Stopping Crime Before It Starts

By Patrick Larenas  |  2019-06-12

From left to right: Officer James Garing, CSO Larissa Wasilevsky, and Officer Felicia Taylor. Photo courtesy of Citrus Heights Police Department.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) will be offering a safety training Business Academy for business owners and managers on Thursday, June 20, and Thursday, June 27, from 8 am to 12 noon.

Participants at the Business Academy will receive an introduction to the criminal justice system and learn to deal with and decrease business related crimes. “The Business Academy was created to deal effectively with business related issues and crimes such as shoplifting, theft, homeless loitering and counterfit money,” said Program Coordinator for the Business Academy, Larissa Wasilevsky.

“The program is a way to create partnerships with community business owners, managers and the Police Department. Crime is down overall 10 percent from 2018,” said Wasilevsky, “but we know there are a number of new businesses moving into the city and we want them to be prepared in case a crime happens.”

A wide variety of skilled and experienced crime related instructors will be hosted including:

Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) officer James Garing will be speaking on the subject of firearms and active shooter situations;

Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) Navigator Tony Morgan will focus on how to deal with homeless people in business situations and why homelessness happens;

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) specialist Felicia Taylor will deal with neighborhood, location and landscape issues associated with business crime;

Police Dispatcher Mark King will explain to students how to call the Police Department, how to become a good witness, how to describe suspects and other questions when contacting the Police Department.

The deadline to sign up is June 18 and participants will receive a Certificate of Participation. Future courses may be offered depending on community interest. To sign up contact Larissa Wasilevsky at (916) 727-5879 or at

Road Construction Season Underway

By Matt Robinson, Sacramento County  |  2019-06-14

Image of a road repair crew filling in trenches on one of our roadways. Photo courtesy of Sacramento County.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - It’s that time of the year on Sacramento County roads. Construction season. The Sacramento County Department of Transportation (SacDOT) crews are busy with projects to improve area roads through new construction and maintenance efforts to beat back the wear and tear on the streets.

Some projects will be big efforts like the replacement of two bridges on Ione Road, and the construction of streetscape and completion of street improvements on Florin Road between Power Inn Road and Florin-Perkins Road (Old Florin Town). Others are designed to improve safety and mobility for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, like the Garfield Avenue Improvement Project which will add bike lanes, sidewalk and street lights from Whitney Avenue to Gibbons Drive while modifying the traffic signal at Winding Way.

SacDOT has compiled a Project Master List (PML), which is posted on the department website. It highlights the planned projects the department is working to complete. In the list, you can see: Which projects are in your area; A description of the planned work; When the Board of Supervisors approved/expects to approve the project; When construction is expected to start and end.

The PML also shows how much the project will cost, and how it is being funded. The PML includes all projects in the County that are currently under construction or will begin construction shortly. It also shows projects that are in earlier stages of development (environmental review, design, right-of-way acquisition) and are scheduled to be constructed in future years. This list is updated quarterly to include the latest project schedules and information.

Keeping the roadways safe means SacDOT crews will be out and about throughout the County in various ways taking care of much-needed maintenance. Crews will be busy filling potholes every day.

There are 5,200 lane miles of paved roads in the unincorporated areas of the County. In 2018, crews fixed nearly 59,000 potholes, but the weather coupled with the amount of traffic on our roads means potholes will show up as fast as crews fix them. Repairing a pothole is labor intensive work; due to the small size of a pothole, it requires crews to fix them by hand by shoveling asphalt into the holes. The patches offer a temporary solution, and eventually, roads with multiple patches will need a more expensive solution.

SacDOT is rolling out a $22 million street improvement plan that includes Elkhorn Boulevard. Work like this, known as an AC (Asphalt Concrete) Overlay will repair the base of the road. An overlay project is more than pothole repair. This involves grinding and removing the surface materials and replacing with rubberized asphalt concrete. These projects are time-consuming, traffic disrupting, and expensive. The Elkhorn project will cost around $3.4 million.

Construction season isn’t solely focused on roadways. The spring and summer season means trees are in full bloom, the grass is growing, and weeds need to be abated. That bloom can also mean excess growth that needs to be trimmed before they cause a driving hazard. SacDOT maintains the right-of-ways in the unincorporated areas. Public safety and healthy landscapes are the focus of the department’s Trees and Landscape section.

