Sena Christian is the former editor of Comstock’s magazine. During her journalism career, she has worked on the staff of two newspapers and one newsweekly, and regularly freelanced for national publications. She earned degrees from UC Berkeley and University of Oregon and was an environmental journalism fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder. Read more at www.senachristian.com. On Twitter @SenaCChristian.
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Soil Born Builds a Pipeline
In 2004, four years after launching their first farm, the founders of Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture and Education Project incorporated their group as a nonprofit to help others see the value of growing food within cities, spreading the philosophy of “healthy food for all.”
Grow Your Own Way
Does the evolution of urban agriculture reveal a schism in the community or a movement picking up steam?
Ten years into the movement, and urban farming in the Sacramento region has garnered widespread support. Agrihoods now represent the latest development in the movement — but will they strengthen or overshadow it?
From the Editors: August Business Recap
Comstock’s monthly look at the business news in the Capital Region. Let’s take a peek at August.
Founded in 1996, Gutterglove recently doubled its space by moving from Rocklin to a 43,000-square-foot facility in Roseville where the company manufactures 60,000 feet of gutters in one day — all done by the hands of people.
Turn The Beat Around
The Capital Dance Project recently announced a partnership with the Sacramento Kings and the Kings Foundation to produce their inaugural Sensory-Friendly Dance Performance on Friday, Aug. 25 at Crest Theatre.
From the Editors: July Business Recap
Comstock’s monthly look at the business news in the Capital Region. So what happened in July (and the tail end of June)?
The Band Plays On
The Americana rock ‘n’ roll band, The Nickel Slots went to Belgium for two weeks this summer for its third European tour, playing 11 straight shows.
5 Significant Residential Projects Underway
According to numbers from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the region needs to be building an average of 12,000 homes per year to meet demand. Here are five projects in the works:
Punjabis in California overcame decades of discriminatory laws to build a new home for themselves in Yuba City — and the community flourishes today
As the legend goes, Didar Singh Bains arrived in his new home of Yuba City in 1958 at age 18 with only $8 in his pocket, which was enough for him. A young immigrant from India with humble origins, he says he believed that in the U.S. “money could grow on trees.” In the course of his lifetime, that youthful optimism has proven true — at least figuratively.
Land of Opportunity
Punjabi immigrants found prosperity, and a new home, in the quiet town of Yuba City
Punjabis first emigrated from India to California at the turn of the 20th century, and soon carved out a prominent role in the economy, culture and identity of Yuba City. They overcame discriminatory laws that prevented immigration, citizenship and land ownership — and have flourished. Most Punjabis in the Yuba City area practice Sikhism, a religion with values that resemble those in the U.S. Constitution. An estimated 15,000 Sikhs now live in the Yuba-Sutter area.
A little piece of Japanese culture can be found in Walnut Grove
At Miyazaki Bathhouse in Walnut Grove, guests first wash themselves with soap using a bowl of water and a ladle, while sitting on a stool, before entering the tubs. “The tubs are not for cleaning,” Phillips says. “They’re for soaking.”
From the Editors: May Business Recap
Comstock’s monthly look at the business news in the Capital Region. We fondly remember what happened in May.
Fix ‘Er Up
Andy Stone, head mechanic for Team Novo Nordisk, prepares a bike during training camp for the Amgen Tour of California’s Sacramento stage in May. A Sacramento native, Stone attended Encina High School where he took a Regional Occupation Program bicycle mechanic class. He worked at bike shops for several years before getting into race mechanics.
An Open Book
The open-source movement has taken on patient health — and one local woman is in the vanguard
In the Sacramento region, at least one major medical provider is already on the same page with the benefits of OpenNotes. Across the country, an estimated 13 million patients can now access their notes. This open-source movement, proponents say, represents a shift away from a paternalistic model of medical care and toward a model of fully-engaged and informed patients. And that, they argue, is better for everyone.
Placer SPCA Behavior Department Coordinator Meghan Oliver conducts an assessment of every dog and cat that enters the Roseville shelter to ensure they are safe around other animals, children and the general public. Each assessment takes about 10 minutes and includes monitoring how the dog socializes, handles tolerance (Oliver holds the animal’s collar, picks up feet, opens the mouth), plays with toys and reacts to the removal of food.
More Bang for Your Duck
After a rough few years, Sacramento Valley rice farmers are supplementing crop profits with environmental stewardship
Having a robust agricultural industry has meant accommodating crops and livestock by forcing out wildlife. Before farming came to the region 150 years ago, waterbird habitat was primarily provided by wetlands. Now managed wetlands make up only about one-third of their habitat in California and rice fields comprise nearly 60 percent.
Founded in 1946 by Ross Relles, Sr., Relles Florist is now in its fourth location on J Street in Sacramento (a second store on Howe Avenue has closed). After Ross died in 1972, sons Jim and Tom Relles took over; their sister JoAnn Bradley joined in 1975.
Today’s Visionaries, Tomorrow’s Vision
These young leaders will shape the Capital Region for generations to come
Glimpse the future of our region through the eyes of its emerging leaders in our annual salute to to young professionals.
Keeping it Clean
Jessie Svozil uses glass cleaner and a cloth rag to wipe down the “Golden Teal Chandelier” in the lobby of the Crocker Art Museum. It’s important to always keep the artwork looking good: Dale Chihuly’s 2014 blown-glass sculpture is translucent, with colors representing Sacramento’s rivers and mining history.
The Way to ‘Innovation City’
California Groundbreakers and Comstock’s host panel on innovation in Sacramento
Can Sacramento become a capital of entrepreneurship? Yes, agreed panelists at an event focused on innovation in the city, held Jan. 23 at the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts in Midtown and co-hosted by California Groundbreakers and Comstock’s magazine.
Part of Their World
Rachel Smith, the head mermaid at the Dive Bar on K Street in downtown Sacramento, prepares to enter the aquarium for a performance.
Can Downtown Roseville be Revitalized?
After years of incremental improvements, the urban core may have achieved its redevelopment goals
Roseville’s downtown — once the civic core — is now off the beaten path, given how the city has developed over the years, spreading out with subdivisions and new thoroughfares that keep people away from this original urban center.
Valarie Phillips sorts through clothing to be dry cleaned at Woodard-Ficetti Cleaners on J Street in Sacramento. She checks each garment, cleans the material under the arms and then handles any special spot-cleaning and scrubbing as dictated by a ticket attached to the clothing. Phillips, a Louisiana native, has worked at the cleaners for 22 years.
Infographic: The Low-down on Our Startups of the Month
Each month, Comstock’s online features a different Startup of the Month. As 2016 comes to a close, we take one last look at these startups to see how they stack up.
Empire Arts Wants to Open Coworking Theater Space
Professionals and amateurs will be invited to become members of Sacramento facility
More than simply an evening of musical theater fun, these sing-alongs raise money for Empire Arts Collective’s plan to eventually open a coworking theater space in Sacramento.
The Right Chord
Sacramento’s Artery Recordings shows music labels still have a voice
Artery Recordings is a modern-day label and sits under the umbrella of the Artery Foundation, a full-service artist management company based in Sacramento.
Simple, Life-Saving Idea Catches On
Hospitals in Sacramento County give cribs to mothers of newborns to help address sleep-related child deaths
In May 2015, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center pioneered a life-saving idea. It was remarkably simple, relatively inexpensive and would help address a public health crisis. Nurses would ask every mother of a newborn leaving the hospital if her baby had a safe place to sleep. If not, Kaiser would send the parent home with a free, portable Pack-N-Play.
I Believe I Can Fly
The instructors at iFly Sacramento, in Roseville, do a practice round, as the controller manages air flow. Fans at the top of a vertical wind tunnel draw air through the flight chamber and then push it back down through the sides, creating a column of air. These instructors pride themselves on being able to take anyone off the street and introduce them to the sport of bodyflight.
Warwick Sets its Sights on Downtown Roseville
British university plans to begin offering graduate courses in 2018
Representatives from Warwick University had been scouting a prime spot to establish its graduate school in Roseville, but the search kept coming up empty. The city’s numerous shopping centers didn’t fit the vision of Warwick University. But recently they found their desired location: The former Fire Station No. 1.
Excerpts From the Book ‘Water: More or Less’
Sacramento water expert and local artist pen book on California water
Recently published book includes reflections on the changing landscape of California water by 20 top water leaders.
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Sacramento water agencies work together, adapting to drought and planning for a future of growth
While California is all-consumed with water wars, the Sacramento region’s efforts toward collaboration are easy to overlook. The best example is the landmark Water Forum Agreement, which 22 water agencies from Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties signed in 2000 to balance the environmental and human needs of the lower American River. Now, water agencies have joined together to launch the River Arc Project.
While circulation dwindles, the Sacramento Bee pressroom grows.
Based on the enormity of this pressroom in Midtown, one wouldn’t think print newspapers are dying. The pressroom, a three-story labyrinth of rooms, stairwells and machinery, operates nearly 22 hours a day, printing five daily newspapers and six weekly publications.
Jeff Pettigrew prepares the inside padding of a casket at Pettigrew & Sons Casket Co., a family-run business in Sacramento founded by the late Fay Pettigrew, who is Jeff’s grandfather.
On the Run Around Sacramento
Our writer jogs by local landmarks in a new kind of tour
I had signed up for a four-mile Capital City Highlights Tour in Sacramento. I run, but I’m not a runner. Now, on a weekday morning, I’m greeted by my tour guide, a bonafide running beast, who launched a running-tour business in September. Would I be able to reach the finish line?
