Out & About November 2021

By Jessica Laskey
November 2021

Start Bidding Meow!

Online auction benefits Sacramento SPCA

This year’s Art Fur Paws, the Sacramento SPCA’s online fundraising auction, will be live at witherells.com from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2. Bid on original artwork by regional artists, as well as antiques, collectibles and jewelry, all donated by SSPCA supporters.

Don’t miss the action on an original oil painting by the late Gregory Kondos titled “French Irises,” created by the renowned artist while in France. One of our region’s most celebrated painters, Kondos exhibited this piece in a 2013 show at the Crocker Art Museum.

Watercolors, acrylics, mixed media, ceramics, sculptures and handmade jewelry are among the many other artworks. Artists include Terry Pappas, Jill Estroff, Leslie McCarron, Debra Kreck-Harnish, David Peterson, Elaine Bowers, Deladier Almeida, Jim Marxen, Cathryn Rakich, Barbara Dow, Leslie Toms, Joe and Paula Bellacera, Kathy Dana and others.

“I think bidders will be excited to see they have a chance to take home fantastic original art by many of Sacramento’s best-known artists in about every medium imaginable,” says SSPCA board member Tracy Fairchild.

The two-week online auction, managed by Witherell’s auction house of Sacramento, is perfectly timed for holiday shopping and gift giving. Register to bid at witherell’s.com/auctions/upcoming.

“Since every dollar we raise through the auction goes directly to the shelter, that means more funding for animal care—spaying, neutering, vaccines and wellness checks,” Fairchild says.

For more information, visit sspca.org/online-benefit-auction.


In September, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, Sen. Dr. Richard Pan and City Councilmember Katie Valenzuela presented $1 million to the Latino Center of Art & Culture to renovate the building at Winn Park for the organization’s future use.

“I can’t wait to see it come alive with activity under the stewardship of this amazing organization,” Valenzuela says.

Founded in 1972, the Latino Center of Art & Culture is a multi-disciplinary cultural center offering Latinx programming, art education workshops and a community gathering space. The center is a partner in the Sacramento Artist Corps, which has helped artists continue producing art during the pandemic. For more information, visit thelatinocenter.org.


The Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has released its inaugural Regional Latino Economic Report, which highlights important trends in population, education, employment and economics in Greater Sacramento’s Hispanic communities.

The study found that El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties are home to more than 560,000 Hispanic residents. About 83% of those living in the Sacramento region are of Mexican heritage. The median family income for Hispanic households in the region is $61,300, which is only three-quarters of the median income of non-Hispanic households.

Education-wise, 17% of the region’s Hispanic population has at least a bachelor’s degree, which represents less than half the rate of educational attainment in the non-Hispanic population. The graduation rate for high school Latinos is 82%, which is 6% below the graduation rate for white students.

Hispanics are more likely to rely solely on smartphones for access to the internet, lack health insurance coverage, work jobs that cannot be completed remotely and suffer higher unemployment rates.

In personal interviews, Hispanic students expressed the significant financial burden of the pandemic, in addition to anxieties about COVID-19 exposure for family members working “essential jobs.”

All participants believed the pandemic highlighted the underappreciated work of Hispanics employed in agriculture and service industries, and Hispanics are more important to the economic future of the region than ever before. For more information, visit sachcc.org.


Sacramento State has received $8 million from two Department of Education grants to support Latinx and other underrepresented student groups.

The grants were available only to colleges and universities designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions. With 30% of its students identifying as Latinx, Sac State earned the HIS designation in 2015. It also was awarded the Seal of Excelencia in 2020 for its commitment to accelerate Latinx student success in higher education.

The first grant, a $3 million Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions grant, will launch a new project called “Degree with a Purpose: Integration of Career Development and Financial Wellness into the College Experience.” The other $5 million HSI STEM grant will fund a new program called “STEM4Equity,” which aims to increase the number of Latinx and low-income students graduating with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees.

“A key part of our work to become an antiracist and inclusive campus is to enact systemic changes that eliminate inequities and promote (student) success,” says Sac State President Robert Nelsen. “Projects funded by these grants will do just that.”


