Two experienced young performers can’t wait for “The Sound of Music”

Child actor Milan Williams stars in the Young Actors Stage production of The Sound of Music. / Photo by Paul Hemesath
Child actor Milan Williams stars in the Young Actors Stage production of The Sound of Music. / Photo by Paul Hemesath

The year 2015 is the 50th Anniversary of the beloved movie musical,” The Sound of Music,” which won five Oscars and gained fame for its stars, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Fox Studios has planned festivities worldwide and has released new videos, soundtracks, and books in honor of the occasion. Many people forget that “The Sound of Music” was originally a highly successful Rodgers and Hammerstein, award-winning Broadway musical, first performed in 1959, starring Mary Martin.
Local theater company, Young Actors Stage, is also honoring the famed musical by performing the “The Sound of Music,” May 15-23 at the 24 th Street Theater in Curtis Park. This is one of their “Mainstage” productions, which means that the cast is made up of older, more experienced students from the entire Sacramento area. Liorah Singerman and her staff at Young Actors Stage were thrilled by the huge turnout at the competitive auditions in late January. So many experienced children tried out from all areas of the city that there will be two casts performing the musical.
Cast in the coveted role of Maria Von Trapp, the young Austrian postulant who is sent by the nuns to be a governess for a Navy Captain and his mischievous seven children, are Milan Williams and Ana Riley-Portal. Between them, these young performers have over twelve years of experience in musical theater in the Sacramento area.
Milan Williams is a seventeen year-old junior at Sacramento Waldorf School and is currently researching colleges with acting and musical theater programs. She has performed in several local theater groups, including Young Actors Stage, Davis Musical Theater Company, and Musical Mayhem Productions out of Elk Grove. She has a background in ballet training and loves to act. Her favorite roles include Millie in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and the Wicked Witch in the “Wizard of Oz.” She says tha, she loves performing and wants to “maybe even be on Broadway someday. You’ve got to have goals and dreams!”
Ana Riley-Portal is a fourteen year-old eight grader at Saint Francis Elementary School in Sacramento. She will be attending Christian Brothers High School in the fall. Although she is young, she has been performing in musical theater since 2008. She has performed for Sacramento Theater Company, River City Theater Company, and Young Actors Stage. Last summer, she was Marian in the Young Actors Stage’s production of “Music Man Jr.” Other favorite roles have been Jemima in “Cats,” and Polly Brown in Sacramento Theater Company’s Young Professionals Conservatory’s production of “The Boyfriend.” She has a mature soprano voice and has been taking lessons with vocal teacher, Maureen Mette for three years. Last year she took first place in the NATS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Musical Theater/American Song Division competition.
Clearly, these two young women will honor all the previous “Marias” when they step on stage in May as they perform in “The Sound of Music.”

The production will be held at the 24th Street Theater in Curtis Park on Friday, May 15 and 22 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 16 and 23 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, May 17 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Scientists cycling from SF to New York stop at Cal Middle

Teaching Cal Middle School students
Teaching Cal Middle School students

UCLA grads Elizabeth Case and Rachel Woods-Robins pedaled onto the California Middle School campus Monday to promote their cross-country journey that they hope will spark conversations about diversity in the science field.

While at Cal, the women taught Maria Aguilar’s eighth grade class a lesson in alternative energy using a miniature, solar-powered bicycle. Their work was filmed by a crew from NBC News Los Angeles bureau that is documenting the San Francisco-to-New York bike journey.

The Cycle for Science Indiegogo page says the women “hope to show the students that scientists are not all old white guys with calculators growing out of their beards who spend 24/7 in underground labs and have been tinkering with circuits since preschool.”

Building a softball field of dreams at CKM

Shown here is the C.K. McClatchy junior varsity and varsity teams. The Lady Lions were Metro Champions both this year and last. Our Lady Lions are amazing!
Shown here is the C.K. McClatchy junior varsity and varsity teams. The Lady Lions were Metro Champions both this year and last. Our Lady Lions are amazing!

Grandmother Felicia Miller is on a mission. A retired project manager from the state of California as of December, Felicia stepped right into a voluntary position of the same nature over at her granddaughter’s school, C.K. McClatchy High School. From writing a grant, to painting signs showing school pride, it’s just the beginning for this squeaky wheel who is dedicated on improving the softball playing fields.
“It’s antiquated. It’s in sorry shape. We don’t have bleachers over there; it’s pathetic,” she said. “There’s holes in the backstop and the siding on the dugout is rotting off. There’s no foul ball fencing. People sit on lawn chairs on the grass. It’s doable. Our field is in good shape but everything else is neglected. Parents were going to do the work, but the district said, ‘no, we’ll do it.’”
And they’re gotten things started and gave permission to Felicia to paint some signs, which she included the painting of a lion. Though some repairs have been made, Felicia said, “but, by no means do they address everything that needs to be done on the field. It’s the beginning.”
Taking a lesson from the batting cages fiasco almost two years ago when the Sacramento City Unified School District staff tore down a large, non-ADA compliant batting cage built by the community, Felicia said she’s had to make sure she’s followed district rules, filling out work orders for each thing she’d like improved.
“I have time; I’m retired. I wanted to dedicate at least six months (to the cause). I don’t want my granddaughter playing with holes in backstop. It really speaks to having pride in the campus.”
Also, she placed a work order for a mural to be painted on the backside of the visitors’ dugout. Facing the student parking lot, it’s one of the first things drivers will see. “I wanted something students would design and paint for themselves. The theme is ‘Lady Lions softball spirit.’”
In the meantime, she wrote and was awarded a grant from Golf4Schools, a non-profit that plans, organizes, coordinates, and runs benefit golf tournaments to raise money for school groups, clubs, classes, and athletic teams.
Winning the grant, Felicia is excited to announce the upcoming golf tournament benefiting the CKM softball program. Set for Friday, June 5 with a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start at Teal Bend Creek Golf Club, 7200 Garden Highway, the tournament will feature a 4-person scramble, and men, women, and mixed foursomes. The event is a community event, open to the public, so come support the McClatchy softball program with a lunch, range balls, putting contest, mulligans, on-course games, and a dinner reception with prizes and raffle. Money raised will be used for the Golf4School general grant fund.

If you go:

Golf tournament benefiting the Lions softball program


Friday, June 5, starting at 1:30 p.m.


Teal Bend Creek Golf Club, 7200 Garden Highway

On the Curbs: Compton’s Market adding a full deli

Photos by Stephen Crowley Shown here is a photo from last year's East Sacramento Farmers' Market. The weekly market supports local vendors as well as vendors hailing from as far south as Salinas. The East Sacramento Farmers' Market is a year-round Saturday morning market at 35th Street and Park Way in McKinley Park. Market hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. From pralines to flowers and produce, the farmers' market exemplifies some of the best around from various types of businesses.
Photos by Stephen Crowley Shown here is a photo from last year's East Sacramento Farmers' Market. The weekly market supports local vendors as well as vendors hailing from as far south as Salinas. The East Sacramento Farmers' Market is a year-round Saturday morning market at 35th Street and Park Way in McKinley Park. Market hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. From pralines to flowers and produce, the farmers' market exemplifies some of the best around from various types of businesses.

Sunil Hans and Mike Compton were personally available at one of their recent regular Friday afternoon tasting events. Featured was Sunil’s mother’s homemade Indian food, fresh salami, and delicious non-dairy cheeses made from nuts. What brought Sunil and Mike to the occasion was a special announcement. It is true, the store will be expanding its footprint by extending square footage to the east along the Meister Way side of the store.

The addition is planned to take place in August and will make room for a full deli, meat counter, and small coffee shop / bakery. Fresh juices and other items may also be available.

There were a number of members from the local neighborhood associations present mingling with the usual customers. The mood was very relaxed and open. The owners helped to explain what their vision is, namely to expand the store in a manner consistent with the original structure and to maintain close ties to the community throughout the process.

