Still Processing

Jill Yoshikawa of Creative Marbles Consultancy on being an educational consultant as colleges go remote
Jill Yoshikawa is the cofounder of Creative Marbles Consultancy in Sacramento. (Photo courtesy of Jill Yoshikawa)

Jill Yoshikawa and her business partner Art Baird were high school teachers before they quit their positions, took their love of helping students and founded Creative Marbles Consultancy in 2003. 

Creative Marbles currently provides educational consultancy services to 120 students in the Sacramento region to assist in navigating the complexities of the college admissions process. Yoshikawa and Baird basically act as school counselors, and approach the process by helping families identify each teenager’s unique talents to highlight in their application — and to ultimately pursue an education and career they’re passionate about.

The company’s busy season begins at the end of September, when high school seniors start to submit their college applications, which are due from November through January. Comstock’s spoke with Yoshikawa about being an educational consultant and how Creative Marbles has adapted to these unprecedented times.

How did being a high school teacher prepare you to be an educational consultant?

As a consultancy, we are educators. My business partner and I were teachers to begin with, so for us change was constant. You never knew which 35 bodies were going to show up in your room, but you didn’t know what they were going to bring with them, what mood, what emotion; and when we’re talking about teenagers — they’re a very interesting sector of humankind. So what would work in one lesson for first period wasn’t working by third period, or it was just a different set of kids. They had different questions. So for us, we were always really nimble.

As teachers, we really studied our practice and then we brought that value with us into Creative Marbles. So this idea of continuously improving, being nimble, staying flexible — that is a core tenet to how we consult. Because we are also providing information, we really exist to supplement what families aren’t being able to access as readily in their schools — although traditionally they may have been through counseling services or librarians or teachers, that has really shifted and we saw that on the inside of schools so we started Creative Marbles.

What services does Creative Marbles provide that go beyond what is provided by school counselors?

Not only do we have the information, we know how to apply it. Because we’re so small and boutique, we’ll take all of that information and utilize it and apply it for the specific family. We know students and we know parents. I joke with my students, like, I speak teenager and I speak parent — (I’m) very fluent in both, and I can translate between the two. I have a collaborative team here and we work together so that we can really point that information so families get what they need.

Has COVID-19 changed the way that Creative Marbles works with students?

We’re college admissions consultants, and with teenagers, they work at all hours of the day, and with college essays the creative writing process knows no bounds. It wasn’t unusual for us to be working with students at 10 or 11 o’clock at night. So we started using video conferencing about six or seven years ago for that reason. It was pretty seamless for us to do that with our parents as well, and we were very familiar with the technology. We just started expanding our tools to be able to do it (during the pandemic).

COVID-19 prompted all Ivy League schools to make SAT and ACT scores for admissions optional during the 2020-21 academic year. Will this make the admissions process easier?

Test optional means that they (students) do not have to submit scores, but if they do have a score, they can submit it for consideration. And then the admissions officer will use it at their discretion. But they won’t be disqualified from being considered for admissions if they don’t have a score. It’s precipitated because students don’t have access right now. All of the SATs and ACTs have been canceled since March and that’s ongoing. SATs were recently just canceled for a wide swath of students in August — it’s happening in pockets, but in California, at least our students aren’t taking the test. So in order to ensure the greatest access, it is being waived so that we can still give access to this fall 2020-21 class of seniors to college. 

There’s an added layer of challenge because what you have is a cohort of 17-year-olds who for their entire lifetime have been expecting admissions to look a particular way, which included SATs and ACTs. We’re talking about multi-generations who know this as an integral part of the admissions process. And now all of a sudden, because of the cancellations, people aren’t sure exactly how to think of the admissions process. (Test scores) are a metric for U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges. It’s on every admission statistic website. Now students are missing that, and parents are missing that too.

We forecast that the admissions process will have a greater degree of subjectivity in the evaluation because admissions officers are just going to do a greater degree of interpretation of a student’s experience. So we are talking about that, but as far as our advice, it remains core. For us, our advice centers on who the student is; who is that person? What are their qualities and characteristics? What are their aptitudes? We spend the majority of our advising time really reflecting on who the kid is. That is the core of our advising. And then we’re also adding on here’s how the admissions process we predict will shift — which it does every year, so we advise that. So it’s shifted a little bit of the information we’re giving, but not what we’re doing. For us, the key is a student-centered, family-centered process because we don’t know how to do it any other way. 

