Sacramento celebrates its hometown heroes

More than 10,000 people from all over the state crowded the streets near the State Capitol downtown to celebrate the heroic acts of Anthony Sadler, Alex Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone despite a hot and smoky Friday, Sept. 11. The young men, on vacation in Europe to celebrate National Guardsman Skarlatos’s return from his duty in Afghanistan, stopped a potentially lethal attack on a train in France.
Intense community pride permeated the day and all of the events’ attendees. A parade of the men’s family members, representatives from Del Campo and Rosemont high schools, Sacramento State, Mayor Kevin Johnson, city council members and legislators marched down Capitol Mall and gathered at the Capitol. The excitement of the rally was punctuated with bursts of confetti and a large American flag hanging over the Mall.

Photo courtesy of Youzhi Ma, The Epoch Times  Hometown heroes Alex Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler wave to their fellow Sacramentans at the parade on Friday, Sept. 11.
Photo courtesy of Youzhi Ma, The Epoch Times Hometown heroes Alex Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler wave to their fellow Sacramentans at the parade on Friday, Sept. 11.

“It was not a surprise, nor was it an accident that of the hundreds of international passengers on that train that it was three Americans who acted with such courage,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said in a speech in a rally on the steps of the state Capitol building. “And it was not a surprise nor was it an accident that these Americans were Sacramentans.”
Mayor Johnson awarded the men keys to the city and legislators broke from intense last minute legislative negotiations to give them a state resolution. The men had been awarded France’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor, a medal by President François Hollande in France and the San Francisco French Consulate attended the Sacramento rally, saying “We will never forget what you have done.” Local celebrity Jackie Greene played “the oldest song he (knows),” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” for the crowd.
Many friends and family members came to show their respect and support. Three years-long friend of Anthony Sadler and Sacramento State student, Alex Vieira, said: “When I saw the news, I thought, ‘Oh my God; that’s Anthony.” Vieira said regarding the incident, “He was just really humble about it,” and emphasized Sadler’s focus on the others’ actions.
Les Simmons, Sadler’s “adopted uncle” who’s known Sadler for most of the young man’s life, said he expected Anthony to do something heroic.
Simmons’s wife Angela said, “We’re so grateful because heroes don’t always survive and because when something like this happens, there is always an overall overflow impact.”
Spencer Stone’s cousin, Paige Esku, 22, said the festivities and the response to the heroes’ feat felt “overwhelming. I didn’t know how big a deal it was going to be. At first when I heard what happened, I was relieved to hear that he was okay and then after it sunk in, I felt proud.”
All three heroes went to Del Campo High School and the school and its students had a strong presence at the parade and rally. Del Campo High junior Maria Oderton said about the event, “It’s really cool. I love everything about the day. It’s great to have something like this to unite the nation.”

Sacramento State alum and City Councilmember Eric Guerra “Having a (Sacramento State) Hornet honored like this shows what Sacramento has to offer and inspires us to want to be thinking about the greater good.”
As the festivities wound down, Sadler said, “I feel overwhelmed by all the support. I love being from Sacramento.”

Elks building in the Pocket dates back to the 1970s

The Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 building at 6446 Riverside Blvd. is shown following its completion in the late 1970s. / Photo courtesy of Elks Lodge No. 6
The Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 building at 6446 Riverside Blvd. is shown following its completion in the late 1970s. / Photo courtesy of Elks Lodge No. 6

The Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 building at 6446 Riverside Blvd. is one of the grand landmarks of the Pocket area.
Many longtime Sacramentans recall that the local Elks previously maintained their headquarters in an even grander landmark – the 226-foot-tall, brick and steel building at the northeast corner of 11th and J streets. That structure was dedicated as the new home of Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 on June 22, 1926.
The era of the Elks’ existence at 11th and J streets ended in the 1970s, and plans were made for a new home for the local organization.
Having sold the 11th and J streets building, Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 began that new chapter in its history at its present Riverside Boulevard building.
Although that structure does not have the grandiose aesthetics of the old 11th and J streets temple, the structure, which encompasses about an acre of property, is nonetheless a high quality building with various amenities.
The main feature of the building is its combined rooms, which include the Riverside Room, the Florin Room and the Lodge Room. These rooms can also be opened up for use as one large room.
Available for rentals, the combined rooms also include a 50-foot by 50-foot hardwood dance floor and a 46-foot by 16-foot stage.
Additionally, all members have access to a fitness center, which includes an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, racquetball and handball courts and a weight room.
Other amenities include a library and meeting room, a lounge with a full bar and small dance floor, a patio and barbecue area, a kitchen and a game room.
As for telling the story of the establishment of an Elks lodge in the Pocket, information was gathered for this article, the most important of which was a chronological summary of the building project written by Garry T. Vivaldi, then-Elks state trustee and exalted ruler of the lodge in 1956 and 1957.
The road to the Elks departure from its downtown skyscraper began on Jan. 17, 1967 when Otto Steinbrenner, Jr., city chief building inspector, via a letter, informed the Elks Lodge No. 6 Hall Association that its temple would need to be improved to meet the then-present building codes.
In recalling that time in the local Elks history, Vivaldi wrote, “For approximately three years, we procrastinated on what course to pursue in this matter. Would we attempt to raise money to make necessary improvements to meet the building code standards or should we continue in our efforts to purchase new land in a desirable location and build a new home?”
On Aug. 25, 1970, the pros and cons of selling the longtime home of the Elks were discussed during a regular meeting.
During the following year, the local Elks’ building committee met various times with the McKeon Construction Co. regarding a possible build-to-suit and lease back arrangement in the Stonelake area, near the site of a then-future portion of Interstate 5.
The lodge made major moves regarding its downtown temple in 1972, with the first of those moves coming on April 4, when membership approved a resolution to sell the building and its land.
Then on Nov. 1, 1972, a sale occurred, when A&A Key and Builders Supply and B and B Enterprises purchased the building and property for a net sum of $250,000.
But in being that the lodge would have become homeless without its old building, an arrangement was made to lease back three floors of the structure for five years.
That arrangement called for the lease to begin on Dec. 1, 1972 and terminate on Dec. 1, 1977.
Considerations were given for various potential sites for a location of a new lodge building, among which were 10 acres in the Natomas area along Interstate 5 and property in the Campus Commons area near California State University, Sacramento.
On June 11, 1974, local Elks members voted, 112-8, to purchase about a 15-acre site at the lodge’s present location.
An application was filed with the city Planning Commission on Aug. 14, 1974 for the purpose of acquiring a special permit to have a “private club” constructed in an agricultural zone at the northwest corner of Riverside Boulevard and Florin Road.
A kickoff rally for the new building fund was held in the lodge’s Mirror Room on Feb. 13, 1975.
Highlights of that event included steaks that were grilled on a barbecue on the fire escape and the presentation of a wheelbarrow with 300 silver dollars that was wheeled into the room by Francis W. Silva, past exalted ruler, as a donation to the new building fund.
In reflecting on that time in the efforts to have a new Elks lodge constructed, Vivaldi wrote: “The year 1975 was a critical one of the building committee. Much had to be done by way of designing the building, inside and out, location of building on property, type of building, interior considerations of location of offices, athletic department, bar, banquet hall, lodge room, library, pool room, conference areas, kitchen and numerous other items, and most important of all – the financing of the building program.”
Members of the lodge approved a contractual agreement for building design services on Oct. 23, 1975, followed by the grand lodge’s approval to proceed with the construction of a new building on Jan. 8, 1976.
On Dec. 14, 1976, membership approved the borrowing of $600,000 for the financing of the new building.
Ten days later, a formal application to the grand lodge designated plans to expend $1,055,000 for the new Elks structure and the execution of a $600,000 mortgage at a 9 ¼ percent interest to be repaid in 25 years.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held on Jan. 15, 1977. At the gathering, Exalted Ruler Richard Sanderson turned over the first shovel full of dirt with the same embossed, jewel encrusted shovel that was used for the groundbreaking of the 11th and J streets temple.
The construction of the building initially progressed rapidly, but progress would be temporarily delayed in August 1977, as it was determined that the parapet walls surrounding the mechanical units on the roof were insufficient for their purposes and thus needed to be revised.
During the final meeting at the 11th and J streets temple on Nov. 8, 1977, a resolution was approved for the borrowing of an additional $135,000 for the building project.
Furniture and fixtures that would not be used at the new building were sold at an auction held at the downtown temple on Nov. 12, 1977.
Two weeks later, many Elks members dedicated a day to moving the remaining Elks property from their former home to their new home on Riverside Boulevard.
The first lodge meeting in the new building was held in the conference room on Dec. 13, 1977, as the lodge room had not yet been completed.
Following its eventual completion, the present home of Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 was dedicated on April 21, 1979. And the mortgage for the present building was burned in 1991 after the sale of the lodge’s additional property created funds to pay the balance of that mortgage.

Arden area, other places share unique shopping center connections

A Town & Country Village shopping center was located in Sunnyvale, Calif. from about 1963 to about 2013. / Photo courtesy of the Heritage Park Museum
A Town & Country Village shopping center was located in Sunnyvale, Calif. from about 1963 to about 2013. / Photo courtesy of the Heritage Park Museum

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series about various Town & Country shopping center locations.

Residents of the Sacramento region and beyond are familiar with the Arden area’s Town & Country Village at Fulton and Marconi avenues. But a much lesser known trivia is that many other cities have been home to Town & Country shopping centers.
Some of those centers have a direct link to Sacramento’s Town & Country Village, while others simply share the name, partial name or concept.
Although research for this article revealed the establishment of Town & Country Village locations in additional cities, John Strizek, the son of Jere’ Strizek, who founded the Arden area’s Town & Country Village, said, “My dad was really only associated with the three (Village locations) that he built (in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Phoenix) and the one he consulted on (in San José). Later on, he did some shopping center consulting up in Portland, but that was a completely different deal. That was with the Jansen family, and a project of theirs.”

Palo Alto

The reverse side of an old postcard for another Town & Country Village reads: “Town and Country Village, Palo Alto, California, on the east side of El Camino Real, features dozens of specialty shops for elegant shopping.”
The front of that 1950s card shows a long stretch of buildings with overhangs and red tile roofs.
Through research for this article, it was discovered that this Town & Country Village continues to operate in mostly original structures, about a half-mile south of the main campus of Stanford University and directly across the street from Stanford Stadium.
In regard to this Village location, Oxana Morozov, property assistant for the management of Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village, said, “Town and Country Village was built in the 1950s. The buildings are all original. We have about 90 retail stores and 20 offices. We have a lot of boutique-like stores and a lot of retail restaurants. (There are) some national businesses, and small mom and pop (type businesses). More than 50 (percent of the businesses are of) the mom and pop (type variety).”
Morozov added that this Town & Country Village, which has the address of 855 El Camino Real, has been owned by Ellis Partners since 2008.
Also commenting about the Village in Palo Alto was Steve Steiger, historian of the Palo Alto Historical Association.
“There is one new building (housing a Trader Joe’s) on the site,” Steiger said. “Most of the buildings date from the 1950s and they’ve been remodeled and altered over time.”


Through a discussion with Laura Babcock, director of the Heritage Park Museum in Sunnyvale, Calif., it was confirmed that a Town & Country Village, with the familiar overhangs, ivy covered wooden posts and red tile roofs, was once located in that city at the northwest corner of Francis Street and Washington Avenue.
A 1988 newspaper clipping on file with the museum refers to the shopping center as a 25-year-old landmark, or in other words, it was built and/or opened in 1963.
Babcock said that Sunnyvale’s Town & Country Village experienced economic difficulties and was eventually demolished (in about 2013).”

Mill Valley

Jocelyn Moss, librarian at the Marin History Museum, verified the one-time existence of a Town & Country Village in Mill Valley in Marin County.
“Yeah, there was (a Town & Country Village) in Mill Valley,” Moss said. “(The shopping center is) out in the country, but the mailing address is Mill Valley. It’s (in) a development area. I don’t know much about when it started, but it was around 1965, because I didn’t see it in the 1964 phone book.
“(The center’s buildings) have a mission-style [appearance], with the red tile roofs, [overhangs and palms]. It’s right [off] the freeway – Highway 101.”
Through further research for this article, it was discovered that the shopping center is now called Strawberry Village.
Steve Steiger, the aforementioned historian of the Palo Alto Historical Association, recalled visiting this shopping center during his youth.
“I was a kid growing up in Mill Valley when it appeared there in the 1960s,” Steiger said. “If I was a betting man, I would say it [began in] 1962. I grew up across the freeway. I remember going to a record store that was in the shopping center and buying (some of the) latest rock ‘n’ roll records.”

El Cajon

San Diego County has been home to various Town & Country shopping centers, including three such centers in El Cajon.
Marie Scott, assistant to Chuck Moore, property manager for El Cajon Town & Country since 2008, said that the management company’s records show that El Cajon Town & Country dates back to 1965.
Adjacent to that center is a smaller center known as Town & Country Village.
In speaking about that Town & Country Village, Jane Kenealy, archivist at the San Diego History Center, said, “This is just a very small shopping center. It may have been updated and lost its western theme, which is highly possible. But that is the only one (in El Cajon) that is called Town & Country Village.”
Further research about El Cajon shopping centers led to the discovery of a shopping center known as Rancho San Diego Town & Country, at 2514-2522 Jamacha Road.
Brian Quinn, senior vice president of Flocke & Avoyer Real Estate, a third party agent for Kimco Realty, which owns a portion of Rancho San Diego Town & Country, mentioned that this shopping center has the familiar overhangs, red tile roofs and palm trees.
Quinn added that the same center was built in three phases from about 1988 to about 1994.


A Town & Country Village debuted in Houston in the late 1960s, and had its north end re-created into the Town & Country Mall two decades later.
The mall was demolished in 2005, and was replaced by another high density shopping center known as CityCentre, at 800 Town and Country Blvd.
Town & Country Village, which was redeveloped in 1996, exists in its redeveloped form today.
An early advertisement for the Town & Country Village in Houston includes the following words: “Town & Country Village, Memorial Drive and Interstate 10 freeway at West Belt Freeway. Town and Country in Houston usually means Town and Country Village – America’s most picturesque and charming center of department stores, boutiques, shops, stores, restaurants, theatres and fun! The large and magnificent, as well as the small and quaint.”
Houston native Elizabeth Martin, who serves as the education coordinator for The Heritage Society in Houston, which focuses on the history of Houston and the surrounding region, also spoke about Houston’s Town & Country Village, which has the address of 12850 Memorial Drive.
“Town & Country (Village) was more picturesque, because it wasn’t all under one roof,” Martin said. “They’ve totally redone that particular center. Now they’ve gone to kind of a town concept, (with) more the town than the country. It’s more high end now, with a lot more restaurants.”