The Cien Amigos Education Fund, in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, recently distributed $90,000 in scholarships to 46 Northern California students as part of the Cien Amigos IME Becas matching-funds initiative.

The program is organized and managed jointly by the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California and Cien Amigos, an organization that supports bilateral projects and initiatives that mutually benefit California and Mexico.

Funds supporting this year’s scholarships were provided by the Mexican government through the Institute of Mexicans Abroad and by contributions from foundations, corporations, nonprofits, individual donors and Cien Amigos members. For more information, visit cien-amigos.org.


The General John A. Sutter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will place wreaths on veterans’ graves at Mount Vernon Memorial Park in Fair Oaks at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. Individuals and businesses are invited to sponsor wreaths starting at $15 by visiting wreathsacrossamerica.org/CA0386P. The deadline to sponsor is Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Morrill Worcester, a wreath maker in Harrington, Maine, started the annual tribute in 1992. Worcester decided to use his holiday surplus wreaths to honor U.S. military veterans, so he made arrangements to place the wreaths in one of the older sections of Arlington National Cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

When a photo of Worcester’s wreath tributes began circulating online, a national movement was born. Now, simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies are held across the country through Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit whose mission is “Remember, Honor, Teach.”


The Sacramento County Water Agency is offering rebates to qualifying residential and commercial customers for converting existing grass and sprinkler systems to drip irrigation with native and drought-tolerant landscaping.

SCWA residential customers may receive a rebate of $1 per square foot (up to a maximum of $2,000 per household). Commercial and industrial customers may receive a rebate of $1.50 per square foot (up to a maximum of $2,500). Rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

To apply, visit waterresources.saccounty.net/scwa, under “Rebate Programs.” For more information, call (916) 874-6851 or email scwarebate@saccounty.net.


Photography Month Sacramento returns in April led by Midtown’s Viewpoint Photographic Art Center. A variety of diverse and eclectic events are planned for the month, including special exhibits, receptions, competitions, meetups, workshops, lectures and photo-shoot gatherings.

Businesses, museums and organizations can highlight photographic programming already in place, introduce a concept in the planning stages or create something unique.

For individual photographers—professional and amateur—Photography Month is a great time to exhibit photographic work in a gallery or a collaborative exhibit with friends at a local coffee shop or restaurant.

Once the photography-related event is confirmed, participants can post details on the Photography Month Sacramento website’s events calendar, managed by Sacramento365.com. Participants are encouraged to post events by Dec. 31. For more information, visit photomonthsacramento.org.


The Sacramento Zoological Society and city of Elk Grove have entered into a six-month Exclusive Negotiating Agreement to evaluate relocating the Sacramento Zoo to Elk Grove.

The agreement will explore the feasibility of constructing a new zoo on 60 acres of undeveloped land in south Elk Grove that’s part of the Kammerer Urban Design Study Area. Elk Grove recently secured an option to purchase the property, which is zoned to allow a zoological park, from developer Kamilos Companies.

“Our first priority is always doing what is best for the animals,” says Elizabeth Stallard, Zoological Society board president. “That commitment is driving this opportunity to provide the zoo’s animals with exceptional care in a larger, more modern facility that can better meet their needs and, in turn, inspire and connect more people with the natural world.”

After spending almost four years exploring several potential sites in Sacramento without resolution, the 94-year-old landlocked zoo is desperate to find a new home. “Elk Grove is well-positioned to provide space and support for a new zoo,” says Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen. “The Elk Grove site will allow the zoo to become one of the country’s world-class zoos while honoring its nearly 100-year history and heritage in the Sacramento region.”


The Sacramento Senior Safety Collaborative has launched the Senior Escort Program is response to the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.

Fully vaccinated volunteer escorts are available for free to independently mobile seniors age 60 and older who feel unsafe or uncomfortable in public without accompaniment. Volunteers will meet seniors at their home or a public site to be escorted on foot to appointments, the grocery store or social outings.

Participants can request an escort 24 hours in advance by emailing info@sacscc.org or calling (916) 476-3192. Volunteers must be 15 or older, complete two hours of training and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. More information is at sacssc.org.


