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Class of 2020







july 1, 2020 | Vol. 32, Issue 1

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd protests, 2020 is already a year to remember.

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editor’s note


A terrible toll 125,000 dead and counting from COVID-19, so why isn’t America a nation in mourning? by Foon Rhee

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family? Maybe the new spike of deaths, even On May 27, America passed an unimaginable before a potential second wave in the fall and milestone—100,000 dead in the COVID-19 winter, will shake us out of coronavirus fatigue. pandemic. Now, as cases surge across the Maybe the numbers are just too big to wrap our country, that terrible toll is well past 125,000 heads around, especially if we don’t personally deaths, with no end in sight. know someone taken by COVID-19. It again raises the question: Why aren’t we a It’s a combination of all these reasons, most nation in collective grief? likely. Is it because we have a president who seems Yet, contrast what’s happening now with incapable of empathy, who brags about what a America’s response after 9/11. The nation was great job he’s doing, who prefers to celebrate united in its grief, and then its resolve. Nearly stock market numbers and who is now ignoring 20 years later, many still remember the solemn reality and holding campaign rallies again? ceremonies when the body of a New York fireIs it because the pandemic has become so fighter was carried out of the smoldering ruins of politicized? Polls show that Democrats and the World Trade Center. Republicans not only disagree on how President And that was after 3,000 deaths. We nearly Trump is handling the crisis, but also on social had that many in a single day from COVID-19 distancing, wearing masks and the pace of during the peak in April. reopening. There’s even a partisan divide on the It was fitting that we reached the 100,000 official death count. While some Republicans say landmark so close to Memorial Day. Some, the count is being inflated to make Trump look bad, many Democrats say it doesn’t count people who are dying without being tested for COVID-19. Or is it because—to prevent more infections—there have been very few public funerals and memorial services? What if TV news shows were featuring weeping families every day? What if there were fewer public health officials on TV warning how bad it is, and The front page of The instead more images of people New York Times on May dying and their loved ones 24 marked a milestone in mourning? the COVID-19 pandemic. Is it because so many Americans have been laid off, are feeling depressed and including Trump, like to compare the pandemic had to change daily lives due to stay-at-home to a war. If it is, we have only won early battles orders? Maybe it’s easier to mourn people we and face a stubborn and unforgiving enemy. don’t know when we’re not dealing with our And we have our war dead, even if they’re not own problems. As businesses reopen and life buried under rows of white crosses in national returns more to normal, maybe the pandemic seems less serious. And then the protests over the cemeteries. So if we’re not going to mourn them, the least police killing of George Floyd overshadowed the we can do is keep a safe distance, wear masks, pandemic. get tested, take the vaccine when it’s safe and Or is it because there have been so many effective—do everything we can so all these deaths that we’re all just numb to the fact that deaths are not in vain. Ω each number is a real person, with friends and

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by William Burg

Teaching moment The statues of John Sutter and Christopher Columbus glorified white supremacy and needed to be removed. But there are other historic places that must be recognized.

Legislative leaders announced June 16 that a statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain will be removed from the state Capitol.

Photo by Matt Fraser

erasure and the emergence of a more inclusive Preservation Sacramento, as a citywide historic history of Sacramento. That legacy must include the preservation advocacy nonprofit, supports the people and places associated with those who, until position taken by the National Trust for Historic recently, were seldom memorialized in bronze or Preservation on Confederate and other monuments marble or listed as landmarks. whose main purpose was the glorification of white The city of Sacramento already pursues that supremacy. goal by identifying and preserving historic sites While California has few Confederate associated with communities of color, including monuments, statues of figures like John Sutter and places such as Shiloh Baptist and Kyles Temple Christopher Columbus taught the same lesson—that AME Zion Church in Oak Park. The city is also American history belongs to white men. These considering nominations for properties associated monuments reinforce past trauma, a constant with civil rights attorney Nathaniel Colley. Last reminder to Black, indigenous and other people of week, we asked the city to add the Alder Grove color that they were subjugated under white rule. housing projects on Broadway (already listed as The statue of John Sutter that was removed the New Helvetia Historic District in the National from Midtown was installed in 1987, too recently to Register of Historic Places) to the Sacramento qualify as a historic artifact. Donated by the United Register of Historic and Cultural Resources. Swiss Lodge of California, it was located on Sutter Many other places deserve recognition and Hospital property across the street from Sutter’s should become historic landmarks: the Royal Fort. It was not funded or supported by the city or Chicano Air Force murals, mid-century state, but visitors undoubtedly associated the Modern buildings designed by local statue with the fort. Japanese-American and ChineseThe Sutter statue’s lesson was American architects and sites similar to Confederate monuments associated with civil rights Removing these that perpetuated a counterfactual leaders and LGBTQ activists. “Lost Cause” myth of the statues, historic or These places, and the people antebellum South and its not, is a step toward associated with them, can poisonous stereotypes about inspire and engage the public the greater good of slavery. The pastoral image of with a more inclusive history. Sutter as agricultural patriarch ensuring racial justice Similarly, Sutter’s Fort— and a kind father figure to the and equality. and the California State Indian Maidu and Miwok people he Museum that shares a park with terrorized and enslaved was just the fort—can tell a more inclusive as false, concealing the facts with a story of Sacramento’s early history noble smile. and the indigenous people who lived here The statue of Christopher Columbus and millennia before Sutter arrived. Queen Isabella in the state Capitol rotunda is a Plans to build a much larger California Indian historic artifact, only a decade or so younger than Heritage Center in West Sacramento are long the Capitol itself. However, its purpose was the deferred, possibly even longer due to COVD-related same—a reminder of European dominance over the state budget cuts, but we can use the museums we New World, with California representing the final have to tell that greater story now. We owe it to our phase of conquest via manifest destiny. descendants to share our legacy in a manner that is Removing these statues, historic or not, is a step thorough, honest and inclusive to all. Ω toward the greater good of ensuring racial justice and equality. Some may be relocated to recognize their history and place them in proper context. Their removal is not an erasure of history; it William Burg is an author, historian and president is the first step toward reversing a greater cultural of Preservation Sacramento. 6





15 minutes

by Lindsay OxfOrd

l i nd s a y o @ne w s re v i e w . c o m Carrie Hennessey uses her experience as a professional opera singer to help others find their voice through remote lessons.

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Finding your voice As an in-demand opera and theater performer, Carrie Hennessey has taken her soprano voice worldwide alongside some of her field’s most innovative composers and performers. Hennessey has also taught voice lessons for 10 years. For the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, she no longer teaches from her home studio in Sacramento. Instead, she’s connecting with her students online using Zoom—and it’s less difficult than you might think.

We’re all still social distancing. It sounds like you’re working from home too. Every single one of my concerts and operas that I had scheduled all over the country were canceled through the end of the year … Thankfully, all of the companies have been gracious in wanting to reschedule and wanting to utilize the artists again … [It’s] interesting working with smaller companies that really want to make sure that the community of artists with whom they work are valued.

In the meantime, you give voice lessons? I do. Whenever I’m home and prepping for a role, over the last 10 years, [I’ve] built quite a studio of some lovely singers.

How has that changed for you now that you can’t see them in person? Everybody was on board knowing that my intention is fully to care for them as an artist. Not just as a singer—but as a human. Because this body that we walk in is full of anxiety and emotion and stress, and unknowing … It’s important that they know they have a voice, and they have something to say, and that they can say it truthfully.

For some people, that vulnerability you mentioned requires a one-on-one connection that a computer doesn’t provide. Does it take a little longer to engage?

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Actually, I think the harder thing has been making sure that they are comfortable in their own home. Because some of these singers are singers for themselves … [The] harder thing wasn’t the technology, but some people were in their own homes. Where they were shutting a door, but maybe their significant other, who maybe they’ve never sung in front of, is on the other side of the door …

Financially, we’re living in a time where discretionary income may be completely nonexistent for some people. Classes or not, what role does singing have in peoples’ lives? I think it’s imperative. It’s a form of storytelling that involves the most complex motor skill that a human has. To utilize all of these muscles, and to utilize the emotional capacity to express through literally every system of our body, to every part of our brain, the synapses that are firing. The text. And the fact that we are vibrating our own personal DNA to express to others around us is the most personal form, a deep form of expression that I can think of. It’s so good for the heart, it’s so good for our brain, it’s so good for the endorphins in our body. It slows down the heart rate. There’s just so much good about singing—it’s so important for our system to be able to move energy through us in this way. Through vibration, and through song and through text that’s meaningful. Ω

For information about Carrie Hennessey’s singing lessons and performance schedule, visit carriehennessey.com.






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2020 and beyond by Jeff vonKaenel

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this edition and continuing through at least It is said that journalism is the first rough draft October. We want to cover America’s most of history. And since we suspended our print important election since 1932. After October, edition after March 19, there has been a lot of we are considering limited print publication or history being made. The COVID-19 pandemic, online-only production, perhaps reinventing the righteous anger and protests after the police ourselves as a nonprofit. We are reaching out killing of George Floyd and the unraveling of to local nonprofit media organizations about the Trump presidency are only a few of the partnerships and talking to potential investors. historic events of the last few months. Looking into my crystal ball, our future is When I look back over my lifetime, this still unclear. The News & Review was founded moment in history feels most like 1968. The in 1977 when the Chico State student paper Vietnam War was televised, so its horrors broke away from the university and moved came directly into American homes. It was off campus. Since, it has always been both a the year that U.S. troops killed more than mission and a business. 500 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai The mission spoke truth to power, enabled massacre. It was the year that Martin Luther those previously unheard to be heard, presented King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy were unpopular views and celebrated the arts. assassinated. It was a year of student protests The business side has always been and bloody clashes between police and difficult. Speaking truth to power demonstrators at the Democratic is not always a smart business National Convention in Chicago. Thanks to reader move. We have only been American athletes Tommie able to survive because of Smith and John Carlos raised support and the supportive readers and their fists at the Summer federal aid, we plan to advertisers and a staff that Olympics in protest of publish monthly, starting went far above and beyond racism. It was a year of the call of duty. terrible events, turmoil and with this edition and For the last 31 years, unrest. People stood up and continuing through at the Sacramento News & demanded change. It was a least October. Review has put a weekly turning point in history. spotlight on people and Part of today’s moment in organizations—some that history has been the devastating desperately wanted coverage impact that the pandemic has had on and some that most definitely did not. already struggling local community media, From our early coverage of the Rancho Seco including the News & Review. When print nuclear plant to more recent coverage of law advertisers pulled out and our distribution enforcement misconduct, SN&R has been a locations closed their doors, we had to suspend watchdog for Sacramento. print publication. We have also played an active role in the But since, our readers have stepped up with community, producing the SAMMIES awards donations that have gone directly to fund the in support of Sacramento’s vibrant music scene, work of our reporters. In addition, we received helping to start Second Saturday to boost the a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, visual arts, founding the interfaith Call for Unity which will partially fund our staff for the next concerts after 9/11 and promoting local businesses few months. with the annual Best of Sacramento issue. I am proud of the work our editorial staff 2020 is a historic moment for America. has published online since mid-March. I Our country is at a crossroads. In a time appreciate the staffers who have stayed with of uncertainty and confusion, independent us despite an uncertain future and miss those community journalism that covers politics, news who are no longer working with us. And I am and the arts is critical. With your help, we will so appreciative of the support that we have provide it. Ω received from our readers. What will be the News & Review’s future? Thanks to reader support and the federal Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review. aid, we plan to publish monthly, starting with


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You know George Floyd’s name. Should you know Reggie Payne’s? by Raheem F. hosseini

Reggie Payne, far right, with family members during Christmas time 2017, died in March following an encounter with Sacramento police. Photo courtesy of Janine L. Jefferson

this story originally appeared at sacramento. newsreview.com.




Video footage of George Floyd dying under a police officer’s knee ignited massive demonstrations around the world and revived the agonizing debate about law enforcement’s treatment of people of color in the United States. The family of a Black Sacramento man says their loved one was the victim of similar mistreatment—three months before Floyd’s killing—and deserves similar outcry. Reginald “Reggie” Damone Payne died at Sutter Medical Center on March 3, seven days after a filmed encounter with paramedics and Sacramento police resulted in the 48-year-old diabetic losing consciousness in his home. Payne’s mother and sister say their loved one underwent dialysis treatment earlier that day and simply needed a dose of glucose for his low blood sugar. Instead, Fire Department personnel summoned police to first restrain Payne before they would administer care. “They were lolly-gagging,” Janine L. Jefferson, Payne’s sister, told SN&R. “He was saying he couldn’t breathe.” The Police Department released edited footage from three officers’ body cameras on April 16, more than seven weeks after officers responded to the one-story home in South Sacramento. The footage doesn’t reveal anything as brazenly cruel as what |


happened to Floyd, who asked for his dead mother while Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin ground his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office is investigating Payne’s death. His mother and sister say the body-cam footage shows a callousness toward someone who needed urgent medical care. And they say that, unlike the 46-year-old Floyd, whose death has sparked demonstrations and clashes with police across a nation slowly emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that Payne died off-camera denied him similar recognition.

Who WaS ReGGie PaYne? Harriett Jefferson said her son was in college when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Payne published a short memoir about living with his disorder in 2018, titled The Harassment of Reginald D. Payne. In the early chapters, Payne writes of voices inside his head taunting him with insults and slurs, often when he tried to sleep: “How am I supposed to believe in an America and her dreams, when my own are nightmares?” he writes in one chapter. Still, Jefferson says, her son was resilient. He attended Grambling State University, a historically Black public university in Louisiana, where Payne

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writes that he was once jumped by several members of the football team and “took my beating like a man,” years after he faced similar tests on the streets of East Oakland. Jefferson said that her son, a self-professed “sports nerd” who wrote for his college newspaper, was a calming influence, once spending hours on the phone consoling his cousin after officers in Texas pulled their guns on him for an expired registration tag. According to Payne’s book, he moved from Oakland to Sacramento in 2006 and lived in a small Stockton apartment in 2017. He eventually went to live with his parents near Hollywood Park, in part, because of his health-care needs. He received dialysis treatment three times a week and often talked through the fourhour sessions, Jefferson said, forgetting to eat. That’s what Jefferson said happened on Feb. 5, when Payne began shaking from low blood sugar and she called 911. Jefferson said she made the same call once before when her son acted “a little goofy” and the EMTs who responded “were really nice.” She said the treatment her son received this time was “much different.” “This time Reggie sat on his couch, offered his hand to the Fire Department [paramedic] and the guy just looked at him,” she told SN&R. Jefferson said her son refused to be treated by someone who wouldn’t shake his hand. The Fire Department called the police.

What the VideoS ShoW Body-camera video shows an officer walking up a driveway toward a carport where a few paramedics flank a yellow-framed gurney under a harsh, squinting light. It’s nearing 8 p.m. that Tuesday. A paramedic with rolled-up shirtsleeves and purple medical gloves briefs the officer. “Hey, he’s in the back. We just need you to get him cuffed, restrained or talked down so we can check his [inaudible],” the paramedic says. “He’s a big boy?” the officer asks. “Big boy. That’s why we called you.” The paramedic estimates Payne is 6-foot-6 and weighs as much as 350

pounds. Janine Jefferson said her brother was 6-foot-2 and down to 220 pounds due to his dialysis treatments. The officer lets out a tight laugh. “Is he mobile or no?” “Oh yeah, he moves,” the paramedic says. “If he wasn’t mobile, we wouldn’t need you.” A Sacramento Police Department press release states that the city Fire Department responded to a medical emergency at a residence on the 5300 block of 25th Street and encountered an “uncooperative” man in distress. Payne’s sister and mother take issue with how paramedics portrayed Payne to officers. “They lied. They really lied,” Harriett Jefferson said. “They had the Police Department assuming that this is this big Black man spitting.” In the video, the officer decides to wait for backup, which is on its way. Told that the patient is “salivating,” he pulls on a pair of black gloves and retrieves a spit mask from his trunk. A second officer arrives. They walk back to the house. On the way, the first officer relays what the paramedics told him about the “big boy” who flails and spits. Before they go in, the officer seeks guidance. “Like, I’ve never done this. How do you—like you just literally cuff him up and hand him over if we have to get to that point, or what?” The second officer responds as he pulls on his gloves near shoulder-high plants and a wood fence. “Yeah. I mean, we may not have to get to that point, but if he keeps flailing and stuff while we’re trying to get him under control then, yeah, we’ll put him in cuffs and put the spit mask on if he wants to spit.” The second officer briefs the third officer to arrive, and they enter the house, crossing laminate floors through the kitchen and a dining nook. Harriett Jefferson tells the officer what her son has eaten that day, trying to relay what she believes is pertinent medical information. The mood is casual. The officers move into the living room and find Payne, unable to keep his body from spasming. He slides off the couch as the officers talk to him, and one officer grabs him from behind as another takes an ankle. Payne calls for his father as he’s wrestled onto his belly and handcuffs click around his wrists and ankles. Payne grunts compressed air and bellows words into the floor. The paramedics come in. “Who’s the rodeo star here?” someone cracks. neWS continued on PaGe 12

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An officer rubs Payne’s back. Payne calls for his parents. A paramedic takes silver shears to his green sweater. Payne’s mother tries to comfort him. He makes thick, guttural sounds and whimpers. A paramedic pats his back and says, “You’re all right.” He injects a needle into his shoulder. About six minutes after he’s put onto his belly, Payne stops moving. One of the officers asks if his heart is still beating. A gloved hand feels around his neck. “Yeah,” a man says. Someone sighs with relief.

