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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California’s Economic Output Outpaces Nation for Fourth Straight Year

By George Runner, State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-21

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).

San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.

One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.

George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.

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Taste of Citrus Heights Fundraiser to Support Police PTSD Training

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-21

More than 30 eateries, wineries and craft brewers from across the city, as well as some heavy-hitting talent are preparing to serve up an evening to remember at this year’s Taste of Citrus Heights Fundraiser, with the bulk of the proceeds going to serve the city’s police force.

The first Taste of Citrus Heights event produced by the GFWC Women’s Club, the event is set for Friday, April 28 at the Citrus Heights Community Center. Restaurants from all corners of the city will be dishing out samples savory and sweet, including Sammy’s Restaurant and Bar, Taste of Tuscany, Crepes & Burgers and Ben’s Huli Huli Chicken and Hawaiian Café. There also will be wine tastings and craft beers on tap from Direct Cellars, Hoppy Brewing Company, Wildside Hard Cider, and Knee Deep Brewing Company, among others.

“I’m very excited about this event,” said Darla Buechner, GFWC Sutter district president. Buechner explained that, as president, she was given the opportunity to create a fundraiser of her choosing and a beneficiary. As the wife of a retired police officer and mother of two daughters now in law enforcement, the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder for officers, first-responders in particular, is one that hits close to home. She decided on a “taste of” event for the fun, but also knew it could generate the funds needed to support the costs of a professional P.T.S.D. training program for officers, which the Citrus Heights department was already planning.

“I know what it’s like to have a family member impacted by what happens as a first responder and I wanted to do something to help other officers,” said Buechner.

The first $5,000 generated from the fundraiser, she said, will pay for a planned mandatory training program for Citrus Heights police officers and their family members on P.T.S.D. It will be facilitated by renowned trainer Dr. Kevin M. Gilmartin, PhD, author of “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement.”

In addition to sponsorships and ticket sales, costs for the training will be offset by a $1,000 grant the club received from the Citrus Heights Rotary Club, which will be used to pay for the barbeque meal the department will be cooking up on the day of the training.

In addition to the food and drink, there will be some stellar entertainment on tap, including a performance by local comedienne Kristen Frisk, and Angelique Bianca, resident DJ and musical director at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Bianca’s brother, explained Buechner, is a Citrus Heights police sergeant.

“Obviously, it’s a very important cause for her too,” said Buechner.

Tickets for the event are $35 per person and include all you can eat and drink. There also will be a silent auction and raffle prizes.

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Local Charity Shares Ways to Celebrate National Volunteer Week

Source: Samaritan’s Purse  |  2017-04-21

Dr. Franklin Graham participates in Operation Christmas Child. 
-- Photo courtesy Samaritan

As Americans all across the country join forces for National Volunteer Week April 23 – 29, there are many opportunities right here in Carmichael for residents to support a cause, serve their community and make a difference.

One volunteer effort making an impact here in Carmichael and around the world is Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. The project collects shoeboxes—filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys—and delivers them to children in need around the world. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.

“I find it a privilege to do all I can to inspire my community to get involved in this project,” said Linda Cruze, who heads up the Sacramento Area Team for Operation Christmas Child. “We know that for many of these children, this little shoebox gift is the only gift they have ever received. There is a lot of hurt and darkness in the world, and these gifts bring light and hope.”

Each year, millions of children in need in more than 100 countries find hope in a simple shoebox gift, many of whom are affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. In 2016, Operation Christmas Child volunteers made it possible for nearly 11.5 million children to receive a shoebox gift. This year, Operation Christmas Child hopes to send enough gift-filled shoeboxes to reach another 12 million children, a feat unattainable without the more than nine thousand local volunteers who serve year-round across the country.

Last year, Carmichael volunteers, families and groups paved the way as part of the Sacramento Area Team to collect shoebox gifts for more than 14,700 children.

“The purpose of Operation Christmas Child is to send a message to children that they are loved and not forgotten,” said Nathan Bates, West Coast Regional Director for Operation Christmas Child. “Our volunteers can make an eternal impact on a child in need by giving their time and talents to this simple project.”

As the project gears up for another year of gift collections, the local team of Operation Christmas Child is seeking new year-round volunteers. To learn more about the volunteer opportunities available in the Carmichael area or to apply, call (714) 432-7030 or visit

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories.

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Gaines Launches Effort to Repeal Gas Tax

Source: The Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.

“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.

“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”

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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Sunrise Mall Faces Impacts

Story and Photo by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-20

“What I can say is that I’m very excited by what I’ve seen so far,” said Car-penter. She pointed out that what does happen next for Sunrise Mall will im-pact, not only its retailers and their employees, but all BID stakeholders.

Store Closures, Local and Cultural Shopping Shifts

With new management and development plans in play, as well as the closing of several smaller retailers and potential closure of Sears, Macy’s and even JCPenney looming, all eyes are on the future of Sunrise Mall, which, like many enclosed malls nationwide, is struggling for survival due in part to growing competition from online retailers, but also demand for so-called “power centers” offering outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment “experiences.”

Enclosed shopping malls, many built in the 1970s, have been shutting down for several years, earning the moniker of “Dead Malls” as their big-box anchor stores like Sears, Macy’s and JCPenney have packed up and left due to shrinking foot traffic amidst rising online retail competition, most currently from companies such as Amazon. The three stores announced a collective closure of some 300 locations this year with more to follow. Additionally, Kmart announced it will close 108 stores.

Although Sears, Macy’s and JCPenney remain open at Sunrise Mall, the mass closures, many industry followers predict, have essentially pre-written their company obituaries. To combat diminishing in-store sales, JCPenney restructured its focus in late 2016, moving in on Sears’ territory with the announcement it would begin selling home appliances in time for the holiday shopping season. JCP’s Sephora “shop-in-shops” and coupon-driven sales are believed to be fueling strong quarterly sales for the company, but it’s not clear whether the push into appliances can have any long-term impact.

Big box retailers aside, a number of smaller stores in Sunrise Mall have also closed over the last few years, leaving prime locations, two adjacent to Sears and as many as three located in the mall’s entryway, vacant. Most recently, Pennsylvania-based teen retailer Rue 21 announced plans to shutter 400 of its stores due to declining foot traffic. The Sunrise Mall location is currently in liquidation mode and believed to be set for closure within the month.

“We don’t how long we have to stay open exactly, probably about a month,” said one sales associate at Rue 21 who did not want to disclose her name.

It’s not only that shoppers have stopped spending their money in stores and now buy everything online. In fact, the decline of the enclosed mall has been ongoing for years nationwide, as many are being replaced with so-called “power centers,” offering upscale and fast-casual eateries, multi-cinema movie theaters, outdoor strolling space and even park-like play areas for families, typically anchored by retail darlings Target and Best Buy.

Take the Westfield Galleria at Roseville, for example, one of the largest and busiest malls in Northern California with 240 shops and restaurants, which include high-end stores like Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand Jeans, supported by the adjacent Fountains at Roseville, touted online as a “Lifestyle Center” offering shops and scores of restaurants.

“Things have definitely been on the downward trend here,” says Mathew Kramer, who manages a small retail store in Sunrise Mall but requested not to identify the store per company policy. Kramer has worked at Sunrise for nine years, but also remembers when the mall was built, back when it was the place to meet up with friends. Millennials, however, and those in the generation behind them have significantly different designs on how to spend their money and the experience they have doing it. Apparently, so do their parents.

“I grew up riding my bike to this mall, or walking to the bowling alley across the street for field trips,” said Kramer. “It used to be the place I’d go with my friends, but now everyone wants to shop online or they go to Roseville to be outside. They want to have that whole entertainment experience.”

New York-based Spinoso Real Estate Group took over management of the mall in 2016 and is reported to be working on long-range development plans for Sunrise. The company’s web site lists the development of retail power centers among its project resume.

Calls to Spinoso’s corporate offices for comment on its plans for Sunrise, as well as requests for data on first quarter occupancy rates and foot traffic were not returned. But it doesn’t take hard numbers to confirm the slowdown. On any given day, the vast majority of parking spots not directly in front of the main entrance to the mall on Sunrise Boulevard sit vacant. In addition to the half a dozen or so closed shops inside, several retail kiosks dotting the mall’s center corridor also are vacant.

Kathilynn Carpenter is executive director of the Sunrise Marketplace Business Improvement District (BID), which is comprised of some 400 stores, restaurants and services located along the Sunrise Boulevard and Greenback Lane business corridor, including the mall. She agreed Sunrise is struggling amidst a changing demand for something beyond long, enclosed rows of shops and a shift toward online shopping. She is privy to some of the planning for Sunrise and did say “improvements” were involved, but Carpenter declined to elaborate on what those plans look like.

“It is true that many of the retailers are overstocked and now that issue is coming home to roost,” said Carpenter. She added that the trend is focused on what she termed “experiential” shopping options, but declined to say if Spinoso was planning on one of its power centers for the mall.

“What I can say is that I’m very excited by what I’ve seen so far,” said Carpenter, before downplaying any wholesale demise of the mall. She pointed out that what does happen next for Sunrise Mall will impact, not only its retailers and their employees, but all BID stakeholders.

“I can tell you that everyone who is a member of the BID has the best interest of the mall mind,” Carpenter said.

Citrus Heights City Manager Chris Boyd has said publicly that the city is “retail heavy,” adding that Spinoso’s long-term plans for the mall are going to be a game-changer that may potentially involve a mixed-use development with housing and retail.

On Monday, Boyd declined to discuss Spinoso’s plans. “I’ve got nothing new to add yet, but I know the new owners have some exciting ideas on the table,” he said.

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