Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Mirage Banquet Hall gets party on after $1 million-plus renovation

Published: Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013 - 6:24 am

The restrained beiges and browns of the exterior of the Mirage Banquet Hall belie the interior's gleaming chandeliers, rich marble floors and outrageous LED dance floor.

The Singh family, owners of a banquet hall in Vancouver, B.C., invested more than $1 million to renovate the long-vacant Harrison's Marine building at 2159 El Camino Ave. into a private party palace that can hold as many as 1,400 people.

Sunday's grand opening nearly reached that limit. Raja Singh didn't shut down the hall until 4 a.m. Monday. Although dead-tired, he was back at work hours later.

"It was crazy, and my shoulders are sore," said Singh, who lives in Roseville. "We served 25 different dishes here. We didn't do it cheap. That was probably $100,000 worth of party we threw."

Guests feasted on 10 appetizers and 10 main courses, including samosas, lamb curry and butter chicken. Singh is looking to fill the hall's calendar with wedding receptions, birthday parties and other events. A restaurant that can serve up to 318 should open by the end of the week, he said.

If you think this space glitters with Sin City opulence, credit the Singhs' Las Vegas design-and-construction team: Tannie Luke of Tannies Designworks, Ace Engineering and Akal Construction.

Don't fence them in

Now that Rusty Toth and Quake have claimed the 2013 Tevis Cup, maybe things will calm down for the veterinary staff at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center.

"We run the treatment hospital at the Tevis," said Dr. Jill Higgins, a partner in the medical center, "so we had six of our veterinarians there running six treatment hospitals along the way for any horses that got pulled for lameness or metabolic-type issues."

The Tevis caps a very busy summer for this equine center. The staff moved into a new $3 million facility over Memorial Day weekend. Higgins and her partners, Dr. Langdon Fielding and Dr. Catherine Jacobs, opted to leave tight quarters in downtown Loomis for more open spaces on Penryn Road, just a mile or so north of Interstate 80.

"As … our rent was going up, we started to think, 'Well, we could probably do better for ourselves if we owned our own property," Jacobs told me.

The partners, all graduates of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, acquired 7 acres and have the option to buy 11 more.

A hands-on hand up

Mayra Lucatero and Matthew Blanco seem like the type of people who make their own opportunities, but they credit their initial success in law enforcement to the hands-on training and personal attention of instructors at the Institute of Technology in Citrus Heights.

"They helped a lot in searching for opportunities and notifying students of openings that were coming up for potential academies to apply for," said the 20-year-old Blanco, a recruit in the Sacramento Sheriff's Academy. "One of the instructors there is a Sac sheriff's deputy, and he … took me out to the academy, showed me the academy grounds and … told me what to expect, how to go about applying, what to expect on the initial test."

Blanco noted that his time in a high-tech crime simulator at the school gave him a leg up in training scenarios at the sheriff's academy. Almost halfway through the six-month academy, Blanco said he's now seeing material that is posing greater challenges.

Lucatero, now a correctional officer in Colusa County, had an instructor who was a jail sergeant. All the experiences he shared, she said, she now meets on the job. He told Lucatero where to look for jobs, explaining that not all county jails required correctional officers to go through the police academy.

"My instructor kept in touch with me for my whole hiring process at Colusa County," Lucatero said. "He met up with me before my oral panel, and he told me how they go, what kicks people out of them, what will help me out. … Even after I got the job, he met up with me and told me, 'This is what happens in the jail environment.' "

The Institute of Technology, based across the parking lot from Red Lobster in a shopping center on Sunrise Boulevard, offers an associate's degree in criminology and emergency response management. The director of the program, Lou Pietronave, was a police chief for about 25 years in Ione and other NorCal locales. He said the school must place a majority of students to maintain its accreditation.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Back columns, www.sacbee.com/anderson. Follow her on Twitter @cathiea_sacbee.

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