Charter Academy Planning Citrus Heights Campus

By Ann Bouchard, Bouchard Communication Group  |  2019-10-10

Rocklin Academy 2nd grade teacher Torrey Headley enjoys the company and instruction of kids. Photo courtesy of Bouchard Communication Group

ROCKLIN, CA (MPG) - The Rocklin Academy Family of Schools, a nationally recognized, top performing local charter school network, has announced plans to open its fifth campus, American River Collegiate Academy (ARCA), in Citrus Heights in the fall of 2020. “We look forward to expanding into the Citrus Heights community” stated Jillayne Antoon, Director of Growth and Community Engagement for Rocklin Academy Family of Schools. “As a close neighbor to our existing campuses, and with many children from this community already enrolled with our schools, we thought it was a natural fit and could fill a need.”

Rocklin Academy was the first public school in the greater Sacramento area to offer the nationally recognized Core Knowledge Curriculum. The schools are designed with a college prep focus so that graduating students are enrolled in coursework required for entrance to the University of California, California State University or select private universities. The schools are open to everyone and do not require any sort of entrance criteria, though priority will be given to Citrus Heights residents when the new school opens. “In the first year, ARCA will offer classes from Kindergarten through second grade”, explained Antoon. “Each subsequent year, more grade levels and classes will be added until we have a full slate of K-12 classes.”

In 2018, Rocklin Academy state test scores were higher than all surrounding school districts. Western Sierra Collegiate Academy, Rocklin Academy Family of School’s high school has also received recognition as one of the top ranking high schools in the region by US News and World Report, and Rocklin Academy elementary schools are California Gold Ribbon Schools and National Blue Ribbon Schools.

While the school is not opening until fall of next year, informational meetings will be held in the next few weeks to give interested families and other residents information about the school, the curriculum, the method of applying for and gaining admission and more.

The meetings will be held Wednesday, October 30th, from 6pm - 7pm at Sylvan Library located at 6700 Auburn Blvd in Citrus Heights and there will also be an information meeting on Tuesday, October 15th from 6pm - 7pm at the Single Mom Strong’s Empowerment Center located at 7525 Auburn Blvd., Suite 5, Citrus Heights, 95610. For more information contact Rocklin Academy at (916) 778-4544 or visit www.RocklinAcademy.org/ARCA .

Authorized under the Charter School Act of 1992 and chartered by the Rocklin Unified School District, Rocklin Academy Turnstone and Meyers campuses are tuition-free public elementary schools open to all students. Rocklin Academy is the first public school in the greater Sacramento area to offer the nationally-recognized Core Knowledge curriculum. Beginning in 2014, Rocklin Academy opened Rocklin Academy Gateway, a TK-8 charter school offering the same successful Core Knowledge curriculum. In August 2009, the founders of the Rocklin Academy Family of Schools opened Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in Rocklin, offering college-preparatory classes open to all students. Western Sierra is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and currently serves students in grades seven through twelve.

Don’t Forget To Mark Your Calendars For Whole Lotta Brews

Folsom Cordova Community Partnership  |  2019-10-10

FOLSOM, CA (MPG) - Whole Lotta Brews is the premier beer tasting event in Folsom. Whole Lotta Brews guests will enjoy an evening of unlimited craft beer, cider, mead, and spirit tastings from around the region along with gourmet food samplings from local restaurants, caterers and food vendors. This year’s entertainment will be provided by Citrus Height’s own Funk Shui Band and DJ Shyy!

This amazing event takes place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Folsom Sports Complex located at 66 Clarksville Road in Folsom CA. Tickets are available at www.WholeLottaBrews.com

General Admission tickets are $40 online and $50 at the door.

V.I.P. tickets are $60 online and $75 at the door. The VIP ticket includes 1-hour early entrance into the event (5pm) and a unique light up tasting glass. Please note that online ticket sales will stop on October 17th. However, tickets will be sold at the door!

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Del Campo Student To Award-Winning Breast Cancer Researcher

San Juan Unified School District  |  2019-10-10

Dr. H. Michael Shepard received the 2019 Lasker Award for the development of Herceptin. Courtesy SJUSD

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Last month, Dr. H. Michael Shepard received the 2019 Lasker Award. He and his team were recognized for their groundbreaking development of the drug Herceptin, a drug credited for saving more than 500,000 women battling aggressive breast cancer.   

Shepard was a teenager when his family moved to Sacramento in the late 1960s. He enrolled at Del Campo High School as a sophomore and credits team sports for helping him integrate into his new school. 

“Through the physical education programs and the sports programs, I made some very good friends,” said Shepard. “Some of whom I’m still in touch with.” 

Biology was his favorite subject, but he admits that he wasn’t very focused as a high school student. 

“The teachers, apparently thought they should spend some time with me and I did much better than I would have otherwise,” said Shepard. 

Check out Dr. H. Michael Shepard’s #mysjstory.

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The City of Citrus Heights is initiating the Multimodal Transportation Safety Program (MMTSP), which will improve the way the City addresses residents’ traffic safety concerns. The project is funded through a Caltrans Sustainable Communities grant with matching funds from the City, and the goal is to make Citrus Heights neighborhoods safer places to drive, walk, and bike.

Through the program, the City will conduct significant community engagement, develop a methodology for evaluating and prioritizing safety concerns and requests submitted to the City, and identify potential funding sources for safety solutions.

Leslie Blomquist, Principal Civil Engineer for Citrus Heights, said they have received requests for traffic calming measures for nearly every street in Citrus Heights. Examples of calming measures include speed humps, raised crosswalks, curb extensions, neighborhood gateways, median islands, and roundabouts. These measures can help reduce unsafe speeds and discourage drivers from cutting through neighborhoods.

The City is working with Steer, a consultancy groups that specializes in helping cities improve infrastructure and transportation. Jim Daisa, Associate Director of Steer, explained that the City’s current procedure for processing requests isn’t transparent, making it difficult for residents to follow the status of their requests. And with no established methodology for evaluating and prioritizing requests, many significant complaints can be lost in the shuffle.

So, the City is asking residents to get involved by volunteering as Neighborhood Champions. The role of the Champions is to promote street safety in Citrus Heights, communicate project goals to people in their neighborhoods, and attend and help facilitate community workshops. Neighborhood Champions will play an important role by ensuring that neighborhood concerns are reflected in the project and by encouraging others to participate in the process. The Champions’ focus would be on collecting input from a diverse group of community members.

The Neighborhood Champions project has a superhero theme because “in Citrus Heights we use our powers for good,” said Steer Consultant Sarah McMinimy. “We have a responsibility to make our streets safer. We want to encourage neighborly behavior and focus on inclusivity.”

Champions would also arrange field workshops, or WALKshops. Champions would lead residents along pre-determined corridors to look at examples of calming measures to see whether they are working effectively. They would ask attendees to share their opinions about whether they would feel comfortable walking along those streets and if they would like to see those measures implemented in their neighborhoods.

The City sent letters or emails to everyone who has ever complained or submitted a request about traffic safety, inviting them to become Champions to help improve the process. On October 2, the City held their first Champion Orientation to explain the project goals. Mary Poole, Citrus Heights Operations Manager, said, “We want a transparent community-centered process.” She explained that the role of the Champion is flexible: “We don’t need everyone to come to every event. … That’s why we want a lot of people involved and engaged — many hands make light work.”

One attendee said he felt that he and many of his neighbors are “burnt out.” He said, “We already did all this. We went door to door, got people to sign a letter to the City. … We did everything the City requires, but we keep getting pushed off.” He said he knows a lot of people who have “just had it with the City.”

Poole said she understands the frustration, and she assured everyone that every complaint the City has ever received is still in their system, and community participation will help those concerns be heard and addressed.

All the attendees expressed concern about traffic in their neighborhoods, especially vehicles driving at unsafe speeds. They are worried that the neighborhood streets are not safe for pedestrians, especially for young children walking to school. One resident said, “People who don’t live there don’t care.”

“It’s dangerous,” said another resident. “I’ve just kind of given up.”

McMinimy is hopeful that the community will engage in the process, because even though some people are frustrated and fed up, “they still showed up — which shows they still care.” She is optimistic that residents will take this opportunity to work with the City to improve street safety for all residents.

The City is still recruiting Neighborhood Champions, so if you would like to get involved, visit www.citrusheights.net/945/MMTSP-Multimodal-Transportation-Safety to complete an interest form. Whether you choose to become a Champion or not, the City wants to hear your concerns. All residents are invited to the first MMTSP Community Workshop on Wednesday, October 30 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM at the Citrus Heights Community Center, 6300 Fountain Square Dr., Citrus Heights, CA 95621.

 

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New Community Development Director Appointed

City of Citrus Heights Press Release  |  2019-10-10

Colleen McDuffee serves as the City of Citrus Heights’ Community Development Director. Photo City of Citrus Heights

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Effective September 1, Colleen McDuffee has been appointed to serve as the City’s Community Development Director. Graduating from Sacramento State with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Colleen worked as an environmental consultant prior to joining the City of Woodland. There, she served for ten years in a variety of capacities culminating in the role of Senior Planner, after which she worked for the City of Roseville.

Hired in 2002 as a Senior Planner for the City of Citrus Heights, Colleen became the Planning Manager in 2005. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has had a significant role in many of our major projects including adoption of the City’s first General Plan; creation of the Stock Ranch Specific Plan, a comprehensive update/reorganization of the City’s Zoning Code, and the adoption of our first Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. As well, she was instrumental in bringing Costco, Walmart, City Hall, the Medical Office Building, and Mitchell Farms to fruition.

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Outreach Begins for the Safe Schools Corridor Plan

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-10-04

Citrus Heights residents attended an Open House event to share their traffic and safety concerns about the Carriage Dr. and Lauppe Ln. corridor.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - On September 24, the City of Citrus Heights, in partnership with the San Juan Unified School District (SJUSD), held an Open House event for the Carriage Dr. and Lauppe Ln. Safe Schools Corridor Plan. The plan will be funded by $196,000 from Caltrans’ Sustainable Transportation Planning grant, with the goal of addressing major challenges such as speeding, traffic congestion, and high-risk conditions for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.                        

Both the City and the SJUSD receive frequent complaints about the traffic situation along the Carriage Dr. and Lauppe Ln. corridor, which connects Antelope Rd. and Old Auburn Blvd. The corridor provides access to numerous neighborhoods as well as three schools — Carriage Drive Elementary School, Sylvan Middle School, and Mesa Verde High School — so the area experiences severe traffic congestion.

The Safe Schools Corridor Open House was held at Mesa Verde High School, giving local residents the opportunity to share their traffic and safety concerns about the area. Calvin Brown, a planner with Alta Planning and Design, which is consulting with the City for this project, said that the Open House was critically important in the evaluation process: “We want to get as much community input as we can about this corridor. …. We’re getting feedback about how it’s being used, who’s using it, when they’re using it, and what they perceive as problems.” Brown said they want to “increase efficiency and safety for everyone” who uses the corridor.

The traffic congestion that occurs when the three schools dismiss each afternoon is one of the most challenging issues. While the dismissal times at the schools are staggered, each approximately 10 minutes apart, it hasn’t done much to reduce congestion. Since 2016, enrollment at the schools has increased by 25%, and most students are dropped off and picked up by car, creating severe congestion at peak hours.

Dan Allison, SJUSD Safe Routes to School Coordinator, explained that the District’s regular fixed-route school bus system was discontinued back in 2010 due to the economic downturn of 2008. “What money there was went into the classrooms,” said Allison. The District recognizes that the lack of regular bus service has caused problems, such as shifting transportation costs to the parents and creating more congestion. But after so many years, Allison said it’s not feasible for the District to reallocate money from the classrooms just to revive the bus system. Instead, they are looking for solutions to improve the current system.

Allison said the District decided to partner with the City in order to determine what will best serve the community, and he stressed the importance of community input in the process: “It’s important to keep this open ended. We have a list of issues, and a list of possible solutions, but what I really want is to hear what problems you see, and what solutions you can see.”

Leslie Blomquist, Citrus Heights Principal Civil Engineer, said, “It’s nice to hear from the residents because usually we hear from the parents and the school district.” She said that the collaboration between the City and the District is vital: “If we don’t work together, we’ll never be able to solve the problem. … We want to come up with solutions to meet the needs of everybody.”

In addition to the congestion at peak hours, residents listed other issues such as speeding, illegal parking, illegal U-turns, students not obeying traffic signs, and sidewalks that are too small to accommodate large queues of students waiting to cross.  “It’s a challenging corridor,” said Blomquist. “There’s a lot of moving pieces, so we’re looking at all of it.”

Sergeant Shaun Gualco of the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) said one primary area of concern is the Kanai and Carriage intersection, where Carriage Elementary and Mesa Verde High are located: “Residents complain on a regular basis of speed and stop sign violations,” and “due to the congestion, cars will block driveways, and people get frustrated.”  

A significant issue at Sylvan Middle School is distraction. “And it’s not just the drivers,” said Sergeant Gualco, “it’s also the students and other pedestrians and bicyclists. Everyone is on their phones, distracted, not obeying the traffic signals.” Sergeant Gualco explained that congestion, distraction, and illegal parking and speeding create an unsafe environment on the corridor, increasing the risk of collision.

