that is exactly the business model created by online giant Yelp. Yelp operates an online urban guide and business review site founded in 2004. The website began as an email service for exchanging local business recommendations. It later introduced social networking features. While I know all about Yelp, I rarely use it. I have my own network I use for referrals, and I always try to support advertisers, many of whom I know personally. Yelpers tend to be younger than I, and some may not have the communications skills to effectively and fairly complain in person. It is easier just to go online and get even. Some small-business owners have told me that the online review process can be corrupt and harmful. While a number of my favorite shops have great online reviews, I want to attempt to put in perspective some negative ones. I was first made aware of this problem a few years ago by my friend Sheree Johnston, who owns East Sac Hardware. She asked me to review some of her online ratings versus my own experiences with her store. I found it amazing to read negative reviews of a place that is generally beloved in our neighborhood specifically because of its extremely helpful service. Her husband Rich
NOTE TO OUR POCKET READERS We deliver our publication each month to the homes of select postal carrier routes within the 95831 Pocket/Greenhaven neighborhoods. Since this new publication represents a significant investment on our part to start up and grow to profitability, our first month’s mailing went to about 7,200 homes. This month, we are expanding our mailing to an additional 1,000 homes. We plan to continue increasing our home mailings as our advertising revenues grow.
has helped me hundreds of times find exactly what I need. Johnston decided she’d fight back and tries to address each review. She believes negative experiences often result from unrealistic customer expectations. Take, for instance, the store’s tool refund policy: They do not accept returns on tools. This is to counter unscrupulous folks who buy a tool to use once, then return it for a refund. The shop has a bold sign with the policy at the counter. It’s also noted on the store’s receipts. And when you buy a tool, they almost always state the policy verbally. Yet that doesn’t stop people from returning tools and demanding refunds. “This is probably behind many of the negative reviews,” says Johnston. “With over 85,000 transactions per month, mistakes can be made because PUBLISHER page 7
Gathering Place LOCAL BISTRO IS ‘THIRD PLACE’ FOR POCKET RESIDENTS
development. Adrian Woodfork, a resident of Park Village, says, “Having a train 38 feet from your fence line is extremely uncomfortable any time of day or night. It is totally detrimental to the homes. The Park Village homes were not constructed to hold up to a train passing on a daily basis.”
BY SHANE SINGH
We’ll keep an eye on this, and an ear open for the distant wail of train horns.
n England, it’s called “the local.” Ray Oldenburg, eminent author and professor of sociology, christened it “the third place.” Both names refer to gathering spaces where a community comes together. In England, it’s a pub, though drinking is not required. What matters is the presence of regulars and newcomers, warmth and hospitality, a friendly room that’s neither home nor work. In our neighborhood, the third place is Pocket Bistro at Florin Road and Riverside Boulevard. Tucked into the corner of a shopping center, the bistro is our local. Sacramento attorney Josh Clark can often be found at Pocket Bistro with his wife and two daughters. “We love this place,” he says. “It’s a nice spot when we don’t want to cook dinner at home. Also, you also can’t beat the value of the kids meals!” Couples, some married, some dating, many just hanging out, fill the space. You will find co-workers relaxing and sports fans debating the 49ers’ salary cap. For regular Perry Felker, it’s about being made to feel special.
POCKET MAR n 14
In the kitchen at Pocket Bistro with chef Octavio Jimenez and owner Edmund Abay
“The staff is very friendly and the food is good,” he says. The Pocket and Greenhaven communities are suburban, but people still need to go out and mingle. That’s why every neighborhood needs a third place, a local, a Pocket Bistro.
LITTLE ENGINE THAT CAN’T California State Parks is proposing to run an excursion train along a
right-of-way owned by Regional Transit from Old Sacramento to Land Park near the zoo, and eventually all the way down to the river town of Hood. The environmental impact report on the project makes note of additional noise, noxious odors and even potential compromises to safety at Executive Airport. The proposed route would run directly behind many homes, including the Park Village
A bit further down the line in the Z’berg Park neighborhood, reaction has been mixed. Fifteen-year Z’berg Park resident Karen Berkovitz recalls, “Farmdale residents who have lived here for a while note that about 25 years ago, we had freight trains and that was a lot worse. Those people remember and don’t mind the new proposed train at all.” Berkovitz believes the project is on hold because of vocal Z’berg Park neighbors. Some of those neighbors strongly oppose the train because of the backyard proximity. Berkovitz says it’s been difficult to get accurate information on the project. “We never seem to get the correct answer,” she says. Local real estate agent Chip O’Neil thinks the train will have a “significant effect on the property values.” He notes that the rail line was abandoned in the early 1970s after a land swap with State Parks. O’Neil lives two blocks from the
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tracks near Alice Birney School and believes the State Railroad Museum and State Parks were trying to sneak the train through without proper notice to residents. He hopes for a town hall meeting with city officials. The State Parks Commission plans to vote on this issue next month in San Francisco, but O’Neil says the meeting may violate laws that require such events to be held within 90 miles of the affected project. The proposed line would run parallel to and east of Interstate 5. Much prep work would be necessary, including grade crossings and signs. We’ll keep an eye on this, and an ear open for the distant wail of train horns.
ASSEMBLY AMBITIONS This year, Pocket-Greenhaven will have a new city councilmember as Darrell Fong vacates the office to run for State Assembly. Fong promised to represent us on the city council four years ago, but he was not even through his first term when
he announced he wanted to move to the Assembly. Expect the campaign trail to find Fong braced on serious issues such as several gun incidents at Garcia Bend, robberies, gang graffiti and multiple carjackings. Also, what about all those retail vacancies at the Rush River Promenade shopping center? A little help is still needed, please.
SOUND OF MUSIC Students of Genevieve Didion School, including (many moons ago) this columnist, have been fortunate to learn the musical arts from teacher Elett Ricks-Chambers, who has been at Didion since 1980. For RicksChambers, nothing beats the annual holiday programs. “I really enjoy working with the kindergartners, since normally I don’t see those kids until the first grade,” she says. Despite her lengthy tenure, the maestra has no plans to retire. “I love to come to work every day and to make a memorable difference in the POCKET page 9
we are all human,” she says. “But we try hard to please and guide our retail customers, realizing ultimately that there are those who we can never make happy.” Salon Cuvee owner Brenna Simon also has had negative experiences with Yelp. She says that other salon and spa owners have also been burned by negative reviews. “I have tracked most of them back to disgruntled former employees after they have been fired. The timing and wording made this obvious.” Simon asked her regular clients to consider posting their positive experiences to put the bad ones in perspective. Many jumped at the opportunity to help. Yet the positive reviews never appeared. When she called Yelp, they said the new reviewers were not “Yelp regulars” so their reviews weren’t valid. Then, they suggested she become a member at a cost of hundreds of dollars a month in order to moderate her reviews. “I refuse to give in to this extortion from a business profiting from negativity,” says Simon.
Most of us know the difference between great, good and poor service. As small-business owners, my husband and I, along with our staff, go to great lengths to take care of our advertisers. We also try hard to satisfy our readers, who aren’t customers per se since we produce a free publication. But still I have heard some complaints about us through the grapevine. Almost every case goes back to a business with huge expectations and very little budget to advertise their business. I’ll bet every business we sent to a collection agency (after going to great lengths to work out a payment plan) thinks we were the problem. Gratefully, the percentage of business we have to send to collection is extremely low, but still it is frustrating.
The best way to handle both positive and negative experiences is to spread your own word to friend and neighbors. Keep in mind that fairness is key. Dealing with the public in retail is very challenging. That is all the more reason that I am kind and fair when dealing with store clerks. And when I have a bad experience with someone, I try to tell the owner or manager directly—which I tried unsuccessfully with the fireplace shop. That is usually the only person who can actually do something to improve the service. And that is exactly how I’d want someone to treat me. As for online reviews, beware of the negativity and reviewer anonymity that have done so much to lower our level of public discourse. And keep in mind that a huge national corporation has nothing to lose by unfair bullying of local businesses. And they have everything to gain with money taken out of our community. Cecily Hastings can be reached at email@example.com. n
Know the Candidates WOULD-BE COUNCILMEMBERS ON BUDGET, ARENA, LIBRARIES AND MORE
BY R.E. GRASWICH
wo candidates, Julius Cherry and Rick Jennings, are running for the District 7 City Council seat being vacated by Darrell Fong, who is running for the state assembly. The district includes the Pocket/Greenhaven and Valley Hi neighborhoods. Cherry, 59, is a Sacramento attorney in private practice specializing in bankruptcy. His public-service career included 30 years with the city fire department, culminating in his appointment as fire chief (2004-2006). He serves on the community advisory board for Catholic Healthcare West and is a board member of Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada. Jennings, 60, is CEO of the Sacramento Center for Fathers and Families, a nonprofit serving young people and adults with after-school and parenting programs. A former regional manager with Xerox, Jennings served 12 years as a trustee of the Sacramento City Unified School District. He played professional football, including a victory in Super Bowl XI with the Oakland Raiders. Inside Publications invited Cherry and Jennings to share their views on topics of interest to voters. The city’s general fund budget for the current fiscal year is about $369 million. About $220 million goes to police and fire. The city manager has projected a $12 million deficit next year. What will you cut?
POCKET MAR n 14
Jennings: It’s important to know that the city had a $10 million surplus in 2012-13 and carried it over. That allows the city to create a reserve fund and help pay some of the projected deficits. There’s also a surplus at midyear. So I’d look at efficiencies and leveraging other resources, among them federal and state grants. And I’m hopeful our economy will continue to improve and, as it improves, our revenue increases. Cherry: When I was fire chief, I went through this process a number of times. I managed the second largest department in the city. You’d get the memo from the city manager asking, say, if you had to cut by 5 percent, or 10 percent, or 2 percent, how would you provide the service? You sit down with your staff and you look at cuts that won’t impact
things like response times. You look at supplies and services, training, travel. They aren’t essential to the base service. That’s where you start cutting. Sometimes you look at things like overtime and see what you can do. The fire department’s overtime budget is always strained. I can’t tell you specifically today what I’d cut without having the budget in front of me, but that’s how the process works. And with a $370 million budget, you can always cut $12 million if you’re diligent. The city’s proposed arena partnership with the Kings involves agreements among labor, business and the taxpayer. The Kings will leave town without it. Explain why you do or don’t support that partnership. Cherry: How did I know you’d ask me about the arena? First, I’m
not sure I’d characterize it as a partnership. As a lawyer, I can tell you partnerships are voluntary. Once you tell the taxpayers they are going to pay for something, I don’t know that many of them would characterize it as a partnership. But if the question is whether putting an arena in downtown Sacramento, with all the associated growth that we hope will occur does occur, then sure it’s a good idea. Who doesn’t want to see downtown redeveloped? In the entire 30 years I was with the fire department, including as chief, we talked about redeveloping downtown. It’s a good idea. What I’m concerned about is whether the taxpayers can afford it. If you take a step back from the hype, from the commercials, and look at the numbers, if all the numbers don’t pencil out, there’s a real risk to the general fund. We’ve already talked about all the stress on the city’s finances. The question is whether it’s a reasonable risk, a prudent risk. That’s the issue. Jennings: I do support the arena partnership. It’s a way to revitalize downtown and bring new businesses and investment into Sacramento. The arena will spur development and innovation and it will definitely help with job growth. As the councilmember for District 7, I want to make sure our district gets its fair share of the revenue generated by the arena and the revitalization of downtown. The arena is projected to create 4,000 permanent jobs and 11,700 construction jobs over the life of the project. I will make sure the residents of District 7 receive their fair portion of those jobs.
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3835 J STREET SACRAMENTO | (916) 456-0400 | SKINLASERS.COM Do you support the parcel tax for improved library services? Cherry: I do. People have no idea how important libraries are to the community. The council debates about community centers, and everybody wants one in each district. They are important when it comes to keeping kids off the street. They have an impact on crime statistics. The library system is just as important, if not more important. Our libraries provide the only Internet service some people have. The technology is such that certain people have used the library to publish books. The library is a very important amenity, as important as our parks, our community centers. We have to find a better way to pay for it. Jennings: Absolutely. All my life, I’ve believed that libraries are an important component in the success of a city. Children who develop a love for reading become leaders. Libraries are one way we do that. The Robbie Waters Library is a critical part of life in District 7.
What strategies can the city use to assist developers with projects in designated redevelopment areas? Jennings: The best way to help developers is to have an open door and help them navigate the bureaucracy, and to introduce them to neighborhood associations and community leaders and help them understand the positive and negative impacts that their projects will have in the community. Be transparent. We have to make sure we listen to the concerns of the community so the project is as beneficial as possible. I don’t believe in rubber-stamping projects. I do believe in being active in every phase, from the idea to the implementation. We streamline the permit process, look at state and federal programs for finance assistance, look at water and sewer credits and leverage federal funding when appropriate. Cherry: You have to pause on that question, because we all know that redevelopment as we know it has ended, thanks to some measures
supported by Gov. Brown. What I can tell is, this is going to be tough, because redevelopment dollars aren’t out there anymore. They have been taken to balance the state’s budget. As I talk to developers, one thing they want is certainty. What’s the length of the process? What do I have to do? Am I being treated fairly? Can we take out the red tape? Those are the kinds of things we can do to help developers move their projects along. n
POCKET LIFE FROM page 7 lives of all of the children at Didion,” she says. Given budget reductions, it’s remarkable that the school and PTA have been able to provide this education in arts. Strike up the band for Mrs. Ricks-Chambers. Shane Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. n
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Bright Lights A MIDCENTURY-MODERN FAN SETS OUT TO SAVE LAND PARK’S NEON
BY R.E. GRASWICH CITY BEAT
hey are stitched into the textures of Land Park, generational guideposts that connect families past and present and remind us how we shop, eat and relax. Joe Marty’s name in neon script, autographed across a baseball over his empty old saloon. The big-top presence of Pancake Circus, with its three-ring fluorescent allure: “Steaks, Sea Food, Salads.” Neon colors of blueberries and cream that call out “Vic’s Ice Cream.” Dancing neon kids above Tower Cafe. Caps-locked COLLEGE CYCLERY in red, black and white. (Just don’t bother looking up the word “cyclery.” It expresses itself eloquently, but there’s no such word in the dictionary.) The neon signs of Land Park began life as marketing tools. They were designed to call attention to themselves and entertain and be appropriately outrageous while drawing customers inside. And now they are dying, like the rest of us, often faded and broken, filled with strange fuses and solenoids that would baffle an electrical engineering undergrad.
POCKET MAR n 14
Gretchen Steinberg is working to save vintage neon signs
Gretchen Steinberg, who has proudly turned her home on South Land Park Drive into a celebration of midcentury pastels, furniture, TVshow lunch pails and toy rocket ships, has set out to save the old signs of her community. Those neon tubes that hiss with gas and turn red or yellow or purple when charged with low voltage are iconic, she believes. We must save them. Along these clean and simple lines, she formed the nonprofit Sacramento Modern group to help save our cultural and architectural links to the post-World War II era.
“Our signs are our cultural landmarks,” she says. Steinberg is a born aesthete, burdened with none of the censor’s prudence. Consider her response to the Tower Liquor sign at Broadway and 16th Street. Never necessarily a beacon of family values, the booze sign is a prosaic counterweight to the masterpiece across the street: the famed Tower Theatre neon with the jitterbugging boy and girl and their beckoning pitch, “Records Cosmetics Films.” But when Steinberg noticed this winter that the Tower Liquor sign
was damaged (a fierce wind broke the brittle plastic like a cheap bottle of wine slipping from a soggy brown paper bag), she felt awful. She had to stop at the liquor store and perform a welfare check on the wounded sign. “Say what you will about the Tower Liquor sign, it’s been there for probably 40 years and it’s part of that corner,” Steinberg says. “I went inside and asked the guys what was going to happen with the sign. They said, ‘Oh, yeah, the wind damaged it, but don’t worry. We’re going to come back with something even better!’” Steinberg didn’t know how to take the “something even better” part.
But she was pleased a few weeks later when a crew installed the new Tower Liquor sign, bright with a yellow background and white-and-black lettering, offset by two wine bottles, one of which can pass for a gallon of Chianti wrapped in wicker. â€œI never saw the original Tower Liquor sign when it was brand new, but my guess is it looked pretty much like the replacement,â€? Steinberg says. â€œYou have to give them credit for keeping it consistent.â€? The passion for old signs has carried Steinberg into the tangled web of city ordinances and historic preservation. It can be a no-manâ€™s land, where preservationists debate historical significance with landlords, and landlords spar with bureaucrats over variances and expansion plans. Steinberg becomes the person in the room who says, uh, excuse me, can we please talk about your sign? A collegial, collaborative style serves her well. Steinberg researched city ordinances and concluded that while many buildings fit within definitions of historical relevance, the
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Steinberg researched city ordinances and concluded that while many buildings fit within definitions of historical relevance, the signs that go with those buildings are almost never protected. â€œWe work closely with preservation groups and have a great relationship with the city,â€? Steinberg says. â€œWe also work with landlords. We know they might need to repurpose a building and might not want an old sign, but we talk to them and get them to appreciate the significance.â€? The timeless appeal of old neon certainly helps SacModâ€™s mission. Steinberg looks around the country for case studies in other cities, noting how they preserve their midcentury fluorescence. Tucson, Ariz., has done a nice job, along with Portland, Ore., Knoxville, Tenn., and Fort Collins, Colo. Steinberg is not especially fond of Las Vegas, which boasts a museum devoted to that cityâ€™s famous neon. â€œItâ€™s a boneyard approach,â€? says Steinberg, who prefers her neon wild in its natural environment. Sacramento has a neon graveyard, a storage facility at McClellan Field for the communityâ€™s old signs. Steinberg wonâ€™t go there. â€œIt would make me sad,â€? she says. For more information about Sacramento Modernâ€™s campaign to save the cityâ€™s neon signs, go to Facebook.com/SacMod. R.E. Graswich can be reached at email@example.com. n
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo MAR 27
Dancing the fine line between high art and high camp, Les Ballets Trockadero has been delighting audiences since 1974 with its parodies of classical ballet and modern dance. Always a highlight of the Mondavi Center season.
Charles Lloyd, Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland: SangamtMAR 7 Three masters merge jazz improv and Indian rhythms
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signs that go with those buildings are almost never protected. Speaking for the unwashed and silent signs, she employs tact and persuasive humility, tugging at nostalgic heartstrings as needed.
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Dr. Who? FAIRYTALE TOWN CELEBRATES DR. SEUSS’ BIRTHDAY
BY JESSICA LASKEY LIFE IN THE CITY
pring has finally sprung, so what better way to celebrate than to have a good run around the play structures at Fairytale Town? Their spring and summer hours—9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily—go into effect on Saturday, March 1, so you’ll have plenty of sunlight to romp. And just in time, too, for the party of all parties: Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Celebration on Sunday, March 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. As the good doctor— aka Theodor Seuss Geisel—says, “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so ... get on your way!” Participate in hands-on crafts, stop by the Mother Goose Stage for a nonstop read-aloud of your favorite tongue-twisting Dr. Seuss classics and, of course, all the fun in the sun a kid could want. If you’re looking for some indoor entertainment, why not gather a school group together and attend a performance of Sacramento Children’s Theater’s “Rocket, the Runaway Engine” at Luther Burbank High School playing now until March 7? For 75 years, Sacramento Children’s Theater has provided local elementary school children with a
POCKET MAR n 14
Enjoy donuts and burn them off at the Donut Dash Seis, a fundraiser for Sutter’s Child Life Program
free musical theater production each year. While the program was originally operated by the Junior League of Sacramento starting in the 1940s, it is now under the auspices of Fairytale Town to help it reach more kids than ever with the help of community volunteers who serve as playwrights, actors, backstage helpers, costume sewers and more. “Fairytale Town is honored to carry on the Junior League’s legacy of promoting live theater to children in our community,” says Kathy Fleming, executive director of Fairytale Town. “The Sacramento Children’s Theater program augments Fairytale Town’s long and rich history of providing children with their first experience of live theater.” Performances are free for local school groups from prekindergarten through third grade. Advance reservations are required. Call 808-
7462. Luther Burbank High School is at 3500 Florin Road. For more information about all things Fairytale Town, call 808-7462 or go to fairytaletown.org. Fairytale Town is at 3901 Land Park Drive.
SUGAR RUSH Do you love donuts but worry about burning off those delicious calories? Enter the Donut Dash Seis on Saturday, March 8 in Land Park, a fundraising fun run that combines donuts—from Marie’s Donuts, no less—and jogging to help raise money for the Child Life Program at Sutter Children’s Center. Started in 2010, the Donut Dash offers participants the chance to walk or jog two miles from the meetup point in Land Park to the local legendary establishment Marie’s Donuts on Freeport Boulevard. Once “dashers” have had their fill
of four complimentary donuts or six complimentary donut holes, they stroll back the same two miles—so the calories don’t even count, right? Proceeds benefit Sutter’s Child Life Program, which provides youth patients with activities, art projects, games, toys, movies and exercise equipment to take their minds off their maladies. The program also provides information to educate children about their illnesses, prepare them for procedures and surgeries, help their families cope with stressful medical experiences and celebrate holidays and special events during hospitalization. To date, the Donut Dash has raised $115,000 for the cause—a pretty sweet deal all around. To register or for more information, go to donutdash.org or contact event organizer Zack Wendell at 802-9225.
MERCY ME Rub elbows with the new crop of officers of Mercy General Hospital Guild on Thursday, March 27, at 11 a.m. at Casa Garden Restaurant. The meeting will install Sheila Inks as president, Barbara Cooper as first vice president, Mae Anderson as second vice president, Lynda Middleton as treasurer, Rosalie Nielsen as recording secretary and Glender Fishel as corresponding secretary. They will oversee Mercy Guild Volunteer Services, which provides compassionate volunteer support to patients, families, staff, physicians and visitors to Mercy General Hospital. For more information, contact Betty BeBe Wright at 424-2628.
divided up each year to support these programs. While each project is guaranteed at least $5,000, your votes determined how the total got divided among the three projects. The public spoke, and with those voting tokens and other conservation contributions, the zoo was able to provide more than $100,000 to various animal protection programs. So what will you vote for this year? The zoo’s 2014 initiatives are Tiger Conservation in Sumatra, to reduce tiger-human conflict around Leuser National Park; the Pacific Health Fisher Project, which studies the impact of diseases on local fish species to protect their dwindling numbers; and the Galapagos Penguin Lava Nest Project, which seeks to build safe breeding grounds for the penguin population. Inspired to find out more? Check out the Conservation page at saczoo. org or call 808-5888. The Sacramento Zoo is at 3930 W. Land Park Drive.
Ready for a play that’s not too cold, not too hot, but just right? Don’t miss Storytime Theatre’s production of “Goldilocks” playing March 8 through April 6 at Sacramento City College. The timeless tale of the wandering blonde and her epic porridge picking has been adapted by Doug Lawson and Matt K. Miller (who also directs) and features a talented troupe of Sacramento City College students in the iconic roles. Admission is only $5 (free for children 2 and younger), with a half-price special for opening day. For more information, call 558-2174. Performances will take place in the Little Theatre in the Performing Arts Center on the Sacramento City College campus, located at 3835 Freeport Boulevard.
A LEAGUE OF OUR OWN
DO GOOD DELICIOUSLY
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a mausoleum and a tomb? Find out on the Old City Cemetery mausoleum and tomb tour on Saturday, March 1
Casa Garden Restaurant is at 2760 Sutterville Road.
TOMB TOUR Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a mausoleum and a tomb? Ever wanted to see one up close? Now’s your chance when the Old City Cemetery presents a mausoleum and tomb tour on Saturday, March 1, at 10 a.m. Satisfy your inquiring mind and find out who’s buried inside—and why. If you’re more interested in flora than funerals, don’t miss the cemetery’s early-perennials tour on Saturday, March 15, at 10 a.m. The Old City Cemetery Committee will take you tiptoeing through the tulips—rather, early-blooming perennial plant life—in Hamilton Square Garden. Tours are free, but donations are greatly appreciated and help with cemetery upkeep. For more information, call 448-0811 or 264-
7839 or go to oldcitycemetery.com. The Old City Cemetery is at 1000 Broadway.
SPARE SOME CHANGE Hey, you. Yes, you! Did you know that if you visited the Sacramento Zoo in 2013 and dropped a token in one of the wishing wells at the zoo entrance, you helped the organization provide more than $100,000 to over two dozen conservation efforts around the world? That’s the most the zoo has ever contributed in its entire 87-year history—and it’s partly thanks to you. The Quarters for Conservation program provides each guest a token upon entry to place in the wishing well that corresponds to a conservation cause they’d like to see prosper. Last year’s initiatives included the local Riparian Bush Rabbit Recovery program, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary project and the Masai Giraffe Conservation program. A total of $50,000 is
Celebrate spring with lunch and a sip (or two) of wine at Casa Garden Restaurant’s Wine Social on Tuesday, March 4, at 11:30 a.m. Enjoy your choice of red or white wine provided by Sutter Creek’s BellaGrace Vineyards and a panoply of delectable Casa-made hors d’oeuvres. Entree choices include three-cheese garden lasagna and chicken Caesar salad, with a delightful latte mocha torte for dessert. Looking for something that’ll give you the luck of the leprechaun and taste amazing, too? Check out Casa’s St. Patrick’s Luncheon on Tuesday, March 11, at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. The meal includes your choice of traditional corned beef with steamed potatoes and pea/pecan slaw or chicken Caesar salad and a decadent dessert of almond cake framboise. The Irish Eyes will serenade you with live music. Proceeds from each meal benefit Sacramento Children’s Home. Reservations are required. Call 4522809. Casa Garden Restaurant is at 2760 Sutterville Road.
Sixty years ago this year, Land Park Pacific Little League gave the kids of Land Park, Curtis Park, Hollywood Park, South Land Park, the Little Pocket and the surrounding areas the chance to play ball right in their own neighborhoods. Celebrate this marvelous milestone at the opening day parade on Saturday, March 22, at 8 a.m. at Dooley Field behind Holy Spirit Parish School. For 20 of the last 60 years, Dooley Field has served as home turf for Land Park Little League (founded in 1954) and Pacific Little League (created in 1959). Once the Curtis Park Little League joined up in 2000, Land Park Pacific Little League became the thriving baseball bloc it is today. Do you remember back to a time before the current catchers and batters were born? You’ll love the photos, memorabilia and old jerseys on display for the parade. You might even bump into former teammates (if you can recognize them). For more information, go to lppll. com. Dooley Field is at 2 San Mateo Court. Jessica Laskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. n
Not So Safe House NEIGHBORHOOD ROILED BY CONTROVERSIAL PROJECT
BY R.E. GRASWICH MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR
he storm began with a remark about the new neighbors. It was a casual comment, inserted among farewells as a family’s boxes and bags were packed for an overseas move. “They’d been our neighbors for years, and they were moving to the Philippines,” Cathy Conrad says. “She was thanking us for all the things we’d done for them. My husband mowed their lawn, things like that. And then she starts talking about My Sister’s House moving in and running a group home for battered women. I know she was trying to gauge my reaction.” The reaction was bad. Cathy and Mark Conrad, whose home stands no more than 10 feet from the departing neighbor’s side windows, were stunned. Battered women? Group home? Next door? What are you talking about? And so began a yearlong ordeal on a quiet, meandering street near Greenhaven Drive in the Pocket, a feud that has boiled into mistrust and accusations, ensnared City Hall and police, raised questions about the integrity of a respected nonprofit group that assists desperate women, and riled a peaceful neighborhood. It’s a cautionary tale about what happens when the process of building neighborhood support for a controversial project is ignored. “Do you want a safe house next door to you?” Conrad says. “If
POCKET MAR n 14
Mark Conrad is against the safe house
you have a group home in your neighborhood, you have to disclose that if you sell your house. And what happens if one of the boyfriends comes looking for his girlfriend and hits the wrong house?” At one point, 88 neighbors signed a petition opposing the establishment of a women’s shelter in the home next to the Conrads’. Sixty red-and-white yard signs sprouted along the street, saying “no” to the safe house. Today, the signs are gone, except for those at Mark and Cathy Conrad’s yard, which include a 4-by-8-foot plywood sheet that says, “Future Group Home for My Sister’s House”
and points to the two-story home next door. My Sister’s House took a curious path to this controversy. For 11 years, the organization has provided temporary beds for battered Asian and Pacific Islander women and their children in Sacramento. The board includes Darrel Woo, a Sacramento city school board member, and Deputy Police Chief Brian Louie. At some point, the family who vacated the home and moved to the Philippines decided to donate their property to My Sister’s House. There was one problem: They didn’t exactly own the place. It carried a mortgage.
The family stopped making payments when they moved. Foreclosure notices were posted, but they disappeared. Through it all, the original family remained on the title. “The fact is, My Sister’s House doesn’t even own the place,” says Ron Tom, a My Sister’s House board member. “The probability of us getting title is zero to nil.” At first, My Sister’s House was delighted to hear it might be getting a free home. The organization could rent or sell the property. Or it could consider using it as a shelter. The safe-house idea was abandoned when
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the neighbors became agitated, Tom says. “We would never put a safe house in the middle of a neighborhood that doesn’t want it,” he says. “And that house isn’t suitable anyway. It’s too big and the maintenance would be too high. And it’s two stories, which we would never use for public safety reasons. It won’t work.” The Conrads are not convinced. Last summer, a man who identified himself as the son of a My Sister’s House board member arrived to move furniture left behind. In November, a renter moved in—a woman who told neighbors she was affiliated with My Sister’s House. The Conrads and their neighbors posted their signs. Police showed up when the renter called to complain about harassment. With the neighborhood organized and signs lining the street, Cathy Conrad began to correspond with her city councilman, Darrell Fong. She knew Fong had donated public funds to My Sister’s House.
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In January, Fong organized a meeting at police headquarters on Freeport Boulevard. Five neighbors showed up, plus Fong and his assistant Noah Painter, Woo, Tom and Police Captain Neil Schneider. Fong wrote a document that said My Sister’s House would not use the home “now, nor in the future” for a safe house “or any other type of related business.” The neighbors agreed to stand down. Everybody signed, except the Conrads. “The agreement isn’t tight,” Cathy Conrad says. “It’s not enforceable. We don’t trust them.” So the standoff continues, with no end in sight. Says Fong, “It’s not our place to write a legal contract. I thought we had an agreement that worked for all sides.” The Conrads won’t rest until a “regular, normal family” moves in and ends the threat of a safe house. Says Mark Conrad, “I’d love to get rid of these signs.” R.E. Graswich can be reached at email@example.com. n
The Cutting Edge HABERDASHER STEVE BENSON WORKS HIS MAGIC ON MEN'S WARDROBES
BY JESSICA LASKEY SHOPTALK
eople are much more conscious of fit these days,” says Steve Benson, owner of the eponymous S. Benson & Co. clothing company on H Street. Benson knows this fact firsthand: Not only does he stay on top of trends to outfit his clients in the most current styles, but he also recently lost 67 pounds. Losing the weight “forced me to really reevaluate my wardrobe,” Benson says. “Most of the clothes I owned I couldn’t alter—my brother inherited most of them, lucky guy— so I had to prioritize what I really needed and restock my closet. The trend today is having your clothes fit closer to your body, which is actually much more flattering.” It doesn’t hurt that Benson himself is feeling much more confident these days in wearing such streamlined styles, but his interest in staying up-to-date has a lot to do with Benson’s rebranding effort to court some younger clientele. “It was time for a change,” Benson says. “I revamped my website, I’m embracing social media—I’m on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter— and my new business focus is ‘the well-dressed gentleman.’ I’m seeing younger guys coming in who need outfits for college, post-college or for entering the workforce.” While Benson may be modernizing the business he has owned since 1995, he’s staying true to the personal panache that put him on the map, first as an employee at Irwin Clothing Company, where he worked during
POCKET MAR n 14
Steve Benson in his S. Benson and Co. boutique
college until eventually managing and owning the now-defunct retailer, and now as the sole proprietor of his own stylish store. “I consider the atmosphere in my shop to be as relaxing as shopping in my living room or a comfortable men’s club,” Benson says. “I find the greatest joy in the friendships that I’ve made over the years. I’ve never considered myself a salesman, but
(rather) a friend of my clients who wants them to leave my shop feeling happy and looking great. When people dress themselves, they’re on a quest for a personal identity and consistency. My mission is to help gentlemen define their clothing needs and provide them with garments that better reflect their personality and lifestyle, all in a comfortable and relaxed environment.”
Benson specializes in both off-therack dressing (he carries a variety of work, weekend and evening brands) as well as custom clothing, which he says has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Clients select the fabric and finishes and Benson works his measurement magic to make sure a suit or shirt fits like it was made for you—because, of course, it was. “Shirts that you buy off the rack are often too tight across the chest,” Benson says. “A lot of my clients prefer ease in the chest and shoulders but a more fitted waist. For suits, there’s been a real return to quality— clean lines, mother of pearl buttons, wool mixed with cashmere. With the right details, a garment can look like it cost twice as much.” Benson prides himself not only on creating the perfect personal garment, but also working with a client’s existing wardrobe to keep them on the cutting edge. “I offer ‘wardrobe management,’ ” he explains, “where I guide and advise clients, go through their existing wardrobe, analyze body type and color options, and also prioritize current and future clothing needs. I find that some of my clients who retire buy fewer clothes, but I think that adding one or two new items every season makes a person look more vibrant, more aware of trends—like they’re really paying attention.” And if you need help on that front, Benson is happy to lend a hand. Does your bureau need a boost? Give Benson a ring at 452-4288 or go to sbensonandco.com. S. Benson & Co. is at 5617 H St. n
In Memory of Greg Hatfield LOCAL LEADER WAS A PASSIONATE ADVOCATE FOR SACRAMENTO RESIDENTS
BY CRAIG POWELL
reg Hatfield, executive vice president and co-founder of Eye on Sacramento and a dear friend of mine, died on Jan. 29, a suspected victim of the flu that is taking too many of our family members, friends and colleagues. Greg was 65 and in shameless good health, an avid skier, sailor and off-roader. I never knew him to ever be ill until his final, devastating illness. This
current strain of flu is cruelly and perversely bringing down those who are in the best of health, turning their stronger-than-average immune systems into mortal treasonous threats to their lives. If the title character of Tom Wolfe’s 1998 novel was “A Man in Full,” Greg Hatfield was “a citizen in full” to Sacramento. He spent the first 12 years of his career ably serving Sacramento residents in the city manager’s office, rising from a smart young management analyst
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to a utility relief pitcher for the city manager, who tapped Greg to manage city departments when a capable, steady hand was required. From such experiences, Greg accumulated a virtually unsurpassed knowledge of the inner workings of city government and earned the respect of his peers. His near photographic recall didn’t hurt, either. After leaving government service, Greg spent the remainder of his career as a highly respected private development consultant, helping an
estimated 1,000 businesses, builders and developers navigate the often mazelike world of government permits and building codes, enabling his clients to grow and provide employment for thousands. His sunny disposition and deep professional knowledge earned him the respect and affection of building department staff members throughout the region, many of whom he trained and mentored, as many have noted
HATFIELD page 18
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in their remembrances of Greg on SacBee.comâ€™s Guestbook. Greg was passionate about being of service to the Sacramento community. He was a ferocious, lifelong advocate for clean, honest, transparent and efficient local government. Like most Americans, Greg instinctually sided with the underdog. He unselfishly fought to defend the interests of average Sacramento residents whenever they were threatened by the raw political power of entrenched special interests. His knowledge, wise counsel and warmth made him an indispensable part of Eye on Sacramento. Naturally, Greg became a leader in his own neighborhood, serving many years as co-president of South Pocket Homeowners Association. He was a protector who made sure that his neighbors were never cheated out of their fair share of attention from city government. And he was the first to roll up his sleeves and personally trim overgrown grass in his neighborhoodâ€™s Marriott Park when it needed trimming.
Greg leaves behind two daughters, Jennifer Paradise and Lindsay White, four lovely granddaughters and too many friends to count. Rest in peace, my friend. As for everyone else, please get a flu shot today. It is not too late. Craig Powell is president of Eye on Sacramento, a civic watchdog and policy group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 7183030. n
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Seeking Purpose WHAT ARE YOU PRAYING FOR?
always belonged to you. You created me and you sustain me. You take care of me the way I love my children. Speaking of children, that’s my only worry. I know they cope with things differently because you blessed them with their own individual personalities. But I also need to know that you take care of them. Hold them in your hands and help them to cope. Help them see the blessing of family that you have given us. Help them see that this blessing is the only thing that sustains us through this difficult time. Thank you for your love for me. May I be a light that shines with your love. Amen.
God, There may be those who think I should be mad at you; I need you to know it’s nothing like that. I know things like this happen in a world you created. There is no purpose in being mad at you. In fact—and this is the crazy thing—I actually think you’ve given me a gift. It’s the gift of seeing. I now see what was always there. Now I see the wonderful network of friends and family you have put here to help me. I feel your hands through their caring hands. I know your love through their protective love. There’s a road ahead of me that I cannot see, and that’s OK because you can see it and because my life has
Here's the second prayer: with, God, I’d like to take a moment for a little chit-chat today. First I’d like to thank you for my sisters and brothers who are helping me through this. Thank you especially for my sister who is taking care of eight kids—hers and mine. Thank you for the helpmate you’ve given me and for the way in which he’s working so hard to stay with me through this illness. Hey, God, as long as we’re chatting, can we talk about something that’s kind of bothering me? I know you do things in your own time, but I’m wondering if there’s something I should do to hurry this all along. I know I’m supposed to have patience, but the waiting is the worst part for me. No, maybe the worst part is finding the purpose. Please help me see a purpose. I thought my purpose was being a special-ed teacher, but this “teacher” is having a hard time
BY NORRIS BURKES SPIRIT MATTERS s a hospital chaplain, I often ask patients, “What are you praying for?” Surprisingly, they don’t always ask for healing and homecoming. Over the years, I sometimes paraphrased their answers into written prayers and invited the patient to post it for all to read. Today I want to share two prayers written by terminally ill patients.
POCKET MAR n 14
learning—especially when it comes to your purpose. So teach me, God. I’m willing. I’m listening. Help me to run this race with confidence, so that I can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Your student, Donna
Today I ask you, what are you praying for? What is your heart’s desire? If you know, compose your prayer on paper. Then, if you are ready for change, I challenge you to publicly post it and pray it daily. Finally, I invite you to email it to me. I promise to pray with you. Norris Burkes is a chaplain, syndicated columnist, national speaker and author of the book “No Small Miracles.” He can be reached at email@example.com. n
Did you notice how these prayers lack superficiality? Neither prayer reads like a wish list for Santa. Both prayers ask God for a purpose and deeper relationships.
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An Ounce of Prevention FEWER CRASHES MEAN LESS HUMAN SUFFERING
BY WALT SEIFERT GETTING THERE
en Franklin said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That wise dictum applies to all sorts of things, including health care, road maintenance and traffic safety. Preventing disease avoids needless suffering and the expense of drug treatment or surgery. Repaving roads can be 10 times as costly as timely maintenance. Similarly, it’s vastly better to prevent car crashes than to deal with their aftermath of property damage, injury or death. Yet there has been a decided emphasis in U.S. traffic safety efforts on protecting vehicle occupants from crash impacts rather than preventing crashes from occurring in the first place. Traffic safety is a major public health issue. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people ages 5 to 34. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 2.6 million adult drivers and passengers received emergency-room treatment as a result of crashes in 2011 alone. Vehicle-related injuries and fatalities are not a new problem. Over the years, considerable progress has
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been made in reducing injury rates. A lot of that progress has occurred since the publication of Ralph Nader’s 1965 book, “Unsafe at Any Speed.” Nader took automakers to task for making unsafe products and for valuing style and low production costs over safety. Manufacturers, which had fought mandatory seat belts since the 1950s, initially responded by attacking and harassing Nader instead of improving car safety. Nader eventually won a $425,000 settlement from General Motors for invasion of privacy. Following Nader’s book, Congress passed a law in 1966 that created the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration and led to the adoption of federal vehicle safety standards. Since then, many fairly simple design changes have made car crashes more survivable. Seat belts, shatter-resistant windshields, head rests, padded dashboards, energy-absorbing steering wheels, crumple zones, air bags and child car seats have reduced the violence of the “second collision,” when human bodies hit auto interiors. Highertech anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control have also helped. In 1925, there were 17.9 deaths from vehicle crashes per million miles
traveled. By 1997, that death rate was cut by 90 percent. Still, the amount of highway carnage in America remains unacceptably high with more than 30,000 people dying a year. The United States lags behind many developed countries in traffic safety. Scandinavian countries have done particularly well in achieving low fatality rates. The rate in Sweden is nearly three times lower than in the United States. Ironically, part of the reason the United States doesn’t have a better safety record may have been Nader’s book. The book focused on ameliorating the effects of vehicle crashes instead of preventing the crashes. The major causes of car crashes stem from human behavior, not from poorly designed (or maintained) cars. Drivers mostly crash because they are drunk, speeding or distracted. These causes remain inadequately addressed. In the United States, standards for drunk driving are less strict and penalties less severe than in other developed countries. Despite the added risk, it seems to be OK to speed in this country. Car commercials and movies glamorize speeding, while traffic engineers have straightened and widened roads, making higher speeds possible. Speed enforcement is lax and there’s opposition, instead of a push, to use readily available technology to cite and fine speeders. Distractions have increased, not lessened. Cell phones, MP3 players, GPS navigation and voice controls tempt drivers, taking their hands
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Visit TheGardenTutors.com or Call 606-6029 off the wheel and their minds off the road. While new gadgets distract drivers, new technology also promises to assist them and may one day remove humans from the safety equation altogether.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people ages 5 to 34. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced plans to equip cars with transponders that “talk” to each other within a range of about 300 yards. The devices can exchange location, speed, direction and other data. This vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology will warn drivers of impending dangers. Potentially, the systems could help drivers avoid or mitigate 70 to 80 percent of vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers.
Unlike with “self-driving” or autonomous cars, the transponder technology will not control the car. It won’t apply the brakes or take evasive action on its own. It relies on the human driver to respond. While the government intends to mandate the warning technology in all new cars at some future date (and retrofit systems will likely become available), widespread use is years away. Both transponders and autonomous cars do focus on prevention. It remains to be seen whether they will be competing or complementary technologies—and what the costs and effectiveness of each are. What is certain is that fewer crashes would mean less human suffering. Fewer crashes would cut medical, property damage and insurance costs. Preventing traffic crashes would be a very welcome and important public health achievement. If Ben Franklin were still around, he’d probably be saying, “I told you so.” Walt Seifert is a bicyclist, driver and transportation writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. n
heila Inks is a volunteer with heart—literally. As the newly elected president of Mercy General Hospital Guild, Inks has a personal connection to the 60-year-old organization that goes beyond a sense of civic duty. “I originally joined the guild because I was taught by the Sisters of Mercy and I was so impressed with all that they do,” says Inks, who has lived in Land Park for 42 years. “My first love is helping outside the surgery waiting room, being the liaison between patients and families and hospital staff. You meet the most wonderful people.” Inks herself was one of those anxious family members pacing the waiting room 10 years ago when her husband underwent heart transplant surgery in San Francisco. (The surgery was so successful that he now also regularly volunteers at Mercy.) The experience opened her eyes not only to the importance of the volunteer-public connection, but also a sweetly reassuring service that Mercy provides its heart patients: pillowcases. Inks makes 150 pillowcases a month for patients who have undergone cardiac surgery at Mercy. That’s a lot of pillowcases, even for someone with a background in home decor. (Inks retired five years ago from her job
as an interior designer.) But her dedication to creation is just one aspect of her 17 years with the Guild. “It’s been quite a progression,” Inks says. “I’ve been the membership chair, the second vice president, the first vice president, the treasurer. I’ve worked my way up.” When Inks takes over as president at the beginning of April, she’ll be overseeing the guild’s 150 active volunteers and 150 donor members in their quest to make Mercy General Hospital the best it can be. “The guild not only provides volunteer services—like running the gift shop and the information desks—but also fundraisers to give money back to the hospital to purchase items that aren’t in their general fund,” Inks explains. “Over the years, we’ve been able to buy transport carts, hospital beds and medical equipment. When they redid the lobby, we purchased the art for the walls. Raising funds for the hospital is what we’re here for.” That, and making sure the patients, public and staff of Mercy General Hospital are given a helping hand—with a healthy dose of heart. For more information about Mercy General Hospital call 7317189 or go to mercygeneral.org. n
Family Friendly FOR ONE EAST SAC COUPLE, THIS FLIP WAS NO FLOP BY JULIE FOSTER HOME INSIGHT
“We found this house midflip. The closer we looked, the more we liked it,” Paige says. HOME page 26
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3. 1. The Schulte children busy having fun. 2. The family room is open, light and perfect for spending time with family.
4. 3. The kitchen is light and open. 4. Comfortable and cozy, the master bedroom is a calm retreat after a busy day.
The home is filled with architectural details
“It gives the feeling of a charming old house and is a nice original piece of the 1940s home,” says Schulte.
HOME FROM page 24
aige and Nick Schulte needed a new home for their growing family and wanted to remain in their East Sacramento neighborhood. A solution proved to be right down the street: A contractor was remodeling a house to ready it for resale. “We found this house midflip. The closer we looked, the more we liked it,” Paige says. A combination of factors sealed the deal for the couple. The contractor retained the charm of the 1940s home, upgrading it with loads of storage areas and incredible finish work. Moreover, they could stay in their neighborhood. The 1,500-square-foot home received an extensive remodel from Todd Smith Homes. Work included the installation of new windows. Both the interior and exterior received new paint. Smith added a master bedroom and bath. Adding two covered porches created additional living spaces. Revamping the kitchen assured a warm and functional place for the family. Dressed up with fine finish
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work, the living room and dining room gained a big dose of style. Five arched doorways, a favorite design element of Smith’s, add appeal.
“It has been a little slice of heaven living in a community neighborhood where we really do know and look out for each other,” she says. “It’s like a block party every day.” With three young children, the Schulte family needs plenty of storage. The remodeled home includes media storage in the playroom and double closets in the master bedroom. The master bath’s under-vanity
storage and a deep closet tucked into a niche in the hallway are amazing, says Schulte. Transforming the garage into an office for her husband provided even more space. “We converted the garage into an office so the ability to store things in actual storage space is a blessing, instead of looking for the toilet paper under the bed,” she explains. Pushing out a wall provided muchneeded space in the galley kitchen. It also created the opportunity to add some architectural interest. Smith left exposed what had been the exterior brickwork of the living room’s fireplace. Now incorporated into the kitchen and painted a creamy white, the chimney serves as a dramatic focal point. “It gives the feeling of a charming old house and is a nice original piece of the 1940s home,” says Schulte. The kitchen’s new flooring is a perfect match for the living room’s original wood floor. New kitchen cabinets line the walls. Counters topped with creamy quartz provide
plenty of workspace. Two stools tucked under one side of the counter offer a view to the street. Within steps of the kitchen, the light-filled laundry room makes daily chores a little less tedious. A French door opening on to the covered back porch provides a view of the children’s play area. The living room is a showstopper. A beautiful double tray ceiling adds a sense of elegance and spaciousness. The crystal chandelier illuminates the fine finish work of the ceiling. The fireplace’s surround and mantle mimic the detailed tray ceiling. The dining room’s contemporary hatbox light fixture complements the more formal chandelier. Picture panel molding on the arched doorway between the living and dining room adds more interest. Standing inside the front door, your eye is drawn through the living room and the dining room’s back door. It appears as if the space is uninterrupted. Yet tucked inconspicuously into a wall in the
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dining room is an indentation large enough for both media and toy storage and space for a series of photos of the children. Schulte calls it her hidden gallery. Schulte loves the two covered porches. “We use the porches like living rooms for the kids to play in and for date nights in the summer,” Schulte says. The back porch, surrounded by decomposed granite, is a great play area for the kids. The front porch allows for a street view as well as lots of interaction with the neighbors.
