Joan Cusick is an experienced journalist who started her career as a reporter and editor for The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis. From the newsroom, she moved into the corporate world, serving as a communications director for Maybelline, FedEx and Charles Schwab.
In 2013, Joan quit her “day job” to pursue her lifelong passion for photography. Since then, she has completed several long-term documentary projects, photographed dozens of weddings and events, and freelanced for Comstock’s, Edible Sacramento and Outword magazines. Joan is drawn to stories about people — especially that span generations — and captures them in both words and pictures. She is based in Sacramento. To view more of Joan’s work, visit www.joancusick.com.
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Two Sacramento Girl Scouts Win National Award
Honorees chosen based on the impact of their community service programs
When only 10 Girl Scouts nationwide are chosen for the National Young Women of Distinction award, “it’s a big deal” when two of those recipients come from the same regional council. “I don’t know if it’s ever happened before,” says Dr. Linda Farley, CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of Central California.
But it has happened now.
Powering a Skilled Workforce
Energy partnership equips Sierra College students with hands-on experience in solar array installation
The edge of a Placer County landfill is the unlikely home for an energy partnership that powers homes and fuels jobs for Sierra College students. But that’s exactly what happens at the Western Regional Sanitary Landfill in Lincoln.
From Lab to Launch
UC Davis churns out startups by giving its researchers a chance to mix with — and think like — entrepreneurs
Venture Catalyst is one part of a multipronged effort at the school that its leaders say is helping turn university research into companies that produce world-changing technologies. The school has facilitated a total of 49 startups in the last four fiscal years, up from 18 in the four years prior.
Art-Through-Pod Exceeds Goal to Help Homeless
Oak Park residents will surpass goal of 10 portable shelters for homeless — and keep on going
Oak Park neighbors Aimee Phelps and Kevin Greenberg delivered their first Art-Through-Pod in September and by year-end will exceed their initial goal of 10 mobile housing units for the homeless.
But they don’t plan to stop there.
A Day in the Life of a Neighborhood Precinct
Logan Leonhardt walked up to the check-in table at Poll A in Sierra 2 Center and the 4-year-old turned in his purple “ballot” to neighbor and poll worker Eric Johnson. His mother, Krystin, quickly snapped a photo of Logan’s first unofficial vote, which remained on display for the rest of the day.
Shopping the New Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op
It’s bigger, brighter and nearly doubling the business
Kurt Spataro has shopped at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op in three different locations since the 1980s, but he sees “a lot of new things to discover” at the co-op’s bigger and brighter new home at 2820 R St.
Vintage Neon Signs to Light Up Golden 1 Center
Signs from Shakey’s, Tower Records on loan from City of Sacramento
Historic business names will go up in lights at the Golden 1 Center food court with the installation of six original neon signs for Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, Tower Records, Coronet Portraits, Franke’s Drugs, Newbert Hardware and Sleeper Stamps & Stationery.
From Blank Walls to Original Art
Artists transform central city with Sacramento Mural Festival
The 12 artists selected to paint murals throughout downtown and Midtown Sacramento are putting on their finishing touches and cleaning off their brushes, as the Sacramento Mural Festival draws to a close on Saturday.
Artists to Take Center Stage at Sacramento Mural Festival
Inaugural event ‘in the public realm,’ funded entirely by private donations
When the Sacramento Mural Festival kicks off its weeklong run tomorrow, 12 artists will begin to transform blank walls into works of art. But is this public art or a private venture?
Maybe it’s both.
PG&E Summer Jobs Program Helps Teens Gain Experience
Company partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento
PG&E piloted the Summer Jobs Program in Fresno in 2012, then expanded it to Sacramento and Bakersfield in 2013. Since the program’s inception, PG&E has invested nearly $4 million to help 900 high school students find summer jobs.
A Slow-Growth Splash
Authenticity proves key in the growth of Amador County — California’s most approachable wine scene
Many wish their favorite places in California were deeply-held secrets. But there’s the hope that, given a little perspective, our current secrets can develop in a way that maintains the original character we fell in love with, without succumbing to the broad appeal forced by faceless investment. Right now, in Amador County, the Shenandoah Valley is at that postcard moment.
