Out and About: The Grid

By Jessica Laskey
June 2019

Well Deserved!

Inside columnist receives national humanitarian award

A hearty congratulations to our own Norris Burkes, author of Inside’s “Spirit Matters” and the self-syndicated column “Spirituality in Everyday Life,” which appears in 35 papers nationwide. The retired military chaplain is the recipient of the 2019 Will Rogers Humanitarian Award sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

In his columns, Burkes has written extensively about the humanitarian project Chispa, which sponsors children’s libraries in Honduras and equips them with quality books in Spanish.

Chispa began in summer 2012 when Burkes’ daughter Sara donated books to a tiny mountain school, then stayed to organize what became an undertaking with global reach. In January 2018, Burkes and his wife went to Honduras for three months and he wrote about the experience in his columns. In March 2019, he rallied readers to travel with him to Honduras and about 12 volunteers from different states, including two from the Sacramento area, responded to his challenge to serve on a one-week mission to launch another library space.
“The volunteers were people I had never met before,” Burkes says. “We prepare and paint pretty space for the books, build bookshelves, pack the books and train the teachers. We met all the students.”

Over the past five years, the libraries have served more than 60 local communities and provided more than 14,000 books to schoolchildren. Burkes’ columns have raised approximately $30,000 in the last three years and provided 18,000 books to more than 50 schools and organizations.

For more information on Chispa, visit chispaproject.org. To read Burkes’ columns, go to insidesacramento.com/spirit+matters.


Home Care Assistance recently moved to a larger space in Midtown to accommodate the growing need for its award-winning in-home senior caregiving services.

The local franchise—owned by Kathy Herrfeldt—moved from its original 1,100-square-foot office off J Street to a 1,750-square-foot space at 2715 K St. The company is planning an Open House for the public at its new location on Thursday, June 20, from 4 to 8 p.m. Staff will showcase technology products that can be integrated into care services to ensure clients remain safe and comfortable.
Herrfeldt has four full-time employees—with plans to add two more—and 50 to 70 more employees providing care services to Sacramento, Woodland, Davis and Galt. For more information, visit homecareassistancesacramento.com.


The City of Sacramento recently announced updates on its highly anticipated C3 Project, the renovation and expansion of the Memorial Auditorium, Community Center Theater and Convention Center.

The Community Center Theater will close for construction this month, followed by the Convention Center in July. Both are scheduled to re-open in fall 2020.

During this time, all shows scheduled at the Community Center Theater will be relocated to the Memorial Auditorium, which will have completed its renovation.

Conventions and conferences will be temporarily hosted at various venues throughout the city, but Downtown hotels will continue to host overnight visitors.

The groundbreaking ceremony for this new phase of construction will be Friday, July 26, at 10 a.m. For more information, visit cityofsacramento.org.


NEO Escape Rooms, the winner of the 2018 Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s Calling All Dreamers competition, will open to the public this fall on the Old Sacramento Waterfront at 1124 2nd St.

The escape rooms will immerse players in Sacramento during different time periods—including the future.

“We wanted to capture the essence of Sacramento in games that are physical, mental, social and emotional,” says co-founder Acme Lee, an escape room and video game aficionado who collaborated on the winning business pitch with longtime friend Gabriel Berzamina. “People can have so much more fun doing an escape room together than they can sitting disconnected at a movie theater.”

Because Lee says escape rooms are “the ultimate storytelling platform,” the founders created three standalone stories with different themes—action, horror and sci-fi—that all belong to “the NEOverse” and test players’ abilities to solve puzzles while learning about Sacramento.

Follow their journey on social media and check out neoescaperooms.com for more information.


East Sac Hardware on Folsom Boulevard has retired its popcorn machine after more than 25 years of providing free popcorn to customers.
Owner Sheree Johnston says that after someone filed a complaint about the machine with the health department—despite the fact that the machine is cleaned daily and has never posed a problem—the store was asked to discontinue its use.
Remember, the next time you’re planning to stop in and shop, make sure you have a snack first!


The 18th Sacramento French Film Festival brings this year’s most acclaimed French films and two classics to the Crest Theatre on June 21–23 and 28–30.

SFFF will present 20 feature films, each preceded by a short film and always with English subtitles.

In addition to the movies, guests can enjoy coffee and pastries, DJs, an art exhibit, Q&A sessions and post-screening discussions with local film experts.

This year’s films include “The Freshmen (Premiere Année)” by Thomas Lilti, “In Safe Hands (Pupille)” by Jeanne Herry, “At War (En Guerre)” by Antoine Brizé, and “In the Move for Love (L’Amour Flou)” by Romane Bohringer and Philippe Rebbot.
SFFF’s Classic Series will be dedicated to filmmaker extraordinaire Agnès Varda, who passed away in March.

Tickets are $12 for single tickets to $90 for a Full Festival Pass. For more information, visit sacramentofrenchfilmfestival.org.


Four new brownstone-style homes have come on the market as part of the HK3 Development infill project at 15th and T streets.

“This is a very unique project,” says Kevin Khasigian of HK3, a family-owned firm that focuses on infill development in Midtown. (His parents Lynda and Fred founded the company and Khasigian works alongside them and his brothers Kirk and Kyle.) “It’s one of the few for-sale housing options near R Street. The treescape in the area is so mature that we built each home to feel like a treehouse.”

The four modern units of approximately 1,670 square feet each feature open floor plans and upscale touches like Brazilian wood floors, outdoor space, two-car garages and all the high-end finishes a buyer could want. The bustling Ice Blocks complex is steps away, as is Safeway and other local hotspots.

“Our proximity to the new R Street gave us confidence to make these homes a little more high-end,” Khasigian says. “Midtown needs new construction with improvements to keep up with what’s happening in the area. Per square feet, our project is consistent for where prices should be compared to East Sac and Land Park. We’re contributing to the reimagining of the city.”

For more information, visit hk3development.com.


The Downtown farmers markets have returned to Cesar Chavez Plaza on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and to Capitol Mall at 6th Street on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Offered by the Downtown Sacramento Partnership in collaboration with Certified Farmers’ Markets of Sacramento County, the Downtown farmers markets host nearly 30 food vendors, 100 farmers and more than 175,000 shoppers seasonally.

This month, head chef Dane Blom of Grange Restaurant & Bar will resume the popular “Follow the Chef” tours at the Cesar Chavez Plaza market. Tickets include a seasonally inspired lunch. Visit grangerestaurantandbar.com.


Get your art on at the free Second Saturday, presented in partnership with Verge Center for the Arts, at DOCO (Downtown Commons) at 660 J St.

On Saturday, June 8, young artists can enjoy a Mini Verge Kids Summer Studio Camp from 10 a.m. to noon.

Participation in DOCO’s Second Saturday activities is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit docosacramento.com.


Sacramento museums are offering tons of unique classes, camps and activities for kids this summer. Space is limited, so sign up now!
Crocker Art Museum will offer art camps with various themes, such as bugs, trees, birds and water, starting June 17. Campers ages 5–6 and 7–9 will enjoy high-quality, full-day art camps. Visit crockerart.org/camps2019.

Fairytale Town will hold 27 themed educational summer camps. Children ages 4–6 and 7–9 will explore art, literature, puppetry, gardening and more. Visit fairytaletown.org/educational-programs.

Verge Center for the Arts will have themed studio camp weeks starting June 17. Kids ages 6–9 and 10–13 will learn about installation art, paper mache and murals. Visit vergeart.com/classes/kidscamp2019.

For information on all participating museums, visit sacmuseums.org.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month.

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