Cecily Hastings

Publisher

About This Author

Cecily Hastings owns and operates Inside Sacramento and offers her insight and views on local issues each month.

Articles by this author

Summer Breakthrough

As most Sacramento middle-schoolers celebrate the lazy days of summer, a few fortunate students are beginning a life-changing journey.

Breakthrough Sacramento, an educational nonprofit, operates a middle school summer academy taught by college students. After closing in 2020 under the pandemic and reopening with a hybrid model in 2021, the program is back in full force for its 28th year in Sacramento.

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Easy Pickings

As I was checking out of the neighborhood Rite Aid the other day, I noticed a young man fill a small cart mostly with liquor bottles and walk past the waiting line and out the door. A man in line loudly pointed this out to the clerk. She shrugged and said, “Yep, it happens all day long, every day. They know they can steal without any penalty. They fire us if we try to do anything about it.”

A reader had just written me about witnessing the same situation at the same J Street store while eating ice cream cones with his kids. He said his children were aghast. He noted three nearby Rite Aid stores face closure. The locations on Folsom Boulevard and in Midtown have already closed. The Alhambra location was in process of shutting down. And the J Street location just had an armed robbery.

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Getting Home Safe

Law enforcement is perhaps the highest risk profession in our country. With the goal to make it home safe each day, officers face danger and risk from the unpredictability they encounter with every call. As a mother of a former police officer, I know the worry doesn’t end with the officer. It extends to family and friends.

Placer County Deputy Paul Solbos founded Warriors Always Ready, a nonprofit that provides high-quality physical and mental training for first responders and veterans through his Code3 Brazilian jiu-jitsu program.

Solbos’ inspiration was a call for service that put him in serious doubt he would make it home safe. His story begins like so many tragic law enforcement stories.

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Search For Answers

In May 2019, I wrote my first article on the tragedy of homeless people living on our streets. The column was titled “Is Sacramento Dying?” It was based on the documentary film “Seattle Is Dying.”

The film was produced by Seattle TV station KOMO in 2018. It begins with a bold thesis: This is about an idea. For a city that has run out of them. What if Seattle is dying? Can it ever recover?

The column was the most widely shared article on our website—shared thousands of times. Many readers feared our city was following Seattle’s course, driven by a lack of civic leadership.

The response helped me recognize the inadequacy of Sacramento media coverage. Homeless problems were not being seriously discussed in 2019. At Inside, we vowed to publish news, viewpoints, ideas and solutions in every issue moving forward.

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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.

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