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Lara Kong Shows Some of the Plays She Has Shared
Since the age of 14, Lara Kong has fundraised to share theater experiences with other teenagers.
Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

Baby, Take a Bow

Teenager’s Project Brings Theater to Youth

By Susan Maxwell Skinner
Posted: 1/30/2015

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - When the curtain fell on the California Musical Theater’s 2014 Music Circus season, another show time began for teenage entrepreneur Lara Kong.

Featured in this newspaper last year, the 18-year old had one—possibly final—season to find funds for scores of underprivileged school children to see musical shows. She accomplished that mission. By the time she graduates this June, the Country Day student will have raised more than $116,000 and shared four years of musical theater with the young Sacramentans she calls “my kids.”

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Students Show Their Talent at Annual Wayne Reimers Jazz Festival

By Anne Stokes
Posted: 1/30/2015

Grace Eastlick, Matthew Taylor, and Elias Bevan Perform At the Jazz Festival
Mission Avenue Elementary sixth-grader Elias Bevan (front right) plays the trombone with Matthew Taylor on tenor saxophone and Grace Eastlick on trumpet at the 2015 Kiwanis Wayne Reimers Jazz Festival at Rio Americano High School.
Photos by Anne Stokes

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - The 33rd annual Kiwanis and Wayne Reimers Jazz Festival filled the halls of Rio Americano High School with the swinging sounds of music on the evening of January 22nd. Co-sponsored by the San Juan Unified School District (SJUSC) and the Carmichael Kiwanis Club, the annual festival provides a venue for students to show off their talents in a non-competitive environment.

“The idea was to give all the bands in San Juan [Unified School District] a chance to come out and play for their peers and listen to other schools within the district,” explained event organizer Wayne Reimers. “The festival was founded on a non-competitive basis so we do not judge them or place them. Everybody, we hope, gets a positive experience out of this.”

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Hugh Gorman at the Great Wall of Carmichael
Muralist Hugh Gorman (assisted by Australian shepherd Gracie) touches up his “Great Wall of Carmichael.” Gorman created the 100-ft. landmark in 2003.
Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

Great Wall to Inspire Corridor Landscaping

By Susan Maxwell Skinner
Posted: 1/23/2015

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - A community landmark, the “Great Wall of Carmichael,” has inspired planned landscaping in Phase Two of Sacramento County’s boulevard corridor plan.

Breaking ground next summer, the $4.5 million phase will include traffic lights at Landis Avenue; new road surfaces, sidewalks, and bike lanes; landscaped street medians; underground utilities; and sculptures. Included in the revamp is the Fair Oaks and Grant corner where our Great Wall stands.

Commissioned for the mural project in 2002, artist Hugh Gorman portrayed the American River on its meandering path through millennia. New landscaping aims to reflect the free-flow of his design. Like the river, walkways here will adopt curving paths. River stones and a gravel mosaic, set in blue-green mortar, will form a dry creek bed in the place of some turf. Planting will echo riverside vegetation depicted on Gorman’s mural.

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Banqueters at Last Year’s Crab Feed
Guests enjoying the crab feed during last year’s banquet.
Photos courtesy of Walter Malhoski

Carmichael Rotary’s Annual Crab Feed

Posted: 1/23/2015

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - It’s time again for the Carmichael Rotary Club’s major fundraiser. The annual Rotary Crab Feed is Saturday, February 7th at La Sierra Community Center. Cocktails are at 6 p.m., and the crab dinner is at 7 p.m. The cost of tickets is $50 per person.

The event will feature great food, drink, music, and dancing with friends. The regular DJ, Sundance Kid, will be back with great songs and musical hits from the past as well as lively hits from the present.

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Beauty Out of Tragedy

Josh Ochner Turns His Passion for Photography Into a Positive Experience

Posted: 1/16/2015

A Field of Bright Sunflowers Under a Sky Full of Sunlit Clouds
Sunflower Dream: The peak of the sunflower season in the Sacramento Valley lasts only a few days out of each year. Ochner’s photograph “Sunflower Dream” shows golden flowers in the hundreds of thousands, full of life and reaching towards the sun.
Photos courtesy of Josh Ochner Photography

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - A rough childhood, one brother brutally murdered, another brother tragically killed in a motorcycle accident... photographer Josh Ochner found himself lost. He burnt all of his photographs, had given up on his dream of being a photographer, and was living out of his car until the day he decided to turn his passion for photography into a positive experience. And lucky for us he did. Now every image he takes is filled with emotion that we get to experience with him.

Ochner will be showing his solo work (for the first time in Sacramento) on dye-infused aircraft grade metal at Gallery 1075 in West Sacramento. This unique display of photography brings the photos and Josh’s emotions to life. The humble photographer will be there to explain all of the symbolism and emotion that each picture depicts.

The exhibit opened on Thursday, January 5th and will be running continuously until January 30th.

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Todd Morgan Surrounded By Fans At Theatre Event
Todd Morgan and friends: Carmichael Singer Todd Morgan (front row) was a fan magnet when he hosted a recent video-launch event at the Wilkerson Theater, Sacramento.
Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

Todd Morgan on the Town

By Susan Maxwell Skinner
Posted: 1/16/2015

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Hot duds, hot dancing, and red-hot music were on the menu when the Carmichael-raised heartthrob treated friends to a night out at Wilkerson Theater in Sacramento. The occasion marked the release of a promotion video for Todd Morgan’s song “Crazy Cryin’ Blues.”

A professional pianist and singer since age 15, the pompadoured prodigy graduated from Rio Americano High School. With his band, The Emblems, Morgan is a Sacramento institution and regular star of the Carmichael and Fair Oaks summer concert seasons. His boogie-woogie stylings are on the sound track of a soon-to-be-released scary movie called 1959, starring Julia Roberts’ brother Eric. The feature has won five film awards and is heading for the famous Cannes festival this spring. 1959 should reach American cinemas later this year.

Still living with his family in Carmichael, Morgan (24) has been busy making a new CD called “Sweet Pretender.” The album, which features 15 of his original songs, will soon be available.

Learn about Todd Morgan’s music at

Loving the Lido Shuffle

Hideaway Relocates After Twenty Years

By Susan Maxwell Skinner
Posted: 1/9/2015

Chamber Names 2015 Community Heroes

Members Root for Dusty Baker

By Susan Maxwell Skinner
Posted: 1/9/2015

The Year That Santa Almost Didn’t Come

By Edric Cane
Posted: 12/25/2014

Bikes Recycled for Kids in Need

Sheriff’s Toy Project Refurbishes Wheels

Posted: 12/18/2014

Foster Youth Receive Holiday Gifts and Stockings

Posted: 12/18/2014


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