Police Dog Hero to be Honored at Howl ‘o Ween Event

By Helen Brewer, Citrus Heights Community Marching Band  |  2019-10-04

Band members ready Santa’s sled for the Howl ‘o Ween parade. As is his annual tradition, Santa will be Grand Marshal of the parade and then will meet with Festival attendees. Pictured are Blake Heidt (left), Ryan Watson, Kathy Cook, Joe Isaacs, and Harold Huff. The guys are members of CHCMB’s trumpet section and Cook is the band’s Program Director. Photo courtesy of Citrus Heights Community Marching Band

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - A colorful parade featuring dogs in costumes, U.S. veterans and youth groups, clowns, marching bands, floats, and antique cars will kick-off the 8th annual Howl ‘o Ween Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 19th, in Citrus Heights.  The event is coordinated by the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band (CHCMB).

The 9 a.m. parade on Auburn Boulevard, will start at Twin Oaks Avenue and end at Rusch Park where the Harvest Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The park is located at 7801 Auburn Boulevard.

The Festival with free admission will include a Kids Zone with free games and a bounce house.  Other attractions will be craft and business exhibits, including several dog and pet business booths. The NorCal Cruisers Car Club and the Citrus Heights Police Department will have cars on display. 

“We are pleased to announce Axel, a German Shepherd, and his handler, Citrus Heights Police Officer Kyle Shoberg, will be honored at the Festival’s award ceremony at 11 a.m.,” said Kathy Cook, CHCMB Program Director.  “The pair was involved in the July incident in which a suspect fired his handgun at a Citrus Heights department store with customers inside.  When police responded, the suspect started firing at them.  Officer Shoberg released Axel in an attempt to apprehend the suspect.  The suspect started firing at the dog and towards the police.  Officers returned gunfire at the suspect, striking him.  Police officers at the scene attributed Axel’s actions with saving their lives.”

Festival entertainment and demonstrations will include performances by the Sacramento Capitolaires Barbershop Chorus, the Voice Academy from Roseville, the Capital City Band, DJ Dave and the CHCMB Dancers, Citrus Heights Kaia Fit, Star War Characters, Family Taekwondo Plus, and the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band. 

“Always popular with attendees is the Sacramento SPCA’s Adoption Area with animals to hold, pet, and/or adopt,” said Cook.

More than 50 entries with more than 500 participants have signed up to be in the parade.  Santa Claus in a golf cart sled will be the parade’s Grand Marshal and then will be at the Festival to chat with youngsters and get their early Christmas wish list.  Citrus Heights Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey and Council Members Steve Miller and Porsche Middleton will ride on the Citrus Heights Rotary Club’s haunted house float.  

“There’s still time for groups, businesses, and pets and their owners to register for the parade and/or the Harvest Festival,” said Cook. For information about participating, contact her at (916) 725-0198 or at abusycook@aol.com.  Also contact Cook regarding band membership and appearances.

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Single Mom Strong Awarded $25K ECMC Nonprofit Grant

By Patrick Larenas  |  2019-10-04

An ECMC Group board member joined ECMC Group employees to help present checks to organizations they nominated to receive a grant. Single Mom Strong, founded by Tara Taylor, was nominated by two employees. Photo courtesy ECMC Group

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Being a woman is hard, being a mother is even harder, but being a single mom can simply be too much for a person. That is why Single Mom Strong, a nonprofit organization catering to the needs of single moms, was recognized and awarded in September by the ECMC Group.

The grant was one of several awarded to non-profits that together received a total of $275,000 through the GO! Program of the ECMC Foundation. Tara Taylor, the founder of Single Mom Strong, was presented a $25,000 check by employees who nominated her and an ECMC Group board member.

This fall the non-profit is offering preschool and childcare at its new Empowerment Center, in Citrus Heights. Its child care EmpowerME program, says Taylor, “allows families to have an affordable long-term care option with the opportunity to volunteer in the Center in exchange for reduced-cost care for their children.”