The Operation Varsity Blues bribery scandal in 2019 brought awareness to a “side door” entrance to the college admissions process. What should parents and students keep in mind when applying for colleges?

While the parents who are now serving, will or have served jail time all had means, and should pay the consequences of their actions, what I mostly recognize is the worry and anxiety amongst all parents to want a brand-name college acceptance, regardless if their children’s natural aptitude and academic needs are aligned with the particular culture and opportunities of the university. Parents with additional economic means crossed into the criminal realm and paid for what they thought was most desired, much to the detriment of their own selves as well as their relationships with their children. 

For all parents, I recommend being guided in college selection decisions by what’s best for their individual child. Parents are naturally experts in their children, having been the closest adult to watch them evolve since they literally entered this world. And teenagers, with the assistance of experienced guides who both understand the college admissions process, as well as the (ability of the) modern teenager to ask reflective questions, can, through a series of conversations, articulate their own qualities and characteristics. The self-reflection is both necessary to craft insightful college essays, but also because students can devise a “road map” which will guide them when they enroll in college. 

With more understanding of themselves, (the) student can then add to the consensus-building conversations with their parents about what college is right for them. The college admissions process is essentially one of selection. When students and parents start with who the student is, then they’re working to select a college, not waiting to be selected by a college. 

Originally published at https://www.comstocksmag.com/qa/still-processing.

Blood Banks Trying To Assure Donors It’s Safe To Give, Despite Coronavirus Fears

In this Aug. 20, 2013, photo, technician Greg Snyder, left, inserts a needle into a vein on Gina Hohenstaff’s arm as she donates blood in an Indiana Blood Center Bloodmobile in Indianapolis. (Michael Conroy / AP Photo)

Nationwide, precautions are being taken against the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but blood banks throughout the nation are urging healthy individuals to donate blood to make sure supplies don’t get too low. 

Dr. Ralph Vassallo, chief medical and scientific officer at Vitalant, said since the outbreak of COVID-19 the blood supply in China has dipped below stable levels, which makes him concerned for United States blood supply levels.

“It’s not the intrinsic safety of the blood supply that’s at risk, it’s the availability of life saving blood,” said Vassallo. “We have patients who still need blood for trauma, surgeries, cancer therapy and chronic transfusions, so we’re urging our donors and drive sponsors to keep commitments to donate while following prudent measures to reduce the risk of infection.”

Vassallo said Vitalant, a nonprofit organization that collects blood from volunteer donors and provides blood products and services throughout the United States, collects in six of the 13 states that are currently affected by coronavirus. He said Vitalant is following strict procedures and guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety. 

“There’s firstly no inherent risk of getting coronavirus from the donation procedure itself and we’re minimizing the risk of contracting it from others at a drive or blood center by following rigorous safety and disinfection protocols,” Vassallo said. “We’re using gloves and personal protective equipment, we’re wiping down high touch areas after every collection, using single-use collection sets for every donation and a careful 30-second arm scrub.”

Vassallo said he has seen a number of concerned blood drive sponsors calling to ask about whether or not they should continue with their drive.

“We and other providers have seen cancellations where folks are concerned about the safety of their donors,” said Vassallo. “If there haven’t been human to human transmissions on a significant basis within your community it’s really safe to come out and donate blood as long as you’re prudent.”

Vassallo said people who have travelled to countries with sustained transmission in the last 28 days, are themselves recovering from coronavirus, are in close contact with known or suspected patients, or are feeling generally unwell are excluded from the donation process. 

“Frankly, donors who don’t feel well, they’re excluded early in the donation process as are people who have a temperature,” said Vassallo. “We let donors know if they have risk factors for coronavirus, don’t attempt to donate blood.”

