Button Show Coming March 9

By Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-02-22

Faye Wolfe (left) and Susan Rhoades display some of thousands of antique and retro buttons that will be exhibited at the California Button Society’s March 9 show. Photo by Susan Skinner

CARMICHAEL, CA  (MPG)  -  Some eye-popping antiques slip easily through a buttonhole. At the California Button Society’s March 9 expo, you might snag a Civil War tunic fastener for $50. If you lust for hand-painted 18th century pieces, be prepared to unbutton your billfold.  

What astonishes at such bazaars is the availability of seriously old stuff. Snipped from long-ago rotted garments, many are thumb-nail masterpieces. “We often look at old buttons and imagine the stories they could tell,” says Button Club treasurer Susan Rhoades. “They were traded, stolen and inherited. Lives were lost in making them; pearl dust and mercury (for gold plating) killed many. “You learn so much about history, art and manufacturing from buttons.”

In the Middle Ages, no material was too grand for the button makers’ art. Georgian aristocrats later bespoke Gainsborough-style portraits – sometimes of their pets – to fasten vests. When Queen Victoria took to wearing jet specimens, society followed. Though zippers have revolutionized modern fastening, nifty little buttons have never been completely undone. “People visit our shows show seeking that one perfect item,” says Sacramento collector Faye Wolfe. “One lady brought a vest she’d sewn; she wanted buttons for it. In the end, she chose four, each different. Who says they have to match? Our button world is full of eccentricity.”

The Button Bazaar runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the La Sierra Center, 5325 Engle Rd, Carmichael. The show offers a free service for valuing buttons. Admission is by $2 donation. For information, contact fwolfe@surewest.net

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Happy Birthday Mr. President

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-02-22

Honest Abe and First lady Mary Lincoln – represented by lookalikes Guy Derby and Roberta Zanolli -- were among VIPs at Mount Vernon Memorial Park’s annual celebration of American heritage.

A Heritage Celebration Event

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Two beloved US presidents and their first ladies were  joined this week by frontiersmen, Buffalo Soldiers, colonial infantry and a huge sampling of Americana at Mount Vernon Memorial Park in Fair Oaks. The annual event celebrates Presidents’ Day.

A chime from a Liberty Bell replica began hours of reenactments and educational opportunities. While prospectors panned for gold, nimble-fingered ladies demonstrated the genteel art of lace-making. Abraham Lincoln introduced “my wife, Mary” and George Washington presented a sedate Martha to hundreds of visitors.

Pony Express recruiters were on hand seeking “Young, skinny, wiry fellows… willing to risk death daily.” Activities were loudly punctuated by the firing of an antique Howitzer cannon, provided Sierra Nevada Mormon Pioneer volunteers. For a warmer and more fuzzy experience, children were encouraged to pet the baby goats that represented milk and meat to many early pioneer farmers.

Heritage Day’s historical cast was augmented by US Army officers and a Huey Vietnam helicopter. “It came on a trailer,” explains Mount Vernon manager Lisa Goudy. “Its active days are over but, for the kids who got to sit in the cockpit, a Huey is still exciting.”

The free event aims to bring history to life and honor US presidents. “It was a perfect day for everyone,” reports Goudy. “Everyone enjoyed the part they played, from our two presidents to the baby goats.”

Mount Vernon Memorial Park is located at 8201 Greenback Lane. For information on next year’s commemoration, call (916) 9691251.

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A Carmichael Hero

Words and pictures Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-02-13

Jack and Jerry Pefley. The couple

Carmichael Boy Through and Through -- Jack Pefley Dies, 95

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - A warrior for his nation, his God, his family and his community, Jack Pefley died last month at the age of 95.

Founding one of Carmichael’s oldest clans, his parents and grandparents arrived in with the first wave of colony pioneers in 1910. Town founder Daniel Carmichael sold the family its 10 acres on California Ave. Born in 1923 at 12 pounds, 8 oz, Jack was the third child of Harold and Nellie Pefley. An infant moniker, “the wee one,” stuck all his life.

Jack and siblings Richard and Barbara were rough-and-tumble country kids during the great Depression. They hiked a daily mile to Carmichael School and later, six miles to San Juan High. Community matriarchs Mary Deterding and Effie Yeaw were near neighbors. The children studied psalms at Carmichael Presbyterian (then Carmichael Community Church) each Sunday.

