The Music Man JR features neighborhood actors at the 24th St. Theater

Peter Sunseri as Professor Harold Hill and Clara McNatt as Marion Paroo in the Young Actors Stage's production of “The Music Man.” / Photo by Jane Mikacich

Peter Sunseri as Professor Harold Hill and Clara McNatt as Marion Paroo in the Young Actors Stage's production of “The Music Man.” / Photo by Jane Mikacich

The Music Man JR, a toe tapping crowd-pleaser, is hitting the 24th St. Theater one weekend only, Aug. 8-10 with favorites, including, “Trouble,” “Goodnight My Someone,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Wells Fargo Wagon,” and “Gary Indiana.”

Excited to direct this classic, Liorah Singerman, the Artistic Director of Young Actors Stage, oversees almost 70 children divided into two casts. Included in this musical are many dance numbers, including a full cast tap dancing routine, choreographed by Singerman.

The Music Man JR is part of the Broadway Junior Collection adapted for family audiences. The music and lyrics are by Meredith Willson. The play is based on the timeless Broadway classic which was the winner of five Tony awards, including best musical. The play went on to be a successful award-winning movie, starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. The story follows the fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize. The catch is he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef! His plans to skip town with the cash as foiled when he falls for Marian the librarian, whose belief in Harold’s powers just might help him succeed in the end.

Growing up studying acting at A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory in San Francisco, Singerman also received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and studied in London and New York City with award-winning voice teachers and choreographers. She has a long list of stage credits and is a member of SAG-AFTRA. In 2008, she founded Young Actors Stage, which has brought full-scale musical theatre productions to Sacramento and to the local public and private schools, including Crocker-Riverside, Holy Spirit, Genevieve Didion, Sutterville, and many more.

The role of Professor Harold Hill is played by Adan Hensley and Peter Sunseri, The role of Marian Paroo is played by Clara McNatt and Ana Riley-Portal. All have a great deal of musical theater experience and are looking forward to the show.

The following budding actors provided the following statements for this Valley Community Newspapers article.

Peter Sunseri said, “I’m thrilled to be playing Harold Hill in another one of Liorah’s fantastic productions. Music Man has always been one of my favorite musicals.”

Ana Riley-Portal, an 8th grader at St. Francis Elementary school who plays Marian in one of the casts said the following about her involvement with the production: “It is very exciting to sing such beautiful songs written for a soprano in a classic musical like The Music Man!”

Describing her excitement for The Music Man JR, Ana Konovaloff, a 4th grader at Holy Spirit School who plays Amaryllis, Marian’s piano student, said: “I can’t wait for the show when the whole cast is on stage doing a tap routine together!”

Lastly, Rosie Sunseri said the following about her experience, “I am so excited to play Zaneeta, a lot of dancing, great choreography and such a great cast.”

Anna and Louisa McNatt are excited to be in a show with their big sister, Clara, who plays Marian in one of the casts. All three sisters attend Country Day School. Louisa says, “it is a lot of fun singing and dancing at the rehearsals” and says that “you get to show your personality on stage!”

The shows are at the 24th Street Theater, 2791 24th St., Friday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 9 at 1, 4, and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 10 at 1 and 4 p.m.; $10 adults; $7 children.

Where’s the 1968 Yorozu sign?

Editor’s Note: A follow up about the old 1968 Yorozu sign will be featured in an upcoming issue of the Land Park News.

Photo by Monica Stark

Photo by Monica Stark

As demolition is underway over at the old Yorozu Oriental Gifts shop on Riverside Boulevard, so are efforts to preserve the two business signs.

Gretchen Steinberg, a South Land Park resident and president of SacMod (a non-profit association dedicated to promoting, preserving and protecting modern art, architecture and design), has been working with Center for Sacramento History and Pacific Neon to remove the signs, crate them, and donate them to CSH as they are expected to join other historic signs, which are stored at McClellan Air Force Base with the hope to someday be displayed again.

