Robert Celaschi

Back Writer

Robert Celaschi is a freelance writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.

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Rick Pickering, general manager, California State Fair

No Fair Plan

Cal Expo's options are few and expensive

A hundred years ago, the California State Fair had a sure-fire way to entertain crowds: Operators would send two steam locomotives crashing into each other at 90 mph for pure spectacle. Today, Sacramentans with an eye on Cal Expo are still thinking big.

Jul 1, 2013 Robert Celaschi
(istockphoto.com)

Bank of Tomorrow

New sources for business loans

Banks are running up against some odd new competitors these days. Big box retailer Costco is advertising mortgages. Wal-Mart has issued its own debit card. Amazon is offering loans to merchants in its online marketplace.

Feb 12, 2013 Robert Celaschi

Economic Evolution

It’s slow growing out there

Congratulations Sacramento. You finally got the economic recovery you’ve been asking for. 

It’s not as big or fast as you had wished for, but give it time. It should get stronger as we move toward 2014.

Jan 1, 2013 Robert Celaschi

The Tableted Worker

Is it really possible to leave your laptop behind?

Tablet computers are becoming the tool of choice in multiple industries, adding convenience to simple tasks such as note taking, to more complex operations such as tracking sales. Tablets haven’t replaced laptops yet, but sales trends favor the handheld devices.

Oct 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Mind the Gap

Finding new ways to fund affordable housing

Sacramento County will need an estimated 23,000 low- and very low-income housing units in the next nine years. The six-county region stretching from Yuba to Placer to El Dorado would need more than 41,000 units. But without the tax increment financing once provided by redevelopment agencies, city leaders are wondering where they’re going to come up with the cash to build.

Aug 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Influence & Alienate

Constituencies balk as Elk Grove prepares for the long haul

Immediately south and southeast of Elk Grove are thousands of acres of mostly undeveloped farmland that officials think the city will someday need. The plan is to add nearly 8,000 acres — about 29 percent of Elk Grove’s current size — to its fold. But critics say Elk Grove has plenty of unused land within its borders, and California is losing farmland fast.

Jul 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Super Charged

Changing opinions about energy efficient vehicles

If Rick Wylie were cast in a Chevy commercial, the director might pair him with a rugged pickup truck. It makes sense; Wylie worked his way up from sheet-metal apprentice to president of a construction company. In the real world, however, Wylie drives a Volt, pearl white with black trim.

Jun 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

The Tax Man Cometh

Navigating a criminal investigation from the IRS

Perry Ghilarducci holds a vivid memory from the day the Internal Revenue Service showed up unannounced at his office. Nobody wants a surprise visit from the IRS, and it’s even more nerve-wracking when the agents are from the criminal investigation division and when, like Ghilarducci, you’re an accountant.

Apr 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Employee Pro Tempore

Temp staffing fills recessionary employment gaps

Northern California’s economy hasn’t edged far enough into recovery to encourage strong hiring. The bouncing stock market, shaky European economies and an upcoming presidential election have many managers wondering what kind of business climate they’ll be dealing with a year from now.

Feb 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Contract Killer

Local businesses struggle with dwindling government deals

Companies in the Sacramento region have long counted on government contracts to smooth out the gyrations of economic cycles. Local, state and federal governments had deep pockets and a seemingly unending appetite for goods and services.

Companies in the Sacramento region have long counted on government contracts to smooth out the gyrations of economic cycles. Local, state and federal governments had deep pockets and a seemingly unending appetite for goods and services.

Feb 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Rooms for Rent

There’s a spark of life in housing construction this year. A tiny, weak spark, but a real one nonetheless. Builders are putting up more apartments in the Sacramento region.

Nov 1, 2011 Robert Celaschi

Green Gas Grows

Capital Region biofuels reek of potential

A 2009 report from Pike Research in Boulder, Colo., forecasts the combined biodiesel and ethanol markets will reach $247 billion in sales by 2020, up from just $76 billion in 2010, or about 12 percent annual growth.

Oct 1, 2011 Robert Celaschi
Ken Rogaski, Mercy Healthcare of Sacramento

Exec Strategy

Health care plans for top management

Consider the annual physical and why both doctors and America’s work force find them frustrating: The worker has to carve out time to take all the exams and tests, often in different locations and on different days, and doctors lament the lack of time to discuss the results with patients.

Mar 1, 2011 Robert Celaschi

A Look at 2011

It will be the best of times, and the worst of times

Economically, 2011 may go down as a year with a split personality. Sacramento is looking at a much different year than most of the country. Small businesses face a more divergent climate than large companies. Even among small businesses, many have more confidence in their own prospects than in the economy as a whole.

Feb 1, 2011 Robert Celaschi

United We Sit

Designers pull government agencies together under one roof

If you’ve ever had to plan an office move, or even live through one, consider the challenge of doing 10 to 20 at the same time. That’s the task facing architects, construction companies and interior designers when governments consolidate far-flung operations under a single roof.

Dec 1, 2010 Robert Celaschi
Joseph Murray, owner-manage, Truckee-Tahoe Mortuary in Truckee

Working to Death

What boomers mean for the 'death care' industry

Since they first began squirming in their bassinets in the late 1940s, baby boomers have created unprecedented demand for the industries that cater to their needs. The generation has moved from toys to blue jeans to cosmetic surgery. Now the oldest boomers are in their mid-60s and are purchasing life insurance and long-term care assistance.

Oct 1, 2010 Robert Celaschi
Segiun Moreau Napa Cooperage

Aging Gracefully

An oak by any other name is not just another barrell

Just as winemakers won’t put just any old juice in a barrel, they won’t use any old barrel either. For one wine, it’s French oak. For another, American. For yet another, Hungarian. In some cases the wine goes into a steel tank and never touches oak of any kind.

Sep 1, 2010 Robert Celaschi
Lobbyist Bill Ceyer Associates Inc. wrote portions of the Williamson Act in the 1960s. Today, he's trying to save it.

Farm Aid

Is the Williamson Act the next state budget casualty

At age 45, the Williamson Act may be dying.

Designed to protect agricultural land from development, the Williamson Act gives tax breaks to landowners to ease some of the financial pressure to sell out. In an era of multibillion

At age 45, the Williamson Act may be dying.

Designed to protect agricultural land from development, the Williamson Act gives tax breaks to landowners to ease some of the financial pressure to sell out. In an era of multibillion

Apr 1, 2010 Robert Celaschi
Christee Owens, co-owner and president of Icing on the Cupcake, has sent cease-and-desist letters regarding branding issues.

Brand of Others

When it's time to protect your company

Don’t mess with Icing on the Cupcake. The two-year-old specialty bakery in Rocklin has trademarked its name and isn’t shy about protecting it. Go open your own boutique bakery and sell cupcakes if you want, but steer clear of that brand name if you don’t want to hear from a lawyer.

Jan 1, 2010 Robert Celaschi
Andrew Cook, assistant manager, Utrecht Art Supplies

Browsers & Shoppers

Retailers check consumers' pulse with social media

As shopkeepers have done for thousands of years, Andrew Cook talks with his customers about what he ought to carry at the Utrecht Art Supplies store on Howe Avenue. The difference is that Cook, Utrecht’s assistant manager, holds the conversations on Facebook. The store had nearly 800 fans as of late November.

Dec 1, 2009 Robert Celaschi