Mike Graff

Back Photographer

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School of Thought

These educational spaces bring creative inspiration to the masses while preparing the next generation of artists

Traditional museums and old-school performance centers — with silent hallways and auditoriums where photography is forbidden — are being rethought in favor of interactive educational spaces. The Capital Region boasts a number of vital, enriching educational institutions that intentionally link the arts and education communities to create welcoming spaces that are both inspiring and accessible.

Aug 15, 2017 Laurie Lauletta-Boshart
(Photo by Mike Graff)

Unnatural Selection

Scientists at UC Davis may be on the cusp of an HIV cure

The person who finds the cure for HIV will have their name etched in medical history. It’s a hard pill to swallow for one man who has spent 40 years chasing a cure. A cure for HIV, built upon decades of his work, could very well be proven this year. Yet Dr. Gerhard Bauer’s name may be little more than a footnote in the arcane medical journal that publishes the breakthrough.

This is the story of curing HIV. 

Apr 21, 2015 Christine Calvin
Bonney Plumbing CEO Jimmy Crabbé

Smooth Operator

How former UPS logistics exec Jimmy Crabbé doubled a Sacramento plumbing business in less than 24 months

Think of it as The Deodorant Problem. If you’re marketing a brand, it’s easy to sling the sex appeal of wine, cars or a hot new phone. But what if the product is a tad mundane and even a little stinky?  How do you convey the emotional appeal of, say, unclogging a toilet? If you’re Jimmy Crabbé, you crack this problem with an inspired move that no one saw coming.

Feb 3, 2015 Jeff Wilser
Ongoing drought conditions have cost rice farmer Mike DeWit 30 percent of his crop. He's not alone. This year, California's rice farmers will leave nearly 100,000 acres unplanted due to lack of water.

Of Rice and Men

On the Cover: Parched by years of drought, thousands of California’s rice fields lie barren

In the Sacramento Valley, where 97 percent of the state’s rice crop is grown, family farmers have been forced to fallow cropland they have worked for generations. The economic hit has been hard and true, affecting not just farmers, but seed distributors, equipment dealers and anyone else with a thumb in the rice business. The drought could cost Central Valley farmers and communities $1.7 billion this year and may lead to more than 14,500 layoffs.

Aug 19, 2014 Russell Nichols
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
Dr. Mark Gjerde has been managing his business and personal finances with Dan Lawrence, the president of Elk Grove Commerce Bank, a Bank of Stockton branch, since 2007

Elder Appeal

Community banks boost services to retain retirement-bound clients

Robert Fay likes to tell the story of a client whose father worked with his grandmother long ago. She mentioned her plan to move her money to an investment firm. “I told her, ‘You should talk to me.’ After we had gone through all that [our bank could] do, I said, ‘Dorothy, you know I’m going to do the best I can for you.’ She said, ‘I know you will. And if you don’t, I’ll tell your mother.’”

Nov 1, 2013 Esther Shein
Paul Petrovich, principal, Petrovich Development Co.

Love Thy Neighbor

Sacramentans love infill development – until it actually happens

Infill development is promoted as an antidote to suburban sprawl and environmental degradation and is championed by city planners, environmentalists and policy makers of all persuasions. But as local developers Paul Petrovich and Phil Angelides have long known, infill leads to fights over allegations of increased traffic or environmental hazards.

Nov 1, 2013 Bill Sessa
Chris Hay, owner and farmer, Say Hay Farms

Land of the Fee

Can micro loans dig farmers out of their financial holes?

Today’s small farmer climbs an uphill battle to find land, secure capital and overcome the hefty start-up costs. Today, farmers make up less than 1 percent of the population (compared to 15 percent in 1950), they tend to be older (the average age is 57) and about 25 percent are expected to retire in the next 20 years. “This is a new problem for human society,” writes Sharon Astyk, author of “A Nation of Farmers.”

Nov 1, 2013 Jeff Wilser
7th Street Promenade, Township 9

Pushing Boundaries

Infill projects seek to redefine the way we envision Sacramento’s borders.

In California’s post-redevelopment era, landowners, developers and local governments have struggled to make infill projects pencil out. Unlike new suburban developments that offer blank canvases and creative freedom, infill projects are most often shoehorned into existing neighborhoods and commercial developments where community expectations are high and cleanup costs are steep.

Nov 1, 2013 Douglas Curley
Article Consignment Boutique

Are You Watching?

Smart companies take advantage of new security options

The scene was right out of a TV cop drama. Shots rang out. A crowd ducked for cover. The bad guys sped off in a getaway car. The incident in a Sacramento shopping mall last year was real life. But just like on television, the case was wrapped up in three hours, with the bad guys in jail and the car impounded.

Oct 1, 2013 Bill Sessa
Armstrong Technologies, Auburn, Ca.)

Brain Power

Research and development is the foundation for regional manufacturing growth

Like an oil derrick with arms, the school-bus-yellow robot is the center of attraction in an otherwise colorless room dominated by metal castings and concrete floors. Moving like a mime on a street corner, the robot picks up a metal casting, holds it to a computer-run camera and then places the part and the fixture that holds it on a machine for tooling.

Sep 1, 2013 Bill Sessa

Merge or Purge

Community banks contemplate consolidation as regulatory costs grow

Banks throughout the country are putting new practices in place to comply with an onset of new federal regulations prompted by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and other post-meltdown rule changes. Those expensive efforts are sparking major changes and concerns for some of the Capital Region’s smaller lenders.

Aug 1, 2013 Torey Van Oot
Steve Ayers, CEO, Armour Steel

Man of Steel

Construction veteran Steve Ayers on Sac’s arena plans

Steve Ayers makes no bones about his vocal hope that several local contractors will be involved in the highly anticipated design and construction of a sports and entertainment facility in downtown Sacramento. And while he’s known as a humble person whose industry acumen, political clout and philanthropic activities stay largely under the radar, Ayers wants to be a prominent part of the project he believes will launch a downtown renaissance.

Jul 1, 2013 Douglas Curley

Air Ball

Arena plan, meet CEQA reform

When Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson appeared before NBA bigwigs last April to plead his case for keeping the Kings, there was a lot more to the pitch than whether investors could afford to buy the team.

Jul 1, 2013 Rich Ehisen

Job Creation

Elk Grove’s plan to build new businesses from the ground up

In March, the Elk Grove city council voted to develop the last large swath of land in its jurisdiction. But this time around, instead of focusing on rooftops, as the city has for the past decade, leaders and developers hope to bolster the local economy by building new businesses.

Jul 1, 2013 Kibkabe Araya
Customers browse the offerings at Davis’s farmers market on Saturday afternoon.

Root Cause

The campaign behind Sacramento’s foodie identity

It was the last farmer’s market of the season, and the photo-op recalled The Last Supper. Standing in Cesar Chavez Plaza, Mayor Kevin Johnson spread his arms behind two tables piled high with fresh fruits and vegetables. And with scores of white-aproned restaurateurs to his right and left, he unveiled a logo promoting Sacramento as an agronomical Eden.

Jun 1, 2013 Allen Young
Inside the unfinished shooting lanes at the new Capital Gun Club in Roseville, which opens this month.

Shoot to Thrill

Roseville’s new high-end gun club hits the mark

The first time Kimberly Foss went to a shooting range she froze her butt off.

“It was outside, it was cold and it was not a very fun experience,” says Foss, who took herself shooting for the first time to celebrate her 50th birthday. “I was brand new to shooting — it was something I’d been interested in for a long time — so I had no idea you could go to indoor ranges, much less really nice ones that cater to women as well as men.”

Jun 1, 2013 Bill Romanelli

Cashing Out

Life among the ranks of the unbanked

Two hundred, four hundred … twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, five hundred …

As the young woman behind the glass divider counts out the entirety of my paycheck, I can’t help but think of how measly it looks before I stuff it in my wallet.

May 1, 2013 John Blomster
Leidhra Johnson, social media manager, Uptown Studios

The Tattooed Professional

Is your ink impacting your career?

Chris Forsyth has a ritual: every time he finishes working on a campaign, he treats himself to a new tattoo. Having worked in the state Capitol for nearly 20 years, the heavily painted chief of staff to Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) estimates that about 15 percent of state lawmakers have at least one tattoo.

May 1, 2013 Allen Young

Mom Moves In

A host of housing options is popping up for seniors

As her father’s dementia deepened, so did Tonya Roemer’s anxiety. Daily visits, a stint with a live-in companion and an experiment with expensive, 24-hour care didn’t curb Ray’s aggressive behavior as the 81-year-old lost the ability to walk and feed himself.

Apr 1, 2013 Janet Fullwood

The New Wine Country

Opportunity abounds for California varietals

Let’s say you’re in a glitzy Beijing restaurant. Your waiter uncorks a $300 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. He pours you a glass and you sip it, savor it, let it breathe. But around the table, everyone else gulps theirs down one swallow, like a shot, yelling “Gan bei!”

Welcome to wine culture in China.

Apr 1, 2013 Jeff Wilser
Bruce Monighan, principal, Monighandesign

Rebuilding Blocks

New strategies for post-recession architects

Bruce Monighan knows a few things about building something out of nothing. Facing the option of unemployment or bootstrapping, the local architect started his Sacramento-based firm Monighandesign from scratch in 1982. By the early 2000s, Monighandesign was completing between 50 and 60 public and private projects annually in markets across the country and looked to expand in 2007.

Mar 1, 2013 John Blomster