Feedback from all attendees during the hour I was present was very positive and Sunil and Mike received many compliments regarding the upgrades they are making to the store.

Be sure to check out the East Sacramento Farmers Market, which is every Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East end of McKinley Park where the Shepard Garden and Arts Center is located. A special thank you to Ann Vuletich Clark, the Executive Director of East Sacramento Farmers Market, for bringing this to our community for the second year in a row. Puppies, children and smiles abound and the weather has been gorgeous.

Live music is a part of the scene and you can find updates, a list of the vendors, and other details on the website at If you or someone you know of would like to play at the market (good outdoor background types of music), please feel free to call 402-3261 for more information.

As summer approaches and more of us spend time outside, let’s remember to help keep our neighborhood safe. Be sure to join your local neighborhood watch group or start one yourself. The City of Sacramento’s Police website is an excellent resource to find out how to start a new neighborhood watch group. You can find that online at

If you are interested, starting on June 23 at 6:30 p.m. at One Speed Pizza (4818 Folsom Blvd.) and continuing every fourth Monday of the month, a group of neighbors and police officers will be meeting to talk crime prevention. Each meeting will have a different topic. The topic in June will be crime prevention through environmental design.

A great free phone app to use to learn about crime in your area is called RAIDS online. You can set the program to send you email updates every day, week, month or whenever. You get to view a map which you can set to highlight certain crimes such as burglaries, burglaries from autos, assaults, and drug offenses. It’s an excellent example of how technology can empower citizens to become aware of what is going on around them.

Michael Saeltzer is the president of East Sacramento Preservation and a local real estate agent.

17th annual Barbara Jeanne Hansen ice cream social set for Friday, May 29

17th annual Barbara Jeanne Hansen ice cream social
17th annual Barbara Jeanne Hansen ice cream social

Bring the whole family to Friends of the Belle Cooledge Library’s 17th annual Barbara Jeanne Hansen ice cream social from 6 until 8 p.m. on Friday, May 29 at the park adjacent to the library. Come celebrate the beginning of summer vacation with free ice cream and toppings. This year the Friends of the Library will again feature the most popular flavors from Vic’s ice cream, a Sacramento favorite.

Friends and neighbors are invited to join the library for this summer evening of family fun. In addition to free ice cream, there will be performances from Musical Robot, Fenix Drum and Dance and musical crafts with Art Beast. This year will again feature a giant book sale in the community room, starting Wednesday, May 27 with a members only night from 5-8 p.m. and Thursday, May 28 through Saturday, May 31 during library open hours. It will be open during the ice cream social, and for one hour afterwards, so be sure to stop in for some incredible bargains.

The social traditionally kicks off our children’s Summer Reading Program. Stop by the Summer Reading Program desk to learn more about the fun, contests and prizes planned for your children’s summer enjoyment.

The Barbara Jeanne Hansen Ice Cream Social is the Belle Cooledge Friend’s way of saying thank you to all the loyal supporters of the Belle Cooledge Library who help to make it such an outstanding community resource. The event is named after Barbara Jeanne Hansen who, for seven years, was Belle Cooledge’s “Story Lady.” She was also a major financial contributor to the Sacramento Public Library. In 1999 she, in conjunction with her family’s Crystal Creamery, sponsored the first Ice Cream Social. It’s a tradition the Friends of the Library are proud to continue in her honor.

Explore new creative interests at the Hart Senior Center


Art classes

Hart Senior Center will launch a new series of beginner weaving lessons, with longtime textile artist and weaving instructor, Ann Robinson. Lessons will introduce students to terminology, looms, equipment, and weaving techniques. Classes will be held Mondays from 1 to 4 p.m. starting June 8 and meet for six lessons. Registration fee is $25 and includes all materials.
Additionally, local artist Marie Taylor will demonstrate the design process of 45 degree/square-based mandalas in this four-part course. These unique geometric designs can be framed as art or applied to stationery, fabric, ceramics and more. Classes will be held Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. beginning June 9 and will meet for four lessons. Registration fee: $25 for four lessons. Optional materials fee $5 will include all supplies needed for class.
Space is limited for both classes. Adults age 50 plus can sign up for Learn the Loom: Weaving Lessons with Ann Robinson or Make Your Own Mandalas with Marie Taylor by visiting the Hart Senior Center front desk at 915 27th Street in Midtown Sacramento or calling (916) 808-5462. Learn more about the classes and view links to samples of the instructors’ artistic work by visiting the Art Classes page of the Hart Senior Center website:
On Ann’s website,, the artist states that after many years of teaching and advising students on campuses including the University of Wisconsin and Stanford, budget cuts left her without a classroom. “Finally, I could focus full time on my inherent artistic interests – dyeing and weaving yarn,” she says.
Today she designs and weaves one-of-a-kind textiles using traditional looms, respecting and preserving an ancient form of art. She has three looms in my home studio and use only natural fibers, primarily plant fibers (cotton, tencel [wood], bamboo, soy, linen, hemp) and silk. “The weaving process is itself an art, and I weave not to create a picture but rather to express a feeling through color and structure. I hand-dye the yarn in a variety of color combinations and then choose a structure of repeating patterns, resulting in a visual rhythm that is evident in each piece,” she states.
Ann has been teaching the weaving process since early 2009 and presently offers classes at the University of California, Davis. Previously, she had established the weaving curriculum at Women’s Wisdom, an art therapy program offered through the Sacramento Food Bank until it closed in July 2012.
Meanwhile, Marie has always been drawn to the beauty, order and serenity of mandalas. “Whether viewing a simple Zen circle or the tapestry-like complexity of the Tibetan and Hindu paintings, the mandala draws first my eye and then my soul into its heart,” she says on her website,
In regard to the process of designing mandalas, Marie said she never plans the design of a mandala before beginning. “I suspend my everyday mind and invite my intuition to lead. I use smooth Bristol paper and start the mandala by drawing a circle with a protractor and then marking off the circle in 30 and/or 45 degree segments,” she says.
Once the points are placed on the outer rim of the circle, she adds lines to create squares, triangles or other geometric figures. These are then divided and subdivided into smaller and smaller areas. Sometimes she uses a circle or ellipse template to add new layers of detail and richness to the design. Every line is chosen without thought – although once a degree/line is selected, it is repeated to sustain a symmetrical motif.
When it comes to selecting colors for mandalas (once the basic design lines of the mandala are inked in), the colors are added with Prismamarkers or colored pencil. She selects the colors randomly and then intuitively selects one of the areas of the pattern to color in. She then colors in other matching areas to maintain symmetry.
“The only thought involved is a desire to vary the light and dark, value/intensity of the colors so that a rhythm emerges in the color application. After all colors are applied, the black lines are again traced with a heavier line for more definition and impact.
Rather than ‘thinking’ about what lines to link or designs to create, rather than deciding which colors to select or which areas to leave empty, she said she steps back from decision-making. “As long as I can suspend my judgmental thinking mind there is no such thing as a wrong choice. The designs and colors choices that emerge reflect my consciousness at the time of creating the mandala. Rather than seeking perfection in outcome, I enjoy the process of participating,” she says.
In regard to reflecting upon completed mandalas, Marie said after completing a mandala she hangs it on her wall to view and looks at it often. “The design that I might have thought weak or the colors I might have questioned, over the period of a few hours, seem to internally transform. Almost inevitably, a mandala seems to turn in upon itself, find coherence and ‘bloom’ in some mysterious way,” she says.
“The unique process of creation as well as the inner energies of an individual mandala guarantees that each one is one of a kind. In fact, I have been unable to duplicate either the design or the color choices of a mandala in a new work.”
To see examples, here’s a link to the You Tube mandala movie with about 100 mandalas – takes about 10 minutes to watch.

