Meet the candidates: Political forum at John F. Kennedy High School set for Monday, April 28

Candidates for Sacramento City Council District 7 and California Assembly District 9 have confirmed their presence at the political forum at John F. Kennedy High School, which is set for Monday, April 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the large, 465-seat, state-of-the-art theater. Moderated by Sacramento City College communications instructor Jared Anderson, and hosted by the Pocket News, Nextdoor Greenhaven, JFK High School, and Access Sacramento, the event is an informational, community building political forum. It is not a debate.

Students at Kennedy and City College have been invited to attend and ask questions – some instructors are offering students extra credit for attending, and volunteers from the League of Women Voters will have a table for voter registration. Candidates will be given two minutes to provide a biography before questions are asked. City council candidates will go first at 6:30 p.m. and assembly candidates will go second. We will also do a plug for Measure B.

If you have any questions you’d like me to save for the forum, email them to me at What follows is some information on Measure B and biographies along with top issues our candidates will be addressing at the forum.

Vote YES on Measure B – For the Libraries

The following measure is approved for the June 3, 2014 ballot. Measure B—Pertaining to a Parcel Tax for Core Library Services:
“Should library services for all City residents including children, teens, adults and seniors, be preserved, including after-school reading programs, homework assistance, library operating hours, 24/7 online access, programs for seniors, and other services, by enacting a new $12 per year single-family residential parcel tax for 12 years, and specified amounts for other uses, adjusted for inflation, that the State cannot take, with independent financial audits to ensure funds are spent only on City of Sacramento libraries?” No argument against was submitted.

The following is taken from “ Measure B augments the existing city parcel tax by just one dollar per month and requires independent yearly audits to protect tax payers. Measure B requires that all funds be spent exclusively for local library services within the City of Sacramento.

Measure B is needed to:
Keep three new libraries operating, provide for the increased demand for online services, ensure that all libraries stay open evenings and weekends so people can actually use our libraries, maintain the library’s after-school homework and reading programs for our school children and story time for preschoolers, provide quality books, library materials, and free children’s programs, protect library operating hours and 24/7 online access to library resources, preserve library services for seniors and families who are trying to improve their lives, allow people who don’t have computers at home access to the internet, continue to make quality library materials, programs, and services available at all libraries.

City Council District 7 candidates

Julius Cherry
Julius Cherry retired from the Sacramento Fire Department at the rank of Fire Chief in 2007 after more than 30 years of service. Prior to becoming Chief, he held the ranks of firefighter, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief, and Deputy Chief of Support Services. Julius has also been a practicing attorney for 22 years, handling a variety of civil matters. He is the CEO of The Cherry Consulting Group, which provides advisory services to fire protection organizations.

Julius chairs the Community Advisory Board for Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West). He is past chair and current board member of Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern California. In 2011, he chaired the Sacramento Redistricting Citizens Advisory Committee, charged with advising the city government on reshaping the eight council districts after the 2010 census. From 1994 to 2001, Julius served and chaired the Sacramento County Project Planning Commission, assisting the commission in making entitlement decisions. He is a past board member of the Sacramento County Fair Board as a governor appointee.

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Julius attended night school to earn a Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and a bachelor of science in public administration from California State University, Sacramento. Julius is married with three daughters, one son, and four grandchildren.

Rick Jennings
Why I’m running for City Council? I love this district and this city, where I’ve lived and raised my family since 1986. I believe I have the skills, experience and drive to make this district and city the best they can be.

Running for this office is a natural progression of what I’ve done over the last 28 years in this community. In 1996, I was recruited by then-Mayor Joe Serna to run for the Sacramento Unified School Board and to restore the community’s trust in the school district. I was proud to serve our kids for 12 years, focusing on rebuilding our neighborhood schools and improving student achievement.

I have also been the Executive Director of the Center for Fathers and Families, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening families and building communities in Sacramento, for nearly 20 years. The Center currently serves over 1,700 young people daily in before and after school programs and 400 adults with parenting classes and other comprehensive services.

Through the years I have volunteered as a coach for youth sports, served on various boards and commissions and been involved with many neighborhood groups. From the relationships I’ve developed, I am proud to be endorsed by neighborhood leaders like Supervisor Jimmie Yee, May O. Lee, Kathi Windheim, Shane Singh, Lee Dumas, Willie Caston, Didion Elementary School Principal Norm Policar, and the Sacramento Police Officers Association.

It is my commitment to this community and its continued prosperity that has always been my impetus to be involved and I can think of no better manifestation of my experience than to serve on the City Council.

My Priorities in Office: A Strong Economy & Strong Neighborhoods

The City needs to improve its service delivery. From 2007 to 2012, the City cut staff, reduced services, and laid off Police Officers to deal with continued budget deficits. This has hurt our neighborhoods.

As our economy recovers and more resources are available, we must restore city services to their pre-2007 levels and ensure that revenues generated from Downtown revitalization are returned for neighborhood services.

Specifically I will:
Promote public safety by fully staffing police, increasing neighborhood patrols, and supporting and re-establishing initiatives like Cops and Clergy and the Gang Task Force;
Expand neighborhood watch programs and make sure every neighborhood has the support it needs to keep our streets safe;
Encourage small business expansion and job creation by creating local business incubators and ensuring that Delta Shores is built responsibly with jobs for our community and opportunities for small businesses;
Partner with schools and libraries to expand community programs through grants, partnerships and private sector fundraising to provide new opportunities for youth and seniors.

Abe Snobar
I have been a longtime resident of Sacramento and spent all of my formative years being raised in, and by, District 7. As a youth I attended Sam Brannan Middle School in the Pocket Area and later graduated from Valley High School in the Valley Hi area. From Valley High, I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from California State University, Sacramento. In short, I truly am a “Sacramentan.”

I spent my early professional career as a Special Education teacher and a high school and college football coach. As an employee of the Elk Grove Unified School District for 14 years, I was involved with the district’s success in raising the API scores from the mid-500s to 744, where they sit currently. My passion for teaching is paralleled with my passion for leading. Today, I am part of the Delta Ducks Minor League football team as an assistant coach, a voice in the Entertainment Sports Complex, and I am a member of the Sacramento Metro Chamber as a small business entrepreneur.

My passion for leading, listening, and learning comes second only to raising my two lovely daughters, Sophie and Ella. Vote for Abe.

CA Assembly District 9 candidates

Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper has served his community for more than 29 years – as a highly decorated law enforcement officer, a mayor, a city councilmember, and volunteer working with at-risk youth.

Cooper is currently a captain in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, where he commands the Court Security Division. As a former commander of the Sacramento Valley High Tech Crimes Task Force, focusing on apprehension of child predators and identity thieves, he oversaw dramatic increases in prosecution and arrests of child predators.

His law enforcement career includes nine years working undercover to fight gang violence and drug trafficking. He has earned numerous awards, including the Bronze Star Bravery for heroic actions during the 1991 “Good Guys” hostage crisis. He also served two years as the Sheriff’s Department’s spokesperson.

Cooper is a lifetime member of the California Narcotics Officers Association and is well-regarded for his youth drug prevention teaching curriculum, to teach students about the dangers of narcotics and educate parents about the warning signs of drug use. He has also taught Criminal Justice at local community colleges and universities.

Cooper has spent the past 13 years serving the people of Elk Grove, as the city’s first mayor, with a total of two terms as mayor and four terms on the city council.

As the city’s first mayor, Cooper helped establish the governing values of fiscal responsibility, transparency, accessibility and regional partnership that the city still tries to live by. The fiscal foundation laid by his administration as mayor was critical to achieving 10 consecutive balanced budgets, building a healthy reserve, and avoiding the police layoffs that have plagued neighboring communities.

Cooper also worked to make Elk Grove one of the region’s greenest cities, and has prioritized balancing growth and preserving the community’s quality of life by tackling issues like traffic, housing, and job creation.

At the same time, he was critical in setting up the city’s first gang/narcotics unit and a local 9-11 Communications Center, and put more police officers on the street.

Cooper has had a lifelong passion for community service and young people, and has served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, WIND Youth Services, and the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home.

Cooper grew up in Sacramento, is a graduate of the West Point Leadership Academy and FBI National Academy and earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Mary’s College.

Darrell Fong
Darrell Fong was born and raised in Sacramento, California and has lived in the Pocket Greenhaven area for nearly 30 years. Darrell attended C.K. McClatchy High School, Sacramento City College, and Sacramento State University.

Darrell was elected to the Sacramento City Council, representing the 7th District, in 2010. Darrell has been a vocal advocate on finding a comprehensive statewide water policy and opposing the delta tunnels, creating jobs through economic development, and keeping neighborhoods safe in the City of Sacramento. Darrell started a community discussion to begin connecting the Sacramento River Parkway to the 119-mile American River Parkway. A strong supporter of working families, Darrell has provided representation to previously underserved communities in the district, providing after-school sports programs for kids.

