In September of 1969, I completed my military training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and then the U. S. Army issued me orders to serve in West Germany. In early October, I boarded a charter plane headed for Frankfurt, Germany. After three days in Frankfurt, I received orders to serve at the 510th Ordinance Battalion in the small German town of Gunzburg.
If the truth be told, I arrived in Gunzburg ill-prepared for the German climate. It didn’t help that my army duffel bag, filled with most of my clothing, disappeared en-route. It eventually arrived, months later, but initially, I had minimal gear.
When I arrived on base, my new friend who called himself “Huck”, said, “We need to get you some warm clothes to wear.” So, next morning, we walked the half mile into town and did some shopping. That day, I bought a fur-lined coat, a good pair of boots and a warm hat. Now, I almost looked like a German.
That day, I also ate my first German meal: Wiener schnitzel. Wow! It tasted great. I knew that I was going to like this place.
The town, too, was fantastic. Gunzburg dated back to the Roman Empire. In fact, the Romans built the cobblestone street that went through the center of town. That day, I walked on a 2,000-year-old road.
I quickly settled into the routine of army life. I basically had a Monday through Friday job at our ordinance site, with Saturdays, Sundays and holidays off. It was great.
By mid-November, the first snow fell and it covered the ground until, April. You got used to it, though. I soon began to enjoy it.
Thanksgiving came and went and Christmas approached. I started to feel a little homesick then. However, my first Christmas away from home turned out wonderfully.
Mom sent me a care package in mid-December full of treats. We went out and bought a small tannenbaum (Christmas tree) for our room. We decorated it with ornaments purchased at a store in town. In town, they decorated the streets with red ribbons, greenery and ornaments. I bought small presents, and mailed them home.
Christmas day, I attended services at the beautiful Gothic cathedral in town. That evening, the officers hosted Christmas dinner for the men in the dining hall. They came, in full military dress attire, accompanied by their wives. After a fine turkey dinner with all the trimmings, they distributed small presents to all of us. Christmas away from home wasn’t so bad after all.
I have never forgotten that first Christmas in Germany.
In September of 1969, I completed my military training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and then the U. S. Army issued me orders to serve in West Germany. In early October, I boarded a charter plane headed for Frankfurt, Germany. After three days in Frankfurt, I received orders to serve at the 510th Ordinance Battalion in the small German town of Gunzburg.
A few months ago a woman was scoping out the former Ford’s Hamburger stand on Sutterville Boulevard. I immediately pulled the car over to ask her “What’s up?” In a thick European accent she told me Asian cuisine would be moving in. That is all the information she had. It was an Over The Fence item. I recently received some inside information about who will be taking over the former popular hamburger joint. Shoki’s Ramen House, known for their soups, noodles and broth, will be taking over the little building on Sutterville Road. People go nuts for their noodles! Very exciting for the Land Park neighborhood.
However, It’s not going to be a ramen house specifically. I heard a rumor that they were going to serve breakfast. I spoke briefly with Shoki manager Saho Yueyana over the phone and she was very tight lipped about the plans. I asked if the new venture would be breakfast and lunch and she told me, “that’s still up in the air but definitely breakfast“. She told me a couple times it was a “corporate secret” and they’re only sharing the information with a few people at this moment. So look for a Japanese breakfast joint opening up sometime in the Spring. Just don’t tell anybody, it will be our little secret.
How would you like to be awarded $500 and help clean-up the neighborhood, too? That’s what the City Of Sacramento awards citizens for information regarding illegal dumping. There would have to be an arrest and conviction for you to pick up the cash reward. If you witness illegal dumping in progress, jot down the license plate number as well as the make and model of the vehicle. Contact the Sacramento Police non-emergency number at (916) 264-5471.
I noticed some illegal dumping on Freeport Blvd in the parking lot of what used to be the Land Park Academy. It was hard not to notice. There were four discarded mattresses in the parking lot as well as large piles of garbage strewn all over the property. Plenty of hazardous materials all over the lot, too. Roundup, motor oil, old rusty cans of paint, spray paint and insecticide. Which made the rotted garbage not seem so bad.
What was most alarming was out of the corner of my eye I noticed a person wrapped in a filthy blanket on a discarded old mattress. Just another discarded member of society. My anger about the garbage soon turned to sorrow. He was somebody’s child at one time. Perhaps the homeless person was responsible for all the garbage all over. Maybe they were sniffing the spray paint cans. I have no idea. The garbage and rubbage can be cleaned up, but what about the human being with the mental health issues? I called the 311 operator and she took down the information. They told me they’d have to call out the fire department to take care of the hazardous material. Not sure what what will become of the homeless person. I guess they’ll be shooed off to another part of town. It seems to me we should be doing something to get people like this off the streets and into shelters or housing. Welcome to the world of the homeless and their effects on neighborhoods.
I spoke briefly to Joan Burke, director of advocacy at Loaves & Fishes, and she told me “the police are generally wonderful and act more like social workers than police officers”. Occasionally the police will transport the person to Loaves & Fishes where they try and help. Joan told me there’s also a winter sanctuary shelter program at night that has room for between 100-120 people. The pick-up point is at Loaves & Fishes and the Capital Christian Center transports people to different churches each night.
Volunteers of America used to have an outreach program that would take vans out with trained volunteers to see if they could help that person. Due to social service cutbacks that program is no longer available.
