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Word Play

How do you put the fun in fundamental? One Sacramento youth literacy group, 916 Ink, believes the answer lies in turning the traditional rules of reading and writing upside down. That means prioritizing story over structure, publication over perfection, and joy over judgment. And realizing that every flame of creativity starts with a spark.

The Shops Around the Corner

Talk about a Hollywood ending. Over two decades since Meg Ryan’s sweet little children’s bookshop lost the battle to Tom Hanks’ big bad Fox Books, it looks like indie bookstores around the country (and around town) may have won the retail war. With April 30 marking Independent Bookstore Day this year, we’re spotlighting a dozen of our favorite local literary nooks in the Sacramento region. Trust us, this story is a real page-turner.

A Life of Crime (the Perfectly Legal Kind)

John Lescroart became an “overnight” success at 45, and the Davis author has since published 19 New York Times best-selling legal thrillers, with his 30th novel due out in late March. Meet the man with his ink-stained finger on the pulse of American crime stories.

Double Vision

With their new Sacramento-centric HGTV home design series, premiering March 12, Land Park’s Kele Dobrinski and Christina Valencia are helping couples find their aesthetic middle ground. And when they’re not swatch-buckling on a national television show, the husband-and-wife duo are helping redefine and reinvigorate both the private and public spaces where locals want to spend their time—from a jazzy new patio for an East Sacramento restaurant to a complete rebranding strategy for Broadway’s Tower District. Their story-driven work has led to the cornerstone of their design philosophy: making memories.

Getting Back on Track

Five years ago, Sacramento Regional Transit was on the verge of derailing. Riders felt unsafe, staff morale was low, and the agency was flat broke. Then Henry Li stepped in. He cut costs, launched innovative programs targeting climate change, equity and customer service, and built a $30 million reserve—leading him to be named, effectively, America’s public transit CEO of the year in 2019. But when Covid hit, ridership plunged, a key funding mechanism was pulled from the ballot, and now the future of commuting is a looming question mark. Whether you ride public transit or not, his decisions will affect your commute, the air you breathe and, in many ways big and small, the future of Sacramento. Henry Li is now arriving.

Perfect Picnics

We’ve filled our wicker baskets with the best takeout en route to eight sonnet-worthy spots across the region for your alfresco dining pleasure. Whether you’re unpacking a gourmet BLT on toasted artisan bread while gazing upon a sweeping view of Gold Country or digging into a bucket of crispy fried chicken while smelling the roses at McKinley Park, we prove that life in the wake of a pandemic can be a picnic after all. (Just don’t forget the sunscreen.)

Nut Tree Forever

If you lived in Northern California any time from the ’50s to the ’90s, your memories likely contain vivid flickers of Vacaville’s Nut Tree—the roadside oasis that lured generations of kids and adults alike. Was it an amusement park so wondrous that even Walt Disney himself visited? Or was it California’s original farm-to-fork capital? Or a modern art and design mecca that was first to bring mid-century Eames furniture to the NorCal masses? It was all of that and more. It was also, as it happens, the creative vision of a group of Sacramento artists, designers, architects and, yes, candymakers. And now, in 2021, it’s turning 100. Let’s all jump on that miniature train—you know the one—and take a ride back in time for a Kodachrome encounter.

Field of Dreams

On the first day of spring, Ruhstaller Farm—our region’s only brewery designed in the spiritual mold of a soil-to-sip winery—officially opened, with a hop yard surrounding towering twin kilns inspired by 19th-century California pioneers and 20th-century Parisian postmodernism. The Farm, with its mission to produce beer defined by the Sacramento Valley’s rich agricultural heritage, is the fruition of a decade-long vision for J-E Paino—brewer, farmer, storyteller and a tenacious optimist who runs decidedly against the grain.

The Heart of a Giant

When it comes to baseball, Dusty Baker plays to win. He's also living proof that the most important stats aren't measured in hits and runs, but in heart and soul.

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