Run With a Recruiter

Like to jog through the neighborhood? Interested in law enforcement? The Sacramento Police Department hosts “Run with a Recruiter” every Friday morning at the Public Safety Center on Freeport Boulevard.

Just meet at the front doors at 6 a.m. and be ready to run.

Run with a Recruiter is a great way to burn some carbs with Sac PD and learn about what it takes to be a police officer. You’ll also get to run along with others who have an interest in law enforcement.

And, no, they’re not running to Marie’s Donuts and back.

They run all throughout the neighborhood and try to switch it up every week, whether it’s jogging the tree-lined winding hills of South Land Park or through the foggy mist of William Land Park. Different scenery makes it more interesting. Sometimes they run near the Sacramento Zoo and do some stretching exercises at the halfway point; then head west.

Run with a Recruiter is no pressure. It’s not a race or mad dash to the finish line. It is a group activity with group exercises, which is what they do at the Sacramento Police Academy. “We try and foster that kind of community sense of exercise,” Officer Nevik told me.

Officer Nevik also said, “It’s not only meant to evaluate fitness, it’s about getting out, getting to know people, and having the opportunity to talk with other officers and other applicants in the process.”

I wonder if they’ve ever been running through Land Park and they come across a crime in progress? Some guy is hauling a big screen TV through a shattered window just when the cops and recruits come jogging up the street.

I guess I’ll have to ask them if that’s happened on the next…Run With A Recruiter. Every Friday at 6 a.m.

Dash To Marie’s For Some Donuts

Shown here is are two runners from the Fifth Annual Donut Dash, in support of Child Life Program at Sutter Children’s Center, was held on Saturday, March 9, 2013. This year’s run will be held on Saturday, March 7. The four-mile race starts and ends in William Land Park with Marie’s Donuts as a turnaround spot. / File photo by Stephen Crowley

Shown here is are two runners from the Fifth Annual Donut Dash, in support of Child Life Program at Sutter Children’s Center, was held on Saturday, March 9, 2013. This year’s run will be held on Saturday, March 7. The four-mile race starts and ends in William Land Park with Marie’s Donuts as a turnaround spot. / File photo by Stephen Crowley

If you like chocolate sprinkles with your run, you may want to participate in the upcoming Donut Dash March 7 in William Land Park. Run, jog, or walk two miles, chomp on some Marie’s Donuts and dash back to the finish line at William Land Park.

The Donut Dash is gluttony for a good cause.

The proceeds go to The Child Life Program at Sutter’s Children Center, which is more than a good cause. The program helps purchase iPads, video game systems, and arts and craft projects for the sick kids. Hospitals aren’t exactly an amusement park. The games and gadgets help pass the time in a fun way while children recover from their illness at the hospital.

The Donut Dash brings the local community together and has been growing every year since 2009. Last year’s Donut Dash raised $60,000 for the Child Life Program. That’s a lot of donut holes.

I asked event organizer Zack Wandell: Why Marie’s Donuts? I mean, they ARE a Land Park institution and they have delicious donuts.

Zack said, “Oh yeah. Best in town.” And Zack knows donuts.

He actually grew up in the Greenhaven-Pocket area and was always a Marie’s Donuts fan. He told me about Greenhaven Donuts and how he and his friends used to go over there after their paper routes and get the glazed; once he became a teen and was able to drive, “it was Marie’s Donuts,” he said.

Donut Dash Factoid: 260 dozen donuts and 500-600 dozen donut holes will be consumed at the Donut Dash.

For registration info go to You can also find them on Facebook.

CPV Safeway gas station proposal still simmering

Things seem to be heating up with the Curtis Park Village development. Aren’t they always?

The latest is a mass email being circulated by Paul Petrovich to local residents about the Safeway supermarket and gas station proposal. In the email he states, “My effort to bring Safeway and its $25 per hour jobs to Curtis Park Village is in trouble.”

The hourly wage is a bit overstated. According to, the average salary for a Safeway checker is $11.27. A food clerk makes $14.27 and a head clerk can average up to $18.34 – a good hourly wage, but it’s no $25 an hour.

Looks like Petrovich is using union labor jobs as a PR tool to get the Safeway gas station approved. Will it sway public opinion? Petrovich Development hopes so.

The personal email from Paul ends with “Should I continue to fight for Safeway or give up and let a lower-wage operator take their place? This is the last issue. I don’t want to make the wrong decision.”

Some recipients weren’t too happy with the email correspondence from Paul. “How did he get my email?” one Hollywood Park resident complained. Sounds like Paul has a master list of emails he’s sending out to the outskirts of the community.

Another recipient, Dustin Dyer, wrote a scathing response to Paul: “As an attorney I do respect the tactic of misdirection in your argument to attempt to characterize the main purpose your development as an opportunity to benefit the community rather than the opportunity to maximize profits.”

