Curtis Park streetlight replacement project to start soon

According to the City of Sacramento Department of Utilities, the Curtis Park Streetlight Replacement project is scheduled to start soon. This project only concerns streetlights in the area bound by East Curtis Drive, Sutterville Road, Franklin Blvd and Curtis Way. This project started in 2012 when it was discovered that the underground wiring to these streetlights is failing and needs to be replaced. The City also found some of the streetlight posts were in bad condition and either needed to be refurbished or replaced.

Project information from the Department of Utilities:

The construction bid for this project was advertised and bids were received in February. The construction is expected to begin in late spring or early summer of 2015. It is difficult to set the completion time frame because this project involves inspecting each existing cast iron streetlight carefully and, if possible, refurbishing it prior to reinstalling it close to its existing location. There are many uncertainties in this process. Nonetheless, the City is hoping to complete the construction by the end of 2015.

A bid advertisement in 2014 related to the Curtis Park Streetlight Improvement project was for the procurement of the cast iron streetlight poles. That procurement required that the manufacturer produce casting molds and prototypes of cast iron streetlights identical to existing ones. It took the manufacturer more than six months, but they were able to meet the procurement requirement. The new cast iron streetlights will be needed to replace the existing fiberglass, steel pipe, and those that are not refurbishable. Union Metal of Ohio made the original Curtis Park streetlights decades ago and they are making the new streetlights using the original casts.

There will be some trenching in the neighborhood to install underground conductors and conduits. A new foundation will be built close to each existing streetlight for a refurbished or new cast iron streetlight. The existing foundation will be removed or abandoned. This part of the work will occur at the beginning of the construction and should be completed within two months. The City will inspect and supervise this work to ensure it is done properly and with minimum impact on the neighborhood. Prior to the work, the contractor will be required to post notice along with names and numbers of persons that neighbors may contact with any questions.

The new or refurbished lights will be equipped with LED luminaires with the same color temperature as the existing ones, but will consume less than 50% of the existing energy and last more than 15 years. Previous neighborhood concerns regarding the color of certain types of LED street lights might be valid years ago, but the industry has addressed this concern by producing luminaires that are in the warm color range. The “temperature” of colors of LED luminaires is measured on the kelvin scale. The higher on the scale, the cooler the color. The cooler white LED luminaires, prevalent five to 10 years ago, were in the 6000 Kelvin. They were made at the higher Kelvin in order to maximize the light output per watt of energy. LED luminaires nowadays are much more efficient, so the industry is able to make them in lower Kelvin while still able to gain more light output per watt. The existing luminaires in the Curtis Park area are in the 4000 K color temperature. The new LED luminaires will be of the same 4000 K. The only difference is in their power consumption which will be less than 50 percent of the existing ones.

Source: Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association Concerns Committee

Matias Bombal’s Hollywood

Photo by Allen Fraser/Sony Pictures Classics Shown here, is Cillian Murphy in ALOFT, which is playing now at Tower Theatre.
Photo by Allen Fraser/Sony Pictures Classics Shown here, is Cillian Murphy in ALOFT, which is playing now at Tower Theatre.

ALOFT The MPAA has rated this R
Sony Pictures Classics brings us some very talented actors in an allegorically told existential tale “Aloft”. In it, we delve into the emotional separation of a mother and son played by Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy. The story is told in two storylines, past and present, and centers around a central childhood tragedy. Set in a frigid, grey and bleak iced over world in the great north, Cillian Murphy’s mother has followed a healer known as “the architect” played William Shimell who indicates to her that she too has a gift as a healer. Her son has just lost a Falcon that he was nurturing, in later life, and as we see in the modern section of the movie, he will become devoted to falconry. Yet as an adult, he is betrayed by her mother’s abandonment of he and his brother in favor of the “Architect”. He is bitter and resentful.
The movie also features the pretty blond actress Mélanie Laurent, as well as Oona Chaplin, who recently did a nice turn in the romantic “The Longest Ride” the latest screen adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book.

