Ken James

Back Photographer

Ken James is a 24-year veteran photojournalist who started his career with the Fairfax Newspaper Group in Sydney Australia. Since relocating to California in 2002, Ken has contributed to many newspapers and wire services such as Bloomberg News, United Press International (UPI), The New York Times and San Francisco Examiner. In 2005, Ken spent six months covering the Iraq war and later documented the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ken has actively covered state politics and gubernatorial elections, including the 2003 Recall. Besides covering national and local news events, Ken contributes monthly photo essays to Comstock’s and Sacramento Magazine. For more, visit www.kjamesimages.com.

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Taste the Vineyard

Lodi vintners are taking a minimalist approach to create all-natural Zinfandels from heritage vines

You might say the old grapevines look otherworldly. With their contorted limbs and thick trunks, these Zinfandel vines look more like squat alien-trees, twisting up out of a sandy 3-acre spit of land in southwest Lodi. “Look how this vine is growing here,” says Stuart Spencer, owner of St. Amant Winery. He’s standing in the dirt at nearby Marian’s Vineyard, pointing to a vine with a hole as big as a fist. “The vine just splits over time.”

Dec 9, 2014 Russell Nichols
Rick Schubert of Bee Happy Apiary uses a smoker to calm his bees, which will motivate them to eat nectar and slow down a bit, making them easier to transport.

As the Bees Go

Local beekeepers prepare for another uncertain winter

Rick Schubert is settling in to the part of bee season that didn’t exist when he opened Bee Happy Apiary with 300 hives in 1977. It’s mid-September, and at headquarters, tucked in the dusty hills off a private road in Vacaville, the faint humming of honey bees serves as background buzz to the voices of men.

Nov 11, 2014 Allison Joy

Juris Prudence

Changes to the legal market are motivating attorneys to bootstrap

Alex Medina and Brandon McKelvey’s new law firm looks more like a bootstrapped tech startup than a high-end legal practice. It’s one model among the boutique firms whose numbers have taken off in the region this year. The improving economy, a buyer’s market for legal services, and the lures of startup culture have upended Sacramento’s legal landscape.

Oct 7, 2014 Steven Yoder

Creative Spacing

4 factors to consider

VSP wanted The Shop in Midtown to be flexible, buildable and breakable, a learning space and a prototype in itself (form following function). With that in mind, architects put wheels on the tables and on corrugated cardboard walls to make everything portable and adaptable.

Sep 3, 2014 Russell Nichols
The Hacker Lab in midtown Sacramento

Start It Up

Sacramento's second Startup Weekend is almost here

Thinkers, tinkers, social-changers and entrepreneurs: These are the ingredients necessary to make successful Startup Weekend. On July 18th-20th Hacker Lab will host the area’s third Startup Weekend, connecting local designers, business developers and  technical experts who will work together to shape their ideas and compete for prizes. Winners have a chance to win legal advice for their startup, brand consultation or free coffee for those long days.

Jul 17, 2014 Mia Lopez

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.”

Jun 30, 2014 Russell Nichols
Trainor Fairbrook senior shareholder Charles Trainor describes the law firm's aesthetic as an integration of contemporary and antique Asian culture. This 18th century samurai warrior doll came from an antique store in San Francisco. In celebration of Boy's Day, the Japanese traditionally displayed warrior dolls and hung kites from poles outside their homes.

Arts & Aesthetics

Fine art collections serve as on-site museums for some of Sacramento’s culture-loving companies.

Mar 31, 2014 Ken James

Need for Speed

A peek at Bill McAnally's NASCAR

Bill McAnally owns 70,000 square feet of shop space – split between his race shop and automotive care business – and 31 race cars built on site at Bill McAnally Racing NAPA AutoCare Center in Roseville. 

Mar 1, 2014 Allison Joy
D&S Development rehabilitated the century-old Maydestone building at 15th and J streets in 2011. It now holds 32 small apartments with original design elements.

Hidden Treasures

Why Sacramento developers love historic remodels

Burke Fathy isn’t sure whether the building that housed Sacramento’s first Police Department will be converted to offices or apartments, but, as the managing partner of Sutter Capitol Group, he is sure the original architectural elements will stay.

