Carmichael-based Sacramento Fine Arts to present the best of the best local artwork with Magnum Opus XXVI

A national juried art exhibit showing original art, sculpture, photography, painting aptly called “Magnum Opus XXVI” and is Sacramento Fine Arts Center’s annual open show, judged this year by the highly popular and much acclaimed ceramics professor at American River College, Linda Gelfman. Linda has enjoyed a 35-year romance with clay and her ceramic mural classes have colorfully decorated campus walls. Linda’s figurative sculptures combine heads, faces, and body parts in often humorous and incongruous ways which create profound psychological and spiritual insights. Her most recent work incorporates fabric and yarn into these ongoing dramatic pictures. Linda is a founding member of Sacramento’s E Street Gallery and Studios.

Dream Juggler by Traci Owens
Dream Juggler by Traci Owens

Linda and Magnum Opus XXVI show chair Carol Brewer, owner of Blue Moon Gallery, spoke with the Arden-Carmichael News about the incredible art at this year’s show and about judging various pieces.
“This is the 26th year and we decided to make it a national juried show,” explained Carol. “It has to do with the entire members of Sac Fine Arts Center. It’s the center’s show. In the center, there are different clubs (Northern California Arts, Watercolor Artists of Sacramento Horizons, Fine Arts Photography Club, Fiber Arts). All the clubs have shows that are juried, but this is the center as a whole annual show, and this year it’s a national open juried show. Open means send us any medium. It doesn’t have to have a theme, doesn’t have to be a certain medium. It’s open to all artists that work in all mediums.”
Unbound by Rick Weis
Unbound by Rick Weis

Carol said by opening up the show to artists around the country, the center has been able to bring more recognition to the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. “We’ve been around for 36 years and have a new president Larry Klink who wanted to bring acknowledgment to the center and expand it nationally and have it recognized as a prestigious club in Sacramento,” she said.
From as far as Rhode Island submissions have made their way to Carmichael also from places like Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada and Washington state with several accepted from San Francisco. “We have a lot of California artists from Paradise, Oakland, Fremont. The range is all over – Carmichael, Roseville, Placerville,” Carol said. Predominantly, the center received entries through its website facilitating the submissions from out of state.
Floor to Ceiling by Paula Ferris
Floor to Ceiling by Paula Ferris

With about 300 entries, 98 were chosen for the show and judging happens this Sunday, about a week before the show begins, on Aug. 4. The show ends on Aug. 29. With an artist behind each piece, Linda explained that being the Magnum Opus show, each artist truly put their best foot forward. So, regarding the judging, she said, “It’s easy to say I want this, but it’s hard to say ‘no.’ (The judging is) done anonymously. I just go with the kind of artwork that moves me. Does it have good content? Composition? Is it good to look at? Scary to look at?” Linda said she enjoys artwork that doesn’t give her “too much. I like when it is mysterious, asks a question, when I am drawn into a piece. If it is figurative, abstract, if it has good composition, and if it does all that well.”
Far from a newcomer to judging art work, Linda has judged art at the country fair a few times and as a faculty member at ARC, she sometimes judges shows and she has given out sculpture awards at the Blue Moon Gallery before. “I’ve done (judging before). It’s fun. It’s lots of fun,” she said.

If you go:
What:
Sacramento Fine Arts Center’s Magnum Opus XXVI
When: Show dates are Aug. 4-29 with a reception on Saturday, Aug. from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be awards, refreshments, and live piano music by Larry. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturday.
Where: Located at 5330B Gibbons Drive, Carmichael
About: Sacramento Fine Arts Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. For more information, visit www.sacfinearts.org or call 971-3713.

editor@valcomnews.com

LOCAL AUTHOR SPINS ROMANCE AND INTRIGUE

Coy Rene Granderson, Sr. sits in a corner book nook at Sacramento Avid Reader, signing books and visiting with friends and family. He is a large, attractive man with a sunshine smile that lights up as he talks with admirers. It’s the beginning of summer and the heat is seeping into the bookstore. By his side is his youngest teen daughter who is drawing. Coy proudly introduces her and talks about her creativity.

Granderson has just published his first novel, Accounts of a Reporter, about an adventurous New York investigative reporter, Jamal Montgomery, who leaves his unfaithful, pregnant ex-wife Desiree and moves to Sacramento to start a new life. Wanting to forget the past, Jamal gets involved with drug lords, police corruption, love triangles, sexual encounters, and strippers. The story takes Jamal from Sacramento to Barcelona where…”he has his wits, his balls, and his instincts,” but will these be enough to save him from international crime boss Francis DaPrato?

The author spent his formative years in Oak Park, Rio Linda, and the Watsonville, Santa Cruz and Monterey bay areas. He says, “I spent my playboy years in cool places like Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego Bays. These locations and my experiences shaped my outlook on life.”

Now Coy Sr. is a family man, married to his wife Suanne for forty years. They have three children, son Çoy Jr. and daughters Sucoyia and Coyanne. He attended Cosumnes and Sacramento City College while studying graphic arts and writing. He describes himself as a digital composer. He says he always loved art as a child and polished his skills through classes that helped him create a productive life in communications.

