Food Delivery Getting More Popular in Sacramento

photo-1418669112725-fb499fb61127Sacramento residents have their fair share of great food. The city boasts countless restaurants ranging from family-style eateries to ethnic joints to upscale bistros. But these days, more and more people are getting their food delivered instead of going out to restaurants or even opting for takeout.


The trend has been fueled by the addition of Caviar, a food delivery service, to the local market. Caviar works by partnering with local restaurants and delivering food to those who order for a flat fee. Most of the time, the restaurants Caviar works with do not offer delivery on their own. For those that do, Caviar will frequently transport food outside the typical delivery zone.

Caviar first launched back in March of 2013. It started out by partnering with 30 restaurants in San Francisco and, most impressively, managed to become profitable within its first year of operation. Caviar then expanded to New York and Seattle later on in 2013 before eventually setting up shop in Sacramento.


Sacramento residents must live within Caviar’s delivery radius to take advantage of the service, but as long as they do, they have the option to choose from over 20 local eateries. Some of Caviar’s offerings currently include Gordito Burrito, a restaurant serving up Mexican cuisine, and INK Eats and Drinks, a celebrated American bistro. Caviar’s list of Sacramento restaurants spans a number of cuisines, including Thai, Indian, and Japanese.


All of the restaurants in question must pay to partner with Caviar, but doing so is what helps ensure a quality experience on all fronts. Caviar’s goal is to allow restaurants to focus on doing what they do best, which is preparing food and taking care of the customers who choose to dine at their establishments. Caviar, meanwhile, is well-equipped to handle the delivery side, and to this end, it typically employs its own dedicated delivery staff.


Residents of Sacramento looking to utilize this service are in for a real treat. Caviar’s website has been hailed as not just visually appealing, but extremely user-friendly. The site currently features detailed menus coupled with entrée photos. Orders can be placed directly through the website, or through the company’s free mobile app. Best of all, Caviar offers users the ability to track their food through real-time GPS, which can help take the guesswork out of wondering when dinner might arrive.


Of course, Caviar isn’t the only player in the Sacramento food delivery market. Grubhub, a well-established delivery company, also services the area. Competition also comes in the form of Food to You, which operates under a similar business model in that it charges a small delivery fee in exchange for the convenience of having food brought directly to customers’ doors.


Caviar’s ultimate success in the area will most likely depend on how quickly it is able to facilitate food delivery relative to the competition and how reasonable it can keep its rates. Right now its offerings are also somewhat limited, though that’s actually part of the company’s business model. Either way, Sacramento residents have plenty of options for getting their hands on some pretty tasty food without having to leave their homes in the process.


Sacramento Walmart Evacuated After Flare Gun Was Shot

At a south Sacramento Walmart shoppers were evacuated out of the store after the loss prevention officer was shot with a flare gun. Luckily the shooter was placed in custody by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. The shooter is said to be only a minor, the age of the minor has not yet been released. Though this shooter was detained it unfortunately didn’t happen soon enough. The Walmart loss prevention officer was shot directly in the face with a flare gun by the minor. The Walmart employee is said to be injured but is doing ok according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.


The suspect now in custody could face some serious charges. It is said the minor could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery.  Depending on the age of the minor he or she could also be tried as an adult resulting in heavier sentencing. It was said it all started after the loss prevention officer was questioned the suspect for shoplifting. The loss prevention officer was then at this point shot in the face with the flare gun while taking the suspect to his office. It is understood that the minor brought the flare gun with him while shoplifting. The loss prevention officer now wounded was able to gain back control of the situation. The smoke from the flare gun set off the fire alarms and the fire department came and evacuated the building. The injured and now bleeding loss prevention officer was able to keep the suspect in custody until the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene. Luckily no one else was injured in the struggle with the minor. The Sheriff’s Department states that there are possibly two other suspects involved with the shooter during the shoplifting. Those suspects are currently being searched for and are not yet in custody. Witnesses are being asked to come forward with any information.