Single Mom Strong’s Empowerment Center is located at 7525 Auburn Blvd. Suite 5 - Citrus Heights, CA 95610. For more information call (916)735-5350 or visit singlemomstrong.org

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Flint-Rex Joins the CHPD K9 Unit

Story and photo by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-10-04

The City of Citrus Heights welcomes the newest members of the CHPD K9 Unit. From left: Councilmember Steve Miller, Councilmember Bret Daniels, CHPD K9 Unit Officer Todd Ross with canine Flint-Rex, CHPD volunteer Renate Saylors, Mayor Jeannie Bruins, and Councilmember Porsche Middleton.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Citrus Heights recently welcomed the newest K9 member to the Citrus Heights Police Department. On September 26, K9 Unit Sergeant Kane Kissam introduced Officer Todd Ross and his canine, Flint-Rex.

Flint-Rex, a 1.5-year-old German Shephard from the Czech Republic, is an apprehension dog trained in searching for narcotics, individuals, and evidence.

The purchase of Flint-Rex was largely funded by a donation from a CHPD volunteer, Renate Saylors. Sergeant Kissam said that Saylors has “played a large part in the CHPD K9 unit. She’s gone to training, she’s gone on ride-alongs, she’s actually a strong ambassador for the unit.”

Sergeant Kissam explained that Flint-Rex is named after Saylors’ late husband, Flint, and that Rex was the dog’s initial training name: “We’ve hyphenated that name in honor of her husband.”

Sergeant Kissam thanked Saylors for her generous donation and said that donations are crucial for the K9 Unit to fund the purchase of dogs, equipment, training for handlers and dogs, and medical needs for the dogs throughout their career.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - San Juan Unified has partnered with Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT) to offer free transit through SacRT for San Juan Unified students. 

The program, Ryde Free RT, provides fare-free access for TK through 12th-grade students to SacRT transportation services seven days a week and during all SacRT service hours. The program is set to runs for one year from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020.

For students in grades 6-12, sticker passes will be available for pick-up starting the week of Oct. 8 and stickers will be placed on student ID cards. Exact pick-up locations will be shared by each school site in a separate communication. Parents/guardians of students in grades TK-5 can request a pass at their school site’s front office beginning the week of Oct. 8. 

Parents/guardians who would like to opt-out their student from this program can direct their student not to pick up a sticker, or they can remove the sticker from their student’s ID.

For more information, visit SacRT’s website at www.sacrt.com/rydefreert or contact your school’s front office. Transit schedules can be found at https://www.sacrt.com/schedules/.

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Award-Winning Director, Designers, Orchestra and Cast Open “Little Shop of Horrors”

By Tracy Martin Shearer, American River College Theatre    |  2019-10-04

Broadway’s wildly popular sci-fi musical, Little Shop of Horrors, is the American River College Theatre feature presentation. Back Row, left to right: Regine Ford, Samaria Sylvester, Sarah Gonzalez
Front Row, left to right: Ethan Mack, Kloe Walker, Corey D. Winfield, Jonathan Wertz. Photo by Brian Williams

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - The acclaimed American River College Theatre and award-winning director Nancy Silva open ARC’s 2019-20 season with Broadway’s wildly popular sci-fi musical, Little Shop of Horrors. Written by the same team that brought the world Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin (Howard Ashman and Alan Menken), this deliciously devious musical comedy is running October 11-27 in ARC’s impressive mainstage theatre. The show features an accomplished symphonic band (conducted by Susan Hamre), lively costumes and sets by Elly Award winners Gail Russell and Kathy Burleson, and puppets designed by Sacramento’s premier puppeteer, Richard Bay.

