In Tune Carmichael

By Susuan Maxwell Skinner
August 2019

Sunset Supper

Enjoy garden dining at annual Carmichael Park fundraiser

Following the sell-out success of 2017 and 2018 fundraisers, the Carmichael Parks Foundation will stage a third “Dinner in the Park” gala on Saturday, Sept. 7. The nonprofit funds improvements in 13 parks and provides scholarships for youth programs.

Guests will amble over two hidden-gem reserves. Cocktail hour will be bathed by sunset in the garden at Sutter-Jensen Community Park. Tables will be set for a moonlit farm-to-fork meal in the adjoining Jensen Botanical Garden. Local restaurants will supply appetizers and Carmichael’s Bella Bru Café will serve sit-down meals of tri-tip, chicken and portabella mushrooms. Chocolate torte will follow.

Winding paths link the two parks and live music will serenade every step of the way. Following dinner, an auction will offer a Montana fishing vacation and other “experience” packages.

As the immediate neighborhood provides little parking, guests are encouraged to walk, carpool or take advantage of a free shuttle from Carmichael Elementary School on Sutter Avenue.

The party begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $125. Sponsors include Charles Schwab, Thomas Sharp CFP, Hensel Phelps Construction, Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center, SMUD, Kaiser Permanente, KMM Services, Paul Pennington, Assemblymember Ken Cooley and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. On-site sanitation is donated by Wilkinson Portables.
For more information, visit


Jolly hockey sticks and pip-pip if you have British blood, ladies. There is a club for you.

Once monthly, all across the U.S., select sitting rooms chime with china cups and accents as British as cress sandwiches. A 5,000-strong society called Daughters of the British Empire in the USA has a Sacramento chapter whose members dress for meetings as if they were popping off to Harrods.

Tea is sipped. Laments are heard that few local restaurants know how to make a proper cuppa. Members treasure old-country tradition and support the society’s pursuit of friendship, charity and culture.

Sacramento leader (regent) Connie DaMant says some Daughters recall childhood evacuation from London during World War II. Another member, now 95, tells of how she married an American GI after a two-day wartime courtship. And yes, their marriage lasted.

“We’re fascinated by such stories,” DaMant says. “For those of us who were born in the U.S., meetings are a chance to discover our heritage.”

British ancestry—even by marriage—enables DBE membership. Commonwealth-born members hail from many nations where Union Jacks once fluttered.

Queen Victoria’s vast empire may no longer exist, but Elizabeth II reigns on gloriously for the Daughters. At the June meeting, they sang “God Save the Queen” for the enduring monarch’s 91st birthday. Sausage rolls accompanied the celebration. Strong breakfast tea was tipple of choice.

“My wonderful English grandfather made me a tea drinker,” DaMant says. “I felt closer to him last year when I went to England for the first time.”

Nationwide, Daughters support fundraising for DBE-run senior homes. They also sponsor young women’s college scholarships. National annual meetings are diverse as the Empire upon which the sun never set. The recent 2019 gathering in San Francisco began with bagpipes, a parade of flags and a welcome from the British Consul. Indubitably guaranteed for conventioneers was Scottish shortbread and lashings of correctly made tea.

For those who aspire to the perfect cuppa, here’s a DBE stalwart’s formula. Place one teaspoon of loose leaves (or tea bag) per person in a warmed pot. Add boiling water and steep for four minutes. Turn the pot for efficient infusion. If milk (never cream) is required, a small amount goes first into the cup. Then pour tea and sip with genteel murmurings of appreciation.

For more information, visit or call (916) 862-3452.


Carmichael’s Property Business Improvement District has hired its first executive. Rachael Taylor recently began work in donated office space at the Milagro Centre.

A Butte College graduate, she was one of 69 applicants. Her previous job was with Civitas, a Sacramento company that helps merchants unite through regional improvement bodies. Though not involved in PBID’s formation, the executive knows the area through resident family members.

“I’m excited to work with such a hospitable and engaged community,” Taylor says. “I sense its dedication to move ahead, while still keeping a local identity.”

Taylor was raised in Paradise. “And with the town’s recent tragedies, I value people who come together to rebuild what they love most,” she says. “Carmichael has a long history. It also has problems. As an organization, our PBID wants to tackle these so we can thrive and grow.”

PBID’s annual budget is more than $300,000. Funding comes from assessments on more than 600 commercial properties that stretch from Van Alstine Avenue to Jan Drive. The 3-year-old agency is one of 17 PBIDs formed throughout Sacramento County over the last 25 years.

Taylor provides help with marketing and business growth. She also hears merchant concerns, including vandalism and crime. Beautification also rates among merchant priorities. Top merchant frustration is the homeless situation.
“I’d love to see our chronically homeless people housed and off the streets,” Taylor says. “I’m committed to seeing positive changes in Carmichael. Together, our organization and the community can achieve this.”

Learn more about PBID at Taylor can be reached at (916) 481-3015 or


Sometimes the longest of journeys begin with a single step.

Seventeen Carmichael Improvement District leaders and volunteers recently took that step to meet 60 businessowners. The morning “business walk” included shops and companies around the Carmichael “Y”—the intersection of Manzanita Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard. Armed with clipboards, volunteers gathered contact details, shared information and asked the businessowners for input on their organizations’ operations.

“Not all business operators knew they had access to our services,” CID outreach chair Johnna Phillips says. “We want them to know we’re here to help them succeed.”

Formed with Sacramento County facilitation in 2016, the nonprofit serves companies and commercial properties, ranging from large retailers to professionals and single-owner operations within 460 acres of the 95608 business corridor. Safety, street cleanliness, beautification and economic development are CID goals.

“We’ve achieved coordination with law enforcement agencies to reduce criminal activity and to address the homeless problem in our area,” board member and lawyer Gary Hursh says. “We feel we’re on a sound foundation to establish Carmichael as a place where businesses and customers want to be.”

The CID board meets in Carmichael Library on the fourth Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. Anyone may attend.


Congressman Ami Bera’s office recently honored three teenage artists at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center in Carmichael as winners of a national art contest sponsored by the Congressional Institute. In 37 years, more than 650,000 high school students have participated in the annual Congressional Art Competition.

The top 7th District prize was awarded to Madeleine Ng for her artwork of her younger sister Jaslyn in a balletic leap on a Manhattan rooftop. Titled “Little Dreamer Dancing on Top of the World,” Ng’s canvas reflects Jaslyn’s ambition to study at Julliard School of Dance in New York City. Ng is in 11th grade at Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove.

First-place achievers win a trip to Washington D.C., where their art will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.
Second-place was claimed by Justina Ibarra from Sheldon High School in Sacramento. Bera will display Ibarra’s colorful “Bouquet at the Market” in his D.C. office.

Elk Grove High School student Riley Bloodworth won third place for her digital composition “Looking Within,” which will hang in Bera’s Sacramento headquarters.


When Laura Hutchison applied to join the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce, she little guessed she’d be queen for a day. Fellow members recently surprised the businesswoman—their 300th member—with proclamations and flowers.

“It’s a wonderful accomplishment for the chamber,” Hutchison says. “I’m glad to have helped.”

The business organization has experienced both plentiful and lean years in its 71-year history. Membership hovered close to the three-century mark during the first quarter of 2019. Ten new merchants joined in May. Hutchison unknowingly filed the jackpot application.

She previously worked as membership director for the California Restaurant Association and ran her own event-decorating business. At the age of 45, the mom of two decided on a real estate career. Lyon Real Estate’s Downtown Sacramento office is her base. Off-duty, Hutchison multitasks as a counselor for youth programs at her LDS church. She is also the Carmichael Soccer Club president. She joined the Chamber of Commerce at the invitation of fellow soccer parent and chamber Vice President Joe Green.

“The chamber is thrilled to welcome Laura in her new career,” Green says. “Increased membership means more networking opportunities for local businesses. A strong financial footing also enables us—as a nonprofit—to give back to our community as we’ve always hoped.”


In an open-and-shut case of good cops, faux cops and fuzzy cops, Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones and staff brought all their toys to the recent Unity in the Community picnic at Gibbons Park in Carmichael.

Along with free burgers, the event offered friendly time with the men and women in blue. Hundreds of families met Jones and posed for selfies with mascot McGruff the Crime Dog.

Robotic cop cars buzzed around issuing quirky commands and squirting water. A helicopter landed and lines formed for kids to climb in its cockpit. Visitors observed that toothy canine law-keepers were pussycats off duty. SWAT and bomb-disposal teams were among units that volunteered off-duty time with kids and parents.

Staged annually at several unincorporated Sacramento parks, Unity in the Community gives police officers an opportunity to connect with the community. More picnics are planned for this summer and fall. For dates and times, visit

Susan Maxwell Skinner can be reached at Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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