Over the Fence

Fatty Cow Hot Pot is a new business where Futami Japanese Restaurant was before, 5609 Freeport Blvd. This logo of an animated cow licking his lips with a big ole soup spoon soaking in a hot pot, was the winner of a logo design contest. Photo by Greg Brown

Fatty Cow Hot Pot is a new business where Futami Japanese Restaurant was before, 5609 Freeport Blvd. This logo of an animated cow licking his lips with a big ole soup spoon soaking in a hot pot, was the winner of a logo design contest. Photo by Greg Brown

It’ll be Off The Bike Chain.
Is your bike road ready? My bike has been sitting in the garage collecting cobwebs all winter long. I’m dusting it off and taking it over to the Neighborhood Bike Tune-up Clinic in Hollywood Park.
The Bike Tune-up Clinic takes place on Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to noon, at 2208 Murieta Way inside some lady’s garage. That lady is Glenda Marsh and she’s opening up her garage to help people get ready for spring and summer bike riding. Get advice on good routes about town, safety equipment, and how not to get mowed down on Freeport!
Perhaps you haven’t hopped on your bike for awhile. Maybe you have a creaking saddle or squealing brakes. Some dudes from the Bicycle Business will be at Glenda’s garage to let you know what you need done. Free advice!
Minor bike adjustments will be done on site for free. You’ll get a list of what you might need done on your own, or at a local bike shop. We have quite a few great bike shops nearby. Bicycle Business, College Cyclery and Vintage Bicycle Supply are all in the area.
I know I have to get my rear end off the La-Z-Boy recliner and onto my Electra Cruiser.
If you need more info about the bike tune-up, email marshmellow8562@yahoo.com
Vintage Bicycle Supply is now on Broadway. Look for the small neon sign in the window just past 17th Street on Broadway. The shop was originally housed in a warehouse space in Hollywood Park, but owner Mike Shaneyfelt wanted a store front. “We were looking for a place with windows and a showroom and all that stuff.”
He actually wanted to stay in Hollywood Park, but couldn’t convince building owners on a location on Freeport Boulevard for needed renovations. He still does restoration work out of the warehouse in the HP.
Shaneyfelt found the perfect storefront at 1710 Broadway – a nice, small space that used to be a Mail Boxes Etc. He recently installed a sign that lights up cool neon at night.
He’s selling vintage bikes, vintage parts, new parts, fix gear. They do restorations; they’ll service your vintage bike, anything you want or need. They also buy sell and trade. Drop in if you’re looking for an old Schwinn.
“We customize stuff here, we try to set the bike up to what somebody wants. If they don’t like that color, we’ll paint it.”
He also doesn’t charge exorbitant prices to tune up a bike, just about $40 for a bike with gears.
Vintage Bicycle Supply also puts on events and swaps.
Mike and his friend Ted put together an annual custom bike show and swap meet called “Sacramento Cyclefest” in Fremont Park. This year it will be on Sunday, May 18. “Everybody comes out to the park and it’s a lot of fun – real kid-friendly,” Mike told me. They have jumpers and all that stuff. Food trucks, too.
I guess new owners had taken over Futami Japanese Restaurant a few years ago and it was all downhill from there. Some folks on Yelp! even cautioned, “Stay away from the sashimi.”
Futami’s is now closed.
The restaurant (5609 Freeport Blvd.) has been empty since last year, but will have new life under a new name and new owner.
They’re calling it Fatty Cow Hot Pot. I’ve had a Hot Pocket but never a hot pot. For those who don’t know, hot pot is stew or soup simmering in the middle of the table with a variety of thinly sliced meat, seafood, leaf vegetables, wontons and egg dumplings. Fatty Cow is “looking to serve the younger and more hip crowd,” according to the owners. The interior of the building will be getting a big facelift, too.
Perhaps you’ve seen the irreverent sign driving down Freeport Boulevard. The logo is an animated cow licking his lips with a big ole soup spoon soaking in a hot pot. The owners had a logo design contest on the website, 99Design.com. They asked for a logo that is catchy and “represents our business name.” Also, they didn’t want anything “too high-class looking.”
“I do not want to scare customer away making them think that they can’t afford to eat here.”
I hope the restaurant is as good as the new logo.

Over The Fence with Greg Brown

Photo by Greg Brown

Photo by Greg Brown

I’m a little late to the party on this one. Eddy’s Deluxe has moved from its East Sacramento location on J Street to a new warehouse location right next to Track 7 Brewery in City Farms. This all happened last September. Again, late to the party.
Better late than never, right? And the kick in the dungarees is, it’s right next to Track 7!
It’s now just a one-woman show at Eddy’s Deluxe. One woman, one barber chair, same retro barbershop theme. “If no one shows up, it’s just me,” owner Rea MacSems said. She now takes appointments. While I was there, a few guys wandered in accidentally looking for Track 7 Brewery. One guy even had a growler in his hand searching for a refill. She’s gonna get a lot of accidental business. Spillover you know? It’s ingenious!
The warehouse location on Pacific Avenue is where Rea has her Cock Grease hair pomade empire. She’s also been slapping together some cool live music shows a couple times a month.
Get a haircut, get a Panic IPA. Rea told me, “The shows have been pretty sweet, too.” They just rolled up the metal doors to see what would happen and folks just came filtering in.
“The shows have been low-key and fun. Very people friendly,” Cruz Ordonezy, who was getting his hair coiffed and cut by Rea, said. They actually met over at Track 7 when Rea told him about her new barbershop location next door.
Back in February, they had the Booze Bombs all the way from Germany, as well as, the Twilight Drifters. Coming up on March 23, they’ll have another free show with The Hucklebucks performing some New Orleans Blues.
They were having a real hootenanny at the Cock Pit when I dropped by recently. A fun little record party at the Pit. Cactus Pete, a soft-spoken gentleman, came by to spin ‘78 and ‘45 vinyl records for a few hours. He’s a big collector of Old Country, Boogie Woogie stuff from the 30s, 40s, and hot jazz.
Then he put the needle down on Struttin’ With Some Barbeque. “It’s an old classic”. Pete said.
He followed that up with a song called “Trucker Boogie” from Arthur “Guitar” Smith. Cactus Pete added, “When you’re middle name is Guitar, it means you must be awfully good on guitar”.
People were dancing along to Cactus Pete’s hot jazz tunes and putting some cash in his tip jar. There were quite a few couples dancing to the Lindy Hopper’s Delight, too!
A lot of the folks were taking advantage of the Track 7 brewery next door and the food truck parked outside, too. The sliders from the Krush Burger food truck were being devoured while people listened to Cactus Pete’s Record Roundup.
Eddy’s Deluxe is a marvelous addition to the new vibe over at City Farms. Perhaps, it will spur even more coolness to the neighborhood.
Rea MacSems cuts hair at Eddy's Deluxe, which is located in City Farms, next to Track 7 Brewery. Photo by Greg Brown

Rea MacSems cuts hair at Eddy's Deluxe, which is located in City Farms, next to Track 7 Brewery. Photo by Greg Brown

And more retro-ness….SacMod, based in South Land Park and all about retro-ness, will be hosting a “Double Feature Drive-in Event” at the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-in. SacMod has teamed up with Director and Producer April Wright. She has a documentary called “Going Attractions-The Definitive Story of the American Drive-In Movie”. She will be at the SacMod event to answer questions and give a presentation about the documentary. Almost everybody has fond memories of going to the drive-in movies, especially Baby Boomers who grew up watching them on the big screen under the stars. My wife, son, and I recently went to the Sacramento 6 Drive-in together to see “Turbo and Planes”. It was a great family experience!
The numbers of drive-in movies is sadly dwindling as developers swoop in and tear them down for a more lucrative commercial development. But that’s not always the case. A lot of drive-in movies are simply just abandoned graveyards due to a cultural shift. According to the press kit, “A cultural movement is emerging among drive-in enthusiasts and families who want to return to simpler times and values. This film reflects the feelings of people who believe this American icon is worth saving for future generations.”
The SacMod Drive-in event is a double feature. The classic Oscar-nominated film, “American Graffiti”, will be the second movie featured at the Sacramento 6 Drive-in – a perfect double-feature. Cruising in 1962 Modesto. Maybe drive-in movies will make a spectacular comeback and the Sacramento 6 Drive-ins will be here for many more years. The SacMod Event is on March 29 at the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In, with ticket sales starting at 6 p.m. See you there Daddy-O!
Have any local neighborhood newsy news? Shoot me an e-mail at Greg@valcomnews.com

Over the Fence

Shoki's Ramen house shown here on 24th Street will be taking over the old Ford's Hamburger stand on Sutterville Blvd. Photo by Monica Stark

Shoki's Ramen house shown here on 24th Street will be taking over the old Ford's Hamburger stand on Sutterville Blvd. Photo by Monica Stark

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


Paul Petrovich presents his new proposal to Curtis Park residence at the Sierra 2 Center. Photo by Greg Brown

Paul Petrovich presents his new proposal to Curtis Park residence at the Sierra 2 Center. Photo by Greg Brown

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.


Freeport Asian Market, a new grocery store on Freeport Boulevard recently held its grand opening. It’s right across the street from Ho Chin Chinese Market. Photo by Greg Brown

Freeport Asian Market, a new grocery store on Freeport Boulevard recently held its grand opening. It’s right across the street from Ho Chin Chinese Market. Photo by Greg Brown

The line has been drawn on Freeport Boulevard. There’s a new Chinese market on Freeport Boulevard called Freeport Asian Market. It’s right across the street from Ho Chin Chinese Market. A Chinese market throw-down!
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.

People stand in line, waiting for their tasty lunches. Photo by Greg Brown

People stand in line, waiting for their tasty lunches. Photo by Greg Brown

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 owner David Gull looks over blueprints to the new kitchen. Photo by Greg Brown

New Helvetia owner David Gull looks over blueprints to the new kitchen. Photo by Greg Brown

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

Over the Fence

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.

Over The Fence

Mercado Loco’s last days on Sutterville and Franklin are nearing. New work begins in about a year or year and a half for a new CVS Pharmacy, which will take its real estate. Photo by Greg Brown

Mercado Loco’s last days on Sutterville and Franklin are nearing. New work begins in about a year or year and a half for a new CVS Pharmacy, which will take its real estate. Photo by Greg Brown

The blueprints have been drawn up. The property will be vacated. Mercado Loco is saying adios to their Mexican food market on the corner of Franklin Boulevard and Sutterville Road. I guess folks need their Lipitor because a CVS pharmacy is taking over that spot.
I spoke with Fred Emery the manager of Mercado Loco who said, “We’re not too happy about leaving but, we’re just a small company”. He’s also unsure of where they’ll move. Hopefully all the employees go with him to the new location.
A lot of local people love the market. Local food blogger Ally Gaffin, who writes a Girl And Her Fork, raves about the Mercado Loco at Sutterville and Franklin. “I love strolling through their produce department, everything is always fresh and so inexpensive! I usually will stock up on jalapeños, fresh garbanzos (in the pod), limes and cilantro during my visit.”
The Mexican market also gets a lot of kudos on Yelp. David O writes, “I don’t just shop local, I shop loco!”
And I like the Big Pink Mexican cookies also known as polvorones rosas. You’ll never find that at a CVS.
Work on the new CVS will begin in about a year or year and a half.
Surprisingly, without talking to anybody, the Sacramento Children’s Home cut a deal with CVS to develop it. They didn’t exert any influence over the design aspects. They got a cookie-cutter suburban anywhere USA CVS plan.
The Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Concerns Committee saw the plans and thought, “Ugly, Ugly, Ugly“. They asked CVS for brick, arches, and bigger and lower windows for a better pedestrian experience. They also moved the bike parking from the back corner to “rock star bike parking” right in front. The reason for parking in front is it deters theft.
CVS was also doing a very urban unfriendly thing by asking for more parking spaces than the city required. There was no evidence that they actually needed that much blacktop devoted to parking, about ten or fifteen more spaces. They will be doing a little more landscaping to replace the blacktop.
I guess it’s not all bad for my fajita loving friends. They’re getting rid of the recycling center in the parking lot. Some local residents are not fans of the recycling center.
CVS is an anywhere USA type of store. And I doubt they’ll have a salsa fridge. It’s too bad a store with character has to move out because CVS has the big bucks.
If you have any news or items of interest feel free to e-mail me. Greg@valcomnews.com

Over the Fence

Bob Hamm has been doing plants sales for more than 20 years that benefit Sunburst Projects, which provides support services to families affected by HIV/AIDS. He stands here outside the Curtis Park home where the plant sales occur. Photo by Greg Brown

Bob Hamm has been doing plants sales for more than 20 years that benefit Sunburst Projects, which provides support services to families affected by HIV/AIDS. He stands here outside the Curtis Park home where the plant sales occur. Photo by Greg Brown

Everybody loves a good sale, right? It’s hard to pass up a bargain. Unfortunately, for Bob Hamm and his partner Kyle it was an Emergency Plant Clearance Sale for all the wrong reasons last month.

Bob Hamm has been doing plants sales for more than 20 years that benefit Sunburst Projects, which provides support services to families affected by HIV/AIDS.

They had to vacate their apartment in Curtis Park due to unforeseen circumstances. It’s sort of a “he said she said” thing with the property management company. Bob had to clear as much plant material as possible before they could vacate and find a new place to live.

They had actually been good tenants and more. They redid the entire front landscape. The neighbors loved it.

Then out of the blue a new person was put in as property manager. She told them, “The plants look messy. They all have to come out.” So they had to tear everything out. Then, all the potted plants had to go even though the lease says nothing about potted plants.

It created problems for the charity plant sale because they’ll be living in Natomas where they’ve been hurriedly moving their plants. Commuting back and forth has been “something of a nightmare” as Bob put it.

The Valley Benefit Plant Sale had its last sale of the year this month. They’ll be back selling native plants in the spring. Despite the property management issues they exceeded their goal of raising $7,000 this year by almost $1,000!

In their annual donation appeal Bob asked the community if they would like to see new plants at the 2014 plant sales in Curtis Park. He also asked for small donations to help keep them going through 2014. Bob puts out a helpful monthly e-mail called “Garden Notes” to members who donate. Lots of gardening tips! To donate or get more info about the benefit plant sales, you can e-mail vbpssac@gmail.com. Bob is also available by appointment through spring at 617-7516


The building that used to house Ford’s Hamburgers in Land Park has been vacant for over a year. It’s been sitting empty and alone for quite awhile. It may be springing to life soon. I noticed some activity and had to pull over. There was a European lady with a thick accent “cleaning up” the place. She didn’t seem to have much information but she did inform me that “there will be Asian cuisine going in at the location” perhaps before the end of the year. Finally! Something the area doesn’t have enough of…a Chinese restaurant!


This large McMansion is being built in Carleton Tract just north of Hollywood Park. It’s a palatial two-story house with more than 3,600 square feet. Photo by Greg Brown

This large McMansion is being built in Carleton Tract just north of Hollywood Park. It’s a palatial two-story house with more than 3,600 square feet. Photo by Greg Brown

There’s a new McMansion being built in Carleton Tract just north of Hollywood Park. Well, it’s not exactly new. The palatial two-story house with more than 3,600 square feet is getting a complete makeover since it was sold in August of last year. The new owner says she wants to “flip it” and already has some interested buyers.

A residential care home? A halfway house? A frat house? She wouldn’t say.

The new owner, who’s also a contractor, is really fixing up the property on the corner lot. Sparing no expense, everything is new — granite countertops, shiny silver appliances, new tile and fixtures…the works! There’s a whole new outside, too. There are structural changes as well as new landscaping to replace dead grass in the front and the back.

The big two-story house on the block has seven bedrooms and six baths. Sounds like whoever moves in will have plenty of bathrooms to choose from. A home with six bathrooms is unheard of in Carlton Tract. Most of the homes nearby are two or three bedrooms, one bath with 1,200 square feet of living space. One of the neighbors remarked: “This house is bigger than some of the homes in Land Park.” It even has two staircases leading to the upstairs. “One to go up and the other to go down” as one neighbor put it.

The house and its residents have a colorful history. Let’s just say “The Brady Bunch” never lived there. It’s “more like the Addams Family” did, as one of the neighbors told me. The house was moved in the late 1960’s from Hollywood Park to an empty plot of land on 20th and Attawa. It was located right behind what is now Mak’s Gas Station on Freeport. This is according to one of the neighbors who wanted to remain anonymous.

The old man who relocated the house died in the early 90’s and that’s when things went downhill. His family took over. One of the neighbors deemed them “The Addams Family”. They mentioned the pale-faced “high-stepper” who would walk the neighborhood like a drugged-out zombie. There were all types of strange people crashing at the house. It turned into a flophouse.

The house was eventually sold around 2003 and it subsequently turned from Flophouse to Party House with flashy cars coming and going and big parties every weekend, according to neighbors. According to one, there were “nasty-looking toothless hookers in and out.” One of the neighbors told me there was “a lot of stuff going on.” I asked him, “What kind of stuff?” He said, “Nothing good.”

The home should be ready for sale in the coming month.


Over the Fence

The finish line of Urban Cow Half Marathon. Photo by Greg Brown

The finish line of Urban Cow Half Marathon. Photo by Greg Brown

From Mooooo to Boooooo. The Urban Cow Half Marathon was held this month and the entire neighborhood knew about it. It was hard not to hear about it at six in the morning. Residents were jolted awake from their slumber early Sunday morning to the sounds of high-energy bass pounding nightclub music blaring from Land Park.

The high-energy thumping tunes were heard as far as a mile away. One neighbor called 3-11 and was told they received a permit for “amplified noise.” At six in the morning? It’s a marathon, not Woodstock. Most of the serious runners were wearing ear buds, anyway.

I slipped on my sweats and went down there. The sound guy from Clarity Sound said: “It all kicked off at 6 in the morning“. He added: “It’s just a bunch of businesses, anyway”.

Residents in the area vented their sleepy eyed objections on Facebook. Ski Taylor noted, “I understand they probably want to get the participants awake and excited, but it’s really not cool to be woken up so early in such a way on a Sunday.”

Tina Harris mentioned, “I’ve lived in this area all my life and never heard such a loud PA as right now. Come on people. Someone needs to get fired.“

Brian Guido piped in, “No one here is against the city hosting a good event that brings revenue to our area, but frankly, marching drums at 6:45 a.m. is a bit much. Good thing I didn’t just get home from a graveyard shift.”

There were also marching bands marching and drumming all over Land Park bright and early.

Donna Zick of Land Park called the police non-emergency number she was told “it was part of the race permit so nothing could be done about it.“

When the drum corps finally stopped they were overheard saying, “We never played that long before”, which one of the Land Park neighbors thought, “No kidding“.

Emily Elders Ballestrini quipped, “Urban Cow is getting on the wrong side of enough people that they might be shooting themselves in the hoof.”

According to public records, Sacramento’s 3-11 had quite a few complaint calls about the Urban Half Cow marathon noise. The Urban Cow Half Marathon voicemail was also filled up with complaints.

I spoke with race organizer Rich Hanna and he was genuinely very apologetic about the noise complaints. “We did get some complaints from the neighbors and I can feel for them. There are definitely things we can work on to get into good graces with the neighborhood because we’re fortunate to be able to utilize the park for this event.” Rich added he thought the sound was “too loud, too early” and it was a little louder than what he was used to.

Rich said he’ll work with the sound guys so the noise is toned down for next year. Maybe they’ll pass out earplugs for the entire neighborhood the night before!

He added he’s going to place the marching band downtown on the Capitol Mall next year since there are no neighbors in that area. The marching band caused quite a stir among some neighbors who lived along Riverside Boulevard.

They’ve been doing the Half Cow Marathon for nine years and haven’t had a noise issue like that before. Looks like the folks at the Half Cow Marathon got the message from the neighbors loud and clear.


Photo courtesy of Desiree Bertolani

Photo courtesy of Desiree Bertolani

Finally, a 5k fun run for the hirsute. The Sacramento Moustache 5K Run And Walk takes place Saturday Nov. 16 at Sutter’s Landing. It kicks off at 4 p.m.

It’s a “not to be taken too seriously run.”

When I think moustaches I always think carpeted old Chevy van and brown corduroy pants or Magnum PI.

What look should one go for? The Chevron, which was popularized by Tom Selleck and Freddie Mercury? How about the eccentric Dali moustache? Grow the moustache of a true artist and run like hell. There’s always the pencil moustache also referred to as the mouth brow. Mayor Kevin Johnson and director John Waters both sport the mouth brow.

And you can’t talk moustache without mentioning Burt Reynolds. See, I just mentioned him.

Desiree Bertolani, an organizer of the event and a moustache aficionado says her favorite moustache is the handlebar. I’ve always wanted to grow the Imperial, which was worn by Union Army General Ambrose Burnside.

I better get growin’.

Just don’t shave the upper lip for a few weeks and see what happens. You may even like the new look.

Grow whatever you got and join the fun down at Sutter’s Landing. There’s actually a reason to run. Participants are running like mad to get away from the dastardly barber who wants to shave off their mustache. He will be chasing participants with a straight edge razor and a not so straight face along the American River.

