Graham Womack is a freelance writer based in Sacramento. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee and Sacramento News & Review. Follow him on Twitter @grahamdude.
By this person
Special Report: Fighting Fentanyl
Public health officials, lawmakers and law enforcement are fighting back against the highly-potent drug crisis in the Capital Region
The problem has been a sharp rise in the availability of illicit fentanyl, or fake pills, which has shown up in other drugs. The crisis comes when a user doesn’t know the pill they are taking is laced with a deadly dose of fentanyl.
Professional baseball players train at Optimum Athletes and related businesses near Cal Expo
An elite training facility near Cal Expo has a number of major leaguers have been loyal customers.
Getting the Casino Rolling
Elk Grove leaders tout promising opening months for Sky River Casino
After several years of work by Wilton Rancheria, the tribe’s casino operator Boyd Gaming, and local leaders, Sky River is finally up and running.
New Gold Rush in the Foothills
Mountain towns embrace a growing tech sector
Some people call the western Nevada County area a mini-Silicon Valley. While the area has a technical and collaborative spirit, some are skeptical about the long term potential for the new guard.
Tiny FM radio stations create their own definition of success in Sacramento
In an era where every major commercial radio station seems to be
sticking to a tight format, some local radio stations are
focusing on diversity, community and originality.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé buys the River Cats, talks business successes, future hopes and team involvement
Vivek Ranadivé sometimes draws the ire of fans and media
criticism for perceived meddling in his team, which hasn’t made
the playoffs in 16 years. But there’s another side to his
story, his work as a leader of one of the highest-valued
businesses in the area and the potential impact he continues to
have on Sacramento.
Going on Air
California Capital Airshow lifts off at Mather Field
The California Capital Airshow hearkens back to the years when
the Capital Region was a hub of aerospace and defense
manufacturing. After pandemic losses, the event broke records in
2021 and is set to continue its rise.
Drag to Riches
Sacramento drag scene flourishing as former local queen Lady Camden makes it big
Thanks to the popularity of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” which featured
former Sacramento Ballet dancer Rex Wheeler as Lady Camden in
season 14, drag has become an increasingly mainstream pastime
with big earning potential — for those at the top. We checked in
with Wheeler and other local queens to learn more about drag
The Sacramento region isn’t the aerospace hub it once was, but local companies are still doing cool things
California’s aerospace, aviation and defense industries support
more than 511,000 high-paying jobs and generate more than $66
billion in annual economic activity, larger than the agriculture
and entertainment industry combined. We checked in with industry
players in the Capital Region.
Status Check: The Slow Build on Broadway
Development project at former Tower Records and Tower Books site could break ground soon
In the 2 1/2 years since the former Tower Records and Tower Books buildings were demolished at the southeastern corner of 16th Street and Broadway in Sacramento, the site has sat vacant. Finally, things could be starting to change.
Going to Extremes
Endurance athletes push their bodies to the limit — and pump money into the regional economy
Extreme athletes see what they can accomplish, however improbable
— like the 100.2-mile ultramarathon Western States — and use
their hobbies to contribute to regional economies.
Workers in their 20s and 30s in the Capital Region strive to make a difference
For many young professionals, a job isn’t just a job, but
rather a chance to make a difference in the world — to be beacons
and forces for good, even change within their
Status Check: Back to Gaming
Mark Otero, who helped develop hugely successful “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes,” puts hedge fund on hold for new game
Mark Otero, founder of the Sacramento-based mobile game company KlickNation, is now working on “Legions & Legends,” a combat roleplaying game and the debut effort from his studio, Azra Games.
Getting Smart About Water
City of Wheatland installing over 1,200 smart water meters
Upgrades in water meters are helping to reduce water waste, but
installation of new infrastructure can be slow
and difficult to fund.
Capital Region residents and businesses feel the impact as construction industries continue to grapple with supply chain issues
Although the hot housing marketing has made it a great
time to be a builder in California, it’s also uniquely
challenging as supply chain issues create pricing
volatility, delays and decreased margins.
A Cooperative Cup
Pachamama Coffee opens new roastery in El Dorado Hills — owned by farmers in five countries
The owners of Pachamama Coffee aim to operate their cooperative business sustainably, considering environmental, economic and social issues.
Status Check: New Plans for an Old Park
Crocker Art Museum, city revive dormant talks to transform Crocker Park
Nearly two years into the pandemic, the Crocker’s art park project is being brought back to life, though there are a few hurdles to overcome before breaking ground.
Making an Acknowledgment
City of Sacramento recognizes tribal land
Tribal officials are working with Sacramento city government to secure a formal recognition of tribal land, creating opportunities for education.
Mom and Pop Radio
The Sacramento Hmong community stays connected by broadcasting on family-owned KJAY
KJAY in West Sacramento broadcasts a mix of Hmong, Russian, religious and oldies programming, and that’s just a part of what makes the station an outlier in a world of corporate radio.
Sweetening the Pot
Tribal casinos in the Capital Region have major construction projects underway
Amid the ongoing pandemic, several tribes in the Capital Region
are either building new casinos or undertaking significant
expansions of existing operations.
A Comprehensive Effort
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center looks to leverage recent $17.5 million federal grant
Factoring in local matches, a common requirement for federal grant awards, the money could go much further.
The Next Act
Part 6 of our ongoing series on downtown Sacramento businesses dealing with COVID-19
Sacramento businesses continue to adapt and recalculate as COVID-19 evolves.
Weathering the Wild West
Family business close-up
The Rosser family has provided 60 years of roping and riding for
rodeo professionals and enthusiasts in Marysville.
