Archive for the ‘Caring for the Community’ Category

It’s a New Year for the Neighborhood!

January 3, 2012


Happy New Year!  I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season, and this strangely dry December.  I’ve really enjoyed looking at all the lights and decorations at people’s houses, on my walks through the neighborhood.

It’s a new year and a time for new beginnings.  And I don’t usually like to make pitches for things, but there is a group here that’s trying to make this neighborhood a better community, and to be a voice for all residents.  It’s the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association.

Membership is just $12 a year.  Becoming part of the Association is a great way to be involved in issues that matter to all of us–the residents of the Poverty Ridge, Newton Booth, and Alhambra Triangle neighborhoods.  The Association organizes also fun events like last November’s “Newton’s Night Out”; and with more active members, we’ll be able to have more events to bring neighbors together.

Below is the membership application–just print it out, write a check for the low, low membership price of $12, and mail it in!

Also, if you’re a member of NBNA (or have decided to join), and if you’re interested in getting involved in the neighborhood and making things happen, consider applying for membership on the NBNA Board.  The Board is looking for new members who love the neighborhood and have a desire to work toward taking care of and improving the community. 

Below is the Board Membership Application; please print it, fill it out and send it in, if you’re interested.  Thank you!

And on behalf of the Neighborhood Association, I’d like to wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2012.


Newton Booth’s “Community” Sculpture Vandalized

December 1, 2011

Neighbors coming home from Thanksgiving who happened to go by the intersection of 26th and S Streets last weekend, were in for an unpleasant sight.  At some time before the morning of Saturday, November 26, the metal sculpture inside the 26th & S traffic circle, a piece called “Community,” had been vandalized–apparently by a driver who managed to drive over the entire traffic circle.

The sculpture, created by Sacramento artist Kristen Hoard, is a symbol of the Newton Booth neighborhood, and (as far as we know) is the only art piece in Sacramento made to decorate a traffic circle.  The circle, in the center of the intersection, creates a small “roundabout” and was intended as part of the city’s traffic calming program.

Originally, the sculpture had four metal human-like figures facing each other, mounted into the dirt in the circle on small concrete stands.  Whoever vandalized the art piece somehow managed to knock over two of the standing figures.  Judging by the direction the two fallen figures were laying, it can be inferred that whatever drove over the traffic circle was traveling south on 26th Street, going towards T Street:

The uprooted concrete stand for the metal figure on the south end of the traffic circle. The metal figure was pushed over so violently that it was driven into the ground.

Was this a case of drunk driving?  A speeding truck of enormous size with an oblivious driver?  No witnesses that we know of have come forward, and even the general time of day of the incident is not known.

What is known is that speeding drivers on our neighborhood streets have become an increasing problem.  26th Street is a direct line to the freeway and to Broadway; and perhaps some foolish driver with too much to drink, or distracted (maybe with a cell phone call or a text message?), barrelled down the street late Friday night or early Saturday morning, unconcerned about the neighborhood sculpture in front of him or her.  The problem of speeding, careless drivers passing through the neighborhood is not limited to this incident:  One of the new traffic-calming islands at 23rd and T Streets was reportedly hit by a driver in the past couple of weeks.

Also, it is a bit chilling to note that the human-like figures in the sculpture, run over by a careless driver, look not unlike actual people sprawled on the ground.  I mention this in order to remind everyone reading this, that an accident can happen to pedestrians anytime, day or night–so please be careful crossing the street, and watch out for bad drivers.  Don’t assume a driver will stop for you.  And drivers, please be aware of your surroundings at all times, drive at posted speeds, and brake for pedestrians and cyclists.

The good news is that this neighborhood has a lot of people who care about our community–and our “Community” art piece–and we will be working to fix what was done.  In the weeks to come, the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association will be working with the City of Sacramento, and with Kristen Hoard, to figure out the next steps to restoring the sculpture.  Might a small, friendly neighborhood fund-raiser perhaps be in the works?  We’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, please walk, cycle and drive safely…here in the neighborhood, and everywhere you go.

Putting the Brakes on Passive Bulldozing

October 19, 2011

As the NBNA continues to work cooperatively with those responsible developers doing important infill on legitimately vacant lots, other less responsible, absentee landlords who purchase historic houses and allow them to crumble to the ground in order to create new vacant lots for development represent an increasing problem in our area.

We recently supported an NBNA member’s ongoing efforts to get city action on one such absentee landlord, whose property at 1811 26th Street was vacant, hazardous and garbage-filled. The City’s efforts to enforce property code violations extended over two years and seemed mostly to have involved failed efforts to communicate with the property’s owner, who is ambiguously–and one might suggest contemptably–listed as “Joe Jones Properties.”

The clock was ticking, the fines were adding up, and the property was continuing to decay in what can only be described as “passive bulldozing.”

After taking some digital photos of the property, the NBNA went online and filed a complaint with Sacramento Code Enforcement in support of the NBNA member, including the photos which spoke volumes. For good measure we sent a duplicate email to Sacramento 911.  A few weeks later, we went and checked out the property again.  The house was still abandoned,  but the yard was cleared of garbage, and that felt good.

It’s no secret that these days the City of Sacramento has limited resources to address many of the problems it faces–and that includes code enforcement. Which is why it’s important to help the process by utilizing the City’s online infrastructure. Registering a concern about a delinquent property, illegal dumping, overgrown weeds or graffiti is easy thanks to Sacramento Code Enforcement’s online complaint forms. If you’ve got a digital camera, you can even attach a photo of what concerns you, like we did, and help the City do its job.

Passive bulldozing is still a problem.  But we can’t put the brakes on it if we don’t push the pedal.  The more people who participate in government, the more effectively government works.  It’s that simple.

Before & after. The garbage-filled backyard of an abandoned house gets cleaned up with a little help from the NBNA.

Here’s the City’s URL for filing code enforcement complaints:

Co-op Hosts Evening with Urban Forest Visionaries

May 10, 2011


This Friday, May 13 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op will be hosting an Evening With Visionaries at the Co-op Community Learning Center on 1914 Alhambra Blvd. 

Hear from two people who are working to help plant urban forests and build better communities: 

Andy Lipkis, President of TreePeople, an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to growing a sustainable future for Los Angeles (well, he’ll be there on DVD, anyway); and

Ray Tretheway, of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, a local group dedicated to empowering people to plant protect, and learn about trees, and aiming to plant 5 million trees in the Sacramento region.

The $15 admission includes a vegetarian, organic supper featuring local produce (at 6:00 p.m.).  A group discussion will follow the speakers at 8:00 p.m.

To pre-register, please visit, or call the Co-op Customer Service Desk at (916) 868-6399.  Proceeds of the event go to benefit One Farm at a Time and the Sacramento Tree Foundation.

Community Conversations Returns Oct. 21

October 19, 2010

A bold new experiment in bringing together citizens to discuss issues of importance to them, is returning to Sacramento this Thursday night.  Community Conversations, a project co-sponsored by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Capital Public Radio, and the Sacramento Bee, will be holding a citywide discussion in a number of locations in Sacramento on Thursday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m.  The topic up for discussion is:  “Do you feel safe in your own neighborhood?”

The discussions are divided into Sacramento’s City Council districts.  Since the Poverty Ridge/Newton Booth/Alhambra Triangle falls into City Council District 4 (which also includes Land Park), the Community Conversations discussion for District 4 will be held at Espresso Metro, 2104 11th Avenue (by 11th and Freeport Avenues, just north of Sacramento City College).  Or, another discussion being held nearby will be at the Old Soul Co. coffeehouse at 3434 Broadway in Oak Park (City Council District 5).  A full list of the discussion locations can be found here.

Before attending, please have a look at the Guidelines for Civil Discourse that have been developed for the discussion.  They are intended to foster mutual respect, listening and learning, and limiting excessive political partisanship – qualities of civic discussion that often seem to have been lost in our society in recent years.

For more information, please contact the Sacramento Region Community Foundation at (916) 921-7723.

“Celebrate America” Benefit Concert Comes to the Mondavi June 20

June 13, 2010

Come Celebrate America!  On Sunday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m., the L17 Community Arts Foundation presents “Celebrate America,” a benefit concert supporting the Central Downtown Food Basket,* at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis.

With the music of Sacramento’s Camellia Symphony Orchestra, highlights of the program include George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue; William Schuman’s New England Tryptich; John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme; and of course, John Phillip Souza’s Stars and Stripes Forever, among numerous other works.

Special guest performers include the RSVP Reconciliation Singers Voices for Peace; Sacramento Children’s Chorus; Jeff Carnie and Spectrum; Yilin Hsu, soprano; Daniel Yoder, baritone; and the Community Arts Chorus.  The program will close with the Community Arts Chorus singing a rousing patriotic finale.

For tickets, please contact the Mondavi Center Box Office at (530) 754-2787 or 1-866-754-2787.  Or please go online to for tickets and ordering information.  Ticket prices are $25, $35 or $45 per seat.

And here is a surprise:  One of the organizers of this event is our neighborhood’s very own Alex Zabelin, a member of the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association Board.  We’re privileged to have such talented people living right here in our neighborhood…so thanks for organizing this event, Alex!  Sounds like it will be a great show.

*The Central Downtown Food Basket is a local non-profit organization that provides food to the elderly and low-income residents.  Begun in 1983, the organization now feeds over 1,500 families and nearly 700 seniors a month, through its locations in downtown Sacramento and in the suburban Rosemont neighborhood.

Caring for the Community – Part 3

December 19, 2009

Below is one more opportunity to help those in need in our community.  There are plenty of other such opportunities; but these are a start.

St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children is an organization dedicated to supporting homeless women and children, the most vulnerable of the homeless population, to advance from crisis situations to self-sufficiency.  In addition to shelter, St. John’s offers 90-day assistance programs with classes and counseling, and follow-up programs.

St. John’s website has a detailed “wish list” of items they need to be donated.  Among the many items listed are these:  High chairs; port-a-cribs; gift cards for gas, food, and for local supply stores (Home Depot, OSH and Lowe’s); bus passes; first-aid kits; umbrellas; hand & bath towels; laundry detergent; heavy-duty garbage bags; toilet paper; paper towels; women’s undergarments, pajamas and sweats; twin- and full-size sheets, blankets and pillows; diapers and diaper wipes; and many other items.

Please also note that, for a variety of reasons, they *can’t* accept:  Used toys, Happy Meal toys, used baby equipment, soiled/heavily worn clothing, or non-essential household items.  (I’d suggest looking at the list on the website, and/or calling or e-mailing at the contact information below, to make sure you are giving them the items they need.)

Donations can be delivered to St. John’s warehouse at 4410 Power Inn Road in Sacramento.  They can only accept donations at the following hours (please don’t leave donations behind apart from these times):

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1 – 6 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information or to answer any questions, please contact Rachele Burton at, or call (916) 453-1482.

If you would prefer to send a cash donation and let St. John’s do the shopping, please send a check or money order to:

St. John’s Shelter for Women and Children

4410 Power Inn Road

Sacramento, CA 95826.

Caring for the Community – Part 2

December 19, 2009

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned the annual Thanksgiving Run to Feed the Hungry, which raises funds for the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services.  Although I wasn’t there, I’m happy to note that in this year’s event (on November 26) over 29,000 participants ran the 5K or 10K runs.  While they have not yet posted how much money was raised, the 2008 Run to Feed the Hungry (with 28,000 participants running) raised $750,000 to help needy families and individuals in the Sacramento area.

This holiday season, the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (located at 3333 Third Avenue in Oak Park) has a number of opportunities to help:

* The Adopt-a-Family program is nearing its donation deadline of Monday, December 21.  The idea is for family, friends, co-workers and other groups to agree to “adopt” a needy family and provide them with gifts for the holidays.  Donors receive names, genders, ages, clothing sizes for each child, and specific needs.  There are still needy families who have not yet been “adopted,” so if you are interested in helping out, please e-mail Genevieve Diegnan at, or call her at (916) 648-8736.  Donations need to be dropped off on Monday, December 21 at the Saca Community Learning Center (2469 Rio Linda Blvd. in Sacramento); so please contact Genevieve soon if you are interested.

* Donate a holiday meal basket.  Hams, rolls, canned goods, pies, and other festive foods will be given away to help an additional 500 families eat a nutritious holiday meal.  Please contact the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services office at (916) 456-1980, if you are interested in donating.

* Cash donations will also be used to provide holiday cheer for needy families.  Please call the Food Bank office at the number above, or go to their website for more information: .

Caring for the Community – Part 1

December 19, 2009

Winter evenings can be beautiful, but the nights are long and chilly...and sadly, many people are going through hard times.

Dear Readers,

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or are simply taking a breath now and then to feel the coolness of the air…I wish all of you well this holiday season.

In this season of reaching out, gift-giving, enjoying visits with family and friends, and community events, I would ask you not forget those in our community who are going through hard times, or who have fallen on hard times.  It may be easy to be distracted by the search for the perfect gifts, or by the latest parties and the social whirl…but when all is said and done, in these difficult economic times, if we have enough of what we need for ourselves and our families, we should take a page from Thanksgiving Day, and remember to be grateful.

There are a number of opportunities to reach out and help those in need–not just this holiday season, but year-round.  I’m reminded of an old “Peanuts” comic strip where Lucy says something to the effect that the holidays are the “one time each year” when people are nicer to each other.  Charlie Brown asks, “Why does it have to be one time a year? Why can’t people be nicer to each other all year long?”  Lucy responds: “What are you, some kind of fanatic or something?”  We laugh, but let’s remember that there are serious needs in our community all year long…and opportunities for us to reach out and help are there all year long, too.

Here’s one opportunity to help:

Sacramento Loaves & Fishes is a faith-based organization that seeks to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, “providing an oasis of welcome, safety and cleanliness” for homeless men, women and children.  It relies solely on private donations, and accepts no government funds.  In addition to feeding and sheltering the homeless, it provides a range of services, from a school for homeless children (the Mustard Seed school), to mental health counseling (the Genesis project), to other programs.

Loaves and Fishes is currently preparing its annual Christmas Meal for the Homeless.  They are planning to serve a hot meal and give out Christmas stockings to over 1,000 homeless people this year.

They need:

Cooked or smoked hams; cooked or smoked turkeys; baked pies (assorted kinds); whipped cream (aerosol cans); apple juice (gallon size); cranberry sauce (large cans); clove seasoning; marshmallows; yams; Karo syrup; macaroni noodles; cheese (sharp cheddar, Swiss, and mozzarella); pineapples (canned, sliced); mustard greens; ice cream (vanilla); peaches (large cans); Bisquick mix; dinner rolls (white and wheat).

If you wish to donate for the Christmas meal, please deliver to the Loaves and Fishes warehouse at 1400 North C Street by December 24.  The warehouse is accepting deliveries at the following times:

Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 19-20,  8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday – Thursday, Dec. 21-24, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about donating for the Christmas meal, or about Sacramento Loaves and Fishes, its programs and year-round volunteer and donation opportunities, please call (916) 446-0874, or e-mail; or check out their website: