El Dorado Savings Bank reports strong earnings, no foreclosures

PLACERVILLE – El Dorado Savings Bank based in Placerville, California, reported after tax earnings for 2010 of $10.9 million representing a 2% increase over 2009.  In addition, El Dorado completed its 22nd consecutive year without any foreclosed property on the books. “We are very pleased with the strong performance of the bank, especially considering the challenging economic environment and weak real estate market”, said Chairman and CEO Thomas C. Meuser.

El Dorado ended the year with assets of $1,656,609,652 essentially the same as year-end 2009.  Savings deposits rose by $42.7 million, or 3%, during 2010.

“New customers continued to move their accounts to El Dorado Savings Bank during the year due to concern about the economy and the bank’s excellent reputation,” stated Meuser.  “Many individuals are now using the Internet to search out bank quality ratings,” said Meuser. “El Dorado’s top ratings from Bauer Financial, VeriBanc, and IDC Financial Publishing were beneficial in attracting new accounts.” When asked about El Dorado’s continued success during these difficult economic times, Meuser stated, “We have always concentrated on acquiring the highest quality loans and investments during our 53 years of operations, together with providing excellent service to our customers. This strategy has proven to be successful, even under the most challenging conditions.”

El Dorado Savings Bank ended the year with Core Capital of $157 million, or 9.48% of assets, which is well above the 6% regulatory requirement for a “well-capitalized” bank.

“Risk based capital,” which measures the quality of El Dorado’s assets, was 32%, over three times the well-capitalized requirement of 10% and one of the highest ratios in the industry.

El Dorado operates 32 branch offices in Northern California and 3 branches in Northern Nevada including branches at 4768 J Street and 5801 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, 4701 Manzanita Ave., Carmichael, and 7895 Lichen Drive, Citrus Heights.

Prominent environmental expert William Ziebron expands Dudek in Northern California

California firm to increase Sacramento region staff as it extends statewide reach

 Sacramento, CADudek, a leading California-based environmental planning, natural resources management and engineering consulting firm, announced today that William Ziebron has been named vice president of Northern California.

Ziebron has opened a new Sacramento office and is overseeing the firm’s Auburn office started in 2007. Dudek is headquartered in Encinitas, CA and has 220 people working in eight offices throughout California.

“Dudek’s outstanding technical reputation and depth of resources combined with the firm’s size enables it to provide consistently reliable, personal service to clients,” Ziebron said. “These characteristics make Dudek stand out in this age of corporate mergers and acquisitions where many firms have disappeared or been assimilated into large corporate structures.”

Ziebron built a statewide reputation as an environmental consulting expert through his pivotal role in many of California’s largest planning, urban development, infrastructure, and conservation projects.

“We have been looking to expand our local operation with a leader who is experienced and knowledgeable about Northern California,” said Frank Dudek, the firm’s president. “I’ve known and admired Bill for a number of years.  His client-focused, collaborative business philosophy fits perfectly with how we’ve supported clients for 30 years. With Bill’s presence in Northern California, our clients can tap into a California-wide network of locally-based environmental experts, each with long ties to their communities and a deep understanding of local issues.” 

25 Years Helping Shape Sacramento Region For Immediate Release

Prior to Dudek, Ziebron served as senior vice president and California director for Florida-based PBS&J.  Ziebron gained his statewide reputation during 25 years at EIP Associates, a Sacramento-based statewide environmental and planning consulting firm, where he served as CEO and president until merging with PBS&J in 2006.

“In the last 25 years I’ve witnessed dramatic changes in Sacramento; we’ve evolved into a dynamic urban center, surrounded by rich natural resources and the most productive agricultural lands in the nation,” said Ziebron. “Based on Dudek’s record of success in leading clients to solutions that balance competing interests, our work will encourage the right kinds of growth in the right locations and protect environmental values, enhancing the quality of life of the region.” 

Ziebron led development of the general plans for the cities of Sacramento and Santa Barbara, and managed the long-range development plan environmental impact reports (EIR) at nearly every University of California campus. His work on Mission Bay, Yerba Buena Gardens and the San Francisco Giants stadium helped shape the urban core and waterfront of San Francisco.