Who Will Harvest When I’m Gone?
Small farms struggle to connect with the next generation of agricultural producers
Annie and Jeff Main started farming after college, inspired by the back-to-land movement of the 1970s. They farmed on rented land for 17 years and then bought their own 20 acres in Capay Valley, in Yolo County.
Art Forms Converge at Sacramento Arena
Bryan Valenzuela and three fellow artists create original pieces for the Golden 1 Center
Bryan Valenzuela’s sculpture, “Multitudes Converge,” will illustrate the convergence of the Sacramento and American rivers, and it is one of four pieces of public art commissioned for the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento.
In The Penalty
Dominik Jakubek, one of two goalkeepers for Sacramento Republic FC, makes a diving save on a shot during practice at Bonney Field. Jakubek joined the franchise as an original member in 2014. He was 34 years old when he was signed.
Raised for Glory
Youth sports have become big business — but at what cost?
More youth are participating in competitive (tryout-based), travel teams that practice more often and play additional games, often year-round, as parents shell out thousands of dollars per child, per sport, per year. The stakes are high. Or so they seem, as college scholarships or professional careers beckon at the finish line.
Photo Gallery: Behind-the-Scene Shots at the Sacramento Zoo
Read the accompanying story, “Encounters with Keepers at the Sacramento Zoo.”
Encounters with Keepers at the Sacramento Zoo
Our writer spends the day learning about animal welfare, wildlife conservation
Originally, U.S. zoos put wild animals on display for the entertainment of humans. But progress in our understanding of animal welfare, science and technology means zoo animals are no longer captive for our pleasure, but for their conservation and for the survival of genetic diversity.
How Oak Park Promise Vows to Improve the Neighborhood
Initiative aims to develop ‘cradle-to-career’ education pipeline to improve odds for children and teenagers
This week, the Greater Sacramento Urban League is returning to its Oak Park roots, first with temporary digs on 3rd Avenue and then, in September, the nonprofit organization founded locally in 1968 will open a satellite office on Alhambra Boulevard.
The War Back Home
Local service providers work to keep military families together — during and after deployment
A veteran’s inability to find and keep employment is a main cause of homelessness, according to Bettis. A stable income and stable housing go hand-in-hand. That’s where the VOA of Northern California and Northern Nevada comes into play.
How to Vet a Financial Advisor
You’ll make a handful of major decisions in life. One of those is selecting the professional who will manage your savings and handle your investments. This choice will impact everything in your life, including sending your child to college, buying a house and living comfortably in retirement. Here are seven criteria for vetting a financial or investment professional:
Raising vinyl on the roadside
Billboards have been a staple of American advertising since the late 1800s. Originally, crews pasted several strips of posters together to create one large billboard. Now, they use vinyl engineered to withstand harsh weather.
West Sacramento Clears Path for Urban Farmers
City’s agriculture movement shows value of farms to the larger community
The Center for Land-Based Learning launched the Urban Farm Program in 2014 on a city-owned lot and with seed funding from two local banks. Fiery Ginger uses land owned by the Washington Unified School District. Other farmers use private property, for four sites total, representing six separate farm businesses — with two more to be added by 2017
Republic Fans Ready for Battle
Tower Bridge Battalion members show our writer about love for the (local) game
Why do pumped-up fans matter? Because for the MLS to accept the Republic into its ranks, the franchise needs to prove its has a strong fan base — along with the coveted sponsorship base — to sustain the team over the long haul.
Inside the Cal-ISO Control Room
Where operators manage 80 percent of California’s electrical grid
Driving through the security-guard checkpoint to the massive 278,000-square-foot sleek building that emerges — not visible from the street — a visitor to the California Independent System Operator headquarters in Folsom would likely realize something important happens here before even stepping foot inside.
Woman on Fire
Throwing flames with Sequoia Criteser
For most of her youth, Sequoia Criteser was petrified of fire. As a child, she would not have imagined starting a career as a fire dancer 13 years ago.
Watching What You Eat
UC Davis scientists work to ensure safety of U.S. food supply
Within the past year alone, dozens of foodborne disease outbreaks have impacted the U.S. food supply, implicating all sorts of ingredients. Contaminated cucumbers have been blamed, along with tomatoes, cilantro, pork, turkey, tuna and raw milk. Cases have also occurred at the food-service level, often because employees failed to wash their hands.
Let Us Outta Here!
Would our writer’s friendships survive an hour in an escape room?
Our hearts racing and stress levels high, the six of us aren’t sure whether our friendship will survive the next 10 minutes. We’re stuck in a small room together and can’t calm ourselves down long enough to agree on a system for tackling one of the final puzzles that will allow us to break through to freedom. Things are getting testy: We’re heavy sighing, and huffing and puffing. It’s possible I’m raising my voice.