Whitehall and Kettering, Ohio

During research for this article, it was discovered that two cities in the state of Ohio are home to Town & Country Shopping Centers. Those cities are Whitehall and Kettering.
An article in the February 24, 2013 edition of The Columbus Dispatch notes that on July 5, 1947, real estate developer Don M. Casto, Sr. had announced his plan to have “a million-dollar shopping center” constructed “just outside the city (of Columbus)” on East Broad Street, between Maplewood and Collingwood avenues (in the then new suburb of Whitehall).” The article mentions the official opening of Whitehall’s Town & Country Shopping Center as March 1, 1949.
Casto, a now third generation, full-service real estate company, owns both the Town and Country center in Whitehall and the Town & Country center in Kettering.
The Kettering center, which recently added a Trader Joe’s, is described by Casto as having been a joint venture project of that company and Skilken real estate development company for many years.
Instrumental in obtaining information for this segment of this article were Lois Helton and Teresa Huntley of the Kettering-Moraine Branch of the Dayton Metro Library in Kettering.
While searching for materials regarding the Town & Country topic, Helton discovered author Harold E. Amli’s 1997 book, “A History of Van Buren Township and Kettering, Ohio,” on a shelf at the Kettering-Moraine Branch library.
In that book, Amli mentions that Kettering’s Town & Country center was built in 1950 and 1951 and opened in the fall of 1951.
As for drawing a connection between the western-themed Town & Country Villages with their overhangs and red tile roofs and the Town and Country Shopping Centers of Whitehall and Kettering, historic photographs of these Ohio shopping centers reveal that these centers did not have those features.
An important finding during research for this article was the existence of a smaller section of the Kettering center known as the T&C Village Shops.
In commenting about the Village Shops, Huntley said, “They’re a part of Town & Country [Shopping Center], but they’re a separate building.”
Historical details about Kettering’s Village Shops were not discovered during interviews and research for this chapter. However, it may be more than a coincidence that this Ohio city is home to T&C Village Shops and Jere’ Strizek established shopping centers that utilized the name Town & Country Village Shops.

Town & Country Village history includes locations outside Sacramento

Sacramento’s Town and Country Village, shown in this 1950s photograph, was constructed in what was, at the time, a very rural part of the county. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection
Sacramento’s Town and Country Village, shown in this 1950s photograph, was constructed in what was, at the time, a very rural part of the county. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about various Town & Country Village


There are certainly a wide variety of sites that have brought character to Sacramento, and among those sites was undoubtedly Town & Country Village at the northeast corner of Fulton and Marconi avenues.
Although this shopping center has a much different appearance than it did in its earlier years, it continues to carry its name and legacy.


Nearly 70 years ago, a visionary contractor named Jere’ Strizek (1902-1979) was granted permission to build a 300-foot-long building and two buildings with 90-foot fronts on that site.
In its Sept. 11, 1945 edition, The Sacramento Bee notes: “The completed project, to be called the Town and Country Shopping Center, will serve Bohemian Village, the Country Club Estates and a large tract southeast of the Del Paso Country Club which Strizek plans to develop as restrictions on home buildings are lifted.”
Partnering with Strizek on the design of the Village was the Illinois-born, Sacramento architectural designer John W. Davis (1911-1970), who earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of Illinois in 1934.
By September 1946, 20 of the then planned 30 stores were then in operation.
Many longtime locals are familiar with the Village’s original features such as Spanish-style buildings with red tile roofs and overhangs and tall palms, redwood plank store signs, wooden benches, urns, hanging pots and a wide variety of shrubbery and flowers.
But a relatively few number of those people area aware that Sacramento was not the only city to have a Town & Country Village shopping center.
During research for this article, it was discovered that Jere’ and his wife, Jessie, had only one child, John Edward Strizek.

Los Angeles

John Strizek, who is now 67 and resides in Land Park, said that another Town & Country Village was constructed on leased property in Los Angeles in the 1950s.
“After the (Strizek) family moved to Los Angeles, they built (a Town & Country Village in that city),” John Strizek said. “That was on (the southeast corner of) 3rd (Street) and Fairfax (Avenue).”
A gold colored, metallic token for the Town & Country Village in Los Angeles was made available as a souvenir in 1955.
On that side of the token are images of a building with an overhang and a tile roof, a wagon wheel and two palm trees. And in the lower right portion of that side of the souvenir is the replica, raised lettered signature of Jere’ Strizek.
The reverse side of the token has the image of a horseshoe, and the words, “You’re always lucky when you shop at ‘the Village.’ 67 distinctive shops to serve you.”
During the early years of Los Angeles’ Town & Country Village, wooden plank, store signs hung in front of the center’s businesses. They included such wording as “Town & Country Delicatessen,” “Fisher’s Hamburgers,” “Richard’s (ice cream shop) – exclusive ice creams, salads & sandwich bars.”
Current records of the city of Los Angeles show no listing for a Town & Country Village.
Brett Arena, archivist for the A.F. Gilmore Co., which owns the historic Farmers Market across the 3rd Street from the old Town & Country Village site, confirmed that the latter named shopping center no longer exists.
“All the (Town & Country Village) buildings are all gone,” Arena said. “I think (the place closed) in the early 1960s.”
The site is presently home to a variety of businesses, including CVS pharmacy, Kmart and Whole Foods Market.
Arena said that Farmers Market opened on July 14, 1934.
Furthermore, Arena shared some history about the area where these two business places operated.
“Town & Country (Village) is adjacent to a very large development called Park La Brea, where Metropolitan Life Insurance developed before,” Arena said. “After the war, the entire project was redesigned. So, this was all of a sudden a very big residential area on the former Hancock land. The Hancock family is an important Los Angeles family. They became an oil family. They owned the vast majority of Rancho La Brea, which was one of the Mexican land grants. So, the property across the street was originally (owned by the) Hancocks.
“So, after the war, when Park La Brea was developed, people were moving into this area. That’s when Town & Country was put together.”
These two shopping destinations eventually became competitive with one another, Arena explained.
“(Town & Country Village) was really not only going to take advantage of (its) proximity to Park La Brea, but also to try to siphon off some of the clientele of the well established Farmers Market,” Arena said. “There was a little bit of a rivalry between the two places.”
In sharing some other details about Los Angeles’ Town & Country Village, Arena said, “One of our tenants, a gentleman by the name of (Irvin ‘Kip’) Kipper started Kip’s Toyland here. Kip was in World War II, and then after the war, he started the Toyland over at the Town & Country (Village).
“Richard’s (ice cream) place was a pretty big deal. I grew up in the neighborhood and went to Fairfax High School up the street. Old timers talk about (Richard’s). There was also a pharmacy and beauty parlor.”
Arena also mentioned that Los Angeles’ Town & Country Village was managed by Earl Froning, and that its property was eventually owned by the Hancock Foundation.


In further speaking about the history of Town & Country Village, John Strizek said, “After (Los Angeles), we moved to Phoenix and made an agreement with Patricia Mars and Allen Feeney, on property of the Milky Way Hereford Ranch on (East) Camelback Road (and 20th Street). (Mars) was part of the Mars candy company family.”
An article in the Nov. 17, 1955 edition of the Prescott (Ariz.) Evening Courier includes the following details about that project: “Already surrounded by new subdivisions, the 138-acre, grassy tract will be the site of a multimillion dollar shopping center with about 100 stores and a hotel, according to preliminary plans by its developers.
“The ranch was reported to have been leased by Jere’ Strizek, a Los Angeles contactor and developer, from M.A. (Allen) Feeney.”
Construction on the center began in May 1956.
John Jacquemart, 65, a researcher and part-time staff worker for the city of Phoenix’s historic preservation office, said that Phoenix’s Town & Country Village continues to operate, with its mostly historic appearance.
“(The center is) still there,” Jacquemart said. “As with any commercial venture, there’s change that goes on. Other things have been added on, but it still has (basically) the same appearance.”
In sharing his earliest memories of Phoenix’s Town & Country Village, Jacquemart said, “I went there in the 1950s. I went there shortly after it opened. We moved to Phoenix in 1956 from Tucson, and where I got shoes – Ernie Brewer’s (children’s) shoe store – was there at Town & Country (Village). And later, in the late 1960s, I would go to the food court and sit out on the patio with some food and some wine.”
Jacquemart added that he found it interesting to learn about other Town & Country Village locations.
“You know, we all think we have something unique, but it’s also kind of great to see that we tie in and fit in with somebody else,” Jacquesmart said.

San Jose

In regard to another Town & Country Village, which was located at the southeast corner of Winchester and Stevens Creek boulevards, near the famous Winchester Mystery House, Strizek said, “My dad did some consulting on one that was built in San Jose, although he did not build that one. And that was probably somewhere around 1960 or so.”
Catherine Mills, curator of archives and library at History San José, Silicon Valley’s largest and most comprehensive historical organization, commented about that Town & Country Village, saying, “According to our directories, the San Jose location first shows up in 1960.”
A c. 1965 directory of shops and services of San Jose’s Town & Country Village includes the following words: “Town & Country Village is a charming, rustic wonderland of the finest stores in Santa Clara Valley. The low, rambling architecture of the Village is suggestive of an early California hacienda. Tree-lined islands divide ample parking areas, just steps away from stores. Spanish tile roofs shelter wide sidewalks, inviting all-weather shopping.”
Like Sacramento’s Town & Country Village, San Jose’s Town & Country Village included businesses with the word, ‘Village’ in their names. Those San Jose businesses included Village Cleaners and Village Coiffeurs.
In 1985, the Village in San Jose introduced the Town & Country Village Lantern newsletter, which was offered as a newspaper advertising supplement.
The Lantern’s June 1986 edition mentions that the Village was home to 125 specialty stores and services.
The history of San Jose’s Town & Country Village came to an end in the late 1990s, as the old shopping center was demolished and replaced by a 1.5 million square foot, mixed use development known as Santana Row.
Construction on that development, which includes an upscale shopping center, theater and residential living units, began during the summer of 2000.
The initial portion of that development opened on Nov. 7, 2002. The fill-out of the project was completed by 2006.
According to a Santana Row press kit, Town & Country Village was built on a 40-acre parcel that was formerly the site of a pear orchard.
Also included in that release was the following history: “In 1960, developer Ron Williams (took) a shopping center concept that he thought would be appealing to Bay Area residents. He would build Town & Country Villages (with) one-level Spanish-style buildings of stores and restaurants in four Bay Area communities – San Jose, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Mill Valley.
“The shopping centers’ tile roofs and covered walkways, supported by thick, vine covered (beams) had a distinctive appearance that set them apart from other shopping malls. The open-air facilities invited visitors to stroll and relax, and promised a touch of class.
“Town & Country Village remained a popular destination for many years, even if larger, modern shopping malls were built in the valley.
“The center became a little tired, a little shabby and more than 8 acres remained a dusty, empty field.
“In the late 1990s, its owners at the time, (which was Metropolitan Life Insurance), decided to put the property on the market. Three thousand miles away, Federal Realty Investment Trust – an equity, realty investment trust, based in Rockville, Md. – was searching for a prime location in California to build its strength (with) an architecturally spanning, mixed-use development where people could live, work, shop and dine together all in one place. The Town & Country (Village) site in San Jose seemed the perfect fit.”
San Jose’s Town & Country Village site was sold to Federal Realty in March 1997.

Sacramento Suburban Water District Sets New Limits on Landscape Watering

Unveils new rebate programs to help customers conserve

The Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) has adopted new outdoor watering restrictions that limit landscape irrigation to two days per week on specific days and times.

The new watering guidelines are designed to further encourage water reductions in light of the severe drought plaguing California and new directives from the Governor and State Water Resources Control Board to reduce water use. Sacramento Suburban Water District is required to reduce its water use by over 30 percent.

Effective immediately, outdoor watering is limited for all District customers to two (2) days per week according to the following schedule:

Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can water on Tuesday and Saturday
Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, 8 ) and water on Sunday and Wednesday
Customers are allowed to water on their designated day before noon or after 8 p.m.

“People can make a big dent in their household water use by limiting landscape watering, which is where most water use occurs,” said Greg Bundesen, SSWD’s Water Conservation Supervisor. At a typical home, most water use goes to watering lawns and outdoor landscaping, and about 30 percent of that is lost due to overwatering and evaporation from wind and sun.

“By taking immediate action to limit landscape watering, SSWD customers can maximize water savings during the coming peak temperature and water use months. Summer presents our best opportunity to achieve the ambitious conservation targets set by the state,” Bundesen said.

In addition to the new watering guidelines, the District also is unveiling a suite of new incentive programs to help customers reduce water use. Rebates include:

Turf Replacement (”Cash for Grass”): 50 cents per square foot (up to $1,000) for replacing thirsty lawn with low-water use plants.

Irrigation Efficiency Upgrades (up to $300) for replacing existing spray sprinklers with more efficient rotary nozzles and drip irrigation systems.

Pool Covers (up to $100), which can reduce evaporation from pools by up to 95 percent.

Rain Sensors (up to $100) to automatically turn off sprinkler systems during rain.

Recirculating Hot Water Pumps (up to $150) to deliver hot water on demand.

WaterSense-Labeled Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers (up to $100) to install a “smart” sprinkler controller that adjusts watering schedules according to the weather.

Complete rebate details and applications, as well as water-wise tips will be available at

Women’s Wisdom Art: Empowerment through art

Shown here is a piece of student art.
Shown here is a piece of student art.

Photos by Leigh Stephens / Shown here are Laura Ann Walton, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Helen Plenert.
Photos by Leigh Stephens / Shown here are Laura Ann Walton, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Helen Plenert.

Why art for healing: Art demands the involvement of the whole person; body, mind, emotions, imagination, spirit and, it requires unrelenting self-reflection and self-discipline.

Women’s Wisdom Art is celebrating its 25th year as a Sacramento non-profit organization that holds classes in the arts and writing for low income women. The women are referred by friends and various social agencies. They come from diverse cultural backgrounds, from all walks of life.

Several thousand women come through WWA’s door to take part in art that rewards them with hope and community. Many continue their education to help them have a better life. They have experienced poor health, mental illness, learning disabilities, military service, abuse; some struggle with drug addiction and homelessness. Through the program many are able to lead productive, stable lives.

The agency has had a number of sponsors throughout these years. The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Sisters of Mercy of Auburn, the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services and private donors are among those who have contributed funds. When the Food Bank changed priorities about three years ago, WWA’s budget dropped from about $100,000 to $20,000.

The organization leaders, teachers and women participants vowed to keep the program going. It was a struggle to pay rent and keep the program going so now it shares space with the Poetry Center in an old warehouse at 1719 25th St. Bob Stanley, president of the Sacramento Poetry Center invited WWA to use their space for a modest rent… poetry at night; art classes in the day.

WWA has just received a Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission Cultural Award for artistic quality. The funding is for three years, 2015-17. It will support about 20 percent of WWA annual costs.

In February 2015, WWA with the Community for Peace exhibited art at the Crocker Art Museum, titled “Peace and Hope.” The show consisted of a mixture of paintings: oil, watercolors, acrylics. It also displayed hand crafted art and ceramic pieces. Those women artists beamed with pride as they discussed how they created each piece. The women’s art has also been displayed at SMUD art gallery, at the California Capitol, at local galleries and businesses.

In addition to art and writing classes, WWA holds a show twice a year where the public can view the women’s work and purchase pieces. The money goes back to the artist, and the artists pay a fee of $25 each month to help pay for art supplies: brushes, easels, journals, etc. With this monthly fee, women can attend any type of class during the month.

WWA empowers women through tapping their inner self through expression in painting, fabric art, mosaics, and writing. Roberta Beach, board member says, “WWA provides a safe place for women to build self-esteem, to develop confidence and the courage to take the next step to a fuller life through their art.”

In a recent acrylic class, five women gathered with volunteer instructor Susan Kelly-DeWitt (who was also WWA’s first program director) at the studio in a small room staged in a U shape. The women were working on various art pieces. Susan moved quietly from student-to-student offering suggestions and encouraging the women in their inspirations.

Student voices and lives:

Mallory, says she has been attending classes for about ten years. She says she values the community of women where they become part of her family. The program offers a structure for the women’s lives. She says, “It feeds my spirit so I have the freedom to express myself.”

Jen, says the art makes her optimistic about her future, “I thought art was a talent you were born with but discovered it also involves skills you can learn.

Consuelo says, “I feel strong about my Apache background. Wisdom has opened many doors for me. We are not just black & white…we come from many different cultures…I no longer have to be alone.”