At the dAwn of A new crisis The paramedics truss Payne’s hooked wrists and ankles in white binding fabric and lift him onto a gurney. A male voice comes across the radio. The voice says the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento has a patient with coronavirus symptoms, and advises emergency responders to either avoid that location or “mask up” before going in. “Still getting more info, but they’re taking it pretty serious down here,” the voice says. Officers relay the message to the paramedics, who mention their new screening protocols. The shadow from an overhead ceiling fan swings thick tendrils around the room. Their motionless patient waits on a gurney. His mother asks about him. “He’ll be right as rain when he comes home,” someone tells her. Payne never woke up. The Police Department says that paramedics began CPR in the ambulance. His family says he suffered multiple strokes and irreparable brain damage. He died a week later at Sutter Medical Center, but Harriett Jefferson believes her son passed before that. “He was gone before he left this house,” she said. She and her daughter wonder what would be different if the emergency responders were more respectful and less afraid. They hope there’s room in the national mourning over George Floyd for their private grief. Reggie Payne’s name has already rung out in some protests, his family says. “His nieces and sisters in other cities are out there with his sign as well,” Harriett Jefferson said. “Because Reggie would want this.” But he didn’t necessarily expect much of a legacy, even as he contemplated his death in his memoir: “I often wonder how many other black men have suffered or been tortured over the years, dead and gone, and no one even knows or knew. Personally, one of my worst fears. No one will even know my struggle when I’m not here.” Ω 12





can Pg&e limit safety power shutoffs enough to save businesses battered by the lockdown? by Scott thomaS anderSon

while economists are trying to determine just how stark the new COVID-19 reality is for momand-pop businesses, a recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests the situation hasn’t hit rock bottom yet: 43% of small business owners said they are three to six months away from shutting their doors forever. The irony for businesses around California’s capital—at least the ones who don’t get their power from Sacramento Municipal Utility District—is that they spent 2019 adjusting to a different reality: Widespread and repeated power outages intentionally triggered by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to stop its equipment from sparking wildfires. Businesses in El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Nevada, Butte and Amador counties collectively lost millions of dollars during days in the dark. Shops and restaurants across the patchwork of Delta counties were impacted, too. The financial losses from PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program came from businesses closing up for a few days, several times between June and November. The monetary havoc from California’s months-long stay-at-home order has been far greater and, for some longtime storefronts, permanent. Now, as community entrepreneurs adjust to the guidelines for “a new normal” as they reopen, some wonder if having the lights turned out this summer will be the final straw. PG&E has spent months implementing a new plan designed to limit the size, scope and frequency of power shutoffs. Its strategy relies on a combination of technological innovations and old-fashioned boots on the ground. But business owners from Pollock Pines to Lake Berryessa are still wondering, “Will it be enough?” PG&E created its PSPS program after facing a torrent

of lawsuits over wildfires that its faulty equipment caused in 2017 and 2018, including the Camp Fire that blackened Paradise. On June 16, PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the Camp Fire deaths. The utility has been implicated in at least 22 other deaths and 5,000 lost structures. The California Public Utilities Commission granted PG&E permission to use power shutoffs to protect communities when extreme weather conditions presented risks for fire, though its commissioners later suggested they were stunned by the scale at which PG&E shut down vast sections of California’s infrastructure. Some small business owners threatened to move out of the state. Others told reporters they simply couldn’t keep the doors open if the outages continued. One place where businesses went dark was Solano County, including its enclaves along the Delta. But Bill Wells, executive director of the California Delta Chambers and Visitor’s Bureau, says what businesses have recently faced from the COVID19 lockdown is far worse than last year’s troubles with PG&E. “It’s been a complete catastrophe,” Wells said. “At this point, I’m really worried some of these places will never come back.” That sentiment is shared in the communities east of Sacramento, as well. In late April, hundreds of business owners in Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Loomis and Granite Bay signed a petition to Placer County supervisors asking to reopen with new safety guidelines. In the petition, many reported a 70% to 80% loss in sales since being forced to close. Some of those same businesses lost revenue to last year’s power shutoffs, but not nearly as much and there was never a petition. “I think the petition gives you a sense of what a struggle it has been,” said Tom Indrieri,

executive director of the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce. Business leaders in El Dorado County also draw a sharp distinction between the power shutoffs and the coronavirus lockdown. El Dorado was among the counties to be widely impacted by PG&E’s first power shutoff in late 2018. Its businesses have been affected by nearly every outage since. Laurel Brent-Bumb, executive director of the county’s chamber of commerce, says as difficult as the PG&E outages were, the unprecedented lockdown has become the main existential threat to business owners. Some, she added, don’t even have the mental bandwidth to worry about what PG&E might do this summer.

A giAnt tries to move fAst Despite a chorus of calls for PG&E to be converted to a public, nonprofit energy provider, the shareholder-owned corporation is expected to emerge from bankruptcy this year. Among the state’s many requirements for that to happen is for PG&E to have a plan to safeguard communities without simply shutting power off on windy days. The utility has spent months trying to change the fire threat dynamics around its power grid. One of PG&E’s main tactics to reduce the scope of shutoffs is installing sectionalizing devices to break up the grid into smaller parts and allow for targeting of smaller areas for de-energization. PG&E is now working to install 21 sectionalizing devices in El Dorado County, 20 in Placer County, 14 in Nevada County, 11 in Yolo County, eight in Amador County and four in Butte County. Another element of its strategy involves advanced weather stations, which PG&E says will allow it to better understand dry, windy conditions unfolding

sc o tta @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

around its equipment in real time. The company faced vehement criticism last year for shutting off power to communities that experienced little to no wind. PG&E is in the process of installing 33 advanced weather stations in Butte County, 30 in El Dorado County, 16 in Amador County, 15 in Nevada County, five in Placer County and one in Yolo County. By now, many living the capital region’s foothills and farmlands have also seen the platoons of tree-trimmers that PG&E is deploying along its power lines. These workers are cutting away any vegetation that could be hurled into the lines by a windstorm. PG&E says that it’s on track to complete this work on 212 line-miles in Butte County, 197 in El Dorado County, 105 in Placer County, and 85 in Nevada County and 80 in Amador County. Finally, PG&E has installed micro energy grids to keep the central core of some cities and towns operational during a safety shutoff. To date, it’s installed microgrids for Placerville and Grass Valley, and is currently working to install two more for Georgetown and Pollock Pines. PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo said no plans have been finalized for adding microgrids to Placer or Amador counties. That means the main streets of Auburn, Loomis, Nevada City, Jackson and Sutter Creek could all go dark again this summer. In a statement, PG&E vice president Michael Lewis stressed that the “hardening” of the company’s grid will make future power shutoffs “smaller and shorter.” But for small businesses on the brink of bankruptcy because of the COVID-19 lockdown, outages this summer could mean the difference between making the rent or closing up for good. Ω






Innovation without gentrification? The promise and pitfalls of Aggie Square in Oak Park BY GRAHAM WOMACK

For an unabridged version of this story, go to sacramento. newsreview. com/2020/04/01/ innovation-without -gentrification.




The housing crisis came for Tanya Faison on Dec. 13. That day, the founder of Black Lives Matter Sacramento received a 60-day notice from her landlord to vacate the three-bedroom home with $1,250 monthly rent that she’d lived in for nearly four years near central Oak Park. These days, either selling or raising rent is common in Oak Park, which has been a flashpoint in Sacramento’s housing crisis. Already, wholesale gentrification has occurred in north Oak Park, where homes sell for an average approaching $450,000. Central and south Oak Park have remained more affordable, though the gap is closing, with residents like Faison being displaced. Now, an ambitious project touted by local leaders might push housing costs in Oak Park and surrounding areas even higher. Aggie Square—a public-private partnership announced in 2018 between the city, UC Davis Health, private industry and other groups—could bring thousands of jobs related to health care, technology and research. Leaders hype the possibilities of Aggie Square, which could total more than $500 million of investment and feature research for cancer, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s planned for 12 acres at UC Davis Medical Center near north Oak Park and Elmhurst, and ground could break on the first phase of construction as early as next year. But neighborhood representatives and activists including Faison have concerns that the project could also bring more detrimental impacts. City Councilman Eric Guerra, whose district is directly east of UC Davis Med Center, said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests following the death of George Floyd have changed the conversation around Aggie Square. |


“Income inequality and racial equity is all involved in this because if you look at the demographics of the community surrounding Aggie Square, it’s very diverse,” he said. “And if those communities don’t feel they’ve got a shot at the American dream when something’s being built right in front of them, then it’s a false promise.”

PROPERTY VALUES RISE Michael Blair has seen both the good and bad of gentrification in Oak Park. Blair, the founder of South Oak Park Community Association, paid $120,000 for his house 16 years ago. He’d pay twice as much today, with houses in south Oak Park having sold for a median price of $245,000 from January 2019 through June 20, according to Sacramento property appraiser Ryan Lundquist. Further north, median sales prices for that same period are higher: $278,500 in central Oak Park and $430,000 in north Oak Park. Blair has seen some benefits as property values have risen in his neighborhood. The 40 Acres complex at 34th Street and Broadway in north Oak Park opened in 2010 and is part of a bustling commercial district. “With gentrification comes the safety and that’s the positive part,” he said. “But then there’s the negative piece as well, whereas you don’t know the faces, the community changes. People with longtime legacy, standing in the community are forgotten.” The mood has been mixed at community forums that Oak Park Neighborhood Association has held about Aggie Square in January 2019 and last month, said Adrian Rehn, the association’s vice president. “I’ll say there’s some people in the community who are very excited about this community amenity that is going

to be built on the border of Oak Park in the next few years,” he said. “And then there’s others who are very concerned about the gentrification and the potential displacement that it may cause.” The roots of housing inequity in Oak Park date to the middle of the 20th century, when racial covenants and mortgage redlining helped transform the neighborhood. Oak Park went from 6.5% non-white in 1950 to 48% non-white in 1970, according to a 2009 article in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. That disinvestment led to financial opportunity in Oak Park. Faison cited work that began under former Mayor Kevin Johnson, who owned numerous properties in the neighborhood, as well as banks and real estate companies that snagged homes at rock-bottom prices after the 2007-09 recession.

JOBS WITHOUT DISPLACEMENT? Amid the rising prices in Oak Park, local leaders including Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Barry Broome, executive director for the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, began planning Aggie Square. A new UC Davis chancellor, Gary May, arrived in 2017 from Georgia Tech, where he’d served as a dean and helped build Tech Square in downtown Atlanta. David Yoakley Mitchell, operations director for the Atlanta Preservation Center, said Tech Square has been positive for many people. But it’s helped signal the change in downtown Atlanta, too. “So much of the residential spaces of downtown Atlanta have been replaced with businesses,” Mitchell said. Broome, who went on a 2017 trip to Atlanta with local leaders including Steinberg, said he didn’t see displacement of residents around Tech Square. He said his group fought to locate Aggie Square in Oak Park—not the railyards north of downtown or the former Sleep Train Arena site in Natomas, where others wanted it—because of the jobs it can bring. And gentrification’s not a bad thing to Broome. “There’s a big difference between gentrification and displacement,” he said. “I mean, every economic developer’s goal is gentrification, not displacement. Gentrification—meaning wages go up in the neighborhood, job opportunities go up in the neighborhood, tax income goes up in the schools.” But to Fabrizio Sasso, executive director of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, gentrification and displacement of people are inextricably linked.

“I don’t know of a project or an area in cities that I’m familiar with that have been gentrified that need not include displacement,” Sasso said. “I’d like to see what their plan for that looks like, because I don’t think that one can happen without the other.”

POTENTIAL AND PROMISES There does not appear to be a consensus on the impact of Aggie Square. Certainly, the job potential is high. The city’s chief innovation officer Louis Stewart says he’s heard figures ranging from 2,000 to 10,000. “If the city does what it’s supposed to do properly surrounding Aggie Square, there’ll be many more jobs that are tangentially related to the project, versus directly related to the project,” said Stewart, who has been in the loop as entities like IBM and the Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education have come into the fold for the project. Steinberg said he refuses to accept that there must be a choice between economic development and affordable housing. “We must have both,” the mayor said. “And I’m aware of the risks or the threat of gentrification as we aggressively build more economic and job anchors in the our community. But we are just as aggressive.” Even a UC Davis official—Hendry Ton, the university’s associate vice chancellor for health equity, diversity and inclusion—has questions about Aggie Square causing gentrification and displacing residents. “I think that the potential is that if the people in Aggie Square and the university are thoughtful and careful and collaborative about this, this can be a very significant force for good in the neighborhood,” he said. So far, however, collaboration hasn’t exactly been smooth, with officials and residents clashing on plans to ensure the neighborhood benefits from the project. A group connected to the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, known as Sacramento Investment Without Displacement, has been working on a legally binding community benefits agreement for Aggie Square. A January draft of the agreement called for local hiring from nearby zip codes, anti-demolition policies to protect homes and enrollment of at least 50% of Medi-Cal recipients living within five miles of Aggie Square. City leaders have yet to commit to a community benefits agreement, however. Ω
















Keeping passengers safe and

HealtHy SacRT outlines precautions to combat COVID-19 by Debbie Arrington

Sacramento Regional Transit District workers thoroughly clean and sanitize any potential touch points on buses and trains. Photo courtesy of sacrt


lean, safe and convenient; that’s the experience customers will find as they’re welcomed back to light rail and bus service by the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT). With cleaner buses and trains plus other safety precautions in place, SacRT has restored about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 service. In addition, the district has expanded three of its nine SmaRT Ride zones, the district’s on-demand microtransit service areas. As state and county restrictions accelerate to reopen, SacRT is restoring service. However, the safety, health and well being of SacRT customers and employees continues to be a top priority, say SacRT officials. In addition to following best safety practices set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, SacRT also is exploring new technologies and procedures to provide a healthier environment for its riders and staff.

Some of the health and safety measures already implemented by SacRT: • Buses, light rail trains and facilities are fogged and disinfected daily. • All touchpoints are cleaned and sanitized. • New seating policies encourage social distancing with fewer riders per bus or train and more space between riders ; some seats will be blocked off. • More light rail train cars have been added during peak commute hours to allow more room between passengers. • Protective plexiglass barriers have been installed near the driver’s seat of each bus.

• SacRT employees will make personal protective equipment including face masks and gloves part of their daily uniform. • Riders are required to wear masks or other face coverings.





SacRT is handing out free masks to customers, available at the SacRT Customer Service and Sales Center at 1225 R St. (13th Street Light Rail Station).

• By downloading ZipPass, the free mobile fare app, riders can reduce touchpoints. • Light rail fare inspectors sanitize the portable Connect Card tap device after every validation. • Adding buses to busier routes.

For more information on SacRT’s best safety practices, visit SacRT.com/COVID19.

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Need a mask?

Report a problem While riding SacRT buses or trains, if you need to report any sanitation or cleaning issue, download the free “Alert SacRT App.” Or call Customer Service at 916-321-BUSS (2877).

More buses, More trains SacRT service ramps back up as people get back to work by Debbie Arrington


s businesses and offices reopen after COVID19 restrictions, Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) is welcoming back customers and helping them get where they want to go, safely. SacRT recently added more weekday bus service, improved weekday light rail service and expanded its SmaRT Ride microtransit service. Overall, SacRT service now is at about 80% of its preCOVID level. Customers will find earlier start times for most weekday bus routes, additional trips at the end of routes plus greater frequency of buses and

trains during peak hours. That increased frequency allows for more passenger room on each bus and light rail car. These service improvements are in addition to SacRT’s overall effort to provide a better experience for each customer while keeping them safe.

“I like the comfortable seats, helping relieving traffic, improving air quality and the convenience.” Chris Houlemard SacRT rider for 30 years

Sacramento Regional Transit District light rail and bus service makes it easy to get downtown.

Chris Houlemard, a SacRT regular rider for 30 years, has noticed recent improvements. “It’s improved a lot,” he said. “Much cleaner, more reliable, more customer focused. I really like the new signage and the easy to use app on my phone that gives me updates.” A state worker, Houlemard had been a daily downtown commuter, riding SacRT’s light rail service to the 13th Street Station. “I also take various bus routes during the day to go to meetings around Sacramento,” he added. Although he’s been working from home during the COVID pandemic, Houlemard continues to use SacRT on a regular basis, especially when he needs to travel downtown. “I like the comfortable seats, helping relieving traffic, improving air quality and the convenience,” he said. “Generally, it saves times as the freeways are usually parking lots — at least prior to the pandemic.” Houlemard said he’s been impressed by SacRT staff, too. “They’re very much a team organization,” he said. “Everybody works together.”

SacRT SmaRT Ride Shuttle

ScheDule upDATe sacrt continues to operate most of its peak commuter/ express service monday through Friday. this includes bus routes 102, 103, 106, 107, 109, 113, 129, 134, 161 and 193 plus the Folsom stage Line bus service (routes 10 and 30). the Causeway Connection (route 138) will continue operating with a modified schedule; see causewayconnection.com for details. sacrt will continue to operate all nine smart ride on-demand microtransit service area with expanded service in three zones: Franklin-South Sacramento: Adding service to cover areas of Oak park, switching to corner-to-corner service and adding zero emission electric shuttles. north Sacramento: Adding service to natomas area shopping centers. rancho cordova: expanded service area now includes Lincoln Village; switching to corner-to-corner service. For schedules and route information, visit sacrt.com or call 916-321-BUSS (2877).

Photo courtesy of sAcrt

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Class of 2020 Protestors raise a Black Lives Matter flag at the Sacramento police station on Franklin Boulevard.


This is your moment

2020 is showing us that progress doesn’t trickle down from the top—it’s carried upward by the many at the bottom BY RAHEEM F. HOSSEINI raheem @ n ew s r ev i ew . com






The deepest civil unrest in 50 years. The bleakest economy since the Great Depression. The deadliest pandemic in a century. The worst president in history. You don’t need a reporter to tell you things aren’t normal. Or that what passes for “normal” outstayed its welcome a long time ago. If it’s true that we discover ourselves in times of crisis, there should be an awful lot of selfdiscovery happening right now. Sometimes it feels like the opposite is occurring, like we’re getting better at lying to ourselves about the things we want to be true. And if you’re the sort of person who’s susceptible to self-deception—who believes that the coronavirus is overblown and that police brutality is exaggerated, that Gov. Gavin Newsom is deliberately tanking the economy and that President Trump cares about the small business owner, that ultraviolet rays kill COVID-19 and that cops only kill bad people—well, there’s probably a YouTube channel just for you.

But if the last four months have laid bare the emotional immaturity of the human ego, they have also documented the can-do resilience of the human spirit. I think of Stevante Clark choosing to wade into another painful reckoning over police violence, ministering to an anguish he knows intimately. I think of Katie Valenzuela challenging a City Council she hasn’t yet joined to move faster and more forcefully to deprioritize traditional policing. I think of Caity Maple raising money and a posse to deliver clean water to homeless camps before City Hall and county government got their COVID19 acts together. I think of George Floyd’s daughter speaking a wish into reality. I think of countless examples of bold, rational, kind leadership—and guess what? Most aren’t trickling down from our leaders. They’re carried upward by you, the marching, organizing, volunteering majority. John Sutter’s statue fell to appease you.

I don’t know if the long arc of history truly bends toward justice or if it ultimately collapses into a fatal loop. But I don’t believe the story of 2020 ends with thousands of unmourned deaths a day. Or with systems that shrug off white riots for haircuts while allowing George Floyd to be strangled. I don’t believe the story ends with Reggie Payne going limp because a paramedic wouldn’t shake his hand. The idea for this yearbook feature was born out of a shared ambivalence about our unresolved now. Yearbooks bind the past into tidy chapters, but they also ask us to dream outside the margins. They’re tacit promises that a future is coming. It’s a nice thought, but one that only becomes true by your grace. Each one of you is writing the future as you breathe. You’re writing it for those who no longer can. What do you want it to say? Ω

What belongs in



2020 time capsule? BY RAHEEM F. HOSSEINI rahe emh@ ne wsreview.c om


Founder of Voice of the Youth, Inc.

ITEM: The June 22-29 cover of Time magazine and the June 4 National Geographic photo essay, “Systemic racism and coronavirus are killing people of color. Protesting isn’t enough.” WHY: Articles

and images of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic colliding with protests against police brutality and systemic oppression will help our great-great grandchildren know the truth about what took place today. I would include a personal letter to ensure that the narrative didn’t change. It would tell future generations that in order to change the mistakes of the past, you must first deal with the cancer before it spreads—and that 2020 was what Stage 4 cancer looked like.

2020 has been such an eventful (read traumatizing) year already that we’re predicting it’ll be difficult to explain to future generations. So we asked some of our favorite human beings what they would place in Sacramento’s 2020 time capsule. A quick word to the people of 2120: You may want to leave some of these items buried in the past.



ITEM: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ June 12 press release that it was rescinding health-care protections for transgender Americans.


human rights activist / mental health advocate / Brother’s Keeper. ITEM: A photo of himself with his younger brother Stephon, whose 2018 killing by Sacramento police launched international protests and statewide reforms.

WHY: The Trump

WHY: There

is no reason I should be out here defending my brother’s innocence when the officers who assassinated him in my grandma’s backyard should be proving theirs to a jury of their peers. I hate this, I hate my life. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Stephon Clark should be alive today. The message remains: Everybody love everybody. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Director of California TRANScends.

Stevante Clark and brother Stephon.


administration leveled this 2020 attack on trans rights on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre and during Pride Month to distract from the global shit show America has become. Amid massive protests against systemic violence against Black people and during a global pandemic, this president decided to once again weaponize the trans community to appeal to his alt-right base. Three days later, a conservative Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBT work protections—and undercut the president. That’s why I’m burying this. We mustn’t forget the woes of our past. Hopefully, every transgender American will be flourishing beyond my imagination when this is dug up.

WHO: An epidemiologist and senior policy director at Public Health Advocates. ITEM: A facemask that says “Defund the Police.” WHY: The

second quarter of 2020 has been a time of social unrest. A global pandemic brought much of daily life to a screeching halt, canceling the operations of even the usually “always open” institutions such as legislatures, schools and sports. And when our attention wasn’t diverted, America’s reckoning with its harrowing history of racial terror and policing took center stage, with fervent cries to “defund the police” and invest those funds taking center stage in mainstream conversation. My hope is that when we look back on this in years to come, the idea that we were fighting for equity during a pandemic seems horrifying, but that we are also grateful for the monumental changes it precipitated.

Flo Cofer, senior policy director, Public Health Advocates

“My hope is that when we look back on this in years to come, the idea that we were fighting for equity during a pandemic seems horrifying, but that we are also grateful for the monumental changes it precipitated.”






Voices from the pandemic and protests

Kindra Montgomery-Block

Kindra Montgomery-Block,


“The anxiety and isolation many have felt during the past few months while staying at home to prevent community spread of COVID-19 is a peek into the uncertainty and fear black communities face daily.”

Katie Valenzuela,


Katie Valenzuela

“It’s not enough to say we understand, or to stand with protestors. Those of us who are in positions to make change have a responsibility to act—because Black Lives Matter.”

Reuven H. Taff,


“We thought that the coronavirus was the pandemic. But clearly, the pandemic is institutional racism and xenophobia that has infected our communities and particularly our law enforcement agencies.” Reuven H. Taff

Joe Smith,


“Folks have been forced out of desperation to drink water from hand-washing stations. This is unconscionable, unsanitary, unhealthy and just plain wrong.”

Joe Smith

Dylan Hubka,

POLICY DIRECTOR OF REGION RESTAURANTS, and Joshua Wood, executive director:

“We want third-party delivery services to make a profit, even a good one. But there is an obvious and ethical difference between a profit and profiteering by price gouging during a pandemic.”

Jot Condie,


“How much longer can restaurants sustain themselves simply preparing to-go orders, business that accounts for only a fraction of their usual sales? And what happens when they’re allowed to reopen?”

Dylan Hubka

Faye Wilson Kennedy,

CO-CHAIRPERSON OF THE CALIFORNIA POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN, and Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness:

“Our coalition calls on elected officials and community leaders to begin to think beyond the immediate crisis and seize the opportunity to use our emergency responses to this pandemic and make them permanent for homeless and low-income people.”

Jot Condie

Kevin Carter

Faye Wilson Kennedy

Arunima Kohli,


“We don’t want to be called heroes; we want a contract that guarantees safe, humane working conditions, and that allows us to keep up with the rising cost of living and to support our families.”

Kevin Carter,

CO-FOUNDER OF THE SACRAMENTO POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN, and Faye Wilson Kennedy, member of the Sacramento Area Black Caucus:

“We didn’t want what happened to our friends to become our collective story. We wanted to do whatever we could to diminish the disease’s effect in our own vulnerable communities.”

Arunima Kohli






To read the full essays, visit sacramento.newsreview.com/category/voices

Look for the helpers

My favorite things: comments from donors BY STEPH RODRIGUEZ | s t e p h r@ne w s re v i e w . c o m

A medic, a teacher and a grocer step up during Sacramento’s time of unrest The term “essential worker” has taken on new meaning during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are three area helpers in a time of unrest.

THE STREET MEDIC Once demonstrations rippled through the country in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Adrienne Hebb, a licensed vocational nurse, knew it was time to step up, again. As a street medic, Hebb offers first aid to protestors who get cuts, bruises or heat exhaustion while marching in Sacramento. She says she hasn’t had to treat anyone who has been pepper-sprayed in the face yet, but is prepared when needed. “It’s important that we are out there on the front lines in protests because the sheriffs and the city cops come out with their medics and we’re told ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to help anybody that’s on the street,’” she says. “But that’s not exactly the case.” Every street medic shows up to a protest with their own bag of medical supplies, often bought with their own money. If a person is hurt, look for someone like Hebb to wear a single red cross, the universal symbol of protection. “It’s a human rights issue for me,” Hebb says. “Me being a nurse, I have a huge amount of empathy for my fellow man, which in today’s day and age is starting to become more rare.”

THE ONLINE TEACHER Once stay-at-home orders began in March, teachers were forced to quickly adapt to “distance learning.” For math teacher Phil Brann, not being able to connect with his students in person is something he never imagined in his 20 years of experience. “My biggest concern is how many kids did we lose? How many kids are we never going to see again?” he asks. “We don’t know what the fall’s going to look like in any way, shape or form. We know it’s going to be different, but we have no idea what it’s going to look like.” The transition to online classes hasn’t been easy. Out of about 140 students Brann saw on a normal school day teaching 7th and 12th grades at Kit Carson International Academy in Sacramento, he says maybe 95 log on. Still, Brann is learning a new way to teach, something he says is long overdue. “This is forcing my profession and my institution to enter the 21st century when we’ve still been stuck in the 1950s,” Brann says. “I’m not half the teacher online that I am in the classroom, so I have to do something about that.”

Brann is currently teaching summer school to gain more experience connecting with students in their virtual classroom—a new reality in the future of education.

THE GROCER March 13 is a day that Erin Thomas says she’ll never forget. The bakery department manager at a grocery store in Granite Bay says it was the first day panicked customers scrambled to buy food and household supplies in bulk. “At the beginning of quarantine, people were really freaked out. They came in and they wiped our whole store out,” Thomas recalls. “Keeping customers happy when we don’t have what they needed was very difficult.” The store responded by doubling the number of e-cart employees, who started at 2 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. because more than 40 orders needed to be filled by noon. The store recorded several weeks of holiday-like sales during the lockdown, marking the busiest period ever, Thomas says. “I absolutely view my job as essential now,” she says. “We saw the best and the worst of people during that time.” Since the protests began, the store has been closing two hours early with barricades to prevent vandalism. But Thomas sees the demonstrations as crucial and believes there’s a lesson in this moment. “Everybody’s under way more stress right now than normal, and we’re all people—we’re all humans,” Thomas says. “I’m hoping that this is going to be a wake-up call for a lot of people. We are at the beginning of a possible revolution here, and I think that being kind to one another is the best way that we can get through it.” Ω

CIARA CUMISKEY: Thank you for supporting me as an artist, I hope this little bit supports you. JULIE SONTAG: SN&R, I really value you as an independent voice in the community! JENNIFER FERGESEN: SN&R is one of the reasons I moved to Sacramento! AMY TERRELL: Your News is Notable, Newsworthy, Local, and sorely missed! May we see you arise again when we are on the other side of this. SABA MOHTASHAM: What would I do without your food coverage?! I look forward to it every week. JOE TRUSTY: We read SN&R just like everyone else in Sac. Of course we got your back. NICK FELCZER: I just lost my job, but I still want to donate what I can. Hang in there, SN&R! We need you more than ever! CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Non-corporate journalism matters! MARGARET WILLIAMS: Due to the pandemic & subsequent loss of SN&R as a print publication I’m sending the amount of refund money I’ll be receiving from canceled concerts. In addition to the actual newspaper, I loved being able to buy discount tix from the front counter. (Perhaps you could appeal to the thousands of other concert goers who now have extra funds & no place to go!) Long live the SN&R! MADELEINE OWYANG: Sacramento must keep up the Support of good journalism! KAREN MORSE: Life would be boring and uninformed without SN&R. JESSIE RYAN: Cheers to keeping community papers and print journalism alive! ABIGAIL JACKSON: Wish I had more to spare. Keep keeping us honest, SN&R! PAUL WURST: Glad you’re still publishing! You do good work!

Erin Thomas bakery department manager

“We are at the beginning of a possible revolution here, and I think that being kind … is the best way that we can get through it.”

SUE REGAN: Thank you for all you do. You have been a great asset to the community over all these years. CRAIG POWELL: Keep it up, folks. We all need you. We’re grateful for your work.

We still need your help to keep SN&R going. DONATE NOW AT SACRAMENTO.NEWSREVIEW.COM






Remember when… 01.

Saving a slice of Americana

Pancake Circus, the iconic diner/ bigtop/kitsch museum on Broadway, was barely holding on after stay-athome orders shuttered the dining room of this 60-year-old institution. Father and son co-owners Naren Muni and Nicholas Ruebel furloughed their full staff—some of them there for 30 years—and assumed kitchen duties for a small, but loyal takeout crowd. Diners rallied in response to SN&R’s April 28 story, and business improved enough to bring back all staff. The owners have added a limited, Mexican-themed dinner menu as well. When Ruebel was notified that limited dine-in service would be allowed, the staff worked overnight to prepare the restaurant. While Ruebel says he would have loved to have seen lines out the door, he and the staff have been happy to see plenty of familiar faces back in the booths. (Lindsay Oxford)


Indie bookstores scrap to survive the lockdown

Sacramento’s bookstores struggled as city and state regulations deemed them “non-essential” businesses. Beer’s Books, both branches of the Avid Reader, Time Tested Books, Capital Books and El Dorado Hills’ Face in a Book either closed their doors or stayed afloat by shipping books, offering curbside pickups and gift card purchases. Since SN&R’s coverage, restrictions have loosened to allow retail businesses to reopen slowly, with appropriate social distancing maintained. Beer’s, for example, requires masks, asks customers to browse for only 30 minutes and has temporarily suspended used book purchases. (Scott Thomas Anderson)

Like everything else in the world, SN&R was shaken by the COVID-19 shutdown. But just because we hit pause on printing papers doesn’t mean we stopped covering arts and culture. Here are some stories you may have missed since late March, along with updates.


A coffeehouse’s mask controversy

Temple Coffee Roasters got into hot water with an April 15 email that—despite public health recommendations—told employees not to wear masks “as it violates the dress code.” The message leaked on social media and led to immediate outcry. By the next morning, employee use of masks was deemed “optional” and Temple’s founder, Sean Kohmescher, announced he was “stepping aside.” As Temple and other coffee houses reopen, customers are strongly encouraged to wear masks, and Temple employees are all masked. (Steph Rodriguez)


The Ali Youssefi Project welcomes new artists

The Ali Youssefi Project artist residencies began two years ago, following the death of their namesake, the developer and arts patron Ali Youssefi. Both Warehouse Artist Lofts and Verge Center for the Arts offer studio space as part of the project, but limitations on public gatherings prevented artists and the public from participating in open studios and other exhibitions. Despite those restrictions, AYP resident artists Muzi Li Rowe and Vincent Pacheco spent months working on their projects. While Rowe is finishing her term as the Verge resident in September and Pacheco is leaving the studio, Justin Amrhein will begin his three-month stint in Pacheco’s place as the Warehouse resident. The Ali Youssefi Project is accepting applications through July 27 for future residency opportunities, and a group exhibition is tentatively scheduled for December at Verge Center for the Arts. (Patrick Hyun Wilson)

For more arts and culture coverage, visit sacramento.newsreview.com






Tale of two protests

Californians demand that the state reopen businesses during a protest at the state Capitol on April 20. PHOTOS BY KARLOS RENE AYALA

A prayer for janky Sacramento Will downtown’s beloved hangouts come back? BY STEPH RODRIGUEZ | ste p h r @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

Sacramentans march for George Floyd in Oak Park on May 29. PHOTOS BY KEVIN GOMEZ JR.