Ziebron holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from San Jose State University. He serves on the national Inner City Council of the Urban Land Institute, is a member of the Lambda Alpha Land Economics Society and the American Planning Association.

Carmichael Flowers at new location

Carmichael Flowers, “The Original” Carmichael Florist, is pleased to announce its new location at 5907 Fair Oaks Boulevard, in the Frontier Village Shopping Center.
Valentine's Day is Feb. 14. Show them how much you care with the gift of flowers. / Photo courtesy

Valentine's Day is Feb. 14. Show them how much you care with the gift of flowers. / Photo courtesy

 

Celebrating 55 years of old world customer service, Carmichael Flowers is uniquely able to meet customers’ floral needs. Special arrangements are available for every occasion, including spectacular wedding florals, birthday and anniversary arrangements, prom corsages and boutonierres, sympathy and funeral arrangements, and of course, specialty arrangements and flowers for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Floral delivery is available to Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Elk Grove, Arden, Rancho Cordova and the greater Sacramento region.

Carmichael Flowers is located at 5907 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael. Contact them at (916) 483-8511 or toll free at (888) 224-7673. Also visit www.carmichaelflowers.com.

Vocation of serving, healing others finds daily higher purpose

Every morning, Billie the dog wakes up in his doggie bed, stretches and looks for his human to get the day started. The beagle/fox terrier mix knows the basic routine. His human does important work at Kaiser Social Services in adult psychiatry, and helps others by visiting them, too. Today will be a visiting day. He’s excited, because he knows he will meet new people and old friends today.
Sister Catherine Connell, SSS has dedicated her life to helping others find healing. She and her dog, Billie, continue to make a difference in the Sacramento community. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Susan Laird

Sister Catherine Connell, SSS has dedicated her life to helping others find healing. She and her dog, Billie, continue to make a difference in the Sacramento community. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Susan Laird

His human, Sister Catherine Connell, SSS, has already been up for an hour of prayer. She says it is “really essential, so I can be present to those I am serving and see God’s presence in them. As well as helping them see God’s presence then in me in the work I am doing to help them come to healing.”

Sister Catherine’s day begins early, at 4:40 a.m. After her hour of prayer, she and Billie have their breakfast and a morning walk in Land Park.

Each day is dedicated to the service of others, and has been ever since Sister Catherine, a licensed clinical social worker, became a member of the religious order known as the Sisters of Social Service. It is a calling she heard when she was a teenager in the late 1950s.

The Call to serve

“I entered at the age of 19,” Sister Catherine said. “I’d never heard of the Sisters of Social Service until I wrote to a ‘Q&A’ column in the Davenport Catholic Messenger when I was 18. I didn’t include my name because I was really trying to keep this call quiet. Monsignor Conway wrote a response in the newspaper, suggesting this order. So, I wrote to Sister Frederica Horvath, our foundress in the U.S. She wrote back with the expectations of the order, which included a health exam. I still remember the doctor’s report: ‘Perfectly normal, healthy female.’”

The middle child of five children, she grew up in a Catholic family. Still, “a lot of communication went back and forth” between the sisters at the Sisters of Social Service and the teenager before she approached her parents for their blessing. It also meant having to tell someone else about the call she was hearing to dedicate her life to others. 

“I had a steady boyfriend at the time,” Sister Catherine said. “He wanted to marry me, but I felt I needed to check this (calling) out first. It was a strong feeling that I needed to go and pursue this to see: is this is what God really wants for me?”

The two parted as friends. He later married another girl and had a happy marriage.

When she left her home in Muscatine, Iowa for the “Mother House” in Los Angeles, “it was quite a send-off with my grandparents, parents and three priests,” she said. “It wasn’t until I was on my way to the airport that I burst into tears because I realized I was leaving.”

When she entered the “novitiate” stage on Feb.1, 1959, Sister Catherine began a journey that would include religious studies, a college education and hands-on field work, known then as “family visits” in parishes.

“It was a wonderful preparation,” she said. “The prayer, the classes, the different assignments. You learned the focus of living a spiritual life.”

The Sisters of Social Service value education. Sister Catherine graduated from Mount St. Mary’s College with a degree in sociology, and from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with a master’s degree in social work. She took her final religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in 1967.

