Hundreds of children and youths clamored to play basketball in leagues run by Jacob Biagi and Royce Browning, but the two men had a problem: not enough court space.
In January, Biagi and Browning brought a lot more hardwood floors to Rocklin with the opening of Courtside Basketball Center at 1104 Tinker Road. Their center, based in a warehouse, has five new maple courts and electronic scoreboards. This might look like an in-your-face dunk against Hardwood Palace, which has eight courts just a block away at 1091 Tinker Road, but Biagi said the two businesses are actually complementary.
“I actually rent the majority of their space during the week,” he said. “The problem was, we needed even more space. I outfilled Hardwood. My partner outfilled Hardwood as well. On Friday nights, we go five hours straight on every one of their courts and five hours straight on every one of these courts. We work together because it’s the same client using both facilities.”
Before Courtside opened, Biagi and Browning had to find space at schools. That was difficult, however, because the schools had sporting events or community gatherings of their own.
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He and Browning plan a grand opening for Courtside Basketball Center on Friday. The facility has been so busy that the two partners haven’t had time to recruit other leagues and groups, Biagi told me, but he said they will need other business to help pay the bills once the youth leagues wind down in June. Courtside charges $60 an hour to rent a court.
Be a voice for south Sac
The California Endowment is teaming up with the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education to give south Sacramento residents a voice in how their community will be portrayed.
Starting Wednesday, south Sacramento residents can apply for a nine-month program that will bring in a mix of local and national journalists to train them in story-telling. Known as Sacramento Voices, it is an offshoot of the Community Voices program co-founded in 2010 by former Oakland Tribune Editor Martin G. Reynolds. Often, Reynolds said, people of color feel the media unfairly portray their neighborhoods.
“The residents constantly see stories in the media about crimes, shootings, robberies,” Reynolds said. “While these things do happen in the community, they see an overemphasis of those stories, and they are frustrated and debilitated by constantly seeing their neighborhood reflected in that way.”
At the end, Reynolds said, participants grow closer to their local newspaper: “There are relationships built with the paper. There was this renewed or new respect for the craft of journalism. They came away with a new appreciation for what journalists do and what a challenge it is to write a balanced story.”
Journalists also learned to value the correspondents’ perspectives, Reynolds said. When he took the program to Jackson, Miss., one correspondent wrote a piece about a mayoral candidate she thought might win the election.
“It wasn’t someone who was on the radar of the Clarion-Ledger, the hometown paper,” Reynolds said. “It turns out, he was the one who won.”
The Clarion-Ledger asked two correspondents to continue freelance writing for the paper. The goal is not to turn correspondents into journalists, however, but to look for news from diverse vantage points. That was what the late Robert Maynard sought when he was editor of the Oakland Tribune and at the institute he co-founded.
“Bob Maynard once said, ‘Newspapers should be a tool of community understanding,’ ” Reynolds said, “and I’m of the belief that a news organization should be a convener of conversations, and you can’t convene a conversation or a meaningful conversation if all partners who have a stake in that conversation are not present.”
Participants in Sacramento Voices will have their stories published on the SacramentoVoices.us website, which will go live Wednesday, and across The Bee’s blog network at www.sacramentoconnect.com. Former Bee columnist R.E. Graswich will coordinate the program, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Program participants will receive $1,000 upon completion of training.