There are many ways individuals can reduce the spread of coronavirus, an article published Feb. 28 by NPR’s Allison Aubrey states by avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoiding touching your face, staying home when you are sick, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe are all ways to keep yourself and others safe.

Originally published at https://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/03/06/blood-banks-trying-to-assure-donors-its-safe-to-give-despite-coronavirus-fears/.

Results Still Coming In For San Joaquin County Mayoral, City Council Races

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, 29, stands in front of city hall. (Andrew Nixon / CapRadio)

By: Rich Ibarra, Danielle McKinney 

While not all votes have been counted, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs is leading in his effort to serve another term. The initial election results show the incumbent with a 20 point  lead over his closest rival, Kevin Lincoln. 

Since none of the  eight candidates won over 50% of the votes, the top two will face each other in a November runoff.  Tubbs is garnering nearly 41% of the vote with Lincoln running in second with 21% of the vote. 

Tubbs said it’s a challenge that he’s faced before in running first for city council and again when he ran for mayor.

“If we go to a November runoff, it will be my third runoff. I’ve got 70% four years ago, 62%  four years before that, so I think we’ll have more time, we’ll have nine months to knock on doors and talk to people,” said Tubbs. “I think when we do that, we’ll be successful.”

As for the Stockton City Council races, the most current election results show Dan Wright leading 30 points over Fernando Duarte for District 2 City Council member. Kimberly Warmsley has a 15 point lead over Gloria Allen for District 6 City Council member. 

More than 200,000 voters in San Joaquin County are registered to cast their ballot by mail, but those ballots are coming in very slowly , but  those ballots are coming in very slowly. As of Friday Feb. 28, the county elections office had only received 40,000 mail-in ballots.

Registrar of Voters Melinda Dubroff said final results might come well after the election.

“We’re seeing ballots being turned in later and later. Not as many people voted right off the bat when they got the ballot in the mail,” said Dubroff. “We are going to have a lot of ballot counting to do even after election day.”

Dubroff said that about 20,000 votes were cast at polling places on Super Tuesday. 

“What’s remarkable is that we had 20,000 registered voters come out to the polls and cast their ballots,” said Dubroff. “ We had 40,000 vote-by-mail ballots dropped off at the polls. So we received the same number of vote-by-mail ballots at the polling places as we did the entire period prior to election day.”

Originally published at https://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/03/05/results-still-coming-in-for-san-joaquin-county-mayoral-city-council-races/.

Five Takeaways From Gavin Newsom’s 2020 State Of The State Address

California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature at the Capitol Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,POOL)

By: Sammy Caiola, Emily Zentner, Danielle McKinney

Gov. Gavin Newsom made the unusual decision Wednesday to devote his entire annual State of the State address to California’s homelessness crisis, which has been an issue for decades.

Newsom said that those experiencing homelessness in California represent “a casualty of institutional failures” and have fallen through holes in the state’s safety net.

“This crisis was not created overnight and it will not be solved overnight — or even in one year,” the governor said. “But as a state, we must do everything we can to ensure no Californian is homeless.”

The speech seemed to have some level of bipartisan support, but Republican political consultant Luis Alvarado said that Newsom would have to cross the aisle to deal with an issue of this scale.

“It’s important to recognize that the governor does have a huge fight ahead of him and he’s going to need the support of Democrats and Republicans,” Alvarado said. “It’s gonna be a great fight for Californians but Republicans have demonstrated that they are going to stand up and be partners of this process.”

Here are five key takeaways from Newsom’s speech:

Emergency Housing Trailers Are Headed Around The State, Including To Stockton

Newsom signed an executive order last month deploying emergency housing trailers and services around the state to aid homeless families and seniors. The first trailers were deployed to Oakland and Los Angeles County.

The next round of trailers are now headed to Santa Clara, Riverside, Contra Costa and Sonoma counties and the city of Stockton, Newsom announced in his speech.

Also as a part of that executive order, the state is making 286 state properties available to be used for homelessness solutions by local governments for free today. These properties include vacant lots, fairgrounds, armories and more.

Cutting Red Tape Around Housing Development

Newsom also made clear in his speech that he wants the state to “eliminate roadblocks to housing and shelter” by streamlining the development process.

Newsom signed a law last year exempting all housing and shelters for homeless people in Los Angeles from environmental review, and said in his speech that he wants to expand the bill to include all homeless shelters and supportive housing across the state. 

Newsom also called for getting to “‘yes’ on these innovative approaches” to homeless housing cutting red tape around innovative models of homeless housing like hotel/motel conversions and tiny homes, and for a commitment to make it easier to build affordable, multifamily homes near transit and downtowns. This is what SB 50, a controversial housing measure, aimed to do, but the bill failed a few weeks ago.

“We need more housing, not more delays,” he said.

Compelling Mentally Ill People Experiencing Homelessness Into Care

A point Newsom mentioned multiple times in his remarks is the connection between health care and housing.Throughout his speech, he pushed for the state to create solutions that deal with both of these struggles. 

As part of this, Newsom pointed to hopes to aid mentally ill people who are not capable of accepting help and treatment in the first place.In his speech, he said that Laura’s Law, which allows counties to compel certain mentally ill people into outpatient mental health treatment, is too hard to use.

He said the state needs to remove some of the conditions on counties trying to implement the law and compel mentally ill people into care.

Bills in recent years to eliminate barriers to providing the necessary services have failed. Counties can also currently choose whether or not to adopt Laura’s Law. Some advocates have pushed to make it mandatory statewide for all counties to adopt Laura’s Law, and a proposed bill would require counties to opt out of the law instead of opting into it.

Revamping The Mental Health Services Act To Support Mentally Ill Homeless People

On the topic of mental health and homelessness, Newsom also called for reforming the Mental Health Services Act, which distributes funds from a 1 % tax on personal income greater than $1 million to counties for mental illness prevention and community-based services.

Newsom said he wants to reform the act to focus funding on homeless people, at-risk and foster youth, and people involved in the criminal justice system. He also wants to expand what kinds of services the funds can pay for to include addiction treatment.

“Our state is too great to have to suffer with the problem that so many of our people are dealing with, both in our cities and our communities and our families,” Republican Assemblymember Marie Waldron said about Newsom’s speech on homelessness. “I am excited to be able to work in a bipartisan manner on this extremely important issue, which includes mental health services as well as substance use disorders.”

But some mental health advocates are wary of funneling money primarily toward people who are homeless or incarcerated.

“We believe it is important for the state to consider the need for additional investments, rather than shifts,” said Michelle Doty Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California, in a statement. “We know now more than ever that we cannot wait to deliver interventions until individuals have been institutionalized or are on the streets. We caution against embracing this ‘fail first’ approach.”

Newsom called out counties in the speech, saying that they are currently sitting on over $160 million in unspent funds from the act. He ended his remarks on the Mental Health Services Act with this message to counties: “Spend your mental health dollars by June 30, or we’ll make sure those dollars get spent for you.”

A Unified Data System Around Homelessness

A theme throughout the speech was Newsom’s wish for a policy of shared responsibility throughout the state for the homelessness crisis. As part of that, he called for a unified homelessness data system to track progress and local information in one place.

He proposed “strict accountability” and audits, saying he wanted to hold local governments responsible for results and take away access to new homelessness funding if local authorities don’t use it.

“I really appreciated the way he framed what we believe is a balance of increased accountability, a sharing of responsibility, between city, county and state government and a commitment for an ongoing funding source,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

Originally published at https://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/02/19/five-takeaways-from-gavin-newsoms-2020-state-of-the-state-address/.

Sacramento To Host City’s First Ironman Triathlon

Athletes run down Ali’i Drive during the Ironman World Championship Triathlon, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Athletes looking to challenge their endurance will have the opportunity to take part in the first Ironman competition to be hosted in Sacramento next year.

The race will be held Oct. 24, 2021, with general registration opening July 2020.

The Ironman races have made a handful of appearances throughout California but Mike Testa, president and CEO of Visit Sacramento and the Sacramento sports commission, said this is the first Ironman competition to be held in Sacramento. The full-distance race with a total distance of 140.62 miles is to be completed within 17 hours. 