Sister Catherine Connell’s first assignment was to Holy Name Parish in Los Angeles. She was working with families there during the Watts Riot of 1964.

Sister Catherine Connell’s first assignment was to Holy Name Parish in Los Angeles. She was working with families there during the Watts Riot of 1964.

Her field work took her around the nation, from working at Holy Name Parish near the Watts area of Los Angeles (“During the Watts Riot, I went to work anyway,”) to working at Walter Reed Army Hospital during the Vietnam War (“I worked in a ward of 80 men. Every last one of them was missing legs, arms, eyes…There were major disabilities,”) and finally, to Sacramento, where she became known for her work in opposing the state’s death penalty and for her support for making state prisons true places of rehabilitation. Last year, she was honored by Death Penalty Focus’ Friends Committee on Legislation.

Wellspring Women’s Center 

In the 1987, Sister Catherine and Sister Claire Graham founded the Wellspring Women’s Center in Sacramento. Wellspring Women’s Center is a drop-in center for women and their children established to foster the innate goodness and personal self-esteem of all who enter its doors. “Hospitality with dignity and love” is the foundation on which Wellspring is built.

Guests at Wellspring are diverse in age, personal background, and ethnicity. Many guests are young mothers seeking adult companionship or a break from child rearing. Wellspring provides a sense of “family” to older single women without a support system. Administered today by the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the center will celebrate 25 years of service to the community this year.

Cancer survivor

A new phase of Sister Catherine’s life would come in 1998 that would change her life forever, when a visit to the doctor came back with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

“I began a year of chemo in 1999,” she said. “Dr. Ernie Bodai was my doctor. He is wonderful.”

She beat the cancer, but four years later she learned that she was in the early stages of breast cancer. Because of early detection, she beat this cancer, also.

“My nephew, Timothy Kurringer, was having his family tested to see if they had the gene for breast cancer,” she said. “He asked me if I would be interested in being tested. I took the test, and they found that I not only had the gene, but I also had the cancer in its earliest stages. It was a miracle – breast cancer is usually not found so early.”

Because of the ovarian cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy, Sister Catherine decided to step down from her position as director at Wellspring.

“That’s when I decided to try something where I wasn’t managing a whole agency, but could still serve,” she said.

Sister Catherine Connell, SSS and Dr. Robert Kuxin, head psychiatrist at South Sacramento Kaiser's Department of Psychiatry, collaborate on a patient's history.

Sister Catherine Connell, SSS and Dr. Robert Ruxin, head psychiatrist at South Sacramento Kaiser's Department of Psychiatry, collaborate on a patient's history. / Photo courtesy

Clinical therapist

Sister Catherine applied for and accepted a position as a therapist at Kaiser. Each week, Sister Catherine directs two groups: a codependency group that covers “every variety of codependency: relationships, etc.” and a bipolar support group.

Because she is still vowed to poverty, her paychecks go to the Sisters of Social Service, who in turn support her with housing, food and any other needs.

She works at Kaiser three days a week.

“Those are my very busy days,” she said. “On my less busy days, Billie and I go out on our visits.”

Sister Catherine and the little dog (rescued from the Sacramento City Animal Shelter) visit a wide variety of people. Together, the two stay “very much in touch” with the religious community and the community at large, meeting countless needs for a kind word, dignity and support. They have many friends. Included in their rounds is Mercy McMahon Terrace, a residence for seniors.

“The seniors there love Billie, and he loves them. Billie also loves to visit with Bishop Quinn,” she said with a smile. “He is one of Billie’s favorite people.”

Each day is full, and through it all Sister Catherine has found that the motto she adopted when she took her final vows – “That In All Things God May Be Glorified” – is appropriate to every day.

“It certainly has been true for me,” she said.

susan@valcomnews.com

Cool operator: Tower Bridge operator celebrates 10 years

The Tower Bridge, one of Sacramento’s most recognized and cherished landmarks, is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary. But few people are aware that another anniversary is also about to occur at the bridge.
Sacramento native Scott Bennett is one of two full-time operators of the Tower Bridge. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Sacramento native Scott Bennett is one of two full-time operators of the Tower Bridge. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Sacramento native Scott Bennett’s hiring as one of the bridge’s operators.

