Gibson Ranch Lantern Fest
SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - A Water Lantern Festival at Gibson Ranch last weekend launched thousands of hopes, dreams and memories on the reserve’s lake.
Organized by One World LLC, the event continued an international trend inspired by oriental tradition. At similar events hosted by hundreds of US locations, paying participants receive lanterns and marker pens. Sustainable rice paper is the canvas upon which messages of whimsy, emotion or hope are expressed. Illuminated by battery lights, the luminarias are then liberated to float in rose-hued armadas, carrying serenity and goodwill into the universe. The idea, say organizers, is to unite friends, families and strangers in celebrating life. For the Woodstock generation, it’s like attending a tamer, Max Yasgur’s Farm – with fairy lights and without mud.
Promoted largely by social media, the Gibson Ranch celebration drew almost 5000 participants. Some travelled from the Bay Area and Nevada. Indian-born newlyweds Shivangi and Bhasker Dhaundiyal heard about the karma-fest in their Sunnyvale suburb and trekked to Elverta. The couple celebrated the “perfect imperfection” of their marriage by lamplight.
Many luminarias were decorated with blessings of peace and serenity. Bereaved mom Ayrika Caeton dedicated her love-light to a lost infant son. Deceased pets, whales and unicorns were carefully drawn and launched. Before the launching ceremony, festival-goers were encouraged to meditate and share goodwill with fellow attendees. Music played, merchandise was sold, food trucks did brisk business and thousands of selfies were indulged. With as much serenity as is possible in a traffic jam, festival goers later departed amidst clouds of Gibson Ranch dust. Once the music ended, a chorus of perplexed goose-honking continued lakeside melodies.
Organizers spent the next day in rubber boots, clearing litter and lifting thousands of wood and paper craft from the lake.
Water Lantern Festival LLC is based in Utah and supports Water.org, an international nonprofit that promotes safe water in developing nations.
Learn about future water lantern events – including an October 6 festival at Lake Folsom at www.waterlanternfestival.com
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - At the Citrus Heights City Council meeting on May 9, staff recommended that the City enter into a contract with Lance, Soll and Lunghad, LLP (LSL) for independent audit services. The City of Citrus Heights retains an outside audit firm to perform a complete audit on the City’s financial transactions and activities each year. Richardson and Company has performed the audits since 2014.
In February 2019, the City requested new proposals from independent audit firms, and five proposals were received. City staff evaluated the proposals for technical experience and staff qualifications, training, and education. LSL was determined to be the best choice for the new contract.
The contract with LSL is for a three-year period, with the option of adding two additional years. The cost of the yearly audit services will be included in the City’s budget. For fiscal year 2018-2019, the cost is budgeted at $40,765.
The Council voted unanimously to approve the proposal and authorized the City Manager to execute the contract with LSL.
James Boyle, director of planning for Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT), provided the Council with an update about the SacRT Forward project and its upcoming launch of the new network. SacRT Forward, essentially a redesign of the entire bus network, was a two-year process involving analysis of route productivity and extensive public outreach.
SacRT operates every day of the year, including on holidays. Throughout Sacramento County, there are 3,500 bus stops and an average of 36,000 passengers board SacRT each day.
The goal of SacRT Forward is to improve the frequency and reliability of the bus system, so adjustments have been made to almost every route. The new network will provide longer service hours, more frequent stops, and more weekend service.
After examining ridership patterns, SacRT determined that many of the low-productivity routes are being utilized only during the peak hours of morning and evening commutes. These will be converted to “peak hour routes.”
Other low-productivity routes will be merged together to increase the frequency of stops. To best allocate resources, some routes will be discontinued due to very low ridership.
Currently, more than half of the routes do not run on weekends, but when SacRT Forward launches, all but one of the routes (Route 33) will run seven days a week.
The redesigned network will be simpler and easier for riders to use, and the routes will all have a frequency of 45 minutes or better (except Route 19). The new route schedules will also complement the new 15-minute frequency of weekend light rail.