Mac the Antique Plumber Moving Retail Showroom Online
Longtime Sacramento business suffering from deep-discount competition
More than four decades after his father began selling antique plumbing fixtures out of a garage in Sacramento, Bryan “Mac” McIntire plans to close the Mac the Antique Plumber retail store to focus on an internet-based business model.
The Market Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Oak Park Farmers Market opens for its seventh season
Oak Park Farmers Market — held at McClatchy Park — is one of 24 certified farmers markets in Sacramento County, about half operating seasonally from May through November. Joany Titherington manages this market, sponsored by NeighborWorks Sacramento, and she strives for a diverse mix of goodies including organic fruits and vegetables, baked goods and specialty items.
Local farmers find a switch to carbon farming good for business — and the environment
Russ Lester’s property looks, at first glance, like that of many of his neighbors. He grows about 900 acres of walnut trees a few miles east of Winters. But at Dixon Ridge Farms, Lester never tills his land, and he keeps cover crops growing most of the time. He also laces the earth around his trees with biochar, charcoal-like leftovers from biomass energy production.
More Than A Feeling
In the quest for funding, charitable organizations need more than a mission — they need a plan
For more and more investors and would-be funders, nonprofits need to have more than a worthy cause and a compelling mission: They need a plan. Specifically, they’re now being asked to showcase the same mindset that’s required of for-profit organizations, meaning that spreadsheets, metrics and core competencies can matter just as much as pulling the heartstrings.
A Life of Spice
Calling All Dreamers’ winner Allspicery prepares to open in downtown Sacramento
With more than 200 spices, salts and seasonings in stock at downtown’s new Allspicery, variety isn’t just the spice of life. It’s a life of spice for owner Heather Wong.
Business lessons in a box of Girl Scout cookies
Selling Girl Scout cookies on a rainy Saturday in Sacramento is a far cry from the Oscars, where A-list celebrities chipped in $65,243 after a Feb. 28 plug. Local Girl Scout Troop 1114 has to work a little harder for its money.
Systems for Success
Nonprofits use measurable outcomes to demonstrate success and shore up support
Saint John’s Program for Real Change is part of a growing national movement of nonprofits designing programs that include new ways to monitor outcomes and quantify success for those they serve.
Travel spending is a solid source of income for the state’s major cities, but for rural counties in the Capital Region, it is king
In a part of the state with seemingly boundless natural assets, tourism is the number one industry for counties beyond Sacramento’s city limits. Aided by the rise of culinary travel, the farm-to-fork movement, and the craft beer and wine industries, this decade finds rural counties a bigger economic driver for the state than ever.
An Artistic Farewell to the Jade Apartments
The Art Hotel showcases local work in historic location
The Jade apartments are empty. The demolition crews are ready. But before the low-rent apartment building is razed to make way for a downtown Hyatt Place hotel, this 95-year-old will have one last chance to shake off a little rust. The Art Hotel is coming.
The Bunky System: Creating a Game Plan for Success
Basketball lessons that you can use in the boardroom
Creating a winning game plan – whether in business or in sports – requires the right mix of identity, focus, incentives and passion. Just ask Bunky Harkleroad, coach of the fast-paced women’s basketball team at Sacramento State.
The Endangered Blue-Collar Worker
While policymakers focus on the need for more grads with bachelor’s degrees, middle-skill jobs go unfilled
Douglas Stricker of Folsom, 58, knows all about the need for skilled laborers. In 1992, he launched Golden Development, a company that built storage tanks and other structures for refineries and chemical companies. He had a crew of between 20 and 40 workers but never could find enough reliable welders — even in jobs that paid up to $30 an hour.
‘Tis the Season to Support Small Business
A year after opening, Display: California rings in the ‘HollaDays’ once again
One year ago, the husband-and-wife team of Roshaun and Maritza Davis opened their Display: California pop-up retail store, selling holiday gifts from about 30 artists in the Sacramento area. They called it, “The HollaDays.” The “HollaDays” are back at the shop’s location on 34th Street and Broadway in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood. But Display isn’t simply a seasonal gift shop.
