Council Member Melvin D. Turner Passes

Source: City of Citrus Heights  |  2017-04-20
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Pictured are Melvin D. Turner and wife Connie.Turner was a member of the Citrus Heights City Council since his election in 2010.

It is with great sadness that the City of Citrus Heights announces the passing of Council Member Melvin D. Turner. Council Member Turner passed away early this morning at his home in Citrus Heights following an extended illness. He was 67 years old.

Mayor Jeff Slowey has requested all flags at city facilities be lowered to half-staff. He said, “Our city mourns the loss of Council Member Mel Turner, a dedicated public servant throughout his life. Mel has been a tremendous leader in this community and deserves much credit for helping improve the quality of life in Citrus Heights. He will be deeply missed by his city colleagues, our city’s residents, business owners, key stakeholders, and staff. On behalf of the City Council and the entire city team, I want to extend our deepest sympathy to Mel’s family and friends. Mel loved serving the people of this community. He was an actively engaged City Council member and served the people of Citrus Heights with great pride.”

Council Member Turner began serving the City as a Planning Commissioner in January 2009 and was elected to City Council in November 2010. He served as Mayor from December 2010 to December 2011. Among his many community service and volunteer roles, he was a founding board member of the Citrus Heights Police Department’s Police Activities League (PAL), a member of Neighborhood Association Area 7/8 (CHASE), a member of the Citrus Heights Rotary Club, and served on the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Television Commission.

Council Member Turner was retired from the State of California, Department of Corrections. During his 24 years of service with the State of California, he worked at the Department of Justice and the Department of Personnel Administration in senior management positions. Prior to joining the State of California, he worked as an Adult Probation Officer with San Mateo County. He received national recognition in the field of crime prevention as the Director of C.A.P.T.U.R.E., a countywide community-based crime prevention program in San Mateo County. Council Member Turner earned his Master’s Degree from the University of San Francisco in Human Resources and Organization Development.

His wife Connie, his two adult children Talaya and Melvin Jr., and five grandchildren survive Council Member Turner.

A rose wreath will be placed near the front entrance of City Hall. Those wishing to do so are invited to place flowers or cards near the wreath; city staff will see that all condolences are delivered to the family. Service arrangements have yet to be determined.


Gibson Ranch Management Decision Extended by Board of Supervisors

Story and Photo by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-27

“I’m feeling very positive,” said Ose. “And I want to say that I appreciate the county’s consideration of my concerns and plans, and the mutual goal is to keep Gibson open.”

The County Board of Supervisors has extended until May 31 its private level contract with former congressman Doug Ose to manage Gibson Ranch, giving the board more time to consider Ose’s renewal proposal, redirect management of the park back to Sacramento Department of Regional Parks, or go another direction and solicit bids from other private contractors.

While the extension of his contract may not necessarily mean Ose will be granted a renewal to manage Gibson Ranch, it doesn’t rule out the option either. In fact, Ose said it was because discussions with the board of supervisors were going so well that he agreed to the extension. While enjoying a $22,000 profit in 2015, Ose has said he is currently losing $20,000 a month due to labor cost increases and, unless he can obtain a new contract that includes some of his ideas for revenue-generating programs, he’s ready to walk away.

“I agreed to extend my deadline of my contract and I never would have done that had I not seen our discussions as being positive, or had I not thought that we were going to come to an amicable or acceptable agreement,” Ose said.

Ose assumed management of the 325-acre nature reserve after steep financial losses by the county put the park on the brink of closure in 2011. Ose’s current, five-year contract was set to run out April 30, putting the future of Gibson Ranch, which he has said served 100,000 visitors in 2016, at risk of closure again.

While Ose has declined to discuss the details of any proposed new financial arrangement, his plan includes a contract for 20 years instead of five, as well as increasing the park’s entry fee from $5 to $8. In addition, he’s interested in installing as many as 50 full hook-up RV sites that could generate as much as $12,000 a month in revenue for the park, and wants to expand facility rentals to include big-ticket events, such as high school graduations.

