Over the Fence: Look, up in the sky, it’s a drone in Land Park!

Some drone videos showcase remote Alaskan ice caves, cascading waterfalls in Costa Rica, even earthquake damage in Napa. Sacramento resident Tim Pantle showcases the beauty of the Sacramento area with his aerial photos and drone videos on his blog “Love Where You Live”.

I hung out with Tim while he was getting aerial views of the Urban Cow Half Marathon that was held in William Land Park recently. He also filmed some nice shots of the golf course, Fairytale Town and the Sacramento Zoo.

We spoke about the good, the bad, and the ugly of quadcopters. Drone videos have been somewhat controversial but Tim is the “Mister Rogers of drone video operators.” He does nothing nefarious — just good, wholesome, fun videos of the Sacramento area.

What spurred Tim’s quadcopter hobby is he wanted to start a blog of some kind. One day, he saw a picturesque drone video of the old Fair Oaks Bridge and he was hooked. “I’ve always been that tech-geek and used to be really into photography,” Tim said. He loves the challenge of “getting the good shot.”

He was getting plenty of good shots of the Urban Cow Half Marathon and William Land Park the day we got together.

At the start of the half marathon, the announcer told runners to “wave to teh drone,” as Tim’s Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter was filming over head.

When Tim was filming on the fifth hole at Land Park Golf Course, a golfer took a practice swing from the fairway then turned around to smile and wave. The drone makes a loud buzzing, swarm-of-bees sound, so I was surprised the golfer let the quadcopter bother him. Most golfers demand complete silence before hitting a fairway wood on a par 4 hole.

The Phantom 2 Vision reminds me of the Starship Enterprise from the old Star Trek series. It has a similar look. If you can operate a joystick, you can certainly operate a quadcopter. Tim syncs it up with GPS. It’s the ultimate in tech gadgetry for a photographer. If the battery goes dead, or it loses connection with his remote it’ll fly back to where it started and land. It has a brain! The controller has a WiFi extender that allows the drone to send a signal to his phone so he can see what the camera sees.

The Phantom 2 Vison has quite a few different names, including an aerial drone, quadcopter, UAV or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The term drone came about because the vehicles sounded like worker bees known as “drones.”

Tim’s a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker and he thought the quadcopter or drone would be a great aspect of selling real estate. “Unfortunately I can’t use it for real estate because of FAA rules of no commercial, at the time that I bought it that rule wasn’t in place.”

There are a few rules when it comes to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The laws are still trying to catch up with the technology.

You cannot use it for commercial purposes. You can’t go above 400 feet. It’s also a big “no no” in national parks. Yosemite National Park has banned drones after they became a nuisance to vistors of the park. Another rule is you can’t fly within three miles of an airport.

Whereas Tim uses his drone for good, clean, wholesome fun, other drone operators aren’t as level headed and responsible as Tim.

There have been many publicized incidents of aerial drones causing problems. One drone operator flew over a nude beach in Hawaii that created an online stir.

Technically, there’s nothing illegal about being a “creepy pest” because it was a public beach. When the operator was confronted by one of the sunbathers he accused him of breaking the law by being nude in public, which is technically illegal in Hawaii.

Got that? Being nude illegal, filming people nude, legal.

One man actually shot down a New Jersey man’s drone after it hovered near his home. He blew it out of the sky with his shotgun. Kaboom! The guy who shot down the drone was arrested and charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and Criminal Mischief. Oops.

Then there is the case of a 17-year-old teen who was innocently filming the shoreline of a beach in Florida. A woman became enraged and assaulted him because she thought he was filming bikini-baring beach goers. The video of the confrontation is quite disturbing. The woman called the police; but, after they viewed the I-Phone video from the teen’s camera, she was arrested for assault.

Tim told me he thinks “some of the news coverage is overblown.”

I spoke with Rob Watkins at RC Country Hobby on Folsom Boulevard and he said, “I’m more concerned in the type of person and how they’re flying them than the quadcopters themselves.”

Rob mentioned an incident where a guy was flying his drone over the Sand Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills. It caused the grounding firefighting aircraft.

“We sell a lot of them here and they’re fun to fly. It just concerns me what people are doing with them,” Rob said.

What Tim is doing with his drone videos is making people feel good. The feedback Tim gets is all positive. His most popular drone video is the Del Campo High School campus. He’s actually from the graduating class of ’86. His quadcopter gives an aerial documentation of the campus as it slowly glides over the mighty oak tree that is at the center of the campus. The aerial video ends on the newly build Cougar football stadium. He also has an ethereal soundtrack that plays during the video. It elicited quite a few emotional responses on a Del Campo High School reunion page. Gregory Hansel, a class of 1984 alumni said, “Am I the only one who got a bit emotional seeing that? School hasn’t changed much. A lot of memories.”

Tim also has an enchanting drone video of the Sacramento River at the Tower Bridge. The quadcopter glides right over the golden bridge to reveal an aerial shot not many people have seen — the tip top of the Tower Bridge. It’s accompanied by some Joe Satriani-style guitar riffs. He also filmed a video of the American River near the Fair Oaks bluffs and bridge, another picturesque drone video of the area Tim calls home.

If you search You Tube, there are numerous beautiful, edgy, and just plain magical videos of nature’s beauty. These drone videos, by far, outnumber the irresponsible and innocuous ones that tend to get headlines. Waterfalls, cliff diving, and amazing Alaskan glacier views are just some of the subjects drone videos have beautifully captured.

Drone videos are also publicizing social justice like the Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong. There is an aerial drone video of hundreds of thousands of people in the street peacefully protesting.

There’s also aerial drone videos by The Swandiri Institute, an organization focusing its research on the political-ecology and social-ecological analysis of environmental change happening in Indonesia.

Drones are even helping to save the whales. The Ocean Alliance is a group that uses aerial drones to collect a broad spectrum of data from the whales without disturbing them. From the data, they advise scientists and policy makers on pollution and how to prevent the collapse of marine mammals and other sea life.

See? Aerial Drones are being used for good.

Which brings me back to Sacramento’s drone video photographer, Tim Pantle. He takes great pleasure in making drone videos that people have an emotional connection to. Tim also uses his common sense. “I don’t fly over people’s houses and if somebody shows any inkling they’re upset, I just leave. I’m not looking for any trouble.”

Tim is very careful and cautious with his quadcopter. When we were together, his plan was to fly over the Sacramento Zoo, but he was also a bit hesitant. Tim said, “I don’t know if I could fly over the zoo because it might disturb the animals. Common sense says, don’t bug the animals.”

He did manage to get some aerial footage of the zoo and no animals were disturbed.

Whether it’s Sacramento parks, historic bridges or our beautiful waterways Tim only uses his quadcopter for good. He also takes pride in giving Sacramento a bird’s eye view of the city he loves.

To check out all of Tim’s videos go to www.LoveSacramento.Blogspot.com

Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

Over the Fence: Slow down for wildlife in Land Park

John and Christina Maradik-Symkowick stand where they hope a new Hollywood Park sign will be constructed along Freeport Boulevard.

John and Christina Maradik-Symkowick stand where they hope a new Hollywood Park sign will be constructed along Freeport Boulevard.

