The Prospector Prospecting: CKM’s student run newspaper seeks financial support

As bricks were laid and neighborhood boundaries drawn, Sacramento’s first public high school, C.K. McClatchy, was constructed. With the opening of the school came one of California’s first high school sport field complexes and student-run club organizations. In the late thirties, the Sacramento landmark also brought the school district’s first student-run newspaper.
McClatchy’s paper, The Prospector, has reported monumental historical events, such as the start of World War II and the Civil Rights Movement, but it has also continued to provide the high school’s student body with pertinent information about student life and the surrounding community. The Prospector prides itself on being a true member of the Land Park community.

Our newspaper is now the last remaining student-run paper in the entire school district. This means that all newspaper decisions – from formatting, article topics, to writing – are all under the management of students at the high school. This fostering environment allows students to harness their composing, editing, and leadership skills. As students progress through their high school careers, they have the enlightening opportunity to observe their school community and the greater Sacramento area through the lens of an inquisitive journalist.

Because The Prospector is student-run, the editors and writing staff take the survival of the paper as a personal responsibility. This year’s editorial staff plans to broaden the readership of The Prospector by distributing free copies of the paper to local businesses surrounding McClatchy and reorganizing the online newspaper to make it more accessible. To accomplish this feat, however, the newspaper desperately needs as much community support as possible.

The Prospector staff and C.K. McClatchy High School is calling upon the Land Park community to ensure that the students’ desire for news will always be quenched. The Prospector’s legacy will live on through your monetary support. All In-Kind donations are tax deductible. All donors will prominently be displayed on the “Friends of The Prospector” page in every published edition of the newspaper throughout the school year. Of course, you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your support kept Sacramento’s longest running high school newspaper alive and prospering.

Please send checks addressed to the CKM Prospector to C.K. McClatchy High School at 3066 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95818 or visit gofundme.com/782ab6d4 to make an online donation.

Carolanne Boughton is the Editor-in-Chief of The C.K. McClatchy Prospector. If your place of business would like to receive copies of The Prospector, please contact Carolanne. She can be reached at Editor.CKMProspector@gmail.com.

Faces and Places: National Night Out in East Sacramento

A heavily armored SWAT vehicle pulls up in front of an East Sacramento craftsman house. There’s also a fire truck, a police car, and an officer strolling the sidewalk with a police dog. Yes, it’s the canine unit. More than fifty people mill about on the lawn. Is there a spectacular crime in progress? No, this is National Night Out, an evening when people all over the city gather to chat with friends, introduce themselves to new neighbors, meet their First Responders, and let their kids climb (well supervised) into the fire truck and SWAT car. In this particular event, sponsored by the East Sacramento Preservation, everyone eats ice cream donated by Compton’s market. City Councilman Jeff Harris is there, as is a representative from the Mayor and two staffers from Assemblyman Kevin McCarty’s office.

Councilman Harris speaks briefly, answers questions. During his remarks new visitors amble over, stay to listen. Firemen speak and pass out fire hats to kids. Of immense interest is the dark, forbidding SWAT car. Officer Bevins (David Lubin alumni) discusses its uses, then allows citizens to try on one of the protective vests worn by the SWAT team. The vest is heavy (60lbs), encumbered by gizmos. Someone asks if a female has ever qualified for the SWAT squad. Yes, he says, one has recently retired, another has just qualified. Police Bike Patrol rolls up. Officer Takehara patrols Mercy Hosptial. He’s happy to be out of the cruiser for a while. Officer O’Mallory from the City Police Department speaks next, gives a lot of useful information. He is well received, but the most popular officer of the night has four legs from the canine unit. Better disciplined that some of the humans, he doesn’t scarf down brownies and cupcakes from the dessert table. It’s an unusually cool August evening. Kids clamber over the vehicles, toddlers scurry around, adults sit in lawn chairs or stroll, bottled water is passed out, voices rise and fall, laughter bubbles up, a breeze sweeps by. A perfect National Night Out for neighbors.

editor@valcomnews.com

When We Were Colored: Retired Bee associate editor Ginger Rutland releases play based on her mother’s memoir

It’s Sacramento 1952 and you’re the first black family on your block. Ginger Rutland invites you to come laugh and cry with the Rutlands in, “When We Were Colored,” a play she adapted from her mother Eva’s legendary memoir.

The play, like the book from which it springs, tells the story of a middle class black woman born and raised in the segregated south before World War II who moves West to raise her children in integrated California after the war.

In this homage to her mother, Ginger Rutland, former television reporter, NPR commentator and editorial writer for The Sacramento Bee, puts her family’s story on stage. Performances of “When We Were Colored” will be at Pioneer Congregational Church, 2700 L St., the weekends of Aug. 21 and 28; Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at www.brownbagticket.com or by calling 443-3727.

Ginger, a Curtis Park resident, sat down with this publication to discuss the creation of the play, her love and admiration for her mother, what it was like growing up going to the integrated neighborhood Sierra School and to shed light on stereotypes of the black experience.

“The stereotypical stories were that blacks were slaves, sharecroppers, that they were lynched, that they came from welfare mothers. But, not that is not authentic, there’s also a huge swath (of the population) that has been ignored,” she said upon introducing the play.

From the segregated deep south in Georgia, Ginger’s parents and grandparents were upper-middle class, despite her grandfather Isaac West Moreland’s societal position as a slave.

Shown here is Ginger Rutland, former associate editor of The Sacramento Bee. Now also a playwright, Ginger has taken the story her mother wrote, "When We Were Colored: A Mother's Story" and adapted it for the stage, with its first showing on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Pioneer Congregational Church, 2700 L St. / Photo by Stephen Crowley
Shown here is Ginger Rutland, former associate editor of The Sacramento Bee. Now also a playwright, Ginger has taken the story her mother wrote, "When We Were Colored: A Mother's Story" and adapted it for the stage, with its first showing on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Pioneer Congregational Church, 2700 L St. / Photo by Stephen Crowley

Eva’s memoir, which was first published in 1964 and used in sociology classes through out Sacramento, has been endorsed by Willie Brown, Jr., former mayor of San Francisco; Cornel West, activist, professor and author of “Race Matters.” After several printings of the book, it eventually went out of print and it wasn’t until 2007 when Ginger’s father, Bill Rutland, passed away that everybody at the funeral wanted a copy. So, Ginger decided to re-release it but changed the title (with stern consternation from family members) and added family photos, which were absent from the earlier printings.

While Eva’s book was first called “The Trouble with Being a Mama,” Ginger thought to make the title more evocative of the era and decided to call it, “When We Were Colored: A Mother’s Story” as the term “colored” was a polite description of black America.

Found on the back cover of the re-released version of the book, Brown writes: “Eva Rutland’s chronicle of child rearing during the transition from segregation to civil rights is warm, poignant, and funny. It is also a powerful object lesson in how and why women – as mommas and grandmothers – have long anchored the soul of Black America.”

For Eva’s particular situation, she lived her early years in a segregated South, a place where a certain comfort was felt. Around her, she saw middle and upper class blacks working in such professions as doctors, teachers, and funeral directors.

“It was like the Huxtables. Because of segregation, we had to have black business people who became leaders of these black communities. Some of these were wealthy, but (many) were solidly middle class. There’s a lot of them but you never read about them or see them. So mother wrote a story in which a world she grew up. She was protected, loved, happy,” Ginger said.

Having lived to age 95, Eva died on March 15, 2012 and her granddaughter, Eva Shields, wrote an obituary for the Curtis Park Viewpoint, which describes her as the “quintessential Southern belle.”
Born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1917, a granddaughter to former slaves, despite discrimination, Eva Shields writes, “(Eva Rutland) had a happy childhood.” In 1943, she married Bill Rutland, a civilian employee at the Tuskegee Army Air Base, and in 1952 they moved to Curtis Park. Eva already had published articles in the leading women’s magazine’s of the day, Redbook, Ladies’ Home Journal and Women’s Day, “not bad for a black woman in the 1940s and early 50s.”
“She grew up in the segregated South and loved it,” continued the younger Eva. “She worried about her children who would have to interact with whites in the integrating West of the 1950s and 1960s. Eva started writing stories about her children to tell white mothers, ‘My children are just as precious and just as fragile as yours. Please be kind to them.’ She compiled these stories into a book entitled The Trouble With Being a Mama, published in 1964.
“When she was in her early 50s, grandma went blind but she didn’t let that slow her down. She bought a talking computer and became one of Harlequin’s most prolific writers, eventually writing over 20 books for the well-known romance publisher.”
Ginger said Eva’s magazine pieces told about the transition from segregation to integration and as such told stories about her children, the PTA, “how Johnny can’t learn his Algebra” and other social problems brought to a relatable down-home level, with questions like: “Will they be accepted at Miss Diddy Wattie’s class? What happens they are called a nigger?”
Even though Ginger herself is an accomplished writer, growing up under the same roof as a Victorian romance novelist and magazine writer, to her Eva didn’t strike her as out of the ordinary.
“When you are a kid, it’s just your mom, but she was the president, the vice president of the PTA. She was the combatant mom and she was the girl scout leader, the little league mom. She was a classic ’50s mom. She wrote plays and the PTA would perform them. She wrote morality plays. She wrote a lot. Short stories for magazines.
“But, truly her writing career took off when she going blind when I was in college. She loved Victorian romances that featured lords and ladies. Her favorite author was Jane Austen. She wrote books patterned on that. She had white characters, but had black characters (through out). She would populate the novels with us to remind people that we’re there and people just like they are,” Ginger said with emphasis.
As Eva feared her children would be a minority in Sacramento, the move out West was brought on by her husband Bill’s military involvement.
Hired to work at McClellan Air Force Base, it was that chapter in the Rutlands’ lives in which Bill was trying to buy a house. While he saw “better than average track homes for $250 down near McClellan, Ginger noted, “There were restrictions on blacks, Asians, Jews” and being black, they weren’t allowed housing near the base.”
So, Bill was driven around town, looking at neighborhoods like Del Paso Heights and Oak Park, but neither of those neighborhoods, to say the least, felt like home. So, he drove himself around other areas and found Curtis Park. And he noticed, Ginger said, “If they are going to sell to Orientals, they will sell to us.”
But owning a house in the Curtis Park neighborhood came with a caveat for minorities. “They could only own above 2nd Avenue. Below 2nd, you couldn’t,” Ginger said.
This was before freeways cut through the area. There was no Highway 50 cutting through downtown. There was no 99. And Ginger loved her home and her neighborhood. “It was a two-story house. It was quite nice, treelined. It was an idyllic childhood. The Yees lived across the street, and Alfred. He was Japanese. So, there was a Chinese family across the street, Japanese, black and white people all around. It was a very integrated neighborhood.”
A student at Sierra School, Ginger recalls the demographic makeup with “some of everything, but there was mostly white people.”
While Eva’s notoriety grew as a writer, Bill’s job at McClellan was “to sell weapons of mass destruction to allies around the world. We’re talking the Middle East, Europe, everywhere,” Ginger said.
A family on the move, the Rutlands eventually moved to South Land Park with the help from a sympathetic white colleague of Bill’s, Ginger said. “The two of them always tried to buy a house and mom found a lot we could afford” at 35th Avenue and Holstein Way, “but they wouldn’t sell to her, so she went to a colleague of Dad’s and he bought the lot for her. They built (the home) from the ground up.”
Ginger started at The Sacramento Bee in 1988 and retired in 2013. Before that she was a television reporter for Channel 4 in San Francisco covering Sacramento news. Then she was at Channel 3 for seven years, followed by a job providing radio commentary for Capital Public Radio.
At The Bee, she was on the editorial board, often writing the opinion of the paper, and she also wrote columns. Her father’s favorite column his daughter wrote was in favor of President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, she said. “I wrote columns on gay marriage. You name it. I did stuff on the parking lot at the train station that was a mess, the cost of buses for kids going to school. I wrote a lot about pensions, which I thought were too fat. So public unions hated me, the teachers union.
“We liked charter schools and things like that. You write opinions and if they are any good, they are controversial. You take a stand and there were people on the other side. I tried to be fair, omniscient. In my own head I always said, ‘blah blah blah blah blah blah blah or not.’ I always try to keep aware that we always make mistakes.”
Asked what piece she was most proud of during her time at The Bee, Ginger said it was one that probably no one remembers, but was representative of the reason she went into journalism – to expose injustice. About a poor black man who had been charged with hit and run and assault, Ginger said there was something different about this man who wrote her a letter from jail. “He wrote all of these letters, some to the NAACP and one of his letters landed on my desk. As a journalist, you get letters from prisoners and you don’t pay attention, but this letter rang so true to me. I called his public defender. The woman who claimed to have been hit had a record of insurance fraud.” Meanwhile, the district attorney kept offering him dealings, trying to convince him to plead guilty and to get over it. But, the young man wanted to be in law enforcement and knew if he pleaded guilty he wouldn’t reach his goal. “The D.A. wouldn’t drop it and the people who were in the jury were like, ‘huh?’ The evidence was that he was a victim of a scam. In the end, he was not only acquitted but was declared factually innocent” by black judge Alice Lytle, a friend of Ginger’s.
Ginger wrote a couple of pieces on the young man, first when he was acquitted, then secondly when the judge brought back the case. And while she didn’t keep in touch with him, she wondered what
eventually happened to him.
While no one may remember those stories Ginger wrote about him, her legacy as a voice of The Sacramento Bee will never be forgotten and will stand the test of time, just as that of the writing of her mother Eva’s book, which will soon be brought to life with the performances of it starting this week at Pioneer Congregational Church.
“When We Were Colored” is a one-act, hour-plus play organized in a series of vignettes featuring three characters, Ginger, Bill and Eva, respectfully played by Brooklynn Solomon, Kelton Howard and Shawna James and directed by Maggie Adair Upton. What follows are biographies of the director and actors, courtesy of Ginger.

