‘59 Arden Park Little League All-Stars shared memories at luncheon

Shown here is a photo of the 1959 Arden Park Little League All-Star team. Teammates recently met for a lunch reunion in the Arden area. Back row, left-to-right: Danny Segalis, Jeff Boroski, Chuck Cusack, Ric Williams, Rick Niello, Gary Foster, Eric French, Don Murphy. Front row, left-to-right: Coach Geandrot, Jack Stansfield, Jimmy Olson, Allan Davis, John Fuller, Bob Geandrot, Warren Bernoff, Coach Drennen.

Shown here is a photo of the 1959 Arden Park Little League All-Star team. Teammates recently met for a lunch reunion in the Arden area. Back row, left-to-right: Danny Segalis, Jeff Boroski, Chuck Cusack, Ric Williams, Rick Niello, Gary Foster, Eric French, Don Murphy. Front row, left-to-right: Coach Geandrot, Jack Stansfield, Jimmy Olson, Allan Davis, John Fuller, Bob Geandrot, Warren Bernoff, Coach Drennen.

It all began with an email from my friend and client Allan Davis. As I make my living in PR and advertising, I’ve been handling the publicity for the much-anticipated Milagro Centre, which he and wife Nancy are developing and which is coming soon to Carmichael.
Allan wasn’t writing me this day to talk about Milagro, however.  He had more important matters in mind…the 50-plus year reunion of his 1959 Arden Park Little League All-Star team. I was mildly intrigued, so I asked Allan for a little more info, like, how successful were they…how far did they get?” “Well, we beat Roseville and then went up and played Auburn, who beat us,” answered Davis. “That was the team that went on to the Little League World Series.”
Now, Sacramento can be a small town, especially if you have a long history here. Allan and his teammates do. So do I.  I told Allan I would submit a story to the Arden-Carmichael News if I could bring a guest. Allan, being his typical amenable self said, “Sure, who is it?” I went on to tell Allan that my former roommate played on that Auburn team that was the nightmare in their field of dreams.
We agreed we’d keep Tom’s identity a secret and reveal it at the luncheon at Piatti’s. So here’s the line-up that was present that day. Please hold your applause till the end or rattle your paper if the notion hits you.
Playing left field, retired San Juan School District teacher and administrator, Ric Williams. At catcher, Don Murphy, CEO/retired of the Optima Company. On the mound, Rick Niello, President of the Niello Company. At second base, developer Allan Davis of Milagro Properties. In centerfield, dentist Jack Stansfield. Playing 3rd base, retired administrator from the San Juan School District, Eric French.  Also in attendance at the luncheon were Steve French and George Cate. They played with these guys, but not on this particular team. The afternoon of the reunion, they were happily warming the proverbial bench.
When I explained to the team why I was crashing the party they were very welcoming. When I gave them the clue that Tom Owens, my former roomie, grew up in Auburn, he not surprisingly received a chorus of raspberries.
And then the stories started flying.
In their first outing against Roseville, the Arden Park gang had Rick Niello on the mound. Arden Park won that game, 4 to 3.
The former all-stars attribute much of their success to the fact that in summers previous they would spend long hours playing pick-up games in La Sierra Park, even creating their own sandlot league, which they dubbed “The Continental League.”
Riding high on their win over Roseville, it was on to face the Auburn Little League, home of the legendary Bob Sunada. Said Ric Williams, “He was a man-child.”  According to Owens, his teammate, “When Bob would hit one out of the park, it would go beyond the 200 feet marker in centerfield…it would sail over the pines beyond the fence…you could hear the gasps come from the visitors’ bleachers.” Said Williams, “I was shocked anybody 12 years old could hit a ball that far. It went deep into the trees.” 
In the early innings, Sunada hit a pair of those towering solo home runs, which put Auburn up by two. Arden Park’s Don Murphy hit a two-run rocket, which tied the game in the fifth inning.
One of the amazing things about the luncheon include the recollections 50 years since.  Tom Owens remembers Murphy’s blast. “It was a line drive 30 feet above the fence.” Murphy incidentally went on to play with the Detroit Tigers.
Alas, that was the final hurrah for Arden Park, as Auburn scored three more run in the bottom of the fifth, sealing the fate for the boys of summer, “Arden Park edition.”
With some melancholy Eric French recounted the experience. “It was like going to Mars to play Auburn…we’d never traveled like that…and I remember that in the days after my Dad brought out his transistor radio so that we could listen to Auburn playing in the World Series.” Added Don Murphy, “We always thought it could have been us.”
As the party was breaking up, it was reminiscent of that famous film footage of the last surviving members of the Civil War gathered together for a reunion. Handshakes and good wishes were exchanged, despite the battle wounds suffered on the diamond. Allan Davis submitted one last request. “I’d like the readers to contact the paper if they know the whereabouts of anyone else on the team not present today.” Perhaps another reunion looms. The only question: Will they invite Auburn’s Owens?

