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Best of Sacramento 2011

(page 7 of 7)

CIVIC LIFE

Best New Infrastructure
“Bringing the outside in” was the central theme for the newly opened TERMINAL B at Sacramento International Airport. Through a well-thought-out mix of design elements, artwork and concessions, the masterminds behind Terminal B’s development have achieved their thematic goal. Designed by Corgan Associates, the new $1 billion terminal is divided into two parts: landside, where travelers check in, claim baggage and reunite with loved ones; and the airside concourse, where planes await at 19 gates to whisk people away for business or pleasure. A two-car “people mover” train transports up to 62 travelers between concourse and landside, with less than a minute between trains. Terminal B uses less energy, thanks to airy ceilings and large glass panels, filling the airside terminal with natural light during the day. Other eco-friendly elements include low-flush fixtures in the restrooms and trims made of recycled wood. The majority of the artwork commissioned for the terminal comes from Northern California artists, with pieces from Gregory Kondos, Joan Moment and Suzanne Adan representing Sacramento. But executing the theme didn’t stop with the building’s design: Travelers can nosh at locally based concessions that include Old Soul, Esquire Grill and Cafeteria 15L, while “Good Day Sacramento” and The Sacramento Bee host retail shops. Seating areas at each gate are comfortable and come equipped with USB ports and outlets for business travelers. With a terminal like this, it’s almost worth a security pat-down.

Best Volunteer Idea
Caring for public parks throughout Sacramento has been low on the city government’s priority list for several years, with budgets being slashed dramatically and maintenance crews dwindling. But that doesn’t mean the parks have been forgotten: In neighborhoods throughout the city, residents are establishing volunteer corps to ensure their parks stay well-groomed and clean. One group, LAND PARK VOLUNTEER CORPS , keeps the area’s busiest public park looking good, with monthly volunteer crews coming through William Land Park to perform tasks once handled by park employees: planting, trimming, pond cleanup, etc. Another group, FRIENDS OF FREMONT PARK, reclaimed its park from drug dealers and prostitutes by convincing the city to lock the public restrooms. These cleanup crews are doing a great job—and they’re happy to do it. As Land Park Volunteer Corps founder Craig Powell says, “It’s fun, it’s healthy, and it helps our community.”

Best Urban Revival Project
It’s been a heckuva year for K STREET MALL. The opening of Pizza Rock, Dive Bar and District 30 made K Street Mall a new hotspot for eats, drinks and dancing. New hanging planters, benches and other landscaping features have added to K Street’s beauty quotient. But this month, the return of cars to the previously pedestrian-only mall may take the area to a whole new level of hustle. While the area has seen more foot traffic in the past year, the addition of cars opens up the space to many more people, according to Lisa Martinez, director of marketing and outreach for Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “It’s part of our long-term vision,” says Martinez. Next up: developing the 700-800 block of K Street, where a mixed-use project includes the addition of 100-plus residential units with ground-floor retailers and a live music venue.

Best Green Idea
Thanks to a federal grant, Priority Parking president Aaron Zeff was able to install ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS charging stations in two publicly accessible locations in Sacramento last year. The stations are part of the ChargePoint Network, which uses mobile apps to help EV owners find free or low-cost charging anywhere in the country. EV drivers visiting downtown can juice up at Harv’s Car Wash at 19th and L streets or at the Priority Parking garage at Ninth and L. Business was slow at first, says Zeff, but now there’s someone charging his or her car every day. One user is Stockton resident Catherine Kearney, who frequently charges her Nissan Leaf at Harv’s while she attends meetings nearby. When her car is fully charged, the ChargePoint system notifies her with a text message, so she can move her vehicle and allow another EV driver to “refuel.” “Sacramento is on the verge of taking the next step and really contributing to the planet,” says Kearney. “I’d love to see it become the green city it could be.” Expect to see more EV charging stations installed throughout the city in the coming year.

Best Civic-Minded Blog
Sometimes, the best ideas come under duress. In 2008, when business reporter Jon Ortiz was approached by his editor at The Sacramento Bee to come up with a blog concept focused on state workers, he resisted. “I thought it would beso narrow, and I wasn’t a big believer in blogs,” he admits. By choosing to focus on how state politics affects state employees, Ortiz laid the groundwork for The Bee’s STATE WORKER BLOG. A little over three years later, the blog has established itself as an information resource for the 220,000-plus state workers it serves. “It consistently is one of our best-read blogs,” says Bee executive editor Joyce Terhaar. Ortiz’s e-mail overflows with messages ranging from complaints about stinky colleagues to tip-offs on fraud. When he’s on vacation, his readers use the comments section as a virtual town square where they can share information, which is just fine with Ortiz. “I view myself as a conductor, and the people using the blog are the ones who drive it.” blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/