Feathers flew everywhere in Land Park when a driver hit a goose slowly waddling across Land Park Drive between the baseball fields and the pond area. Details of the fowl fatality are sketchy. Perhaps the driver was speeding, texting, or just not paying attention. No clue on the make and model of the car.
A witness said the goose was suffering and in obvious pain. Suzanne Vice of Land Park told me via e-mail “It was very difficult for me to see.” She went on to say, she was tearful and what got to her the most was the gaggle of geese standing next to the dying goose. The geese gathered around their fatally injured friend and made loud, frantic noises.
It was a chaotic scene.
The City of Sacramento Parks and Recreation website mentions “do not feed the wildlife” They should add, “and don’t hit them with your Ford Focus either.”
Suzanne mentioned to me that “maybe better signage for drivers to be aware of wildlife crossing the street as well as many pedestrians, children, and joggers that cross the street as well.” She just thinks people should slow down.
Maybe a wildlife crossing sign could get drivers to slow down on that stretch of Land Park Drive. Maybe a goose crossing guard…hey, they have one for DMV workers on 24th!
I see a sign
Hollywood Park deserves a sign. Plenty of other established Sacramento neighborhoods have signs marking their territory. Why not Hollywood Park? Hollywood Park resident John Maradik-Symkowick is sprearheading an effort along with his wife Christina to get a Hollywood Park sign placed along Freeport Boulevard to “put the neighborhood on the map,” as John put it.
They found a perfect spot too. A small rectangular piece of city-owned property next to the Regional Transit bus stop. The little strip of land is located between the King of Curls and the Freeport Dental office. There’s a beautiful large pine tree and even some small palm trees growing on the “perfect place for a sign” spot. John joked about making the sign look like the Hollywood sign in the hills of Hollywood.
It obviously wouldn’t be that large and extravagant but John hopes it would make a similar impact. Maybe a 1950s era type sign.
A lot of Sacramento residents don’t even know where Hollywood Park is. When people ask “Where is Hollywood Park?,” the replies are usually, “Across from Raley’s” or “Do you know where Hollywood Hardware is?”
If there’s a sign, residents can say, “Look for the Hollywood Park sign.”
At least that’s the plan. John, who is also on the HPNA Board, has met with Sacramento City Council member Jay Schenirer’s office to discuss the possibility of a Hollywood Park sign. The proposed site is on city owned property. There’s even electrical that can be used to shine a light on the sign and surrounding area at night.
John and his wife came up with the idea together. Then John brought it to the attention of the HPNA.
When we were standing at the proposed spot for the sign, his wife Christina told me, “This is the fun phase. The dreams and aspirations as well as engaging with the community. Then comes the nitty gritty stuff”.
The nitty gritty stuff… like funding for the sign and implementation.
Where will the dough come from? The HPNA could pitch in some funds. The City of Sacramento might be able to contribute as well. There has been discussions about fundraisers too.
Local volunteers are also welcome. John put out a call for local artists, craftspeople, or “anyone with a creative itch that needs scratching”. He’s also been in talks with City Signs on Freeport with design ideas.
If the project moves forward, the HPNA board plans to pick a set of final designs to be voted on at a future Neighborhood Association General Meeting. A neighborhood sign that would reflect the neighborhood. Nothing too flashy….but something that would complement all the 1950s-era homes in the quaint little neighborhood that wants to burst out of the shadows of the more popular local neighborhoods.

Pho comes to Freeport Boulevard
Fatty Cow Hot Pot along Freeport Boulevard is the restaurant that never opened. They never served one hot pot. A lot of remodeling was done inside the former Futami Japanese Restaurant earlier this year but Fatty Cow never actually opened its doors for business.
People who like Hot Pot will have to set their sights elsewhere. I noticed a new sign had replaced the old sign of the fat cow licking his spoon.
The new restaurant will now be called Pho Garden, only this time the restaurant will actually open. The doors were not open when I dropped by but Sherry the psychic next door looked into her crystal ball and told me they would open Oct. 6.
Never doubt a psychic.
There are new neon signs in the window and some giant palm tree like plants ready to be placed around the restaurant.
I spoke over the phone with Jonathon Lam, who’s in charge of hiring the restaurant employees, and he told me they are “very excited about opening in the neighborhood.” He couldn’t give me any information on why Fatty Cow Hot Pot never actually opened. They never served one hot pot. So forget the hot pot and get ready for some pho on Freeport.
Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

They write the songs in Land Park

Ted Bazarnik, a Land Park resident, is part of the Nashville Songwriters Association. He's trying to get one of his songs recorded by an artist. Photo by Greg Brown

Ted Bazarnik, a Land Park resident, is part of the Nashville Songwriters Association. He's trying to get one of his songs recorded by an artist. Photo by Greg Brown

An artist can’t record a song without the words and music of a songwriter, but a catchy ditty with a good hook line can catapult an artist to the top.

The recording artist is always on the lookout for THAT BIG HIT.

That’s where the Nashville Songwriters Association International comes into play. NSAI is the world’s largest not-for-profit songwriters’ trade association. Established in 1967, the membership of more than 5,000 active and pro members spans the United States and six other countries. NSAI is dedicated to protecting the rights of and serving aspiring and professional songwriters in all musical genres.

The Northern California chapter is located right here in Sacramento and has more than 450 members.

The Northern California Chapter of the NSAI gathers at the Sierra 2 Center in Curtis Park on the second Wednesday night of each month. They get together to discuss and share their songs, bouncing ideas off of one another in a supportive and collaborative way. It’s a great way for them to inspire each other and have fun too.

I spoke with Gabrielle Kennedy, who is the Northern California coordinator for the NSAI and she told me, “We have pros, people that make their living being songwriters and musicians, come to Sacramento from Nashville quite often.”

A wide range of music industry professionals travel from Nashville several times a year to visit the local chapter of the NSAI. Last month, Rick Beresford, best known as the writer of the George Jones hit “If the Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me Her Memory Will,” hosted an all day workshop and gave feedback to folks attending. In September, Dan Hodges, a prominent music publisher, will be looking for songs to pitch to today’s country stars in a special event being held at Sidedoor Studios in Fair Oaks.

Another special event that will be held in late September is a workshop called “Arranging The Hits,” where writers can find out how to write and record their songs to sound like commercial hits. Larry Beaird from Nashville-based Beaird Music Group will be hosting the workshop. He’s one of Nashville’s top musicians who has played on the recordings of stars like Rascal Flatts, Faith Hill and Trace Adkins.

Members of the NSAI get feedback based on what their goals are. “Not everybody’s goal is to be on the radio, but if your goal is to be on the radio, then there is a certain type of structure that’s more common. You want it to be catchy and have a good hook,” Gabrielle said.

Most country music artists do not write their own songs, but there’s actually a greater opportunity in country versus pop to be a songwriter because your chances of getting something commercially cut are greater. “But it’s really tough,” Gabrielle told me.

If you are a member of the NSAI, you can send a song in once a month and they’ll have a pro critique it for you and send it back. You get professional guidance.

Members are also supporting one of the only organizations that go to Congress and lobby for the rights of songwriters. “That’s what NSAI’s primary purpose is,” Gabrielle said.

You’re paying a yearly due to fight legislation and to make sure your rights as a songwriter are protected. Right now they’re trying to get the royalty rate for songwriters increased for digital music. Currently the songwriters get 9 cents, and if they collaborate, they have to divvy that up.

NSAI is more important than ever due to the digital world like streaming music through Pandora. Pandora is a little “loosey goosey” when it comes to reporting which songs and artists are being listened to. It’s very difficult to keep track.

