A New Direction

A New Direction

I’ve been in Sacramento long enough to remember the old county animal shelter—when “pounds” existed simply to impound strays. The dilapidated, dungeon-like building was cramped and dingy—where unwanted dogs and cats went to die.

When the public’s attitude toward companion animals began to change, shelters across the country broadened their scope to promote spaying and neutering, encourage adoptions, and recruit donors and volunteers.

Count Her In

Count Her In

Mia Siino is a 17-year-old sophomore at St. Francis High School. She is the third of four children in her family. It doesn’t take long after meeting Mia to discover she is a fun, outgoing and determined young woman. Mia also happens to have Down syndrome.

Mia tells me she loves working with little kids, dancing, hanging out at Starbucks, her friends and school. I find her enthusiasm contagious. “Her favorite day of the year is her birthday, and she loves to celebrate it for as long as possible,” says Mia’s mother, Karen Siino.

School counselor Nora Anderson says Mia is always first to jump in and help with whatever is needed. Mia’s mom says her daughter strives for more independence and plans to go to college, get married, work and live on her own one day.

Mild Wild West

Mild Wild West

For the first time in several years, some business owners in Old Sacramento—battered by COVID-19, civil unrest and crime—feel hopeful.

The historic district has long suffered an image problem. It had attractions and history, but never the critical mass and appeal to become a must-see attraction.

Excitement was high before the pandemic. An inviting embarcadero was installed. More family-friendly events were planned. The future looked bright in April 2019, after the City Council agreed to invest $47 million to upgrade the Old Sac waterfront, with money leveraged to lure private investment.

Revolving Door

Revolving Door

As a guy who enjoys change, I love the Sacramento City Council. This council is all about change.

Two members, Angelique Ashby and Jay Schenirer, are leaving this year because they want new challenges, the state Senate for Ashby, retirement for Schenirer. Jeff Harris doesn’t want to go, but he’s leaving because a reapportionment committee stole his council district out from under him.

Pure Taste

Pure Taste

Jamie Cavanaugh, owner of Pure Soul Plant Based Eats, doesn’t mind if you aren’t vegan. “I care what I eat,” she says. “I don’t want to eat meat or dairy, but I don’t mind if the diners at my restaurant are vegans or vegetarians or just taking a meal off from their usual diet.”

She adds, “I just want to serve good food.” And she does.

Cavanaugh opened the small eatery in East Sacramento during the fateful month of March 2020. Taking over a corner storefront previously occupied by The Wienery, Pure Soul battled shutdowns, lockdowns and slowdowns its first two years. Today it’s positioned to be busier than ever.

Well Oiled

Well Oiled

My first encounter with Bariani Olive Oil was my first encounter with California olive oil.

Roaming the Berkeley Farmers Market, I found the Bariani stall and took my first oil shot, delivered by one of the brothers who grew the olives and pressed the oil. The oil coated my mouth in a grassy fattiness, soothed my throat and sank into my belly.

Four decades ago in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., the only olive oil available to me was mild, light and imported from Italy and Spain. In California, I savor a drizzle of amber green oil pressed from olives a few miles from where I cook. This oil makes leafy greens and grilled fish or meats sing complex songs.