Out And About

By Jessica Laskey
July 2022

Take A Bow

John Skinner Band goes out with a bang

Sacramento’s own John Skinner Band will present a farewell show Saturday, July 16, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. as part of the Carmichael Recreation and Parks District’s Concerts in the Park series at Carmichael Park.

The late John Skinner established the band in the 1970s upon his return from Vietnam and it quickly became a Northern California institution, playing gigs from weddings and circuses to backup for scores of world-famous stars like Bob Hope, Anne Murray, Natalie Cole and Luciano Pavarotti.

“My husband’s favorite gigs were when his big band played every night for all three weeks of the California State Fair,” says Susan Skinner, John’s widow and longtime bandmate. “And he loved the Friday night dances at Town & Country Village, which had most of Sacramento dancing in the mall parking lot. California Gov. Pete Wilson hired the Skinner Band for most state shindigs—we even played his private parties. Gayle Wilson sometimes sat in with the band and she sang great!”

Susan says that by the time she married John, the band was a staple for summer park concerts. It marked its 40th season at Carmichael Park with a $4,000 donation to CRPD. “Those were the days, my friends,” Susan says. “We thought they’d never end. And then they did.”

John played his last solo at Carmichael Park in 2017 a few days before he died. An oak tree was planted on the spot. His wife continued the band after his death, but COVID made gigs scarce, so they’ve decided to hang up their instruments and go out with a bang on July 16.

The evening will include a mixture of classic rock and swing dance tunes played by eight musicians, including Susan and John’s daughter, Kathryn. “Together, we’ll represent nearly 200 years of Skinner Band history,” Susan says.

For more information, call (916) 481-0334 or visit John Skinner Band on Facebook.


The Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has hired Jenna Abbott as its new senior vice president of strategic initiatives.

Abbott’s accolades include a designation as a Certified Zero Waste Practitioner completed in 2018, the Sacramento Police Department’s Business Partner of the Year in 2016, the California State Assembly Nonprofit of the Year and the Martin Luther King Changemaker Award in 2015. She won the Sacramento Kings Community All-Star Award in 2014.

A graduate of the Sacramento City Management Academy, FBI Citizen’s Academy, Citizen’s Planning Academy and Leadership Sacramento, Abbott has traveled to Washington, D.C., as a delegate on the Metro Chamber’s Capitol to Capitol program every year since 2013.

“Jenna will be a strong voice for the Sacramento business community,” says Metro Chamber President/CEO Amanda Blackwood of the former executive director of the River District. “As a proud city resident, Jenna understands the needs facing our region and will represent the Metro Chamber well as we continue to advance our public policy, advocacy
and economic development agendas.”


Women’s Empowerment recently received two large donations—$25,000 from Kaiser Permanente and $30,000 from U.S. Bank—to empower women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento.

Funding will support Women’s Empowerment’s two-month employment-readiness program, which includes mental health assistance, and domestic violence and substance-use support groups. The nonprofit provides paid job training, child care and support services so women and their children can break the cycle of homelessness.

Since its founding in 2001, the organization has graduated 1,740 women and their 3,864 children. For more information, visit womens-empowerment.org.


The Sacramento State College of Business MBA for Executives program will begin accepting applications Aug. 1. Applicants are admitted on a first come, first served basis, so don’t wait to apply.

The 15-month, cohort-based Executive MBA program provides a mix of cutting-edge theory and creative real-world applications to prepare experienced professionals and managers who aspire to leadership positions. Students tackle case studies individually and in teams, and work with local businesses, government and nonprofit organizations on real-time business challenges.

The College of Business is waiving the GMAT/GRE admission test requirement for EMBA applicants for this application cycle. The application deadline for Spring 2023 is Dec. 1. For more information, visit csus.edu/college/business-administration/graduate/mba-executives.


The “California Water Wall” mural was recently unveiled at 830 S St. as part of Wide Open Walls. The 2,000-square-foot mural by California artists Carly Ealey and Amanda Lynn encourages Californians to save water as the state enters its third consecutive year of serious drought.

“The mural is more than a beautiful and vibrant artwork,” says Danielle Blacet-Hyden, deputy executive director at the California Municipal Utilities Association. “It’s also an everyday call for Californians to save water no matter the month, season or year.”