Perhaps the $500 cash reward for reporting illegal dumping should go to Loaves & Fishes or a church that advocates for the homeless and mentally ill.
The Annual St. Baldrick’s Day is coming in March . It’s a great cause that raises money for childhood cancer research. They take great care of the funds raised by volunteers and supporters to direct every possible dollar to carefully selected research grants. They don’t throw the money away on needless red tape. The signature head-shaving event will be held at several local businesses in the Land Park area. Giovanni’s Pizza and Florez Mexican Restaurant in the South Land Park shopping center will be hosting events as well as New Helvetia Brewery on Broadway.
Giovanni’s Pizza will host their annual head shaving event on Sunday March 23rd at 1:00 pm. It’s a cause close to the owners hearts since their son, Lucas Luigi, is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed at the age of 5 with Stage IV neuroblastoma cancer – a cancer of the nervous system. The original tumor was attached to his adrenal gland and wrapped around many of his vital organs. by the time they found it, the cancer had spread to several other locations in his body, and his bone marrow was 90% cancer cells. He is 12 years cancer free! This year as his senior class project at CKM, Lucas will be organizing the entire event. It will be a family affair because his mother Jean Luigi, her husband, as well as Lucas will be getting their heads shaved for this year’s St. Baldrick’s Event at Giovanni’s. Lucas and his brother Jake have been shaving their heads for the past 12 years in an effort to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Florez Bar & Grill will be hosting their first St. Baldrick’s event all day long on March 15th. Also, New Helvetia Brewery will have their event on that same day, March 15th. Owner David Gull has put together a team and will be getting his head shaved to raise money for St. Baldrick’s. For more info check out stbaldricks.org
GONG XI FA CAI!
A happy Chinese New Year to all of my constituents who celebrate!
There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and this year is the Year of the Horse. Individuals who are born in the Year of the Horse are often said to be giving and energetic, and fond of travel and following their goals.
They’re back! 2014 Food Truck Expo
Mark your calendars, our monthly Food Truck Events return to Garcia Bend Park in March! Join us for some delicious freshly prepared food from Sacramento’s top-rated food trucks. Bring your wallet, lawn chair, and your appetite.
Please note that we have changed the Food Truck Expo to the third Friday of the month to accommodate your busy schedule. All food truck events begin at 5 p.m. We look forward to seeing you on March 21! Look for our completed 2014 event calendar in the oncoming weeks.
Old Sacramento State Historic Park—Excursion Train Plans
As many of you already may be aware, the California State Parks Commission has issued a proposal to expand the programming of the Historic Sacramento Train Museum and State Park to include the operation of two excursion lines. The plans include two separate train lines: Train Line 1, which would run one way from Old Town Sacramento to the Zoo, and; train line 2, which would originate from Pocket/Meadowview, and run through Hood.
As the current plan stands, the train will run through a small section of in the south part of District 7. Neighboring communities of Land Park and South Land Park would be heavily impacted by having the train line running adjacent to their property using the existing tracks and right-of way, under the control of the State Parks Department and Sacramento Regional Transit.
Though the expansion plan is still very tentative, the Commission held a meeting on Jan. 24 to decide whether to vote on moving forward with the proposal. At the conclusion of that meeting, the State Parks Commission decided to postpone their vote to a date yet to be determined, presumably so further outreach could be conducted. My staff attended this meeting and continues to track this issue.
VITA and TCE Tax Program Schedule, January-April 2014
Individuals who wish to do their own taxes without assistance may utilize the Special Portal for the City of Sacramento. This site allows taxpayers to complete federal and up to two state returns for free, electronically file and have their refund directly deposited in their account. This service is provided through the City of Sacramento City-wide Volunteer Program in partnership with MyFreeTaxes, United Way Worldwide and Goodwill. Income is limited to a maximum of $58,000 for 2013 in order to file for free.
Those with incomes of $52,000 or less for 2013 qualify for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). VITA volunteers will help prepare federal and state taxes. It is possible to also qualify for additional credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Care Credit and more, which could increase the refund amount.
City Expands Household Junk Pickup Program to Two Appointments Per Year
The City’s Household Junk Pickup program (formally the Appointment Based Neighborhood Cleanup Program) is taking appointments for the 2014 season. This year, all residential customers can make two appointments – per year – for the free pickup of acceptable bulky items including yard waste.
Household Junk Pickup occurs from February through October. The same equipment and personnel used for Leaf Season operate the Household Junk Pickup program.
“We hope that the additional appointment will be helpful to customers as well as useful in discouraging illegal dumping,” says Steve Harriman, Integrated Waste General Manager for the Recycling and Solid Waste Division.
To request an appointment, customers can:
• Call 311
• Make an online request at www.sac311.org
• Use the Sac 311 App for iPhone or Android
The City will collect up to five cubic yards of material (4’x4’x9’) per appointment—approximately the amount that will fit into the bed of a pickup truck. Extra charges may apply if load is in excess of five cubic yards. Piles put out more than 24 hours before an appointment or put out without an appointment will be considered illegal dumping and fines may be issued.
Accepted items include yard waste, one appliance, television sets, computers, e-waste, furniture, mattresses, carpet, toys, and four unmounted tires. A full list of acceptable items and guidelines for the Household Junk Pickup Program can be found at www.sacrecycle.org.