The author, now retired, says he worked for 35 years in Sacamento local publications and California state agencies: The Sacamento Observor, The Sacramento Bee “Neighbors” section, the Board of Equalization, the Office of the Secretary of State, the State Library, and State Printing. Granderson says he felt so privileged to work with State Librarian Kevin Starr, “He was incredible – you’d ask him anything, and he knew the answer

But, more about Jamal… who gets involved with lovely Roxanne Jones, a young sexy school teacher and dance choreographer. In an attempt to lure Jamal into marriage, she hooks up with her ex-boyfriend, an international drug dealer G-Dogg. The story is a merry romp through an international adventure where G-Dogg’ s boss sends two corrupt detectives on Jamal to silence his journalistic life.

Book reviewer Jessie G. Love says, “Accounts of a Reporter has it all! You will not be disappointed while reading because C.R. Granderson captivates your attention and keeps it. His writing is vivid, enthusiastic, and you feel yourself in the presence of the characters…Well done. I expect to see future masterpieces!”

When asked what next, Granderson says he’s developing a sequel to the book. He also is finishing up a collections of short stories and has an idea for another novel about a “holy roller” congregation and a pimp.

Hearing him talk about his writing is like hearing a bubbling well. The joy of creation is evident in his face. Obviously he’s enjoying this fun time of his life.

Accounts of a Reporter is available at Avid Reader Bookstore on Broadway and also can be ordered from Amazon.com. The author can be contacted at http://www.granderson.com.

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Leigh Stephens is a retired CSUS Professor of Journalism and Communications and the author of more than 500 articles and several books.

Friends of the State Fair offers opportunities to assist the fair

During a recent visit to the California State Fair, the Arden-Carmichael News met with Carmichael resident Harry Moose, CEO of the Friends of the California State Fair, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization with a mission “to promote public awareness (of the fair) and provide support for the many community events and activities held on the grounds of Cal Expo.”

Carmichael resident Harry Moose, CEO of the Friends of the California State Fair, is shown alongside a small, stuffed replica of the fair’s Poppy mascot./ Photo by Lance Armstrong
Carmichael resident Harry Moose, CEO of the Friends of the California State Fair, is shown alongside a small, stuffed replica of the fair’s Poppy mascot./ Photo by Lance Armstrong

While wearing the standard, dark blue apron like the ones worn by other Friends volunteers, Harry responded to various questions regarding the organization.
After being asked to speak about the history and function of the Friends group, Harry, 68, who pronounces his last name as “mows,” said, “The very first president worked for an (advertisement) agency and thought, ‘Hey, why don’t we form a volunteer group out here?’ It started out as a small group of people who helped the fair do a lot of different things. We have all kinds of things here. Somebody has to take them in, register them and when the fair is over, somebody has to be there to get them out. So, many of our friends do that.
“Last year, we had probably the biggest year helping the fair with 10,000-plus hours. But it started out very small. It was about 40 people in the beginning, which as far as I can trace back was about 1977. They would do a barbecue and raise a little money and do things at the fair (to assist).”
Harry explained that it was changes in the economy that led to the creation of the Friends of the Fair.
“When (the fair) came here from the old fairgrounds (in 1968), it was brand new and the economy was such that they had lots of employees,” Harry said. “Well, now we went through some recessions, and the State Fair is not supported by the (California State) Legislature at all with one penny. They have to make all the money out here to keep it going. So, having said that, the volunteer group (was formed and) started to grow and we now are right at 240 people. Any given day out here, we will have 150 to 170 people out here volunteering.”
Harry next spoke about specific Friends activities, saying, “(The Friends volunteers) do various things. We work the information booths and the Expo Center or the A/B Building, which used to be called the Counties Building. We have a farmers’ market, where we sell fresh fruit at a reasonable price. And all of that money that we make goes into the (Friends’) scholarship fund. We’re a 501(c)(3) (nonprofit organization), we run the California State Fair Friends of the Fair scholarship and we give away about $34,000 a year. And we have 24 scholarships. We just added a trade scholarship. You can either go from high school to junior college or to (training for a trade), so we can help students out. So, our people volunteer there.
“We also have a Coca-Cola booth and all the profits there go into the scholarship fund, as well as the farmers’ market and two other venues – the Snack Shack, which is healthy snacks up in (Expo Center) Building 2. And then we resurrected a place called the Gazebo, which was run by a group of senior citizens. But they finally just gave up and it sat dormant for a number of years. I kept saying, ‘Why don’t we sell ice cream out of there?’ And we sell ice cream and milk and juice and all kinds of things now. And of course, no one is paid, and all the profits from that go back into the scholarship fund.
“We have a live auction, and that’s where most of our money comes from. And we were very successful this year. And so, that money goes into our fund, and after this year, even with the payout, we should be just over $400,000. We built that from a $25,000 grant 25 years ago. So, lots of volunteers are very dedicated to that scholarship fund, so that we can help educate a lot of our young people.”
The Friends group, which is involved with various other activities at Cal Expo, begins its year in February, with mailings. But, of course, the majority of the volunteers’ involvement occurs during the duration of the fair.
Harry commented about a portion of the diversity of the Friends volunteers, saying, “We have people in wheelchairs that can’t really do much at the fair, but they come in before. They can put envelopes together, and do all of that stuff. We have many special needs people, and they’re all welcome. There are jobs we can get. We’re pretty diversified. So, if they want to volunteer, they’ll find a position.”
Most Friends volunteers work four-hour shifts and 120 to 160 people are providing their assistance at the fair each day.
As for Harry’s schedule at the fair, he said, “I’m out here usually at 8 in the morning and leave at 10:30 at night. So, my wife (Sharon) keeps telling me, ‘You know, you’re getting a little older.’ But, you know, it invigorates me to see the little children and how excited they can become. And we have such great things for all.”
After being asked to provide a verbal invitation for those who might be interested in joining the Friends organization, Harry said, “If they’re sitting around wondering what to do with their time, come on out, we would love to have them become a Friend. And there’s no long-term commitment. You come out, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come back.
“What they can do is go on the State Fair website, californiastatefair.org, and you’ll see a little tag (for Friends of the Fair). But if you’re not an online person, you can call the State Fair and they will hook you up with us. They operate from 8 o’clock in the morning during the fair until 10 o’clock at night. So, they will get a message to us.
“A lot of our people are not online and that’s OK. We’ll get you an application, and get you over and get you your credentials to get in. And we can use volunteers even at this year’s fair. We have spots we can put them in and give them a nice menu of things to choose from. Next year, we’ll go out and promote it and get more volunteers.”
Because the fair has not yet ended, Harry was asked to describe the entertainment value that this year’s fair provides for families.
“It’s the best value in Sacramento right now when you look at the cost of everything,” Harry said. “You can bring a family of four, if you go online and get the Poppy Pack. You get the tickets, you get the parking, you get the monorail ride, and you can spend a whole day out here with your family and enjoy it. And there’s great food, but we also have fresh fruit from the Certified Farmers Market at the farm. So, a family of four, after they’ve tasted the fried zucchini and fried whatever, they can come out and cleanse their system with great fruit, (including) watermelon, at reasonable prices.
“And there are a lot of things that go on here. (There’s) everything from drone racing to (agricultural) heritage, and everything in between.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Camellia Waldorf on Freeport is moving to the Pocket

