Inside Sacramento December 2019

By Jessica Laskey
December 2019

Banner Year
Rose garden photo contest winners on display

The winners of the 2019 McKinley Rose Garden Photo Contest are now on display as colorful banners in front of Clunie Community Center. McKinley Rose Garden and Clunie Community Center are managed by the nonprofit Friends of East Sacramento.

“While we’ve sponsored the contest for six years, this is the first time we have displayed the winning photos so prominently,” says FES co-founder Cecily Hastings. “Last year I was visiting another city and saw similar photos used on banners, and I thought it would be a great way to honor our gorgeous photography contest winners.”

The winning photos were taken by Sylvia Lynn Stiller, Robert Meza, David Schrimmer, Deborah Lee, Troy Young, George McKamy, Dennis Wilson and Erin Conti.

“Rentals of the rose garden are down substantially because of the vault construction,” Hastings says. “So we also want to remind people that not only is the garden open for visitors, but that we are also available—even on short notice—for weddings and other events.”

Renters are finding almost no downside to having the vault under construction, Hastings reports. Visit for more information on rentals.


A new sculpture has taken root in Tahoe Park. When Joyce Faidley lost a 95-foot coastal redwood on her property to the drought, she didn’t want its beauty—which had delighted the neighborhood for more than 100 years—to go to waste.

“Many people are feeling despair now in our chaotic political climate,” Faidley says. “The tree is a metaphor for new hope that rises out of death and loss. It is a place to have fun connecting with others.”

Faidley commissioned artist James L. Cooper of Legacy Wood Designs to reimagine the tree into a stunning 14-foot sculpture, now called “Joy’s Tree of Hope.” He also repurposed parts of the tree to create carbon-neutral products like new kitchen countertops for Faidley’s home, outdoor benches, tables and chairs, and freshly chipped wood mulch to put around the massive six-foot root ball. A portion of the tree was also donated to the Sacramento Tree Foundation for other artists to use.

Cooper says he wanted the images of California nature carved into the wood to shift with the changing light and encourage imagination. Take a trip to 4840 9th Ave. and see what you can spot in “Joy’s Tree of Hope.” For questions about Legacy Wood Designs, contact Cooper at (916) 910-4458.


A new mural titled “Providence” by artist David Fiveash was recently unveiled at the Archival Gallery building on Folsom Boulevard. The large botanical design joins Archival’s existing Wide Open Walls mural “Sting” by Robert Bowen.

“After painting over graffiti many times on a cement wall we look at every day—and seeing the citywide response to our Robert Bowen mural—we decided that our wall needed a change,” galley director D. Oldham Neath says. “David’s lush floral paintings evoke a feeling of peace and tranquility—the perfect image for a bustling art gallery and frame shop. We look forward to a little eternal spring in the upcoming winter!”

Fiveash received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 and shows extensively in the Bay Area. “I am very glad to be able to contribute to public art in my city,” Fiveash says. “I wanted to make a space that would brighten someone’s day.” For more information, visit



Two high school seniors at Sacramento Waldorf School are making the world better—one carbon footprint at a time. Tyler Cochran-Branson and Riley Day recently launched a composting effort at their school as part of a bigger initiative to invigorate the school’s climate-change awareness and minimize its carbon footprint.

“We, like everyone else our age, are bombarded with article after article about the climate crisis,” Cochran-Branson says. “It was honestly very depressing. We weren’t sure what to do, but we knew we had to do something. So we brainstormed and came up with a month-to-month plan.”

Since September, the dynamic duo has been showing videos to classmates during lunchtime to get students talking about the climate crisis. They then implemented a high school-wide composting system to reduce food waste. But they are not stopping there.

Tackling fast fashion—clothing made by retailers using environmentally unfriendly practices, as well as sweatshop labor—is next on their list, with a plan to involve the school in a huge clothing exchange.

“Our goal for this project is to bring awareness to the students and hope that they will bring their knowledge to their families and make a change in their household.”

Check your own carbon footprint at


For the 13th year in a row, Soroptimist International of Sacramento is raising money by selling See’s Candies in its very own storefront in Loehmann’s Plaza at Fair Oaks Boulevard and Munroe Street.

Candy is at regular See’s retail prices and all profits will fund community services to assist at-risk women and girls. This year’s major projects include two Live Your Dream awards, which provide education and training to two women who are heads of household to improve their economic situation, and Dream It, Be It, eight self-improvement and career-training sessions for at-risk high school girls.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week through Dec. 24, and is staffed entirely by Soroptimist member volunteers. The second edition of “Inside Sacramento: The Most Interesting Neighborhood Places in America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” will also be for sale. For more information, visit


Bring your appetite and walking shoes for the newest way to experience Midtown—on Farm to Table Midtown Tour offered by SacTown Bites Food Tour Adventures.

SacTown Bites opened in September as a women-owned, small-tour operator focusing on tours that showcase the bounty of the Sacramento Valley with partners Magpie, The Porch, Lucca Restaurant & Bar, Ginger Elizabeth and Alaro Craft Brewery.

“I was traveling a lot in my previous career and began doing food tours in each city I visited as a way to explore the area quickly and get a sense of the food scene,” owner and founder Heather Fortes explains. “It dawned on me last December that Sacramento really needed a food tour like I had been experiencing. So I pivoted, as they say, and started researching and planning SacTown Bites.”

