Inside Sacramento January 2020

By Jessica Laskey
January 2020

Bring Your Garden Gloves

Volunteers tend to McKinley Park roses at annual prune-a-thon

The public is invited to join the McKinley Park Volunteer Corps for its annual prune-a-thon of the McKinley Rose Garden on Saturday, Jan. 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This event brings together a group of rose lovers—or rosarians—each year to perform a massive pruning to ready the more than 1,200 bushes for spring blooms.
“We have more than 30 dedicated deadheading volunteers who worked hard last year to remove the spent blooms,” says Lyn Pitts, who oversees the garden for the corps. “This kept the new blooms coming all summer long. But each year, we need more neighbors to help with this vital volunteer job.”
Pruning will take place rain or shine. Everyone is welcome; no experience required. Bring a pair of garden gloves, buckets and bypass pruning shears if you have them, as well as a hat and water. A hot soup lunch from Evan’s Kitchen will be provided at 1 p.m. RSVP at (916) 452-8011 or friendsofeastsac@aol.com.

Bring Your Garden Gloves

Volunteers tend to McKinley Park roses at annual prune-a-thon

 

The public is invited to join the McKinley Park Volunteer Corps for its annual prune-a-thon of the McKinley Rose Garden on Saturday, Jan. 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This event brings together a group of rose lovers—or rosarians—each year to perform a massive pruning to ready the more than 1,200 bushes for spring blooms.

“We have more than 30 dedicated deadheading volunteers who worked hard last year to remove the spent blooms,” says Lyn Pitts, who oversees the garden for the corps. “This kept the new blooms coming all summer long. But each year, we need more neighbors to help with this vital volunteer job.”

Pruning will take place rain or shine. Everyone is welcome; no experience required. Bring a pair of garden gloves, buckets and bypass pruning shears if you have them, as well as a hat and water. A hot soup lunch from Evan’s Kitchen will be provided at 1 p.m. RSVP at (916) 452-8011 or friendsofeastsac@aol.com.

REMEMBERING LINA FAT

Fat family matriarch Lina Fat passed away in November at the age of 81. The regional restaurant scene will never be the same.

The Hong Kong native attended pharmacy school at UC San Francisco (where she met her husband, Ken Fat, son of Frank Fat) and was working as a part-time pharmacist when the Fat family opened their first restaurant, China Camp in Old Sacramento, with Lina as chef.

Fat lent her business acumen and flair for menu planning to the Fat’s legacy of eateries, eventually becoming the Fat Family Restaurant Group’s vice president of culinary research and development. She also authored “The Lina Fat Cookbook: Recipes From the Fat Family Restaurants,” founded the Sacramento World Music & Dance Festival, and acted as mentor and friend to many of the area’s most celebrated female chefs.

Lina, you will be missed. For more information on the history of the Fat family, visit frankfats.com.

DINE DOWNTOWN

Bring your appetite to the 15th annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week taking place Jan. 10–20.

Diners can enjoy unique, three-course, prix-fixe menus for $40 at 31 area eateries, including Grange, The Firehouse, Paragary’s, Ella, The Porch, Frank Fat’s and many more. One dollar from every meal will be donated to social services and food literacy programs in Sacramento.

“Dine Downtown is an event that honors the many culinary talents that have made the heart of Sacramento their home,” says Michael Ault, executive director of Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “Guests have a chance to try new dining experiences and taste some of the most noteworthy restaurants in our region—all while raising funds for two incredible local programs.”

For menus and more information, visit godowntownsac.com/dinedowntown.

WRITE FOR RIGHTS

Every winter, millions of people worldwide write letters, emails and tweets on behalf of those around the world persecuted or jailed for their identity, beliefs or words. Join Amnesty International Sacramento for Write for Rights on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse at 1322 V St. Drop in anytime between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Cases are chosen from countries where people have no voice with their government and are persecuted or jailed. Messages will be addressed to officials in their country and, in some cases, directly to the person or the family.

No prior knowledge or skills required. All materials will be provided including sample letters. For more information or to register, go to write4rights-sac19.eventbrite.com.

LOCAL IN AMALUNA

When Cirque du Soleil’s latest acrobatic production, Amaluna, plays under the big top at Raley Field from Jan. 22 to Feb. 23, you might recognize a familiar face.

Professional clown Kelsey Custard—who grew up doing theater in Sacramento and Shingle Springs, and worked as a dresser at the Music Circus—will perform with the high-flying cast in a role that’s the culmination of a lifelong dream.

“I didn’t realize when I was young that circus could be an actual job,” says Custard, who’s thrilled to return to Sacramento to perform in front of family and friends. “Now I get to make a living making people happy—one of most important things you can do.”

Custard earned her BA at UC Santa Cruz and then moved to San Francisco to attend the Clown Conservatory. She has worked for Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Teatro ZinZanni, Pickle Family Circus, Velocity Circus, Boxcar Theatre, Circus Couture and Lone Star Circus, and has been with Cirque du Soleil for nine years.

Written and directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, Amaluna is a tribute to the work and voice of women, featuring a cast of mostly women with an all-female band. For more information, visit cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna.

HOSTING A HORNET

Of the 30,700 students enrolled at Sacramento State, 1 in 10 students experience homelessness. Housing insecurity can threaten a student’s ability to remain academically engaged—and no one should have to decide between shelter and school.

To address this issue, Councilmember Jeff Harris of District 3 is working with Sac State to create a home-share/youth-hosting program to connect students with homeowners who have space to share. 
Homeowners and students will go through an extensive vetting process to match them based on various levels of compatibility. The pilot program is still in development, so if you’d like to get involved in the proposal process, contact Harris’ office at (916) 808-7003 or jonavarro@cityofsacramento.org.

STORIES ON STAGE

A new season of “electrifying prose” and “crackling theatre” unfolds at Stories on Stage Sacramento—with two new heads at the helm.

Shelley Blanton-Stroud and Dorothy Rice are the new coordinators for the monthly readers theater series, taking over for beloved former coordinator Sue Staats.

The group has also officially acquired nonprofit status, which means it can accept donations (it pays all of its writers and readers) and also offer five craft workshops led by featured authors on Saturday mornings following Friday performances.

All six evenings of award-winning fiction, nonfiction, noir and even genre-bending horror writing have been slated for the 2020 season. Don’t miss the season opener on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. at the CLARA Auditorium (2420 N St.) featuring local favorite Pam Houston and her new memoir “Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country.” Rice and her new memoir “Gray is the New Black” also will be featured.

For more information, visit storiesonstagesacramento.com.

STEM SUCCESS

Sacramento Country Day School was recently ranked No. 680 in Newsweek and STEM.org’s top 5,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) schools in the nation. With approximately 37,000 high schools in the U.S., this puts Country Day within the top 2 percent of high schools in the nation.

This achievement comes on the heels of being named No. 1 Best High School for STEM in Sacramento by Niche.com.

STEM.org honors excellence in STEM education thanks to skilled teachers who create dynamic learning environments to engage their students. “Country Day is very proud to be recognized as a top STEM high school,” says head of school Lee Thomsen.

“Our local and national rankings reflect the progress we’ve made over the past few years in enhancing our STEM programs for students of all ages—starting in pre-kindergarten all the way through grade 12. Our advanced topics curriculum and laboratory research internship partnership with Sac State serve as our two signature programs aimed at giving our students a competitive edge in STEM fields.”

For a list of Country Day’s high school STEM offerings, visit saccds.org.

BIKE BOARD GAME

South Land Park resident Peter Hansell’s Bike Route Sacramento, a board game where players build bike routes around the city, is now a reality.

Hansell raised money last May on Kickstarter as part of Bike Month to fund the creation of the game, which celebrates Sacramento’s local art and locations with beautiful paintings of landmarks past, present and future.

The game is now printed and available in area stores, including R Cubed Lifestyle (3214 Riverside Blvd.), Strapping Store (3405 Broadway), Avid Reader (1945 Broadway) and Bike Dog (915 Broadway). For more information, visit bikeroutegame.com.

 

AUTO MUSEUM DOCENT CLASSES

Applications are now being accepted for the California Automobile Museum’s new docent training program, which begins Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 6 p.m. 

The training includes more than 60 classes taught by car enthusiasts and instructors on a variety of subjects, including the history of the industry; car brands from America, Europe and Asia; and racing and hot rods. Hands-on sessions teach volunteer skills to future docents who will share their knowledge with visitors and help protect the museum’s artifacts. 

The $99 training fee includes a one-year membership in the museum, course materials, one-time admission as a class to the National Automobile Museum in Reno and Blackhawk Museum in Danville, and the opportunity to drive a Model T Ford.

For more information, call (916) 442-6802 or visit calautomuseum.org.

CENSUS JOBS

If you need a little extra cash post-holidays, the U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of temporary census takers in Sacramento County as part of its Nonresponse Follow Up Operation for the 2020 Census.

The decennial count influences how billions of dollars are distributed annually for schools, roads, emergency response, hospitals, senior and homeless services, and more. Help your community get the funds it needs—while earning a pay rate of $18 to $21 per hour.

The Nonresponse Follow Up Operation requires more fieldworkers than any other operation for the national population count. Census takers enumerate residents in person at housing units who have not yet self-responded.

Apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs. For more information, call (855) JOB-2020.

GIFT OF GREEN

Arden-Arcade received a special gift last year in the form of a 45-foot Blue Aptos Sequoia, which played center stage for the annual tree lightening in December. The regal tree was planted at the Department of Human Assistance on Fulton Avenue last October.

“Instead of chopping down a 20-year-old tree in Foresthill as we have done for the past 12 years, we purchased the tree from a nursery in So Cal and had it trucked to Fulton Avenue,” says Melinda Eppler, executive director of the Fulton Avenue Association. “It is our gift to the community.”

For photos of Arden-Arcade’s “Festival of Lights Parade & Tree Lighting,” visit the Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District’s website at fecrpd.com/2019-12-07-festival-of-lights-parade-tree-lighting.

Dream On

Nash & Proper wins annual startup competition

The Downtown Sacramento Foundation recently named Nash & Proper the new winner of its annual Calling All Dreamers competition.

Nash & Proper, the culinary brainchild of friends and Sacramento-born chefs Cecil Rhodes II and Jake Bombard, started as a popular food truck featuring hot chicken—a deliciously spicy twist on fried chicken inspired by Nashville.

“To watch Nash & Proper grow from an idea in our heads into what it has become has been amazing,” Bombard says.

The winners will receive a prize package valued at more than $100,000, including in-kind services, $10,000 cash and lease-negotiation support to open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant on The Kay in Downtown Sacramento.

“Watching Cecil and Jake’s dream come to life firsthand has been an exciting experience,” says Valerie Mamone, business development senior manager of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “Their brand has had a strong cult following and we are thrilled to see their dream become a reality in Downtown.”

For more information, visit callingalldreamers.org or nashandproper.com.

MIDTOWN LIGHTING

Midtown will be shining brighter thanks to a recent SMUD Shine Grant to install dynamic color-changing chandelier lighting at the intersection of 24th and K streets.

Designed by local lighting artist Michael Sestak, the eye-catching LED-light installation will feature programmable sequencing patterns that can change with the seasons and time of year.

“Once installed, the new illumination will provide a welcoming experience, add more vibrancy to the neighborhood and also serve to enhance safety in a very popular part of our thriving district,” says Emily Baime Michaels, executive director of the Midtown Association.

This latest project is part of a continuing effort to improve the lighting in Midtown, joining 100 cascading lights that were installed along J Street last year. Plans for “uplighting” the trees surrounding Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park are in the works, as well as a lighting project at the Sacramento Regional Transit light-rail station at 29th and R streets.

JFK ROBOTICS TEAM

Robotics students at John F. Kennedy High School have received a $3,000 grant from Bayer Fund to support their participation in the FIRST Robotics program.

The after-school robotics program is designed to promote interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and provide students hands-on training to design, engineer, fabricate and program robots that can perform preassigned tasks at competitions from January through April.

In the 10 years of FIRST competitions, Kennedy Robotics students have received more than 42 major awards. They’ve qualified three times for the World Championship and received the highest student recognition (Dean’s List) in 2016.

Recruitment for the 2019-20 season is now open. Team members cross-train across a wide variety of disciplines, including design, drafting, machining, electronics, welding, 3D printing and computer technology. For more information, visit first3250.com.

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