Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre to make debut July 11-12

Steve Masone’s dream of once again establishing a musical dinner theater in Sacramento will become a reality with the July 11-12 opening of “Starry Evening” at the Red Lion Hotel. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Steve Masone’s dream of once again establishing a musical dinner theater in Sacramento will become a reality with the July 11-12 opening of “Starry Evening” at the Red Lion Hotel. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Note: This is part three of a three part series about 1970 John F. Kennedy High School graduate Steve Masone and his involvement with theatrical productions.

This month marks a very special time for Steve Masone, the 1970 John F. Kennedy High School graduate who was featured in the last two editions of this publication.

His dream of once again establishing a musical dinner theater in the capital city is about to become a reality.

For Masone, who was involved in opening a now defunct musical dinner theater at the old Sheraton Inn at 2600 Auburn Blvd. in the 1970s, he will experience a touch of déjà vu on July 11-12, when the Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre opens in the grand ballroom of the Red Lion Inn at 500 Leisure Lane with a production of “Starry Evening.”

In speaking about the establishment of his new company, Masone said, “I just formed the Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre, producing the Phoinix Players from Eugene, Ore., who are working with me right now. I am bringing them down. They are going to become Sacramento’s newest (theatrical attraction). This is another first. I remember a lot of theater companies leaving Sacramento, but I don’t remember any coming here. They’re known as a very talented (troupe). They’re internationally acclaimed. Last year, they went to the Czech Republic and Ireland and London. They’ve been together for many years, of course with players in and out.”

Masone fondly recalled his discovery of the Phoinix Players, and his involvement in arranging for this musical theater group to perform in Sacramento.

“I discovered (the Phoinix Players) only about a year ago,” Masone said. “I found them already doing The Red Cane Theatre (in Eugene), but they weren’t really doing the dinner part of the theater like they would like to do and that’s where we are going to merge and bring them down here. They would have to bring (the dinners) in (at The Red Cane Theatre). They didn’t have their own restaurant. They didn’t serve drinks or anything like that.

“I started talking with them and working with them. Now they’re contracted with me to come down here (to Sacramento), and start the business with me down here, and (to go on) tour down here and (have) their director – who is very talented and gifted, because she writes her own dialogues and her own shows and musicals – down here, and get them to help me audition and start another dinner theater down here. When I brought them down here, it turns out they feel they’ve ceilinged out in Eugene and they want to get to the next level and so they’re quitting their jobs and they’re coming down here to try to be a new resident company.”

Masone, who was also involved in the operation of a dinner theater in Santa Barbara, has certainly been very active in his work to establish a new musical dinner theater for Sacramento, and he describes his new company as launching something very special to fill a theatrical void in the capital city.

“It’s amazing,” Masone said. “There are 30 (musical) dinner theaters in the L.A. area. There are none in Sacramento and there are none in the Bay Area that are year-round musical dinner theaters. Now, when I say musical dinner theaters, what I mean (is) doing Broadway shows and doing musicals with dance and dialogue and an actual musical play. There are people claiming that they’re dinner theaters, because they’re doing the murder mystery, but that’s a murder mystery show. That’s not really dinner theater, if we’re going to go by definition.”

After being asked to share more details regarding the upcoming show and future shows of his company, Masone said, “The first production is called ‘Starry Evening,’ and it’s classic of Hollywood floor show song, romance and comedy. It’s all about Hollywood actors and actresses doing the shows and everything. It’s just a great musical. I can’t tell you any of the names right now of the songs we’re going to do, because we’re still getting the rights to them. You can’t advertise until you (acquire) the rights.
“We were going to do ‘Grease,’ but ‘Grease’ was too expensive. So, we’re not going to do ‘Grease’ yet. We may do ‘Grease’ (later). We’re going to do all the big ones. We’re thinking we’re going to probably be looking at a lot of the Broadway shows. But those are expensive to do. Some shows are like $7,000 they want upfront for royalties and everything. But once we build the audience and we know we’re going to be able to pencil it all out, those are the kind of shows we’ll do.”

In further praising the Phoinix Players, who he described as a “triple threat” due to their ability to sing, dance and act, Masone added, “This will be the only company in Sacramento – dinner theater or normal theater – that’s going to be able to mount seven or eight musicals a season. It’s really hard, but these guys can do musicals back to back. They’ll be juggling three shows at a time, and that’s just what they do. They do this full time. They’re not part time. They don’t go to their eight-hour a day (non-theatrical jobs). These kids do this full time and that’s what I fell in love with when I saw how dedicated they are to musical theater. It’s a lost art. I’m not talking about (all) Broadway shows’ musical theater. Some can be a musical and be on Broadway, but it doesn’t really represent musical theater. Musical theater would be the type of shows like ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ (and) ‘Damn Yankees.’ Some of the newer ones still fit the bill. And of course, I’d love to do ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’”

Masone emphasized the fact that all of his company’s musicals are family-friendly productions that are appropriate for any age.

“All of our shows that Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre is doing are all G rated,” Masone said. “There are some shows that we just won’t do, because there is no need to do them. We’re doing the classics. We’re doing true musical theater. And there are young people in the troupe who are just great at it.”

Although the grand ballroom of the Red Lion Hotel is not a permanent location for Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre productions, Masone does not count out that possibility.

“We’re barnstorming for the summer,” said Masone, whose artistic goals also include becoming involved in choreography and reestablishing his former blues band. “We’re going to be playing the Red Lion here July 11 and 12 for our opening nights here. That’s a Friday and Saturday night. We’ll add a Saturday matinee and a Sunday matinee, if the demand is there. And then the following (weekend), the 18th and 19th (of July), we’re going to go over to an outside amphitheater (at the Red Lion Hotel) through August (2). I’ve been negotiating an Old Sacramento location (The Coconut Grove at 106 J St.) of which we’re going to be doing Wednesday nights, and every Saturday and Sunday down there for the rest of the summer. And then I’m still looking for other venues right now to keep up barnstorming and working until we find a permanent (location). It might be here (at the Red Lion Hotel). The Red Lion has expressed interest, if we come to terms and everything. This would be my (preferred location), because of the grand ballroom. It’s got a beautiful stage. It’s a great room, and that’s been my dream is to come back and do it in that room.”

For additional information about the upcoming production of “Starry Evening” at the Red Lion Hotel, call (209) 418-7853 or (541) 287-1497, or write to stevemasone@gmail.com.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Janey Way Memories #124: A Chance Encounter

In fall of 1969, I completed my advanced infantry training at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Two weeks later, I boarded a plane headed for Germany, my next duty station. After three days at the 29th Replacement battalion in Frankfurt Germany, I boarded a bus and headed off to join the 510th Ordinance Company in Gunzburg, Bavaria.
When I arrived at the 510th and assumed my duties, fall was ending and winter was approaching. By the first week of November, snow covered the ground. It remained there until April of 1970. This kept us pretty much limited to our base. However, by April, the sun came out and we began to venture into town and explore the countryside.
One Saturday evening, my friends Jack, Walt and I headed into Gunzburg, one kilometer away, to have a night on the town. As we explored the main part of town, we discovered a little wine bar called the Wein Keller (wine cellar). Curious, we went in.
The place had wine for takeout on sale. Or, you could pick out a bottle you liked and drink it in the back. We picked a bottle of Moselle wine called Rosengarten and drank it on the premises. The shop owner told us find a table and be seated.
Minutes later he came in, uncorked the bottle and poured our wine. We picked our glasses up and smelled the wine. The aroma was wonderful. We tasted the wine and agreed it didn’t taste at all like the swill we drank at home. We knew we were on to something. For the rest of the evening, we sipped the wine, ate some snacks and chattered away.
At some point in the evening, a group of three older German men engaged us in conversation. “Where are you from,” they said. We told them that we were American soldiers stationed at Prinz Eugan Kaserne just down the road from Gunzburg. Almost in unison, they thanked us for our service to Germany.
By 11 in the evening, we had finished our bottle of wine and stood up to leave the wine bar, but before we could exit, one of the old German gents asked if we would like to come to his home for a night cap. “Sure,” we said.
So, we followed the men to a nice stone house in a residential neighborhood near the bar. There, we were served more good German wine and a tray of meat and bread. They asked us where we lived in the United States. I said “California,” Jack said, “New Jersey” and Walt said, “Oregon.”
They were particularly interested in hearing about the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean in California and the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building in New York City. They didn’t know where Oregon was.
After we finished the wine and meat, our host poured coffee for us and brought out a tray of pasties. We were getting full, but we ate and enjoyed. Finally, our host poured us a glass of Schnaps and we toasted to peace and prosperity. By now, it was 2 a.m.
So, we thanked our host and headed back to the base. Our first evening out had turned out better than we could have imagined. We made some new friends, drank some very good wine and learned a great deal about German hospitality. Now my first night on the town in Gunzburg is yet another culturally-enriching Janey Way memory.

18 St. Francis student-athletes commit to university sports teams

St. Francis High School had 18 student-athletes sign National Letters of Intent or commitments to play sports next fall at colleges and universities across the country. They were celebrated with a ceremony at the school today to highlight their outstanding achievement.
“We are really proud of our girls,” said Athletic Director Mark McGreevy. “It really says a lot about their hard work, the support of their parents and the wonderful school we have at St. Francis. It is a great accomplishment to be able to achieve at a high level and earn the opportunity to compete at the next level. It is reflection of their dedication in their sport and academics, balancing the demands of being a student-athlete. We cheer them on in the future but they are always part of the St. Francis red and gold.”
The Troubadour signing day was highlighted by seven players from the volleyball program and six athletes who compete for local rowing clubs. Student-athletes from the golf, softball and swimming and diving programs also made commitments on Wednesday.
Volleyball showcased the talent in the program with seven players recruited to play at schools in Arizona, Oregon, Hawaii and California. Anna Baytosh (Chico State), Karson Bisharat (Central Arizona), Lea Felton (Hawaii Pacific), Chloe Hakim (UC Irvine), Ali Koumelis (Portland), Noa Nightingale (UCSB) and Megan Sullivan (UCSB) will play collegiately next year. They are currently in the midst of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs with a third round game on Thursday.
“It was amazing,” said Sullivan. “I could not wait for this day to come and it finally came. UCSB is a dream school for me and I get to go with my best friend (and teammate) Noa (Nightingale). It is a great program with great new coaches. They are really amazing. I love all the girls on the team. I am really excited.”
Crew has become a popular sport for several St. Francis students at the two local rowing clubs, earning six student-athletes opportunities across the country from Georgetown to USC. While not a school-sponsored sport, they represent the talented student body at St. Francis. Caroline Boals (USC), Hannah Gasser (San Diego State), Jacqueline Holben (California), Sophia Kershaw (Georgetown), Nina Obaldia (California) and Jullisa Romani (San Diego) will all row at the collegiate level.
“It meant the world to me to be able to sign with a school I have wanted to go to since the seventh grade,” said Obaldia, who will compete for California. “And to do it for a sport I love so much. Go Bears.”
Three swimmers, who will compete for St. Francis in the spring, also signed. Maddison Johnson (TCU), AnnClaire MacArt (Dartmouth) and Alexis Martinez (Seattle) will continue their careers next year.
The team spirit in all sports, especially swimming, is great,” said Johnson. “There are so many of us but we all come together for champs and for sections.”
Golfer Emily Laskin will play golf representing the U.S. Naval Academy, while softball player Alejandra Garcia will compete for Cal Poly.
“I have been waiting my whole softball career for this,” said Garcia.
2013 St. Francis fall commitments/signees include: Anna Baytosh for volleyball at Chico State, Karson Bisharat for volleyball at Central Arizona, Caroline Boals for crew at USC, Lea Felton for volleyball at Hawaii Pacific, Alejandra Garcia for softball at Cal Poly, Hannah Gasser for crew at San Diego State, Chloe Hakim for volleyball at UC Irvine, Jacqueline Holben for crew, Maddison Johnson for swimming at TCU, Sophie Kershaw for crew at Georgetown, Ali Koumelis for volleyball at Portland, Emily Laskin for golf at the U.S. Naval Academy, AnnClaire MacArt for swimming at Dartmouth, Alexis Martinez for swimming at Seattle, Noa Nightingale for volleyball at UC Santa Barbara, Nina Obaldia for crew, Jullisa Romani for crew at San Diego, Megan Sullivan for volleyball at UC Santa Barbara.

Anna Baytosh

Volleyball
Chico State
Anna is a two-year letter winner for the volleyball program, helping the team to a 2012 CIF State Championship runner-up finish, Nor Cal Championship, Sac Joaquin Section title and two Delta River League titles. She has led the team with 287 kills while hitting .259 with 247 digs. She saw action in 29 sets as a junior, recording 35 kills and 37 digs. She has a 3.5 GPA and has been an Honor Roll recipient every year. She has participated in the Freshman Overnight, Freshmen and Sophomore retreats. Parents: Michael and Jenifer Baytosh. Siblings: Christopher and Joey.

Karson Bisharat

Volleyball
Central Arizona
Karson is a starter and two-year letter winner. She is fourth on the team in kills while hitting .304 with 45 blocks, the second-best total on the team. She was a member of the 2012 CIF State Championship runner-up, recording 18 kills and 16 digs in 38 sets. She has helped win two Delta River League titles, the 2012 Nor Cal Championship and the 2012 Sac-Joaquin Division 1 North title. Parents: Charlie and Brenda Bisharat. Siblings: Mackenzie, Aja and Beau.

Lea Felton

Volleyball
Hawaii Pacific
Lea is a two-year starter and three-year letter winner for the Troubadours, helping the team to three Delta River League titles, two section titles, 2012 Nor Cal Championship and 2012 CIF state championships runner-up finish. She has recorded 145 kills in the season while hitting .304 with a team-best 47 total blocks. She was named to 2013 High Sierra Invitational all-tournament team. In 2012, she was named to the Delta River All-League team. She has a 3.6 GPA and received High Honors every year. She has attended the Freshmen, Sophomore and Junior retreat. She has volunteered at the local food bank and was a member of San Francisco service trip Parents: Sue and Mark Felton. Siblings: Adam and Luke.

Alejandra Garcia

Softball
Cal Poly
Alejandra is a four-year starter for coach Al LoGuidice and Kevin Warren, playing shortstop and catcher. She earned all-league honors as a junior, hitting .364 with a .982 fielding percentage to help the team reach the playoffs. She was the co-MVP as a sophomore after batting .305 for the season and received the Coaches Award as a freshman. She plays for the Lady Magic Fastpitch club. She has a 3.9 GPA. She has attended the Freshmen, Sophomore and Junior retreats and has volunteered with Mercy MacMahon Terrace and the Elk Grove Girls Softball clinic. Parents: Ben and Kristy Garcia. Siblings: Isabela and Azalea.

Hannah Gasser

Crew
San Diego State
Hannah will sign with San Diego State for rowing. She has competed for Capital Crew for Head Coach Toby Johnson for three years. She recently placed second at Youth Nationals in Tennessee in the Lightweight 4 boat. She has a 3.47 GPA and is a member of the Honor Roll. She has participated in numerous retreats and volunteered with St. Vincent de Paul and Loaves and Fishes. Parents: Sheila and Jim Gasser. Sibling: Robert.

Chloe Hakim

Volleyball
UC Irvine
Chloe is two-year starter and letter winner, helping the team to back-to-back Delta River League titles. She was a key member of the 2012 Nor Cal Champion and CIF State Championship runner-up team. She has recorded 468 digs on the season to lead the team. As a junior, she recorded 340 digs. She attended the Bronx, N.Y., Christian service trip, assisting the elderly and working at a soup kitchen and has taken part in the Freshmen, Sophomore and Junior retreats. Parents: Cornelis and Chitra Hakim. Sibling: Chazel.

Jacqueline Holben

Crew
California
Jacqueline has been am member of Capital Crew since 2011. As the Coxswain, she coxed the varsity 8 to second-place finishes at the Head of the Port and Head of the Lakes this fall. Varsity 8 boat placed first at the Pacific Invite and all three races at the Stanford Invitational last spring. She was named to the US Rowing Junior National Development Camp in 2012, one of just four coxswains born in 1996. She has volunteered with the Center for Contemporary Art since 2005. Parents: Chris and Cheryl Holben. Sibling: Celeste.

Maddison Johnson

Swimming
TCU
Maddison is a three-year standout for Head Coach Richard Levin, helping the team to three Delta River League titles and a section championship as a freshman. She was named an Academic All-American by USA Swimming. She won the DRL titles for the 100 fly and 200 IM in 2013 and has been named one of the team Most Valuable Players each season. She also competed with the Arden Hills National club tam, participating in Junior Nationals and NCSA Junior Nationals. She has attended Freshman, Sophomore and Junior retreats and volunteered with Specials Olympics, Loaves and Fishes and Davis Community Meals. Parents: Tammy and Larry Johnson. Siblings: Nicholas, Jacob and Hayden.

Sophie Kershaw

Crew
Georgetown
Sophie has competed for Capital Crew and Head Coach Toby Johnson for four years. She has been a captain for two seasons, earing the Captains Award. She was part of a Lightweight 4 that finished second in Youth Nationals in 2013 and second on a Lightweight 8 at the same event in 2012. She has a 4.33 GPA and is a member of the Honor Roll. She has volunteered with the Sac State Aquatic Center. She is a member of the Native American Culture Club and Guitar Club. Parents: Gary and Tracey Kershaw. Siblings: Edward and Charlotte.

Ali Koumelis

Volleyball
Portland
Ali has been a leader on the Troubadour team as four-year letter winner and two year starter. She is one of three captains on the 2013 team that won the Delta River League title with a perfect 10 mark. Overall, she has led the team to three Delta River League titles, two section titles, 2012 Nor Cal Championship and 2012 CIF state championships runner-up finish. She has recorded 764 assists, averaging 9.6 per set (17th in California). She was named to the 2013 High Sierra Invitational All-Tournament team. As a junior, she recorded 847 assists (8.5 per set) to lead the team and rank eighth in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Parents: Dave and Cathy Koumelis. Siblings: Daniel, Andrew and Lauren.

Emily Laskin

Golf
U.S. Naval Academy
Emily was a four-year letter winner and two-time captain for the Troubadour golf team. She helped the team to two state championship appearances (2010-6th, 2012-6th), six section titles and three Delta River League titles (2010, 2012, 2013). She posted a 79.7 scoring average over six rounds and carded an average of 35.8 in five Delta River League matches. She was twice named the Delta River League Most Valuable Player. She is the senior class president and attended Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior and Kairos retreats. Emily as a 4.38 GPA and was a member of the Honor Roll member each of her first three years. She was a product of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and received the Girls Most Athletic Award after playing basketball, volleyball and golf. Parents: Alan and Julie Laskin. Siblings: Sonia and David.

AnnClaire MacArt

Swimming
Dartmouth
AnnClaire is a three-time varsity letter winner for Head Coach Richard Levin, helping the team to the section title in 2011. She has received the St. Francis Most Outstanding Swimmer three times. She garnered all-league honors in 2013 and was named to the Sacramento River Cats all-city team in both 2012 and 2013. She also won the 100 freestyle at the CIF Section meet in 2012. USA Swimming has named her a Scholastic All-American in both 2012 and 2013. AnnClaire has a 4.31 GPA and is member of the National Honor Society. She has attended the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior retreats and volunteered with Loaves and Fishes and the Davis Community Meals program. Parents: Marilyn and Gregory MacArt. Siblings: Jonathan and Patrick.

Alexis Martinez

Swimming
Seattle
Alexis is a standout for the St. Francis swimming team and was named the MVP on the 2013 team. She reached the finals in both the 50 free and 100 free at the CIF State Championships in 2013. She won individual titles in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays at the Delta River League meet, earning all-league honors. She was part of the record-setting 400-free relay at the Delta River League meet last season. She was swam on the varsity for all four seasons, including two seasons at Granite Bay. She earned All-America honors in the 200 free relay in 2012. Parents: Nicole and Michael Martinez. Siblings: Andrew and Ashley.

Noa Nightingale

Volleyball
UC Santa Barbara
Noa has been a two-year varsity member for Alynn Wright. She has been part of two Delta River League titles, a Sac-Joaquin section title, Nor Cal Championship and 2012 CIF State Championship runner-up finish. She has 168 kills on the season, recording two games of 10 or more in 88 sets played. She has volunteered at St. John’s Shelter in Sacramento and owns a 3.7 GPA. She also attended the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior retreats. Parents: Jeff and Cheryl Nightingale. Sibling: Zoe.

Nina Obaldia

Crew
California
Nina competed for River City Rowing Club for coach Tricia Blocker. She is the stroke on the varsity 8 and varsity four. She was part of V8 that broke seven minutes for 2K at Southwest Regional Championships at Lake Natoma in 2013. She has attended Frosh, Sophomore and Mother-Daughter retreats and participated in volunteer activities at River City, St. John’s and Loaves and Fishes. Parents: Berman and Vivian Hernandez-Obaldia. Sibling: Natalie.

Jullisa Romani

Crew
San Diego
Jullisa has been competing for Capital Crew under Head Coach Toby Johnson for the last four seasons as a rower and starboard. She has been part of four successful boats in 2013, recording several high finishes. They finished first at the 2013 Head of the Port (V4+) and third at the Southwest Junior Championships. They were fourth in the nation at the Youth Nationals in Tennessee. She also placed first at the Pacific Invitational in V8+ to win the gold medal. She has a 4.05 GPA and has received General Excellence and Honor Roll accolades. Parents: Bruce Romani. Siblings: Brian, Brett, Shelley and Ashley.

