A Flight of Angels

Story by Susan Maxwell Skinner; Photos courtesy of the Bristow family  |  2018-06-14

Richard and Sue Joy Bristow

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Like Jack and Jill, Richard and Sue Joy Bristow walked up the hill on Deodar Street daily. Hand-in-hand, they strode down Landis, Marshall, Stanley and California Avenues on a daily journey. I recently pulled over and offered my friends a ride home. “No thanks,” they laughed. “Hiking around together is something we love.”

Their kids had moved away. Jack and Jill were now an energetic Derby and Joan partnership, enjoying a retirement that was a series of outdoorsy adventures. In their private aircraft, they buzzed away to famous air shows and aviation museums. “Richard and Sue Joy were always taking off somewhere,” observed a neighbor. On a sunny day last month, the Bristows (both 67) took off and never came back. Their aircraft plummeted after takeoff from Petaluma Airport, Sonoma County.

“Dad had piloted that plane thousands of times,” attests his son Bobby (36). “We’d all flown across country with him and we know how careful he was. We can’t imagine the accident was caused by anything other than major mechanical failure.” While still under investigation, the event is an undisputed community tragedy. Nearly 500 relatives, friends and members of Sacramento’s real estate fraternity attended the memorial event at Bayside Adventure Church, Roseville. Afterwards we witnessed a four-plane flyover in “missing man” formation. Glancing from the sky in tears, the couple’s son Bobby stated simply: “Mom and dad would have liked that.”

Richard and Sue Joy Bristow were high-flying adventurers. Richard earned his pilot’s license while at high school and flew for more than 50 years. As hobby, the real estate broker worked on aircraft with the same precision as he constructed huge-scale locomotives and restored antique clocks.  In the Bristow house, miniature trains run room-to-room at ceiling level. Model aircraft are suspended from the beams. Son Bobby inherited dad’s technical genius and together they created an electronic sound-and-light show that annually choked their cul-de-sac with Christmas crowds. This began when Bobby set out to give dad a special Christmas during his recovery from cancer. With food donations from visitors, the show reinforced the family’s ethic of giving back.

Their bigger donations were less razzle-dazzle but more life-changing. Richard and Sue Joy supported the Kiwanis Family House in Sacramento and an organization called Angel Flight, whose volunteers fly patients for medical treatment. The effort avoids the need for exhausting and costly car journeys. Pilots like to absorb all flight expenses and, in many years with the service, Richard Bristow flew hundreds of missions.  “I look for ways to be constructive and help others,” he said. “When people ask what I’m doing next day, it’s great to say I’m flying a cancer patient to treatment. You feel good about flying and good about the day.”

The Bristows also boosted the Experimental Aircraft Association and its Young Eagles program that introduces young people to aviation. With a network of volunteer pilots, the group has given more than two million kids a first free flight. “Dad had loved flight since he was a little boy,” explains daughter Heatherlee (46). “He wanted kids to share the opportunities he had. Through the years, he inspired several to follow their dreams into aviation careers.” After the Bristows’ deaths, the EAA announced plans to initiate a training scholarship in their name.

Sharing spilled into Bristow’s professional life. In a long history with Coldwell Banker, the broker was a friend to clients and colleagues. “So many of us learned from Richard,” says former co-worker Ron Greenwood. “He never let his competitive spirit impede what was best for a client or a fellow agent. He gave me a nugget of wisdom: never count your money before a deal is closed. A successful deal was something a realtor must carefully tend till the very end.”

The realtor’s 40-year companion was artistic, vivacious Sue Joy. She worked in a medical office before marrying Bristow and becoming a full-time mom. “They had the best marriage you could hope for,” said daughter Jennifer (45). “Even after 40 years together, mom was always excited about going on a date with dad.”

Sue Joy Lynn and her family had moved west from Missouri in the 1950s, settling a block from the Bristow’s Arden Park home. Though at elementary, middle and high schools together -- and though their families were friendly -- Richard and Sue Joy barely made eye contact. Each had early marriages and a daughter a piece before rediscovering each other in 1978.  Recalls daughter Heatherlee: “Mom fell in love with a chicken and rice dish dad made.  They had daughters almost the same age and we all started bike-riding and picnicking like a family. It wasn’t long before dad swept mom away to the Golden Gate Bridge and proposed. From sharing a burger to cycling the 237-mile Katy Trail (Missouri), they relished every moment they had together.”

Their final adventure was a day excursion to share a burger lunch in Petaluma.  The couple was excited about an upcoming trip to the Cayman Islands that would mark their 40th wedding anniversary. The much-anticipated date fell a day after Richard and Sue Joy’s memorial. “I take solace in the fact that they made their final journey together,” says son Bobby.

“Mom and dad told us diving in the Caymans was heavenly,” ponders daughter Heatherlee.  “I believe heaven the most beautiful place you could ever imagine. I like to think of what happened to them was just an upgrade in their plans.”

Assemblyman Cooley Honors Local Nature Area at 2018 California Nonprofit Day Celebration

From the Office of Ken Cooley  |  2018-06-14

Assemblyman Ken Cooley, Koobs Nature Area Chairperson Linda Jones and Kiwanis Club President Wayne Lang stand proud as the Earl J. Koobs Nature Area is recognized as the 8th Assembly District’s 2018 Nonprofit of the Year.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – On Wednesday, June 6, Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) honored the Earl J. Koobs Nature Area as the 8th Assembly District’s 2018 Nonprofit of the Year.

Each year, the California Legislature hosts the California Nonprofits Day Celebration to recognize nonprofit organizations that make significant contributions to their communities.

“The Koobs Nature Area is a gem of the region, with educational opportunities inlaid in beautiful, native scenery,” said Assemblyman Cooley.  “I am very proud to honor the Earl J. Koobs Nature Area as this year’s Nonprofit of the Year, and to share the fantastic opportunity Sacramentans have to immerse themselves in our local, natural ecosystem.”

The Earl J. Koobs Nature Area’s 4.7 acres of land was purchased by La Sierra High School and Garfield Elementary students in 1971 for environmental education, and dedicated to Earl “Ranger Jack” Koobs in 1973 to honor his inspiration for and dedication to the area.  The Nature Area features hiking trails, three ponds, a bird sanctuary, butterfly gardens, and a self-guided tour with thirty markers.  The Nature Area’s plants are predominantly native to the Sacramento region.  Throughout the year, the Nature Area hosts free public events with educational themes and hands-on activities.  Additionally, the Nature Area dedicated the first-known monument to the Vietnam War in California in 1973, and hosts annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies.  The Nature Area is currently maintained by the Kiwanis Club of Carmichael and their partnerships with volunteers from local nonprofit organizations, schools, and park districts, and Boy, Girl, and Brownie Scouts.

“Our club brings meaningful learning and fun to families interacting with nature area, and it is an honor to receive this recognition,” said Wayne Lang, President, Kiwanis Club of Carmichael.

Assemblyman Ken Cooley represents the 8th Assembly District which includes the communities of Arden-Arcade, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Murieta, Rosemont, Wilton and other portions of unincorporated Sacramento County.   For more information, please visit http://asmdc.org/members/a08/

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Sheriff’s Canine Association Recognized as Non-Profit of the Year

Sergeant Shaun Hampton, Sheriff’s Spokesman  |  2018-06-14

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Canine Association was selected by Senator Ted Gaines as a California Non-Profit of the Year. Photo courtesy Sacramento County Sheriff

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Canine Association was selected by Senator Ted Gaines as a California Non-Profit of the Year and was recently recognized at the State Capital during the third annual California Non-Profits Day.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s Canine Association officially became recognized as a non-profit association in 2005.  The association was initially established by members of the Sheriff’s Department Canine Detail who saw a need for financial assistance to aid the retired canines after they had served our community.

These fantastic animals are often asked to do extremely hazardous work and can be credited for saving lives, apprehending criminals who have evaded capture, and also locating missing persons.  Some of them are also trained to locate firearms, explosives, narcotics, and evidence.

Since its inception, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Canine Association has supplemented the training and equipment of our active canine teams and enhanced the safety of our deputies and their canine partners.  The association has also been able to assist with veterinary bills after these dogs retire and fully cover the costs of all burial fees associated with each of our retired canines when they are laid to rest.

We share an incredible partnership with the SSDK9 Association to ensure these canines are taken care of during and after their service to the community.  To learn more about the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Canine Association, please visit their website at www.ssdk9.com.

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CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Under the provisions of the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, convicted Sexually Violent Predator Christopher Lawyer was allowed to move to California and resided in Carmichael. Today, Judge Fiorini revoked his parole and ordered that state corrections officials advise Colorado officials of the court’s ruling in anticipation of Lawyer’s return. Below is a letter to Carmichael residents from Senator Nielsen, who has actively followed this case:

“Today, residents of Carmichael can breathe a sigh of relief. Superior Judge Curtis Fiorini revoked the parole of Sexually Violent Predator Christopher Lawyer. Judge Fiorini ordered that state corrections officials advise Colorado officials of the court’s ruling in anticipation of Lawyer’s return. 

“Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Gold did a masterful job in presenting overwhelming evidence to demonstrate Lawyer’s multiple violations of his parole conditions.

“Lawyer will remain in jail while Secretary Scott Kernan of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation confers with Colorado officials in order to reach agreement on the return of Mr.Lawyer.

“I cannot overstate my appreciation to Mr. Gold and District Attorney Annie Marie Schubert for their leadership and dedication to keeping the people of Sacramento County safe. My thanks as well to all of you for your involvement and diligence in making certain that Carmichael remains safe and family friendly.

“My staff and I will continue to monitor the situation until Mr. Lawyer is permanently removed from our community.”

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Xolos de Tijuana Will Face Monarcas Morelia at Raley Field on July 11 at 7:00 p.m.

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Pazzo Sports is proud to bring two of the most successful soccer teams in Mexico to Raley Field in West Sacramento on Wednesday July 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Mexico’s best known “Dog Pound” Xolos de Tijuana will clash for the first time ever in Sacramento with México’s soccer royalty Monarcas Morelia, two of the top teams in the Liga MX this season.

Xolos de Tijuana Manager is Diego Cocca from Argentina, and he will be guiding star players Miller Bolanos, Fernando Arce, Victor Malcorra, Goalkeepers Luis Michel, Gibran Lajud, and the rest of the dynamic starters.

For Manager Roberto Hernandez, Monarcas, Carlos “El Guero” Fierro, Gabriel Achilier, Sebastian Sosa, Carlos Guzman, Angel Sepulveda, Juan Pablo Rodriguez, El Chino Millar, and the rest of the first team will be anxious to face Xolos for the first time ever in California’s capital city.

The Liga MX is the top level of the Mexican Soccer League, and each of the teams that have played at Raley Field in the past have played their hearts out in appreciation of the thousands of soccer fans that have attended the matches.

Tickets to this historic match are on sale now and available at rivercats.com and ticketmaster.com

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - With “MeToo” awareness bringing to light stories of sexual harassment and rape across communities and through generations women are becoming empowered to just say NO!

When people possess the skills of martial arts they have learned how to protect themselves from personal assault and gained the confidence to say NO and make it stick. Robinson’s Taekwondo has been teaching women safety, conflict avoidance and empowering students since 1975 with TKD techniques and self-defense skills.

Unfortunately, in Grandmaster Clint Robinson’s experience, the women seeking training in martial arts often come to the values and skills after the fact.

To empower women with knowledge, skills and confidence Robinson’s TKD is offering a 3.5 hour  Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention/SHARP Seminar specifically designed for women to increase awareness and develop practical physical techniques and strategies to counter social and sexual assault.

With women standing together to say no to harassment and sexual assault now, the skills of martial arts are one of the most important tools in reducing future “MeToo” calls for help.

RTKD S.H.A.R.P. Clinic is for women only and takes place Saturday, June 23 from

1pm-4:30pm. Registration online is required to reserve space at www.robinsonstkd.com under the Events tab.

Please join the Black Belt instructors of Robinson’s Taekwondo for a special women’s empowerment event to learn prevention psychology, predator habits, physical techniques to escape and countermeasures for sexual assault. These easy to learn, practical techniques utilize vocal and physical measures to disengage unwanted sexual attention, avert social physical advances and injure sexual predators. Striking techniques utilizing hands, legs and feet are practiced with methods of escape and evasion to seek help in this 3.5 hour event.

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The Passing of an Ambassador

Effie Yeaw Nature Center Release  |  2018-06-12

Tanner - 1997-2018

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of Tanner, the Red-tailed Hawk, a 20 year resident of Effie Yeaw Nature Center.

On Sunday, June 10, Tanner passed away unexpectedly but peacefully, surrounded by his caretakers. Although his exact age was unknown, he was estimated to be about 21 years old. Tanner came to the Nature Center in March 1998 after sustaining an injury as a juvenile. His flying was permanently impaired, making him non-releasable into the wild.  

Instead he joined the Nature Center family of animal ambassadors, becoming one of our most beloved and inspiring raptors. Tanner would amaze hundreds of school children each year with his awesome size and curious gaze. He was also a favorite bird in our public weekend programs. Visitors who were lucky enough to hear Tanner's piercing call, would not soon forget it! 

He was a true ambassador, inspiring not only visitors and students, but staff and volunteers as well. May you reach new heights - free to soar now, Tanner! 

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Capitol Democrats Propose New Fireworks Tax

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Celebrating America’s independence this Fourth of July? There’s a tax for that.

Legislative Democrats have proposed a tax increase on Fourth of July fireworks sales. The new fireworks tax will tack on another 3 percent to each fireworks purchase.

Even though the state is working with a $9 billion budget surplus this year, Legislative Democrats cannot seem to get their hands on enough taxpayer money.

“Democrats have hit Californians with a new gas tax and housing tax over the past year,” said Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach). “Now, they want a new fireworks tax too?”

The fireworks tax (SB 794) will reach deeper into consumers’ pockets and likely reduce sales for local non-profit organizations that operate most fireworks stands in the state as fundraisers. Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have united in opposition.

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Best of Carmichael Professionals Honored

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-06-08

Carmichael business people posed with awards at Best of Carmichael Celebrations.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Business folk were toast of the town when the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce and Carmichael Times hosted a “Best of Carmichael” awards gala last week. Winners were decided by online vote and received proclamations from Congressman Ami Bera, Senator Jim Nielson, Assemblyman Ken Cooley and Sacramento County Supervisor Susan Peters.

Thirty-one contested categories included professional services, supermarkets, restaurants, fitness centers, non-profits – and dozens more entities that make Carmichael a business and residential hub. Dominating winners, the Carmichael Kiwanis Club took dual awards for best service group and for hosting the popular Taste of Carmichael Event. Rey Azteca Taqueria gained distinction as best restaurant and the River City Brewery took kudos for preferred pub. Ancil Hoffman Park was this year voted tops for recreation and the La Sierra Center (Carmichael Park District) scored as best community facility. The best grocery store award went to Bel Air #511. Best Automotive Service – American Eagle Auto Body – took an additional award as the business that won the most votes overall.

Now in its second year, the competition has gathered steam; 600 more voters than in 2017 participated and 150 guests enjoyed the celebration gala. A fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce, the event included a dessert auction with tempting treats bespoke from local bakeries and restaurants. In the Milagro Centre’s ballroom, Carmichael’s business community ate, drank and was exceedingly merry.

Below are 2018 winners:

Best Restaurant – Rey Azteca Taqueria Restaurant.

Best Fast Food – Roxie’s Deli & BBQ.

Best Pizza Restaurant – Mark & Monica’s Pizza.

Best Coffee Shop – Starbuck’s Manzanita.

Best Pub/Bar – River City Brewing Company.

Best Yogurt Shop – Crazy 4 Yogurt.

Best Grocery Store/Market – Bel Air #511 Carmichael.

Best Community Center – La Sierra Community Center.

Best Recreation/Entertainment – Ancil Hoffman Park.

Best School – Options for Youth.

Best Dental Office – Gabrielle Rasi, DDS.

Best Medical Doctor – Camellia Women’s Health.

Best Hospital – Mercy San Juan Medical Center.

Best Pet Services/Store – All Stage Canine Development, Inc.

Best Senior Living – Oakmont of Carmichael.

Best Veterinarian – Blue Cross Pet Hospital.

Best Salon/Beauty – Portfolio Image Skin Care.

Best Bridal Shop – Bride to Be Couture.

Best Automotive Service – American Eagle Auto Body.

Best Health/Fitness Spot – California Family Fitness.

Best Real Estate Office/Realtor – Coldwell Banker – Craig Diez.

Best Bank/Credit Union – Golden 1 Credit Union.

Best Accounting & Tax Service – Biegler CPA, Inc.

Best Photographer – Susan Maxwell Skinner.

Best Lawyer/Legal Service – MacFarlane Legal, Inc.

Best Insurance Service – Farmers Insurance – Katie Pexa Insurance Agency.

Best Funeral Home/Service (tied) -- Mount Vernon Memorial Park and Mortuary;

Lind Brothers Funeral Home & Crematory.

Best Resident/Commercial Contractor – E.S.L. Construction.

Best Service Club/Community Club – Kiwanis Club of Carmichael.

Best Church – Our Lady of Assumption.

Best Event of the Year – Taste of Carmichael.

Event sponsors included Advanced Home Health & Hospice & Affiliates; the Milagro Centre; SMUD; Trillium Real Estate; Arden Hills Resort; Atria Carmichael Oaks, Carmichael Times; Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center; Western Health Advantage; Armor Mimi Storage; Dr Gabrielle Rasi DDS; Battery Bill; Christ Community Church; Eskaton Village Carmichael; Farmers Insurance Kate Pexa Agency.

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Realtor Unflagging Friend to Felines

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-06-08

Katie Mack holds a recent acquaintance. Mister Blue was recently found on the lam in central Carmichael.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Clients who do business with Katie Mack seldom learn the Carmichael realtor has a nocturnal sideline. Mack (68) rescues some of the most vulnerable animals in our community – feral and abandoned cats. “Few people know how many lives are lost due to feline over-population in Sacramento,” she says.

Mack has long waged a one-woman campaign to supply friendless felines the help they need.

Not only does she have four semi-ferals enjoying the good life in her home, she visits, feeds and watches over a colony of 15 homeless cats several times each week. Using free spaying and neutering programs, she makes certain that these animals will not multiply their problems. In the past 15 years, she has also found homes for more than needy 100 kitties. “It’s not like I go looking for lost cats,” she explains. “They’ve a way of finding me.”

Mack’s latest rescue was a non-feral Russian blue male she called Mister Blue. “I used every method of advertising to find his owners,” she says. “He’d been so well taken care of, I couldn’t imagine how he ended up in the streets. He was laid-back, friendly and comfortable on any lap. He was clearly used to affection. He showed up at my doctor’s office on Fair Oaks Boulevard some weeks ago and decided to hang out. We took him to a vet and established he had a clean bill of health. I brought him home but he couldn’t stay with me; he needed a forever family.”

Through a rescue agency called Fluff Buddies, a Napa area family heard about the handsome orphan. “The husband and wife came to Carmichael to meet him with two of their kids,” says Mack. “They’d had a Russian blue for 13 years before he died. Mister Blue immediately jumped on the young daughter’s lap. He seemed to know these were his people. I heard he slept with his new mom and dad on his first night with them. The adoption came just in time; I was getting too fond of that sweet guy.  A happy ending makes rescue work worthwhile.”

“I’ve had cats all my life,” says the rescuer. “I’d love to see every cat loved and cared for. But I’m a busy, committed businesswoman with as many pets as I can handle.  People should not expect me to take on their stray animal problems but I am a resource; I can always suggest ways to find help.”

Advice on feral cat problems and animal birth control are offered by:

  1. The SPCA.
  2.  Sacramento County Bradshaw Animal Shelter (Bradshaw Road).
  3. The Animal Spay and Neuter (a non-profit located near Bradshaw Road).
  4. The Sacramento Area Animal Coalition.

Contact Katie Mack at: ms.ktmack@sbcglobal.net

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