The mural was sponsored by CMUA, Association of California Water Agencies, California Water Association, Regional Water Authority, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, city of Sacramento Department of Utilities and dozens of local water agencies. For more information, visit cawaterwall.org.


Yes, that is a giant pair of flip flops in the middle of the North Natomas Aquatics Complex. The 15-foot sculpture, “Between the Toes” by local artist Terrence Martin, is visible from almost every part of the recently opened complex, which includes an Olympic-sized pool, recreational pool, zero-depth entry splash pool, waterslides and community center.

“The sculpture highlights the quintessential summer experience,” says Martin, a former lifeguard. “It’s fun, playful and it’s big enough to make a splash.”

Each sandal, made of stainless steel, recycled glass rocks and LED lighting, weighs approximately 2,000 pounds. The sculpture was commissioned by the Office of Arts and Culture and funded through the city’s Arts in Public Places.

The North Natomas Aquatics Center is open for recreational swim on Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 14. Admission is $5 for youth and $7 for adults. Kids younger than 2 are free. For more information, call (916) 808-2306 or visit cityofsacramento.org/parksandrec/recreation/aquatics/nonataquaticscomplex.


Kelly Baker, military veteran and HVAC sales lead coordinator at Bonney Plumbing, Electrical, Heating and Air, recently nominated her employer for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Spouse Patriot Award. Bonney provided assistance when Kelly’s husband, Senior Master Sgt. Josh Baker, was called away for duty with the 195th Wing at Beale Air Force Base.

“When I started working with Bonney a year and a half ago, my husband was working midnight to midday shifts at guard headquarters, and even though I was new, the company’s support made it easier for our family,” Baker says. “My supervisor gave me flexible time off to spend time with him, provided regular check-ins to see how I was doing and even occasionally shifted my schedule.”

ESGR is a Department of Defense program that promotes cooperation between service members and their civilian employers. Many employers, like Bonney, voluntarily assist military spouses.

“We strive to make employee satisfaction a major priority at our company,” says Bonney CEO Jeremy Macdonald, who accepted the award. “I am committed to putting our employees first, which results in our customers receiving the highest level of service in return.”


Local author Colette Kavanaugh is looking for historic photos of Arden-Arcade for an upcoming pictorial history book that will be published by Arcadia Publishing as part of its series “Images of America.”

Printing vintage photographs in a book is the best way to preserve the past, so open those attic boxes and email historical images that should be immortalized to Kavanaugh at ardenarcadeproject@gmail.com.


Sacramento Master Singers has announced the winners of its 2022 Scholarships for Young Choral Singers, which support the musical growth of local students.

For ages 20 to 22, first place was awarded to Filopatir Ebid from the University of the Pacific, second place to Tiara Abraham from UC Davis, and third place to Brianna Brock from Cosumnes River College.

For ages 17 to 19, first place was awarded to Magdalena Bowen from Christian Brothers High School, second place to Madelynn Ballard from Argonaut High School, and third place to Emily Martin from St. Francis High School.

For ages 14 to 16, first place was awarded to Sophia Rivera, second place to Kate Kasten and third place to Greta Crumley, all from St. Francis High School.

Since 2003, SMS has awarded more than $30,000 to talented and dedicated young singers in the Greater Sacramento area. For more information, visit mastersingers.org.


Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento has honored Sacramento City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood and her office with a leadership award for its innovative Justice for Neighbors program.

Justice for Neighbors helps transform former illegal cannabis grow houses into affordable housing for families in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Property owners who have been cited for illegally growing cannabis can choose to donate their properties in lieu of paying administrative penalties. The donated property then can be converted to affordable housing.

In other news, the city of Sacramento’s community engagement manager, Lynette Hall, was honored with a Women in Leadership award from the Women in National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Committee of the Greater Sacramento NAACP branch.

Hall heads up the city’s Community Engagement Team, formed in 2019 to engage the public, businesses, community-based organizations and chambers of commerce to ensure all residents are aware of city resources and opportunities, and can provide input in decisions, programming, plans and processes.

“I am especially honored to have received this award alongside California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber, who has broken down barriers for women of color like me,” Hall says.


ABC10’s brick building at the corner of 5th and Broadway is looking extra vibrant these days thanks to a new large-scale mural created in partnership with the city of Sacramento’s Office of Arts and Culture.

The mural was made possible by Community Murals Sacramento, a city-funded pilot program designed to elevate the voices of neighborhoods across Sacramento’s eight districts. Artist-led teams partner with neighborhood community stakeholders and local residents to create each art piece.

ABC10 is part of District 4’s Team Broadway, which includes lead artist Ryan Rhodes and assistant artists Stefhani Godinez, Brooke Mathews and Gerardo Zambrano.

A Community Paint Day with work by Team Broadway contributed to the mural’s infusion of pop culture, local people and points of interest. For more information, visit communitymuralssacramento.org.


Three new murals have been unveiled as part of Sacramento Mural Alley between 32nd and 33rd streets off Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento.

New works by Sacramento artists Dawn Pedersen and John Stuart Berger and Bay Area artist Carrie Cottini join existing murals by Robert Bowen, Miles Hermann and Davy Fiveash.

Pedersen’s “Loki Formulates a Theory of Everything” is a feline-inspired work located on the corner of the Archival Gallery building. Berger’s “Gutter Trap” takes its name from the downspouts on the rear wall of Archival Gallery. Cottini’s “Call Me Maybe” is the first mural on a private residence in the alley, elevating the look of a garage door.

All murals featured in the alley are part of a beautification project sponsored by Archival Gallery and the home and business owners who have bordering properties. Learn more at sacramentomuralalley.com.


The American Society of Civil Engineers has recognized the Sacramento County Water Agency with the Outstanding Community Improvement Project Award.

The award honored Phase 2A of SCWA’s Arden Service Area Pipe and Meter Installation Project, a multi-phase process to improve the water system in the Arden area by installing approximately 38 miles of new pipelines and nearly 3,000 water meters. Phase 2A installed nearly three miles of new pipelines and upgraded the service connections in the area between Watt Avenue and Mills Road. The area also received 40 new fire hydrants with larger water mains to improve flow.

Before each phase, project manager Helen Rocha and her team meet with residents in the affected neighborhoods to explain the project, its impact and the expected outcome.

A 2004 state mandate requires installing water meters to all customers by water suppliers, such as SCWA. The work must be completed by 2025. For more information, visit ardenservicemeters.org.


SacTown Bites has reopened and is offering new experiences through the end of the year.

“The Sacramento Valley is underrated as a food destination and I’ve made it my mission to change that,” says SacTown Bites founder Heather Fortes. “Our food and beverage experiences take a deep dive and take you on a journey that is fun, educational and delicious.”

The Cocktails, Mocktails & Bites walking tour offers guests a relaxing two-and-a-half-hour stroll along Midtown’s tree-lined streets, plus custom cocktails paired with small plates from Alaro Craft Brewery, Saigon Alley, The Porch, Kasbah, Kupros and Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates. Tours are every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday beginning at 4:30 p.m. Adults are $145 (with cocktails/mocktails) or $125 (without cocktails/mocktails), children 6–12 are $85, and kids 5 and younger are free.

The half-day Capay Valley Farm Tour offers wine tasting and wood-fired pizza at Taber Ranch Winery, a tour and treats at Capay Valley Lavender, and olive oil and wine tasting at the Yocha Dehe-owned Séka Hills. Tours take place Sundays through mid-July and from mid-September through December. Cost is $135 for adults, $85 for children 6–12, and free for kids 5 and younger.

A Taste of the Delta takes guests on a half-day tour of the scenic Delta discovering local favorites and hidden gems, including a private tour of a pear cidery, custom cider tasting and snacks at Hemly Cider, lunch at Husick’s Taphouse and wine tasting with cheese, jams and chocolate pairings at Silt Wine Company. Tours are every Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Adults are $145 (with alcohol) and $125 (without alcohol), children 6–12 are $85, and kids 5 and younger are free.

Private, customizable tours are also available for 6 to 60 guests. For more information, visit sactownbites.com.


Before you head to the river, stop by a Sacramento Fire Department station to borrow a life jacket.