Darrell, retired in 2009 from the Sacramento Police Department. Where he worked his way up the ranks, retiring as a captain. Darrell held various positions in the police department including, gang detective, patrol sergeant, narcotics and vice sergeant, Internal Affairs sergeant, lieutenant, Watch Commander, Metro Executive Lieutenant, Special Ops lieutenant (K-9, SWAT, EOD). As captain, Darrell served as Captain of the Special Investigations Detail, which includes the gang and narcotics units.

Darrell’s focus on alternative policing methods with kids began while he was supervising the School Resources Officers that provide security for the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) and Natomas School District. He noticed that if kids were given alternatives options and positive direction, they performed better in school and stayed out of trouble. Darrell was the first officer from the Sacramento Police Department to attend and graduate from the Los Angeles Police Department West Point Leadership Program. Darrell has been recognized with resolutions from the California State Senate and Assembly for his work on investigating and suppressing Asian gangs in Sacramento.

A firm believer in community engagement leading to positive outcomes, Darrell has worked to organize monthly community food truck events, which have engaged thousands of constituents. An advocate for Sacramento’s food culture, he worked with members of the Sacramento food community to proclaim Sacramento America’s Farm to Fork Capital.

In addition to his distinguished service to the community as a Council Member and police captain, Darrell has spent innumerable personal house supporting organizations including the Council of Asian Pacific Islanders Together for Advocacy and Leadership (CAPITAL), My Sister’s House Domestic Violence Shelter, Sacramento District Attorney Citizen Academy, and the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Darrell is married to his wife Joy, who works for the State of California, and has three children that have attended local schools. Darrell’s twin brother, Derrick, is a prominent local restaurateur.
As a candidate for Assembly, I committed myself to expand college opportunity by stopping tuition increases. I committed myself to protecting the Delta and the water supplies farmers in our region need. I remain clear on my commitment to closing tax loopholes that result in misery for those who rely on public services and harsh cuts to the public servants who provide those services.

Tim Gorsulowsky
Tim Gorsulowsky was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana where he learned, and continues to live with, the highest level of moral character. While in Louisiana, Tim graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business from East Texas Baptist University with continuing education in the MBA program.

In 1987, after graduating from college, Tim moved to California to assist his brother with organizing a new dermatology surgical practice. While in California, the opportunity arose to open a security services company in San Jose. This company started in 1994 ultimately expanded into a 165-employee operation with more than $4 million in annual revenue.

Tim’s philosophy offered in the business sector was to always treat the employees with high regard, while continually giving the client personal attention to detail. It was unusual to maintain an employee and contract base for an extended five to 10 years, but Tim’s philosophy and business technique proved this longevity could actually be accomplished.

Tim moved to the City of Saratoga, California in 1997 until transitioning to the beautiful City of Elk Grove in 2012.

If entrusted with your vote, Tim will provide a sincere effort to address all issues and concerns, regardless of political party, within the district.

He said, “political party agendas are not my concerns, but the issues and needs of the people I represent are my number one priority. It is my duty to handle these matters with a fair and honest approach, and work diligently for the betterment of all citizens within California.”

Tim’s primary goal is to exceed your expectations during the term by increasing the current socio-economic status in California. This will be accomplished by offering a five- and 10-year tax incentive plans to major companies that will successfully promote new business in California. The reduced business tax revenue will be offset by the revenue received from employment taxes.

Education is a major concern in District 9 that must be addressed by the Legislature. Promoting the longevity of our educators will be accomplished with improving the level of compensation. The plan will require a third party auditing of California school district budgets that will focus on reducing unnecessary expenses, then apportion the funds as a designated increase to our educators.

Many Californians have noticed the increase in DMV fee structure over the last few years. The programs offered by DMV should continue to be automated. This process will be promoted under Tim’s plan for the purpose of reducing the fees charged to residents.

Manuel Martin
My name is Manuel Martin and I am running for the 9th State Assembly district because I want Californians to prosper. For too long we have been voting for the same politicians to go to Sacramento. Year after year the people of California feel as though nothing changes. The truth is the difference between California’s 8 percent unemployment rate and North Dakota’s 2.6 percent unemployment rate is not Washington DC, it’s Sacramento.

I decided to run for office because I’m tired of the same old politicians who get elected just to make friends and cozy up to the lobbyists. While the politicians are in Sacramento networking and dining with special interest lobbyists, it’s the people who suffer. The people of the 9th district deserve a hard working representative.

That’s why I pledge to my constituents, when elected I will have monthly town hall meetings to meet as many people as possible. It’s time we elect representatives who actually want to meet the people and find out what the people need. Your representative should be meeting you, not the lobbyists.

Each Assembly representative receives an annual allowance worth about $30,000 on top of their annual salary. Since I live locally, I don’t need the allowance. I am going to use it to help students achieve a quality education by using my allowance for college scholarships. Education is very sacred to me, and I want to help as many kids prosper as possible. Education is the cornerstone of the American way of life; I will fight to preserve equal opportunity to a quality education for all students. That’s why I am offended by SCA-5, a bill presented by the Democrats in the State Senate which would have allowed California universities to deny students admittance based of the color of their skin. My friends, we should never judge someone according to the color of their skin, yet Democrat Senators wanted to legalize discrimination. It’s horrendous to think we have elected representatives who are living in the Jim Crow era and legislating racial discrimination.

I decided to run for office to preserve the American dream that my family immigrated to the United States for. I am a first generation American whose family came here from the Azores Islands. Like many first generation Americans, English was not my first language I was raised speaking Portuguese. I grew up on my grandfather’s dairy farm and started working at the age of 12. I started a jelly company when I was 19 and was in about 15 stores with my product. I shut down the company to go back to school. I earned an A.S. degree in Business Management from Delta College. I was going to further my education with a degree in economics when I got hired by Hewlett Packard.

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer,” as John F. Kennedy once said. I’m here to be your representative not your politician. Feel free to call me 572-9241, or email

Diana Rodriguez-Suruki
Diana Rodriguez-Suruki has a long record of proven leadership at all levels of government. She has served as a manager for both county and state government. In 2008 she was overwhelmingly elected to serve as a Trustee for the Sacramento City Unified School District with over 66% of the vote.

Diana has been a leading advocate against harmful school closures. She has fought for transparency, accountability and proper spending of the school district’s $480 million budget. While serving as president of the school board, she uncovered wasteful spending and worked to redirect those funds into the classroom. She has advocated for the best teachers in our classrooms and closing the achievement gap.

Diana also has a long record of community service including serving in the following capacities:

• Distinguished member of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Transition Advisory Team
• Past Board Member and Secretary for the nationwide Parent/Teacher Home Visit Program
• Chair, Sacramento 2010 US Census Latino Complete Count Committee
• Delegate Assembly Member, California School Boards Association (CSBA)

Diana has also participated in the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, President Obama’s White House Hispanic Policy Summit, and as a guest commentator on National Public Radio. She is a long-time public servant with a combined 15 years of work experience in the public sector. She has worked in all branches of local government – school, city, county and state.

In her experience, Diana has adopted spending priorities and managed county budgets. She has provided oversight and direction for various projects including multi-million dollar health care service contracts and computerized system upgrades. She has analyzed and built state department budgets and has experience identifying potential budget misappropriations. She has also analyzed and researched collective bargaining agreements that ensure public workers are fairly compensated and taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly.

Diana completed the National Economic Policy Institute from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and has a degree in finance from DeVry University. She lives in Sacramento and has three daughters – Ezra, Taja, and Alana. She enjoys cheering for her two youngest daughters at their weekend swim meets where they compete for the Parkway Dolphins swim team.

Three main issues she’ll be focusing on:
1) Strengthening Public Education
2) Improving government efficiency and accountability
3) Cracking down on the influence of big money and special interest groups in politics

Elks and the Court of Dreams

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

On Jan. 2 and 3, the Sacramento Elks Lodge #6 worked in conjunction with the Sacramento Kings and made some dreams come true. After ER Debbie Eto heard about the “Court of Dreams,” she got together with her Officers and with some help from the Elks Promise Grant, they set out to take kids to a Kings game. Student of the Month, Americanism essay participants and Hoop Shoot winners were all given two tickets to attend the Jan. 2 game and more importantly, to come back the next day and play on the same court as the Kings. Leading Knight Tom Brunette said, “the basket is much farther than you think.” The parent of one of the Hoop Shoot winners remarked, “this is so amazing, I wish I could have done this when I was a kid!”