The Safeway gas station is Petrovich’s last stand. Safeway and Petrovich say if they don’t get the fueling station along with the Supermarket, they can’t compete. They noted they especially can’t compete with the new Raley’s flagship market that will be taking over the old abandoned Capital Nursery spot. Steve Berndt specifically mentioned “the Raley’s fuel center” at the SCNA meeting last month. Recently, I was told there would no Raley’s gas station although there were blueprints as far back as a couple years ago. The Raley’s Development team had been scheduled to appear twice at the Land Park Neighborhood Association, but they canceled both times saying they were not ready to present to the board.


I think Raley’s is waiting to see how the Safeway gas station pans out before revealing their blueprints for the new Land Park Raley’s.

The Petrovich email also suggests what will happen if Safeway and the gas station do not become part of the Curtis Park Village Development. They might have to put up with a Food Source, Winco, or the fear of all fears…a Wal-Mart.

It’s either A or B. I would think Petrovich would want his signature development to be something the entire Sacramento region would be proud of.

Janey Way Memories

Old Friends
Earlier this month I shared lunch with a couple of my oldest friends: Dave Jurin, Tom Watson and Luigi Talini.
We drove all the way out to Walnut Grove on the Delta to eat at Guisti’s, a landmark in that area. Dave and I arrived first, so we waited in the bar for the others to show up. Soon, Tom sidled in and the bartender pointed us to a seat in the restaurant. A few minutes later Luigi arrived and joined us at our table. He had come all the way from his home in the Bay Area to join in the festivities.
I have known these guys since the 1950s when we attended St. Mary’s School together, so it didn’t take long for us to start telling old, well-worn stories.
Tom spun out the story of when he and Vince Angel took Candace Doddridge and Colleen Kelly into the crawl space under St. Mary’s church to “steal some kisses.” They used church candles to light their way.
Unfortunately, they were caught in the act by the inquisitive Father Russo who ushered them out into the garden area beside the church where he admonished them for taking lit candles down there saying: “You could have started a fire.” Fortunately, Mother Carmela let the kids off easy for that offense.
After that, Luigi told us how he ultimately got involved with his families nursery business on 56th Street and Folsom Boulevard. After high school, he went to work for the old Cal-Western Life Company on 21st and L streets. Then, after working there for seven years, he walked into the boss’s office one day and quit.
That weekend, he had a talk with his dad saying that he needed to take a job at the nursery. His dad responded, “I don’t want you to work here.” Dad, ultimately gave in though, and let Luigi work at the nursery. The rest is history. Now, Luigi owns and runs the family nursery as well as operating his own landscape company in Walnut Creek. Life has a way of taking turns we don’t expect.
Dave Jurin told us a story with a twist of its own. When he returned from a tour of duty in Viet Nam in the 1960s he tried attending City College. That didn’t work out for him. So, he went into the culinary business. He worked for years first as a cook, then a sous chef at places like the Sterling Hotel and the Del Paso Country Club.
However, when he hit his 40s, he returned to college and ultimately graduated from Sacramento State College with a degree in primary education. He planned to teach, but that career did not pan out for him, so he went to work with the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance as an eligibility analyst. Life took yet another unexpected turn.
These days our lives have come full circle. Tom and I are retired. Dave is contemplating retirement later this year. Luigi soldiers on, running his business enterprises. Who knows when he will throw in the towel?
Now we are just old friends, telling our stories and sharing some laughs. “There is no friend, like an old friend.”

Over The Fence

A large turnout of concerned neighbors gathered at the Sierra 2 Community Center to listen developer Paul Petrovich's proposal for a Safeway gas station. / Photos by Greg Brown

A large turnout of concerned neighbors gathered at the Sierra 2 Community Center to listen developer Paul Petrovich's proposal for a Safeway gas station. / Photos by Greg Brown

Longtime Land Park Raley’s Clerk Retires

Land Park Raley’s won’t be the same without the affable Tom Tisdale, better known as Tom T. by his customers and fellow employees. After 33 years at the Raley’s Supermarket on Freeport Boulevard, Tom decided to hang up his plumb-colored apron.

“After 33 years it was time,” Tom decided.

I heard about it by accident, really. I was in the check-out line and I asked, “Where’s Tommy T?” The clerk told me, “He retired.” What? Without saying goodbye? After a vacation, he came back just to leave a note saying he was retiring.

When I spoke with Tom over the phone, he told me he didn’t want the hoopla of a long drawn-out farewell or party. “There’s a small-knit group of people that have been there the whole time, and those are the people I feel obligated to.” He mentioned that there may be a little party at the Swiss Buda when “things die down a little.”

Then Tom admitted, “I’ll miss a lot of the customers and I miss seeing some of the workers and management.”

Loved by customers as well as fellow employees, Tom T. was a Land Park Institution. You can’t teach his kind of customer service. You either have it or you don’t, and Tom T. had it. He was always friendly, helpful, and easy to talk with. Just a natural at small talk when you’re buying a week’s worth of groceries for your family.

Customers could occasionally hear him over the speaker system talking about the “Great stuff on sale this week at Raley’s.” He had a folksy way of telling guests about the beef tri-tip or watermelon that was on sale that day at Raley’s. He did it just as good as any commercial voice-over announcer.

I asked Tom T., since he’s such a local legend, what he did with his Raley’s gear…auction it off on e-Bay or what? He said, “Oh jeez.” Then he added, “I left my apron with the girls over at the floral department. It’s hanging up in the back room so they can think about me when they walk by.”

Land Park Raley’s on Freeport just won’t be the same without Tom T. They really ought to hang his apron up in the rafters for all to see. A little salute to our favorite neighborhood grocery clerk.

Townhomes Proposed For Upper Land Park

There’s a brand new development plan in the works on 500 Swanston Dr. in upper Land Park. It’s a 20-townhouse infill project at the end of the road on an empty plot of land. The plan is to rezone the property and build 20 townhouses similar to Tapestri Square on 21st and T, as Russ Patton, who represents Michael Moser Development, told residents at the last LPCA meeting at Eskaton.

Currently the parcel is only zoned for one house. Russ called it the “Full Meal Deal of the planning process.” Lots of rezoning, remapping, and a whole lot of hearings.

The only access to the townhouses will be Swanston or Santa Buena Way. There will be no roads leading to the back of the proposed development. There was mention of perhaps an emergency road for emergency vehicle traffic.

Patton encouraged people attending the meeting to take a look at the lot, which I did. The first thing I noticed was the loud traffic buzzing by on Interstate 5, especially the big rigs. After a while I guess you’d get used to it. I also noticed plenty of trash, discarded clothing, and graffiti all over the sound wall with a lot of empty spray paint cans strewn all over the property.

One resident expressed concern about the townhouses being entry-level and ending up as rentals. Others expressed concern about traffic going in and out of the project since there would be no back street.

The good thing about the Moser Development team sharing their preliminary plans with the neighborhood is the transparency and feedback from residents. The discussion was a good give-and-take, and the development team will listen to neighborhood concerns about the design process and also take guidance from the city.

I spoke with Randy Gillum, a neighbor across the street from the property, he told me they had a lot of trouble with the empty grass field. “That’s already drug central over there. They just popped three guys about a week ago.”

Randy characterized the empty lot and space along the sound wall as a magnet for drug dealing, illegal dumping, graffiti, sexual activity, along with a giant fecal field full of dog poop.

Wouldn’t a townhouse development, or even a few single-family homes, be a good way to rid the neighborhood of that sort of activity?

Randy said, “I’d like to see something in there just to slow that kind of traffic down. As soon as we see somebody with a backpack, boom!, we have problems.”

“We’re fed up with it.”

Randy isn’t opposed to townhouses, but he doesn’t like the idea of one entrance going in and out of the development. He said if there’s only one entry and exit, “I’ll fight it tooth and nail. We have more traffic than a residential neighborhood needs.”

Safeway Gas Station Faces Vocal Opposition in Curtis Park

There was a big meeting at the Sierra 2 Center about the Safeway Supermarket and fueling station being proposed for Curtis Park Village. Council member Jay Schenirer even brought “clickers” by Meridia Audience Response for residents to take a poll after the meeting. Like he needed to take a poll on how those in attendance felt about the proposed Safeway gas station. They were loud and clear with their voices and sarcastic laughter.

Petrovich Development has said, no Safeway fueling station, no Safeway grocery store and the high-end retail that would come with it. Steve Berndt, who’s in charge of Safeway real estate for the Northwestern United States, addressed the crowd and restated that fact during the Q & A portion of the meeting.

Berndt introduced himself by mentioning he worked with Petrovich on the Safeway at 19th and R streets and was also was instrumental in remodeling the Alhambra Safeway years ago…and that’s when the cat-calls came out. He interrupted the cat-calls with “I didn’t actually tear down the theater; that was my ex-boss Ray Oswald. He left the state. He’s in Carson City, now.”

A little black humor to kick things off, I guess.

Berndt went on to say that Safeway is up against a lot of competition and that’s why they need the gas station along with the grocery store. “In order for us to compete in Sacramento, we feel we do need fuel.”

He added, “Fuel can be a good quiet neighbor.” More cat-calls.

Patrick Soluri, representing the SCNA, discussed why the gas station is not a good neighbor and warned those in attendance about the “red herring of economic infeasibility.”

Soluri mentioned the city received a $10 million grant to construct a pedestrian over-crossing. Petrovich Development also received more than 10 million in grants in order to construct “one of the regions per-eminent transit-oriented developments.”

