THE POCKET WATCH: What I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving, Greenhaven/Pocket edition

Shown here are students from the John F. Kennedy marching band taken during the homecoming parade, which was held on Friday, Oct. 17. The sounds of the band practicing in the evenings often provide neighbors with free concert music. Photo by Monica Stark

Shown here are students from the John F. Kennedy marching band taken during the homecoming parade, which was held on Friday, Oct. 17. The sounds of the band practicing in the evenings often provide neighbors with free concert music. Photo by Monica Stark

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve poured my heart out plenty of times in this column. Maybe too many times. I didn’t want my Thanksgiving edition to be too personal and sappy—I mean, obviously, I’m thankful for my wife and kids, but I always write about that—so I thought I would confine my discussion of the things for which I’m most thankful to items with which most of us are familiar, items that are strictly related to life here in the Pocket/Greenhaven community.

For example, I’m thankful for the John F. Kennedy High School Marching Band. My wife used to joke that the marching band at Kennedy practices more than the football team. But her joke might just be true. We live close enough to the school that, most every clear-weather evening, if we open the windows, we can hear faint echoes of the wonderful music they make. There is some sort of electronic metronome that the band uses to help keep time. It makes a steady “ping-ping-pinging” sound that’s very distinctive and uniquely audible, I suppose, so that it can be heard above the instruments. When we hear that pinging sound, we slide open the patio doors. We know we’re in for a concert.

I’m also thankful for the new Z Pizza. Actually, I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s a very nice place. My son, who has somehow become a beer connoisseur since his college graduation (as opposed to the chugger his old man was during his college days) says they have great pizza and lots of tasty beers, along with a unique system for serving it. He and his friends love to meet there to watch sporting events and just be together. I’m thankful for Ruben’s circle of friends, but I’m also thankful that they a nice, upscale, place to meet that doesn’t require a trip downtown.

I’m thankful for the Taco Bell in the shopping center at Florin and Riverside, particularly for their “Happy Hour.” After picking up Gabby from school, I can usually be found making a “run for the border” to pick up a freeze for the bargain price of $1 and, sometimes, a snack to accompany it. Before gabby started school, I used to do the same with Ruben. We’d sit at the bar in Rainbow’s End and have a milkshake and a piece of cake or pie and just chat. It’s just a little thing we do, but I’ve learned that the little, ordinary, things make for the best memories. Incidentally, if you ever stop at Taco Bell for a happy hour freeze, I recommend the “Baja Blast.”

The strangest thing happens to me most nights at around 11 p.m. I somehow get a craving for a particular snack, or I somehow remember this or that thing I forgot to pick up for use the next day. When this happens, I usually talk Ruben into joining me for a late-night dash over to the Walgreens on the corner, across from the Shell station. They seem to have everything I tend to need, from flash drives to fingernail clippers, posterboard to pistachios, Band-aids to batteries. I’m thankful to have this kind of store nearby and for the cashiers who somehow manage to remain cheery at an hour when I know they’d rather be home fast asleep.

Here’s a quick(er) list of additional Greenhaven/Pocket-related items that have earned my gratitude at Thanksgiving: 

Sunsets over the river. I was raised on this river. In fact, I could throw a rock from my bedroom window directly into the Sacramento River. I’m thankful for the enduring beauty of the sunsets here, and for the many warm memories of my youth that they always conjure.

I’m thankful for the Machaca Dinner at Rosalinda’s. When I find myself missing my grandma’s cooking, I can always wander in and order this meal. Of course, it’s not exactly like Grandma used to make, but it’s darn close.

I’m also thankful for all the beautiful parkways and bike and walking paths that weave around the exact spot where I live. Unfortunately, I don’t use them nearly enough, and I’ve got to resolve to do something about that. New Year’s Day is coming… maybe then!

I’m thankful for Gary at Ace Hardware. For years, Don Weathers was my go-to guy there, but since Don retired, I’ve come to enjoy chatting with Gary. He probably doesn’t even know my name, but he’s the most helpful, cheerful, hardware clerk you could ask for. And he also knows a thing or two about college sports.

Once we decided that the logistical challenge involved with getting to the only church where we felt truly comfortable (in Rancho Cordova) was preventing us from attending consistently, Lisa and I began a long and exhaustive search to find a church here that we could call home. I am absolutely positive that there are many, many, wonderful churches nearby, but finding the right fit is such a highly subjective thing. Like Goldilocks, we found just the right spot for our family at Faith Presbyterian. I grew up in a fire and brimstone, holy rolling, family. My present preferences are a bit more dialed back. Thoughtful, intelligent, understated, and funny, Pastor Jeff Chapman simply strikes the right chord with me. It’s so important for a family to have a spiritual base, and I’m thankful that we were able to find one so close and so apropos.

I’m thankful for everyone who has worked so diligently to keep the tradition of the Pocket 4th of July Parade running. In 1995, I got the idea to hold a parade here so that I wouldn’t have to drag my son down to the Delta every year, where they do the 4th up right. Together with some dear friends and neighbors, we kept it going until a variety of factors compelled me to step away. Linda Pohl and another great group of volunteers have managed to carry the torch since then, and no one knows as well as I how much work is involved in keeping this labor of love going.

Realizing that I have failed miserably at making my list quicker, there are a few other things I just have to mention, so I’ll do so with a level of brevity that most people would think impossible for me.

I’m thankful for: the fertile Earth literally in our backyard; Pocket Next Door, a website that allows me to be Gladys Kravitz without so much as having to peek through the living room window curtain; the safety of our neighborhood; the firefighter from Station 11 who hugged me when my grandfather died—thanks, I needed that; my dear buddy Wayne Novoa, a local treasure whom I met through youth sports here in the Pocket. Anyone who knows Wayne knows that there is no one in the world like him. He has been a source of endless fun and positivity for me, personally, and his sense of community is unparalleled; the Freeport Water Tower. I just like it. It’s such a unique landmark, and when I see it, I know that I’m home; the Delta breeze in the summertime. E.E. Cummings once wrote a poem about rain “bouncing off of the burned Earth” and “wandering deeply through the God-thanking ground.” That’s how my face feels on a hot summer day when the Delta breeze finally hits it in the evening.

There’s no feeling quite like that, and no sentiment quite as satisfying as gratitude. My fondest hope for all my friends and neighbors is that they, too, have an exhaustive list for which to be thankful this holiday season.

The Pocket Watch appears in every issue of the Pocket News. Jeff Dominguez can be reached at jeff.dominguez@yahoo.com

Go Cougars! Kennedy Women’s Volleyball wins Metro League

Shown here is a photograph taken from senior night at John F. Kennedy High School Women's Volleyball Team, which included a festive atmosphere prior to the game against Burbank High School on Nov. 3. Photo by Stephen Crowley

Shown here is a photograph taken from senior night at John F. Kennedy High School Women's Volleyball Team, which included a festive atmosphere prior to the game against Burbank High School on Nov. 3. Photo by Stephen Crowley

Congratulations to the John F. Kennedy High School Women’s Volleyball team for winning the Metro League this year. Go Cougars!

What follows is Coach Aaron Pollock’s reflection of the season written for the Pocket News. Also below are the senior speeches that were given at senior night, which included a festive introduction to the winning game of the Metro League Championship.

From Coach Pollock:
After winning our first Metro League Championship in School history last year I watched seven of my seniors that all made significant contributions to our success that season walk across the stage at graduation, and I knew we were going to be a young team this year. Last year we were a team from the beginning of the season to the end. All of our personalities clicked from the beginning and we just had great natural chemistry that was glued together by the great leadership of those graduating seniors who were battle tested from the previous season. Winning our first Metro League Championship last year was definitely not easy, but this year as with every other year was going to bring a whole new set of challenges.
I knew I had great talent returning in senior setter Kassidy Rauh, senior outside hitter Hailey Bearor, and junior setter Jamie Seaton who all contributed significantly to that first championship. I knew that returning senior, defensive specialists Kat Yu and Celina Ortega were going to have more opportunities to contribute. I also had some other really talented junior players in middle hitters Kenna Wohlford and Hjordis Grogan, along with outside hitters Maya Kitt and Karel Cobian coming up from junior varsity. JV Coaches Becky Rauh and Jeff Guro had really prepared these girls for varsity level volleyball in the fall and most of them had continued to grow and develop their skill as they played together on our Cougar Pride Volleyball Club team last spring.
Ultimately our success this season came because everyone really committed themselves to working hard to learn how to communicate better, and to make the sacrifices necessary to be part of a team.
At the beginning of the season I had a bunch of really talented individual volleyball players but by the end of the season I was so proud of the team they became. They began the season loving to play the game of volleyball but they finished the season loving to play for each other.
We really saved the best for last as we peaked on our Senior Night versus Burbank on Nov. 3 and played our best match of the season as we clinched our second consecutive Metro League Championship Title. That intense level of volleyball carried over into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs as we put up an amazing fight versus No. 3 seeded Oakridge. We eventually lost the match in three sets (25-20, 25-19, 25-11), but it was not for a lack of heart, effort or intensity.
On that night not a single ball touched our side of the court without first being touched by a Kennedy player, and every single player walked off that court, looked each of their teammates in the eye and honestly said that they gave their absolute best effort on every single ball.
What more could a coach ask for? I could not be more proud of how well this team executed our game plan and performed as a team on that night. With a bus load of our current freshmen and JV players in attendance at that match I’m sure they got a little taste of what it means to be a part of the Women’s Varsity Volleyball Team at Kennedy High School, and with some very talented freshmen and sophomores coming up through the ranks and many local middle school girls starting to play on school and club teams, I am very excited for the future Kennedy Volleyball players who are ready to play their hearts out.

Meet the seniors

#17 – Mary Koloamatangi
Mary is the fourth Koloamatangi to have gone through Kennedy’s Volleyball Program. This is her fifth year playing volleyball and her second year on varsity. She would love to thank her parents, family, and friends for their time and support these past four years. She also thanks Coach Pollock, Coach Becky, and Coach Jeff for their time and efforts in coaching our team. She enjoyed making new friends as well as playing with Kat, Celina, Hailey and Kassidy. However, she will miss her usual schedule of coming to practice and winning games. Lastly, Mary is very proud of her seniors and team for coming a long way in their winning Metro League Championship twice in a row. She has high hopes for next year’s team and wishes them good luck.

#11 – Hailey Bearor
Hailey has been playing volleyball throughout her entire high school career. When she first started playing she thought she wouldn’t like it but with the support of her coaches and family she found she loved it. Her favorite volleyball memory would be last year when varsity took the Metro League Championship Title for the first time in Kennedy’s history. Hailey said she was proud to be a part of the team who put the first Women’s Volleyball banner up in the Kennedy Gym. She thanks all of her coaches and family for all of the support on and off the court.

#5 – Kassidy Rauh
Kassidy has enjoyed her four years playing for JFK volleyball. During both years on the varsity team, Kassidy was able to help her team accomplish getting a banner two years in a row. One of her fondest memories is of last year when she and her team filled the void. She will always remember the marvelous traditions her and her team took part of and in some cases, created. She is escorted by her beautiful mother Becky, her stunningly handsome father Keith Rauh, and her wonderfully supportive grandmother Rarie. She would like to thank coach Pollock and those who support the John F. Kennedy volleyball organization. She hopes to play volleyball in the college of choice of which has yet to be decided.

#20 – Kat Yu
Kat thanks them for being the most supportive. If it wasn’t for them, she would not be here today. Kat has played volleyball with Kennedy for four years and is very grateful for the amazing coaches she has had, and the life-long friends she has made along the way. She fought through a tough journey to get where she is now. She still remembers the days of her freshman year, when the passing of the ball brought her great pain and bruises. But after four years, she now takes pride in her bruises because they represent her hard work and dedication of fighting through the pain. After every practice and game, Kat would stand back up and leave the gym with a new bruise and burn, and be perfectly fine the next day. The scars that remains on her today allow her to look back and tell herself, ‘it was worth it.’
She is very thankful for this program because volleyball has taught her one very important lesson in life: The value of time. In volleyball, it’s that split second that determines the fate of the ball. It’s that second wasted, looking up at the ball that changes the whole game. She has seen, experienced, adjusted and learned that every second in life counts, and cannot be wasted.
Kat is very thankful for her amazing teammates. In her eyes, she can turn to her team and honestly see that they will sacrifice themselves to pick up a ball for the team, and she trusts that they know she will do the same.
Kat would like to thank Coach Pollock for his words of wisdom. Coach has taught her teamwork. Whether or not they win, they will always walk out as a team. Winning doesn’t make them perfect, what makes them perfect is that they are able to look into each other’s eyes and see that they gave it their all. Coach brought us to perfection.
Kat would like to thank her teammates for being the best teammates in the world, her coach for being the best coach in the world, her friends, for always being there for her and being the best in the world, and especially her family, for being the best family in the world.

#8 – Celina Ortega

Celina thanks her parents and grandparents for all the love and support they’ve given her and would like to recognize them for everything they’ve done.
Celina has played Kennedy volleyball for all four years and is going on her third year playing for Kennedy’s club team, Cougar Pride.
She says that since freshman year, playing volleyball has done nothing but help her grow and create lasting memories. She’d like to thank her best friend Madisen for trying out and playing on the team freshman year because if it weren’t for her, she wouldn’t have joined.
And if it weren’t for all her coaches teaching and guiding her along the way, she wouldn’t be the player she is today. So she’d like to thank, most importantly, Coach Becky and Pollock for always believing in and supporting her throughout the thick and thin. But Kennedy volleyball couldn’t have made it this far without our parents and fans cheering us on along the way. Yes, Thank you Jean! Thank you Wohlfords!
What makes volleyball so meaningful to Celina are the relationships and memories she’s made with her teams. The teammates she plays with now have not only made her last year the most gratifying and joyous but they have become people she recognizes as family. Celina says, “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been on the floor dying of laughter. I’d approximate it to be… every day we’re together.” She can’t fathom the words to express how much she’ll miss playing with her teammates, but wants to wish them the best of luck for wherever life may take them.

A Special Feast for Staff at John F. Kennedy High School

JFK Chinese NHS Cabinet members from left to right: Ms. Hatamiya, Marilynn, Katherine, Katrina, Ryan, Elyse, Annie and Quentin. (Not pictured: Kevin Chan)

JFK Chinese NHS Cabinet members from left to right: Ms. Hatamiya, Marilynn, Katherine, Katrina, Ryan, Elyse, Annie and Quentin. (Not pictured: Kevin Chan)

Most Thanksgiving feasts feature turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and an assortment of pies. This was not the case at the annual faculty feast at Kennedy High School on the afternoon of Nov. 14. To express gratitude for the wonderful, hard-working faculty members, Kennedy’s Chinese National Honor Society collaborated with the parents from the JFK ASSETS’ Parenting University to throw a festive Thanksgiving feast—Asian style. Tristan Fong, Junior class president, and Kevin Chan, Supreme Leader, said, “The Chinese NHS program here at Kennedy helps Parenting University families in the community adapt to the American culture and English language while still maintaining their own.”
The staff enjoyed a variety of delicious entrees including orange chicken, egg rolls, potstickers, and many more. Starbucks coffee, provided by Manager Sue from the Meadowview was also offered. Mr. Brett Williams, AP U.S. History teacher, described the feast as “extravagant.” The staff was heartily served up plates or take-out boxes through the combined efforts of the JFK Chinese National Honor Society club members. Paul Suwatnodom, CNHS member ‘16, said during the breaks between serving hungry staff members, “This is great. I love being able to give back to all my teachers and all the office workers and support staff. It’s really what Thanksgiving is all about.” Thanks to the Chinese parents from the Parenting University who provided all the food, and the CNHS members who helped coordinate, this Thanksgiving feast was a success.