Best Idea To Get Sacramento Reading
Anyone who wants to quickly launch a project can learn a thing or two from the Sacramento Public Library. At the end of February, the library received a grant from the California State Library to purchase and circulate E-READERS to library patrons. By April 10, the e-readers were loaded with content and ready to be checked out. Early response was staggering, with hold queues surpassing 200 requests within a couple of weeks of the program’s launch. Currently there are 300 e-readers in circulation, all of them dedicated to a specific genre or interest, such as Best-sellers, Biography, Teen and Science Fiction. Each e-reader is preloaded with 20 books, though the Best-sellers e-readers include more than 40 titles to account for new releases. When a second batch of e-readers was added, the library system set aside 60 of the devices to serve as “Lucky Day” items, giving patrons visiting a branch the opportunity to check out an e-reader without having to place a hold. The program’s success has made the Sacramento Public Library a leader among libraries nationwide: The team behind the project is now educating other library systems on how to implement e-reader lending programs of their own. Sacramentans wanting to request an e-reader can stop by their local branch or visit the website and search for Nook. saclibrary.org

(page 4 of 7)

HOME + GARDEN + DESIGN

Best Place To Stock Your Backyard Henhouse
Under a new city ordinance, Sacramento residents are now allowed to keep up to three egg-laying hens in their backyard. Which raises the question: Where exactly do you buy egg-laying hens? Answer: BRADSHAW FEED & PET SUPPLY. Located on a dusty stretch of Bradshaw Road about 15 minutes outside town, this old-fashioned country store carries 35 to 40 chicken varieties, including standard breeds such as Rhode Island Red, White Leghorn and Ameraucana, and so-called “fancy” breeds like Golden Polish, Mottled Houdan and Sumatra. The baby chicks ($1.25 to $5 apiece) are housed by the dozens in deep, glass-fronted drawers. Once you make your selection, a staffer pops your chicks into a brown paper bag, gives you a care sheet and sells you everything you need to get started as an urban chicken keeper: heat lamp, pine shavings, chick waterer, food, etc. The payoff comes five or six months later, when your chickens start laying eggs. 7285 Bradshaw Road, Sacramento; (916) 369-8225

Best Modern Furniture
Interior designer Curtis Popp is not about to tell you what to think of his Soft Side Table, the first offering from his CPOPP WORKSHOP. He will say, however, that the 18-by-18-inch round wooden table with three brightly colored legs is “approachable but not stuffy.” We definitely agree on both counts: The warm walnut or white oak tabletop, with green, blue, orange or yellow legs, illustrates that Popp knows how to put the fun in functional. He sells the tables exclusively through his website, though he’s been approached by retailers wanting to carry the line. There’s also been interest from renowned hotelier Ian Schrager, and the table was featured in the Sunset Idea House this fall. Next up for CPopp Workshop: a coffee table version of the Soft Side Table. (916) 207-9106; cpoppworkshop.com

Best New Florist
Philip Rice was still in high school when he started working for a florist in Colusa. After the shop closed in 2009, he decided it was time to move to “the big city.” Yes, Sacramento—that big city. After purchasing EAST SAC FLORIST earlier this year, he considered changing the name to something “more designery,” then thought better of it. “The name fits the neighborhood. It’s casual but elegant,” he says—a phrase that also nicely describes Rice’s design style. Rice has worked for two governors and the Tournament of Roses parade, and he flies all over the country doing floral design and lighting for special events and destination weddings. Here in Sacramento, he’s especially known for his unique plant combos, such as topiaries underplanted with succulents and decorated with manzanita limbs. “It’s amazing what a dead branch will do,” he quips. 5379 H St., Sacramento; (916) 457-2699; eastsacflorist.com

Best Home Décor
Can’t spare the time (or the money) to fly to Paris for the famed Marché aux Puces
flea market? Then do the next best thing and drive to FLEURI in Carmichael. Owned and operated for the past 13 years by sisters Sonia Moreno and Sylvia Frazier, this charming shop overflows with gorgeous French antiques, linens, garden décor, pillows, vintage ribbon, china, candles and other things for the home too numerous to mention. Frazier goes to Paris on a shopping expedition once a year and brings back all manner of Francophilic treasures: farmhouse tables, chandeliers, iron beds, fireplace screens, hotel silver, antique postcards . . . the list goes on and on. We’ll always have Paris as long as Fleuri is around. 7301 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael; (916) 973-9848   

Best Wine Design
Helwig Winery owners David and Nancy Helwig wanted their new Amador County winery to reflect the history of the area. When they met with SAGE ARCHITECTURE, they immediately knew they’d found the right people for the job. “They had a very creative, subtle approach in capturing the rustic charm we wanted without making it look dated,” says Nancy. Through the use of metal roofing, board-and-batten wood siding and galvanized metal, Paul Almond and Pam Whitehead of Sage designed buildings that stand out from their surroundings yet blend in beautifully. With a nod to sustainability, the architects made use of oak and pine harvested during the clearing of the site in the tasting room and other areas of the property. 11555 Shenandoah Valley Road, Plymouth; (209) 245-5200; helwigwinery.com

 

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