Editor’s Note: About an hour before going to press for this issue of the Land Park News, the following letter was sent to the newsroom via email. It is being reprinted in its entirety.

Dear Camellia Families and Friends,

This past March, during the Camelliapalooza Fund A Need, I stood before you and asked for your support in Building Our Future. That vision included strengthening our Middle School Math and Science program, and thanks to your generosity we have now added a Math Specialist and Algebra offering to our community. That vision also included increasing our savings so that Camellia Waldorf School could one day purchase property, and plan for the next 25 years and beyond.
In early June, we received an opportunity to make this dream of property ownership a reality. We were invited to tour the vacated Merryhill School campus at 7450 Pocket Road and to begin to imagine the potential of moving Camellia Waldorf School to this new location. This location on Pocket Road is approximately 10 minutes from our current site and allows for easy access from the freeway.
This location provides our community with two significant advantages. Having our school nestled in a safe residential neighborhood is truly ideal. This location of almost three acres allows access to the levee and the Sacramento River, and is only a few blocks from Garcia Bend Park. In addition, this location places us within a few miles and directly in between Bergamo, a highly regarded private Montessori school, and Brookfield, a highly regarded private college preparatory school. This location, in a safe neighborhood that already supports educational excellence and educational choice, will bring new children and families into our community.
Needless to say, it has been a busy summer for the Board of Trustees, Administrative Staff, and Faculty. After countless meetings and hours spent reviewing our finances, Camellia Waldorf School is creating history by purchasing property at 7450 Pocket Road and will begin the new school year in September at this location.

As many of you know, we have spent the past two years building a relationship with the Sacramento City Unified School District and exploring the possibility of moving our school to the C.P. Huntington campus. While this arrangement would provide many benefits, it would not present the opportunity for ownership.

Although this decision is being made quickly, many substantial hours have been spent in preparation for this moment. When Camellia Waldorf School started at the current Freeport Boulevard location, there was never the intent to remain for this many years. We are currently on a month-to-month lease and face many challenges with increasing rent, the lack of a safe and dedicated parking lot, and the surrounding transient population. In addition, this spring we were notified by the city of Sacramento that our property line is in violation and will need to be adjusted within the year. This adjustment will significantly reduce the available play areas for our lower grade, kindergarten, and preschool play areas.

It has long been the dream of our leadership to own a permanent home for Camellia Waldorf School. The entire faculty, staff, and board of trustees recognize the value of this opportunity and are in full support of this move. Plans are already underway concerning moving preparations, repairs, and upgrades at our new location. Jennifer Mason and I are already working on the necessary transfer of our California preschool license with expected ease and success.

We look forward to hosting an open house on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. and inviting our Camellia families and friends to tour our new location! More information will follow soon. We also look forward to your involvement in making this move a successful community effort. Although the timeline is short, we are a community with many talents and with your help, we will make great things happen quickly!