As the coronavirus pandemic swept the country “My night business is the main part of and shut down California’s capital city, small my business, but if I’m not allowed to host watering holes that withstood Prohibition, entertainment then we’re done,” Luna says. independently owned cafes for poets and “There’s just no way that we can survive.” activists and old-fashioned ice cream parlors Luna says that his café’s capacity would were all forced to close. have to shrink to 20 to 25 people to meet state Once Sacramento figures out its new normal social distancing guidelines to reopen, a difficult post-pandemic, will these beloved spots be part financial prospect in a part of the city with fancy of our future? condos and deep-pocketed restaurant chains such For three music venues, it’s still unclear. as Jimmy John’s. The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, “We’re a small cafe. I think I can work it Marina Texeira says she kept a close eye on out. But 20 to 25 people, that’s not enough,” news coverage of COVID-19. When Gov. Luna says. “A lot of the musicians are telling me Gavin Newsom called for “non-essenthey’re not ready to come back. They’re tial” businesses to temporarily scared and they want to wait.” close, she was relieved. But without quirky venues Texeira owns Torch such as Luna’s—where Club, a 15th Street stand-up comics test bar and music venue out new material and that opened in 1934 noise-rock shows are and her family the norm—where purchased in the will the weirdos 1960s. Even as congregate? other bars slowly Mark Gonzales reopened in June has been wondering as public health that a lot. officials loosened “That’s kind of Mark Gonzales the stay-at-home the charm of this city order, Texeira— and the downtown bar and venue manager, whose business makes area that I think would Old Ironsides most of its money from suck if we were to lose live music—isn’t ready to that because of this,” he says. turn the lights back on, at least “Definitely the landscape is going not yet. to change. When the dust clears, some of “I want to be on the right side,” she says. us are going to be standing, some of us will be on “We got a lot of calls when the bars opened, crutches and some of us ain’t coming back.” and we let people know that we’re not ready Gonzales manages the bar and music at Old to open without music.” Ironsides, which opened in 1934, but he’s also a Texeira has tentative plans to reopen downtown aficionado who’s lived here for more Torch Club after the Fourth of July holiday. than 50 years. He recalls hot summers standing “We want to do it in a very responsible in line in front of Osaka-Ya, waiting to cool way, but it’s just going to be very different,” down with a basketball-sized snow cone. He she says. “We’re not a reservation-type advises sampling the giant breakfast platters at business, but we’re maybe thinking about Harry’s Café on 16th Street or turning down J using Open Table to alleviate crowds.” Street to admire all the eccentric boutiques and For some downtown businesses, the knickknack shops. economic impact of the coronavirus “It’s funny to see how things have changed compounded costly rent increases over the over the years. They’re definitely not the same last five years. as when I was a kid,” he says. “But there’s a lot For almost 40 years, Luna’s Cafe & Juice of things that have been around for a long, long Bar has been a hangout for poets, activists, time—like Pancake Circus, Round Corner, the artists and musicians. But when owner Art Zebra Club. All these places.” Luna was forced to close his café’s doors, he Gonzales wants to see them all come back. thought it might be for good. We all do. Ω

“When the dust clears, some of us are going to be standing, some of us will be on crutches and some of us ain’t coming back.”






BY STEPH RODRIGUEZ steph r @n ewsreview.c om







Musicians will not be silenced Sacramento’s music community is one of those creative circles drastically impacted by the spread of coronavirus. Live performances across all local venues are canceled—and there is no certainty when new dates will be booked. But this crisis not only affects bands and artists, it also trickles down to the staff who light the stage, the person who stamps your hand at the door and the countless small venue owners. But musicians will not go silent. During stay-at-home orders, bands live streamed performances from living rooms and backyards. On a rainy Sunday afternoon, punk band Sad Girlz Club spent time together recording new songs at Earth Tone Studios in Midtown. “We were supposed to play a festival in San Diego in April and the promoter pulled the plug on it,” said Lys Mayo, guitarist. “We have tons of friends where music is their livelihood, and they’re all having to stop and cancel their tours. The fact that people are

willing, for their own safety and the safety of others, to jeopardize their income and set aside these things that they’ve worked for speaks really highly to the care we have for each other.” Here at SN&R, the dedicated team behind the annual Sacramento Area Music Awards was working toward announcing this year’s winners in the March 26 newspaper—as well as planning the awards reception with live performances—when the pandemic forced the suspension of print publication. But SN&R will not go silent, either. We announced this year’s SAMMIES winners online on March 23 and are excited to finally recognize them in print. More than 40,000 votes from the public were tallied in 30 categories in the 28th SAMMIES. Congratulations to all the winners, the nominees and thank you to those who voted. For now, let’s all live-stream music and purchase albums and merch from all of our local talents so that when we can congregate again, we can sing at the top of our lungs, knowing how it can all be taken away in an instant. But we’ll also know that we are here for each other and our voices will never go silent. Ω

The 2020 SAMMIES winners Artist of the Year AMBER DELAROSA







Country/Americana/ Alt-Country BROTHERLY MUD



Singer-Songwriter JESSICA JOLIA

Cover Band/ Tribute Band MOONSHINE CRAZY Creative Achievement in Support of the Music Scene GIRLS ROCK SACRAMENTO (BUILDS SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH MUSIC) Deejay DJ ZEPHYR Electronica/ Experimental SPACEWALKER

Hardcore/Industrial/ Post-Hardcore A FOREIGN AFFAIR


Spoken word (with music) TERRY FREEMAN MOORE






World Music KANDIA




Revival/Back from the Dead Band THE KNOCKOFFS







p a tr ic k w@ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

Fluidity of sound A Tribe Quartet create ‘Black American Music’

A Tribe Quartet blends a variety of genres to keep its music and live performances fluid. PHOTO COURTESY OF A TRIBE QUARTET

A Tribe Quartet is canceling jazz. “Definitely. I think it’s important Although the band won the Jazz category in because it’s a dialogue, musically,” the 2020 SAMMIES, they feel bittersweet about McKissick added. the nomination due to the term’s controversial Communication is key to A Tribe history. Quartet’s sound. They describe their songs The first “jazz” album was recorded by a as a story in which everyone contributes. group called the Original Dixieland Jass Band, “I’m just looking for the energy,” a group of white men from New Orleans whose Kuvakos said. “That we’re all together in leading member Nick LaRocca would later claim the same exact place, rising and falling at the to have invented the musical genre despite its same time and we’re telling the same story.” deep roots in the African-American communities The story they seek to tell is intertwined at the time. in the self-made label of Black American “Anything that came from America, musically, Music. They point to musicians such as started with Negroes,” said David McKissick of A Miles Davis who famously avoided using Tribe Quartet. “I mean it’s literally Black music.” the term “jazz” to describe his own sound. Because of that history, the group prefers the “We’re constantly trying to develop term Black American Music, or BAM, new shit all the time … I’m to describe their works. trying to experiment with “I mean we’re taking new sound, like Afrobeat, aspects from like rock, which is something we “I’m just looking for hip-hop,” McKissick said. haven’t used within “‘Melancholy’ for example, our ensemble yet,” the energy. That we’re all has that cool boom-back McKissick said. “I together in the same exact kind of throwback feel.” want to be, what’s place, rising and falling at the “Melancholy” is the word? Genre an atmospheric track fluid. Musically same time and we’re telling the that will show up on ambiguous.” same story.” the band’s first album. Their musical Supported by a groovy Eric Kuvakos ambiguity led to a rhythm that fluctuates from guitarist, A Tribe Quartet mixed reception when a slow-paced head-bobber to a they learned they were raucous double time, the nearly nominated in the Jazz 10-minute song is pierced throughcategory. out by wild improvisations. “It was bittersweet. I appreciate Born and bred in the Sacramento music scene, that Sacramento is recognizing us. I wish Zehrin Sims, Ellwood Allen, Eric Kuvakos we could change the name of the category, and McKissick met at jam sessions at the now but it’s not the end of the world,” McKissick closed Graciano’s Speakeasy and formed A Tribe said. “We can use the opportunity to educate Quartet in 2019. people on why we shy away from the term.” Their name served as both a reference to the Allen has other ideas. rap group A Tribe Called Quest and spoke to their “It just means that A Tribe Quartet has to ideological view of the tribal nature of music. start their own awards show where we have “We all had such varying personalities and our own category for BAM,” Allen said. Ω opinions, political, religious, whatever you want to call them,” Allen said. “It kind of shows in the music, at least in my opinion.” 28





Photo CouRtesy of CRest theAtRe

Show Time After a three-month closure, a beloved Sacramento institution is back in business by The a Marie rood


he Crest Theatre on K Street has been in operation since 1912, which means this grand art-deco movie palace has seen both good times and bad. COVID-19 is definitely one of the latter, but devoted film buffs can rest assured the Crest has come through the shutdown and is open again. General manager Robert Alvis described what the experience was like and what moviegoers can expect going forward. Can you give me some background on how COVID impacted the theater? In particular, GD Theatres had just come in, correct? GD Theatres, which came into the Crest November 2019, had experienced four really good months. Our Sacramento Classic Movies group on Facebook was growing at over 1,000 new members each month and our concert, comedy and other shows were thriving. Then, just like that, it was done. The past three months have been brutal

to say the least, and with suppressed capacities, the rest of the year is going to be extremely difficult. What kind of changes or improvements does GD Theatres have planned for the Crest – and are those able to happen now? We’ve had to put a lot of our improvement plans on hold for now. We did purchase a brand new projector prior to closing that is up and running as we reopen, so fans of our movies will be able to see a difference there. When did you open your doors? What does your lineup for summer look like? What films are scheduled? We opened June 19 for movies, and it looks like we’ll be doing movies exclusively for the foreseeable future. We are hoping by (this) fall or winter, we will be able to do some smaller events. Our movie showings will be similar to before – you will see everything from silent films up to (films made in the) 2000s.

Now that you’ve reopened, what can people expect when they come see a film? How are you offering services but still keeping customers and staff safe? We have a very large auditorium for (our mandated) 100-person capacity – that’s less than 11% of our available seating, so we are very confident that

“One thing about many concerts postponing for a year is that our 2021 calendar already has a lot of great shows booked.” RobeRt Alvis GeneRAl MAnAGeR, CRest theAtRe

customers will be comfortable with the social distancing. Other mitigation steps such as sanitizing stations, mask-wearing and heightened cleaning policies have been put in place to make both customers and staff as safe as possible. How about when the time of COVID is over? Any big plans for the Crest when we are truly back to normal? One thing about many concerts postponing for a year is that our 2021 calendar already has a lot of great shows booked. Anything I didn’t ask that you’d like to add? 2020 has been really hard for most people. Be good to one another and we’ll be OK.

Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street, Sacramento, 916-476-3356. To see the calendar, purchase tickets or get other information, visit crestsacramento.com.

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s Vision Still Lives PAID ADVertISeMent BY ShAre InternAtIonAL







t is difficult to capture the breadth and magnificence of Martin Luther King, Jr., without listening first-hand to his resonant voice, or studying his riveting sermons. Yet for all that, it is essential to understand how he used his time and embodied his dramatic life: He took every opportunity to use his words for both spiritual and political purposes. His politics were not dis-associated from his spirituality. Dr. King’s lofty, yet intimate, speeches invite us to become our better selves. His strong convictions inspire us not only to join him in his struggles, but also challenge us to enter a life of sacrifice, one in which our lives become an offering to something higher. Both Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King were ahead of their times, and their use of civil disobedience to launch and sustain a protest movement still seems startling, contradictory, and dangerous. (Gandhi was the first to promote “non-cooperation” as a strategy against gross injustice, such that some of the most under-resourced of all human beings toppled the richest and most powerful Empire of its time.) Both leaders included all kinds of people in their movement while addressing issues of local, national, and international importance. Neither leader avoided jail-time. Like Gandhi, Dr. King understood that denouncing the vices of White Supremacy was not enough. For America’s economic ethos has permeated everything from our media to our government institutions to our unconscious. It has been codified

and normalized within a country founded on genocide, torture, and the commodification of human beings. When Dr. King openly exposed Americans’ hypocrisy and self-congratulatory stance, he knew he risked his life. When denouncing America’s three evils--racism, poverty, and war-- Dr. King showed he was willing to sacrifice everything to end injustice. Dr. King’s restrained yet proactive strategy still has much to teach us, especially in light of America’s greed and gross economic disparity, its systemic violence, its complacency and its addictions. Yet when writing about Dr. King, Tavis Smiley (2014) remonstrates that, “The values for which he lived and died -- justice for all, service to others, and a love that liberates, no matter what the cost -- are largely forgotten.”

teaching us. (Benjamin Creme, the founder of Share International, states, “The basis of Maitreya’s teaching is right relationship...[soon] we will come to understand that man, nature, and God are one.” [1985]) While Maitreya and the Masters respect human free will, Maitreya questions Americans’ general complacency. He stresses that there is but little time to address our world’s most pressing problems. But he reminds us that we already have the solutions, we merely have to implement them. Maitreya states that we could put a stop to war and terrorism even today, merely by sharing the goods of the World. In fact, by sharing, we could

Is this true? Are we discarding Dr. King’s values? And are we without any help to guide us? Although it still remains largely unknown, another great teacher is entering onto the world stage to help us end injustice. His name is Maitreya, which means friend, brother, “bringer of joy”. He is said to be the World Teacher for the age of Aquarius, and he is here with 14 other highly evolved individuals, who are called “Masters of Wisdom”. (The Masters of Wisdom have mastered their bodies, their emotions and their minds.) Having mastered physical form itself, Maitreya can appear in any manner he wishes, but often takes on the form of a homeless person, as a means of

Peace is not merely a distant goal which we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

heal both humanity and the Planet, ushering in a new Age where no one lacks, where each one recognizes the divine spark in his/her neighbor, and in which no day is like the rest. In fact, Maitreya’s principles are the same as those stated so eloquently by Martin Luther King Jr., over 60 years ago: The developed industrial nations of the world cannot remain secure islands of prosperity in a seething sea of poverty. The storm is rising against the privileged minority of the Earth, from which there is no shelter in isolation and armament. The storm will not abate until a just distribution of the fruits of the earth enables men everywhere to live in dignity and human decency. Similarly, Maitreya underscores that America’s lack of social justice --both at home and abroad-- threatens all of our lives, for we are all connected. Americans are starting to wake up that we are one human family! For there to be peace, there must be justice, and for there to be justice, there must be sharing and goodwill.” Maitreya is the author of this idea. To learn more about Maitreya, you can visit: share-international.org

Martin luther King Jr.

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All stores adopted a mask requirement, nearly a month before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide order on June 18. Social distancing is now common practice by limiting the numbers of customers allowed inside, based on square footage. All stores require customers to use hand sanitizer when entering and supply gloves on request. “People always say ‘I cleaned my hands.’ That’s nice. Well, clean ’em again,” said Dal Basi, owner of punk-focused Phono Select on Laura and Tim Matranga, owners of Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage, are one of six local record stores to Fruitridge Road. reopen with uniform safety standards. Ironically, one of the two stores unable to open on the designated weekend was the store that originally pushed for the coordinated Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage was open for just a week opening. Medium Rare’s location at the Warehouse Artists’ Lofts and fears of vandalism during the at its new location before public health regulations forced it to close temporarily during the COVID-19 George Floyd protests made opening on schedule a no-go. pandemic. “Every disadvantage possible was handed to “We had one great week and then we had to me,” DeAnda said, laughing. “But it’s OK. I’ve shut down,” said Laura Matranga, half of the store’s never once had to fear bankruptcy or any weird husband-and-wife team. thing like that.” They’ve since reopened, one of six stores that His concern: “I was taken away for … 60 days of chose to open at roughly the same time, May talking about music to people every day.” 28-30, with uniform safety standards—a The other store was nod to the reality that record shoppers Waxidermy—“400 square feet, in tend to hit every store in town. all its glory” jokes owner Jeff Delta Breeze, Kicksville, Hassett. Medium Rare Records & “I was taken away He stayed closed until Collectibles, Phono Select, for … 60 days of June 12, due to concerns Rocket Records and about how quickly busiWaxidermy worked together to talking about music to nesses were being allowed ensure that customers, employpeople every day.” to reopen, and removed the ees and their families take as center bins from his store many precautions as possible to Marty DeAnda for proper social distancing. stay safe. For shop owners, this owner, Medium Rare Records “It was really cool to see is their livelihood, and surviving all the people that came in the the pandemic isn’t an option. Friday I opened,” Hassett said. While Medium Rare’s owner, They said, “‘Hey, we just wanted to Marty DeAnda, focused on coordinating make sure you were gonna make it,’ and a shared reopening day, Ben Johnson and his made an effort to spend money even though I hadn’t business partner Rick Daprato at Delta Breeze led put new records out. That was cool.” the charge for consistent sanitary standards. Every store has a common thread throughout For Johnson, whose wife is a nurse, it’s personal. their coronavirus stories: When they reopened, “She’s a front line worker, and I’m thinking basiSacramento’s record buyers showed their support— cally she’s the one who has to deal with people’s with masks and hand sanitizer. Ω indiscretions at the end of the day,” he said. “I can’t just pretend like this doesn’t exist … Behaving safe is relatively easy for our business … That’s part of why I feel it’s kind of inexcusable to not take precautions.”

For more stories about local music, visit sacramento.newsreview.com.


After the suspension of our print publication in March, we moved online.

Through June 26, we have published about 250 staff-written, edited or produced stories and photo series, including 60 on the COVID-19 pandemic, about 20 on racial justice and police reform and about 20 on local arts and music, plus two dozen community essays.

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From chef to table BY STEPH RODRIGUEZ

The Michelin Minivan’s Hawaiian poke bowl.

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When he and his wife both lost their restaurant jobs as the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses, JD Snead says he started cooking for his sanity. “I realized that I could probably be selling these plates just by promoting them on Facebook and Instagram, and just being well-known in the restaurant and bar industry,” he says. So Snead started a new business model: He cooks his favorite dishes with his wife, Amber Snead, and delivers them door-todoor as the Michelin Minivan. They are among the caterers and personal chefs who have switched to contactless delivery service, using the skills they’ve honed throughout their careers to continue their passion for cooking. JD Snead (right) and his wife Amber mix ingredients for the sauce that goes into their Hawaiian poke bowl. Together, they operate the Michelin Minivan.






“I started making a week’s menu and I would drop it on Sunday night,” Snead says. “My specials I usually run on the weekends are my chicken adobo—it’s a Filipino dish marinated in soy sauce, sugar and vinegar, and it’s just reduced down to some deliciousness. And then, I also do a Korean barbecue on the weekends. I’ll make beef bulgogi and we make all of our own sides, like the banchan.” Snead says he wants people to recognize him for his Filipino and Korean food, but with a name like the Michelin Minivan, he has the freedom to venture off to Italian, Hawaiian and even Mexican dishes, with plates ranging from $10 to $25, with a $3 delivery fee. He’s been “cheffin,” as he calls it, since 2015, moving from bartending at Shady

Lady to the back of the house at Kasbah to learn every aspect of the industry. His heart is always set on making comfort food, with the touch and taste that he grew up with. “I know a lot of people don’t know about Filipino food, so I start out with the chicken adobo. You can’t go wrong when you hear soy sauce, sugar and vinegar over rice. That’s not so crazy,” Snead says. “Being a Filipino American myself, I grew up on the recipe and I’ve been perfecting it over the years. I can’t give you the recipe because I don’t keep track I just cook with feeling and tasting as I go.” Using Facebook and Instagram, Snead says the Michelin Minivan preps and dishes out 300 to 400 orders a week. The couple also accepted donations during the George Floyd demonstrations and delivered hot food to medics and protestors at Cesar Chavez Plaza. “There’s not a lot of things in life that you can get perfect. Cooking, you can get the closest to perfection as far as how you want it to taste, how it looks and then once you give the person the food, those eyebrows. You know, the ‘Mmm this is good’ eyebrows? It’s the eyebrow,” he says, laughing. For Jeremy Katz, known in Sacramento as The Wandering Chef, his personal chef business switched from catering parties and private dinners to delivering door-to-door each week. “What I’m delivering to you is a plate of food like you would be ordering in a restaurant,” Katz says. “I made a tuna and shrimp tempura tar-tar. I did a Lebanesespiced meatloaf right in the beginning, and people really loved that because it’s pretty unique. I also did a miso-fried chicken, which people really responded well to.” Katz makes two to three original dishes per week, sharing his rotating menu on Facebook and Instagram. But many customers order familiar dishes and comfort food during these uncertain times.

“The truth is, it really feels like people are looking for comfort food, or food that they can identify with,” Katz says. “With the way things have been, people want ease, they want quick, and I think because there was so much ambiguity and concern about what restaurants were doing it the right way, people are more inclined to take the person that isn’t operating in a restaurant setting with 10 other people working around them. It seems like a safer way to go.” Before the pandemic, Juan Alvarez’s catering company served the masses, but he, too, had to adapt to people dining in. He created a weekly delivery service that offers sandwiches, tacos and full-on Cajun shrimp boils with head-on shrimp, red potatoes, corn on the cob and andouille sausage sold by the pound. “We stayed busy for almost three months now,” Alvarez says. “Although I’m pretty old-school when it comes to customer service, I always advocate for the personal side of interacting with someone directly as opposed to going through a third person. I think a lot of people still feel that way.” With food delivery giants such as DoorDash and GrubHub taking their cut from local businesses, these Sacramento chefs aim to keep costs affordable while offering restaurant-quality dishes from chef to table. “I think feeding someone a meal, it speaks from the heart of the person who’s preparing it,” Alvarez says. “It tells you a lot about the person—where they’re from, where they’ve been, their emotions. Cooking is a bonding experience for a lot of people. We become cooks to nurture people and nurture ourselves. It’s an act of love, preparing a meal for someone.” Ω Hungry? For more stories about local chefs and delicious food, visit sacramento.newsreview.com. And for a listing of Sacramento-area restaurants, visit sacramento.newsreview.com/local-dining.


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Burger Patch, the Sacramento vegan fast-food restaurant, recently released a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt with its signature “B.”


Burger Patch, Sacramento’s king of vegan fast food, has been a philanthropic force since opening last year. Its “Patch Match” program has donated a portion of its sales to a different Sacramento nonprofit each month. In the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality, Burger Patch chose Sacramento Building Healthy Communities (The HUB), a nonprofit with ties to South Sacramento’s African-American community, as the June recipient. Burger Patch also went a step further, raising money with an employee-designed “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt with its burger-styled “B” incorporated into the powerful rallying cry. The shirt sells for $15, with profits going to The HUB. “We’ve seen too many organizations, particularly whiteowned organizations, stand on the sidelines for too long,” said owner Phil Horn. “We felt like we had an opportunity to take a stance and show that it’s not just words, but that we’re going to put our word and our logo and our product and our brand behind this effort to make meaningful change that is long overdue.” While the T-shirts have been well received on social media, some Black activists are not as impressed.

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“I think it could have been delivered much differently … but I guess it’s a nice starting point,” said Adrianne Pennington, co-founder of TLC: The Liberation Collective and AYA: A Radical Black Healing Collective and past member of Black Lives Matter Sacramento. “Allies are absolutely necessary in this fight, I recognize that,” she added. “I’m not for the Black Lives Matter with the Burger Patch logo … I don’t know how you take that seriously.” Kim Williams, manager of The HUB, said she was unaware her group would be receiving proceeds from the T-shirts until she was presented with one. While she said she’s grateful for Burger Patch’s fundraising, she may have had a “different conversation” had she been aware ahead of time. “I think right now, when there’s such an awareness on what’s happening in our country along racial lines … there’s people who are coming now to the understanding of what African Americans have been dealing with,” Williams said. “And so we can look at that from not just social services and practices and policies, but also in business … how do you bridge those two together?” Ω

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Chason’s Crab Stadium Taste happiness—by the pound


n Elk Grove staple for more than six years, Chason’s Crab Stadium hooks locals with fun drinks, family dining and fresh seafood dishes. In the warming spring sun, Chason’s patio serves as an oasis of brightly colored cocktails. The flamboyant Japanese Pink Panther is candy-in-a-glass, while the Lychee Martini strikes a more boozy tone of vodka and fresh lychee juice without sacrificing the fruity frill and neon allure. The bar inside is a popular stop for sports-watching over pints and appetizers—such as jalapeno poppers. Thick jalapenos—filled with more crab than cream cheese—are lightly fried, a

It’s the servers and smiling families that bring warmth to the space as piles of seafood are passed between plastic crab bibs. virtual lesson in how best to avoid mushy, greasy, limp poppers. Crunchy and creamy with a kick, it’s bar food done right. The bar gives way to a dining room clad in brick and dark wood with metal accents—corrugated galvanized walls, bucket light fixtures and water tumblers. Beneath a large fishing mural, the room gives off an industrialized, maritime feel. It’s the servers and smiling families that bring warmth to the space as piles of seafood are passed between plastic crab bibs. The kitchen stocks live lobster, clams, crawfish and crab—which features in their signature dish, House Garlic Butter Crab. 36

When the two-and-a-half pound, whole Dungeness crab—absolutely smothered in butter and garlic—is delivered through the dining room atop a bed of garlic noodles, heads turn. Owner Peter Phong says the stir-fried, buttery egg noodles in sweet, fried garlic sauce are a popular dish on their own, but nothing compares to tearing apart a crustacean as a family. Chason’s is also known for their jambalaya and Classic Gumbo, which Peter says are the best in town. Both include chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, bell peppers, onions and rice, and regular diners know to jazz it up with even more seafood. A heaping pile of lump crab meat atop the Classic Gumbo gives the dish a fresh, lighter feel while still packing on the protein and carbs of comfort food. Add a fried egg and softshell crab to the jambalaya and it’s transformed into a creamier taste of the sea. For those not in a seafood mood, the lamb chops cooked to medium are gracefully seasoned and remarkably tender, sliding off the bone as if they can’t wait to be enjoyed. Finally, a chocolate lava cake tops off any meal. A small Bundt cake separates a pool of hot chocolate sauce from vanilla ice cream, but when the spongy walls are broken and the two meet—magic happens. Plus, in the coming months, Peter will be bringing this magic and his seafood feasts to Midtown with Bronston’s (815 11th St., Sacramento), which will feature a similar menu with expanded offerings in a space triple the size of Chason’s. Until then, Sacramento-area landlubbers need only set sail for Elk Grove to taste the ocean’s bounty.


Casual family dining with a hopping bar in back PerfeCt for

Happy hour, live sports and big seafood feasts ASk ABout

Live entertainment such as music, comedians and a classic car show CuISIne CoSt

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If you’re interested in being covered by Indulge, contact Rosemarie Messina at rosemariem@newsandreview.com.

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2020 Sacramento area Dining guiDe

Photos by reid fowLer by rAuL cLement

Gangnam Ave. Discover ‘Seoul’ food at an all-you-can-eat barbecue in Rancho Cordova he best way to know a culture is “T through its food,” says Gangnam Ave. manager Tim Munkhbold.

In a nondescript shopping center in Rancho Cordova, Gangnam Ave. has been serving up precisely this taste of another culture since 2018. Named after a high-fashion district in Seoul, Gangnam Ave. offers diners an authentic Korean experience the moment they walk in the door. Tranquil marine-blue lighting, exposed metal exhaust vents, and a projection screen playing K-Pop music on a side wall create an experience seldom found north of L.A.’s Koreatown.

Whether you’re dining alone or part of a large gathering, there’s more here than you could possibly try on one visit. “Our head chef came from L.A.,” says Munkhbold. “He’s been a Korean barbecue chef for 30-plus years. That’s something we’re really proud of.” The chef’s expertise shows. For a set price, diners pick from dozens of meats: thin-sliced, ruby-red brisket; marinated, bone-in short rib; tender pork belly; and even baby octopus. The meat is brought raw to the table, and diners cook it to their liking over a gas grill in the table top. Every order comes with a spread of palatecleansing side dishes—crunchy broccoli garnished with sesame seeds; spicy kimchi; chewy fish cakes; bean sprouts; a

dish of glassy sweet potato noodles called Japchae. If that’s not enough variety, potato-and-scallion pancakes are available on request, as is something called a steamed egg. Of this custardy, whipped-egg dish served in a hot clay pot, Munkhbold says, “Once you try it, you’ll want to get it every time.” The same could be said about Gangnam Ave. itself. Whether you’re dining alone or part of a large gathering, there’s more here than you could possibly try on one visit. Wash it all down with a soju and fruit cocktail, take a deep breath, and order another plate…or three. If you’re full, there’s always tomorrow. The grill will be hot and waiting.

If you’re interested in being covered by Indulge, contact Rosemarie Messina at rosemariem@newsandreview.com. VIbE

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2020 Sacramento area Dining guiDe Photos by Anne stokes by theA MArie rood

The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar In our too-serious time, a Sacramento institution retains its emphasis on fun


tarting with its iconic rabbit theme— reminiscent of the 56-foot-long “Leap” sculpture at Sacramento International Airport—everything about The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar is committed to showcasing “local,” but with a swanky, unexpected twist. First the swank: Designed by Lynn Mayugba, co-owner Sonny Mayugba’s wife, the interior includes walls of exposed brick, dark leather booths—lit by a glowing line of half-a-dozen lamps— and a massive U-shaped bar. Whimsical details are also fun to pick out, like the red rabbit light hiding cunningly under the front desk, which also sports a bright red vintage phone. Then the local: sources like Del Monte Meat Co. and Del Rio Botanical out of West Sacramento, as well as Produce Express, Track 7 Brewing Company and Grateful Bread, all Sacramento-based. The Red Rabbit even uses local photographers and a local credit union. “Farm-to-fork is fairly ubiquitous now and people are a lot more savvy—and have a certain level of expectation,” says general manager Alfonso Marquez, who’s been with the restaurant since it opened its doors in February 2012. “To know you’re going out but also supporting a local business and the local economy—people


feel good about that.” Even more compelling is how fresh, local, seasonal ingredients impact taste. “Anyone can tell ‘this came out of a jar versus this was made from scratch,’” Marquez says. “Our juice is pressed fresh every day. I can give you two drinks sideby-side, and you can tell the difference.”

To know you’re going out but also supporting a local business and the local economy— people feel good about that. Finally, the unexpected: the menu. As warm weather hits, try the remarkably flavorful basil cocktail, made with gin, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, small batch pineapple gum syrup, absinthe and a floating basil leaf. The citrus and basil aroma hits you even before you take a sip. What pairs well? The empanadas, which come three to a plate, perfect for sharing (or keeping all to yourself).

Crunchy on the outside and soft inside, they are filled with a spicy shreddedbeef-and-vegetable combination that reminds you of a long-simmered chili or beef stew. Next, do not hesitate: Order the house specialty, pork osso bucco, presented dramatically—bone-in—and topping creamy polenta, surrounded artfully by baby carrots. Once you cut into this lovingly braised, fork-tender meat, though, it might be your mother’s pot roast. As in all the dishes, the vegetables here are perfectly cooked, with a satisfying bite. Could it be Chef John Bay’s prior experience as the head chef for Sacramento City Unified School District (after stints at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan and Piatti’s)? No right-minded 7-year-old will eat mushy vegetables. Lastly, grab a plate of churro donuts, lightly fried to a perfect crispness, every inch coated in cinnamon and sugar, then drizzled with chocolate. Your inner kid will get a kick out of this delightfully surprising take on dessert—and it’s OK to lick your fingers.

If you’re interested in being covered by Indulge, contact Rosemarie Messina at rosemariem@newsandreview.com.

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Sacramento nurseries change during COVID-19 to keep customers safe—and stay in business by Debbie Arrington

Dwarf fig trees are among the food-producing plants offered by The Plant Foundry in Oak Park.

“Everything edible is really selling: fruit trees, herbs and vegetables, edible vines such as passionflower or hops,” she said. “People want to grow things even vaguely edible. They’re stuck at home, they want to grow their own food—and they can. It’s a good impulse to fulfill.” Thanks to that interest in growing food, business has been good during the pandemic, Pratt said. “This is the first year we’ll sell out of stone fruit trees. We’ve already run out of potatoes; we’ve never done that. Seeds are flying off the racks. We even ran out of roses.” Pratt also saw many parents getting into gardening with their kids as a part of home schooling during the lockdown. “It’s a way to teach about nature,” she said. The renewed interest in gardening has gone beyond edibles. “Houseplants are back,” Pratt said. “Before the pandemic, they were our biggest seller. Sales plummeted at first, but now, houseplants are selling again, too.” Social distancing, face masks and other restrictions will be around until there’s a vaccine, Pratt expects. For now, she and her staff will keep doing what they’re doing and help customers grow. “We found our groove,” she said, “and now we’re going to stick with it.” Ω

Photo courtesy of the Plant foundry

Imagine having to totally rethink how you do business during your busiest time of the year. That’s what happened to local nurseries during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We did an instant pivot,” said Angela Pratt, owner of The Plant Foundry in Oak Park. “We had one week when we were still in shock, right after the shutdown was announced. When we realized we would be allowed to stay open, we had to find a new way to reach customers right away.” For most nurseries, spring sales make up the bulk of their annual income. Deemed essential businesses, nurseries were allowed to stay open during the lockdown because they sell food in the form of edible plants. But what if customers don’t want to go out to shop? “We now offer a lot of new ways to reach our customers: phone orders, web orders, curbside pickup, no-contact checkout and deliveries,” Pratt said. “We also came up quickly with safety protocols— 6-foot social distancing especially. That made us rethink everything we do. How do we accept deliveries? How do we limit contact with delivery drivers? How do we help load a half wine barrel into their car?” Pratt opted to go as safe as possible, limiting the number of customers— three—that she believed could be in the nursery at the same time as staff. Gates are closed during deliveries. “We stopped accepting cash and checks; we’re all contactless,” she added. “Customers can call us and we’ll tell them what’s in stock. Although things have really loosened up lately, we’re still encouraging customers to wear masks. All our staff wears masks. We’re an open-air shop, which is good, but we’re very, very, very strict about social distancing. That’s the only way we’re going to get through this thing.” As for those edible plants, they suddenly became in very high demand.


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debbie arrington, an award-winning garden writer and lifelong gardener, is co-creator of the sacramento digs Gardening blog and website.








snr c a le nd a r @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

COVID-FRIENDLY EVENTS CALENDAR While more venues are holding events as the stay-at-home order is loosened, remember to follow public health guidelines. Many events are still virtual due to COVID-19. Keep up to date and list events at


VIRTUAL THURSDAY, 7/2 ELK GROVE RUN 4 HUNGER VIRTUAL RUN: The 16th Annual Run 4 Hunger is now a virtual run. It is not a competitive race, but will be selftimed. Stay tuned for all the fun things to come during the Virtual Run 4 Hunger. 8am, $40. egrun4hunger.com.

RARE BIRDS: Rare Birds assembles paintings and sculptures of birds and their nests. Participating regional artists include Suzanne Adan, Paula Bellacera, Mary Czechan Coldren, Diana Lewis Coleman, Lynn Criswell, Natasha Dikareva, Anne Gregory, Mark Gleason, Sasinun Kladpetch, Nelson Loskamp, Katie McCann, Mike Stevens, Marsha Schindler and Sandy Whetstone. Various times, no cover. pencegallery.org.

MONDAY, 7/6 CROCKER ART CAMP FANTASTIC ADVENTURES IN CLAY: Squishing, pinching and molding are the name of the game as campers create bowls, wind chimes, wearable art and fantastical creatures from air-dry clay. Participants will learn new skills, use their imagination, make new friends or just chill out with one-week summer camps. 9am, $295. crockerart.org/fromhome.

CROCKER ART CAMP IT’S SHOWTIME: Imaginations run wild when campers create props, sets and scenes for their own stories before stepping onto the Crocker’s Setzer Foundation Auditorium stage in front of family and friends. 9am, $295. crockerart. org/fromhome.

Classic movies, from your car WEST WIND DRIVE-IN, VARIOUS TIMES, $1.75-$8.25 Sitting in a cinema parking lot, a thought that regularly crosses my mind is, “Man, I drove all the way over FILM here to see this new movie. I waited at traffic lights, refrained from honking madly at that one guy—he knows who he is—I drove within five miles of the speed limit the whole way. Now that I am here, sitting in my car in the parking lot of this cinema, waiting to see the newest IFC Midnight release. I just don’t want to






stand up from my car. I wish there were an accessible affordable place to see movies without having to get out of my car.” If you’ve had similar thoughts to those, the answer is clear. The West Wind Sacramento Drive-in is showing late-night double-feature picture shows every night of the week, including classic films such as Wizard of Oz, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and E.T. 9616 Oates Drive, westwinddi.com.





Finally, a way to watch movies without having to get out of your car.

IT IS 3-D (THE D IS FOR DABBLE): Experiment with a variety of materials—including clay, papier-mâché and paint—and turn them into three-dimensional works of art. Kelly Guillory is a local artist who loves the process of art making and experimenting with new materials. 9am, $295. saccomedyspot.com/live.

VERGE KIDS CAMP (6-7 YEAR OLDS): Kids camp by Verge Center for the Arts led by instructor Leah Florence. Financial aid is available for Sacramento-area students who qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch at school. Email education@vergeart. com to apply for a scholarship. 8:30am, $250-$280. vergeart.com.

TUESDAY, 7/7 STAND-UP 101 WRITING BASICS, ONLINE CLASS: Learn stand-up writing online. Stand-Up 101 class will give you the skills, practice, feedback and motivation to perform a five-minute comedy set. This class encourages constructive feedback, sharing, time-tested lessons and tips, and you’ll have a lot of fun in the process. 6:30pm, $150. saccomedyspot.com.

WEDNESDAY, 7/8 THE BAD FLICK SHOW: Alex Shewmaker finds the worst clips from the worst movies and shares them with comedians who are blown away by just how bad these movies really are. 6pm, no cover. saccomedyspot. com/live.

COMEDIC STORYTELLING 101: This four-week class trains you in the art of comedic storytelling. In the first week, participants learn the basics to good story structure and then learn how to incorporate comedic strategies into their own true personal narratives. 7pm, $99. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/storytelling-101.

THURSDAY, 7/9 EMPOWER UC DAVIS HEALTH PRECEPTOR CONFERENCE: The UC Davis Health Preceptor Conference is a professional development activity for preceptors who are interested in advancing their knowledge, skills and practice. 8am, no cover. health.ucdavis.edu/ cppn/classes.

FRIDAY, 7/10 THE CALIFORNIA MERMAID CONVENTION: Great news, fish friends. The California Mermaid Convention is going digital for 2020. Mermaids around the globe who may not have been able to make it to the physical convention won’t have to swim far. 8am, $0-$15. californiamermaidcon.com.

LARA DOWNES LIVE WE SHALL OVERCOME: NBC News calls pianist Lara Downes “a musical ray of hope.” This live, socially-distanced outdoor concert benefits the ACLU. 8pm, $50. eventbrite.com/e/lara-downes-live -tickets-110437950884.

SUNDAY, 7/12 SEEKERS OF THE STRANGE: Join B Street Theatre company member John Lamb and other familiar faces as they embark on a perilous and sanity-sapping foray into the unknown, a nice escape from the current state of things. 7pm, no cover. bstreettheatre.org.

MONDAY, 7/13 CAMP ROAD TRIP WITH THE CROCKERS: Buckle up for an in-gallery road trip that follows the Crockers across Europe on an art collecting adventure. Explore a variety of art mediums, including sketching, sculpting, portrait photography and landscape painting. 9am, $295. crockerart.org/ fromhome.

SATURDAY, 7/18 CRAFTS AND DRAFTS: Take a break in the summer sun and join the River City Marketplace at the first Crafts and Drafts of the year, featuring more than 75 local artists, makers and small businesses. Noon, no cover. rivercitymarketplace916.com.

SUNDAY, 7/19 AL FARROW EXHIBITION THE WHITE HOUSE: Using guns and ammunition, Al Farrow transforms the tools of destruction into creation in his sculptures of cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, mausoleums and other architectural monuments. This exhibition is composed of just one sculpture, the artist’s 2018 The White House. 10am, no cover. crockerart.org/fromhome.









FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 7/10-7/12



California Mermaid Convention goes online ONLINE, VARIOUS TIMES, $0-$15

Do you spend extended periods in large bodies of water? Are your legs actually a single fin perfectly suited FESTIVALS for propelling through bodies of water? Do you find that you want to spend more time with other people with those shared interests? Well, the California Mermaid Convention is the place for you. The event is hosted by Sacramento’s local mermaids: Mermaid Rachel, who operates the local Mermaid and Mom entertainment company, and Mermaid Ashley, who leads Pixie Tribe Entertainment. You won’t need to swim far for this gathering of mer-people. This year’s convention of mermaids will be held completely digitally. It will include panels with mermaids, a virtual fashion show hosted by Glimmerwood, a symposium with MeduSirena and plenty of events for the younger merlings. Break out your waterproof laptops and jump into the deep end at this years California Mermaid Convention. californiamermaidcon.com.



MONDAY, 7/20

Two dozen Navy SEALs descended on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011. After the mission, only one name was made public: Cairo, a Belgian Malinois military dog. “No Ordinary Dog: My Partner from the SEAL Teams to the Bin Laden Raid” is Cairo’s story and that of his handler, Chesney, a member of a SEAL team whose life would be irrevocably tied to Cairo’s. 4:45pm, no cover. saclibrary.org/authors.

BEGINNING DRAWING AND COMPOSITION: Drawing from the Crocker’s collections, explore different drawing styles before applying them in the studio using colored pencils, charcoal, markers, chalk pastels and Caran d’Ache sticks. 9am, $115. crockerart.org/fromhome.

CALIFORNIA TIME TRAVELER CAMP ONLINE II: Explore 150 years of history, arts and culture in this week-long virtual camp, which offers engaging learning experiences as campers examine some of the state’s significant eras. A combination of daily Zoom sessions, videos featuring visitors from historic eras and hands-on activities, daily itineraries begin on Monday in modern California and end on Friday in the state’s Victorian past more than 150 years ago. 9am, $75. californiamuseum. org/time-traveler.

CROCKER ART CAMP IT’S ELECTRIFYING: Light up the Crocker by using simple circuitry to create dazzling mixed-media works in a camp that is part science and part art. Plus, watch experts play with fire and glass during a field trip to a local hot shop. 9am, $295. crockerart.org/fromhome.


WEDNESDAY, 7/22 21ST ANNUAL SACRAMENTO VIRTUAL CAREER FAIR & JOB FAIR: Interview one-on-one with company recruiters and hiring managers by chat, video or phone. 11:30am, no cover. diversitycareergroup.com/#calendar.

MONDAY, 7/27 CROCKER ART CAMP DRIP, DAUB, SPLAT AND PAINT: Science and art collide in a class that experiments with traditional and avant-garde painting techniques and surfaces. Fling, drip and spray paint with a variety of unconventional tools. 9am, $295. crockerart.org/fromhome.


lines become a pattern, and so on. Explore and celebrate the basics of art, line, shape, form, space, texture, value and color, before painting an assortment of compositions. 9am, $295. crockerart.org/ fromhome.







The exhibit depicts each artists’ version of superheroes and villains—whether it’s Batman, Catwoman, Joker or a character out of Star Wars. 8:30am, no cover. cordovacouncil.org/rancho-cordova -arts.

evening in the Keyaki Garden at Wakamatsu Farm and hear your favorite classic rock, blues, jazz and country tunes. 5:30pm, $010. American River Conservancy, 348 State Highway 49, Coloma.

TUESDAY, 7/14 LET THEM EAT CAKE: Let Them Eat Cake is Sacramento Self-Help Housing’s annual fundraiser. Join in celebrating 20 years for the charitable nonprofit dedicated to the elimination of homelessness in the Sacramento region. 5:30pm, $40. Beatnik Studios, 723 S St.

FRIDAY, 7/31 PENCE GALLERY’S OUTDOOR TREASURE SALE: The annual Pence Gallery Treasures Sale is back, a great event for those who need to get rid of unwanted china, jewelry, art, collectibles, antiques, clothing, small furniture, rugs, books, frames and more. 11:30am, no cover. Pence Gallery, 212 D St., Davis.

takes you on a journey through the life of one of the most prevalent female icons in art history, Frida Kahlo. A prolific selfportraitist, she used the canvas as a mirror through all stages of her turbulent and, at times, tragic life. 7pm, $18. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.

WEDNESDAY, 7/8 NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the debut film from Academy Award-winner Hayao Miyazaki, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. It tells the story of a young princess 7pm, $11.50. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.

MONDAY, 7/13 ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND: Painful breakups demand to be remembered. Clementine and Joel have to learn this the hard way in this 2004 film starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. 7pm, $10.50. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.


FILM WEDNESDAY, 7/1 MILK & MOVIES: Have some fun with film and cereal. This event is Bring Your Own Cereal Bowl. 6pm, no cover. Classy Hippie Tea Co., 3226 Broadway.

endearing and internationally renowned films of all time, it is a deceptively simple tale of two girls who move to a new house in the countryside and discover that the surrounding forests are home to a family of Totoros, gentle but powerful creatures. 7pm, $11.50. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.



Voldemort is tightening his grip on both


Take me out to the ball game SUTTER HEALTH PARK, VARIOUS TIMES, $10-$40

Baseball is back. Grab some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and make your plans to head on down to the field and SPORTS & watch some baseballs go OUTDOORS flying. It’s summer, and that means it’s time for America’s past time. Sutter Health Park, home to the Sacramento River Cats AAA team, is open to socially distant spectators. If you’ve ever wanted to see a cat pitted against, bees, aces and missionaries, then baseball is the way to live out those oddly specific and somewhat conceptual fantasies. This month, the River Cats take on the Salt Lake City Bees, Reno Aces and the San Antonio Missions. The reopening of the park is contingent on a limited number of attendees at each game. Coronavirus concerns may result in games being postponed and you’ll be asked to head out of the park. Check the Sacramento River Cats website for updates. 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento, milb.com/sacramento.



Sibling Rivalry podcast comes to Sacramento stage CREST THEATER, 8 P.M., $31-$151

Tom Dodson will lead this exploration of the Granite Chief Wilderness Area Picayune Valley starting at Talbot Creek. We will hike up along the middle fork of the American River, passing through an old growth forest. 8am, $40-$55. American River Conservancy, 348 State Highway 49, Coloma.

Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change may not be related, but that doesn’t stop them from acting like ON STAGE they are. The two drag artists are co-hosts of Sibling Rivalry, a podcast that features the two bantering and discussing social issues, holidays, Black identity, hugs, superheroes, education ... the list goes on. Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change will be bringing their podcast to Crest Theater for what they describe as a “fierce sleepover” in their debut world tour. The show is presented by Five Senses Reeling, who partnered with Drag Out the Vote to promote voter turnout for the November 2020 election. At each of their U.S. stops, in addition to the comedy drag queen duo, Drag Out the Vote will be registering voters. 1013 K St., crestsacramento.com.

the muggle and wizarding worlds, and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. 10am, $7. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.

WEDNESDAY, 7/22 CASTLE IN THE SKY: Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle In the Sky tells the story of a young girl whose mysterious crystal pendant falls out of the sky and into the arms and life of young Pazu. Together, they search for a floating island in the sky, the site of a long-dead civilization promising enormous wealth and power to those who can unlock its secrets. 7pm, $11.50. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.

WEDNESDAY, 7/29 FROM UP ON POPPY HILL: Is this another Studio Ghibli film? You bet it is. From Goro Miyazaki and Hayao Miyazaki, this lovingly handdrawn film centers on the budding romance of Umi and Shun as they join forces to save their high school’s ramshackle clubhouse from demolition. 7pm, $11.50. The Tower Theatre, 2508 Land Park Drive.

COMEDY LAUGHS UNLIMITED COMEDY CLUB: K-Von’s style is versatile yet relatable with fun storytelling and high-energy performances about a variety of mainstream topics. The star of MTV’s show Disaster Date, K-Von garnered millions of views online with sketches, standup comedy clips, and a viral TED Talk. 7:30pm. 7/1-7/2. 1207 Front St.

TAMER KATTAN FEATURING RYAN GOODCASE: A regular at the Comedy Store, Improv and Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, this is one comic you do not want to miss live. Tamer began his comedy career in Los Angeles and New York, but very quickly began to tour internationally. Various times. 7/37/5. 1207 Front St.

PRO AM SHOWCASE: New comics and seasoned pros share the stage at Laughs Unlimited to bring you the funny on the first Tuesday of every month. 8pm. 7/7. 1207 Front St.

PUNCH LINE: Ingo Rademacher is best known for his role of “Jasper Jax” on ABC’s General Hospital. Ingo is embarking on a comedy club

SHE ROCKS THE TRAILS 10K AND 25K: She Rocks the Trails celebrates women runners of all levels. “Whether it’s someone’s first time running or they’re an Olympic athlete, we all come together as a community and run for strong, powerful women around the world,” says race director Julie Fingar 7am, $60$75. 855 Pacific Ave., Auburn.

THURSDAY, 7/16 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS VS. RENO ACES: The Sacramento River Cats play baseball, America’s pastime, against the Reno Aces. 7:05pm, $11. Sutter Health Park, 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento.

tour, featuring stories from his experiences on the soap opera as well as some of his travel adventures. 2pm. Through 10/25. $35$75. 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225.

ON STAGE CREST THEATRE: Sibling Rivalry. Bob The Drag Queen and Monét X Change invite you to a fierce sleepover for their debut theatrical world tour. Monét X Change, Miss Congeniality of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 and winner of AS4, and Bob the Drag Queen, winner of season 8, are not actually siblings, but they are a comedy duo with infectious chemistry, behind the hit podcast Sibling Rivalry. 8pm. Through 7/25. $31-$151. 1013 K St.

ART ELK GROVE FINE ARTS CENTER: Culinary ART Show. This reception will feature the 1st Annual Culinary Art Show in the Main Gallery, celebrating the love of food, those who prepare it, culinary creations, dining, service and beloved restaurants. 4pm. 7/11. No cover. 9683 Elk Grove Florin Road, Elk Grove.

PENCE GALLERY: Kindred Connections Art by Marti Schoen and Binuta Sudhakaran. They met about 10 years ago, when they were painting scenic art at Davis Musical Theater Company. They chose the exhibit name Kindred Connections because the two of them connect quickly, effortlessly and harmoniously in art and in friendship. Various times. Through 7/26. No cover. 212 D St., Davis.

DAVID OLIVANT BECAUSE I KNOW I SHALL NOT KNOW: Olivant is a mixed-media artist who presents in this exhibition a new aspect of his common practice of making sculpture out of found objects, coupled with exquisite drawings of subjects from life and art history. Various times. Through 8/16. No cover. 212 D St., Davis.

SLICE A JURIED CROSS-SECTION OF REGIONAL ART: The annual juried exhibit of artwork returns after a year hiatus. This display of contemporary art in all media celebrates the work of 30 artists from across California. Various times. Through 8/16. No cover. 212 D St., Davis.

SPORTS & OUTDOORS WEDNESDAY, 7/1 YOGA ON THE FARM: The drop-in, 60-minute yoga class is held every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Meet in the Outdoor Theatre located across from the Schoolhouse. This class is open to all levels. 10am, $10. Soil Born Farms, American River Ranch, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova.

MONDAY, 7/6 ART JOURNALING: Use your imagination and all kinds of mixed media to create a freestyle art journal. Both inexperience and lack of talent are welcome. Please note, supplies are limited so feel free to bring your own, too. 4pm, no cover. Sacramento Public Library-Sylvan Oaks Library, 6700 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights.

WIZARDING WORLD SUMMER ART PROGRAM: Inspired by magic, join to enter the Wizarding World, creating projects with both unconventional, upcycled materials and traditional art media. Participants will create their own wands, spell books, magical creatures and more. 9am, $160. Blue Line Arts, 405 Vernon St. Suite 100, Roseville.






a paper/report reading and discussion group so that a community of river lovers can break down the prestigious walls of academic papers to learn more about the systems they care for. Noon, no cover. South Yuba River Citizens League, 313 Railroad Ave., Prairie City.

baseball game between the Sacramento River Cats and San Antonio Missions is happening. 7:05pm, $8. Sutter Health Park, 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento.

FRIDAY, 7/31 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS VS. ROUND ROCK EXPRESS: What’s that? More baseball? Between the Sacramento River Cats and the Round Rock Express? Well, boy howdy. 7:05pm, $12. Sutter Health Park, 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento.



