Special Primary Election Voter Outreach Banner

Building Character Through Football

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-06-27

Left to right: Playmakers founder Coach Roz, Harrison Phillips of the Buffalo Bills, and Jordan Richards of the Oakland Raiders use football to teach kids about character.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - On June 15, The Playmakers Organization held a free one-day Football Camp at El Camino High School. The Playmakers Organization, founded by Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler, is a local non-profit that provides free “Character Academy” camps for local youth         

Joe Bodnar and Joe Simeone are long-time friends of Coach Roz, and they support the Playmakers mission by volunteering at the Character Academy Football Camps. Bodnar said, “It introduces the kids to the sport. It gives them a self-esteem boost; they get to be in the spotlight.”

Simeone explained, “The sport is the platform to talk about character. It provides an opportunity to ask kids, ‘What are you doing off the field? What are you doing in the classroom?’” The Playmakers’ programs focus on reaching at-risk and special needs kids, and Simeone said the kids often go on to become mentors to younger participants, taking on leadership roles in the program.

Playmakers board member Bill Hutto described why he got involved in the organization: “My heart is with at-risk youth, and Playmakers does a lot for these kids.” After retiring from a career in the California Department of Corrections, Hutto knows how important it is to provide at-risk kids with early intervention to keep them out of the prison system. “Giving them the opportunity to build their confidence and learn positive attitudes at a young age helps them become productive citizens,” said Hutto.

Harrison Phillips, NFL defensive tackle with the Buffalo Bills, helped host the football camp. “This is a really cool initiative,” said Phillips. “I’m happy to come out and unite a lot of different people through sports; it’s amazing the power of the sport to bring people together. It’s about teaching these kids character, team building, and working together — all the positive attributes of this sport that these kids might not get a chance to experience without this program.”

NFL player Jordan Richards played football at Folsom High School and college football at Stanford before playing with the New England Patriots, the Atlanta Falcons, and recently signing with the Oakland Raiders. Richards has been involved in Playmakers since he was 13, attending Playmakers football camps as a teen. “I didn’t know it at the time, but the lessons I learned here — who I am as I person, who I am as a man — I learned through the game. I’m so thankful for the time I had growing up with Coach Roz.”

Richards met Phillips at Stanford and recruited him to become a Playmakers sponsor. Richards said, “In a way, we grew up together — and we still encourage each other.” Richards spoke of the bonds of friendship created through football, explaining it as “the guys who helped build me, and I helped build them.”

Richards, Phillips, and numerous volunteers (including students from local high schools El Camino, Rio Americano, Western Sierra, and Mira Loma) ran a series of football drills with the Playmakers kids. Coach Roz is grateful to have the support of Richards and Phillips: “These guys contribute so much to the organization, not just financially, but by taking the time to show up.”

“The growth you get from this game really does last a lifetime,” said Richards. “Football taught me a lot about life, and a lot about myself. It takes a lot of people to make a team. It’s a family.” He urged the kids to take advantage of this opportunity: “Be a part of all this. It truly is special.”

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A celebration 90 years in the making has been underway at the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Through legislation, on August 14, 1929, California witnessed the evolution of traffic enforcement with the creation of a statewide law enforcement agency known today as the CHP. The purpose of creating the CHP was to provide uniform traffic law enforcement throughout the state. To this day, assuring the safe and efficient transportation of people and goods on our highway system remains our primary purpose.

“The history of the CHP is storied tapestry,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “We, as an organization, celebrate 90 years of serving the people of this great state, which is possible because of the dedicated women and men who make up the CHP and the support of the public and our traffic safety partners.”

As California continues to grow and change, so does the span of enforcement responsibility of the CHP. When the organization began in 1929 with its 285 personnel, California had a population of roughly 5.6 million people and 2.1 million registered vehicles. Today, the CHP is comprised of nearly 11,000 dedicated professionals, uniformed and non-uniformed; California’s population has dramatically increased to nearly 40 million people, with more than 35 million registered vehicles.

The size and responsibilities of the patrol have not been the only changes through the decades. Women joined the ranks for the first time in 1974, and various types of patrol vehicles have been implemented – including aircraft, horses, and bicycles. Tragically, in the CHP’s 90 years, 231 officers have laid down their lives in service to the public. For more on the history of the Department, take a virtual tour of the CHP Museum located at http://chpmuseum.org/.