The Department of Motor Vehicles is continuing to allow California drivers ages 70 and older to renew their non-commercial driver’s licenses (including REAL IDs) online at dmv.ca.gov.

Still want to renew in person but avoid the lines? Visit Todd Patterson at Quick & EZ Title and Tags at 3100 O St. Patterson, who owned Parcel Plus for years, has taken on a new business venture as the only California-licensed DMV business partner in East Sacramento.


The Sacramento Children’s Museum in Rancho Cordova has joined Museums for All, a nationwide museum-access program for underserved families.

Families that present a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer card and photo ID can now enjoy the Sacramento Children’s Museum for only $2 per person for up to four people.

“Our mission is to spark a lifelong love of learning, which is something that every child deserves,” says Executive Director Sharon Stone Smith. “I am thrilled that Museums for All will help expand access even more, giving us the chance to inspire more families throughout our region.”

More than 700 institutions participate in the Museums for All initiative in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, visit museums4all.org and sackids.org.


SMUD and global esports organization Gen.G have joined forces to host the Colts Generational Gaming Academy at Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School in Elk Grove.

One hundred students were selected to participate in the 20-week afterschool program, which teaches real-life skills through gaming. Topics include zero carbon technology, game development fundamentals, content creation basics and sustainability. Students will also have the opportunity to meet gaming industry professionals.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Elk Grove students to harness the power of tomorrow,” says Rosanna Herber, a SMUD board director. Activities will let students solve real-world problems within their communities, and design and implement a local project to enhance public life and protect the environment.


Society for the Blind recently received $10,000 from Golden 1 Credit Union to provide Braille literacy for children in Sacramento and Northern California who are blind or have vision loss.

“Today, less than 10% of children with vision loss are literate,” says Shari Roeseler, executive director of Society for the Blind. “They are not learning Braille and are unable to read, write and comprehend. By third grade, they are significantly behind their sighted peers and 50% of high school students who are blind drop out before graduating. Literacy is key to improving academic outcomes and pointing these children toward college and careers.”

The grant will fund literacy classes, instruction materials and training in assistive devices for up to 100 children who are blind or have low vision in elementary through high school through Society for the Blind’s After-School Academy. For more information, visit societyfortheblind.org.


Sutter Health recently awarded scholarships to 206 students attending community colleges, four-year universities or graduate programs through its Van R. Johnson Sutter Scholars program, administered by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation.

The program’s competitive review process considered academic achievement, school and community involvement, work experience, educational and career goals, and special circumstances.

Named in honor of the former longtime Sutter Health CEO, the Van R. Johnson Sutter Scholars program has awarded 5,753 scholarships—totaling almost $10 million—since 2002 to support the continuing education of tomorrow’s leaders.


The city of Sacramento’s Youth, Parks and Community Enrichment department recently asked local young people, “How would you shape the future of parks and recreation in Sacramento?” as part of the Youth Art Expo and Contest: Your Parks, Your Future!

Sixty youth ages 14–24 submitted photos, drawings, videos and poetry. Three winners were selected in each age category, as well as 12 honorable mentions. “We were blown away by the amazing art submissions and recommendations from Sacramento’s young people,” says Park Planning and Development Manager Raymond Costantino.

Age 14–15 winner Muhammad Riaz says, “I think parks and recreation activities are crucial because they allow an escape from daily stressors.” Age 16–18 winner Samantha Ward says that parks “serve as gathering places for family and community groups of all ages, regardless of background.” Age 19–24 winner Alexandra Cooke says, “The best part of visiting Sacramento parks is the sense of camaraderie that you get, the significance of these parks and the countless visits and memories that were created there.”

Recommendations submitted by the participants will be included in YPCE’s Parks Master Plan 2040, which will provide equitable and accessible parks and recreation opportunities, evaluate and improve park conditions and maintenance, expand recreation and community enrichment programs to better serve all residents, and support and empower youth.

To view all the submissions, visit @YPCECityofSacramento on Facebook.


The Sacramento City Council has approved $1 million in contracts for the Gang Prevention and Intervention Taskforce Grant Program, as well as $300,000 to help women and children escaping domestic violence through WEAVE, Inc.

The grant program, administered by the Office of Violence Prevention and overseen by the Department of Community Response, helps reach young people at risk of becoming involved in gang violence. Receiving the $1 million in funding are Academics 4 Athletes, Brother 2 Brother, Helping Our People Eat, Impact Sac, Neighborhood Wellness Foundation and Rose Family Creative Empowerment Center.

“These organizations know our region, they know the situation in specific neighborhoods and they know how to reach more of our youth with alternatives to gangs and violence,” says Dr. Nicole Clavo, director of the Office of Violence Prevention. “They all do similar work but in slightly different directions, so together, they cover a lot of ground.”


Carmichael Park’s Tiny Tots program has returned to help area tykes develop a positive self-image through emotional, physical, social and cognitive development activities.

The program offers Kindergarten Readiness for 4- to 5-year-olds on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, and Social Experiences for 3- to 4-year-olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Program fees vary. There is a $50 non-refundable fee due upon registration. For more information, visit carmichaelpark.com/tiny-tots-program or call the La Sierra Community Center office at (916) 483-7826.


The Will Rogers Middle School bike shop is looking for old bikes to refurbish as part of its Career Tech class. The school will then donate the bikes to children throughout Sacramento County during the holiday season.

Bike donations can be dropped off at Will Rogers Middle School at 4924 Dewey Drive in Fair Oaks. For more information, contact instructor Ken MacPherson at ken.macpherson@sanjuan.edu or (916) 806-2060.


The Knights, a U11 soccer team that’s part of the Sacramento Soccer Alliance, recently clinched the 25th Annual Palo Alto Tall Trees Tournament.

As the first Sacramento team to play in the tournament and also the first Sacramento team to take home the cup, these boys have a lot to be proud of. Congratulations, Knights!


Friends of Front Street Shelter has released a series of coloring books, part of The Color Me Home Project, celebrating our four-legged friends.

More than 100 local artists donated black-lined drawings representing pets post adoption. The series features three books: “All Pets,” “Feline Friends” and “Coloring Canines.”

Friends of Front Street Animal Shelter is a nonprofit that supports the programs and activities of the city’s Front Street Animal Shelter, helping stray, abandoned and abused animals get health care and find forever homes.

The coloring books are $14.95 each or purchase the complete series for $39 at colormehomeproject.com.


East Sacramento has lost one of its favorite fluffy ambassadors. For the last eight years, Ducky the alley cat was frequently spotted on regular walkabouts in the neighborhood, charming residents with his sweet face and aloof disposition.

East Sac resident Melinda Willey first met Ducky while housesitting for a neighbor who told her about “a chubby alley cat” who would come to the yard. The pet therapist and now-retired media professional became fast friends with the curious feline and fed him whenever he showed up.

In August, a notice went up that Ducky had been found in bad shape and was taken to Front Street Animal Shelter to receive care. Willey started a thread on Nextdoor East Sac to encourage neighbors to donate food and money to the shelter in Ducky’s name. She was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of love for the plucky cat, especially when she had to share that he’d crossed the Rainbow Bridge a few weeks later.

“So many people shared their stories about him,” says Willey, who wrote many of the posts from Ducky’s perspective. “He made lots of friends along the way and opened up so many hearts.”


The annual Theatre of Lights electric holiday show returns to the Old Sacramento Waterfront from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24. The family-friendly event blends the historic charm of Old Sacramento with state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology to create a memorable holiday experience.

Presented by Dignity Health, Theatre of Lights was conceived and created by Stage Nine Entertainment’s Troy Carlson and is produced by BP Productions, Associated Sound and Skywalker Sound with Emmy-nominated voice actor Bill Farmer, the voice of Disney’s Goofy.

The show debuts on Thanksgiving Eve immediately following the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. at Front and K streets. Two 20-minute performances will then be offered Thursdays through Sundays at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (with the exception of Thanksgiving Day). Additional performances are scheduled for Dec. 21 and 22. For more information, visit godowntownsac.com.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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