Gathering place, Milagro, coming to Carmichael

Here is a proposed drawing of the Milagro marketplace, which had a un-groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Here is a proposed drawing of the Milagro marketplace, which had a un-groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Milagro, Spanish for miracle, truly exemplifies the transformation from the disappointment that was the Hillside Center in Carmichael to the soon-to-be realized dream of two longtime Carmichael residents. The developers, husband and wife team Allan Davis and Nancy Emerson-Davis want the public to be aware their project is well past the speculation phase.

With architectural plans drawn up and design concepts in place, their Milagro Centre held un-groundbreaking ceremonies on Thursday, Nov. 7. (Milagro Centre is located on Fair Oaks Boulevard, between El Camino and Marconi.) The program included shovels decorated with the logo, Tonka truck centerpieces, chocolate shovel favors and what may have been the first lighted un-groundbreaking shovel. There were also slide shows of Milagro architectural drawings as well as various photos depicting life in Carmichael.

“We like to think outside the box at Milagro Properties, so we’re holding an un-groundbreaking,” said developer Nancy Emerson-Davis days before the event. “We will have shovels, but they’ll be pointed up to represent the direction we want to take Carmichael.”

Milagro Centre will be a gathering-place for residents of the meandering Carmichael area, offering a variety of vendors, from casual to fine dining to unique specialty shops. This culinary hub with courtyard music will be visually enriched by gardens accented by palm trees as well as an inviting fireplace, with open seating for dining and lounging throughout the center. A banquet facility for special occasions is part of the mix. The new Milagro Centre will encompass approximately 50,000 square feet of retail space, with water features and palm trees enhancing the entrance along Fair Oaks Boulevard.

Here is a proposed drawing of the Milagro marketplace, which had a un-groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Here is a proposed drawing of the Milagro marketplace, which had a un-groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 7.

“This represents a multi-million dollar investment on our part in a center that had fallen into disrepair,” said Allan Davis. “We live in the neighborhood…we love Carmichael and feel that Milagro, in the European tradition of the plaza, will be a gathering place, to generations of families from all over the area.”
Over four decades ago, famed Sacramento developer, Joe Benvenuti moved his daughter, Nancy Emerson-Davis, into a duplex he’d built in Carmichael. Now, in the tradition of the late Sacramento developer, Nancy is making great strides in the realization of her own dream project.
“47 years ago, I wondered what I was doing in Carmichael, and now, in reflection, why I’ve made it my home. When I sip my first glass of wine at Milagro Centre, I’ll realize the ‘why’ and tip a glass to my father and thank him for the opportunity given to me. I want Carmichael to be to me what Sacramento was to him,” said Nancy Emerson-Davis.

“Carmichael’s main street, Fair Oaks Boulevard, is being revitalized by both public and private investment. Sacramento County transformed the intersection of Fair Oaks and Marconi Avenue with improved landscaping featuring towering palm trees. Soon after, private investment followed north on Fair Oaks Boulevard. Now Milagro Centre is breaking ground south of the intersection and will create an attractive destination featuring retail shopping and restaurant amenities. I applaud the vision being presented by Milagro Investments,” Susan Peters, Sacramento County Supervisor said.

Businesses, residents to join together to beautify Carmichael

Cathryn Snow, who serves as a director of the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce, said that her idea to establish Carmichael Community Pride Day was well received. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Cathryn Snow, who serves as a director of the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce, said that her idea to establish Carmichael Community Pride Day was well received. Photo by Lance Armstrong