Welcome Police Captain Dave Peletta
For the past two years, District 7 residents had the privilege to be in the care of Police Captain Neil Schneider. As is general practice with the Police Department, Captains switch roles every few years. The new year brings a new Captain, Dave Peletta. I had the privilege of working with Captain Peletta while I served in the Police Department, and I can assure you that we are in good hands. Please continue reading to learn more about our new captain:
“I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Dave Peletta, and I am the new area captain for the South Command, which encompasses police Districts 4 and 5. As you may have heard, Captain Schneider and I have recently switched assignments and he now oversees our Investigations Division. Captain Schneider, along with his staff, did an amazing job, which made my transition much easier.
Though I am new as a captain to the South Command, I began my career with the Police Department in 1988 and I have worked as an officer, a sergeant, and a lieutenant in the south area. I am also a native of Sacramento, having attended John Cabrillo Elementary School, Sam Brannan Middle School and John F. Kennedy High School.
The South Command staff has also seen some changes; Lieutenant Jason Morgado is now assigned as the Executive Lieutenant. The Watch Commanders for the station and their respective beat responsibilities are as follows:
Lieutenant Justin Risley/day watch (5B/5C)
Lieutenant Mark Greenlee/mid watch (4A/4C)
Lieutenant Steve Oliveira/late watch (4B/5A)
For reference, our website at http://www.sacpd.org/crime/beats/ helps further define these beats.
I also would like to mention that Lieutenant Greenlee has taken a great leadership training opportunity and will be absent until this upcoming April. In his absence, Lieutenant Morgado will be assuming his position as watch commander and take his area responsibilities.
Earlier in the year we went through a shift change. Simply, sergeants and officers have the opportunity to move (or stay) in an area and the opportunity to possibly change which days to take off. I mention this because you may start seeing different faces in your communities. With that in mind, our core principles of protecting the community, partnerships, professionalism, prevention/intervention and ownership will remain our priority.
As you may have heard before, the Police Department’s goal is simple: make Sacramento the Safest Big City in California. However, there are two realities behind this statement: One, it will not happen overnight; and two, the Police Department cannot do it without your help and involvement!
To help the public become more involved, the Police Department began utilizing Nextdoor.com in June of 2013. The Department realized that it is a great forum for us to communicate with our neighborhoods. Please encourage your neighbors, coworkers, and families to become part of it. We do not monitor your neighborhood pages, but this avenue creates a great way for me and my staff to communicate with you in real time. Please feel free to send me a message via Nextdoor.com with any questions or concerns in your neighborhood.”
I-5 Interchange Project Charges Forward
Progress is continuing on one of the largest public works projects in City history, the new I-5 Interchange and Cosumnes River Boulevard Extension. Linking Interstate I-5 and Route 99 east together, this project will relieve traffic congestion and decrease travel time. In addition to improving transportation, the project will spur economic development through construction of a regional park, a retail center, and 5,000 new housing units. Once a mere concept, the project has made remarkable progress in the last six months.
The new interchange is expected to be completed by fall of 2014, with the completion of the entire road extension to follow.
Neighborhood Association Meetings
Charter Pointe Neighborhood Association meets as needed
Deerfield/Mesa Grande Neighborhood Association meets the third Thursday of the month, at 7 p.m., located at Union House Elementary School, 7850 Deer Creek Dr.
Lake Greenhaven Homeowners Association will have its annual general meeting in April, location changes
Marina Oaks Homeowners Association meets quarterly on the second Saturday of the month, 11 a.m., location changes.
Park Place South Homeowners Association meets Second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., rotation of board members’ homes
Park Rivers Oaks Estates Homeowners Association meets the last Tuesday of the month, time varies, meet in Clubhouse.
Reith Park Neighborhood Association meets the first Monday of the month at 6:30p.m., John Reith Elementary School, 8401 Valley Lark Dr.
Riverlake Community Association meets the third Wednesday of the month, 6 p.m., 799 Lake Front Dr.
Riverwind Place Owners Association meets the first Thursday of the month, 6:30 p.m., Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library, 7335 Gloria Dr.
Sacramento Roundtree Homeowners Association meets the third Tuesday of the month, time varies, 601 Roundtree Court.
South Pocket Homeowners Association meets quarterly on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., Bergamo Preparatory School, 82 Pocket Rd.
Valley Hi Neighborhood Association meets the second Thursday of the month, 6:30 p.m., Hope United Methodist Church, 6161 Valley Hi Dr.
*Confirm with each organization. Meeting information can be found on the Neighborhood Services website.
The area of Janey Way covers one city block. It runs left off M Street and dead ends just before it reaches Elvas Avenue. That made it a perfect place to grow up.
Twenty-three houses lined Janey Way when I grew up there. The block also included three empty lots. They made perfect locations for baseball fields, Christmas tree forts, and motocross.
Because the street dead-ended at Elvas Avenue, we played touch football on it, as well as kick-the-can, fly and you’re out and even the hubcap trick. Sometimes we just stood on the street and talked loudly. I don’t think our parents thought much about that behavior, but they never bothered us when we did it.
However, while Janey Way was a small block, it made up one little part of a pretty big town. Back then Sacramento had a population of around 150,000. You didn’t call it a big city, that made people laugh. It was a big town though, with some really great attributes. We had historical landmarks like Sutter’s Fort and Old Town. We also had the California State Fair, the Crocker Art Museum, Capitol Park, Edmunds Field, and the Alhambra Theatre. So, I never felt constrained in Sacramento like some small-town residents might feel.
We also had San Francisco, a big city, just 90 miles away. When I was growing up, my parents often took us there for visits to sites like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Park. At the park, we toured the San Francisco Zoo, the De Young Museum, the Japanese Garden and the Aquarium. Mom always brought a picnic lunch which we ate out on the plaza in the park. Our trips to the big city were memorable.
When I recall the time when I grew up on Janey Way, I can’t help but think I had the best of all worlds. I had the intimacy of a small town with much broader boundaries that featured museums, sports stadiums, theaters, four high schools (Sacramento, C.K. McClatchy, Luther Burbank and Hiram Johnson) and two colleges (Sacramento City and Sacramento State).
Having all that helped produce many success stories on Janey Way. Gary Costamagna became the City Fire Chief; Harry Viani, a dentist; Lou Viani, an architect. Most of us graduated from a university.
On the other hand, my son-in-law grew up in Manteca. He tells me that many of his childhood friends still live there despite the fact that it has little to offer in the way of jobs or opportunities.
I am glad I grew up on Janey Way: a small neighborhood in a big town.
Back in December I told you how the Curtis Park Village project will no longer have a park that was in the original plan. A pond will replace the park. Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer had to be the bearer of bad news at the CPNA meeting.
At the recent Curtis Park Village meeting, developer Paul Petrovich and his trusty sidekick architect Phil Harvey recently presented the proposed changes to a packed house at the Sierra 2 Center. It was standing room only.
I should have brought popcorn and a Coke. It was quite a show.
The meeting was started with Schenirer telling everybody that the proposal has “a lot of pieces down the road.” It will have to go before the Sacramento City Planning Commission and also the Sacramento City Council. In other words, it’s not a done deal.
Schenirer was a great opening act. He assured residents that he would listen to their cares and concerns about the new proposal and that their input was valued. He said, “you will be heard by me and you will be heard by the developer. That’s my commitment to you.”
Then it was Paul Petrovich’s turn. Paul asked, “Can you hear me without the microphone?” The crowd immediately all started to shout out, “No” and “Use the mic.” That’s when Paul said: “Our first controversy”, creating some laughter. It broke the tension in the room.
And that’s how it began. I was transfixed by the whole thing. Petrovich and the active community in Curtis Park have a history. There’s no love lost. There’s a lot of passion and drama with a dose of sarcasm.
Back in June of last year, Petrovich found out the detention requirements for the project had resulted in the existing neighborhood pushing 250,000 gallons of water into the site. He says that destroyed their ability to have the park as they presented it before. Drainage law states that if you have an existing condition, the new developer needs to deal with it.
He showed a visual of Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School’s playground where they have a 4-acre detention basin. Petrovich called it, “Muddy, mucky, and really can’t be used.” So, Petrovich and Company decided against a detention basin.
The new plan is to build a year-round pond. There would also be green space surrounding the pond 100 feet wide and 340 feet long with benches and play structures. Instead of a detention basin like da Vinci has, a retention pond.
They are also required to have a certain amount of park space, and since the project doesn’t have enough park space, they have to pay $1.9 million in Quimby fees, which are costs to a developer in lieu of park space. They hope to use those fees to improve the existing 17-acre-park in Curtis Park. Petrovich called it a “win win.”
Then it was time for questions by the Curtis Park residents.
A couple of residents were concerned about the 20-foot deep pond not having a fence around it. He invited them to go to Natomas or McKinley Park. Then the resident said, “McKinley isn’t 6 feet deep. Petrovich responded by stating, “What’s the difference after 6 feet deep?”
Most of the concerns were about less green space for the Curtis Park Village project. Water is not park; it’s not useable space. I can see why the residents would be concerned and not all that thrilled with the proposed change.
Some residents came up with other ideas to make the project more green.
Dan Pskowski mentioned that all detention basins are not muddy and mucky like the one at Leonardo da Vinci. He pointed out that Banfleth Park at 950 Shamus in South Sacramento has a detention basin with trees surrounding it. He said kids play soccer on it and there’s supposedly no muddy mess.
Petrovich said, they’d look into it.
Another resident asked what other storm water solutions were explored? There are French drains and other Subterranean best management practices they could use in lieu of the retention basin.
Petrovich said “after all the engineering and working with the Department of Utilities, the pond was the optimum solution.”
Another idea was for a couple of little pocket parks. Former Curtis Park President Rosanna Herber said her biggest concerns was Petrovich has added so many more homes and taken away so much green space.
She suggested to Petrovich that he “give us a couple small pocket parks in the development. Maybe even one little pocket park around the heritage tree that everybody has fought to save.”
Herber ended by saying, “I just want everyone to know that the decision maker in this room is that man over there (pointing Jay Schenirer). I don’t believe that Paul Petrovich is going to walk away from this project or build a huge amount of commercial space when with a little more compromise, this could turn out to be great.” The crowd roared its approval.