“Millions of public funds have been spent to facilitate transit-oriented development. What public policy is being promoted to allow a gas station where city policy specifically says they should be prohibited because they (gas stations) do not support transit?”

That’s when the crowd roared with applause.

Soluri also mentioned the SCNA found four instances of recent Safeway’s being opened without a gas station. One in Oakland, Los Altos, Cupertino, and Petaluma. So Safeway does open grocery stores without fueling stations.

It’s just not going to happen in Curtis Park Village.

The powerful neighborhood and its residents were very clear with their voices and with their clickers. Eighty percent of those in attendance were opposed to the Safeway gas station according to the audience survey.

What’s next?

The conditional use permit for the gas station will soon go to the planning commission. If they deny it, that’s the end of the story. If they approve it, it will most certainly be appealed, before reaching the city council for a vote.

If you have a tidbit for Over the Fence, email

On The Curbs with Paula Peper, Theodore Judah first graders and Compton’s Market

Paula Peper, a nationally recognized award winning ecologist, tree expert, historian, author, urban forest researcher, and retired United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service employee spoke on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at East Sacramento Preservation's sponsored event inside the East Sacramento Room of the Clunie Community Center.  /  Photo courtesy

Paula Peper, a nationally recognized award winning ecologist, tree expert, historian, author, urban forest researcher, and retired United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service employee spoke on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at East Sacramento Preservation's sponsored event inside the East Sacramento Room of the Clunie Community Center. / Photo courtesy

On Wednesday, Jan. 14, East Sacramento Preservation held the first of its speakers series inside of the East Sacramento Room of the Clunie Community Center. The guest speaker was the renown Paula Peper, a nationally recognized award winning ecologist, tree expert, historian, author, urban forest researcher, and retired United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service employee. It was standing room only for more than 60 attendees. Paula delighted the audience with a slideshow presentation featuring stories about our East Sacramento heritage starting from the days of the Native Americans, and ending in present time.

She captivated the audience by telling many stories related to our historic families, their businesses, and homes many of which still have lasting impacts on our lives today. Skillfully intertwined in this presentation were examples of tree care and planting done the right way (properly spaced and diversified), and the wrong way. Did you know that one storm wiped out more than 600 trees in Sacramento in one day? Next up in the speakers series will be Bill Burg, author and Sacramento Old City Association President. Visit for details.

The umpteenth annual Theodore Judah First Grade Boat Float festival took place on Wednesday, Jan. 28. This is a tradition that goes back in time for who knows exactly how long. Every January each first grader is given 30 days to build a boat. Creativity and imagination are allowed to flow freely as the only requirements are that the boat float, and that it be no larger that the size of a cereal box.

Mrs. Hein, Mrs. Gonsalves, and Mrs. Brown did an amazing job commandeering the approximately 86 7 year olds who participated, with an equal number of spectators, on hand, many of whom had worked hard with their youngsters to prepare for the voyage. Three tubs were filled with water, and one by one the captains were called forward to float their boats for just enough time to snap a few photos and demonstrate that yes indeed their boat does float.

There were pirate ships, luxury lines, rafts, frigates, fishing boats, speed boats, sail boats, floating islands, fire and police boats, houseboats and even some multi-hulled ships. Passengers included ducks, dinosaurs, monkeys, snowmen, princesses, pirates and miniature people, to name just a few. When asked what their favorite part of the boat float was, one first grader perhaps summed it up best when she said: “I liked seeing everybody happy, and that we all got to see each others neat boats!”

Compton’s Market on McKinley Boulevard is getting a new roof but is open during construction. Soon, the location will be offering customers a full fledge deli, juice bar, and a more comprehensive outdoor patio and dining area.  /  Photo by Monica Stark

Compton’s Market on McKinley Boulevard is getting a new roof but is open during construction. Soon, the location will be offering customers a full fledge deli, juice bar, and a more comprehensive outdoor patio and dining area. / Photo by Monica Stark

Other happenings in the community include construction work on the East Sacramento Town Hall, also know as Compton’s Market. Neighbors are noticing the “Open During Construction” sign, the dumpster, caution tape and work crews up on the roof. So what’s it all about?

Well, most immediately, the construction at Compton’s is about replacing the roof of the market. But, what’s in store a few months down the road is the big deal. Although still in the preliminary stages, the plan is to blow out the side of the store facing Meister Way to make room for a full fledge deli, juice bar, and a more comprehensive outdoor patio and dining area. Sounds pretty cool! On the Curbs will be sure to keep you updated as details emerge.

Janey Way Memories: Bobaloo

When I grew up on Janey Way in the 1950s and ‘60s, 40 children called it home. They came in all sizes: short, tall, big and small. One boy in particular stands out in my memory. His name was John.

John had a nearly 100 percent hearing loss, but he managed to forge a place for himself in our gang. He taught himself to read lips early on, so he could speak words that he couldn’t even hear. But, the kids teased him a little though, because of the way he mispronounced some words.

He didn’t let it get him down. Instead, he developed a sense of humor. Remember the old saying, “Make them laugh with you, not at you.” John embraced that idea. He told jokes; he mimicked the other boys. And, sure enough, they began to laugh with him. They even gave him a nickname: Bobaloo. I don’t know where that came from. I think Desi Arnaz used to sing a Cuban song of that name. No matter, John became the Bobaloo of Janey Way.

John did well in grammar school in the David Lubin special needs class. His speech improved, and he demonstrated a real talent for the arts. However, in junior high school and high school he floundered, but he graduated on time.

After high school, the kids of Janey Way went in all different directions; some joined the military, and others went to college or got jobs.

John tried several different occupations. He worked first for our neighbor Rick, in a liquor supply distribution warehouse. After that, he worked with his cousin Ron doing landscaping. Eventually, he took a job with Relles Florist, first delivering flowers, and then doing floral design. He taught himself to make arrangements, funeral sprays and even wedding flowers. He had found his nitch.

John has worked at Relles Florist for more than 30 years. He has become my designated floral designer. When I order flowers for my wife, I always ask that he to do the work. That way, the arrangement is sure to be beautiful.

I think you can tell that John is more than just my friend. In fact, he is my younger brother. These days, John lives in our family home on Janey Way. He takes good care of our family home, and I help take care of him. They don’t call John bobaloo anymore, he is just Johnny. Now, bobaloo is just another inspirational Janey Way memory.


Gem Auto Wash removes beloved neon sign

Gem Auto Wash owner Reed Hollingshead poses with the old Gem Auto Wash sign. / Photo by Greg Brown

Gem Auto Wash owner Reed Hollingshead poses with the old Gem Auto Wash sign. / Photo by Greg Brown

Some might say I’m obsessed with signs. It probably started when I was a young boy in the backseat of a blue Buick Skylark.  I’d always look out the window at the cool business signs as we’d drive down the road.
I was driving down the road a couple weeks ago gazing out the window when I noticed Gem Auto Wash had a big crane taking down the cool neon 1960s sign and replacing it with a new large run-of-the-mill sign. I panicked a little.
I made a quick u-turn, parked the car, and immediately started asking questions. I was able to speak to Reed Hollingshead, the owner of Gem Auto Wash,  and he alleviated some of my panicky concerns about the iconic sign, although my hands are still a little clammy about it.
He and his brother Peter have taken over the family business their dad Richard started in 1974. Reed said, “He left a great legacy.” Gem Auto Wash and the neon sign have been operating on Freeport Boulevard  since 1962. In all that time, the sign has never had to be repaired, according to Peter. “The tubes have been taken care of nicely ,” he said.
I was assured by Mr. Hollingshead that they were going to preserve the sign.  The plan is to strip, paint, and repair the old Gem Auto Wash sign and mount it in the middle of the façade above the car wash tunnel. It’s currently in storage at the business.
The removal of the neon sign is part of a “re-branding of the business,” Peter told me. He added, “Besides, nobody uses the term ‘auto’ anymore.” Gem Auto Wash is now Gem Car Wash And Detail Center.
On Facebook, I posted a photo of the vintage sign being taken down and nobody was happy about it.  Comments included, “Oh no,” “Bummer,” and “That’s terrible. Why would they do that? At least the old 50s Raley’s sign is still there.”
One person drastically stated, “So sad, this destroys the character of the city and neighborhood.”
Let’s hope Mr. Hollingshead is a man of his word and the classic neon Gem Auto Wash sign glowingly reappears on Freeport Boulevard.

Fairytale Town Looking to Expand

Fairytale Town wants to expand. Executive Director Kathy Fleming and board member Brian Crilly presented to the Land Park Community Association Board an impressive renovation project idea. Brian, who’s an architect at Lionakis, gave the enthusiastic presentation to the Land Park Community Association as well as those in attendance at the monthly board meeting.
The proposal calls for an expansion to the east near the soccer field and to the south, adding approximately half an acre to the current grounds (of 2 and a half acres). The current cost estimate for expansion and improvements is between $5‐8 million. The funds will all come from private donations. I spoke with Kathy Fleming as she said, “We’re floating ideas out there and getting input from community members. We’ve talked conceptually about it with the Land Park soccer and the city parks department. This is a very long-term project if it goes forward and I think there will be a lot of conversations with the community, and the Land Park community in particular.”
She added, “It’s really embryonic right now.”
Some in attendance at the meeting expressed concerns about more open park space being gobbled up and fenced in diminishing the area available for free and open use. Others pointed out it would diminish views and vistas in William Lnand Park. Another attendee mentioned how the neighborhood resisted the expansion of the Sacramento Zoo’s footprint when it proposed an expansion. It definitely sparked a spirited conversation at the meeting. The Land Park Community Association did not take a stance on the proposed expansion and will address the topic at upcoming board meetings.

Fountainhead Brewing Almost Ready To Brew

Hollywood Park residents who enjoy tipping back a pint of local craft beer were giddy with excitement when they heard a new brewery was replacing an old auto repair shop on 24th Street a few doors down from Panama Pottery.  Fountainhead Brewing Company was movin’ in! That was last year. Local folks recently started asking me, “What’s the latest on Fountainhead?”
Fear not my lager-loving friends. I asked Fountainhead’s  brewer and owner and he told me, “Everything’s all set with ABC and Fed and we’ll be installing glycol next week,” which means they’ll be brewing soon. And for the brewing nerds, glycol, mixed with city water, enables them to operate their chiller systems in the 25-27 F temperature range that breweries require.
They still need to have some work done to the building, but they will have brew available in house and at a couple locations “within the next two months or so,” according to Moffat.
So, stay giddy Hollywood Park. There will be something brewing soon on 24th Street.
Got an item for Over The Fence?

On the Curbs

Ah, January 2015. Happy New Year East Sac Curbians! I hope 2014 was a good one for you all, and that 2015 will be even better.

Peter, Wendy, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook. Put them together and you have all the ingredients for a magic and fantasy. Even better put them all together at the Grand Hall of the Clunie Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 31 at noon. That’s right, the Sacramento Ballet and the Sacramento Public Library have teamed for a time now with the goal of bringing the beauty and wonder of ballet to life especially for the little ones. And the shows are bringing them in by the droves.

Last November, a similar pared-down performance of the Nutcracker brought out hundreds to this location. Children saw firsthand a 20-minute performance by a small group of the dancers. Best of all, they got to ask questions and learn about the backstage ongoings that make the whole performance come to life. Now, imagine the exact same thing but with Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and a small team of other performers. That is what you and your children will be able to do simply by showing up. See it up close, and in person. What an amazing opportunity. Seeing is believing.

East Sacramento resident Cindy Ann Mendes Ravn of Maverick’s Style House working her magic with the HydraFacial MD treatment.  Don’t underestimate the value of a great esthetician! /  Photo by Michael Saeltzer

East Sacramento resident Cindy Ann Mendes Ravn of Maverick’s Style House working her magic with the HydraFacial MD treatment. Don’t underestimate the value of a great esthetician! / Photo by Michael Saeltzer

And believing is what this skeptical writer came to experience upon his first visit to a local esthetician. For those of us guys out there that is the name of the person who takes care of your skin and your face. You see I was assigned the project of going in and getting my first ever facial. But, as Cindy Ann Mendes Ravn of Maverique Style House explained to me I was about to walk out of the session feeling a whole lot healthier.

See many months ago, before the flurry of the holidays, Cindy was kind enough to invite me into her studio and perform a new cutting edge HydraFacial MD treatment. In simple terms, the treatment safely removes the toxins that build up in your pores and then infuses your skin with hydrating serums. Pretty straight forward, and if you want to know exactly why its different that most other treatments Cindy can explain it as she has a vast amount of experience in the health fields.

The treatment took about 30 minutes, was painless, and easy. I felt great right afterward, but the truth is that over the next two weeks, I felt remarkable. I’d wake up in the morning and expect my puffy eyed self to be staring back at me in the mirror as I prepared to shave. Where was I? I had been replaced by some dude that looked refreshed, alive, rejuvenated. I’m not joking. A good friend of mine saw me about 10 days after the treatment and remarked that I looked better that I ever had, better than I did in college! So, guys, ladies, if you get a chance, try a professional facial done by someone like Cindy. It works, and it really does make you healthier. Might not be a bad way to treat yourself to some pampering right off the bat in 2015!

Janey Way Memories: Starting Over

When I returned home from my 2-year tour of duty in the U.S. Army in 1971, I had to literally start my life all over again. All I possessed was the cloths on my back, but fortunately my parents let me take up residence at their home on Janey Way. I knew I had to get some money fast, so I did what all the returning soldiers did back then: I applied for unemployment compensation.

That was easy. I took the bus down town to the unemployment office and stood in line with the other unemployed people. After a while, my name was called and I went to a desk to meet with a claims representative. He helped me fill out my application, and then told me, “You should receive your first check in about two weeks.”

Sure enough, on Friday, two weeks later, my check arrived. It didn’t seem like very much money. I knew I could not live independently on that paltry amount. However, my mom gave me a good suggestion. She said, “go down and apply for a job with the state, Marty. They always need new employees.”

So early next morning, I went down to the State Personnel Board and put in my application for an entry level position: Clerk I. Soon, I received a notice to come and take a test for that position. The test proved easy and I passed with flying colors. By December, I interviewed for a job with the Department of Justice.