“The goal is to make this the largest Ironman in the country,” said Testa. “Very exciting news for our city, certainly welcoming thousands of athletes to our community is a great thing economically.” 

The economic impact to the community as result of Ironman is estimated to be around $15 million on an annual basis according to Testa.

“If you are participating in an event like Ironman you will often times bring your spouse and your family and friends, so this becomes much more of a happening,” said Testa. “The longer duration of stay in Sacramento benefits those of us who live here just from the economics that it delivers.”

Testa said the Ironman race “is not for the faint of heart.”

“It starts with a swim that’s just over 2 miles followed by a bike ride which is 112 miles and it concludes with a full marathon of 26 miles,” said Testa. “The most fit people in the world participate in Ironman competitions, [it’s] a big deal for Sacramento to be able to host this.”

The official triathlon course has yet to be determined, but participants can expect a down-river swim, a scenic bike ride through the surrounding Sacramento area and a run along the river trail.

“With a lot of these events they want to get into the market and look at what the best challenge for the athletes will be,” said Testa. “Because we have a year and a half before this event convenes here we have some time to map that out.”        

Testa said the news of this event being hosted in Sacramento is a testament to the city’s “rising star” that Sacramento is attracting events of this size. 

“Ironman is an internationally recognized brand, it brings with it a cache to the cities it goes to,” said Testa. “The fact that Sacramento is now on that list I think says a lot about where we are as a city.”

Originally published at https://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/02/28/sacramento-to-host-citys-first-ironman-triathlon/.

LGBTQ Community Praises California Gov. Newsom’s Pardon Of Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, center, and state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to posthumously pardon civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, who was jailed for having gay sex nearly 70 years ago. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo)

Gov. Gavin Newsom posthumously pardoned humanitarian and civil rights leader Bayard Rustin on Wednesday, inviting widespread praise from the LGBTQ community.  

Rustin, who died in 1987, was “a visionary champion for peace, equality, and economic justice,” according to the pardon certificate. He was arrested and convicted in 1953 for having consensual sex with two men in a parked car. 

His pardon request was made by members of the California Legislature’s Black and LGBTQ caucuses, who inspired Newsom to launch a clemency initiative that will allow pardons for people like Rustin.  

“I applaud the Governor for broadening this work to provide other criminalized LGBT people with a path to clear their records of wrongful convictions on homophobic charges,” Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener, who  is chairman of the LGBTQ Caucus, wrote in a statement. 

Wiener said “generations” of LGBTQ people were “branded criminals and sex offenders simply because they had consensual sex.”

The governor acknowledged on Wednesday that, historically, there have been laws in place to oppress, stigmatize and criminalize LGBTQ people. Newsom thanked those who advocated for Rustin’s pardon in a statement and encouraged others “in similar positions to seek a pardon to right this egregious wrong.”

Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director for LGBTQ rights group Equality California, thanked the governor for a process in which LGBTQ people and their families can come forward to seek relief from unjust prosecutions of the past.

“The governor has taken a really important step in creating a pathway for people who were convicted under these unjust laws to come forward and seek relief from those convictions,” Garrett-Pate said.

Black Caucus chairwoman and Democratic Assemblymember Shirley Weber said it took nearly 70 years for Rustin to have his legacy in the Civil Rights movement uncompromised by this incident and thanked the governor for granting Rustin posthumous pardon.

“Rustin was a great American who was both gay and black at a time when the sheer fact of being either or both could land you in jail,” Weber wrote in a statement. “This pardon assures his place in history.”

In Sacramento, LGBT Community Center CEO David Heitstuman said Newsom’s clemency initiative is an opportunity for people to heal from homophobic decisions in the past.

“Any time there is an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past, it’s also an opportunity to educate folks and to help them understand how various laws have been used to oppress marginalized people,” Heitstuman said.

He said Newsom’s decision is a win for human and equal rights, yet acknowledged that there is still work to be done on a cultural level to eliminate stigma and bias.

“I think we have a long way to work on the cultural change within our community beyond just what was legally required,” Heitstuman said.

Newsom’s new clemency initiative will work to identify candidates and process applications with the goal of pardoning eligible individuals. Information on how to apply for a pardon can be found at www.gov.ca.gov/clemency.

Originally published at https://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/02/05/lgbtq-community-praises-california-gov-newsoms-pardon-of-civil-rights-leader-bayard-rustin/.

Lots To Like: Front Street Animal Shelter Turns To Social Media To Increase Adoption Rate

Front Street Animal Shelter says that 85% of the animals that come through the shelter aren’t euthanized, up from 20% six years ago. (Bob Moffit / CapRadio)

Eva, a 2-year-old chihuahua, was given to Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento after she had birthed several litters of puppies and started losing her teeth.

Delaina Nimmo saw Eva on the Front Street Animal Shelter Facebook page, and adopted her after coming into the shelter.

“I came to look at some puppies and they didn’t have the puppies and I saw her and fell in love,” said Nimmo.  

Over the past six years Front Street has tapped into the power of social media to help animals that are struggling to be adopted by posting creative videos and photos exhibiting the shelter’s available pets and their personalities on Facebook. Since focusing on the use of Facebook, the shelter has been able to increase the number of animals spared from euthanasia from 20% to 85%.

Eva is the type of dog with needs that kept her from being a top adoption candidate. She has recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur, but Nimmo plans to keep her.

“I’m still not giving her back,” said Nimmo. “We’re talking to the surgeon and see what he says and see if anything they can do.”

With over 190,000 Facebook followers, the shelter has had many of their videos go viral, reaching millions of views.

“We’ve seen a huge spike in our success since we began utilizing Facebook to reach out to our community,” Ryan Hinderman, public information coordinator at Front Street Animal Shelter said in a statement. “Through our staff’s hard work and by building our community through Facebook, our organization has completely transformed and we are now saving more animals than ever before.”

Ending euthanization of animals in California is an issue that has been picked up on a state level. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed making Califorina a “no-kill” state, which would help to “achieve the state’s long standing goal that no adoptable or treatable dog or cat is euthanized,” according to the budget summary.

In his 2020-21 state budget proposal, Newsom allocated $50 million for the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program to develop a grant program for animal shelters. 

In 2019, there were 6,426 adoptions and 912 euthanizations of cats and dogs in Sacramento county, a decrease from 2018 when over 1,000 were euthanized and 6,756 were adopted, according to county statistics. The shelter attributes Facebook to their success in saving more animal lives.  

“Facebook is a vital life saving tool for our shelter. When we’re full, our adoption promotions are shared far and wide, resulting in lines of hundreds of adopters,” said Hinderman in a statement. “When we have an animal with special needs that isn’t getting adopted, Facebook helps show them to the world so they can find a loving home like all the other pets.” 

Originally published at https://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/01/31/lots-to-like-front-street-animal-shelter-turns-to-social-media-to-increase-adoption-rate/.

You Can Get In Free To More Than 25 Sacramento-Area Museums This Saturday

(Robert Durell, California Museum Unity Center / Courtesy)

This Saturday more than 25 local museums will offer free admission as part of Free Museum Day, which will kick-off Sacramento Museum Week running Feb. 2-9. 

Guests will have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the region’s unique offerings, ranging from art to science to history. The 22nd edition of the annual event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last museum entry accepted at 4 p.m. See a full list of participating museums here.

Susan Voskuil, education manager at the Sacramento History Museum, said  her museum and others in the Sacramento area work together to make sure people know about local museums and the things they have access to.

“It’s really important for people in the area to know about all the different museums that they have access to,” said Voskuil. “It’s not just museums that are in the Sacramento area, the museums go up to Roseville and Folsom and down to Locke and in Woodland. ” 

Voskuil said that the Sacramento History Museum is hoping for around 3,000 visitors and will have a variety of special activities. 

“Outside we always do gold panning and we’ll also have a couple examples of old gambling games that people used to play, we’re going to have sarsaparilla for sale which is a lot like root beer,” said Voskuil.

When it comes to navigating  Free Museum Day, Voskuil said it’s about execution.

“Look at the list of the  museums, see where you want to go and just kind of plan it out. There’s a lot of really great things that go along with free museum day.”