We are currently in need of volunteers to provide packing supplies, assist with packing of classroom materials, begin preparing our outdoor structures for transport, and to assist with repairs and landscaping work at the new site. If you are able to help with any of these tasks, please contact Ardyth Sokoler at administrator@camelliawaldorf.org about your resources and availability. We are in the process of creating a Sign-Up Genius and will send the link early next week.

As always, we welcome your questions and comments. We recognize that unexpected change can be disruptive, and look forward to working together to make this transition as smooth as possible for our children. Thank you for your commitment to Camellia Waldorf School and for your support. We look forward to Building Our Future together!

Warmly,

Ardyth Sokoler, Administrator
Betsey Monnot, Board President
Jenny Stewart, Early Childhood
Amanda Mutrux, Elementary School
Jacky Cox, Middle School

The lion cubs are growing up!

The projected temperature was 105 Thursday and it was already warm at the Sacramento Zoo at 8:30 a.m. The lion family of five, 9-year-old lion Kamau, 10-year-old lioness Cleo and their three 8-month-old cubs, one boy and two girls were back in the private holding areas, waiting for their morning feeding.

Photos courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo
Photos courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo

“This is the first lion cub birth here since the 80s,” said Lara Kirkendall, Outreach and Biodiversity Manager. Kirkendall stated proudly that they live together in a common holding area “just as nature intended.” Kirkendall added that the cubs’ growth has been exponential since birth. She said they are nearly 55 pounds now, up 50 pounds from their smaller frame at four weeks. Now, she said, “they’re dog size, as opposed to cat size.” And their size will double yet.

The cubs will learn all things from both parents; they will model their behavior after their same sex parent. “It’s fun to watch them interacting with each other, playing with sticks, wrestling, chasing each other.” She said they are learning and honing all the skills that they will need as they grow.

“The birth of the cubs gives us a great opportunity to learn about their lives,” Kirkendall said. Some people assume that lions are solitary, but she said, “Lions are the only social cat.” Now people will have the chance to see the family unit grow together. Kirkendall said Cleo usually monitors the action from a distance, while Kamau spends more time with the cubs.

The cubs’ birth has attracted more visitors to the zoo who can see photos of the cubs’ development over time over the cage. Zoo visitor Kathy Phillips came to get some new shots of the family. She said she has really enjoyed watching the cubs’ development and the interactions of the cubs with each other and their parents. “The dad has been amazing.” She was particularly impressed with the dad’s parental restraint when the babies jumped on top of him and he just took it in stride.

While waiting for the lion family to make an appearance, a zoo keeper laid the area with “behavioral enrichment” treats. This gives the animals something to search for, simulating their environment in the wild.

Finally, the cubs appeared one by one and walked around, surveying their space, and taking turns sitting atop the area’s highest mound. The cubs are learning how to be vocal and made a few whines.

Then Kamau appeared and immediately detected the presence of the treats. After his initial search, he planted himself a few feet in front of the opening, patiently waiting for Cleo to appear. When she did, she came out and then went back in, then reappeared and went back in again. This went on for a few minutes until she finally came out and took a seat stage right, where she had a view of the whole area.

Kirkendall said that having given birth and having nursed and taken care of the cubs in their infancy, Cleo “was used to being treated like furniture.” Now, she said, “Dad is right in the thick of it (interacting with the cubs)” which brought great pleasure to visitors on Father’s Day.

Shown here are recent photos of the lion cub trio at the Sacramento Zoo. / Photos courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo
Shown here are recent photos of the lion cub trio at the Sacramento Zoo. / Photos courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo

The zoo, Kirkendall said, was completely prepared for their arrival so they have all the resources they need to take very good care of the new additions, such as plenty of adequate space and meat. She said the decision to breed the lions was determined by the 1981 American Species Survival Plan. Tonja Candelaria, the Zoo’s Public Relations Coordinator said that the “circle of life” maintains a certain level of the population at the zoo.

Over time as a result of the protections they have received, the lion species’ status has improved from “endangered” to “vulnerable,” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Kirkendall said the Zoo was well prepared, but that the cubs have needed “very little intervention” since they and their parents are “doing a fantastic job.” Candelaria noted that there is a high infant mortality rate in the wild due to disease, still births and predatory species.

Kirkendall and Candelaria both stressed the zoo’s participates extensively in community and regional education, resource management and conservation efforts. “It doesn’t take much to make an impact globally,” said Candelaria. Two hundred volunteers contribute to the work of the zoo including 130 docents and 50 keepers, zoo teens, Interpretative Interns, horticultural groups, AmeriCorps, Boy Scouts and event volunteers.

The zoo will not release their names until the training period is over. Zoo staff want to make sure the cubs know their voices first to ensure effective animal husbandry. For now the names are private.

Michael Douglas, a visitor services staff member, had a question for the reporter on her way out. “So did you see the pride of the Sacramento Zoo?” Indeed she had.

Not for the faint at heart: The Alternative Arts Collective presents gripping production of Macbeth at the Chautauqua Playhouse

When the Uptown Sacramento-based The Alternative Arts Collective suffered a fire last year in the middle of its run of “Angels in America,” cast and crew scrambled to honor the thespian credo of “the show must go on.”