Bennett, a 1991 graduate of Encina High School, said that his anniversary at the bridge is one that would have likely gone publicly unnoticed had it not been for this article, considering that so many people in the city have no idea that the bridge even has real-life operators.

“It’s amazing just how many people don’t actually realize that we’re up here,” Bennett said. “But I enjoy being here. It’s kind of exciting to be working in one place for 10 years. I can’t believe I have been here for so long. I really like it here, but the scenery doesn’t change much though.”

Bennett said that included among those who are actually aware that the bridge is controlled by human operators, are people who have no clue that these tenders of the bridge control this historic lift bridge from a 30-foot by 40-foot bridge operating room at the top of the center of the bridge.

“Most people who I talk to, even my friends, they think we’re in a little tower or something at the end of the bridge,” Bennett said. “But we’re not, actually. We’re right above the road in the center of the bridge, about 30 feet up.”

Originally hired as a seasonal bridge operator at the Tower Bridge, Bennett, along with Duretta McNeely, is now one of the bridge’s two permanent, year-round bridge operators.

During warmer weather months when there is more boat traffic along the river and additional maintenance is needed on the state-owned, Caltrans-operated bridge, seasonal workers

Bridge operators are stationed in this building at the center of the Tower Bridge. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Bridge operators are stationed in this building at the center of the Tower Bridge. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

also assist in operating and providing maintenance on the bridge.

Bennett and McNeely, who has been a bridge operator on the Tower Bridge since about 1988, are among the longest tenured bridge operators in the history of the 737.6-foot-long bridge, which has the notoriety of being the site of State Route 275 – the shortest state highway in California. The highway literally extends no more than the length of the bridge.

Longtime Tower Bridge operators of the past include Stan Barr, Jerry Glasco and Monica Turner.

Stationed inside the bridge’s control room, which features large windows on all sides and is 75 percent filled with bridge-operating equipment, Bennett works at least 40 hours per week at this local, iconic drawbridge that was dedicated on Dec. 15, 1935 and originally included tracks that were used by both railroad trains and streetcars.

Bennett, who became a father last year with the birth of his now seven-month-old daughter, Pynelope, said that his job requires much precision and safety precautions, as he is in charge of raising and lowering the bridge for the taller boats of the river.

“There’s a lot of safety stuff to keep you’re eye on and you have to make sure when raising the bridge that you’re high enough for the boats to clear,” Bennett said.

Assisting Bennett to determine how high he needs to raise the bridge to accommodate the taller, passing boats are clearance boards, which are the measuring boards that can be seen at the bottom of the bridge.

This view of the Yolo County side of the Tower Bridge shows the 30-foot by 40-foot bridge operator building at the bridge’s center. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

This view of the Yolo County side of the Tower Bridge shows the 30-foot by 40-foot bridge operator building at the bridge’s center. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Bennett said that many people mistake these boards as measuring devices that show the depth of the river.

“The boards actually show the height that we are above sea level,” Bennett said. “That gives a clearance measurement from the bottom of the bridge to the water. We have 34 and a half feet of clearance from sea level, so we have to look at that board and subtract whatever the height is from 34 and a half feet and that gives us what the clearance is from the bottom of  bridge to the water level.”

The inner workings of the control room are a bit more complicated than one might imagine.

To control automotive and pedestrian traffic and to raise and lower the bridge, operators do much more than push a single button, Bennett explained.

“We have a control panel that’s up here with about 20 different buttons that we have to push to close every gate,” Bennett said. “We’ll close the roadway down, then we have a switch that we’ll flip up that will power on the motor. With another knob, we control the speed of how fast or slow we want to take up the bridge. It’s an instrument panel with a whole bunch of buttons and lights and we have an air break that slows the motor down and just clamps down on the drum that is basically just like a break.”

On average, it takes about seven minutes for the entire process of raising and lowering the bridge to allow larger boats to pass.

The simplest processes of raising and lowering the bridge take about five minutes, while the longest delays for bridge traffic does not generally exceed more than 15 minutes.

