Verizon's Emergency Response Center Has Connectivity Covered
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Likely, as you watched recent television or streaming images of emergency rescue operations following the devastating fires and subsequent mudslides in Southern California, for example, you gave little thought to how first-responders on the ground, in the air and elsewhere were keeping the lines of communication flowing as they scrambled into gear to save lives and prepare for recovery operations.
Behind the scenes, mobile carriers such as Verizon Wireless were doing some of the most critical work necessary in these types of situations: addressing cellular network failures, which are common in natural disasters. Depending on the situation, this can include anything from establishing mobile satellite systems to sending drones into those places humans can’t go, including collapsed buildings, tunnels and unstable structures.
Recently, officials overseeing Verizon’s Rocklin-based emergency services switch facility held a “Public Safety Day” event, offering some of its clients a tour of their Rocklin switch facility, once of several nationwide keeping an eye on their perspective, regional networking systems, as well as TV news coverage of any and all disasters or emergencies where first-responders are unable to get on the network.
Built in 2003, the facility’s sister location is based in Sunnyvale. Roughly 30 people work at the Rocklin facility; however, there are more than 100 others centers set up across the country employing more than 46 teams comprised of roughly 160,000 people.
“We like to think of ourselves as ‘pre-responders,’” said Paul Lynch, who manages Verizon’s two Northern California facilities. “We monitor situations going on all over the country and we have crews on the ground from the get-go to provide onsite support for first responders to make sure they are connected and talking to one another.”
The invite-only tours are offered monthly as a way to show emergency response teams from Cal Fire, police and sheriff’s departments, the Department of Fish Wildlife and others exactly how well-prepared and equipped the company is at providing them with on-demand connectivity during a natural or man-made disaster.
The team will mobilize portable networking call centers, mobile satellite stations and deployment of any one of the company’s veritable barnyard of “cool tools,” such as cells on wheels (COWs), cells on light trucks (COLTS), HVACs on roadside equipment (HORSEs), and generators on a trailer (GOATs).
The Rocklin switch facility tour included a walk through the engineer’s command center or NOC (Network Operations Center), where 24-hour “surveillance” of its networking operations run across wall-to-wall monitors, scrutinized around the clock by a team of six engineers, three on the day shift, three on at night.
“We don’t highlight any of this,” said Lynch. “We don’t grandstand what’s behind our network. But it is important for our customers working in the emergency fields to have confidence in who they partner with and to see up close exactly what we can do and how quickly we can do it.”
Verizon’s Crisis Response Teams, in Rocklin and nationwide, conduct regularly scheduled drills and emergency tests to ensure that they are ready to roll when they are needed, including shutting down the battery rooms and switching over to generators.
“We don’t want to be the last to know that we’ve got failure,” said Lynch.
Tim Kuka, who oversees the Rocklin facility’s Network Equipment Center (NET) located right next door to the switch facility, gave a tour of the state of the art building. The tour offered visitors a sneak-peak at Verizon’s local 4-G networking nerve center, a mind-blowingly pristine space known as the Data Hall or “cloud room.” The building was constructed in 2014 and contains an impressively intricate layout of data backup units and an equally mind-numbing amount of cable.
“If you would take all the conduit in this building alone and stretch it out, it would go all the way to San Francisco,” said Kuka.
First-responders to man-made emergencies also often require backup power and or connectivity support. Case in point: Verizon’s switch teams worked closely with FBI officials during the mass shootings that occurred at a San Bernardino-based regional center in December of 2015, quickly mobilizing command centers, establishing private networking and satellite communications lines and serving to provide backup power and other services to all agencies aiding victims and overseeing the recovery efforts.
The switch facility and NEC tours culminated with a close-up demonstration of some of those cool tools, including Rocklin’s own RAD (Robotic Assistance Device), a four-wheel robot that looks like a scooter with a camera tower perched on its front end.
“She can go into dull, dark, dirty and dangerous places,” said Jim Larson a vendor with Robotic Assistance Devices, which partners with Verizon to provide the RAD. “She can be manually operated or put on automatic to handle perimeter security during a disaster or emergency, taking pictures the whole time while emergency personnel are doing their jobs.”
Verizon’s 46 emergency networking teams across the country also are prepared and ready to help set up networking stations with water, food and other supplies, as well as connectivity support relief efforts, specifically by the Red Cross. Its response teams also will provide first responders and others with handsets, dedicated mobile hotspot devices and private networks.
“Everything we provide is free, except in cases where we have to set up satellites,” said Lynch.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Effie Yeaw Nature Center has bid farewell to two of its most senior staffers. Executives Paul Tebbel and Betty Cooper recently retired after long careers in natural history education.
Cooper (63) served the center for 23 years. When it lost county funding and settled under the wing of the American River Natural History Association in 2010, Cooper assumed a critical financial development role. “ARNHA took a giant leap of faith in taking us on,” she considered. “Continuing our operations required tripling their fundraising. We all realized how much people loved this place. For more than 40 years, it’s provided education and tranquil space where you really can connect with wildlife.”
Cooper’s greatest success was in partnership with the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. The two non-profits came up with an “Art Where Wild Things Are” gala. In nine years of sipping wine and auctioning art, the event has become the most glamorous night of the Carmichael calendar. “Compared to our more family-oriented programs, this gala is elegant,” explains its organizer. “We sell out almost every year. It’s great to see well-known artists, philanthropists and elected officials in our beautiful preserve. Fine food, fine art and fine people blend delightfully.”
Paul Tebbel (63) joined the Effie Yeaw staff in 2011. The new executive director’s biggest challenge was managing the transition of a County facility to a nonprofit. “We started from scratch in creating staffing and accounting systems,” he explains. “Most importantly, we had to rebuild public confidence. Many supporters thought we would close. Our job was to convince them we were still in business. Thankfully, our members came back and provided the support that keeps us thriving. We would not have survived without hardworking ARNHA volunteers and our staff. Betty Cooper has been a fantastic co-leader. There’s nothing she can’t do.”
The retirees’ roles will be taken over Torey Byington, who previously directed a nature facility in Wayland, Michigan. Both Cooper and Tebbel plan to volunteer for future Nature Center projects. “Effie Yeaw and its programs are a great mission,” said Cooper. “The staff and volunteers are like family. That’s not something you can walk away from.”
Learn about the Nature center’s educational programs at www.sacnaturecenter.net
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Help the volunteer heroes of nature at the non-profit Wildlife Care Association of Sacramento and give small animals and birds brought to them injured, orphaned and displaced across our region that second chance by participating in the annual Nuts & Berries Fundraiser.
The event will be a raffle for more than $10,000 in prizes. The Nuts & Berries event will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018 from 12pm-3pm at McClellan Conference Center located at 5411 Luce Blvd, McClellan, CA 95652. The festivities will begin at 12 pm when Wild Things Inc. will hold several presentations with exotic animals such as a Capuchin Monkey, an African Crested Porcupine, and a Crocodile. This will be a casual event which will include door prizes and refreshments.
The event is open to the public, $5.00 at the door, admission is included with raffle ticket purchase. In addition, we will live stream the raffle draw, so you can watch to see if you won, even if you can’t make the event. The raffle draw will begin at 2 pm and will be live streamed on Facebook @wildlifecareassociation.
These regional volunteers in wildlife rehabilitation need your support to help thousands of small birds and animals recover to return to the environment. The Wildlife Care Association depends on your donation of time and money to save them.
Visit www.wildlifecareassociation.com to learn more about Nuts & Berries tickets. $75.00 each or two for $140.00.
If you’ve found injured wildlife call 916-965-WILD. Wildlife Care Association of Sacramento serves the public 10am-6pm seven days a week year-round at 5211 Patrol Rd. McClellan Park.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Exactly one year ago today, hundreds of thousands of North Sacramento Valley residents were forced to evacuate their homes as the result of the spillway failures at the Oroville Dam. Today, on the one year anniversary of this mass evacuation, the legislature passed Assemblyman Gallagher’s (R-Yuba City) dam safety legislation, AB 1270.
On February 7th, after releasing water from series of heavy storms, the spillway at Oroville dam collapsed. Authorities were forced to use the untested emergency spillway, which also eroded, forcing the evacuation of almost 200,000 people. Had the emergency spillway broken, a three-story wall of water would have come down the Feather River, causing unimaginable destruction to communities downstream.
“The Oroville disaster jeopardized lives, property, and California’s water supply and conveyance system. The silver lining is that the crisis highlighted that we must do more to ensure we are taking care of vital infrastructure, like the levees and dams that protect our communities. AB 1270 will help us do this by ensuring that California leads national and global efforts to update and modernize dam safety requirements,” said Gallagher.
AB 1270 will require the Department of Water resources to work with independent dam safety and risk management organizations to update dam safety protocols. These protocols must include things identified the by the forensic team as contributing to the spillway failure, like the review of the original design and construction of dams and auxiliary structures like spillways.
“Most of our dams are over fifty years old, and many are considered high-risk. We must do the necessary work to identify deficiencies and correct them,” added Senator Nielsen, a co-author of the bill.
AB 1270 now heads to the Governor’s desk where, if signed, it would take effect immediately.
For more information on Assemblyman Gallagher, and to track legislation visit www.assembly.ca.gov/Gallagher
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is alerting customers in the Central Valley to be aware of scam activity with criminals posing as PG&E workers.
Law enforcement officials in the area have received reports of individuals claiming to work for PG&E going door to door to investigate outages of electric and phone service but refusing to show identification. There have also been new reports of phone scams with callers demanding payments immediately.
These recent reports of imposters have come from the Fresno area but past history indicates that scammers move throughout the region. In the greater Sacramento area, recent reports of scam phone calls related to service shut off and bill payment have been received.
PG&E reminds customers that its representatives will always carry identification and will never ask for immediate payment with a prepaid cash card over the phone or in person.
PG&E offers the following tips to help protect customers from all types of potential scams:
· PG&E’s Credit Department will not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone. Anyone who has received such a phone call and provided credit card or checking account information should report it immediately to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.
· Customers with concerns about the legitimacy of a call about a past due bill, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
· Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.
· If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in the community. If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.
· Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.
PG&E takes security seriously and will actively work with law enforcement to help stop any scam victimizing customers. Anyone who has received such a call can report it immediately by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – Sutter’s Fort visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1840s to understand the two different ways emigrants originally came to California – by land or by sea – while sharing the unique challenges they faced and what daily life was like during their journeys. As background, Sutter’s Fort was once home to sailors who “jumped ship,” trappers who became overland trail guides because of the failing fur trade, wagon train parties looking for a new life, and soldiers who served in the Mexican-American War and whose services were terminated in California – 3,000 miles from their homes in the east.
California State Parks, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) and Friends of Sutter’s Fort are proud to present an interactive and fun “Hands on History: By Land and By Sea” event on Saturday, February 17, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. With interpretive themes that change monthly, the popular and interactive “Hands on History” events typically happen on the third Saturday all year long.
As an event highlight, some of the special hands-on activities awaiting Fort visitors include helping to pack a wagon while making choices about what to bring along for their journey of a lifetime, determining latitude with a sailing sextant, hoisting a laden barrel, weaving rope, learning simple knots, creating maps with available resources, and even marching to the beat of a military drum. And, of course, popular demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon. Fort guests will also hear the amazing tales of adventure and survival these nomads experienced on the journeys, including from reenactors of the Mormon Battalion who will talk about the perils of their overland journey to California and their role in the Mexican-American War.
Admission to Sutter’s Fort SHP costs during “Hands on History” days is $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children 5 and under (regular admission pricing is $5 per adult, $3 for youth). For more information, call 916-445-4422 or visit www.suttersfort.org.
The Friends of Sutter’s Fort is a nonprofit 501 c 3 organization dedicated to the enhancement, preservation and protection of Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, and educational and interpretive programs at the park. Friends of Sutter’s Fort is a Cooperating Association for California State Parks since 2006. Friends of Sutter’s Fort is the major funder of both restoration work and programs at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. Through the generosity of our donors, in the past 3 years alone, we have funded several major projects including the painting of the exterior walls, the restoration of the blacksmith shop and the painting of the interior walls (currently underway). In addition, we are proud to provide funding to support the educational programs at the park. For more information, please visit www.suttersfort.org
Source: T-Rock Communications
Four Scholarship Awards Offered to Sacramento County Students
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Farm Bureau (SCFB) Foundation for Agricultural Education and Sacramento County Young Farmers & Ranchers are pleased to once again offer scholarships to deserving students who are pursuing college degrees or careers in technical fields that are related to agriculture or food production or preparation. This financial award is based upon scholastic achievement, leadership experiences, career goals and agricultural and community involvement.
"This is a significant investment in the education of Sacramento County students who are pursuing degrees that are either directly related to agriculture or a field that supports agriculture," said SCFB Executive Director Bill Bird. "The Foundation for Agricultural Education has awarded nearly $150,000 worth of scholarships to deserving students since it was formed in 2000."
Four scholarship programs are offered:
Scholastic Scholarship: Applicants must be a current or former student of Sacramento County schools (or students who have a permanent residence in Sacramento County) who plan to pursue (or are currently pursuing) a post-secondary education. High school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores or juniors are eligible to apply.
Child of an Agricultural Employee Scholarship: Available to high school seniors whose parents or guardians are non-owner/operators, employed within production agriculture in Sacramento County. It is not intended for children of farmowners or ag related business owners.
Career Technical Scholarship: Career technical fields considered under this application should be in an agricultural related or food related field. This may include, but is not limited to, careers in: Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, Diesel, Heavy Equipment, Vet Tech, Welding, and much more.
Young Farmers & Ranchers Agricultural Scholarship: This financial award is based on agricultural involvement, leadership skills, scholastic achievement, career goals, and a personal interview. The ideal candidate for this scholarship is a well-rounded student who has a genuine passion for agriculture.
More detailed eligibility requirements and application instructions are available on the SCFB website at the Foundation for for Agricultural Education page and Young Farmers and Ranchers page. Applications may be submitted online. Questions can also be directed to the Farm Bureau office (916) 685 6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All applications must be postmarked by April 1, 2018 or submitted online by 5:00 PM on April 1, 2018.
Sacramento County farmers put food on your fork. Our agricultural operations and products are as diverse as the lands we carefully manage. We are proud to provide healthy, fresh food for your family and ours. We invite you to join our efforts to protect Sacramento County's agriculture, rural character, and our ability to produce local, high-quality food for your table.