“We ended up finishing the production of ‘Angels’ (using the workshop as a make-shift dressing room) and then moved out of our Blue Box theater space,” said TAAC Artistic Director David Blue Garrison. “We’ve been homeless ever since.”

Far from down and out, Garrison and company have launched a project called “Midtown Blue.” 

“It’s a web series on YouTube,” said Garrison. “It’s been an awesome experience. We also did a fundraising production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for three nights that was an enormous success. That production was hosted at the ArtSpace 1616, and in September we’ll be doing ‘Steel Magnolias’ at BlackTop Comedy for two weekends – all in an effort to get us closer to getting a new/permanent home.” 

At the moment, however, Garrison is readying its production of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” which is set to open “on the road” at Carmichael’s Chautauqua Playhouse July 31 and run through Aug. 15.

“I’ve know Rodger Hoopman for a while,” said Garrison, “having worked with him on a few projects.  Over the last few years, he’s invited TAAC to come to Chautauqua to do something and we’ve never been able to make it work.

“TAAC loves to perhaps spread itself a bit thin, but this time it worked out and he wanted to give us an opportunity to produce something large on a proper stage and here we are. I will admit however that ‘Macbeth’ was not my first choice, even though I’ve directed ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Tempest’ and ‘Lear.’ ‘Macbeth’ was the obvious next choice, I was actually preparing to mount ‘The Visit.’”

Calling the Broadway hit one of his “all-time favorite shows,” Garrison’s desire to mount the show locally was impossible due to its Broadway run.

“They froze the royalties for the script. And in a mad scramble, I relented and allowed myself to do ‘Macbeth.’” 

In true TAAC fashion, Garrison wasn’t aiming for a commonplace or traditional take on the Bard’s classic – not that inspiration was dripping from his pores.

“This was the first time I went into an audition for a Shakespeare adaptation that I had no real concept for,” admitted Garrison. “I mean, I knew the show very well, and knew that in some way I could make a commentary on current politics, a militant country, etc. But I let the actors who auditioned inform what I ultimately did with the show.

“And through development, even after casting the show has evolved and morphed into what it is now and I’m very proud of it. Right now, we are about two-and-a-half weeks out from opening, so naturally we still have a lot of work to do. There are many sound cues in the show, lighting, set stuff and polishing up the staging, but I can see between the cracks, it’s a strong show.

”

Though Garrison is sticking closely to the original text, his ultimate aim is to provide an accessible, entertaining and interesting evening (or afternoon) of theater that will surprise and delight.

“This production is the most different from other versions of the show in that the cut has been extreme. I never hesitate to change a line or switch a scene when adapting Shakespeare. Beside being public domain, he and I also share a birthday, so I feel it’s my divine right to meddle with the text,” laughed Garrison. “In this production of ‘Macbeth’ the largest difference is that Lady Macbeth not only lives past her famous ‘Out damn spot’ scene, she is also the major mastermind in all the plotting. A large majority of Macbeth’s lines have been given to Lady Macbeth. Thus she is the neck turning the head that wears the crown, whichever way she pleases. Ashley Eigenman, who plays Macbeth in my production, is almost a victim of Lady Macbeth. Another layer that has been added is that Kyle Burrow, a 20-year-old actor is playing Lady Macbeth in a pseudo-David Bowie, androgynous performance. He spends the majority of the production in heels, not as a woman, nor a drag queen by any means, but simply a man who prefers to look and dress like a woman. It’s been great fun to develop.”

“Another thing exciting about this production are the three witches. All three played by one actor, Aviv Hannan. And she’s stunning. I don’t really want to reveal quite yet how she does it. But it’s fantastic.”

“The audience can expect from this production, a lot of blood and guts, some sensual content, but also a gripping production where the actors are perfectly serving up a story. Not for the faint of heart, but Bard buffs and those who usually avoid Shakespeare are likely to have a great time. ”

Over The Fence with Greg Brown

Come-N-Go on Freeport Gets a Makeover
The Come-n-Go is back! It even has that new convenience store smell. The convenience store on the corner of Meer and Freeport had fallen on hard times the past several years. The outside of the store looked almost abandoned. Dry weeds and litter encircled the parking lot. The unsightly gas pumps have been Out Of Order for years. The flickering, intermittently working, fluorescent lights gave the front of the building a creepy horror movie vibe. The Come-n-Go was a neighborhood eyesore.
A convenience store that wasn’t very convenient.