A real moustache is not required. Get a fake one or draw one on. Women and children are encouraged to participate in the fun run. Slap a fake moustache on Junior and join the Fun Run!

After surviving the run and avoiding the fiendish barber participants can enjoy the “Mo For Your Bro After party“, which includes live local music from The Bennys and Nideit, beer from Hoppy and Lost Coast breweries. You’ll be sure to get some suds on your stache. Drewski’s, Papa Dale’s, and OMG Burgers will be serving up the food truck grub for the hungry mustachioed runners.

There will also be a moustache contest for Best Real Mustache, Best Fake Moustache and Best Kid Moustache. The judging will be done by local moustache connoisseurs. Part of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society and the Active 20/30 Club.


Over the Fence

Phono Select Records is now open to the public. They’ve moved from their K Street location and have a new spot on 24th street near Panama Pottery in an industrial part of town. There’s plenty of free parking and plenty of vinyl records. I love the new location. Their new approach involves being open to the public one Saturday each month to start; private appointments and special events will still be available during the remainder of the month.

When I dropped in on their grand re-opening people were elbow-to-elbow browsing through the racks looking for their favorite artists on vinyl and CD.

The owner of Phono Select, Dal Basi, told me he likes the new location because “it only takes him five minutes to get here”. He and his family live in nearby Mangdan Park. They lost their lease at the old K Street location.

Dal told me, “We’re trying to get the more eclectic side of all the genres. We’re not genre snobs. It could be punk to heavy metal, space rock, experimental, 20th century weird classics, the outer fringes, whatever you want to call it”.

Scott Burns of South Land Park said he “had to be here for the grand opening and was looking for anything unusual and interesting”. And he definitely had that. Scott was purchasing an old Clara Rockmore record. She was a virtuoso performer of the theremin, an electronic musical instrument she helped popularize.

Scott added, “They were the best record shop when they closed, I wish them every bit of success. They have such a unique product that people are gonna find them.”

Kevin Hawkins of South Land Park, who found some Live Neil Young, Gary Moore live as well as a Bonnie Raitt record said, “The Beat went away which left a hole in the record community and it seems like this community is large enough to be able to support a handful of record stores. The new location is pretty cool, too.”

When I asked him what he was looking for at Phono Select Kevin said, “I like just going into a record store and letting what’s there dictate what I walk out with. I like to be surprised.”

Don’t be surprised if Phono Select is a big hit in it’s new location.
A man got trapped inside the old Masonic Cemetery nestled between Odd Fellows and the Sacramento City Cemetery on Riverside Boulevard. There are plenty of places to lie down in there but he was having none of that. The folks at Valcom News heard lots of loud, panicky honking coming from across the street — loud enough to wake up the dead. They went outside to see what all the commotion was about and turns out there was indeed a man trapped inside the Masonic Cemetery.

There’s a posted sign that tells visitors the gates close at 4:15 p.m. and are locked at 4:30 p.m. The man, John Lozano, said: “they saw me come through the gate.”

They usually do a thorough search but sometimes they “miss somebody in the shadows under the trees“ according to Tony Pruitt who manages Odd Fellows Cemetery.

With all the chaos the employees from George L. Klumpp’s Chapel of Flowers across the street came outside to see what was going on. Turns out a couple of their staff have keys to the gate. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the correct keys since all the locks had been changed recently due to theft.

Don Macvicar, who manages the Masonic Lawn Cemetery, had his car broken into awhile back at the cemetery and the thieves stole keys to everything — the office, the gate, garage and storage facility. So he had to change the locks.

The man was still trapped. The sun was going down and the cemetery takes on a whole new spooky feel to it at night. It’s rumored to be haunted. There have been reports of several ghosts, including a young girl playing near the headstone of a deceased child, a couple dressed in black and even a dog that follows visitors around the cemetery.

Maybe the ghost dog could have dug a hole under the fence for John to crawl through to get out. That would have made a great story!

Mr. Macvicar received a call about a man stuck in the cemetery while he was “watching the news eating dinner.“ Don drove all the way back to the cemetery and was able to unlock the gate and let the man out.

Let’s hope they got some duplicate keys made for the next time somebody gets trapped in the cemetery.

Got any news tidbits or items of Interest? Greg@valcomnews.com