During WW II, Jack followed his brother into uniform. Thus began a 25-year naval career from which he retired as a Commander. Jack claimed he favored the Navy over the Army because he craved “three hot meals a day and no sleeping in mud.” A lifetime passion for aviation began as he learned to fly amphibious craft off Donner Lake.  The farm boy’s extraordinary skill was soon noted. Called an “absolute artist” in the cockpit, he saw action in the Philippines, Japan, Korea. He later dog-fought with Russian MIGs in the Cold War.

During his Korean deployment, he was hailed for getting every war-wounded passenger off a downed PBM Mariner while “working the pedals” to keep the amphibian afloat. He then managed to re-fly and save the aircraft. Asked how he managed, Pefley replied “I’m a Carmichael farm boy and I know how drive a tractor.”

His service continued during peacetime as a Navy test pilot. He mastered jets and survived several crash landings in prototypes that did not pass muster. He also earned a university degree in electrical engineering. Leap-frogging between Berkeley and the Willow Grove Base (PA), he wooed Hatboro native Jerry Kratz. They married in 1948, raised three kids and last year marked a 70th wedding anniversary. The nonagenarian groom offered advice for a long marriage: "be away from home as much as possible," he joked. Indeed, military postings to Japan, Morocco, the Philippines, France -- and his civilian career as a World Airways pilot -- meant many long separations for the Pefleys. 

In 1983, the pilot retired to his Rockin' KP (Kratz-Pefley) Ranch and resumed farm boy chores. Community endeavors included his 42-year support of the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce; board membership for Carmichael Park District and nine decades of fidelity to his church. He offered a wide smile while bicycling neighborhood streets; while lunching with his wife at La Bou or laboring (in lederhosen shorts) among grapevines his ancestors had planted on Palm Drive. Jack Pefley quips were legend and -- like those of many Greatest Generation survivors -- their punchlines were seldom politically correct.

As his health declined, Jack and Jerry moved to Carmichael’s Eskaton Village and recently, to Mercy McMahon Terrace in Sacramento. A few weeks ago, the man of God cheerfully told friends he would soon be in heaven. He left them days later. “Dad’s only complaint was that he would have preferred to die in Carmichael,” says his daughter, Christine Mayer. “He was a Carmichael boy, through and through.”

Jack Pefley is survived by his wife Jerry, children John, Christine, and Patricia, and three grandchildren. His memorial will be celebrated at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery (Dixon) on March 1 at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Carmichael Park Foundation or Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.

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A True Inspiration

By Paul Scholl  |  2019-02-08

Taro Arai (in snowcap) gave an inspiring message at the Chamber luncheon. We stands with his father Koki at his right, the original owner of Mikuni restaurants. Also pictured are Virginia Stone, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Jim Warrick from Carmichael Elks, and local philanthropist Barbara Safford. Photo by Ron Cassity.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) – The more you listen, the more you hear. And when a truly inspirational story finds you, you just have to listen.

An overflow crowd attended the recent Carmichael Chamber of Commerce luncheon on January 22, there to hear the amazing story of Mikuni family restaurants. Taro Arai, the Chief Dreaming Officer for the company, told the story of how the family grew from very humble beginnings.

His father, Koki Arai, once had a dream that he was to open a restaurant in the United States. He said “Dad, you know nothing about cooking, nothing about business, and you want to start a restaurant?” But, because of his faith and the message he was given, Koki persevered.  Coming to America with almost nothing, they opened their first restaurant in Fair Oaks on Hazel Blvd.

At one time the family received a loan from a friend and businessman in Japan. In a short time they had lost everything, but were resolved to not give up. “My father continued because he had faith in God” Taro said. “He always said we will be blessed.”

And blessed they were. Over time, they have added many new restaurants in the region and all of them successful. They have also given back a great deal to the community. Their belief is they have been so blessed and they will always be dedicated to blessing others.

If you ever get a chance to hear Taro speak of their family story be sure to attend. It is truly inspiring.

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A New Safe Landing

By Paul Scholl  |  2019-02-08

Sales Director, Jennifer Valcazar (middle, black dress) invites chamber members and her staff to celebrate the grand opening. Pictures are Kelly Foley, Honorary Mayor of Trillium Real Estate; Business Office Manager Neda Soudani; Director of Fun Mai Yang; Virginia Stone, Chamber Executive Director; Gabrielle Rasi, Chamber President; Natalie McNeal, Executive Director. Photo by Paul Scholl

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Change can often be good. Getting together with friends and neighbors to celebrate can be even better.

The Carmichael Chamber of Commerce held a grand opening and ribbon cutting event to celebrate the new management and name change at one of central Carmichael’s senior living facilities.

Braving the rain and wind storm, dozens of local business owners, friends and residents gathered for some simple fun, good food and networking at the after-hours event.

The Landing, formerly known as Sagebrook, has transitioned to an Independent Senior Living environment. During the change they have made many improvements to suit more independent lifestyle seniors.

Sales Director, Jennifer Valcazar, presented a special toast to all of her staff, thanking them for making it a great place to work and for all the love and care they’ve given their residents.

The grounds offer a quiet, quaint and beautiful living setting amongst large redwood trees in a secured gated community, and a fabulous and affordable retirement living option in the sought-after Carmichael neighborhood.

A tour of the facility was available to those attending the grand opening. You could see the environment was one where our residents feel valued.  It’s evident that their goal to make sure every resident in our community loves their stay. They offer spacious studio and one bedroom suites, offering full size kitchens, private patio, meal programs, transportation and activities.

The team is experienced in working with seniors and has made a solid commitment to help and give back to those who built this community. The culinary team has worked hard to develop an innovating and inviting “Farm-to-Table” Dining Program that pleases even the pickiest of eaters.

These Independent Living apartments are filled with residents that have retired and have a desire for a more relaxed lifestyle. Some of the newest residents have come from the Northern California Camp Fire areas and have grown to really appreciate their new neighbors here in Carmichael.

The Landing is located next door to Carmichael Park, with its 38-acre park offering a dog park, off-leash area, sports fields and courts, picnic shelter, and the band shell which holds many concerts and events.

Find out more about the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce at www.carmichaelchamber.com. If you own a business, call 916-481-1002 to learn more about how the chamber can benefit you.

To find out more about The Landing, call 916-481-7105, or visit their website; TheLandingSL.com. They are located at 7125 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael, CA 95608

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Women's Empowerment Receives $25K from US Bank

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2019-02-08

Lisa Culp of Women’s Empowerment receives a check from Jessica Cook of U.S. Bank for Women’s Empowerment’s career-readiness, job training and financial literacy programs for women who are homeless.  Photo courtesy Thébaud Communications

Funds will provide job skills training and financial literacy for homeless women

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) -  Women’s Empowerment has received a $25,000 grant from U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program. The grant will fund job skills training, career-readiness classes and financial literacy programs for Sacramento women experiencing homelessness.

“U.S. Bank continues to invest in the bright futures of homeless women through its generous donations to our job-readiness programs,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Our partnership with U.S. Bank ensures women can break the cycle of homelessness by gaining the skills needed to secure employment, regain a home and manage finances. When our mothers become financially self-sufficient, they create a better life for their children.”

Since 2001, Women’s Empowerment has been working to break the cycle of homelessness for women and children in Sacramento. In the initial nine-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job-readiness, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Financial empowerment courses are provided, including budgeting, improving credit score and second chance checking. With the help of volunteer teachers, women unlearn financial habits and create a step-by-step action plan for achieving their financial goals. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor. 

Women who have graduated from the nine-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, and job retention services for employer and employee.  

“At U.S. Bank, we invest in and support programs and organizations that help people succeed in the workforce and gain greater financial literacy,” said Jessica Cook, assistant vice president at U.S. Bank. “Through our Community Possible giving and engagement platform we are working to close the gaps between people and possibility. Our partnership with Women’s Empowerment is doing just that.”

Women’s Empowerment is an award-winning organization that has graduated 1,554 homeless women and their 3,738 children. Last year, 82 percent of graduates found homes and 76 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org

Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. For more information: www.usbank.com/community.

Source: Thébaud Communications

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - In 2017, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved funding and implementation of four major initiatives to address critical needs of those experiencing homelessness and to help reduce the homeless population. Subsequently, two associated augmentations were added to further address the needs of all vulnerable population groups. The first programs began in October of 2017, several began in 2018 and many are in the process of becoming operational. In just one year’s time, the County has achieved phenomenal results from these new initiatives. 

  • Improve the Family Crisis Response and Shelters (October 2017)
    • 146 families served in shelter
    • 50 moved to permanent housing
  • Preserve Mather Community Campus (October 2017)
    • 351 individuals served in transitional housing
    • 116 moved to permanent housing
  • Full Service Rehousing Shelter (March 2018)
    • 91 individuals in scattered-site shelters
    • 19 moved to permanent housing
  • Flexible Supportive Re-housing Program (February 2018)
    • 191 individuals enrolled
    • 94 moved into permanent housing
  • Transitional Aged Youth (May 2018)
    • 115 served with prevention, diversion and intervention services
    • 35 moved to permanent housing
    • 32 maintained housing through services
    • 17 entered emergency shelter
  • Unincorporated County Navigation Services (April 2018)
    • 177 served through outreach and rehousing services
    • 30 moved to permanent housing


In total, 416 individuals have moved into permanent housing since the start of the first initiative in October 2017. 

“We are thrilled to share the success that our programs have had in this first year. In some programs, success has been demonstrated in mere months,” said Ann Edwards, Director of the Department of Human Assistance. “We are reaching people we have never been able to engage and they are seeing a real difference in their lives.”

On Oct. 16, 2018, the County Board of Supervisors endorsed the investment strategy for nearly $20 million in new State funding to combat homelessness in partnership with Sacramento Steps Forward and the City of Sacramento. On Dec. 11, the Board of Supervisors approved the acceptance of more than $11 million that the Department of Human Assistance will directly administer, building of the existing initiatives to reduce homelessness.

State funding comes through the State’s new Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program. The funds will provide additional emergency shelter for both families and individuals through Emergency Family Shelter and the Full Service Rehousing Shelters (FSRS). The FSRS is a scattered-site model using master leasing of vacant homes in the region to house up to five persons in addition to a fulltime house monitor. Residents are provided with intensive case management services and rehousing assistance to help them exit the program into stable, permanent housing with the support they need.

The funding also will create a Flexible Housing Pool (building on the Flexible Supportive Rehousing Program) that will offer both services and re-housing assistance to help households in shelter or working with navigation programs to move into housing more quickly.

For the first time, clients experiencing homelessness who are engaged in Adult Protective Services or jail diversion will be offered this practical assistance to resolve their homelessness. The County will also administer a new expungement clinic to help remove barriers to housing and employment. 

To be eligible to administer and receive the HEAP funds, the Board of Supervisors declared a shelter crisis on Oct. 16. Other cites declaring a crisis and participating in the program include the City of Sacramento, Elk Grove and Citrus Heights.

On Dec. 12, The Board of Supervisors heard and adopted the proposed Sacramento County Homeless Plan that is required to facilitate participation in the State’s No Place Like Home (NPLH) program. This program provides funding for new permanent supportive housing for people who are experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness, or who are at risk of becoming chronically homeless, and who are also living with a serious mental illness and in need of mental health services. In NPLH developments, the County will provide a 20-year commitment to comprehensive services, including behavioral health services.

In addition to meeting State requirements for NPLH, the County’s Plan serves as a building block for all partners within Sacramento County to implement shared strategies that make a measureable impact on homelessness. The Plan was endorsed by the City of Sacramento and County Continuum of Care on Dec. 12.

“The County Homeless Plan reflects countless hours of collaboration with County departments, community groups, stakeholders and other jurisdictions within our region,” said Cindy Cavanaugh, Director of Homeless Initiatives. “The Plan lays out comprehensive strategies and concrete actions for Sacramento over the next several years. While pleased with early results of our homeless initiatives, this Plan says that, as a community, we are not letting up.”

Sacramento County will be eligible for $5,087,737 through the noncompetitive NPLH funding for housing developments, and is eligible to apply for a share of $400 million in competitive funds. The Board of Supervisors will approve development applications for the first round of NPLH competitive funding on Jan. 29. 

With the initial success of the Sacramento County homeless i​nitiatives and additional funding sources for expansion, collaborative community partnerships, and dedicated service providers, Sacramento County recognizes that change is possible for our community and the lives of its valued residents.

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