New owner Pat Mulhall standing proud in front of the new and improved Come-n-Go Market in Land Park. / Photo by Greg Brown
New owner Pat Mulhall standing proud in front of the new and improved Come-n-Go Market in Land Park. / Photo by Greg Brown

Inside the store was much worse. Expired everything! Don’t even bother picking out some ketchup. The Icee machine was Out Of Order. The list of bad things goes on and on. The only thing safe to buy there were the Tic Tacs.
The former owner, Daniel Sun, got in trouble with the law a few times last year for selling alcohol to minors. He was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and selling alcoholic beverages to a minor according to a story last October in The Sacramento Bee.
The Feds suspended his license for good. He wasn’t selling gas or alcohol at the Come-n-Go.
That’s when he came and went.
Pat Mulhall is the new owner and he’s come to the rescue. He’s really spruced up the place. They’ve installed a clean crisp new sign out front. The previous sign was yellowy and worn. It also had the 24 hours sign cut to say 21 hours.
It definitely brought janky to Freeport Boulevard in Land Park. And we don’t want janky in Land Park.
The one thing I noticed above all else is the big windows. Lots of natural light filtering into the store. Most liquor or convenient stores have all the cheap advertising covering up the windows. Tacky.
No pricing on the front of the building windows, nothing above the rail. It’s a very clean look. “We don’t want it to look like an average convenience store, we also want to be more of a neighborhood market,” Pat said.
The interior of the store has been cleaned up too. Where it used to have red disintegrating Formica above the register is now wood interior with neon beer signs of craft and import beers. Sorry Budweiser and Coors.
“I want to tell people more about our imports and craft beers,” Pat said.
They installed granite countertops, marble back-splashes, and brand new flooring. It’s really an impressive transformation. Convenience store crashers…On HGTV!
Pat’s already heard positive things from the neighbors. They’re “very happy to have the store back,” Pat said. A place they can walk to and buy milk, bread, or Doritos.
They’re going to have coffee and donut specials every morning. Pat said they’re going to offer Yum Yum donuts along with Boyd’s coffee.
The new Come-n-Go will also be a good place to grab local craft beer bombers, like Knee Deep Brewing, Drake’s Brewery, and Sacramento favorites, The Rubicon and Track 7.
And a convenience store staple…they will have a roller grill for hot dogs! Along with corn dogs, taquitos, egg rolls and food items like that.
They’ll also offer some healthy options like sandwiches and high end fruit drinks.
Bigger brighter and less dreary liquor store feel. “Everything we’ve done with this building is energy efficient,” Pat said.
Come-n-Go was like that dilapidated house on your street everybody hates. Now it’s the shiny new convenience store the neighborhood can enjoy.
Ford’s Real Hamburgers gets renovated
Another building that was a bit dilapidated and in desperate need of TLC is the old Ford’s Real Hamburgers building on Sutterville behind the former Blockbuster video store.
One of the men working on restoring the building said, “It used to look like a jailhouse café.” He was right. With the spiked metal fence to the scabbed on plastic yellowy awnings, this place was another black eye for the neighborhood.
Somebody had literally screwed sliding glass doors side by side and made a wall out of it.
All that spiked fencing and sliding glass door walls were not up to code. The tiny 3-foot by 5-foot bathroom was not ADA compliant. It actually wasn’t suitable for anybody to use. The building had been just sitting there vacant waiting for somebody to give it some renovation love.
Adair Construction was hired to bring the building back to life. They did a masterful job. Once they tore away all the unsightly scabbed-on additions you could tell there was a cool retro-looking building
I spoke with the contractor, Ryan Adair, of Adair Construction, on the final day of the restoration and he said, “Nobody would design and build this today, but look at it, it’s fantastic!”
It’s also nice to see a see a cool little building NOT torn down.
The original 1970s rock veneer and inverted roof-line give the building character. Adair said, “The original rock veneer? We decided to keep it. Why pull that away? It looks good.”
On the day the building restoration project was complete, a woman drove by, glanced over, and did a double take, like, “Oh wow, what a cool little building!”
There’s also plenty of space for outdoor dining. Lots of curb appeal to the space, too.
While I was at the site, Ryan Adair was busy pulling the last bit of stray Bermuda grass from the property when he said, “There’s a huge benefit to re-using an existing structure. It pulls a little bit of the past into the future.”
Now that the building restoration is complete what will be going into that spot? Another burger place? Ice cream shop? Barbecue joint? Whatever it becomes, I hope it’s not another Goodwill Express.
Summer of Service At Cal Middle School
There was a bake sale outside Cal Middle School, courtesy of the kids from Summer of Service, a summer school program at Cal Middle School. They were doing a project to serve the neighborhood of Land Park.
The bake sale was to fund an idea from 8th graders at the school.
The 8th graders have been having difficulties at physical education due to the dog waste scattered all over the field. It’s an ongoing problem for the children. Soccer and dog poop do not mix!
So they’re raising money to build a doggie cleanup station at the school hoping it will be utilized by nearby dog owners who don’t feel the need to clean up after their pooch.
They had some homemade cookies, cupcakes, apple turnovers, and all sorts of goodies at the one day bake sale. They actually raised more than $200 in a few hours. Sounds like a summer of success.
New Ride Named
And the new ride at Funderland has been named. Drum roll, please….They’re calling it the Squirrelly Whirl! Catchy. I like it. The ride is now open.
Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

COPS ‘N KIDS – local library program illustrates the value of reading

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/61105.Dr_Seuss”Dr. Seuss
http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2333951″I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Sacramento Police Officer Pam Zamarripa reading to kids at the Robbie Waters Pocket Greenhaven Library. / Photo by Leigh Stephens
Sacramento Police Officer Pam Zamarripa reading to kids at the Robbie Waters Pocket Greenhaven Library. / Photo by Leigh Stephens

Why would police officers read to kids? Develops Trust, Instills Values, Cuts Crime…Sacramento Police Department (SPD) has partnered with local libraries to make this summer a reading success.