Jessica Gonzalez, SacRT director of marketing and communications, explained the comprehensive plan for educating riders about the new route system. SacRT staff will conduct direct outreach on each of the routes, riding the routes and talking to the riders. They will explain the changes and help riders understand how the upcoming changes will affect them.
Handouts specifying the changes to the particular route will be provided, and letters or door hangers will be delivered to the public in areas near new bus stops and discontinued bus stops.
The public outreach campaign will also include new signs on all the buses and updates on social media. SacRT staff is receiving extensive training on the new route system so that all employees will be able to answer questions from the public.
The SacRT website will also feature a “future trip planner” that will allow riders to input the date, time, and location of their destination and receive route options to help plan their trip.
Since the frequency of service is increasing under SacRT Forward, new bus drivers are needed. Gonzales said the jobs offer great benefits, an excellent pension plan, and opportunities for promotion. To apply, visit www.sacrt.com/careers or call (916) 556-0298.
SacRT Forward will launch on September 8, 2019, and SacRT plans to invest up to $3 million in additional funds to retain and improve service.
Mayor Jeannie Bruins said, “It sounds like you put a tremendous amount of work into this, and I think it will pay dividends.”
Councilmember Steve Miller, a member of the SacRT Board of Directors, said he is excited about this change: “This redesign is long overdue.”
He acknowledged that change can be difficult and that there may be some problems initially, “but we’re committed to solving them. … We’re building a network for future expansion, so as funding becomes available we can build upon what we’re doing.”
ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - What do you get when you put beautiful horses together with some talented, nimble, acrobatic horse-lovin’ riders? The Nu Balance Vaulters! This fabulous group came together in 1990 right here in our own hometown of Orangevale when club founder Michelle Solorzano decided to start a horse camp for kids.
What started out as a group of 21 kids and their ponies, has blossomed into a full-fledged unique acrobatic riding/performing club of nearly 50 performers ages 4 to 37, that have traveled the world dazzling audiences in Germany, Holland, Austria, Hungary and London performing for Queen Elizabeth herself!
“This all started out with a horse and a passion to perform,” said Nu Balance founder and trainer, Michelle Solorzano. “With my daughter’s encouragement, we decided, “let’s do this” and haven’t looked back since”.
Locally the Nu Balance team performs at the California State Fair and other county fairs, but this is the first time the team will be participating in the Orangevale Town Fair - A Pow Wow Days Tradition, in the parade, June 1, 2019 at 9 am on Greenback Lane starting at Main and traveling west to Filbert. Their FREE shows will be held in the Orangevale Community Park arena June 1 & 2 starting at 1 pm each day.
The fabulous line-up of performers and shows includes: The Greatest Showman, Boots & Bling Drill Team/Acrobats, Pair Riders, Aerial and Silks, Carriage and Buggy and Pair and Trick Riders. Then, a long line up of Disney favorites like Captain Jack, Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, Beauty and the Beast, Moana and much, much more!
“Our kids love to perform and connect with the audience,” Michelle reflected, “At the end of our show, we do a meet and greet so everyone can see the performers up close, say hi and get a photo. Don’t forget your camera!” she added.
If you needed a reason to come to the fair, this is it! Come see great entertainment for FREE!!
For more information about all the fun, FREE entertainment coming to the Orangevale Town Fair go to www.orangevaletownfair.com See ya there!
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Rotary District 5180 has 41 clubs in the Sacramento Region that collaborated on a district-wide meal-packaging event on May 17 at Rusch Park Community Center in Citrus Heights. More than 250 volunteers worked in shifts to bag over 75,000 meals, which will be distributed by Rise Against Hunger, a non-profit international hunger relief organization.
Music blasted through the gymnasium as hundreds of volunteers enthusiastically worked their stations, filling buckets with ingredients, bagging, sealing, packing the finished meals into boxes, and stacking boxes onto shipping pallets. Youth exchange students from Rotary International, players from the Casa Robles High School football team, members of local churches, and rotary members from throughout the District all worked together to package meals for those in need.
The meal bags include a nutrient package, a scoop of dehydrated vegetables, soy protein, and rice. One meal package boiled in a gallon and half of water will feed six people. Rich Hale, president of the Citrus Heights Rotary Club, said the meals are sent to developing countries: “They go all over the world, wherever the need is.”
“There’s a lot of starving people in the world, and you cannot function in society if you’re hungry. That’s why this is so important,” said Hale. “One bag can feed a family of six, so you can see the impact. That’s why we do it.”
District 5180 held a Poker Night fundraiser in April to raise $20,000 for the meal-packing event, and Heinz donated an additional $3,000. With a total of $23,000, the District was able to set the goal of more 75,000 meals.
Hale said, “We’ve been wanting to have a big District event, so this was very successful.… Hopefully this gives us momentum for years to come and we can do this again.” Hale said that next year they’d like to fill a shipping container, which holds 289,000 meals.
Hale said Rise Against Hunger is “a very well-organized company.… They bring all the materials and all the equipment we need.”
“This is an amazing undertaking,” said Pete Schroeder of the Fair Oaks Rotary Club. “It’s just incredible when people get together and it’s organized and they know what they’re doing.”
Jim Quinney, Rise Against Hunger community engagement manager for the Sacramento territory, said, “We started working with the Rotary in Citrus Heights four years ago for the 10,000-meal event, and it’s grown and now we’re collaborating with other clubs.… It’s just been wonderful to see the spirit of collaboration, and all these people are true advocates working to end hunger by 2030.”
Quinney described the Rise Against Hunger meal-packing events as “scalable turn-key operations.” They have the resources to organize events of any size, from large work parties to small team-building events.
Quinney said, “We want to engage as many people as possible. Every day we want people thinking about hunger and how they can help.”
“Helping others is a big part of who we are, and who the club is,” said Fair Oaks Rotary Club member Joe Arguelles. “It’s important to come and stand by your fellow man and help other people, help those who need help, so you can really feel like you’ve done something good for somebody.”
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Playmakers Organization is a local non-profit that coaches character through leadership and provides free programs to underprivileged and at-risk youth. Playmakers hosted their 10th annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, April 27 at Divine Savior Church in Orangevale.
The evening’s festivities included live and silent auctions to raise money for the organization. Proceeds from the event will fund Playmakers’ free six-week all-day Summer Character Academy. Playmakers founder Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler said, “We seek out the kids whose families cannot afford any kind of summer enrichment, so it is extremely important we have funding for our trained coaches and volunteers.”
The Summer Character Academy will serve at least 100 kids, teaching them teamwork and improving their self-confidence.
Phil Oates, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, was the keynote speaker of the event. Oates explained that the most important part of coaching is character development. He said, “Coaches sacrifice for their teams and always put the kids first.”
“Playmakers are making a difference for kids,” said Oates. “They are very fiscally responsible with the contributions they receive.… They’ll make you proud.”
The dinner was donated by Chicago Fire and was served by players from the Rio Americano and El Camino football teams. The teams are working together as part of a unique reconciliation effort after a brawl last season forced them to forfeit the final game.
The fundraiser’s title sponsor was Fitguard president Ryan Meier. Playmakers’ sponsor Harrison Phillips of the Buffalo Bills was honored at the event, and Stanford defensive linemen Michael Williams and Jovan Swahn attended as honored guests.
Thanks to many generous donations, Playmakers raised more than $30,000 to fund their Summer Character Academy. The largest donations came from the Country Club Optimists and the Azevedo Foundation.
Coach Roz thanked Playmakers civic group participants — Rotary, Optimists, and Lions — and all of the donors and volunteers for making it possible to help so many kids in the region. “Sometimes kids need extra attention. It’s about investing time,” said Coach Roz. “That’s what we do at Playmakers. That’s what we do as coaches. We never give up on the kids.”
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Walmart is opening the retailer’s first-ever standalone transportation office in Sacramento in a bid to recruit up to 130 experienced truck drivers for its private fleet.
The office, which opened a temporary location on April 1, will service stores and distribution centers in northern California, southern Oregon, and east to Reno, Nevada. Drivers at this location will qualify for the company’s recently announced driver pay increase. Walmart drivers can earn an average of $87,500 in their first year of employment with an all-in rate of nearly 89 cents per mile.