“While the CHP continues to evolve as a law enforcement agency, the priority of the Department and its personnel remains constant - fulfilling our mission while maintaining public trust,” added Commissioner Stanley.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

...Read More!  
  |  

Honoring Grandparents With Butterfly Release

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-08-15

Participants will release Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies in honor of Grandparents

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sunday, September 8 is national Grandparents Day, and two local non-profits are observing the day with a Grandparents Day Butterfly Release. Sacramento Children’s Museum (SCM) and Snowline Hospice are hosting the Butterfly Release ceremony at 11:30 am at the museum, which is located at 2701 Prospect Park in Rancho Cordova.

 SCM’s mission is to inspire a love of life-long learning by providing a space for children to play, create, and explore. Snowline’s mission is to help patients through end-of-life care and support their families through the grieving process. The Grandparents Day Butterfly Release is a way to support two great causes at the same time while also recognizing the vital role grandparents play in children’s lives.

SCM’s director of museum advancement Meghan Toland said, “We chose Grandparents Day because grandparents are so important to us at the museum — we see them bringing kids in every day. … Celebrating grandparents is a great way to bring awareness to Snowline and the Sacramento Children’s Museum.”

Participants can dedicate a butterfly in name of a beloved grandparent. “You can reserve as many butterflies as you want,” said Toland. The event will include Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies — both beautiful options to honor grandparents’ significant impact on our lives.

The butterflies are locally and sustainably sourced, and they will be transported to the museum on ice — putting them into a temporary hibernation until they are woken up at the event. Participants will wake the butterflies by warming them in their hands during the dedication, and then the butterflies will be ready for release after the ceremony.

Grandparents are an important part of all our lives, so Toland explained that the event is not just for children — all ages are encouraged to attend. She also emphasized that the dedications do not have to be in remembrance: “It’s to remember those we don’t have any more and also to celebrate those still in our lives every day.”

Toland said they expect to release 400 butterflies, so they are anticipating a large turnout at the event. After the Butterfly Release, a celebration will feature games, activities, face painting, and food vendors.

Proceeds from the event will benefit SCM’s educational programs and Snowline’s Healing All Together (HAT) grief group, which helps children and their families deal with grief after losing a loved one. Because it can be difficult for kids to verbalize their emotions, HAT helps kids express their grief through art, motion, music, and play. SCM works in partnership with Snowline, which hosts the HAT program at the museum twice a month.

Butterflies for the event must be reserved in advance on the website, and people are already signing up. The deadline to reserve a butterfly is Friday, September 6 and the cost is $10 per butterfly, or $15 for a butterfly and admission to the museum. To reserve a butterfly — or to sign up as a vendor or sponsor — visit www.sackids.org.

...Read More!  
  |  

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The annual Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Hearing will be held by the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) on August 27, 2019. The hearing provides taxpayers, assessors, and other local agencies the opportunity to provide comment on any items discussed in the State Board of Equalization’s 2017-18 Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate’s Annual Report for the purposes of correcting any problems described in the report. Taxpayers may also comment on BOE-administered programs or local property tax issues.

Individuals may also present their concerns regarding agency services or other issues related to the administration of its tax programs, including state and county property taxes, alcoholic beverage tax, and tax on insurers. With respect to the alcoholic beverage tax, individuals may present their ideas and recommendations regarding legislation which may further improve voluntary compliance and the relationship between taxpayers and government.

The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Hearing is held in accordance with The Morgan Property Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights and California Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights provisions. The BOE has a Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate to ensure taxpayers’ rights are protected and to facilitate resolution of property tax problems. More information on the BOE’s Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate Office (TRA Office) and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Hearing is available at http://www.boe.ca.gov/tra/

Taxpayers are invited to share their experiences with problems encountered to bring it to the attention of the BOE and TRA Office for assistance with resolution.

The Board of Equalization is the only elected tax board in the country. Its five members include four equalization district members, and the State Controller. Under its constitutional mandate, the BOE oversees the assessment practices of the state’s 58 county assessors, who are charged with establishing values for approximately 12.8 million assessments each year. In addition, the BOE assesses the property of regulated railroads and specific public utilities and assesses and collects the private railroad car tax. The BOE's monthly meetings offer taxpayers and other interested parties opportunities to participate in the formulation of rules and regulations adopted by the Board. For more information on the BOE, visit www.boe.ca.gov.

...Read More!  
  |  

Park Tree Honors Band Leader John Skinner

Staff Report  |  2019-08-15

The John Skinner Band will present music for all ages during a Carmichael Park concert on Saturday, August 17. Photo courtesy John Skinner Band.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - The 44th Carmichael Park summer concert season continues. The John Skinner Band presents a Saturday, August 17 show. In memory of the band’s late leader John Skinner, the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce and the Carmichael Park District will dedicate a new tree during the performance.

Larger-than-life community figure Skinner died two years ago. He played his final solo – one week before his death – in Carmichael Park. A new oak tree will grow near the spot. “John was an oak to the music business and to our community,” said his widow, singer Susan Skinner. “This memorial will enhance the park and provide shade for many future concert-goers. John helped sponsor our summer music. He and our band also performed more than 50 concerts here over the years. He really cared about his audiences and loved to see them enjoying music and dancing. I know he’d be honored by this tribute.”

To cater to fans of all ages, the Skinner Band will present an August 17 program that ranges from classic rock to swing and Latin numbers. Instrumentation will include trumpet, sax, trombone, bass, keyboard, guitar and drums. Susan Skinner is the featured vocalist. For information, call (916) 483-7826.

...Read More!  
  |  

Aquatic Center Teaches Kids Water Wisdom

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-08-14

Rowing is among the skills taught at the Aquatic Center.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “Hey, my little girl can drive a boat,” shouted a dad as his teenager confidently trimmed sailboat sheets on Lake Natoma.

His daughter was among more than 2000 children who recently mastered maritime skills during camps at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center. Straddling Gold River, Fair Oaks and Orangevale borders, the facility is jointly run by Associated Students Inc. and CSUS, in association with the California State Parks Department. With Lake Natoma’s 449 placid acres as a playground, the center has hosted children’s courses for 30 summers.

Week-long classes include stand-up paddling, canoeing and rowing. Water-skiing and wake-boarding classes are run on nearby Folsom Lake. Bathed by sun and cool American River water, the students are seldom out of swimsuits and flotation vests. On designated parent nights, moms and dads are invited to share the sport and marvel at their kids’ new skills. “Teaching safe watersports is the center’s aim,” says center director Brian Dulgar. “We want everyone to enjoy our incredible Californian resources and be responsible aquatic enthusiasts.”

Most center instructors are college students, also on summer break. First aid, CPR and lifeguard certification are hiring prerequisites but a love for sport is the major qualification. “Some staff come back year after year until they graduate from college,” says the boss. “Many came through here first as campers, so they’ve seen how all students are different. Some are super-athletic; some are fearful. You adjust teaching styles for each personality. But my staffers are big kids at heart. They keep things fun and exciting. They also supervise plenty of goof-off time on water slides and swings.”

Overnight camps are an option on alternate weeks. “We go out for a sunset paddle,” explains Dulgar. “Then we have a Spaghetti Factory dinner and toast s’mores on the barbecue. Campers and counsellors sleep in the open. After a pancake breakfast, we get back to more aquatic fun. By the end of the week, the kids are all pretty exhausted and so is the staff.”

S.S.A.C. courses run from early June to mid-August and cost between $350 and $450 per student. Beyond summer, the facility is open for equipment rentals all year. It also hosts rowing championships at regional and national levels. “Lake Natoma is a Gold Field District jewel,” considers Dulgar. “Just 25 minutes from the center of Sacramento, we have a unique rural environment that’s also a wildlife habitat. From the water, we see animals and some pretty exciting birds. Speed limitations on the lake make it really safe for water sports – that’s why people come here from all over the USA. We feel pretty lucky to be here.”

The Sacramento State Aquatic Center is located at 1901 Hazel Avenue, Gold River. Summer session bookings for 7 to 16-year-olds open in March 2020. For more information, visit www.sacstateaquaticcenter.com/

 

...Read More!  
  |  

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is alerting the community of a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) that may be placed in Sacramento’s Del Paso Heights neighborhood. A hearing is scheduled for public comment on the release of SVP, Dariel Morrise Shazier. A Santa Clara judge will consider placing Shazier at an address in Del Paso Heights even though Shazier has no ties to Sacramento.

Notice of hearing: August 26, 2019, starting at 9:00 a.m. Santa Clara Superior Court, Hall of Justice – Department 32, 191 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95113.

Shazier was convicted in Santa Clara County in 1989 and 1994 in multiple cases of: Sodomy of a Person Under 14 by Force; Annoy/Molest a Child; Sexual Battery; Sodomy of a Drugged Victim (Under 18); Oral Copulation of a Drugged Victim (Under 18).

After serving his 17-year sentence, a jury determined Shazier to be a Sexually Violent Predator under the Welfare and Institutions Code §6604. If approved, Shazier will live in Del Paso Heights and only be monitored for one year. He would then be eligible for full release from supervision to live unmonitored in the community.

How the community can voice their opposition: If community members want to voice their opposition, notify the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office to: Be heard in person at the hearing being held at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice; Be heard by teleconference call at the Greater Sacramento Urban League (3725 Marysville Blvd., Sacramento CA 95838); Submit a letter or message by email to: SVPShazier@sacda.org; Or, mail a letter to: District Attorney’s Office, ATTN: SVP Shazier, 901 G Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Shazier is the first of three out-of-county Sexually Violent Predators the Department of State Hospitals has notified us about that they intend to place in Sacramento County. For more information, visit: www.sacda.org/SVP

...Read More!  
  |  

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - “The Source,” is a new, free, 24/7 support service for foster youth and resource families living in Sacramento County. The service, implemented by Department of Health Services and the Sacramento Children’s Home, connects foster youth, and former foster youth, up to age 21 and resource families to licensed professionals who immediately provide guidance, support, and connection to critical resources.

The 24/7 hotline is staffed with operators trained to de-escalate situations and help callers work through conflicts and tension to support foster placements. The hotline will prioritize crises and when needed dispatch mobile response teams to provide additional support. The mobile response teams are made up of social workers, behavioral health specialists, as well as peer partners, which could be former foster youth or caregivers to provide assistance in supporting placement stability.

“The Source is designed to provide foster youth and foster families with high levels of support and stability when challenging situations arise,” said Michelle Callejas, Director of Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services. “This is the only foster youth/family support line of its kind in Sacramento and we are grateful to the Sacramento Children’s Home for their service and partnership.”

Foster youth and their resource families can access The Source’s crisis hotline by calling or texting 916-SUPPORT or by using the online chat option on their website. The Source team can also provide in-person support at homes, schools, and community locations.

Available Services:

Support for Youth – Support when youth need help handling life’s changes. Help to solve problems and create a plan for the future; Support for Caregivers – Assistance to aid overcoming conflicts and challenging situations in the family. Intense, short-term support is available, as well as resources to create a plan for the future; Referrals – Get connected to other supports and programs in the community; Activities – Have fun attending activities with other youth in the community; Advocacy – Support from staff who have similar experiences to youth and caregivers.

“These types of programs are an example of how County departments are listening to the community and partnering with organizations to work to improve the health and wellness of Sacramento County families by providing a culturally competent and responsive crisis continuum,” said Ryan Quist, Sacramento County Behavioral Health Director.

In recent years, California has been implementing a set of changes to the foster care system intended to help foster youth find a family and reach permanency called the Continuum of Care Reform. However, one of the major challenges is to recruit new foster families and retain existing ones. This kind of 24/7, on-demand support will help stabilize placements for foster youth and provide additional support to their caregivers.

For more information about The Source, visit their website or call 916-SUPPORT.

This program is funded by the Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services through the voter-approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).

...Read More!  
  |  

Railroad Museum Celebrates Toy Train Month

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack, T-Rock Communications  |  2019-08-07

Railroad Museum will debut a very special Lionel Observation Car (No. 416) from 1929 with a very personal connection to Thomas W. Sefton. Courtesy T-Rock Communications

Museum is Showcasing Prized Lionel Observation Car

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation are proud to recognize August 2019 as Toy Train Month, an annual celebration that spotlights the ever-popular Thomas W. Sefton Gallery and “Small Wonders: The Magic of Toy Trains” exhibit.

The Railroad Museum will debut a very special Lionel Observation Car (No. 416) from 1929. On public display for the first time, the prized artifact is part of the Museum’s extensive and internationally recognized toy train collection donated to the Museum by the Sefton family in 2002. The vintage toy train is especially unique due to its personal connection to Thomas W. Sefton. In fact, it was once on display in a glass showcase in Sefton's office at San Diego Trust & Savings Bank and was used as a conversation starter for those who visited his office. Observant guests to the Museum will even be able to view a small photo of the Sefton family inside the toy train.

The pre-war green State observation car (Type 1, standard gauge which is part of a State Set) will be on display for the month of August 2019 in a special case at the entrance to the Thomas W. Sefton Gallery on the Museum’s third floor. Accumulated over four decades by the late Mr. Thomas W. Sefton, the crowd-favorite collection includes 20th century toy trains, Buddy "L" riding toys, and railroad-related artifacts, featuring approximately 7,000 toy trains and a variety of accessories, such as locomotives and railroad cars from companies including Buddy “L,” Ives, American Flyer, Marklin, Marx, and Lionel.

The “Small Wonders” exhibit showcases approximately 1,000 vintage toy trains, six interactive displays, and a magnificent operating toy train layout with special pieces that are rotated regularly and decorated for the holidays and changing seasons.

In addition to the prized toy train on temporary display inside the Museum, the Museum Store will offer a special $5 price (normally $9.99) on the 30-page full-color guidebook that highlights the Thomas W. Sefton train collection during the month of August.

Railroad Museum admission is $12 for adults, $6 for youths (ages 6-17), and children ages five and under are free. More information about the California State Railroad Museum is available at 916-323-9280 or www.californiarailroad.museum.

 

...Read More!  
  |  

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The California State Fair ended its 2019 season with strong food, beverage and, amusement ride sales which is thanks in-part to an all-new food Festival Pass. The pass allowed Fair attendees to pick four items from over 30 different offerings ranging from mouth-watering appetizers, one-of-a-kind entrees, and to-die-for desserts from 30 food vendors at a low price of $28. Food sales from the Food Festival Pass generated roughly $380,000 in revenue alone.

“The Food Festival pass was popular every single day of the Fair,” says Wille Madaus, owner of Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls, whose Bacon & Pecan Cinnamon Roll won Best of Show in the Food Festival Competition. “We had our highest grossing Saturday ever and are up more than 20% this year.”

Barbecue sales, always a Fairgoer favorite, hit an all-time high with $1.3 million in gross sales while new, fresh food options such as the Fair’s first vegan stand, Frik’n Vegan, had a very successful debut. The food vendor has already confirmed plans to return to the fairgrounds next year. Non-profit organization Friends of the California State Fair program sold over 7,585 pounds of fruit during the California State Fair Farm.

“Food has a powerful way of bringing people together” said General Manager and CEO of Cal Expo & State Fair Rick Pickering. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a common place for Fairgoers of all backgrounds to come together and celebrate our state’s rich history, diverse cultures and some long-standing and new traditions that make California great.”

Overall, the total for food and beverage sales was $8.5 million this year, bringing local sales tax revenue to the city, county, and state over just 17 days of the Fair.

Butler Amusements, the CA State Fair vendor responsible for the amusement rides, also reported its highest weekend in history with sales of over $500,000 on Saturday, July 20 and more than $400,000 in sales for rides on Sunday, July 21, making it a $1,000,000 ride weekend. More than 100,000 people rode the monorail and Skyride, taking in views of the entire fairgrounds and the surrounding areas from high above.

The California State Fair closed out its 2019 season — where innovation was a major theme — with an exciting Drone Light Show presented by DISH. Other novel ideas were created at the Fairgrounds, including Esports gaming tournaments every day of the Fair, the unique Bank of America sponsored Selfie Experience, and other new and exciting exhibits.

“This year’s fair brought together the beauty and innovation that demonstrates the very best of California,” said Pickering.

The state-wide Youth Mariachi Competition returned for a second year as part of a celebration of Mexican culture's influence of the Golden State. The competition, held at the illustrious Golden 1 Stage, showcased talented youth mariachi ensembles from throughout the state. The competition gave participants an opportunity to win up to $5,000 in grants for their respective academy or school mariachi program.

The new Esports Gaming tournament sold out all of its tournament slots and first-ever California State Fair Bear Cup champions were crowned. The Esports Gaming tournament garnered more than 700,000 viewers around the country on the California State Fair’s very own Twitch channel; hosted on Twitch's front page. Esports is a new and booming video game competition and having this event showcases California’s robust tech industry.

An innovative Drone Light Show produced by The Great Lakes Drone Company, was followed by a traditional fireworks show that wrapped up the CA State Fair's events. The combination of the old, beloved fireworks and the new drone light show symbolizes the innovation and nostalgic activities the Fair provides.

The CA State Fair provided opportunities for community engagement by providing free entrance to 10,000 military, veterans and first responders. Attendees on Mondays who provided three non-perishable food items received free admission during SMUD Giving Monday. Attendees donated a total of 31,000 pounds of food; all of which went to the Elk Grove Food Bank. Fair guests also had multiple opportunities to adopt an animal from Front Street and SPCA animal shelters.

“We look forward to continuing this strong tradition of showcasing innovation and have already begun plans to ensure the 2020 California State Fair can achieve newer and greater entertainment heights,” added Pickering.

Despite an extremely hot final weekend, Californians from all regions of the state were welcomed and enjoyed the Fair, and all its activities, for 17 days! Total attendance at the California State Fair increased from the prior year, up more than 5%, for a total of 601,761 happy Fairgoers.

To stay up to date with all things California State Fair, please visit www.castatefair.org

...Read More!  
  |