Matsuyama Elementary and zPizza celebrated students’ acts of kindness

Shown here is a Matsuyama Elementary School student who was treated to a special assembly for his act of kindness.

Shown here is a Matsuyama Elementary School student who was treated to a special assembly for his act of kindness.

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Matsuyama Elementary and zPizza celebrated 44 students that exhibit acts of kindness on a daily basis with a pizza party from zPizza, which was televised on Good Day Sacramento. Many of these kids were thankful for the party, innocent to the fact that the party was to thank them for their incredible character. To them, being kind is just doing the right thing and there is no expectation of acknowledgment for that. Matsuyama Elementary thanks zPizza for helping honor the students for their character. zPizza has given the school many certificates for a free slice of pizza. Teachers will be handing out these certificates throughout the year in recognition of random acts of kindness!

Pocket area ballerina to star in The Nutcracker Mutt

Pocket resident, 10-year-old Nikole Farina is a rising star in the local ballet world. Nikole will be playing Clara, the opening weekend of Ron Cunningham's The Nutcracker Mutt with the Sacramento Ballet. Here she is shown with adorable puppies from Front Street. Photo by Robin Hagy and Mark Coverdale

Pocket resident, 10-year-old Nikole Farina is a rising star in the local ballet world. Nikole will be playing Clara, the opening weekend of Ron Cunningham's The Nutcracker Mutt with the Sacramento Ballet. Here she is shown with adorable puppies from Front Street. Photo by Robin Hagy and Mark Coverdale

Meet Nikole
Pocket resident 10-year-old Nikole Farina is a rising star in the ballet world. Nikole, who will be playing Clara, the opening weekend of Ron Cunningham’s The Nutcracker Mutt with the Sacramento Ballet, spoke with the Pocket News about her love of ballet and the excitement over her upcoming performance. “It means a lot to me, and is a great opportunity to be chosen to play Clara. It’s such an honor.”
Having completed seven years of dance training and now into her eighth, Nikole began dancing when she was three years old in June 2007 at Step 1 Dance and Fitness (1920 T St.) She first came to the Sacramento Ballet when she was 7 years old. In spring 2013, Nikole performed as a firefly in Cunningham’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Adding about the experience of dancing in the Nutcracker, Nikole said: “It’s a lot of fun, and I think it’s really cool that they have about 500 kids in the Nutcracker. And, for all the kids, I think they have a lot of fun working with Mr. Cunningham and the professionals.” Nikole’s first Nutcracker role was a Cherub in 2011, followed by being an Arabian Attendant in 2012, and Baby Blue in 2013. “And this year,” she proudly states: “I’m Clara.”

Dancers and puppies! The Sacramento Ballet has teamed up with the Front Street Animal Shelter for a special production, called the Nutcracker Mutt. Photo by Robin Hagy and Mark Coverdale

Dancers and puppies! The Sacramento Ballet has teamed up with the Front Street Animal Shelter for a special production, called the Nutcracker Mutt. Photo by Robin Hagy and Mark Coverdale

Asked what she likes most about dancing, Nikole said: “I like dancing because dance studios have a recital and it gives all the students an opportunity to be on stage. I also like the friendships I have made from dancing.”

A unique production of the Nutcracker ballet
This year’s production of the Nutcracker by the Sacramento Ballet will be unique as they are partnering with the Front Street Animal Shelter and bringing a new flavor to this holiday season. Hoping to encourage shelter pet adoption, this season’s Nutcracker will feature special four-legged guest stars. Each performance of the Nutcracker will include an adoptable dog in search of its own home for the holidays. Other shelter pets will be available for adoption during intermissions. The Sacramento Ballet’s Nutcracker will be held Dec. 6 through Dec. 21 at the Sacramento Community Center Theater. Tickets are available now at www.sacballet.org/nutcrackermutt/

Bobby Mann, City of Sacramento public relations specialist for the animal shelter, spoke with the Pocket News about how the idea behind The Nutcracker Mutt was born and further shared details about the roles the dogs will play in the production.
“The dogs will be in the prologue and stroll across the stage. We may also have another special guest spot for puppies. The dogs will be picked from our population of dogs that are available for adoption at that time. The goal is to show people that shelter animals are just as beautiful, regal and trainable as any other dogs. We want to reach a demographic that may not normally visit a shelter and also bring joy to the cast members who are all shelter pet advocates,” Bobby said.
“Both organizations admired each other’s work and some of the staff from the ballet even volunteer for us. One day, we were brainstorming of ways to collaborate and this idea was born.”
One or two dogs will be performing in each show and there also will be other animals available at the show for adoption. “Every time a dog is adopted out we will pick a new dog to be in the show,” he added.