New possibilities for community cohousing in the New Year

Wolf Creek Lodge received the 2011 Governor's Environmental and Leadership Award. This recognized the sustainability and energy conservation inherent in cohousing. The homes and common rooms require minimum heating and air conditioning because of their design, enhanced insulation and southern exposure. Solar thermal panels on the roof provide hot water to all homes. The architecture company was McCamant & Durrett. Photo by Ed Asmus Photography

Wolf Creek Lodge received the 2011 Governor's Environmental and Leadership Award. This recognized the sustainability and energy conservation inherent in cohousing. The homes and common rooms require minimum heating and air conditioning because of their design, enhanced insulation and southern exposure. Solar thermal panels on the roof provide hot water to all homes. The architecture company was McCamant & Durrett. Photo by Ed Asmus Photography

A “Cohousing Forum” on Saturday, Feb. 8, is bringing together national and local experts to discuss how these collaborative neighborhoods can be a great option for active adults looking for a place they’ll be able to age in place. Cohousing combines private homes with extensive common facilities to create environmentally and socially sustainable neighborhoods. Earlier communities like Southside Park (built in 1993 at 5th and T streets) were intergenerational communities with a lot of focus on creating a great place for kids.

“We are now seeing increasing interest from people looking at their second half of life and wanting to retain their independence and active social life,” says Kathryn McCamant, architect and national leader in the cohousing movement, who works with groups all over the country to create new cohousing communities.  ”Whether that is an intergenerational community or a community of active adults, the neighborhoods are offering a new option for older adults.  I am very pleased about the strong interest in cohousing throughout the Sacramento and Foothill region.” The forum will provide a variety of talks including a panel of seniors that are already living in cohousing to assist people in exploring if this might be a good option for themselves. 

David Mogavero, Sacramento architect and developer, will talk about the possibilities for new cohousing developments in the Sacramento region. Mogavero, worked with future residents to design Southside Park Cohousing 20 years ago. “It is very rewarding to me to see how successful Southside Park Cohousing has been. This development has made a big difference to this neighborhood. I’m excited about the renewed interest in cohousing today as I believe it can be a real asset both to its residents and, as well, to the neighborhoods in which it is built,” he said.

Residents of Wolf Creek Lodge and Sacramento Cohousing will talk about what it is like to live day-to-day in a cohousing community.

Joyce Rasmussen is one of Wolf Creek’s newest residents. She sold her Sacramento home of many years to make this change. “I was curious about Wolf Creek. I loved the building and the location but what sold me was attending one of their meetings and seeing the group work through a difficult issue to solution with grace and humor. I haven’t regretted my decision. This is a great group of people.”

Sacramento Councilmember Steve Hansen has been invited to give his perspective on how cohousing fits in with the City of Sacramento’s infill development policies.

The Cohousing Forum, hosted by the Renaissance Village Homes and by Wolf Creek Lodge of Grass Valley, will be held at Northminster Presbyterian Church from 1 to 5 p.m. at 3235 Pope Ave. in Sacramento.

Cohousing is a community oriented housing approach organized and developed by the owners themselves. Each owner (individual or family) has their own home within a development designed to foster interaction. There are community rooms created for meetings, meals and other social functions.

Wolf Creek Lodge, completed a year ago, is located in Grass Valley on a site overlooking forests and Wolf Creek yet within walking distance of shops and trails. The Lodge has 30 units with 3 remaining for sale. Wolf Creek residents will provide their insights on living in cohousing including sharing meals, helping one another with projects, attending local events. They will also talk about what they went through to develop their award winning cohousing project.

Sacramento’s Renaissance Village Homes is a newly formed cohousing group that is interested in locating a site in the Sacramento urban area within walking distance of transit and other amenities. It is seeking additional members to help in this development goal.

Information on the recently formed Fair Oaks EcoHousing project will be available as well for individuals and families interested in a intergenerational cohousing community.

A $10 fee will be collected at the door. RSVPs are appreciated to be certain that there are sufficient seats, materials and refreshments for all. Please RSVP to
For additional information see the following:,, and

Anne Geraghty represents Renaissance Village Homes.

Primrose presents ‘Living with Memory Loss’ open house event

Do you know a senior who would benefit from socialization, better fitness, nutrition, music and daily activities? On Jan. 28 from 2 to 4 p.m., Primrose (7707 Rush River Dr.) will be hosting a Day Club Open House event to provide information and resources for those who are caring for individuals with memory impairment. The featured speaker will be Daena Chitabar, RN, BSN, CHPN, LCA-Speaking on “Caregiver Burnout.”

There are 8.9 million caregivers for someone 50-plus years old who have some form of memory loss. At the free event, specialists will offer assistance and information that individuals might need to prevent and alleviate caregiver burnout. Day Club can not only help prevent caregiver burn out, but also give individuals the socialization needed to stimulate the memory. At Day Club, mental and physical stimulation is provided, along with three meals a day and entertainment.

