Canine Corral update

Photo by Monica Stark

Photo by Monica Stark

[caption id="attachment_13996" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo by Monica Stark"]Photo by Monica Stark[/caption]The Canine Corral at Carmichael Park is now CLOSED for grading, drainage, and turf renovations from April 7 through September. The District Advisory Board of Directors approved a new master plan to renovate the dog park. Along with district funds and volunteer fundraising efforts the first phase of construction is going on now. Help support your local canine community by making a tax-deductible donation to the Carmichael Dog Park. Send a check made out to CRPD Foundation (501c3) and mail to 5750 Grant Ave, Carmichael.

Cramer’s Bakery was among city’s most popular bakeries

A Japanese restaurant now operates at the former site of Cramer’s Bakery at 4960 Freeport Blvd. Photo by Lance Armstrong

A Japanese restaurant now operates at the former site of Cramer’s Bakery at 4960 Freeport Blvd. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Throughout its history, Sacramento has been home to popular bakeries, and many longtime residents recall some classic local bakeries of the past such as Philipp’s Bakery and the Muzio Baking Co. in East Sacramento. And certainly, Cramer’s Bakery was once one of the city’s most popular bakeries.
The roots of Cramer’s Bakery date back to about 1952, when Leonard Dee Cramer (1905-1984) began working as a baker at Philipp’s Bakery, which operated at 3300 Folsom Blvd. for 82 years.
In 1955, Leonard, who was then residing with his wife Rosaleen at 1328 Rodeo Way, near East Portal Park in East Sacramento, opened Cramer’s Pastry Shop at 2726 Broadway.
The 141-foot by 151-foot building, which housed the bakery, was constructed during the same year by the Erickson Construction Company of Sacramento.
Working as the original clerks of Cramer’s Pastry Shop were Rosaleen and Patricia A. Cramer.
In 1958, the bakery was purchased by Arne and Kamma Ahlberg of 2721 V St., Apt. #1, and renamed Broadway Pastry Shop. The Cramers were then living at 2810 V St.
Three years later, C.D. Tindel, who resided with his wife Betty Tindel at 2865 58th St., became the bakery’s new owner.
It was around that time that Leonard opened Cramer’s Bakery at 4321 Arden Way.
By 1963, Cramer’s Bakery was under the proprietorship of Arthur D. and Arvid W. Krein. The Kreins renamed the business, Krein’s Arden Way Bakery.
Carol A. Jones purchased the bakery in about 1976 and renamed it the Arden Plaza Bakery.
Janice’s Cake Box, which was owned by Michael Young, occupied this Arden Way business spot from about 1979 to at least 1982.
The site’s current business, The Mandarin Restaurant, was opened by Steve and Kay Lee Helmrich on Dec. 27, 1983. The business is presently owned by their son, Michael Helmrich.
In returning to the story about the former Cramer’s Pastry Shop site on Broadway, Broadway Pastry Shop was sold once again in 1966, as Preston E. Lee of 5625 Laurine Way and James E. Lee of 5464 48th St. became its new proprietors.
It was also around the same time that Leonard acquired a job as a baker at Bill’s Pastry Shop. He worked there for about one year.
Preston E. and James E. Lee continued to operate the Broadway Pastry Shop until about the early part of 1970, when 2726 Broadway became vacant.
A year earlier, Leonard opened a new Cramer’s Bakery at 4960 Freeport Blvd.
Leonard sold Cramer’s Bakery on Freeport Boulevard to George Premock, Sr. in 1972.
George Premock, Sr.’s granddaughter, Shonna (Premock) Martin, explained that Cramer’s history included a major fire in the 1980s.
“An electrical short in another business caused the complex (with the bakery) to burn down, except for (a) bank and (a Thrifty Drug and Discount Store at 4980 Freeport Blvd.), and I’m unsure of the other businesses affected,” Martin said.
She added that Cramer’s was rebuilt, then reopened one or two years later.
Following the death of George Premock, Sr. at the age of 70 on June 26, 1989, the bakery was left to his wife, Elnora Premock (1924-2000), and their sons, George Premock, Jr. and James Premock. The latter two named family members took over the operation of the bakery.
James Premock, who died on July 27, 2004, one day prior to his 59th birthday, left the Cramer’s Bakery partnership in about 1990 to establish Rosemont Bakery at 9131 Kiefer Blvd., between Watt Avenue and Bradshaw Road, in the Rosemont Plaza shopping center with his daughter, Shonna Premock, who had not yet become Shonna Martin.
In commenting about the establishment and short existence of that bakery, Martin said, “We left [Cramer’s Bakery] around 1990. It took about a year to find a location, equipment, permits, etc. So, we opened (Rosemont Bakery at the former site of New York Bagel Boys) in 1991 and closed (it in) 1992.”
Martin added that there were a variety of reasons why the Rosemont Bakery closed, including “not enough money coming in to continue.”
George Premock, Jr. continued the operation of Cramer’s Bakery until about early 2000.
Martin presented the following list of Premock family members who worked at Cramer’s Bakery: George Premock, Sr., Elnora Premock, George Premock, Jr., Janet Premock, James Premock, Shonna (Premock) Martin, Georgie Premock and Jeff Premock.
And although she could no longer recall their last names, Martin said that the following non-family members worked at Cramer’s Bakery: Betty, Clark, Irene, Kim, Mark, Norene, Roy, Tes and Ziglinda.
As for Cramer’s offerings, Martin said, “We baked everything from a small item to a large item – cookies, cupcakes, scones, doughnuts, Danish (pastries), coffee cakes, pies, all kinds, breads, all kinds, tea cakes, loaf cakes, cakes and wedding cakes. The specialty (items were) the fruit basket cake, sponge cake and our butter cream icing that wasn’t too sweet. Beehive (cake) was another specialty item.”
Cramer’s Bakery was open Mondays through Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
But Martin noted that that schedule changed one time per year.
“We took two weeks off – closed the bakery during the summer for family time,” Martin said.
She added that the annual two-week closure was important, considering the many hours that her family dedicated to the business.
In commenting about her father and uncle’s dedication and hard work at Cramer’s Bakery, Martin said, “I missed my father presence (at home). He worked six to seven days a week (and) about 12 to 14 hours a day. We had to be super quiet during the day, so he could sleep, which was very hard to do. I have learned no one appreciates or values the labor involved in a product when you make everything from scratch and you do not use equipment to do the work for you. His feet, legs, hands were in pain all the time. My uncle (George Premock, Jr.) had back injuries from lifting heavy bowls.”
Martin fondly recalled Cramer’s customers, noting, “(Cramer’s had) dedicated daily customers, even if it was for a cheap cup of coffee. We had two sets of numbers ranging from one to 100 people. (Customers) would have to take a number, go shopping and return to pick up their items, especially during the holidays. We had people traveling from San Francisco, Reno, etc. to purchase items.  A lot of our customers were state workers taking items back to the office.”
Sacramento native Lois (Herbert) Lindstrom, 86, who moved to South Land Park in 1958, fondly recalled her regular visits to Cramer’s Bakery on Freeport Boulevard.
“There was nothing to equal the food that you bought there,” Lindstrom said. “It was just outstanding, and my very favorite thing was the beehive (cake). They had the greatest beehive in Sacramento. It’s almost made like a Boston cream pie in layers with the filling, but it’s called the beehive. Oh, my God, it was so delicious. And the doughnuts were beyond compare, and they had homemade biscuits that were heavenly. They would just float away. It was a wonderful bakery and when it closed everybody was heartbroken.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