This picture is directed by a talented and intellectual movie maker from Peru, Claudia Llossa. This is her third feature, and first in English. I found this to be a movie that would appeal to other actors, for it offers a great study in the craft of acting. However, with all of its sophistication and mood, it will fail to please the moviegoer out to be entertained for a night at the movies. This is because the past and present are not clearly defined, and you are not sure of what you are looking at or when it occurs in the narrative. It is a very difficult movie to watch. The narrative itself is not linear, so only at the end of 112 minutes of running time do you find out how things tie together, but before then you are left wondering what is going on. So you are left with a desire to leave, but intrigued by fine performances by capable actors.

This movie was a frustrating experience for me at best. I may only view movies with the collective amalgam of my own experience- just as each of us. I try to open my mind for other possibilities and viewpoints, yet watching this to the very end was unsatisfactory for me; I longed for some element in the story to grab on to, rather than the feeling of wandering around in a dream. In a recent interview, the director was quoted as saying she did not want it to be so clear. She is successful in her goal. It is as if you walked into a room where you knew no one and tried to figure out what they were all talking about. You long for a familiar face… anything, and no luck. So this picture is for the intrepid moviegoer only, where a non-traditional way of seeing a story told for the screen might be an attractive aspect. For me it was not. This is by no means a bad move, nor is it poorly made. It is non-traditional, a case of art cinema, which like performance art without a narrative, may seem a jumble to many.

I remember Daddy

I remember as a little girl following my dad through bushes and thickets while he hunted quail, and I fidgeted in his boat while he fished. Neither sport took for me because when I got to be about 12 years old, I decided I was too old for that “boy stuff,” and Daddy banned me from the boat because he said I talked too much and scared the fish. We ate every bird he shot and every fish he caught.

Daddy always had a yard full of bird dogs that he didn’t like for me to play with. When his bird dog “Lady” had a litter of pups, Daddy said his dogs were being trained to be hunting dogs. I had to limit putting doll clothes on my a pet dog, “Penny,” and my Persian kitty named “Joe.”

Throughout my childhood, he continued to take me everywhere with him: to his work at the basket factory, to the peanut fields on our farm and to take truckloads of peanuts to town to sell. He tolerated me “helping” up on the ladder while he painted our house. He loved baseball, and I remember playing in the park while his team played against another. I remember summer evenings when he’d take me to the ballpark to see the minor league teams play. I remember the hot weather and can still taste the cold Cokes and salted peanuts.

I learned so much about life from my father while growing up. He was a patient man, easy-going, although I remember several wallops for things like climbing his new peach trees when he told me not to, and climbing up in the barn loft where he thought it was too dangerous for me.

Mother was the rule maker, and Daddy was the softie. There was never any question about how much we loved each other nor of how proud he was of me. I grew up from babyhood to adulthood the mirror image of my father: black hair, brown eyes, big feet. I was a “daddy’s girl” and until the day he died, he called me “Baby.”

Not only did I learn about practical things from him, but I learned a lot about people. Daddy was basically a simple, happy person, always laughing, smiling, telling jokes, and he loved being around people.

Daddy was old-school, born in 1905, the oldest boy of 13 children; 11 of whom lived to adulthood. He was born in Tennessee of a father who farmed and laid rock for a living to feed his family. My Dad only had an eighth grade education, having been taken from school to work on the farm.

As a young man he moved from Tennessee to Georgia where he worked at a basket factory as a mechanic. The job was the same place he worked for 30 years and was given two weeks’ notice when the factory closed. The company didn’t have unions or pensions then.

Mother and Daddy met in the small, college town of Americus, Georgia, each having left Kentucky and Tennessee respectively to take jobs. Mother worked for the Manhattan Shirt Company for a number of years.

When they married, Mother was 23 years old and Daddy, 31. I arrived exactly nine months after they married during the worst depression our country had ever known.

For a short period of time while I was a baby, we moved to Arkansas for Dad to get a better job. It turned into one of those depression stories where he was paid through credit at the country store. After not being paid for months, he filled the car with gas and drove back to Americus with something like 69 cents in his pocket. Friends took the family in, and soon Daddy was back at the basket factory, and Mother was working at the shirt factory again.

We made another move during World War II to Savannah where I started school. Both parents worked in the shipyards; Mother was a “Rosey the Riveter,” and Daddy worked on ships and served in the Coast Guard on the weekends. He thought Franklin D. Roosevelt was a great president who gave the country jobs and social programs that led the country out of poverty.

When the war ended, we went back to Americus to continue our lives as before. The only difference was that Mother opened a donut shop which became a bakery adding pies and cakes. She was the money-maker, yet Daddy always brought his weekly paycheck home to her. When the basket factory went out of business, he joined her, working in the bakery and delivering food to local businesses.

I remember Daddy loved the Grand Ole Opry which came on the radio on Saturday nights. I don’t think he missed a one. He was always singing country music and gospel songs. When I learned to play the piano, he insisted I learn “The Tennessee Waltz.” He loved the gospel song, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken, in the sky Lord, in the sky?” I still tear up when I hear that song.

Today when a man walks by me wearing “Old Spice,” I have to resist following him. My birthday and Christmas gifts to Daddy were always bottles and bottles of “Old Spice” and of course, ties. During the work week, he wore khaki shirts and pants, but for church and dress up, he would don his one suit with one of his gift ties.

I remember so many things about Daddy: he loved animals, he could fix anything – washers, lawn mowers, broken toys; he loved Buicks and old trucks; he didn’t cook, but loved “hush puppies;” he adored me. You couldn’t touch the newspaper until he had read it and his favorite comics. I named both my sons after him, William Jay and John Peter.

My father was a remarkable man, born in a remarkable time. My wish for every child born today is that they have a dad half as wonderful as mine. Of course on Fathers’ Day, I miss him so much. I love you, Daddy.

Leigh Stephens is a retired journalism professor from CSUS and the author of more than 500 articles and several books.

Heating up the boulevard: The Sacramento Taco Festival celebrated Mexican culture and paid tribute to the delicious taco

Taco Festival
Taco Festival

The Sacramento Taco Festival brought added heat to Del Paso Boulevard on the 99-degree Saturday, June 20. Featuring Lucha Libre wrestlers, Chihuahuas and tacos, the event was expected to drawetween 2,000 to 3,000 people to the daylong festival.
Held on Del Paso Boulevard between El Camino Avenue and Arden Way, The Sacramento Taco Festival was cohosted by SacramentoVice Mayor Allen Warren and SacLatino Magazine. Two years ago when the festival was first held, organizers primarily attracted the crowd of about 1,000 taco lovers through social media marketing. Then, the winning taco was from El Michoacano (Franklin Boulevard) and the winner of the taco eating contest was a 5-foot, 20-year-old woman from Sacramento, who beat out a couple of very large guys. “She won $75! She was very happy and made the event that much more fun. If we work things out as planned, we will be making this into an annual event,” says Adrian Perez, event coordinator.
The tacos are made by the different taco makers at the event. Since the average person eats three tacos, several thousand tacos are made and consumed. From vegetarian, chicken, carnitas, adobada, and asada tacos to the more tacos, for those with iron stomachs, the taco festival also included tacos made from stomach, intestines and head.
The wrestlers are professional and can be seen on a variety of levels from World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. to local wrestling events. From Los Angeles, the wrestlers specialize in Mexican wrestling, which includes masks and a lot of high flying maneuvers.
The idea of doing a Taco Festival came from the owner of a local taqueria, Taqueria Jalisco, on 16th Street.
Providing further background organizer Adrian Perez explained that Daniel, the owner of Taqueria Jalisco told him about National Taco Day. “So I looked it up and found that it’s unofficial, but October 4th is known as National Taco Day. Knowing the fresh tacos a very nutritional, we talked about doing a festival. I discovered that several cities celebrate the taco, but at different times during the year…Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and now, San Jose. Knowing Sacramento is different than those cities, we decided to make ours into a street festival featuring a mascot that is native to Mexico, the chihuahua. We also wanted a fun look, so we opted to do a 60s throwback. As a result, we have a real ‘hippie’ poster with promotions using tie-dyed shirts.”
Perez said he was originally going to hold this event in a park, but after a good discussion with Vice Mayor Warren, he agreed that Del Paso Boulevard has the look of a community lost in the 60s and some great businesses, existing and coming in. “Moreover, the layout makes it ideal for a real street festival. So, here we are. And, the surrounding community loves it,” he adds.
Because there was so much excitement leading up to this event, Perez didn’t do any press releases until the day before because the media was already contacting the organizers even two weeks before that. “We also had two other large events contact us to see if we could cross promote. We tied in with the Hello Kitty Festival at Sleep Train Arena, and a scholarship beauty contest being sponsored by D’Primera Mano Magazine. But, overall, Sacramento has never seen anything like this and we are the first to hold an event celebrating tacos in Northern California,” Perez said.