In addition to raising and lowering the bridge, Tower Bridge operators also provide maintenance on the bridge such as greasing the bridge’s cables and guides, cleaning the bridge and adding touch-up paint to various parts of the bridge.

When asked to describe some of the more unique aspects about working on the bridge, Bennett initially commented about viewing the river itself.

“It’s interesting to see what floats down the river,” Bennett said. “There was a time when the river was high and I saw something floating in the river. It seemed like a branch and then I saw that it was a whole tree. I thought that I was going to have to raise the bridge, because it was so big. There have also been times when I saw people on make-shift rafts going down the river and a time when I saw a guy sitting on a log and floating down the river. I’ve also seen refrigerators, tires and even a dead goat; just strange stuff floating down the river.”

Mark Dinger, a spokesman for Caltrans, said that Bennett and the bridge’s other operators are highly dedicated to their work on the bridge.

“Our bridge operators really do take a lot of pride in their work and they take ownership of that bridge,” Dinger said. “When Scott’s up there, that’s his bridge and that’s the way he treats it.”

And in expressing his own love for preserving and maintaining the operation of the bridge, Bennett said that he is grateful that he has the opportunity to work on such a recognized, historic structure.

“Everybody sees this bridge on the news and everything all the time,” Bennett said. “It’s a landmark and it’s nice to say, ‘Hey, I work there.’ So, I have pride in it, because everybody in California has seen it.”

lance@valcomnews.com

Third annual ‘Young @ Art’ show open to all Sacramento area middle school students

The Third annual ‘Young @ Art’ show for middle school students in the Sacramento region is calling for entries on Feb. 10 and 11.
Image courtesy

Image courtesy

The highly attended art show is sponsored by St. Francis Catholic High School, which is known statewide and nationally for its programs in the visual and performing arts. Although St. Francis is a high school for young women, entries from both boys and girls are encouraged. The competition is open to students from public, private and home schools.

The show is an opportunity for students to experience the procedures for entering an art show, as well as to have their talents acknowledged in a regional forum. It is an opportunity for inspiration and validation.

Pictures must be matted, but canvas and sculptures do not need matting. A 2”x3” label should be permanently affixed to the front lower right hand corner of the work. Information on the label should include: 1. Student first and last name; 2. Student grade; 3. School name; and 4. Art teacher name.

The limit for submissions is up to 20 pieces per school and one work per student.

All mediums and sizes of art are accepted. In the art world, one is limited only by human imagination.

“This year I know we have quilts coming in from a youth quilt class,” said Elizabeth Danielson, arts executive director and producer at St. Francis High School. “The show is open to all 6th through 8th graders from the Sacramento area. Schools from Davis, Auburn, Woodland, Granite Bay and El Dorado Hills have participated in the past.”

A few details: students and schools should deliver art works to the St. Francis High School Art Theatre Complex Foyer on Thursday, Feb. 10 or Friday, Feb. 11 between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Artwork will not be accepted after Feb. 11. The campus is located at 5900 Elvas Avenue in Sacramento, just off 65th Street and Highway 50.

The show will be held at the St. Francis High School Arts Complex on Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Awards will be presented to students and teachers at 6:30 p.m. All artists, teachers, parents and families are invited to the opening.

There are some pretty good prizes for students who enter “Young@Art,” too. The grand prize is a full scholarship to a St. Francis Summer Arts Workshop – worth $350. Other prizes include $100 gift certificates to University Art and Utrecht art supply stores, a sketchbook and charcoal, a St. Francis Arts t-shirt, thank you gifts for teachers and more.

The arts are viewed as an important part of the curriculum at St. Francis High School, according to Danielson.

“Creativity is an exploration of one’s thoughts put on paper or other media,” she said. “It uses brain skills that other ‘more academic’ classes may not tap. For many, art can be a calming stress-reliever and others find it more interesting to express themselves through art than through writing. Offering the arts to students allows them to find out about themselves, how they best communicate to others, how to appreciate and interpret art, and how to enjoy the process. It makes for a well-rounded and interesting person.”

For more information, visit the St. Francis High School website at www.stfrancishs.org. Scroll to the bottom of the page for photos from last year’s competition. Questions can be directed to Danielson at edanielson@stfrancishs.org or (916) 452-3461 ext. 200.

susan@valcomnews.com

Elks honor Students of the Month

 

 

Elks Lodge No. 6 honored students from area public and private schools during the month of January.