About the actors
Maggie holds a masters of arts in theatre from Sacramento State University and has been teaching, acting, directing and managing for the region’s theatre for many years. Currently she is a member of the Playwright’s Collaborative Steering Committee. Most recently she directed The Third Date at the Wilkerson for Ray Tatar; The Flu Season and Time Stands Still for Ovation Stage, and appeared as Queen Hecuba in Resurrection Stage’s Trojan Women. At Chautauqua Playhouse, she appeared in Maternal Instincts, directed Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and will direct a production of Calendar Girls there next year. As managing director at River Stage projects, she directed Five Women Wearing The Same Dress, The Waiting Room, and appeared in Sympathetic Magic. Her favorite directing projects include productions at the Thistle Dew.
Brooklynn received a bachelor’s of arts in theatre. Her credits include The Trial of One Short-Sighted Woman vs Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae, as Victoria Dryer, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone as Mattie Campbell and North Star as Aurelia Taylor. Most recently she was seen in Celebration Arts’ productions of Bourbon at the Border as May Thompson, (a role which earned her an Elly nomination for best lead actress in a drama) and The Bluest Eye as Claudia.
Shawna just completed her freshman year at Boston University where she is pursuing her BFA in Theatre Arts. She has spent most of her summers training professionally at Center REP’s Young REP program and Interlochen Arts Camp. Some of her favorite shows include Every Five Minutes (Magic Theatre Arts.

If you go:
What:
Performance of “When We Were Colored: A Mother’s Story”
Where: Pioneer Congregational Church, 2700 L St.
When: Aug. 21-30; Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $20 and available by visiting www.brownpaperticket.comor by calling 443-3727.

editor@valcomnews.com

East Beat

Earlier this summer a homeless man known as Brian Blake by many neighbors who frequent the Natural Foods Co-op disappeared from the area. Known for selling a homeless newspaper, Brian was shot in his eye by a paint gun while sleeping on the street. When local activist Laura Rubalcaba posted photos on her Facebook page showing the damage, immediately love and prayers for his healing followed in the comment section by friends and supporters.
Because that was the third report she heard of a homeless person being shot with pellet or paint guns in the then-previous last two weeks, Laura called out to the city council asking them to look into their hearts and rescind homeless criminalization ordinances.
One person wrote in response to Rubalcaba’s post the following, “Haven’t we gotten to the point that we can just love and accept each other for our differences. This world is one big rainbow. A persons (sic) a person no matter how small. Kindness can be the cure if people can open their hearts and their eyes.”
I asked around to see if anyone knows how Brian is doing, but no one seems to know where he’s been, and Maya Wallace, director of external affairs for Sacramento Steps Forward, said he wasn’t around when her organization surveyed the Alhambra corridor.
But, word has it he was treated at UC Davis Medical Center for the eye injury.
Wallace’s organization has been on the forefront of a new program called Neighborhood Connect, which is working to be more responsive to those who experience homelessness in targeted geographic areas. Working in targeted areas, the organization can tailor services to the particular area.
Over the course of four to six weeks, SSF partners with law enforcement, the business community, neighborhood advocates, and homeless service providers to directly identify and address the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness in a specific geographic area. Neighborhood Connect will be happening on a quarterly basis with the American River area up to start next week.
On July 29, SSF finalized their findings for the Alhambra Corridor area in a report, with the following details:
Surveying the Alhambra Corridor took place from June 8-17, as five SSF homeless services navigators interviewed 85 individuals experiencing homelessness along the Alhambra corridor. SSF screened all 85 individuals and 56 of these individuals agreed to participate in a detailed vulnerability and needs assessment, enabling SSF to bring the appropriate services together for these individuals at SSF’s June 20 resource fair. Hosted by Trinity Cathedral in midtown, 41 individuals attended this one-day event, receiving medical and mental health screenings, assistance with accessing social security and Medi-Cal benefits, and housing assistance. Of those that attended, 17 accepted motel vouchers that enable the navigators and service providers to continue to assist these individuals.
As of July 20, six weeks since the operation began, SSF and partners had provided permanent housing to five individuals, placed three in interim shelter, and two in residential substance abuse treatment programs – a 20 percent placement rate. SSF continues to work with many of the individuals it interviewed and will continue to assist them toward finding and maintaining permanent housing.
Wallace said the organization is focusing on people who are the most vulnerable, including homeless veterans and chronic homeless individuals, but that the next piece will be to focus on high functioning homeless individuals. As she said, “prevention is good.” Eventually the goal would to get the homeless count to a functional zero, or the idea that there are fewer people coming into the system than exiting it.
There are about 2,600 homeless people across the county with fewer located near the river than from previous years and more in now what seems to be residing along major transportation corridors like Alhambra.
While decriminalizing homelessness would be an honorable and civically responsible thing to do, homelessness prevention nipping the problem in the bud – seems like the best long-term goal out there.