A little bit of country in the midst of a little bit of controversy

This bit of natural beauty surrounds the old railroad tracks, owned by Regional Transit, between Sutterville Road and Fruitridge Road/Seamas Avenue. Many people enjoy walking in the serenity of this greenbelt, which has been saved from the once-proposed notion that trains would run from Old Sacramento to Hood. State Parks had to ditch the section shown here because they don't own the land, RT does. RT has no current plans to sell it either. Photo by Monica Stark

This bit of natural beauty surrounds the old railroad tracks, owned by Regional Transit, between Sutterville Road and Fruitridge Road/Seamas Avenue. Many people enjoy walking in the serenity of this greenbelt, which has been saved from the once-proposed notion that trains would run from Old Sacramento to Hood. State Parks had to ditch the section shown here because they don't own the land, RT does. RT has no current plans to sell it either. Photo by Monica Stark

Habitat to local fauna Regional Transit’s tracks between Sutterville and Pocket roads are overgrown with lush greenery and natural beauty. It’s just a little bit of country in our backyard. The South Land Park refuge attracts neighbors who enjoy taking walks with friends and family, and, of course, the family dog. With signs like – “You forgot to pick up your dog’s poop? Oh, my gosh, really?” – or landscaping with plants like golden poppies, and cacti, the greenbelt is a beacon of neighborly do-goodery – one that has been saved, at least for the time being, from having trains run on the tracks again.