 

 

According to Elk Jim Callaghan, “the schools themselves decide the criteria for choosing and the students chosen. It is the Elks’ way of encouraging students and making them and the school personnel who also attend, aware of the scholarship opportunities that the Elks award at the end of each school year.”

Cat capital? A purrrrrr-fect idea…Designate Sacramento an official cat capital

  Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a two-part series featuring cats of the Sacramento area.

  

A pair of tuxedo cats, Ming (left) and Maggie, of Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery do their best to assist with the business’s incoming e-mail messages. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

A pair of tuxedo cats, Ming (left) and Maggie, of Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery do their best to assist with the business’s incoming e-mail messages. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

Cat lovers rejoice! A movement to make Sacramento a “cat capital” begins right here.

Sure, this is an unofficial movement, but such an action has to begin somewhere.

Our city is already recognized for a variety of things, including one of its most historic notorieties, its official designation as the “Camellia Capital of the World.”

But with a tour around the Sacramento area, it is clear that we are missing the mark when it comes to honoring one of the city’s most cherished animals – the cat.

Signs of the city’s deep affection for cats are all around us from the names of school mascots such as the Lions of McClatchy High, the Cougars of Kennedy High and the Panthers of Sacramento City College to cat-related statuary and details within local architecture.

Shop cats Ming (bottom) and Maggie find unique places to hang out at Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

Shop cats Ming (bottom) and Maggie find unique places to hang out at Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

A close look at the 92-year-old Central Library building at 828 I St. and across the street from the library at the 77-year-old post office, for instance, reveals images of the heads of lions.

A lion’s head fountain is located behind the Julia Morgan House at 3731 T Street.

Additionally, lion statuary can be seen in such places as in front of McClatchy High and in front of a few buildings on 22nd Street, between S and V streets.

One of the more telling signs that Sacramento is already at least an unofficial “cat capital” is the fact that cat ownership is not always a residential affair.

And those who find this statement confusing are certainly not familiar with the many “shop cats” of the Sacramento area.

Among these shop cats is Ace, an 11-pound, white and gray Maine Coon cat at Ace Hardware at 4005 Manzanita Ave., Ste. 24 in

Ming, a shop cat at Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery, blends in with the scenery of this local business. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

Ming, a shop cat at Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery, blends in with the scenery of this local business. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

Harley Cowger, a sales floor employee at the hardware store, said that Ace selected the store as his home.

“(Ace) was a feral cat and he walked in here one day (about seven months ago) and hasn’t decided to leave yet,” Cowger said. “He has free range and he has his own little apartment out back and he pretty much does what he wants. Customers love him and he even has his own Facebook (Web site) fans.

But Internet presence as a Sacramento cat is not exclusive to Ace, as Ming and Maggie, a pair of tuxedo cats at Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery at 4681 Fair Oaks Blvd., also have their own pages on the Web site www.fairoaksblvdnursery.com.

In praising Ming, Candie Abke, the nursery’s gift shop manager, said that Ming has excelled in customer service through greeting customers, following them around and even riding in the carts of some customers. She added that Maggie is a biter and is thus still in training.

Despite their contrasting demeanors, Ming and Maggie both receive royal treatment and sleep in a “cat palace” bed at the nursery.

Like many cats, Ace of Ace Hardware in Carmichael finds no problem with blocking the view of a computer monitor. / Photo courtesy, Carmichael Ace Hardware

Like many cats, Ace of Ace Hardware in Carmichael finds no problem with blocking the view of a computer monitor. / Photo courtesy, Carmichael Ace Hardware

East Sacramento certainly does not strike out when it comes to shop cats, as the area has at least one such cat.

Talini’s Nursery and Garden Center at 5601 Folsom Blvd. is home to Caspar, one of the oldest and largest shop cats in the city.

Weighing about 18 pounds, Caspar actually appears even larger than her weight may specify. But many people who know her best say that she is also “a lot of fluff.”

Talini’s manager Jill Franklin recently related the story of how Caspar became a resident of Talini’s about 12 years ago.