Megan Sullivan

Volleyball
UC Santa Barbara
Megan has been a two-year varsity member for Head Coach Alynn Wright. She has been part of two Delta River League titles, a Sac-Joaquin section title, Nor Cal Championship and 2012 CIF State Championship runner-up finish. She was named a PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace: The 150 and Just Missed. She has 182 kills on the season, hitting .372 (51st in California) with 51 blocks. She was a member of NCVA team that went 18-1 in 2013-14 and placed 22nd at the 2013 USA Junior National Championships. She earned a silver medal with the 18 and Under team at 2012 USA Junior Beach Volleyball Tour. She has volunteered at St. John’s Shelter and Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary in Sacramento. Parents: Lori Sullivan Abinanti and Joe Abinanti. Siblings: Joey.

Wounded Warriors Sports Camp held locally

Fifteen veterans of the United States military made their way to Sacramento June 25-29 for the Wounded Warriors Sports Camp. The camp was put on by Disabled Sports USA Far West, and 2013  marked the eighth annual camp, which is designed to show the wounded vets that they can live normal, productive lives with their injuries.

Five of the 15 participants at this year’s event (Steven Holston, Shelby Hatch, Steve Mendick, Johnny Comilang and Chad Hansen) hailed from the Sacramento area, while the other 10 make their homes in Oregon, Washington, Nevada and southern California. Haakon Lang-Ree, Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA Far West, talked about this year’s crop of warriors.

“I thought the chemistry between all the guests was good,” Lang-Ree said. “This year’s participants varied in age by quite a bit.”

The camp is set up to introduce new sports to the wounded veterans. And while the activities are solely recreational in nature, Lang-Ree said that a bit of friendly competition does arise between the Army and Marines when they get together for the annual sled hockey game.

“The sled hockey game is always fun,” Lang-Ree said. “None of them have ever done it before and there’s a real team aspect.”

Sled hockey was just one of many events in which the wounded warriors took part. Also included was water skiing, whitewater rafting, paddle sports, fly fishing, archery, bowling, horseshoes and adapted cycling. Specialized trainers were on hand to teach the guests how to do some of the things that they had never attempted before.

The weekend of the event produced temperatures well over 100 degrees, but the spirit of the camp was not dampened by the blistering heat. “Most of the activities were water-based, so everyone found a way to keep cool,” said Lang-Ree.

Most water events were held at the Sac State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma, except for the white water rafting which took place in the south fork of the American River. Archery and horseshoes were taught at Discovery Park and the sled hockey game was played at Skatetown in Roseville. Also included in the festivities was a trip to a River Cats game.

Lang-Ree went on to say that only one of the 15 wounded warriors was still on active duty. As the years have gone on, he explained, injuries like the ones suffered by the guests of the camp have become less common, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down.

Not all in attendance were wounded in combat, however. Lang-Ree said that about half of them were servicemembers who suffered heart attacks and strokes.

The camp ended with a fundraiser/awards dinner at the Hyatt Regency. Roughly $15,000 was raised, according to Lang-Ree. The money will help ensure that there will be a ninth annual camp in 2014.

Dyer-Kelly teacher turns chance encounter into lasting literacy lesson

As Erin Cassady Sims lugged her new tree out of the lot for the holiday season, an attendant ran after her with an item that had fallen behind:

Out of the tree had dropped a green-and-white notecard with a short poem that wished its random recipient a joyful holiday.

A young student had written the verse, and just in case Sims wished to write her back, the student provided a mailing address for her elementary school miles away in Oregon.

Sims, a third-grade teacher at Dyer-Kelly Elementary School, thought she’d do something more special than simply write this girl back.

“I’m going to have my whole class write to her,” she thought. As in, 31 students writing 31 letters.

What resulted in the weeks that followed the chance encounter was a lasting literacy lesson for Sims’ students. Third-graders already are required to learn how to write letters this year, Sims said, so why not correspond with a real pen pal and make a little girl’s day at the same time?

“(The students) have never had an actual buddy from another school – let alone another state – to write to,” Sims said. “They were really excited about it.”

One by one, her students enthusiastically got to work. As they learned how to write introductory sentences, conclusions and other letter-writing fundamentals, they also came up with a lot of questions for their mystery girl:

What’s her name? What color is her hair? Does she like One Direction?

When the package stuffed with letters reached the students’ new friend in Hillsboro, Oregon – turns out her name is Lindsey, and she’s in the fourth grade – she was ecstatic. The news was announced over the school intercom.

And Lindsey responded to every single letter. All 31. A sampling:

Dear Jeremiah: I liked your card! You are great at drawing!

Dear Jasmine: I like soccer too! Your handwriting is great!

Dear Jaleel: I do like penguins! Your card was so good!

Andrea Ceja said she learned a lot by gaining a pen pal.

“I learned that when you ask questions, people have to answer them,” Andrea said. “Also, when you write a letter, you have to have a ‘dear,’ and an ending. And a body. And a name. And a date.”

The students still keep in touch with Lindsey, even exchanging valentines last month. Sims said she hoped the experience was memorable.

“The fact that we took a (grade-level) standard and made it a real-life thing,” she said, “I think this is something that they will never forget.”

All aboard?! Dogs take flight to no-kill Idaho rescue

All aboard!? Beautiful weather was expected as 19 dogs took flight on Friday, March 29. They were probably going to be euthanized at Front Street, but they got on a plane and flew to Boise, Idaho.

