GreenHouse Grows

A youth program struggles to expand

Each week, more than 50 children from Sacramento’s Gardenland/Northgate neighborhood fill a small room and computer lab in River Garden Estates apartments. They’re seeking help with homework, signing up for outings and volunteering for community service.

Dec 1, 2009 Christine Calvin
The Folsom Lake College Visual and Performing Arts Center by LPAS.

(Photo courtesy of LPAS)

Storm Shelter

Architects and engineers find ways to build around a rough market

The design-build industry has been absolutely battered by the spoiled economy. Architecture and design firms lament layoffs, nonexistent financing and an utter lack of optimism for 2010. Yet a number of large regional projects are keeping local firms afloat and offering a silver, albeit temporary, lining.

Dec 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

Equine Complex

Children find solace in horse-assisted therapy

Avery Benedict-Hall can’t talk, but when he slides onto a horse every Saturday morning at 11, his audience can hear the sound of his smile: clap, clap, clap. The 9-year-old has a host of neurological disorders, including cerebral palsy, autism and cortical visual impairment. Clapping is a soothing stimulant for many children with autism.

Dec 1, 2009 Stephanie Flores

A threat to local recovery

Local redevelopment funds

At a time of extreme economic stress, our state government has taken aim at one of the few resources communities have to repair their bruised economies — local redevelopment funds.

Dec 1, 2009 Winnie Comstock-Carlson

Tule Story

Researchers examine tule reeds and rice fields in the Delta

On Twitchell Island, near the Delta town of Isleton, tules covering 15 acres grow twice as tall as the average man. A gravel road separates the wetlands from a cornfield, sunken 25 feet at its lowest point. Every year, the wetlands’ soil rises a few inches, while the cornfield sinks. The discovery that tules increase land elevation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is fueling a joint experiment conducted by the state Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey, along with UC Davis researchers, other universities and private consultants.

Dec 1, 2009 Joanna Corman
James Herwatt, CEO of Cork Supply USA, which typically sips about 15 million corks a month

Chain Reaction

Auxillary industries weather the wine storm

Northern California manufacturers and distributors of everything from barrels to bottles to pesticides for the region’s wine industry are using the same juxtaposition to sum up the wine market: “up and down.”

Dec 1, 2009 Christine Calvin
Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, says that desalination should be part of the state's water solution, however, "You don't solve the problem by shifting it from one ecosystem to another."

(Photo: Jill Wagner)

Salt of the Dearth

The role of desalination in California's water crisis

If Sir Isaac Newton were around today to assess California’s interest in seawater desalination, he would likely reference his own third law of motion, which in simple terms states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In short, as our water supply dwindles, the desire to glean freshwater from salty oceans and brackish groundwater is growing.

Nov 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
The El Dorado Hills Town Center mostly houses small independent merchants and a handful of national chains.

Plea Market

Retail along Highway 50 looks to fill some gaps

No part of the region has been immune to the retail woes that come with a lagging economy, but the Highway 50 corridor — Rancho Cordova, Folsom and El Dorado Hills — entered the slowdown crippled by its own geography.

Nov 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli

Education Reform

Race to the Top...or Not

The Obama administration and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are dangling a huge carrot in front of California: a share of a $4.3 billion fund to reform K-12 education. This so-called Race to the Top initiative is the single largest pot of discretionary dollars ever offered to states for such reforms.

Nov 1, 2009 Winnie Comstock-Carlson

From Gritty to Groovy

Planners and developers plow ahead on K street

City planners and private developers in Sacramento envision a downtown shopping and entertainment hub pulsing with revenue and pedestrians. The mind’s eye replaces vagrants with decorative park benches and rundown storefronts with shiny new facades. And rather than dispersing at sundown, restaurant patrons and theatergoers would linger into the wee hours.

Nov 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

Delta Vision

Phil Isenberg on the state's water policy

Phil Isenberg, a longtime environmental advocate and former Sacramento mayor and state assemblyman, will lead the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force. We sat down with him recently to talk about the state’s efforts to bring its water system into the 21st century.

Nov 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen