Five Sacramento area museums will participate in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day (May 29) through Labor Day (September 4), 2017. The five local museums participating in Blue Star Museums include the following:  California Automobile Museum, California Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town and the Sacramento History Museum.

This year, more than 2,000 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative. The participating museums represent the fine arts, science, history, Native centers, children’s museums and more. The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), National Guard and Reserve members and up to five immediate family members.

Before planning a visit, please contact the individual museums for hours of operation and note some are normally closed on Mondays and in observance of holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day. For more information or a complete list of participating Blue Star museums, please visit www.arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums. For more information about SAM or upcoming activities offered by local museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Twitter at @SacMuseums or visit the user-friendly website at www.SacMuseums.org.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 30, 2016 through Labor Day, September 5, 2016. For more information, visit www.SacMuseums.org


CRUSH LIFE: Inspiration From the Field

Story and Photos by Ethan Van Horn (Age 13)  |  2017-05-25

Our Wounded Warriors can still take a big swing at life.

I have been playing America’s game ever since I was 3 years old. I love the smell of a stadium hot dog, fresh cut grass, and the sound of a ball when it hits the bat. Baseball is my sport. I enjoy it on and off the field, and I can truly say it is the most beautiful sport around. I’ve been blessed with the speed to run from home to first base in under 4.5 seconds; that’s 90 feet! While I feel lucky to have such talent, I must admit I rarely consider what it would be like not to have these abilities.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team who is made up of some incredibly brave people…true heroes! Not just because they served in the United States military, but because they are amazing, inspiring, and all around brave souls. These men and women were wounded in combat; some lost their arms, some lost their legs… but they never lost their will to succeed!

My dad has been active duty for over ten years now, and I have watched him deploy twice and come back home safely. I never once thought about my dad losing an arm or a leg. I admit feeling like he is indestructible, sort of assuming he would be okay. But the truth is, when a soldier goes to war they are risking their life: there is no guarantee they will be safe.

These warriors went to war just like my dad but they were injured, injured bad. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into meeting this team. I had never met anyone who lost an arm or leg, and I was a little nervous at first. I kept thinking to myself “What if I offend them with my questions?” I sure didn’t want to do that.

But as I watched these men and women play ball, I realized we share a love of the game. Their bases may not be 90 feet apart, but who cares?! These athletes are doing exactly what I do when I lace up my cleats and hit the field: they are playing the best game around: baseball!

I sat down with two of the players, Cody and Josh, to ask them some questions about their past, and I as in awe by their stories. These athletes were just doing their job, the job they were trained to do, and then the unthinkable happened. They could have given up, but instead they found the courage and the drive to keep on going. They found a new cause to fight for, and refused to let anything get in their way.

Whether they believe it or not they are still heroes, every time they take the field or saddle up to the plate. These athletes get out on that ball field and run, dive for balls, scale the wall for that winning catch, and play their hearts out over and over again. I am sure they must be in pain from time to time, must occasionally stumble on their new legs, but they never give up. By refusing to drop their glove to the ground and quit a game, they send a powerful message about never giving up in life.

I will leave you with something one of the players, Nick, told me, something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Nick is amazing, his story is so inspiring—this hero has been through more than most of us will ever go through in our lifetime, and he still carries a smile on his face and lives life to the fullest. I asked all the players to sign my jersey, and along with his signature Nick added something special: his personal motto.

I hope it will inspire you as it does me, “Crush Life!”

First printed in MILITARY KIDS' LIFE magazine. Reprinted by permission.


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Register for “Criminal Justice Shadow Day”

Source: Sacramento County Media  |  2017-05-24

Sacramento County high school students are encouraged to register for the 3rd Annual “Criminal Justice Shadow Day.” This unique program gives high school students an opportunity to job shadow professionals from various criminal justice agencies.

Based on the area of interest, students will be paired with prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, probation officers, law enforcement officers, investigators and judges to get a first-hand look at the criminal justice process and the different roles within the system. There will also be a presentation on crime scene investigations (CSI), evidence collection, and forensic science used to solve crimes.

This year’s Criminal Justice Shadow Day will be held from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Friday, June 16, at the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers in the Sacramento County Administration Building located at 700 H Street, Sacramento.

The program is open to current Sacramento County high school students (incoming 9th graders through 12th graders). Students will need to submit completed registration forms and a signed permission slip, which can be downloaded at www.sacda.org. The deadline to register is June 9, 2017.

Space is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

DA Anne Marie Schubert states, “Since its launch in 2015, close to 200 students from 56 schools across Sacramento County have participated in the Criminal Justice Shadow Day. The success of the program is a result of the partnerships we have with our criminal justice colleagues, and our shared commitment to engage with our youth and inspire them to pursue careers in the justice system.”

The Criminal Justice Shadow Day is one of several DA youth programs designed to increase understanding and build positive relationships between youth and members of the criminal justice system.

See more at: http://www.saccounty.net/news/latest-news


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Vettes & Vets: The American Muscle Car Show

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-05-24

The Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show is being held Monday, May 29, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front Street, Sacramento. 
-- Photo courtesy of the California Automobile Museum

Hit the road to the California Automobile Museum on Memorial Day for the 8th Annual Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show sponsored by Performance Chevrolet. The popular annual event celebrates America’s love for the automobile while honoring our country’s brave veterans and active duty military. All car owners and enthusiasts are encouraged to enter their vehicles – especially Corvettes, American “muscle cars” and military vehicles – in the show that takes place in a parking lot behind the Museum. At noon, the amazing cars on display will be judged in a variety of categories including a best-in-division award for each generation of Corvette.

