Interesting People

Heartstrings Connector

Heartstrings Connector Dance theater company raises money for others By Jessica Laskey June 2024 The way Jacob Gutiérrez-Montoya sees it, “my whole life has been about intersections, how paths cross, and what can grow from that.” Gutiérrez-Montoya has...

It’s Only Natural

It’s fitting that the name for Angela Borge’s all-natural bath- and body-care company came from her parents’ garden.
“I had been wanting to start an herbal business, but the names I’d come up with just weren’t connecting,” the Sacramento native says. “Then I was outside at my parents’ house in East Sac and suddenly heard ‘Humble Bee Herbal’ in my head. It was perfect.”

Borge is a devotee of natural skincare, mostly out of necessity. An almond intolerance led her to study herbalism and make her own skincare for years. But it wasn’t until she joined forces with her mom Jeanine, a retired third-grade teacher, when Humble Bee Herbal took off.

High Flyer

Alice Astafan has a story to tell. “Not many people are born on a cotton farm and get to the Pentagon,” the Carmichael resident says.

From her humble start to lofty success in the U.S. Air Force, Astafan is the rare woman who reached the rank of major general. Her second star made her the first and only woman reservist—including all service branches—to attain the two-star rank at that time.

Astafan’s memoir, “Lady Leader Leaves Lasting Legacy: From the Cotton Patch to the Pentagon and Beyond,” was published last November by AuthorHouse. The book tracks her life from a farm in Oakman, Alabama, a town of about 800, to the heights of military service.

“I loved my upbringing, but I didn’t want to be a farmer’s wife for the rest of my life,” Astafan, 85, says.

Hands Off

There’s one nugget of good news buried in the budget debacle at City Hall. The $66 million deficit has zero impact on finishing the Sacramento River Parkway bike trail.

While City Council members scramble to produce a balanced budget, vacuuming dimes and quarters from under sofas, money for the levee trail is beyond their reach.

Funds for engineering, environmental analysis, easement acquisition and construction are locked down, under contract or spent. Levee trail dollars are secure. This means the parkway project sails forward, a half-century after it was promised to the community.

Instant Mom

At age 25, Lauren Hamilton became stepmom to three young boys. Recognizing she needed help, she searched for a book to assist with her tricky new role.

Nothing spoke to her experience, so Hamilton wrote the book herself.

“I kept finding all these love stories and I was definitely not living this happily-ever-after. I was navigating the trenches,” the Arden Oaks resident recalls. “I had days where I remember questioning, is this even worth it? How am I going to make it till they’re 18?

Roll Over Beethoven

You’ll probably never meet anyone more passionate about music than Benjamin J. McClara.

The founder and artistic director of Sacramento Preparatory Music Academy, a community-based education program, gets choked up when he talks about music.

He shares that passion with hundreds of students and community musicians in academy lessons and performances.

“Our mission is to provide lifelong access to music education and a place where students can come and study music with professionals,” McClara says. “You don’t really get that in school.”

The academy offers private and group lessons at Midtown’s E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts in piano, guitar, ukulele, woodwinds and voice under McClara, Michael Dale and Anthony Tavianini.

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