Schulte loves the two covered porches. “The front porch is a perfect place for a glass of wine on summer evenings and family dinners alfresco,” Schulte explains.
28 yrs experience Sales | Service | Install For young families thinking about moving, Schulte offers a few helpful pointers. Families on a modest budget should look for space outside the home that can extend your living area. Repurpose the old master bedroom as a room the kids can share if you plan to add a new master bedroom. Don’t forget storage for all the games, toys and other stuff young families accumulate. Schulte explains that finding this home within their price range in their walkable, close-knit neighborhood was an extra delight. “It has been a little slice of heaven living in a community neighborhood where we really do know and look out for each other,” she says. “It’s like a block party every day.” If you know of a home you think should be featured in Inside Publications, contact Julie Foster at email@example.com. n
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Refuge for Refugees LOCAL GROUP OFFERS MICROLOANS AND MORE TO IMMIGRANTS
BY TERRY KAUFMAN LOCAL HEROES
wo decades ago, Sacramento’s Interfaith Service Bureau launched an initiative to help resettle refugees into the Sacramento region. The Sacramento Refugee Ministry worked with immigrants from all parts of the globe who faced many common challenges, from finding housing and jobs to adjusting to a new language and culture. A number of refugees, particularly those from the former Soviet Union, were interested in starting their own businesses but didn’t have the knowledge to do so. By the late ’90s, the ministry was working with local banks to create a microlending system and to provide training and guidance on how to start a business. When Debra DeBondt came aboard in 2001 as refugee resettlement program manager, the microloan program was in its infancy. Today, DeBondt is chief executive officer of the organization, which in 2003 was rechristened Opening Doors. The group has 18 paid staffers and a multicultural roster of volunteers and interns. It is funded through private donations, foundation grants and federal funding.
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Opening Doors helps immigrants become self-sufficient contributors to the community through education
“We believe that self-employment is a great way for refugees to get involved in the workplace,” says DeBondt. She says that when they start businesses, refugees also start to view themselves in a whole new light, taking pride in becoming selfsufficient and contributing to the community. In addition to microloans, which are continually replenished through a revolving loan fund, Opening Doors provides a wealth of technical support services for immigrants. The flagship offering is MoneyWorks, a six-month financial makeover program taught by local banking and finance experts on a pro
bono basis. Immigrants are taught how to gain control of their personal finances by changing their habits and setting achievable goals. Through coaching, peer support, workshops, and one-on-one counseling, the new arrivals develop the skills they need to handle money and manage their finances. Classes are taught in six-month installments, beginning in the spring and fall, and they run weekly for three months and then once a month for three months. Trinity Lutheran Church in Midtown provides not just a venue for the classes but also on-site childcare for the attendees. Financial support for the program comes from
local banks, as well as the United Way, Kelly Foundation and Cowell Foundation. Opening Doors also sponsors a legal services program to help undocumented immigrants qualify for visas. “Our main focus is visas,” says DeBondt. “They can qualify if they cooperate with law enforcement, or if they are the victims of violent crime.” She notes that violence among immigrants, as well as child prostitution, is “quite a substantial issue in Sacramento.” DeBondt shares the story of a refugee who heard about Opening Doors through her church and showed up on the group’s doorstep about five
years ago with shocking tales of her subjugation in the human trafficking trade. This inspired the nonprofit to establish its Survivors of Human Trafficking program and to become a founding member of Sacramento’s Rescue and Restore Coalition. The program focuses on foreign-born survivors of trafficking, whether through indentured servitude or the sex trade. “We work with the survivors to help them restart their lives,” says Emma Lindrose, Opening Doors’ marketing and development manager.
“We provide education and case management, connecting them with vital resources, including housing.” Lindrose says that the organization and its programs will continue to expand to address the needs of new refugee groups. Currently, programs are provided in English and Spanish. With the recent influx of Iraqi immigrants, she foresees a need for Arabic speakers. To learn more about Opening Doors, go to openingdoorsinc.org. n
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Watering Wisely IT’S IMPORTANT TO MAKE EVERY DROP COUNT
BY ANITA CLEVENGER GARDEN JABBER
t’s been hard not to panic in the face of statewide drought declarations, announcements of watering restrictions by local water districts and startling photos of a nearly empty Folsom Lake. We’re told that about two-thirds of residential water use is consumed outside. Quick! Let’s take out our lawns! I’ve been thinking of reducing my front lawn, or perhaps removing it altogether, but I’m not going to rush into doing it this spring. I still haven’t figured out a good, maintainable design that takes into account our two shade trees. I need to study what other people have done, visit more water-efficient public gardens, explore tools and information online and consult with a landscaper certified as a “green gardener.” Even if I knew exactly what to do, now is not the time to put in new plants, which would need copious water to survive our long, hot summer. Fall is always a better time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. In a dry year, it’s even more important to wait. How, then, will I reduce my water consumption? By making sure that all of my irrigation is done as
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efficiently as possible and reducing its frequency. Along with some added water conservation in the house, I should be able to achieve the city of Sacramento’s goal of a 20 to 30 percent reduction. Too often, we waste water. We don’t know how much water our plants need and apply too much. We allow water from sprinklers spill over the sidewalk and into the street. We don’t use shut-off valves on our hoses. We water during the heat of the day when water rapidly evaporates. We water shallowly and often, rather than deeply and infrequently. We can calculate how much water our lawns need by referring to The
UC Guide to Healthy Lawns. Irrigate only until runoff begins, then allow the water to soak in before applying more. Sacramento’s Stage 2 Water Shortage Contingency Plan mandates only two days of watering a week during daylight saving time. This may cause your lawn to look less lush during the summer, but it won’t die. Other UC tips to reduce water needs are to water between 2 and 8 a.m., to aerate your lawn if the soil is too compact, and to “grasscycle,” allowing short clippings to stay on the lawns to decompose, retain moisture and add nutrients. Keeping organic material on the soil is a good idea throughout your
yard and garden. Don’t let your lawn service blow every shred of organic material from under your shrubs, sending dust and other allergens into the air. Mulch retains moisture and keeps roots cool. Apply four to six inches of it to planting beds and around your trees, keeping it at least six inches away from tree trunks. Mulch container plants, too. Trees and shrubs often need additional deep watering during the summer. If you are watering your lawn less, it’s even more critical that you make sure that they are getting enough water. Young trees need regular irrigation. For mature trees, probe the soil 6 to 8 inches below the surface. If it’s dry, water slowly until water penetrates to that level. Repeat when the soil is dry again. Examine your irrigation system for leaks and inefficiencies. If you don’t use drip irrigation for your planting beds, fruit trees and vegetable gardens, consider installing it. Make sure that plants with like watering needs are grouped together. If you have a thirsty plant in the middle of more drought-tolerant ones, either find a way to give it some additional water without oversaturating the rest, move it or take it out altogether. You can still grow vegetables, but choose carefully what you grow and don’t plant more that you will harvest and use. Sacramentans love to grow tomatoes, plants that send down deep roots. According to Lifetime Master Gardener Pam Bone, tests show that those that are watered just once a week are less watery, taste better and are less inclined to develop blossom-end rot. Bone suggests that some other plants may not be high
Another Reason to have the right estate plan: Your son-in-law, Larry • He has been “between careers” for three years. • He plays video games all night, every night. • He is building the world’s tallest pyramid of empty beer cans. • He wants to open a tattoo parlor, an “investment opportunity” he offers you at least once a month. • He thinks it’s “really cool” that your daughter will inherit your assets someday. What if your estate ended up in his control? Call me for a free consultation and learn how you can plan for the “Larry” in your life. Or visit www.wyattlegal.com.
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Anita Clevenger is a lifetime Sacramento County UC Master
Gardener. For answers to gardening questions, call 875-6913, go to ucanr. edu/sites/sacmg/ or visit Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, where the Water Efficient Landscape is always open and where periodic workshops are scheduled. A workshop on May 17 will focus on water-saving ideas. Sacramento Tree Foundation has information about how dry winter tree care at sactree.com/drought. n
value. Corn, for example, needs a lot of water, doesn’t yield much and is readily available at farmers markets. Even though February rain has made the shortage less dire, we still need to conserve water, now and in the future. Having less lawn is a good idea. This fall, I plan to terminate some turf.
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They're Scrappy FOR THESE ARTISTS, OLD CALIFORNIA TRASH IS THEIR TREASURE
BY JODIE BARRINGER MYERS ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
or Land Park residents Tom and Sally Myers, what’s old is, artistically speaking, new again. After a 41-year hiatus, these two are back creating what they call wood sculptures. But it’s probably not what you’re thinking. They construct 3-D pieces using found old wood, rusted metal and tin scraps, tattered fabric and foliage indigenous to California. “The only thing new is the glue,” says Tom Myers. Tom, 88, met Sally, 78, more than 50 years ago at the Sierra Camera Club in Sacramento. “She’s my child bride,” he says. Together, they run a successful business, Tom Myers Photography, specializing in California, American West, agriculture, wildlife and environmental photos. Tom’s work has been published in National Geographic, National Wildlife magazine and Sunset Books. They started making one-of-a-kind wood sculptures in 1969, exhibiting in galleries in Carmel, San Francisco and Sacramento and selling well over 150 pieces. But in 1972, when the photography business ramped up to more than a full-time job, they put their artistic endeavors on the back burner until seven months ago, when they started creating their scrappy artwork once again. “Because of digital photography these days,” Sally says, “it frees us up and gives us more time to do the wood sculptures.” Each sculpture depicts a scene, such as Fisherman’s Wharf in San
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Robert-Jean Ray with some very small artwork
Land Park residents Tom and Sally Myers create artwork from items found along roads and rivers, in ditches and other places
Francisco, the historic town of Locke, the State Capitol or the Delta King. Their rustic pieces are often nods to the past. “We love to give that sense of time and place of days gone by,” says Sally. Each diorama is securely affixed to worn wood or tin. While some are stand-alone works of art, most are designed to hang on a wall. The artists scavenge for their materials, mostly in the ditches and fields of Northern California. They
often go on Google Earth to find trash piles or unorganized dumps. Their many years of photography experience have made them expert at foraging for hidden treasures. “We’re used to always looking down and close up in nature,” Sally says. But it’s easier said than done. “It’s really hard to find the old rusted metal stuff now,” Sally says, “because everything these days is aluminum.” When they find thin, malleable wood or crusty old tin, it’s like
winning the jackpot. The shabbier, the better. “Yes,” Tom says, “we are up to date on our tetanus shots.” Art seems to be a genetic thing in the Myers family. The couple’s son, Jeff, is an acclaimed artist in his own right. His paintings and prints are colorful works, combining abstraction with representation. He also assists his parents in the digital scanning and computer/techie side of their stillthriving photography business.
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Tom, a native Chicagoan, and Sally, raised in the Bay Area, show no signs of slowing down. Tom regularly charters a helicopter to take aerial photographs for his agricultural and industrial clients. “It’s better than Disneyland,” he says of those helicopter rides. “I look down, there’s my feet, and then there’s nothing underneath!” They’ve also published a number of books. Their most recent, “A Postcard History of Sacramento,” chronicles vintage photos of Sacramento taken from 1904 to 1930. For Tom and Sally Myers, there are a lot of great ideas in the queue. They want to create sculptures of iconic buildings in Old Folsom, Fair Oaks and the Gold Country. They also do special orders. They’ve created sculptures of an old ranch-style house commissioned by a gentleman
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“We love to give that sense of time and place of days gone by,” says Sally.
In January, they had an exhibit at The Temp Gallery. During Second Saturday in March, they will again show their artsy showpieces at 33rd Street Bistro on Folsom Boulevard. Tom and Sally Myers can be reached at 443-8886. n
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Appropriate for mature audiences St. Francis Theatre 5900 Elvas Avenue . Sacramento For more information, call 916.737.5002
Body of Work ‘GATSBY’ GIVES WAY TO SACRAMENTO BALLET’S ‘CARMINA BURANA’
By Jessica Laskey RIVER CITY PREVIEWS
ensual. Stunning. Sensational. These are just a few effusive adjectives that come to mind when thinking of the Sacramento Ballet’s production of “Carmina Burana,” which is making a surprise return to the Community Center Theater on March 27-30. Ron Cunningham’s “Carmina Burana” is taking the place of his “Great Gatsby” this month—the ballet is holding the F. Scott Fitzgerald fantasy for later in the season to make sure all of the elements (live music, singers, a healthy corps) can come together properly—but the arresting visuals, cataclysmic choreography, live music and 80-member chorus of “Carmina” sure to make it a new favorite. For tickets and more information, call 808-5181 or go to sacballet.org. The Community Center Theater is at 1301 L St.
RESCUE MISSION If you’ve ever seen a play at Celebration Arts, you know the work that’s being done there is strong,
POCKET MAR n 14
“Carmina Burana” is making a surprise return to the Community Center Theater March 27-30
compelling, thought-provoking and important for our region. Not only does the company present rarely staged works by prominent African American playwrights, it also employs and trains talented local actors for every production, a feat that few professional theater companies in Sacramento accomplish.
But it is in need of our help. Like most local businesses, Celebration Arts depends on patrons who live in the area to support its shows. Here’s a portion of the organization’s plea: “We send you this message at this time because we find ourselves very close to closing our operation. The cost to present stage plays has
dramatically increased while at the same time our income from grants and ticket sales has drastically decreased. The total of all income is used for our productions, including licensing of play rights and leasing our theater space. “As currently structured, each production funds the next production. We therefore have no guarantee of income to support our productions and necessary infrastructure. Financially, 2013 was particularly challenging: most months we struggled to meet our obligations, hoping that the next production would bring in sufficient funds. “We are reaching out for your assistance to help us establish a foundation of annual giving, now more vital than ever to alleviate the pressures from production-toproduction. This foundation will ensure we remain a viable arts entity for the Sacramento region while also continuing to present plays that can only be seen on the Celebration Arts stage.” Do your part to keep local arts alive in our city. Donate at celebrationarts. net or send a tax-deductible donation to Celebration Arts, 4469 D St., Sacramento, CA 95819. Together, we can keep this integral institution up and running, and presenting thought-provoking theater, for years to come.
YES, MASTER Get ready for some sensational singing when the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra (SCSO) presents “European Masterworks” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 8 at the Community Center Theater.
The impressive program will include “Stabat Mater” by Charles Villiers Stanford and Symphony No. 2 by Felix Mendelssohn, performed by sopranos Marina Boudart Harris and Carrie Hennessey, alto Malin Fritz, tenor Mathew Edwardsen and baritone Eugene Villanueva. Let your ears relax into the rhythms; there will be projected supertitle translations so you can keep up with every languid lyric. Arrive early at 7 p.m. and you’ll be treated to a pre-performance talk by maestro Donald Kendrick. This performance of “European Masterworks” is dedicated to SCSO cellist and friend Judy Waegell. For tickets and more information, call 808-5181 or go to sacramentochoral.com. The Community Center Theater is at 1301 L St.
NOT-SO-SILENT NIGHT If you love silent movies for the dramatic acting and equally dramatic musical scoring, don’t miss the Sacramento Community Concerts performance of “A Night at the Movies” at 7:30 p.m. on March 22 at Westminster Church. Organist Dave Moreno will accompany some of your favorite silent films on the church’s 3,000-pipe organ with the help of emcee and crooner Matias Bombal. It’s sure to be a dramatic evening of entertainment! For tickets and more information, call 400-4634 or go to sccaconcerts. org. Westminster Church is at 1300 N St.
OH, OPHELIA Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenage girl can be even harder. Watch four young women battle the tough stuff—bullying, abuse, death, alcoholism, puberty—in St. Francis High School’s production of “Reviving Ophelia” March 21-29. The hard-hitting material may sound heavy for a high school play, but St. Francis is determined to start a conversation with its students (all St. Francis attendees will be required to see it) and the community as a whole. It helps that the cast of four young women—Annie Randle, Emma Vance, Tori Johnson and Jordan Davis—tackles the subjects with
St. Francis High School’s production of “Reviving Ophelia” will run March 21-29
acting aplomb and poise that far outpaces their ages. For tickets and more information, call 737-5002 or go to stfrancishs.org. St. Francis High School is at 5900 Elvas Ave.
wrenching, “Wrong for Each Other” proves just how funny love can be. For tickets and more information, call 443-5300 or go to bstreettheatre. org. The B Street Theatre is at 2711 B St.
DON’T BLAME CANADA
Though Sacramento isn’t located anywhere near Canada, you can see what entertains our neighbors to the north right in your own hometown. The B Street Theatre presents Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s comedy “Wrong for Each Other” from March 2 through April 13. It’s no surprise to the folks at the B Street that Foster is Canada’s most prolific and produced playwright. The theater has produced at least three other Foster productions to great acclaim. This current comedy follows Rudy and Norah as they fall in love, get married, get divorced and then come face-to-face again to relive the highs and lows of their relationship. Witty, heart-warming and heart-
When you’re looking for something to do, sometimes you just have to improvise. Don’t miss the Improvisational Jazz concert at the Crocker Art Museum, as well as lots of other fun and funky offerings this month, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 6. Acclaimed Italian guitar master Antonio Calogero and Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless will make the Crocker hop with an eclectic evening of improvisational jazz music. Talk about a dynamic duo. If you liked Calogero’s guitar moves, don’t miss the Classical Concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 9 featuring the Athens Guitar Duo. This Grammy Award-nominated
group performs music created by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla and Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, along with works by composers from Turkey, France and the United States. The coolest part? The talented twosome performs on guitars built by a master luthier (a maker of lutes and other stringed instruments) including an extremely rare 11-string guitar. Ready to get funky? Check out Art Mix’s Funk Springs Eternal event from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 13. To celebrate the spring season, the Crocker is getting “funky fresh”: live performances by Groovincible and Idea Team, a special set by the DJs from FFFreak! and demos by Sacramento’s first Bboy crew The Outsiders. Need some more funk in your life? Peruse the pop-up Dimple Records shop and explore interactive art making with the evening’s featured artist. To help you get your funk on, drinks are under $5 all night. To support the next generation of art makers in Sacramento, the Crocker will participate in national Youth Art Month, a yearly celebration of the importance of youth arts education. See some sensational student artwork and rub elbows with the young creators at the Youth Art Month Reception from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 16. The reception is free with museum admission. Finally, get back in balance at the end of the month with “Art in Balance: Tai Chi” in the Gallery at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 20. This event is exactly what it sounds like: Participants will meditate during an instructional tai chi session led by Tara Stiles amid the art in the galleries. Take a gander while you take a breather. The class is open to all ages and skill levels and is included in general admission. For tickets and more information on all Crocker events, call 808-1182 or go to crockerartmuseum.org. The Crocker Art Museum is at 216 O St.