At an Old Sacramento State Historic Park General Plan meeting, which was held Tuesday, April 15, inside the Stanford Gallery, 111 I St., representatives from the department clarified an important piece of information. The part of the proposal to use the RT tracks has been cut from the plan, which will be voted on by the California State Park and Recreation Commission on Friday, May 2 at 10 a.m. at the State Natural Resources Building auditorium, 1416 9th St. What remains in the plan now is the potential use of the rail line right-of-way from Old Sacramento to the Sacramento Zoo and from Pocket/Meadowview roads to the town of Hood, with views along the way of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

In an interview with this publication hours before the April 15 community meeting, project manager Steve Musillami said the plan will include improvements to the railroad museum, depots, as well as the rail yards and “some property state parks owns around the Sacramento River. It’s a visionary plan for next 20-plus years, but all proposals are based on funding issues. As far as between The Zoo and Pocket Road – we don’t own (the railway). That’s up to Regional Transit. It could be reintroduced as another rail line again. It could be paved a trail line. It could be a rail trail.”

According to RT spokesperson Elaine Masui, RT acquired said property in the 1980s from Southern Pacific and there have been no recent discussions about selling the land, though RT is open to the idea because of ongoing maintenance costs. “It was purchased at the time because RT didn’t know where the lines were going to go, but we expanded the lines (south to Meadowview) running on Union Pacific tracks.”

Councilmember Steve Hansen told Valley Community Newspapers removing the RT right-of-way from the Old Sacramento State Historic Park General Plan “seems to be an appropriate response to neighborhood concerns.” Hansen said the project still needs to be studied in detail, which would happen when, and if, the General Plan is adopted. “We are following the process closely and will continue to do so,” he said.

Hansen said that since this issue was initially brought to his attention, he has advocated for better outreach to the community and appropriate opportunity for public input.

But, during the interview before the meeting, Musillami expressed some frustration about the public’s confusion regarding the proposed plan.

“A lot of people are commenting on things without reading the plan, without gathering information from State Parks. We’ve had three public workshops, three commission meetings. We sent out mailings to about 2,000 people in the area. Unfortunately, people are still confused. We have tried to do the best we can. We have met with neighborhood organizations, including The Land Park Community Association in 2010. At the time, we did not meet with South Land Park organization. We thought they were all working together, but we found out they were not. (The April 15) meeting (was to give) the public another opportunity to voice concerns,” Musillami said.

However, prior to the meeting, neighbors were rightfully concerned about that land they feel so strongly about, especially since the State Parks website still as of Friday, April 18 hadn’t been updated to inform them that wasn’t part of the plan anymore.

So, while the meeting’s purpose was to inform the public about the scope of the entire general plan for the Old Sacramento State Historic Park, the South Land Park community has been focused on the section of the rail line owned by RT.

During the public comment period, which followed Musillami’s presentation, Julie Morengo, a resident of South Land Park Terrace, said she was appreciative of the promise by State Parks to remove the RT property from the language written in the General Plan proposal, however, she expressed her dissatisfaction of the process of how neighbors were notified, as well as the environmental impact it could have in the neighborhood, including the uses of pesticides, asphalt, and other potentially hazardous materials. “I was disturbed by the secretive and exclusive nature (of the process. Don’t confuse history with the current condition. You could achieve the same things with other options,” Morengo said.

Terry Oehler, a homeowner in Park Village, an upscale 2000s subdivision located south of 35 Avenue near the tracks, described the nature of his neighborhood in juxtaposition to the images shown during Musillami’s presentation. “This is a beautiful, pristine neighborhood. Your pictures don’t show houses. The track is 46 feet from my master bedroom. This proposal is not a situation of a compelling government need; it’s just for leisure. When we bought our homes, we did not think they’d pave over the tracks and have trains on them.”

Neighbor Adele Ose agreed, adding that the lien benefits tourists and not any of the neighbors. “Many ecosystems have developed into an urban woodland enjoyed by many. Additional rail crossings would further impact local intersections, and there’s no demonstrated financial benefit.”

Summing up how many South Land Park neighbors felt about the idea of trains running on those tracks again, Janet Gaithre said: “My father is a veteran and deserves peace and quiet. He is 89 years old and deserves to have peace in his old days. This is different from when trains ran on the levees and (conductors) threw candy; no more trains behind our homes, please.”

Upon discussing the speed of the excursion trains that are part of the proposal, Musillami told the Land Park News, “If you go up on the levee in Old Sacramento, the trains run so slow. These aren’t big freights. They’ve only got four or five cars and they’ll be historically designed. They’re only going to go 15 miles an hour. This would be better than having a light rail go through here because they have to run at the posted speed limit. Because it’s a historic train line, the intent is to link a real significant time in history. It was called a Walnut Grove Branch line and we’d like to link the line with Railroad Museum, which is the most popular (railroad museum) in the country. A lot of people come to Sacramento to come to the Railroad Museum. The Polar Express gets sold out in hours and the ones in the spring, summer, and fall are very popular also. They fill up very quickly.”