City and District staff stressed just how valuable it is to hear from those who live in or drive through the corridor. They want to get input from those who know the area best and see it every day. If you would like to share your opinions, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/72T3XRH to participate in an online survey, which will be open until October 25, 2019. You can also access the survey link through the City’s website (www.citrusheights.net) by searching Safe Schools Corridor.

 

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - An aggressive, invasive species of mosquito has been detected within the City of Citrus Heights. The species is called Aedes aegypti, or the Yellow Fever Mosquito. Gary Goodman, District Manager of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, spoke at the September 26 Citrus Heights City Council meeting to provide an overview of the situation. 

Goodman explained that Aedes aegypti are small, dark mosquitoes with banded legs and violin-shaped markings on their backs. They prefer to live in urban areas both indoors and outdoors, and they are aggressive day biters that prefer to bite humans. “Typically, this species is found in Mexico and Central America,” said Goodman, “but it’s started to slowly, over the last 10 years, make its way into California.” Goodman explained that there are established populations in Southern California and Fresno, and just this year they have been found in Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Placer County, and now Sacramento County.

On August 28, 2019, the District was informed of Aedes aegypti detection by Placer County, just 700 feet north of the Citrus Heights border, in an unincorporated area of Placer County outside of Roseville.

The District began a door-to-door campaign in Citrus Heights on August 29. “Mosquitos look for CO2 as you breathe out,” said Goodman, “that’s how they find hosts.” So, the District visited numerous local properties, setting traps that release CO2 to attract and capture the mosquitoes.

Goodman said a cluster of detections were centered around the Twin Oaks Blvd. area between Auburn Blvd. and Mariposa Ave.: “We have done extensive trapping in and around that area hoping to be able to contain it.”

After detecting the invasive species, the District began implementing larval control treatments and adult control treatments to try to slow the infestation. A total of 470 traps were set to assess the scope of the infestation, and a second area of infestation was detected on September 19. The second area is on the west side of I-80, just north of Antelope Rd. between I-80 and the railroad tracks.

Goodman said the infestation is currently centered on those two neighborhoods, and the District is working hard to control the population. The District is seeing reductions when trapping the same areas again, “so control efforts are working,” said Goodman.

The District will continue trapping through October until the mosquitoes begin hibernating when the weather cools off. Goodman said, “The eggs survive for months. Eggs laid now will not hatch until springtime.”

Goodman said, “They just need a very small amount of water to breed. … A bottle cap filled with water can breed these mosquitoes, which makes them very difficult to try and control.” And this particular species doesn’t lay all their eggs in one place — instead depositing eggs in multiple water sources. “We don’t want it to become established here,” said Goodman, “they’re voracious, they’re very aggressive.” He explained that they are very difficult to control, very bothersome, and capable of transmitting debilitating diseases including zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya.

There have not been any reports of illnesses yet, but the concern is that people who travel out of the country can bring exotic diseases back with them, and a population of Aedes aegypti increases the risk of transmission. Which is why the District is trying to access as many properties as possible. They have been conducting site visits on the weekends to increase access rates, and they have implemented a public outreach campaign: visiting neighborhood associations, launching targeted social media ads, and distributing door hangers and postcards to local residents.

Goodman explained that it is only the female mosquitoes that bite, while the males just feed on nectar: “Females are looking for the protein in your blood so they can produce their eggs.” So, the District is considering obtaining males infected with bacteria that renders them sterile. The sterilized males can then be released into the local population where they find and mate with local females. The mating results in eggs that are not viable and do not hatch. Fewer hatched eggs results in fewer insects, and this process can continue until the number of mosquitoes is low enough to reduce their threat. Goodman said this technique may be used in the spring of 2020 to “suppress the population and hopefully, potentially eradicate these mosquitoes from our area.”

The public is encouraged to report day-biting mosquitos, drain water on their properties, and discard unwanted items that can collect water. To report mosquito infestations or for more information, call 800-429-1022 or visit www.fightthebite.net.

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Police Dog Hero to be Honored at Howl ‘o Ween Event

By Helen Brewer, Citrus Heights Community Marching Band  |  2019-10-04

Band members ready Santa’s sled for the Howl ‘o Ween parade. As is his annual tradition, Santa will be Grand Marshal of the parade and then will meet with Festival attendees. Pictured are Blake Heidt (left), Ryan Watson, Kathy Cook, Joe Isaacs, and Harold Huff. The guys are members of CHCMB’s trumpet section and Cook is the band’s Program Director. Photo courtesy of Citrus Heights Community Marching Band

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - A colorful parade featuring dogs in costumes, U.S. veterans and youth groups, clowns, marching bands, floats, and antique cars will kick-off the 8th annual Howl ‘o Ween Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 19th, in Citrus Heights.  The event is coordinated by the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band (CHCMB).