There are 28 museums in Sacramento according to Visit Sacramento, some of which are off the beaten path. 

Dr. Bob LaPerriere, retired dermatologist and curator at the Museum of Medical History in East Sacramento, said the museum participates every year. His aim is to share the museum with as many people as possible and to give insight into how medicine has changed over the past 150 years.

LaPerriere said there will be unique things to see and explore this Saturday as part of the event.  Throughout the day, guests can watch demonstrations of an iron lung and a newer model respirator. Admission to the Museum of Medical history is always free, La Perriere said, but being open Saturday for Museum Day is a big draw and they do a lot of special things. 

“We [will] have about five retired physician docents that are available for questions, a display of old anatomy textbooks going back to the mid 1800s and a variety of things that normally would not be available  during the week,” said LaPerriere.

LaPerriere said they expect anywhere from 200-400 visitors to come through the museum on Free Museum Day. 

While most of the museums participating in Free Museum Day are within walking distance of each other, the Sacramento Regional Transit District has partnered with Sacramento Area Museums to offer free transportation on all buses and light rail trains for museum guests traveling with a printed SacRT Museum Day flyer or a screen-shot of the flyer on a smartphone.  For visitors from out of town who want to check out Free Museum Day, Sacramento Area Museums partnered with Amtrak to provide 45% off tickets to Sacramento on Feb. 1. 

Free admission and transportation isn’t the only perk of Free Museum Day. A variety of restaurants will offer discounts and specials to guests who show an “I Love Sac Museums” sticker, which are given out at participating museums. 

While admission is waived on Feb. 1, regular admission cost applies at all museums throughout Sacramento Museum Week. There will be special events and activities throughout museum week at many local museums. 

Click here for a list of participating museums, restaurants and the SacRT flyer. 

Originally published at: https://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/01/30/you-can-get-in-free-to-more-than-25-sacramento-area-museums-this-saturday/.

Mohr Hall on track for fall 2020 occupation

The old Mohr Hall is the process of being demolished next to the new Mohr Hall under construction Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo by Sara Nevis|Photo Editor|snevis.express@gmail.com)

By Danielle McKinney & Rose Vega

The brick wall of a portion of old Mohr Hall, which contained City College’s nursing, allied health, geology and physics departments, stands half intact amid a pile of rubble neighboring the rising structure, the new Mohr Hall. 

Construction began in September 2018 and ever since, Los Rios Facilities Planning and Engineering Specialist Charlie Uhlymer and his teamhave been working full days to bring the project to completion. 

“My overall role is from conception to end of construction,” said Uhlymer. “I came into this project during design development, and I just helped push the project through construction documents and now we’re in construction.” 

The new Mohr Hall is projected to be completed in March 2020 and will continue to house its original departments, with classes set to resume in the fall semester, according to Los Rios Director of Facility Planning and Construction Dan McKechnie. 

“We’re really lucky to have the team we have here on this campus. It’s making this job go really smooth,” said McKechnie. 

Construction began with a partial tear-down of the old Mohr Hall, which was completed in 1962. A complete tear-down was not an option as the electrical unit that powers Mohr Hall also is the power source for Lillard Hall, according to McKechnie. The remaining section of old Mohr Hall still stands to provide power to Lillard Hall and avoid displacing more people, he said. 

Plans are still in review for new Lillard Hall, which was built in the 1960’s around the same time as Mohr hall and named after City College’s first president Jeremiah B. Lilliard.

“It’s like a hopscotch kind of thing. We tore down a portion of Mohr Hall, built new Mohr Hall, tear down the rest of old Mohr Hall, which leaves a blank spot,” said McKechnie. “We’ll build new Lillard Hall there [on the blank spot], and then once new Lillard Hall is completely constructed, we’ll tear down old Lillard Hall.”  

The new Mohr Hall designed by Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture will be a 28,373-square-foot, environmentally sustainable building. The $17 million project began construction Sept. 12, 2018. The building which is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified will include low flow water fixtures, no volatile organic compound finishes, water bottle filling station and energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems, according to City College Communications and Public Information Officer, Kaitlyn Collignon.

