SMUD’s history began through local voters’ approval in 1923

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Part two of the series will feature details regarding the renovation of East Sacramento’s SMUD headquarters building.

For well more than six decades, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District has been serving the electricity needs of residents of Sacramento and beyond.
Presently, SMUD serves all of Sacramento County and a small portion of Placer County.
The company recently made news when it was reported that its more than half-century-old headquarters building at 6201 S St. in East Sacramento would undergo a $100 million renovation.

Caption: SMUD relocated its headquarters and offices into this building at 2101 K St. in 1949. / Photo courtesy of SMUD
Caption: SMUD relocated its headquarters and offices into this building at 2101 K St. in 1949. / Photo courtesy of SMUD

That project, albeit one of the major projects of the district, marks just one of the many highlights in the company’s history, which dates back to July 2, 1923.
On that day, 87 percent of voters approved a $12 million bond issue for the creation of SMUD.
Additionally, a five-member board of directors was elected to serve a one-year term. Those original directors were Mayor Albert Elkus, Judge C.E. McLaughlin, George L. Herndon, Robert L. Jones and Ben Leonard.
In 1921, The Sacramento Union had published the following words: “It has been very definitely proved that municipalities can provide their own power and light at a cost considerably below the rate charged by private hydroelectric companies.”
During the same year, efforts to establish a community owned electric distribution system and water and power rights on Silver Creek in El Dorado County were investigated by SMUD representatives.
The district’s original service areas were the cities of Sacramento and North Sacramento and adjacent territory of approximately 48,000 acres or 75 square miles.
SMUD’s early history also included the expansion of its service area from 48,000 acres to 420,000 acres, with the inclusion of the communities of Elverta, Rio Linda, Elk Grove and Herald.
This 1958 photograph shows a group of men who were employed as SMUD meter readers at that time.
This 1958 photograph shows a group of men who were employed as SMUD meter readers at that time.

An article in the Dec. 29, 1986 edition of The Sacramento Bee summarizes SMUD’s major challenges of its early years, as follows: “SMUD had been created by voters in 1923. But it took most of the intervening 23 years to win independence from (the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.), which was loathe to relinquish the territory.
“In fact, for several years, even after the 1946 takeover (of PG&E), SMUD was a captive of PG&E. It bought most of its power from the big private utility until 1952, when it won an allotment from the federal Central Valley Project.”
Regarding the change from private to public distribution and sale of electricity, The Bee, in its December 31, 1946 edition, notes: “It would have been easy during the long fight for (SMUD’s) directors to have become disheartened and to have given up. But they kept tenaciously at their task and saw it through. And for that they deserve the thanks of the entire community.”
That night, at 6 p.m., the Sacramento area’s power distribution facilities formally passed from PG&E to SMUD, and Sacramento became the nation’s seventh largest city to obtain its electric service from a publicly owned power system.
At that time, SMUD was operating in rented rooms at 1325 K St. and in tin Quonset huts at the present 59th Street site.
A 50th anniversary (1947-1997) SMUD booklet describes the change in the usage of electricity in Sacramento homes from the end of World War II to the beginning of the 1960s, as follows: “In 1945, many homes in Sacramento and outlying areas were lit by kerosene or gas lamps and kept warm by wood stoves. But by 1960, the average Sacramento home not only had electric service – it had become a veritable electricity consumption center. Sacramentans had bought electric ranges, central heating, electric washers, dryers and dishwashers, and a remarkable range of small electrical appliances, from waffle irons and griddles to electric blankets and bathroom space heaters.”
In 1949, SMUD relocated its headquarters and offices into the then-recently remodeled, former Northern Motor Co. building at 2101 K St.
The 1949 city directory lists SMUD as then having its administrative and general offices at 2101 K St. and its operating headquarters at 59th and R streets.
During the late 1950s, SMUD began to build its own hydroelectric power plants on the upper American River, and by 1961, the company had lowered its electricity rates three times.
SMUD’s aforementioned headquarters building in East Sacramento opened in 1960.
In 1966, the company purchased 2,100 acres in Herald, in southeast Sacramento County, for the purpose of constructing its once controversial Rancho Seco nuclear power plant. The plant was built from 1969 to 1974.
Fifteen years later, Rancho Seco – Spanish for “dry ranch” – was permanently closed following a public vote to have the place decommissioned.
During those years, the Arab oil embargo led to an energy crisis in this country, and the federal government requested that Americans limit their energy consumption.
Furthermore, a major drought in Northern California in 1976 resulted in the drying out of SMUD’s largest reservoir. Subsequently, its hydroelectric power output was decreased by 50 percent.
 SMUD switchboard operators are shown in this 1947 photograph. / Photo courtesy of SMUD
SMUD switchboard operators are shown in this 1947 photograph. / Photo courtesy of SMUD

In response, SMUD’s directors approved a comprehensive energy conservation program, which involved the input of its customers.
Folsom was annexed by SMUD from PG&E via a vote of that city’s residents in 1984. The acquisition added 141 square miles to the utility district’s service area.
Among SMUD’s highlights in the 1990s were the construction of three cogeneration plants, the expansion of generation capacity at its upper American River power plants, and the opening of its Energy Management Center.
In regard to the center, the aforementioned 50th anniversary SMUD booklet notes that it “dovetailed to allow the district to make its own minute-by-minute decisions on buying power and managing energy sources, a method far more cost effective than relying exclusively on long-term power contracts.”
Furthermore, the booklet notes that SMUD employees were able to cut costs by $56 million, and avoid a tenth rate increase in eleven years.
The 2000s brought the Y2K bug concern that never actually became an issue and the state mandated deregulation of the electric utility industry, which resulted in shortages of power, rotating outages and an increase in wholesale energy costs.
Additionally, the Sept. 11 attacks led to an elevation in security at the SMUD facilities and offices.
Now in its 68th year of providing energy services to its customers, SMUD continues its efforts to improve its offerings.
An official SMUD document, which includes a section, entitled, “The New Century,” notes: “Even as we coped with deregulation and other difficult issues, we forged ahead with a (sic) major green-energy efforts such as our wind-power project in Solano County,  https://www.smud.org/en/residential/environment/smart-homes/”Smart Homeshttps://www.smud.org/en/residential/environment/greenergy/”Greenergyhttps://www.smud.org/en/residential/environment/solar-for-your-home/solarshares.htm”SolarShares, plug-in hybrid vehicles and a host of other initiatives.
“We’re well on our way to building a smart grid to help us operate more efficiently and give you better choices in the way you use energy.”
Last week, in speaking about the company’s past and future, SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard said, “SMUD’s value to the community is deep and far reaching, and we’re doing everything in our power to make that relationship even stronger in the years and decades to come.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Know Your Neighbor: World traveler discusses experiences that led to opening a cafe in Elmhurst

Leo Hickman, the owner of The Classy Hippie Cafe, is a world traveler and has moved his business from midtown to the Grange in Elmhurst.  / Photo by Monica Stark
Leo Hickman, the owner of The Classy Hippie Cafe, is a world traveler and has moved his business from midtown to the Grange in Elmhurst. / Photo by Monica Stark

A former biomedical engineer, a post 9/11 soldier, an athlete, and a world traveler, Leo Hickman has created the Classy Hippie Cafe – what he calls a traditional tea room with an urban vibe– out of experience. Now located in Elmhurst inside The Grange Performing Arts Center near Stockton Boulevard at 3823 V St., the Classy Hippie Cafe is a bit hidden from the bustle of traffic, but Leo is making his presence known with outdoor seating and an ongoing gathering called tai chi and tea. With a few tables set out on the grass space around the grange, Leo invites tea drinkers to enjoy the good weather while they sip a cuppa or if they stop by around 9 a.m., Friday through Sunday, they can participate in a drop-in tai chi lesson.
And because of its location inside the theater building, he offers theater patrons the opportunity to purchase tea from the tea room and has invited friends to “VIP Nights” at the theater on Saturdays. Showing now is the sold out Green Valley Theatre Company production of “In the Heights”, a 2008 Tony Award winning musical, which chronicles the lives of the residents of New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood.
In a Jan. 28 interview with the East Sacramento News, Leo said the cafe is representative of himself and his eclectic love of the world’s cultures. “Before the classy hippie came about, I would brand myself as the culture bandit because I love taking the best out of every culture. I’m huge into auyervedic medicine, which comes from India. I lived in China. A lot of the teas are from China. We also have some macha which comes from Japan. A little bit of everywhere. Also to get back to my roots, there’s also rooibos, a member of the legume family of plants growing in South Africa and yerba matte, which is native to South America. The tea will take you all over the world.”
Quite the world traveler himself, Leo, originally from New Jersey, left his hometown which he describes as having a lot of “culture, a lot of b-bop, a lot of music” at the early age of 19 and hasn’t looked back. “I’ve been traveling ever since.”
Hitting 27 countries in 2 and a half years, Leo financed his trip around the world in an unconventional way. “A lot of people get jobs at hotels and things like that so they can speak English, but I taught salsa dancing. And that was my way around.”
With the philosophy of making “your job fun,” Leo is making his job fun today after years of finding himself and eventually landing in Sacramento.
Sacramento was not part of it of his plan. He came to the West Coast racing motorcycles. You see, he fell a few of times without insurance, so he went back to school and became a medical engineer. “I got hired on in Vegas. Well, 2008 hit and a lot of people got laid off. I was pretty good at what I did so they said we don’t want to fire you, but we don’t have a position for you anymore. Do you want to go to California or Colorado? I had no idea what Sacramento was. I cannot lie. When (General Electric) said California, I thought palm trees, beach. Aww. I guess they do most the filming in L.A. and San Diego. When they said, ‘The City of Parks and Trees’ I thought, what part of California is that?”
But still a little restless and “too young for settling” down, Leo decided to quit his stable job for more excitement. He thought his wife was on board, but after losing about $8,000 on a month long poetry competition held at the Elks Tower, she left. Speaking highly of the event, however, Leo said, “It was really cool. It had everything I wanted. People got to speak and open themselves up, but I lost a lot on that event and I lost my wife. She left three weeks later and it was a very difficult time when it happened.”
But what came out of it was the birth of three companies: the Classy Hippie Cafe, Hidden House (which is Leo’s tai chi and wellness business), and Leo Sensations, his event planning company.
Established within the borders of midtown in January 2014; the Hidden House and Classy Hippie Cafe held its first incarnation within the rustic brick of an early 1900s fire house, before moving to the Midtown Collective, which currently houses Firefly, Moonrise Boutique, and Trash Boutique.
When Leo and his ex wife lived inside the old fire house, they resided on the second floor and beneath them was a recording studio, Sound Cap Audio. “They would bring recording artists up and I would send talent down. Because I was open late, I would make food and different things for the artists. So we played off of each other. So that’s where I was when the wife left and I wondered what am I going to do. I went in, I started painting and remodeled the place and turned it into a wellness center where we did tai chi and Asian yoga.”

In that transition from a life of drugs to tea, Leo said it really came down to his roots – his parents. “The thought of letting them down and knowing my own self worth. I mean I finished engineering school. I raced motorcycles. I went to war. And to die from doing too many drugs, really? You’re not Jimi Hendrix, you will die and no one will remember you. So, it really it home that there’s so much more to do with your life.
“Everything I’m doing now, we did growing up. It was mainly my mom. My dad was the quiet guy. Our home – they called us the Huxtables in our neighborhood. We were one of the only Black families with a huge house, but it wasn’t like we were rich. My parents both worked. My grandfather lived with us. We had family chippin’ in. We just had a home that anyone and everyone came to. There were kids that didn’t have a place to go, a coat for the winter. (His parents would tell those children): ‘You have a coat now. You have food. You stay with us.’ So all that flowed over to the business. My father, on the other hand, was the guy who didn’t say a lot, but he had that wisdom about him. And when he spoke, you did listen. So, I picked up a lot from him. My mother is an assembly line worker for General Motors and my father is the manager for the night shift.”
Unfortunately for Leo, he lost the house and had to rewrite the business plan for his future. Hopefully for Leo, the current location – the Grange on V Street off Stockton Boulevard – is able to fulfill the needs for this creative venture.
The Classy Hippie Cafe is located at 3823 V St. The cafe is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 235-3243 or visit http://classyhippiecafe.com

editor@valcomnews.com

The Best of the East Sacramento News 2014

Dear readers,
This year, the East Sacramento News has enjoyed bringing you stories about your neighbors and about the history that has made up the community you call home. What follows are summaries and excerpts from some of our favorite stories from the past year. Also, see some of the best photos of the year on page 19, many of which were taken by our star photographer, Stephen Crowley, who has had six photos nominated for awards by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Additionally, movie reviewer Matias Bombal shares with readers the top five movies he has reviewed for Valley Community Newspapers since he started writing for us in 2014. Without further adieu, here are the top stories and columns selected by staff this year.
Sincerely, Monica Stark

Bizarre vandalism hits East Portal Park area by Michael Saeltzer: David Powell has lived in his house since 1973 and is well known in his part of the neighborhood as being a good guy. He’s a retired firefighter, once having helped lead a grassroots movement to rebuild the playground at East Portal Park. He lives across the street from many nice rentals on 54th Street near J Street.

A few blocks away from David’s home, a woman living near Curtis Park for more than 13 years informed her neighbors that somebody had vandalized her home by spray painting the words, “Put can away,” in silver paint across the wall of her porch right next to her front door. Then, it got worse. It pretty much happened again to her neighbor. This time in dark blue spray paint were the words – “Don’t put cans out so early.” Important to note, is that the second time, the people involved have young children so they requested anonymity.

Courtesy of David Powell This is one photo that illustrates the graffiti that took over a small section of East Sacramento near East Portal Park earlier this year. Residents were targeted for over-watering their plants, putting their garbage cans out too early or leaving them out too long.

Courtesy of David Powell This is one photo that illustrates the graffiti that took over a small section of East Sacramento near East Portal Park earlier this year. Residents were targeted for over-watering their plants, putting their garbage cans out too early or leaving them out too long.

A few weeks later is when David received a call from Patty, an elderly neighbor across the street. She was telling him that someone knocked on her door, and when she answered, the man standing there told her she was using too much water. He then asked if he could borrow a wrench to turn it off. Then a week or so after that, the neighbor living nearby awoke to a large spray painted tag done in the same color blue as Kathy’s neighbor saying: “Stop over wating! (sic)”

After learning about all of these incidents, David stepped into action. He already had a preexisting relationship with police officer and local George Chargin. Officer Chargin helped when the area was having trouble with homeless people and this time he set up a meeting for all the victims to attend to share their stories, gather facts, and see if a person suspected of possibly committing the crimes could be detained. When confronted by Chargin, the suspect in David’s words, “said all the right things.” No charges could be filed.

When asked if the neighbors have a neighborhood watch program, each of the victims said that there is a neighborhood watch sign in the area, but none of them know of such a formal group. One neighbor named Meme said, “When something happens we know where to go, straight to David, he’s awesome!”

David explained he had his own form of protection in his house. The hunting pictures didn’t leave one guessing as to what that meant.

Ray and Dorothy Bertolucci are shown in front of their 37th Street guest house in this c. 1949 photograph. Ray was unofficially known as the “Mayor of 37th Street.” / Photo courtesy of Lois Lindstrom

Ray and Dorothy Bertolucci are shown in front of their 37th Street guest house in this c. 1949 photograph. Ray was unofficially known as the “Mayor of 37th Street.” / Photo courtesy of Lois Lindstrom

Remembering the ‘Mayor of 37th Street’ by Lance Armstrong: There are many memorials that can be found in various places throughout the capital city. But one of the most hidden and less known memorials is that of former East Sacramento resident Ray Bertolucci (1911-2011).

At the end of a cul-de-sac on 37th Street, just south of P Street, is an area, which is rich with trees, ivy and other plants.

Although it is necessary to do some investigating on the southeast side of that area to locate Ray’s memorial, with relatively little effort, one can find that memorial, as well as memorials to his wife, Dorothy M. (Herbert) Bertolucci (1915-1997), and Jamil D. Nammour, a professor at Sacramento State University from 1969 to 1986.

Ray’s plaque has a short inscription, as it reads: “Raymond Bertolucci, ‘The Mayor,’ 1911-2011.”

With a glance at a listing of mayors who have served Sacramento, one would not find the name, Raymond Bertolucci.

So, with that in mind, the obvious question would be: Why was this man, Ray Bertolucci, recognized as a mayor on a memorial at the end of a portion of 37th Street in East Sacramento?

Although Ray passed away three years ago in his 37th Street home, and thus would not be available for comment, the answer to that question can be easily answered by many people who remember him as having acquired that title.

In an interview with this publication, Larry Bertolucci, who was Ray and Dorothy’s only child, said that his father began to be referred to as “the mayor” by his neighborhood friends in the 1980s.

“(Ray) was just very active in terms of when they closed 37th Street off (south of P Street, near the old freight train tracks/light rail tracks) and made it a cul-de-sac (in the mid-1980s), and he was just a real advocate for that general location,” said Larry, who graduated from Sacramento High School in 1962, and later graduated from Stanford University. “When people would move in, he would welcome them. If anybody was doing any nonsense, he was not afraid to confront them and say, ‘That’s kind of unacceptable for this area.’ And everybody just kind of rallied around him. I think it was partly because of age, partly because of his personality and partly because of his tenure of living there. So, you know, it just kind of came into fruition if anybody needed any answers about the area, (they would ask for his assistance). The guy had phenomenal recall. It was amazing that he could put the dates and names to places. He could tell you in Old (Sacramento) what store was there on what corner, what they did, who owned it. He would meet a guy in a store, at Corti Bros. or maybe at Safeway, and he would say, ‘Larry, I know that guy.’ He wasn’t afraid to go up and (talk to) the person and say, ‘I know you, tell me your name,’ or ‘I think your name is this. You were related to this guy.’ And the next thing you know, they were carrying on a conversation. He was absolutely uncanny.”

The grave of Dorothy Millette Bern is located at East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

The grave of Dorothy Millette Bern is located at East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

East Sacramento cemetery marker recognizes woman with unique Hollywood connection by Lance Armstrong: A grave marker reading, Dorothy Millette Bern, lies at East Lawn Memorial Park in East Sacramento. And although that name may mean nothing to most Sacramentans today, there was a time when locals were well aware of details pertaining to Dorothy and her association with a real-life Hollywood mystery.

The year was 1932 and headlines of newspapers across the nation were announcing the latest daily news pertaining to the sudden death of the German-born Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film producer Paul Bern. He died in his Hollywood mansion two months after marrying the notable film actress Jean Harlow, and his remains were interred at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood (Los Angeles County).

Also mentioned in the first part of this series was an article, which appeared in the Sept. 8, 1932 edition of The Sacramento Bee.

That Associated Press article noted that Paul had been married to another woman a decade earlier and that he was never divorced from the woman, who was “a mental incompetent in a New York sanatorium (sic).”

The hotel officials also claimed that Dorothy was visited by Paul at the hotel on an annual basis, and that she had ceased residing at the New York hotel a short time prior to Paul’s marriage to Harlow.

Dorothy once again made the news on Sept. 9, 1932.

The Bee then-reported that Dorothy had been a passenger on the Delta King during one of its voyages from San Francisco to Sacramento. She had, according to River Lines officials, boarded the vessel under the name of “D. Millette” on Sept. 6, 1932 at 5:30 p.m., a day following the announcement of Paul’s death.

Earlier in the day, a woman arrived at Plaza Hotel in San Francisco and registered as “D. Millette, New York City.”

It was also reported by The Bee that Dorothy, who had checked into the King’s stateroom No. 304, appeared to have been missing when the riverboat arrived at its destination, and that police believed that she had ended her life by leaping into the Sacramento River.

A coat and a pair of shoes that were identified as belonging to Dorothy were discovered on the boat’s observation deck, and a large portion of her belongings were discovered in her stateroom after the King docked in Sacramento.

H.L. Karrick, a passenger on the same Delta King voyage, would later say, “Everybody on the boat was watching (Dorothy). She kept wringing her hands and appeared to be weeping.”

Additionally, Karrick stated that he witnessed Dorothy standing by a rail of the ship and gazing into the water at 2:30 a.m., when he departed the vessel at Rio Vista.

In an article published in the Sept. 10, 1932 edition of The Sacramento Union, it was noted that based on the theory that she had jumped to her death in the river, constables and fisherman in every river township below the capital city were keeping a lookout for a floating body.

Meanwhile, faced with the possibility that Dorothy may have swum ashore and was still alive, and possibly involved in a suicide hoax, police also searched transportation systems and rooming houses.

Aiding in support of the then-theory that Dorothy committed suicide was the fact that $38 was found in her purse that had been left in her stateroom.

Although a statewide police search for Dorothy was reinstated, that search would be short lived.

On Sept. 15, 1932, The Union ran the front page headline, “Dorothy Millette’s body found in river.”

The Lady of the Lake: Judy McClaver’s journey to clean up McKinley Park pond activates the community by Monica Stark: With pointed fingers and curious faces, McKinley Park visitors have taken to watch neighbor Judy McClaver row a paddle boat back and forth across and around the pond, filling up a large trash can with garbage, tree branches, tennis balls, fishing lines, hooks and even syringes. She and her friend, Rick, have also worked together to remove domestic birds, replant the island, fix the sprinklers, and prune the shrubs.

A local hero to the community, Judy has taken on a mission to educate the public and city officials about the health of the water and the importance of feeding the waterfowl a proper diet. The pond, measuring about an acre in size, she explained, should not have more than 30 birds in it at any one time. In this pond, at the worst time of year, migration time, Judy estimates the pond as being home to about 100 geese and 100 ducks, compared to now with about 20 geese and about 30 ducks. It’s also home to about 75 turtles and a variety of fish.

“I knew the pond was dirty – that it had no care,” Judy told the East Sacramento News on a warm Thursday afternoon, as she did her routine maintenance. Pointing toward the island that sits in the middle of the pond, she described the gravity of its spoilage.

“That whole island was in disrepair. The birds were getting hurt over there; they were being trapped because of the bamboo. They would trip over it. It’s so thick when it grows, and the females would go into the bamboo when they were chased by the males to get away, but they couldn’t get out. And there were rats on the island. And there were rotten eggs. It was definitely horrid over there,” she said.

Though the pond is much cleaner now thanks to her ongoing work, she knows that her physical efforts aren’t enough – that the water is disgustingly dirty.

“I am the one that told the city how dirty this pond was and about its lack of maintenance and management, so that they finally commissioned an estimate to be done of four city ponds. This estimate proved what I had been telling them…this pond is a human health hazard,” Judy said.

Sure enough, deemed as such, a Lake Management and Assessment Report, commissioned by the City of Sacramento identified dangerous levels of E. coli from the waters of McKinley Pond. And after much insistence from neighbors to repair and clean it out, the city has set aside $225,000 in Park Impact Fees and Quimby funds, which was approved in June, parks staff will work with the community on the scope and design of the revamped pond. It’s estimated the construction will be completed this year.

They’ll drain it, erect a fence around it, but someone will need to find homes for all the wildlife living there. As Parks and Recreation Director Jim Combs said in a phone interview, “You can’t just clean these ponds every year. It’s not like your bathtub. We have to relocate the animals. It’s a big undertaking.”

Lady of the Lake attacked during 8 a.m. routine maintenance by Monica Stark: Judy McClaver, McKinley Park’s very own Lady of the Lake, was attacked while picking up trash at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 19. Assaulted from behind, a known felon ripped Judy’s t-shirt, knocking her to the ground where she hit her head on the sidewalk. She got up, but he came at her again, so she hit him with her trash reacher, but he sent her to the ground again, hitting her tailbone.

“I was screaming for 9-11 the whole time and there were plenty of people around witnessing, yelling at him and calling 9-11,” Judy told the East Sacramento News two days after the incident. At that time, she said she was doing “OK,” that her headache had been resolved, but that her tailbone still had been very painful. She said X-rays did not show fracture, but that there were a few other bruises. “It’s difficult to lay on my back with metal clips on back of my head, but I survived.”

During the incident, people made a barrier between Judy and the man, while emergency medical technicians and police officers made their way to her aid. When the first officer arrived, he directed the man to sit and called him by name. “Obviously well known to the police, (I) later found out they get calls on him frequently,” Judy said. “We could hear the guy refusing to cooperate with police commands and being threatened with a taser. The guy was one step short of going into the pond. I was hoping he would, but that would then mean the police would have to deal with the filthy pond water. Eventually five more police (officers) showed up.”

Judy said she spent about six hours in the emergency room, “getting CTs, X-rays and waiting. I also got seven staples to a laceration on the back of my head.” Described as “6 feet something, black with dreadlocks and always (wearing) dark clothing,” Judy said she had seen her assailant in the park repeatedly for the last few weeks prior to the incident and described his odd behavior as follows: “the guy who attacked me – I never saw him never interact with people in the park, but he would make wide circles around (them).”

Janey Way Memories: My First Christmas Away from Home by Martin Relles: In September of 1969, I completed my military training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and then the U.S. Army issued me orders to serve in West Germany. In early October, I boarded a charter plane headed for Frankfurt, Germany. After three days in Frankfurt, I received orders to serve at the 510th Ordinance Battalion in the small German town of Gunzburg.

If the truth be told, I arrived in Gunzburg ill-prepared for the German climate. It didn’t help that my army duffel bag, filled with most of my clothing, disappeared en-route. It eventually arrived, months later, but initially, I had minimal gear.

By mid-November, the first snow fell and it covered the ground until, April. You got used to it though. I soon began to enjoy it. Thanksgiving came and went and Christmas approached. I started to feel a little home-sick then. However my first Christmas away from home turned out wonderfully.

Mom sent me a care-package in mid-December full of treats. We went out and bought a small tannenbaum (Christmas tree) for our room. We decorated it with ornaments purchased at a store in town. In town, they decorated the streets with red ribbons, greenery and ornaments. I bought small presents, and mailed them home.

On Christmas day, I attended services at the beautiful Gothic cathedral in town. That evening, the officers hosted Christmas dinner for the men in the dining hall. They came, in full military dress attire, accompanied by their wives. After a fine turkey dinner with all the trimmings, they distributed small presents to all of us. Christmas away from home wasn’t so bad after all.

Know your neighbors: Don Coan and Barbara Jodry by Monica Stark: Eighty-seven-year-old Don Coan, an East Sacramento resident who was a human rights activist, according to The Sacramento Bee died Oct. 2 of prostate cancer. Don and Barbara spoke with the East Sacramento News in July to promote Solar Cookers International’s solar cook-out, which was held in William Land Park and featured dozens of demonstrators from around the world. What follows is some information about Don and Barbara from the July interview.

*************
“I enjoy using the sun for baking during the summer. It saves on gas and doesn’t heat up the house.” –Don Coan, East Sacramento resident, Solar Cookers International Order of Excellence (2009), SCI Volunteer of the Year (1989, 1993)

East Sacramento residents Don Coan and Barbara Jodry bought a nice, new stove in 2000, only to have used it maybe a dozen times since then. “We like to do the Thanksgiving turkey in it,” laughs Barbara. “It’s a running joke. We just really like to use our solar cooker,” she said.

Living on 38th Street near F Street, the two helped spawn an annual “solarcue” down the street in Rick and Heidi Kantola’s sunny front yard.

As solar cooking conventions started taking place around the world, Barbara and Don thought: “Why couldn’t we do it in the neighborhood?” So they did, “solarcue” fashion. “It seemed like a lie to call it a solar barbecue, but they started calling it a ‘barbaracue’ because my name is Barbara. As you can tell, we have a sense of humor here. This was in the 90s, early in our efforts to boost publicity about solar cooking,” Barbara said.

For several summers on a day near the solstice, Don and Barbara attracted quite a few passersby who saw the solarcue. “Barbara and I were just looking at the home movie that a friend of ours took of one those events. It was great to be reminded about that period in our lives,” said Don, who, just a few weeks prior to the interview, stopped volunteering regularly inside the Solar Cooking International office, located at 1919 21st St., No. 203. Don received the organization’s Order of Excellence award in 2009 and the SCI Volunteer of the Year award in 1989 and again in 1993. SCI facilitates humanitarian and environmentally focused partnerships around the world through a database of connections. As an umbrella organization to numerous groups that try to spread solar cooking worldwide, SCI helps facilitate partnerships.

Sold on the logic of solar cooking instantly when Sacramento State University professor, Dr. Bob Metcalf, first introduced the cooking methods to them in the 1980s at a demonstration at Sacramento State University, Barbara said it seemed “like idiocy to walk away from.”

“If the sun could give you sunburn, why wouldn’t it cook food?” she asked.

At the time, 1988, Don had just retired from his career as the Sacramento County Welfare Department (now Department of Social Services) Bureau Chief. Not one to really “retire,” Don described how he became involved with his then-newfound passion of solar cooking. “I was looking around for interesting things to do other than going fishing or that kind of stuff and it happened there was an article in Christian Science Monitor on solar cooking and there happened to be an office in Sacramento that promotes solar cooking. They said, ‘if you send in a dollar to this address, then you can get the instructions to construct a solar box.’”

So, he learned to make his own solar box cooker out of cardboard and figured he might as well help teach others how to do the same thing. And he put in volunteer work once a week doing “one thing or another” for Solar Cookers International. As the organization grew, his ability and interest grew too.

Shortly after they learned how to solar cook, Don and Barbara began raiding bins in the back of local businesses for cardboard boxes – a basic solar cooking material. “We’d get permission and take away corrugated cardboard and build a box, 30 by 30 inches. We insulated it with crumpled paper. The idea was to build something from practically nothing, something poor people could handle,” Barbara said.

Discussing their involvement with worldwide conferences, Don said he and Barbara went to their first conference in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. “This was a conference related to environmental issues. We had cookers there to show people how they worked.”

Explaining further, Barbara said: “We went down there and took our solar cookers. We weren’t with the high muckety-mucks discussing world environmental issues. We were demonstrating one small solution cooking using the sun versus fossil fuels and how the process is not endangering lives.”

Rick Edwards and Leanne Mack work with East Sac Pet Pals, which is much more than a simple dog walking business.

Rick Edwards and Leanne Mack work with East Sac Pet Pals, which is much more than a simple dog walking business.

On the Curbs: East Sac Pet Pals is more than just dog walking by Michael Saeltzer: Rick Edwards is the former owner of East Sac Pet Pals. He used to be seen jamming around in his small jet black super charged 2003 Honda Element with the pink stripe around it reading “East Sac Pet Pals.”

He owned the business with his wife Deb who overcame one bout of ovarian cancer, but ultimately was not able to overcome the disease. After Deb passed away, he transferred the business entirely over to Leanne Mack who is quickly making herself known in our community for her decision to quit corporate life and pursue a different lifestyle. Rick and Leanne both experienced situations in their lives that unexpectedly included pets, community, and personal transformation.

Rick explained to Leanne that East Sac Pet Pals is much more than a simple dog walking business. They provide the full package emphasizing home security and safety (Rick worked with the Sac Police to develop best practices for pet sitters), the ability to help out in a jam (think locking your keys in your car on your lunch), and years of knowledge about pet behavior and their health needs. Also included as part of the service is a daily journal of your pet’s day, pictures sent via the web, and a special package of care upon their passing – which is always a time of grief.

Janey Way Memories: The Australians by Martin Relles: After serving two years in the military in 1969-1971, I took a European Out and was honorably discharged at my duty station in Gunzberg, West Germany. Then, my friend Jeff Lucas and I purchased an old Volkswagen and headed south.

We drove first to Austria, visiting picturesque Salzburg, then stately Vienna. After that, we drove through the northwestern edge of Yugoslavia down to Trieste, Italy. From there, we drove along the coast, eventually arriving in Venice. As we pulled into Venice, we stumbled onto a campground. It featured a big sign labeled, “Camping Fusina.”

Little did we know, but that campground had a reputation as the best party spot for young tourists in southern Europe. All the youth bus tours came through Camping Fusina. And, Renato Rossi, the manager of the campground, accommodated them. Tourist buses arrived daily at the campground, then later at night Renato hosted a barbecue and rollicking party. This daily reveling took place throughout the tourist season. Jeff and I fit in well with this merry-making.

In addition to meeting lots of attractive young ladies, we met a whole host of interesting people from all over the world. Among them were three disheveled guys I called, “the Australians.” Their names were David, Peter and Charles (AKA Cobo). They had worked for a full year on a cattle ranch in the outback to cobble together the funds to travel in Europe for six months.

They pulled into the campground one day in a World War II vintage black and white ambulance set up like a camper with sleeping bags laid out in the rear portion of the vehicle. It was their home away from home. Little did I know, but later that summer, I would be traveling with them in that vintage transportation.

Jeff and I immediately took a liking to these blokes. They were short by American standards. David stood about 5 feet, 10 inches. The other two barely reached 5 feet, 8 inches. They were also stout, even paunchy, but also strong and tough…They shared their stories about the Australian outback and we told them about New York City, Hollywood and San Francisco.

We showed them how to play American football and they demonstrated Australian rules rugby.

Most of all though, we just partied together. They taught us the Australian tradition of the “shout.” In Australia, a shout is a group of blokes drinking together. When the glasses are empty, one of the blokes buys another round. This goes on until the party is over. Nobody will ever accuse the Australians of being light-fisted drinkers. They like a good party. And, we joined right in with them. We earned a spot in their shout, for life. What a hoot they were. I’d love to see them again someday.

Eventually though, we all went our merry ways. Jeff and I set off for Florence, Italy and David, Peter and Cobo headed off in the direction of Spain, muttering something about running with the bulls. But, that is another story.

Now my days of celebrating with Australians are just another arm-bending Janey Way memory.

A fire occurred at the old Squeeze Inn on Fruitridge Road on May 14. Shown in this photograph is the back of the building, which reveals the majority of the structure’s exterior damage caused by the fire. Squeeze Inn was founded in East Sacramento. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

A fire occurred at the old Squeeze Inn on Fruitridge Road on May 14. Shown in this photograph is the back of the building, which reveals the majority of the structure’s exterior damage caused by the fire. Squeeze Inn was founded in East Sacramento. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Squeeze Inn restaurant was founded in East Sacramento by Lance Armstrong: Many Sacramentans today are familiar with the popular hamburger restaurant chain, Squeeze Inn. But most longtime Squeeze Inn customers do not recall a location of the business prior to its operation at 7918 Fruitridge Road, where a suspicious fire coincidentally occurred on May 14, about nine hours after the first article of this series by this author was printed in the East Sacramento News.

The history of this business began 32 years ago, when Sacramento natives Ken Noblett of 1449 Arvilla Drive and Shane Dickenson of 1512 55th St. opened the restaurant’s original location at 4087 C St. at Elvas Avenue.

However, on a side note, research revealed that an unassociated restaurant by the same name was established in the capital city long before the 1982 opening of the Squeeze Inn on C Street.

Ruth Noblett, widow of Ken Noblett, who co-founded the Squeeze Inn in 1982, explained that the business’s existence at 4087 C St. in East Sacramento was short-lived due to a change in plans by the building and property’s owner, the East Sacramento business, National Linen Service, at 3391 Lanatt St.

The fire, which caused mostly interior damage to the Fruitridge Road location, was deemed suspicious due to the structure’s vacancy and barred entries, and has been under investigation as a suspicious incident.

As for the Nobletts, despite selling their business in Sacramento, it would not be long before they would return to their routine of operating a Squeeze Inn restaurant.

After moving to Stockton, Ken decided to establish a Squeeze Inn in that little Missouri town, which has no stoplights and a population of about 2,000.

The location of that eatery, which opened at the address of #10 Public Square, in April 2002, served the community well until a tornado blew its building away on May 4, 2003.

Ruth said that she had to be talked into continuing the existence of Stockton’s Squeeze Inn.

“We had a partner (Rod Tucker) and dissolved that partnership after the tornado,” Ruth said. “I didn’t (want to continue the business). I wanted to retire. (Ken) really wanted to and Rod really wanted to, so they kind of talked me into it.”

Additionally, Ruth said that because of a high interest loan, they “couldn’t really not reopen.”

The second Squeeze in Stockton opened at 404 Arby Road in October 2004.

Ken died at the age of 63 in November 2009, and Ruth has been the sole owner of the business since that time.

Ruth noted that she has some good news in terms of the continuance of Stockton’s Squeeze Inn.

Former Tuesday Club of Sacramento members Nancy Leneis, left, and Anita O’Bryan met with the East Sacramento News in 2014 to discuss the decision to cease operations of the club, which met for many decades at the organization’s clubhouse, just south of Sutter’s Fort. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Former Tuesday Club of Sacramento members Nancy Leneis, left, and Anita O’Bryan met with the East Sacramento News in 2014 to discuss the decision to cease operations of the club, which met for many decades at the organization’s clubhouse, just south of Sutter’s Fort. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Tuesday Club of Sacramento ceases operations after 117 years by Lance Armstrong: The Tuesday Club of Sacramento, a women’s organization that was founded 117 years ago, has came to an end in 2014.

In a meeting with the East Sacramento News, former Tuesday Club members Anita O’Bryan and Nancy Leneis explained the decision to cease operations of the club.

“The Tuesday Club took a very difficult vote to disband, because of declining membership, and less (members) were able to come due to health (issues),” Leneis said. “And younger people are not as interested in clubs, so they decided to disband. And it was a vote of the board taken first and then a vote of the entire membership at a meeting (at the Dante Club earlier this year).”

O’Bryan, who was one of the club’s 50-year life members, as she had been a member of the club since 1959, added that the club had been contemplating the idea of disbanding since last year.

“A year before that (final decision), we felt that the club was in trouble and should we consider closing,” said O’Bryan, whose mother, Irene Sweet, was a former president of the club. “And we tried to see if we couldn’t get it going before we made the final decision with the membership.”

Another former Tuesday Club member Irene Ryder was the first person to inform the East Sacramento News about the club’s demise.

At that time, Ryder said, “We have probably had our last meeting as a club.”

And after those words became a reality, a decision was eventually made to break the unfortunate news about the club to the public through the East Sacramento News.

That decision was partially made due to the fact that the club had met just west of East Sacramento for the majority of its years of operation.

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

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

Cycle Tune building demolished, but memories remain 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 months 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. Jenkins explained that his road toward becoming involved with Cycle Tune began when he was 20 years old.

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).”

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.

The Sacramento County Historical Society recognized Valley Community Newspapers’ very own historical writer, Lance Armstrong, at its annual dinner on Tuesday, March 25 at the Dante Club. Lance is currently working on a book project on the history of Sacramento.

The Sacramento County Historical Society recognized Valley Community Newspapers’ very own historical writer, Lance Armstrong, at its annual dinner on Tuesday, March 25 at the Dante Club. Lance is currently working on a book project on the history of Sacramento.

Congratulations to our very own: Lance Armstrong: The Sacramento County Historical Society recognized Valley Community Newspapers’ very own historical writer, Lance Armstrong, at its annual dinner on Tuesday, March 25 at the Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Blvd.

Lance’s early interest in history led to his many years of researching local histories and preserving historical documents, photographs and other historical items from throughout Sacramento County and other areas of the Golden State in his vast personal collection, which is recognized as the Lance Armstrong Collection.

After graduating from California State University, Sacramento with degrees in journalism and music, Lance began his professional writing career, which includes his work for local newspapers such as the East Sacramento News, Land Park News, Arden-Carmichael News, Pocket News, Elk Grove Citizen, The Sacramento Union, Capitol Weekly, Sacramento Downtown News, Sacramento Midtown News, Old Sacramento News, Natomas Journal, The Folsom Telegraph and the Sacramento News and Review.

Lance, who is presently employed by Valley Community Newspapers, has used his knowledge, researching abilities and personal archives in the process of producing local history articles for each of these publications.

These informative and entertaining articles provide a valuable resource for the present and future understanding of the area’s rich history.

The majority of Lance’s local history articles include oral history quotations from his interviews with people from various levels of society.

In addition to his hundreds of local history newspaper articles, Lance is the author of Echoes of Yesterday: Elk Grove – the first book in his Echoes of Yesterday history book series. In 2007, Echoes of Yesterday: Elk Grove was recognized as the nation’s top regional history book for that year by the American Authors Association.

Lance is presently nearing the completion of several comprehensive history books about Sacramento from the times of Captain John Augustus Sutter to present.

Janey Way Memories: Remembering Catholic Youth Organization Basketball by Martin Relles: Last Friday night, I watched my grandson Angelo play in a youth basketball game. It was a blast. Angelo, at 4 feet, 10 inches tall, was one of the big kids on the court.

The boys played on the main basketball court at San Juan High School—a regulation court with 10-foot baskets. They looked pretty small on the big court, but their enthusiasm and endurance amazed me. When Angelo took a rebound, he drove the ball quickly up court, before passing the ball to an open shooter. Later in the second half, he took a long shot which rolled around the rim and dropped in. That shot gave his team a 2-point lead which they never relinquished. The final score was 33 to 31.

Watching the boys play, brought back memories of my own youth basketball experience in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball league. I joined the Saint Mary’s CYO right after graduating from Saint Mary’s School in 1960. Father John Puliz, the pastor of the church, started the club that same year. He felt the teenaged kids, who attended the church, needed a wholesome outlet for their youthful energy. The activities sponsored by the CYO included dances, trips, and team basketball. I signed up for the right away for basketball.

We had our first fall practice at Kit Carson Junior High School in East Sacramento. Bob Hocking served as the coach of our team. Coach Hocking had played basketball at Sacramento State College. He had lot of knowledge to share with our inexperienced, young team which included my friends Dan Petrocchi and Dick Mckechnie. We learned how to play a three/two zone defense and how to run a one/three/one offense. We had already knew the basics of basketball (dribbling, passing and shooting), but did not know how to play as a five-man team. Coach Hocking had his work cut out for him, but over time he molded us into a pretty good team.

In October, we started our 10-game season. It was so exciting. Coach Hocking assigned me to the point guard position. My responsibilities included dribbling the ball up court and initiating plays. I had a pretty good set shot, and the coach encouraged me to take it when I had the opening. I remember scoring in double figures during a few of our games. That made me feel like my hero Bob Cousey of the Boston Celtics. Other times, I passed the ball to big Dick Mckechnie in the key or to Dan Petrocchi on the wing. Dan had a good jump shot and often scored on those opportunities.

Our team played against teams from Sacred Heart, St. Francis, Immaculate Conception, All Hallows and Saint Patrick’s churches. All the teams were very competitive, and the games were close—no blow-outs here. In the end, we took second place. Immaculate Conception, with their 6-foot, 8-inch center won the league.

I have never forgotten, my CYO youth basketball experience. In fact, I often see coach Hocking at meetings of the Dante Club of Sacramento. He always says, “How are you doing kiddo? Keep writing those columns.” I am glad the old coach enjoys reading my stories. I certainly have never forgotten all he taught me, another inspirational Janey Way Memory.

St. Francis High teacher furthering notoriety in the art world through Johnny Cash project by Lance Armstrong: Adan Romo, a longtime teacher at St. Francis High School in East Sacramento, has earned much recognition as a creator of public art. And that notoriety has come through a variety of art projects, including one that is beginning to earn him widespread attention.

His latest project, and one that will become the largest artistic endeavor of his career to date, will be a series of Johnny Cash sculptures in Folsom.

During his interview with this publication, Adan spoke about his co-operation of an art business and his acquisition of the Johnny Cash-related art project.

“I have my own company with my father (Jesus Romo),” Adan said. “It’s called Romo Studios and we’ve been doing public artwork now for almost 20 years now. (The business’s projects include) public artwork for churches or communities or schools or monuments. And so, the opportunity came up (in 2013) for the (Cash project).

“The city of Folsom put out a call to artists to create concepts for a new project they have there, which is to create a three-mile long trail near Folsom Prison that connects all their other existing trails. And they chose to call that three-mile portion the Johnny Cash Trail.

“Then they wanted to select six different artists to create six different artworks along that trail to celebrate Johnny Cash.”

The project will also feature a phone application created for the Johnny Cash Trail, which was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony that was attended Johnny Cash’s eldest daughter, Roseanne Cash, on Oct. 4.

It’s show time! Tahoe Park pub theater to have debut movie next week by Monica Stark: A transformation of the Tahoe Food Market on 14th Avenue is complete. Just last March, the inside was a bit of a disaster area with wet plaster drying over large holes in the walls. There were bars on the windows.

Upon arrival to 5440 14th Ave., Jackie Nadile, the visionary and business owner of the latest incarnation of the space, opened the doors on Friday, Sept. 26 to what she and her husband Alan Lee have named, Public House Theater. Rows of old Del Paso Theatre chairs, obtained from Alan’s boss, line the inside as red curtains border a large movie screen. Also in the seating area are a comfortable couch and the kind of recliners you just sink into.

Behind the seating area, in a separate room, is the bar, which features beer from West Sacramento micro-brew, Bike Dog (whose owner, like Jackie, is a Tahoe Park resident.)

Whereas most movie theaters charge a lot for popcorn and soda pop to recoup the costs of proceeds lost from ticket sales to the movie companies, Nadile said she’s hoping to keep the prices down. With regular menu items such as sandwiches, paninis and pizza, Public House Theater will also offer specials from time-to-time from local restaurants, including sushi night with sake and fare from Kansai Ramen & Sushi House (2992 65th St.,Ste. 288).

From opening day on, she plans on keeping the theater open for Monday Night Football games, as well as movie nights Friday and Saturday and Sunday matinee. Food and drink are served in a laid back atmosphere.

Know your neighbor: The Candy man from East Sacramento by Monica Stark: (Editor’s Note: This was published last April, just in time for Easter.) Chock-full of countless chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, Andy’s Candy Apothecary, located at 1012 9th St., is a pastel-colored paradise decorated with kid-tested baskets, as well as slightly more “grown up” baskets. Just two months ago, it was all about chocolate hearts wrapped in red. “We sold out of all of the chocolate!” East Sacramentan Andy Paul, the store’s owner, then said about the holiday made for sweeties. “I was floored by how much business we had. It was crazy, but it was a good problem to have.”

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

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

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

Janey Way Memories: The Last Father: The Last Father by Martin Relles: Last Friday night, my wife and I attended the Music Circus production of “A Chorus Line.” We loved the show.

One of the most compelling stories in the production was the story of Paul, a young, gay, Puerto Rican dancer trying to earn a part in the chorus line.

During his interview for the part, the choreographer asks Paul to tell his story.

Despite his reluctance to open up about his life, Paul breaks down and tells all.

As a boy he was different from all the other boys. He didn’t like sports and really didn’t want to rough it up. He wanted to dance.

So, he taught himself to dance by watching Hollywood musicals. By the time he got into high school, his difference from other children caused trouble for him. They teased and bullied him. Eventually, he sought the help of a psychologist who told him he was perfectly normal and urged him to drop out of school and pursue a career in dance. So, he took the psychologist’s advice and left school. But, it wasn’t that easy for 16-year old boy from the Bronx find a job as a dancer?

Ultimately, he got a job dancing in drag in a club on the lower east side of New York. His new occupation embarrassed him and he didn’t dare to tell his parents. However, when the manager of the show decided to take it on the road to Chicago, Paul asked his parents to give him a ride to the airport after the evening show. That night his parents surprised him by arriving early to pick him up, and when he walked by them in full costume, gaudy dress and all, they recognized him. This made him feel horrible, but he went on to finish the show.

After the show, he walked out the stage door and discovered his parents talking to the show manager. He saw his dad point a finger at the manager and say, “you take good care of my son.”

At this point in the interview, Paul broke down and said tearfully, “that was the first time my dad ever called me his son.”

This was a touching moment in the show and it brought back memories of my father. I remember him introducing me to his friends, saying proudly, “This is my son, Marty.”

What made Paul’s story even more meaningful to me is that just two days before seeing “A Chorus Line,” I attended the funeral of one of the Janey Way fathers, Virgil Petrocchi. In fact, he was the last surviving Janey Way father.

His son Dan delivered the eulogy. It was a good story about a man who lived a good life, had a good sense of humor, gave sound advice to his children and cared deeply about all the children in the neighborhood. Virgil, like all the Janey Way fathers, played a special role in my life.

These men coached Little League, took the boys camping, set off fireworks on the 4th of July, and taught us how to live our lives with honor and dignity.

With Virgil’s passing, all the Janey Way fathers have left us, but we will always remember them in our Janey Way Memories.

Getting in the holiday spirit in River Park

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Despite the light sprinkles on Sunday, Nov. 30, Rowan Conner, age 7 of River Park, decided to help the family out, decorating the rooftop for the Christmas season.
His mother, Renee, spoke with the East Sacramento News about her son’s creative photo opportunity. “Only in California can you run around without a shirt in November. (Rowan) was helping my husband (Jordan) put on Christmas decorations and called me to come out and see what they had done. It was my son’s idea to have it on the roof, facing the chimney. We just bought that yesterday (Sunday). We had bought Rudolf, but unfortunately my son ended up decapitating Rudolf. We don’t know if we can fix him.”
Editor’s note: Happy holidays! If you have fun holiday photos that you would like to share with the East Sacramento News, contact Monica at 429-9901 or by email at editor@valcomnews.com

Meet your school board candidates

Dear readers: In an effort to help get out the vote and provide the public with relevant information regarding our area’s city council and school board candidates, the following is the first of two (or more) parts of our education question and answer special, featuring incumbent Jeff Cuneo and challenger Ellen Cochrane. Also, the East Sacramento News has teamed up with East Sac Give Back to provide the public the opportunity to witness a debate between Jeff Harris and Cyril Shah for council and Cuneo and Cochrane for school board. An in-depth interview with Harris and Shah was published in this publication

Set to begin at 6 p.m. at the gymnasium at Theodore Judah Elementary School (3919 McKinley Blvd.) on Tuesday, Oct. 21, the debate will be moderated by California State University, Sacramento debate team coach Jared Anderson. Starting with school board candidates, a question will be asked to candidate one (which will be determined by a coin toss). That candidate will have four minutes to answer. Then, candidate two has two minutes to cross examine candidate one, after which time candidate two has four minutes to answer that same question. That format repeats but candidates take turns answering the question first. There will be time for six questions for each race. Council candidates start approximately at 7 p.m.

Also, we are looking for a child master of ceremonies! That’s right, someone in the second or third grade with excellent reading skills who would like to kick off the night. A script is being written. Because that’s what it is all about – the children and bringing the community together. Contact me at 429-9901 if you know of the perfect child MC! (One of the lines will be: “Let’s get ready to rumble. May the best candidates win!”)

Sincerely, Monica Stark

PROVIDE A SHORT BIOGRAPHY/TELL ME ABOUT THE EDUCATION YOU RECEIVED AND HOW YOU GOT INTERESTED IN EDUCATION TO BEGIN WITH.

Ellen Cochrane: I was born in Mercy Hospital 52 years ago, attended David Lubin Elementary School, Sutter Middle School, Sacramento High, and Sacramento City College. I graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in Russian in 1984. I worked overseas in Moscow as an attaché in the American Embassy Press and Culture section. There, I was privileged to witness the historic unraveling of communism.
After that, I traveled widely, met many people from different countries and cultures. That is how I developed an “internationalist perspective.”
I returned to Sacramento to become a teacher in our public schools. I was drawn to education because I saw so many young people around the world whose lives were changed with education. Because I speak Spanish and Russian, I became an English Language Learner instructor and Program Coordinator, and here the internationalist perspective of my 20s came into good use. I’ve been a classroom teacher for 17 years.
I have received three great honors while teaching. I was runner up for Elk Grove’s Teacher of the Year. The other two are the most important awards I’ve ever received. Two different students chose me as their most influential teacher. The handful of students who get to select the award are multitalented and are the top GPA earners in the entire district. I was so proud that these immigrant girls did so well and remembered me, their English Learner teacher from middle school. I helped Karina get documented and she is now studying to be a doctor. Liang graduated with honors from Berkeley with a degree in Political Science.
I’m also the outgoing President of East Sacramento Preservation, the largest neighborhood group in East Sacramento.

Jeff Cuneo: I was born and raised in Sacramento and have lived the majority of my life in this city. I attended public schools. I am married to Carrie, also a longtime Sacramento resident, whom I met in high school. I have two children, Charlie and Haddie.
In 2010, I was elected to the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education for Area 2. Since that time, I have collaborated with parents, teachers and district staff to support our local schools. I helped the district become financially stable while targeting spending on students and the classrooms. Student achievement has risen throughout the school district and our local schools are the highest performing in the city. I supported facility upgrades at our schools, created partnerships with non-profits that have brought needed programs to students and communities, and increased opportunities for parent engagement.
I have an undergraduate degree in political science and philosophy from University of California, Santa Barbara. I received a master’s degree in government and public policy from California State University, Sacramento. I obtained a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Since 2006, I have been a juvenile justice attorney representing youth in delinquency proceedings. I am committed daily to making a positive impact on young people’s lives. I work with school districts, mental health services, community organizations and other legal systems to improve the lives of my children clients.
I founded and managed a legal clinic at WIND Youth Center that brought innovative and necessary services and counsel to homeless and disadvantaged children. I mentored a foster youth for almost 10 years and remain friends with him today. I co-chaired the Sacramento County Children’s Report Card in 2006, 2008, and 2011. My work helped document more than 45 issue areas, including education, social well-being, economics, safety and health, in regard to children in Sacramento County. I led approximately 100 community members in developing data metrics, discussing policy, building consensus and publishing the Report Card.
My entire professional life and community involvement focused on supporting children and students in the Sacramento area. I saw first hand the inadequacies and failures of our local education system. I felt that I could provide the necessary leadership and direction to make our system more responsive to students, engage parents in a more comprehensive way, and provide the necessary supports to teachers. I wanted to ensure all our children are prepared for college and career.
I have spent the last four years as a school board member putting those ideals into practice.

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD? WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE PRIORITIES?

Jeff Cuneo: I believe that being a school board member is a special, trusted community position. The school board is not a “steppingstone” or simply another political office to me. I knew and continue to know how important the position is, not only to my children’s future but our community’s as well. Being a school board member is and has been my passion.

School board is my first choice and the only community position I have sought.

I will continue to represent the interests of my community, provide leadership on important educational issues and always ask, “What is best for our students?”

My three priorities continue to be:

(1) Expand educational options for students and families. This includes supporting the K-12 International Baccalaureate educational pathway at Caleb Greenwood and Kit Carson. I will find new options at the high school level to ensure that parents and students have the educational experience they want. I will support unique programs that keep our neighborhood schools the highest performing in the city.

(2) Accountability to students, parents, taxpayers, and community members. I saved the district millions of dollars by ending unnecessary contracts with outside consultants that were not being spent on our schools. I helped end deficit spending and support a more inclusive, community-based budget process. I have made sure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and with accountability to our community. I will continue to ensure transparency in our budget. I will continue to demand fiscal responsibility and focus district spending on classrooms and schools.

(3) Changing the culture of our school district. When I arrived at the school board, the school district was defined by bickering, infighting and personality conflicts. I have worked, and will continue to work to change that culture, focusing on what is best for our students. I held board hearings on student achievement. I will continue to focus board debates on public policy issues and its affects on our schools and students. This continues to make a positive impact on our school district’s responsiveness to students and communities. And it has helped increase student achievement, graduation rates and the overall climate and culture of our district. I will continue to improve our district’s culture and how it relates to students, parents and communities.

Ellen Cochrane: Many teachers, parents and neighbors asked me to run because they know that I care about the schools in our neighborhoods and will work hard to restore trust between parents, teachers and the board. Here are my priorities: One, to work respectfully and openly in partnership with parents, the community and teachers to achieve results we can all celebrate; two, to work to bring our area a truly comprehensive high school (small, boutique schools do not answer this need); and three, to defend our system of free public education, open to all, from any who would exploit or privatize it for profit. Our public schools are guardians of democracy itself. I believe passionately in making them thrive. To that end, I will bring 17 years of hands-on classroom experience. I will also bring leadership experience as president of the largest neighborhood group in East Sacramento.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SCHOOL REFORM MOVEMENT? AND, WHAT’S YOUR OPINION OF IT LOCALLY?

Ellen Cochrane: The word, reform, has been misappropriated by charter advocates who want to privatize our public schools. I believe that free public education is the foundation of America. It should be improved and updated for the 21st Century. It should not be torn apart. The charter operation leaves children behind, especially vulnerable populations like special needs kids and English Language Learners, not to mention kids in the middle.

Jeff Cuneo: I have been a school board member who listens to my community and makes decisions in the best interests of students. I am a pragmatic policy-maker and focus my attention on improving our local schools and our school district.

I do not believe any “movement” or ideology has the right answers for my community or the issues I have championed over the last four years. I am not an ideologue nor do I adhere to a rigid set of beliefs. Rather, I talk to my constituents, listen to our local educators, digest the facts about any particular issue, and make the best decision for my schools and school district.

As a school board member, the “school reform movement” has never been a topic of conversation. In fact, no local representatives of the movement have involved themselves in the numerous policy debates I have participated in over the last four years. Locally, the “school reform movement” is a non-entity.

If you go:
What: Debate between Ellen Cochrane and Jeff Cuneo for school board and between Jeff Harris and Cyril Shah for council
When: Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m.
Where: Theodore Judah Elementary Gymnasium, 3919 McKinley Blvd.

Crime up 50%: East Sacramento residents hear from authorities on safety issues

During the crime and safety meeting sponsored by the City of Sacramento at the Clunie Center Wednesday, Aug. 27, Glen Faulkner, a Pocket area resident and Sacramento Police Executive Lieutenant for East Area Command, told the standing room only crowd that his data indicates the past 90-day period included a total of 70 reported car and home break ins compared to 35 last year.

Not a good sign.

Evidence that indicates a perception that crimes are on the increase in our area may not simply be the result of something like the increase in popularity of Nextdoor.com.

The good news is that due to good community engagement, and new innovative police practices, reported crime overall in Sacramento is down. Large turnouts at community meetings such as this one give Faulkner hope that more progress can be made.

A couple of years ago, the Sacramento Police Department employed 804 officers. After the severe recession that number dipped to a low of 620, a number that has since been slowly climbing. What this means to the police is that an activated well-trained citizenry working closely with the police department is absolutely critical to our safety.

A citizenry that knows how to spot trouble, and what to do when they suspect something is not right, can help reduce crime possibly more than any other factor, says Faulkner. Therefore, one of the police department’s biggest requests is for individuals to join a neighborhood watch and regularly attend neighborhood association meetings where officers often directly assist and inform the public.

Faulkner, and other officers, stayed long after the meeting was over to offer helpful tidbits to concerned neighbors letting them know that using the words “I suspect someone is casing our street” versus “there is a strange person on our street” can make the difference between meaningful police intervention as opposed to virtually no action.

The event was moderated by Council Member Steve Cohn who did a good job ensuring time was well managed in a one-hour presentation that included open Q&A along with public safety updates from Faulkner, parks safety updates from rangers Joe Cushing and Robert Conroy, and neighborhood watch and Nextdoor.com police liaison Jena Swafford. Also in attendance was Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan and candidates Jeff Harris and Cyril Shaw who are both running to replace Cohn.

Jena Swafford helped inform us about trainings the department officers our communities, how the police use Nextdoor.com, and the robust amount of resources available on the www.sacpd.org website. Growing in popularity are home surveillance cameras which connect to home computers and which can now be registered to the police department on their website to allow the police to directly review any incidents caught on camera. Newsletters, a calendar of events, educational videos, and subscription to daily activity reports are also available on the site.

Cushing and Conroy fielded tough questions from the audience about the homeless problem we face. In fact, earlier that day Cushing had spent 10 1/2 hours helping to relocate many of the homeless. He explained that both the police and the park rangers share jurisdiction of the parks. The rangers are also suffering from budget cuts. Often Cushing has only one ranger on patrol to cover 250 parks throughout the city.

Cushing and Conroy confirmed what some in the audience expressed particular concern with – “the revolving door” and its associated expenses. It is a term used to describe when someone, often homeless and in need of help, is booked on a minor charge and then released four hours later only to be re-booked again and again. Officers directly involved say it does, indeed, exist.

As pointed out in prior East Sacramento News coverage the issue of homelessness and its associated challenges (economic and social) is a growing concern – one that has severely impacted not only Sacramento, but other communities throughout the nation.

Rather than simply tossing up one’s arms and resigning to the belief that there is nothing really that can be done about these problems, models of intervention involving the police are proving that such thinking is convenient, but simply not true.

Large cities, even in highly conservative populations such as San Antonio, provide examples of models of care that dramatically improve outcomes while at the same time saving tens of millions of dollars each year.

Faulkner’s newly promoted partner in the police department, Darryl Brian, explained that he is a U.S. military veteran who was stationed in Germany. He has seen many of his close friends struggle with serious issues only to end up homeless and on the street. Faulkner and Brian are now being mandated by their superiors to direct more attention to these models.

Working with Sacramento Steps Forward, a non-government organization, various agencies such as law enforcement, mental health, homeless, addiction, veteran’s affairs, medical health etc. are creating effective “wraparound” services to help ensure that issues such as The Revolving Door change into Doors of Opportunity for those needing help.

Those readers wishing to find out more about our police and safety in our neighborhoods are invited to meet at Starbucks on 38th and J Street with East Sacramento area Lt. Alisa Buckley Thursday Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The meeting was set up by Eastsacpetpal.com owner Leanne Mack.

Tuesday Club of Sacramento ceases operations after 117 years

Former Tuesday Club of Sacramento members Nancy Leneis, left, and Anita O’Bryan met with the East Sacramento News last week to discuss the decision to cease operations of the club, which met for many decades at the organization’s clubhouse, just south of Sutter’s Fort. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Former Tuesday Club of Sacramento members Nancy Leneis, left, and Anita O’Bryan met with the East Sacramento News last week to discuss the decision to cease operations of the club, which met for many decades at the organization’s clubhouse, just south of Sutter’s Fort. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series about the Tuesday Club of Sacramento.