Catie is a military vet who suffers from a debilitating illness that makes her hands shake when she works. It took a long time for Catie to grasp the ideas that in spite of her difficulties, she could draw and paint. She is now an art major.

Sandy says, “I’m recovering from drug addiction & alcoholism. I’m also on a journey to recover from sexual, physical and emotional abuse. I’m learning to like the one I see in the mirror.”

Founder Laura Ann Walton says, “Women’s Wisdom Art not only ‘helps’ the women, but can bring about a transformation of life – it is a spiritual experience.” Walton is a native of Sacramento who taught English in Catholic schools for 13 years and worked two years as principal of Mercy High School in Carmichael. She was one of the founding members of Loaves & Fishes, a non-profit agency serving the homeless. She was the founding Director of Maryhouse which serves homeless women and children, and she is the founder of Women’s Wisdom Art in 1990.

From a published booklet by the poets of Women’s Wisdom Art, 2014, When the Light Changes, Jana writes in her poem, “Beauty of the Mind,” “…The mind holds a hidden stillness containing the secret to life’s mystery. As days go by our most precious memories await us in an inkling of time. They await us patiently to be called forth, Beauty, mind, remembrance.”

Helen Plenert is the program manager for WWA who graduated from CSUS Art Department and moved to San Francisco where she held a number of professional theater positions in art design. Returning to Sacramento, she received a California State general contractor’s license which qualifies her to work on building projects such as murals. Her other art includes acrylics, water colors, and oil pastels. She says one of her teachers was well-known Sacramento artist Wayne Thiebaud.

Women’s Wisdom Art accepts donations of money, art supplies, yardage, sewing supplies, and volunteer services to the program. (See list of needs on For more information contact Helen Plenert at her office 916-482-2608 or her cell 916-599-2608.


Leigh Stephens is a retired journalism professor from CSUS Department of Journalism and Communications and the author of more than 500 articles and the books, 12 Steps to Clear Writing and Covering the Community.

Water safety tips offered by SacPD

Sacramento Police Department Officer Terrell Marshall offered the following water safety tips:

- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers take extra precautions, such as wearing a U.S.
Coast Guard-approved life jacket, when around the water and staying within arm’s reach of a
designated water watcher.
- Designate a responsible individual(s) as the person to watch over children whenever they
are in, on or around any body of water, even if a lifeguard is present.
- Set specific swimming rules for each individual in a family or a group based on swimming ability
(for example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep).
- Make sure swimmers know about the water environment and any potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, obstructions and the locations of entry and exit points. The more informed people are, the more aware they will be of hazards as well as safe practices.
- Identify potential water hazards within the community and make certain that children stay away from them.
- Swim only in areas supervised by a lifeguard
- Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.
- Read and obey all rules and posted signs.
- Only swim in designated areas.
- Use a feet first entry when entering the water.
-Enter headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.
- Do not mix alcohol with boating, swimming or diving. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; impacts the ability to operate watercraft safely; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
- Take a boating safety course before operating any watercraft.
- Be especially cautious near moving water, cold water and ice.
- Be prepared. Aquatic emergencies happen quickly and suddenly. Whenever possible have a
telephone or mobile phone nearby.
Recreational swimming and water activities enrich our lives, but remember that it can also be a source of danger. Follow these simple tips and be safe out there!

Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival Celebrates Heritage and Culture Celebrate National APA Heritage Month at the historic Guild Theater in Oak Park

Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival
Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival

The signature event of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village, the Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival (SAPFF) serves alongside a continuum of events and programming in support of traditional and contemporary Asian and Pacific Islander artistic expression within the Sacramento Region.

The event will span two days and include five screenings, 27 films, and more than 15 hours of Asian Pacific film, talent, stories, cultural performances, and more.

Highlights include:
-Sacramento hometown premiere of “Kung Phooey!”, hilarious 2003 martial arts spoof by Darryl Fong
-“Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles”, epic animated sci-fi film
-“Sriracha”, story of everyone’s favorite new Asian cuisine staple
-“Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps”, with traditional Japanese music performances Sacramento biwa (Japanese lute) master Molly Kimura and Bay Area mother and son koto duo Shirley Muramoto-Wong and Brian Mitsuhiro Wong
-“Changing Season: On The Masumoto Family Farm”, story of Central Valley family farmers and their journey to keep the family legacy thriving in challenging times

SAPFF’s mission is to celebrate and explore our diverse experiences and advance the roles of Asian and Pacific Islanders in film and new media. Emcees include: Kathy Park (KCRA 3 News Anchor/Reporter) and Stephen Chun (Event Announcer) share the stage to bring you the 2015 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival!

If you go:

2015 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival


Friday, May 29, 4:30-9:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 30, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Animation, food, documentaries, open submissions)


The Guild Theater, 2828 35th St.


Purchase single tickets for any of the five screenings in the categories of comedy, animation, food, documentaries and open submissions.
A full festival pass includes access to the entire 2-day event – 27 films, Q/A sessions, and stellar cultural performances).

Single Screenings:

General – Advanced $12 ($15 after May 22)
Students/Seniors are $10.

Full Festival Pass:

General – Advanced $50 ($60 after 5/22)
Students/Seniors $40

Current IDs for Student and Senior discount will be requested at the door. Online sales for single screening tickets ends 30 minutes prior to the screening.

All ticket purchases to the 2015 SAPFF include free admission to “SAPFF Pre-Launch at Pre-Flite!”, Wednesday, May 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Pre-Flite Lounge, and the “SAPFF Official After Party”, Saturday, May 30 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Chaise Lounge! Pre-Launch and after party are strictly 21 and older. Specialty cocktails available. Mention SAPFF at the door.


Day 1: Comedy

Friday, May 29, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
At 6:20 p.m., there will be a special presentation: Kung Phooey!, followed by question and answer period with director Darryl Fong. Comedy screening schedule includes: My Hot Mom Gandhi, Love Arcadia, Kung Phooey! and Miss India America.

Day 2: Animation

Saturday, May 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., there will be a special presentation, featuring Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, followed by a question and answer with director Tommy Yune. Animation screening schedule includes: Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, Today’s Headline, Fishing at Lethe, The Skinny Tree, Painter, Currency Affairs and Entrance Exam.

Day 3: Food

Saturday, May 30 from 1 to 3:45 p.m. There will be a special presentation of Sriracha. The food screening schedule includes: Sriracha, Sweet Corn, Cambodian Doughnut Dreams, Off The Menu: Asian America, Vishal and The Flip.

(Also Day 3): Documentaries

On Saturday, May 30, from 4 to 6:45 p.m., there will be a special presentation: Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps, with traditional Japanese music performances by Bay Area mother and son koto duo Shirley Muramoto-Wong and Brian Mitsuhiro Wong, and local biwa master Molly Kimura. The screening schedule for documentaries includes: Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps, Phetmixay Means Fighter, Giap’s Last Day at The Ironing Board Factory, Changing Season: On The Masumoto Family Farm.

(Also on Day 3) Open Submissions

On Saturday, May 30 from 7 to 9:30 p.m., there will be showings of The Other Side, South Paw, Jasmine, Wedlocked, I Dreamt of You and Live, Breathe, Hula.

New fitness and dance studio open near Pocket area

ZUMBA Fitness class
ZUMBA Fitness class

In 2012, mom and daughter duo, Corene Marshalek and Teajai Callander, moved to Sacramento from San Francisco, looking for relief from the high cost of living and stress of making ends meet. Corene had transferred job positions prematurely to later find that the job was no longer available after signing a 2 year lease in the South Sacramento area. Corene who had worked her entire life, found herself on unemployment for over a year, fell into a deep depression, and gained over 50 pounds to her smaller frame.

Finally, a break in the clouds… as a neighbor invited a shy Corene to join a ZUMBA Fitness class-where for 50 minutes you are engulfed in dance and a fun atmosphere allowing you to break away from the day-to-day stress and you lose yourself in the music burning up to 1,000 calories in one hour! Instantly Corene was hooked and began scraping the change together to be able to afford the costly $5 per class. Corene shared this new found joy with her depressed mother Teajai, who was nearly bed ridden and reclusive due to her Rheumatoid Arthritis and limited mobility in her legs and back.

Corene decided to become certified to teach ZUMBA Fitness and participate in the movement to assist people like herself and mother to beat depression and achieve weight management with a fun, party-like fitness frenzy. The duo began by delivering flyers door to door and applied for a business license to teach ZUMBA Fitness out of their garage; attracting neighborhood men and women. Corene expanded her reach by offering low-cost Zumba at local community centers.

On May 2, Corene and Teajai opened a new business location in South Sacramento at 6661 Florin Road called CFiT Dance Studio offering ZUMBA Fitness and ZUMBA Gold-A low impact fitness class for beginners and older adults. CFiT also offers Vinyasa Yoga, and the new Hot Hula Fitness to the area at a low, walk-in rate of $4 per class or a $30 VIP membership (which includes many nutritional/fitness goodies and certified wellness coaching). There are no initiation fees or contracts to sign; you just show up and dance yourself fit. And starting soon, CFiT will have a nutrition program and weight loss group available.

Visit CFiT Dance Studio on Facebook or visit the website at for a full schedule of classes. Join the party grand opening weekend on June 12, 13, and 14.

According to Teajai, “ZUMBA is a workout everyone can enjoy; combining Latin, international, and pop music into an infectious fitness party; you forget it’s a workout. We, at CFiT Dance Studio, want to expose people in the area to fun ways to get fit.”

Mangers to Chair Sacramento Region Community Foundation Board

Former State Assemblyman Dennis Mangers
Former State Assemblyman Dennis Mangers

Former president of the California Cable and Telecommunications Association and former state Assemblyman Dennis Mangers has accepted the chairmanship of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation Board of Trustees, succeeding Henry Wirz.
The Sacramento Region Community Foundation, which manages $120 million in assets, recently announced its 2015 Big Day Of Giving campaign. Five hundred twenty-eight local nonprofit organizations will participate in the Big Day Of Giving May 5, with a goal of raising $5 million. In 2014, Sacramento’s Big Day Of Giving raised more than $3 million with 394 non-profits participating, coming in second in the nation among participants in the national Give Local America campaign.
Mangers served as principal lobbyist, senior vice president and ultimately president of the California Cable and Telecommunications Association from 1981 to 2008. He previously represented the 73rd Assembly District in the California legislature from 1976 to 1980.
Mangers resides with husband Michael Sestak in Carmichael.