Out & About August 2020

By Jessica Laskey
August 2020

Boards For Change

Beautification project celebrates Black Lives Matter

Nekter Juice Bar owner Kimberly Prince, ABC10 sports reporter Lina Washington and artist Shannan O’Rourke have launched Boards For Change, a beautification project to cover the plywood boards in business windows in Midtown and Downtown with imagery by local artists.

Following demonstrations sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Prince was contemplating the boards in Nekter’s window. She thought the plywood would make a great canvas for artwork supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Washington and O’Rourke got involved, and now dozens of businesses are hiring local artists of color to paint their boards with inspiring images and messages of hope. Artists include Noelle Tavares, Paris Draper and renowned performance painter David Garibaldi.

Washington created a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $2,000 to donate to local Black youth organizations. But as of mid-July, the page had reached nearly $14,000, with a new goal of $20,000.

“In less than two weeks, Boards For Change exploded from being a little idea among friends to a movement gaining national attention,” Washington says. “It’s all thanks to our friends and community members in Sacramento and beyond that we will be able to make a difference through monetary donations to local Black youth organizations in Sacramento.”

Once the boards are removed, the women plan to auction off the artwork to raise even more money for organizations helping youth in vulnerable Sacramento neighborhoods. To donate or for more information, find “Boards for Change – Sacramento” on gofundme.com and follow @BoardsForChange on Instagram.


In June, Bonney Plumbing, Electrical, Heating & Air partnered with Markstein Beverage Co. to deliver 92,000 bottles of water to Sacramento Loaves & Fishes to help people experiencing homelessness during the hot summer months.

“We hope our donation can create a ripple effect and encourage other businesses in our community to support homeless shelters from Auburn to Modesto,” says Michelle McCauley, Bonney’s vice president of marketing.

According to Loaves & Fishes, the average person sleeping outside must walk nearly 1.5 miles to find potable water. The nonprofit distributes more than 200 gallons of water and up to 600 pounds of ice on a regular summer day at one local site alone.

Find out more about Loaves and Fishes here.


The Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town rely on daily visitors to make up a big part of their budgets. Both closed due to COVID-19 in early March and finally reopened in late June.

“A dedicated team of animal care and veterinary staff continued to provide daily care to each (of 500 animals), while other staff members worked from home, were furloughed or were even ultimately laid off due to the pandemic,” says Lesley Kirrene, the zoo’s director of institutional advancement and marketing. “The organization missed out on roughly $1 million of revenue for each 30 days of closure.”

Both parks turned to virtual offerings to keep their audiences engaged. The zoo started a twice-weekly Facebook Live series and weekly email newsletter. Fairytale Town “turbocharged our social media offerings so every day there was a story time or an activity or an animal introduction—and families loved it,” says Fairytale Town Executive Director Kevin Smith-Fagan.

To reopen safely, both parks have implemented an online reservation system to manage park capacity, as well as touchless transactions, frequent cleaning of high-touch areas, hand-sanitizing stations and face masks for all staff and visitors. With changes in place, these two beloved attractions are ready to welcome the community back.

“With the cancellation of so many children’s activities, the need for Fairytale Town magic has never been higher,” says Smith-Fagan. For more information, visit saczoo.org and fairytaletown.org.


The Sacramento Jewish Food Faire is returning this year with “traditional food for nontraditional times.” Order online by Aug. 20 to pick up Aug. 30 at Congregation Beth Shalom in Carmichael.

Food offerings will include deli favorites such as corned beef and pastrami sandwiches; an Israeli assortment of vegan dishes; homemade options like matzo ball soup, stuffed cabbage, kugels and blintzes; specialty treats including breads, cookies and cakes; and more—all prepared with sanitary protections in place.

On pickup day, a volunteer will deliver your order to your car. Please wear a mask. To order, visit cbshalom.org/form/food_faire_orders.html.


In response to COVID-19, Girl Scouts Heart of Central California launched virtual programming for K-12 girls. Since April, more than 3,700 girls have engaged in the programs.

The online platform features a wide range of activities and topics, such as coding, self-defense, novel writing, civic engagement and even virtual at-home campouts. The first drew more than 1,600 girls from eight states. The organization also offers daily YouTube Live events at youtube.com/girlscoutshcc and interactive webinars. Some activities are for Girl Scouts only, but many are open everyone.

“We want every girl to have the opportunity to participate,” says Dr. Linda Farley, CEO of GSHCC. “We know that now more than ever, girls need support and a sisterhood to help them through this time of extreme uncertainty.” For more information, visit gshccvirtual.org.


Amtrak’s historic Sacramento Valley Station at 4th and I streets recently received the highest sustainability rating for a building: LEED Platinum.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a series of four ratings given by the U.S. Green Building Council based on a building’s energy efficiency and how little it affects the environment.

