Qualifying Veterans and Japanese American Citizens May Receive Belated High School Diplomas

By Operation Recognition  |  2018-04-18

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) wants to honor the many contributions of those whose education was interrupted due to wartime circumstances. Current and former Sacramento County residents who left high school to serve in the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War, and received an honorable discharge, may contact SCOE to receive their high school diplomas. SCOE also presents diplomas to Japanese American citizens forced to leave high school due to WW II internment. Individuals may request diplomas on behalf of themselves or qualifying family members, including persons now deceased. Those who earned a G.E.D., or graduated from high school while in an internment camp, are still eligible for diplomas. To be considered for the spring 2017 awards ceremony, submit applications by April 26, 2017. Applications are available from the Sacramento County Office of Education by calling (916) 228-2416 or visiting scoe.net/or.

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Trump, Brown Tangle Over California State Border Control

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-18

Governor Jerry Brown

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - California Governor Jerry Brown spoke at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, defending his sanctuary cities and claiming that the country’s immigration debate has become “an inflammatory football that very low-life politicians like to exploit.” He continued, “And I think it’s shocking, it’s despicable and it’s harmful to California, mostly to the people.”

Brown let it be known that he has no plans of changing his stance on the state’s immigration and sanctuary cities.

“We’re not backing off,” Brown said. “And I believe we have the legal horsepower to block the immediate legal moves by the Trump administration.”

The 80-year-old Brown, who is in the final months of his second term as California governor, proclaimed, “I’m not riding off into the sunset. You can be sure that you’ll hear from me.”

Just before Brown spoke on Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border. The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!”

Trump took to Twitter once again on Wednesday morning, saying that many parts of sanctuary cities throughout California want out of Jerry Brown’s control.

“There is a Revolution going on in California,” Trump tweeted. “Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept. Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!”

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA - The Internal Revenue Service today offered taxpayers still working on their 2017 taxes a number of tips. These basic tips are designed to help people avoid common errors that could delay refunds or cause future tax problems. 

As the April 17 deadline approaches, the IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. Doing so, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Free File Fillable Forms means there is a free option for everyone.

Request extra time

Anyone who needs more time to file can get it. The easiest way to do so is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an extension on Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and pay any amount due.

Alternatively, people can complete a paper copy of Form 4868 and mail it to the IRS. The form must be mailed with a postmark on or before April 17. Download, print and file it anytime fromIRS.gov/forms.

Taxpayers are reminded, however, that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. Tax payments are generally due April 17, and taxpayers should pay as much as they can to avoid possible penalties and interest.

Make a payment, get an extension

In addition to using Free File to get a filing extension, taxpayers can pay all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension when using IRS Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or paying by a credit or debit card. By selecting “extension” as the reason for the payment, the IRS will also accept the payment as an extension – no need to separately file a Form 4868. Taxpayers will also receive a confirmation number after they submit their payment. When paying with Direct Pay and EFTPS taxpayers can sign up for email notifications.

Any payment made with an extension request will reduce or, if the balance is paid in full, eliminate interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after April 17. The interest rate is currently 5 percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.

Refunds

The safest and fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to have it electronically deposited into their bank or other financial account. Taxpayers can use direct deposit to deposit their refund into one, two or even three accounts. See Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, for details.

After filing, use “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or download the IRS2Go Mobile App to track the status of a refund. It provides the most up-to-date information. It’s updated once per day, usually overnight, so checking more often will not generate new information. Calling the IRS will not yield different results from those available online, nor will ordering a tax transcript.

The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.

Special instructions for paper filers

Math errors and other mistakes are common on paper returns, especially those prepared or filed in haste at the last minute. These tips may help those choosing this option:

  • Fill in all requested Taxpayer Identification Numbers, usually Social Security numbers, including all dependents claimed on the tax return. Check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.
  • When using the tax tables, be sure to use the correct row and column for the filing status claimed and taxable income amount shown.
  • Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign.
  • Attach all required forms and schedules.
  • Mail the return to the right address. Check Where to File on IRS.gov.    

 

Penalties and interest

 

By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline. Taxpayers who are thinking of missing the filing deadline because they can’t pay all of the taxes they owe should consider filing and paying what they can to lessen interest and penalties. Penalties for those who owe tax and fail to file either a tax return or an extension request by April 17 can be higher than if they had filed and not paid the taxes they owed.

The failure-to-file penalty is generally 5 percent per month and can be as much as 25 percent of the unpaid tax, depending on how late the taxpayer files. The failure-to-pay penalty, which is the penalty for any taxes not paid by the deadline, is 0.5 percent of the unpaid taxes per month.

Installment agreements

Qualified taxpayers can choose to pay any taxes owed over time through an installment agreement. An online payment plan can be set up in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement application to set up a short-term payment plan of 120-days or less, or a monthly agreement for up to 72 months.

Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov/forms and should be mailed to the IRS along with a tax return, IRS bill or notice.

Owe tax?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can use IRS Direct Pay or any of several other electronic payment options. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment. Or, mail a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury” along with a Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher.

For further help and resources, check out the IRS Services Guide.

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Coach Guy Anderson Honored by the ABCA

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-13

Recipients of the 2018 ABCA Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award: Longtime Stanford Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess (left) and Guy Anderson (right) with award committee chair Tom O’Connell. Photo courtesy American Baseball Coaches Association

Discusses Storied Career and the Current State of Baseball

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “I’ve been accused of being old school; which I am,” professed legendary baseball coach Guy Anderson.

I sat down with the winner of 927 high school ballgames for a cup of coffee in Gold River on what was a perfect day for baseball. I showed up early, but Anderson was already there, sitting outside. Meeting with him for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only heard stories.

Despite the crowded patio, I knew exactly who Anderson was. You can always tell with baseball guys. We quickly jumped into conversation, as if we’d picked right back up from our last one. The spry, 85-year-old had freshly returned from a Spring Break tournament in Anaheim. Now the assistant coach for Capital Christian High School, Anderson led the Cordova Lancers program for 45 years, winning 17 league titles, five section titles and coaching 24 players who would eventually be drafted by Major League organizations.

Earlier this year he received the American Baseball Coaches Association Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award. He attended the awards ceremony at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis to accept the award last January. Anderson told me what an honor the award was and how much it meant to him, but also how fortunate he is to have been able to coach such great players throughout the years.

“I compare coaching a little bit to being a jockey,” he explained. “You don’t win on a donkey; you’ve got to have a stallion to win the big ones. I’ve had some pretty good guys that could play the game very well.”

For a man who has dedicated much of his life to coaching and teaching others, he has enjoyed the fact that this award is not just about him, but a recognition of who he is and what he so proudly stands for. “This award was outstanding for me, I’ve been fortunate to be put in a few Hall of Fames. Like I said, you’ve got to have the stallions - it’s important to have the players - but this one here was more, to me, about who I am.”

I asked the self-proclaimed “old school” coach how the game has evolved over the many decades of ballgames that he has taken part of. “If you start at the Major League level, it’s the money. The money is a big difference now and it’s an entertainment rather than a sport.”

Anderson then addressed the collegiate level, summarizing a recent game that he and his Capital Christian team attended when they were in Southern California for their tournament. “The college level is still good baseball and I’ll give you an example. The leadoff batter gets a base hit and the next guy lays down a sacrifice bunt. Early in the game, go get that first run.”

What Anderson stressed throughout our conversation about today’s game was that sacrifice bunting, or any sort of personal sacrifice at all, is a dying art – especially at the pro level. In last year’s 2017 MLB season, a record 6,105 home runs were hit, topping the 5,963 belted in 2000 at the height of the Steroid Era. Strikeouts set a record for the 10th straight season at 40,104 and sacrifice bunts fell to their lowest level since the year 1900 at 925. To put that last number into perspective, there were only eight teams in 1900 and they played anywhere between 140 and 146 games compared to the 30 teams and 162 game schedule in today’s game.

But individual numbers can mean a lot more than team wins and the kind of contributions that won’t show up in the box score to today’s young players. The pressures to perform at a high level have trickled down to a lower age group, making the game a more individualistic sport. Whereas only seniors used to worry about playing at the college level, now underclassmen are receiving recruitment letters and are forced to think about the future rather than living in the moment.

“Play now, play the best you can and good things will happen,” said Anderson. “Don’t worry about next year or you may not get there.” From early recruitment to travel ball to personal coaches and trainers, there are new politics in the game of baseball.

But Anderson also understands that when you’re in the game as long as he has been, things are bound to take on a different shape over time. That’s part of life. “We lost one thing in basketball a few years ago, and we’re losing it in baseball now, and that’s the same color shoes,” Anderson joked. “You go back to the military. You’re a team when you all look alike. And that’s why I’ve always liked the Yankees; they never put the name on the back.”

Coach Guy Anderson is the very embodiment of America’s pastime - a true throwback in every sense of the word; rich in history and accolades, but willing to accept the evolution of the game, whether he fully agrees with it or not. And that’s what great coaches do. They lay down a stern foundation of the history and fundamentals of the game, and the rest, the improvisation, is up to you. And when it comes right down to it, Anderson and the game of baseball may have evolved, but they’ll never truly change.

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Heart and Soul: Rosa Umbach

Story and photo by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-04-13

Rosa Umbach was recently awarded the Chairperson’s Award for 2017 in recognition for her influence in the community and support of the agency’s mission and board.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) – Rosa Umbach chairs the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee and also is a member of its board of directors.  Rosa was recently awarded the Chairperson’s Award for 2017 by the Chamber’s immediate past chairman, Johnnise Downs, in recognition for her influence in the community and support of the agency’s mission and board.  Umbach, a mother of four, has a long history of working with individuals with disabilities and the homeless. But giving back has always been a family affair.

Q: What is your professional background?
A: I retired from the State of California in 2009. I worked in Information Technology.  When I retired I was one of their managers working with disaster recovery planning and risk managing for 150 state agencies. 

Q: How did you get involved with the chamber?
A: It was actually my husband, Ken, who got me involved.  When he retired from his work in public policy in 2003, he started Umbach Publishing & Consulting and became a member.  I started joining him and when I retired in 2009 I got very active by going to the education committee meetings and supporting chamber events.  Eventually I became vice chair of the committee under Cendrinne and now here I am. (Cendrinne DeMattei is now the chamber’s current executive director).

Q: Tell us about the work of your committee.
A: Our primary focus is to find out what students and teachers need across our area and that includes more than just supplies.  If there are kids who need coats, I’ll go out and find coats on sale for kids in need.  We survey our schools each year and we ask them for a list of their needs and we run the school supply drive in July and August.  We do this in summer so that by the time the school year begins they have something to start with. We do one drive, but we distribute supplies, as well as any cash or gift cards twice a year, once in fall and again in the spring.  

Q: The committee also oversees the Job Readiness Program.  Tell us more about that?
A: This is a program for sophomore students.  If they want to, they go through our business academy where they learn all of the facets of looking for a job and keeping a job, such as communications, resume preparation skills, work ethics and interviewing.  It’s a very successful part of our programing.  When I took over as chair, we held the Job Readiness trainings once a year. Now we do it in fall and again in January because it has been so well-received. 

Q: You are an advocate for individuals living with disabilities. How did this work come to you?
A: Yes.  This work is very much a part of my heart.  My mother’s sister, Aunt Ruth, was born with cerebral palsy.  I began by first helping her at the facility where she was until she got her own apartment at age 60.  I became the third generation of women in our family to care for her.  I got to see up close how people living with disabilities were treated in the community and I wanted to be an advocate for them.  She wanted to paint but she was not able to use her hands.  So I helped have a helmet made for her that she used to paint with.  When she was given an apartment, she was matched up with a young girl, Laura, as a roommate.  I call her “Aunt Laura.”  Aunt Ruth passed away in 2010.  But today, I am Aunt Laura’s power of attorney.  She became family. I have more people who are part of my family who aren’t blood related.  

Q: Where did that experience take you?
A: When Aunt Ruth passed away, I wanted to continue working with individuals with disabilities.  I learned about A Touch of Understanding.  It is such an awesome group.  They provide incredible trainings for youth to give them tools for developing compassion from those who are different from them.  I trained and have worked as a volunteer workshop coordinator for ATOU since 2010. 

Q: Your spirit of giving back seems to be in your blood.  Were your parents involved in volunteering?
A: Yes.  My mother was a volunteer paramedic and my dad was a volunteer firefighter, both for Sutter County.  When they passed away, the fire department escorted their caskets.

Q: Did you raise your children with the spirit of giving back?
A: Absolutely. My late husband and I always talked about this with our kids when they were growing up.  We used to take them to the mall every Christmas and each of them would get a name from the Christmas tree for needy children and we’d take them to shop for a present to give.

Q: What other areas of volunteerism are you involved in?
A: Ken and I were, and I guess I still am, very involved with rescuing cats.  It started with the recession, when a lot of people were losing their homes to foreclosure and leaving their animals behind.  Also, I support a local couple who distribute toiletry kits to the area homeless and often will pass out meals.  Those toiletry items seem like a small thing, but believe me they make a difference.

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CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Beginning with 2018-19 school year, students enrolled in The San Juan Unified School District will begin studying history and social sciences through a new lens, one that will push them to engage more deeply, think and write more critically and leave high school with a deeper understanding of state and local civics processes.

Also, a new law requires the inclusion of the study of historical contributions by individuals who have heretofore been omitted from the curriculum: members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, as well as those living with disabilities.

The changes, says Nicole Kukral, program specialist with The District’s Division of Teaching and Learning, stem from the 2012 adoption of Common Core standards, as well as mandates under The FAIR Act, established with the 2012 passage of SB 48.  Parents and members of the community will have a chance to preview the pending curriculum changes at an information night at the district’s offices on Tuesday, April 17 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the San Juan Unified board room at 3738 Walnut Ave., Carmichael.

So what’s changing exactly?  According to Kukral, new standards and texts (secondary materials) will require students to go beyond rote memorization of events, dates and facts.  They will need also to demonstrate an ability to analyze events critically, draw their own conclusions and express their views verbally and in writing.

Students also will be spending more time studying “primary” materials, such as copies of historical documents, journals, letters and maps created by historical and cultural figures of import.  For example, the study of Colonialism and Christianity in California has historically involved a somewhat one-dimensional lesson on the Franciscan Priest, Junipero Serra and perhaps an assignment to build a replica of one of the 21 California missions, with scant focus on the plight of the indigenous people who were converted in the process.

Under the new standards, students may study journals, not just by Father Serra himself, but also the writings, art work, letters and other documentation produced by the Mission Indians themselves to gain a broader understanding.

“Instead of being told what to think, students will be grappling with bigger questions, attempting to understand history and the social sciences through a multi-perspective lens,” said Kukral.  “The idea is that we are really shifting into understanding that history is more than just a collection of facts.”

The FAIR Act, says Kukral, widens the study of individuals who have helped shape historical change or events. Kukral said some of the changes may ruffle feathers, but she wants to reiterate that the new curriculum will focus on individuals’ contributions to society, not their personal lives.

“We know some of the changes, especially those following the law, will give some pause,” said Kukral.  “But The FAIR Act requires the study of the contributions from certain people and that we have students talk about their struggles for civil rights.  Where it applies, we will call out the fact that there are people in history who are or were lesbian and or gay.  But by no means do we intend to study the personal lives of these individuals.”

In May parents will have a chance to see the new text books, Kukral said.  Full implementation of the new materials and frameworks will take place during the 2019-2020 school year.

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Rusch Home History Day Takes Visitors Back Into Citrus Heights’ Past

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-04-13

City Council Member Jeannie Bruins and Ted Mitchell at the event. Photo by Larry Fritz

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - March 31, 2018 was a day of browsing through Citrus Heights history for the nearly 300 who visited the 102-year-old Rusch Home located at 7301 Antelope Road. Guests represented generations of long-time Citrus Heights residents, many having watched their city grow from a small farming town to becoming part of Sacramento County’s Central Township in the 1850’s to finally becoming incorporated as a city on January 1, 1997. Now it is an up and coming city with a population of over 87,000.

Everything from a resident of 80+ years to a new transplant would want to know was held within the walls of this 1,700 square foot home, surrounded by hundred-year-old heritage oaks, shrubs and heritage rose bushes. 

History unfolded before them in text and photos on 20 large colorful history display panels and in a 16-minute silent black and white film.  Donated to the city by the estate of Maurice Rasmussen, who was in charge of public relations for the Chamber of Commerce when it was started in 1958, the video is a traveling journey to 20 locations which still exist, along with the visual stories of people and organizations.

Reliving step by step each turning point, milestone and highlight of the city’s history, the panels and film evoked many inquisitive and reflective moments. Parents also explained to their kids and grandkids that this is where they were raised and what they had experienced in the “olden days” of Citrus Heights.  Some belabored of those good old days when Greenback was just a two-lane road lined by huge trees.

Larry Fritz, president of the Citrus Heights Historical Society, wrote the text for the assorted panels which were designed by volunteer Christine Stein. One of the panels that drew the most interest was of the first shopping center in Citrus Heights; the Mariposa Shopping Center off of the old US Highway 40 on Mariposa Avenue. It shows a Texaco gas station, Hall’s Groceries and Meats, Hall’s Furniture and Appliance, Pay-Less Cleaners, the Doughnut Den and the town’s first post office.

In the Rusch Home itself the kitchen’s large white sink and black and white checkered counter and floor are original with functional appliances. Even though all the original furniture was removed when the home was donated to the county, all present furnishings are authentic period pieces and do not deter from the historical feel of all the rooms.  

Each room held new surprises and interesting facts. One panel explained how Citrus Heights got its name, revealing that the new town was not actually known for citrus, but that the name was a marketing strategy by Alfred Trainor of the real estate company, “buying up and selling large tracts of land in the Sylvan District.”  Other panels depicted the history of Mitchell Farms, the 160 acres surrounding Greenback Lane and Sunrise Boulevard and the Brown Farm, which was one-third of the Volle Ranch left to Emma Rusch, the youngest daughter of Herman and Louisa Rusch, who married Americus Brown.

Other informational panels on displaye featured the Rusch House, San Juan High School, Friends Church, Sylvan School, Sylvan Cemetery, 14-Mile Roadhouse and Citrus Heights Water District.

The milestone that had the most impact was likely the progression of the city’s changing infrastructure, from the creation of the unpaved Lincoln Highway in 1913, to 1927 when it became Highway 40, to the 10-lane freeway that it is today.

History Day is sponsored by the Citrus Heights Historical Society. The Historical Society was formed in 1991 to preserve and promote the history of Citrus Heights. While it has been inactive in recent years, the Society is now working with the Sunrise Recreation and Park District to promote local history and the Rusch Home.

The History Day project was funded through a new History and Arts Grant Program. According to the City’s website, organizations and community members are urged to apply for a grant up to $10,000 to “enrich the historical preservation and arts culture in our community through projects from public art pieces to theatre performances to historical documentaries.”

For more information, please contact Larry Fritz at 916-802-7241 or visit www.facebook.com/CHHistorialSociety.

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