The Divergent Series: Insurgent

The MPAA has rated this PG-13

From Lionsgate comes the second in the Divergent series, “Insugent” in 3-D and IMAX and standard presentations in other theatres. In the first movie , set in the ruins of Chicago, the action thriller of an oppressive future divided the population into four districts based on the resident’s virtues. We pick up where the last one left off as Tris Prior, who is played by Shailene Woodley, is the one “Divergent”, a person in possession of all virtues not merely one. Thus, she must be captured by the power hungry Jeanine played by Kate Winslet, who wishes to control all factions. This movie is louder, bigger and faster than the first, and the chase for Tris is on! Theo James is Four, her love interest. Kate Winslet as Jeanine is always fun to watch, and Ashley Judd returns in the role of Tris’ mother. Also returning are Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and a lady that seem not to be able to give anything less than a good performance no matter what the script: Octavia Spencer. As impressive as this was, I was not consumed by it personally. I thought that the first movie was much better. This movie seemed more action packed, and violent for that matter, than the first. If you are going to see it at all, see it at the Esquire IMAX, where the sheer size and 3-D of the experience will be a thrill you can’t find with home viewing.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

The MPAA has rated this PG-13

From Lionsgate comes the second in the Divergent series, “Insugent” in 3-D and IMAX and standard presentations in other theatres. In the first movie , set in the ruins of Chicago, the action thriller of an oppressive future divided the population into four districts based on the resident’s virtues. We pick up where the last one left off as Tris Prior, who is played by Shailene Woodley, is the one “Divergent”, a person in possession of all virtues not merely one. Thus, she must be captured by the power hungry Jeanine played by Kate Winslet, who wishes to control all factions. This movie is louder, bigger and faster than the first, and the chase for Tris is on! Theo James is Four, her love interest. Kate Winslet as Jeanine is always fun to watch, and Ashley Judd returns in the role of Tris’ mother. Also returning are Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and a lady that seem not to be able to give anything less than a good performance no matter what the script: Octavia Spencer. As impressive as this was, I was not consumed by it personally. I thought that the first movie was much better. This movie seemed more action packed, and violent for that matter, than the first. If you are going to see it at all, see it at the Esquire IMAX, where the sheer size and 3-D of the experience will be a thrill you can’t find with home viewing.

Janey Way Memories #130 The Blue Bayou

When my daughter Vanessa turned 10 years of age, I took her to Disneyland. Nothing extravagant, we drove down to southern California on a Thursday morning. By late afternoon, we reached our accommodation, my brother’s house in Bellflower, about 10 miles away from Anaheim.
That night, we visited with my brother Terry and his wife Elayne. Then, next morning, we got up early and drove to “the happiest place on earth.”
It was great. We drove into the park about 9 a.m, found a spot, and parked. Then we got out and walked to the stop for the tram going to the front gate. On the way, the monorail went over us, taking the patrons of the Disneyland Hotel into the park.
Soon, we caught our tram and motored off to the front gate. There, we bought our tickets and passed through the gate into the park.
What a thrill. First, we walked up Main Street to buy Vanessa her Mickey Mouse ears. Then we strode off to start our adventure. We went on all of the rides: the Matterhorn, the Autopia, the Star Wars ride, the Monorail, the African Jungle Ride, Big Thunder Railroad, and the Pirates of the Caribbean. We had a wonderful time together, but by early evening we were quite hungry.
So, we set off in search of a place to eat. We looked everywhere. All the usual places were full. Then we came upon an upscale little place near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Adventure Land called the Blue Bayou. It looked a little pricey, but the line was small. So, I put our name on the waiting list.
Soon, the hostess escorted us to our table. It was exquisite: white table cloth, nice china, silverware, and crystal. What was even more impressive, it was located right by the start of the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride. You could hear the laughter and chatter of the people getting onto the ride. You could feel the mist of the canal that carried the patrons into the ride. It felt like a Caribbean cruise. And the meal was wonderful.
After dinner, we went out to see the Disneyland parade and the end of day fireworks. It was a wonderful and memorable day, one I have never forgotten.
Last week, Vanessa and her husband Ryan took her oldest daughters Gabrielle and Madeline to Disneyland. They drove like we did. However, they stayed at a hotel near Disneyland. On the first morning, they shuttled to the park, bought their passes and went in the front gate.
Just like we had done, they took the girls on all the rides. And, by the end of the day, every one was famished, so they set out in search of a place to eat. What did they find? Eventually, they found the Blue Bayou. Vanessa remembered it, so in they went in.
They had a wonderful time. Vanessa even posted a picture of the girls on Facebook. She noted, “We ate at the Blue Bayou Restaurant where my dad and I ate almost 30 years ago. It was a great memory.”
Now, Vanessa, her husband and daughters have a Janey Way memory of their own.

martin@valcomnews.com

What’s in a name: How East Sac church leaders name their own children

Brad and Olivia Carpenter’s children Flannery (right), Asher (left), and Story (bottom). /  Photo credit: Sarah Dawson
Brad and Olivia Carpenter’s children Flannery (right), Asher (left), and Story (bottom). / Photo credit: Sarah Dawson

Brad Carpenter is a church leader who resides in East Sacramento. He initially contacted me after reading one of the past On the Curbs articles about Requested a smart phone app idea developed by his neighbor Sonny Mayugba. Brad explained that he was starting a new church in East Sacramento, City of Grace Presbyterian. He considered it to be a start up venture and in that respect possibly worthy of a write up.
After some thought and discussion we agreed that the article not so much focus on the startup of a new church in our community, but instead be published as part of a series of articles based on meetings with different spiritual leaders throughout our community focusing on them as neighbors, regular people just like the rest of us. After all, these people are familiar faces in our community, we may run into them at the local coffee shop, the local school, the market, the baseball and soccer games etc. My job then as a reporter would be to not so much focus on comparing or contrasting their religions, or their congregations, or the phase of their development, but instead introduce them to our community through some other commonality, something more personal.
After continued meetings, I discovered that one interesting commonality they shared was the importance that the act of naming plays in both their personal and spiritual lives. One of the spiritual leaders I met with is Native American. Sage’s spiritual beliefs and the beliefs of her ancestors obviously stand in contrast to Brad’s. But, their beliefs as well as their personal stories both value the process of naming. They both spent considerable time on the subject without my prompting; and, indeed, the importance the act of naming plays for all of them provides an excellent starting point in getting to know them as neighbors, as well as our community’s spiritual leaders.
Let’s begin then with Brad. When I mention that the process of naming, in this case his children, seems to be a recurrent theme in his particular story, he reminds me that in the Bible one of the first things God does is to name. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” (NIV Gen 1:3). And soon after, “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.” (NIV Gen 2:19)
Because Brad was raised Christian his entire life one might expect that his children be named traditional Christian names such as John, or Sarah, or Isaac. But, Brad has three children and their names are Flannery (age 7), Asher (age 4), and Story (age 10 months). Now Asher is biblical in that it is the name Jacob gave to his eighth son. But, Brad did not name his child because of this. Brad and his wife Olivia both love literature and story telling and because of this this all of their children are based on literature, or the entirety of story telling itself rather than on the Bible, though their are Christian overtones.
For example, Flannery is a name the Carpenter’s decided upon after having both admired the works of Flannery O’Connor considered by many to be one of the best short story authors of the 20th century and one of the strongest Christian apologetics. An apologetic is a Christian field of theology that tries to present a rational basis for faith. O’Connor was a devout believer whose writing presents the soul’s struggle with what she called the “stinking mad shadow of Jesus.” Surprisingly, Brad, a pastor, tells me that one of his favorite Flannery O’Connor stories, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, about the gruesome murder of a family on a road trip. Brad’s aware that naming a child after an author who in one story uses the scene of a murder to provide a rationale for the faith of Christianity is pretty unusual. But, he also explains that he and Olivia liked the bold provocations of Flannery’s style and wanted their first born son to have the freedom of expression associated with the flare and impact of the author.
Asher is a name the Carpenter’s came upon while reading a jewish author, Chiam Potak, an author who wrote “My Name is Asher Lev”. In short, the character of Asher is torn between leading a life based largely on the power of art, free expression, and imagination vs. the life of his parents who are Hasidic, entrenched in ritualist behaviors, but whom Asher truly adores. It’s very true that Brad and Olivia obviously wanted their second child, a daughter, to also feel the freedom to express themselves true to their calling, even if that calling be different in ways from others close to them.
But, less obvious, yet still important when understanding who Brad is, is that Brad himself struggled while growing up Christian in his own household. Like the character of Asher, Brad’s beliefs did not conform to all the belief of his family, particularly his father. As Brad became more in tune with his faith he realized in his teens that his faith differed from the faith of his father, a man whom Brad shares an intense love and loyalty. The realization of the distinction between his father’s type of Christianity and his own, was grief ridden but in the end acceptable to both.
Perhaps most compelling is the naming of their youngest child Story. While in seminary studies Brad again felt the torque of a spiritual clash forming within himself. At the time he was being taught to preach using an outline with a particular form and function almost a cookie cutter type of approach. But as you may discern by now Brad loves narrative, and the powers of spontaneous story telling and Brad clarifies to me that the way he has come to view his life is that he is not the author of his own story and his destiny is not in his hands. being Christian Brad believes Jesus is the ultimate author, and Brad’s destiny as an individual lies in His hands. Furthermore, to understand this is to understand why our lives take dramatic turns, and take us to places we would not chose. And, in the case of Brad, Olivia and Story, their story would indeed take an unexpected twist.
When Story was developing Olivia and Brad found out that she had complications, complications that are still to a large degree not understood. Story’s skeletal system is not developing in the same way as ours do. And, the outcome of this is still a mystery. The doctors we able to discover the developmental issues even before Story was born, but after Brad and Olivia had landed upon her name. In fact, with Story the name had come to Brad in the middle of the night while asleep. Suddenly he awoke and the name Story was in his head loud and clear so much so that he immediately woke Olivia and told her that he had been awoken with a name for their child. And, as Brad tells it, the exact moment the doctors informed them of Story’s unexpected condition, they both simultaneously realized the significance of her naming.
Story was indeed a grace that had come into their lives as part of a tale far deeper and more complex than they could ever comprehend. A story that continues to unwind itself in a very beautiful and loving way. For when Brad speaks of Story, one can sense the importance of faith in his life, his compelling feelings, and the path he and his family are on together right here in our community and on the curbs of East Sacramento.