During the interview and at the meeting itself, Musillami explained the importance this plan has for the furthering of the State Parks’ mission to reenact the history of the Gold Rush era. “The Gold Rush era and interpretation is very important to this plan as well, but, all elements and proposals are based on funding. The grassy area in Old Town – we have a proposal to reconstruct 1849 buildings in that area. New structures will be historic replications of what was there at the time. It was a city block and there were different buildings (over the course of the) different eras. In 1849, the city was 8 feet lower than it was today. There were buildings at one level and higher levels in 1860s and 1870s, which varies with the era. But there were stables, and a hotel. As funding comes available, we’ll do more detailed studies.”

editor@valcomnews.com

People helping people: Rotary, Interact, Rotoact replaced smoke detector batteries for their neighbors

Students at John F. Kennedy High School and Sacramento Community College joined forces with the Pocket/Greenhaven Rotary and the Sacramento Fire Department Station 11 for a very special community service project on Saturday, April 5. They replaced smoke alarm batteries for about 20 of their neighbors.

Students at John F. Kennedy High School and Sacramento Community College joined forces with the Pocket/Greenhaven Rotary and the Sacramento Fire Department Station 11 for a very special community service project on Saturday, April 5. They replaced smoke alarm batteries for about 20 of their neighbors.

Students at John F. Kennedy High School and Sacramento Community College joined forces with the Pocket/Greenhaven Rotary and the Sacramento Fire Department Station 11 for a very special community service project on Saturday, April 5. They replaced smoke alarm batteries for about 20 of their neighbors.

“What an extraordinary day it was!” said Keiko Wong, Pocket/Greenhaven Rotary president. “It was such an honor to have the captain and firemen of Sacramento Fire Department’s Station 11 meet us morning at JFK High School, rolling up in their beautiful bright red fire engine. Their admin office even requested that they come in full uniform just for this event. Can you believe that? Wow!”

The Kennedy students are members of a campus club, called JFK Interact, and the SCC students from a club called, SCC Rotoact. “We had a great time changing smoke detector batteries for residents of Greenhaven/Pocket, Freeport Manor, Hollywood Park and Florin/Meadowview,” continued Keiko.

“The residents were so surprised that this service was available to them, and on top of that, at no expense to them, thanks to the generosity of the fire department and Energizer. They were very appreciative. It was so gratifying, for as you know, a working smoke detector saves lives!”

“Our Rotoract and Interact volunteers happily stepped up and worked well as a team. It was especially rewarding working side by side with these bright young leaders of tomorrow. We are so very proud of them. Yes, this is what life is about!” Keiko said.

Sam Trumbly, JFK senior and vice president of Interact, said with his sub group, they were able to hit up 15 houses, noting the club publicized the event around campus and Rotary did a lot of work to publicize and reach out to the community.

In explaining how he felt about his time volunteering, he said, “I liked helping people. Just going into their houses and knowing that you could be potentially saving someone here – that’s what really mattered. He said Interact will be hosting a dodgeball tournament at Kennedy to raise money for Polio Plus, a Rotary sponsored campaign that has helped save children around the world from the crippling effects of Polio. “I haven’t played in a real long time and I’m hoping to get out there and bring home a win for Interact, but in the end, it isn’t about who wins or loses, it’s just to make money for polio research,” Sam said.

Alex Chung, a senior at JFK, said it was nice to meet the people who wanted the smoke detectors because they were grateful for them.

“They clearly weren’t people our age, they were the older generation. They were really happy to see people our age doing something for the world and the community. They thought we were just apathetic teens but they were actually interested in what Rotary and Interact was.” He said his most rewarding experience yet with Interact has been his involvement with My Sister’s House where we donated books. “It was nice to see people pick up books,” Alex said.

editor@valcomnews.com

UC Davis MIND institute hosts Northern California premiere of ‘Sounding the Alarm’

On Tuesday, April 29, the UC Davis MIND Institute hosts the Northern California premiere screening of “Sounding the Alarm,” a film that gives viewers a look at the profound changes that take place in the lives of 12 American families after their children receive an autism diagnosis.

The screening will be held in the auditorium of the MIND Institute, 2825 50th St., Sacramento, as part of the institute’s Autism Awareness Month activities. The film includes an interview with David Amaral, research director of the MIND Institute, who speaks to the progress of autism research, autism risk factors and the lack of funding for resources and research.

“This film highlights both the challenges and the resiliency of families with a child with autism spectrum disorder,” Amaral said. “It will be of particular interest to anyone who wants to learn more about autism – especially the day-to-day practical issues that confront families. The film is realistic, frightening and optimistic all at the same time.”

“Sounding the Alarm” features Bob and Suzanne Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks, who discuss their grandson Christian’s diagnosis nine years ago and their fight to make a difference, not only for their grandson, but for everyone throughout the world affected by autism. The Wright’s daughter, Katie, is also interviewed about her experiences, and viewers are given a look at Christian’s intensive daily therapies.

Over the next decade, approximately 500,000 adolescents with autism will transition into adulthood with minimal support systems in place. The film examines the concerns families face as they prepare for their children to “age out” of the system.

“Sounding the Alarm” explores the impact state-regulated health insurance has on families. Among them are the Lawrences, whose son, Bradley, needs applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy to help him learn to communicate and develop his social skills. In order for Bradley to receive appropriate treatment, his family must move from North Carolina to Indiana.

Mercy General to open new $170 million Alex G. Spanos Heart and Vascular Center

Mercy General’s new Alex G. Spanos Heart and Vascular Center, which will provide state-of-the-art technology and patient-centered cardiovascular care for Northern California, will be open by the end of April. The 123,000-square-foot facility will feature an expanded model for Mercy’s renowned team of experienced cardiovascular care providers who offer a full range of cardiac services.

The amenities include: Four cardiac surgery operating rooms, including a hybrid operating suite, a 20-bed cardiac surgery intensive care unit, 71 private rooms, expanded cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation center, new diagnostic cardiopulmonary care area, enhanced 21-bed cardiac ambulatory procedure area, advanced audio/video capability for training, new chapel, as healing garden, a serene park for patients and East Sacramento neighbors. The facility is located at 4001 J St.

New Sutter Clinic Fills Large Hole in Care for Adults with Congenital Heart Disease
Until recently, there weren’t many adults with congenital heart disease. Pediatric heart surgeries weren’t common until the 1970s, and most children born with heart defects could expect to live only into their 30s. Many of them died before reaching adulthood.

Now, due to improvements late last century to pediatric heart surgeries, there are more adults in the United States with congenital heart defects than children with the disease, and that number is growing. Yet, there aren’t enough adult specialists to treat and care for these patients. Pediatric cardiologists are trained and skilled in treating children with these defects, but they stop treating them at 18 years old. Adult cardiologists usually have little knowledge or experience with congenital heart disease.

The Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute, 5151 F. St., is changing this. It is launching the Sutter Adults with Congenital Heart Disease Clinic with a multidisciplinary team that includes adult and pediatric congenital heart disease specialists: cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, obstetricians, physician assistants, nurses, registered dietitians, social workers, financial coordinators, pharmacists and genetic counselors.

Janey Way Memories: Remembering Catholic Youth Organization Basketball

Last Friday night, I watched my grandson Angelo play in a youth basketball game. It was a blast. Angelo at 4 feet, 10 inches tall was one of the big kids on the court.
The boys played on the main basketball court at San Juan High School—a regulation court with 10-foot baskets. They looked pretty small on the big court, but their enthusiasm and endurance amazed me. When Angelo took a rebound, he drove the ball quickly up court, before passing the ball to an open shooter. Later in the second half, he took a long shot which rolled around the rim and dropped in. That shot gave his team a 2-point lead, which they never relinquished. The final score was 33 to 31.
Watching the boys play brought back memories of my own youth basketball experience in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball league. I joined the Saint Mary’s CYO right after graduating from Saint Mary’s School in 1960. Father John Puliz, the pastor of the church, started the club that same year. He felt the teenagers, who attended the church, needed a wholesome outlet for their youthful energy. The activities sponsored by the CYO included dances, trips, and team basketball. I signed up right away for basketball.
We had our first fall practice at Kit Carson Junior High School in East Sacramento. Bob Hocking served as the coach of our team. Coach Hocking had played basketball at Sacramento State College. He had lot of knowledge to share with our inexperienced, young team, which included my friends Dan Petrocchi and Dick Mckechnie. We learned how to play a three, two-zone defense and how to run a 1-3-1 offense. We had already knew the basics of basketball (dribbling, passing and shooting), but did not know how to play as a five-man team. Coach Hocking had his work cut out for him, but over time he molded us into a pretty good team.
In October we started our 10-game season. It was so exciting. Coach Hocking assigned me to the point guard position. My responsibilities included dribbling the ball up court and initiating plays. I had a pretty good set shot, and the coach encouraged me to take it when I had the opening. I remember scoring in double figures during a few of our games. That made me feel like my hero Bob Cousey of the Boston Celtics. Other times I passed the ball to big Dick Mckechnie in the key or to Dan Petrocchi on the wing. Dan had a good jump shot and often scored on those opportunities.
Our team played against teams from Sacred Heart, St. Francis, Immaculate Conception, All Hollows, and Saint Patrick’s churches. All the teams were very competitive, and the games were close—no blow-outs here. In the end, we took second place. Immaculate Conception, with their 6-foot, 8-inch center, won the league.
I have never forgotten my CYO youth basketball experience. In fact, I often see coach Hocking at meetings of the Dante Club of Sacramento. He always says, “How are you doing kiddo? Keep writing those columns.” I am glad the old coach enjoys reading my stories. I certainly have never forgotten all he taught me, another inspirational Janey Way Memory.