The Tuesday Club of Sacramento, a women’s organization that was founded 117 years ago, has come to an end.
In a meeting with the East Sacramento News last week, former Tuesday Club members Anita O’Bryan and Nancy Leneis explained the decision to cease operations of the club.
“The Tuesday Club took a very difficult vote to disband, because of declining membership, and less (members) were able to come due to health (issues),” Leneis said. “And younger people are not as interested in clubs, so they decided to disband. And it was a vote of the board taken first and then a vote of the entire membership at a meeting (at the Dante Club earlier this year).”
O’Bryan, who was one of the club’s 50-year life members, as she had been a member of the club since 1959, added that the club had been contemplating the idea of disbanding since last year.
“A year before that (final decision), we felt that the club was in trouble and should we consider closing,” said O’Bryan, whose mother, Irene Sweet, was a former president of the club. “And we tried to see if we couldn’t get it going before we made the final decision with the membership.”
Another former Tuesday Club member Irene Ryder was the first person to inform the East Sacramento News about the club’s demise.
At that time, Ryder said, “We have probably had our last meeting as a club.”
And after those words became a reality, a decision was eventually made to break the unfortunate news about the club to the public through the East Sacramento News.
That decision was partially made due to the fact that the club had met just west of East Sacramento for the majority of its years of operation.
The major timeline dates of the process of ending the club were provided by Laura Asay, the club’s last secretary, as follows:
“Dec. 10, 2013: Board of Directors meeting. Board voted to begin the process to terminate the Tuesday Club’s 501(c)(3) status by the end of the program year in May 2014.
Jan. 8, 2014: Date of letter to all Tuesday Club members advising them of vote to be taken at the Jan. 20, 2014 luncheon meeting, on whether or not to dissolve the Tuesday Club of Sacramento.
Jan. 14, 2014: Board of directors meeting. President Hunter reported (that) she talked (to) our attorney, who said the vote (would become) effective when cast, and the dissolution (would become) effective when the documents (were) filed with the Secretary of State.
Jan. 20, 2014: General membership luncheon meeting. Before the regular luncheon meeting, a special business meeting was held with all attending members to discuss the possible dissolution of the Tuesday Club of Sacramento. Our attorney was in attendance to answer any questions the members may (have desired to ask). There were 29 (of the then-57) Tuesday Club members in attendance at the special business meeting. Ballots were distributed, and 19 members voted to dissolve and seven members voted not to dissolve.”
In its latter years, all Tuesday Club meetings consisted of monthly lunches at the Dante Club from October through April.
Each meeting included a program, which featured such attractions as a speaker or a live musical performance.
Leneis noted that in recent years these programs have focused on community talents, which she described as being “very rich.”
Additionally, Leneis noted that beyond the club’s foremost position as a social club for women, the organization also provided service within the community.
“Every president had a service project, I think maybe one big one a year, although the sewing section always did one for the Children’s Receiving Home (of Sacramento at 3555 Auburn Blvd.),” Leneis said.
Despite the loss of the Tuesday Club, members of its sections continue to gather, as they did in the past. Those sections are the sewing, arts and crafts, book and bridge sections.
In speaking about the continuance of three of those groups, O’Bryan said, “It’s the same people. We enjoy reading and we like to discuss what we’ve read recently, and we’ll keep going. We meet once a month in homes. The bridge section continues to be active, too. I think most of the time they have one table, where in the past they had two tables or more. They’re playing, because they’re enjoying the people they’re with. It’s not for the game. These ladies have played together for decades. And the arts and crafts section is very active, and it continues. We’re not letting go of the whole thing.”
Leneis added, “The sewing section has met for many years in homes, but if there was a large project that needed more space, they would meet at a place where they had more sewing machines available. Of course, some years, we met at Meissner Sewing (and Learning Center at 2417 Cormorant Way), and we met there once a month in their room. They graciously allowed us to meet there. And the book sections, how they met depended on the section. I was in a different section (than O’Bryan), and we met in restaurants. We would give book reports at the restaurant and you were assigned what month you were giving a book report. And usually, you gave a book report every other year.
O’Bryan, in reminiscing about one of the earlier Tuesday Club sections, said, “We used to have a travel group. We took good trips. I went to China with a Tuesday Club group. We went to Los Angeles on the bus. We went to Hearst Castle.”
At the time of its disbanding, the club had about four 50-year members, as well as many 40 and 25-year members.
Both O’Bryan and Leneis expressed their sorrow for the loss of the Tuesday Club.
“I’m very disappointed, because (the Tuesday Club) has been, and I’ve said it before, like a second home to me,” Leneis said. “I’ve spent many happy years at the Tuesday Club with my mother and my aunt and friends.”
And Leneis added, “I think (the disbanding of the club) was with great sadness for many of the members, because this is a club with members who have been in for decades and decades, and the women stay and they have very close friendships. I think we all looked forward to Tuesday Club meetings and seeing our Tuesday Club lady friends, and to lose that, it hurts the heart.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Congratulations to our very own: Lance Armstrong

The Sacramento County Historical Society will recognize Valley Community Newspapers’s very own historical writer, Lance Armstrong, at its annual dinner, to be held Tuesday, March 25 at 6 p.m. at the Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Blvd.

Lance Armstrong was born at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento and has had a lifelong interest in the rich history of his native city and region.

At a very young age, Lance excelled in English courses and writing proficiency and creativity, and as a teenager, he was awarded a special medal for his excellence in creative writing by the San Juan Unified School District.

It was also during his teenage years that he created his own single-page newspaper, which he distributed to friends in various states. And because of this fact, occasionally Lance has humorously told people that by the time he was 16 years old, he was the editor of a national newspaper.

Lance’s early interest in history led to his many years of researching local histories and preserving historical documents, photographs and other historical items from throughout Sacramento County and other areas of the Golden State in his vast personal collection, which is recognized as the Lance Armstrong Collection.

After graduating from California State University, Sacramento with degrees in journalism and music, Lance began his professional writing career, which includes his work for local newspapers such as the East Sacramento News, Land Park News, Arden-Carmichael News, Pocket News, Elk Grove Citizen, The Sacramento Union, Capitol Weekly, Sacramento Downtown News, Sacramento Midtown News, Old Sacramento News, Natomas Journal, The Folsom Telegraph and the Sacramento News and Review.

Lance, who is presently employed by Valley Community Newspapers in Sacramento, has used his knowledge, researching abilities and personal archives in the process of producing local history articles for each of these publications.

These informative and entertaining articles provide a valuable resource for the present and future understanding of the area’s rich history.

The majority of Lance’s local history articles include oral history quotations from his interviews with people from various levels of society.

His local history articles have been positively recognized by various newspapers and organizations.

For instance, in a review of local newspapers in the Jan. 8, 2009 edition of the Sacramento News and Review, one of that publication’s writers, Cosmo Garvin, wrote: “Lance Armstrong’s writing on Sacramento history is always interesting.”

In 2006, the Elk Grove Historical Society presented Lance with an honorary lifetime membership for his continuous articles and other efforts in preserving the 150-year history of the Sacramento County city of Elk Grove.

Lance, who is also a member of the Sacramento County Historical Society, received another honorary lifetime membership six years later from the Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society (PHCS) for “his work in documenting the lives and contributions of the many Portuguese and Portuguese descended persons who were instrumental in developing the Riverside-Pocket area of Sacramento.”

In commenting about the latter honor, PHCS President Mary Ann Marshall said, “We are very appreciative of the many Portuguese-related articles that (Lance) has written for the Pocket News and we are pleased with the opportunity we have to archive them for future generations to have access to them. Lance did a wonderful job in making these stories come to life.”

In another honor, Lance received national recognition from the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, in 2011, for his article, “Elks Lodge No. 6 has extensive history in Sacramento.”

The article, which was first published in the January 7, 2010 edition of the Pocket News, was selected as the country’s best newspaper article written about the Elks that year.

In addition to his hundreds of local history newspaper articles, Lance is the author of Echoes of Yesterday: Elk Grove – the first book in his Echoes of Yesterday history book series.

In 2007, Echoes of Yesterday: Elk Grove was recognized as the nation’s top regional history book for that year by the American Authors Association.

Lance is presently nearing the completion of several comprehensive history books about Sacramento from the times of Captain John Augustus Sutter to present.

His other endeavors include his regular contributions as a professional newspaper photographer and volunteering as a judge at the annual Camellia Society of Sacramento Camellia Show Photography Contest. He is also a public speaker, a musician and an avid music memorabilia collector with an emphasis on collecting concert posters and LP records, ranging in genres from rock and blues to jazz and country.

Tahoe/Colonial Collaborative community center bids farewell

TCC supporters show their support with a little body language.

TCC supporters show their support with a little body language.

Two Tahoe Elementary School girls entered the Tahoe/Colonial Collaborative after school on Thursday, Jan. 9, asking the community center’s coordinator Kelly Conley about the Girl Scouts program that the center hosts. Just a seemingly typical afternoon, Conley responded: “Girl Scouts aren’t today. It starts next Thursday. Turn (your papers) into the office; turn them into Ms. Curry or Ms. Stacy.” “OK,” one of the girls said and they were off.

While it was just a normal interchange at the TCC, it was Conley’s last day at the center, which has had an open-door policy in place for the last 14 years in its current location, 5959 8th Ave., next door to Tahoe Elementary School. But as of Saturday, Jan. 11, the center’s day-to-day operations have shut down, at least to a certain extent, as some partners like the Girl Scouts of America which offers a lunch-time program for Tahoe Elementary students, will continue to operate as usual, but will have to go directly through the school to obtain use permits. Conley announced the center’s closure on Dec. 31, 2012 to about 700 neighbors and supporters on the TCC email list.

She wrote: “For almost twenty years, the Tahoe/Colonial Collaborative (TCC) has contributed greatly to the fabric of our community and those of us around the table – some newer faces, some from the 1990’s – feel so blessed to have called this our work for so many years. The time has come, however, to let TCC be a part of our community’s history, and put our energy into some of the initiatives of the future. Effective January 1, 2014, TCC will be closed, but the work of building a healthy and safe community for all our children will continue!”

Last year, was the first neighborhood citrus harvest in Tahoe Park. More than 60 volunteers harvested fruit from 24 tree sites throughout the neighborhood! The TCC was instrumental in helping gather more than 2,500 pounds of fruit for donation to Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. Photo courtesy

Last year, was the first neighborhood citrus harvest in Tahoe Park. More than 60 volunteers harvested fruit from 24 tree sites throughout the neighborhood! The TCC was instrumental in helping gather more than 2,500 pounds of fruit for donation to Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. Photo courtesy


In an interview with the East Sacramento News, Conley discussed the fond memories she has had working as the TCC’s coordinator. “I’m going to miss working here. This place has been my life for the past four years,” she said, as her 18-month-old daughter Sarah and 9-year-old daughter Julia wondered in and out of the center over the course of the interview, keeping each other entertained.

TCC held a farewell celebration on Saturday, Jan. 11 where photos and archives from the past were shared amongst attendees. Conley gave away the last of the TCC memorabilia and they shared snacks and stories. It wasn’t much of an emotional farewell, however. “It was more like laughing and enjoying the years of services over the years. It didn’t feel like a mourning kind of thing. Just let’s celebrate what we did for the community and not mourn what we are losing. We did provide 20 years of service to this community,” said Conley.

Opened in 1994, the Tahoe/Colonial Collaborative celebrated its 19th anniversary last December and the organization has been at its current location for the last 13 years. TCC’s formation began out of humble beginnings with parents and friends working out of each other’s homes and through a program called CARE which met at Colonial Park (address).

In its early years, TCC took on big initiatives, including several 4,000-home surveys, fights against prostitution on Stockton Boulevard, take back the night initiatives, and more. As time went on, the focus became more and more on supporting families and kids, making sure they felt connected to one another and to this quaint little community many of us call home.

TCC was instrumental in partnering with local elementary school principals to bring State Department of Education dollars to the community for resources and support staff, and together in 2000 brought a Community & Family Resource Center to the neighborhood. For the last fourteen years, this Center has been a hub of community, offering thousands of hours of mentoring and homework help, recreation and education camps, free meeting space for small community groups, and access to information.

True to that since the start, TCC has been a place for families and the community to gather as well as being a hub of information. Fliers and pamphlets decorate the walls with bulletin boards, updating folks with the latest neighborhood news and an entire computer lab has been available to visitors all free of charge.

