Out and About Sacramento March 2020

By Jessica Laskey
March 2020

Working Wonders

Two paid positions now open at McKinley Rose Garden

Friends of East Sacramento has two immediate paid part-time job openings—garden manager and volunteer coordinator—at the McKinley Rose Garden. After many years of dedicated volunteer and paid service, Lyn Pitts, who worked both jobs, is retiring this month.

“Lyn has been absolutely vital in contributing to the success of the garden in recent years,” says Lisa Schmidt, co-founder of FES, a nonprofit organization that leases the public garden from the city and oversees its care and event rentals.

“Lyn started as a volunteer, and then we hired her to work part-time when she retired from the state. She helped us establish protocols and best practices that have brought the garden to its most beautiful current condition, and that will help us well into the future,” Schmidt says.

The garden was honored in 2017 with a “Special Place” award by the East Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.

Garden manager is a flexible, part-time position that oversees rose and garden care, volunteer training and workday events. Gardening, leadership and training experience are required.

Volunteer coordinator manages the communications and scheduling of volunteers and events. Computer skills are required and previous experience is helpful.

To apply, send a letter of interest with background information to mckinleyrosegarden@aol.com.



Arden Hills Athletic & Social Club recently named a new head coach—world champion and Olympic gold medalist Jeff Float— for its Otters recreational swim program.

Float began swimming at Arden Hills at age 7, where he was coached by the legendary Sherm Chavoor (who trained Olympic greats Mark Spitz, Debbie Meyer, Mike Burton and others).

Float—who happens to be 90 percent deaf in one ear and 65 percent in the other—went on to swim competitively at Jesuit High School and University of Southern California. He then traveled the world and earned countless prestigious accolades, including an Olympic Gold Medal, Deaf Olympian of the Century and Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. He also served as the peer-elected team captain for the USA Swimming Team in 1984, when his team obliterated the world record by 5 seconds in the 4×200-meter free relay.

Float worked as a swim coach for the past 24 years at Laguna Creek Sports Club and Gold River Sports Club. He officially joined the Arden Hills swim coaching staff in January and will lead the popular summer and fall recreational programs.

“I have this amazing opportunity to finish my rewarding career here at Arden Hills, the very place where it all began,” Float says. “It feels like coming home.”


South Land Park resident Paul Tsuda recently released a book of poetry, “Saving My Sanity: A Book of Non-Academic Poetry,” that features poems about his life alongside love letters to his native Sacramento.

“I’ve been writing poems since I entered Stanford in 1971,” says Tsuda, who grew up in East Sacramento, enrolled pre-med at Stanford, dropped out for 13 years and eventually returned to earn his bachelor’s degree in English literature with an emphasis in poetry.

“I have used my writing as a way to help me survive the difficulties of living with bi-polar disorder. Readers can also expect poems about (my family), life at Stanford, working as a technician at AT&T—to sum up, they can expect to know me and how I’ve lived, felt and thought about my life.”

Readers will enjoy this collection of “non-academic” poems without the restrictions that come from following academic rules of poetry that often restrain writers, Tsuda says.

For more information, visit tsudapoetry.wordpress.com. “Saving My Sanity” is available on amazon.com.


If you were a client of McKinley Park Hair Company in East Sacramento and were distressed to hear about it closing at the end of last month, don’t fret. Co-owner George Agajan is opening a new salon in the Pocket at 5318 Riverside Blvd.—aptly named Riverside Hair Company.

Agajan and co-owner Bill Howard operated McKinley Park Hair for 40 years. As the cost of doing business grew, they decided to downsize to a smaller salon. Beloved stylists George, Dave and Robin will make the move to the new salon. Riverside Hair Company opens for business on March 3.

For more information, check out @riversidehairco on Instagram or call (916) 451-3373.


On Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15, the tenants of the Fuller Building at 1021 R St. are honoring Women’s History Month with a weekend of art exhibitions, performances and more.

“Not only is March Woman’s History Month, but 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote,” says Cynthia Lou, owner of Sparrow Gallery.

To celebrate, Lou and fellow Fuller tenants—ARTHOUSE, Fox & Goose, Arareity Jewelers and more—are presenting women-centric activities to “reflect on our feelings about women’s progress in the last 100 years.”

Events include a Womxn’s Marketplace sponsored by River City Marketplace, artist talks, live painting, opera singing by Olivia Smith, a tea party sponsored by Tea Cozy and receptions for artists Margarita Chaplinska, Stephanie Taylor and Brenda Louie.

For more information, visit sparrowgallery.com or arthouseonr.com.


Applications open March 7 for Summer @ City Hall, a six-week summer learning experience that provides students the opportunity to learn local government processes and how to become an active member of their community.

Credentialed teachers deliver a curriculum focusing on civic engagement, governmental structure and youth development. Summer @ City Hall teaches high school students how to find their inner voices and bring a youth perspective to city issues and concerns.

Classroom sessions take place Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at City Hall. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided. Students are also required to complete a 42-hour internship.

Summer @ City Hall is open to current high school sophomores and juniors. Applicants must attend a high school in the Natomas Unified School District, Sacramento Unified School District or Twin Rivers Unified School District, or live within the Sacramento city limits.

For more information, visit cityofsacramento.org/summer-at-city-hall.


Tracy Sambrano of Land Park and Rocio Cepeda-Espinoza of Arden were named United Way California Capital Region’s Women United Members of the Year at a recent ceremony at Midtown’s Antiquité Maison Privée.

The women were honored for their commitment to United Way’s Square One Project, which ensures local students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond.

Sambrano is area manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car and has been a member of United Way’s Women United action group since 2009, working to help local foster youth succeed in school and career.

Cepeda-Espinoza is virtual sales operations director for Nationwide and has been involved with United Way since joining Nationwide in 2004. She became a Women United member in 2015.

United Way’s Square One Project helps high school students in the greater Sacramento area stay on track to graduate by providing everything from meals and tutors to supportive relationships and guidance on saving for college tuition. For more information, visit yourlocalunitedway.org.


The Latino Center of Art and Culture was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The center was the only Sacramento organization to receive NEA support in this round of fiscal year 2020 funding.

The grant will support the production of “Border People,” a theater piece written and performed by award-winning actor/writer Dan Hoyle, as well as workshops with Hoyle culminating in a theater production by local artists. Workshops will begin later this month. Performances of “Border People” will take place in July.

The Latino Center of Art and Culture is located at 2700 Front St. For more information, visit thelatinocenter.com.


Sacramento Yoga Center (inside Sierra 2 Center at 2791 24th St.) is now offering Yoga for Mature Bodies, on either a mat or chair, taught by registered yoga teacher Deanna Bloom.

“I came to yoga to find that still quiet place within,” says Bloom, who has practiced since 2013 and brings a career of massage therapy to her teaching. “In these classes, we move through yoga postures using our breath to lengthen and strengthen.”

Classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mat classes are noon to 1:15 p.m. and chair classes are 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Classes are ongoing, no sign-up necessary. For more information, visit sacramentoyogacenter.com or e-mail deanna@sacramentoyogacenter.com.


Arden, Land Park, Midtown and Oak Park residents are eligible for tax prep help through United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program.

The program provides free appointments with IRS-certified volunteers to help residents prepare their electronic tax returns and claim the maximum tax credits for which they are eligible.

Appointments are available at several locations. Check your eligibility, look up locations and make an appointment at yourfreetaxprep.org, or call 211 or (800) 500-4931.


Volunteers are needed for a study recently launched by UC Davis to explore whether participating in an arts program at a museum can help someone with chronic pain feel more socially connected and, therefore, decrease the unpleasantness of their pain.

Those who meet the study’s criteria may get assigned to at least one arts-related program at the Crocker Art Museum. Participants need to attend the program on one or two Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. Those chosen for the study will visit the museum for free and be encouraged to bring friends and family.

“Chronic pain is a complex condition,” said Ian Koebner, an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and the director of integrative pain management at UC Davis Medical Center. “It affects the body, the mind, and can significantly impact social interactions. We are trying to identify ways to more effectively address the problems associated with ongoing pain.”

To be eligible to participate in the study, volunteers must be 18 or older, English speaking, living with moderate chronic pain for six months or longer, and feel moderately lonely.

For more information, contact Ruchi Rawal at ucdhartrx@gmail.com or (916) 619-3383.


Do you have a friendly dog or other pet? The Sacramento SPCA needs human and animal volunteers for Love on Loan, a pet-assisted therapy program that provides visits from furry friends to local schools, businesses, nursing homes and children’s organizations.

“The benefits of animal-assisted therapy are well documented,” according to the SSPCA. “In hospitals, nursing homes and hospices, dogs, cats, rabbits and other friendly animals are brightening the lives of folks who are physically or mentally ill, seriously depressed, or lonely.”

Those interested must attend the SSPCA’s New Volunteer Orientation (upcoming times are listed at sspca.org/volunteerorientation) and all pets are required to pass a behavior evaluation.

The SSPCA is dedicated to reducing pet overpopulation, finding abandoned animals loving homes and helping people keep their pets healthy by providing low-cost spaying/neutering, medical care and vaccinations.

For more information on Love on Loan, visit sspca.org/loveonloan.


Sacramento’s Wildlife Care Association has announced the winner of its 5th Annual Fall Photo Contest—Chamong Xiong of Fresno, who captured a rare photo of a Leucistic Black Phoebe at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge.

The winning photo shows a genetic anomaly rarely found in nature. This normally jet-black native bird exhibits a trait similar to albinism, changing the bird’s color to a light yellow-white.

The Fall Photo Contest takes place annually from October through December to help raise funds for the nonprofit WCA, which provides rehabilitation, recovery and release to more than 10,000 injured, orphaned and displaced birds and small animals each year. For more information, visit wildlifecareassociation.com.


Grab your paddle—pickleball is now being offered at La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael. One of the fastest growing sports in the nation, pickleball is appropriate for all ages and skills.

Indoor Pickleball Drop-In Play is open 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at La Sierra’s five indoor courts. Buy a Day Pass for $5.50 or a 10-Day Punch Card for $40.

Passes and punch cards can be purchased at the recreation office at the La Sierra Community Center at 5325 Engle Road. For more information, visit carmichaelpark.com/pickleball-drop-in-program.


Applications are due Monday, March 16, for the Sacramento Master Singers Scholarship for Young Choral Singers (formerly known as the Asya Pleskach Scholarship).

The scholarship is designed to support and encourage choral singers ages 14 to 22 from the greater Sacramento area. Participants should be a current member of their school, church or community choir, and show commitment to and leadership in the choral arts.

Applicants must upload a video audition to YouTube, submit an online application and, if selected, complete a live audition and interview on Saturday, March 28, at American River College. Winners will be announced during the Master Singers youth outreach concert YouthSing! on Thursday, April 16, at 7 p.m. at Cordova High School in Rancho Cordova.

To apply and for more information, visit mastersingers.org/get-involved/scholarship.

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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