A Playful Hall of Hope

Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-11-19

Leveta Hulsey, left, and her friend, Winnie Leal, come from Wheatland together each week to play bingo at Grand Oaks Palace to support Society for the Blind.”

Grand Oaks Palace On the Ball for Charity

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - Each Tuesday morning, rain or shine, Diane and Arlie Treas of Natomas catch a lift to the Grand Oaks Palace Bingo hall on Auburn Boulevard, where the coffee is hot, the energy high and the buy-in fees, which start as low as $20 for some games, are pooled to support a cause hitting as close to home for the couple as it gets.

Diane, who is completely blind, and “her best friend for life,” Arlie, partially blind, are regulars at Grand Oaks Tuesday matinee sessions, where buy-in fees go directly to charity, in this case, Society For The Blind, Sacramento (SFTB), which provides services for roughly 6,000 blind or low-vision clients across seven counties, including in-home life adaptability trainings, mentorship programs, and access to a low-cost vision clinic.  

In fact, every day is charity day at Grand Oaks, where all proceeds from bingo game buy-ins benefit a different non-profit each day, in some cases two in one day.  In addition to the SFTB, Grand Oaks’ hosts bingo matinee and evening sessions supporting The Placer County Food Bank, Mesa Verde High School and Oakmont Performing Arts Boosters.

Volunteers from each of the nonprofits have their own posse of onsite volunteers managing the sessions.  They are in charge of everything happening during their charity gams, including selling bingo cards and daubers, those brightly colored stamps used for marking paper cards, checking winning numbers, cranking out burgers and sandwiches in the snack bar, serving as the number “caller,” and of course, keeping the coffee going.  

Each charity pays rental fees for use of the space.  Typically a daily sessions will include roughly 20 different bingo games, some using old-school paper cards or “sheets,” while others are played on electronic cards or screens, which make it possible to manage multiple cards at once, boosting the pot and increasing the odds of a winning round.  Games vary, as do the payouts, but rarely exceed $1,500 for most sessions at Grand Oaks.

“We’ve been playing here for three years,” says Dianne, who figures her biggest win was about $300 to Arlie’s $1,119.  The two are inseparable, she says, and bingo is their “date day.”

“We are best friends. We were best friends for 30 years and we’ve been married for 10, and this is what we look forward to each week.”

For Arlie, it’s also an outlet.

“Blind people have few things they can really do,” says Arlie.  “This is a great way for us to be together and have fun.”

Founded in 1954, SFTB has benefited from charity bingo sessions at Grand Oaks for 35 years, said Executive Director Shari Roesler, who estimates her organization nets close $270,000 from Grand Oaks bingo each year.

“We are incredibly grateful for the bingo contributions,” said Roesler.  “Funds from bingo at Grand Oaks make it possible for us to run our vision clinic and provide exams for our clients, pay for occupational therapist visits and do in-home trainings for newly blinded individuals and others.”

Unfortunately, while Grand Oaks seemingly continues to thrive alongside a dramatic fall off in business at the other handful of bingo halls across Sacramento County, indeed the country, the numbers are not looking good for the charities served.  Players are either aging out or, more critically, being romanced by bigger payouts at casinos.

At Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, for example, Pano Hall’s 500-seat bingo parlor offers a range of 27 different bingo games, as well as “Mega and Power packages” with payouts into the thousands for standard games, and as high as $128,000 for progressive games, such as the Thunder Jackpot rounds.

The competition, says Roesler, is taking a bite out of proceeds and making it increasingly more difficult to justify the monthly rental fees, even with evidence of a resurgence in interest in bingo by young people who like the electronic card option.

“Thunder Valley and other casinos have taken a precipitous amount of our business,” said Roesler.  “We are monitoring it very closely and, for now, we are OK.  But we have to consider whether it’s viable for us to go forward.  Payouts could never be as high as what they offer at Thunder Valley.”

She said, as far as she knows, payouts at Grand Oaks haven't increased in years. 

Paul Colbert manages bingo sessions benefiting for Mesa Verde, which has been running games three days a week at Grand Oaks for the last 15 years.  He also has seen the numbers change and knows the hall’s attendance could use a shot in the arm.

“We count on the games here to help support our school,” says Colbert.  “The money is used to buy equipment for the sports teams and other school facility needs.  So, it’s important for us to get the word out to support us.”

For now, the balls keep turning and there are no planned changes at Grand Oaks.  That’s good news for Rhonda Schmidt of Citrus Heights who plays the Tuesday matinee sessions each week, alongside her dad, Allen Summers and mother Carol, who suffers from macular degeneration, a progressive from of blindness caused by the growth of “blind spots” on the eyes. 

While Carol has relatively good partial vision, her daughter says she knows the time is coming when services through the SFTB will be needed, so the three are not only having a good time together, they are making an investment in Carol’s future care.

“We’ve played other bingo halls around the area, but this is our preferred spot now,” said Schmidt.  “We come together each week, with our lucky dollar bears that mom makes, our daubers and the attitude that we are playing for a good cause.  The time will come when mom will need help from Society for the Blind, and it feels good to know we are putting our support behind them now for when she does.”


Guiding Veterans in Tough Times

Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-11-19

Aging With Dignity is hosted by Ed Outland, live, Saturday on KTKZ (1380 am) from 1 to 2 p.m. and also on KSAC (105.5 fm). Photo courtesy Ed Outland.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Ed Outland is not a veteran.  As a young man, however, he planned to serve his country, as did his father, a career serviceman.  But those hopes were dashed when he developed an illness that disqualified him for enlistment.

“I was drafted in 1969 and I wanted to be a pilot,” says Outland, founder and CEO of Family Heritage Group, LLC in Fair Oaks.  “I found out I had a form of spina bifida and that was it. I didn’t get to go.”

Flash forward several decades (and careers) later and Outland, 71, heads up a company offering financial estate planning and related services for individuals and their family members.  He’s found a circuitous but important way to serve his country by providing pro-bono financial services to aging, sick and injured veterans to ensure they receive, at minimum, access to a little known government entitlement benefit that a vast majority of his clients don’t even know they qualify for.

Sure, Outland has to keep the lights on, so his core company, which currently carries a portfolio of roughly $11 million, centers on financial and estate planning services for the elderly, helping them navigate the wildly complicated qualification process for Medi-Cal benefits, the state’s Medicade program for low-income individuals, and guiding clients on the purchase of life insurance, annuities and other investment and retirement vehicles.

But Heritage Group has a niche market serving veterans with critical medical issues, ensuring they and or their spouses receive assistance through the Aid & Attendance program (A&A) offered through the US Dept. Of Veteran’s Affairs (VA).  The benefit, which can be combined with social security and Medi-Cal, can be used to pay for non-service related medical expenses, including long-term care fees and other expenses due to a catastrophic illness.

Outland does not charge for helping veterans get this benefit.  For those veterans who may have assets exceeding qualifying levels, Outland works with them to redirect their assets in order to meet the requirements.

“Roughly 96 percent of the financial services and catastrophic illness planning we do with veterans is pro-bono work,” says Outland.  “We help them or, if need be, the spouse, apply for the A&A benefit so they can deal with medical expenses with dignity and not have to go broke doing it.”

There are fewer and fewer financial advisors willing to dive into the tangled web of entitlement benefits, according to Outland, who has been working with veterans for about 11 years.  Over that period, he’s established good relationships with the skilled nursing facility community, working with staff and ensuring residents are signed up for and receiving the full range of government entitlements needed to pay for their care and board.

 “This work is not for the weak willed or faint of heart,” says Outland.  “Believe me, the VA doesn’t like us very much.”

To qualify, a veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty with one day during a time of war and a clean discharge from service between Dec. 7, 1941 and Dec. 31, 1946 for WWII; June 27, 1950 to Jan. 31, 1955 for the Korean Conflict, and between Aug. 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 for the Vietnam War.  Veterans with at least two years of active duty service during the Persian Gulf War from Sept. 2, 1990 up to present day, also qualify.

While most of his VA pro-bono clients do not have much money saved, Outland works to help all who apply for the A&A benefit to qualify.  The VA stipulates applicants can have only a maximum $30,000 in assets if single, $50,000 if married.

But for most, the A&A benefit represents the last option for financial aid to cover medical care costs.  Few have wealth management portfolios to break apart and redirect.

“Many of our veterans come in the door with $50 in their savings accounts,” says Outland.  “Getting these benefits is life-changing for them.”

Part of Outland’s work with others also involves dispelling myths, the biggest one being that if you have money you can’t qualify for Medi-Cal.  And that myth is widely prevalent among a good majority of WWII veterans and their family members who are struggling to balance paying for medical care without depleting their assets and robbing their children of an inheritance.

“The greatest generation of veterans is dying off,” says Outland.  “So our job is to make sure that the $10 trillion that roughly comprises their total wealth is passed on to their families and not sucked up by the ever-increasing costs of long-term medical care and expenses.”’

Outland said of the roughly 16 million veterans who served in WWII there are roughly 750,000 still living.  He estimates there also are roughly 2.5 million WWII widows still living who are entitled to the benefit and can apply for it.  They just need to know it’s there.

“That’s a lot of veterans and widows out there and most of them don’t have a clue the benefit is there for them,” Outland says.

Receiving the Aid & Assistance benefit has made it possible for veterans from all backgrounds to fill the gap between Medi-Cal coverage, Social Security and pension payments and costs of long-term care, among other things, which amounts to an average of close to $7,000 a month in many places.  As of January 2015, a veteran and spouse could qualify for as much as $2,126 a month through the program.  The A&A benefit for single veterans is currently set at $1,794 a month, and for surviving spouses the benefit is $1,156 a month. 

“It truly can mean that someone can age with dignity in a good facility and pay for it without having to lose everything they’ve spent their lives saving up,” Outland said.

Outland also has an hour-long, weekend radio program offering listeners financial and estate planning guidance, He’s successfully parlaying a long, first career in radio advertising sales and station management into a passion helping people manage their money, preserve their family’s wealth and plan for the future.

“I’m self-taught,” said Outland.  “I got tired of doing radio sales day in and day out.  I have been doing this for 28 years now and I guess you could say it really is a second career.”

Outland said when he “discovered” the Aid & Assistance benefit was available there were reportedly roughly 400 recipients in the Sacramento County region signed up for and receiving it.  As of January of this year, he estimated his firm had successfully completed roughly 6,000 A&A cases for veterans. 

“It was like the sky opened up,” Outland said.  “We’ve got to get the word out there that these benefits are available.”


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Real Heroes Don't Wear Capes

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-11-19

Lou Borovansky and Doug Borges shared their memories at the Sylvan Cemetery Veterans Day event. Photo by Heidi Borges

Veterans Honored at Citrus Heights Veteran’s Day Service

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - Veteran’s Day, or what was formerly Armistice Day is celebrated every year on November 11. Services begin at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month. This is the exact date and time during World War I (WWI) when the armistice or cease fire was reached between the Allied countries including the United States, and Germany in 1918. An act of Congress changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all who had served in the U.S. military since its birth.

The traditional procession through the cemetery prior to the ceremony at the gazebo was led by the Citrus Heights Police (CHDP) motor brigade, followed by CHDP Honor Guard, American Legion (AL) Post 637, Boy Scout Troop 228, members of the police department, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) rifle team, and members of the community.

The Folsom Harmony Express chorus paused their patriotic songs while the CHPD color guard presented the colors. Acting Post 637 Chaplain Al Schuler said a prayer and led the pledge of allegiance.

Representing the Citrus Heights City Council members present, Mayor Jeff Slowey greeted attendees and thanked the veterans for their service. Police Chief Ron Lawrence noted the close bond between the military and police officers, resulting from the nature of their work to protect the public often at the risk of their own lives. He recalled the inspirational story of Captain Charlie Plumb, a former Navy Fighter Pilot who, after 74 successful flights over Vietnam, was shot down on his 75th mission, only five days before the end of his tour.  He was 24 when he parachuted into enemy territory over Hanoi and was captured.

Plumb served his 6 years as a prisoner of war (POW) in an 8x8 windowless cell with no books, paper or pens. He was tortured and dehumanized. His wife, believing him to be dead, remarried while he was gone. Lawrence noted that Plumb had come out of this experience stronger, recognizing that all adversity is an opportunity to be ones best self. Plumb continues to carry his message of what he has learned from his imprisonment to audiences around the world.

AL Post 637 Commander Paul Reyes thanked Boy Scout Troop 228 for faithfully volunteering at every Memorial and Veterans service at Sylvan to put up the many flags lining the Avenue of Flags.

