NEWS AND FEATURES
Things seem to happen for a reason; sometimes quite unexpectedly, bringing joy in the most interesting forms. One day in 1992, I picked up a community weekly newspaper at a little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop after starting a new job with the State of California. It was one of those times when the press of work hadn't quite hit me in the new job. My new work location away from the main headquarters held lots of interest with all of the opportunities to check things out on my walks to and from the bus stop.
I skimmed through the stories and ads in the local community paper that day. As I sipped on a freshed squeezed cafe latte, there it was, a lonely little ad inside the back page: "Writer Wanted at community newspaper. Call for details or send resume and list of credits."
OK. So, the ad just got a smile out of me at first. Afterall, I hadn't majored in Journalism, didn't have a writing resume and couldn't boast of any writing credits. Then, I thought, why not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Besides the coincidence was too strong that the paper was run out of a small office only a block from my new job.
Fate couldn't have knocked on my door more loudly. Yet there was no joy when I stopped by with my professional resume which summed up all my bureaucratic experience. The scruffy-bearded publisher-editor-owner, sitting behind his manual type-writer in jeans and an open-collared shirt wasn't looking for a bureaucrat at the Suttertown News. And there I was in my brand new suit and tie, looking for all the world like the G-Man that I was.
But you know, sometimes an itch and a scratch are the very best of matches. Two weeks later I got a call from "Mr. Scruffy." Who cares that he was slightly desperate? I got my first assignment on a Wednesday with the final copy due the following Monday. And a week later, my second story became the cover story for the week. Soon after I was living the life and loving it--as a member of the editorial board, drinking free coffee with the rest of the gang, coming up with story ideas and making monumental news decisions for the "run on a shoestring" paper each week.
Thus began my three-year career in the newspaper business, chasing leads, pulling all-nighters to finish hot articles, joining paste-up parties the night before final copies went to the printers, and even making an occasional delivery to Espresso Metro, the little coffee shop downtown where I first caught the newspaper bug.
What follows are the titles of the fruits of my labor during those years on two community papers. Some of the titles (in red or purple font) are linked to their accompanying text; other links will be added as time permits. Feel free to browse through them if you are interested in a momentary slice of Sacramento's history through the eyes of a novice journalist pretending as hard as he could to be a newspaperman. If you get a similar chance to roll up your sleeves and get hands-on experience in journalism, my advice is to jump first, then figure out what you are going to do....
1. "A Tender Trap"Feature Article about THE TRAP, a well-known local watering hole in Sacramento's Greenhaven-Pocket neighborhood. Suttertown News, December 1992.
2. "Slice of the City"Cover Story about RODNEY'S Cigar Store at 10th and J Streets in Sacramento, CA. Suttertown News, January 1993.
3. "It's About Choice"Feature Article about CHOICES, a unique novelties boutique on K Street in Midtown Sacramento, CA offering a variety of notions and novelties. Suttertown News, January 1993.
4. "Taking Care of Business"News Story (co-authored with Tim Holt) about Sacramento's budding retail neighborhoods and how the city may be planning to foster their growth. Suttertown News, February 1993.
5. "Transit Man and the Budget of Doom"Cover Story about the future of Sacramento's Regional Transit (RT) system in the face of looming budget cuts. Suttertown News, February 1993.
6. "R Street Rumble"Cover Story about multiple-use housing/commercial construction projects in Sacramento, CA along the R Street Corridor. Suttertown News, March - April 1993.
7. "Housing: Running In Place"Feature Article on the chronic shortage of housing and plans for change in Sacramento's Central City. Suttertown News, March - April 1993.
8. "Councilman's R Street Connection"Feature Article on the chronic shortage of housing and plans for change in Sacramento's Central City. Suttertown News, March - April 1993.
9. "Sac State Parking"News Story on the pluses and minuses of a new parking garage being built on the camus of the California State University, Sacramento. Suttertown News, April 1993.
10. "Toxics Slow Housing Push"News Story on the impact of toxic contamination on plans to build new housing in downtown Sacramento, CA. Suttertown News, April 1993.
11. "Tenth Street Offers Rich Mix"Feature Article on ethnic cultural and business diversity along 10 blocks of 10th Street in Sacramento, CA. Suttertown News, May 1993.
12. "When Buildings Get Sick"Cover Story, first of a two-part series on reports of "sick building syndrome" in high rise state office buildings in Sacramento, CA. Suttertown News, May 1993.
13. "Crowd Pleaser"Feature Article on Sacramento's newly rehabilitated downtown main library. Suttertown News, June 1993.
14. "Messing With Chess"Feature Article on the creator of a new board game based on classical chess, played with 64 pieces and 256 squares. Suttertown News, July 1993.
15. "Notes From The Underground"Cover Story on Sacramento's aging sewer system, from the inside, out. Suttertown News, July 1993.
16. "Council Says 'No' to Parking Proposal"News Story on the City Council vote on a new downtown parking garage. Suttertown News, July 1993.
17. "Carved In Stone"Feature Article on Sacramento's Rukhala Monument Factory on Broadway across from the Sacramento City Cemetery. Suttertown News, July 1993.
18. "No Decision on R Street Projects"News Story reporting the City Council vote on new housing/commercial, multi-use construction projects in the section of downtown Sacramento known as the R Street Corridor. Suttertown News, July 1993.
19. "Buckaroos Never Die"Cover Story about the Senior Rodeo at the Amador County Fair Grounds (story and photos). Suttertown News, August 1993.
20. "If It's Thursday Night-It Must Be K-Street"Cover Story on the opening of the K-Street weekly open market in downtown Sacramento. The Old City Guardian, August 1993.
21. "Housing For Artists"News Story on newly constructed artists loft housing on 17th Street in mid-town Sacramento, CA. Suttertown News, September 1993.
22. "The Beat Goes On"Feature Article on the opening of a new music store and coffee shop in mid-town Sacramento. Suttertown News, November 1993.
23. "The Big Tent"Feature Article about a local Sacramento resident who goes to the Barnum and Bailey clown college and makes her debut in the big circus tent. Suttertown News, December 1993.
24. "Sacra-Hollywood"Cover Story about Sacramento's historic role in Hollywood cinema as the location for many movies needing a river as a prop, from the Mississippi to the Yangze. Suttertown News, December 1993.
25. "It's A Wrap"Editorial commentary as a farewell to Tim Holt in the final edition of The Suttertown News after nearly 19 years in production. The Suttertown News, December 1993 - January 1994.
26. "Sacramento's 'Safe Streets' Gets National Attention"News Story on a local initiative to take back neighborhood streets in Sacramento, CA. The Old City Guardian, July-August 1994.
27. "The Neighborhood Connection"A Monthly Column on events and activities in Sacramento's residential neighborhoods. The Old City Guardian, May 1994 - May 1995.
28. "Believe It Or Not: Mixed Use Housing Projects May Find Home In Downtown Sacramento"News Story on plans for mixed-use housing in Sacramento's Central City. The Old City Guardian, December 1994.
29. "Protecting River City's Historic Building Stock (Or The Frustration Of Artemus Escrow)"Feature Article on attempts to preserve Sacramento's historic homes and buildings. The Old City Guardian, March 1995.
30. "Capitol Area Development Authority (CADA) Board Highlights"News Story reporting the proceedings from a CADA Board meeting. The Old City Guardian, April 1995.
31. "Choose-A-Pasta, Pik A Sauce"Feature Article on a new "fast food" pasta restaurant, full of choices in Midtown Sacramento. The Old City Guardian, May 1995.
32. "Randy Gudeika's Magical History Tours"Cover Story on a local historian who has created a series of walking tours in downtown Sacramento. The Old City Guardian, May 1995.
33. "Co-Housing Is Alive And Well In Sacramento"Feature Article on the current state of a successful co-housing cooperative venture near Sacramento's Southside Park. The Old City Guardian, July-August 1995.
34. "Psychic Night In Midtown"Feature Article about a psychic reading, the objective being to divine what was in store for Sacramento in 1994. Inner Words Magazine, March - April 1994.
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