This Saturday, Oct. 26 will be a special day for Carmichael, as local businesses and residents will participate in the inaugural Carmichael Community Pride Day.
Sponsored by Sacramento County Supervisor Susan Peters, the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento County Department of Transportation, the event was organized to encourage businesses and residents to improve the appearances of local properties. The three-hour event will be held simultaneously with the Fair Oaks Boulevard Brush Up, which is presented three times per year.
Pride Day participants can either work on their own properties or can arrive at the Carmichael Park tennis courts at 5750 Grant Ave. at 8 a.m. to be assigned to a particular project. Volunteers should wear gloves and comfortable shoes, and can donate paint brushes and supplies to the project.
Carmichael area resident Cathryn Snow said that the idea for establishing the workday came during her visit to a Roseville shopping center about two months ago.
“I was sitting out at the Fountains in Roseville and enjoying what a beautiful place that is and thinking, ‘Gee, I wish that we had something like that in Carmichael,’” Snow said. “What I see there anytime that I’m there is that the parking lots are full and there are all kinds of people roaming around. People are comfortable and walking slowly. They’re in and out of businesses and all of the businesses there are busy. What we really want to create is that welcoming feeling in Carmichael. We have that wonderful community spirit in Carmichael, but we want to enhance the businesses and draw more business into Carmichael.
“I’m a director for the (Carmichael) Chamber (of Commerce), and so I took (the idea) to the board and asked what they thought about it, and I told them I would be willing to chair that if they would support it. They were unanimously in favor of that. From there, we put together a diverse committee of people who I thought could help bring that (project) about.”
The committee consists of Howard Schmidt, Jack Harrison, Fred Rivas, Patrick Carpenter, Jim Schubert, Chris Meyer, Linda Melody and Tarry Smith.
Snow described the group as “one of those dream committees (with people who) say, ‘I can do this and I can do that.’”
For instance, Schubert, who serves as the county’s senior landscape architect, and Rivas, owner of the Lawnman landscape company, have volunteered their time to assist local businesses with landscaping suggestions.
In describing the community workday, Snow said, “The purpose (of the project) is to encourage business owners, primarily, to landscape and maintain, paint; generally make their businesses more attractive, so that it attracts more businesses into Carmichael. Sometimes I think people choose to go somewhere else, because it’s more pleasing in comparison to something like the Fountains. What we’re asking – on Oct. 26 in the morning from 8 to 11 (a.m.), or whatever time they choose, but our formal time is 8 to 11 – is that businesses and homeowners clean up their properties, make them more attractive. A lot of businesses have existing planter boxes and so forth, garden areas. They already have established areas, but that has gone to seed or it hasn’t been planted for years, it’s full of weeds or there’s just nothing going on in it. And then planting trees and bushes. You can get free trees from SMUD. Their tree alliance provides free trees. So, why wouldn’t you do this? The cost that you have other than the initial purchasing of the plants is water. That’s it. And we can suggest very drought tolerant plants.
“A lot of the (workday) will be centered around the park facilities. There will be some painting of backstops and picnic tables and doorways, and general cleanup. And, of course, there is always trash pickup here, there and everywhere. It’s also the other parks in the Carmichael park district that can certainly always use weed pulling and trimming and everything.”
Snow added that the project is satisfying in that it had always been the goal of Peters and of the chamber to improve the business climate in Carmichael, as well as to bring more business into Carmichael.
Furthermore, Snow praised the Fair Oaks Boulevard corridor project for bringing improvements to Carmichael.
“We’re just kind of piggybacking on that (project),” Snow said.
Snow added that the community response has been great.
“When I called all of these service clubs and scouts and everything, their immediate response was ‘Yes, absolutely count us in.’ There was not any hesitation whatsoever. And Susan Peters was very happy about it.”
Participating in this weekend’s event will be the Kiwanis Club of Carmichael, Carmichael Elks Lodge No. 2103, the Rotary Club of Carmichael, Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District, Arcade Creek Recreation and Park District, St. John The Evangelist School, Soroptimist International of Sacramento North, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and Carmichael Creek, Carmichael Colony and Barrett Hills neighborhood associations.
From a personal standpoint, Snow understands the magnitude that improved landscaping can provide in terms of bettering the success of a business.
“My background is real estate,” Snow said. “I had 23 years in real estate and what I know is that people are drawn to the attractiveness. That’s the first thing. We always say in real estate, the first 10 seconds are most important, and that’s the time that it takes people to get out of their car and walk up to the front door.”
Melody, who serves as the executive director of the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the effect such a project can have on the community.
“I think an event like this is important, in fact, actually to do on a yearly basis where the whole community takes part,” Melody said. “I know there has been some concerns with trash thrown around or weeds growing and I think that it’s not something that just one person can do or a few people. When a community comes together and takes pride in their own community and helps to make it look better, I think it’s a place that they can then be proud of. So, that’s why the chamber is apart of this and we were able to get community organizations and groups to take part, because I think everybody cares about what their community looks like and is willing to do their part.”
In encouraging the community to participate in the event, Snow said, “This (project) will greatly improve the landscape in Carmichael, as well as earn service hours for schools. Everyone is welcome to take part.”
For additional information, contact Linda Melody at the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce at (916) 481-1002 or Cathryn Snow at (916) 804-7687.


Chautauqua Playhouse presents ‘Camping with Henry and Tom’

(L) Michael Beckett, Jerold McFatter, Daryl Petrig, Chris Lamb

(L) Michael Beckett, Jerold McFatter, Daryl Petrig, Chris Lamb

Chautauqua Playhouse continues its 37th season with their production of “”Camping with Henry and Tom” by Mark St. Germain. The show runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Nov. 17. The performances are held at the Chautauqua Playhouse, 5325 Engle Road in the La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael. Admission is $19 general and $17 students, seniors, children and SARTA members. Please note that this production contains strong language.