Studio Ghibli festival all July at The Tower Theatre THE TOWER THEATRE, VARIOUS TIMES, $11.50

Hayao Miyazaki has said, “I would like to make a film to tell children, ‘It’s good to be alive.’” Whether or not he succeeded in that quest, the Japanese FILM animated film maker has created a body of work full of fantastical people and places that can inspire wonder about what may exist around any corner. Sacramento’s Tower Theater will be showing the robust and magical catalog of Miyazaki’s work at his movie production company, Studio Ghibli. Included in the festival are Miyazaki’s debut film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, along with My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Castle in the Sky. The Studio Ghibli festival will continue through August and will include both the dubbed and subtitled versions of the films. So no matter how you like to watch your Japanese animations, Tower Theatre will accommodate you. 2508 Land Park Drive, readingcinemasus.com/tower.







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Shahera Hyatt Shannon Betker Shelley Blanton-Stroud Sherri Schelk Skyler Morris Sonja Palladino Soonhee Johnson Staci Edwards Stephanie Batey Stephanie Tucker Steve O’Neill Steven Debry Steven Ybarra Stirling Adams Sue Regan Sue Owens Wright Susan Broda Tapan Trivedi Ted Samson Teri Burns Terra Bennett Brown Terry Connolly Terry Moore Tess Townsend Thea Hogan Thom Gilbert Thomas Morland Thomas Nichols Tim Munson Timothy Brown Viktor Berry Wayne Chapman William Bronston, MD

One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

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Fighting for Family b y ED g A r S A n C h E z


hree years ago, Lan Nguyen, then a UCLA grad student, needed a subject for her Master’s Thesis in Asian American Studies. Rather than pen a traditional research paper, Nguyen undertook something more daring: She made a documentary film about a family of refugees from Vietnam’s indigenous tribes that was torn apart by stringent U.S. deportation policies. Her explosive movie, “Fighting for Family,” or FFF, was recently shown at Sacramento’s California Museum.

The screening coincided with an exhibit cosponsored by The California Endowment, about Californians sentenced as teens to long prison sentences, which, in the case of many immigrants, are followed by deportations. “My main goal in making this movie was to spread awareness about incarceration and deportation of Southeast Asians,” said Nguyen, 24, a U.S.-born daughter of Vietnamese refugees, who teaches Ethnic Studies at Cal State Long Beach. “People convicted of crimes aren’t bad people. They’re people who ... make mistakes and have learned and grown from these mistakes.” FFF captures the story of Chuh A, who fled Communist Vietnam with his parents in 1996 when he was 13. The family settled in North Carolina, where Chuh fell in love with Rex, another refugee from Vietnam. The couple had four daughters, now ages 6 to 14, but struggled to support them. He worked multiple low-paying jobs. She became a nail technician. In an act of desperation he regrets, Chuh made extra cash by selling ecstasy, the party drug. Arrested in 2013, he was convicted of felony drug trafficking.

He served nearly three years in prison, during which his legal residency, or green card, expired. Upon his release, Chuh was seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which held him for 13 months before deporting him in 2017. Since then Chuh has led a difficult life, mainly in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.

“I alwaYS CrY EvErY NIgHt BY mYSElF ... lookINg at mY kIdS’ PICturES.” Chuh A Deported Vietnamese refugee in film “Fighting for Family”

He suffers discrimination and police harassment for being a Montagnard, an ethnic minority, and because his father fought beside U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. Chuh’s drug-trafficking conviction further limits his job-finding ability. “I always cry every night by myself ... looking at my kids’ pictures,” Chuh says in the 31-minute movie, part of which depicts his reunion with Rex and the girls when they visited Vietnam last year. During the reunion, the couple wed. Through video conferencing, Chuh answered questions from the museum audience. He

Filmmaker lan Nguyen at a recent screening of her documentary at the California museum. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

said, for example, that being bilingual — he speaks Vietnamese and English — hasn’t helped him get ahead in Vietnam, because the entire system seems to be against him. The family is fighting for Chuh’s return to America. Under Trump Administration policies, 14,000 to 16,000 Southeast Asian refugees — some from Vietnam, some from other nations, and not all previously incarcerated — face potential deportation. FFF was scheduled to return May 30 for the Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival, with Nguyen speaking. Coronavirus may delay the showing.

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment

BuIldINg HEaltHY CommuNItIES In 2010, the California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

For more information, visit www. fightingforfamilyfilm. com www.SacBHC.org 07.01.20





One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

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Not your ordinary nonprofit By E d g a R S a n C h E Z


hristmas 2019 came early for Julius Thibodeaux. Fifteen days before the holiday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced during a City Council meeting that City Manager Howard Chan had reached a decision on efforts to reduce local youth violence: Chan was extending the city’s twoyear-old, $1.5 million contract with Advance Peace Sacramento for two more years. The mayor’s words delighted Thibodeaux, APS’s strategy program manager. His team contributed heavily to the city having no teen murders in 2018 and 2019 – results that city officials could only dream about when they entered into partnership with APS. Taking the mic in the council chambers, the grateful Thibodeaux told the city’s leaders: “You can feel good about your investment ... You’re doing things that are different – things that are new.” APS is not your ordinary nonprofit. From a downtown office, Thibodeaux directs a squad of Senior Fellows, ages 18-29, known as Neighborhood Change Agents. All were previously incarcerated before turning their lives around and returning to their hoods in Oak Park, Del Paso Heights and South Sacramento, where they now mentor Junior Fellows: youth 12 to 17 – including gang members – who are the most likely to be perpetrators and/or victims of shootings. Along with positive guidance, the youth receive incentives to be law-abiding, said Thibodeaux, who served 23 years in prison for a firearm-related conviction.

In recruiting mentors, “I wasn’t looking for someone who could tell war stories about what they had been through, but someone who had influence in their neighborhoods, and who would bring a skill set of how to de-escalate gun violence and be skilled in conflict resolution,” he said in an interview.

“You doN’t gEt ENougH CrEdit For tHE work tHAt You ANd Your tEAm ArE doiNg.”

“the youngsters are making better decisions” that help them avoid gun violence, Julius thibodeaux of Advance Peace Sacramento said. “Some of them have jobs, or have taken up internships ... make sure you give the young people credit.” Photo by Edgar Sanchez

Rick Jennings Sacramento City Councilman

APS will continue working with its fellow advocates for nonviolence like Black Child Legacy, Thibodeaux said. APS’s four-year contract stipulated that Chan could end the agreement after two years if the city was unhappy with APS’s performance. While the renewed pact won’t mean additional city funding for APS, it does mean the city will honor its ongoing commitment and award APS $750,000 over the next two years, city spokesman Tim Swanson said in an e-mail. APS also receives funding from the state, CalVIP and The California Endowment.

At the December meeting, Councilman Rick Jennings told Thibodeaux: “You don’t get enough credit for the work that you and your team are doing. Now we have more time to really implement this strategy so we can be the model program for the country.” APS has continued to provide services and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Thibodeaux, a mom told him gratefully, “Even though we’ve been locked down, APS has been checking on us, making sure that we have food, water and hygiene.”

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment 46





BuildiNg HEAltHY CommuNitiES in 2010, the California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

For more info about Advance Peace Sacramento, visit www. advancepeace.org www.SacBHC.org

One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

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Facts Matter By E d g a r S a n C h E Z


van Caballero has thick skin. That would explain why the Sacramento City College freshman recently revealed he doesn’t care what President Donald Trump says about news reporters. Trump has labeled journalists everything from “disgraceful” and “enemies of the state” to purveyors of “fake news.” “He can say whatever he wants,” Caballero, 21, said in an interview, with no hint of anger, adding that the president’s repeated attacks on the media will not deter him from becoming a news reporter. “I feel like journalism is the perfect field for me,” said Caballero, who lives in Meadowview. “It encompasses my passions of photography and videography, and writing about social issues.” Caballero first appeared in this column in 2017, when he was in Access Sacramento’s Neighborhood News Youth Correspondents Program, or NNYCP, which is sponsored in part by The California Endowment.

About 50 students have gone through the program, with the current team consisting of five youths, ages 17 to 24. Caballero, it turns out, was a youth correspondent longer than usual – a total of nearly four years, until December. In 2017, the Kennedy High graduate expressed pride in being in the program. He was already sold on a career, saying then, “I want to someday be an actual journalist. I enjoy doing local stories, stories that matter to people.”

“ ... JourNAliSm iS tHE PErfECt fiEld for mE.” Ivan Caballero Freshman at Sacramento City College

Access Sacramento, a nonprofit publicaccess television/radio station, launched the program in 2012. Until December, the young correspondents met in a newsroom in the garage of a Tahoe Park home owned by Isaac Gonzalez, NNYCP’s founding director. This year they have met at Capsity Coworking in Sacramento under a new director, Maria Madril Hernandez.

He filed what he called his biggest one in 2016, when Trump was running for president on an anti-immigrant platform. Caballero interviewed local undocumented immigrants, who told him that if Trump became president, they would avoid talking to the police or even going to a hospital for fear of being deported.

On average, each correspondent works four months, earning minimum wage while learning the basics of broadcast journalism, from shooting and editing videos to writing on-air scripts.

“If people are in danger or sick, you want them to get help,” Caballero said.

“Journalism has become a multiplatform thing,” ivan Caballero said. “You have to know how to write, how to videotape, how to videoedit, how to take photos, how to interview – but i’m in love with those things.” Photo by Edgar Sanchez

where he will major in journalism and communications. After toiling as a pro newsman, covering traditional beats like the courts and City Hall, Caballero wants to open his own journalism academy. In it, he will impart a key lesson he learned from Gonzalez, the former NNYCP director: Always be factual, always tell the truth.

With City College closed due to coronavirus, he’s taking online classes. He eventually plans to attend Fresno State University,

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment

BuildiNg HEAltHY CommuNitiES in 2010, the California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

To see reports filed by Access Sacramento’s neighborhood news youth correspondents, visit www.accesslocal.tv







One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



Staying in Place by A N N e S tO k e S


OVID-19 has changed the way people live their lives across the globe and California has not escaped the pandemic’s health or economic effects. Unemployment rates are at record levels and millions are rightfully worried about being able to pay rent. But new regulations are offering temporary relief for tenants. Many local jurisdictions are passing regulations preventing evictions for renters who have lost income due to COVID-19, including Sacramento County and the cities of Sacramento, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove.

“It allows tenants to have that safety and security … at a time when folks are not supposed to be out and about. Searching for housing is ridiculously hard and also involves being out during the shelter-inplace order,” said Sarah Ropelato, managing attorney at Legal Services of Northern California’s Sacramento office. “If we didn’t have protections, … we’d be looking at a vast amount of hardship. Going forward, the reason folks need to know about this now is that there’s stuff they have to do right now in order to benefit from these protections.” Ordinances differ among jurisdictions, but they typically protect tenants who: • Are sick due to COVID-19 • Are caring for a sick household member • Were laid off, lost hours or income due to COVID-19 • Can’t work because they’re complying with shelter-in-place orders • Can’t work because they have to care for a home-bound, school-aged child While protections are in place to ensure

residents can safely shelter in place and help prevent the spread of coronavirus infections and deaths, there are steps tenants must take in order to be protected under local ordinances: • Notify landlords of an inability to pay rent in writing • Notify landlords before rent is due • Prove that inability to pay rent in full is COVID-19 related • Pay what they’re reasonably able to

“It aLLowS tENaNtS to HavE tHat SaFEtY aNd SECurItY … at a tImE wHEN FoLkS arE Not SuPPoSEd to BE out aNd aBout.” Sarah Ropelato, managing attorney Legal Services of Northern California Sacramento

In addition, ordinances require renters to catch up on rent payments after the governor’s emergency declaration has been lifted. Unfortunately, Ropelato said tenants are still receiving eviction notices. In such cases, Legal Services of Northern California is able to provide counsel, advice and other services. Fellow community groups like Sacramento ACT, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and

attorney Sarah ropelato says tenant protections are needed to prevent vast amounts of hardship during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Sarah ropelato

Sacramento Building Healthy Communities Hub are able to provide direct assistance, as well as outreach efforts to help educate tenants on their rights and responsibilities under the new ordinances. “ACCE and Sacramento ACT are amazing organizations that are spreading the word, and we’re trying to get them the information they need so they’re able to tell folks what they need to know,” Ropelato said. “It’s a concerted effort that we all undertake together.”

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment 48





BuILdINg HEaLtHY CommuNItIES In 2010, the California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

For legal advice, call Legal Services of Northern California at 916-551-2150 or visit www.lsnc.net. www.SacBHC.org

One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



Emergency Response by E d g a r S a n c h E Z


hen COVID-19 hit greater Sacramento, causing unemployment, hunger and dozens of deaths, one local nonprofit did something about it. Sacramento Area Congregations Together, or Sac ACT, created a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support low-income families facing financial struggles amid the pandemic. By early May, the fund had nearly $101,500 – which was distributed among roughly 200 families in Sacramento and Yolo counties, with the neediest families receiving $500 each. “We were hearing from a lot of families that they had lost their jobs, and they weren’t going to be able to pay for rent, food, and utilities,” Tere Flores Onofre, Sac ACT’s director of organizing, said recently. “So we decided to start this fund.” Sac ACT, an advocate for social justice with the support of The California Endowment (TCE), launched the fund in late March. By then, its member congregations, representing more than a dozen religions across the community, had transitioned to online religious services. They and other community partners learned about the fund mostly through social media and email. Donations poured in. The smallest: $8. The largest: much bigger, including a contribution from TCE. About 340 families applied for grants by an April 3 deadline. Recipients were chosen through computer-assisted lotteries, starting in April and continuing into this month.

“This fund is a blessing,” said Elizabeth, 33, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who received $500 in early April. She applied for help at the urging of her sisterin-law, a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. The grant allowed the mother of three and Juan, her significant other, to help pay their April bills, including $1,000-plus in rent for their Sacramento home. “We’re going through a very difficult moment,” said Elizabeth, whose full name is being withheld for her privacy.

“THIS FuND IS a BlESSINg.” Elizabeth Undocumented immigrant, recipient of $500 emergency grant

In mid-March, after the pandemic materialized, Juan, 38, the father of her two youngest children, lost his job installing bathroom appliances. Soon after, Elizabeth, who cleans offices, also became unemployed. After almost a month without a job, Juan now works one or two days a week in construction. Like Elizabeth, he too is undocumented. Neither qualified for a stimulus check or unemployment benefits.

Clad in a T-shirt that in Spanish reads “No Human Being Is Illegal,” Sac aCT’s Tere Flores Onofre stands in front of the 2324 L Street building, part of which houses the nonprofit’s new office, For now, the office is closed, with its staff working at home during the COVID-19 crisis. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

receives food from concerned relatives and friends. While the fund benefited immigrants, regardless of immigration status, it also helped native-born Americans of all races. Sac ACT is accepting donations for families on a waiting list.

Yet, despite being “without papers,” Juan pays state/federal taxes when he works. In late April, he received a federal tax refund – enough for May’s rent. The family also

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment

BuIlDINg HEalTHY COmmuNITIES In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. Over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

To donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, visit sacact.org/donate www.SacBHC.org 07.01.20





One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



Correcting Inequities by E d g A R S A n C H E Z


aron Howard obeys the rules. And now that he’s trying to get back into Sacramento’s legal cannabis sector, he has a partner in his brother Julian, a truck driver who will deliver the goods. “To be competitive and to open the businesses we’re planning, we need funding,” Aaron, 47, said recently, noting that access to capital is a barrier to launching weed ventures — especially for people of color. The good news: In April, the City of Sacramento announced it had been awarded a $3.8 million state grant to provide no-interest loans for cannabis business start-up costs. Loan applicants must have gone through the city’s Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity program, or CORE, which trains minorities on how to operate legal pot enterprises. Julian and Aaron are eminently qualified, having graduated in December from the first CORE class at the Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL). Mayor Darrell Steinberg witnessed the graduation, applauding the 13 graduates. Another 50 students completed CORE training late last year at the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce. The $3.8 million grant is from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), in partnership with the Bureau of Cannabis Control. “This money will help correct some of the historic inequities ... in the legal cannabis

industry by creating a pathway for business ownership” by minorities, Davina Smith, head of Sacramento’s Office of Cannabis Management, said in a press release. Aaron Howard launched his first medicinal cannabis business in 2014. He and his associates cultivated marijuana plants in a local home, with Aaron ensuring the tiny firm broke no laws.

“ ... WE NEEd FuNdiNG.” Aaron Howard CORE Program graduate

Then, in 2017, a city official told him that Sacramento’s evolving marijuana-grow rules had changed again. “He said I needed to close down until I found a commercial building in an industrial area,” Aaron said. The move would have cost $23,000 annually for a temporary city permit, excluding other fees. Unable to relocate, Aaron closed his business. Grateful for a new opportunity, he and Julian will seek at least $25,000 each in GO-Biz loans toward their new dream. Besides trucking expertise, Julian, 50, has “people skills and an ability to creatively think outside the box.” As of mid-May, the city had not announced the max amount for GO-Biz loans, or when it

Julian and Aaron Howard need at least $50,000 in City Hall loans to launch the first two businesses of a legal medicinal/ recreational pot enterprise. under the name California Rose Gold, they would eventually run six vertically integrated micro-businesses consisting of cultivation, manufacturing, delivery, transportation, distribution and storefront dispensary. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

would begin accepting loan applications. The funds must be disbursed by Aug. 31, 2021, city spokesman Tim Swanson said. The tuition-free CORE program was proposed by activists, including Malaki Seku Amen of the California Urban Partnership, which is supported by The California Endowment. Attorney Brenda Davis, who directs GSUL’s CORE program, also fought for its creation. Deemed essential businesses, marijuana dispensaries have remained open amid COVID-19.