During the warm weather season, tree crews are out daily clearing the roads and sidewalks of hazards. Last year, crews trimmed 4,000 trees and removed another 257 diseased trees. This maintenance responsibility covers County owned roadway frontages, medians, pedestrian walkways, soundwalls, bike lanes, and overpasses. Along with the trees, you can find crews mowing more than 4,000 miles of roadside grass and performing nearly 2,000 miles of weed control.

SacDOT does its best to monitor the areas that need maintenance. A list is maintained with priority given to projects that have funding or pose immediate threats to public safety, but crews can’t catch everything. To inform the department of areas that need maintenance, the public is encouraged to call 3-1-1 or report it online. Public input can also help stop problems before they grow, and that can help save money by stopping small issues before they become worse.

SacDOT appreciates the public’s patience as County crews and contractors work to improve the roads, sidewalks, and landscape in the unincorporated areas. You can stay up-to-date with emails on road closures by subscribing to the SacDOT Road and Lanes Closure List. You can also follow SacDOT on Facebook and Twitter.


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Thousands of Distracted Drivers ‘Caught in the Act’

By Jaime Coffee, California Highway Patrol  |  2019-06-14

Citations are just one tool law enforcement has at its disposal for combating driver distraction. File Photo MPG

Results of Statewide Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign Released

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Despite a statewide public education campaign about the dangers of distracted driving, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued 19,850 citations during the month of April to drivers who violated California’s hands-free cell phone laws. This total represents a 3.6 percent increase from April 2018. As part of the campaign, the CHP identified two statewide, zero-tolerance enforcement days, April 4 and 19. During that time, the CHP issued 2,459 citations to drivers for violating the handsfree law.                                                           

The CHP, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Impact Teen Drivers (ITD), local law enforcement, and other traffic safety partners worked together throughout Distracted Driving Awareness Month to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Only statistics from the CHP were available for release.

In addition to phones, other serious distractions include eating, grooming, applying makeup, reaching for fallen objects, using a vehicle’s touchscreen, knobs, dials or buttons, changing clothes, or any other task that takes your eyes or mind off the road.

“Citations are just one tool law enforcement has at its disposal for combating driver distraction,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Our ultimate goal is compliance with California’s handsfree law so that nothing diverts a driver’s attention or interferes with their ability to safely operate a vehicle.”

The OTS continued its “Go Safely, California” public awareness campaign for the month of April and early part of May with a focus on distracted driving. The education effort included TV and radio spots, social media posts, and outdoor billboards with messages encouraging Californians to put down the phone while driving.

“Drivers on their cell phone are a stubborn problem that will continue to require extensive education about the dangers and enforcement of laws against using cell phones behind the wheel,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “It is a bad habit that may be hard for some to break, but is something that far too often leads to tragic consequences,” she added

ITD, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that educates teens on the dangers of reckless and distracted driving, kicked off Distracted Driving Awareness Month with a Teen Safe Driving Roundtable at California State University, Sacramento. ITD hosted the event with the CHP and the National Transportation Safety Board to discuss ways to improve teen driver safety where driver distraction is the primary cause of crashes.

“Seventy-five percent of teen fatal car crashes do not involve drugs or alcohol but everyday behaviors become lethal when a new inexperienced driver chooses to engage in them behind the wheel,” said ITD Executive Director Dr. Kelly Browning.

The OTS hosted an event April 12 at Sacramento’s Inderkum High School to educate students on the importance of driving free of distractions. Students even had the chance to experience first-hand how distractions impact your driving ability through simulator goggles.

The OTS is holding a statewide distracted driving video and billboard contest for high school students, with $15,000 in total cash prizes. All California high school students ages 14 to 20 are eligible to participate. The OTS is still accepting entries through May 20. For details on rules and how to enter, visit

Distracted driving remains a top concern for California drivers. According to a 2018 public opinion survey conducted by University of California, Berkeley, nearly half of all drivers surveyed listed distracted driving because of texting or talking on a cell phone as their biggest safety concern on roads.

“Many drivers understand the risks they take looking at or using their phone, but do it anyway,” Director Craft said. “Drivers must use self-discipline and make it a habit to stay off the phone.”

California has had distracted driving laws since 2008. The CHP, the OTS, and ITD remind drivers that under the handsfree cell phone law, drivers are not allowed to hold a wireless telephone or electronic communications device while operating a vehicle. Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a cell phone for any reason, including hands-free.

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Tips to Keep Teen Drivers Safe While Driving

By Michael Blasky, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety  |  2019-06-14

Talk with teens about the dangers of risky situations, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving. File Photo MPG

WALNUT CREEK, CA (MPG) The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered the most dangerous for teen drivers. In the past five years, during that time, nearly 3,500 people across the country were killed in crashes involving teen drivers.

New data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that the three most common behaviors that contribute to the spike in teen crashes during the summer months are speed, impaired driving, and distracted driving.

Following are some impressive facts on the issue:

More than a quarter (28%) of teen crashes involve speeding; One in six (17%) teen drivers test positive for alcohol in fatal crashes; More than half (60%) of teen crashes involve distraction.

“As an advocate for safe roads, AAA wants parents and guardians to be concerned about scary, but true, teen driving statistics,” said Michael Blasky, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Through education, training, and parental involvement, we can help young drivers become better and safer drivers. This in turn, can help make the roads safer for everyone.”

To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents and guardians to:

Lead by example and minimize your own risky behavior when driving; Talk with teens about the dangers of risky driving situations, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving; Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers; Become familiar with resources like, which can help prepare families and teens for the summer driving season.

“Not only do teen drivers pose a risk to themselves, they’re also a risk for their passengers and others they share the road with,” Blasky said. “We want parents and guardians to take this rite of passage seriously by setting and consistently enforcing rules for teen drivers this summer.”

In addition to, the AAA StartSmart program can help parents and guardians become more effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit

About AAA Northern California
AAA has a proud history of serving Members for over 100 years. AAA is on a mission to create Members for life by unleashing the innovative spirit of 4,000 employees representing 6 million Members across Northern California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. In addition to legendary roadside assistance, AAA offers home, auto and life insurance, and extraordinary travel services. According to Via Magazine's Smart Guide, being a AAA Member can save you more than $1,200 a year. Learn more at

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County Regional Parks offers miles and miles of multi-use trails and over 15,000 acres of open spaces for residents and visitors to explore. Whether hiking, biking or horseback riding, we want to make sure our parkway users are safely enjoying our beautiful open spaces.

Here are some tips to help you do just that: Pay attention to your surroundings; Bikes are not allowed on unpaved trails outside of the off-paved cycling area; Horses are only allowed on the equestrian trails; Pedestrians should use the left shoulder of paved trails when available;

Make yourself known; Bikers – use your voice and/or bells to let others know you are approaching; Horseback Riders – call ahead and communicate to other trail users how to approach; Hikers/Walkers/Runners – make eye contact with other trail users. Don’t be afraid to say “hello!”; Make sure you can hear other trail users. This may mean limiting the use of headphones/earbuds;

Know who has the right of way. Those traveling uphill and horses have the right of way. If traveling downhill on a narrow path, step aside to allow uphill traffic to pass. When necessary, travel single files and do not block the trail.

Watch your speed. The MAXIMUM speed on Regional Parks multi-use trails is 15 mph. If you can’t see well ahead of you, slow down!

All dogs must be on leashes. Leashes must be no more than 6 feet in length;

Yield to horses and don’t crouch. Horses are naturally skittish animals; always ask for permission before approaching or touching a horse. Watch out for snakes. As the weather warms up, the snakes come out.

Obey all posted signs; Emergency call boxes can be found along the multi-use trail. If you require assistance and are not near an emergency call box, call 911. For non-emergencies, you can call 916-875-PARK (7275) or make a report through 311.

Other tips for enjoying your Regional Parks: Please do not litter. Take out what you bring in; Be kind to your surroundings; Be careful when touching plants and do not remove them from the ground.

For more information on safely enjoying your regional parks, visit the Regional Parks website at


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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - At its May 21 meeting, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution supporting the designation of the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail as part of the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS).

Cal-Trans and representatives from Adventure Cycling Association reached out to the Department of Regional Parks to request that the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail be included in the pilot route for the California USBRS designation, as part of USBR 50.

“We are thrilled that our world-renowned trail is going to be included in the pilot route for the California USBRS designation,” said Liz Bellas, Director of Regional Parks. “We’re hopeful that this designation will increase awareness of our trail from both local residents and experienced, long-distance riders from across the country.”

Currently, USBR 50 traverses the states of Utah and Nevada, with the connection point to California starting at South Lake Tahoe. The proposed route heads west from Tahoe through Sacramento and ultimately connects to the North Bay Area.

The USBRS started in 1982 with two routes established, USBR 1 in Virginia and North Carolina and USBR76 in Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois. These routes were approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), a nonprofit and nonpartisan association representing transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

In an effort to establish an official national network of bicycle routes across the United States, AASHTO and Adventure Cycling Association have designated of 13,000 miles of trails as part of the USBRS.

To view the network of designated bike routes across the U.S., check out the USBRS corridor plan map.

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‘Blue Star Museums’ Free to Military Personnel and Families

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack, T-Rock Communications  |  2019-06-13

A U.S. Air Force F-4 McDonnell Douglas Phantom II at the Aerospace Museum of California. Photo courtesy of the Aerospace Museum of California.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Seven Sacramento area museums are participating in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America by offering free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families now through Labor Day (September 2), 2019.

The seven local museums participating in Blue Star Museums include the following: Aerospace Museum of California, California Automobile Museum, California Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Powerhouse Science Center and the Sacramento History Museum.

First Lady of the United States Melania Trump and Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence are honorary co-chairs of Blue Star Museums 2019. This year’s participating organizations include fine art, science, history, and children’s museums, as well as zoos, aquariums, gardens, and more.

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military –

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members.

Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.

Before planning a visit, guests are encouraged to contact the individual museums for hours of operation and note some are normally closed on Mondays and in observance of holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day.

For more information or a complete list of participating Blue Star museums, please visit For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @SacMuseums or visit the user-friendly website at

About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. For more information, visit Follow Blue Star Museums on Twitter @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily, #bluestarmuseums.

About the Sacramento Area Museums (SAM)
Comprised of 30 greater Sacramento area museums working in partnership with Visit Sacramento, SAM’s mission is to raise awareness of local museums by giving the community the opportunity to discover California’s fine art, history, science and wildlife treasures. SAM achieves its mission through implementing cooperative promotions and developing strategic marketing alliances, by encouraging sharing of knowledge and resources among its partner institutions. For more information, visit

*Some museums closed on Memorial Day (Mon., May 27, 2019) and Labor Day (Mon., Sept. 2, 2019); please check participating venues for holidays and hours.

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Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary Gives Back to Fathers on their Special Day

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary, a proud provider in the Dignity Memorial® network, will be giving away free hot dogs and Dad’s root beer floats beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Father’s Day, Sunday June 16th, and continuing until 2:00 p.m. We are thankful for the fathers in our community and want to honor them for their daily sacrifices and dedication to their families and community.

For any questions regarding this special event, please contact Lisa Goudy at 916-969-1251 or

Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary is located at 8201 Greenback Lane, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

About Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary

Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary is a proud member of the Dignity Memorial network in Fair Oaks. The Dignity Memorial network of more than 2,000 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is North America’s most trusted resource for funeral and memorialization services. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence. For more information, visit




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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - At the Citrus Heights City Council meeting on May 23, the Council unanimously approved the purchase of the old Sylvan Middle School property, which is one quadrant of the Sylvan Corners intersection (Auburn Blvd. and Sylvan Rd.). City staff described the area as vital to Citrus Heights’ economic development. If a developer purchased the property, the City wouldn’t have much say in how the land is used. By purchasing the property now, the City will have better control over the land use and design of the site.

The San Juan Unified School District has agreed to sell the 11.44-acre surplus property to the City at the appraised value: $3.43 million ($299,825 per acre). After an initial deposit of $100,000, the City will have 60 days to review the property and conduct inspections. If for any reason the City chooses not to continue with the purchase, the agreement can be terminated during the 60-day “feasibility period” and the City’s deposit will be returned.

The Council recently approved a Revolving Line of Credit, which will be used for the purchase of the property. After the purchase, the City plans to partner with a developer and provide input and direction on plans for the property’s development. After the property is eventually sold to the chosen developer, the sale proceeds will be used to pay down the balance on the line of credit.