Filling a Niche
Family business close-up
A father-and-son team have kept Newcastle-based Selby’s Soil
Erosion Control business operating since the 1960s.
The Burbs Are Booming in the Capital Region
Cities such as Roseville, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove have become self-contained places where people barely have to leave city limits for housing, work, shopping and entertainment.
Status Check: Finding an Agricultural Coworking Space
After 19 years in Winters, the Center for Land-Based Learning welcomes farmers to a larger home in Woodland.
Bringing Collegiate Esports to the Capital Region
A local business group is partnering with the Sacramento Kings
and Golden 1 Center to bring an esports competition with
approximately 20 colleges to Sacramento and Roseville this
On the Rise: Kyle Wakamiya
Meet 12 young professionals who are shaping their industries and the Capital Region
Kyle Wakamiya is director of strategic planning and analysis at West Sacramento-based Origin Materials, which makes environmentally friendly bioplastics.
Status Check: School’s Out at the Old Fire Station
City of Roseville, University Development Foundation and Hillsdale College drop plans to bring higher education to former downtown fire station
For the second time, a fire station in downtown Roseville has lost its chance to become a university campus.
On the Rise: Dr. Lenora Lee
Meet 12 young professionals who are shaping their industries and the Capital Region
Dr. Lenora Lee, an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento and Roseville for the past seven years, has made the most of working through the coronavirus pandemic.
Status Check: A New Use for the Former Home of the Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings’ former arena site in Natomas is slated for new life.
Status Check: Building a Rural Broadband Empire
Cal.net acquires fifth rural internet provider in recent years
“It’s a really exciting time to be in the business,” says Cal.net Chief Operating Officer Ken Garnett.
Status Check: Finally Game Time?
Sky River Casino breaks ground in Elk Grove and clears legal hurdle ahead of possible fall 2022 opening
The casino is expected to open in the fall of 2022 on Wilton Rancheria tribal trust land at the site of an uncompleted mall.
Downtown Sacramento restaurants plan for a future, although unknowns remain
More than a few downtown eateries have become casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those that remain are embracing long-term survival strategies.
After a Year of COVID
In the year since the pandemic shutdowns began, many businesses have stayed open, and owners are optimistic
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many entrepreneurs feel reasons for hope, both for their companies and the world at large.
Status Check: The Road Back to ‘American Ninja Warrior’
Three Roseville ninjas return to competition after last year’s was postponed
Jose Gomez, Francisco Barajas and Brian Montagnese will travel to Tacoma, Washington, to compete on “American Ninja Warrior” for a chance at an ultimate $1 million prize.
Status Check: Still Moving Ahead at The Railyards
Work is continuing on multiple projects, despite the lead investor in the MLS bid pulling out
A new Kaiser Permanente hospital and a Sacramento County courthouse continue at The Railyards, the largest urban infill development project west of the Mississippi River.
Status Check: Finding New Roots
Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse in Sacramento wins national award amid challenging times
Co-owner Peter Hoey is optimistic for the future, saying, “It’s not pre-pandemic numbers, but we’re in a good spot as far as restaurant sales.”
Studying for the Next Chapter
A variety of degree and certificate programs are available for older and returning students
In the Capital Region, educational paths are plentiful for those
looking to make a transition.
Comstock’s Talks: A New Mission (The Next Chapter)
PODCAST: Roger Valine helped transform VSP from a small local company to an international operation by 2006 when he decided to retire. This profile is part of The Next Chapter, in which we check in with Capital Region professionals who moved into new pursuits or retirement after successful careers.
Feeling the Need to Still Help
The Next Chapter: Steve Ramirez, former board chair for Ronald McDonald House Charities, considers his options
For more than three decades, the Ronald McDonald House Charities
and the McDonald’s Corporation helped to define Ramirez, who
became a franchisee in Galt in 1988.
A New Mission
The Next Chapter: Former VSP CEO Roger Valine talks about his family, the community and business
Roger Valine joined VSP in 1973 and worked his way up from being
a management trainee to become the driving force as the CEO of
the Rancho Cordova company.
Comstock’s Talks: The Next Chapter Series
PODCAST: Listen to a six-part series about Capital Region professionals who found new pursuits after successful careers.
Status Check: Suing the Square
Aggie Square facing two CEQA lawsuits
The latest iteration of the controversy surrounding Aggie Square
involves two lawsuits filed in mid-December over the project
against the University of California Board of Regents under the
California Environmental Quality Act.
Status Check: Innovation on Hold
Proponents for Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus press on despite election defeat
Davis voters narrowly rejected Measure B this past November, declining to change land-use designations to pave the way for the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus.
Status Check: A Measure of Relief
Sales tax increase Measure B, passed in 2018, provides vital funds for Roseville
Every little bit matters in Roseville, which prides itself as a full-service city.
Struggling to Maintain
Months into COVID-19, Sacramento’s downtown businesses persevere
Comstock’s has been following four businesses in Sacramento since March to see how they’re faring amid the pandemic. Here’s how they stand now.
Status Check: Getting to the Other Side
Amy Seiwert back in Cincinnati after two-year run as Sacramento Ballet artistic director
Amy Seiwert’s term as the artistic director of the Sacramento Ballet ended in July, but she is continuing to create with dance companies in California and the Midwest.
Minding the Family Business
Why family-run companies can be better poised to navigate hard economic times
While large companies often have shareholders and untold numbers of employees to satisfy, family businesses can maneuver more deftly and swiftly, powering through as best they can.
Comstock’s Talks: Cooking Up a Neighborhood
PODCAST: West Sacramento’s Washington District has transformed in the past decade, due to efforts by the City of West Sacramento, developers and food entrepreneurs.