In 1921, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding took a camping trip together into the Maryland woods to escape civilization; what they couldn’t escape was each other. Inspired by an actual event, “Camping with Henry and Tom” is an exploration of friendship, politics and leadership; it’s a comedic and dramatic clash of two great minds and one great heart of the 20th century.

The production is directed by Janice Reade Hoberg with set design by Mel Caines. Lighting design is by Don Myers. The cast Daryl Petrig, Michael Beckett, Chris Lamb and Jerold McFatter.

Information and tickets are available through the Chautauqua Playhouse website: www.cplayhouse.org or call the box office at 489-7529, during business hours.

The Spyglass

They say that confidence is a color that doesn’t run. So here goes with our second Spyglass column. Big thanks to all our readers who responded with favorable reviews and comments to our debut piece.
Let’s stick with the good news–for now…
The flame of civic virtue continues to burn bright in Arden. Richard Frank, CFP, whose office–Edward Jones Investments–occupies a certain sweet spot in Lyon Village (view of the lovely fountain, proximity to Miyagi Restaurant, etc.) reports that he has volunteered as a facilitator in his Lion’s Club’s drive to collect children’s backpacks. The project involves filling them with school supplies and food for needy schoolchildren. He has informed us that Virginia McNeely at Trinity Cathedral is looking for individuals or companies to donate drab-colored backpacks for the children of Floyd School, a Title 1 school near 5th Street and Broadway, Sacramento. Surely someone in Arden or Carmichael has some corporate logo day packs simply gathering dust somewhere around the house or garage. Give Virginia a call at 916-446-2513…
August 2013 has been mercifully–and un-characteristically–un-hot. That’s a good thing. A bad thing was the spell of triple-digit temps we had a while back in early July. Talking to Julie Sardia, the manager of Savemart in Loehmann’s Plaza, we learned that several freezer compartments conked out after closing time with no one responding to the alarm. Out to the dumpster next morning went some fifteen-thousand dollars’ worth of microwavable dinners. A few weeks later, some milk cooling units failed due to the heat. Fortunately, the company was insured for the loss…

Not so fortunate was one area doctor, Albert Z. Owens, MD. His heat wave story goes like this: the night porter blows a fuse while vacuuming his hallway. The office refrigerator goes negative function all night. Total loss–a fortune in flu vaccines and insulin. Insurance only covers ten thousand dollars! Landlord refuses to take responsibility for the balance. Hearing this, we thought a little medical humor might cheer him up. “That’s funny, Doc.” we told him. “Funny as reverse peristalsis!”

Any good negligence lawyers out there?

We always thought that petitions were circulated by volunteers, fired-up individuals for some political or social organization. Not so any more. One can simply hire a company to collect signatures nowadays. So how about a petition to install a stoplight across from Sierra Fair and Warren Oaks Apartments? Over eight hundred people live in these facilities, including many children who dash across Fair Oaks Boulevard to the plaza, as well as seniors and the disabled whose dashing days are history. Herein lies a worthy cause or project for a local well-heeled sponsor to take up.
Don’t all raise your hands at once…

And here’s a little Internet Age love story we happened upon: Charles Richards (not his real last name) of Carmichael, by way of North Carolina, informed us that he was headed to San Francisco to meet up for the first time with a high school sweetheart he hadn’t heard from in forty years. They hooked up again on the Web, contacted each other, discovered that they were both free and, having each acquired a ton of money, were just right for fanning the eternal flame which flickered long ago. Should be an interesting tale, which will of course be relayed in this column upon his return. That is unless…well, we wish these former “tar heels” the best in their meet-up, whatever happens…
Update: We hear it did go well and Charles is headed back for more…stay tuned!

We’re still in shock at the news of the sudden passing of our friend Brian Miller, manager of Noodles & Company in Loehmann’s Plaza. We were all set to have an encore of last year’s appearance of the El Camino High School Band in a spirited concert in front of the restaurant. Maybe that will still happen, as a tribute to a fine citizen and neighbor who will be sorely missed. He leaves a wife and two children, and as his boss Mark recently said, “Wherever he is, they’re lucky to have him. I’ll have a hard time finding a replacement for Brian. He was that good.”

As the Sisters of Mercy used to tell us in grammar school, “Pray for the repose of his soul.”

We had some happy news to relate about our neighbor, octogenarian Dorothy, in our last column. Not so now, regretably to say. No sooner had she returned to the welcoming bosom of our fine Arden neighborhood than her van was stripped of its spare tire. So bold was the thieving, two-legged trash that they returned the next night to relieve the vehicle of the mounting bracket for the spare.
And not content with that, they stole her blue handicapped parking placard as well! We were not amused hearing this.
“Durn low-down varmints!”, as old cowboy Gabby Hayes used to say in Roy Rogers radio days…

Sadly, the weed of crime seems to be thriving everywhere one looks in our times. “Wild West” redux? As the great novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald might have written had he lived to witness the present age, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past–OMG, lol, yada, yada, yada.”

