Captain Shawn Condit Named Firefighter Employee of the Year

Sac Metro Fire Special Release, By Deputy Chief Eric Bridge  |  2017-04-20

(L to R) Mark Creffield, executive director of the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, Captain Shawn Condit and Deputy Chief Eric Bridge

Captain Shawn Condit began his fire service career with American River Fire Department on August 4, 1990. In 2000, American River Fire District and Sacramento County Fire Protection District merged to become the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, also known as Metro Fire. Shawn is the Truck Captain at Fire Station 109 where he oversees a truck crew of three firefighters. Station 109 is located in the Carmichael community and is unique in that this is where the Hazardous Materials unit is housed. Captain Condit coordinates the Hazardous Materials program for our department.

Throughout his career, Captain Condit has demonstrated leadership on multiple levels. Aside from being an excellent company officer, he has been a leader in the Hazardous Materials Program. His tenure in the program provides the stability needed while offering training opportunities for his crew. Captain Condit and his crew willingly take on new employees and are often called upon by the training cadre to work with academies and probationary employees. When these new individuals spend time with his crew, they are provided with a positive experience and given information that will hopefully move them down the road through the process. In addition to all his regular responsibilities at the station, Captain Condit must maintain his Hazardous Materials certification, putting added responsibility upon himself.

In addition to his hard work at Metro Fire, Captain Condit serves as a Metro Director with the Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522 union. This is an elected position by his peers. Shawn has held a position within the Union for over 10 years. He is an acknowledged leader within the union, and over the last 10 years he has moved up the ranks, starting out as a shift representative and eventually moving into the elected position he currently holds. He continues to do an outstanding job of representing the union members of our organization.

As Metro Director, Captain Condit represents the membership in many different ways. During our last contract negotiation, Captain Condit demonstrated calm, consistent leadership during the negotiation and confirmation process, acting as the facilitator for these meetings. He allowed for spirited but respectful debate. During these meetings, he is often involved in matters that are sensitive in nature and does not violate confidence. It is this trustworthiness that makes him an excellent Union officer and, by extension, Company Officer.

As a Union leader he takes a positive role in a needed position. Often times, employees are referred to him by management. His ability to listen fully to their problems and then calmly and positively advise them on a course of action tends to benefit both the department and the member. He acts in the best traditions of Union leadership and through this process, the matter is often resolved at the lowest level.

To be a leader, particularly as a firefighter, your work ethic must be self-evident. Since an outstanding work ethic is common at Metro Fire it is difficult to point out where one employee’s efforts are better than another, however in the case of Captain Condit he stands out each and every day. Many excellent company officers come to work and do their assignments and perform admirably, but taking a leadership position in the Union and Haz Mat program shows that Captain Shawn Condit is willing to give of himself to this department and its members. He is well respected within the Department, the Union and his crew.

Fire Chief Todd Harms was honored to name Captain Shawn Condit as Metro Fire’s 2016 Suppression Employee of the Year.

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RT Financials Showing Positive Trend for Fiscal Year 2018

Source: Sacramento Regional Transit District Media  |  2017-04-20

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (Sac RT) has been relentlessly optimizing business practices over the past eight months to bring its financial house in order, and the positive results are very encouraging. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, Sac RT is trending below budget. This has allowed Sac RT to develop a budget for FY 2018 that is expected to be $1.6 million less than the prior year.

 Additionally, by working diligently over the past year with rating agencies, last week Sac RT received great news from Moody’s, a bond credit rating service, that upgraded Sac RT’s bond rating from “negative” watch to “stable” outlook, which will help Sac RT to issue future bonds at a much better interest rate for regional capital projects. The significant transformation that Sac RT has made in the last year, as well as strong political support and strong board governance, is building up RT’s long-term financial stability, which will continue to move Sac RT in a new direction.

Under the direction of Henry Li, General Manager/CEO, Sac RT committed to strengthening its finances while making the system more clean, safe and convenient for riders. Sac RT has identified innovative revenue sources, strengthened its finances and reduced expenses to fund maintenance and capital investments. By aggressively containing costs and pursuing revenue enhancement opportunities, Sac RT has secured more than $3 million in operating funding, which helped enhance customer services.

“At a time when many public agencies are increasing budgets, we have been able to reduce ours. We are figuring out innovative ways to do more with less.” said Henry Li, General Manager/CEO. “Our number one priority is the customer, and the ability to reduce the annual budget without cutting service or increasing fares is a huge victory from where Sac RT was a year ago.”

Based on these positive trends, Sac RT projects to add to its fund balance for the first time in three years, and build up an emergency cash reserve of $6 million (with a 2017 year-end goal of $9 to $10 million). This will go a long way towards reducing Sac RT’s reliance on its line of credit to pay bills, a goal set by the Board of Directors.

By building strong employee and labor relations, Sac RT has been able to identify ways to reduce the annual increases associated with salaries and benefits that continue to offer value to employees, at a sustainable cost. There will only be a small increase in spending in this category for FY 2018, which is expected to be $1.95 million, or 1.8 percent, a modest amount for an organization that provides over 1,000 jobs to the region.

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North Ridge Country Club Launches $3.5 Million Renovation Plan

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-20

Long-awaited plans for renovating one of the region’s oldest private country clubs is officially underway at North Ridge Country Club. The new course is expected to officially open in early 2018. 
-- Photo courtesy North Ridge Country Club

Long-awaited plans for renovating one of the region’s oldest private country clubs is officially underway at North Ridge Country Club, involving a $3.5 million overhaul that promises members and guests at the club alike a trail of new greens and bunkers on par with some of the finest courses in the world.

The club’s membership overwhelmingly approved the renovation plan and began the bid process for contracting roughly a year ago, ultimately selecting Palo Alto-based Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects (RTJ II) for the project, which is credited for development of more than 270 golf courses across 40 countries and six continents.  “We got it down to three finalists for the design of our new course, and then we took it down to one, and RTJ II won out,” said North Ridge General Manager, Rink Sanford.

During an April 6 groundbreaking for the project, Robert T. Bruce Charlton, president and chief design officer for RTJ II, said the course would be going from good to outstanding, likening the ultimate overhaul to a “My Fair Lady” transformation, Sanford said.

“I love the quote Robert gave at our ground-breaking,” said Sanford. “He said ‘I like to compare North Ridge Country Club to a classy older woman who is beautiful and graceful, but just in need of a new dress.’  To me, his description just perfectly crystalizes what North Ridge is all about and how beautiful she really is.”

RTJII founder Robert Trent Jones, who passed away in 1987, is known for cutting trail of legendary successes in the completion of some of the country’s most notable golf courses, beginning with a winning contract to design the Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta in collaboration with golf legend Bobby Jones, followed up by securing a commission to redesign the 11th and 16th holes at Augusta National Golf Club.

Coveted for its high-elevation and rolling terrain, North Ridge Country Club was founded in 1952 by architects William Francis Bell and his son, Billy Jr., renown for crafting elite courses at Rivera Country Club, Bel-Air Country Club and Torrey Pines, among others.

The 18-hole parkland golf course at North Ridge Country Club is spread across approximately 165 rolling green acres on Madison Avenue in Fair Oaks.  Although the club’s event center and adjacent buildings were renovated in 1997, the 63-year old course itself, says Sanford, will be getting its first upgrade, a much needed makeover to keep the facility competitive with other private clubs in the region and beyond.

“This is a fine course and we have good conditions, but what we are really doing now is modernizing and making an investment in our course to stay competitive in the private club market,” Sanford said.

North Ridge was designed incorporating an old push-up mound construction method, explained Sanford, which has, over time, created drainage issues for the course, spurred by deteriorating root structures, all of which have created challenges for players and rendered the course vulnerable to erosion.

“Our forefathers picked a phenomenal place to put in a course,” said Sanford.  “We are at the highest point in the area and we are blessed with a lot of rolling hills and terrain, but the old push-up method that was used to design the course originally needs to be addressed.”

Sampson said that the course’s natural elevation changes will allow RTJII to redesign the club’s greens and bunkers to take advantage of its hilly topography in ways “that were simply not possible many years ago,” adding construction of the new greens and bunkers will be achieved without disrupting mature trees that have called North Ridge home for decades.

“Today, players really want greens with solid drainage, and so what this will do for us is allow us to keep the mature trees and the rolling hills, but in and around the greens and bunkers we’ll be adding better drainage to bring the course in line with some of the most competitive, high-caliber golf courses anywhere in the world,” Sanford said.

Meanwhile, high-quality, temporary bentgrass sod greens are being created to offer members temporary greens to utilize during the construction process.

In addition to the cache of a world-class design firm capturing the bid for the renovations, the renovation project will also have a local touch.  RTJII’s Senior Project Architect, Mike Gorman was raised in Sacramento and is reported to have grown up playing the course.  “This is like home to us,” RTJII’s Charlton said.  “We travel all around the world, and having a project near our offices in Palo Alto, with Mike’s family still living in Sacramento, makes this extra special.”

The new course is expected to officially open in early 2018, Sanford said. While there are no increases on the horizon this year for membership fees, it is anticipated that fees will increase once the new course is fully operational.  The current annual membership fee for North Ridge is $6,500, however, due to the construction, which is expected to run through August, the club is offering a promotion of $4,500, which runs through June.

“The long-term hope is that once the new course is up and fully operational in early 2018, our membership price will go up, and that will be in keeping with what’s going on with other clubs and membership fees at private courses across the country,” Sanford said.

Membership at North Ridge, said Sanford, is currently at 463, near full capacity. To cover the costs of the project, members voted to each pay their share of the $3.5 million, for a total of roughly $8,000 or $60 a month each.

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Veteran’s Center to Celebrate Armed Forces Day with Spaghetti and Wine

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-04-20

The Citrus Heights Veterans Community Center will be honoring Armed Forces Day with a spectacular Spaghetti Feed and Wine Tasting fundraiser on Saturday, May 20, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This is the first official event to be held at the old Sylvan school house, located at 6921 Sylvan Road, since it became a safe space for veterans in 2013.  The newly renovated outdoor patio area will be transformed into an Italian café along with seating inside.  Live music will be provided by Doug Ellington. A local veteran and Americana music composer and guitar player for over 45 years, Ellington will be bringing listeners his renditions of classic tunes from rock, folk, country, blues and more. Wine tasting will be provided by Sacramento wine broker Bill Tobey.  There will also be a silent auction.

Food will be provided by the instructors/chefs from the Culinary program at American River College.  They will offer traditional spaghetti and meatballs or a meatless spaghetti, and salad with homemade salad dressing. Freshly made bread and cookies complete the menu.

The Citrus Heights Veterans Community Center is open to all veterans, Monday through Friday from 9 1 p.m., with special lunches on Tuesday and Thursday.  Veterans enjoy a safe place to come and enjoy refreshments, games and camaraderie, but mainly to get together with those share their military experiences and others who understand and support them.

Funds raised will be used for a variety of needs at the Center including continued renovations and upkeep on the 155-year-old building, and other basic necessities.

Tickets are $15.00. Seating is limited so please order soon.

Contact Jean at 726-7876 or go to ‘Veterans Community Center’ on Facebook for more information.

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American Legion Donates Towards CHPD Life-Saving Program

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-04-20

Citrus Heights American Legion 637 Commander Paul Reyes, ViceCom-mander Sylvia Thweatt, CHPD Commander Gina Anderson and CHPD Chief Ron Lawrence (left to right). 
-- Photo courtesy Jack Mintz

On March 23, 2017 members of the Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 presented Police Chief Ron Lawrence and Commander Gina Anderson with a donation that will help bring a life-saving program to the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD).

One of the realities both law enforcement and the military share is the high rate of mental health disorders and suicides in both professions. The CHPD is working to bring Kevin M. Gilmartin, Ph.D., an internationally acclaimed expert on this issue to Citrus Heights to present a workshop to their police officers and families.

Vice Commander Sylvia Thweatt presented the donation, saying their members stand behind the police department and wanted to contribute towards this endeavor. Commander Anderson thanked the Legion for their donation, acknowledging the spiritual bond shared by the police and military, both sworn to defend the Constitution and to protect the people.

The workshop will help officers understand and learn how to cope with the emotional “Hypervigilance Rollercoaster” they face daily, so they can maintain healthy relationships and retire with their mental health intact.

A fundraiser is being held to generate the funds to bring Gilmartin, author of “A Guide for Law Enforcement Officers and Their Families” to Citrus Heights. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Citrus Heights Women’s Club and GFWC Sutter District are bringing “A Taste of Citrus Heights” to the Citrus Heights Community Center on April 28, 2017 to raise these funds.

The event will bring many local restaurants together for the public to sample their menu items, along with wine and beer, music and comedy. Look for more details on the event in future issues of the Messenger.

For information on purchasing tickets for “Taste of Citrus Heights” or if you own a restaurant or food truck and would like to participate at no cost, call 505-9221, go to

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Legislation to Fix Security Flaw in State’s Voter File Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Senator Nielsen  |  2017-04-20

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments unanimously voted to pass Senator Jim Nielsen’s measure to fix a security flaw the state’s voter file.

“Our democracy is an honor system based on trust,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “We must do everything we can to protect its integrity and keep the trust of the people. This measure will help ensure that trust.”

“I thank my colleagues on the committee for their support,” added Senator Nielsen.

Senate Bill 682, if passed, would prohibit the Department Motor Vehicles (DMV) from giving the Secretary of State electronic information needed to complete the voter registration affidavit for ineligible voters who hold special drivers’ licenses for noncitizens.

California’s current online voter registration system automatically allows the voter registration of anyone with a drivers’ license who self-certifies that they are eligible to vote – including individuals DMV knows to be ineligible because they were issued special noncitizen drivers’ licenses. These noncitizen drivers’ licenses do not establish voter eligibility, yet the online voter registration system only requires a drivers’ license number. As a result, undocumented residents may be unlawfully registered to vote.

There is no protocol for communication between the Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles to prevent these registrants from being approved under current law.

“Keeping the voter roll clean and up-to-date is a challenging task. This bill helps fill a gap in the security of the voter roll,” said Candace Grubbs, Butte County Elections Clerk-Recorder.

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

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Council Member Melvin D. Turner Passes

Source: City of Citrus Heights  |  2017-04-20

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.

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