“Sacramento strives to be a leader with its sustainable practices and policies,” says Greg Taylor, Sacramento Valley Station project manager. “This award sets a high mark for us because it’s the first city-owned building to receive such high certification.”

The City Public Works facility has been undergoing renovations since 2012 to improve the space while maintaining its historic setting—the station opened in 1926 under the ownership of the Southern Pacific Railroad and was taken over by the city in 2006. Renovations have increased the former Superfund site’s energy performance, water efficiency and reuse of materials.


Camp Nefesh is the free summer day camp for refugee children founded by local teen Lucy Beckett in 2018 in partnership with Congregation B’nai Israel, Opening Doors and Elk Grove Unified School District. Even though kids can’t meet in person this year, they’re still doing something special.

Camp Nefesh director Lexi Nicodemus reports that during July she and fellow high school students (who would normally have served as camp counselors) offered Camp Nefesh @ Home, which included interactive Zoom activities such as scavenger hunts, yoga, trivia, virtual museum tours and camp games.

Nicodemus and her team also filled backpacks for each camper with educational items and fun things like slime, Slinkys and Legos. Each backpack was then hand-delivered inside a “family box” that contained even more items to encourage group activities, like jump ropes, whiteboards, construction paper and string.

“We provide a safe, fun space to play and meet new friends for these kids who have been forced to leave their homes and start a new life here,” Nicodemus says. For more information, visit campnefesh.com.


Archival Gallery in East Sacramento will present an exhibition of work by Maureen Hood, Sean Royal and Maria Winkler from Aug. 5–29.

Architectural studies from Hood and assemblage and paintings from Royal will be shown alongside new collaborative pieces the duo have created in collage and sculpture. Winkler will present “Feathered Friends,” colored pencil drawings of regional birds based on photos by Linda Hall.

There will not be a public Second Saturday reception; however, visitors are welcome during regular business hours and must wear masks at all times. For more information, visit archivalgallery.com.


The Sacramento Financial Empowerment Center is now open providing free professional one-on-one financial counseling and coaching to local residents.

FEC is a joint program of the city of Sacramento and national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. Three full-time professionally trained counselors are available to help individuals and families with low and moderate incomes manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, build credit and access banking products.

Request the service by calling (916) 808-4927 or emailing fec@cityofsacramento.org. All appointments are currently by phone or video chat. For more information, visit cityofsacramento.org/financialempowerment.


The city is taking its commitment to mitigate homelessness seriously with three new projects nearing completion in different parts of the city.

In South Sacramento, east of the Pannell Community Center on Meadowview Road, a new navigation center managed by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency now boasts two large structures built by Otto Construction that will house 100 women experiencing homelessness. Access is by referral only.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak in March, Sacramento city and county officials approved a plan called Project Roomkey to open hundreds of beds in motels, trailers and existing shelters to help the at-risk population.

In North Sacramento, 24 Tuff Shed-style cabins have been erected next to the Saint Paul Church of God in Christ for use as temporary homes for transitional-age youth experiencing homelessness. The site, known as the Emergency Bridge Housing at Grove Avenue, will be managed by SHRA and the city, and operated by First Step Communities. Clients at the Grove meet regularly with case managers to stabilize their lives and transition into permanent housing.

For more information, visit homeless.cityofsacramento.org.


District 2 City Councilmember Allen Warren and Community HousingWorks recently announced that the Arden Way Apartments infill development project is underway.

The project includes a sustainable, transit-orientated community of 128 new apartment homes located next to the Royal Oaks Light Rail Station, as well as pedestrian and bike access improvements along Arden Way.

Demolition is underway and construction is scheduled to begin in the fall. The project is estimated to take 19 months to complete.

“This new apartment community will not only provide new apartment homes for 120 working families, but (will) also be a catalyst for other development and revitalization at this walkable and transit-rich neighborhood that we are thrilled to be part of,” says Mary Jane Jagodzinski, senior vice president of CHW. For more information, visit chworks.org/coming-soon.


The city’s Front Street Animal Shelter recently received a $200,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to help continue its mission of providing medical treatment and adoption services to more than 10,000 animals a year.

The shelter sang Petco’s praises in a Facebook post, saying, “This means so much to our shelter, and will make such a tremendous impact in helping us save lives.”

Petco has supported Front Street for years through its grant program, which funds transportation, staff, supplies and costs associated with preparing animals for adoption, including spay/neuter surgeries, microchips, vaccinations and ID tags.

Front Street’s Pet Pantry, which provides free dog and cat food to those struggling to feed their animals, is now open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon. Face masks and social distancing are required. For more information, visit frontstreetshelter.org.


The Center for Sacramento History is seeking personal stories and artifacts to help future generations understand what it was like to live through COVID-19 in Sacramento.

“We want to make sure this program focuses on Sacramento’s point of view,” center manager Marcia Eymann says. “It is the community’s reactions and thoughts that makes it personalized.”

The center is accepting digital photos, videos and audio recordings detailing how this time has affected you and what you’ve done to cope, adapt and survive. To submit, complete the online form at centerforsacramentohistory.org.


In honor of its 60th anniversary, The Firehouse Restaurant has released a limited-edition 2017 cabernet sauvignon that was made in Napa Valley exclusively for the iconic Sacramento restaurant by wine director/sommelier Mario Ortiz and manager/sommelier Dan Hatch under the direction of the Harvego family.

Guests can purchase a bottle along with two Riedel glasses embossed with a celebratory 60th anniversary logo for $150 while supplies last.

The Firehouse has also introduced a Wine Club. Membership costs $199 when you sign up and includes two bottles of hand-selected wine, wine pick-up receptions, special pricing on the full wine list, a discount on the five-course Chef’s Tasting Menu and free valet parking.

If you can’t visit in person, The Firehouse has launched an online Wine Shop with selections from The Firehouse’s award-winning cellar and curbside pickup. For more information, visit firehouseoldsac.com.


Atrium, a Sacramento nonprofit, has brought together a team of talented people to create locally made masks that ship anywhere with same-day delivery in Sacramento. Funds raised from the sale of the masks will help cover lost income for local artisans and others, and buy supplies to make free masks for those in need.

The online marketplace has thousands of masks in various unique styles, colors and shapes. Inventory is updated every day as new items come in and will expand to include eco-friendly locally made items over the summer. To start shopping, visit shop.atrium916.com.

Also, Folsom Mask Makers, a rapidly growing group of local volunteers, has created more than 32,000 DIY face masks since mid-March for more than 100 Sacramento-area organizations, including hospitals, dentists, care homes, schools and emergency service agencies.

The volunteers hail from all over Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties, and many are health care providers. More volunteers are needed—especially those who can sew—to meet the rising need, as are donations of materials like 100-percent cotton fabric, elastic and vinyl. For more information, visit the Folsom Mask Makers Facebook page.


Now through Sept. 5, California Stage at 25th and R streets is offering “Social Distance Theater,” performances of theater, music, poetry and art in its open-air courtyard with safe-distance seating.

Producing artistic director Ray Tatar encourages visitors to “have a spiritually resuscitative time for those of us getting COVID stir-crazy.” Co-producers are California Stage, Actors Theater of Sacramento, Resurrection Theater, Teatro Espejo, Short Center Repertory, Third Age Onstage, Sacramento Poetry Center, Sacramento Playwrights, Sacramento Storytellers and Shelley Burns Music.

Sign up for the mailing list to receive weekly alerts and purchase tickets ($15 or under). For more information, visit calstage.org.



The Sacramento Master Singers are keeping the music alive online with a virtual rendition of the heartfelt song “100 Years” by songwriter and performer John Ondrasik (better known as Five for Fighting). The performance is now available on the Master Singers website and the group’s YouTube page.

Arranged by Ryan James, the piece features choir members singing remotely, conducted by Ralph Hughes and accompanied by Heidi Van Regenmorter on piano.

Subscribe to the Sacramento Master Singers YouTube channel so you don’t miss future digital performances. For more information, visit mastersingers.org.


In lieu of the in-person annual festival, the Master Gardeners of Sacramento County are hosting a special online Harvest Day 2020 on Saturday, Aug. 1, with more than 30 how-to video mini-presentations. 

Topics will include solving the mystery behind that less-than-perfect tomato, ways to attract helpful butterflies and bees, and how to sharpen gardening tools. Speakers will be Karrie Reid, environmental horticulture adviser, and Ed Laivo, fruit tree and edible landscaping specialist.

Video topics will include composting, herbs, fruit orchards, vineyards and water-efficient landscapes. Also tune in for a live Q&A from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information and to access videos, visit sacmg.ucanr.edu.


The Sacramento Public Library is hosting Authors Uncovered, a series of free author events livestreamed on Crowdcast. Award-winning and international bestselling author Karen Rose will speak Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The series launched in May with Secretary Madeleine Albright, followed by Good Morning America anchor Adrienne Bankert in June, and retired Navy Seal and dog handler Will Chesney in July. Rose, author of 20 novels, will discuss the second novel in her Sacramento series, “Say No More.”

Advanced registration is required. The events are free. Signed books can be purchased through Face in a Book (getyourfaceinabook.com) at 4359 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills. For more information, visit saclibrary.org.


Collaborative dance company Capital Dance Project has postponed its annual summer performance until next year. But in its stead, the company has launched the CDP Digital Series: Made in Sacramento.

The short film series will present 11 new creations choreographed and performed by CDP artists in collaboration with filmmaker Brandon Manning and local artists and musicians.

The free online films will be released bi-monthly on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting Aug. 26, with a special viewing event planned Oct. 2. To donate or for more information, visit capitaldanceproject.org.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.


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