Mar 1, 2014 Bill Sessa

From Setbacks to Scholar

St. John’s Shelter Program offers women a fresh start

A twice-convicted felon, Ronita Iulio thought she had blown her last chance to salvage her life and family. After being released from prison in 2008, Iulio was anxious to reunite with her three children, but instead she faced an unsympathetic court that granted full custody to her ex-husband.

Jan 3, 2014 Laurie Lauletta-Boshart

Sugar & Splice

The Capital Region offers everything nice for ag-bio companies like Stevia First

A Capital Region startup is striving to be among the first in the nation to produce the zero-calorie, natural sweetener stevia on an industrial scale. An agricultural biotech company, Yuba City-based Stevia First is bolstering its chances of success by actively collaborating with experts in the field, drawing on the area’s robust talent pool of farmers, agronomists, agricultural innovators and biotech experts to develop a product that’s superior in both taste and cost compared to its foreign competitors.

Dec 1, 2013 Laurie Lauletta-Boshart

Striking Oil

In Woodland, La Tourangelle cracks the nut oil market

Pulling up to the bland business park that is home to La Tourangelle’s nut oil bottling facility gives no indication of the nexus of culinary artistry housed inside.

But step through the doors and start talking to Matthieu Kohlmeyer, the energetic founder and CEO of the Woodland company, and you’ll discover that this quiet farming town is home to a vibrant French connection and a business that’s ridden the wave of consumer health trends and successfully plugged into the farm-to-fork movement.

Dec 1, 2013 Michelle Locke

Stores of Opportunity

Compassionate Planet Thrift offers job training to those in need

In her teens, Velvet Edwards dropped out of Lincoln High School to care for her mother, who had hepatitis and scoliosis. By 22, she had few life skills and no high school diploma as she watched her mother slowly disappear.  “Toward the end, her organs just started to shut down, and she faded away,” says Edwards, now 28. 

Dec 1, 2013 Stephanie Flores
Photo by Ken James  (http://www.kjamesimages.com/)

Capital Ink Tattoo

Mikhail Chernyavsky, host of the video series “Emerge” for Comstock’s magazine, sits down with the owner of Capital Ink Tattoo, Irish Cash, to learn about what it takes to start a business as a young entrepreneur.

Oct 31, 2013 Christine Calvin
Photo by Ken James  (http://www.kjamesimages.com/)

Insight Coffee Roasters

Mikhail Chernyavsky, host of Comstock’s Emerge video series, takes a behind the scenes look into Insight Coffee Roasters, where owner Lucky Rodrigues shared his vision for midtown’s newest coffee shop, his goal to develop sustainable relationships with producers and his take on launching a business in Sacramento.

Oct 15, 2013 Christine Calvin
Arcade Belts, a 3-year-old startup based in Squaw Valley, is supplying all-weather belts to retailers in six countries.

Arcade Winnings

An all-weather accessory company advances to the next round

A slope-loving trio needed durable, weatherproof belts that would fit comfortably, last a long time and look good. So the self-proclaimed ski bums decided to make their own. Olympic Valley-based Arcade Belts launched three years ago from a living room and specializes in belts made specifically for winter-sport enthusiasts.

Sep 30, 2013 Kibkabe Araya

Das Is Gut

A sit down with the owners of Low Brau

Emerging restaurateurs Clay Nutting and Michael Hargis found a niche made in heaven when they opened their midtown spin on a German bier hall. Now, just ten months after opening, LowBrau is operating in the black, and the owners have their sights set on future growth. Check out the story behind the beer taps in this month’s Emerge video feature. 

Sep 16, 2013 Christine Calvin
Jade Heather, game design student at the Art Institute of California, Sacramento, works on her TalentEarth profile.

First Look

A fresh approach to job hunting in the digital age

What started with the advent of online job boards like Monster and Yahoo! HotJobs in the mid-1990s has at last evolved into what some are now calling the Facebook of job searches. In the age of Resume 2.0, where the standard, static and flat resume just won’t cut it, a new company has emerged to help employers and potential hires cut right to the chase.

Jul 31, 2013 Bill Romanelli