Seventeen of them are small dogs and two are rottweillers. They all fit onto a tiny-two-seater plane and flew out of Executive Airport at 10:30 a.m. They were scheduled to arrive in Boise at 12:30 p.m. our time. Non-stop flight to a no-kill rescue!

“What this does is opens up all these kennels at the shelter so now. I have 160 dogs today, so I get them evaluated and move them up for adoption. It’s constant. It’s an inventory change all the time. The more I can get out faster, the more lives I can change,” Gina Knepp, Animal Care Services Manager for the City of Sacramento, said.

“When we found out that Idaho Humane was willing to accept little dogs, even Chihuahuas, we knew a great opportunity was available to us,” Knepp said Knepp. “We contacted Yehuda Netanel, founder of Wings of Rescue, and began flying dogs to Boise on a monthly basis.”

Knepp said small dogs are in high demand in Idaho because Idahoans have traditionally liked large dogs, but people there have wanted lap dogs lately and haven’t had access to them. “There’s a population that wants littles and we’ve got ‘em. It’s economics. It’s supply and demand,” she said.

Knepp said Netanel has larger planes than the one used on March 29, including one that fits 40 dogs.

City of Sacramento Animal Care Services, The Sacramento SPCA, and Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation are participating in the ASPCA’s (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Carroll Petrie Foundation Dog Rescue Project, a new $1 million initiative that will fund much-needed treatments and services for shelter dogs, ultimately preparing them for transport from overcrowded shelters to give them the best chance of finding permanent homes. The project is being made possible thanks to a generous donation from Mrs. Carroll Petrie, a respected international philanthropist.

Since beginning the program in September 2012, the three Sacramento shelters have transferred more than 1,000 dogs to other shelters and rescue groups, including shelters in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In January 2013, the City of Sacramento found a new transfer partner at the Idaho Humane Society.

“We hope to work with Wings of Rescue to do a mega transport of 40 dogs in the near future,” said Knepp.  “Without the ASPCA, the Petrie Grant, and Wings of Rescue none of this would be possible.” All of the pilots with Wings of Rescue volunteer their time. Grant money is used primarily for fuel.

The ASPCA, through The Carroll Petrie Foundation Dog Rescue Project, aims to save 16,600 dogs through a per dog or puppy subsidy for each animal transferred out through the following types of programs:
·Transfer to rescue groups;
·Transfer to other shelters;
·Adoptions through “Foster Adoption Ambassador” programs; or
·Adoptions through permanent off-site partner locations.

The subsidy per dog or puppy can be used for anything from crates and gasoline purchases for transport vehicles to “make-ready” veterinary services for the dogs (i.e. spay/neuter, health certificates, vaccines) that will prepare them to leave the shelter.

Now at the city shelter: Free microchips to City of Sacramento kitties

In 2012, 3955 cats ended up at the Front Street Shelter.  Of those cats, only 92 were reunited with their owner.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of owned cats rarely have any form of identification.  They arrive without a collar and very few are ever micro-chipped.

In the hope of changing those numbers, during the month of April, the City of Sacramento-Front Street shelter will be offering a “complimentary” micro-chip to any owned cat living within the city limits.  City residents may bring their cat to the shelter Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. for a free micro-chip. A suggested donation of $5 would be greatly appreciated.  Proof of City residency is required.  Life time micro-chip registration is included.

Bowling for Bullies on Front Street!

The Front Street Shelter is at it again! During the month of April, anyone adopting a bully breed dog will have a chance to strike some pins to defray adoption costs.   Roll the ball, knock down the pins and get a discounted adoption. $5 off adoption fees for each pin successfully knocked over! We have a wide variety of bully breeds all waiting for a new home.

East Sacramento centenarian discovers classic family photos

For someone who has lived as many years as East Sacramento resident Genevieve Cobb, it is surprising to many people how little she owns. But fortunately, a small collection of photographs from the early part of Genevieve’s life are among her few keepsakes.
East Sacramento centenarian Genevieve Cobb recently discovered a dozen black and white, family photographs that she had once intended to throw away. Some of the photographs are more than 100 years old. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

East Sacramento centenarian Genevieve Cobb recently discovered a dozen black and white, family photographs that she had once intended to throw away. Some of the photographs are more than 100 years old. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Oddly, however, it was not until last week that Genevieve, who last June turned 102 years old, was aware that she had these photographs in her possession.

Explaining that she had never had any children and that it was her belief that no one would ever want her old photographs, Genevieve made the decision to throw away her old, family photographs about two years ago.

Forgotten photo album

Last week, while looking through a photo album from her 99th birthday celebration, she was surprised to come across a dozen black and white, family photographs, ranging from 1908, which was the year of her birth, to 1948, the year she married her now-late husband, Rodney Cobb.  

Genevieve (Moore) Cobb’s parents, Delbert and Effie Moore, are shown around the time of their marriage in 1907. Genevieve said that although she is not certain, she believes that her parents were married on May 16, 1907. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Genevieve (Moore) Cobb’s parents, Delbert and Effie Moore, are shown around the time of their marriage in 1907. Genevieve said that although she is not certain, she believes that her parents were married on May 16, 1907. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

“I was surprised that I had these (photographs) and that they hadn’t been in the ‘throw outs,’” Genevieve said. “If they had been in the drawer where I had all my other pictures, they would have been thrown out. Nobody wants them, so finally I just went through the drawer and tossed them out.” 

When asked why she had not valued her old, family photographs for her own remembrance, Genevieve quickly responded, “Well, I don’t ever look at them. I hadn’t looked at this (99th birthday photo album) for so long, I didn’t know these (old family photographs) were in (the album).”

Although Genevieve said that she has no regrets about throwing away her other family photographs,
she was pleased to come across the few that are still in her possession.  
 
Meeting with the East Sacramento News last week, Genevieve presented her recently discovered photographs and shared details about her 102 years of life. 
Genevieve Moore is shown with her parents Delbert and Effie Moore in this 1908 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
Genevieve Moore is shown with her parents Delbert and Effie Moore in this 1908 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Early childhood years

Genevieve, who was the first born of the five children of Delbert Howard Moore and Effie Belle (Wotring) Moore, lived the first three years of her life in Greeley, Colo. 

Although Genevieve said that she does not have any memory of residing in Colorado, she can now observe five different photographs from this time in her life.

Among these photographs is a 1908 image that includes the less than one-year-old Genevieve, her parents and her grandparents on her father’s side of her family.
Genevieve Moore – now Genevieve Cobb – is shown in the arms of her mother in this 1908 photograph. Also shown in the photograph are Genevieve’s father (seated next to her mother) and her grandparents. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Genevieve Moore – now Genevieve Cobb – is shown in the arms of her mother in this 1908 photograph. Also shown in the photograph are Genevieve’s father (seated next to her mother) and her grandparents. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

The photograph is especially significant, since Genevieve believes it represents the only existing photograph of any of her grandparents.

In a similar manner to this photograph, Genevieve’s photograph of herself and Rodney is also unique. Taken on June 8, 1948 – the day after their wedding – the photograph is possibly the only image of her late husband.  
 
Roseburg, Oregon

After leaving Colorado, Genevieve resided with her family in Roseburg, Ore. from about 1911 to about

Genevieve Moore is pictured with her doll in late 1909. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Genevieve Moore is pictured with her doll in late 1909. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

While in Oregon, Delbert, a former railroad worker, supported his family by cutting wood in the forest.

In Roseburg, the family had a farm. And to help the financial stability of the family, who Genevieve said was poor, Effie, in Genevieve’s words, “canned fruit like mad.”

Oklahoma in the 1920s

With hope of improving their finances, the family relocated to Oklahoma, first residing in Skiatook and then moving about 20 miles away to the town of Bigheart.

Delbert was able to obtain employment in Oklahoma as an oil field worker.

Genevieve Moore – now Genieve Cobb – is shown with her dog in this photograph, which was taken in about 1910 in Greeley, Colo. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Genevieve Moore – now Genieve Cobb – is shown with her dog in this photograph, which was taken in about 1910 in Greeley, Colo. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Genevieve said that she remembers when Bigheart was renamed Barnsdall in 1922.

“They changed the name to Barnsdall, because the Barnsdall (oil) refinery was there,” Genevieve said. 

After graduating from Barnsdall High School in 1926, Genevieve graduated from the University of Oklahoma, became a teacher at Skiatook Elementary School, worked in the registrar’s office at the University of Oklahoma and met her future husband. She also turned down an offer to become the principal of Skiatook Elementary School.

The traveling years

Soon after Genevieve’s marriage, she was left alone, as Rodney served in the Army in Panama for 13 months.

Genevieve Moore is shown at the age of 5 in this 1913 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Genevieve Moore is shown at the age of 5 in this 1913 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Eventually, Genevieve moved to Fresno, where Rodney was stationed.

Following the war, on Dec. 24, 1945, Genevieve and Rodney moved to Colorado Springs.

Attending Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Rodney obtained a bachelor’s degree in botany.
Due to Rodney’s desire to earn a master’s degree in botany at the University of Washington, the couple eventually moved to Seattle.

The suitcases were packed once more, when Rodney, after earning his master’s degree, obtained employment at the world-famous seed supplier, W. Atlee Burpee and Co., in Lompoc, Calif.

East Sacramento

In 1953, Genevieve began the first year of her more than half-century of residing in East Sacramento, as Rodney was hired to work for the Department of Agriculture. 

After residing for 10 months in downtown Sacramento, Rodney and Genevieve purchased a house at 89 Coloma Way, off Elvas Avenue, in East Sacramento in November 1953.

Genevieve also became employed by the state, first working for the Division of Highways. For the majority of her 13 years with the state, she worked for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Randall, Meredith and Genevieve Moore pose for this 1913 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Randall, Meredith and Genevieve Moore pose for this 1913 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Both Rodney and Genevieve retired from the state on July 1, 1969.

Mercy McMahon Terrace

In 1995, Genevieve and Rodney moved into Mercy McMahon Terrace, an independent and assisted living facility at 3865 J St., near Mercy General Hospital.

Although Rodney passed away at the age of 93 in 2000, Genevieve has continued to live at Mercy McMahon and has a reputation of being an outstanding person, as well as an excellent bridge player.

Genevieve, who is of Dutch and Irish ancestry and is related to the second U.S. president, John Adams, said that she appreciates the opportunity she has had to live such a long life.

Good genes and good food

She added that she mainly attributes her family’s genes to her longevity.

“My mother lived to be quite old,” Genevieve said. “She didn’t live to be 100, but she was in the upper 90s and her family was long-lived. My father died young, 65, but he had some health problems. His sister lived, I guess, to be in her 90s and my sisters are in their 90s. But I know genes are what do it. Also, I never smoked or drank and (growing up) I just had the food that our family could raise or buy. It was quality food and never junk food.”

The Moore family is shown in this c. 1921 photograph. They are (left to right): Meredith, Juanita, Delbert, Genevieve, Effie and Randall. The fifth child of the family, Darrell, was not yet born at the time when this photograph was taken. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

The Moore family is shown in this c. 1921 photograph. They are (left to right): Meredith, Juanita, Delbert, Genevieve, Effie and Randall. The fifth child of the family, Darrell, was not yet born at the time when this photograph was taken. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Active centenarian

Genevieve, who has been very active in the resident council and is Mercy McMahon’s only centenarian, is well known among residents and staff at Mercy McMahon as a model of longevity and one of the facility’s most kind-hearted and friendly people.

Among the residents who are most impressed with Genevieve is Sheila Mahoney.

“You wouldn’t even know she’s 102,” Maloney said. “She does everything. She does her own laundry. I’m 92 and I don’t even do my own laundry. She is quite a lady.”

Genevieve and Rodney Cobb are shown in this June 8, 1948 photograph, which was taken just one day following their marriage. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Genevieve and Rodney Cobb are shown in this June 8, 1948 photograph, which was taken just one day following their marriage. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb

Nicki Bagley, assistant administrator at Mercy McMahon, said that she is also very impressed with Genevieve.

“She is a very amazing woman,” Bagley said. “She represents her generation quite well. She’s a very classy woman and kind of old-fashioned in her being. She’s also very bright and still very alert mentally. She is certainly as bright as anyone 20 years younger. We are so fortunate to have Mrs. Cobb here at Mercy McMahon.”

lance@valcomnews.com

Sacramento resident calls the shots as he sees them in the Pac-10

 
David Lambros has interesting weekends every fall – he officiates at Pac-10 football games as a referee. A retired police officer, he dons his zebra stripes, whistle and yellow flag and travels to the games. “I take it seriously. I try not to smile too much on the field,” he said with a grin. “It just wouldn’t do to see a ‘happy ref’ out there.” / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Susan Laird
David Lambros has interesting weekends every fall – he officiates at Pac-10 football games as a referee. A retired police officer, he dons his zebra stripes, whistle and yellow flag and travels to the games. “I take it seriously. I try not to smile too much on the field,” he said with a grin. “It just wouldn’t do to see a ‘happy ref’ out there.” / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Susan Laird

Most people have probably seen Land Park resident David Lambros without even being aware of it.

If you watch a lot of Pac-12 football on Saturdays or catch the evening sports news, you might just catch a glimpse of him.

He can easily be spotted because of his zebra stripes, whistle and yellow flag.

Lambros started officiating in the Pac-10 in 2001, but the life of this husband and father of two began his life as a referee with more humble roots.

After spending time in the Navy (and Vietnam), Lambros came back to northern California to go to school. He attended both American River College and Sac State and eventually became a deputy sheriff in Sacramento. In a throwback to his days as a football player in high school, Lambros participated in the first four Pig Bowls which annually pits cops vs. firemen.

In 1982, Lambros found a local high school association of officials, bought his books, paid his dues and started on his way to becoming a big time official.

“They train you in the classroom and on the field,” Lambros said. “It’s kind of like an apprenticeship. You don’t get paid at first but the instructors talk to you as the game progresses and critique you.”

He started out working high school and Pop Warner games to hone his craft. In 1986, he started working junior college games before moving on to what was then called Division I-AA and Division II college games in 1992. In 1995 he moved up the latter to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and to the Mountain West Conference in 1998.

But it was 2001 that Lambros called “a big year” for him.

He moved on to the Pac-10, one of the biggest stages in college football that year. He also began officiating in the Arena Football League, which he did for eight years. He went on to explain some of the ins and outs of officiating in the Pac-10.

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

“There are six Pac-10 crews,” he said. “My crew gets together in February to begin studying for the upcoming season.”

The crew meets twice per month until May, when they begin meeting weekly.

“At the end of July we have conferences and clinics and in August we work scrimmages.”

When it comes to calling games on Saturdays, Lambros still feels like it’s his first time out there.

“Every game I am at I get chills looking around at all the people,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which stadium I’m in.”

As far as his favorite venues in the Pac-10, Lambros is partial to The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, home of the UCLA Bruins. The craziest atmosphere, though, comes from up north.

“Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon is the loudest stadium I have ever been in,” he said.

It was particularly loud when he officiated the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers at their annual “Civil War” game. The rival universities have played each other every year since 1894.

The travel for a referee can be draining, but Lambros said that it isn’t too bad, because the Pac-10 schools are somewhat close to each other. Outside of bowl season, he never has to travel further than Arizona or Washington.

His list of memorable games includes a 72–68 marathon of a bowl game on Christmas Day as well as the 43–42 Idaho victory over Bowling Green in last year’s Humanitarian Bowl.

In his years as an official, Lambros was blown away by the talents of one player in particular.

Lambros is a “back judge,” which means that he deals mostly with wide receivers and defensive backs. One of the players that stuck in his mind as truly great was former USC wide receiver Mike Williams.

He also said that during his time referreeing in the Mountain West that Brian Urlacher once made a play that even he couldn’t believe while he was at New Mexico.

And as for those penalty calls viewers get irritated by, the officials’ agenda is not as sinister as some make it out to be, according to Lambros.

“When a play goes off, I have no idea who the players are or sometimes even which team is which,” he said. “I’ll see that green pushed white, so the foul is on green. I have to try my best to remember what number the guy was.”

Oct. 23 was Lambros’ final day off of the season before traveling to call the Oregon-USC game on Oct. 30 in Los Angeles. So when you are watching a Pac-10 game on the television, watch for this veteran ref chasing after receivers and throwing his pesky yellow flag.

benn@valcomnews.com

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy