State parks officials say they are backing off controversial plans to run tourist trains through South Land Park and on down to Hood, but say they remain very interested in extending the existing Old Sacramento excursion train to the Sacramento Zoo.

A half-century after the passage of sweeping civil rights legislation, President Barack Obama declared that he had “lived out the promise” envisioned by Lyndon B. Johnson, the president who championed the push for greater racial equality.

This year marks 100 years of Picnic Days at UC Davis: That’s a lot of udder-pulling, parade floats floated, experiments showcased and off-campus beer and burgers consumed.

Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum has received a Best Show award for excellence from the International Association of Art Critics-USA for an exhibition that spotlights the interplay of poetry and art in the mid-century Bay Area cultural scene.

Originally published in The Bee on May 18, 1914

Old Sacramento, where the city has fought back floods and fires for 160 years, is facing new challenges from all sides.

For years, Downtown Plaza shoppers have strolled past works from noted local artists. When the mall gets knocked down for an arena, where will the art go?

The J. Paul Getty Museum will return a 12th century New Testament manuscript to a monastery in Greece after museum officials said they only recently learned it was stolen decades before the museum acquired it in 1983.

A scholar who directs an East-West think tank in Maastricht, Netherlands, Van Herpen asserts in a timely new book, “Putin’s Wars,” that the Russian leader deliberately launched two wars after coming to power in 1999, first in Chechnya and then in Georgia, and that his relative success in both led directly to his current drive to dismember Ukraine.

Old Sacramento is a true civic treasure, but it also remains a partially buried one. With millions of new visitors coming to downtown soon, there's no time like the present, or in this case, the past, to "plus" one of our region's top tourist draws and make it a bigger attraction for locals, too.

A librarian at the Oildale branch of the Kern County Library in 1952 would not allow me to check out John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” I’d just seen the movie, and had heard from pals there was a book based on it, and that it was dirty.

The rhetoric out of Moscow is to the Western ear, perhaps a bit puzzling: Ukraine today is run by thugs, fascists and Banderists. “Thugs” and “fascists” are easily understood, but Banderists? It’s a reference to Ukrainian nationalist and, many say, Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

Author Miriam Pawel explains how Cesar Chavez struggled with his leadership role and endeavored to tighten his control over all aspects of the union he helped create.

There’s a digital clock on display outside the visitors center in the charming Normandy town of Bayeux – but it doesn’t tell the time. It’s counting down the days until the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June.

A daguerreotype of a paddleboat is generally considered to be the earliest photograph of Sacramento.

The recent St. Patrick’s Day parade through Old Sacramento owes a nod to a 6-foot-4 inch, 240-pound, square-jawed pioneer and miner from County Kilkenny, Ireland, who helped civilize the Nevada territory and later became Sacramento’s first bishop.

Rocklin, a granite-mining hamlet that became a modern suburb, is restoring its history, one building at a time.

A move is underway to rehabilitate the deteriorated Bing Kong Tong building – once the focal point for a thriving Chinese community in Isleton – so that future generations will be able to appreciate the contributions made by immigrants.

There are those who may view Sacramento as a sleepy river town, distinguished only by its role as the seat of government for the nation’s most populous state.

Near the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, in a wide valley traversed for many centuries by the native Maidu tribe, John Augustus Sutter in the early 1840s established a trading post which quickly came to serve the Gold Rush. At its heart, the beginnings of Sacramento amounted to the establishment of the region’s first shopping center.

Scanning a printout of her ancestry results from a DNA testing company, Peggy Spatz announced that 2.7 percent of her genetic blueprint was handed down from her Neanderthal relatives some 50,000 years ago. That’s right: She’s part Neanderthal, and scientists say so is everyone else whose ancestors originated in Europe and East Asia.

It is disappointing that a proposal for a new natural history museum on Sacramento’s riverfront is dead. But it’s understandable given how much baggage was attached to the project.

They were unlikely soldiers.

On the second floor of the Crocker Art Museum, Kinaya Foster stood in front of a glass case filled with African sculpture and told her son, Kaleb, about African art. Then members of St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band paraded by, part of the museum’s free Black History Month family festival on Monday.

An Elk Grove couple has scrapped plans to build a $15 million automobile and natural history museum and will instead make a $1 million donation to the California Automobile Museum, the couple announced Saturday.

Peggy and George Spatz, retirees who live in Foothills Farms, know the percentage of Neanderthal DNA they carry in their genes: They're part of a growing trend toward using DNA to help in ancestry and genealogy research. Genomics experts refer to this trend as genetic genealogy or, a little more judgmentally, recreational genomics.

In Nevada County, this 850-foot tunnel into history was supposed to be the crowning attraction for a region whose heritage is gilded with gold.

Who’s cool? What does it take? And what is it about America that’s defined cool to the world? The National Portrait Gallery has decided it knows, and on Friday it opened an exhibit with 100 photographs of Americans who define cool.

The Winter Games have fostered international competition dating back to 1924.

Folsom has spent millions on its historic district, turning the former Southern Pacific depot grounds into a civic plaza with an amphitheater and a railroad turntable. City leaders say the renewed district has successfully attracted more traffic and sales, though its growing nightlife scene has drawn neighborhood complaints.

Terry McMillan will appear at Sac State author series.

A set of Depression-era restrooms in Davis once destined for demolition have a new chance at survival under an agreement the City Council approved last week.

Time presents the best of the State of the Union speeches from FDR to Barack Obama.

Morrie Turner, a pioneering cartoonist whose multicultural “Wee Pals” comic strip has appeared in The Sacramento Bee and many other U.S. newspapers for almost half a century, died Saturday at 90.

A small gold rush is taking hold in the foothills of Placer County, where prospectors young and old are taking advantage of record-low water levels to search for precious metal.

Docents and rangers commemorated the 150th anniversary of California State Parks at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, and broke ground on a new mill replica honoring James Marshall's consequential find.

One hundred and fifty years ago Rocklin was established as a town – and 100 years ago it nearly burned to the ground.

High-rises, parking lots and anonymous corporate buildings inhabit the stretch of Fourth Street between L and O streets formerly known as Japantown, a once-thriving neighborhood all but erased by wartime orders and wrecking-ball ambitions.

Pictures freeze a moment in time and can be great memory-joggers even decades later. We observed that here a couple of weeks ago and that notion was reinforced only days later by a reader. I’m always enamored with vintage pictures, whether they are in a calendar, magazine article or a book. The historical society’s new calendar is a real gem, packed full of cars and earlier surroundings in the Merced area.

On Monday’s 6-mile march from Grant High School to the Sacramento Convention Center honoring the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Grant High seniors Joseph Allen and John Wynne carried an 8-foot-long banner featuring the words of King, Cesar Chavez, the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi. The banner also featured the logo of their organization, Pacers for Peace, dedicated to promoting harmony and nonviolence on their campus and throughout the world.

In announcing his state budget, Gov. Brown allocated $40 million to the Department of Parks and Recreation to help it whittle away at what parks officials say is a $1 billion-plus list of deferred maintenance projects at its 280 parks and recreation sites. Will some of it be used to save Nevada County’s famous covered bridge?

No one seemed interested in celebrating Lassen County’s 2014 sesquicentennial, so Tim Purdy did the obvious: He wrote a book.

Chinese-American historians Chuimei Ho, Ben Bronson and Phil Choy came to visit our Chinese temple exhibit last month in the Merced County Courthouse Museum. Ho and Bronson are founders of the Chinese in Northwest America Research Committee in Washington.

Cookbooks offer insight into Edwardian kitchens — and how Mrs. Patmore would put together a seven-course dinner.

For aficionados of forensics, “CSI” or “Sherlock,” or murder mysteries, “The Poisoner’s Handbook,” on PBS’ “American Experience” on Jan. 7, will provide a fascinating look at the very beginnings of forensics in the United States.

New Year’s Day was successful at drawing more and more people to a fairly new tradition called First Day Hikes, in which community volunteers lead the public on walks through parks and nature, promoting a healthy lifestyle of activity.

Retired police detective Sharon McClatchy was one of the first 10 women hired as Sacramento Police Department officers in 1978. Now her daughter, Emily Kane, will be patrolling the streets.

Historically low water levels have exposed remnants of the Gold Rush mining town of Mormon Island, the last of which was razed in anticipation of the flooding of the American River Canyon upon completion of Folsom Dam. The town was buried by water in 1955.

Here they come, bringing up the end of the parade: The youngest members of the baby boom generation begin turning 50 on New Year’s Day.

Sacramento gets about 18 inches of rain in a typical year. In 2013, it's barely rained 6 inches.

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