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Story and Photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-05-18
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Christopher Knecht, owner of Back to The 80s Store & More in Rancho Cordova, is enjoying a successful first year in business and preparing for relocation to a larger space in fall 2017. After a successful first year in business, Christopher Knecht is preparing to move his company, Back to The 80s Store & More to a larger facility in fall and expand it to include a vintage arcade and night club.

Back to the 80's Store Has Expansion in Its Future

1980’s memorabilia is so hot, just one year after opening its doors Rancho Cordova’s Back to the 80s Store & More is preparing for the future with a fall relocation and expansion to accommodate a larger collection, as well as a new retro video game arcade for all ages during the day and a 21-and over nightclub.

“It’s been an amazing year,” says Christopher Knecht, 39, who opened the store in March of 2016 after a career in the restaurant management industry. His store’s success mirrors what’s going on across the memorabilia sector nationwide. While clothing, jewelry and housewares are losing some market share to online retailers who can offer fast shipping and steep discounts, brick and mortar memorabilia stores remain somewhat insulated. Sales for the store tripled in the first three months and have increased 30 percent in the last quarter.

“I think people want to come in to the store and have an experience that you can’t get online,” said Knecht. “They can buy stuff on eBay or another site, but customers tell me all the time they love buying in person because they want to see what we have and have a personal experience of nostalgia, not just for themselves but also with their kids.”

The store offers a vast collection of 1980s era collectables, including band posters from the likes of Duran Duran and The Bangles, walls of plush E.T. toys and others from the era, replicas of Pee Wee Herman’s fuzzy blue chair, Star Wars memorabilia, vintage T-shirts, retro jewelry, sunglasses and other totally awesome accessories, as well as trading cards, toys, candy and drinks. On third Saturdays, the store features a parking lot party with celebrity guests, art, cover bands, food trucks and a costume contest.

Knecht has secured a lease for a 4,000 square foot space near the current location. He’s planning for a fall grand re-opening and will be significantly expanding his memorabilia collection. But the new space will be more than just a store. Knecht is bringing in roughly 60 vintage arcade games, including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and old school Xbox with dual controls, and will be running the space as a family arcade and store during the day for all ages. There also will be TVs throughout the new store, blasting out retro music videos and classic cartoons, as well as a Slush Puppie machine.

“You gotta love the original Slush Puppy,” Knecht said.

After 9 p.m., the store and arcade will shift to a 21-and-over music venue called “Club Retro” with a full bar and live bands dedicated to the era. Berlin, perhaps most famous for its break out hit “The Metro,” is already signed on for a performance, and there are plans for monthly concerts with other heavy hitters, such as Tears for Fears and The B-52s, as well as weekly gigs featuring 80s tribute bands.

“I am reliving my own youth in this adventure,” says Knecht, who explained he got his start in the shop when his father passed on a collectables business to him after inheriting an antique business from his father before him. “My grandfather really started all of this, and then my dad took it over. He would buy antiques and vintage stuff, but he also would buy us toys and things as kids, and when he did, he often bought two of them. That’s how the collection started growing.”

When Knecht took over the business from his father he knew he wanted to focus on the era of his own youth. The collection in the store is only a fraction of what he and his father amassed and the collection changes weekly. With sales as brisk as they are, Knecht said he’s more than ready to move to larger digs.

 “We have already been working with the city for permits and they have been just great to us,” Knecht said, adding that the current location will remain open as construction and final touches are put on the new store and club, which he anticipates will happen in late fall.

“We hope to be up-and-running in the new location in November.”

While sales have far exceeded his expectations, Knecht said the store is truly a labor of love. To be able to expand and take the business to a new level, he says, are simply icing on the cake.

“I didn’t put any of this together to get rich,” Knecht said. “I’m doing this to create an experience. If I can get someone to say to me that they were having a rough day but that coming into the store brought a smile to their face, that’s what makes it all worthwhile for me.”

Rancho Cordova's History

Register for “Criminal Justice Shadow Day”

Source: Sacramento County Media  |  2017-05-24

Sacramento County high school students are encouraged to register for the 3rd Annual “Criminal Justice Shadow Day.” This unique program gives high school students an opportunity to job shadow professionals from various criminal justice agencies.

Based on the area of interest, students will be paired with prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, probation officers, law enforcement officers, investigators and judges to get a first-hand look at the criminal justice process and the different roles within the system. There will also be a presentation on crime scene investigations (CSI), evidence collection, and forensic science used to solve crimes.

This year’s Criminal Justice Shadow Day will be held from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Friday, June 16, at the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers in the Sacramento County Administration Building located at 700 H Street, Sacramento.

The program is open to current Sacramento County high school students (incoming 9th graders through 12th graders). Students will need to submit completed registration forms and a signed permission slip, which can be downloaded at www.sacda.org. The deadline to register is June 9, 2017.

Space is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

DA Anne Marie Schubert states, “Since its launch in 2015, close to 200 students from 56 schools across Sacramento County have participated in the Criminal Justice Shadow Day. The success of the program is a result of the partnerships we have with our criminal justice colleagues, and our shared commitment to engage with our youth and inspire them to pursue careers in the justice system.”

The Criminal Justice Shadow Day is one of several DA youth programs designed to increase understanding and build positive relationships between youth and members of the criminal justice system.

See more at: http://www.saccounty.net/news/latest-news


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Meet the Machines Draws Record Crowd

Source: Cordova Recreation and Park District  |  2017-05-24

“Can I drive it home?” Youngsters and their parents came out to enjoy all the machines and exhibits. 
-- Photos by Rick Sloan

Nearly 2500 excited and machine-interested people came out to Cordova Recreation and Park District’s Meet the Machines event on May 13, 2017 at the Mather Sports Center. This annual free community event grows every year, with this year’s attendance being the largest participation to-date.

“Meet the Machines provides a unique opportunity for kids to get up close and personal with vehicles they have seen or heard about,” said Patrick Larkin, CRPD District Administrator. “We hope this event helps to inspire imagination, creativity and future careers.”

Children of all ages spent the afternoon learning about and exploring more than 40 machines and vehicles, including fire trucks, police vehicles, emergency vehicles, boats, garbage trucks, tractors, segways, ambulances and a rideable, motorized chicken named Cluck Norris. Participants sat in the driver’s seat, honked the horns, played the sirens and spoke to the professionals who operate the vehicles. In addition, children enjoyed the Kids Zone filled with bounce houses, balloon animals and face painting, and meeting Tombstone from the hit ABC show Battlebots.

CRPD thanks all the organizations and community leaders who brought their vehicles and participated in this event.


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Madam Ambassador Talks Diplomacy at Rancho Cordova Luncheon

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-05-24

Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis stands with City of Rancho Cordova Senior Executive Assistant, Stacy Leitner, at the May Rancho Cordova Luncheon.

On May 19th, the Cordova Community Council hosted Eleni Tskapoulous Kounalakis as the guest speaker at their monthly Rancho Cordova Luncheon at City Hall.

Kounalakis is the daughter of a prominent Sacramento developer, and she helped create the Anatolia neighborhood of Rancho Cordova. In 2010, she was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In April 2017, Kounalakis officially announced her bid for Lieutenant Governor of California.

At the luncheon, Kounalakis focused her discussion on her years as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and her democratic theories, derived from her father’s teachings on Hellenistic history and early Greek values. She shared that her most meaningful experiences were meeting everyday people on the streets, as well as her interactions with American service people headed to or from Afghanistan, versus meeting other ambassadors and foreign ministers.

Connecting everything back to her experiences in Rancho Cordova, Kounalaki drew back the curtain on her experience and role as an American diplomat, and gave 100 guests signed copies of her book Madam Ambassador.


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City Awards Exceptional High School Senior PRIDE Scholarship

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-05-24

Award Winner Annie La. 
-- Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

The City of Rancho Cordova awarded Annie La, a Cordova High School senior, with the 2017 Community PRIDE Scholarship last week. City of Rancho Cordova employees developed the scholarship program in 2009 as a way of supporting and promoting high school seniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and pride in the Rancho Cordova community. Generated by personal donations from City staff, a $500 check is awarded to one student each year.

Annie La impressed the City’s review committee with her 4.59 GPA and outstanding track record of community service with groups including the Rancho Cordova Rotary Club, Cordova High School’s Interact Club, as well as her volunteer work at dozens of community events such as Kids Day in the Park and the Hoppin’ and Huntin’ Easter Egg Hunt at Hagan Park.

Raving recommendation letters from her teacher and Rotary Club Past President played a role in her selection as this year’s 2017 Community PRIDE Scholarship; however, it was her writings about returning to Rancho Cordova after college to continue to make a difference in her community that made Annie’s application stand out among the others. Annie has been accepted to U.C. Los Angeles to study biology, and she aspires to become a dental surgeon.


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Vettes & Vets: The American Muscle Car Show

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-05-24

The Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show is being held Monday, May 29, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front Street, Sacramento. 
-- Photo courtesy of the California Automobile Museum

Hit the road to the California Automobile Museum on Memorial Day for the 8th Annual Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show sponsored by Performance Chevrolet. The popular annual event celebrates America’s love for the automobile while honoring our country’s brave veterans and active duty military. All car owners and enthusiasts are encouraged to enter their vehicles – especially Corvettes, American “muscle cars” and military vehicles – in the show that takes place in a parking lot behind the Museum. At noon, the amazing cars on display will be judged in a variety of categories including a best-in-division award for each generation of Corvette.

In addition to the eye-catching automobiles, attendees will be treated to a DJ spinning some classic summer tunes, military color guard and national anthem along with a barbecue lunch available for purchase.

Car show guests are encouraged to visit the California Automobile Museum that has a world-class and ever-changing collection of vintage and classic vehicles on display. Plus, this is a great opportunity to catch the last weekend of the special “To the Rescue: Fire Trucks and People that Saved Our Cities” exhibit. Lastly, military veterans and active duty military (and their families) will receive FREE museum admission all day on Memorial Day in recognition of their service.

The car show is FREE for spectators. To register a vehicle, pre-registration cost is $30 (includes free admission to the museum for driver and one guest). Museum admission is $10 for Adults, $9 for Vintage (ages 65+), $5 Youth (ages 6-18), FREE for children 5 and under. On 5/29, Veterans and Active Duty Military and their families get in FREE.

The Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show is being held Monday, May 29, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. *Gates open at 8 a.m. for show vehicles at the California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front Street, Sacramento.

For More information: 916-442-6802 or www.calautomuseum.org


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Sacramento nonprofit Society for the Blind is one of 13 groups across the nation – and one of only three in California – that are competing in the United States Association of Blind Athletes’ and Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s fifth annual National Fitness Challenge. Society for the Blind and its competitors will provide more than 300 blind and visually impaired youth and adults with an opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives. Other California participants are Junior Blind in Los Angeles and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Bay Area.

“We are pleased to again partner with USABA to help break down barriers, and leverage technology to help those with vision impairments enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of exercise,” said Brian Ternan, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “Together, we want to ensure that those with visual impairments are not denied the opportunity to lead an active life and have the opportunity to avoid the health risks that come from a sedentary lifestyle.”

Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Because of the many barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, approximately 70 percent of the nearly 56,000 children and youth who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical education curriculum.

When the National Fitness Challenge kicked off in Sacramento this spring, participants who signed up with Society for the Blind had a number of physically challenging activities to look forward to. In efforts to increase participants’ levels and step counts, staff at Society for the Blind will be working with dance instructors, personal trainers, judo instructors and more. In addition to raising their overall physical activity, participants will also become more aware of opportunities in their community.

“Society for the Blind is honored and excited to again be a part of the National Fitness Challenge,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director. “This partnership with USABA and Anthem raises awareness and, more importantly, participation of people with vision loss in health and fitness activities. We look forward to friendly challenges among our fellow participating agencies as we increase the physical fitness and overall health and wellness of our participants.”

For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers that included the Lions Clubs of America to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation: www.SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind with a mission to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information: www.usaba.org, www.twitter.com/USABA or on Facebook as United States Association of Blind Athletes.

In addition to grant funding, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation will provide volunteers at events across the state during the nine-month program. Local employees will have the opportunity to meet participants and help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges.

®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. For more information: www.twitter.com/AskAnthem,  www.twitter.com/AnthemBC_News or www.facebook.com/AskAnthem.


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An Amazing Experience

Story and Photos by Margaret Snider  |  2017-05-19

Left to right are Kaitlyn Hoyt, 15; Kimberly Griffin, 16, and Nick Haro, 15, who are raising rabbits as part of the Cordova High School Agricultural Academy.

The Agricultural Academy at Cordova High School, in its sixth year, focuses on career readiness within the agriculture industry. Learning about agriculture is not all that the students get from joining Future Farmers of America and being part of the Academy. “I don’t think people understand how much of a bond you create with the people you’re with,” said sophomore Agnes Budge. “It’s an amazing experience.”

This year and last students have been raising animals to show and sell at the Sacramento County Fair. Four students are raising goats this year: Agnes Budge, 15, McKenzie Emery, 17, Tabitha Hoyt, 18, and Faith Lipanovich, 17. The goats are a special challenge, said the students, since they seem to have minds of their own and very definite opinions.

Agnes joined FFA and entered the Agricultural Academy as a freshman. Last year she raised and sold a meat rabbit.

McKenzie Emery is a senior, and hopes eventually to go into agricultural law. “Without agriculture we wouldn’t be able to eat, and especially California agriculture, it’s so, so important,” McKenzie said.

Tabitha Hoyt is a senior, and not sure of her post-graduation activities, but plans to work while she considers the possibilities. “I love animals,” Tabitha said. “I just like being around them, handling them.”

Faith Lipanovich, 17, will attend Folsom Lake College in the fall and is aiming toward a degree in zoology. “I want to get a general degree with animals, so that I have the ability to work in any field involving animals,” Faith said. She is also into roller derby.

Those who are raising rabbits this year are: Kimberly Griffin, 16, Nick Haro, 15, Kaitlyn Hoyt, 15, and Chris Nelson, 17.

The Agricultural Academy has two teachers. Bret Harnden, who started the program in 2011, is the lead. He grew up in Shingle Springs and earned his degree in animal science and education at Chico State University. Though the Academy started out with just 35 students its first year, now it serves 300. “We have enough students that we could have a third teacher at this point,” Harnden said. “For the past couple of years we’ve had enough students where we’re actually turning kids away.”

Teacher Jennifer Rossiter earned a biology degree from Sacramento State University and recently attained a Master’s degree in agriculture education. As a youngster she bred and sold swine on her parents’ farm in Lincoln. Though the program includes considerable classroom work, it is about more than classroom learning. “(The students) learn responsibility, they learn time management, they learn how to budget and take care of other animals,” Rossiter said.

The opportunity to succeed in the program helps the students to see their own value. “That’s kind of a validation,” Harnden said. “They say, ‘This is cool; I could be somebody, I can do something.’”


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Rancho Cordova: Fastest Growing City in Sacramento County

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-05-18

Aerial view of Capital Village in Rancho Cordova. 
-- Photo Courtesy: Timothy Pantle

A recent report by the California Department of Finance listed the City of Rancho Cordova as the fastest growing city in Sacramento County last year. In 2016, Rancho Cordova’s population grew by 2.2% from 72,203 to 73,847.

City officials expect the population to continue to grow with families and professionals from diverse backgrounds moving to Rancho Cordova. Hundreds of new homes are being constructed, and with Rio Del Oro and other projects, the City has plans for the construction of thousands of homes for the future. The City of Rancho Cordova also estimates that 20 new schools will be constructed over the next two decades, which officials say is one reason parents, and future parents, are attracted to Rancho Cordova.

Rancho Cordova continues to attract members of the business community with its competitive commercial and industrial property rent prices and progressive, business-friendly environment. In addition to housing, school, and business development, Rancho Cordova City Manager, Cyrus Abhar, says the City’s central location and over 100 events bring residents together to create an inviting community.


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Rancho Cordova Plans $25 Million in Public Works Projects in 2017

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-05-18

Workers make sidewalk improvements in the White Rock/Cordova Towne neighborhood as part of the City of Rancho Cordova’s 2016 Street Rehabilitation Project.

The City of Rancho Cordova spends millions of federal, state and local dollars on public works projects annually, but several large-scale projects have converged this year, making 2017 one of the biggest funding years for capital improvements the City has had to date.

Multiple projects, totaling over $15 million, are already under construction. The City expects several more multi-million dollar projects that are currently in the design phase to begin construction within the year, accounting for a total of $25 million in infrastructure improvements. The funding is designated primarily for street, sidewalk and traffic signal enhancements.

“Our project goal is to make the City of Rancho Cordova an even safer and more beautiful community,” said city Public Works Director Albert Stricker.

One of the largest price tags belongs to the 2017 Street Rehabilitation Project that includes rehabilitating residential streets with new asphalt and making sidewalk and storm water upgrades in various neighborhoods. The $4.2 million project, supported by the City’s Community Enhancement Fund, will begin construction in May.

Other projects include repairing damaged or broken sidewalks in various locations to improve pedestrian walkability, and installing a new signal at the intersection of Justinian Drive and Sunrise Boulevard to improve access and traffic safety to and from the Anatolia neighborhood and nearby parks. Landscaping and beautification projects, such as murals, are also planned for heavily traveled roads, including Sunrise and Folsom Boulevards.

“The significant investment the City is making demonstrates our commitment to creating walkable, connected neighborhoods and safe routes, while also beautifying Rancho Cordova,” said City Manager Cyrus Abhar. Abhar credits the Rancho Cordova City Council’s dedication to public safety and the City’s competitive grant application submissions for the funding they’ve been able to secure for projects implemented each year. “Since we became a City in 2003, we’ve made incredible progress in improving our public infrastructure,” he said.

Additional information on public works projects in Rancho Cordova is available on the City’s website and online, interactive map by visiting www.CityofRanchoCordova.org/CurrentProjects.


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