Look at the region's economy from the perspective of Arman Sadeghi, and you'll see a definite sign that the business outlook is improving.
Sadeghi runs All Green Electronics Recycling, and government organizations and big corporations seek him out when they are ready to get rid of old technology and upgrade.
"We actually buy their equipment from them," said Sadeghi, founder and chief executive of All Green. "We're talking companies that have hundreds of computers at a time, and their computers are less than 5 years old. We actually buy their equipment from them. We refurbish it. We resell it into various different nonprofit situations or schools or for community centers and places like that."
Sadeghi's company is based down in Southern California, but his Northern California headquarters is on Front Street in West Sacramento. It has been a beehive of activity.
"We're seeing companies upgrading their IT equipment more frequently," Sadeghi told me. "We're seeing more activity in the market ... than we had seen in the past. ... I believe our B2B, or commercial side, is growing simply because companies are coming out of the recession and they're feeling better about the economy, so they're purchasing more items and replacing their old equipment."
For a fee, Sadeghi's All Green also goes to company sites to destroy old hard drives and disks. It holds public events at which it recycles consumers' e-waste for free and charges a fee for data destruction. Its event schedule can be found at its website.
Sadeghi pledges that none of the e-waste he gets will ever wind up in a developing nation. Rather, he has it dismantled here into bare commodities which are then sold or recycled.
Sanchez's sweet irony
Rosario Sanchez will graduate from Cristo Rey High School this year. She just got an email saying she's been accepted to Sacramento State, where she plans to major in biology.
She hopes to be a nurse one day, and Kaiser Permanente has financed not only half of Sanchez's tuition but also half of the tuition for three other students at the private, college-preparatory school in the Fruitridge Manor neighborhood of Sacramento.
In exchange, each student works for five days a month for a sponsor. Every student at Cristo Rey comes from a family that lives at or below the poverty level, so the tuition of $13,000 is above their means. Companies in a wide variety of industries - legal, health care, construction, financial services - sponsor students in an effort to break the cycle of poverty, and sponsors are always in demand.
Sanchez's supervisor describes her as confident, a go-to clerical worker, a far cry from the mature but nervous student who arrived on the first day.
"I had never been around people in the medical field," Sanchez said. "It was very different than other places because there's more going on."
So far, Cristo Rey Sacramento has graduated three classes, and roughly 80 percent of those students are still in college. If Sanchez achieves her financial dream one day and has children, she would never be allowed to send them to the high school she attended.
Wait, there's more ...
Cool native Jacob Burton, the executive chef at Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee, didn't score a win in The People's Best New Chef competition with Food & Wine magazine, but he was honored to have been nominated. At Cedar House's Stella, Burton has created a thriving online culinary arts program embraced by home cooks. The California region winner in the Food & Wine contest was Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco, and the overall winner was Brendan McGill, the executive chef at Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island, Wash. ...
La Raza Galeria Posada recently received the first installment in a $45,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation, and they've already completed the first project funded by it - a mural that will be unveiled June 1 as part of Dia del Nino. Marie Acosta, artistic and executive director for La Raza Galeria told me that she's started fundraising because the Irvine grant must be matched dollar for dollar. The James Irvine Foundation also gave $35,000 to Sacramento's Instituto Mazatlan Bellas Artes, part of the grantor's campaign to engage average people in the arts.
Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193.