Ose’s original agreement allowed him to rent the park for $1 a year plus half of his profits. In turn, the county agreed to pay Ose $500,000 over the current life of the contract for deferred maintenance. Ose has said that arrangement is no longer viable and that monthly expenses are now coming directly out of his pocket and he needs to “stop the bleeding.”

Matt Hedges, chief of staff for County Supervisor Sue Frost who recently toured Gibson in preparation for her discussions with the board on Ose’s contract, said she and Ose want the park to remain open, however the board needs to weigh all options on the table. Frost and fellow board members will spend the next few weeks, he said, reviewing a pending report from Regional Parks detailing a scenario for it to assume management of the park, as well as Ose’s proposal.

“In addition to the option of renewing a contract for Mr. Ose, county parks also will be offering its own plan to operate the park under a traditional model without a lot of extra amenities,” Hedges said.

Should management be turned back over to the parks department, it would require the hiring of additional staff, according to Hedges, who added that the department would also be faced with the challenge of how to manage the park’s equestrian boarding program launched under Ose’s tenure.

“That plan would include using county staff to manage the park, as well as the creation of three new and two seasonal positions,” said Hedges. “In addition, because the department has never run an equestrian boarding program, it needs to weigh that element as well.”

Parks Director Jeff Leatherman has declined repeated requests for comment.

Hedges said the third option to be deliberated by the board is to open up the process to other, private bids, which could be considered alongside Ose’s proposal. Although a few inquiries have come in, no serious proposals from other private contenders have been put forward, Hedges said, adding that fact alone puts Ose in a very positive position. Ose agreed.

“I’m feeling very positive,” said Ose. “And I want to say that I appreciate the county’s consideration of my concerns and plans, and the mutual goal is to keep Gibson open.”


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Help Celebrate the Grand Opening

Source: Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2017-04-26

On Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to noon, Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) and Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District will host a grand opening celebration for the new Gardens at Howe Park.

The Gardens at Howe Park include four, state-of-the-art, low-water use demonstration gardens, created in partnership by SSWD and sustainable gardening group, EcoLandscape California.

The grand opening celebration will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, guided tours, workshop demonstration on high-efficiency sprinklers, and free gift bags filled with gardening tools for the first 100 attendees.

“We’re excited to open our newest demonstrations gardens and highlight the variety of ways people can have beautiful landscapes that are river-friendly and low-water,” said Greg Bundesen, SSWD’s Water Conservation Supervisor.

The new gardens include:

  • Sensible Switchover: This garden is designed to represent the layout of most Sacramento-area residential front yards, but features low-water plants and low maintenance solutions perfect for our region’s climate.
  • Wilder Wonders: A wilder, less structured garden filled with color and texture. It’s designed to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and bees.
  • Water Works: A working rain garden that shows how plants can take in, filter and hold water in the soil. It’s designed to capture the rain and let it percolate into our groundwater instead of flowing unchecked and unfiltered into our rivers, the Delta and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.
  • Effortless Edibles: This attractive garden features low-water edibles and aromatics, and can provide lots of goodies for your table, and color for your house.

Each of the gardens features informational signage that identifies all of the landscape’s water-efficient features and plants used.

For more information about the grand opening celebration for the new Gardens at Howe Park, visit www.sswd.org.


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Capital Region Small Business Week Underway

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-26

The 2017 Capital Region Small Business Week Celebration (CRSBWC) is well underway in its efforts to promote, enhance and encourage small business owners. Whether novice or seasoned professional, Small Business Week offers programs and advice on all aspects of small business.

A backbone of the American economy, National Small Business Week was begun in 1963, with a yearly presidential proclamation. According to statistics, at least half of Americans own or work for a small business and create two-thirds of new U.S. jobs annually.

A previous symposium, said June Livingston, was “one of several events,” part of the larger Capital Region Small Business Week. Livingston is the Division Supervisor and a registered environmental health specialist with the County of Sacramento. In her position, she supervises the Business Environmental Resource Center (BERC), of which the Sacramento Area Sustainable Business (SASB) Program is a part.

“Yearly, we help hundreds of people,” said Livingston. “It is all free and completely confidential. The program is for the whole week and really covers the SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) Region,” she said.

BERC offers compliance assistance in a non-regulatory environment to ease regulatory concerns, facilitates the regulatory permit processes and offers continuing pre- and post-regulatory inspection compliance assistance. It provides one-on-one consultation, regulatory and technical assistance, best management practice and business advocacy, ombudsman and sustainable business services.

The Small Business Symposium: Roadmap to Success will run from April 30 through May 6, 2017, throughout Capital Region Small Business Week. The Symposium is Tuesday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McClellan Conference Center, 5411 Luce Avenue, McClellan, CA.

For help, questions or more information, visit www.SacBerc.org, bercadmin@saccounty.net or call 916.874.2100


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Taxpayers Gouged at the Pump

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-26

Here are a few facts that should give pause to anyone supporting California’s new gas tax: CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people, wasting $500 million every year that could be going to roads; California diverts a billion dollars in “weight fees” into the general fund annually, which should also be paying for roads; Californians already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the country but have some of the worst roads, which points to an efficiency problem.

It’s plain to see that the fake funding crisis used to push the new taxes through the legislature was really a crisis of political priorities. The money is there – without the new taxes – to pay for modern, smooth roadways up and down the state.

Still, the legislature has a default position, and that’s to pickpocket taxpayers and businesses at every turn. Hence the new tax to backfill the waste and diversions that should be paying for roads right now.

Governor Brown, oblivious to the actual effect the bill will have on businesses and families, tried to deflect criticisms of the new tax’s cost by noting that it will set back the average family about $10 a month.

Are my rural constituents, who drive 45 minutes to get to the grocery store, supposed to be happy because of that average? Are my suburban commuters putting 80 miles a day on their cars supposed to be happy with that average? It will be meaningless to them, as they will pay hundreds of dollars more a year in gas taxes and registration fees to pay for roads that their tax dollars already could have and should have paid for.

Because of this government decision to raise gas taxes $.12 a gallon, diesel $.20, and add an additional registration fee of $25-$175 on each vehicle (and that is just a partial list of the new charges), everyone in the state can expect to pay more for everything they buy, from school clothes to groceries to laptops. Not because the items are better, but because California legislators are attaching a premium to everything with their relentless search for tax dollars.

These new taxes and fees aren’t one-time charges. They go on forever under the current bill, and will start increasing, indefinitely, starting in 2020.

I want a first-class infrastructure for our state and am willing to pay for it, but not twice. That’s what this cynical bill does to our citizens. It forces them to pay a second time for roads that their tax dollars already could have built. It’s backfilling an imaginary shortfall to cover up government failure.

A state that can afford to waste tens of billions of dollars on the colossally expensive and worthless High Speed Rail is not a state starving for money. To California’s majority party, though, every problem looks like a deficit and every solution looks like a tax. It’s killing the middle- and lower-classes in the state.

Our state has the 48th-worst tax climate already, but this gas tax proves, yet again, that legislators can’t leave unwell enough alone.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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Baker Responds to the California State Auditor’s Report

Source: Office of Assemblywoman Baker  |  2017-04-26

CA State Auditor: UC President Hiding $175 Million in Funds While Raising Tuition and Salaries

Assembly Higher Education Committee Vice Chair Catharine Baker issued the following statement in response to the California State Auditor’s recent report detailing an undisclosed $175 million reserve fund maintained by the Office of the President of the University of California and other financial concerns:

“The UC Board of Regents just raised tuition on students and has nearly doubled in-state student tuition over the last 10 years, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects and administrative salaries. Students and their families deserve confidence that their money is being spent wisely. The UC Office of the President acknowledges the need to address the Auditor’s findings. I look forward to working with my Assembly colleagues, students, and the UC to get to the bottom of this and do all we can to help UC get its financial house in order.”

Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.


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Let the Good Times Rock & Roll

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-26

The Baby Boomer Festival will be held on Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds. The event is billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation.”

Baby Boomer Festival Expo and Music Show

The Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville will come alive as the gathering place for scores of people during the Baby Boomer Festival on Saturday, May 6. The Festival and Expo will feature music, cars and plenty of culture from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation,” the grounds will be packed with exhibits and demonstrations designed to inform and educate attendees.

The musical line up by world famous Elvis tribute artist Gene Lane and classic rock and rollers Road Test will keep toes tapping and fingers snapping. “Car songs, surfer songs, old time rock and roll, cruisin' songs and songs about those backseat girlfriends are included in the fun,” along with “lots of dancing and audience participation in poodle skirts, baggies, leather jackets and tight sweaters. It’s the music you grew up with,” say the organizers.

Between music sets, festival goers can meander through any or all of the nearly 70 booths with information and shopping for everything from financial services to artwork to healthful wellbeing or any number of goods and services tailored to the Boomer generation.

Not to be missed are dozens of classic cars also on display, including some of the iconic “woodies” (wood side paneled) cars. There will also be food, prizes and goodie giveaways. The event is family friendly and the organizers invite Baby Boomers to bring their children and even grandchildren to share in the experience “As you enter the expo,” according to the organizers, “you will be surrounded by dozens of exciting exhibits on a wide variety of subjects pertinent to your well-being and happiness. Many of the exhibitors have come from throughout the region to discuss their plans for your health, finance and home life. So please take the time to stop and talk with them. You might just find an ideal match for your needs!”

The Baby Boomer Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds, located at 800 All America City Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678. Admission and parking are free. For more information including vendor lists and musical line up, visit www.babyboomerfestival.com.


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Sacramento Area Museums Go Big for Big Day of Giving on May 4

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-04-25

The dedicated and diverse Sacramento area museum community is gearing up for the 2017 Big Day of Giving scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2017, in hopes local contributors will choose to support their endeavors during this special giving challenge. For the past few years, more than $16 million has been raised for local nonprofits from throughout the region, state, country and world.

The Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California’s fine art, history, science, and wildlife treasures all year long. For the 2017 Big Day of Giving, a dozen Sacramento Area Museum members are participating in this collaborative effort that is focused locally but extends globally, including:

Aerospace Museum of California
California Automobile Museum
California Museum
California State Railroad Museum
Crocker Art Museum
Fairytale Town
Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus
Sacramento Children’s Museum
Sacramento History Museum
Sacramento Zoo
Sojourner Truth African American Museum
Verge Center for the Arts

Some of the participating museums and destinations are offering special incentives and activities on the Big Day of Giving. For more information about the Big Day of Giving and finding ways to support your favorite museum(s), please visit www.bigdayofgiving.org. For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Twitter @SacMuseums or visit www.SacMuseums.org.

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 www.SacMuseums.org.


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Citrus Heights Police Investigate Vehicle vs. Pedestrian Collision

Source: Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2017-04-25

Citrus Heights Police are investigating a collision involving a vehicle and pedestrian that occurred in the 8000 block of Glen Tree Drive. The pedestrian was transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle.

At approximately 9:45 p.m., Citrus Heights Police received several 9-1-1 calls reporting a collision where a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle. Neighbors in the 8000 block of Glen Tree Drive reported hearing screeching tires and then an impact. An adult male pedestrian was found in the roadway. The driver remained at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

The collision is being investigated by the CHPD Traffic Unit. Preliminary information indicates alcohol and speed may have been factors in the cause of the collision.

The Police Department wants to remind all persons utilizing the roadway, motorists and pedestrians alike, to exercise caution, particularly in residential neighborhoods. Drivers are reminded to stay aware of their speed, and pedestrians are encouraged to utilize crosswalks and wear bright colored clothing if walking at night.


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Block Party, Rock Party

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-21

Pablo Cruise is scheduled to be the headliner band for Citrus Height’s 20-year Celebration. 
-- Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights

The City of Citrus Heights will cap its multi-month celebration of 20 years of cityhood that kicked off in January with a community Block Party set for Saturday, June 3, and the festivities will include 1970s pop-rock band, Pablo Cruise as a musical headliner, as well as an Eagles cover band, classic car show, an army of food trucks, a beer garden, community group performances, a giant kids entertainment zone and more.

The city’s party for itself and the community it serves is a free, family friendly event, and kicks off at 3 p.m. at City Hall with a flag salute and opening ceremony featuring the Citrus Heights Marching Band, singing of the national anthem by the Mesa Verde High School Choir, colors presented by the Citrus Heights Police Honor Guard, and remarks from local and regional elected officials and dignitaries.

Then, on to the party: stretching from the city’s doorstep east to Van Maren Park will be a long line of community nonprofit and civic groups, as well as representation from the city itself offering information to attendees, ways to connect and plenty of giveaways. Food trucks, a classic car show with more than 100 entries, and live entertainment will be located on most of the area leading to and inside Van Maren Park on the main stage, as well as the community stage on Stock Ranch Road.

Attendance is expected to be between 3,000 and 4,000 and the party promises to serve as a memorable marker for Citrus Heights residents and city officials alike who will turn out to celebrate 20 years of independence from the county of Sacramento.

“This is going to be a fantastic night, a terrific way to celebrate two decades of evolution as a city,” said Citrus Heights Mayor Jeff Slowey. “I can’t think of a better way to commemorate our cityhood. I’m sure we’ll see between 3,000 and 4,000 people come out and it’s going to be a great day.”

To mitigate concerns from residents near Van Maren Park about noise, parking and security, Mayor Slowey said no stone has been left unturned, including plans for creating a separate entrance for residents to bypass the main event in order to access their residences.

“We’ve been spreading the word about the party for a while now, letting everyone know what’s going on, and that we are taking extraordinary measures to address any concerns about noise and traffic,” Slowey said. “We understand there will always be concerns about events of this size. It’s a special year and a special event, and we want to make sure it goes off without any hitches.”

Darlene Lynos, president of EzEvents, Inc., and her team are producing the event, which she said promises to be a day to remember, with activities and entertainment for all ages, as well as food from a wide variety of eateries and comprehensive representation of community groups and event sponsors.

“This is just going to be a great family event and community gathering,” said Lynos, who also serves as a volunteer on the city’s homeless assistance program. “We’ve got some terrific talent lined up with Pablo Cruise of course, but we also have a really amazing Eagles cover band, Boys of Summer, who do amazing harmonies. It is unbelievable how good they are.”

San Francisco-based Pablo Cruise rose to fame in the 1970s with chart-topping hits including “Love Will Find a Way,” “Whatcha Gonna Do,” and “I Go to Rio.”

It won’t get any better for kids planning to attend the event, or for parents who want to know they can let their kids party like rock stars in a safe zone while they enjoy the beer garden, or perhaps get down to the sounds of Boys of Summer doing their best rendition of “Take it Easy,” arguably one of the Eagle’s most popular hits.

“The ‘very large’ kids zone will include inflatables, face painting, T-shirt crafting, a rock wall, oversized yard games and lots of space set aside for them to stroll around safely and just enjoy themselves,” Lyons said. All attendees can expect to visit with River Cats Mascot, Dinger, and marvel at roaming stilt walkers and entertainers from local performance groups.

This event marks the 20th anniversary of formal separation from the County of Sacramento, a hard-won battle by cityhood proponents roughly 12-years in the making. Six months prior to the ballot vote for cityhood in 1996, which carried a 62.5 percent majority, one opinion piece in the Press Tribune described Citrus Heights as being “On the Edge of Cityhood.” By November it was clear that incorporation for Citrus Heights was going to be realized, but the legal and political hoops proponents faced along the road to cityhood were varied and wide, and getting the issue to the voters ultimately hinged on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Supporters’ reasons for breaking away were solid: stronger policing, local control and more money for services—obvious benefits, but much needed in order to accommodate the healthy economic growth and a rapidly rising population going on in the 1970s and right up to incorporation. Today, the city of Citrus Heights is home to more than 89,000 residents.

So the 20th birthday bash is not just a party, but an important nod to a historic, hard-won fight for independence. And, in addition to city representatives and elected officials, there will also be representatives from the city’s multiple neighborhood associations, formed to augment the concept of local control.

“Every neighborhood association will be represented at this event,” Lyons said.

There also will be recognitions highlighting all of the winners of the various contests that have been held since January commemorating the 20th anniversary, including the 20 years of cityhood photo contest.

The city is footing the bill for the party, but food and drinks will be available for purchase, with a large bulk of those proceeds going to benefit the Citrus Heights Police Activities League and the American Legion.


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