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Sacramento City Unified School District is collecting ideas for potential uses of the former Old Marshall Elementary School
SCUSD Board Vice President Jay Hansen and Trustee Ellen Cochrane are soliciting ideas from the community for potential future uses of the former Old Marshall Elementary School (2718 G S.) There is a form online at http://www.scusd.edu/oldmarshall whereby you can submit ideas. Be creative and innovative! While there is currently no district timetable or allocated budget for any project at Old Marshall, the district is looking for creative partnerships that would bring value to the Old Marshall community.

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Lice Clinics of America opens new treatment center in Sacramento

Back-to-school time often means a spike in head-lice outbreaks. Luckily for moms in the Sacramento area, getting that dreaded lice note from school won’t be so scary now, thanks to the opening of Lice Clinics of America – Sacramento.

Lice Clinics of America – Sacramento, which opened its doors August 11, provides screening, diagnosis and treatment options for people infested with head lice. The clinic is staffed by certified operators of the AirAllé device, an FDA-cleared medical device that kills head lice and lice eggs using just heated air.

The clinic is owned by Eric Heffel and Larry Shield. Heffel and Shield are two dads with six kids between them. They became so proficient at combing out their own kids’ lice infestations over five separate lice outbreaks that they decided to go into business together. They started doing comb-out treatments in clients’ homes, but quickly transitioned to opening a clinic under the Lice Clinics of America brand after discovering the revolutionary AirAllé device, and the benefit it represented.

“Some school districts in this area are changing their policies to where they allow kids with lice to stay in school,” said Heffel, a registered nurse. “That means there may be a higher likelihood of your kids getting head lice. If they do, don’t worry. Just call us. We take calls 24/7. And if we treat you, we guarantee we’ll eliminate your lice problem in a single visit, usually within one hour.”

Heffel said it is immensely satisfying to make a positive impact on the lives of people dealing with lice, especially those who have suffered the longest.

Lice Clinics of America – Sacramento is located at 9837 Folsom Blvd. in Sacramento. The clinic is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Sacramento clinic is one of 85 U.S. clinics in the Lice Clinics of America network.

With 85 U.S. clinics and 105 international clinics, Lice Clinics of America is the largest network of professional head-lice-treatment centers in the world. Lice Clinics of America and AirAllé are brands owned by Larada Sciences, Inc.

- See more at: http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/08/13/760575/10146008/en/Lice-Clinics-of-America-Opens-New-Treatment-Center-in-Sacramento.html#sthash.QZAN2Aij.dpuf

McKinley Park Event Issues

Council member Jeff Harris wrote in his recent newsletter that staff has learned that many events in beautiful McKinley Park are taking place without the proper permits. He writes: “Vehicles have been parked illegally in restricted areas and the decibel limits for amplified sound have been exceeded. These types of occurrences are disruptive to neighbors as well as harmful to the landscape of the park itself.
“In order to minimize these problems, our office will be working with the Parks Department to make sure they do a better job of distributing information concerning special events and the necessary permits and fees associated. We will work to enforce parking restrictions in the park, and make sure that event organizers comply with our ordinance.”
You can reserve McKinley Park facilities through http://friendsofeastsacramento.org/ as well as cityofsacramento.org.

Janey Way Memories #148 “A Good Walk Spoiled”

Mark Twain said that golf is “a good walk spoiled.” Contrary to that notion, I love to play golf. I didn’t always feel that way though.
I first played the game in the early 1960s when I still lived on Janey Way. Then, my dad, a Sacramento police officer, came home from working a special event one day carrying a well-used set of golf clubs.
The set came in a worn out leather golf bag and featured clubs which did not seem to match, along with a full bag of old golf balls.
My brother Terry and I could not wait to try the set out. So, we carried the bag down to the Phoebe Hearst School yard and started hitting balls. We were horrible. The game looked so easy on television. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas hit the ball a mile.
We, on the other hand, either topped the ball a few feet, or hit it wildly left or right. No one dare walk near where we were practicing, in fear being struck. But, like good Relles’, we persisted.
Soon after that, we scheduled a round of golf at the Perkins Golf Course on Jackson Highway. We played with Randy Puccetti and Bob Pesce. Randy played respectably because his uncle had given him some lessons. Bob and Terry and I were a danger on the golf course.
Our shots from the first tee went awry. Terry topped his shot 50 feet. I hit mine about 100 yards long and 50 yards off course. The whole round went that way. We were so bad, that at one point, two middle-aged golfers behind us tried to give us some tips, to no avail. After that fiasco, we quit playing golf.
I took the game back up though, in my early 40s. I did it the right way this time. I started out by buying a used set of clubs and a video entitled “Automatic Golf.” The video demonstrated an easy and effective way to hit the ball. It worked. I began to play, not well, buy respectably.
I played the game with friends from work. We had a great time. We all played at about the same level so the games were competitive, and nobody took them too seriously.
I even went out a played with my dad who was a very good golfer. I dearly enjoyed that time spent with him before he died.
These days I play golf with my friends in the Sons in Retirement (SIR) Branch 117. We play every Monday (9 holes) during March – October. I play with a regular foursome that includes my friends Hal, Jim and Bob. We always try hard to make a good score, but first and foremost, we have fun.
As far as Mark Twain’s saying that golf is “a good walk spoiled”, I have to say I disagree. Now, that first round of golf I played when I lived on Janey Way so long ago is just another frustrating, but funny, Janey Way memory.