editor@valcomnews.com

Over the Fence:

Vic’s goes belly up

Shown here is the front of the Vic's market. Still hanging on the front of the store was an “Under New Management” sign. The sign has been up for over a year and just this week the store filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Neighbors are asking, what next? Some have started petitions to bring Trader Joe's to fill the spot.  / Photo by Monica Stark, editor@valcomnews.com

Shown here is the front of the Vic's market. Still hanging on the front of the store was an “Under New Management” sign. The sign has been up for over a year and just this week the store filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Neighbors are asking, what next? Some have started petitions to bring Trader Joe's to fill the spot. / Photo by Monica Stark, editor@valcomnews.com

VIC’S IGA GOES BELLY UP

Vic’s IGA, the supermarket with the zig zag roofline that anchors the South Hills Shopping Center, has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closed its doors.

Vic’s Market, which was originally a Jumbo Market designed by architect Sooky Lee back in 1968, has seen better days.

When I went by the tattered old market, the parking lot was empty, the trash cans were overfilled with garbage, and the two trees in the big blue pots were dead.

The big red and worn Vic’s sign had some damage that was being held together with duct tape. The “Under New Management” banner was still up, too. It was a sad scene.

Potential shoppers were trickling by asking, “Is Vic’s closed?”

Folks stopping by told me things like, “I knew something was up when the shelves were nearly empty.”

Another patron said, “the store used to be fully stocked. You go in there now, and you don’t know what you’re gonna get.”

Meat shouldn’t be green and lettuce shouldn’t be brown.

Sometimes that is what customers would get. A lot of the items were past the “best if sold by” date.

Vic’s ICK.

Vendors were stopping by the shuttered market, too. Donald Miller, who boasted he had 51 years in the grocery business, said, “I saw it coming. Bottom line. They didn’t know how to run a grocery store.”

Miller, who works for Acosta Sales and Marketing added, “If the right person comes along, they could make a go of this store.”

Shoppers were trickling into the vast parking lot and peeking in the door that had the “Hometown Pride” sticker on it when they found out about the store closure.

One patron asked, “Is it closed for good?”

Another person added, “I’m not surprised.”

Vic’s customers thought something was up and would ask the owner, who’s first name is Kumar, “What’s going on?” Kumar would tell people they were “remodeling and waiting for new equipment to come in.”

Bob Montenegro was peeking in the store window when he said, “I’ve been coming here for years, all the old employees are gone.” He added, “the last couple of months I stopped coming here because they had no bread or milk”.

The closing of the Vic’s also effects the two businesses that were sub leasing space from the owner; Beijing Wok and Good Eats Southern BBQ. An employee at the Beijing Wok was busy packing up bags of rice, peas and carrots and didn’t want to talk about the store closing. They were in a hurry moving their products out before the creditors came.

Eric McFadden, the owner of Good Eats Southern Bar-B-B-Q said, “On Monday, the doors were locked and foamed; I couldn’t get into my own business.”

Eric said, “I knew something was going on.” The owner had told him and everybody else they were planning a remodel of the store and that was the reason for the half-empty shelves.

While I spoke to Eric, his business partner Dawn Sirstad was running out to rent a U-Haul truck. They were in a hurry to move out all their restaurant equipment before the doors were locked and foamed again.

McFadden was annoyed at the situation but was already making calls to move Good Eats BBQ to a nearby location.

Good Eats BBQ, which gets rave reviews on Yelp for their old fashioned comfort food, may move into the empty Brick Oven Pizza building located on the right side of the shopping center.

His goal is to open very soon and have “The Big Mama Grill,” BBQ-ing ribs outside the joint. He is currently in negotiations with the property management company which also manages Vic’s and the entire right side of the shopping center.

Good Eats would give some life to that side of the shopping center which recently lost Erawan Thai Restaurant. Erawan moved over to Freeport Boulevard.

Vic’s Market closing leaves a big hole in the historic South Hills shopping center. Hopefully, a higher quality market can move in while keeping the original architecture of the building intact.

Camellia Waldorf plans move to CP Huntington campus

Camellia Waldorf School, a private Waldorf elementary on Freeport Boulevard, is currently looking to move on over to the closed down CP Huntington public school campus in the Brentwood neighborhood.

Camellia Waldorf has been at the current site on Freeport Boulevard for 25 years. They started out by renting one room from the storefront and that was their kindergarten. They have grown over the years to include a toddler program through eighth grade.

According to school administrator Ardyth Sokolor, “It was never intended to be a long term site, but it has worked nicely. At this point, it’s just not large enough.”

They are very interested in moving to the former CP Huntington campus and are working with the Sacramento City Unified School District to get it finalized. “(It’s) just a matter of process,” Sokolor said.

They are very interested in increasing their enrollment, but the space they are currently in is just not big enough.

The classrooms are small and they need more space for things like a woodworking studio, art space, and a strings room for an instrumental music program.

“We do more space sharing than we really would like,” Sokolar said.

“Our teachers want larger classrooms because one of the things that is unique about a Waldorf education is the children aren’t just sitting at their desks doing worksheets. They integrate a lot of movement and games and outdoor space and it would be wonderful to have more room.”

The grounds at the current site are all about the outdoors and nature. The children help to take care of the animals and they also have chores. The development of a strong will and work ethic is very important to a Waldorf education.

They use different types of play structures which means they’ll have to transform the CP Huntington school grounds from a mainstream public school to a Waldorf private school.

That’s where the permits and red tape come into play.

Camellia Waldorf has made efforts to inform parents of their proposed site relocation. They’ve had quite a few parent education offerings to let the parents know why they are interested in moving and why they think CP Hunnington works well for them.