As the coordinator for the center since September 2009, Conley has taken up the task of helping people with the computers and connecting people with resources, such as the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Women’s Wellspring Center. It has offered a health and safety fair in Tahoe Park each June and has organized a Bike Rodeo held in the Tahoe Elementary playground where children were offered helmets free of charge. The center has offered free spring, summer and winter programs for children. “I’d have a lot of kids. During our winter and spring program, I’d have been 20 and 30 kids, depending on the year and it was a good mixture of children from Tahoe Elementary and Mark Twain Elementary where we’ve collaborated with both communities and both neighborhood associations or neighborhood groups. Some older people would use the computers and I would help them with what I could, and they would just come in, do what they needed to do and be on their way.”

Conley, a mother of four and 19 weeks pregnant with her fifth, said she has two older children who have been a part of the TCC “for a very long time. I would say eight to 10 years. My older boys are 17 and 14. We are a little bit crazy, but we enjoy having children. And TCC has been fantastic.” When she and her husband Jason decided they were going to try for their fourth child, Conley went to the TCC advisory board after she was pregnant and said she would continue working if she could bring her new baby to work. And everybody who was on the board was on board, she said.

“It was challenging at times (with Sarah at work), especially when I was trying to write an email and she just turned off my computer. Thank goodness for auto-save. So there have been little challenges here and there with having her here, but it has been a blessing having her with me and not have to find daycare. Having my fifth child and soon to have a 2 year old and a newborn, I will be a stay-at-home mom and a volunteer to the community.”

Asked how many groups have used the space, Conley said: “I can’t even count on the top of my head how many, but currently we have the Tahoe Park Neighborhood Association and three home-school groups that use it during the day time for classes. So we have a science class on Fridays, a writing class on Wednesday, and a labor and technology class on Tuesdays.”

For groups that have charged their members to their particular clubs, the TCC just in the last year, has charged them $15 per use for the room to help offset insurance and Internet costs. “So the groups that charge to use, we charge them, just a small fee. So $15 and they have about 15 kids in a class, so they charge a $1 per kid per session, then it pretty much pays for it. It’s not anything we were trying to make it uneasy for them.”

Conley said while the Bike Rodeo, the annual health and safety fair and the day-to-day use of the site will no longer be offered, those interested in using the community center, should contact Tahoe Elementary. “This room here is open for community use, so they will have to go through the school to get a school district permit to use the center. There will be a small fee for that.”

The center has relied on grants from the Sierra Health Foundation and an endowment from the Building Healthy Communities Foundation, among others, to operate the roughly $2,000-a-month facility.

Conley said TCC is working with Tahoe Elementary School Principal Katie Curry to transfer leadership of the center to the Tahoe Park Neighborhood Association; and we are pleased to share that much of our supplies have gone to support the work of Rose Cabral and Rosette Nguyen in Colonial Park, as they revive Shirley Johnson’s after school programs. The TCC webpage and Facebook page will remain up for six months, after which we will close those as well.

McKinley Village update

If all goes according to Riverview Capital Investment’s plan, McKinley Village will have the first phase of homes up for sale as early as April 2015 if approved by the City Council early next year.
The proposed project consists of development of 328 residential units, a neighborhood recreation center, parks and other public spaces on about 48-acre site located along the south side of the Capital City Freeway, north of the Union Pacific rail lines, largely east of Alhambra Boulevard and largely west of Lanatt Street in the northeast area of downtown Sacramento.
A variety of residences are proposed on different lot sizes. The proposed project includes three parks that total about 2.4 acres, including about 1-acre neighborhood recreation center and pool. The overall density of the project is about 10.9 units per acre and access to the project site would be provided from A Street and 28th Street to the west of 40th Street to the east.
It has been hailed as well as dismissed as a smart growth, infill community project.
The long awaited Environmental Impact Report was released in early November and concluded that the project would have “less than significant impacts on traffic.” The City of Sacramento’s recently completed traffic study looked at the effects of McKinley Village on local traffic and, as part of the study, analyzed 16 streets and 25 intersections east of the Capital City Freeway. The study evaluated the traffic Level of Service (LOS) when McKinley Village traffic is added to existing traffic conditions. All 16 streets analyzed in the study will operate at LOS A (free flow conditions with no congestion) during peak drive times even with the development of McKinley Village.
Twenty-three of the 25 intersections east of the freeway that were analyzed will operate at the same level of service during peak drive times with or without McKinley Village. The new intersection at C Street between 40th Street and Tivoli Way will function at LOS A even during peak drive times.
McKinley Village will contribute funding for traffic signal and other improvements at three local intersections (Alhambra Boulevard/H Street; Alhambra Boulevard/E Street; and 33rd Street/McKinley Boulevard.)
In spite of the results, some neighborhood organizations are organizing around how to “effectively comment” on the EIR, one of which is the East Sacramento Preservation. The group has its December meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 7-8 p.m. in the East Sacramento Room at Clunie Clubhouse where the topic will be addressed. According to the group’s website, the organization opposes the design of homes.
Included in the petition on the website is the following: “(The) project does not fit within the character of existing neighborhoods and threatens to impact traffic, cause congestion and threaten safe pedestrian and bicycle access to Theodore Judah Elementary School. As proposed, this is a private, isolated community project that would negatively impact adjacent neighborhoods, schools, roads and residents. The proposed McKinley Village will exist as an isolated car-based community that lacks urban-style access to public transportation, shopping and entertainment. The only community connection will be increased car traffic on existing neighborhood roadways. The proposed McKinley Village location would expose future residents to poor air quality, noise pollution and potential flood risk.
“The proposed McKinley Village is not infill. It is an expansion of East Sacramento and not an East Sacramento style neighborhood. The proposed construction of 328 new homes will result in additional burdens on neighborhood schools, particularly Theodore Judah Elementary School and Sutter Middle School and may alter the current school boundaries. Access points at 28th Street, Alhambra (Boulevard) and Lanatt Street would provide for a more seamless community.”
In speaking about the design of the project, Phil Angelides, in an interview with the East Sacramento News, spoke on how the project is intended to fit in with the feel of McKinley Village homes as well as neighborhood landmarks with homes ranging between 1,295 square feet to 3,100 square feet.
“The recreation center’s plans have been modeled after McKinley Park’s Clunie Center and the roof-forms modeled after the Shephard Garden (and Arts Center),” he said, adding that it would be suitable for receptions, weddings, family and neighborhood gatherings.
A recreation center owned and maintained by the homeowners association will serve as the community’s civic center, offering a neighborhood pool, indoor and outdoor spaces for community gatherings and events and space for retail use such as a cafe, restaurant or yoga studio. Bikeways and walkways will stitch together the neighborhood and connect McKinley Village, McKinley Park, Midtown, Sutter’s Landing and the American River Parkway. The rec center will have a swimming pool of 75 feet long, spreading six lanes across, which will enable the development to have a swim team if desired by the homeowners association. He said McKinley Village will be doing an art in public places program.
Angelides said they have carefully selected which homes go where, so no two homes that look similar to each other are near. “That’s an unprecedented level of variation within the community,” he said.
As far as the homes near the railroad, there will be a 25-foot engineered sound wall that supposed to prevent the same type of train noise that you might find in River Park or Curtis Park.
Before the EIR was released, at the Oct. 24 City of Sacramento’s Planning and Design Commission meeting, neighbors from both sides spoke in favor and against the project.
Bob Reid, a lifetime Sacramento resident who grew up in East Sacramento at the corner of 40th Folsom and who attended such schools as David Lubin, acknowledged Angelides’ contributions to the community and said he was drawn to the project because of its design, which includes tree lined streets, large porches, an easy commute for workers. Included in his statements, he said: “This project is an opportunity to carry on the feeling of East Sacramento, so to speak … I simply support this because the style and feel of the neighborhood reminds me of the childhood home I grew up in.”
Terry Kastanis, who lives on 41st Street and who is a former city councilmember, asked to consider one principle: Is this site appropriate for housing? “I am well aware of long hours and controversies and in no doubt will receive more in weeks to come.” Speaking about the location of the project, Kastanis asked the commissioners if they are willing to take a chance on flooding and disaster. Commenting on the design, he asked rhetorically, how would people exit the area to safety. “I am aware of the economic gain of this project but is this site appropriate for housing? Is this the last piece of land available for housing?”
Rosalyn VanBuren, executive director of Our Kids’ Community Breakfast Club, a program that offers breakfast, arts and crafts and educational activities at the Oak Park Community Center has since the age of 6, lived in Sacramento, attending Sacred Heart Elementary School and Bishop Manogue High School. She said the project would give more options for housing to those who would want to live in the central city, adding that the project seems consistent with Sacramento Area Council of Governments.
Rob Finley of the group Neighbors United for Smart Growth, which is comprised of neighborhood association leaders, PTA members, neighbors instrumental of saving schools from closure, principals of the McKinley Rebuild project, said the group believes something will be built on this plot of land, but they want something that would be built that the neighborhood supports. While the group is sympathetic to what other groups have issue with (ie: the site being near railroad tracks, congested freeway), Finley said NUSG is focused on traffic concerns.
“Instead of using major existing arteries, the project inappropriately relies on narrow, neighborhood streets where children play, ride their bikes and walk to school.”
“As the 2008 traffic study for the previous subdivision displayed, approximately 6,000 daily additional car trips will be realized by both each the 28th Street crossing and the Lanatt Street crossing. At this volume, one does not have to wait until the 2013 traffic study to know there will be traffic impact on midtown and East Sacramento,” Finley said.
He commented on the 28th Street access point that will that will force people to cross the street that has 41 trains cross on a daily basis, some that often sit idle. Finley said Union Pacific has plans to increase the amount of trains coming through. He said NUSG has met with the developer, but that the developer won’t change those plans.
Resident Michael Murphy suggested the developer add 78 additional units (or 20 percent more housing) to the project to offset the cost of making Alhambra Boulevard an access point. That increase, he said, would not only generate on average $500,000 per home, it would conform to SACOG standards. He asked the planning commission to require the developer to add the bike tunnel in the first phase of development, as opposed to the third. “If you did it in the first phase, you would teach them to use bicycles and to walk and not use their cars.”
Marie Booth and Dave DeGmilla presented the commission with 419 letters of support. Booth said her children are excited they will be able to purchase a home large enough for their growing families with modern amenities.
Pamela Milchrist said had she known signatures were being collected at the meeting, she would have 100 signatures from 40th Street alone. She questioned whether there would be any consideration of residents’ mental and physical health especially with the increase of train traffic.
Patty Kleinkneckt, executive director of the River District, said the group supports the project’s mixed housing options, which are close to Sacramento’s urban centers with reasonable density. “As we look at adding housing, we welcome McKinley Village.”
Jim Brown, executive director of Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, said the key to bikability is to accommodate all kinds of bikers. He also suggested the bike tunnel be built in the first phase of development, as opposed to the third.
Ellen Cochrane, president of the East Sacramento Preservation, said the organization came out with a statement “opposed as proposed”. Speaking about the design of the project, Cochrane said the organization objects to the two-car garages and lack of mass transit to service the homes.

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