Pocket Bistro closes doors to the public; will reopen in new location

For nearly five years, Pocket Bistro at 6401 Riverside Blvd. has served a wide range of quality food, which has resulted in its consistent flow of customers. But as of Friday, Aug. 7, that flow of clientele was discontinued.
It was on that day that this local eatery ceased serving food and beverages to the public.
And during the afternoon of Aug. 12, after a five-day project to clear the business’s belongings out of the building, the old restaurant site became vacant.
Although many people in the community were saddened by the sudden closure of Pocket Bistro, fortunately there is a happy ending to this story.

Edmund Abay stands in front of Pocket Bistro on Aug. 12, the day that work to vacate the business site was completed. Edmund co-owns the eatery with his wife, Jade.
Edmund Abay stands in front of Pocket Bistro on Aug. 12, the day that work to vacate the business site was completed. Edmund co-owns the eatery with his wife, Jade.

During an interview with this paper last week, Edmund Abay, who co-owns the business with his wife, Jade, was quick to make it clear that his restaurant had not experienced a permanent closure, but was instead simply preparing for a move to a different location.
Edmund, who is also the restaurant’s chef, said that the new location of the restaurant will be somewhere in the vicinity of Bel Air Market in the Promenade Shopping Center at Rush River and Windbridge drives.
But Edmund, who grew up in San Jose and graduated from the California Culinary Academy (now Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts) in San Francisco in 1996, added that he is not yet ready to announce the precise location of where his business will operate, beyond its affirmed location in that shopping center.
After being asked why the Pocket Bistro opted to relocate to a different location, Jade, who was raised in the Pocket area, said, “I know everyone is curious. Why, why, why, why, why? Why are you moving? And everyone has their own little story. But basically it is because of the condition of that building, of that unit in particular. We cannot operate any longer under the conditions there. It’s getting worse and worse.”
In further explaining the situation that his business faced at its original location, Edmund said, “We came to a standoff where we don’t have the help from our landlord. We have a building that is 40 years old with steel pipes that are now rotting out and they need to be changed. I believe that it is unfair that as a tenant that we pay for something like this (that is) 40 years old. And we can’t take that hit. We are a small business and our revenue depends on the guests coming in. And when guests can smell a scent in the air or see that the toilets aren’t flushing correctly, it hurts us. It hurts business, and people tend not to come back.
Moving day: Kitchen equipment from Pocket Bistro is loaded into a trailer on Aug. 12. The popular eatery closed on that day, but the business has plans to reopen in a different location. / Photo by Lance Armstrong
Moving day: Kitchen equipment from Pocket Bistro is loaded into a trailer on Aug. 12. The popular eatery closed on that day, but the business has plans to reopen in a different location. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

“There is only so much that you can do. I believe the landlord looked the other way. It’s upsetting that the landlord looked the other way. That’s really it. It’s upsetting to me that they don’t realize how much life we put back in that corner to where it was a desolate, abandoned strip mall. And then we brought Pocket Bistro in and we really brought some life back.”
Jade added that she, her husband, as well as many of their customers, are looking forward to starting over with their business at its new location.
“Our whole focus has been on this plumbing thing,” Jade said. “It has taken up all of our focus for six months, and it’s been a toll on us. And so, this move is going to be so wonderful. It’s very exciting, not only for us, but for the customers.”
Fortunately, as Edmund notes, the regulars of his restaurant’s clientele have proven themselves to be very loyal, and will thus gladly follow him to the new location.
“The response (to the new location) is positive,” Edmund said. “They’re going to miss us, but they’re going to follow us to the new location. There were a lot of guests who became friends and became regulars. And we’re just (relocating) a couple miles down the street. Our (regular customers) are loyal. They stick with us through thick and thin. We have a lot of guests in the Rush River area that I thought just lived around the corner. They were here every other day. But they do live in the Rush River, Windbridge area.”
Edmund added that he has some customers who have traveled to his restaurant from as far away as Walnut Creek, Stockton and Woodland.
Although Pocket Bistro will reopen in a slightly smaller business space, as it will downsize from 2,750 square feet to 2,475 square feet, its use of space will be much greater.
Additionally, the new site of the restaurant should attract more clientele due to its more centralized location.
Multiple times during his interview for this article, Edmund referred to the move as a “blessing in disguise.”
At the new location, the size of the bar/dining area will be vastly increased, and customers will be treated to usual favorites such as its popular short ribs, chicken piccata and New England clam chowder.
 Edmund Abay guides workers as they lift a heavy box of items into a trailer in front of Pocket Bistro. / Photo by Lance Armstrong
Edmund Abay guides workers as they lift a heavy box of items into a trailer in front of Pocket Bistro. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

