The Compañia Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento will audition dancers Friday evening under the watchful eye of a new artistic director, Zenón Barrón.
Barrón assumed the role last Wednesday, taking over from Steven Valencia, who resigned to complete his bachelor's degree at Sacramento State. Valencia worked full time as a youth correctional officer for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and part time as Compañia Mazatlán's artistic director.
It will also be a part-time job for Barrón, who will commute here regularly to teach.
He remains artistic director of a dance company he helped to establish, Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco.
Barrón has fond memories of trips to Sacramento between 1998 and 2004 when he helped the Compañia Mazatlán transition to a higher level of folk dance.
"I love Old Sacramento, and I love the river," he told me. "Back then, when I traveled to Sacramento, I took the train, Amtrak, and ... I love to see the fields and the people working the fields. When I see them, I think back to when I was in Mexico with my family."
Barrón grew up in Guanajuato where he watched his great-grandfather, grandfather and father participate in indigenous dances.
He began studying dance at age 12.
As a professional, he's performed in Europe, South America and North America.
Friday's auditions will be at 7:30 p.m. at Studio 4300, 4300 Stockton Blvd.
A builder logs in
Everywhere that builder Tino Cuevas goes in Fair Oaks, people ask him about all the logging trucks that come down Highway 50 and go north on Hazel Avenue toward Rocklin.
Residents began noticing them in the last couple of years, he told me, and for some reason, they think a builder should know where they come from and go.
Cuevas, however, thought it would be an interesting question for a Bee columnist to answer. He wasn't wrong.
The short answer and plenty more to think about came from Laurel Brent-Bumb, chief executive of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, and Mark Pawlicki, director of corporate affairs and sustainability at Sierra Pacific Industries.
Back in 2009, Sierra Pacific shuttered its Camino mill. Sugar pine, Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, white fir and incense cedar now are harvested from lands along Highway 50 and trucked to the company's Lincoln mill.
"We supply our mills from a combination of our own lands and also outside purchases," Pawlicki explained. "Some of those outside purchases are from the U.S. Forest Service, but there has been a decline in national forest timber sales. ... Unfortunately Camino became a casualty of log availability."
Brent-Bumb has helped to establish a coalition of 20 counties, 37 supervisors and three states to push for expanding timber harvests from national forests.
"Without thinning the forest, they become overstocked and prone to fire," Pawlicki said, "and that's what we're seeing a lot of. That's why you see counties actively engaged. One, they want to make sure their forests are fire-safe, and two, they want to stimulate the economy by making sure that commercial timber is manufactured here in California and not imported from somewhere else."
"Somewhere else" might be as close as Washington.
"There, the state sells a lot of timber," Pawlicki said. "The fees that are paid for the right to harvest go to the school system."
While Brent-Bumb and Pawlicki work for changes in Forest Service policies, they don't expect them soon.
Challenges by environmentalists and others mean that the agency's approval process moves at a glacial pace.
There's vigorous debate about how to prevent wildfires and create a viable timber industry.