United Way’s Day of Caring comes to Arden and Carmichael

United Way volunteers help build a community garden for Health Education Council's project at Grant High School. United Way is gathering volunteers for its Day of Caring on Sept. 13 to complete 26 volunteer projects across the region, including three in the Arden-Carmichael area.

United Way volunteers help build a community garden for Health Education Council's project at Grant High School. United Way is gathering volunteers for its Day of Caring on Sept. 13 to complete 26 volunteer projects across the region, including three in the Arden-Carmichael area.

As many as 70 volunteers will descend on Arden and Carmichael on Sept. 13 as part of United Way California Capital Region’s Day of Caring. The volunteer extravaganza sponsored by Nationwide will include 350 volunteers and 26 projects across the region to celebrate United Way’s 90th anniversary, kick off the fall fundraising campaign and help United Way reach its goal of completing 90 volunteer projects in 2013.

Local residents can spend one day caring for the Arden-Carmichael community by signing up for one of three Day of Caring projects taking place in the area. Atkinson Youth Services, which helps foster children, needs help painting bedrooms and moving furniture in one of its group homes in Carmichael.

WEAVE, which helps people who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, needs help sorting items at its thrift store on Arden Way after a weeklong clothing and household goods donation drive.

Those interested in supporting people with developmental disabilities can help the Developmental Disabilities Service Organization by painting the inside of the gym and exterior walls at its St. Marks Way campus.

Nationwide, which is based in the Arden area and is sponsoring Day of Caring, will be sending 100 volunteers across the region, including the project at Developmental Disabilities Service Organization.

“Day of Caring is a great opportunity for our employees to make a powerful, tangible difference for our community in just one day,” said Ramon Jones, Nationwide regional vice president. “We hope the rest of the community will join us to make real change happen.”

United Way’s Day of Caring will start at 8 a.m. with a breakfast and rally at Cal Expo. Volunteer projects will begin at 10 a.m. To sign up, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/dayofcaring.

“We’re excited to watch companies, volunteers and nonprofits come together for an amazing day transforming our community through volunteer projects,” said Victoria Kosha, interim United Way president and CEO. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate 90 years of service in this community than to keep doing what we do best – joining hands with people across the region to make sure everyone has the building blocks for a good life.”

For 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has actively worked to address the community’s most pressing issues, now focusing on innovative solutions related to high school graduation rates, household financial stability and obesity. United Way’s team of nonprofits, businesses, donors and volunteers are working together to provide positive, measurable results on these issues through United Way projects: STAR Readers, $en$e-Ability and Fit Kids. Community members can give, volunteer and advocate in support of the causes they care most about, benefiting United Way and hundreds of nonprofits in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. United Way is an independent, local affiliate of United Way Worldwide. For more information, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

Hilarious confrontations take the Chautauqua stage with ‘Squabbles’

(L) Monique McKisson, Walt Thompson, Julie Bock, Rodger Hoopman. Photo by Warren Harrison

(L) Monique McKisson, Walt Thompson, Julie Bock, Rodger Hoopman. Photo by Warren Harrison

Chautauqua Playhouse opened its 37th season with their production of “Squabbles”, a comedy by Marshall Karp. The show will run on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Sept. 22. The performances will be held at the Chautauqua Playhouse, 5325 Engle Road in the La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael.  Admission is $19 general and $17 students, seniors, children and SARTA members.

Jerry Sloan is a successful writer of advertising jingles married to an equally successful lawyer. Living with the happy couple is the not so happy Abe Dreyfus, Jerry’s curmudgeon of a father in law. Abe is a funny guy to the audience, not to Jerry. The situation is exacerbated when Jerry’s mother Mildred loses her house in a fire and needs a place to stay. Abe and Mildred can’t stand each other. This play is one hilarious confrontation after another until the heartwarming finale in which the oldsters discover that, really, each is not so bad.

The production is directed and designed by Rodger Hoopman with lighting design by Don Myers.  The cast includes Rodger Hoopman, Julie Bock, Walt Thompson, Monique McKisson, Erin Dimond, and Vincent Keene.

Information and tickets are available through the Chautauqua Playhouse website: www.cplayhouse.org or call the box office at (916) 489-7529, during business hours. Chautauqua Playhouse is located at 5325 Engle Rd., Carmichael.

CRPD administrator to retire May 31

Jack Harrison will retire as the administrator of the Carmichael Recreation and Park District on May 31. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Jack Harrison will retire as the administrator of the Carmichael Recreation and Park District on May 31. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Carmichael Recreation and Park District Administrator Jack Harrison will be retiring – again – on the last day of this month.
Harrison, 70, who retired from the state in 2000, continued to work for another 13 years, during which time he became the district’s administrator.
But for Harrison, he intends his upcoming retirement to be his last, as he leaves his leadership post content with a job well done and much anticipation for his future.
While sitting in his office last week, Harrison discussed details about his life, with his focus being his many years of employment.
Harrison, who was born and raised in Los Angeles by his parents, Jack, Sr. and Dorothy, was one of four children.
In 1961, the year after he graduated from Norwalk High School in Los Angeles County, Harrison obtained part-time employment with the Southeast Recreation and Park District in the Norwalk area.
Four years later, he graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation management.
And shortly after leaving that university, Harrison began working full time at the same Southern California park district.
He left that job in 1969 to become the director of parks and recreation for the Orange County city of Tustin, which then had a population of about 40,000.
In commenting about that position, Harrison said, “To become a director of a department at only 25 years of age was pretty special for me. Most directors have quite a bit more experience. So, I was very delighted to become a director at that young age. And that community was in need of building some parks, because they had grown rapidly and they didn’t have as many parks as they should have for the size of population. So, we were successful in working with the community to get a park bond act passed by the voters for, as I recall, about $2 million, which was used to buy land and build four new parks. Three of the four (parks) were developed during the four years that I was (a director in Tustin).”
Following his time in Tustin, Harrison began performing private consulting work in park planning with a major firm in Southern California.
And a year later, in 1974, he moved to the Sacramento area to assist in park planning in Northern California for the same firm.
Harrison received a master’s degree in public administration at Golden Gate University in San Francisco in 1976.
During the same year, he was hired by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
In describing that position, Harrison said, “My job there was to manage the park acquisition, planning and development program, in other words to buy properties for new state parks, be responsible for planning what’s going to happen with those sites and then to see the construction through.”
In 1982, Harrison returned to the consulting field to perform park planning, design and consulting work. But this time, he worked for himself, as he established his own firm.
About a year later, he became the executive director of the California Parks and Recreation Society, which is the professional membership organization for people who work in public parks and recreation in California.
With the society, Harrison performed such duties as promoting parks and recreation at the state Capitol, working to provide training for members and conducting an annual conference.
Harrison said that he was once again working for the California Department of Parks and Recreation in 1987.
“I got appointed by Gov. (George) Deukmejian as chief deputy director of California State Parks,” Harrison said. “I was very excited about doing that (position), because I had worked for the department five years before. I (had) specifically only worked in the area of land acquisition and park development, and this position was to be responsible for all the field operations for the 285 state parks in California. So, it was a much bigger responsibility. It was a statewide responsibility, the rangers, the public safety program, the historians, the archaeologists, all the various specialties. I was responsible for everything that happened in the state parks.”
Five years after taking that position, Harrison became the director of the state Department of Social Services.
And as previously mentioned, Harrison retired from his employment with the state in 2000.
Despite his retirement, Harrison returned to performing consulting work, which then mostly consisted of serving as interim director in various agencies that were seeking a permanent, long-term director.
During that time, Harrison worked as an interim director for Marin County and the cities of Lodi and Merced.
An interim director position was made available in Carmichael in February 2006, and Harrison filled that vacancy.
The Carmichael district hired Harrison as its full-time administrator about nine months later, at which time he discontinued his consulting work.
In reminiscing about his time as the district’s administrator, Harrison said, “I’ve lived in the community since 1974, so I’ve been a part of this community. And to work in the community in which I’ve lived for a long time has been special. I have a lot of friends and I enjoy the staff that I work with here at the district and the board. They’re all very dedicated and we’re all on the same page. We’ve accomplished some good things in the community. So, it’s been very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed being part of progress and seeing good things happen in the community. It’s sad to walk away from that, but I’m still involved in the community. I’m currently vice president of the Kiwanis Club (of Carmichael). I’m a volunteer for Mercy Hospice and I have a lot of outdoor interests I’d like to pursue like tennis, biking (and) fishing. I also have a lot of projects that I’d like to do at home, and most importantly, I have two granddaughters in the area who I look forward to spending more time with. I also want to volunteer more in the community.”
He added that he may also play golf on a regular basis with a group of retired park professionals, and assist the district with some projects, if he is presented with such opportunities.
Harrison, who is also a member of the Carmichael-Old Foothill Farms community Planning Advisory Council, referred to some of the district’s greatest accomplishments under his direction.
One of these accomplishments was the development of Jan Park at 4310 Jan Avenue, O’Donnell Heritage Park at 6618 Rappahannock Way and Patriots Park at 6827 Palm Ave.
Other accomplishments included the establishment of a new master plan for the district, the acquisition of a grant to demolish the Carmichael Park pool and the placement of the reader board along Fair Oaks Boulevard at Carmichael Park.
Harrison, who will celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary next June with his wife, Nancy, emphasized that he is very appreciative of the support that District 3 Supervisor Susan Peters has provided to the district during his term.
“(Peters) has been actively involved to support us in every turn on everything that we’ve tried to do here that’s positive,” Harrison said. “So, Supervisor Peters deserves credit for a lot of progress that the park district has made during the seven years that I’ve been here.”
Although he said that he will miss serving as the district’s administrator, Harrison added that he felt that after dedicating so many years to that position, it was time for him to take a different direction in his life and allow someone else to replace him at the district office.
“It’s time to let someone else take the reigns,” Harrison said.


Chautauqua Playhouse presents Jerry Herman’s ‘Showtune’

 Pictured is the cast of “Showtune.” From the left: Dian Hoel, Dan Barrett, Chris Cay Stewart, Warren Harrison, Leah Sharer, Brady Tait. / Photo courtesy

Pictured is the cast of “Showtune.” From the left: Dian Hoel, Dan Barrett, Chris Cay Stewart, Warren Harrison, Leah Sharer, Brady Tait. / Photo courtesy

Chautauqua Playhouse, in association with Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom, is now showing “Showtune” , a musical revue conceived by Paul Gilger and featuring the songs of Broadway composer Jerry Herman  at the Playhouse.  The show will run on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through June 16. The performances will be held at the Chautauqua Playhouse, 5325 Engle Rd. in the La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael.  Admission is $21 general and $19 students, seniors, children and SARTA members.

After the initial six week run at Chautauqua Playhouse, the show will move to the Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom for an additional four week run.

Visit the wonderful, musical world of Jerry Herman, composer of the scores of Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Mack and Mabel, La Cage aux Folles, and many other popular shows.  This fast paced revue takes you on a tuneful journey featuring forty of Herman’s greatest songs.  Sure to bring an enjoyable end to the season.

The production is directed and staged by Warren Harrison, with additional choregraphy by Connie Mockenhaupt.  Lighting design is by Don Myers.  The cast includes Dian Hoel, Chris Cay Stewart, Leah Sharer, Brady Tait, Dan Barrett and Warren Harrison.

Information and tickets are available through the Chautauqua Playhouse website: www.cplayhouse.org or call the box office at 489-7529, during business hours.

Mid-Century Modern enthusiast discusses Land Park home tour highlights

Photos by Sutter Buttes/John DiDomenico Photography These photographs were taken at the June 26, 2010 Mid Century Modern Tour in South Land Park. This year’s tour will be held Saturday, May 18. See sacmcmhometour.blogspot.com for more information.

Architectural design is a subject I don’t know a whole lot about. I ain’t gonna lie. But I know cool Mid-Century Modern when I see it. “Hey, look at that cool building!” I always just called it “retro” or “old school”.

I decided to get schooled on everything Mid-Century Modern by local MCM enthusiast Gretchen Steinberg. She is the President of SacMod (SacramentoModern) and researcher/blogger at Eichlerific. She is a resident of South Land Park Hills, and of course, resides in a beautiful Eichler home with her husband and two children.

She’s gearing up for another Mid-Century Modern Home Tour on Saturday, May 18. The tour will highlight more than 30 spectacular mid-century modern residential and commercial structures in South Land Park and Land Park neighborhoods of Sacramento. There will also be a vintage transportation show, historic displays and exhibits, and lots of goodies!

Photos by Sutter Buttes/John DiDomenico Photography

Here’s my MCM Q & A.

Greg Brown: How did you become interested in Mid-century Modern architecture and all things Modern?

Gretchen Steinberg: I was raised by my grandparents in SoCal near Palm Springs. We went there every weekend to hang at their second home. I would say MCM was imprinted in me big time from my childhood. But I didn’t realize it until I got older.

GB: How would you describe Mid-Century Modern?

GS: Mid-Century Modern in architecture has:
- clean lines with an emphasis on the horizontal/vertical
- a blend of natural and manmade materials
- large windows to allow maximum light and promote “indoor/outdoor living” (hangin’ on the patio, Daddy-O)
- open floor plans
- low-pitched, wide-angled or flat rooflines
and usually depicts the era between 1945 (post WWII) and 1970, give or take. It has roots dating back to 19th century design movements and Japanese design — but that’s a long history lesson.

GB: What’s the difference between architecture and design?

GS: Architecture is a type of design that focuses on structures that shelter people where they live, work and play. Design is a wider category that includes a wide array of items that are made to enhance our daily living — such as consumer products, graphics, fashion, machines, etc.

Photos by Sutter Buttes/John DiDomenico Photography

GB: I notice the slew of Eichler homes along South Land Park Drive and the surrounding areas. How many Eichler homes were built and why were they mostly all built in South Land Park?

