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Dignified Ending

Early last year, I needed hospice care for the end of my husband’s long life. I asked Jim’s doctor for YoloCares hospice. He said it was a good choice. He heard good reviews about YoloCares, especially in grief support services.

My decision was personal. It was a tribute to how Jim and I built our business for 27 years. Yolo was our largest advertiser. I learned about their services from ads. Jim always wanted to support businesses that supported us.

Jim’s hospice care was less than five days. He was 93 and suffered four years of worsening dementia after a car accident that caused a brain injury. His wishes were clear. He was ready to go.


Last year, a report from the California Association of Realtors told a disturbing story. Just 15% of California households can afford to buy a house.

That’s less than half the historic average over the prior three decades, when the Realtors said 33% of Californians could afford homes. In March 2012, the rate was 56%, inconceivable today.

These numbers are more than alarming. They are unsustainable for a state that prides itself on having just four nations in the world generate more economic activity. If our children and grandchildren can’t afford to live here, how will our economy attract workers and keep thriving?

Unlocking Potential

Kristy Venrick-Mardon brings bunnies and goats from Only Sunshine Sanctuary, her Elverta animal rescue, to interact with students at Meristem. But it’s not just playtime.

It’s a way for Meristem’s young adults with autism and other neurodiversity to master new skills.

“The students learn how to interact calmly and not stress out the animals,” says Venrick-Mardon, who founded her animal sanctuary in 2018. “At first, every student wanted to touch every animal. Now, they’re more patient and check in with the animal to make sure it’s comfortable.”

Venrick-Mardon didn’t intend to start a sanctuary. When she bought her house 11 years ago, she just wanted it filled with animals.

Comeback Story

With March primary elections in full force, Sacramento needs a plan to repair the damage from recent years. Problems include homelessness, crime and the effects of destructive COVID-19 lockdown policies. We need solutions.

Before the pandemic, the city was on its way to becoming a sought-after location. Between 2016 and 2018, I published two editions of our Inside Sacramento book highlighting the most interesting restaurants and shops in America’s farm-to-fork capital. The books were a hit. I was optimistic.

Today that optimism is gone. City life is worse, not better. A national survey of major cities ranks Sacramento as No. 2 in growth of homeless populations. From 2020 to 2023 Sacramento’s unhoused numbers exploded by 68%.

‘A’ Winner

The idea that government can do things well is a tough sell in some circles. But I’ll go out on a limb to argue Measure A, the half-cent sales tax for transportation approved twice by local voters, is a success story.

Don’t confuse this with the so-called “citizens’ initiative” Measure A that went down in flames in 2022. That Measure A was opposed by good-government groups such as the League of Women Voters, who denounced it as “the product of developers, business organizations and labor advocates” rather than sound and balanced transportation planning.

Pit Crew

Our region is perfect for olive trees. Drive from Sacramento in any direction and you encounter olive groves unfolding away from the roadside, their branches reaching for the sun, standing tall in orchards.

Each year, local olive ranchers practice harvest preservation by curing olives or pressing them into gold-green oil. As a devotee of extra-virgin olive oil, I’m always searching for the area’s best orchards and olive mills.

For several years, I’ve headed south on Interstate 5 and driven to the tight and trimmed rows of the Coldani family Calivirgin Winery and Olive Mill on North Thornton Road.

Rule Breakers

Rule Breakers

Nothing good can be said about the decision that allowed several temporary chain-link fences and gates to sprawl across the Sacramento River levee in Pocket.

The fences block access to the river. They were approved in secret. They violate the California Code of Regulations, state law that requires public hearings and regulatory board approval for levee fences and controversial encroachments.

But Chris Lief, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board executive officer who authorized the fences, made one smart move when he green-lighted the blockades.


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