Register today for City of Sacramento’s Technology Program for Adults Age 50 Plus

The Summer 2015 session of TechConnections, a comprehensive technology literacy program designed specifically for Sacramento’s residents age 50 plus is scheduled to begin June 8th. Offerings range from one-on-one assistance sessions to six-part classes and start on various dates through August.
Continuing registrations for offerings at the Hart Senior Center, 915 27th St., will be taken weekdays at the senior center until all classes are full. Registration for offerings at the South Natomas Community Center will take place during the community center’s regular business hours.
Summer 2015 classes include: Computer Basics, Introduction to Windows 8.1 and Beyond, Internet and Beyond, Introduction to Excel, Introduction to Word and more. TechConnections will also offer Facebook and MacBook classes during the summer session.
Class descriptions, dates, times, and locations are available in the “TechConnections Summer 2015 Class Catalog” on the City of Sacramento’s Older Adult Services website: For additional inquiries or information, contact 808-5462.

Land Park neighborhood nonprofits enjoy good turnout from the Big Day of Giving

Julia the Thick-billed Parrot was the spokesbird for the Sacramento Zoo's Big Day of Giving campaign.
Julia the Thick-billed Parrot was the spokesbird for the Sacramento Zoo's Big Day of Giving campaign.

The Sacramento region did it again for this year’s Big Day of Giving, which was held on May 5. With a regional goal of raising $5 million for local nonprofits, that target amount was smashed, totaling $5,613,799.; 36,531 donations were accepted and 529 local nonprofits participated. The folks at Big DOG are in the process of verifying all gifts and incentives for participating organizations (dollars, transactions, households, etc.). They anticipate this to be completed by June 30. Once their verification process is complete, they will announce the final numbers. What follows are Land Park area results from the Big DOG website, which are still subject to final review and verification.

What follows below is a listing of Land Park area nonprofits that are participating in the Big Day of Giving.

The mission of the

YMCA of Superior California,

1926 V St., is to inspire all people to a healthy life – in Spirit, Mind and Body. It is a community benefit organization dedicated to strengthening community through programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

were 177 donations, totaling $41,595.

Sac Cultural Hub Media Foundation,

2572 21st Ave., utilizes collaborative and cooperative measures to develop and implement activities and programs that educate, empower, and train communities of color in underserved communities.

There were 49 donations, totaling $5,213.

The mission of the

California Automobile Museum,

2200 Front St. is to preserve, exhibit and teach the story of the automobile and its influence on our lives. The vision is to be an internationally recognized center of automotive activities, housed in a world-class facility.

There were 55 donations, totaling $14,000.

Sierra 2 Center for the Arts & Community,

2791 24th St., serves as a regional incubator of the arts, education, culture and community activities. The organization provides access and opportunity for people of all ages, demographics, and background to explore interests in those areas.

There were 101 donations, totaling $7,300.

Sacramento Taiko Dan,

PO Box 189338, studies, preserves and promotes traditional and contemporary styles of taiko drumming. Taiko is a Japanese style of percussion, which combines music, movement and spirit. The spirit of the drummers produces the powerful sound of the drums, and creates a dynamic and visually exciting.

There were 35 donations, totaling $2,095.

WarmLine Family Resource Center,

2791 24th St., provides information, education and support to promote and strengthen the foundation of families and children with special needs so they can face the challenges of the present and create new dreams for the future.

There were 27 donations, totaling $1,290.

Since 1994,

Valley Vision,

Inc., 2320 Broadway, has strengthened communities through research, collaboration and leadership. It is a nonprofit consultancy focused on economic, environmental and social issues. The vision is a prosperous and sustainable region for all generations.

There were 14 donations, totaling $7,725.

The mission of

My Sister’s House,

3053 Freeport Blvd, No. 120, is to serve Asian and Pacific Islander and other underserved women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking by providing a culturally appropriate and responsive safe haven, job training and community services.

There were 117 donations, totaling $8,810.

Slow Food Sacramento

, 1010 4th Ave. is a local chapter of an international organization that advocates for “Good, Clean, and Fair Food For All”. Conviviality is central to its mission.

There were 23 donations, totaling $1,350.

The Sacramento French Film Festival

, 2634 28th St., is committed to organizing and presenting stimulating, entertaining, and challenging signature events designed to bring people together in celebration of French culture through film and the arts.

The French Film Festival had 51 donations, totaling $8,925.

Capital Film Arts Alliance

PO Box 188093, aims to be the region’s most respected organization of active film and digital producers, craftspeople and artists within all visual media crafts, and to contribute to the development of the Sacramento-Sierra film industry, economy, and its people.

There were 33 donations, totaling $1,615.

Galena Street East Productions

, 2770 21st St., serves the community through entertainment presented by professionally trained young performers and to provide uplifting programs that educate and inspire. For participants to grow from nervous to brave in every aspect of their life.

There were 103 donations, totaling $10,287.

Meals on Wheels by ACC

, 7375 Park City Dr., promotes the general welfare and to enhance the quality of life for older adults by identifying, developing, and providing culturally sensitive nutritious meals and related activities.

There were 165 donations, totaling $11,960.

ACC Senior Services

, 7334 Park City Dr., promotes the general welfare and enhance the quality of life for our community by identifying, developing and providing culturally sensitive health and social services for older adults.

There were 123 donations, totaling $9,640.

The First Tee of Greater Sacramento

, a youth development program through the game of golf, had 154 donations, totaling $71,224.

Matias Bombal’s Hollywood

Matias Bombal
Matias Bombal

The Age of Adeline

The MPAA has rated this PG-13

LIONSGATE and Lakeshore Entertainment bring us “The Age of Adeline” in which Adeline Bowman, (Blake Lively), remains 29 years of age for almost a century through a mystery trick of fate during an automobile accident on an unusually snowy night in Sonoma, California in 1933.
In this romantic fantasy that spans the best years of the last century to the present, the eternally young Adeline is constantly running from her agelessness.
That is until she descends one New Years Eve in an elevator with a handsome philanthropist played by Michiel Huisman. Twenty-seven floors later, and with some persistence from him, she agrees, with trepidation, to come over for a date.
Romance blossoms, yet she remains guarded with her secret, which is in danger of being exposed unexpectedly when Harrison Ford, playing the father of Huisman, happens to have known and loved Adeline in the 1960s and is certain that it is she, much to the concern of his wife, played by actress Kathy Baker.
If you take your own sweetie to this movie, you’ll have wonderful results for this is a lively 107 years of romantic fantasy, handsomely made. The beginning of the movie unravels in a beautiful and clever way and is marvelously imagined and carried out.
The only matter that seemed a bit forced was the closing voice over narration in storyteller fashion, which is the way the movie opens. The narration, by Hugh Ross, was okay, somewhat reminiscent of “The Hudsucker Proxy” but was a bit much at the end. This movie was directed by Lee Toland Krieger.

Hot Pursuit

The MPAA has rated this PG-13

Warner Bros. releases an M-G-M and New Line Cinema comedy which teams Reese Witherspoon and beautiful Sofía Vergara. This is in no way connected to the John Cusack movie of 1987 of the same name. his is more in the vein of a “Dukes of Hazzard” meets “Cannonball Run” and features Witherspoon as a tomboy cop assigned to protect the widow of a drug lord and bring her to trial as an informant.
Off to a shaky start, they must drive a long way to Dallas. The two are at opposite ends in every imaginable way, yet must bond together as they are chased by crooked cops and mad gunmen.
The director of this movie, Anne Fletcher, makes a Hitchcock cameo as a police dispatcher in one early scene. She’s worked as an actress before turning to directing. Perhaps she should have stayed an actress.
This movie is unfunny. The chemistry between the two principals never develops, and no matter how charming Ms. Vergara may be, and she is that, she is the only redeeming aspect in this movie, which fails on many levels. Gaps in continuity and the prolonging what would have made a better television episode of 30 minutes is dragged out to 87 minutes. The preview audience laughed in many spots, however, to me, the entire production seemed trite and forced. Ms. Witherspoon has proved herself an excellent actress and comedienne in other movies, however, here her performance lacks the true ability of her talent, and seemed like she was playing dress-up for a TV skit.

Janey Way Memories #142

“What Goes Around, Comes Around”
The week before last, I had lunch with a group of guys who once lived on Janey Way. We met to celebrate a visit from an old friend, Jim Costamagna. Like us, Jim grew up on Janey Way, running around in the pit (the vacated sand and gravel site behind the houses on the east side of our neighborhood), competing in touch football games on the street in front of our houses, and playing the hubcap trick over on M Street. We had a lot of fun and many adventures back then.
Eventually though, we all grew up.
Some went to college, and others joined the military. Jim took a different path; he moved away.
He settled first in Denver, Colorado. Later, he headed north to Montana where he landed in the small college town of Missoula. He stuck there. He took a job with the Montana Department of Forestry, met his future wife Debbie, bought a piece of property, built his own home, and settled down to raise a family.
They raised two boys in Missoula. One suffered from severe seizures early on and still lives with the family. The other boy Justin, ultimately graduated from college in Missoula, and then moved away, much like his father had done so many years ago.
He went first to take a job in Australia. When that job ran its course, he moved to Florida, before landing in Sacramento, of all places. Here, he took a job with the State of California and settled into a career in public service.
Soon, he met a girl, and now they are engaged. They plan to marry next year.
Justin just purchased a home in West Sacramento and it looks like they are here to stay.
That is why Jim came to visit. The old home builder came home to help his son make improvements to the house he had just purchased.
So, there we sat at a restaurant in West Sacramento, having lunch and telling old stories from our childhood. I leaned over to ask Jim if he might visit Sacramento more frequently now that his son lived here. He told me they planned to do just that, most likely during the cold Montana winters. “The 50 degree temperatures here in Sacramento seem a lot better than the sub-zero Montana winter lows,” he told me with a smile on his face.
I thought to myself, “Isn’t it funny. Jim moved away to Montana so many years ago. Now his son moves back here. What goes around comes around.”
Now, our friend, Jim Costamagna, has returned to his rightful place in the Janey Way Gang.

Over The Fence

What’s next for the former Vic’s IGA?

Collected Works on Freeport Boulevard is closing. / Photos by Greg Brown
Collected Works on Freeport Boulevard is closing. / Photos by Greg Brown

What’s the latest scoop on the former Vic’s IGA Supermarket in South Land Park?
The store was shut down in March and rumors are running rampant all over social media about what will take its place. If you believe everything you read on social media a Trader Joe’s is moving in.
There’s an online petition being circulated.
A lot of residents in the neighborhood seems to want a Trader Joe’s. They are frothing at the mouth for one to open up in their neighborhood.
Slim chance that’s going to happen. Besides, the shopping center parking lot is too vast. Trader Joe’s specializes in annoying little parking lots that make shoppers irate.
Another person on a Land Park Facebook group talked about a VIVA Supermarket taking over the site. They provided a link where people could send messages to corporate headquarters begging them to locate in the South Land Park Hills Shopping Center. Viva has a local grocery store on Northgate Boulevard.
Another rumor on social media was a Dollar Tree was moving in. A guy said he heard it from somebody at the Jazzercise studio.
So you know it’s legit.
That false rumor got a lot of people worked up and angry. Folks just don’t like Dollar Tree. Let’s hope DD’s Discounts doesn’t try to weasel their way in. There’s new fencing around Vic’s Supermarket. That does not mean anything is imminent. It just means there is a fence around the building to keep it from being vandalized.
I spoke with John Chang, whose family owns the shopping center property on the right side of the South Hills Center, and he told me,
“We’re just proceeding with what is legally required to allow us to do what is next.”
Vic’s IGA filed for bankruptcy. There is a long, arduous process involved. Nothing is imminent.
I also spoke with Theodore Chang who is part of the property management company and he said, “The property has not been rented out. We have not made that decision yet, although we do have people who are interested.”
Theodore added, “We have several brokers we are working with and we’re trying to find the perfect fit for us as well as for our neighborhood”
When I asked him what are you looking to put in there? He told me, “We are keeping all of our options open. It could be anything from an athletic club to a grocery store.”
Theodore added, “We don’t have anything set in stone.”
I also asked about the aesthetic of the building and if they had plans for any demolishing of the mid-century modern designed building. “We’re not looking at anything like that. We’re just looking at getting a tenant in there. We aren’t going to make any major changes to the building itself.”
Good news for all you Sookie Lee fans.
So, when you see hunches and predictions on social media, don’t take them too seriously. The owners are working towards getting a suitable tenant in the former Vic’s IGA building. Let’s all hope it’s something that lifts up the South Land Park Hills Shopping Center.

Good Eats, the popular little barbecue joint that was housed inside Vic’s IGA, was planning to move into the former Brick Oven Pizza building. It sounded like a perfect match. Bring on the red checkered tablecloths!
I asked Good Eats owner Eric McFadden about the move over the phone recently and he told me, “It’s not gonna happen right now. I got a lot of my business when Vic’s was open and that store isn’t open anymore. Right now I’m playing it by ear.”
He added, “Because it ain’t cheap to run a business.”
Right now Eric and his Good Eats are over at Goeman’s Lounge on Franklin Boulevard. So if you miss the comfort food at Good Eats head on over to Goeman’s for some comfort.
“This is gonna work for now. I’m not going anywhere right now.”
McFadden plans on unleashing the “Big Mama Grill” next month over at Goeman’s. His hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
New Little Library Pops Up In Hollywood Park
Little Libraries are popping up all over Sacramento. The cool thing is they’re open 24 hours a day and you won’t get charged a late fee for an overdue book.
The latest little library is on Helen Way in Hollywood Park. It was installed by Margaret Buggy, who’s an English teacher at Christian Brothers High School. She had heard of the Little Library movement through a cousin in Central Pennsylvania. Margaret was also inspired by the little library on Sherwood Way.

Community engagement through books…what a novel idea.
A charming, quirky, little library made of wood. It’s a small house of books with a little glass door that sits atop a wooden stump.
It looks like a birdhouse with books inside of it.
Maybe in a Utopian Neighborhood World folks could gather and discuss literature in person.
The concept for the Little Library is simple: You take a book, you leave a book. The part that makes it more fascinating is you get to see the reading habits of your neighbors.
There was a wide array of good books to choose from including “The Memorium” by Vaclav Havel, “Tell No One” by Harlan Coben, even some children’s books like “There’s a Tarantula In My Homework.” There were also a few book by Mary Higgins Clark.
Another one of the books in the Little Library was “The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian.” The book by Sherman Alexie made the list of most challenged books of 2014 by the American Library Association.
There are quite a few subversives in Hollywood Park. Let’s hope they add some more banned books to the Little Library on Helen.
The key to making the Little Library a success is to leave a book you recommend or find interesting, maybe even a childhood favorite.
And where did Margaret get all the books for the library? Margaret said, “over the past five months, I’ve been collecting books from family, friends, co-workers – anyplace I could get my hands on them!  I am an avid reader and so are my boys, Eli (11) and John (9).  We’re always going through books in the house.  Years ago, I gave up saving all of them, so my boys and I liked the idea of being able to pass books on through the little library.”
If you want to build your own Little Library for your neighborhood get more info at
Farewell To Collected Works
Collected Works on Freeport Boulevard is retiring. The store has been a fixture in Land Park for 27 years. They must have been doing something right.
Collected Works has always been THEE shop to buy special gifts and collectables for mom, grandma, or the wife. I dropped in to see how the retirement sale was going and it was a madhouse. Items were flying off the shelves with rapid speed right before Mother’s Day. Everything was 25 percent off.
Store owner Bobbi Gould thought she was going to be open through the middle of June, but since folks have been rabidly bargain shopping the store’s almost empty.
Good luck in retirement and thanks for being there when I needed a last minute gift for mom.
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