Dog faces and places

Photos from the Doggie Dash
Photos from the Doggie Dash

Photos by Stephen Crowley
Dogs and their owners seemed to have had a barking good time at this year’s SSPCA Doggy Dash in Land Park on Saturday, June 6.

Elks Lodge, No. 6 sent veterans off to D.C. in patriotic style

Frank Scolari
Frank Scolari

About 93 veterans from Northern California were presented the royal treatment with a lavish dinner at the Elks Lodge No. 6 on June 3 before flying out of Sacramento Metropolitan Airport the following day to Washington D.C. At no cost to the veterans, the “Honor Flight,” as the annual trip has been called since its inception in 2005, brings joy and reverence to the vets as they were met with hundreds of supporters who thanked them for their service. The trip also included visits to war memorials and the Arlington Cemetery as well as food and hotel lodging.
For years, many local war veterans never had the chance to visit the memorials created to honor them in Washington D.C. However, with the help of the North Coast Honor Flight, that changed and is now nationwide. Quoted in the Elks newsletter was the following description from Steven Justus, North Coast Honor Flight Co-Chairman, who said, “(The Honor Flight) gives these folks a chance to be visible again, to be validated as real whole human beings, that have had a big history.”
Local Elks members Clarence Facha and Tony Muljat were amongst the 93 or so veterans who were honored for their service. The lodge driveway and some of the landscape were lined with more than 120 American flags, and there was also a flag line made up by members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that attends the funerals for veterans, police officers and firefighters and that also partakes in community patriotic events like the one held at the Elks Lodge, No. 6.
Asked about how he enjoyed the trip, Clarence, a World War II veteran, said, “It was a wonderful trip. I can’t say anything bad about it. People met us at the airport. It was unbelievable. They shook our hands. It brought tears to my eyes. It was really nice. I felt like a hero, which I am not.”
Just out of high school, Clarence joined the Marines. Although he had a “farm deferment,” his friends had joined, so he went. As part of the first wave of Marines on Saipan Island on June 15, 1944, he went in with amphibious tanks after the initial bombardment. His battalion was on the extreme left flank which, because of its exposure, suffered the worst of the counterattack. His battalion received a presidential citation for their heroic efforts. Nine months later, on Feb. 23, 1945, Clarence witnessed the flag raising on Iwo Jima and his battalion was awarded their second presidential citation.
Still active in the Elks at age 91 helping with maintenance around the lodge as part of the P.M. Crew, Clarence says his eyesight is not what it used to be. “But, they all work with me. It works out. They treat me very nice. They are nice people. I have no complaints whatsoever.”
On the night of the dinner at the Elks, there was one available seat, unbeknownst to Elks leaders, so the seat was offered to Clarence who after the dinner ran home, packed his bags at the last minute before the departure the next morning.
Speaking in more detail about that exciting turn of events, Clarence said, “I heard about the dinner at the last minute. I went to (the dinner) to see if I could go next year (on the Honor Flight). There were so many veterans there. One of the vets came up to me. As soon as he found out I was in World War II, he said he’ll try to get me on (the plane). He had me sit at his table and wait. Then he came back and said, ‘Go home and pack.’ So we (Clarence’s wife Marilyn and he) rushed home, packed up and came back to the Elks. I then stayed at the motel that night. I left in such a hurry, I forgot my medication. So I called Marilyn and they got it out to me. It was successful. It was very nice.”
Just out of high school, Clarence joined the Marines. Although he had a “farm deferment,” his friends had joined, so he went. As part of the first wave of Marines on Saipan Island on June 15, 1944, he went in with amphibious tanks after the initial bombardment. His battalion was on the extreme left flank which, because of its exposure, suffered the worst of the counterattack. His battalion received a Presidential citation for their heroic efforts. Nine months later, on February 23, 1945, Clarence witnessed the flag raising on Iwo Jima and his battalion was awarded their second Presidential citation.
Similar to Clarence, Tony also made the decision to board the Honor Flight at the last minute, but with a little bit of urging from his wife of 66 years, Anne Muljat. “I told him to go. Go, go,” she said, jovially. And when he returned she said he couldn’t stop talking about the trip.
“It was great,” said Tony. “I had the chills. Everything was up to par. Every place we went to, we were welcomed highly. We had ample transportation and met a lot of people. We had time to observe different things in the area. The changing of the guards at the Arlington Cemetery was one of the highlights. The cemetery is acres and acres of white tombstones. People were there visiting from all over the country. Clarence and I saw each other at different intervals. He went one way, I went another way. We hooked up with different people. That was part of our trip. It will be something I will remember the rest of my life, doing this and I was honored and gratified that I could take this trip and be with different people and be on the flights. We had nice accommodations, a good hotel; food was ample. It was for the veterans. I never thought they had anything like this. I felt honored to be picked by our lodge to go on this trip.”
One of the veterans who partook in the Honor Flight was Eureka resident Frank Scolari, whose granddaughter, Melissa, and family live in nearby Hollywood Park. With a little bit of urging from his friends at the Elks in Eureka, Frank said, “They sort of had me prepared for the trip, but I was not prepared in the least. It was overwhelming. I don’t think Elvis Presley would’ve gotten a more rousing welcoming than we did. We had letters from family and schools and such thanking us for our duty. (The event at the Elks) was also very rousing. They were out in the parking lot welcoming us. It was our first meeting.(Coming from various Northern California areas), we all had to get down to Sacramento. The honor guard troops were all there. When we came off plane, everything was lined with service men holding flags and there were people there behind them. I almost wanted to re-enlist. My army blood is boiling again. Every place in Sacramento, had a police escort. It was just amazing. I go back to the days of Vietnam when we were almost hated for being over there and Korea was a forgotten war. They were nothing like World War II. Now everything is turned around and people thank you for your service. The pendulum has swung all the way back, which is good.”

Sacramento Zoo announces the birth of two baby Lemurs

Black & White Ruffed Lemur at 8 days old. Photo by Christa Klein.
Black & White Ruffed Lemur at 8 days old. Photo by Christa Klein.

Two female Black and White Ruffed Lemurs were born on May 27 and a Mongoose Lemur was born on June 9 at the Sacramento Zoo. Both are critically endangered species of lemur native to Madagascar.

The Black and White Ruffed Lemur family can be found in the exhibit area across from Conservation Carousel but mom and the two infants are currently off-exhibit. The Mongoose Lemur family can be found in their exhibit next to the White-handed Gibbons.

“Due to the intricate records and observation notes by Keeper staff and our Veterinary team, we were extra vigilant as the expected birth dates approached,” said Matt McKim, Sacramento Zoo’s Animal Collection Director. “We are proud of our continued commitment to these highly endangered Lemur species. “

The critically endangered Black and White Ruffed Lemur females that weighed 129 grams and 138 grams at two days old, have been growing fast in an off-exhibit area with mom. This is the fifth litter of infants for the pair of Black and White Ruffed Lemurs. Ruffed lemurs are the only primate that keeps their young in nests instead of carrying them around. In the wild they would use tree cavities and crooks to nest in, but at the Zoo, keepers provide other nesting options such as tubs and crates. They are currently in an off-exhibit area, but you may see them through a mesh door between the lemurs’ building and the exhibit. This door allows the father and older siblings to get to know the youngsters through the mesh and will help with the introduction process.

Happy 100th birthday, T Jae Pope!

Judy and Jeff Montgomery of Land Park Gold and Silver threw customer T Jae Pope an unforgettable 100th birthday party celebration on Wednesday, June 17. Decorated with balloons and featuring cake and family and some friends, the party inside the store came on the heels of a friendly reminder by Ms. Pope.

 Shown here is a collection of photographs from T Jae Pope's 100th birthday party celebration held at Land Park Gold and Silver on Wednesday, June 17. Happy birthday, T Jae! / Photos by Linda Pohl
Shown here is a collection of photographs from T Jae Pope's 100th birthday party celebration held at Land Park Gold and Silver on Wednesday, June 17. Happy birthday, T Jae! / Photos by Linda Pohl

A few years ago Jeff told her that if she could make it to her hundredth birthday he would give her a pair of diamond earrings. And sweet Ms. Pope did not forget. However, when the time came, she told him that earrings hurt her ears. So at the birthday celebration, Judy and Jeff presented Ms. Pope with a beautiful diamond pendant.

“She was one of our first customers coming in,” Jeff told the Land Park News. “She has had coins she’s accumulated over the years and occasionally she would come into the store. She is someone who appears to be fragile,” Jeff said, “But, she doesn’t send people in. She brings her dog with her and her son. So, this is about her endurance. It’s awesome to see her out.”

-Monica Stark

Congratulations to the Health Professions High School Class of 2015

Health Professions High School salutatorian, Adrianna Gabellini, is headed to UC Berkeley.
Health Professions High School salutatorian, Adrianna Gabellini, is headed to UC Berkeley.

The following is a statement from principal Marla Clayton Johnson about the class of 2015.

“I am so proud of the accomplishments that our HPHS Class of 2015 can boast. They exceed our very high academic and behavioral expectations by becoming Powerfully Prepared for College and Career! We were impressed as we have watched the Class of 2015 grow and transform into Responsible Citizens and Independent Critical Thinkers through the work they do with our industry partners and within their own communities. They engage in unique opportunities and step outside the box as they move towards becoming Determined Lifelong Learners. And after multiple integrated unit projects, presentations and Senior Project Defense Panels, they have proven to be Excellent Communicators! Good luck Jaguars!”

The following students received the Health Professions High School Diploma of Excellence which is 250 credits including college courses and 100 hours of community service

Ethan Chu
Kristine Naidu
Arturo Nambo
Karina Rios
Nou Thao
Angela Nga Tran
Alissa Vang
Izza Jan Villarino

The following are this year’s graduates from Health Professions High School:

Miguel Acuna-Silva
Carmen Maria Del Lopez
Gabriel Martinez
Joaquinangel Aguinaga
Isaac McClinton
Anthony Arevalo
Kimberly McFall
Sean Aiken
Bella Moody
Ashlee Barcklay
Nkayla Morris Barnes
Yaritza Benitez
Samantha Munoz
Kameron Brown
Kristine Naidu
Nicolas Castle
Arturo Nambo
Ethan Chu
Tyler Olynick
Zoe Corralejo
Martin Ortiz
Pablo Flores
Martin Perez Mendoza
Ivone Fortier
Chioneso Riddick-Drew
Domingo Fraga-Gomez
Karina Rios-Lozano
Adrianna Gabellini
Christopher Silva
Alexis Gibbons
Unaisi Tawake
Michael Halley
Nou Thao
Joanna Hernandez
Nga Tran
Jocelyn Hernandez
Alissa Vang
Alfredo Jaime-Perez
De’Marques Johnson
Vicente Vicente
Iselma Letourneaux
Izza Jan Villarino
Kenneth Williams

Health Professions High School is located at 451 McClatchy Way.

On The Curbs: Superintendent Banda set to recommend new $4.9 million construction project at Theodore Judah Elementary

Shown here is a rendering of a new $4,900,000 two-story building being proposed by the Sacramento City Unified School District for Theodore Judah Elementary.
Shown here is a rendering of a new $4,900,000 two-story building being proposed by the Sacramento City Unified School District for Theodore Judah Elementary.

A new construction project set to begin this summer at Theodore Judah Elementary came down to two different options, both of which would add a two story building in the center of the campus but with widely differing costs.

One option cost $3,200,000 and would involve the school district using traditional means and resources to renovate a modular building no longer in use but owned by the district. That renovated modular would then be transported and installed at Theodore Judah. This is a the more typical way for the district to accommodate more students. The other option cost $4,900,000 and was designed privately by local architect Ron Vrilakas who is also helping design the new B Street Theatre.

Surprisingly, Superintendent Jose Banda is set to recommend the more expensive building to the board with a few caveats largely hinging on a “lease-lease back” financing model, developer Phil Angelides, and the McKinley Village project to ensure the $1,700,000 funding gap is filled thereby ensuring cost parity. This was the news relayed by district administration to a small “facilities team” at a meeting in early June.

About a year ago Phil Angelides successfully lobbied the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Trustees to redraw their district boundaries to incorporate McKinley Village which is being constructed on land that used to be a part of the Twin Rivers School District.

During the negotiations, it was decided that the approximately $1,356,000 in developer fees set aside specifically for the McKinley Village elementary school children would “follow the students” to whatever school they ended up attending.

The need to construct a new building at Judah began to arise for many reasons including a growing enrollment from within the school’s neighborhood boundaries, additional space needed to house their growing music, science and nature, and art programs (largely if not entirely funded by the PTA), their computers and technology, and the incoming students from Washington Elementary that arrived when the school was closed during the recession.

Adding to those pressures will be the arrival of elementary school aged children from McKinley Village.

During a facilities planning meeting in early June, Principal Corrie Celeste stated that no current students will be displaced by the arrival of new McKinley Village students.

To compensate Theodore Judah will reduce the number of open enrollment slots available to the public.

Currently about 20 percent of the school’s total population are students from outside of Theodore Judah’s school boundary through the open enrollment program. Any student currently enrolled at Judah through open enrollment will be allowed to stay while significantly less will be allowed to attend in the future. Those students will have the opportunity to attend their neighborhood’s assigned school, or another school using their open enrollment program.

Traffic and safety concerns at Theodore Judah have begun to be addressed. The 4th grade class recently wrote letters to Sacramento City Councilman Jeff Harris expressing their concerns about crosswalks that needed to be repainted in order to increase their visibility.

Councilman Harris personally visited the class to field questions and thank the students for reaching out to him.

On McKinley Boulevard, in the front of the school, the teachers currently rotate at one of the crosswalks to serve as crossing guards. Another idea suggested by Harris was for Judah to implement a parent volunteer crossing guard program similar to the one the parents implemented at Caleb Greenwood Elementary School.

Additional stop signs and crossing guards could be considered at the back of the school on 36th Street where the additional McKinley Village students will arrive. Currently, about seven buses transport students on 36th Street.

It is unclear if the SCUSD will be providing additional bus service for the McKinley Village students when they attend Theodore Judah.

Also important to note is that the additional $1,357,000 in developer fees from McKinley Village does fall short of covering the $1,700,000 cost differential between the two construction project options.

That still leaves a $343,000 gap between the school district’s public money funded plan and the plan put forth by Angelides and Vrilakas.

During negotiations with SCUSD, Angelides offered $171,000 to “split the difference.” Although there are no guarantees, the district feels confident Theodore Judah and the PTA can come up with ways to match that. Ideas currently being considered are relying on a commitment form the Theodore Judah PTA to do fundraising and to use approximately $100,000 in grant money awarded to the school for its Project Green initiative.

The financing of the entire project is being done using a method of funding known as a “lease-leaseback” construction project. Such projects allow for a negotiated guaranteed maximum sum price for the construction project instead of using the traditional lowest bid approach.
Therefore, the SCUSD is guaranteed not to have to spend more than the agreed up price of the project. The SCUSD board is scheduled to vote on Banda’s recommendation at the meeting tonight.

Because communication issues have been challenging, the school is also considering an online portal to keep the neighbors and parents of students updated about the details of the construction project, timelines, and phases. Stay tuned!