The Primrose Living Fund is a non-profit that is focused on in-kind education of the public about Alzheimer’s disease and other topics. Partners have included churches, Sutter Health System, UC Davis Medical School and have offered continued medical education for families and caregivers in the community at large. Primrose is a proud sponsor and committee chair for the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Aid Society, Del Oro Caregiver Resource and UC Davis Mind Institute. For more information, call 392-3510 or visit

Stolen bike! Don’t be a victim; lock it up and register it with the police department

Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of a teenage boy and his family. The family has been subject to bike theft in the neighborhood.

Jennifer Smith, a long-time Pocket resident called into the Pocket News in an effort to raise awareness surrounding bike theft. Her 14-year-old son Jim was having lunch with a friend at El Faro Taqueria in the Promenade. Unfortunately, he didn’t lock his bike up and instead he leaned it against a window. He and his friend were sitting inside with the bike in view when all of a sudden two youth, described as being about two years their senior, look Jim and his friend in the eye, before allegedly taking off with the bike.

Jim took off running after the alleged thieves and interestingly a bike belonging to Jim’s friend was not stolen (even though there were two thieves).

Jennifer described the scene: “They just kicked the stand and rode off with it. (Jim) called the police; they said it wasn’t urgent but to file a report. There’s nothing they can do about it. That was such a bummer. We love being down here. The smoke shop (next to El Faro) caught it on tape. His little helper was cussing little (Jim) out. He chased him. My son could have caught up with him. There were all these cuss words. The guys that took it were just a little older, just a little bigger.”

The bike, a 16-year-old Trek cruiser, holds fond memories for Jennifer who recalls riding her three babies around the neighborhood. “People would say, ‘I love your bike.’ I rode it since then. We would get our bikes out and ride along the river. (Jim) got so tall; he was the only one who rode the cruiser. It was mine but he rode it because of his long legs. It was so comfortable. It has high handlebars. Riding around the river was our little family thing to do. I am on the river at least every other day.”

As far as the recent incident goes, Jennifer said, “It dawned on me that my son should have never chased them … it’s just a bike.” And as far as Jim’s friend was concerned, his bike was left. The accomplice rather run from the scene of the crime than take the “rickety bike.”

The alleged was caught on tape wearing a “bright red cap and two pairs of shorts. His other friend was in a grey sweatshirt.” Jennifer said she’s been watching on eBay to see if they could find the bike.

The point to Jennifer’s call, she said, was to remind readers to lock up their valuables.

Coincidentally, the Sacramento Police Department, in partnership with Councilmember Steve Hansen and the City of Sacramento, has launched a free online bicycle registry called Ride On! So here’s a bit of a PSA, courtesy of the City’s website. Registration for the program can be found online as well at:

Why Register?

    Bicycle Identification – If your bike is stolen and is registered with the City of Sacramento, the police department can easily search registration records because your registered bicycle is cross-referenced by name as well as by serial number and registration number.
    Recovered Bikes Returned to Owners – A registered bike greatly increases the likelihood it will be returned to its owner.
    Rider Identification – Bicycle registration aids in identifying the bicycle owner in case of a crash. Many bicyclists don’t carry identification. This is especially true for children.

How John F. Kennedy High School Celebrates Christmas

Principal Sweitzer, Mrs. Hatamiya, Board Member Darrel Woo, and NCHS members and parents posing for a picture after a full meal. Photo by Anstonia Ma

Principal Sweitzer, Mrs. Hatamiya, Board Member Darrel Woo, and NCHS members and parents posing for a picture after a full meal. Photo by Anstonia Ma

At John F. Kennedy High School, students and parents combine efforts to show their appreciation for the staff that have dedicated their own time and effort to helping the students succeed in their high school career. This was culminated into an event on Wednesday December 18, 2013 called the Christmas Continental Breakfast. In this celebration, food was prepared by the members of the Chinese National Honors Society (NCHS) and their parents for the teachers and staff as a sign of appreciation for their hard work. There was also a special guest, 2nd Vice President of the Board of Education Area 6, Darrel Woo. Despite his busy schedule, he still took the time to come over to wish John F. Kennedy a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. He instilled the concept of success in the students in his rousing speech and was really proud of the JFK and its students. Principal Sweitzer also stopped by after his morning duties to celebrate this joyous time with the students, staff, and special guests. Without the direction of Mrs. Hatamiya, parent volunteers, and the NCHS members, this event would not have been as successful as it was.

