Charities Helping Charities

By Claire Gliddon, Sacramento Blankets for Sacramento Kids      |  2020-03-12

Sister Libby of Mercy Pedalers picks up toothbrushes from SBSK. Photo: SBSK

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento Blankets for Sacramento Kids (SBSK), an organization that gives handmade blankets to children in need in Sacramento and Placer, wanted to help another charity, specifically the Mercy Pedalers, headed by Sister Libby.  SBSK asked its volunteers to donate a toothbrush and toothpaste during the month of February for Sister Libby.  This is the mountain that was received!  Small groups can make BIG differences! For information on SBSK or Mercy Pedalers, go to or

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Transforming Lives

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2020-03-12

Pam Markee, owner and CEO of Markee Personal Training, has a passion for helping clients reach their personal fitness goals.

Markee Personal Training Offers Programs for Any Fitness Level

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Pam Markee has been a personal fitness trainer for over 25 years and has been working in the Sacramento area since 2006. As the owner and CEO of Markee Personal Training, she helps clients reach their individual fitness goals and transform their lives.

Her private studio (located at 5250 Date Ave., Suite B, in Sacramento) is conveniently located close to Hwy 80 and Madison Ave., offering easy access for clients throughout the Sacramento Region. Clients enjoy the individualized program at Markee Personal Training: “It’s private, it’s one on one, so you’re not competing for time or attention from the trainer,” said Markee. Private personal training sessions also allow clients to fully focus on their fitness without the worry of being judged by others.

Markee Personal Training goes beyond the typical fitness program. Markee completed a fellowship at the Gray Institute for Functional Transformation: a graduate program attended by many physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, and doctors of osteopathy. “I studied with 14 countries around the world for over five years. This opened my eyes to the possibilities of helping others transform their health,” said Markee. “I love serving others in a way that encompasses mind, body, and spirit and treats the whole person — not just a symptom and a protocol. We really look at the entire person, their life and lifestyle, and custom-tailor programs specifically for them. Each program for each person is different because each and every person is biomechanically unique and different.”

Using philosophies learned at the Gray Institute, “we can help those with [multiple sclerosis], Parkinson’s, cardiac rehab, joint replacements, and so much more,” said Markee. A major focus of her practice is post-rehabilitative medical exercise, helping patients who have completed therapy programs but aren’t ready to resume regular exercise: “We bridge that gap, and we can get them the rest of the way to a functional program that is functional for their life,” said Markee.

Markee said her assistant, Lanell Martinez, who also has Gray Institute training, “is a pivotal part of my practice and I really couldn’t do it without her. … We make a great team. She is kind, gentle, and very thorough in her work.”

Martinez said, “It feels good to watch someone achieve their goal and gain the confidence to maintain that goal as they go forward.” Using their extensive training, Martinez said that she and Markee “are driven to find the answers to unlock the path to our client’s success.”

In addition to personal fitness training and individualized exercise programs, Markee Personal Training also offers soft tissue mobilization. It is similar to massage, but Markee said she treats patients while they are “moving through space — using gravity and ground reaction force and their body weight and their own mass and momentum to free up a joint.” It’s essentially massage-in-motion.

At Markee Personal Training, they work with clients of all fitness levels, from people who are disabled to professional athletes. Markee said, “Our clients are as old as 97 and as young as 16, so it’s a big range.” The studio and the equipment are wheelchair accessible, something that is especially important for elderly clients. Markee explained that fear of injury is the number one reason the elderly don’t exercise: “I think a lot of people don’t know there’s a safe place they can go to work out and not have their health compromised.”

She said, “If you’re not moving, those muscles are wasting away. So, we try to empower them and give them the skills and the tools.” If a client becomes so infirm that they can no longer travel to the studio, Markee will go to them, working with them in their own home “right to the end” of their lives.

Markee Personal Training has also recently started offering a nutritional and weight-management coaching program, which is specifically targeted to clients over 300 pounds. Instead of pushing these clients into strenuous exercises that they cannot realistically accomplish at this stage, Markee offers life coaching that “meets them where they’re at.” She explained that “obesity is now affecting over 40 percent of our population. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and we believe this is an educational issue as well as an epidemic.” Markee helps clients figure out what factors contribute to unhealthy food choices and finds ways to replace those habits with healthier options. The program is personalized to each client to determine what will work best for them so they can implement the changes in their everyday lives.

“Our environment is nurturing, clean, and free of embarrassing and humiliating situations that keep them from going to the gym to exercise in the first place,” said Markee. “To help these people have a better mindset, we really need to not just look at their physical body but what’s going on in the spirit and the mind of that person.”

Whatever fitness and health issues a client is facing, Markee Personal Training can tailor a program to help them reach their goals. Markee’s program assesses the whole person, including their habits and the details of their daily life. She said, “Looking at the whole picture helps to meet them where they’re at and transform them in a way that’s functional for their life and what they want to achieve.”

Markee focuses her practice where she sees the biggest need: “I’m just really trying to help people. … I think that’s where our heart is: How can we best serve the community?” Markee said, “It’s about building relationships with people. Once they trust us and trust the process and trust themselves, that’s golden — that’s what really transforms lives.”

For more information about the individualized fitness programs available at Markee Personal Training, visit


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Locals Find Exotic Creatures at Aquarium Depot

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2020-03-06

Thousands of customers attended the Aquarium Depot’s 7th annual Customer Appreciation Anniversary Event last weekend.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Aquarium Depot, located at 8201 Auburn Blvd., hosted the 7th annual Customer Appreciation Anniversary Event on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1. Jason Liang, one of the owners of Aquarium Depot, explained that the event is a way for the business to give back to the customers who have supported them throughout the years.

The event started at 11:00 AM on Saturday, and people started lining up at 6:30 that morning—with the line wrapping around the parking lot all the way to Auburn Blvd. The first 50 customers in line each day received a free T-shirt, and customers earned a raffle ticket for each $10 spent—hoping to win tanks and equipment for their exotic habitats.

The event lasted all weekend, and thousands of customers attended. Liang was happy to see such high engagement at the event: “It’s pretty awesome — just to be part of it is fantastic. … I’m seeing a lot of our usual, regular customers that we see once a week, twice a week … but also a lot of new customers.” Liang explained that keeping exotic fish and reptiles is a luxury hobby, so “it’s really important for us to gain new audience.”  He especially loves to see parents sharing their love of the hobby with their own young children.

Dawn, Don, and Piper (8) Streubing are regulars at the Aquarium Depot, making the drive from Plumas Lake every weekend. Dawn said they got their first reptile—a frilled lizard—at the Depot and it “started a chain reaction.” Now they are raising a tree frog as well.

Citrus Heights local Caprice (15) is the proud owner of a Beta fish, and she came to the event looking for some substrate for her aquatic plants: “We come often. If we need something, we always come here.” She got in line early hoping to win one of the free T-shirts.

Orangevale resident Grace (15) keeps arachnids—including tarantulas and black widows—along with both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, so she visits the Aquarium Depot frequently: “Everyone knows me here.”

Brendon Salazar has worked for the depot for five years, and he loves helping customers build living reefs in their saltwater tanks. He said, “It’s living coral, with organisms and anemones. … It’s a thriving environment.” Salazar loves seeing the younger generation get involved in the aquarium community: “You see a lot of kids now with tablets, so it’s nice to see them get back into having a hobby.”

In addition to attracting new business and thanking loyal customers for their support, the Customer Appreciation Event is also a way for the Aquarium Depot to increase public awareness about the aquarium and reptile hobby by introducing people to an array of exotic creatures. For more information about the store, visit


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Verdi Requiem–A Concert Dedicated To Biba Caggiano

By Erica Castillo, Digital Marketing Public Relations  |  2020-03-05

Image of the well-known local Italian American restaurateur, the late Biba Caggiano. Photo: SCSO

A work of staggering beauty and enormous drama from start to finish.” – Johannes Brahms

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra (SCSO) with Music Director Donald Kendrick, and a roster of world-class soloists, are proud to present Giuseppe Verdi’s powerful Requiem in concert on March 21, at 8:00 PM in the recently-renovated Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. The performance will serve as a special tribute honoring the late Biba Caggiano. 

Italian American Biba Caggiano, a popular chef, author, and television figure, was the driving passion for the well-known Italian restaurant Biba in Sacramento, established in 1986. The Bologna-born chef graciously contributed to the cuisine life of many known figures, such as former SF mayor Willie Brown, as his personal chef for a time, and Patrick Mulvaney of Sacramento restaurant Mulvaney’s B&L. The Sacramento Bee quoted Mulvaney on Biba’s contribution: “The love that Biba and her crew put into food and hospitality have set a standard to which we should all aspire,” “Her influence on the cooking of Sacramento is deep and wide. Generations of cooks have looked up to her and she will continue to inspire us.”

Giuseppe Verdi, one of the greatest Italian composers of the 19th Century, was primarily known as a composer of opera.  To commemorate this special tribute to Biba, the City of Sacramento will present a Mayoral Proclamation to her family members at the concert. Following the performance, the SCSO Team will honor Biba’s family member at a reception in Sacramento Memorial Hall. This invigorating performance of the Verdi Requiem will feature a large chorus of 206 singers, along with soloists from the Metropolitan Opera and a robust professional symphony orchestra, all conducted by Donald Kendrick. Featured Soloists include: Othalie Graham (Soprano), Linda Baird (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Breault (Tenor), and Malcom Mackenzie (Dramatic Baritone).

Tickets to this unforgettable performance and tribute are still available online at or at the Memorial Auditorium Box office, call 916-808-5181.

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Ed Asner Makes Appearance at Cal Cap Film Office

By Ricky Borba, California Capital Film Office  |  2020-03-05

From left to right: Ricky Borba, Co-Founder of California Capital Film Office; Mark S. Allen, host of "Morning Blend" on ABC10; Ed Asner, American actor and former president of the Screen Actors Guild; and Charles Lago, Co-Founder of California Capital Film Office. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Sunday, February 23rd, the California Capital Film Office in Rancho Cordova hosted its first public event, which was a book signing and autograph session with none other than Ed Asner! Mark S. Allen, the host of "Morning Blend" on ABC10, was the co-host, and scores of people sat and listened in as Mark and Ed discussed Ed's upbringing, his career and what's next for the ninety-year-old show business icon. When the question and answer portion ended, fans lined up to snap photos with Ed and get their books and memorabilia signed. It was a wonderful way to kick off the Film Office's presence here in the Sacramento region.

In the coming months, there are more celebrity book signing events coming to the film office, including Doug Hutchison, Tom Sizemore and others.

Check out for more info!

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Walking Sticks Club will be celebrating the ratio between the circumference of a circle to its diameter—approximately 3.14—on Pi Day, Saturday, March 14, 2020. We invite everyone to join in on our event, walking and eating “pie” with us before and/or after the walk.

The start/finish of our event will be Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery, 5622 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822.                                                               

Registration for the walk will be from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon, finishing by 3:14 pm

Everyone will have their choice of walking either a 5k (3.14 miles) or a 10k (3.14 x 2) route that is rated a 1A. The routes are wheelchair and stroller friendly; the family dog will love the outing, but they cannot come into Marie Callender’s. Children are encouraged to come and walk on foot, use their scooters or skates and if they’re 12 and under—they can eat FREE at the last remaining Marie Callender’s in town.

Families are encouraged to come and walk. We walk for the fun and fitness of the event and to see new places along the way and hopefully meet some new friends as well. The walk takes people into little known areas of Sacramento—the Little Pocket neighborhood, Belle Cooledge and Bahnfleth Parks as well as walking by the Sacramento Executive Airport and the Sacramento Public Safety Center.  Everyone can walk for FREE or pay $3.14 for volkswalk credit. (The normal fee for volkswalk credit is $3.00 per walk—the extra 14¢ will be donated to a local food closet.

For more Pi information visit


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WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – The Sacramento River Cats have announced the renewal and expansion of their partnership with FanCompass, a premier digital destination for fan engagement. There will be a host of new ways for fans to interact with the River Cats through, social media, the MiLB First Pitch app, and throughout Sutter Health Park on game days. The platform will also be the latest component of the River Cats’ sustainability circle, with paperless forms and waivers that will cut down on waste at the ballpark.

The FanCompass platform will be integrated with, the First Pitch app, and River Cats social media channels, offering a seamless way for fans to participate in contests, River Cats baseball trivia, voting for players of the homestand or favorite food items, and even trying to predict things like the time the game will end or the total number of pitches thrown. Pushing the frontiers of engagement, FanCompass will further enable the River Cats to use the feedback from the digital platform to improve the overall experience of enjoying River Cats baseball.

“We are thrilled serve as an innovation lab for FanCompass and work alongside them to offer our fans even more ways to connect with the River Cats, both from inside and outside the ballpark,” said River Cats General Manager Chip Maxson. “Their interactive platform will help us further execute on making Sutter Health Park a destination for affordable, family fun, while also helping with green initiatives by digitizing many necessary forms and waivers.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with the River Cats, using our technology to continuously push innovation around the way the fanbase interacts with the team,” said FanCompass CEO Jamie Pardi. “A leader in Minor League Baseball, the River Cats have been a perfect partner, sharing our vision of enhancing fan engagement and the overall fan experience.”

FanCompass is a Northern-California based company, currently working with teams across 12 sports leagues globally, and offering unique and interactive campaigns, geared toward fans of every major sport around the world.

The River Cats kick off 2020 by taking on the San Francisco Giants in an Exhibition Game on Sunday, March 22 at Sutter Health Park in West Sacramento. The club’s PCL and Triple-A championship-defense will officially begin on Thursday, April 9 in Reno, with Opening Night at Sutter Health Park coming on Tuesday, April 14 against the Tacoma Rainiers. Information about season ticket memberships and packages is available now at Single-game tickets for the 2020 season will go on sale beginning Sunday, March 1 at the annual Preseason Party at Sutter Health Park.

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