GS: Eichler Homes wound up building roughly 60 homes in Sacramento. All Eichler Homes in our town are in South Land Park.

GB: I also notice the same type of homes in Carmichael. Would you call these homes Eichler inspired?

GS: Those are likely Streng Bros. Homes, designed by Carter Sparks. We have one on our tour. They built roughly 3800 homes in the Sacramento, Placer, and Yolo counties.

GB: Three of your most decadent points of interest on the Mid-Century Modern Tour are Marie’s Donuts, Mahoroba Japanese Bakery, and the Pancake Circus. Will there be free samples?

GS: We are providing the feast for your eyes – but don’t let that stop you from indulging your inner sugar monster!

GB: A lot of Mid-Century modern homes do not have a garage, they have a carport. Where the heck do you store all your stuff? A hoarder would panic in a Mid-Century Modern home!

GS: The carport was designed so that the post-WWII consumers could show off their gigantic finned cars! A well-designed MCM home has plenty of interior storage. Our home originally had a carport but the previous owner closed it in. Nowadays, garages are treated more like closets. Some people can’t even fit their cars in them.

GB: Why is preservation important? New is always better, right?

Photos by Sutter Buttes/John DiDomenico Photography

GS: Preservation is important because our very cultural identity and sense of place is inherently rooted in our historic landmarks. Take those away and you have a generic McCity. No one wants that.

GB: How important is color in Mid-century modern design?

GS: Very important! Hard to extrapolate from the old black and white photos — but if you look at old Kodachrome slides you will see that that era was quite colorful.

GB: Mid-Century Modern design is finding its way back into pop culture. Do you think the show Mad Men has helped popularize Mid Century Modern? You watch that show? And if so, do you find yourself looking at the furniture more than Don Draper?
GS: Definitely — but I think MCM was already starting to regain popularity before Mad Men. They just tapped into it. MCM has always been the darling of Hollywood. You can’t watch television or movies without seeing MCM in the background. Speaking of which, no time for me to watch TV — too busy with my family and volunteer work!

GB: I’m a “Generation Xer and mid-century modern is the look of my childhood. I think that is why I like some of its features. Which elements of Mid-Century Modern most appeal to you?

Photos by Sutter Buttes/John DiDomenico Photography

GS: I totally agree. I was born December ‘63 – the last month of the Boomer generation. I tend to gravitate toward the early 60s designs. I have a weakness for commercial buildings and neon signs of that era.

GB: Mid Century modern is being celebrated at the California Museum. It’s MCM Mania! Don’t you have some artifacts at the museum?

GS: I did some volunteer background research into Ray Eames’ childhood years in Sacramento and contributed some books that are displayed in the exhibit.

GB: You have some surprises at this year’s Mid-Century Modern Home show don’t you? Can you spill the beans for us here?

GS: We will have extra goodies and swag. Plus a surprise remodeled room at SacMod HQ. Here’s a hint: it abides, Dude.

GB: Preserving and protecting modern architecture is important, but I also think it would be cool to preserve the original concepts! I say bring back Woody’s Smorgasburger and The Zombie Hut to Freeport Boulevard. Whaddya think?

GS: I have been hoping someone would bring these classics back! In our guidebook we have devoted a two-page retrospective to Zombie Hut.

GB: A few of your favorite things:
Favorite Sacramento neon sign?

GS: Jugglin’ Joe in front of Gunther’s Ice Cream. I used to live in Curtis Park and would take the long way home just to see him throwing scoops at night.

GB: Favorite architect?
GS: That’s like asking who your favorite kid is.

GB: Favorite designer?
GS: See above.

GB: Favorite Mid-Century Modern home on the tour?
GS: See above.
GB: Favorite Point Of Interest on the MCM tour?
GS: I’d have to say the neon signs are my favorite points-of-interest. Our historic signs are really taken for granted. But we sure notice when they are gone.

GB: Okay, last question. Brady Bunch House. Mid-Century Modern or not?

GS: Oh sure — split level modern ranch. There’s a wacky one in SLP Hills. Absolutely enormous! Mr. Brady was an architect you know. Note that we will have four open buildings besides the homes and 22 additional drive-by points of interest. Ultimately what I’m hoping for is that people will know more about the stuff they pass by daily — and have an increased appreciation for and fondness of all that is around us. I’m proud to be from Sacramento. Everyone who lives here should be.

If you go:

What: MCM Home Tour
Where: Through out Land Park, starting at Sacramento Executive Airport, 6151 Freeport Blvd.
When: Saturday, May 18. The vintage transportation show is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., registration and exhibits open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Homes and other tour locations open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: Get your MCM Home Tour tickets at www.sacmod.brownpapertickets.com til May 15th. $30 general admission $20 for SacMod members. SacMod is also on Facebook