martin@valcomnews.com

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

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

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

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

Vote YES on Measure B – For the Libraries

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

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

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

City Council District 7 candidates

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

My Priorities in Office: A Strong Economy & Strong Neighborhoods

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

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

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


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

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

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

CA Assembly District 9 candidates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer,” as John F. Kennedy once said. I’m here to be your representative not your politician. Feel free to call me 572-9241, or email manuelmartin2014@gmail.com. www.manuelforassembly.com


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faces & Places: Easter!

Photos by Linda Pohl and Monica Stark
The Easter bunny also made an appearance at the Greenhaven Lutheran Church Easter egg hunt and carnival to a large crowd of children on Saturday, April 12. The event also featured a petting zoo.

Photos by Monica Stark
Children filled their Easter baskets with candy-filled eggs on Saturday, April 12 at the District 7 spring egg hunt held at Garcia Bend Park. The Easter bunny made an appearance and volunteers offered face painting for the children.

Helen Keller visited Sacramento a century ago

Courtesy of the Helen Keller archives in New Zealand  Black and white photograph of Helen Keller with the inscription: To the Helen Keller House Girls, with my grateful love Helen Keller, November 1947. Inscription written in pencil by Helen Keller on the photograph. Typed letter written by Helen Keller and signed by her in pencil, to Kathleen Devonshire. Dated November 4th, 1947 and sent from Arcan Ridge, Westport, Connecticut.  (Archives reference: AAAA 8279 W5318 1/) For more information visit Archway: www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=8279

Courtesy of the Helen Keller archives in New Zealand Black and white photograph of Helen Keller with the inscription: To the Helen Keller House Girls, with my grateful love Helen Keller, November 1947. Inscription written in pencil by Helen Keller on the photograph. Typed letter written by Helen Keller and signed by her in pencil, to Kathleen Devonshire. Dated November 4th, 1947 and sent from Arcan Ridge, Westport, Connecticut. (Archives reference: AAAA 8279 W5318 1/) For more information visit Archway: www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=8279