The interview went well. The guy heading up the interview panel was Robert Scott. He told me right off that he knew and liked my parents. I got the job.

I began my career with the state of California on Dec. 26, 1971. Little did I know that it would become my life’s work. My goal had been to become a teacher, but circumstances beyond my control ultimately prevented me from obtaining that goal.

Things went well at the DOJ though. I got promoted to Clerk II a year later. I remember receiving the news from a supervisor named Marlene who ran my unit, the Record Analysis and Coding Unit (RAC). She did not like me much for whatever reason, but she was happy to advise me I placed number one on the list.

I soon left RAC and took a swing-shift job in the Folders Unit. That group filed criminal dispositions in a massive warehouse that held almost 5 million criminal records, encased in folders, stacked on shelves just like you find in the library.

We received a stack of about 700 criminal disposition forms every shift and had to file them by the end of the night. I finished early most nights, and then sat around pretending to look busy until the shift ended.

Working swing shift enabled me to return to Sacramento State College and resume my academic pursuits. A few years later, in June of 1975, I graduated from Sac State with a baccalaureate degree in Social Science, and the rest is history. I took a state job as a Research Analyst at the Department of Rehabilitation, where learned how to use a computer. Ultimately that led me to a career in Information Technology. I retired in 2002 as the Chief of the Bureau of Administration at the Stephen P. Teale State Data Center.

My mom’s suggestion to apply for work with the state in 1971 had led me to a career I had never even imagined back then. What did Forrest Gump say? “Life is like a box of candy, you never know what you are going to get.” Now, my return home from the Army in 1971 is just another surprising Janey Way memory.

Over the Fence

New Replacement For The Irreplaceable Daisy Mah?

Land Park Rock Garden superstar Daisy Mah has been retired from the city of Sacramento for over a year now. She’s probably furiously mulching and tending to her own backyard garden right now. A lot of Land Park residents who enjoy the Land Park Rock Garden were concerned they’d never find a suitable replacement for Daisy. Those are some tough garden gloves to fill. There was an online petition with more than 600 signatures that pleaded with the city of Sacramento to find a qualified replacement for Daisy.

The petition and saber rattling worked because Parks and Recreation was listening.

Parks and Rec spoke to Human Resources and have finished a brand new classification for the position Daisy Mah once occupied. According to Parks and Rec’s Lori Harder, who spoke at the Land Park Community Association meeting last month, “It’s to not just address the Land Park Rock Garden, but also other specialty gardens like community gardens and those that take a lot of input from the community.” This newly created position will be given a grand title, and a salary scale just below Park Supervisor. In other words…more money for more expertise. A Land Park garden superstar!

One Land Park resident stood up at the meeting and expressed concern it wouldn’t work out after speaking to the Parks Director. He mentioned issues on “salary and such” and that the issue isn’t settled, but he hoped it would be. Lori Harder then said, “It’s actually coming together nicely.”

So, it looks like there will be a new replacement for the hard to replace Daisy Mah early next year. Let’s hope Parks and Recreation is under the “salary cap.”

You’ve Been Framed

Terry Spencer poses with one her custom frames inside the shop. / Photo by Greg Brown

Terry Spencer poses with one her custom frames inside the shop. / Photo by Greg Brown

Spencer’s Custom Framing, located in the strip mall at 5101 Freeport Blvd., will soon be celebrating their 30th anniversary in Hollywood Park. It’s a true local treasure. I recently talked to the owner Terry Spencer, who was sipping coffee and working on a couple of framing projects. She said, “I get to start where the artist stops.”

It’s fun to shoot the breeze with Terry and talk about the neighborhood. She’s lived in Hollywood Park with her husband Roger for more than 35 years. “I’ve been walking to work for 30 years,” Terry told me.

Her loyal customers rave about her talent and skill with custom framing. Just ask Yelp, she gets rave reviews! Terry was working on some beautiful antique oval portrait frames and rejuvenating some civil war memorabilia when I was at the shop. If you need anything framed for the holidays, check out Spencer’s and tell Terry, “Happy Anniversary!”

Got an item for Over The Fence? Email

Janey Way Memories: Returning Home – Part 2

When I separated from the U.S. Army in Germany during 1971, I opted to stay in Europe to travel. So, together with my buddy, Sergeant Jeff Lucas, I bought a car and headed south. Over the next three months, we traveled to Austria, Yugoslavia and Italy. We toured Salzburg, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome.

However, in July, Jeff told me that he had to return home to begin interviewing for teaching jobs in the fall. So, we drove back to Germany and sold our car. Then, Jeff headed home and I boarded a train bound for Barcelona, Spain.

There, I met up with three Australian blokes we had encountered in Italy. They were going to Pamplona, Spain for the running of the bulls, and when they offered a ride, I accepted. Off we went to Pamplona, then to San Sebastian, and ultimately to the party capital of Europe, Tormolinos. We stayed there on the south coast of Spain partying with the European summer tourists for weeks. Then, in September, my money began to run out. I had to return to Germany to get my military hop back to the U.S.A. So, I grabbed my backpack and sleeping bag and headed off.

I took a bus and then a train to the French boarder, then hitch-hiked through France to Belgium, where I met my new friend Guy Muzzi. After staying with Guy about a week, I traveled to Rhine-Main Airbase in Frankfurt Germany where I arranged a military flight back to the states.

I ended up at an Airbase in New Jersey, where I signed my final military document, a form releasing me back to civilian life. At last, I was a free man. From there, I took a bus to Allentown, Pennsylvania to visit my good friend and travel partner, Jeff Lucas.

Unfortunately, Jeff was not at home. However, his kind mother allowed me to stay over and wait for him. That worked out, because Jeff returned home a day later. He was surprised and happy to see his travel buddy. We renewed acquaintances for a few days, then I was off again, this time I headed for Detroit, Michigan. Detroit is right across the river from Windsor, Ontario, where my new girlfriend, Judy Caverzan lived.

I hitched a ride with a trucker, and made it in one day. There, I walked across a bridge to Canada and found Judy’s home. No one answered the door, so I waited on the porch. Soon a car pulled up and Judy jumped out. Like Jeff in Allentown, Judy was flabbergasted to see me. But, I visited her for about a week and we had a great time touring Windsor and Detroit and gallivanting through the Canadian country side. Soon though, I had to get going. Judy offered to buy me a plane ticket home, but I refused. I was on a mission!

So she drove me over to the outskirts of Detroit and dropped me at a rest stop. I put a thumb out again and found a trucker headed for Laramie, Wyoming. We got there in one day, arriving at sunset. That proved a nerve racking experience. I had to spend the night under a freeway over-crossing. It was cold and kind of frightening. The people, who saw me, honked and yelled vulgar insults – this, to a military veteran.

Anyway, the next day, I put my thumb out again and got a ride from yet another trucker. This guy was going to Denver, Colorado. We never made it that far. We came to an interchange in Nebraska that went one way to Denver and the other way to Salt Lake City. I wanted Salt Lake, so I got off right on the freeway: not a good plan. Eventually, a Nebraska state trooper stopped and told me to get off the freeway. So, I hopped a fence and began to walk. Ultimately, I came to a bridge over a stream where I set out my back pack with a sign saying, “California or bust.” Then I waved at all the cars going by. A lot of them went by, but soon a car stopped.

The guy driving the car looked a little strange. He wore a black leather jacket and a cowboy hat. He had hair down to his shoulders and dark sun glasses. Surprisingly, he handed me the keys and said, “You drive.” When I got in his mint green, souped up, Plymouth Roadrunner, he lowered his seat and pulled the cowboy hat over his eyes. I started the car and took off like a rocket.

We arrived at Salt Lake in late afternoon and I pulled off at the edge of town. I disembarked there after thanking the guy for the ride, and took a minute to access my situation. I looked south and saw what looked like an industrial district. I looked north and saw stores, restaurants and motels. I went north. Soon, I found a motel I thought I could afford. So, I went in and booked a room for the night for the reasonable price of $13. Then, I grabbed the key and proceeded to my room which was clean and comfortable. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

After showering and changing my clothes I went out to get something to eat. I quickly found a café that looked inviting. After my cool reception in Wyoming and Nebraska, I wondered out loud, if they would refuse to serve me. No problem, the young waitress said, “Come on in partner, and sit down right over here.”

I will never forget how good that felt. I still hold the people of Utah in high esteem. Next day, I went back to where I stood the day before, and held out my sign. A few minutes later, a Volkswagen van pulled in to the gas station on the corner and stopped. The driver went into the garage to get a part, and the passenger ran into the adjacent mini-mart. When they came back out, they waved me over. I was in luck; they were going to Chico, California.

Off, we went, through Utah, then Nevada and into California. By night time we had arrived in Chico. There, the driver said he would be visiting his parents in Sacramento the next day, and invited me to spend the night.

Next morning, we drove the two hours to Sacramento and I had him drop me off at MacFarlane’s Candy on Alhambra Blvd. Hopefully, my mom would be working that day. Thankfully, I saw her waiting on a customer as I entered the door.

She said, “Hold on sir, I will be with you in a minute.” Then she did a double-take and ran around the counter to hug me saying, “I can’t believe you’re back.” Later, she called dad who came to pick me up. When we arrived home, my younger brother John was waiting. It was like an old fashioned reunion.

I have never forgotten that day. I turned a page then, and began a new, adult life: yet another inspirational Janey Way memory.