The Farm to Table Midtown Tour is a three-hour experience where groups of no more than 12 are guided on a curated walking tour that includes up to six restaurants. At each stop, guests enjoy a specially prepared dish while learning about the chefs and owners, the inspiration behind the recipes, the ingredients and the farms that provide those ingredients.

The tour also includes stops at some of Sacramento’s iconic public artworks, including the Capital Box Art Project, Walk of Stars and Wide Open Walls. The tour is appropriate for all fitness levels and is wheelchair accessible. Adult tickets are $79 (no alcohol) and $99 (three drink pairings). For more information, visit


The City of Trees naturally has quite a crazy leaf season, so the city is helping out by providing tips for making leaf collection a breeze.

The claw, a mechanical leaf collector, will make at least seven collections on each street during Sacramento’s residential leaf season, which runs Nov. 1 to Jan. 26. The schedule is updated daily and crews work rain or shine, including holidays.

Fill your yard waste container first—which makes more room for parking and cleanup easier—before you start making a leaf pile.

Leaf piles should be no more than five cubic yards (4 feet x 4 feet x 9 feet). Limbs must be cut to 3 feet or less in length and no more than 4 inches in diameter. Place the pile 6 feet from any obstruction (cars, boats, basketball hoops, etc.) and make sure there’s space between the curb and pile to allow water to flow to storm drains. When possible, avoid placing piles in bike lanes.

Piles should not be in plastic bags; pet waste goes in the garbage; and Christmas trees will be accepted. For more information, visit


Calling all community change makers! Square Root Academy has opened a new coworking space. Lab 7 is a place for driven community members to meet, greet and get things done.

The 2,900-square-foot space is a “living, breathing ecosystem of people dedicated to making a difference in their community,” explains Didier Theodore “Dj” Mponte, co-founder of Square Root Academy, which provides STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to underserved kids.

Lab 7 features a conference room, open table space for collaboration and modular classroom for innovation, collaboration and education. The space, located at 2417 21st St., is available for events and workshops, and is accepting applications for membership. For more information, visit


Curtis Park just got a whole lot more modern. Sacramento Urban Works recently completed the Castro Zero Energy Development, which consists of two River Cat Alley townhouses and one Castro ZEN single-family home. The development’s mission is to promote modern sustainable living by developing energy-efficient, solar-powered homes.

On average, people in the U.S. spend more than $200,000 over a lifetime on electricity and fuel. Sacramento Urban Works’ goal is to reduce this cost to zero by equipping their homes with the latest in green technology. The Castro ZEN home, for example, is powered with Tesla Powerwall battery storage and Curb energy monitoring to reduce electricity usage.

“The completion of the Castro Zero Energy Development is proof anyone can build their vision,” says Sacramento Urban Works co-founder Joaquin Rangel and co-founder/CFO Pavan Sandhu. “For us, that was to build a small development that’s good for the environment and our community and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

The development is between 2nd Avenue and Castro Way off 24th Street. The homes are complete and for sale. Visit for more information.


Now you can romp with Fido rain or shine. The Midtown Association recently installed seven all-weather umbrellas at Truitt Bark Park at 19th and Q streets.

The new umbrellas will provide protection from the rain in the winter months and offer much-needed shade during summer.

The addition of the umbrellas was made possible by support from Sutter Health, Capital Area Development Authority, Tricorp Group Inc, Quadriga, Councilmember Steve Hansen, the city of Sacramento and Midtown Association. For more information, visit


The beloved Del Paso Boulevard fixture Iceland Ice Skating Rink has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. The rink—which burned to the ground in a five-alarm arson fire in March 2010—is back open for business through Feb. 17.

Iceland Ice Skating Rink operated continuously from 1940 to that ill-fated day nearly 10 years ago. Shows and classes kept it bustling then, and now new memories can be made at this nonprofit seasonal ice rink.

The Annual Holiday Show is Saturday, Dec. 21 and 28, and Jan. 4 at 7 p.m., followed by two hours of skating with Santa. This year, a cast of 15 will skate to classic rock, funk and pop songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Tickets are $13 for off-ice bleacher seating and $25 for on-ice seating.

Learn more about the ice rink’s history in the documentary “Frozen In Time: Sacramento’s Iceland Ice Rink” by local filmmaker Tim Walton posted at For more information, visit


The Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink—the region’s oldest and most beloved outdoor rink—is hopping this time of year. Check out this month’s festive-themed days that will help you celebrate in style.

Wednesday, Dec. 4, is Rock with Santa presented by from 4–7 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 5, is DOCO Disco presented by Downtown Commons from 7–9 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, is Grinch Day presented by Xfinity from noon–3 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 15, is Kids Day presented by the Sacramento Kings from noon–2 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 22, is Ugly Sweater Party from 6–10 p.m.

Hours through Jan. 20 are Monday to Thursday, 2–9 p.m., and Friday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The rink will be open Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Christmas Day from noon–9 p.m.; and New Year’s Eve from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission is $6 for kids 6 and younger, $13 for regular skating and $15 for holiday skating (Nov. 24–30 and Dec. 24 to Jan. 5). For more information, visit The rink is located in Ali Youssefi Square at 7th and K streets.

Jessica Laskey 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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