Unfortunately, however, the 1968 sign that reads “The Yorozu Oriental Gifts” actually had been removed prior to Gretchen’s knowledge. “Dunno where it went,” she told the Land Park News. “These signs each could use a case worker. Each set of circumstances is unique and complex.”

Asked what she thought has been amongst the most “unique” sign cases, Gretchen said: “It’s all new and we have several signs in the line of fire right now.”

The earlier “blade” sign, that reads, “Yorozu Gifts,” is “super historic,” she said, and was still hanging on the backside of the building as of press time.

The Yorozu closed after the death of longtime owner Eugene Hirohisa Okada who died in his sleep after battling prostate cancer on Sept. 21, 2012. The Yorozu store was the place in town to buy Japanese gifts, be it magazines, dishware, or origami. The store remained open until all items had been sold and proceeds gone to his estate: Okada’s older sister, Agnes.

It’s still unknown what the business will become, since it property had been sold to an anonymous businessman.

editor@valcomnews.com

Body Cafe: Massage therapy business survives on a co-op model

The lights are dimmed. The energy is warm. Sitting in the lobby of the Body Cafe on 21st Street, near Broadway, conversation flows between four massage therapists about the healing arts and how they can use their collective knowledge to improve each other’s practices.

By sharing clients and by continually teaching and learning from each other, all of the therapists have a stake in the Body Cafe; they are not just employees, they are partners there. It is a collaborative, not only in terms of the business model, but also through sharing and learning from each other.

Ideal for therapists right out of massage school, the Body Cafe offers them a place to hold appointments and build their private practices.

Focusing on energy work, like Reiki, spiritual guidance directs Charon Perez’s intuitive, holistic approach.

For Ashley, who attended the Healing Arts Institute, working on the more firm side with deep tissue and acupuncture, the Body Cafe is an ideal workplace where she’s constantly learning from her peers: “I am always so excited to exchange services because you really grow a lot with body work,” she said. Many of her clients are referrals from her other job at River City Phoenix, a medical marijuana dispensary (1508 East El Camino Ave.). “So sometimes, I work with cancer survivors and a whole array of patients, and, I feel with my essential oils, I can use vibrational healing at a cellular level.”

“It’s conversational. It’s magnetic sometimes,” said therapist Paula Osborn about giving massage.

Meanwhile, Paul Simmons, the Body Cafe’s manager, said he has always struggled to describe his practice in words. A musician, Paul likens the conversation to when someone asks him to describe a symphony: “Listen to it.”

A fluid approach to massage, therapists at the Body Café don’t have a checklist of techniques they must follow each time, as Paula explained: “You’re not getting signed off on a salon protocol that (therapists elsewhere have to follow).”

The Body Cafe is not the kind of place where management sets up shop and hires some people with profit as the main motivation. The cooperative is really about people being in business for themselves – starting their own private practice or expanding their private practice until they can go out on their own.

At first, the Body Cafe was a money loser, Paul said, however now, at the very least, the business is breaking even. “Now, we have good months, even though it’s still a labor of love proposition. My goal is to not lose any money.”

Opened about four years ago by Loralee Pagenkopf, the Body Cafe, within six months, quickly expanded to three additional therapists. Prior to that time, the building at 2414 21st St. was a dentist’s office.

The amount of therapists who offer massage at Body Cafe varies as does the amount of time each therapist puts in there. “There are two therapists that are in one hour every couple of weeks. I don’t really count them. I mean they’re here, available, but they both have full time practices (elsewhere). One of them works at a women’s hospice. She can’t take male clients there, so when she gets a phone call from a male client, she does it here.”

Clearly, a beneficial opportunity for the aforementioned therapist, the Body Café provides many opportunities for the therapists whom all come from different backgrounds.

Paula, a martial arts enthusiast, had to stop sparring four years ago after a major injury, but found massage to be in line with the very healing arts her senseis encouraged practicing. “(The injury) is why I came to massage because I had traditional teachers who told me to learn the healing arts as well as the martial application. So it’s been a real adventure for me. They were right; these old school teachers from Japan and China were right. Now, I understand. So in a way, I get to continue my practice, it’s just in a different way.”

With only three massage rooms and about 20 therapists, keeping appointments organized and scheduled properly might seem like a full time receptionist job, but actually therapists utilize calendar scheduling that is available for free online.

The unique cooperative approach to running a massage studio is one that has had its ups and downs and even after four years, there’s still room for perfection. Describing the business’s growth and goals for the future, Paula said: “We’d love to pay the concept forward if we can. This is really a work in progress. It’s been a high learning curve for all of us to try to figure how to make this concept work because it is unique. But we love to make it work and be able to share that and what we learned with other massage therapists to offer the option because many of us come out of massage school with the question: ‘What am I going to do? I guess I have to go work for (a corporate massage business) or borrow a lot of money or get a lot of money to open a private practice.’ It’s just not easy to launch yourself into this world.”

Adding to the discussion on paying the business model forward, Paul said, “The other piece in terms of paying it forward, at some point when somebody here does 20 massages, it may be time (for them) to go on their own because if you are doing 20 massages here, you’d like to have a room to yourself, so you don’t have to say, ‘Oh jeez, does Ashley have the room?’ But, I will cry when they leave.”

While that hasn’t happened yet, Paul looks forward to the day when the business has grown to that point – an inevitable outcome based on the love and dedication that is put into each massage.

For more information, visit http://www.bodycafe.info/ . For appointments, call 292-0898 or email bodycafe@massage-ca.com.

editor@valcomnews.com

Curtis Fest Artisan Fair provides fun for the whole family

Fairies will again face paint children at this year's Curtis Fest, which will be held Sunday, Aug. 24.

Fairies will again face paint children at this year's Curtis Fest, which will be held Sunday, Aug. 24. / Photo courtesy of Faith Johnstone

More than 100 talented local artists will display and sell their crafts under a canopy of lush trees on Sunday, Aug. 24 at the eighth annual Curtis Fest Artisan Festival. Attending guests will be surrounded by wonderful music, fantastic food and fun activities for the whole family. Held at William Curtis Park, this free, annual art fair is sponsored by the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association and is open to all as part of the closing events for the 2014 summer season.

Participants will find something for everyone with artists of all kinds including painters, sculptures, jewelers, and crafters. Music will be provided by the renowned guitarist Jon Merriman and followed by the sultry sound of Jahari Sai.

Later in the day, the Loose Acoustic Trio will entertain guests with their smooth jazz and upbeat classics. Children will have the opportunity to feed live animals in the Pony Ranch Party petting zoo, have their faces painted or take in the magic show by the fairies of Happily Ever Laughter. For those looking for a bite to eat, Mama Kim’s, Wicked ‘Wich, and Local Kine Shaved Ice food trucks will be on hand to provide some delicious fare.

A petting zoo was a highlight at a previous Curtis Fest. / Photo courtesy of Faith Johnstone

A petting zoo was a highlight at a previous Curtis Fest. / Photo courtesy of Faith Johnstone

If you are interested in putting up a booth at the festival, you must fill out an entry form and pay the non-refundable entry fee of $50. Make checks out to SCNA. The deadline is Aug. 8. For more information, contact Faith Johnstone at faith@sierra2.org or call 452-3005 to pay with a credit card.

SCNA is one of the busiest neighborhood associations in California. It was formed in the 1970s to rescue the old Sierra School from demolition. Since then, this vibrant, innovative group has worked to bring neighbors together for year-round events and offer a cohesive voice for community concerns. The restored Sierra 2 Center now serves as a focal point for artists, teachers, students, parents, children, seniors and more – all who rely upon its dance studios, gardens, performance spaces, meeting halls and class rooms to provide them a charming and reliable home. Curtis Park is a residential neighborhood of approximately 2,500 homes, a patchwork of diverse architectural styles situated around a quaint 18.32-acre park.

If you go:

What: 2014 SCNA Curtis Fest will feature artist booths, petting zoo, children’s fairies, musicians, food trucks
When: Sunday, Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
Location: Curtis Park
Presented by: Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association

Rotary Club of South Sacramento president’s first meeting was a memorial for herself

Editor’s note: This is the first story in this publication about South Land Park resident Andrea Picot, the new president of the Rotary Club of South Sacramento and the current manager and funeral director at Klumpp’s Funeral Home, a Land Park landmark.

Andrea Picot, the new president of the Rotary Club of South Sacramento, shows the urn that was used at her funeral, which was held on Thursday, July 10 at Iron Grill (formerly Iron Steaks). Iron Grill is the location of the weekly Rotary meetings, which are held Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. / Photo by Monica Stark

Andrea Picot, the new president of the Rotary Club of South Sacramento, shows the urn that was used at her funeral, which was held on Thursday, July 10 at Iron Grill (formerly Iron Steaks). Iron Grill is the location of the weekly Rotary meetings, which are held Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. / Photo by Monica Stark

Friends and family of Andrea C. Picot entered Iron Grill (formerly known as Iron Steaks) restaurant on Thursday, June 10 to the scene of a funeral. Photos of Andrea with her daughter, Olivia Rose, sat alongside an empty blue urn borrowed from Klumpp’s Funeral Home and a bouquet of pink and white flowers from Balshor’s Florist, as the first song, Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole’s ukulele version of “Over the Rainbow” set the stage for a unique first meeting organized by the youngest female president of the Rotary Club of South Sacramento. Andrea, 33, even created a memorial service program with the cover photo of herself on a fishing trip on the Sacramento River.

There were some tears in the room, some laughter, some nods of approval and some whispers of discomfort.

Describing how she came up with the idea to have a funeral service for her first Rotary Club meeting as president, Andrea said: “I had this idea and decided to go ahead and go for it. It was really hard because I was super particular and picky about finding the perfect pictures, the perfect quote to put inside the memorial folder, and I feel like I have a better understanding of my high maintenance family because you want it to be perfect and you want it to completely portray you and you only have a certain amount of time to squeeze in a certain amount of years. I had Ollie pick my urn.”

The officiant for the service and author of “The Power of a Broken-Open Heart: Life-Affirming Wisdom from the Dying,” Julie Interrante, spoke positively of Andrea’s approach to her first Rotary meeting. Having planned services and working in “end-of-life care” for 25 years, Julie said the following about Andrea’s funeral: “I thought it was really wonderful Andrea decided to do her own memorial service.”

One of the Rotary Club members, Anne Hasbrook Smith, complimented Andrea while acknowledging her odd approach: “Obviously, this is very weird, but we appreciate Andrea’s sense of humor. I attend a lot of funerals, and the last one I went to was one that she did. It’s nice to be able to have a sense of humor about things.”

Craig Stevenson, past president, said with a chuckle, Andrea’s service was “very moving. I was in tears from the beginning to the end of it. I could hardly control my emotions.”

Toward the end of the service, Andrea’s father, donated $100 in Andrea’s name toward the $1,000 needed for his daughter to become a Paul Harris Fellow. (Harris founded Rotary in 1905 and those who have contributed more than $1,000 to the Annual Program Fund, the Polio Plus Fund or the Humanitarian Grants Program of the Rotary Foundation are recognized as Paul Harris Fellows.)

The following day inside a conference room at Klumpp’s, Andrea spoke with this publication about the previous day’s events and her goals for the Rotary Club of South Sacramento.

“I was expecting a few people who were ‘weirded’ out by it and a few who were intrigued by it. It was a different group because there were some widows and widowers, so, I was nervous because I didn’t want to offend anybody, but at the same time, it was my own type of a thing. So, I thought, this can’t be offensive to anybody because I am putting this all about myself right now, and this is kind of about me right now. Sorry, sometimes things make people uncomfortable.”

Every new Rotarian who starts his or her residency as president has “some sort of theme and they have some kind of crazy kick off,” Andrea said, adding: “I didn’t know what to do because I plan funerals every day, so I thought well, I should just play on my own and reverse the role. One thing we do is vocational talks. I’ve had Rotarians here for a tour and it’s always turned out really well. It’s always been well (received). I got really picky, getting stressed about the memorial folder, I took it kind of seriously because I do this for a living.”

While she’s not attempting to reinvent the wheel, Andrea said she wants to add a little more fun, and a little more of a spark to the club. She wants to plan a few more social events. She also wants to change how fundraisers are organized. “For one thing, we’ll focus on the crab feed, a major fundraiser. A lot of that money you donate to people – we’re going to have different organizations fill out an application for a majority of those proceeds. So we’re still going to be donating to those organizations we have in the past, but will do things a little bit differently. We’ll have applicants apply on a need basis and then donate a larger percentage. So it’s not like a $1,000 here or $1,000 there. It’ll be like $5,000 to $10,000 (to an organization).”

Also, in the future, she’s looking to put together another memorial service, but for the Rotarians that have passed away or for those in the club who may have lost a spouse or significant other. Describing her inspiration in that regard, Andrea said: “A lot of funeral homes do that. They’ll send out a letter saying, ‘thinking of you during the holidays,’ if it’s the first (holiday) without their loved ones. So it’s kind of nice to do something like that.”

According to the eulogy she wrote and read aloud on Thursday, Andrea was born on July 12, 1981 in Eureka to John and Dana Picot. Since the very early age, she was creative, active, and loved animals. She grew up throughout northern California, living in Red Bluff, Concord, Turlock, Sonora and back to Red Bluff where she graduated from Mercy High School. She danced and was an equestrian horse rider.

Andrea attended Southern Oregon University, Chico State and California College of the Arts where she obtained her bachelor’s of fine arts degree. She realized that being a starving artist wasn’t the path she wanted to take, so in 2006, she moved to Sacramento to attend mortuary school at American River College.

While going to school, she landed a job at George L. Klumpp where she received her apprenticeship and where she continued to work as a funeral director up until her death.

In 2010, she gave birth to her only daughter and love of her life, Olivia Rose. Together, Jeff and Andrea co-parented with love and respect. Olivia brought her love, joy and purpose. On July 28, 2013, she met her soulmate, Aaron, at the state fair and they have been together ever since.

Andrea has been compassionate toward animals, teaching as an adjunct professor at American River College in the funeral service program, being a South Sacramento Rotarian and enjoying her time with family and friends. She will always be remembered for her wit, dedication to hard work, caring, feistiness and beautiful personality.

editor@valcomnews.com

Faces and Places: Hollywood Park Neighborhood 4th of July Parade

The annual 4th of July Hollywood Park Neighborhood Parade featured a vintage 1920s fire truck, which led the parade through the streets. Dressed in red, white and blue, some residents and their families marched the parade route, while neighbors cheered them on from their front yards. Along the parade route, there was a lemonade stand, a mimosa stop, and a World War II veteran who waved the flag at the parade goers. Like every year, snacks and refreshments were served at the end of the parade at Leonardi DaVinci School.

Daisy Makes A Splash at The State Fair

Splash Dogs is a nationally recognized dog enthusiast company that organizes and promotes dock jumping events across the United States.
From Border Collies to Pit bulls to Golden Retrievers, dogs named Dexter, Murphy, and Rowdy, the “Flying Weenie Dog,” hail from all over Northern California to compete in the Splash Dogs competition at the California State Fair.
Water dogs are the best; they’re fearless, fun and love to jump into water to fetch a doggie toy with reckless abandon.
Diane McKernon, of Carmichael, and her 3-and-a-half-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, Daisy, entered the Splash Dogs competition at the State Fair hoping to make a big splash…or at least get a blue ribbon. It was their first time being Splash Dog contestants at the State Fair.
Diane told me she had seen the Splash Dogs at the State Fair for years and always enjoyed being a spectator. When she finally got a dog that would actually jump into the water, she decided to jump right into competing in the Splash Dog events.
The first competition they competed in was the Splash Dogs Pet-A-Palooza event in Citrus Heights last year. Daisy ended up jumping 18.4 feet at Petapalooza and took fifth place. She received a blue ribbon and when Diane hooked it on her collar “she looked proud, she has a sense of pride in being a good splash jumper,” Diane said.
That’s when they both got hooked on the Splash Dog competitions.

Daisy is a natural born jumper. She loves to jump in Diane’s mom’s pool on Rustic Road in Carmichael.
“She just runs and flies into the pool without any hesitation,” Diane said. Daisy jumps into lakes and rivers and wherever she can get into the water. She’s a true “water dog.”
I could see Daisy sliding down the water slides at Cal Expo. “I think she would,” Diane replied.
As I was talking to Diane about the competition, 92-pound Daisy was pulling her toward the Splash Dog dock and whining. She’s a strong dog. She was chomping at the bit to make another jump into the cool water. Diane said, “Most of the dogs doing this are single-minded. All they can think about is getting in the water.”
At home, Daisy is actually a laid back couch potato, eating Costco dog biscuits and waiting for the next Splash Dogs competition. Once Diane gets out the Remington Dog Toy and the leash, Daisy is ready to go for a walk near the river where she loves to get wet.
Her friend Bryan takes her up to the platform. He’s the handler so Diane can take video of the jumps. She’s like a proud mother; posting photos and videos of her baby jumping into the water. Another reason Bryan’s the handler is Daisy is a very powerful dog who could probably tow a Buick. When she sees the dog toy and the pool…she’s hard to stop. “I hold her til she screams and screams and let her go!” Bryan said. Bryan uses the “huck technique” which is basically just hucking the dog toy and letting Daisy go after it and fly through the air.
And how did Daisy do in the Splash Dogs competition? Her longest jump was 17 feet, 1 inch during the splashes, and she jumped 16 feet, 8 inches in the finals, where she placed ninth, which is pretty good considering it was only her second competition. She won a blue ribbon but was too tired to pose with it. She had jumped all day and was just “dog tired.”
The day at the State Fair was all about Daisy and her joy of jumping. She loved it! Daisy is now relaxing at home in Carmichael, sprawled out on the kitchen floor, and waiting for her next big Splash Dogs competition.
If you want to stay up to date on Splash Dogs or enter your canine in a competition check out www.splashdogs.com

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.

Fourth of July Pocket Parade drew large crowd

Thousands of people enjoyed the Pocket 4th of July Parade. The Pocket News thanks the community for your participation, whether you volunteered, had a float, sat on the sidelines, manned a booth at Garcia Bend at the business fair. A great time was had. Congratulations to Sacramento Urgent Care, Sacramento Youth Band and Merryhill – float winners this year. Also, let it be known that the NextDoor Pocket float won the best in a nationwide NextDoor float contest. Here’s to next year!

Retirement celebration held for the Rev. Dan Madigan

The Rev. Dan Madigan spent the last 25 years of his 50 years as a priest with the St. Joseph Parish of Clarksburg. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Rev. Dan Madigan spent the last 25 years of his 50 years as a priest with the St. Joseph Parish of Clarksburg. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about the Rev. Dan Madigan.

In celebration of the Rev. Dan Madigan, who is retiring after dedicating nearly a half-century of his life to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, a special event was recently held in the Sacramento Delta town of Clarksburg at St. Joseph Church – a place of worship both historically and presently connected with the Pocket area.
The gathering, which included a hosted buffet, some words by Madigan and the singing of various songs, including “Danny Boy,” was held on Sunday, June 29, following the day’s Mass.
In addition to speaking to attendees of the event, Madigan dedicated time to being interviewed for this article.
And in presenting a summary of his life, Madigan began by saying that he was born near the village of Shanagolden in Limerick County, Ireland on March 9, 1938.
Madigan added that he grew up in a family, which included his father, Patrick, his mother, Eileen, and his siblings, Bridie, Kathleen, John, Maurice, Michael, Patrick and Mai.
Madigan also had a sister named Eileen, who died of meningitis shortly before her fifth birthday.
In regard to his upbringing, Madigan noted that he enjoyed his childhood.
“My childhood was great,” Madigan said. “It was in a rural area, a farm, a little village. Everybody was happy. We didn’t have an awful lot. Neither had anybody else, but we didn’t feel we were poor in any way. We grew our own little crops and raised our own meat and so forth. We lived a happy life.”
Among Madigan’s fondest memories of his youth was rabbit hunting with his black Labrador, Brutus. Madigan has also enjoyed hunting during his adult life with Monsignor Jim Church and his father, who was also named Jim Church.
And when it came to the topic of religion during his youth, Madigan noted that about 95 percent of the people in Ireland at that time were Catholic and nearly everyone in his hometown attended Mass.
The pastor in Shanagolden during that era was the Rev. James O’Byrne.
As part of the Madigan family’s dedication to their faith, they got on their knees each night to pray the rosary.
While growing up in a Catholic environment, Madigan decided at a very young age that he wanted to become a Catholic priest.
Madigan spoke about his early desire to take on such a religious role, saying, “It was there from grade school on, I’d say. I didn’t hear any voices calling or anything like that, but I always felt it was the right thing to do. It would be an opportunity to help people and I thought that would be a great vocation in life.”
And Madigan added that he also felt a desire to assist others as a priest in America.
“I was very, very clear that I wanted to come to the United States, because I always had tremendous respect for the United States,” Madigan said. “When we were little children, the United States was always presented to us very, very well. We studied that in school – the United States. We certainly knew all about Lady Liberty and we knew what was written on the statue.”

The Rev. Dan Madigan is pictured at center with his mother, father and siblings on the day of his ordination on June 7, 1964. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dan Madigan

The Rev. Dan Madigan is pictured at center with his mother, father and siblings on the day of his ordination on June 7, 1964. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dan Madigan

In 1952, Madigan began studying at St. Munchin’s College in Corbally, Limerick County. And he began his studies in the seminary at St. Kieran’s College in the Irish city of Kilkenny four years later.
On June 7, 1964, Madigan was ordained a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny.
After serving as a priest in Limerick County, Madigan fulfilled his dream of coming to the United States.
Having made arrangements to serve the Diocese of Sacramento, Madigan arrived in Sacramento in March 1966 and became the assistant pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
In speaking about his six years with that parish, Madigan said, “Our Lady of Lourdes in Del Paso Heights, we covered Rio Linda and Del Paso Heights. I felt quite challenged there, because people were in need and they were coming to the church a lot.”
Madigan said that while he was serving people in the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, he had an experience that amazed him regarding a particular Sacramento area parish.
“I was at that point (of being) strung out, because I had used all of my volunteers,” Madigan recalled. “I said, ‘Where would I get more volunteers?’ Somebody said, ‘Well, go over to St. Ignatius on Arden Way.’ And I said, ‘Like heck the people of St. Ignatius are going to come down into Del Paso Heights and start feeding people.’ I had big reservations about going over there, (but) I went over there and made an appeal. And (God) opened my eyes. I saw something. There were people coming into Del Paso Heights, driving up in BMWs, Mercedes and so forth, getting out of there, coming in and washing old, dirty pots and everything. And you know what? Everyone was taking care of their own home. But it just showed the inner goodness of people and it was something very nice to see.”

Lance@valcomnews.com