They have also reached out to the Brentwood Neighborhood by canvassing the neighborhood and have had members of the Brentwood Neighborhood Association tour the campus and learn what a Waldorf education is all about.

“We also like the idea of being in a neighborhood instead of a shopping center. Community is an important part of who we are and what our parents are looking for and what we instill in our children. It’s very attractive to us to be in more of a community setting like that,” Sokolor said.

What will happen to the building and area Camellia Waldorf will be vacating?

Over the Fence has learned there have been some preliminary discussions to house a Safe Ground type facility on the 4.6-acre Sacramento City nursery once Camellia Waldorf relocates to the CP Huntington site. Stay tuned.

Got a local neighborhood news story? Email Greg@valcomnews.com

McFarland, USA

The MPPA has rated this PG

Disney brings us Kevin Costner in “McFarland, USA”. He plays a coach recently dismissed from a major college football team. He forms a cross-country team at a small non-descript school and makes state champions of them. Set in 1986, Costner, his wife and daughter arrive in small McFarland , California, populated mostly by Mexican-American farm workers. In his early days at the new high school, he manages to irritate the head football coach, and gets a small demotion. Urged by his wife to keep struggling on, he has an inspiration to start a cross-country team.

The students aren’t very impressed with him. From this unlikely beginning, he makes them much better, little by little, but multiple challenges present themselves as they do in life. Will they make it to the state championships? The cultural differences and learning to adapt is much at the basis of this movie all summed up and packaged in a way that is not like life, but more like Disney. The last time they gave us this type of a movie was “Million Dollar Arm” with John Hamm released in April of last year, not even a year from the time of this movie release. For many it will be perfectly entertaining, and there are no examples of bad performances. The production values too, are competent. It all seems familiar and predicable, however. You’ll not have a bad time seeing this, but you may have a sense of Déjà vu.

Janey Way Memories #138

The Dalton Children Revisited
Earlier this week, while perusing my Facebook messages, I discovered an eye-opening note. It came from a man named Ray Dalton. Those of you who have followed my column since its inception may remember a story titled: “The Dalton Children.”
That column tells the story of five children, Carolyn, Wayne, Donna, Bonnie and Wiley Dalton, abandoned by their parents and raised by their grandmother.
Unfortunately, their grandmother died suddenly in the early 1960s. When that happened, the Sacramento Department of Social Services looked for foster care for the children and placed the five oldest Dalton kids with their Aunt Mary Kinzel on Janey Way. The two youngest children, Ray and Patrick, went to live with a foster family in Southern California.
Ray is the one who sent me the Facebook message. He said that the story touched him and that he has been trying to reconnect with his siblings. His message made me feel good because I, too, would like to reconnect with the Dalton children.
When I wrote the story about how the kid’s aunt Mary took then into her house on Janey Way and raised them to adulthood, one of my Janey Way friends said that he felt that the Dalton children had a tough time of it in the Kinzel home.
You know, that does not surprise me. It had to be hard in that household. Mary had two children of her own: Richard and Nancy. Then, having five new children thrust into her world could not have been easy.
However, you would never have known it. The children were always neatly dressed and well behaved. They never complained, even though they had to do chores, some of us never had to do.
I think living on Janey Way really made their difficult transition a lot easier.
We accepted them into our gang without question. They became a part of the fabric of our neighborhood.
The one sad thing is, that they each, in turn left the Kinzel house when they turned eighteen years of age. This did not surprise them. Mary had told them well in advance, that it would happen.
However, once they left Janey Way, we lost track of them. The oldest girl, Carolyn, found work and moved on to who knows where. Her brother Wayne went on to study at U.C. Davis, married, and took a job outside of Sacramento. Unfortunately, he died of cancer in his early thirties.
The other kids went their separate ways. I heard that they moved to Oregon to re-unite with their parents.
I would love to see them again someday. They were nice kids.
However, now their story is just another mysterious Janey Way Memory.

marty@valcomnews.com

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 www.donutdash.org. 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 Glassdoor.com, 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.

Poker-face.

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.

greg@valcomnews.com

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
Greg@valcomnews.com