One of the great stories out of World War II, older readers might recall, is about General George S. Patton (”Old Blood and Guts”) ordering the Third Army Head Chaplin, Msgr. James H. O’Neill, to come up with a prayer for good weather. This would facilitate the Allied Air Forces bombing the enemy and thus enable Patton’s troops to relieve the encircled 101st Airborne Division trapped in the Belgian town of Bastogne in December of 1944.
The prayer was quickly composed and delivered to Patton, who then ordered 250,000 copies printed up and distributed to his men, along with a Christmas greeting. The General, more commonly known for his pistols and profanity rather than his piety, got his prayer answered within days–and the rest was history. Clear flying weather enabled the American Third Army to free the town and carry on to victory over the retreating Germans.
Now if Patton could prevail against the storm clouds of Mother Nature with an entreaty to the Almighty, we don’t see why Californians can’t defeat the current drought by the expedient of prayer. This instead of having to read dire reports and predictions almost daily about shrinking lake and reservoir levels, minimal snowpacks in the mountains, and the start of water rationing for the Central Valley. As a service to readers, we are here reproducing the prayer in hopes of garnering some precious rain from the heavens, so we don’t have to worry about green spray paint on withered lawns to deal with the scarcity of vital H2O, among other challenges. People of faith should have no problem with this historic, classic non-denominational request from the heavens in our time of need and peril. Enough Sacramento sunshine already! Even Atlanta is getting snow and rain these days. Why not us?
Although it is the opposite of a prayer for rain, it can be easily re-jiggled if one cares enough about the current crisis to give it a try.
Patton’s Prayer: “Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call to Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.”
Although The Spyglass is primarily a gossip column, given the fact that many, including this writer, are now or recently have been dealing with the flu, insurance coverage and other health issues, along with the daily bombardment of bad news vis-a-vis peace in the world, we thought we would throw in for consideration the famous Prayer of Agreement from the Book of Matthew (MAT 18:19-20) while on the subject of prayer. Bless your hearts, as Southerners are wont to say:
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
For more background on these two famous prayers, may we suggest www.pattonhq.com or www.hannahscuboard.com
We were a bit taken aback the other day to spy on picketers and signs along Fair Oaks Boulevard in front of the newly opened Fresh Market grocery. They are protesting the hiring of non-union workers at the store. It seemed as though many honored the peaceful protest and continued on their way past. We hope that all disagreements will be settled soon so that we might enjoy this fine and welcome addition to Arden-Arcade.
Further east, the new Charles Schwab headquarters seems to be coming along nicely.
Disappeared is the old Coldstone ice cream shop, with a Papa Murphy’s pizza parlor replacing it. Of course, the big news is the Going-Out-Of-Business signs on Loehmann’s Department Store. Loehmann’s has been around since 1920, starting in our home borough of Brooklyn, N.Y. The story there is quite interesting. Mrs. Loehmann’s husband was a professional flute player who came down with an unusual affliction. He developed a paralyzed upper lip which naturally prevented him from playing. Young Mrs. Loehmann, undaunted, would take cash, secreted in her undergarments, across the river to Manhattan and buy manufacturer’s closeouts on the cheap. These she would sell in a shop on the then-fancy Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. We remember the ornate storefront location well as a child driving by in the fifties. Outside was wrought iron handiwork in black and gold; inside were palatial furniture, oriental carpets and wall-hangings. Over the years, with the advantage of its experience and its name-recognition, Loehmann’s expanded nationally along with its discount prices on name-brand merchandise. Sad to see it go, no doubt another victim of crass online shopping. It won’t be the last.
Question is, what will be the new name for our beloved plaza? Your guess is as good as ours….
The long-anticipated Super Bowl ended in a surprising defeat for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, demolishing the spreads. The Las Vegas bookies are still bawling as we go to press.
Good movies we watched recently included “Jarhead,” about the Marines in Desert Storm (the first Gulf War), “Seabiscuit,” about a legendary horse from Great Depresion times, and many episodes of Downton Abbey, on which, we confess, we got hooked. Netflix is a terrific service, which we don’t mind plugging. The Shabby Shack in Midtown on J Street has a plentiful assortment of CDs and DVDs at two dollars a pop. Wonderful for retirees and others on a tight budget.
The Kindle Fire HD is also highly recommended, with free Wi-Fi available at Peet’s and Noodles & Company. No hassle with passwords plus fine, friendly service at both locations.
In September of 1969, I completed my advanced infantry Training at Fort Lewis, Washington. On Friday morning, we marched to the parade field to mark the occasion. There, the Base Commander congratulated us for completing our training and sent us on our way. Then, we marched back to our company headquarters where our First Sergeant, a good man, handed out orders to all 160 men. Most were headed to Viet Nam.
I lucked out though. My brother Terry was already in Saigon serving in a military police detachment, so my orders sent me to West Germany. Wow, I couldn’t believe I had orders for Germany.
That evening, I boarded a plane and headed home for a 2-week leave. After four and a half months of training, returning home felt great. My parents treated me like a hero, and all the Janey Way guys: Jim Ducray, Randy Puccetti, Mike Roa and the rest came over to see me. I really enjoyed that leave, but I looked forward to my new assignment, too. Germany! I still could not believe my good fortune.
Two weeks later, I boarded a plane headed for Fort Dix, New Jersey, where I was held over three days waiting to land a spot on a charter plane headed for Europe. Soon, I was on my way.