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment 50





BuildiNG HEalTHY COmmuNiTiES in 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. Over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

For more info, Google City of Sacramento CORE Program www.SacBHC.org

one of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



Racial Discrimination in the Time of COVID bY A N N e S to k e S


hile COVID-19 is a global pandemic, its origin in China has caused an increase in hate crimes committed against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). In response, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies department created the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center. Three months after its March 19 launch, the center has received more than 1,700 reports of coronavirusrelated discrimination and harassment from across the nation. “We want to be able to document the discrimination and to be able to say, ‘This is really happening in our community,’ and also to be able to report that to elected officials and stakeholders,” says Nkauj Iab Yang, codirector of Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP), a partner of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative that helped translate the site’s incident report for Hmong communities. “The reality is that racial discrimination is something that still exists whether we want to admit it or not. The data collected is a way to inform policies that would be for the greater good of all of our communities.” Verbal harassment is most common, making up nearly 70% of reports. Incidents happen most often at businesses and women are three times more likely to be harassed than men. California, which has the highest Asian American population in the nation, has the

highest rate of reported incidents. By collecting incident details and descriptions, Stop AAPI Hate aims to help local and state officials develop guidelines to combat harassment, publicly denounce discrimination and identify safety measures. Yang says it also serves to give people a place to share their experience with hatebased crimes and harassment.

“(THIS) IS A wAY To INform PolICIES THAT would BE for THE grEATEr good of All of our CommuNITIES.” Nkauj Iab Yang Co-director, Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP)

“Maybe they think, ‘It was just a verbal thing that happened for 10 seconds,’ but the impact is longer-lasting than those 10 seconds,” she says. “Their situation and their story matters and if we’re able to show this is a concern, it

Nkauj Iab Yang is the co-director of HIP, which is a strong supporter of the new Stop AAPI Hate reporting Center. Photo courtesy of Nkauj Iab Yang and HIP

would actually get more attention from folks who have decision-making power.” Yang says she also hopes the project’s focus on coronavirus-related hate crimes will address society’s larger culture of discrimination and open up dialogues among communities. “We really do want to approach it from a social justice (perspective) … so that eventually we can get to a point where we can not only inform policy, but also start to do some education with all of our communities,” she says.

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment

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Gupta also told SN&R that the growing standards meet Good Agricultural Practices and that the combination of sun and LED lighting during cultivation will mean gold certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Darron Silva, CEO of Cali Kosher, a certified kosher cannabis company in the Central Valley, says that Natura will help him meet high demand for his products, found in more than 200 retailers. “Our brand has grown very fast and we don’t have the capacity to supply kosher cannabis,” Silva says. Because there are few kosher cannabis companies, “we can’t just buy flower from anybody and put them in our packaging.” Silva told SN&R he brought a rabbi to check out Natura’s campus and once A rendering of Natura Life + Science’s cannabis campus. Once complete on the two saw the potential, Natura started Oct. 1, it will be the largest cultivation its kosher certification process. Because manufacturing center in California. there isn’t an “organic” certification for cannabis because it is still illegal PHOTO COURTESY OF NATURA under federal law, being kosher is one way that Silva assures his customers that his cannabis products are among the cleanest on the market. “We make sure there’s not animal byproducts going into the soil, or dirty Natura Life + Science, a massive cannabis service provider, shellfish, or stuff that’s being transported will open its 12-acre campus in Sacramento this fall with pig fat, anything like that,” Silva says. “The kosher certification ensures that it is being grown and taken care of ste p h r @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m all the way from the final harvest to the BY STEPH RODRIGUEZ user’s hand.” Gupta told SN&R that he’s passionate about educating the public about Is Sacramento ready to welcome one of pharmaceutical-grade equipment and Siddarth Gupta, chief revenue officer. the medicinal qualities of cannabis. the world’s largest cannabis campuses, practices. At its core, its essentially a The project is so large, he said, that He also sees Natura’s educaspanning more than 12 acres with service provider for cannabis companies founder Ori Bytton brought tion center as a place 200,000 square feet of canopy space that need help meeting the demand of in his own construction to train applicants to dedicated to cultivation and the ability their customers on a larger scale. Natura, company. Companies Sacramento’s equity to harvest 1,000 pounds of sweet, sweet which secured $91 million in private Plans for the program for the cheeba every three days? funding, applied for 24 corresponding campus also that partner with industry, with free That’s just a slice of what Natura licenses. include a history Natura will choose from classes taught by Life + Science envisions for its massive Companies that partner with Natura museum, educatop-notch plant varietals the chief marketing operation that launches Oct. 1. will choose from top-notch plant tion center, officer, head of The campus is located out in the varietals grown on site and turn those co-working grown on site and turn cultivation and country off Elder Creek Road in flowers into edibles, wax, prerolls and space, entrethose flowers into edibles, general counsel. southeast Sacramento next to a FedEx topicals. A design and marketing team preneur hub and wax, prerolls and “I think what Ground receiving hub. In January, SN&R will help create packaging, then the a showroom for we’re experiencing in toured the extensive campus, which was products will be distributed to licensed new products—and topicals. America, with this level bustling with dozens of construction retailers across California. Seeing the that’s just in one of consciousness, there is workers driving trucks through the mud substantial operation even at this stage, building. Gupta says no better time, opportunity and trying to meet the projected soft it seems like a game-changer for the that the co-working space or place to be able to add to that,” opening date of Aug. 1. industry. will be the world’s largest cannabis When complete, Natura will be a “We are the largest cultivation educational center, and the greenhouses he said. “That’s what we’re looking forward to adding back.” Ω vertically integrated manufacturing and manufacturing center in California and and manufacturing will be used for distribution powerhouse with food- and the continental U.S. right now,” says internships and fellowships. 07.01.20 | SN&R | 53

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aSk 420

c a n n a b is

Stay high, responsibly By Ngaio Bealum

a sk 420@ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

Hey, welcome back! I have a question about weed and COVID-19. In fact, I have several questions. What’s the deal?

“Dispensaries are the safest places in town—as we have long served medical marijuana patients with serious illnesses and infection prevention—and safety is built into our industry’s DNA,” she said. “Expect to wear a face mask, to sanitize your hands before entry, to find the line outside rather than inside and to find our diligent staff enforcing social distancing and Hey, yourself. It’s good to be back! cleaning high-touch spots all day long.” Shout out to every single person who She also adds that Oakland gave their time, money and attention dispensaries are going way above and to getting SN&R back in print. I will beyond other retail stores to keep staff smoke a bowl in y’alls honor. and clients safe. As to your question: Wow. There’s I am sure the same is true for all a lot going on. Research-wise, there’s the spots in Sac as well. Delivery a study from Canada that says certain may be an even safer option. I texted high-CBD cannabis strains may be Jason Smith from delivery service effective at preventing the virus. Iheartcanna.club, and he had Mike, Before you get all excited, the study the retail manager, send me a list of has yet to be peer reviewed and it was steps they take to prevent spreading the sponsored in part by two cannabis virus: companies (preprints.org/manuscript/ The drivers have gloves and 202004.0315/v1). But it face masks, hand sanitizer claims that CBD prevents is provided in all delivery coronavirus infections by You might vehicles, delivery 70% by blocking the want to be vehicles and work ACE2 receptors. stations are cleaned extra nice to your Meanwhile, in daily and people Israel, scientists are lungs until this can use electronic experimenting with pandemic is over. payments for contactways to use the antiAlso, wash your less delivery. Sounds inflammatory effects of pretty safe to me. hands. cannabis to alleviate the With all the turmoil, symptoms of COVID-19, upheaval, rage and hope especially in the lungs. It’s (“Black Lives Matter”—and don’t way too early to tell if either of these you forget it) in this country and in the studies will be successful, so don’t start world right now, it’s nice that some of us passing the joint around just yet. are privileged enough to not only be able Seriously. This is not the time to be passing joints or sharing blunts or bowls. to obtain and use a little weed to help us deal with the stress, but to be able to In fact, you might want to be extra nice do so safely and without fear of arrest. to your lungs until this pandemic is Activism works. Be safe. Ω over. Also, wash your hands. If you are wondering about obtaining cannabis, I say: GO GET YOU SOME. I recently spoke to Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento Debby Goldsberry, who runs Magnolia comedian, activist and marijuana Wellness in Oakland. She has also expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com. been a strong cannabis advocate for more than 20 years, so I asked her about safe consumption practices @Ngaio420 during this time. 56










ask joey

Present tense. Future still unwritten. by JOEY GARCIA


COVID-19 attacked our physical, mental Think safe relating, not social and financial health through the loss distancing: Paul Gilbert, a clinical of loved ones, favored routines and psychologist at the University of Derby employment. But staying at home also in England, thinks anxiety is heightened meant we were present when video of by the term, “social distancing.” He George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis suggests “safe relating” as a reminder police flooded our screens. that we’re adjusting how we connect. The centuries-long acceptance of Embrace the wrinkles in time: Don’t discrimination, inequality and stateknow what day it is? Welcome to sanctioned killing of people of color Kairos, or what the ancient Greeks finally eclipsed the bright lies called God’s Time. If you’ve America tells itself. We lived by worshiping the are not a country where clock, Kairos can heal anyone can succeed that addiction. Allow Let’s choose through hard work, an hour to flow into a education and day and a day into a change. By healing personal sacrifice. week. In the process ourselves and working Instead, options you will rebalance together, we can construct are stacked your internal clock, against many. balancing your body, a new world that is Today, mind and spirit. beautiful, honest and protestors are Tithe for justice: inclusive. holding the line and Religious organizations telling authorities encourage congregants how high to jump. to tithe to fund clergy and Here’s how to prepare for business operations. Consider the new world: tithing to GoFundMe accounts If you’re white, stop virtue signaling: benefiting the families of George Floyd, The best way to be an ally isn’t your Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Facebook post: “50 Ways White People others. Or donate to bail funds, the Can End Racism.” It’s to admit what Innocence Project and Fight Fair. you’ve done wrong, ask for forgiveness Change the face of God: Protestors and change. You can do that best have toppled statues of racist leaders. by regularly attending diversity and Should religions also examine their inclusion workshops. Face and excise contribution to racism? By promoting your behaviors that contribute to racism. images of a Middle Eastern savior Reading is nice, but a book only advances or virgin as Caucasian, for example, knowledge. It doesn’t help you develop certain religions embed the collective the wisdom to understand how you unconscious with the notion that divine personally contribute to racism or how beings are white. The damage created to stop. And, please don’t ask people of outweighs any argument for maintaining color what you should do to end racism. the status quo. Shoulder that burden yourself. The present moment may feel tense, Unmask your ego: A mask might but only because the future is unknown. protect you against COVID-19, although Let’s decide what the future holds. Let’s it’s useless against self-righteousness choose change. By healing ourselves about wearing a mask. Wear a mask and working together, we can construct because it’s practical for you. A a new world that is beautiful, honest psychologically and spiritually healthy and inclusive. Ω person doesn’t need to prove moral superiority.

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Piercy writes, “The people I love the best, jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows.” The Aries people I love best will do just that in the coming days. Now is not the right time to wait around passively, lazily hoping that something better will come along. Nor is it prudent to procrastinate or postpone decisions while shopping around for more options or collecting more research. Dive! TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip by Bill Watterson. It features a boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes. In the first panel of one story, Calvin is seated at a school desk looking perplexed as he studies a question on a test, which reads: “Explain [Isaac] Newton’s First Law of Motion in your own words.” In the second panel, Calvin has a broad smile, suddenly imbued with inspiration. In the third panel, he writes his response to the test question: “Yakka foob mog. Grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork. Chumble spuzz.” The fourth panel shows him triumphant and relaxed, proclaiming, “I love loopholes.” I propose that you use this scenario as your victorious metaphor in the coming weeks. Look for loopholes! And use them to overcome obstacles and solve riddles. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “It is a fault to wish to be understood before we have made ourselves clear to ourselves,” wrote philosopher and activist Simone Weil. I’m hoping that this horoscope of mine can help you avoid that mistake. In the coming weeks and months, you will have a stronger-than-usual need to be seen for who you really are—to have your essential nature be appreciated and understood by people you care about. And the best way to make sure that happens is to work hard right now on seeing, appreciating, and understanding yourself. CANCER (June 21-July 22): Some readers wish I would write more like Cormac McCarthy or Albert Camus or Raymond Chandler—with spare simplicity. They accuse me of being too lush and exuberant in my prose. They want me to use shorter sentences and fewer adjectives. To them I say: It ain’t going to happen. I have feelings similar to those of best-selling Cancerian author Oliver Sacks, who The New York Times called “one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century.” Sacks once said, “I never use one adjective if six seem to me better and, in their cumulative effect, more incisive. I am haunted by the density of reality and try to capture this with ‘thick description.’” I bring these thoughts to your attention because I think it’s important for you to be your lavish, sumptuous, complex self in the coming weeks. Don’t oversimplify yourself or dumb yourself down, either intellectually or emotionally. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Travel writer Paul Theroux has journeyed long distances by train: once from Britain to Japan and back again, and then from Massachusetts to Argentina. He also rode trains during part of his expedition from Cairo to Cape Town. Here’s one of his conclusions: “It is almost axiomatic that the worst trains take you through magical places.” I’d like to offer a milder version of that counsel as your metaphor for the coming weeks: The funky, bumpy, rickety influences will bring you the best magic. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Philosopher Miguel de Unamuno declared, “Everything that exalts and expands consciousness is good, while that which depresses and diminishes it is evil.” This idea will be intensely true for and applicable to you in the coming weeks. It will be your sacred duty—both to yourself and to those you care about—to enlarge your understandings of how the world works and to push your awareness to become more inclusive and empathetic. What’s your vision of paradise-on-earth? Now is a good time to have fun imagining it. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s that you say?

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): Aries author Marge


You firmly believe you are already all grown up? I hope not! In my vision of your destiny, you will always keep evolving and transforming; you will ceaselessly transcend your existing successes and push on to accomplish further breakthroughs and victories. Now would be an excellent time to rededicate yourself to this noble aspiration. I invite you to dream and scheme about three specific wonders and marvels you would like to experience during the next five years. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has advice that would serve you well in the coming weeks. She says, “Keep a little space in your heart for the improbable. You won’t regret it.” In accordance with your astrological potentials, I’m inclined to amend her statement as follows: “Keep a sizable space in your heart for the improbable. You’ll be rewarded with catalytic revelations and intriguing opportunities.” To attract blessings in abundance, be willing to set aside some of your usual skepticism and urge for control. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Author Malidoma Somé lives in the U.S. now, but was born in the West African country of Burkina Faso. He writes, “In the culture of my people, the Dagara, we have no word for the supernatural. The closest we come to this concept is Yielbongura, ‘The thing that knowledge can’t eat.’ This word suggests that the life and power of certain things depend upon their resistance to the categorizing knowledge that human beings apply to everything.” I bring Somé’s thoughts to your attention because I suspect that in the coming weeks, you will encounter more than the usual number of experiences that knowledge can’t eat. They might at times be a bit spooky or confounding, but will mostly be interesting and fun. I’m guessing that if you embrace them, they will liberate you from overly literal and materialistic ideas about how the world works. And that will be good for your soul. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Pioneer Capricorn scientist Isaac Newton is often hailed as one of history’s greatest geniuses. I agree that his intellectual capacities were sublime. But his emotional intelligence was sparse and feeble. During the time he taught at Cambridge University, his talks were so affectless and boring that many of his students skipped most of his classes. I’ll encourage you to make Newton your anti-role model for the next eight weeks. This time will be favorable for you to increase your mastery of three kinds of intelligence beyond the intellectual kind: feeling, intuition and collaboration. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): When future writer (and Aquarius) Charles Dickens was 12 years old, his parents and siblings got incarcerated in a debtors’ prison. To stay alive and help his family, he took a job working 12 hours a day, six days a week, pasting labels on pots of boot polish in a rotting, rat-infested warehouse. Hard times! Yet the experiences he had there later provided him with rich material for the novels that ultimately made him wealthy and beloved. In predicting that you, too, will have future success at capitalizing on difficulty, I don’t mean to imply you’ve endured or will endure anything as harsh as Dickens’ ordeal. I’m just hoping to help you appreciate the motivating power of your challenging experiences. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Maybe you feel that the ongoing pandemic has inhibited your ability to explore and deepen intimacy to the degree that would like to. But even if that’s the case, the coming weeks will provide openings that could soften and remedy your predicament. So be extra receptive and alert to the clues that life reveals to you. And call on your imagination to look for previously unguessed and unexpected ways to reinvent togetherness and tenderness. Let’s call the next three weeks your Season of Renewing Rapport.






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