Sightings & Happenings Around Town

A flock of Dunlin fly over “pop up” habitats in the Sacramento Valley

(photo: Drew Kelley for The Nature Conservancy)

Water Foul

The drought is putting in jeopardy efforts to shore up migratory bird populations

Doug Thomas stops his white pickup along the elevated dirt road that carves through the acres of newly planted rice stalks in Wheatland, Calif.

In this scene, replete with a myriad of migratory birds lazily grazing in the green fields, change is soon to come. The landscape, Thomas says, will be transformed into an oasis for waterfowl and shorebirds that will find a man-made wetlands to call home on their annual migration this fall.

Aug 5, 2014 John Blomster
Casey Marshall works on "The Monitaur" at Hacker Lab

Independents’ Day

Look out 9-to-5, the freelancers are coming

Casey Marshall is hunched over his phone, furiously scrolling through his Twitter feed in search of a photo of  Waste Management’s promotional robot, whose broken axle he fixed back in March. “Someone came into the Hacker Lab and needed his robot repaired,” he says, grinning,  “and I was like, ‘I gotta do that.’”

Jul 1, 2014 Allison Joy
Eric Richards, 35, with two-year-old son, Cole

Daddy Issues

Why aren't more men taking paternity leave?

On opening day of the 2014 baseball season, New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy was noticeably absent. He wasn’t benched. He didn’t have the flu. He simply took advantage of Major League Baseball’s paternity leave policy, which grants 72 hours off, to attend the birth of his son.

And all hell broke loose.

Jul 1, 2014 Jeff Wilser
(shutterstock)

It’s Here.

Welcome to our new website — here's what you'll find

After much anticipation (and oh so many hours), the all-new comstocksmag.com has launched.

The changes we have made come as a result of paying close attention to how readers are using our magazine and website, so let us know what you think. Talk to us on Twitter and Facebook, post comments on our site, email us, call us or send a good old-fashioned letter. We’re listening.

Aug 1, 2014 Christine Calvin

Civically Minded

Civics are nine times wealthier than the rest of us, so how can you cash in?

If I wanted my 20-year-old son to join me for a late meal, I’d text him: “Buffet on me.” But I would never ever text my 86-year-old mother with a dinner invitation. For her, there would be a phone call with plenty of formalities and forewarning, a promise of a nice, sit-down establishment and a start time of 4:00 p.m. to take advantage of early bird specials. Why? Because each generation communicates differently.

Jul 1, 2014 Gordon Fowler

Tapped Out

Is Sac's craft beer bubble on the verge of bursting?

When downtown Sacramento’s Brew It Up poured its last beer in 2011, owner Michael Costello lost more than his business. “I lost everything,” he says. “Nobody really knows the whole breadth of it. It’s not an easy thing to go through.”

Jul 1, 2014 Russell Nichols

It’s Impolite to Squat

EV owners find it increasingly difficult to plug in

Long before it was widely accepted, Sacramento attorney Mike Polis bought his first electric vehicle. He got started with a Toyota Prius, later upgraded to a Nissan Leaf and now drives a white Chevy Volt. On average, he saves more than $3,500 a year over his gas-powered counterparts, he can use the HOV lane as a single occupant and he charges his car for free at work.

Jul 1, 2014 Laurie Lauletta-Boshart
Photo by David Angstead, shutterstock

The Big Squeeze on Small Credit Unions

They may be on the verge of extinction

On a hot, sunny morning last fall, 69-year-old retiree Pamela Chappell of Citrus Heights hit rock bottom. She was scraping by on Social Security checks and a tiny pension while paying for medication to treat her lymphedema, a painful swelling in her legs. Then she got a letter from the IRS warning her that it was about to empty her  savings account of $8,000 — every dollar she had — for back taxes.

Jun 1, 2014 Steven Yoder
Cindy Garcia of the UC Davis Meat Lab

Killer Instincts

Butchery is finding a passionate female following

On a warm afternoon, soft spring winds are blowing across the campus at UC Davis. In a building on the university’s west corner, Cindy Garcia is hosing pools of blood down a drain. She places a pig skull on an inspection table, washes her hands and steps into the sunlight just as the parking lot is beginning to fill with shoppers toting grocery bags.

Jun 1, 2014 Michelle Locke