Gabrielle, who worked for CBS/Sacramento radio 10 years ago, set her radio career aside and decided to pursue her music dreams. She initially started a band with her sister called Gabscourt. Her sister got married and had two children and that left Gabrielle to continue to pursue her singer-songwriting career alone.

Gabrielle excitedly told me it looks as though she may get her first label cut soon. An artist named Canaan Smith signed to Mercury Records and he’s going to be coming out with his first album after the first of the year. They wrote a song five years ago with “some guy from Bermuda named Richard” as they like to refer to him.

Richard Bassett and Gabrielle actually met at an NSAI event in Lake Tahoe and began to collaborate. A Nashville publisher came to Sacramento at an NSAI event and she pitched the song to him and he loved it! He thought they both had a lot of talent so he invited them to come to Nashville to write with some seasoned Nashville writers.

“That was my first introduction about how Nashville does its songwriting. From that initial trip, I met Caanan and we all started writing songs together. One of those songs we wrote with him is looking like it’s gonna be a part of his first album,” Gabrielle said.

I mentioned to her “I bet that’s exciting,” and she told me, “Until it’s at Target or I can go to iTunes to buy it, I’m not gonna believe it til I see it.”

The song titled, “This Cigarette,” is about how a love, or person you’re in a relationship with, can treat you like their cigarette. “It’s kind of gritty country,” Gabrielle told me.

Shown here are local members of the Nashville Songwriters Association. The local chapter meets at Sierra 2. Photo by Greg Brown

Shown here are local members of the Nashville Songwriters Association. The local chapter meets at Sierra 2. Photo by Greg Brown


In a matter of time


You’re gonna burn me again
Light me up just long enough
For me to feel like it’s something
You’ll give me what I want
Pressing me to your lips
But you’ll put me out again
Like the end of this cigarette

She sent me the demo and I have a feeling the song will be headed to iTunes and the Target on Broadway next year!

You also may run into Gabrielle in the aisles at Target too, since she’s a Land Park resident.

Another member of the local chapter of the NSAI is Ted Bazarnik. He also lives in Land Park. He’s 72 years old and he’s not satisfied sitting around watching Matlock reruns, although he did quip, “I sometimes do that too.”

“When I was young, I was a musician,” Ted said. He started making music when he was about 16 years old in Auburn, New York. Mainly rock and roll and R&B. They performed on the college circuit: Syracuse University, Cornell, Colgate, and all those places back in the 1950s into the 1960s.

His band was called “Chuck Rubberlegs Shady and the Esquires,” which is quite a mouthful.

He decided to get out of the music business and go into law enforcement. He has a degree in Criminal Justice and worked for the University of California Police Department for 20 years. When he retired, he went to Utah and worked for the State Department Of Public Safety for 17 years and while he was in Utah he became interested in country music.

Ted went from fighting crime to writing country songs.

“I dated a cowgirl for awhile and she loved country music.” It kind of rubbed off on Ted. “She loved to sing along to all the country songs in the car.” He thought the music had great storytelling.

Ted was inspired to write her a song and everybody loved it. It was called “A Girl Named Tracey.” They still keep in touch to this day.

He got serious about song-writing once he moved back to California. Ted thought to himself, “I need something to do. I’m too old to get out on the road and play clubs and stuff…I’m 72 and have bad knees. But my brain still works!”

He started surfing the web and found NSAI. He went down to Nashville to visit a friend and he “fell in love with the place. I absolutely went crazy. I stopped by the NSAI office and told them, ‘sign me up.’”

When he got back to Sacramento, he contacted Gabrielle Kennedy, who headed up the Sacramento chapter, and that’s how it all started.

Ted isn’t afraid of technology either. He uses Facebook regularly and even pitched his first demo via Skype. He pitched it to Curb Records and they loved so much they added it to their catalog. He also pitched the demo at a local NSAI workshop. Steve Bloch, who has a publishing company in Nashville, liked it and took it with him back to Nashville. It’s a big deal having a music publisher put a song in their catalog. The song is called, “Wish I May.” The idea came to Ted while he was sitting on his deck and he had the TV going at the same time. As Ted tells it, “I heard the Disney ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ that comes on before the movie…and I thought I’ll write a song about wishes.”

“Wish I May” is about a guy who’s been searching for somebody special and he knows that somebody special is out there for him.

Ted regularly collaborates with the other members of the NSAI including Chris Burrows of Sacramento and singer-songwriter Andrea Stray who lives in San Francisco. He appreciates the collaborations and thinks it makes the songs much better when there are different voices and talents contributing. He’s definitely not a one-man band.

Ted stays really active and gets out and goes to local concerts. He went to the Palms Playhouse in Winters to see singer-songwiter Holly Williams, who is Hank’s granddaughter. He also recently saw Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. He also hasn’t forgotten his rock roots. Ted attended the Kiss concert with one of his sons when they came to town. It was on his bucket list.

Ted really doesn’t date, he says, because he’s “having too much fun.” He told me his wife passed away from cancer back in 1997 and he would do anything to have her back. “I’ll never find anybody like her. When you find a jewel, it’s pretty difficult to find another one.”

After his wife passed, he did meet a couple of women, like the cowgirl in Utah, but he pretty much focuses on his songwriting, friends, and family these days.

“I fell in love with this songwriting thing and we have a great group of people. This group has brought me more happiness than you’ll ever know.”

Ted loves the songwriting process, heading to Nashville, going to the meetings, and the studio, and meeting all the artists. Ted said, “For me, it’s a brand new world.”

Ted’s ultimate goal is to get one of his songs recorded by an artist, which is very difficult because in Nashville alone there’s over 45, 000 writers. “The thing is if you don’t try, nothing will ever happen. I’m having a hell of a good time trying,” Ted said.

To learn more about the Sacramento chapter of the NSAI call 476-5073 or e-mail Gabrielle Kennedy at Gabrielle@Gabscourt.com They’re also on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/NSAISacramentoChapter

Over The Fence

Dog Problems at da Vinci
Hollywood Park has gone to the dogs. Well sort of. Unlike Land Park, Tahoe Park and Curtis Park, Hollywood Park technically doesn’t have a park. There is, however, a large green field area at Leonardo da Vinci School that neighbors use when school is not in session.
Call it Hollywood da Vinci Park School Field. Hollywood Park Field School?
Whatever you want to call it, it’s a nice local neighborhood gathering spot for children, parents, as well as dog owners to enjoy. Families and friends get know each other at the school playground. Lately the talk has been about the issues at the neighborhood gathering spot. Mainly, is Hollywood Park going to the dogs?
Unfortunately, there have been some irresponsible dog owners wrecking the fun for the majority of the neighbors who gather at the Leonardo da Vinci School area. Some of the dog owners are letting their four-legged creatures run rampant all over the school and creating tension among parents and other dog owners. As soon as some dog owners reach the school, they unleash their dogs and off they go to confront leashed dogs, run after children, and poop all over the soccer field and school playground. It’s a minority of dog owners ruining things for the rest of the neighbors. A few bad apples.
There was a recent dog confrontation when Hollywood Park resident Gina Knepp, who runs the Front Street Animal Shelter, walked her dog over to the school. Before she could even enter the gate with her leashed dog, four unleashed dogs came charging at her. She asked the women to “please leash their dogs.” Gina said, “I got some lip, I gave some lip.” Obviously it’s a volatile situation and folks lose their cool in a tense situation like that.
Another dog confrontation that occurred at the school earlier in the year was equally as nasty.
Nearby City Farms resident Jennifer Souza was walking her Russell Terrier mix when two unleashed border collies darted right towards her and her dog. She asked the two owners if they could leash their dogs and one of the women called her the “B word” and the other woman said, “No, we like to use the soccer field as an off-leash dog park.” More unpleasantries were exchanged and the women basically said, “We can do what we want.”
The off leash dogs are also terrorizing children who visit the school, including my 5-year-old son. He was innocently riding his bike on the school blacktop area when a large Boxer started chasing him. My wife was able to shoo the dog away to get my son off his bike and slowly walk to the gate to exit the school grounds.
You don’t know what’s going on in the mind of a dog. That’s what scares some parents. You just don’t know.
HP resident Mike Lasker who was at the school with his small children is a surgery resident at the UC Davis trauma unit and he told me, “We see a lot of dog maulings and attacks at the trauma unit. A lot of the victims of these dog attacks are children”. Sobering statistics.
The dogs aren’t just on the field. They’re running amok at the playground, they’re slurping out of the drinking fountain, they’re at the basketball courts.
Some neighborhood dog owners are treating the entire Elementary school like a dog park.
There is a dog park a few minutes from Hollywood Park on Fruitridge and South Land Park. There’s also the hardly used Mangan Park just across Fruitridge Boulevard where there’s a signal and crossing lane. Lots of choices.
Another big problem at the Leonardo da Vinci Field is the unleashed dogs are pooping all over the school and the owners aren’t cleaning up after them. It could be nicknamed Fecal Field! The school custodian told me it’s a real problem. They even poop in the playground sandbox area and the kids step in it. Dave the custodian added, “People aren’t supervising their dogs.”
There are some evenings when the LdV Field is full of harmony. Kids kicking the soccer ball around with their mom, a family playing baseball on the other end of the field and parents watching their children frolic around the school playground. There are definitely some responsible dog owners who pick up after their dogs and keep them leashed at Leonardo da Vinci School. Local resident Mike Carroll was enjoying the Leonardo da Vinci school grounds with his two well-behaved leashed Greyhounds.
Mike Lee and his wife Alisha were at the school with their children and small pit bull mix, although Mike said, “We don’t come here as much as we’d like because of the dogs off-leash.”
His wife Elisha added, “It all boils down to responsible dog ownership.”
The entire topic of the dog problems at the school were discussed on the Hollywood Park Facebook Group. The online conversation got a little heated when some dog owners felt they were being singled out.
The good thing to come out of all the back and forth on social media was outgoing school board member Patrick Kennedy, a Hollywood park resident and member of the Facebook Group, saw all the hubbub and decided to do something. He took action. That’s when new colorful signs were placed all around the school that say, “Kids First, keep this in mind while walking dogs.” There’s a little drawing of a man walking a dog on a leash as well as picking up after the dog. There is also a city code listed which refers to the dog poop ordinance. It’s a gentle reminder to dog owners who visit the school.
At first there was even controversy about the signs, which was surprising. Someone actually said, “Who put those signs up? Is that even legal?” That’s when the mystery do-gooder was revealed. It was the work of Sacramento City School Board member Kennedy. Patrick mentioned on the Hollywood Park Facebook Group, “Consider the signs one of my last official acts! And know they came from comments on this FB page.”
Will the sign curtail all the bad behavior of the irresponsible dog owners? I’ll keep you posted.

Starbucks/Noah’s Rumored to be coming to Land Park…or Not
Capital Power Equipment on Freeport Boulevard, which was in business for more than 50 years in Land Park, recently shut its doors and serviced their last lawn mower. The owners are retiring.
Since the lawn mower shop closed, rumors have been rampant about what and who will take-over the old building next to Taylor’s Kitchen and across the street from Marie’s Donuts.
The latest rumor is Starbucks Coffee and a Noah’s Bagels could be moving in.
Uh oh. Get ready for a huge traffic jam of Venti proportions!
Dave Hunter over at Taylor’s Market told me he had heard of a Starbucks/Noah’s Bagels combo “similar to the development across from The (Old) Spaghetti Factory on J Street.”
Dave said he met the mystery buyer about three times and he “has a vision how he wants things done. We have not seen or heard from the guy who is purchasing the property in about two months.” But that’s how they heard about the Starbucks/Noah’s Bagels rumor.
A Starbucks/Noah’s Bagels doesn’t really fit the neighborhood businesses in that small section across from Marie’s Donuts. Starbucks can be a real in-and-out sort of business…grab and go and that would wreak even more havoc on that busy intersection that’s already a bit of a traffic nightmare.
Dave said, “I’m not against a Starbucks or Noah’s Bagel’s,” but he’d like to see a different business going in there.
He mentioned the brand new development in Curtis Park, Curtis Park Village, would be a great location for a Starbucks or a Noah’s bagels to go in.
Dave added, “We have Freeport Bakery, Marie’s Donuts sells coffee, Vic’s Coffee Shop, La Bou by the Zoo and a Starbucks a mile down the Boulevard.” Plenty of coffee choices for residents to get their caffeine fix.
Marlene Goetzer, who owns Freeport Bakery told me, “I’m not worried about it business-wise because they’re a different business model. I would like to see something independent go in there because our little strip is pretty independent rather than a chain. I’m also a little concerned about parking. That’s a major issue. Seems like a bad fit for that spot. She added, “I’m not against people opening up businesses I just think there’s a better fit.”
Then she declared, “I’m pro-business. I’m a capitalist.”
Starbucks is actually looking for a site in the area. Maybe that is how the speculation got started.
I spoke to the commercial broker, Fred Springer, and he said, “It’s always interesting where these rumors come from because I think that would have been a perfect Starbucks and Noah’s Bagels location”.
Tri Commercial actually approached the broker for Starbucks as well as the real estate rep for Starbucks and they never even replied to Mr. Springer
So straight from the broker, “At this point in time, to the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of any deal with either Starbucks or Noah’s Bagels”.
Although Fred wasn’t exactly under oath.

Jade Fountain Café Gets a Remodel
The Jade Fountain Café has been closed for remodeling since March. There have been quite a few hungry diners dropping by only to find a sign saying, “Closed for remodeling.” The management also thanked their valuable customers for their patronage over the years.
There is a slew of Chinese restaurants in the little strip mall, but Jade Fountain Café seems to be a local favorite. Folks love the porridge!
There has been an old storage pod in front of the restaurant since the middle of March with no activity, until recently.
When I dropped by the family owned restaurant the jovial owner, Randy Lee, told me they were making some upgrades to the place. Keeping some old, adding some new. Lee told me they’ll have more comfortable seating for diners; they’re opening up the kitchen area and making the restaurant brighter with new paint and interior.
Lee added, “It’s gonna look nice!”
He also told me they’re replacing the worn, faded, sign in front of the restaurant. Look for the grand re-opening at the end of August.
Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

Over the Fence

Cowboy Jerky At The State Fair

Jerry “Crawdaddy” MaloneI’m a fiend for beef jerky, a beef jerky connoisseur if you will. Every year I attend the California State Fair and one of my regular stops is Jerry’s Cowboy Jerky Stand. Some of the best beef jerky I’ve chewed on is Jerry’s Cowboy Jerky. Jerry’s has been at the California State Fair for 25 years, according to Andrew Osbourne, who now runs the show at the jerky stand.