The 9 a.m. parade on Auburn Boulevard, will start at Twin Oaks Avenue and end at Rusch Park where the Harvest Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The park is located at 7801 Auburn Boulevard.

The Festival with free admission will include a Kids Zone with free games and a bounce house.  Other attractions will be craft and business exhibits, including several dog and pet business booths. The NorCal Cruisers Car Club and the Citrus Heights Police Department will have cars on display. 

“We are pleased to announce Axel, a German Shepherd, and his handler, Citrus Heights Police Officer Kyle Shoberg, will be honored at the Festival’s award ceremony at 11 a.m.,” said Kathy Cook, CHCMB Program Director.  “The pair was involved in the July incident in which a suspect fired his handgun at a Citrus Heights department store with customers inside.  When police responded, the suspect started firing at them.  Officer Shoberg released Axel in an attempt to apprehend the suspect.  The suspect started firing at the dog and towards the police.  Officers returned gunfire at the suspect, striking him.  Police officers at the scene attributed Axel’s actions with saving their lives.”

Festival entertainment and demonstrations will include performances by the Sacramento Capitolaires Barbershop Chorus, the Voice Academy from Roseville, the Capital City Band, DJ Dave and the CHCMB Dancers, Citrus Heights Kaia Fit, Star War Characters, Family Taekwondo Plus, and the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band. 

“Always popular with attendees is the Sacramento SPCA’s Adoption Area with animals to hold, pet, and/or adopt,” said Cook.

More than 50 entries with more than 500 participants have signed up to be in the parade.  Santa Claus in a golf cart sled will be the parade’s Grand Marshal and then will be at the Festival to chat with youngsters and get their early Christmas wish list.  Citrus Heights Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey and Council Members Steve Miller and Porsche Middleton will ride on the Citrus Heights Rotary Club’s haunted house float.  

“There’s still time for groups, businesses, and pets and their owners to register for the parade and/or the Harvest Festival,” said Cook. For information about participating, contact her at (916) 725-0198 or at abusycook@aol.com.  Also contact Cook regarding band membership and appearances.

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Flint-Rex Joins the CHPD K9 Unit

Story and photo by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-10-04

The City of Citrus Heights welcomes the newest members of the CHPD K9 Unit. From left: Councilmember Steve Miller, Councilmember Bret Daniels, CHPD K9 Unit Officer Todd Ross with canine Flint-Rex, CHPD volunteer Renate Saylors, Mayor Jeannie Bruins, and Councilmember Porsche Middleton.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Citrus Heights recently welcomed the newest K9 member to the Citrus Heights Police Department. On September 26, K9 Unit Sergeant Kane Kissam introduced Officer Todd Ross and his canine, Flint-Rex.

Flint-Rex, a 1.5-year-old German Shephard from the Czech Republic, is an apprehension dog trained in searching for narcotics, individuals, and evidence.

The purchase of Flint-Rex was largely funded by a donation from a CHPD volunteer, Renate Saylors. Sergeant Kissam said that Saylors has “played a large part in the CHPD K9 unit. She’s gone to training, she’s gone on ride-alongs, she’s actually a strong ambassador for the unit.”

Sergeant Kissam explained that Flint-Rex is named after Saylors’ late husband, Flint, and that Rex was the dog’s initial training name: “We’ve hyphenated that name in honor of her husband.”

Sergeant Kissam thanked Saylors for her generous donation and said that donations are crucial for the K9 Unit to fund the purchase of dogs, equipment, training for handlers and dogs, and medical needs for the dogs throughout their career.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - San Juan Unified has partnered with Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT) to offer free transit through SacRT for San Juan Unified students. 

The program, Ryde Free RT, provides fare-free access for TK through 12th-grade students to SacRT transportation services seven days a week and during all SacRT service hours. The program is set to runs for one year from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020.

For students in grades 6-12, sticker passes will be available for pick-up starting the week of Oct. 8 and stickers will be placed on student ID cards. Exact pick-up locations will be shared by each school site in a separate communication. Parents/guardians of students in grades TK-5 can request a pass at their school site’s front office beginning the week of Oct. 8. 

Parents/guardians who would like to opt-out their student from this program can direct their student not to pick up a sticker, or they can remove the sticker from their student’s ID.

For more information, visit SacRT’s website at www.sacrt.com/rydefreert or contact your school’s front office. Transit schedules can be found at https://www.sacrt.com/schedules/.

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