The team has an on-site state building inspector who works under the direction of architects and engineers. James Derrick has been a state building inspector for the past 26 years and said he enjoys his job.    

“I get to climb on beams and stuff. I get to rappel down from the roof, inspect nailing. It’s just a fun job I have,” said Derrick.

When it comes to construction, a solid team is as important as a sturdy foundation, according to McKechnie.  

“Everyone has the same end goal, which is to get done, get it [building] occupied and move on. And build a project that we don’t have to come back to,” said McKechnie.

He added that while no construction job is without setbacks, this project has operated quite smoothly.

“When you come into a large job, a multi-million dollar job like this one, you expect to have setbacks, but generally I would say they’ve all just been challenges that have been met and moved on from,” said McKechnie. 

Derrick said that when there have been setbacks, the team is swift to address the issue.  

“If I find something that not quite per the plan or codes or something and I bring it up, they’re very quick to fix it,” said Derrick.

City College President returns to campus after car accident

City College President Michael Gutierrez has returned to campus on a limited basis after spending the last six weeks healing after a car accident that left him with major injuries. He is pictured here in the Quad Sept. 2017. Photo by Bobby Castagna

Oct. 12 will mark two months since the four-car collision that left City College President Michael Gutierrez with a concussion, a lacerated liver, four compressed back fractures and 15 fractured ribs. 

In an Oct. 1 email to the City College community, Gutierrez announced his return to campus on a limited basis. 

“I am starting off really part-time—four hours a day,” said Gutierrez, the faintest scar still visible on his forehead. “I can tell you that day one while I felt fine, by the end of the day I was pretty tired, I was pretty whipped actually.”

After six weeks of focusing on his healing at home, the president is on the mend and adjusting to being back on campus. 

“As I was walking into the building, it was [with] some mixed emotions because it was a little bit of excitement mixed with nervousness mixed with even a little bit of doubt—not in my abilities as much as ‘Am I going to get tired after 30 minutes? Am I going to stay focused during the entire day?’ Am I going to be able to connect the dots with information like i used to before?’” said Gutierrez. 

”Once I made my way up the stairs, I saw two or three people that smiled at me when I came in, and all of those emotions I had kind of went away and changed to just joy being here. I’m really happy to be back.” 

Gutierrez said that while he has made significant progress as far as his healing is concerned, he is still taking things day by day. 

“Everything has healed from the outside, for the most part,” said Gutierrez. “I’ve got some scars on different parts of my face and my arms and my back. It’s really the inside that’s still not quite right. But it is what it is right now. I’m grateful.” 

“You just kind of plug away day in and day out and you try to keep negativity out of your head and thats what im trying to do,” said Gutierrez. “Even as bad as it was, it still could have been worse.”

Gutierrez said that the amount of love and support he received during his time recovering after the accident was heartwarming and overwhelming.

“My family has been really just tremendous and really supportive and helpful. The college community have all been incredibly supportive, and it’s ranged from cards, emails, flowers to people cooking meals for me and the family,” said Gutierrez. 

“It was so helpful because sometimes it’s hard to say yes—we have a lot of pride, and were like, ‘What have we done to deserve this attention?’ But people are genuinely giving individuals. My family and I talked a lot about this, and we know that if one of our loved ones or friends were in this situation, we would be giving, too. We just happened to be in this situation, and it’s OK to say, ‘Yes, thank you.’”

Gutierrez’s vehicle was rear-ended on the Yolo Causeway as he was enroute to City College’s Davis Center. He got behind the wheel for the first time last week since the accident and said he felt like a teenager who had just started driving. 

“It had been awhile,” he admitted. “I had some butterflies getting on the road. I drove to go get a haircut with my son, and on the drive back I really didn’t even think about it, so it was better.”

Since Gutierrez has been back on campus for eight days, he said he is starting to feel settled in. He said that while he isn’t quite where he was physically before the collision and still has some healing to do, he knows he will recover. 

“I really feel like I’m back at Sac City and an employee, and I really feel part of the college again,” said Gutierrez. “It took a little bit because I just didn’t have the endurance—and I still don’t—but I’ll ease myself in little by little.”