Matias Bombal’s Hollywood

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
The MPAA has given this a PG-13 rating
Clever Katniss continues to captivate! From Lionsgate, the Hunger Games screen saga continues with the usual suspects: Ms. Jennifer Lawrence, of course, resumes her role as Katniss Everdeen; Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, and Stanley Tucci are back again.
The late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee) photographed this screen chapter of the story with all of the previous movies at the same time. Seeing him now is particularly noticeable after his unfortunate passing and is an odd feeling.
This chapter, almost like classic serial chapters of the golden age of the movies with the necessary cliffhanger ending, follows Katniss’ destruction of the games. She meets the President of District 13 (Julianne Moore) who convinces her to become the poster girl for the rebel cause against the Capitol. Katniss steps up to the challenge and ends up leading the rebels against an unknown future. She still holds a flame for Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson, recapping his role), who is a prisoner of the Capitol.
In one scene, Katniss goes to a hospital in the war zone. The shots were very reminiscent of Scarlett O’Hara visiting the wounded soldiers in “Gone with the Wind”. I found this to be an entertaining movie, and less loud and fast than the previous installments, and that’s good. Donald Sutherland savors his role and it’s great to see him on screen. Jeffrey Wright (Boardwalk Empire) returns and is good in this as Beetee. Ms. Lawrence is always fun to watch and will not disappoint in this offering of Hunger Games adventure.

Sacramento’s Chinatown fell to revitalization project in the 1960s

An entrance to the Chinatown Mall is shown in this 2007 photograph. The mall was created in the 1960s as an urban redevelopment project. Photo by Lance Armstrong

An entrance to the Chinatown Mall is shown in this 2007 photograph. The mall was created in the 1960s as an urban redevelopment project. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part six in a series regarding historic Asian districts of Sacramento.

Chinese history in Sacramento is a story of gradual growth, dedicated laborers, family values and overcoming adversities. And the perseverance of earlier generations of the city’s Chinese led to their integration and increased acceptance into the mainstream society.
As mentioned in the latter portion of the last article of this series, Lincoln School at 4th and Q streets provided a formal education for children in Chinatown and other places in that vicinity.
Some local Chinese children attended McKinley School at 705 G St. and William Land Elementary School at 1116 U St.
These students continued their education at the old Sutter Junior High School and Sacramento High School. And some Chinese students attended C.K. McClatchy High School, which opened in 1937.
In addition to becoming students at the general public schools, Chinese children were also educated in Chinese language schools on weekday evenings and on Saturdays.
Besides Chinese laundries, which were also mentioned in the last article of this series, other common businesses in the early days of Sacramento’s Chinatown were restaurants and grocery stores.
Many longtime Sacramentans recall the now defunct Hong King Lum restaurant, which was located at 304 I St. in its early years and relocated to 415 J St. in 1969.
A 1934 advertisement for the restaurant reads: “Hong King Lum Café, dine and dance, no cover charge, we serve a real Chinese full-course dinner, 304 Eye (Street), cor. 3rd (Street), MAIN 1841.”
Among the Chinese restaurants in Sacramento during the 19th century were eateries on I Street, between 2nd and 3rd streets; 104 I St., between 4th and 5th streets; on the south side of I Street, between 5th and 6th streets; in the brick building on the north side of I Street, between 6th and 7th streets; on J Street, near 12th Street; on the east side of 3rd Street, between I and J streets; and on 6th Street, between J and K streets.
Certainly, the opening of Chinese grocery stores in Chinatown proved to be the beginnings of much greater operations, as the existence of those small stores led to the opening of Chinese-owned, post-World War II supermarkets such as Bel Air, Farmers Market, Jumbo Market and Giant Foods.
Today, only one of those supermarkets’ histories continues, as locals can still shop at locations of Bel Air, which was acquired by Raley’s from the Wong family in 1992.
The roots of the store began in the 1930s, when Chinese immigrant Gim Wong, who came to America in 1916 and eventually helped his family establish Bel Air, began selling produce that he grew on his 5-acre farm in Penryn, about 30 miles east of Sacramento. Assisting him with his business was his wife, Lee Shee Wong, and their children.

A statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen stands in front of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in this 2007 photograph. Photo by Lance Armstrong

A statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen stands in front of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in this 2007 photograph. Photo by Lance Armstrong

After establishing his produce-selling business on his farm, Gim eventually opened his own store in Penryn. And after moving to Sacramento in the late 1940s, he founded a grocery store at 28th and P streets.
The first Bel Air Market opened at 6231 Fruitridge Road in 1955.
Another very successful Chinese owned business founded in Sacramento is the General Produce Co., which began its operations in 1933 and continues its existence in the capital city today. The business was founded by Chan Tai Oy, who immigrated to Sacramento from Canton, China in the early 1900s.
A significant moment in local Chinese history occurred in the 1950s, when the city’s Chinese were granted the legal right to purchase homes in Land Park.
In 1959, the Confucius Temple was constructed at the southeast corner of 4th and I streets.
The three-story building, which was a $500,000 project of the Chinese Benevolent Association, was constructed as a center for worship, social activities and education, and includes classrooms, a gymnasium and other features.
During 1960s, a major urban redevelopment project called for the demolition of old Chinese buildings on I Street, marking an end to the city’s historic Chinatown.
That project was followed by the Sacramento Redevelopment Agency’s establishment of Chinatown Mall, which is located between 3rd, 5th, I and J streets.
The mall became home to such places as some Chinese associations, a bank and a hotel.
Additionally, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall at 415 Chinatown Mall was opened on June 6, 1971. A statue in Sun’s likeness stands in front of the structure.
Sun (1866-1925), who once visited Sacramento, was known for leading the Chinese revolution to overthrow the Manchu monarchy in 1911.
The Wong Center senior citizen, low income apartment building opened in Chinatown Mall in 1973.
Although Sacramento’s historic Chinatown is a thing of the past, the mall is both a reminder of that past and a treasure for present and future generations.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Former East Sacramento residents release new plant-based recipe book

Pocket residents Cathi Misquitta and doctor Rajiv Misquitta have co-authored a new plant-based recipe book called, Healthy Heart, Healthy Planet.

Pocket residents Cathi Misquitta and doctor Rajiv Misquitta have co-authored a new plant-based recipe book called, Healthy Heart, Healthy Planet.

A new book from Sacramento pharmacist Cathi Misquitta and doctor Rajiv Misquitta is geared to tackle heart disease and climate change. Cathi is a native of Rio Vista. The newly published book, Healthy Heart, Healthy Planet is the result of lessons learned shortly after Dr. Rajiv Misquitta suffered a heart attack at the age of 40. He and his wife Cathi set out to find ways to change their lifestyle to ensure they lived long enough to see their children grow up. Now, they want to share what they have learned with others.
Learning that roughly six hundred thousand people in the United States die annually from heart disease, Dr. Rajiv Misquitta researched the medical literature and discovered that a low-fat plant-based diet can actually reverse heart disease and help people lose weight—not to mention have a positive impact on the ecosystem.
Finding existing vegetarian and vegan cookbooks less than satisfying, Dr. Cathi Misquitta developed her own plant-based recipes. Compiled and presented in their book is a bountiful collection of more than 100 heart-healthy, eco-friendly, everyday plant-based recipes. Inspired by cuisines from around the world, the recipes include plenty of protein-rich grains and legumes as well as seasonal variations for a balanced diet that’s in tune with nature.
In addition, the book provides advice on transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, and each chapter offers an eco-friendly kitchen tip. With weekly sample menus and grocery lists, www.HealthyHeartHealthyPlanet.com delivers both inspiration and empowerment for anyone who desires to live a healthy life and ensure a healthy planet. An accompanying website and social media channels will also help guide readers in making these life-saving changes.
For more information and to schedule media interviews, please contact the authors at healthyhearthealthyplanet1@gmail.com

Cycle Tune building demolished, but memories remain

Ray Jenkins, who owned Cycle Tune Co. for more than 40 years, sits on his 1984 Honda Trail CT110. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Ray Jenkins, who owned Cycle Tune Co. for more than 40 years, sits on his 1984 Honda Trail CT110. Photo by Lance Armstrong

For the past year and a half, a small, cinder block building sat vacant a block from McKinley Park and across the street from Sutter Middle School at the address of 900 Alhambra Blvd. But about two weeks ago, that structure, which for the majority of its existence housed Cycle Tune Co., was demolished.
The 30-foot by 30-foot building was a destination spot for more than 40 years for motorcyclists who sought to have their bikes fine tuned and repaired in an efficient manner at reasonable rates.
Ray Jenkins, a 1968 graduate of Grant High School, was the sole owner of the business for practically the entire duration of the business’s operation, which began in 1976.
In speaking about the founding of Cycle Tune, Jenkins said, “It was a motorcycle repair place set up by a guy by the name of Richard Northam, and he was a highway patrol officer that worked graveyards. He had a family of four kids and a wife and he wanted to get into some kind of business and he liked motorcycles and there were a lot of officers that had bikes. So, he was there for about six months (before Jenkins became a partner in the business).”
Jenkins explained that his road toward becoming involved with Cycle Tune began when he was 20 years old.
“I had gotten away from junior college and decided just to go to work,” Jenkins said. “I tried different things, welding and working in restaurants and (other jobs), but I realized I wanted to do something I enjoyed. So, one guy brought up this idea, and said, ‘There’s something called the state rehab vocational department.’ And I go, ‘What do you mean?’ He goes, ‘Well, you’ve got your handicapped arm.’ And I do. I have an arm that was injured during birth. It’s not fully developed and formed. So, I went down to downtown Sacramento, got an appointment and saw a fellow, and he said, ‘All right, I can see that you qualify because of your arm. So, what would you like to do?’ And I never had given it a great deal of thought, so I said, ‘How about a brain surgeon?’ And he said, ‘No, the state wouldn’t pay for that.’ I just said that to throw it on the table. And he goes, ‘Okay, what’s your other idea?’ And I thought, ‘I love motorcycles.’ So, I said, ‘Be a motorcycle mechanic.’ And he goes, ‘All right, then this is what we’ll do. You go out and you find yourself a situation with a (motorcycle) shop and if they will hire you, we’ll buy all of your tools and a tool box and we’ll pay half your wages for three years.’”
In being motivated by the offer, Jenkins went seeking a job and eventually acquired one at a shop that sold Kawasaki motorcycles off Jefferson Boulevard in West Sacramento.
Although he was not a mechanic, Jenkins told the business’s owner that he was a mechanic, thus forcing himself into a sort of “sink or swim” situation.
And Jenkins explained that he nearly sunk in his attempt to repair a Yamaha RD 250 two-stroke motorcycle with a transmission problem.
“I spent the better part of two weeks trying to get that thing together,” Jenkins said. “I was about ready to quit, because I was just tired of going to work and having to face the same machine day after day.”
Jenkins said that the very day that he was heavily considering quitting his job, he put the motorcycle together correctly.
After about two years of working at the West Sacramento shop, Jenkins moved on to other jobs, including working at a Suzuki dealer at Broadway and Franklin Boulevard and in the repair department of A&S Motorcycle Parts at 3501 3rd Ave.
Jenkins explained that he was given the opportunity to become involved with Cycle Tune during a period of his life when he was receiving unemployment checks.
“(The situation) just kind of fell into my lap or whatever,” said Jenkins, who was then riding a Bridgestone 350 motorcycle. “He needed a partner and I fit what he needed being a mechanic.
“How it worked out was I stopped and talked to (Northam, who was then riding a Honda CB 400 F) and he was a nice fellow, but I could tell that he wasn’t a mechanic. So, he would be like cleaning the bikes with a rag and changing oil. He could do that, but as far as like a tuneup or whatever, he had no idea how to adjust valves or sync carbs or what, you know. So, the second time I stopped by, I was talking to him and he said, ‘Be my partner.’ He needed somebody there that was a mechanic. He had a little bit more knowledge about the business aspect and licenses and sales tax numbers and that sort of thing.”
Jenkins mentioned that his acceptance of that offer led to his sole ownership of the business.
“I could tell that (Northam) was just burned out,” Jenkins said. “I never saw anybody that could lean standing up against a wall and take a nap. He was working eight-hour shifts at night in the patrol car and he’s got a family and then he’s trying to run Cycle Tune for 40 hours a week. So, we were together the better part of the year, I believe, and then he just came up to me one time and said, ‘Ray, I can’t do this. There (are) not enough hours in the day and I’m getting exhausted and I’m not spending enough time with my family. So, (the business) was sort of like dumped in my lap. I had never run a business. It was kind of scary. You know, there it is and you have to learn.
“So, how he put it was, ‘Ray, I know you don’t have a whole lot of money, so pay me half of the inventory.’ He made up some kind of figure like $5,000 or $8,000 or whatever it was and he said, ‘You can pay me when you can pay me.’ So, it was like pretty economical (to purchase the business) and he was more than generous. And we continued to be friends and I (would go) over and visit him and his family and we would go on motorcycle rides and things like that.”
Jenkins, who spent many years playing tennis during his spare time, said that Cycle Tune was a service-only, non-sales business that would also order specific parts to meet a customer’s need.
In recalling a fond memory of his business, Jenkins mentioned that he became known for purchasing a new motorcycle every other year.
“(The new bikes) worked as a business catalyst,” Jenkins said. “When customers would come by (the shop), they would say, ‘Oh, that’s the new (Kawasaki) KZ750. I read about that in a magazine.’”
Although Jenkins hired various workers in the heyday of Cycle Tune in the 1970s and 1980s, he noted that he opted to work alone for the majority of the years he owned his business.
In reminiscing about the 1980s, Jenkins said that Cycle Tune would then continuously work on about 18 motorcycles at a time.
Jenkins spoke with pride about his approach to his work and his determination to provide a high level of customer service.
The Cycle Tune Co. building at 900 Alhambra Blvd. sits behind a chain-link fence about a week prior to the structure’s recent demolition. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Cycle Tune Co. building at 900 Alhambra Blvd. sits behind a chain-link fence about a week prior to the structure’s recent demolition. Photo by Lance Armstrong

“I was concerned about the quality of work that went through Cycle Tune,” Jenkins said. “A lot of my stuff that came to me was disenfranchised people that had been to dealers, paid a ton of money and got crap work. And so they would come looking for an alternative. So, I went out of my way to make sure (a bike) worked properly, and (its problem) was figured out. I test drove it and if there was an issue, no problem, bring it back, I’ll take care of it. So, I got a pretty good reputation in Sacramento over those 40 years.”
Jenkins, who began working alone in about 1985, recalled being informed about a proposal for the property that would lead to the closure of Cycle Tune.
“My landlord – and there were about four of them over 40 years – at the time, Tessa was his gofer person. (She) was the woman that would go around and do the legwork and collect the money and rent and deal with problems and what have you. And she told me that (a sale of the property) was in the works, that an offer had been made and it looked like something that was coming up. It was an independent (buyer). I think some investors from Southern California. In other words, I knew in March, April (of 2013) that stuff was going to be happening. By May, I’m contacting AT&T to try to garner my old (business) phone number that I had for 40 years.”
It was also at that time that Jenkins had a contractor working on a small shop behind his Arden area home for the purpose of creating a work space where he could continue working on bikes of other people on a hobby basis.
Jenkins, who presently rides a Yamaha Majesty 400 and a 1984 Honda Trail CT110, was completely moved out of the old Cycle Tune building by July 2013.
In regard to earlier history of the corner that included the Cycle Tune building, a residential structure was built on the property in about 1921. It was originally the home of a cement worker named Edwin S. Johnston. That building, which had the address of 916 31st St. (the original name of Alhambra Boulevard), was the home of John C. Silver, a carpenter, from about 1924 to about 1925.
East Sacramento resident Theodore A. “Teddy” Kellogg operated an automobile repair shop in a building on the same site from about 1925 to about 1960. The structure was then demolished.
A building at 910 Alhambra Blvd. stood for about a quarter century, and was home to a business known as Alhambra Auto Laundry.
One of the earlier advertisements for that business, which opened in early 1945, includes the following words: “Alhambra Auto Laundry. Washing, polishing, waxing, simonizing, steam cleaning, clean radiator on car, hot tank for cleaning motors for overhaul. Free pickup and delivery service. Dial 2-6438.”
Ward N. Cooper, who resided with his wife, Tessie, at 1014 E St., was the business’s original proprietor.
Other owners of the business were Wylie B. Abney (about 1947 to about 1949); Anthony I. and Oreno J. Tonarelli (about 1949 to about 1952); Anthony I. Tonarelli, sole owner (about 1952 to about 1964); and James O. Hawkins (about 1964 to about 1966).
Wayne E. Lee was the auto laundry’s owner when the business closed in about 1969.
As for the Cycle Tune building, it was originally the structure of the Rio Grande Service Station that was then owned by East Sacramento resident Virgil M. Nott from about 1939 to about 1940.
Nott sold the business to Henry C. Bangham, who sold the business to Virgil L. Overholt about a year later.
A 1942 advertisement for Overholt’s Rio Grande includes the following words: “Just like new. We use an electric process for wax and simonizing. Try this modern method! Have your car simonized for winter protection. Coupes, $6.00, sedans, $7.50. Phone for appointment.”
In mid-February 1943, the station, according to a crime report, was burglarized and three dozen spark plugs were stolen.
By 1945, Lemuel F. Young had acquired ownership of the business.
The establishment was known as Brown Bros. gas station from about 1946 to about 1948.
A Richfield Service Station operated under various owners at different times from about 1948 to about 1957, when the future Cycle Tune building became home to the Alhambra Garage.
In about 1968, after about two years of vacancy, the building had a new tenant, Luther’s Garage, which was owned by East Sacramento resident Richard Luther. The business provided Citroën parts and services.
The building was once again vacant from about 1970 to about 1972, at which time arrangements were being made for the building to be demolished.
In about 1973, Leon Cenur began operating the MCS Volkswagen maintenance shop at that site.
And after another period of vacancy, the structure became home to the final pre-Cycle Tune business in the building – Yucon Delta House Boats. That business was owned by Jack Ferguson.
The recent demolition of the old Cycle Tune building represents an end of an era, as the structure was the last surviving building that had stood on the southwest corner of Alhambra Boulevard and I Street during a time when the Alhambra Theatre (present site of Safeway) and Helvetia Park (present site of Sutter Middle School) were a part of the area’s attractions.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Janey Way Memories: Returning Home – Part 1

In April 1969, I was drafted for service in the U.S. Army. Then, after five months of intensive training, and with my brother Terry already serving in Viet Nam, I received orders to report for duty in West Germany.
After a short leave, I flew out of San Francisco to Fort Dix in New Jersey, and then to Rhine –Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany. There, I received my permanent military assignment to the 510th Ordinance Company in Gunzburg, Germany.
I served 19 months in Gunzburg, traveling whenever I could. I remember taking one 10-day leave to Spain with my friend Jack Broadbent. We had a great time. After that, I swore that when my discharge day came in 1971, I would take a European out and continue my travels abroad.
True to my promise, I took my discharge in Europe and set off with my buddy Sergeant Jeff Lucas to see the world.
We traveled to Austria, Yugoslavia and then Italy. However, after about three months, Jeff had to return home for a job interview, so I kept touring by myself.
Eventually I met up with three Australian guys at the Laughing Whale camp ground just west of Barcelona, Spain. They were headed to Pamplona, Spain for the annual running of the bulls. That sounded like an adventure to me so off I went with the Aussies.
We ran with the bulls in Pamplona, and then took our traveling party to Torremolinos on the south west coast of Spain. However, after staying several weeks in Torremolinos, I realized that my financial resources had dwindled to a perilous level. It was time to return home. So, I wished the Aussie boy’s good bye, and headed back toward Germany.
First, I hitchhiked to up the coast to Valencia and caught a bus to Barcelona. Once in Barcelona, I took a train to the Spanish/French border. There, I hitched a ride with a French couple headed home to Strasburg on the French/German border. They spoke German, so we had a nice conversation as we traveled. They were surprised at how well I spoke German. Eventually, they dropped me at a rest stop in Dijon, France. There, I stood with a sign that said, Brussels, Belgium.
Amazingly, a Dutch fellow pulled up almost immediately and offered a ride. He was headed for Holland, but promised to drop me in Brussels, at the Rue Du Dahlia, where my friend Guy Muzzi lived. Then, after an all-day ride, we pulled up to a building in Brussel’s that said: Frere Muzzi Vin Distribution. That was my friends wine business. So I stepped outside of the car, thanked my Dutch friend, and walked up to the entrance to the building. Just then, a workman came out, and I asked him if I could see Guy. He told me to wait, and went back inside. Soon Guy came out, and his jaw dropped. We had met in Torremolinos where he enjoyed my company so much, he told me to stop and see him when I came back through Belgium. He was really happy to see me. He took me across the street to his flat and then returned to his work to shut down for the day.
Later, when he returned, we went out for dinner at a café owned by his friend Claude who took an immediate liking to me. He loved California: the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite Falls and Disneyland. We spent a wonderful evening drinking wine, playing cards and talking about my home on Janey Way.
I had made a good start on my journey home. I was in a nice place now with my friend Guy. Rhine Main Air Base in Frankfurt Germany waited – the next big step on my way home to Sacramento.