The cowboy jerky compound is located on 24th and Fruitridge Road in South Sacramento. It’s a local family-owned business. It all started when Andrew’s father-in-law, Jerry “Crawdaddy” Malone, retired from the Los Angeles Police Department and became a commercial pitchman. One day, Jerry saw a beef jerky booth and thought to himself: “You know what? That’s the way to go.”

It was as simple as that.

So, that’s what he did, as Andrew told it. Cowboy Jerry Malone passed away back in 2012, but his jerky booth lives on.
They only employ friends and family at Jerry’s jerky stand. “We try to take care of the people who take care of us. They volunteer and come to the fair for free and we make sure they don’t go hungry.” Andrew quipped, “They work for jerky.”

I was thinking of filling out an application.

As I tore into the flat hickory stick, Andrew helped customers and told me about his beef jerky empire. My head was sweating from the spices while I doused my tastebuds with ice cold water after a few bites.

The jalapeno shooters are their spiciest jerky. They used to sell something called the 911 Jerky. It was so hot that his father-in-law was afraid of a lawsuit. Andrew remembers one time this girl was “probably 100 pounds, soaking wet and she ordered the 911 jerky, ate it, and never batted an eye. Then there was the guy who looked like he could probably bench press a house try the 911 jerky and he turned to tears,” Andrew said.

They have a large variety of protein-packed jerky to choose from at Jerry’s. From sweet to spicy. The Cowboy slab to the steak jerky. The teriyaki jerky is the most popular. They sell about 1,200 pounds of jerky each year at the State Fair.

They also sell churros, caramel corn, pretzels, and giant dill pickles. One woman was looking at the big jar of pickles in water and said: “That’s the biggest pickle I’ve ever seen.” Andrew called them the Double Dills.

Then he asked me, “Do you like nachos?” I joked, “Only the gluten free nachos.” He called them “Dirty” nachos…I was intrigued.

He brought back a huge pile of nacho chips, smothered with cheese, and shredded beef jerky. Dee, who’s worked with Andrew for 10 years, came up with the idea for “Dee’s Dirty Nachos” – catchy name, tasty snack. I really could not stop eating them. I was taking notes with my nacho-tainted fingers. I was making a pig of myself. I’m glad my wife wasn’t around to see it.

Beef jerky is pure Americana. It’s not just for cowboys. Since 1996, jerky has been selected by astronauts as space food several times for space flight due to its light weight and high level of nutrition. I guess the beef jerky pairs well with Tang.

I personally like it for fishin’ trips and road trips. It’s a handy snack.

Jerky is also commonly included in military field rations. It is particularly attractive to militaries because of its light weight, high level of nutrition, and long shelf life.

Every year they have servicemen that come to the jerky stand and stock up on the Cowboy jerky as they’re getting ready to go overseas. They better have lots of water in the canteen!

One year they had some leftover jerky. Two of Andrew’s nephews were stationed over in Iraq and he sent them each two or three pounds of jerky. “They were the heroes of their unit, everybody loved it,” Andrew said.

You can find Jerry’s Cowboy Jerky stand in Buildings A and C. Don’t forget the toothpicks!


Curtis Park Caramels Enter The Cookies and Confections Competition

Curtis Park resident Brenda Alexander Mitchell started entering the State Fair contests in 2008 because she wanted a blue ribbon.

Her first entry was a craft competition – a toe-sock chicken. It made honorable mention in Arts And Crafts. That just wet her appetite for more State Fair contesting. She was hooked. “I just love the Fair,” she said.

This year Brenda, who’s nickname is “Bee,” is making Earl Grey Caramels for the California Kitchen’s Cookies and Confections competition. She had tasted some chocolate infused with Earl Grey tea and that’s where the idea for the Earl Grey Caramels came from.

She’s dipping the bottom of the caramels in chocolate and sprinkling some salt on top. Instead of See’s Candies, it’s Bee’s Candy!

She’ll have some stiff competition at the California Kitchen Cookies and Confections contest. They don’t want just a hunk of brown caramel. “It’s gotta look pretty.” The judges are looking at taste, texture, consistency and appearance. None of the judges are Oompa Loompas, but one is a culinary teacher at American River College.

This is the first time Brenda has made candy for a State Fair competition. The last time she entered a competition for the Fair it was in cookies. She made Mexican chocolate chip cookies. In 2012, she won her division and won best in show. It was fun because she got a really big ribbon.

She took a year off from competing in the State Fair contests in 2013 because she says, “I was busy dieting.” She actually lost 70 pounds last year. Hopefully she won’t gain anything back from all the caramel and chocolate taste testing. “There’s lots of sampling, you gotta get it right,” Brenda told me.

She gave me a sample of the caramel, dipped in chocolate with a sprinkle of salt on top. It gave it a little crunch. I could also taste a small hint of the Earl Gray tea. She was still perfecting it while I spoke to her in the decadent smelling kitchen. She was perfecting the caramels all day and into the night.

She updates her progress on her Facebook page and posts photos of the caramels. One of her Facebook friends commented: “I would love to try them!!!! Can I just subscribe to your dessert of the month club???? YUMMMMMMM!”

I’m sure Brenda hopes the judges are as wildly enthusiastic about the caramels as her Facebook pals.

Brenda said one of the reasons she loves caramel so much is she used to wear braces and could never have the chewy candy.

Tempering is the key to good chocolate. If you properly temper your chocolate, it realigns the crystals in the chocolate to give it a shiny look and also gives it that snap like when you bite into a Hershey’s chocolate candy bar. It also keeps it from melting in your hand.

Brenda added, “and you need a good thermometer.”

She used an oiled sterling silver knife to cut the caramels into squares. “You don’t want to just squish the candy,” Brenda said.

She also added the best ingredients. The Earl Grey tea was from Teavana in the Arden Fair Mall and the caramel ingredients were from Corti Bros.

Brenda just does it for fun and every year she’s won something. “I can’t imagine that my luck might hold out but I’m hoping that I can get some attention with this”. I’m rooting for Bee’s candy to win Best In Show.

Iron Steaks on 13th and Broadway is now being called “Iron Grill” or simply “Iron.” Even their website address has changed www.Irongrillsacramento.com.

The owner of Iron Grill, Bill Taylor, told Land Park News his reasoning, “With beef prices moving up almost 30 percent, we are looking at what we can do with other food. We still do steaks and do them well, but we want to provide people with options and our chef is passionate and loves being creative. People want value and it’s not enough to be static. Keeping the menu simple allows us to be flexible.”

Executive Chef Keith Swiryn and the chefs at Iron not only grill some of the best steaks in town, they also offer jambalaya, fried chicken, and pasta primavera. Numerous new entres to choose from. Iron Grill…they’re more than just steaks.

If you have an item for Over the Fence, email greg@valcomnews.com.

Over the Fence

Classic Ford Thunderbird at the DIY Car Club

Classic Ford Thunderbird at the DIY Car Club

Tucked away off Fruitridge Road, east of the railroad tracks, is a cool, do-it-yourself auto club where people can meet, mingle and work on their vintage automobiles.

It’s the Sacramento DIY Classic Car Club. Robert Mitchell, a self-described car nut, runs the auto club.

If you have a vintage or classic vehicle, you can come to the shop and do anything from a tune-up or a complete restoration. Robert formed the car club because the city, homeowners associations, and some neighbors don’t want you tinkering with your car on your driveway.

According to Robert, there’s a backlash against auto do-it-yourselfers. “It’s actually become epidemic,” he said.

The car club is a good place to work on your hot rod or classic car without the neighbor worrying about the “eyesore” on the driveway.

The idea of the DIY Auto Club started when Dwayne Zajic of Zajic Appliances had a vacant building that needed a lot of work and he gave Robert a deal on the rent if he fixed the place up. Dwayne told him, “Turn it into a toy box.” And that’s what Robert did. It’s a giant toy box full of vintage cars in the middle of restoration.

Classic cars are in Robert’s blood. He actually grew up in a machine shop near the Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway. That’s where his love of the automobile began.

He’s currently working on a 1959 F-100 truck. He’s taken her all the way down to the bare frame, sandblasted it, and now he’s putting it back together. It’s his lifelong hobby.

The folks at the car club are trying to keep young people involved in the automotive and restoration hobby. “There are a lot of young people out there that love old cars,” Robert said, pointing out that there are no auto shops in the schools anymore and kids are discouraged to work on the newer cars unless they’re an electronics genius. “When the young folks come in, we try to hold their hands and help them,” Robert said.

Robert’s face lighted up and his voice became animated when he led me over to a classic, black Ford Thunderbird. “This is one of the most beloved classic auto mobiles in the country, the Ford Thunderbird,” he said. According to Robert, the Thunderbird and Corvette were the two most beloved classic automobiles in the country. These cars have their own clubs internationally and they’re very rare and hard to find.

The club member’s Ford Thunderbird had been sitting in the garage for 12 years collecting cobwebs. The owner got it started the other day and decided to bring it in. He’s been working on it day by day after work. “He tinkers with it a little bit and we’ve got this thing running beautifully now. It purrs like a kitten,” Robert said. There are still a few things that need to be done to the jet-black classic Ford Thunderbird, but when he’s done with it, he’ll be able to take it out on the street and drive it every day. It’s the perfect car to cruise on over to the Westwind Drive-In and watch a double-feature under the stars.

Trying to find parts for the vintage automobiles is like searching for buried treasure, which is part of the fun of vintage car restoration. Robert scours the Internet for car parts, and other times, he checks out local salvage yards. In Northern California, there are a few old salvage yards that are dedicated to vintage automobiles, including in Winters, Williams, and Colfax. There, he rummages through the parts, looking for the ones he needs.

There’s a fee charged to become a car club member and it has to be a classic car “from the muscle car era back.”

I joked, “So no AMC Pacers?”

Robert paused and told me, “If somebody had an AMC Pacer, they would be very welcome. Believe it or not that has become a classic car,” Robert said.

He added that he was at a car show in Lincoln and somebody had completely restored an AMC Gremlin. The Gremlin was the laughing stock of the auto world back in the 1980s and now it’s considered a classic car.

The young AND the old partake in the DIY Auto Club. One member of the club is 87 years old. He has a collection of 23 classic cars and he still comes in and tinkers. There’s a father and son who are restoring a 1965 Mustang. They live in San Francisco and there’s nowhere they can work on their car. They are coming up on weekends for a father and son restoration project.

I told Robert, “I wish I knew how to work on cars.”

And he told me, “That’s what we’re here for.”

So, even if you have a low IQ for working on cars, you can learn by joining the DIY Car Club. They provide all the tools and know-how that you need. You may even end up a greasy-monkeying car nut!

If you’re interested in learning more about the DIY Auto Club, they’re located at 2700 Fruitridge Road, and, on the web, at www.sacdiyccc.com. Their phone number is 916-202-3649.

Over the Fence

If you want to check out this 3,700-square-foot, seven-bedroom, six-bathroom house in Carleton Tract that Charlotte and Ray rebuilt, it’s at 2361 20th Ave. Debra Sciotto of Keller/Williams is the agent.

If you want to check out this 3,700-square-foot, seven-bedroom, six-bathroom house in Carleton Tract that Charlotte and Ray rebuilt, it’s at 2361 20th Ave. Debra Sciotto of Keller/Williams is the agent.

DON’T CALL IT A MCMANSION
Last October, I mentioned in “Over The Fence” an enormous 3,700-square-foot, seven-bedroom, six-bathroom house in Carleton Tract was getting a complete makeover by Lincoln Creek Builders. I made a few wisecracks about how it didn’t fit the neighborhood and also told of the colorful history of the home. Most of the homes in Carlton Tract, which is north of Hollywood Park, are three bedrooms with one bath and less than 1,500 square feet.
The biggest house on the block is now up for sale. Charlotte Kyle of Lincoln Creek Builders contacted me about it. She wasn’t even upset about my initial column, although she wasn’t fond of the term McMansion, which is isn’t. It’s the Hotel Carleton!
Charlotte says she loves the place because it’s “full of personality” just like Charlotte.
There have been some elegant upgrades to the home. They also kept some of the cool original things too. It’s not ticky tacky. The home has a colorful history…there was even a counterfeiting operation back in the 90s. I asked if they found any cash in the walls, but no such luck.
The house is solid, not fancy. “We take pride in what we do. We aren’t your ordinary fix and flip type of people,” Charlotte said. Charlotte and her business partner Ray Post both have lifetime construction backgrounds.
I asked Charlotte, “Why this house and why Carlton Tract?” She said, “The price was right and looking at the house we could already see it done. We’re visionaries. It’s just built into who we are. We care about tying in with the style of the house and uniformity. We take a lot of pride in who we are and the product we put out and I think it shows.”
The first thing I noticed when entering the two-story house is the two elegant staircases. One to go up and one to go down. The French doors upstairs lead out to the deck where you can look down at the newly landscaped backyard. The deck had been taken down when they moved the house from behind the Land Park Ski and Sports many years ago.
All the improvements are too numerous to mention. There was a lot of attention to detail. The bathrooms were gutted and double sinks and a jacuzzi tub were installed. Charlotte boasted how she did all the elegant tile work, too. The kitchen is all new with quality Viking appliances and a neat-o pantry. All new lighting, too. I bet Giada De Laurentiis would love to cook linguine in clam sauce in the redesigned kitchen.
Charlotte and Ray have both enjoyed being in the Carleton Tract neighborhood. Even though it’s hard work, Charlotte told me, “we’re kind of on vacation because we’re in a new area and we get to meet all the nice interesting people in the neighborhood.”
I thought, Carleton Tract isn’t exactly Catalina Island!
They have kept some of the original character of the home including the bird aviary in the backyard. They cleaned it up, painted it, and redid the new birdhouse. Charlotte said, “I didn’t have the heart to just get rid of it.”
While I was talking to Ray about the aviary and landscape, Charlotte interrupted saying, “Somebody’s gonna get in trouble if they put that hose on top of my plants one more time.” Ray said, “I didn’t do it.”
I asked, “Are you sure you’re not married?”
If you want to check out the house that Charlotte and Ray rebuilt it’s at 2361 20th Ave. Debra Sciotto of Keller/Williams is the agent.

NO ICE CREAM FOR YOU!
I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream. Right? It’s hot in Sacramento in the summer and a refreshing ice cream cone is a good way to cool off and enjoy a tasty treat.
That’s what a group of customers in Land Park thought, too. I noticed a large group of Asian American folks leaving Happy Corner Café and heading to Rite –Aid on Freeport Boulevard for some of their famous Thrifty Ice Cream.
They all went over to the ice cream counter and peered through the glass to see what flavor they wanted. Rocky Road? Orange Sherbet, Cookies and Cream? All the while laughing, talking and enjoying the evening together.
I heard over the Rite-Aid sound system: “Assistance in ice cream, please.”
I was in the antacid aisle getting some Rolaids when I noticed a woman come from the back of the store. She slowly made her way to the main counter…not the ice cream department.
The group of folks waiting for ice cream were waiting…and waiting…and waiting…until they eventually just gave up. They all walked out of the Rite-Aid together.
It was quite a scene, too. They made their displeasure known by just walking out the door. A silent protest.
Maybe they should screamed for ice cream!
Not sure why the Rite-Aid employee did not help them. Perhaps scooping ice cream is above her pay grade? Some customers looked puzzled. There was an air of uncomfortableness in the store. A giant band of customers just left the store together and the employee said, “Oh well, it’s just ice cream” and proceeded to carry on a long conversation with an elderly male customer.
Then a new group of people wandered over to the ice cream counter. Folks love Thrifty Ice cream! The employee kept on chit chatting when the other worker told the customers waiting patiently that she’d “be there in a minute.” You could tell she was irritated by her co-worker completely ignoring the patrons waiting for two scoops of Vanilla.
When I left the store the employee was still chit chatting with a customer about something and there were more people waiting in line to order a scoop of Mint Chip.
Maybe Rite-AID could use a full-time ice cream scooper – somebody with big forearms that stands there waiting for hot, sweaty customers jonesing for an ice cream cone.

A duo of dishes in Land Park has made for interesting conversations between neighbors.

A duo of dishes in Land Park has made for interesting conversations between neighbors.

DISSING THE DISH IN LAND PARK
Love Thy Neighbor…except if they own a satellite dish.
That’s what is happening in Land Park. Both parties did not want their real names to be used, so I went with Pro-Dish/Anti-Dish to identify them.
A woman on Land Park Drive is flabbergasted by her next door neighbor’s satellite dishes. Two satellite dishes peer down on her backyard and taunt her from the side of her neighbor’s roof. Her family moved to the charming Land Park home more than a year ago with the satellite dishes next door “not understanding it had such an impact on my landscaping. Visual damage is being done to my property,” she said.
The anti-dish lady told me, “I can see them outside every window. Every window. They’re in my sight line…and I told my neighbor that. They are a visual imposition.”
An unsightly satellite dish is hardly the biggest problem a neighbor can be faced with. Loud obnoxious parties, a constantly yapping dog, or even a meth lab would seem to be more of an imposition.
But I guess to some people a satellite dish is a neighborhood eyesore, especially when it’s staring right back at you. #firstworldproblems right?
The two families were actually friendly with each other in the beginning. Their children played together and they had dinner a couple of times. I joked she was probably buttering them up to get rid of the satellite dishes.
“Would you like some dessert…and can you dump the dish?”
At first the neighbors tried to work together to come up with a solution. “When you move into a neighborhood you always hope that people can work together and that your neighbors care what you’re looking at.” The anti-dish lady said.
The pro- dish couple were thinking about switching to Comcast after their Direct TV contract was expired to placate their neighbor. That would have been six months down the road which was too long of a wait for the anti-dish lady.
Moving the dishes, which are facing south, would have created a reception issue.
The pro-dish lady said, “I guess I feel like it’s not that we weren’t willing to compromise. I felt like she really took control of the situation before we really had a chance to compromise.”
The anti-dish lady has forged ahead with her own solution. She had a designer come in and design a pergola that was up to code and attached to the fence. She also purchased large planters and has planted bamboo to camouflage the two dishes.
Only time will tell what this might do to the pro-dish neighbor’s satellite reception as the bamboo grows to the sky. Right now, they seem to have no problem with it.
The pro-dish neighbor said, “She sort of took ownership of the fence so they could do whatever they wanted to do to the fence. And we were OK with that.”
There are some other innovative ways people are camouflaging satellite dishes.
In Germany, there is an artist who has come up with a creative way to make satellite dishes more attractive. Daniel Knipping calls it satellite dish art. He paints images like a ferocious tiger, a happy baby, even a classic Chevy Chevelle, directly onto the dish to make it more eye-catching.
Another way people are camouflaging satellite dishes is through the website, www.sqish.co.uk/gallery.php.
It’s billed as a “discreet alternative to a satellite dish” with various patterns pasted onto it from faux-brick finishes to fake wood-slat patterns and more.
Even if you think a satellite dish is an ugly eyesore and would like to tear it off your neighbor’s roof, you can’t. It’s not legal. People who own satellite dishes have rights.
When Congress passed the telecommunications Act in 1996 they instructed the Federal Communications Commission to adopt the Over-the-Air Reception Devices rule concerning governmental and nongovernmental restrictions on viewers’ ability to receive video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites. The rule has been in effect since October 1996, and it prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming.
In other words, I’m watching “Game of Thrones” on my Dish, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I asked the anti-Dish lady if they’ll still have dinner parties after all this and she gave out an exacerbated, “Noooooo.” But who knows? Maybe they can patch things up and all watch “Neighbors” together when it comes to Direct TV.
Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

OVER THE FENCE with Greg Brown

A minivan owned by the Crouse family of Hollywood Park got a dent from a parent driving recklessly away from LdV School. The school has been encouraging better driving from parents. Photo by Greg Brown

A minivan owned by the Crouse family of Hollywood Park got a dent from a parent driving recklessly away from LdV School. The school has been encouraging better driving from parents. Photo by Greg Brown

RALEY’S GETS A MAKEOVER
The Raley’s on Freeport Boulevard has really stepped things up. They have repainted the entire front of the building and spiffied up the classic neon Raley’s sign. They have an all new interior; the outdated orange has been replaced with modern brown. “Farm To Fork For You” signs made of dark wood and more tract lighting to set a mood. I also noticed more lighting in the liquor aisle…easier to see the Fireball Whisky! The employees are also using headphones and mics to communicate…no more “Cleanup in aisle 5” over the loud speaker.
Raley’s has also been playing hipper tunes over the speaker system, too. I actually heard Prince! I even saw a dad doing some air guitar near the Doritos.
Kiss from Prince, Modern Love by David Bowie, even the song “Politics Of Dancing”, a hit song by the British New Wave band Re-Flex. I guess it’s a musical 1980s retro revival at Raley’s on Freeport.
A female employee was shakin’ it over by the flower department to the Miami Sound Machine. The new and improved Raley’s has turned into Dancing With The Employees!
Raley’s has also finally caved to the craft beer revolution and is now offering Track 7’s finest pale ale. They labeled it “A Bomber Sale” right up front when I walked into the supermarket.
Raley’s new slogan could be…Raley’s home of all your favorite 80s hits!

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There’s an old Bob Dylan song called “Ninety Miles An Hour (Down a Dead End Street).” That’s sort of what’s happening on Larson Way next to Leonardo DaVinci School according to Darcy Crouse and her husband Matt.

Darcy Crouse and her husband have lived in their house on Larson Way in Hollywood Park for about three years. Darcy says she loves it and they have “amazing neighbors.”

Unfortunately, some parents dropping off and picking up their children at the school have been flying in and out of the neighborhood. Making wide u-turns, blocking their drive-way, driving too fast, and putting a large dent in the Crouse mini-van.
She thinks the kids and the cats are in danger.
It has caused Darcy to get frustrated with the whole thing and created a lot of tension between her, parents and the administration.
There’s been middle fingers flying, parents sticking their tongues out and cuss words exchanged…and remember…this is from parents not children.
The Crouses have a big window in the front so they can see everything on Larson Way.
One lady in a grey Jeep Cherokee, who came flying up, whipped around and went on the sidewalk right where the driveway is. Darcy ran outside and asked the driver to slow down. She admitted, “I wasn’t being nice but I definitely wasn’t being rude.”
The woman asked, “Who are you, the Police?”
This was the first of many frustrating responses and incidents according to Darcy.
Mrs. Crouse had felt the woman in the Jeep came in at an inappropriate speed for a dead end street. She used both sidewalks to turn her car around.
They have contacted LdV about the problems on Larson Way through e-mails, calls and personal visits. It hasn’t curtailed the problem.
I reached out to Principal Devon Davis, via e-mail, and she told me that they run articles in their school newsletters, discuss parking needs at the PTC meetings, and have actively worked with parents to demonstrate proactive community relationships. Unfortunately she wrote, “a few rude and disrespectful parents have given the Crouse’s an overall negative feeling about the school and entire parent body.”
Darcy said, “we’re not looking for parents to stop dropping their kids off from school.” She just wants an overall awareness that there are children running around that run out in the street and “it’s our job as parents to make sure that they’re safe,” she said.
Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

Over The Fence

The DIY Network’s Yardcore has set its sight on Hollywood Park…. again! Yardcore and Yardcrashers have both invaded the middle-class neighborhood with charming 1950s era homes to produce their home improvement shows on numerous occasions. Gobs. They’ve lost count. A week earlier they were in South Land Park filming an episode.

I guess Sacramento is a big DIY destination.

Landscape professionals Jake and Joel Moss, the sibling hosts of Yardcore, set homeowners up with the yard of their dreams…or at least they hope they do. The brothers get a quick look at the yard and a short tour of the home’s interior to get clues as to what the homeowners style is. “I always look inside their house first and try to pick out clues. We are literally bringing the inside out,” Jake said.

They draw up the blueprints and have to make it all happen in 48 hours while the home owners anxiously await the end result at a local hotel.

Chopsaws, sandblasters, compressors and a Bobcat littered the front yard of the home on Irvin Way. An army of workers furiously were moving rocks, dirt, and mulch in big blue wheelbarrows, all in the name of showbiz.

When I spoke with host Jake Moss about the show workers were busy tearing up the Hollywood Park backyard with Bobcats and shovels. I asked Jake why Yardcore chooses a lot of homes in the area to create their backyard makeovers. Moss said, “We love coming into old neighborhoods like Hollywood Park, Land Park, Curtis Park. They all have houses with character.”

Jake added, “You’re working with more eclectic styles when you’re dealing with these neighborhoods. They’re not cookie cutter. Oftentimes, we find people who are into collecting art. They’re interested in styles like Mid-Century Modern, this one Hollywood Park house in particular is French Country. We find an interesting array of folks.”

They don’t even get to meet the home owner, which means they get to go a little crazier than they normally would. It helps the creativity of the backyard makeover. They also don’t have to worry about the homeowners supervising and telling them, “Don’t you dare tear out our Begonias!”

“Another good aspect about the homeowners not being there is that we do get to be a little more creative and the end result is a yard that they probably couldn’t have dreamed up themselves,” Moss said.

He enthusiastically added, “We want them to fall in love with this yard!”

Wanna backyard makeover Yardcore-style? They’re looking for local Sacramento folks to cast in future Yardcore episodes. If you’d like a fabulous backyard makeover without lifting a finger, check out their website. Tell a little about yourself and your backyard. Include a couple of photos, too. Maybe you can get the backyard of your dreams.

www.diynetwork.com/yardcore/show/index.html

E-mail them at:

casting@bigtablemedia.com


Good Brew News!

Fountainhhead Brewing Company coming to Hollywood Park

Fountainhhead Brewing Company coming to Hollywood Park


There’s a new brewery coming to Hollywood Park on 24th Street. It’s just what the neighborhood needs, a local gathering spot where people can eat, drink, and be merry.
It will be called The Fountainhead Brewery. One of the owners, Mark Bojecsu, was thinking “water theme” and his partner Daniel Moffatt was thinking literary titles or characters. “We eventually came across the Ayn Rand novel that seemed to cover both of those,” Daniel told me.

Maybe they’ll have an Ayn Rand Ale!

Fountainhead Brewing owners Daniel Moffatt and Mark Bojecsu

Fountainhead Brewing owners Daniel Moffatt and Mark Bojecsu

Fountainhead Brewing is going to take over the TS Auto Repair shop on 24th street. Neighbors received the notice and were ecstatic to hear there would be a new gathering spot within walking distance. Although, the owner of the auto shop Sam Lee was caught by surprise by the news. I’m sure he’ll find another spot to fix cars. Besides, the neighborhood is thirsty! There are a voluminous amount of auto repair shops in the area. Sacramento breweries are a Sacramento institution. Auto shops are a dime a dozen.

They’re going to turn the old run-down auto repair shop on 24th Street into a unique gathering spot where local folks can taste an IPA or Imperial Ale and hang out.

Daniel is the brewer. He’s very experimental. One of his most popular craft beers at the Shack during Beer Week was the coffee porter. It’s one of Daniel’s personal favorites and one he runs out of the most. “It’s for the dark beer tasters out there,” he said.

He also brews an IPA with four different kinds of hops. “It’s pretty straight forward and not overly aggressive like you’re chewing on hops,” Moffat added.

They’ll also brew some Imperials, Daniel likes Imperial reds a lot. Belgiums and barley wines, sours too. So like the neighborhood, the craft beer selection will be eclectic.

In the back of the property there’s a spot where they’ll have outdoor seating and a nice pergola where people can sip the suds of their favorite new brewery. It will be family friendly as well as dog friendly.

They also will be serving food. They won’t have a full kitchen but they’ll have some fryers and also serve up some sandwiches. “We definitely want some choices other than a random food truck once in a while. More stability and reliability,” said Moffatt.

They should be open by July. USA! USA! USA!

Fountainhead Brewing is very excited about coming to the neighborhood. They have been talking with Panama Pottery to partner up for events. The folks from Panama Pottery came to one of their tasting events at The Shack and “we had a lot of fun, they’re super nice people,” Moffatt said.

The guy with the hot rod shop next door who’s got a thing going on every Thursday in the summertime. “So they’ll be some activity over there.”

It’s a narrow lot so we’re debating on how we’ll either do parking or make it a social area. We’ve already talked to the city about trying to get parking on the other side of the street since there’s no parking on either side of 24th street.

Daniel told me it’s a dream come true. “We’ve talking about this for over two years and it’s finally coming to fruition. We are beyond excited.”

Sounds like it will make a great addition to the local brewery scene. New Helvetia, Track 7 and now Fountainhead Brewery. A trifecta of tasty craft beers.


greg@valcomnews.com

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
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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.
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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.