“We are working to remind people of the risks of swimming in our local waterways and the best practices for keeping themselves and their loved ones safe,” says Sac Fire Capt. Keith Wade. “This includes wearing a life jacket, which you can rent for free from our fire stations.”

Life jackets, available for children and adults for the day or weekend, are offered at Station 1 (324 Q St.), Station 5 (731 Broadway), Station 8 (5990 H St.), Station 11 (785 Florin Road), Station 15 (1640 West El Camino Ave.) and Station 60 (3301 Julliard Drive).

“People may think that currents are slower this year because of the ongoing drought, but that is not the case,” says Daniel Bowers, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management. “The water right now is very cold from the snow melt and flowing fast. If people are going to safely swim in our rivers, they need to be aware of the conditions and take the proper precautions.”


Two new futsal courts at Tanzanite Community Park in Natomas have joined eight other courts across Sacramento, with more planned in the coming years. Futsal is a fast-paced variety of soccer played on a smaller, hard court.

“Completion of the Tanzanite futsal courts helps to meet a growing demand for this amenity and adds an additional safe space for young people to engage in positive sport activity,” says Mario Lara, director of the city’s Youth, Parks and Community Enrichment Department.

The courts were developed with funding from the city and support from City Council member Angelique Ashby and Sacramento Republic FC.


The next time you’re at your local SAFE Credit Union, make sure to grab a piece of Sacramento pride. SAFE branches are now stocked with collectible decals illustrating the capital region’s landmarks, residents and other notable Sacramento sights.

The stickers were designed by local artist and Sacramento State alumnus Hans Bennewitz as part of the SAFE “YOU” campaign celebrating SAFE members and small business owners.

The artist says he tied each of the three collectible stickers together by tapping into a minimalist style inspired in part by Works Progress Administration posters and cartoons from the 1930s.

“We are so happy to cement our place in the Sacramento region and connect with our members through these transportable pieces of art,” says SAFE Brand Manager Amy Brown.


SAFE Credit Union recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to 10 graduating high school seniors from Sacramento, El Dorado and Sutter counties as part of its commitment to education, veterans and health care. SAFE has awarded $10,000 in scholarships annually for 22 years.

This year’s winners from Sacramento are Hannah Leigh from Cornerstone Christian School, Audrey Mininger from St. Francis High School and Araceli Robles from West Campus High School.

Scholarships are awarded based on grade point average, financial need, letters of recommendation and a personal statement.


Local high school students have done their communities proud by participating in the Caring for Our Watersheds proposal writing contest hosted by the Center for Land-Based Learning and Nutrien. The contest challenges students to research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and develop a realistic project to address that concern in their community.

Students compete for more than $6,000 in cash rewards. Participating schools are eligible for more than $11,000 in matching rewards. Nutrien also provides $10,000 to help implement students’ ideas.

Mira Loma High School students Clara Nordahl, Celina Chen, Nora Ransibrahmanakul and Benjamin Hartman placed first, second, third and fifth, respectively, in this year’s contest. Nordahl’s proposal advocates for the 2022 California Plastic Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative and a reduction in the consumption of single-use plastic through informational posts and colorful infographics on social media.

MET Sacramento High School students Samuel Hartsell-Jenkins and Kirby Slagle won for their proposal to start and maintain a composting system on campus. George Washington Carver School of Arts & Sciences students—and resin artists—Arana Katasema, Jaiden Gonzales, Bernie Xicotencatl and Bella Marroquin won for their proposal to promote the use of eco-friendly art material Ecopoxy as an alternative to synthetic resins.


East Sac Girl Scout Troop 3170 recently sponsored an event benefiting the Sacramento SPCA as its Bronze Award project.
To earn the award—the highest available to Girl Scout Juniors in fourth and fifth grade—the troop met with SSPCA staff to learn about what they do, their needs and how the troop could help. They then researched, developed and tested different homemade/upcycled dog and cat toy prototypes.

At their Paws for a Cause event at East Portal Park, troop members taught attendees how to make the toys and homemade dog treats, and discussed the SSPCA’s mission and needs. All the toys, plus dog and cat food, were donated to the SSPCA.

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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