American Legion member and Master of Ceremonies Jim Monteton gave a brief history of World War I (WWI) and of America’s 13- month involvement in the four-year war. He spoke of WWI being known as the “War to End All Wars”, as our country had no idea there would be a ‘sequel’ in twenty years. Monteton quoted the Greek philosopher Plato’s ironic words, “only the dead have seen the end of war.”


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A True Hero and Survivor

By Elise Spleiss     |  2017-11-19

Okinawa survivor Bob Mellor proudly displays his Navy photo, his Navy uniform and the American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific Campaign and World War II medals he earned during his service in the Battle of Okinawa. Photo by Elise Spleiss

Battle of Okinawa Survivor Part of Final Battle of World War II

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - At the age of 20, Bob (Junior) Mellor, had no way of knowing he was soon to be part of what would be known as ‘history’s greatest conflict on land and sea’, the Battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg. Many who unknowingly become a part of history in the making often just see it as part of the job. It is no different for Bob Mellor, now 92.

His patriotic T-shirts and original Navy uniforms hanging in his closet, the glass case full of photos and other service memorabilia are silent reminders of his service while his extensive collection of World War II and other combat movies bring those days back to life for him. And Bob loves to proudly talk about those days to any fortunate enough to hear his stories.

Bob joined the U.S. Navy on October 6, 1944 in San Francisco. He took a train to San Diego Naval Training Center where he completed his basic training as a Seaman Apprentice Class on December 28, 1944. The same day he was transferred to Landing Craft School where he graduated three months later on March 6, 1945.

During his training Bob took a leave to visit his older brother, Ray Mellor whose ship, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Fanshaw Bay, had come in for repairs following a Japanese attack that had burned the flight deck. While on board Ray, a Gunner’s Mate on the ship, showed his brother the 5-inch anti-aircraft guns where he worked. Ray survived the war, thanks to the metal case covering his Bible when he took shrapnel to the chest during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.

Upon completion of Landing Craft School Bob Mellor was transferred to the West Pacific where he was trained to drive a 30-foot Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) boat. He was immediately made a cockswain, in charge of the ship and its crew, and trained in the Pacific Ocean in 15 to 20-foot breakers. Mellor said he liked the training and “found it no harder than plowing a straight furrow” back home on his family’s 156-acre ranch in Delhi, California.

During his three-month training in preparation for the invasion of Okinawa, Mellor brought in supplies, hauled liberty parties and took sailor transfers to other ships on the high seas. He participated in a week-long shake-down cruise and amphibious landing off Catalina Island before boarding a Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) headed for Pearl Harbor where he trained in all the sea channels driving a landing craft.

On March 17, 1945 Mellor was assigned to LSM 424 (Landing Ship, Medium) and was sent to the south islands in the Pacific where he joined a larger fleet of landing craft and mine sweepers. At 203 feet-long, his ship resembled a small aircraft carrier and carried over 100 guns, mortars and rockets of various sizes.  Mellor’s ship was part of the fleet that by the end of March would number 1,300 headed to the invasion of Okinawa. Only 325 miles from Japan, Okinawa was the last stronghold to defeat before reaching Japan.

Finally, on April 1, 1945 the U.S. and allied forces invaded Okinawa. Mellor and his men landed in Buckner Bay. By the end of the day, it had become the largest amphibious landing in the Pacific theater of World War II with 50,000 troops landing.

One of the pilots flying from the carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto was a young pilot by the name of George H.W. Bush. Bush and other pilots conducted bombing raids in their TBM Avengers to clear the way for Mellor and other landing crafts to land safely on Okinawa. However, attempting to prevent U.S. and Allied landings was the Imperial Japanese ‘super-battleship” Yamato, along with its fleet of Japanese aircraft carriers and destroyers. 

Mellor recalls that just after his ship had unloaded its pontoons and hardware for the floating docks, they were attacked briefly in a kamikaze attack by a Japanese Zero fighter plane. He and his men survived that attack and with the equipment provided, three U.S. Army and three U.S. Marine Corps divisions aided in the successful completion of the assault on Okinawa.

On April 7, 1945 the Yamato, the largest battleship in the world at 80,000-tons was sunk by the Avengers after 10 torpedo hits. The Yamato had been the former flagship of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The war ended on June 22, 1945 but Mellor had one more assignment to complete. On June 26, Mellor took his LSM 424 to the north end of Okinawa and picked up U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division at Hedo, and transported them to the North China Sea where they boarded 40 ships to go home. 

More than 12,000 American servicemen were killed at Okinawa and over 38,000 wounded or missing. Japan lost 100,000 men, plus a loss of up to 150,000 civilian Okinawans.

Mellor continued his life following his Navy days with his high school sweetheart, Elma Louise Voyles. They married in 1946, following his discharge from the Navy and her graduation with honors from Livingston High School in Livingston, California. Their first home was a chicken house in the backyard of Clint Lovelady’s Ranch in Delhi, California. They converted the chicken house into their home of one year, then moved to a farm in Delhi where Bob work full-time plowing fields and milking the cows. Their toilet was an outhouse.

In 1950 Mellor took a job at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento where he worked for 34 years before retiring as a “Scheduler’ for airplane repairs.

The Mellor’s had four children, three adopted over a span of fifteen years. After two children, they upsized from their home in North Highlands to 5-acres in Fair Oaks. After 54 years of marriage, Elma passed away in 2000.

Mellor now lives with his daughter, Lynne at her home in Roseville. He spends much of his time watching his extensive collection of WWII movies and other classics dating back to the 1930’s.               

He enjoys his pastime, especially as, referring to his waning memory, each time he watches a favorite movie like Midway or Flying Tigers, it’s like watching it for the first time.

As the number of our surviving World War II veterans are rapidly dwindling, our younger generations are either never studied or are forgetting their sacrifices. Stories like these are a memorial to the thousands of people who worked, fought and died to preserve our way of life today. They cannot be forgotten.

Sources: Mellor Family History by Dr. Dennis L. Mellor

The Collings Foundation; World War II Day by Day by Antony Shaw

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ACFP Relay Team Runs for Survivors

By Colleen Robertson, ACFP  |  2017-11-19

Photo courtesy ACFP

Supporting survivors and victims of Domestic Violence and Family Violence

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - A Community For Peace (ACFP) created a Community Team for the California International Marathon called ‘ACFP Communities in Motion Relay Team’. The team will run Sunday, December 3, 2017. The team’s goal is to raise $26,000 to support survivors of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and family violence which includes women, children and men.

This year, A Community For Peace has composed a team of four runners from our community. We are very excited about this marathon team this year because it reflects a true community of healing and peace.

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! On Sunday, December 3rd, the scenic 26 mile route will start near the Folsom Dam in Folsom, then take the runners through the towns of Orangevale, Citrus Heights, right in front our ACFP office, then continues through Fair Oaks and Carmichael and finally, under a canopy of trees in full fall colors, into the city of Sacramento for the State Capitol finish.

ACFP and the community team ask everyone to pledge for the ACFP Communities in Motion Relay Team. You can pledge online at www.acommunityforpeace.org under the events CIM Run page. To sponsor this team, contact the media contact below. 2

A Community For Peace is a trauma-informed social justice crisis center for victims and survivors of domestic violence, family violence, and sexual assault. A Community For Peace’s mission is to end all forms of violence to women and girls, men and boys, and to promote peace in our homes, schools and communities. A Community For Peace is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Tax ID#68-0457704.

Source: ACFP

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Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - This press release is a summary of the facts known at this time.  This incident is still under investigation, so the information is subject to change. Additional details will be released as they become available.

On Sunday, November 19, 2017 at approximately 2:45 am, a solo officer with the Citrus Heights Police Department made a self-initiated contact with a male and a female standing near a vehicle in the parking lot of a local motel in the 6200 block of Auburn Boulevard.  During the contact, the officer conducted a search of the male (The male was later confirmed to be in possession of a firearm).

During the search, the male pulled away from the officer and fled on foot.   The officer chased the male on foot.  Until additional statements are obtained, it is unknown at this time what transpired between the suspect and the officer during the foot pursuit.  However, it is known that during the chase, the officer discharged his firearm an unknown number of times at the male. The male continued to run from the officer and stopped a short distance later in a nearby parking lot.  

