McKinley Park kids project needs workers
People from all over Sacramento mourned when the popular wooden playground at McKinley Park was badly damaged by an arsonist last summer.
Now they can help rebuild. From today until Sunday, the city is seeking volunteers to erect a replacement playground made of simulated wood and designed with the input of local schoolchildren.
The design aims to capture the history of east Sacramento and the city. A 3-D rendering shows play structures patterned on a trolley car, steam engine and a paddle-wheel steamship. An entry arch evokes the former Alhambra Theatre.
City spokeswoman Linda Tucker said it will cost about $1.5 million to rebuild the playground, figuring in an estimated $400,000 worth of volunteer labor. Insurance proceeds totaled $323,000, and the city is spending $364,000 in park fees paid by developers. The rest came from cash and in-kind donations, including a $50,000 gift from Sutter Children's Center.
Morning shifts on the construction site are already full, but the city is still looking for volunteers to work four-hour shifts starting every day this week at 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. For info visit www.cityofsacramento .org/rebuildmckinley/. Mary Lynne Vellinga
See planets and stars at Gibson Ranch
The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society is inviting the public to a "Community Star Gazing Party" Friday at Gibson Ranch, 8556 Gibson Ranch Road in Elverta. Planet and star viewing starts at dusk, about 8:30 p.m., and goes to about 10:30 p.m. Entrance to Gibson Ranch is free but parking is $7.
Behind the news: Sacramento's astronomical society claims to be one of the oldest in the United States. It was founded in 1945 by 50 local astronomy buffs. During the stargazing party, minimal light pollution is required. People are asked to limit flashlights and car lights.
Celebrate Croatia at 31st annual festival
More than 5,000 people are expected to attend this weekend's 31st annual Croatian Extravaganza, a family-style picnic and festival that celebrates the culture of Croatia, the central European nation that sits on the Adriadic Sea east of Italy. The event begins at noon on both Saturday and Sunday at the Croatian-American Cultural Center, 3730 Auburn Blvd. in Sacramento. Admission is $10 for adults. Children 12 and under are free.
Behind the news: The extravaganza started in 1982 as a small picnic hosted by a few local Croatian families and now draws thousands of visitors from the Sacramento region and the Bay Area.
IN THE NEWS
Export figures to be released
Despite economic troubles in Europe and decreasing demand for personal computer components in key trade markets, California exports have held fairly steady so far in 2013. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce will report national export figures for April, and Beacon Economics will break down state numbers.
Info: Check www.sacbee.com for details.
City Council to discuss policing
The Rancho Cordova City Council will hold a special meeting today to discuss options for providing police services. Staff members will provide information on three options: continuing to contract with the Sheriff's Department, contracting with the Citrus Heights Police Department or establishing an in-house department. The session will begin at 4 p.m. in the American River Community Room at Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive.
Chorus presents 'ExtraABBAganza!'
"ExtraABBAganza!" what is being billed as the "biggest summer concert ever" by the Sacramento Gay Men's Chorus will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St. in Sacramento. VIP tickets, for $40, include a pre-concert reception and front-row seats. General admission tickets are $25.
Air show lands at Yuba County Airport
The Golden West Regional Fly-in & Airshow takes place Friday through Sunday at the Yuba County Airport, 1364 Sky Harbor Drive in Olivehurst. The show, "Dawn of Aviation in the West," will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days. General admission is $5 Friday; $10 Saturday and Sunday.