After a nine-hour flight, we landed at Rhine-Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany where we boarded a bus bound for the 29th Replacement Battalion, housed in a World War II vintage building in the heart of town. Sadly, we were confined to quarters there. I remember the Sergeant saying, “Gentlemen, they serve German beer at the enlisted men’s club. Be careful drinking it. It is much stronger than American beer.” Some of the men did not heed his warning and paid the price.
A few days later, with my final orders in hand, I boarded a nice bus headed for the 510th Ordinance Battalion, in Gunzburg, West Germany. I remember sitting on the bus watching the world go by. Everything looked different. The cars were smaller. The buildings were much older, like something out of Hansel and Gretel. The signs were all different. This was awesome.
Hours later, I pulled into a German Army Base: Prinz Eugan Kaserne. It would be my home for the next 17 months. The bus driver stopped right in front of the headquarter’s office of the 512th Administrative Group where a Specialist IV welcomed us to the base and walked us over to our temporary home. We stowed our gear and headed over to the mess hall for dinner. All the guts seemed really nice.
Next day, I received my assignment—Company B of the 510th Ordinance Battalion. My military occupational specialty was about to change from infantry to ordinance: a step up in the military world. My platoon sergeant was a hard-boiled little southerner named Johnnie Cochran. When he learned I came from California, he said, “What are you Rayless (that’s how he pronounced my name), some kind of hippie?”
I replied, “No sarge, I am a soldier.
I will tell you more about Sergeant Cochran and the 510th Ordinance Battalion in upcoming episodes.
Water ShortageThe City Council is being asked to adopt a Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which includes declaring a water shortage and implementing stage 2 of our water shortage contingency plan. This means we need to really do our best to conserve water. Make sure your sprinklers are only coming on once a week on either Saturday or Sunday. Also, for those of us who wash our cars regularly at home, please only use a bucket to wash your car. I am going to do my part, and keep my car dirty until it needs a wash. A quick note, many of the car washes in Sacramento operate on a recycled water system. It’s an alternative to consider if you need to wash the car.
The State 2 Water Shortage Plan includes the following measures:
Stage 2 – All customers would be required to reduce consumption by 20 to 30 percent. Customers would be requested to implement Stage 1 and 2 water conservation measures and adhere to the City’s Outdoor Water Conservation provisions.
Actions: Continue existing conservation programs, and:
1. Intensify the public information campaign to inform customers the need for water conservation and explain the water conservation measures.
2. Further increase water waste patrols to enforce the City’s outdoor water conservation provisions in the City code.
3. Limit outdoor irrigation during daylight saving time to two days per week.
4. Limit irrigation hours.
5. Further reduce irrigation of parks and cemeteries.
6. Allow car washing with the use of a bucket only.
7. Prohibit all public water uses not required for health and safety.
8. Allow main flushing only for emergency purposes.
Let’s do our best to make sure we conserve water. I also want to challenge you to hold the City of Sacramento to the same standards the community is being held to. If you see a median being watered, any of our parks being watered in the middle of the day, or something you think is wasteful, give me a call and we will make sure it is reported. My number is 808-7007.
Sacramento Soccer Alliance Tryouts
The Sacramento Soccer Alliance has announced the tryouts schedule for the season. You can register at the website, www.sacramentosocceralliance.com. Tryouts will be held at Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sunday, Feb. 9. U9 will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; U10, noon to 1:30 p.m.; U11, 2-3:30 p.m.
• Pre-registration is REQUIRED.
• All players must attend at least one tryout.
• Bring water, a soccer ball and wear a white shirt.
• Be prepared for rain/cold weather.
• Arrive 20 minutes early.
School of Engineering and Sciences to hold e-waste drive and car wash
On Feb. 1, SES will hold a car wash from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be collecting e-waste from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the school, located at 7345 Gloria Dr.
They will accept: Monitors, televisions, desktop and notebook PCs, VCRs, stereo equipment, CD’s, speakers, keyboards, mice, PDAs, digital cameras, zip drives, telephones, cell phones, printers, copiers, laser and multifunction scanners and fax machines, small household appliances such as toasters, mixers and blenders, vacuum cleaners with the dust bag removed.
They cannot accept: Large household appliances (i.e. refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc.), furniture, hazardous household waste including batteries, car batteries, paint, pesticides, used oil, cleaning supplies, fluorescent light bulbs, water heaters, tires, etc.
Questions regarding this event? Contact event coordinator Olivia Wong at 616-2886 or Renee Quan at 402-3965.
311 app for Android and iPhone now available
At your fingertips, you can report issues or get your questions answered–all from your smartphone device. This will eliminate the need to call the 3-11 call center and avoid wait times during peak hours. This service is fast, convenient, and FREE.
The app allows you to:
Report issues where and when you see them–from missed garbage, recycle and yard waste to code violations, broken parking meters, and stray animals.
Sign up for messaging service to receive a text or email reminder to set out your recycle container for collection. Intended to make life a little easier for Sacramento residents, businesses and visitors, the 311 app will help you find the answers or the people you need quickly and easily.
Neighborhood Watch Training Program
The Sacramento Police Department is hosting several trainings at different locations for the month of January and February. The focus topic for these trainings will be “Scams and Schemes.” Get tips and tricks on how to stay safe and keep yourself protected. Learn valuable information about identity theft, pyramids, telemarketing, and other illegal activities. To reserve please contact Barbara Falcon at 808-1221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capitol March for the Dream
You are the dream, and the dream is now! Stand up and speak out! Join the 33rd Annual Capitol March for the Dream that will include two events: Freedom March and the Diversity Expo. This free event honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the never ending issues that can impact our future. The Freedom March is a 6-mile march and parade that will begin on 3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. with check-in beginning at 8 a.m. and the march at 8:30 a.m. If you would like to join the march later in the day, meet at Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Blvd. or the West Steps of State Capitol, 1315 10th Street. The march will end at the Convention Center, 1400 J St.
The Diversity Expo will be held at the Convention Center from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and will celebrate the collective power of our diversity and the transformative values of Martin Luther King Jr. Lots of great things to do with speakers, talent show, arts and crafts, face-painting, vendors, and more!
For more information call 698-5147 or email email@example.com. You may also visit www.mlk365.org.
The Freeport Asian Market had its grand opening last week and it was anything but grand. When I walked in there was a female teenager behind the register. I had a few questions but she had no answers. Looked to me like she was babysitting two younger siblings, too.
The store wasn’t really stocked to the gills with Asian specialty food. Their hot food section wasn’t so hot. They mostly offered dry goods like dry mushrooms, noodles, and fish. They did have a whole aisle of Chinese treats like umbrella cookies, cream wafers, and rice snacks.
Perhaps they’ll stock up in the New Year.
Then I crossed the street over to Ho Chin, a small Asian mom and pop grocery store with lots of character. Ho Chin is dark, dingy and packed wall to wall up to the ceiling with Chinese groceries. They have it all…even dried octopus and chicken feet for the adventurous eater. Anthony Bourdain wouldn’t bat an eye.
Ho Chin has been at the same location for over 20 years. They even have a kitchen in the back where you can order hot Chinese food to go.
I wanted to ask them what they thought about the new Chinese market across the street. They were crowded on a Saturday morning with long lines of Asian folks stocking up on their favorite Chinese goods. They had no time for some pesky writer.
I seriously doubt Ho Chin is worried about the competition across the street. A new food truck has been hanging out at the former Capital Nursery spot on Freeport Boulevard. Move over King of Curls RV! North Border Taco has been parking its food truck in the empty lot for a couple months.
Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Damian Avalos and his mother Maria cook up some tasty Tex-Mex tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas and more. Mom does most of the cooking and taught Damian everything he knows.
The North Border Taco truck has a large array of Mexican food on the menu. They even offer the Southern Boy Taco. It’s beef or pork coupled up with bacon then topped with onions, cilantro, guacamole, and corn. Yeehaw! A taco fit for a good old boy.
Damian told me between orders the best seller is the Taco Truck Taco. And it’s only $1.50! Damian quipped “That’s the Stockton price right there.”
North Border Taco is a brick and mortar inside the Sherwood Mall food court in Stockton. They recently launched the food truck business and are invading Sacramento every week.
Out of nowhere a group of hungry people started to gather and order the Tex- Mex creations. Richard Andaya dropped by to check it out. He ordered the Asada burrito and said it was “awesome”. He added it was “not quite as good as Zocalo’s but much better than Lagarancha’s” as he wolfed down an asada burrito.
North Border Taco will be hanging out every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Freeport Boulevard. Slow down. Stop by. Check it out. New Helvetia 2.0 is coming and the food trucks are going. Let’s just call it Phase 2. The brewery on Broadway and 18th will soon be serving up some tasty pub grub to go with the delicious craft beers via a new kitchen. When I dropped by New Helvetia on a Saturday afternoon owner David Gull told me, “We have plans for some burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads. The standard fare you would expect but I think the way the kitchen is being designed, there will be an opportunity to do much nicer stuff as well. We’ll have a couple items on the menu that will push the limits beyond the pub grub.”
I hope it involves bacon.
Gull unraveled the blueprints and showed me how it’s all being planned. The kitchen will be located in a small 400-square-foot room behind the courtyard of the brewery. There will be minor changes to the courtyard like a cut-through window and an overhang to keep the bird droppings off the tater tots. Other than that, the brewery will still have the same feel. “It keeps us essentially like a brewery tasting room that we are now except we don’t have to worry about a food truck now showing up,” Gull said.
Gull added, “We’re not going to have valet parking; we’re not going to have a hostess stand or the vibrating red light gizmos.“ The kitchen will operate much in the same way the food trucks operate. It will stay casual.
The small 400-square-foot room will cost as much to improve as the entire brewery when they first launched it more than a year ago. It‘s a major financial investment. The costs of expanding have skyrocketed. Gull said, “It doesn’t help little guys like us to get our dreams built, but I suppose in the grand scheme of the economy it’s a good thing.”
New Helvetia will also remain a family operation. Gull has brought in his cousin Steve McKay and his wife Rita to handle kitchen duties. They’re both Cordon Bleu trained chefs who live in Hollywood Park. They know the culinary arts.
The kitchen will also allow New Helvetia to expand their days and hours. They’ll add Mondays and Tuesdays; they’re currently closed those days, and they’ll also have lunch hours. Gull hopes to get some of the DMV State workers to walk over, grab some lunch, and maybe a pint once the kitchen is up and running.