THE NEW PLAY’S THE THING How do you stay on the cutting edge of the theater world? Just
PREVIEWS page 36
PREVIEWS FROM page 35
ask Ray Tatar, artistic director of California Stage and an avid advocate for new plays. Tatar’s company is one of six theaters in the United States that has been chosen to present one of the winning entries in the first-ever New Play Festival of the American Association of Community Theaters. “The Vanishing Point” by Nelda Roberts will open March 29 and play every weekend in April at the R25 Arts Center. Roberts’ award-winning piece, about the destruction of the Bayous and the diaspora of the American Cajun culture, was chosen from 250 entries and will enjoy its world premiere right here in Sacramento. How’s that for cutting edge? “The Vanishing Point” will be performed at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays at the R25 Arts Complex, 1721 25th St. For tickets and more information, call 451-5822 or go to calstage.org.
THE SOUNDS OF MUSIC Are you a fan of Broadway musicals? How about symphonic music? You can combine both kinds of engaging entertainment at the Sacramento Symphonic Winds concert “Broadway!” at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 16 at Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast. Warm up your vocal chords and lend your voice to the audienceparticipation concert celebrating music from “Oklahoma!” “Carousel,” “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music,” all by musical legend Richard Rodgers, as well as “The Cowboys” by
John Williams and the song stylings of the Sac Winds’ Youth Artist Competition winner. Tickets are available at the door. For more information, go to sacwinds. org. Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast is at 5321 Date Ave.
DREAM ON Good music and good deeds come together on March 5 at the Crest Theatre when three-time Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs to benefit Bridget’s Dream, a nonprofit organization battling sex trafficking in Sacramento.
Sacramento is among 18 mediumsized U.S. cities with frighteningly high rates of child sexual exploitation. Sacramento is among 18 mediumsized U.S. cities with frighteningly high rates of child sexual exploitation. Responding to this gut-wrenching statistic, Leah Albright-Byrd founded Bridget’s Dream in 2011 to raise awareness and funds for the fight against trafficking. Inspired by the nonprofit’s mission, music promoter Scott Brill-Lehn arranged to send some of the proceeds garnered from Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s performance to the group to aid its cause. In this special
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Garrett McCord, co-author of “Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese,” comes to the Library Galleria downtown to speak to his salivating fans at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11.
performance, the South African male choral group, whose melodious voices you may recognize from Paul Simon’s hit album “Graceland,” will present pieces from a more than 50-year career, including songs from the recent Grammy-winning album “Live: Singing For Peace Around The World” (dedicated to Nelson Mandela) and the group’s newest CD, “Always With Us” (a tribute to Nellie Shabala, wife of Joseph Shabala, the singing group’s founder and leader). For tickets and more information, call the Crest at 442-5189 or go to bridgetsdream.org. The Crest Theatre is at 1013 K St.
READ MY LIPS
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Hungry for a great read and a delicious meal? Snag both when Garrett McCord, co-author of “Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese,” comes to the Library Galleria
downtown to speak to his salivating fans at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11. McCord and his co-author, Stephanie Stiavetti (who happened to be a classmate of mine at UC Berkeley), are self-described foodies who set out to lovingly tribute, and deliciously reinvent, the classic mac ’n’ cheese of yore. Cooks of all levels will enjoy the recipes and anecdotes as well as tips to transform this comfort food into something special with fresh, simple ingredients. My tummy is already rumbling … For more information, go to saclibrary.org. The Library Galleria is in the Central Library at 828 I St. Jessica Laskey can be reached at email@example.com. Please email items for consideration by the first of the month, at least one month in advance of the event. n
New Two A PAIR OF NEW RESTAURANTS WIDENS THE DOWNTOWN DINING SCENE
BY GREG SABIN RESTAURANT INSIDER
t’s been a rough few months for the Sacramento restaurant landscape. Longtime standout Enotria closed its doors after an interesting run of being first the best little restaurant on Del Paso Boulevard, then the best wine bar and restaurant outside of the grid, and lastly a molecular-gastronomy adventure. Restaurant THIR13EN closed it doors not long after. The second project of Tuli Bistro’s Adam Pechal, THIR13EN couldn’t quite take off after a few years of hard trying and beautiful cooking. There have been ups and downs at 9th Street’s Blackbird, first a rocky and public closing and now rebranding as Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery. Despite the ridiculous name, if the cooking is on par with Blackbird’s previous seafood-centric iteration, I’ll happily spend some dining dollars there. So yes, there have been more than a few bumps in the road for local diners, which is why it’s nice to see a pair of new restaurants open up their doors downtown. The first is a newish establishment named Foundation Restaurant & Bar, an upscale casual eatery and drinkery already popular with the corporate employees working in the buildings surrounding it. Focusing a bit more on the bar than the restaurant, Foundation offers a compact and approachable menu offering steaks, chops, and seafood. Highlights include “lamb lollipops,” which are really just lamb
Gorgonzola burger with garlic fries from Foundation
chops with a tomato/jalapeno jam. Three substantial chops come with the order, perfectly grilled and well seasoned. The tomato/jalapeno jam is a bit on the syrupy side, but it’s well balanced against the heat of the peppers. The grilled New York strip is a simple, straightforward steak plate, with roasted shallots and blue cheese. The steamed mussels work on all fronts, swimming in a broth of paprika-spiked beer broth. The standout might be the porterhouse pork chop. It’s a notinsubstantial chunk of meat served
over sugary sweet potatoes and crisp French green beans. If memory serves, the former occupant, 4th Street Grille, also was known for its pork chop. It too was basically a steak/chops/seafood place with a well-appointed bar. Truth is, other than a new coat of paint and new upholstery on the booths, it’s hard to tell the difference between Foundation and the former tenant. The food is similar, although maybe a touch more current with its selection of seasonal ingredients. The vibe, too, is similar, with a heavy lunch and after-work rotation coming through most days.
Overall, not much has changed. If you, like me, don’t work in the area, and your last visit to 4th Street Grille was a few years ago, then you’ll probably not notice much of a change with Foundation. This is not elegant food, yet not quite comfort food. This is a menu to be found in almost every downtown in almost every American city. It’s an inevitable slice of Americana. Foundation Bar & Restaurant is at 400 L St.; 321-9522; foundationrestaurantandbar.com. RESTAURANT page 38
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The dining room at Foundation
FROM from page 37 The second of downtown’s new entries in the dining market is Mother on K Street. One of the most hotly anticipated openings in recent memory, the vegetarian restaurant has had a swarm of positive press and excited buzz.
The food is hearty, comfortable, flavorful and sumptuous. The recipes are familiar and homey. They just happen to be vegetarian. Casual, hip, small, popular and inevitably uncomfortable, Mother is the new “it” place to dine downtown. Within two weeks of opening, nearly every food-focused friend I have
POCKET MAR n 14
pitched his or her two cents into the giant opinion tip jar. Most of their opinions were positive, some zealously so. I thought I’d spice up the experience by actually taking my mother, Carol, to Mother. First, my mother is not a vegetarian. Second, cramped, popular, casual restaurants are not her scene. Had she not seen so much positive press come out about the place, she probably would have suggested another destination for lunch.
Her take on the place was mixed, as was mine. The food is hearty, comfortable, flavorful and sumptuous. The recipes are familiar and homey. They just happen to be vegetarian. Mother’s beet salad was the star of the show. My mother said several times, “I’d come back just for that.” It’s a hefty dish with shaved raw beets and whole roasted beets mixed with quinoa, watercress and creamy yogurt dressing. The textures and flavors come together beautifully. Where some restaurant beet salads
feel like a celebration of good olive oil, fine vinegar and pedestrian beets, this dish felt like a beet showcase with some muscular props. The rest of the menu comes across with bright notes and seasonal flavors showing off some kitchen mastery and old-school southern chops. But sometimes the offerings are a bit overseasoned. (A dish of roasted Brussels sprouts tasted like the salt cellar had been lost in it.) Other times, the menu choices are a bit odd. (Iced coffee is available but not hot coffee.) I find myself wanting to like Mother. For a vegetarian joint, the food is excellent and the vibe is fun. I’d love to say that the food is excellent, regardless of its meat content. For me, Mother isn’t quite there yet. But the fact that my mother, one of the toughest restaurant critics I know, seemed to enjoy her experience there says a lot in the new restaurant’s favor. Mother is at 1023 K St.; 594-9812; mothersacramento.com. n
Buy one entrée and get a second entrée FREE!* $16 maximum value. Seniors 55 and older. Must present proof of age. Coupon required. Offer valid 1-1-2014 through 3-31-2014. Tax and gratuity not included. Not valid on Valentine’s Day. 1001 Front Street, Historic Old Sacramento 916-446-6768 www.fatcitybarandcafe.com
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EAST SACRAMENTO BUNGALOW
Charming 3 bed, 2 bath home in immaculate condition. Freshly re¿nished wood Àoors, new two tone int paint + kitchen wood laminate Àoor. Spacious living room w/attractive ¿replace & a backyard perfect for BBQ’s $429,000 MARSHA CHAN 217-5500
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HERITAGE LAKESIDE IN ELK GROVE
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Basford built, 4 bed, 2.5 bth, 1 story. Remote 4th bed 1/2 ba, ideal for home of¿ce, guest rm, etc. Formal living & dining area. Separate family rm w/¿replace. Kitchen & breakfast area look out to pretty courtyard. $345,000 BILL BONNER 320-1888
PARADISE IN COURTLAND
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