Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Potluck 2009

We had a festive neighborhood holiday potluck dinner here at Yvette Soto’s house last Thursday December 10. It was a fun get-together with some great food. There was a short Neighborhood Watch meeting and we talked a few issues:

I talked about a few recent home burglaries here and how we all should remember to lock all doors including back doors when we leave our houses. Also always make sure your cars are locked and valuables are out of site.

Also I passed along the good news that our area is once again being serviced by the Carmichael Sheriff’s Service Center and Francie Fitzimmons is once again our Neighborhood Watch liaison to the department.

Janice reminded us to replace washer hose gaskets every five years or so and she told a story of how someone she knows had a flood when the gasket wore out.

Yvette talked about the county’s program to repair potholes and sidewalk problems. You can call Sacramento County Transportation Maintenance at 916 875-5171 to make a service request.

Also, Fran Clarke left a flyer about a French Gardens trip to the French Riviera, Provence and Paris she is hosting May 5th through the 19th. You can email Fran for details and price before January 3rd at

A nice time was had by all and it was great to get together with all our neighbors again. Thanks again to Yvette for hosting the event!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

National Night Out 2009

We celebrated National Night Out here, Tuesday August fourth with a neighborhood potluck barbecue hosted by Bernice Zaborski and Dick and Lois Parker. Bernice and the volunteer crew transformed her front lawn into a festive park-like picnic ground just in time for the 6:30 start time. The weather was cool for this time of year, but still it was very bright with the light of the setting sun bathing the entire scene.
Bernice ran the meeting, explaining what National Night Out is, and also gave a brief history of our Neighborhood Watch here. Guest speaker Brooks Hillian from SMUD gave a talk about street lighting options and other energy and money saving programs available to us. He brought DVDs and lots of informative flyers and handouts.
We also had a visit from CHP Officer Milton Toppings who gave a short talk about how the CHP works with communities like ours, followed by taking questions.
Later, our local fire department crew showed up in their big fire truck and opened it up to show its many impressive features. They were on call, so they may have had to leave at any time, but they stayed long enough for all to visit and then left with all the trucks lights flashing. We appreciate them taking the time to stop by and say hi!
Towards the end of the event we had a surprise visit from Francie and her volunteer crew from the Carmichael Sheriff’s service center. They just stopped by to say hi at the end of their busy National Night Out schedule. I think they had about 15 stops at various Neighborhood Watch functions that evening. It was great to see them, even though they are officially no longer working with us now.
Thanks to all who participated and helped out with this nice event and especially to Bernice for hosting, and to Stan for some of the nice pictures.
PS – I talked to Fran Clarke at the event and we’ll be planning another Fall Tree Walk through our neighborhood for sometime in early November.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June Meeting and Potluck

We had a great meeting and potluck on Wednesday June 10th at my house here on Damon Avenue. The turnout was good and so was all the food everyone brought.

Shirley Kaye, who is our new crime prevention specialist and Neighborhood Watch Coordinator from the Northwest Service Center came and gave a talk. She updated us on the changes that are happening at the Sheriff’s department right now.

Here are the highlights:
The Sheriff’s service centers area boundaries have been changed. We are no longer in the area serviced by the Carmichael Service Center in the Raley’s shopping center on Manzanita and they will no longer be working with us. Our new center is the Northwest Service Center in North Highlands where Shirley works. It is located at 7511 Watt Ave. #105, North Highlands, CA 95660. The phone number is 332-7794. Their website is:

(My editorial here: I think it’s sad that after years of a great relationship with Francie Fitzimmons and the folks at the Carmichael Service Center, we can no longer work with them due to the redistricting. For us, it makes no sense as the Northwest Service is farther away in a different neighborhood.)

The Sheriff’s department budget for this coming year is currently under review and the Problem Oriented Police program is slated to be entirely cut, among other things. Apparently there will be some final decisions made in the next few weeks. Watch the news for updates. Here a link to one recent article:

She also talked about a new online issue reporting website the service center will be using. (I don’t have a link to it yet, but will let you know when I hear about it.)

Aside from Shirley’s talk, we discussed new Hemlock Street stop signs which are slated to be installed anytime now, (unless they slashed the budget for it.) The plan went through multiple planning phases over the last two years and had final approval from the Board of Supervisors in April. Last we heard they are to be installed sometime in “late spring”, so we’ll see what happens.

Also, we revisited the old street light issue again. We do not have an agreement in our group whether to pursue getting street lights here or not. About half think it’s a good idea and half not, and we’ve heard arguments for both sides of the issue. I will see if someone from SMUD can come and talk to us about it for an upcoming meeting to explain what options we have. Perhaps if a few people or a half a block want them, they can be installed without affecting those homeowners who don’t want them.

Our next big event will be National Night Out, Tuesday August 4th. We have preliminary plans to hold it near the corners of Holyoke and Meckel!

That’s about it for now. Thanks to all who helped out, lent tables and chairs, helped set up, brought food, thanks to Stan for some of the pictures, and especially to Shirley Kaye for coming to talk to us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Recycling for Wine Country Greyhound Adoption


I am sending this post to invite people in the neighborhood, your friends, your co-workers and family members to feel free to drop off their plastic recyclables on my porch any day, any time. 100% of the proceeds goes directly back to assist the retired-racing foster greyhounds Wine Country Greyhound Adoption ( brings in at various times throughout the year. The money we gather from the recyclables helps with their medical needs, food etc...

I currently have two hounds of my own and am fostering the last one (Shannon) we brought from Oklahoma in October. We're just waiting to find her the perfect home. We plan to bring in more in January if the weather cooperates.

I would "greytly" appreciate your help with raising funds for these beautiful, loving and deserving dogs.

Many thanks,

Mary Lynne (Elly May, Fizzler and The Foster...Shannon)
4844 Holyoke Way
916-879-5918 (cell)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Potluck 2008

We had a festive holiday potluck on Wednesday evening December 17th at Steve and Yvette Soto’s home on Hemlock Street. The event featured some favorite potluck recipes and we had an informal Neighborhood Watch meeting. We talked about the Hemlock Street traffic management issue mostly, how we are anticipating new stop signs from the County at Hemlock and Overbrook and Hemlock and Damon.

Many people generously brought toys and gift certificates to donate to the Sheriff’s Toy Project to benefit local needy children. I brought all the toys over to the Carmichael Sheriff’s Service Center on Thursday morning just in time to have the items sorted and given to the previously selected families. Our donations were very much appreciated because they said donations were light this year and there were more families than ever applying for help because of the economy.

Thanks again to all who participated in this fun event and especially to Steve and Yvette for volunteering to host again!

Here are the recipes:


Olive oil
Approximately ½ - bag (1 ½ - 2 pounds) Sierra Gold or
Klondike Rose potatoes (or similar), cut into ¼ - ½ inch slices.
garlic salt
4 oz. of cream cheese or reduced fat cream cheese
¼ cup of prepared pesto
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper sauce
¼ - cup finely chopped or narrow 1 inch strips of prepared roasted
red peppers. (You can broil your own red bell peppers, too.)
Snipped fresh chives or minced green onion

Heat oven to 400ºF. Coat aluminum foil spread on baking sheet with olive oil (cooking spray may be used, if preferred). Arrange raw potatoes in single layer; brush with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic salt evenly over potatoes. Roast 20 – 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, pesto and pepper sauce, if desired. Pipe or spread pesto mixture onto each potato slice; top with chopped red pepper or a small strip of red pepper. Sprinkle with chives or bits of minced green onion, if desired.

Note: Red, green and white are the colors of the Italian flag, as well as Christmas. I adapted this recipe from one at

Mexican Casserole
(Serves 10-12)

1 lb. very lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
½ tsp. Garlic powder
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1-8oz Can tomato sauce
I C. sour cream
1 C. cottage cheese
1 sm. Can chopped green chilies
2 C. tortilla chips, crushed
2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat; drain. Add onion, garlic powder, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce. Mix together well.

In a separate bowl, mix sour cream, cottage cheese, and chilies.

Spray a 9x13” casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Put the chips in the bottom of the dish (save a few for the tip). Layer the meat on top of the chips, and then spread the sour cream mixture over the meat. Sprinkle the saved chips on top and top with the cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly. Enjoy!

Serve’s 4

2 Tablespoons Oil
1 med onion chopped
1 clove of Garlic
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ lbs Ground Turkey
½ cup chopped bell pepper
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 ½ cups of water

In a large pot heat oil, brown meat and drain. Sauté onion, pepper, chopped garlic. Return meat to pot. Add tomato sauce, paste and water. Add the following seasonings:

1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1 teaspoon Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring to a boil then down to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender. Stir occasionally.

Ghirardelli Almond Bark

¾ cup roasted almonds (whole or halves)
16 oz. Ghirardelli White Chocolate Candy Making and Dipping Bar (8 sections)

Melt white chocolate in bowl. Add almonds and stir. Spread to desired thickness on waxed paper. Cool until hard (approximately 25-35 minutes). Break into pieces.

Triple Meat Lasagna Florentine
(Most of the time I double this recipe and make 2 of them since it’s so much work!)

1 package lasagna noodles
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. Italian sausage or Sage sausage
1 large can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 large chopped onion
1 bunch chopped parsley
4 or 5 cloves of garlic chopped
1 10 oz frozen spinach
1 lb shredded mozzarella
1 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmesan
Olive oil
3 tbs. oregano
Salt and pepper

The meat sauce:
In a cast iron skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, oregano, meats and parsley in a little olive oil slowly until the meat starts to brown. Remove meat, then sauté the tomato paste in the leftover oil for about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat and tomato paste to a large pot and stir in the tomato sauce, wine and salt and pepper to taste. You can add a little water if it is too thick.

The spinach/ricotta mixture:
Cook the frozen spinach just about 5 minutes, then drain and cool. In a large bowl mix the spinach with the ricotta, eggs and salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble:
Cook lasagna in boiling water 10/12 minutes until just tender. Drain and then plunge it into cold water until cool enough to handle. In a large, deep casserole dish, scoop about ½ cup sauce, then on top layer 3 or 4 noodles. On top of that layer half the spinach/ricotta mix, then a cup of the meat sauce. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat the layers, ending up with noodles, sauce and sprinkled cheese on the top.

Bake at 325 about 50 minutes or until the ricotta mixture is firm.

Friday, August 08, 2008

National Night Out 2008

Our Neighborhood Watch group participated in National Night Out on Tuesday evening at 6:30 with a big barbecue and potluck at my house on the corner of Damon and Hemlock. The weather was perfect and we had a great turn out of maybe seventy-five people or so. The evening was highlighted by visits from some of our local law enforcement and fire department people.

Our local Sergeant Mendoza, head of the Carmichael Sheriff's Service Station, showed up to say hi with a group of friendly volunteers and officers, including a member of the bomb squad with his K-9 bomb-sniffing partner, a Labrador mix.
Later, we got a surprise visit from our hard working local firemen from the Auburn Street station. The guys just came from a long shift and a call. It was great to see them, and they enjoyed showing off their amazing firetruck to us.

Also, CHP Officer White came by and visited for a while. More than one neighborhood kid got to sit on his motorcycle!

Thanks to all the who lent tables and chairs and showed up with all the great food... and a special thanks to Pete who manned the barbecue. It was a great event!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June Meeting and Potluck

Rachel Schutz hosted a June Neighborhood Watch meeting and potluck last evening at her home on Tufts Street.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation with slides by Fran Clarke, UC Master Gardener titled: “Water-wise Gardening in our Sacramento Climate”. The slide show focused on the similarities of gardening in our climate with that of the Mediterranean area of Europe. It featured examples of Mediterranean gardens that were designed for minimal water usage, using native and other drought-tolerant plants and trees. Pictures of our local neighborhood gardens were also shown, with suggestions of how to maximize their functionality and health, specifically focusing on the water requirements of different types of plants and trees. She suggested that when planning a garden it is best to group plants that share similar water needs, and also gave advice on how much and how often to water, and showed examples of what can happen when over or under watering.

Thanks to Fran and Rachel, and to Stan for the pictures!

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