The restaurant also offers a variety of kids’ meals and several offerings for vegetarians.
And once situated in the Promenade, Pocket Bistro will add a third and possibly fourth evening to its weekly jazz, soft rock, live music schedule.
Edmund shared his vision for his business, noting that he wants it to become a place “where all can come to eat and feel that it is their neighborhood restaurant, (and) where guests buy each other drinks, guests can come in and sit down, and kind of that place where everyone can meet.”
One of the golden questions of the interview – one that many readers would like to learn the answer to – was “When do you plan to reopen Pocket Bistro?”
In response to that question, Edmund said that the eatery will reopen prior to Thanksgiving, at either the end of October or beginning of November.
And Edmund added that he has additional motivation to reopen his business soon, since Pocket Bistro will hold a five-year anniversary celebration in early December or during the middle of January. The business first opened its doors to the public at the former site of Las Casuelas Mexican Restaurant on Dec. 27, 2010.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Matias Bombal’s Hollywood “The Man from U.N.C.L.E”

The MPAA has rated this PG-13

Warner Bros. brings us a revamped 1960s TV classic ramped up to the speed of director Guy Ritchie’s style with “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” If you’ve wondered what those letters stand for, they represent: United Network Command for Law Enforcement. The characters from the original TV show of Napoleon Solo, Illia Kuryakin, and Alexander Waverly are embodied in this big screen version by actors Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Hugh Grant.

Set in the early 1960s, we find Solo with an assignment to extract beautiful Gabby (Alicia Vikander), from east Berlin. A big chase ensues, and after some stylish daring-do they escape with their lives just in time to be debriefed by U.N.C.L.E. operatives. One of them, Sanders, is played by Jared Harris, the son of actor Richard Harris. Jared Harris is one of my absolutely favorite actors working today. It is a pity that his character does not have longer scenes in the movie.

Sanders warns of more discomfort as Solo is about to be teamed with Illia Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), the KGB agent he’s just nearly been killed by. They are not looking forward to working together for the greater good, but must bite the bullet and try. It’s here that the two agents from opposite sides plan to move back undercover with Gaby to infiltrate a mysterious organization trying to proliferate nuclear weapons. Illia and Gaby are to pose as an engaged couple, whilst Solo lives up to his last name and runs interference.

Lovely Ms. Vikander certainly has been lighting up screens quite a bit since her big splash in “Ex-Machina.” This movie has excellent photography and the colors are lush and vivid, likely due to the skillful work of lensman John Mathieson. The repartee between Solo and Kuryakin has an overly simplified rivalry that seems comic book-like in nature, rather than a stylish tongue-in-cheek style which may have been intended.

Although entertaining to watch, this movie does not come near the excellence of the recently released “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”, a movie in a similar genre. Unlike some period productions that look like they capture a time and place, this has a sparseness to the overall look of the picture that makes it too clean and like a make-believe movie set to be realistic in bringing the period to life.

Henry Cavill’s character of Napoleon Solo has a stiffness in this that makes him seem more like the animated cartoon character “Archer” than the original Solo of the TV era who was played by Robert Vaughn. Granted, they are different people, and I do like Mr. Cavill as an actor. I think the fault here is the script and direction. Where there might have been camp or charm value, it falls flat. Of course there’s plenty of chase scenes on land and the sea around Naples, and the locations are the real places depicted.

Overall this movie is not a waste of your time, but it might have proved more exciting had it been released before the superior spy movie “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.” Director Guy Ritchie uses a lot of screen separations and clever editing of sequences; some very good, the rest too gimmicky. It happens frequently enough that you notice the device or optical effect and loose thread of the story, and that is a fatal error. The leads remind me of the comic book “Spy vs. Spy” more than the original TV series elements, thus “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is a “Spy vs. Spy” stylish adventure that is fun to watch but does not gel due to the script’s plastic dialogue and squeaky-clean look.

Greenhaven business provides absolute compassion during one’s final days

Pati Rader pinches herself when she gets to work. “Is this a job?” she asks. “I love this.” Whether it’s singing, playing with pets, telling stories, gardening or enjoying art, Pati finds out what her patients enjoy and makes their last days as beautiful as they can be.
Pati is the community liaison at Absolute Compassion Hospice and Palliative Care, which is based in the Greenhaven area at 6355 Riverside Blvd., Suite T. Providing information and resources about hospice services for the community and healthcare professionals, Pati gets joy from tailoring enrichment programs on an individual basis.
“I sing to her every time,” Pati said about one woman she’s recently been visiting. “I asked her what is her favorite song. She said, ‘For The Bible Told Me So’.” So every time Pati saw her, she sang the religious song, but one day when Pati returned, the woman had passed. “It gave me an immense feeling that I was there at the end.”
For those who work at Absolute Compassion Hospice and Palliative Care, there’s the business and Medicare logistics, but as Pati says, “There’s such a heart behind it and we want to be your neighborhood resource for hospice. There are other companies bringing hospice to that area, but there are no other businesses that (operate out of that) area.”
The company’s statement reads, “We touch lives and make a difference with absolute compassion.”
Co-owner John Cimino Jr. also runs The Meadows at Country Place, an assisted living facility nearby as well as CareGivers of Land Park. He comes from a family of caregivers, which the Land Park News wrote about a few years ago. The three brothers, John Jr., Paul and Mark, all run facilities in the area. Each brother is passionate about the resources their facilities provide to the community.
Certified last December, Absolute Compassion Hospice and Palliative Care has since been able to bill Medicare, explained office manager Kenneth Mendoza. “It’s been in existence for awhile, but it takes awhile to become medicare certified. We’re an LLC (or a limited liability company). We’ve been serving pro bono since we were licensed in 2013, but we still had to provide hospice care to prove to Medicare how we work.”
Providing the services pro bono, Mendoza said has been a good investment for the owners. Because the owners also own the assisted living facility, they thought why not put up their own hospice, as they were met with some frustrations with other hospice providers, he said. “We took care of those people and we didn’t get paid at all,” he said.
Absolute Compassion Hospice and Palliative Care’s administrator and co-owner Rangi Paula V. Giner was a nurse in the Philippines and worked more than 10-20 years in Saudi Arabia. When she moved to the United States, she opened her own assisted living in Las Vegas, Mendoza said.
On Tuesday, Aug. 11, Absolute Compassion Hospice and Palliative Care held an open house, which was beautifully catered with guests enjoying hors d’oeuvres, wine and live music in a tranquil setting on the edge of Lake Greenhaven. Invited were local business owners and patients’ family members. “It (was) a way of thanking them for allowing us to provide care to our loved ones,” Mendoza said.
Coming soon on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m., Pati will provide a talk, titled The Alphabet Soup of Senior Healthcare: How to understand what the doctor is telling you when it comes to acronyms and diagnosis. The talk will be held at the Absolute Compassion Hospice & Palliative Care office, 6355 Riverside Blvd., Suite T. RSVP is required. Space is limited. Please contact 399-5922 or e-mail kpmendoza@absolutecompassion.com for more details or to make an RSVP.

editor@valcomnews.com

Best BBQ & Burgers at Burgess Brothers

What are the chances that a couple of Sacramento twins would end up serving the community in law enforcement and firefighting as well as starting one of the area’s best restaurants for burgers and BBQ?

Matthew Burgess is a CHP officer and brother Jonathan Burgess is a Sacramento Firefighter. They opened Burgess Brothers’ right across from City College in 2012, and haven’t looked back. The extremely successful eatery is crowded with college students, law enforcement officers, and firefighters as well as with the Sacramento community at large. The brothers say they were amazed at the community response. The restaurant offers on-site meals, take-out and catering.

In 2010, the brothers challenged each other by entering a cook off hosted by Good Day Sacramento (KMAX-TV). Matt won the contest, but Jon still says it was only because he wore a gunbelt. They had been catering around the city for about a year before the contest.

What is unique about the brothers in addition to the scrumptious food is their commitment to community service. Matt says, “Our motto is ‘Committed to Service’ whether we’re here at the restaurant or whether we’re in our normal professions.”

They consistently donate to community fundraisers and non-profits. Jon says that each time a bottle of their BBQ sauce is sold in the region, proceeds are donated to benefit burn survivors and their families through the Firefighters Burn Institute. He says that sometimes we don’t think about the families who suffer equally as the burn patient.

When they decided to start a restaurant, they installed an outdoor grill to create the unique smokey taste for their burgers and ribs. The restaurant serves five BBQ sauces on their meats. Their secret BBQ mild sauce is now sold in Sacramento stores such as Safeway, Save Mart, Taylor’s Market, Corti Brothers, and Otos Market. They are negotiating with Sam’s Club to distribute the sauce through the large box store. They credit their sauce recipes to their mother who learned in the South from their grandmother.

Walking into the restaurant you see all kinds of law enforcement and firefighter photos and memorabilia – model fire trucks and actual uniforms hang from the walls. The front and back rooms have a comfortable feeling with a dozen or so tables and chairs with large TV for customer entertainment. It feels like a place where families are welcome, and the luscious odor of smoked meat permeates the air.

The menu features burgers, ribs, tri-tip, brisket, chicken, pulled pork and even hot links. Sides include collard greens, mac & cheese, potato salad, and Cajun rice. The corn bread muffins which also come from Mom’s recipe melt in your mouth. They have now started packaging the cornbread for sale. Their family-friendly cost makes eating out reasonable. Burgers start at $7.95 and up depending on how hungry you are and what you add to your meal.

The basic “Fire Alarm Burger,” a ¼ pound patty comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles and crunchy fries and any choice BBQ sauce from mild to hot. The menu lists eight burgers among which also include the “Hero Burger” with full beef patty covered with BBQ smoked pulled pork, cheese, grilled onions and basics, the “Tactical Blue Burger,” stuffed with blue cheese, and vegetarians can dive into the “Code 4 Burger,” a marinated, grilled portabella mushroom with basics.

A plus for picky eaters is a “create your own” plate setting. Included in the above menu are sandwiches, desserts such as peach cobbler and pumpkin pie.
The restaurant owns a food truck that makes possible the catering part of the business. Jon says they cater to private and public events of 50 people or more where the chefs can grill on site. Take-out customers can order slabs of ribs, trays of all the meats, and full trays of sides that feed 25-30 people.

One customer diving into a stacked plate of ribs and brisket from his plate said, “The ribs just fall off the bone. The food is great, and the staff is friendly and helpful.” He suggested you might have to take a shower after eating!

Matt and Jon are from Sacramento and attended McClatchey High where they played football. When asked what they do for fun, they say they are avid fans of the Dallas Cowboys and fly into Dallas two to three times a year for the games. Clearly the men don’t avoid each other outside of business because they have a Mexico trip planned with wives and kids.

The twins are the babies of their family of four brothers and two sisters. Matt and Jon each have two children. Matt’s wife Sandie helps out at the restaurant. When asked about the kids’ help, Jon says they come around when they need money.

The men say their mother started them cooking at a very early age. She had health problems and trusted them and walked them through cooking. Jon says, “It started with easy things like making breakfast: hashbrowns or smothered potatoes and eggs. I mean peeling the potatoes, grating them by hand and frying them. We helped Mom with slicing and dicing and seasoning to taste. Today because we cook at home, often times we’ll leave an ingredient out on purpose and ask our kids what it needs.”

Jon says, “Our mother taught us the LTT’s of cooking: Look, Texture and Taste. She never cooked by recipe, although we have set recipes for the restaurant.

The eatery hires college students and young adults, many seeking employment for the first time. The twins worked throughout college themselves, so they offer students a 10 percent discount with their ID cards.
They offer them free internet access and give them daily specials. “We love our students! both the student customers and student employees.”

When the brothers started their business they say the hardest part was the financing. Banks for the most part will not lend to a small business that is a start-up or non-franchise. They say, “We found ourselves investing our own money and with the help of a friend we were able to get the business started.
We have no secret to success, just hard work, determination, and learning to take criticism that made ourselves and our product better.”

For two years they have had a solid 4-star on YELP where they say they learned the value and use of social media when attracting customers.

If you’re yearning for some “good eats” drop by BBB! Burgess Brothers’ Burgers is located at 2114 Sutterville Road and is open 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. -7 p.m. Saturday.

Over The Fence with Greg Brown

Track 7 Brewery held annual Chili Cook-Off
Band leader and trumpeter Harry James once said, “Next to music there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.”

Mark and Toni Groth of WOW WOW Chili are awarded People's Choice at the Track 7 Chili Cook-off. Here they are posing with the trophy and owners/brewers Geoff Scott and Ryan Graham.
Mark and Toni Groth of WOW WOW Chili are awarded People's Choice at the Track 7 Chili Cook-off. Here they are posing with the trophy and owners/brewers Geoff Scott and Ryan Graham.

I think Harry may have been onto something, because spirits were lifted and souls were strengthened at the Third Annual Track 7 Chili Cook-off at the taproom in Curtis Park.
A lot of chili and beer were consumed too.
Local chili contestants were vying for the top spot and the golden chili spoon trophy. A colorful array of chili connoisseurs used a wide variety of chili ingredients. Spices and seasonings wafted through the air at the boisterous taproom.
One of the rules was contestants had to use Track 7 beer in the chili. Other than that, it was a free-wheelin’ chili cook-off.
I asked Track 7 brewer Geoff Scott what he looked for in a chili and he told me “It’s about consistency. A good base and good combo of meat and beans.” He added, “It’s gotta have spice!”
Mark and Toni Groth are the team of Wow Wow Chili. Mark wears the big chef’s hat and both of them don colorful yellow aprons.
I call it the Wow Wow factor.
The first year of the chili cook-off the WOW WOW chili crew were told their chili needed “more heat.”
Lots of delicious chili was served up at Track 7's Annual Cook-Off.
Lots of delicious chili was served up at Track 7's Annual Cook-Off.

They kicked it up a notch last year and won People’s Choice. I guess people like it when you turn up the heat.
While Mark stirred the chili in the big pot, he said with some confidence, “We’re here to defend our title today.”
I asked if he changed anything or “kicked it up another notch” and he told me “yes.” They smoked three kinds of meat and actually added a little bit more spice. He had nine pounds of tri-tip simmering in the big metal chili pot!
It worked. Wow Wow Chili won their second straight Track 7 chili spoon trophy in a row. Perhaps it was the added chorizo, or the crowd also liked their style.
The school teacher team of Derek Perkins and Amy Baldini were on hand serving up chili to the crowd hoping for a win. They called themselves “Backyard Barbeque.” It’s their second year gunning for the big prize and chili spoon trophy. “We’re both teachers, and we have the summer off, so we spend the summer working on our recipe,” Derek said.
I bet it’s better than the school cafeteria food.
Perkins added, “For the past month we’ve been really focused on the life of chili.”
Backyard Barbeque poured a growler of Panic IPA in the sauce and a not-so-secret ingredient…tequila! They added a block of aged Parmesan cheese to it, too. It smelled good! It had a lot of Track 7 in it.
Another chili cook-off contestant was Brian Guido who was tucked away inside the taproom with his pickle red onion relish and Soulman stout chili. He called it “Guido’s lamb and stout chili.”
“You know the great thing? I had a group of kids keep coming back and back for the chili. And it was lamb. I’ve gone through four gallons of chili!” Guido said.
Apparently, kids love lamb.
Guido told me, he loves the chili cook-off because he loves Track 7. “They make great beer. The place is family friendly and pet friendly, too.” He likes just cooking and hanging out at the taproom. He added, “What else am I gonna do on a Sunday afternoon?”
The guys over at Das Chili were really enthusiastic about the chili cook-off. One of the chili makers, Shawn Peter, wore lederhosen while he stirred the chili and gave out samples. The lederhosen was a salute to his German heritage.
Shawn Peter and Chad Seaburg were the team that makes up Das Chili.
Shawn said it’s a homemade recipe that he created for himself for the last 20 years – a tried and true recipe that his friends and family love.
All the vegetables were from his parent’s garden. The peppers, the tomatoes, the works.
Last year he got a bit exotic and used ground kangaroo sausage. I guess kangaroo gives it a real kick.
The guys of Underground Chef are all smiles after they take home the Brewer's Choice award for best chili at Track 7's Annual Chili Cook-off. They're going to use their $200 for a big party with friends at the taproom.
The guys of Underground Chef are all smiles after they take home the Brewer's Choice award for best chili at Track 7's Annual Chili Cook-off. They're going to use their $200 for a big party with friends at the taproom.

This year he went with ground lamb, pork, and a growler of Track 7’s Bee Line Blonde.
He caramelized onions, garlic, along with the Bee Line Blonde for three hours. Organic kidney beans, freshly shucked corn, and finely chopped white raisins along with a little maple syrup were also in the chili. A creative mix of ingredients earned Das Chili third place in the People’s Choice category.
I’m sure they got a few extra votes for the lederhosen.
The Brewer’s Choice for the best bowl of red went to Underground Chef.
Underground Chef is Nathan Frank, Brian Miller, and Steven Rice. Three friends, plenty of beer, and delicious chili.
“To go through five gallons of chili in one afternoon in little tiny cups…it’s insane!” Nathan said. It’s their first time entering the Track 7 Chili Cook-off and as a home chef Nathan thought, “I could do that.”
Beef brisket and fried pork belly were the key ingredient for Underground Chef. They also added three pints of Soulman Stout.
“It was cool to be able to use their product and make it taste good,” Nathan told me.
The team of Underground Chef had the right mix of consistency and spice because they won the top prize in the Brewers Choice category. They got a $200 gift certificate to use on craft beer, Track 7 gear, or rental use of the tap room. The Underground Chef guys have decided to throw a big party with friends at the Track 7 Tap Room.

editor@valcomnews.com