The first Cops ‘N Kids program for the Robbie Waters Pocket Library began June 18, 2015, with Sgt. Pam Zamarripa reading to a handful of children and parents in the Reading Tower. The readings will continue throughout the summer with a different police officer reading on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.

SPD Lt. Pam Seyffert says cop-kid reading programs are happening all over the country. “We know there is a direct connection between crime and lack of literacy, so it is a good fit to include our police officers in programs such as this. We are building trust in a positive way. I am passionate about reading. As a kid my family did not have a lot, but one thing my mom guaranteed on the weekend was a trip to the library or bookstore.”

On the website DoSomething.org, 11 Facts About Literacy in America contains some shocking statistics: “2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. More than 70 percent of America’s inmates cannot read above 4th grade level.”

At the Pocket Library Officer Pam Zamarripa read pre-selected books about police officers and kids like Traffic Cop, Bug Patrol, and the children brought other books to read such as ,em>That is not a Good Idea. All toll the officer read about a dozen books to the enthralled youngsters.

The kids attending the reading turned eager faces to the officer and stayed quiet longer than any parent could have expected.
Dressed in rainbow colors of summer dresses, shorts and tee shirts, the scene reminds you of hot weather, ice cream cones and swimming pools.

After reading a couple of books, the officer asked the children if they had questions. For the children ages three through 10 years the questions showed a high level of understanding. Zamarripa handed out silver badge Junior Officer decals and a coloring book to each child.

The educational coloring/activity book emphasized warnings such as “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Don’t Play with Guns,” “Don’t Play with Matches,” Don’t Pet Stray Dogs & Cats,”
“Learn Your Address and Phone Number,” “ Best Always to Walk with a Friend,”and “Report Crimes at 911.”

The Pocket Library Reading Tower walls are filled with colorful murals from fairy tales and books such as The Wizard of Oz, Jack and the Bean Stalk, and Snow White. The round Tower has comfortable seating for parents and children and two baskets sit nearby filled with children’s books.

Officer Zamarripa said about her own reading experiences,
“When I grew up in Elk Grove my mom took me to the library often. Our library was close to my home so I loved going there.”

She says when she attended CSUS she started out in nursing but went on a police ride-along and was hooked. She has been on the SPD force for about eight years. The favorite part of her job she says is getting to know the people in our community. She wants kids to come to the police without fear, and she says parents should never threaten their children with the police.

Parent Jamie Fanner brought 8-year-old daughter Ji’Nya who raptly followed each story. Fanner said, “Reading sets the foundation for a child to develop excellent studying habits and obtain academic success. I take my daughter to the library often during the summer.”

She says her mother fostered her love of books and always encouraged her siblings and her to read books and participate in cultural enrichment activities.

The Cops ‘N Kids Reading program is active throughout the country. The goal is promoting youth development and creating trust among police officers and boys and girls.

Scranton, New Jersey Police Chief Carl Graziano says, “If we’re in front of them and they get comfortable with us by reading books and by talking with them on a regular basis, they’re more likely to come to us when they need us.”

Indeed good books change lives and enrich living. Books can show you that others have the same emotions as you do and also the same problems and offer solutions. Reading books can help you travel to places you’ve never been and open your eyes to the world around you.

As American journalist Margaret Fuller said, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader,”

Leigh Stephens is a retired CSUS professor of Journalism and Communications Studies. She has written more than 500 articles and several books.

If you go:
What:
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTEDi) Class, featuring Sacramento Police Department Lt. Oliveira
Where: Robbie Waters Pocket/Greenhaven Library, 7335 Gloria Drive, 95831
When: July 29 from 7-8 p.m.

editor@valcomnews.com

Parade grand marshal thanks community members for parade experience

Shown here is Dolores Silva Greenslate, the grand marshal of this year's Spirit of the Pocket Parade with driver David Chin and his convertible. David, a master wood carver, designed the duck display as a tribute to Greenslate, who was known as the "Duck Lady" when she saved ducks during the construction of the Greenhaven 70 housing development. / Photo courtesy of David Chin
Shown here is Dolores Silva Greenslate, the grand marshal of this year's Spirit of the Pocket Parade with driver David Chin and his convertible. David, a master wood carver, designed the duck display as a tribute to Greenslate, who was known as the "Duck Lady" when she saved ducks during the construction of the Greenhaven 70 housing development. / Photo courtesy of David Chin

This year’s Spirit of the Pocket Parade was my first attendance to this yearly event. In the past, our family custom is a gathering in Santa Cruz on the 4th of July, but this year because of family illness, the trip necessitated postponement.

I was astounded when I was notified that I had been chosen to be grand marshal for this event. “For why?” I asked. Born to early-day Portuguese Pocket settlers, I coined the question when I was 5 years old and in the first grade. It was a time when I couldn’t yet understand the English language. I uttered the words spontaneously and am still confused about the choice, but very honored and happy that the request to be grand marshal was valid!

I hope I did not disappoint anyone. I had a great time!