6 Tips for Avoiding an Office Party Nightmare
It’s not just about avoiding intoxication, but that’s on here too
Mention “office party,” and someone is going to have a juicy story, usually involving alcohol-impaired behavior. But according to local experts, your company’s holiday party doesn’t have to be a date that lives in infamy.
The Contemporary Counselor
Law schools are responding to the gap in entrepreneurial education that up-and-coming lawyers need
Traditionally, the path from law student to full-fledged lawyer has been fairly straight-forward: A student starts out with a summer internship at a law firm, graduates and passes the bar exam, then gets hired at a law firm. In a secure and supportive work environment, law graduates can make good money, meet professional mentors and learn the skills required to be a real lawyer. This is the standard route, the one most students embark on every year. But more graduates like Alexandria Goff are choosing to buck tradition in the name of independence.
Titan Gilroy is on a mission to eliminate offshore outsourcing and boost manufacturing back home
When Zinola Manufacturing owner Kevin Zinola took a chance and offered convicted felon Titan Gilroy an entry-level job in his small Sunnyvale machine shop, he had no idea where the relationship would go. In the years to follow, Gilroy reformed his life, worked his way up through several companies and finally, established Titan America Manufacturing.
NeighborWorks Paint the Town
Nearly 150 volunteers spent Saturday, September 19, sprucing up 10 homes in South Oak Park during the 26th annual Paint the Town event, sponsored by NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center Sacramento Region.
Selected Artists Tour Golden 1 Center Site
Artists in hard hats toured the Golden 1 Center construction site during the first week of September to get a first-hand look at the locations selected for four public art projects. Shelly Willis, executive director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, led four orientation sessions for the 17 artists who have been selected to submit proposals in late October.
Photos: Sutter Memorial Closes
Doors open at the new Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center
On Saturday, Aug. 8, Sutter Memorial — birthplace of 348,089 babies since 1937 — officially closed. At the same time, labor and delivery opened at Sutter’s new Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center. Here’s what it all looked like.
Sutter on the Move
Sutter hospital’s new Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center opens and staff say goodbye to their old home
It’s early Saturday morning in the neonatal intensive care unit, normally a busy time in the round-the-clock care of premature babies. But the lights are off and the staff is gone, leaving medical director Dr. Stephen Butler as the last man standing at the Sutter Memorial Hospital NICU.
Photos: About a Bite and Harvest Bar
Harvest Bar will offer healthy grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items as well as a juice bar. About a Bite will serve bite-sized cooks, artisan chocolates and other sweets.
Wine and sweets venture opens on The Kay
Two businesses share space to serve downtown diners
“The beauty of this partnership is our customers get to have it all, and I don’t have to do the things I don’t want to do,” says Jennifer Kaye. “Somebody can come in, grab a fresh sandwich or a salad and then pick up a little something for dessert.”
Rebirth of a Neon Landmark
CADA helps 1940s sign survive into the 21st century
On a rainy September morning, a long-time 16th Street resident was pulled away from home, dirty, faded and in disrepair. Nine months later, its homecoming was cause for celebration. And in between, the Mercury Cleaners sign was restored, re-engineered, re-wired, repainted and returned to its 1947 glory.
Lessons from a Community Kitchen
Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op teaches healthy eating on a budget
When Leah Yadon saw a flier for the Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op Community Kitchen sessions at Wellspring Women’s Center in Sacramento, she signed up immediately. Food has always played a big part in her life, Yadon says, but no one ever taught her the basic building blocks of a healthy lifestyle.
Photos: ESC Art Panel Discusses Public Art
The Entertainment & Sports Center art panel of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission met on Monday, March 30, at City Hall, which was officially closed for Cesar Chavez Day. Last fall, the panel recommended the $8-million purchase of a Jeff Koons sculpture to anchor the new downtown arena.
Art on the WAL (In Progress)
Here's a peek at the transformation taking place on R Street
Get up close and personal with the artists who are set on making the Warehouse Artist Lofts the most creatively inspirational place to call home.