Walmart has more than 65 transportation offices throughout the country, but Sacramento will be the first that is not co-located with a distribution center. The permanent location will be located in the McClellan Business Park and will have a drop yard. The office will have 85 trucks and 100 trailers.
“We’re excited to open a facility in Sacramento where there is a deep pool of talented, experienced truck drivers,” said Uni Cerezo, regional transportation manager of the Sacramento transportation office. “Walmart continues to explore how we can operate more efficiently and serve our customers’ changing needs, and this office will serve an important customer market for us.”
Walmart plans to accept internal Walmart transfers and recruit externally. To qualify to drive for Walmart, a driver must have 30 months of commercial driving experience in the last three years and a clean safety record for the past three years. For details and to apply, please see www.drive4walmart.com.
Those drivers hired to staff the Sacramento transportation office will differ from others in the industry in that they will start and end their weeks in the same location and have home time each week. Other perks and benefits of driving for Walmart extend well beyond the competitive per/mile rate and activity-based pay. Some of the reasons truck drivers say they enjoy working for Walmart include:
Great benefits. Walmart drivers have access to company benefits on the first day and can earn as much as 21 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) in their first year;
Predictable home time. Walmart operates on a weekly schedule, so drivers know when they will be home and on the road. We use a bidding process two to three times a year to set their schedules, so drivers know where they stand on work-life balance;
Walmart is one of the safest fleets operating with contemporary well-maintained equipment. At Walmart our drivers drive and earn money rather than waiting for a truck to be fixed. Walmart offers quarterly safety bonuses and a safety incentive and recognition programs. The American Transportation Association has awarded Walmart the Safest Fleet in the Over 250 Million Mile Division for the past 5 consecutive years;
Transportation offices all over the country. Walmart operates more than 70 transportation offices throughout the U.S.;
No-touch freight. Walmart truck drivers don’t unload trucks;
Safe parking. Walmart drivers park in well-lit, safe parking in Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers across the country.
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Monday May 13th AMGEN’s blue 2019 Tour of California portal opened an adventure of a lifetime for professional cyclists into our state’s renown scenic panoramas. At roughly 89 feet of elevation, Rancho Cordova became the perfect point of departure for AMGEN’s uphill race from the countryside all the way across the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Riding a bicycle a few blocks, for many of us, is seen as an act of valor and environmental consciousness. But those who competed for close to 150 miles uphill had the real valor and the full environmental experience―not to mention the strongest legs and lungs.
Kristin Klein, President of the Amgen Tour of California said, “The 14th annual Amgen Tour of California will not disappoint. This year the riders will face the most climbing, the longest road days and arguably the most competitive field in the history of the race.”
“The riders know when they come to the Amgen Tour of California they’ll get a bit of everything…mountains, ocean breezes, lush forests, farm fields and vineyards – it’s quite a way to sightsee this beautiful state, and we’re proud to call the Amgen Tour of California an international postcard for the state.”
The starting line in Rancho Cordova for Stage 2 was lined with hundreds of local cycling enthusiasts cheering on the big race. This was a big day for the city and its residents in hosting Amgen.
Bob Stapleton, Chairman of USA Cycling said “Kristin (Klein) calls this one of America’s greatest races. I call it one of the world’s greatest races.”
“Economically this really is a Grand Tour. If you look at where the money and interest and eyeballs that support cycling come from, American companies are the number two direct sponsor of teams, and if you look at the total support, all the money, goods and services that come into cycling, United States is number one.”
Rob DeMartini, the USA Cycling President and CEO mentioned “I was immediately impressed by the depth of talent that is here at the Amgen Tour of California. I look forward to spending time with all of the American riders here and am pleased we were able to field a National Team and give our up and coming riders an opportunity to race on home soil.”
Present at the race, Mark Cavendish, of Team Dimensional Data said that with this Tour of California, ““I’ve been here many times, not just for the bike race, but for holiday and for training camps, and I always feel welcome at The Amgen Tour of California, so it’s good to be back.”
“The race has gotten harder, and the race has stepped up. As Bob (Stapleton) said, it’s one of the most important races on the calendar now, and with that comes a bigger challenge to win, and it’s good that more people are watching.”
George Bennet, Team Jumbo-Visma – “[Winning the Yellow Jersey] is the main objective. I don’t know if it’s going to be easier, but it will be a lot different than last time, without the time trial and different riders here as well. It’s going to be a challenging week.”
“The winner on (Mount) Baldy is going to get the Lexus. Mount Hamilton is hard, but it’s not like two years ago when we could light it up and survive to the finish…it all comes down to Baldy and staying out of trouble the other days.”
Richie Porte, Trek-Segafredo noted how this race is evolving. He said “A lot of ways this [The Amgen Tour of California] is leading how cycling has got to go.”
Tejay van Garderen, EF Education First Pro Cycling offered his thoughts on racing at home. “It’s always a treat to be able to come home. Now being on a truly American team coming and racing on American soil provides a different feel and a different level of motivation.”
“This race is for sure a huge target, and it’s something that our team has been talking about all spring, that we need to be ready to do well at this race” said Evan Huffman, Rally UHC Cycling on the importance of getting a good start.
Alex Hoehn, USA Cycling offered his gratitude on being able to participate. “I’m grateful to USA Cycling for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent here at the Amgen Tour of California in front of the best teams in the world. It’s not often that a young rider like me gets to line up with some of the best in the pro peloton, and this will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life” He said.
Rancho Cordova can be proud as a Amgen Stage 2 host city.
Sources: Marissa Mavaega, Canvasblue.com. Amgen
WOODLAKE, SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On Friday, May 2, officers from several agencies, including Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, descended upon the quiet Woodlake neighborhood for the 17th Annual Remembrance Ceremony, and to commemorate a new memorial plaque for Officer Mark Stasyuk who lost his life in the line of duty on September 17, 2018.
The ceremony included a procession of law enforcement officers from Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department led by the Sacramento Firefighters Pipes and Drums.
Officer Paul Brown, President of the Sacramento Police Sheriff’s Memorial Foundation welcomed officers, fallen officer families, dignitaries, fellow officers from outside agencies, and the general public.
“Today, let us remember our Sacramento fallen,” said the 20 year Sacramento Police Department veteran.
Pastor Anthony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church gave the invocation prior to guest speakers.
“It is in times like these that we realize how fragile we are and how quickly our loved ones can be taken away from us.” Each officer, he added, to be remembered had paid the ultimate price, as did the fallen officer’s family, in order to protect the citizens.
“Today we are saddened, and also honored, to add yet one more hero to the rank.” He then called for prayers for Deputy Mark Stasyuk and his family.
“We honor Deputy Stasyuk for his extraordinary bravery in the face of imminent danger,” he stated.
Throughout the invocation, the bells of Sacramento Regional Transit’s light sounded gently. The memorial, a living monument, is situated across the street from Woodlake Park and behind the light rail station on Arden Way. Land was donated by North Sacramento Land Company, wrote Rotary Club of North Sacramento President, Stephen Lemmon. His organization, along with Woodlake Improvement Club worked with the land company.
“Since we had a great working relationship with the Sacramento Police Department, the idea was hatched for a memorial,” Lemmon wrote, adding that Rotary Club member Dennis Tsuboi submitted the design and the club contributed $10,000.
In 1992, “a foundation was formed including both unions for Sac PD and Sac Sheriff, reps for the Chief and the Sheriff, the Rotary Club, Woodlake and the Council Member,” wrote Lemmon.
A list of major funders, board of directors, and past board members is etched in granite beside the dedication stone that reads, “For all those who served & sacrificed wearing the badge, we are eternally grateful.”
Sacramento Police Department Chief Daniel Hahn spoke first.
“Welcome to these sacred grounds,” he said. “We will never forget the sacrifice that you have made for our entire community.”
Chief Hahn spoke several minutes about current challenges for law enforcement, community, and how these men and women “know what it takes to protect our community, to protect our values and our way of life.”
“We pray that this will be the last year that we add a name to this very important memorial,” said Hahn.
Sheriff Scott R. Jones spoke next, thanking Supervisor Susan Peters, general public, and fellow officers.
“I love coming to this place. I come from time to time. It seems like things are a little quieter, things are a bit more contemplative. It seems like I’m able to be a little bit more reflective. I love the fact that the community takes care of this place. It is truly hollow ground,” he said, adding that he also hates that there needs to be a place like this and that another name needs to be added this year.
Mark Stasyuk’s name joined twenty other Sheriff’s department officers, District Attorney Investigator Grant Wilson, Galt Police Department Officer Kevin Tonn, and sixteen Sacramento Police Department officers.
“His life made a difference,” said District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
Chief Todd Sockman, Galt Police Department, spoke about the family of law enforcement and the family that includes the community.
“As a family, we can get through this,” he said.
Following the guest speakers, the name of each of the 39 fallen officers was called, with a moment of silence, and the placement of a yellow rose on each memorial plaque by members of each respective agency. Each officer was honored with a white-gloved salute by a member of his agency.
Sheriff Jones said of 4 ½ year veteran Mark Stasyuk, that he “exemplified what it meant to be a law enforcement officer.”
Yellow roses were presented to members of the Stasyuk family who carried the flowers and placed them on his memorial.
Following a moment of silence, the rider-less horse was led in and through the memorial, a bugler played “Taps,” followed by a 21-gun salute, and a flyover of helicopters in the missing flyer formation.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together,” said Sacramento Police Officer William J. Conner in the benediction. “We are all part of something greater than ourselves.”
For additional information, visit: http://www.sacmemorial.org/.
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as Public Safety Telecommunicators. On Saturday, April 6, 2019, the Organization of Public Safety Telecommunicators (OPST) hosted the 22nd annual Dispatcher Awards Banquet to recognize and honor police and fire 9-1-1 dispatchers, call takers and supervisors for their exemplary performance and contributions to the community.
OPST is comprised of call takers, dispatchers, supervisors, and managers from 9-1-1 Public Safety agencies in Placer, El Dorado, Nevada, Sacramento, and Yolo Counties, including state agencies.
Each year many Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) dispatchers are nominated for the annual Dispatcher of the Year Award, and this year Dispatcher Scott Kermgard was selected as the CHPD awards recipient.
Scott joined the CHPD Communications team shortly after the inception of CHPD in 2006. During his tenure, Scott has served in a variety of training and leadership roles and is looked upon as a veteran member and mentor of this team.
On December 27, 2018, Scott received a frantic 9-1-1 call from a woman who had just been struck by a drunk driver while riding her skateboard. Scott remained on the line with the victim for over 20 minutes while he, his partners, and responding officers attempted to identify the caller’s location. During that time, Scott demonstrated incredible calm, compassion, and encouragement, and the victim was successfully located and transported to the hospital with critical injuries.
For many the story ends here; but not for Scott. He and his partners would later visit the victim in the hospital to show their care, concern and compassion towards those we serve.
The above example is just one of many reasons Scott is deserving of this award. In department-wide nominations, he was recognized for his consistency, reliability, expertise, professionalism, and compassion. Scott is a consummate professional and has earned this award for his ongoing compassion in representing the dispatch profession.
Congratulations, Scott! We are so lucky and honored to have you on our team.
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The City Council issued a proclamation observing May as Building Safety Month. The goal of 2019’s Building Safety Month is to raise awareness about the importance of safe and resilient construction, fire prevention, disaster mitigation, and new technologies in the construction industry. This year’s theme is “No code, no confidence.”
Councilmember Steve Miller said there is public confidence in the structural integrity of local buildings, which is “achieved through the devotions of vigilant guardians… building safety and fire prevention officials, architects, engineers, builders, tradespeople, design professionals, laborers, plumbers, electricians… and others in the construction industry.”
“These guardians are dedicated members of the International Code Council (ICC),” said Miller. ICC is a United States-based organization that brings together experts on the local, state, and federal levels “to create and implement the highest quality codes to protect citizens in the built environment.”
The City’s chief building official, Greg Anderson, accepted the proclamation and thanked the Council for their support. Throughout the month of May, the Building Division will have displays and informational handouts available at City Hall to raise awareness about building safety.