Other officers arrived on scene to assist. The officers discovered the male had sustained at least one gunshot wound to his upper torso.  The officers immediately called for paramedics and began to provide first aid to the male.  A search of the male revealed a firearm.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department transported the male to a local hospital for treatment.  The male is currently listed in stable condition.

The male was identified as 24 year old Nickolas Russo (May 2017 booking photo below).  Russo has an extensive criminal history including firearms possession.  Russo is currently on CDCR Parole for burglary and County Probation for vehicle theft.

The involved officer was not injured and has been placed on paid administrative leave as per department policy.

Russo is currently under arrest for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, resisting a police officer, violation of parole, and violation of probation.

There are no outstanding suspects or threats to the public resulting from this incident.
The officer involved shooting is being investigated by the Citrus Heights Police Department’s Investigative Services Division and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

As a result of this incident, Auburn Boulevard is currently closed between Greenback Lane and Charwood Lane.  Auburn Boulevard is expected to be closed until approximately11:30 am.

Anyone having information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department at 916-727-5500.

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Girl Scouts STEM Center Opens in Sacramento

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-11-08

Girl Scouts at the Teevhah STEM Center 2 work with mechanical toys as part of an exploration into electronic engineering. (Photo Credit: Girl Scouts of the USA)

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Silly boys. Science and technology also are for girls, and the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California (GSHCC) is about to prove it to you.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, the GSHCC will open the region’s first STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Center + Makerspace, an all-girl facility that will serve as a hub for innovation and exploration across the world of tech and science for girl scouts in the council’s 18-county region.  

The STEM Center + Makerspace, modeled on the Girl Scouts of the USA’s other STEM Centers already operating in other parts of the country, will offer girls scouts in grades K-12 the region’s first open structured learning and development space where they can unleash their curiosity and skills and explore and innovate through a broad range of activities that include a deep dive into the study of robotics, circuitry and programing, as well as the environmental sciences.

“Girl Scouts is uniquely qualified to offer support for girls to work creatively in a single-gender environment, where they can explore new interests and collaborate with other girls,” says Dr. Linda Farley, GSHCC CEO.  “The STEM Center + MakerSpace is an investment in the next generation of Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers and Leaders (G.I.R.L.s.), and will serve as a hub for girl innovation, exploration and discovery for Girl Scouts throughout our 18-county region.”

The GSHCC serves roughly 30,000 girls and 10,000 adult Girl Scout members in counties across Sacramento, Stockton and the Modesto area.  Its new STEM Center, sponsored in part by Intel Corporation, includes the MakerSpace, which encourages the use of design thinking and collaborative problem solving.

“At Intel, we are committed to opening doors to opportunity for girls here in Northern and Central California, and we believe this STEM Center + Makerspace will inspire these girls and give them the skills they’ll need to become future innovators,” says Courtney Martin, Intel public affairs director.

A ‘task force’ of local female innovators and Girl Scout members will collaborate on the new STEM Center’s formation and operations.

The Girl Scout’s push for girl leadership and training in STEM is being fueled by the organization’s drive to reverse what it points to as a decline in the country’s number and efficacy of its STEM-related industries.  Putting STEM in front of girls, first at the pre-college level, the organization hopes, will build on their interest and confidence in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering.  In turn, that knowledge and experience can be expanded at the college level, creating a pipeline of STEM-trained women ready to take their education on to build life-long careers.

According to the organization, America’s status as the world’s leading technology and science innovator appears to be slipping, pointing to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, which suggests that only 29 percent of Americans rated their country’s K-12 education in STEM subjects as “above average” or “the best in the world.”

Since 1912, Girl Scouts has served as one of the most widely supported, all-girl leadership development organizations in the world.  There are currently 112 regional Girl Scout councils across the country representing roughly two million members, where they focus on building courage, confidence and character, and yes, cookies.

But the creation of Girl Scout STEM Centers aims to ratchet up the impact of membership, specifically by working to fill the gaps in educational instruction in the fields of science, engineering and technology and give girls a chance to build careers across sectors that have, in some cases, remained out of reach.

“With our focus on mechanical engineering, biological and environmental sciences, programming and robotics, girls develop skills that have the potential to change their lives,” Farley said.

For more information, please visit: www.girlscoutshcc.org


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Jennifer Wood Chosen Environmentalist of the Year

By Lori Morales, CCL  |  2017-11-08

Jennifer Wood. Photo courtesy CCL

Award goes to Sacramento Citizens’ Climate Lobby Volunteer

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Jennifer Wood received the Environmentalist of the Year Award from the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) November 8th. Jennifer is a volunteer with the Sacramento Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), and she was honored along with other champions of the environment at the annual awards ceremony.

Jennifer Wood founded the Sacramento Chapter of CCL in January of 2013 because of CCL’s emphasis on citizen engagement and its focus on bipartisan national policy. She began as the volunteer Group Leader for the Sacramento Chapter and is now a volunteer Chapter Coordinator, focusing on groups in the Central Valley and Sierras. Jennifer stated: “CCL has an approach that can bridge the political divide and bring many voices into the conversation. We advocate for national climate policy that is equitable, effective, and efficient.”

CCL, which has 84,000 members globally and chapters that cover every Congressional District in the U.S., trains volunteers in the skills of citizen engagement and helps members exercise their political voice. The Sacramento CCL chapter has grown to over 800 members and has developed relationships with Representatives Doris Matsui and Ami Bera, demonstrating community support for common-sense national climate policy. 

Members meet with local elected officials and community leaders and educate the public about national climate solutions. Last June, seven chapter members traveled to Washington, D.C. for CCL’s annual conference, and joined 1,000 volunteers as they lobbied every member of Congress about the need for national climate action.  “It was a life changing experience to participate in grassroots organizing.” said Edith Thacher, Sacramento chapter co-lead, “Imagine hundreds of volunteers walking the halls of Congress, meeting with each representative or their staff, expressing a unified message, and respectfully discussing the congressperson’s perspective on climate action.”

Commenting on the award, Jennifer said, “This award belongs to my Chapter’s members as much as it does to me. There is no CCL without the volunteers and there is no political will for change unless citizens speak out and become active”.

For more information see the CCL Sacramento Chapter website: https://www.sacramentoccl.org/   

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Local Leaders Take Dam Advocacy Efforts to D.C.

From the Office of Senator Nielsen  |  2017-11-08

Senator Nielsen

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and representatives from the Oroville Dam Coalition will be traveling to Washington D.C. next week to seek federal assistance with outstanding issues relating to the spillway crisis.

“My constituents living downstream of the Dam are appreciative of the relentless efforts to re-build the spillway in advance of the upcoming storm season. But too many issues remain unresolved,” said Gallagher. “Most obvious is the massive sediment buildup in the Feather River. We don’t need studies and talk, we need to see action.”

The group will be attending a series of meetings with Commissioners and staff from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The schedule also includes briefings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Army Corp of Engineers, as well as meetings with the Federal Highway Administration regarding Highway 70 improvements.

“Since February, we’ve been told by DWR and other state agencies that ‘everything is on the table’ when it comes to the future of the Oroville Dam complex,” said Nielsen. “We are hopeful that our federal partners will help us get the answers we need and ensure that our communities are given a seat at the table as long-term plans are being developed. This trip is another step to ensure that our community's voice is heard.”

Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly, Oroville Chamber of Commerce President Sandy Linville, and Darin Gale with the City of Yuba City will be in attendance representing the Oroville Dam Coalition. 

The Oroville Dam Coalition was established to ensure a united voice from downstream communities in the aftermath of the evacuation on February 12th.  

Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at senator.nielsen@sen.ca.gov.

Assemblyman James Gallagher represents the 3rd Assembly District, which encompasses all of Glenn, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties as well as portions of Butte and Colusa counties.

Source: Office of Senator Nielsen


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Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - SMUD has posted the names of customers and vendors who have not yet cashed checks dated between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014. The list of names will remain online until December 22, 2017. Each year SMUD posts this information in an effort to locate the money’s rightful owner.

Claims for these uncashed checks should be filed on or before December 22, 2017 with SMUD Unclaimed Monies, 6201 S Street, Mail Stop K109, Sacramento, CA 95817-1818 or by calling (916) 732-7440.

Replacement checks will be issued only to the payee whose name is on the list, or upon proof of death, to the payee’s beneficiary. The claimant’s name must be included on the list of unclaimed checks for the claim to be considered valid. Checks not claimed by December 22, 2017 become SMUD property under California Code Section 50050-50057.

Source: SMUD

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