And when will the kitchen be up and running? As fast as New Helvetia and the City Of Sacramento can make it happen. And yes, there will be a phase 3 coming to New Helvetia. Stay tuned.
In other brewery news, New Helvetia Brewing Company is having a Name That Buffalo Head Contest. Owner David Gull just came up with the spur-of-the-moment idea after a couple craft beers. Some of the best ideas come after a refreshing pint! Gull purchased the large wooden Buffalo head off eBay. Some of the names have come from Facebook and others via hand written name tags in the brewery. Gull said, “Not sure how we’ll give credit to name tag entries since no one wrote their name or contact info.” So far, the name Lou is the frontrunner. Other suggested names are Woody, Buffy, and Herman, the original brewer at Buffalo Brewing Company.
If you have any local newsy news or items of interest e-mail me. Greg@valcomnews.com
Brownie’s Lounge now has a drive-through. Well, it did temporarily last week. A guy nick-named “49er Steve” barreled into the adjoining business and crashed through the wall at Brownie’s. He wasn’t a patron. He was wearing a foot cast and had a problem with the gas pedal of his Ford SUV. Don’t wear a cast and drive people! Scott the bartender said, “It sounded like a bomb went off.” He also told me “The jukebox is dead.”
Nooooo! Not the jukebox. The jukebox was full of cool. It was a cavalcade of classic rock. The Who, Doors, Zeppelin to name a few. Even some of your favorite Irish tunes. They have now brought in an Internet jukebox. I’m thinking of starting a Change.org petition to protest! Bring back the old school jukebox. It played CDs. I’m in mourning. Brownie said, “The jukebox is what saved the car from going through the bar and hitting the bartender.” I told Brownie, “I guess no more Clancy Brothers.” Another patron piped in, “It also had Louie Prima!” The good news is nobody was injured. The jukebox actually helped prevent injury because the bar was full of regulars that night. Claire Brownie told me “We can laugh about it now but when I pulled up in front I thought Oh shit somebody might be dead in there”. So next time you’re at Brownie’s Lounge, play some “Crash Test Dummies”.
The Curtis Park Village project is humming along. The orange cones are everywhere in Curtis Park along Sutterville Road. Lots of men in orange, too. The backhoes and excavators are moving and digging dirt… It’s Teichert-mania!
Councilmember Jay Schenirer had to be the bearer of bad news at the recent Curtis Park Neighborhood Association meeting. There will be no park in Curtis Park Village. Huh? What? Are you kidding? 4.3 acres were supposed to be used for a park and drainage. It got to the point where it was mostly drainage and not so much park. It’s not so much Paul Petrovich as it is the city. The City of Sacramento is saying that the area would have to be able to take 250,000 gallons of water during a storm.
What Petrovich is considering is getting rid of the park altogether and making it a water feature. It could be 2.12 acres of water features with benches around it…and more housing. Not a very green solution.
The trade off, according to Councilmember Jay Schenirer, is because Petrovich is no longer doing a park he’ll have to pay Quimby fees and housing fees: 1.9 million in Quimby fees and $2.5 million in housing fees, $4.3 all together and that could be spent on Curtis Park…the park itself.
Then Jay took questions….
One resident mentioned, “It’s a serious trade-off. That $4 million will be spent but that public space will still not be there. If you spend the $4 million on Curtis Park that’s still the only public space to support the new development and the existing neighborhood.”
Schenirer answered by saying the water feature would be a public space with benches, just not green public space. And then the resident mentioned, “Then they’ll have to spray for mosquitos.” Jay retorted, “Always look at the glass half full.” Jay just wanted to give everybody a head’s up that this was coming. He didn’t have all the details and all the answers because he had just been informed about it. Curtis Park resident Rosanna Herber said, “One thing that concerns me is that things get chipped away like the street that was in front of the park that got taken away because we want to make sure the kids have an easy way to get over to the park and play. Losing that road was a significant benefit for Petrovich but not so much to the people who will be living there. She added, “This is what bothers me. Now we have this change, now we’re making another change, and it’s a slow whittling away of the benefit that we’re trying to keep in the development.”
“I think people need to see the stuff we continue to lose as this gets dragged out.”
I wonder if Paul Petrovich will suggest a gigantic metallic soaring eagle or maybe a giant silver metallic unicorn where water shoots out the horn. Stay tuned because I have a feeling this whole thing ain’t over.
Following up on a story I mentioned last week in Over The Fence, Mexican grocer Mercado Loco is vacating their location at Franklin and Sutterville. When the lease runs out, a CVS will be moving in. A lot of neighborhood folks were caught off guard by the news. Some were outraged. It’s even sparked a Change.org petition online. So far over 355 people have signed it. Will it make a difference? Some of the neighborhood locals hope so. One of the petition signers was Gretchen Steinberg who said: “I’d rather people be able to walk to their local store to get fruits and vegetables than hobble over there to get overpriced junk and medicine designed to counterbalance poor access to fruits and vegetables. C’mon Sacramento — follow through on your ‘Farm to Fork’ principles that you touted earlier this year!” Magic Munson added: “It is important to me because too many smaller businesses are forced out of business by these larger companies. Being a small business owner who can see Mercado Loco from my business window, I don’t want to look at a CVS.“
If you have any news or items of interest feel free to e-mail me. Greg@valcomnews.com.