A special thank you to artistically talented David Chin who decorated the vehicle, and was also my driver. His politeness and thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated, making me comfortable in his 1930s beautifully restored vintage coupe with rumble seat. Also a thank you to Monica Stark, Pocket News editor, for prompt arrangements and my transportation.

David’s vehicle nostalgically reminded me of my late brother, Marvin Silva and myself, as young children, riding in the rumble seat of our young uncle’s same vintage coupe. What fun that was!

I must state that I was very pleased to observe such an abundance of adults and children, families watching the parade along its route. Early Sacramento holidays (1930s-1940s) featured many outstanding downtown parades, which were very well attended by entire families. Entries typically included marching bands, Irish bagpipers elaborately dressed drill teams and Masonic members driving funny little cars – for all to enjoy.

I, as grand marshal, was pleased to observe the enthusiasm of families watching this parade had not diminished from past parades. Neighborhood events, such as this are still important to the congenial environment of families. We must not lose sight of this. All the effort and work is still valued when you observe their combined delighted faces.

editor@valcomnews.com

For the love of rugby: Fundraiser coming to the Limelight

The day after graduating from St. Mary’s College in May 2014, just a week after winning a D1 collegiate rugby national championship, brought drastic change to East Sacramentan Luke Kelly Sauser. Prior to this day, his life was about textbooks and rugby training. Although this punishing work has payed off, the real journey is just beginning. Luke is now producing a film, titled “Scrum of the Earth” which teaches the game in an inspirational and engaging fashion and he is also giving back to the organizations which made his journey possible – Sacramento Area Youth Rugby, and NorCal – by organizing a daylong rugby celebration at the Limelight on Friday, July 24 from noon and continuing through the night to 2 a.m.
Held simultaneously as the Pacific Nation’s Cup is being hosted at Bonney Field, the celebration, aptly named the inaugural American Rugby Social, is being advertised on fliers as “the perfect way to spend your day celebrating the game we love and the country we support, along with your rugby community.”
Sacramento Area Youth Rugby and NorCal are responsible for running Northern California youth leagues and rely on fundraising.

Hosted at the Limelight Bar and Cafe, the venue offers an outdoor patio, which will be filled with fun rugby activities for all ages, barbecue and various booths for rugby clubs and organizations. Anyone 21 and older will receive a wristband, which will provide access to a full bar. In addition to the bar and patio, there is a lounge that will be open to guests of all ages, which will feature an array of beverages, appetizers and dishes.
The event will help raise funds for Northern California youth rugby organizations on the same day the USA Eagles Men’s National Team squares off against Japan in a Pacific Nations Cup doubleheader.
Both Luke’s involvement organizing the fundraising event and the production of “Scrum of the Earth” are testaments to his philosophy that rugby is much more than a sport; it’s truly a way of life which embraces all types of people.
“There are just a lot of people who haven’t learned about the game,” he stated in an interview with the East Sacramento News, noting that despite that observation, youth rugby has increased 25 percent during the last three years. In fact, rugby is currently the fastest growing collegiate sport for both men and women and rugby is the third largest sporting event in the world behind soccer and the Olympics (which features rugby Sevens, a quicker version of the game in 2016, for the first time since USA won rugby Olympic Gold in 1924).
Luke played competitively throughout high school at Christian Brothers and at Sierra and Saint Mary’s colleges. Speaking about those experiences, Luke said, “(They’ve) given me the opportunity to meet tons of new people, travel all around the world and afford a college education – winning a USA Rugby D1A National Championship was a great experience as well.”
At the Limelight, there will be a booth promoting “Scrum of the Earth”, a film in which viewers will experience a firsthand glimpse into the world of American rugby through the eyes of players, coaches, and fans, as an inspirational athlete works his way towards claiming yet another Rugby Gold Medal for USA at the Summer Olympics in 2016.
The main character is a future USA Rugby Olympian who’s overcome birth defects, physical scrutiny and major injuries, only to become a World Rugby Junior Trophy Champion, two-time D1 collegiate rugby national champion and three time All-American; whose grit and determination have molded him into the individual he is today.
“Scrum of the Earth” has taken months of pre-production preparations and financing, and Luke expects to begin principle photography this month and will film through September with the goal to release the film through a limited theatrical release and online VOD, if the project isn’t bought by a distributor first. Expect a showing in Sacramento in spring or summer 2016.

Here are some more highlights of the fundraising event event, courtesy of Luke:

-When: Friday, July 24 from noon to 2 a.m.
-Where: at the Limelight, 1014 Alhambra Blvd.
- Pre-sale tickets are $10 for 21-plus, $5 for ages 13-21 and younger and kids enter free.
- Live music from Essex | Galan and Forum. (Essex live from 1-4 p.m.)
- Watch Pacific Nations Cup Live on Flat-screens inside and huge HD Projector Screen Outside! (5 to 9 p.m.)
- Free parking, pre-game before PNC matches, hop in an Uber, Lyft or taxi to and back for the after-party!
- Full bar, beer garden, cafe and barbecue
- Fun games for all ages!
- USA Rugby, Rugby NorCal, SAY Rugby and Scrum of the Earth PR booths.
- Raffles & other fundraising activities
- Plenty of shade and refreshments!
- Admission does not include food or drinks.