Creek Week 2019

Take part in annual tours, talks and waterway cleanup

By Jessica Laskey
April 2019

Do your part to protect and enhance our urban waterways April 4–13 during this year’s Creek Week. Sponsored by Sacramento Area Creeks Council, this annual week of activities celebrates our region’s vital creek systems.

The opening event, Splash Off, will take place Thursday, April 4, from 11 a.m. to noon at Camp Pollock on Northgate Boulevard with keynote speaker Chris Brokate from Clean River Alliance. Dr. Roland Brady will receive the 2019 Creek Steward Award for his extraordinary efforts to organize the cleanup of Steelhead Creek.

Creek Week events on Saturday, April 6, will include Bufferlands Birds & Blooms Tour from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.; Water Wonderful World, an exploration of local waterways hosted by the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, at 10:30 a.m.; and Arcade Creek Exploration from 10 a.m. to noon.

Living in Water, a close-up look at amazing animals that live in our ponds, will be Sunday, April 7, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, events are Bufferlands Evening Talk from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and Steelhead Creek Beaver Pond Walk at 6:30 p.m. Bear Hollow Nature Tour & Bird Watch will be Saturday, April 13, from 8 to 9 a.m.

Now the part where you come in. The Creek Week Clean-Up and Celebration will be held Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers for the Clean-Up should register by April 5 at For information on cleanup sites in Carmichael and Arden-Arcade, contact Hilary Harkins at (916) 927-3802 ext. 120 or

Next, celebrate your hard work starting at noon at Carmichael Park with a picnic, entertainment, exhibits, displays and the chance to enter your cleanup finds in the Junk and Gunk Contest. For more information, visit


I recently had the pleasure of attending a performance of “Doubt: A Parable”— written by John Patrick Shanley and winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama—at Chautauqua Playhouse in Carmichael. I was immediately reminded of why I love this venerable theater company and why it deserves more attention.

Founded by local actor Rodger Hoopman in 1975 as the Chautauqua Players, the theater company has gone through many iterations over its 42 seasons. It started at the Old Eagle Theatre in Old Sacramento in fall 1975, moved to its own space—a former warehouse—on R Street in 1976, spent many seasons producing out of various venues after an arsonist burned the theater to the ground in October 1983, and has operated out of the La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael since 1985.

Since it began, Chautauqua has produced six plays per season (running from September through May) plus a six-show children’s theater, as well as offering workshops for children in voice, drama and dance.

The artistic team behind the nonprofit theater is led by producing artistic director Hoopman and producing administrator Warren Harrison, who also directs the children’s theater. As busy as they may be, the company continues to tackle contemporary comedies and dramas with consistent aplomb, strong casts and solid production values.

Want to pitch in? Donate to Chautauqua’s lobby renovation project—the playhouse is aiming to raise $15,000 to make the lobby more comfortable. Work is scheduled to take place in August.

Catch the rest of the season with “Hollywood Arms” running through April 20, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” May 10–June 9, and “The Odd Couple” June 21–July 22. For more information, visit


The 17th annual Sacramento Invitational Taekwondo Championships, recently held at American River College, yielded some exciting results for students of Robinson’s Taekwondo. The region’s top martial arts school was founded in 1975 by grandmaster Clinton Robinson.

Lorenzo Ortega and Natalie Velasquez went home with gold medals, which means they’ve maintained their ranking as individual weight division champions. Ortega and Velasquez are also members of the U.S. National Taekwondo Team—Velasquez won gold at the Berlin Open in Germany last year. They’ll continue to fight for consideration for the U.S. Olympic Taekwondo Team at the U.S. Open Championships.

Other students competing at the U.S. Open include Nicole Porter, Victoria Loya, Daniela Saravia, and Fouad and George El Chemali—all of whom study at Robinson’s Taekwondo studio on Watt Avenue.


Need help preparing your taxes—for free? United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program is available at two locations in Arden throughout tax season: Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance at 2700 Fulton Ave. and International Rescue Committee at 2020 Hurley Way.

IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax-return preparation with electronic filing and help people claim the maximum tax credits for which they are eligible. To receive help, households must have earned $60,000 or less in 2018. Services are available in English, Russian, Farsi and Dari.

“This is an important time of year for families in our community,” says Stephanie Bray, president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region. “They could be eligible to receive hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in refunds. Arden is one of the largest areas in the county where households qualify for the California Earned Income Tax Credit but do not apply for it.”

To make an appointment, visit


If you’re thirsty for milkshakes with a side of history, get thee to Milk House Shakes. The counter-style eatery—owned by self-proclaimed First Lady of Milk Shakes, Kelly Boyles—opened on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (Feb. 12) in Old Sacramento.

Boyles credits fond memories of visits with her grandparents to a favorite hamburger joint for her love of milkshakes, which was further cemented during college at USC at a campus café.

Boyles’ dream of opening her own milkshake shop combined with her love of presidential history became a reality when she won the 2017 Calling All Dreamers competition. The contest, sponsored by the Downtown Partnership Foundation, takes applicants through a rigorous business-development process for a chance to open their own storefront.

Milk House Shakes offers six milkshakes named after presidents—Boyles plans to eventually create a shake for all 44 U.S. presidents—along with a build-your-own option and a variety of coffee drinks.


We all need to leave behind more than just memories—we need to leave behind detailed plans. To help in that effort, East Lawn is offering three complimentary informational presentations this month.

The 25-minute sessions will be held Thursday, April 4, at 11:30 a.m. at East Lawn Memorial Park & East Sacramento Mortuary, 4300 Folsom Blvd.; Wednesday, April 10, at 11:30 a.m. at East Lawn Andrews & Greilich Mortuary, 3939 Fruitridge Road; and Wednesday, April 17, at 11:30 a.m. at Sierra Hills Memorial Park & East Lawn Mortuary, 5757 Greenback Lane.

Reservations are required and seating is limited. To RSVP for April 4, call (916) 732-2000; for April 10, call (916) 732-2026; and for April 17, call (916) 732-2020. A complimentary meal will be served. For more information, visit

Jessica Laskey can be reached at Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month.

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