Principal Sweitzer (left), Mrs. Hatamiya (right). Photo by Anstonia Ma

Principal Sweitzer (left), Mrs. Hatamiya (right). Photo by Anstonia Ma

But the fun and celebration would not end with just this morning breakfast. The next day, the Orchestra, Concert Band, and Jazz Band held their annual Winter Concert, conducted by Mr. Jeremy Hammond, for the community to celebrate Christmas and the New Year while showcasing their talent and the hard work they put into their musical pieces. One very special event that occurred was Mr. Swetizer’s guest appearance in the band’s performance of “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” As Mr. Sweitzer narrated parts of the piece, the band would play music during the parts where Mr. Sweitzer stopped narrating to set the mood and add some humor. The night ended with a combined orchestra and band to make an entire symphony of musicians composed entirely of JFK students. The closing song, “Christmas Festival,” ended the concert with a bang with its range of different Christmas songs all melded into one grand piece. It was also the band’s senior night which was celebrated shortly after the concert ended in honor of the seniors that would be leaving.

Altogether, John F. Kennedy High School really knows how to celebrate Christmas and the New Year by fully appreciating everyone in the school and community that help make Kennedy great.

Friends of the River Banks celebrate New Years at Sutter’s Landing

New Year’s Morning 2014

Reportedly, another fun New Year’s morning gathering was held at Sutter’s Landing. Said organizer Laurie Litman: “The weather was practically balmy when the group of about 30 people strolled down to the Tree Mitigation Site to see the restoration project. Corey Brown and Jeff Harris, along with other committee members, described the project and answered lots of questions. From this vantage point we could also see where the proposed McKinley Village site is in relation to Sutter’s Landing Park. The day ended with an exciting sighting of a young Peregrine Falcon!

In other FORB news, the Nature Bowl at Sutter’s Landing is coming up later this spring. Nature Bowl is a team challenge that engages students in science and environmental literacy and critical thinking. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, groups of three to seven fifth and sixth graders compete in a fun day of cooperative learning challenges correlated with the state science standards. Sutter’s Landing will host its first Nature Bowl this year on either May 1 or 2. If you have a fifth or sixth grader, consider coaching a team. Coaching workshops will start soon. For more information go to or contact Laurie 916-284-1627.

Photos by Robert Sewell

Looking for Friendly Neighbors to Help Elder Neighbors

Local residents needed to form neighborhood-based groups to assist elder neighbors as part of the Caring Neighborhoods Program

Sacramento is a city of neighborhoods. Many residents of these neighborhoods are growing older and facing the challenges of living independently and could use a hand from their neighbors but are reluctant to ask for help. On the other hand, more active neighbors are often concerned about their elder neighbors but may be hesitant to get involved out of respect for their elder neighbor’s privacy.

Caring Neighborhoods, a program of the Older Adult Services division of the City of Sacramento, is reaching out to Sacramento neighborhood groups and individuals to build awareness of the issues of aging in the community and to encourage participation of neighbors in a collaborative effort to promote independence, reduce isolation, and ensure the safety and well-being of elder neighbors.
The program is seeking individuals who are willing to partner with at least two other neighbors and form an informal Caring Neighborhoods group. The program coordinator will meet with the group to provide guidelines and resource materials to get the group started. Unlike traditional volunteer programs, the groups are neighborhood-driven yet receive ongoing technical support to help problem solve, provide updated resource material and discussion of related issues.

As formal health and social services for elders continue to be limited, it’s important to increase awareness and find creative ways of providing community support to a growing elderly population. “The Caring Neighborhoods program has the potential to improve the quality of life of Sacramento elders by expanding the ‘resource pie’ to include neighborhood residents as part of the solution,” stated Program Coordinator Martha Paterson-Cohen. “As a result, and the larger goal of the program, elders can continue living at home safely and independently.”

Providing transportation, offering to pick up a quart of milk at the grocery store, sharing information about nearby senior services and activities, changing a light bulb, or extending an invitation to a family picnic or neighborhood barbecue—these are just a few examples of how the neighborhood groups can enhance the lives of their elder neighbors and allow them to maintain a safe, healthy and productive life in their own home.

For more information about starting a Caring Neighborhoods group, please contact Martha Paterson-Cohen, Program Coordinator at (916) 842-7782 or

Casa Garden Restaurant selected in marketing makeover contest

The Casa Garden Restaurant, a non-profit agency that supports the Sacramento Children’s Home, was recently selected as one of eight finalists in a local Sacramento contest to win a $50,000 Marketing Makeover, stated Marlene M. Oehler, vice president of public relations.

“After nearly 40 years in business, we really need a marketing makeover. Our website needs some polishing, we desperately need to come into the 21st century with social media, and we need better outreach to appeal to new clients. Winning this contest will help us enormously to update our marketing efforts. If we have to purchase these projects it means fewer dollars for the Children’s Home,” Oehler said.

The contest winner will be selected by public vote. To vote, click on and choose Casa Garden Restaurant. The voting deadline is Oct. 18, and the winner will be announced on Oct. 21. So there is not much time.

Know your neighbor: Dave Casella

For the second time, Pocket resident Dave Casella spent an entire summer guiding tourists through Yellowstone National Park. The first time was in 2007 when Xanterra had an emergency opening and Casella and his wife Barbara were there as tourists themselves. “They said they lost a driver and needed a photographer.” They couldn’t have found a more perfect fit. Casella worked for many years in a photography studio. This year, Dave Casella lived at a location called “Canyon”. He arrived May 7 and worked in the park until Sept. 17. He has documented his experiences and has shared photos with The Pocket News for a series about working as a tour guide at Yellowstone National Park.
I began my adventure at Old Faithful where I completed my CIG training (Certified Interpretative Guide). It consisted of standard textbook education and testing. It was a great relief to successfully pass and get it over with. The driver’s safety training was much more fun. I drove a restored 1936 “White” Touring car over Dunraven Pass from Canyon to the Lamar Valley on a three and a half-day on/off basis. The car holds 13 people plus the driver. The route required interpreting the flora and fauna of the area, including the history and showing animals in their native surroundings. Unfortunately, there was road construction from Tower Falls to Roosevelt Lodge consisting of a one-way, hard-packed dirt road. It was a good time to talk to the guests about stagecoach travel and the rigors the early travelers had to put up with!
The Lamar Valley is called the “Serengeti of North America”. I saw more than 20 black bears including cubs, two moose, four coyote and many elk, pronghorns and bison with newborn calves (called “red dogs” because of their color). I had a Grizzly five feet from my car!
The housing arrangement is “Spartan” to say the least. Think YMCA meets Stalag 17. I was in an employee cabin built in the 1950’s that consists of a large 12-foot by 20-foot room with twin beds and a bathroom with shower. I lived alone but occasionally shared whenever a transient driver came through the area. However, it was warm; the roof didn’t leak and they supplied the linen. The view was fantastic. We had a company cafeteria.
The employees were an interesting crowd. Think “Circus World”. People come from all over the world to work here but some are local natives. There is a distinct separation between the young-kids-out-to-party and the older, dedicated return-to-nature crowd. Most people are extremely friendly and will wave and say hello a block away. On any day you can run into scientists, park rangers, writers or artists. Not to forget the crazy tourists. This deserves its own paragraph.
Although it was early in the season, the “dudes and dudettes” (early slang for tourists) arrived in vehicles large and small. Many were Asian with flag bearing tour leaders shouting commands into speakers. There were also Germans, French, Australians and British among the Americans. All of them had digital cameras, cell phones with cameras or I-pads with cameras. They were so busy taking pictures, it seemed no one actually looked at the scenery!
We didn’t have traffic jams in Yellowstone. We had animal jams. One car stopped to look at a bear and before you knew it, 20 cars stop and block the road. Everyone drove if they were not in a giant 50-passenger tour bus. The oldsters were lumbering down the road in their giant, rented “Tour America” RVs. Bicyclists were abound. Joggers were jogging. Nobody seemed to know where he or she was going: shall we turn without signaling … why not? Slam on the brakes in the middle of the road to take a photo of a bison? . . . OK!
After witnessing all this you remember there actually are rules — federal rules. If you were caught for drinking, drugs or bad driving, you could get in worst trouble than at home. As a driver, I have to be particularly careful around the park watching for tourists as well as animals on the road. Believe it or not, there still is snow at the higher elevations. (Dunraven Pass is the highest road elevation (8860-plus feet) in the park, higher than the Continental Divide.) However, the average temperature was around the mid 70s during the day.
I had a “pet”, a 1,500-pound bison that enjoyed eating the green grass in front of my cabin. I had to be aware that when I left in the morning that he was not around. Although the Park does not officially name animals, the employees named an old Grizzly, “Scarface” who would hang around the area. There’s also a bison named “Lucifer” who harassed the horses around the riding corral at Roosevelt Lodge. Apparently, a wolf was seen chasing a rabbit. I’m glad I’m at the top of the food chain!
There was no TV, no Internet and limited cell phone coverage at my cabin. Believe it or not, you learn not to miss it. I usually walked to the dormitories a short distance away to text home.