The Espresso Book Machine: A Savory Vehicle for Sacramento Area Authors

Story and photo by Andrew Rose  |  2018-07-13

Watching the EBM, one is reminded of the Everlasting Gobstopper machine from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Three hundred eighty authors and counting have published their works through I Street Press at the Sacramento’s Central Public Library.  On the second floor one will find the Espresso Book Machine (EBM).  This isn’t a venue for selling lattes to local bookworms.  On the contrary, the EBM is state of the art machinery, and is budding writers’ self-contained means of making their work known.

The first EBM was unveiled at the New York Public Library in 2007.  Now more than fifty such contraptions exist in such far flung locations as Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi.  Sacramento’s unit, installed in 2011, is one of only two EBM’s in California.

The machine occupies the space of two storage freezers one might have in their garage.  But it’s a heck of a lot more interesting to watch.  Witnesses marvel as a book is molded and formed before their eyes.  This includes binding the text to a cover with hot glue.  Watching the EBM, one is reminded of the Everlasting Gobstopper machine from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  A 300-page volume takes about five minutes to print.  Like the Everlasting Gobstopper, a single, self-contained unit comes out at the end.  It’s literally hot off the press.  Wonka’s magical candy was designed to last forever.  Similarly, a new paperback is there for the ages.

On the introductory video for the I Street Press, Rivkah Sass, Director of the Sacramento Public Library, describes the appeal of the EBM.  “Most of us have a book inside us,” she proclaims.  “And I Street was really about how do we, as the library, become that center of community-based publishing for the Sacramento region.”

Through I Street Press, authors can self-publish.  Before such technology existed, a writer would traditionally send his/her work to a publisher, or possibly fifty publishers, with hopes that one of them would pick up their book.  The sole way for a writer to earn his/her stripes was through a publishing house.  A would-be author could do it alone, but hiring a bookbinder was a costly vehicle.  So-called vanity publishing had a negative implication in its very name.  But now, the ball is in the author’s court, as technology such as the EBM is allowing these individuals greater flexibility with their printed words.  It’s truly changing lives for authors of all levels. 

One individual whose life was enhanced through the I Street Press is Lance Pyle.  Pyle employs the nom de plume Peter Blueberry as the author of The Agency of Obnoxious Laughter.   In the tradition of Shel Silverstein, Pyle combines humorous poetry with illustrations.  I Street Press got Pyle started, and now he has a series of more than twenty poetry books.  Pyle’s career as an architect flourished, and then his life took a dramatic turn when he was diagnosed with throat cancer.  He was forced into retirement and “didn’t have anything to do.”  That’s when Pyle started dabbling with rhymes, accompanied by drawings.  The prolific poet and artist has created his volumes without benefit of writing or art classes.  Pyle says of newfound creativity, “I didn’t know I had it until I had to go find it.”  He has now sold more than 3,000 of his books independently. 

Pyle, as all I Street Press authors, got started through an initial meeting with librarian Gerald Ward.  Ward maintains the I Street Press as a one-person operation.  While each book on the EBM is printed the same way, Ward recognizes that every author’s needs are different.  Some are accomplished writers, while others come to the I Street Press with merely an idea.  No matter where one is in the writing process, Ward is happy to encourage the writer’s endpoint of holding their very own book in his/her hands. 

The initial librarian’s consultation is free of charge.  After assessing the would-be author’s needs, Ward will point the individual in the right direction to get started on their book.  This might include hiring an outside editor or taking a writing class.  Ward states, “Whether 40 or 700 pages, there is a $6 charge per book and 3 cents per page.”  The writer may complete a proof copy as part of the package.  The fine-tuning process continues until the final copy is completed.  The end product is an actual published book, complete with ISBN, copyright, and bar code.  Additional fees for set-up and revisions are arranged between Ward and the author.  The I Street Press is a nonprofit organization.  Fees paid by authors using the EBM are contributions to the library to help maintain its services.      

Those interested in the I Street Press are encouraged to see the process first hand.  For more information, go to

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Honoring the Last of Our Big Band Dinosaurs

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-07-13

Hal Geist (third left) posed with other Sacramento big band leaders at Carmichael Park in 2008. Geist was joined by Erv Boschee, Ted Morgan, Buddy Harpham, John Skinner and George Bruno. All have since died. Final survivor Geist will be honored at a July 28 memorial.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Yet another Sacramento Big Band leader has gone to the heavenly ensemble. Former Carmichael resident Hal Geist died of natural causes on May 29. The trumpet player was 81.

A celebration of his life will be held at La Sierra Community Center on Saturday, July 28. All are welcome to share memories and enjoy a performance by the Hal Geist Little Big Band. Downbeat is 1 pm.

A long-time booster of local music and a 26-year Carmichael Kiwanis Club member, Hal relocated to Santa Rosa in recent years to be near his wife’s family. “He always looked forward to his weekly Kiwanis Newsletter,” says Lynne Geist. “We often drove back to Carmichael for lunch with friends. He loved going to Noah’s Bagels for a chocolate chip muffin.”

Geist grew up on a Pennsylvania farm. At nine, he ditched piano for trumpet and was sent to practice in the barn. “His five brothers hated his practicing,” says his wife. “I guess the cows and horses were more tolerant.” During Korean War years, teenage Hal was often called on to play TAPS for fallen schoolmates. After graduation, he joined the US Marine Corps as a bandsman and served four years at Parris Island (SC). Corporal Geist played hundreds of parades, concerts and ceremonies. He first married at 19 years old and fathered two sons.

The ever-practical farm boy had a flair for math and engineering. After the military, he found heavy construction jobs in Long Island, NY. He later brought his skills to Northern California. As superintendent for several construction companies, Geist managed highway projects that included sections of I-5, US 101, US 207 and bridges in the Sierra and Cascade ranges.

He established Carmichael residency more than 40 years ago. He and his third wife met at the bank where she worked. “He was starting the River City Concert Band,” recalls Lynne Geist. “I’d studied flute in high school; Hal convinced me to get back into music.”

While active in local entertainment, Geist ran two air filtration businesses. He also restored classic cars and motorcycles. “My husband was always a farm boy at heart,” attests his wife. “He took country drives to see the livestock. He just loved animals and naturally, anything related to music put him in a good mood.”  

Beyond his own professional ensemble, Geist’s trumpet was a mainstay for Carmichael Kiwanis Big Band volunteers. He also led the Sacramento Valley Symphonic Band on Chinese and Australian tours. Travelling had its challenges: “Hal wouldn’t eat anything that looked strange to him,” recalls Lynne Geist. “He was a Pennsylvania boy who wanted meat, potatoes and corn. He adored any sort of pie. He was a patriot: he teared up for any good rendition of ‘Star Spangled Banner.’”

Geist once boasted a horn collection that included more than 200 trumpets. “Everywhere I travelled, I had to buy one,” he laughed. “I never had to hock a horn and I never had my horn taken from me. Of course,” he added modestly, “some people might have wanted to take my horn from me…”  

During his life, rock began an unstoppable conquest. As Elvis and the Beatles transformed dancing and musical culture, brassy dance ensembles gradually faded to nostalgic Americana. Though Geist and most of his bandleader contemporaries are now at rest, their names and commitment to musical excellence are legend.

Anyone may attend the Hal Geist memorial event on July 28. La Sierra Center is located at 5325 Engle Rd. Bequests in his name may be sent to Carmichael Kiwanis or the Sacramento SPCA.

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Big Sing California

By Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra  |  2018-07-12

You can register online for the Big Sing via the SCSO’s website

Making Statewide History

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick to serve as the Sacramento region conductor for a mammoth statewide singing event, Big Sing California. This thrilling event is due to set a record statewide on July 21 in California for drawing together one of the largest, free group singing performances in our history.

American superstar composer Eric Whitacre will help lead this exhilarating event which will be simulcast out of Disney Hall in Los Angeles to five California hubs: Sacramento, San Francisco, Fresno, Riverside and San Diego.

The singers in the five California hubs will join the performance experience by viewing the concert on large screens and singing from the audience.

“Singing is just a healthy thing to do individually,” says Kendrick, “but group singing is very uplifting in that it really draws the community together and creates such a strong feeling of well- being, of belonging. We are reaching out to tons of area choirs and individual singers to share this experience with us. We would love to fill the large Sacramento Community Center Theater with 2,400 people for our Big Sing event on July 21.”

“Singers participating in the Sacramento region will have an option of attending an optional free open rehearsal on Thursday, July 19 from 7 – 9:30 PM at the Sacramento Community Center Theater,” says Kendrick. The doors will open at 6 PM for this rehearsal. Free Big Sing music books will be provided at this rehearsal and at the July 21st performance for all attendees. Singers also have the option of ordering their music book in advance for a modest fee of $3.00.

People can register online for the Big Sing via the SCSO’s website They can also order their music in advance there and also enjoy some outstanding tutorials on the music itself. This amazing statewide concert will be live-streamed on the Big Sing California website.

Big Sing California is open to the general public. “We want people who love singing to join us and sing as much of the music as they can. We hope that this event will inspire people to make singing, and the joy it brings, a regular part of their lives,” says SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick. “The program is open to all ages ranging from young students to seniors.”

The songs selected for the participants range from straightforward sing-alongs such as Lean On MeThis Land Is Your Land, and Hey Jude, to choral works by Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen. The program also features an exclusive arrangement of Pentatonix’s Sing by Grammy Award-winning arranger Ben Bram created especially for Big Sing California. 

 “We know that singing releases endorphins, causes a sense of joy and euphoria and creates a bonding with our Community members, says Kendrick. “To be able do this on the scale of Big Sing California in Sacramento is nothing short of thrilling.”

Participants who want to attend Big Sing California should register individually through the website. People can register at the last moment and even score their free ticket vouchers and music books the day of the concert beginning at 1 PM on Saturday, July 21st at the Sacramento Community Center Box Office.

Ticket vouchers to all locations will be distributed via email 10 days prior to the event. Music books will also be distributed for free at the venues on the day of the concert and at the Thursday, July 19th rehearsal at 7 PM at the Community Center Theater.

“Come and be part of California history in Sacramento by joining us at Big Sing California, on July 21st in downtown Sacramento” says Kendrick. “We promise to make it a memorable experience as we work together to make Sacramento a world-class city.”

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Capital Airshow to Feature the World-Famous USAF Thunderbirds

Capital Airshow Release  |  2018-07-12

The California Capital Airshow is set to feature the world-famous USAF Thunderbirds on September 21, 22 and 23.

Help Us Celebrate a Century of Aviation Adventure as Mather Airport Turns 100!

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - We look forward to welcoming some of the best military and civilian pilots in the world this September 21, 22 and 23, but as we prepare for the 13th annual California Capital Airshow we are also looking back at 100 years of aviation history at Mather Airport. The next chapter of Mather’s magnificent history leads us through the Cold War and ends with the unfortunate closure of Mather Air Force Base…

Historical Overview III – The Cold War – 1946-1993

Following the 1945 Allied victory of World War II, demobilization and a return to a peacetime military were the orders of the day. However, enjoying the peace was short-lived as the United States and the free world were confronted with an aggressive new adversary—the Soviet Union and the threat of global communism that was rapidly devouring Eastern Europe in the aftermath of World War II. A U.S.-directed strategy of ‘containment’ and a buildup of strategic forces capable of deterring an aggressive communist menace drove the expansion of dispersed bomber assets and new basing which put Mather Air Force Base (Mather AFB) back into the spotlight.

Once Again a Vital Training Base

In 1946, Mather was transferred to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Air Training Command and once again became a vital training base producing pilots, navigators and observers to crew a growing air arm of the nation’s military might.  With the 1964 closing of James Connally Air Force Base in Texas, all navigator training for the Department of Defense was consolidated at Mather AFB. In 1976, Interservice Undergraduate Navigator Training was established bringing Navy, Marine and Coast Guard students to Mather AFB along with other students from numerous foreign countries, including the first women navigators. By the time Mather closed in 1993, over 32,000 USAF navigators, 3,100 USN naval flight officers, 280 Marine navigators and 3,500 navigators from 88 Allied nations had completed training at Mather AFB. This diverse mix of services and international families contributed significantly to the growth of what would become the City of Rancho Cordova, an All American City with a rich cultural background.

B-52 & KC-135 Arrive

The aircrews that were trained at Mather formed the backbone of strategic forces that stood watch over America and her Allies ensuring the legacy of Freedom, hard won during World War II would endure. The 4134th Strategic Wing was assigned to Mather AFB bringing B-52 and KC-135 aircraft to the base along with the mission of nuclear deterrence. This wing became the 320th Bombardment Wing and was further augmented by the 940th Air Refueling Group (AFRES) later bringing additional KC-135 aircraft to the base.

Closure Leads to Civilian Development

The efforts of maintaining peace through strong military capability resulted in a victory at the end of the Cold War. With this victory, downsizing of the American military became inevitable and Mather AFB became one of the bases identified for closure. Units were inactivated, the navigator-training mission was transferred to Randolph AFB in Texas and the base was officially closed in September 1993, opening the door for a community effort to develop Mather into an economic hub of commerce that would continue to benefit the Sacramento region. The Sacramento County Department of Airports and the City Rancho Cordova have been invaluable partners ensuring this important development continues.

Don’t miss the California Capital Airshow’s tribute to Mather Airport’s fascinating century of history this September as it brings this era back to life with the aircraft, artifacts and unsung heroes that have passed through Mather’s gates.

Ticket prices are going UP Tuesday, July 31st, at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Please remember a single General Admission Ticket gives you ONE ADULT admission, plus up to 4 Youth (age 15 and Under) Admissions for FREE. That’s a $70+ Value for the whole family!

Source: Capital Airhsow

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Sactown to Welcome America’s Navy During Navy Week

By Kayla Turnbow, Navy Office of Community Outreach  |  2018-07-12

Sacramento native, Rear Adm. Scott Jones.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - California’s capital is scheduled to host members of the U.S. Navy during Sacramento Navy Week, July 16-22, coinciding with the California State Fair.

Sacramento Navy Week will bring sailors from different units across the United States to conduct focused outreach events with members of the community. The Navy week will bring sailors from USS Constitution, Navy Band Northwest, USS La Jolla, U.S. Navy Ceremonial Drill Team, Explosive Ordnance Group One, U.S. Naval Academy and Navy Operational Support Center Sacramento.

Rear Admiral Scott Jones, Deputy Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, and Sacramento native, will be the Navy week’s flag host who will participate in various ceremonies and meet with local business, civic and educations leaders during the week.

"I am quite excited to take part in Navy Week in Sacramento,” said Jones. “As a native of Sacramento, it will be a unique privilege to represent my military service, the U.S. Navy, in the same town where I was born and raised.”

Historically, Navy Week events draw thousands of attendees to participate and create a dialogue between sailors and local residents. The events are designed to raise awareness about the Navy the nation needs in areas that do not have a large naval presence.

“The excitement is building now as we near this awesome Navy outreach event,” said Gary Ross, lead planner for the Navy Week.  “It’s going to be great to see Sailors engage the citizens of Sacramento and tell America’s Navy story.”

A variety of Navy band ensembles will perform during the week, including performances at the California State Fair, Powerhouse Science Center and the Veterans Home of California Yountville.

“Navy Band Northwest contributes to Navy Week Sacramento through multiple community outreach and public relations performances with several of our top-notch groups such as our Jazz Combo, High-Energy Funk Band and versatile brass groups,” said Musician 1st Class Garrett Stephan. “Throughout the week, band members will perform for thousands in the greater Sacramento area at baseball games, soccer matches, farmers markets, and more.”

Multiple assets will participate in a Navy STEM Day at the Powerhouse Science Center on Tuesday, July 17 where attendees can interact with sailors with hands-on activities throughout the day.

Sailors from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49, the Scorpions, will land a MH-60R helicopter at the California State Fair on Thursday for Military Appreciation Day. Attendees will be able to tour the helicopter as well as interact with sailors from multiple commands. Navy Band Northwest will play several concerts throughout the day at the fair.

Navy Operational Support Command Sacramento sailors will volunteer for local organizations throughout the week including the Sacramento Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and the Greater Sacramento Boys & Girls Club.

The week will wrap up with displays at the California Aerospace Museum on Friday, July 20. Sailors will also volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House on Friday, cooking dinner for the families, offering engaging static displays, and a musical performance from Navy Band Northwest.

Sacramento Navy Week is the seventh of 14 Navy weeks in 2018 that focus a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements designed to bring America’s Navy closer to the people it protects.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit

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Cool Band of Bearded Brothers Rock Park

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-07-05

Carmichael audiences – and many visitors – recently enjoyed the Fryed Brothers Band at Carmichael Park.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Beards, tattoos and solid American songs recently brought the multitudes – including scores of Harley Davidson riders – to Carmichael Park. The 2018 concert season revved to full throttle as veteran biker band, the Fryed Brothers, earned a warm reception on a hot June night. 

The Sacramento musicians have recorded with Willie Nelson and played for the country legend's July 4 parties in Texas. Of founding brothers Harry and Tommy Fryed, only fiddler Harry (58) remains with the group. Younger brother Tommy died of heart failure at 49 years old. Youngest of a Carmichael family of seven siblings, the brothers grew up on Carter Road and attended Rio Americana High. “From childhood, they loved music and they loved motorcycles,” says their sister/manager Barbara Fryed.

Harry and Tommy formed their band in memory of an older brother, Mark, who died in 1980 when a car hit his motorcycle near Carmichael Park. Together, Harry and Tommy wrote more 40 songs and, over 36 years of pro-gigging, the Fryeds have shared stages with Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, the Doobies, Jefferson Starship, Tower of Power, Eddie Money, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Billy Idol. “They have fans all over the world,” says their manager. “My brother was joking that it only took 36 years to get on a Carmichael stage. But he was more than happy to play there. Our mom still lives in Carmichael; she’s 86 and she’s their biggest fan. Harry always dedicates ‘Amarillo by Morning’ to mom.”

The Fryeds’ park arrival was orchestrated by the roar of dozens of motorcycles; their ensuing performance was as much a concert as a Harley Davidson convention. In the bikers’ midst, Carmichaelites enjoyed all-American blues/rock and many unaccustomed sights. “I've never seen so much facial hair, bare flesh and tattoos in one place before,” observed a local concert-goer. “But everyone was well-behaved and respectful.”

On duty, Park Police Officer John Mohamed had an easy evening with the local and imported crowd. “It was certainly a diverse group,” he noted. “But they all got along together and enjoyed the music.”

Remaining Carmichael Park District summer concerts are scheduled as follows. Saturday performances begin at 6:30 pm; Sunday concerts have a 5 pm downbeat.

Saturday July 7: On Air (classic rock).

Sunday July 8: Carmichael Kiwanis Swing Band (swing).

Saturday, July 14: Iola Rose Band (folk rock).

Saturday, July 21: Latin Touch (Latin funk).

Saturday, July 28: Rogue: (classic rock).

Saturday August 4: Todd Morgan and the Emblems (rock).

Saturday, August 11: Alexander Nelson Band (rock).

 Saturday, August 18: Hipper than Hip Band (funk, blues).

Saturday, August 25: Dave Russell Band (country).

Sunday. August 26: John Skinner Band (variety).

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DA Schubert Talks Community Challenges at Carmichael Chamber Luncheon

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-07-05

At the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce luncheon, DA Anne Marie Schubert was joined by Sacramento Sheriff Officer Bill Roberts, CHP Officer Brian Lewis and Sacramento Fire Department Officer Christopher Dargan. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - “How much our community thrives is one hundred percent dependent on the people who are willing to participate in that,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “There is no question in my mind that Sacramento has been faced with extraordinary challenges in the last few months and there is no person probably more aware of that than me.”

District Attorney Schubert was June’s Carmichael Chamber luncheon guest speaker, packing the room. Schubert addressed a lot of topics, including the East Area Rapist case, but mostly stuck to what she feels is most important right now – the challenges that face the community.

“My view as the DA, and I say this often, is what I call the blueprint to public safety: prosecution, prevention and innovation,” said Schubert. “We’re going to stand up for victims, we’re going to hold people accountable – if you deserve to go to prison, buddy, you’re going – that’s what I say. But I also believe one hundred percent that if we can prevent crime on the front end, we are far better off on the other end.”

Schubert is a firm believer in education being the answer to lowering the crime rate. “85 percent of our prison population is comprised of individuals that were either chronically truant or absent from school,” she stated. “You cannot expect police and prosecutors to solve the problems that we face in the community alone.”

Other issues that Schubert touched on were homelessness and mental health – especially in the Carmichael area. “Aside from the East Area Rapist, which is probably now the hottest topic, the hottest topic was always two things: ‘What are you going to do about homelessness? What are you going to do about mental health?’”

She touched on the negative affect that the homeless population has on the community’s economy and the complexity of solving that problem. “Public safety, education, healthcare – everything is interrelated,” said Schubert. “If we do not have a vibrant community, if we are not safe as a community, if you have people, transients, using drugs, doing everything on the doorsteps of your business – that’s going to affect your economic vibrancy.”

Schubert continued, “We have seen in Sacramento County and across this country an increase of homelessness of 30 percent (in the last two years). That’s a very significant issue – very challenging, very complex – but it’s not something that police and prosecutors can solve on their own. It takes a community.”

Schubert was raised in Sacramento, went to local schools and is raising her children in the region. She was elected as Sacramento County's District Attorney in 2014. She has 28 years of law enforcement experience, fighting for victims, and putting dangerous career criminal behind bars. As District Attorney and a local prosecutor, Schubert has sent some of the area’s most notorious and dangerous criminals – murderers, rapists and child molesters – to state prison.

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