Steve Martarano was a reporter at the Sacramento Union for 10 years during the 1980s and worked as a sportswriter, on the daytime crime beat, and reviewing concerts. He retired after working in government public affairs for almost 30 years for several state and federal agencies, most recently for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bay-Delta office. Steve has lived in Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood with wife Sharon for more than 30 years. Read more at www.stevemartarano.com. On Twitter @MartArchives.
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The Venue Makes Its Debut
Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s $100 million entertainment showcase opens with blockbuster President’s Day Weekend
The 4,500-seat facility held a ribbon cutting celebration on Feb.
14 and then opened three days later with a sold-out, three-day
President’s Day weekend run of the Eagles, Bruno Mars and
It’s All About the Mead
New Penn Valley establishment fills a niche
Nevada County Mead Company is one of the few places in the Capital Region that produces and serves mead, which the ancient Greeks called “nectar of the gods.”
Museum Tells Unusual Stories of Almost Two Centuries in Benicia
Historic building used to house camels during the 1850s
The Benicia Historical Museum houses tens of thousands of artifacts related to multiple wars and the Gold Rush era, providing a place for visitors to learn something new and appreciate the story of California.
Grass Valley’s Foothill Mercantile Changes With the Seasons
Store has more than 23,000 toys and gifts on display
The store has delighted visitors through several generations while also featuring a wide selection of greeting cards, puzzles, candy, gifts and houseware items. Having an internet presence has helped them return to pre-pandemic sales numbers.
A Knockout Night
After hiatus, pro boxing returns to Cache Creek Casino
The Oct. 29 Showdown at Cache Creek brought prominent boxers and
promoters to the Yolo County casino, which undertook a $200
million expansion during the pandemic.
Olive and Wine Tasting Go Hand-in-Hand at Calivirgin in Lodi
New facility helps longtime olive oil business expand into wine
Lodi-based, family-owned Calivirgin has reshaped its
business. Part of California’s rich olive oil landscape for
almost two decades, its new facility allows the owners to
showcase award-winning products, introduce a new wine
line and host tastings.
An Unforgettable Saturday for Sacramento Sports Fans
Three highly anticipated sports events take place in one night in the capital
The night of Oct. 22 — with three college and professional sporting events starting around the same time — was expected to be a memorable night for Sacramento sports fans.
As the chilly night unfolded, those expectations were undoubtedly
Rosebud’s Cafe in Jackson Is All About Family and a Welcoming Atmosphere
Owners give back and help the community
Rosebud’s is known for authenticity and acceptance as much
as for good food, and is a leader on several local issues
involving homelessness and LGBTQ rights.
Tahoe City’s Green Envy and Tahoe Tree Company Help Keep Tahoe Landscaped
Serving the Lake Tahoe region for almost 20 years, John Crus’ clients inhabit some of the most beautiful properties in California
Crus’ nursery and landscaping construction company help
shape the region’s image and produce plants that
withstand the rough high-elevation climate of the area.
Elliott's Natural Foods reaches 70-year milestone
Created in 1952, Elliott’s Natural Foods was the first in its area to offer many of its health food products. Since their approach to whole and organic food was considered a rarity in the early 1950s, they made dispensing wellness knowledge and advice a part of their business plan, which they carry through to today.
A Final Farewell to ARCO Arena
A look back on the beloved Sacramento arena as it crumbles into history
Reflecting on the many chapters of the building best known as
ARCO Arena, its farewell event and what’s next for the Natomas
A Cooperative Spirit
Remembering 1972 and 50 years for Davis and Sacramento food co-ops
Both the Davis and Sacramento food co-ops have expanded
exponentially since their inception in the early 1970s, when they
primarily served ”the hippie population.” Fifty years
later, has the spirit of 1972 held up?
Panning for Gold Has Changed, but Pioneer Mining Supplies in Auburn Remains Timeless
Three generations teach gold mining
Frank Sullivan’s mining legacy is as rich as Auburn’s, and is
reflected in his timeless shop, Pioneer Mining Supplies.
Back to the Blues
Johnny “Guitar” Knox memorial finally gets its third encore at Sacramento’s Torch Club
Sacramento’s jazz community gathered at Torch Club recently to play their annual memorial jam to honor Johnny “Guitar” Knox. The fundraiser raised money for the Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame.
Penny Candy Store in Live Oak Dispenses Sweet Dose of Nostalgia
Store faces major changes after COVID-19 death of co-owner
Following tragic circumstances, Penny Candy has reopened,
continuing its decades-long status as a treasured destination in
Live Oak. Now, it’s up for sale.
Comstock’s Talks: The Return of Arts and Music Festivals
PODCAST: Capital Region music festivals attract tens of thousands of fans from nearby areas and from all around the country, shaping its identity and boosting the local economy.
The Return of Arts and Music Festivals
Big events boost local economies and shape our identity
Capital Region music festivals attract tens of thousands of fans
from nearby areas and from all around the country.
Rise of the Robot Umpire
Experimental automated strike zone now on tap at River Cats games
An electronic system that relays information almost instantaneously is helping umpires make their calls.
Colorful Bar in Historic Locke Stays the Course After an Ownership Change
Al the Wop’s has been serving bikers, locals and tourists for 75 years
The Delta bar’s five new owners kept the biker bar’s decor, unique traditions, steakhouse-style food menu and controversial name.
Freewheeler Helps Keep Bike-Friendly Davis Pedaling for Almost 50 Years
Three generations of one family run the bike shop
A family of avid cyclists operates a long-running bike business in bike-friendly Davis.
Capital Region Record Shops Still Spinning the Vinyl
Vinyl enthusiasts in and around Sacramento have a wide variety of shops to choose from
Get excited for Record Store Day on April 23 with this photo essay of some of the region’s most beloved, idiosyncratic shops.
Keeping alive the timeless rhythms of roller skating
Roller skating is trendy on a national and local scale for its nostalgic and therapeutic appeal. Capital Region rinks are capitalizing on the pastime’s increasing popularity.
Women leaders are an integral part of El Dorado County Sheriff’s volunteer Search and Rescue Unit
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit provides a wide range of emergency rescue services to those who are lost, stranded or injured.
Capital Region Flower Shops Prepare for Unique 2022 Valentine’s Day
Florists surmount challenges to serve customers on their busiest holiday
This year florists face supply chain shortages, winter weather and COVID effects, but press on to serve Capital Region romantics.
Mare Island Art Studios a Top Bay Area Destination for Art Lovers
Creativity blooms at former naval shipyard
An eclectic studio situated on a Vallejo peninsula, Mare Island Art Studio provides public and private gallery space for 19 diverse artists.
Virgil’s Bait Shop in Suisun City Offers Fresh Bait, Cold Beer
Popular fisherman's hangout has been around nearly 80 years
Memorabilia, beer and longstanding friendships have made the shop a beloved stop for regulars.
The Season of Light Shines Again
Holiday season events return to the Capital Region in 2021
After a pause in 2020’s holiday festivities, Sacramento’s holiday season returns looking as bright as ever.
Back to Their Roots
Amador County’s Upcountry Farms finds success through trial and error
A young Amador County couple is making their mark with a small-but-mighty vegetable farm in Ione. Starting with little experience, they’ve grown into one of the region’s most popular small farms.
Capital Region Veterans Roll With the Waves of Life
Veteran Surf Alliance, Operation Surf and other organizations help veterans socialize and heal
Sacramento may be 100 miles from the closest surfable ocean waves, but that hasn’t stopped Capital Region veterans from catching them.
Life in the Lanes
Woodland bowling alley still rolling after 22 years
You probably wouldn’t expect to find touches of Italy at a Woodland bowling alley, but there are plenty at the San Bruno Bowling Center.
House of Clocks in Lodi Still Ticking After 51 Years
There are more than a thousand ticking, chiming clocks cramming the floors and wall spaces at House of Clocks in Lodi.
Firing Up the Centuries-Old Art of Blacksmithing
A step into the forging area of McLellan Blacksmithing in Loomis is, in many ways, a step back in time.
Remembering a Century of History at Giusti’s Place
On Sept. 9, the much-beloved Delta restaurant Giusti’s Place burned to the ground, taking a century’s worth of memories with it.
Truckee’s Oldest Store Has Embodied the Mountain Life Since 1918
The clothing store Cabona’s opened in 1918 and is the oldest retail establishment in historic downtown Truckee.
Photos: Minor League Baseball Returns to the Central Valley
When the Sacramento River Cats won the Triple-A championship in September 2019, nobody could anticipate the changes that would occur before the Pacific Coast League team would play again.
How a 60-Year-Old Whitewater Rafting Company Stays Afloat
All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting thrives through a network of family and friends — and has resulted in 35 marriages between employees.
Head Underground to See the Hidden World of Gold Rush Sacramento
Many visitors to Old Sacramento may not be aware that remnants of
an 1850s gold rush city still exist below the buildings and
Young Climate Activists March 266 Miles in Support of Green Jobs Legislation
Eight marchers crossed the Tower Bridge June 4 to join a rally in
support of a bill aimed at creating 1.5 million jobs in areas
such as clean energy, climate resilience and environmental
Two Gold Rush Era Hotels Return to Glitz and Glamour
The 169-year-old Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley and the 165-year-old National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City are fully restored and experiencing a rebirth.
Rocks of Ages
Vacaville shop has been a gem for customers for decades
Two large boulders greet visitors entering Vacaville’s Consolidated Rock & Mineral Shop — known informally as the Rock Shop — a hint of the goodies inside.
Off the Beaten Track: Staying on Track
The Western Depot nears five decades serving model train enthusiasts
The Western Depot in Yuba City has carved out a niche in the model railroad industry for 44 years with its impressive inventory, knowledgeable staff and timeless train decor.
Photos: Not Just a Hobby
Amid a surge in card collecting, a few shops still survive in the Capital Region
Card shops have been declining in number the past 20 years, but
there’s a gold rush in the industry today.
Off the Beaten Track: A Return to Roots
Award-winning Suisun Valley winemaker continues her family's legacy
The Tolenas Winery label produces a variety of wines, but what sets it apart is the white pinot noir Eclipse that took a gold medal at the 2019 International Women’s Wine Competition.
Status Check: Still Moving Ahead at The Railyards
Work is continuing on multiple projects, despite the lead investor in the MLS bid pulling out
A new Kaiser Permanente hospital and a Sacramento County courthouse continue at The Railyards, the largest urban infill development project west of the Mississippi River.
Photos: Hitting the Slopes
Visitors head to Tahoe’s ski resorts with new COVID restrictions in place
California’s Sierra Nevada ski resorts were officially open in
February 2021 after shutting down in March 2020 due to COVID-19
Off the Beaten Track: Strumming Along
Teaching the craft of guitar making in the heart of Winters
In the heart of historic downtown Winters, Al Calderone
builds guitars, teaches the craft of guitar and ukulele making,
and gives lessons.
The pandemic has crushed most of the tourism industry, but some businesses have defied the odds
While many small and not-so-small businesses were roiled, some
have seen a windfall with people desperate to hop in their cars
and do something, anything, besides cook another dinner at home
and watch more Netflix.
Off the Beaten Track: Making New Look Old
Water Street Antiques & Interiors also specializes in building furniture
Water Street Antiques & Interiors, founded in 1972 by Terry
and Christine O’Neill, isn’t just an antique store.
Photos: Sights to See
Sacramento Valley overflows with opportunities to view winter wildlife
The Sacramento Valley provides some of the top wintering sites
for waterfowl in the world.
Still Fabulous After 50
Local radio DJ legend Joey Mitchell celebrates a half-century in ‘cutthroat’ business
Sacramento’s K-Hits 101.5 recently celebrated Mitchell’s 50-year milestone in radio with a four-day studio party that honored his long and colorful career.