“She was a feral cat,” Franklin said. “She was a little kitten and she used to hide (behind the store). She was just too cute for anyone to resist, so we started feeding her. At first, she wouldn’t let anyone touch her and she would just kind of follow us around through the plants at the nursery like a little ghost, so we named her Caspar. She (later) warmed up to us and she’s been our little shop cat ever since.”

Franklin added that throughout the years, Caspar has developed such a large fan club that many people stop by the nursery for the lone purpose of visiting this very popular shop cat.

There are many images of cats throughout the Sacramento area, including this lion’s head image at the Central Library at 828 I St. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

There are many images of cats throughout the Sacramento area, including this lion’s head image at the Central Library at 828 I St. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

“Some people come here and the first thing they ask is ‘Where’s the cat?’ or ‘Where’s Caspar?’ Franklin said. “They spend the whole time looking for the cat and not really wanting any plants.”

But people who arrive at local businesses to simply visit shop cats is a common theme for any such store with a resident cat.

Corey Okada, a clerk at Beers Books at 915 S Street, said that Raffles, the store’s cat who was named after a character in a book featuring a cat burglar, also has her own fan club.

“(Raffles) has quite the following,” Okada said. “She’s the perfect cat to be a store cat. She gets petted all day and doesn’t mind, unlike a lot of cats. People love her and come in just to see her.”

Two of the more unique shop cats in Sacramento are Ti and Teva, who roam on long leashes in the customer lounge of Black Rock Auto at 615 15th Street #A.

Black Rock Manager Mark Pflepsen said that these rescued strays have adapted to become some of the friendliest cats he has ever seen.

Roy Van Meter, assistant manager of Ace Hardware in Carmichael, holds the business’s shop cat, Ace. / Photo courtesy, Carmichael Ace Hardware

Roy Van Meter, assistant manager of Ace Hardware in Carmichael, holds the business’s shop cat, Ace. / Photo courtesy, Carmichael Ace Hardware

“They are super friendly,” Pflepsen said. “You can take either cat and push them down, roll them upside down and play mop with them and slide them around and they just love it.”

In the Land Park area, the longtime, local record store, Records at 1618 Broadway, is home to Joey, about a six-year-old cat who also resided at the store’s previous location on the K Street Mall.

There is something about literature and cats that go well together and perhaps this is why bookstores are one of the more common businesses with shop cats.

Unfortunately, the two shop cats of one of the city’s more cat-friendly bookstores, Time Tested Books at 1114 21st Street, passed away about five years ago. But the store still shows its love for cats with its wooden cat on wheels and a wooden cat that sits above the business’s records.

With apologies to Caspar, a 23-pound cat at Richard L. Press Fine Books at 1831 F St. #A likely holds the title of the heaviest shop cat in Sacramento.

Describing the cat, Richard L. Press, the business’s owner, said, “His name is Arshile. Everybody says that it’s a Maine Coon, but Maine Coons have fluffy tails, supposedly. This is not a fluffy tail. This is a tabby, but he’s a giant.”

Press, who previously owned a shop cat, named Willow, said that Arshile appears quite often on a video about his store. The link for the video is www.vimeo.com/18289183.

Ming of Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery is among the Sacramento area’s most popular and friendly shop cats. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

Ming of Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery is among the Sacramento area’s most popular and friendly shop cats. / Photo courtesy, F.O. Blvd. Nursery

The presence of Sacramento area cats on the Internet can also be found on the Web site, www.youtube.com. The site includes various Sacramento area feline-related videos, ranging from a collection of photographs of Clarice the cat set to the music of Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat” to a story of a cat that allegedly saved the life of its owner during a fire.

And from the Sacramento music scene, there is a band, called Fish Cat Fish, and a widely recognized image used by the Deftones, one of the most popular bands to emerge from the capital city, is that of a “screaming” (actually yawning) kitten.

Cat fever even extends across the Sacramento River, as is apparent through the city of Davis’ B&L Bike Shop, which is home to a shop cat, named Milo.

But perhaps no greater tribute to cats can be found west of the capital city than at West Sacramento’s Raley Field, which is home to the extremely popular Sacramento River Cats Pacific Coast League baseball team and the team’s mascot Dinger the cat.

