More than 350 volunteers gathered to canvas Sacramento County Thursday night to count the number of individuals living unsheltered on the streets, in parks, and in other public spaces.
The count is used in allocating federal funds, and in making sure people know how to get the shelter or help that’s available to them if they want it.
In my group was Sacramento Supervisor Phil Serna and Sacramento Councilman Jay Schenirer, one police officer and a handful of volunteer counters. We were assigned to talk to people along the American River Parkway.
It was dark and wet when we arrived, and the woman in my story was waiting for us, in a lawn chair with a large pit bull puppy in her lap. She lives under a 160 overpass with her boyfriend, and several larger pit bulls- one of them the largest specimen of the breed I’ve ever seen (or would ever care to see walking out of the darkness towards me again) but the two were very friendly.
When I asked if they were related, she informed me that the giant dog was the puppy’s godmother, which brought a smile to the faces of the volunteers.
The last time this count was done two years ago organizers found that there were fewer people living on the streets, but that the percentage of homeless families were on the rise. They’re hoping that trend won’t continue this time. We’ll find out when the results come out in mid-May.
Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the things the TSA confiscates from fliers who aren't following the rules? Well most of it, including half-used face creams and even unopened wine go right in the trash. But Michael Liang who speaks for the Department of General Services says there are plenty of things they hold on to, many of which will be up for a bid Saturday at their yearly holiday auction.
The most popular items are snow globes, which you should get while they’re hot since the TSA recently okayed flying with the souvenirs in your carry on again, so there won’t be any confiscations. Of course we can always count on the TSA nabbing our wine openers (guilty as charged) and pocket knives (I’m looking at you grandma), so there will be plenty of those in holiday auctions for years to come.
Liang says that there is even plenty of jewelry in the auction, thanks to CHP seizures during investigations. While I’m not sure how romantic it is to receive someone’s stolen necklace… at least you’d know it has a story to it.
I remember my first day at college, holding back tears as I said goodbye to mom and dad, meeting all these new and interesting people, and trying out the dorm cafeteria where I would be eating the majority of my meals for the next year. It was called “City Eats”, but we would soon learn to call it something slightly less appealing… something that rhymes with city…
On orientation day they barbequed us chicken, probably because there were still parents around. Mine still had a few feathers on it. Mmmm.
Now, that was over a decade ago, and I’m sure my alma mater is doing much better now! But I have a feeling it may not compare to UC Davis.
I toured the Cuarto dining commons on campus today, and was surprised to find myself actually wishing I was back in college!
When you walk in you’re greeted by trays holding assembled meals along with a list of the ingredients, so vegans can see exactly what they can eat, and meat eaters can see what’s on the menu for them.
This is just one of the reasons that UC Davis boasts one of the top ranked college menus across the country. Out of the 52 schools on the list, which was compiled by TheDailyMeal.com, Davis comes in 18th.
Between bites of the delicious looking lamb and fruit pizza, Andy Burtis, executive chef, told me he’d worked for the dining program at Davis for 12 years.
”I’ve seen it transition from sort of park and serve food to freshly-made state of the art stuff that’s very cutting edge, something you’d find at a restaurant,” he said.
It’s true too, I had to Google basa fish, after seeing that it was featured on the menu.
Another cool element – the students can taste the foods, and then send them back for tweaking if they want something spicier, or saltier. This also cuts down waste because they don’t take something they’re just going to throw out later.
Then there’s the theme nights – Harry Potter’s birthday party, and even a taste from the Seven Wonders of the World.
And to think… we used to get SO excited about decorate your own cookies night at City Eats.