For many years, the life of Helen Keller (1880-1968), the famous deaf-blind woman who overcame great disabilities, has been one of intrigue to many people. Those people included the Tuesday Club members and guests, who attended an event featuring Helen and her notable, skillful teacher, Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy (1866-1936), who was best known as Anne Sullivan.
The event was of such interest to the community that several hundred people arrived at the Tuesday Club at 2724 L St., across the street from Sutter’s Fort and just west of East Sacramento, to greet Helen and her teacher on Monday, March 16, 1914 at 8 p.m. The crowd was believed to have been the largest audience to have ever assembled at the Tuesday Club in its then 18-year history.
A report on the event in the following day’s edition of The Sacramento Bee was quick to note that Anne was of “almost equal interest” to the attendees of the gathering due to her dedication and success in working with Helen.
Prior to Anne’s involvement with Helen, she had been raised in poverty by Irish immigrants. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother died from tuberculosis when she was 9 years old.
When she was about 7 years old, Anne, who was a native of Feeding Hills, Mass., developed trachoma, which severely affected her vision.
Anne, who began attending the Perkins Institution for the Blind (now Perkins School for the Blind) in Watertown, Mass. in 1880, underwent successful eye operations in 1881 and 1882.
On March 3, 1887, about a year after she graduated as the valedictorian from the aforementioned school for the blind, Anne began her work tutoring Helen.
Helen, who was born in Tuscumbia, Ala., was the daughter of Civil War veteran and newspaper editor Arthur Keller and Kate Adams.
Although Helen was born with the ability to see and hear, when she was 1 and a half years old, she had lost those abilities due to what was then described by Helen’s doctors as an “acute congestion of the stomach and brain” or “brain fever.”
The professional medical belief today is that the mysterious illness that nearly took Helen’s life was possibly meningitis, scarlet fever, or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
With her condition, Helen often threw temper tantrums, broke items and physically attacked members of her family.
While seeking assistance for Helen, Arthur and Kate were referred to Alexander Graham Bell.
Bell, who was best known for inventing the telephone, also worked on projects to assist the deaf.
After spending time with the Kellers, Bell referred them to the aforementioned Perkins Institution for the Blind.
That school eventually recommended that Anne become Helen’s teacher and instruct her under the methods of Perkins’ first director, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-1876).
Anne’s first project was to teach Helen discipline and self-control.
And once Helen became a calmer person, Anne began to teach her words by outlining letters with her fingers in Helen’s hands and associating those words with particular things.
Helen, who once said, “I have always felt I was using the five senses within me,” would eventually learn to read, write and speak. She also became competent in a few foreign languages and mathematics, and learned to ride a horse and dance in time to a fox trot or waltz.
Helen’s studies included formal schooling at the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City and the Cambridge (Massachusetts) School for Young Ladies.
In the fall of 1900, Helen became the first deaf-blind person to attend college, when she enrolled at Radcliffe College (now Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study) in Cambridge. She accomplished the remarkable feat of graduating cum laude from that institution four years later.
Helen also became a published writer of both magazine articles and books. Her first book, “The Story of My Life,” was published in 1902.
With the assistance of Anne as an interpreter, Helen became involved with many lecturing events, including the featured lecture of this article: the Sacramento lecture of March 16, 1914.
In a preview for that hour-long event, The Bee, in its March 14, 1914 edition, referred to Helen’s ability to rise above her adversities with the help of Anne and others as “one of the greatest educational achievements of the age.”
And in commenting about Anne’s remarkable work with Helen, The Bee noted: “Mrs. Macy has been the teacher, guide and friend of Miss Keller for twenty-seven years. She made an accomplished woman out of a sightless, voiceless, deaf little animal that at 6 years of age (when Mrs. Macy first took charge of her) had not seemingly the semblance of intelligence.”
In further publicizing the event, the article included the following words: “About two years ago, Charles White, a singing teacher of New England added his efforts to Mrs. Macy’s in an attempt to teach her to talk, the success of which will be demonstrated next Monday evening by Miss Keller herself. The young woman speaks three (languages) and reads five languages besides playing the piano and violin. She has written two successful books and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Radcliffe – a well-known women’s college.”
Despite this historic account’s reference to Helen’s piano and violin playing ability, it should be recognized that she actually did not play an instrument.
In a June 25, 1950 New York Times article, which was written in celebration of Helen’s 70th birthday, it was mentioned that “legend has guilded (sic) the lily of her achievement and by exaggeration almost belittled it. Helen Keller does not paint or play the piano. Even as a child she was too impatient to model in clay; she wanted to use her hands in reading and she read so much the tips of her fingers ached.”
Prior to the night’s lecture at the Tuesday Club, which was entitled “The Heart and the Hand,” the audience experienced some suspense as only Anne initially appeared on stage.
During that time, Anne, who married a Harvard University instructor named John Albert Macy on May 3, 1905, explained that the audience should not expect too much when listening to Helen’s speech.
Anne later demonstrated the method in which Helen learned to speak.
That method was explained in the March 16, 1914 edition of The Bee, as follows: “Even more Herculean (than reading by Braille) was the task of learning to speak through pure mechanical development of the muscles of the throat, the position of the tongue and the vibrations received by placing her hands on the throat and lips and nose of her teacher.”
In describing the moment in which Helen spoke at the Tuesday Club, The Bee noted: “Listening intently, the greater portion of what she said could be heard, and little or none of it was missed by those seated near enough to see the movement of the lips and mouth. It was really an overwhelming moment for most of her listeners.”
During a question and answer session at the event, which was free to Tuesday Club members and had a nominal cost for other attendees, Helen was asked how she was enjoying California.
With a smile, Helen replied, “Oh, I like it. It’s so full of sweet smells.”
And after being asked to name her favorite faculty, Helen spoke about “hearing” the vibrations of music through her feet.
Helen also expressed her disappointment with not being able to speak to Sacramento schoolchildren during her visit to the capital city due to her scheduled trip to San Francisco on the following day.
Anne and Helen later took on another joint activity, as they performed in vaudeville acts from 1922 to 1924.
Anne passed away at the age of 70 on Oct. 20, 1936. She was completely blind in both eyes at the time of her death.
As Anne was beginning to lose her sight completely in about 1933, Helen began teaching her to use a new form of Braille.
In commenting about that act of kindness and appreciation, The New York Times noted: “The ‘blind leading the blind’ will henceforth have a new meaning wherever the story of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller is known.”
After the death of Anne, Polly Thomson became Helen’s aide. Thomson died in 1960, and Winifred Corbally took on the role of Helen’s assistant until Helen’s death.
Although Helen, who became an advocate for the disabled, a political activist and visited in the White House with every U.S. president from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy, died 26 days shy of her 88th birthday on June 1, 1968, her legacy as one who overcame tremendous obstacles in life remains one of America’s most inspirational stories.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Know your neighbor: The Candy man from East Sacramento

Chock-full of countless chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, Andy’s Candy Apothecary, located at 1012 9th St., is a pastel-colored paradise decorated with kid-tested baskets, as well as slightly more “grown up” baskets. Just two months ago, it was all about chocolate hearts wrapped in red. “We sold out of all of the chocolate!” East Sacramentan Andy Paul, the store’s owner, said about the holiday made for sweeties. “I was floored by how much business we had. It was crazy, but it was a good problem to have.”

The easy-go-lucky, but highly organized sweet tooth, has a high bar for quality candies. Winning last year’s Sacramento Downtown Partnership foundation’s “Calling All Dreamers” business competition Andy said owning a candy store has been a dream, a “pipe dream really” for about three years, though he’s been passionate about candy all of his life.

In an interview with the East Sacramento News, Andy discussed his passion for candy and how it’s evolved over the years.

“I always loved candy,” Andy said. “I bought it with all of my allowance, stockpiled it, and could sit down and eat a pile of it just for fun. And then as I matured, it changed, but never went away. Here’s my philosophy about candy now: There is a lot of candy out there, and a lot of it is just OK. Lots of candy gets by just because it’s sweet, or chocolatey, or whatever, but really great candy is something special. It capitalizes on the sweetness and brings something else: unique flavors, well-crafted textures that make the eating of it a more divine experience.”

“For quite a while I have been a seeker and collector of great and unique candy (such as) oldiegoodies, new funky items, international candy. I even had a small candy cabinet in my house that looks like a small candy store. And, then over the last four or five years, candy stores and, sometimes, bakeries have become a part of how I tour another city. It’s one of the first things I do a Yelp search for. And I especially fell in love with a few really wonderful candy stores in San Francisco. They were carrying great things (and not just things they make, but things from all over, that I’d mostly never seen before). So finding great candy just became a hobby of mine.”

So the idea for his store came from his travels and the exploration of these places, but also from a thought he kept having about Sacramento. Included his description of this topic, he said:

“We moved here in 2001 and we were told by snotty Bay Area friends how ‘Sacramento is boring. Don’t move there,’ but we fell in love with it anyway, and it kept getting more cosmopolitan and foodie and I kept thinking: Sacramento is totally ready for some kind of specialty candy store. There are plenty of gourmet foodies, (even including), food trucks.”

Under the direction of what he calls “curated collection” concept, Andy decided that while he is an amateur candy maker, he refrains from making anything for the store, since it would complicate business operations. Plus, he said his “stuff really doesn’t compete (yet) with all of the amazing things” he can find. While he first searches the local candy scene for the best products, he doesn’t limit himself geographically.

“I have a high bar for quality—I wasn’t going to use local candymakers if the product wasn’t quality,” he said.

Luckily, the growing Sacramento scene supports some great local candymakers, and he chose some of their products to carry in the store, including Rock Toffee from Margie G Sweets, dark chocolate rocky road from Oscura, and bars from Midtown-based Ginger Elizabeth. “Her chocolate is fantastic and certainly deserves to be held up against the other amazing selection of bars in the store,” Andy said.

Outside of Sacramento, he gets regular deliveries of finely-crafted truffles and caramels from Oakland-based Michael Mischer and Barlovento, as well as, chocolates from Casa de Chocolates in Berkeley. “These chocolatiers are some of the best I know at what they do. They make a quality product that tastes great, looks great, and is unlike anything else you can find in Sacramento,” he said.

For other unique products Andy’s Candy carries, Andy had to look further away. Candies from Colorado-based Helliemae’s Handcrafted Caramels are made with dark sugar that, Andy describes as a little less sweet than a typical caramel. It’s “super soft, and crafted with great flavors,” he said, adding that “Raley’s cut-rock candy (from Florida) is hilarious—each piece of hard candy has a different design on it, such as emoticons, or a coffee cup, or the word ‘thanks’—-and it tastes great.”

Upon discussing his dislike for mainstream chocolates, like Hershey’s, Andy said, “they’re not made with much real cocoa anymore—they’re substituting other things and flavors because it’s cheaper and because, by and large, no one in the mainstream market seems to care.”

A father of two daughters, ages 6 and 10, Andy said the girls’ opinions of their dad owning a candy store has changed since opening day, Dec. 13, 2013. Though the novelty has weared off, they still get excited when he brings home samples.

editor@valcomnews.com