The team is appropriately named when considering the many feral cats that reside along the eastern and western banks of the river.

Although many local residents are not fond of the fact that the non-baseball river cats and many alley cats of the downtown/midtown area run free with no owners, these cats provide further evidence of Sacramento’s need to be officially recognized as a “cat city.”

With no committee members, no committee, no official stand by this publication and no other known mention of this movement besides this informational, thought-provoking article, Sacramento’s potential prominence as an official “cat city” is obviously lacking its much needed support.

The shop cat of Ace Hardware at 4005 Manzanita Ave. is most appropriately named, Ace. / Photo courtesy, Carmichael Ace Hardware

The shop cat of Ace Hardware at 4005 Manzanita Ave. is most appropriately named, Ace. / Photo courtesy, Carmichael Ace Hardware

But as a bit of encouragement for those who are hesitating to support this issue, the following modified quote of Mark Twain – apologies to Mr. Clemens! – should be remembered: “It’s not the size of the cat lover in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the cat lover.”

Despite the existence of much time before the November election, attempting to obtain official “cat city” status should be no easy endeavor.

But whatever happens, one thing is for sure – cat fever is strong in the Sacramento area.

 

Talini’s Nursery and Garden Center in East Sacramento is home to the very blue-eyed Caspar the cat. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong
Sac-Cats-Photo-09

Talini’s Nursery and Garden Center in East Sacramento is home to the very blue-eyed Caspar the cat. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

lance@valcomnews.com

84 year olds tie knot at Carmichael Oaks

Nuptials were in the air at Carmichael Oaks Senior Living in early January. Two residents met and fell in love and decided it is never too late to tie the knot.
Mr. and Mrs. Kenn Johnson / Photo courtesy, Patricia Colmer

Mr. and Mrs. Kenn Johnson / Photo courtesy, Patricia Colmer

Kenn Johnson and Lola Chan, both 84 years old, were married on Jan. 15.

The couple was married at the home of the bride’s son and daughter-law, Dan and Deann Chan, in North Highlands. The bride’s son-in-law Bruce Colmer was best man and her daughter, Patty Colmer, was matron of honor.

Some 30 members from both Kenn’s and Lola’s families came from as far away as Washington, D.C., to Portland, Ore., to Torrance, Calif. and the surrounding area.

The youngest attendee was Lola’s great-granddaughter, Silk, age two.

The Rev. Stan Parker officiated the ceremony.

For their honeymoon, the couple plans to go on a month-long cruise from Singapore to Vancouver, B.C. this spring.

Free e-waste recycling day on Feb. 12

Keep old household electronics away from our roadsides, oceans and the landfills by recycling them. An e-waste recycling day will be held at C.K. McClatchy High School on Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is open to all California residents and businesses.
Recycle old televisions, monitors, keyboards, cell phones and other electronic items at the free e-waste recycling day sponsored by the McClatchy Aquatics Booster Club and Neuwaste Business Recycling. on Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. / Photo courtesy
Recycle old televisions, monitors, keyboards, cell phones and other electronic items at the free e-waste recycling day sponsored by the McClatchy Aquatics Booster Club and Neuwaste Business Recycling. on Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. / Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

Get rid of your old televisions, monitors, computers, computer components, fax machines, printers, copiers, toner cartridges, inkjet cartridges, wire, video game consoles, laptops, cameras, camcorders, internet devices, keyboards, mice, mp3 players, VCRs, DVD players, cell phones and telephone equipment, stereos, cable boxes, and household batteries. Please, no microwave ovens, kitchen electronics or light fixtures. This free event benefits the high school aquatics program at C.K. McClatchy High School and is sponsored by the Aquatics Booster Club and Neuwaste Business Recycling.

 

Businesses looking to contribute material to this event but that are unable to come by during the event are encouraged to contact Neuwaste Business Recycling to schedule a pickup. Mention that the donation is for the C.K. McClatchy Aquatics Program.

The e-waste drop off day will be held at the C.K. McClatchy High School parking lot, located at 3006 Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento, on Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is welcome and there is no charge to drop off e-waste. For more information, call (310) 734-6700 or email info@neuwaste.com. Also visit www.NeuWaste.com.