With recent events that have taken place in sad San Bernadino, California mass shootings the evacuation created quite a stir. The stores were filled with holiday shoppers close by watching as people were evacuating the store. Walmart shoppers who were evacuating heard the words gunshot and headed in the other direction in fear of being shot. It was also said that some children were of some witness to the terrible incident. Shoppers left without groceries that day but took home that scary what if it was worse feeling. It’s a sad reality that many people are fearing to go out in public. Though this shooting was not related to the mass shooting in San Bernadino it still places fear in people. The minor could have killed the Walmart employee and all for what a few stolen items. Thankfully this event didn’t end up with anyone being killed. Clearly this minor is in need of some serious guidance. What is our world coming to? Does this minor even realize the upset he or she has created?

Mitsubishi Plant in Sacramento Expanding

There has been a growth in the past few years when it comes to the carbon fiber market. Carbon fiber is used in numerous type of products, including sporting good equipment and aerospace. The Japanese company, Mitsubishi Rayon Company Ltd. had developed a project, costing $70 million, which they expect will double production of carbon fiber at their industrial site. Their plant is located in South Sacramento and is currently a 65,000 square foot, heavy industrial site, at 5900 88th Street.


Company adds to their current plant

Mitsubishi Carbon Fiber and Composites says that the project will add 70,000 extra feet for manufacturing, maintenance, and warehouse space to its current location. In addition, the company also plans to build a two-story, 16,000 square foot building. This building will replace two older office trailers already on site, and serve as the new office building. The company is expected to spend about $30 million for the new building, while machinery and equipment can cost another $30 to $40 million. On site work began a couple months ago, and is expected to be finished by mid 2016.


Expansion means more jobs

Currently, the Sacramento plan has a 120 person workforce, which is not enough with the expansion of the plant. Once the plant opens, they will require about 50 more people to employ. Even though it might not seem like a lot, adding 50 additional jobs to the area is great for the community. Recently, the state of California’s unemployment rate decreased. California is seeing a growth in jobs in industrial and manufacturing fields. Adding 50 new jobs to the Sacramento area will only help in keeping the unemployment rate down throughout the entire state.


Mitsubishi’s growth and how they use carbon fiber

Mitsubishi Rayon Carbon Fiber and Composites Inc. is an Orange County form subsidiary of the Japanese industrial Mitsubishi company, and has been located in Sacramento since 1980. Once known as Grafil Inc. Mitsubishi Rayon had a name change, after being acquired by Mitsubishi in 1991, which is when it became a subsidiary. It remained Grafil, up until April 2013. This is when Mitsubishi merged Grafil and Newport Adhesives and Composites Inc., and became known as it stands today, Mitsubishi Rayon. Carbon fiber produced at their Sacramento plant is used to make wind-turbine blades, robot arms, golf clubs, and fishing rods. Automotive manufacturers actually use carbon fiber to replace metal parts in order to cut weight. The company says they have noticed a strong demand for this in their plant. In addition, there has been growth in pressure tanks needed to hold gas or liquid. Carbon fiber-reinforced pressure vessels are being used for compressed natural gas fuel tanks. There has been a rise in large busses and trucks converting to compressed natural gas in order to increase cost efficiency.


It is easy to see why Mitsubishi Rayon Company wants to expand their Sacramento plant. In doing so, they will be able to double annual production totals of  carbon fiber. With the increased need for carbon fiber because of its many uses, the development of the Sacramento plant is sure to bring success to the company.


Sacramento Schools to Have Smaller Class Sizes

Sacramento Schools to Have Smaller Class Sizes

There are many schools in the nation that do not have the budget to develop smaller classroom sizes. As a result, one teacher must come equipped to handle thirty plus students in their classroom. Several teachers find it harder to teach a larger number of students, because they are unable to give each child that “one on one” direction. One school district in the Sacramento area is determined to change the ratio of students to teachers for the next school year.

Unified School District plans to reduce class size

The Unified School District in Sacramento City plans to reduce class sizes for thousands of students between kindergarten and third grade. Currently, the average number of students per teacher in the district is 30:1, but the district would like to see a ratio of 24:1. Many believe that this will help improve learning, especially in those first, prime years of elementary school, when students are developing basic learning skills.

Teachers will also be able to organize the classroom so that it is not overcrowded, allowing more space for educational activities. In order to reduce class size, the district will have to employ more teachers, which is great for the job market. Sacramento City Unified has 47 schools, and plans to add 75 new teachers to meet the needs of the new classroom ratio.

Main reasons for the ratio change

A new formula throughout the state of California will provide districts more money if they reduce their classroom sizes by the year 2020. Jose Banda, the Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District stated that they would be following through on what the state of California has set as a requirement. He believes smaller class sizes are better for both kids and teachers. Classroom sizes were largely talked about to be reduced during the 2015-2106 school year, however nothing was ever put into place. The reason classroom sizes average about 30 students is because of budget cuts and economic hardships. Fortunately, as time has gone on, the economy has improved and the state is able to provide schools with better funding. This change in classroom size is expected to cost the district about $7.5 million per year, to include salary and benefits to new employees.

A look at changes in the future

In creating new ratio classroom sizes for students and teachers, the Sacramento City Unified School District will be on target for the way several other districts in the state operate. Several Sacramento teachers have long advocated for smaller classroom sizes, and are happy that the district will implement classroom size reduction in the following school year. The reduction to 24 students in grades K-3 might not happen right away.

They might be able to reduce to 27:1, one year, and eventually make it to 24:1 by 2017. It is the hope of many teachers that this change happen in the older grades as well.

Liz Guillen, director of legislative and community affairs for Public Advocates, says that the district could use extra state funding to reduce class sizes in other grades. This extra funding is usually provided for education for English learners, low-income students, and foster students.

California Oil and Gas Division Chief Resigning

Last week, California’s chief oil and gas regulator decided to step down, after working in the position for a little over 18 months. Steve Bohlen announced his resignation through a formal letter, stating that he plans to return to a previous position at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which helps security in the United States through developing science, technology, and engineering. Bohlen plans to stay on as an unpaid science adviser to the division. What exactly does this mean for oil and gas production in the state of California?

Initial talks of Bohlen stepping down

Bohlen was hired and immediately had to work with controversy in his department, in regards to its oversight of hydraulic fracturing, and other drilling operations. Complaints were also made when it was learned that oil companies were allowed to inject waste-water from drilling into aquifers, protected by the federal government. This was going on for years, a lot of the times without permits. These revelations gave insight into how oil and gas drilling operations happen in the state. Now, oil and gas production in California is under stringent regulations and oversight, much like the loan industry now is for payday and car title loans. Even with the criticism and changes made to the division. Bohlen said that the future looked bright, and he was working to get all the issues solved. He was appointed the position in April 2014, and spoke with Governor Jerry Brown in April 2015 about a possible return to his old place of employment.

Who will replace Bohlen?

It is expected that Governor Brown will appoint Ken Harris to the position. Harris is currently the executive officer of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. According to Hollin Kretzmann, who works for the Center for Biological Diversity, the new chief oil and gas regulator will need to address the concerns in California about water contamination, as well as the safety risks from drilling and fracking. He believes the division still is far too close with the oil industry that it is supposed to regulate. Hopefully, the next person in this position can look at all the details and move forward in a way that Bohlen couldn’t.

Could personal business cause Bohlen to call it quits?

Many are wondering if Bohlen’s departure had anything to do with another controversy, surrounding a call Governor Brown made, asking Bohlen to check out his family’s Colusa County Ranch home for any potential oil and gas. People were saying that this was a complete misuse of state funds because it was a personal matter. However, Bohlen said it took an hour of his time, and he was baffled by the controversy. Would this really be a reason for his resignation of such a powerful position?

It is uncertain why Bohlen decided to step down from his position as chief oil and gas regulator. Maybe the controversy of the field was too much for him, or maybe he was more interested in furthering his career with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This was his first position in the oil and gas field, and it might not have been the exact career path he was looking for. Governor Brown said that Bohlen brought strong leadership skills and a valuable scientific expertise to the job. Whatever his reason, he will surely be missed by many who have worked with him over the past year.



Sacramento School Official Arrested for Sexual Assault

Joshua Vasquez, a 31-year-old program leader for the City of Sacramento’s after school program, START, allegedly sexually assaulted a minor in his care. Vasquez was arrested on November 20th, and was being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail under charges of “oral copulation with a victim less than 10 years of age.”

The incident of sexual assault allegedly occurred at Sacramento’s Mark Twain Elementary School while Vasquez was working with START and part-time with the Sacramento City Unified School District. Because the victim is a minor, a name will not be released.

Sacramento Police Department released a statement saying that they believe there’s a possibility of more victims related to Vasquez during his time with the school programs, and their Sex Assaults and Child Abuse Unit is continuing to investigate the allegations. They urge any victims or citizens with information regarding the investigation to come forward, and call the Sacramento Police Department at (916) 264-5471.

After Vasquez was released from Sacramento County Main Jail, he was released from the Sacramento City Unified School District, place on administrative leave by the City of Sacramento, and has since resigned from his city position.

Mark Twain Elementary School and the school district released this letter to parents and the public upon Vasquez’s arrest after the sexual assault charges:

Dear Mark Twain Families:

Today, Sacramento Police Department investigators informed school administrators that a part-time Mark Twain employee is under investigation for alleged child sexual assault. This employee also works for our city-operated after school program. Upon receiving this information, the employee was immediately released from service by the district and will not be back on campus. We are cooperating fully with police investigators and providing as much information as we have available to help them with their case.

I want you to know that we take these allegations extremely seriously and that the safety and security of our students continues to be a top priority at Mark Twain. I will continue to keep our school community updated with as much information as possible while still protecting the privacy of all involved and the integrity of the police investigation. If you have any questions, please contact the school office.”

Vasquez was not immediately arrested in the investigation, so information regarding his identity was only recently released. The Sacramento Police Department confirmed that they “do not believe that he poses an immediate risk to the public,” in a recent news release. “Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations,” the department also announced, more information regarding the case, the alleged victim, and Vasquez will not be released.

Although the sexual abuse allegations were taken with the utmost seriousness, parents are fearful of past incidences of sexual assault that may have occurred at other times throughout the duration of Vasquez’s employment with the City of Sacramento and the school district. The allegations also raise national concern about the hiring and screening process of school and city employees, and the ability of childcare providers to be alone with children without others noticing.

Sacramento County Sheriff Launches Bid for Congress

California residents received some election news in mid- November, when Sacramento County sheriff, Scott Jones, announced he was running for Congress. His announcement came at a press conference held on Monday November 16th, in Rancho Cordova. Jones is running as a Republican for the county’s 7th Congressional District, and will be competing against Ami Bera, a Democratic Representative.


Jones campaign issues

During the public announcement, Jones gave his initial ideas as a platform for his campaign. Two of the biggest issues he stressed were immigration policy and national security. Jones is known for his criticism of President Obama’s careless enforcement of immigration laws. Even with comments made about Obama’s policy, the Republican candidate did not suggest any changes to the federal immigration system, and only made note that additional border security should be implemented. It is his belief that national leaders are actually driving the nation closer and faster into disaster, when it comes to the war on terror. Criticism of Obama’s administration was mentioned a second time, when discussing their approach to terrorism after the attacks in Paris. Other campaign issues, such as economic assistance to veterans and seniors, were also mentioned during the press conference.


Jones vs Bera: Does he have a chance?

After Jones announced his candidacy for congress, the talk has been on whether he can beat opponent, Ami Bera. Bera just barely won reelection in 2014, with less than a percentage point, and has constantly been a top target for the Republican Party. Most recently, Bera was the center of hot debate and criticism over his support of the Pacific Rim trade deal by the Obama Administration. This trade agreement was made with twelve Pacific Rim countries, and has a goal of enhancing matters of economic policy. Several have protested the treaty due to the secrecy of negotiations, and controversial clauses. With Bera’s public criticism and slim reelection numbers, Jones is sure he can take over the vote and win against his Democratic opponent.


Jones already receiving public backing

As a Republican strategist, Hector Barajas has stated that he believes Jones and his campaign are safe. In his remarks about the immigration system, Jones’ main focus is public safety. Since he is a county sheriff, he is looking at the immigration system from a law enforcement perspective, Barajas stated when addressing Jones’ campaign publicly. Barajas stated that risk to his campaign can come from discussion of two groups. The first group is children who have entered the country illegally by their parents. A second group includes those who have entered the country illegally and are undocumented, but have followed all laws during their time in the country. You can learn more about Jones’ bid for Congress, including videos and more, here.


Jones made note that even with his bid for Congress, he will not resign, nor take a leave of absence from his current position as County Sheriff. In 2014, Jones was elected to a second term as sheriff and will not be up for reelection until the year 2018. We have to see how his current position and congressional campaign will either work to his benefit, or disadvantage.

New Additions Planned at 555 Capital Mall

Downtown Sacramento is home to a thriving business and entertainment scene. The area sports numerous attractions and a wide range of dining options, from casual cafes to family eateries to upscale restaurants. However, it’s always been in the city’s best interest to build up the area in an effort to increase both tourism and local commerce.

Sacramento, though a fabulous city in its own right, has, in recent years, taken much of a backseat to other California cities as far as tourism and revenues go. Though tourism has improved in Sacramento, as evidenced by the fact that hotels have seen an uptick in performance in recent months, the city’s numbers are nowhere near those of San Francisco. On the other hand, Sacramento’s reasonable costs make it a prime target for tourists on a budget and businesses looking for a new home, whereas setting up shop as a business in San Francisco is far more cost-prohibitive.


In fact, the affordable nature of Sacramento is drawing a number of new tenants to 555 Capitol Mall, a prominent spot right in the heart of the city. In fact, developers of the property are now opting to focus on its open retail spaces, a move that could prove to be quite strategic.

Rubicon Partners, the development team behind the property, just submitted plans to the city to refresh and upgrade spaces on the first and third floors in order to make them more usable and desirable for potential tenants. On the east side of the property’s first floor, Rubicon is planning to develop two distinct retail uses: a spacious 1,900-square-foot coffee shop and cafe, and an 8,500-square foot upscale restaurant.

The move is one that will likely draw a diverse crowd of both regulars and tourists. Additionally, the coffee shop and restaurant will both include an expansive patio space along Capitol Mall. This will enhance the experience for visitors to both establishments and draw more attention to the newly developed eateries. To the west, the existing restaurant, House Kitchen & Bar, will remain open and tie into the expanded outdoor spaces as it continues to serve up the comfort food it’s known for among Sacramento locals.

But the plans for the property don’t stop there. On the third floor, Rubicon intends to construct a 3,000-square-foot event space, which will include an outdoor deck facing onto Capitol Mall. During daytime hours, the indoor space could be used for business meetings and conferences. At night, it’s shaping up to be the ideal spot for hosting private parties or fundraisers.

Work on these spaces is scheduled to begin by the start of 2016. However, the property is already seeing other positive changes. Approximately 100,000 square feet are currently under construction, and a good 90% of the building’s office spaces have commitments for new tenants. The goal, of course, is to make 555 Capitol Mall a hub for retail and commerce. Doing so will not only improve its value, but enhance the surrounding area of Sacramento on a whole.