The May 23 meeting was also the third of five public hearings about the City’s transition to district-based elections in order to comply with the California Voting Rights Act. National Demographics Corporation (NDC), which is assisting the City in the districting process, presented nine draft maps for review. Members of the public submitted six maps for consideration and NDC prepared three drafts maps. The goal of the hearing was to explain the specifics of each map and receive public input.

NDC aimed to create maps with compact districts that follow neighborhood boundaries and major roads while also respecting the will of the voters — drafting districts so only one current councilmember resides in each. Having districts that would put two or more members in direct competition in upcoming elections does not respect the choices voters made in prior elections.

NDC’s Map 109 successfully respects voter choice, but Maps 101 and 102 would both create one vacant district while putting Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey and Councilmember Bret Daniels in the same district — pitting them against each other in the 2020 election if both run for re-election.

Steve Demers, a GIS analyst with Sacramento County Elections Office and Department of Technology, submitted Maps 107 and 108, and members of the public submitted the remaining maps: Rodney Hart, Map 103; Steve Wiggington, Map 104; Albert Fox, Map 105; and Frances Phipps, Map 106. Of these maps, only 104 would put each councilmember in their own district. In Wiggington’s submitted comments, he stated that Map 104 has “a good mix of business and residential across all districts. It provides a relatively equal mix of schools, parks and open spaces across all districts. It takes into account a predicted population expansion of the Mitchell Farms residential development project by having a lower initial population in that district.”

During the hearing, the Council narrowed down the draft map options, selecting three focus maps (102, 104, and 109) that will receive further analysis. The Council generally favored Map 104 because it considered the expansion at Mitchell Farms and respected voter choice. There was some concern about the districts splitting some neighborhoods, so the Council asked NDC to create an alternate version of 104 that shifts the district lines to keep those neighborhoods together.

The Council is selecting the final district map this week. The public can view the maps online and submit feedback at


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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Old couches. Left-over lumber. One-legged chairs. Used laptops and TVs. Broken refrigerators. Beat-up mattresses. Does this sound like your backyard or garage? Did you know the Sacramento County Department of Waste Management and Recycling will come to your home and pick these items up from your curb at no charge?

One Bulky Waste Pick-Up per calendar year is included in your garbage rate. The no-charge pick- up is good for an 8’ x 4’ x 4’ pile, with a maximum material amount of 5 cubic yards – about the size of a pickup bed loaded to the top of the cab. Additional pickups are only $25!

Bulky Waste Pick-Up services are available by appointment only. To schedule your pick-up, call (916) 875-5555 or complete the Waste Management and Recycling form online.

Acceptable items include: Appliances, E-Waste (TVs and computer monitors), Universal Waste (household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs less than 4 feet, and cell phones), Furniture/Mattresses, Pipes, Lumber, Lawn/Tree/Shrub Trimmings.

Please use your green waste container as much as possible for leaves, grass, weeds and prunings. The more you use your green waste cart, the more space in your Bulk Waste Pick-Up for items that cannot go into a cart.

Place these items to the side of your pile: Tires (no rims; maximum of 5); Junk.

Lumber, pipes and trimmings should be no more than four inches in diameter and five feet long.

Unacceptable items include: Commercial Waste, Dirt, Rocks, and Bricks, Glass Panes, Concrete, Vehicle Batteries, Household Garbage, Hot Ashes, Heavy Materials (like auto bodies, engines, etc.), Hazardous Waste. This includes paint, oil and chemicals. This material may be dropped off at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility located at the North Area Recovery Station. Call (916) 875-5555 for hours.

Customers are asked to place the materials in front of their property and on the same side of the street 24 hours before scheduled pick-up.

The County offers this service to help customers keep their neighborhoods and homes tidy. It also helps reduce illegal dumping.

Sometimes, people without access to trucks or trailers will illegally dump unwanted items along roadsides or in rural areas of the county. This causes blight and costs taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars every year to address.

Ted Horton, superintendent of operations for the Department of Waste Management and Recycling, says that each year the county removes about 23 million pounds of household junk through the Bulky Waste Pick-Up program.

Couches, beds and wood are the most commonly disposed of items. “But we’ll even take old hot tubs, as long as they are cut in half,” said Horton.

Appointment availability varies. Depending on demand there may be a wait of up to 3-4 weeks.

If you’d like to get rid of household junk or have questions about the program, please email or call Customer Service at 916-875-5555, Monday – Friday,

8:00 am – 4:30 pm.

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