Talented newcomer Ethan Mack plays Seymour Krelborn, a meek floral assistant who stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” after his beautiful, troubled co-worker Audrey (Kloe Walker), on whom he has a crush. Before he knows it, the ‘strange and interesting plant’ (voiced by Sacramento favorite Corey D. Winfield) has literally taken on a life of its own… but only as long as Seymour keeps feeding it blood!  The R&B-singing carnivorous plant offers Seymour unending fame and fortune… but at what cost?  With rich harmonies, saucy patter songs, luscious ballads and Barry White-inspired tunes, this show is a musical feast for plant and audience members alike!

Performance days and times are as follows:

Fridays (Oct. 11, 18, 25) at 8pm (the 10/25 show features an ARC Oak Café dinner option and is ASL interpreted)

Saturdays (Oct. 12, 19, 26) at 8pm

Sundays (Oct. 13, 20, 27) at 2pm

Thursdays (Oct. 17, 24) at 6:30pm

All performances of Little Shop of Horrors will be at the ARC Theatre, 4700 College Oak Drive.  Parking is $2 in Lot D (College Oak and Myrtle).  Ticket prices are $18 (general), $15 (student, senior, SARTA), with group rates also available.  Children 4 and under are not admitted. 

For more information, go to ARCTheatre.org or call (916) 484-8234.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Living with a mental illness can leave individuals and families feeling alone, sad and disconnected. In Sacramento County, it is estimated that over 300,000 residents are living with a mental illness. Roughly, one in five adults will have a diagnosable mental disorder during their lifetime and nearly one out of five children will experience emotional or behavioral difficulties.                                                       

With education, support and treatment, people can—and do—recover and live fulfilling lives. But, regrettably, the strong stigma surrounding the topic of mental illness and mental health treatment today discourages many from seeking help and support. In fact, only 43.3 percent of adults with a mental health condition received mental health services during the past year. No one should have to take on their mental health journey alone, especially as many of these conditions are extremely common and impacting many of us, no matter our ethnicity, race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion and age group.

Sacramento County’s “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project reaches out to the diverse communities within Sacramento County and reminds family members, friends and individuals of all ages that they are not alone. 

Sacramento County is celebrating the progress it has made to raise awareness amongst residents – that mental illness is treatable and recovery is possible when education, family, peer and community support is made available. Since its inception in 2012, the “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project has:

Established the Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau which has trained 197 speakers;

Reached over 15,000 people at more than 315 Speakers Bureau events and inspired hope for thousands of others living with mental illness;

Provided over 200,000 program materials, including brochures, posters and tip cards in multiple languages, to nearly 100 community organizations and at Project events, reaching thousands of Sacramento County residents;

Advertised throughout the County, with content featuring real Sacramento residents living with mental illness; advertisements have included multi-lingual TV, radio, online and outdoor advertising which resulted in over 476 million impressions;

Hosted and participated in an array of local multicultural events which are regularly attended by hundreds of Sacramento County residents; these events help to raise awareness about the Project, mental illness and also spread messages of hope;

Developed a robust online presence and social media program that has resulted in more than 190,000 visitors to the website, over 9,000 likes on Facebook and 700 Twitter followers.

“’The Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think’ project was initiated by the Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services following the passage of Proposition 63,” said Ryan Quist, Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services Director. “The project aims to reduce stigma and discrimination, promote mental health and wellness and inspire hope for people and families living with mental illness in Sacramento County.”

In celebration of its seven-year anniversary and in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct.6-12), a national observance sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project is hosting the “Journey of Hope: Real Life Stories of Living with Mental Health Challenges Portrayed Through Art” exhibit at the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center. The exhibition pairs local writers with artists who illustrate their personal stories of struggle, hope and recovery with mental illness. 

For the first time ever, this exhibit will be displayed at three Sacramento County venues, including:

Elk Grove Fine Arts Center (Oct. 5-23) – Public reception: Saturday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m.

Sacramento Fine Arts Center (Oct. 29-Nov. 17) – Public reception: Saturday, Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m.

Crocker Art Museum (Nov. 28-Jan. 5, 2020) – Public reception: Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m.

This program is funded by the Division of Behavioral Health Services through the voter-approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). For more information, please visit the Stop Stigma Sacramento website, and follow the project on Facebook and Twitter. Residents can also call 2-1-1 Sacramento (2-1-1) for free, confidential information and referral services for the community; residents who are hearing impaired can call 7-1-1 to connect to 2-1-1. Specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and interpreters are available.

 

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October Recognizes Learning Disability Month

JOY Familytech Press Release  |  2019-10-03

Octopus Watch Motion Edition is the first icon-based watch that empowers kids by teaching good habits and the concept of time, while also encouraging them to stay active with its new fitness tracker. Photo courtesy JOY Familytech

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Did you know that 2.3 million students are diagnosed with specific learning disabilities (SLD) and receive services under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act). This represents 35% of all students receiving special education services. (According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America).

Children with learning disabilities begin school excited to learn. If your child is having difficulty in school, he/she may learn differently from other kids. For many kids, these disorders go undetected despite their ongoing struggles with school work and the behavior issues that often accompany these disorders. Parents are often the first to notice that “something doesn’t seem right.” But sometimes knowing what to do and where to find help can be confusing.

A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Kids with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently affecting how they receive and process information.

Types of Learning Disabilities
Dyslexia: Dyslexia is perhaps the best known learning disability. Children with this disorder may have difficulty with spelling, vocabulary, or comprehension. They may be slow readers, struggle learning left from right, or have organizational problems with both written and spoken language.

ADHD: ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. A child has difficulty controlling focus, impulse, energy levels, or some mix of the three.

Dyscalculia: A child with this condition may have an effect on one’s ability to develop math skills, understand numbers, and learn math-based facts. It can be difficult for individuals with dyscalculia to comprehend math symbols, organize or memorize numbers, tell time, and count.

Dysgraphia: Dysgraphia affects a child’s ability to perform handwriting and other fine motor skills. People with dysgraphia might have problems with inconsistent spacing, difficulty composing writing, poor spelling, illegible handwriting, poor spatial planning on paper, and thinking and writing at the same time.

Auditory Memory and Processing Disabilities: Kids with this condition may have difficulty recognizing the differences between sounds, understanding the order of sounds, recognizing where sounds have come from, or separating sounds from background noise.

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit: These are disorders that can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination. Visual Processing Disorders can cause people to struggle with seeing differences between similar letters, number, objects, colors, shapes and patterns.

Nonverbal Learning Disorder: Child has significant difficulty with nonverbal cues, such as coordination and body language.

If you think your child might have a learning disability, don't despair! There is a lot of information and support available, and there are many steps you can take to ensure that your child gets evaluated appropriately.

What to do if you suspect your child has a Learning Disability?

If you suspect that your child is having trouble learning to read, or trouble with learning in general, there is help available. For parents of school-age children, the first source of help should be the public school serving your area. Contact your child's school principal, express your concerns, and ask to have your child evaluated. The school system is required by federal and state law to evaluate your child at no cost to you or your family. The results of the evaluation will show whether or not your child has a problem with reading or learning and, if so, the nature of the problem.

Once your child has received a diagnosis, your school psychologist should be able to recommend and help you set up services or accommodations for your kid. Depending on the specific learning disability, your child may qualify for special education services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or accommodations through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Keep in mind, you are your child’s best advocate. So read books and articles on your child's specific learning disability and learn how you and your school can help. Talk to your kid’s teacher about additional ways the teacher can assist your child. Most teachers are eager to help. Although, depending on the student-teacher ratio and the school’s resources, it’s sometimes challenging for teachers to do as much as they’d like. There are likely other kids in their classroom with special needs as well. If you feel your child isn’t getting the help he or she needs, talk to the school administrator.

For more information, visit https://www.heyjoy.io.

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