In addition to the eye-catching automobiles, attendees will be treated to a DJ spinning some classic summer tunes, military color guard and national anthem along with a barbecue lunch available for purchase.

Car show guests are encouraged to visit the California Automobile Museum that has a world-class and ever-changing collection of vintage and classic vehicles on display. Plus, this is a great opportunity to catch the last weekend of the special “To the Rescue: Fire Trucks and People that Saved Our Cities” exhibit. Lastly, military veterans and active duty military (and their families) will receive FREE museum admission all day on Memorial Day in recognition of their service.

The car show is FREE for spectators. To register a vehicle, pre-registration cost is $30 (includes free admission to the museum for driver and one guest). Museum admission is $10 for Adults, $9 for Vintage (ages 65+), $5 Youth (ages 6-18), FREE for children 5 and under. On 5/29, Veterans and Active Duty Military and their families get in FREE.

The Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show is being held Monday, May 29, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. *Gates open at 8 a.m. for show vehicles at the California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front Street, Sacramento.

For More information: 916-442-6802 or www.calautomuseum.org


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Sacramento nonprofit Society for the Blind is one of 13 groups across the nation – and one of only three in California – that are competing in the United States Association of Blind Athletes’ and Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s fifth annual National Fitness Challenge. Society for the Blind and its competitors will provide more than 300 blind and visually impaired youth and adults with an opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives. Other California participants are Junior Blind in Los Angeles and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Bay Area.

“We are pleased to again partner with USABA to help break down barriers, and leverage technology to help those with vision impairments enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of exercise,” said Brian Ternan, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “Together, we want to ensure that those with visual impairments are not denied the opportunity to lead an active life and have the opportunity to avoid the health risks that come from a sedentary lifestyle.”

Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Because of the many barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, approximately 70 percent of the nearly 56,000 children and youth who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical education curriculum.

When the National Fitness Challenge kicked off in Sacramento this spring, participants who signed up with Society for the Blind had a number of physically challenging activities to look forward to. In efforts to increase participants’ levels and step counts, staff at Society for the Blind will be working with dance instructors, personal trainers, judo instructors and more. In addition to raising their overall physical activity, participants will also become more aware of opportunities in their community.

“Society for the Blind is honored and excited to again be a part of the National Fitness Challenge,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director. “This partnership with USABA and Anthem raises awareness and, more importantly, participation of people with vision loss in health and fitness activities. We look forward to friendly challenges among our fellow participating agencies as we increase the physical fitness and overall health and wellness of our participants.”

For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers that included the Lions Clubs of America to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation: www.SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind with a mission to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information: www.usaba.org, www.twitter.com/USABA or on Facebook as United States Association of Blind Athletes.

In addition to grant funding, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation will provide volunteers at events across the state during the nine-month program. Local employees will have the opportunity to meet participants and help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges.

®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. For more information: www.twitter.com/AskAnthem,  www.twitter.com/AnthemBC_News or www.facebook.com/AskAnthem.


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SMUD Launches “Shine” Community Sponsorship Program

Source: SMUD Media  |  2017-05-17

SMUD recently announced that it has launched Shine, a new community development program designed to improve and revitalize neighborhoods in the Sacramento region.

Shine awards will range from $5,000 to $100,000 and are very competitive. Any nonprofit organization —501(c)(3) or 501 (c)(6)— within SMUD’s service territory is eligible to apply.

Shine awards are available at three funding levels: Spark (up to $10,000), Amplifier (up to $50,000) and Transformer (up to $100,000). Applications will be accepted through June 26.

While SMUD will consider a broad variety of potential projects, it is primarily interested in proposals within the following areas: Neighborhood revitalization or clean up; STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math); Environmental, energy-efficiency, energy conservation or greenhouse gas reduction; General beautification.

“As a not-for-profit, community-owned organization, we work hard every day to improve the lives of our customers,” said SMUD CEO & General Manager Arlen Orchard. “The Shine program is a perfect extension of that commitment. By taking a collaborative approach and working directly with local nonprofits, we’re helping make improvements that neighborhood leaders believe will have the biggest impacts on residents in their communities.”

SMUD awarded three pilot Shine sponsorships over the past six months to test the feasibility and administration of the program. Those grants include: Lighting up the Kay and St. Rose of Lima Park (Applicant: Downtown Sacramento Partnership); Creating the College and Sports Academy of Del Paso Heights (Applicant: Mutual Assistance Network of Del Paso Heights); Renovating the Wellspring Women’s Center kitchen (Applicant: Wellspring Women’s Center).

“SMUD’s Shine award will provide an important spotlight on the great people and exciting opportunities in Del Paso Heights,” said Richard Dana, executive director of Mutual Assistance Network. “We see it as the start of something tremendous.”

A Shine program information session will be held on Wednesday, June 7 at 12 p.m. at the SMUD Customer Service Center at 6301 S St. in Sacramento.

To RSVP for an information session, or for additional questions, please email rsvp@smud.org.

For more information about the SMUD Shine program and to apply today, visit www.smud.org/Shine.

To learn more about the commitment of SMUD to this community and SMUD’s efforts to keep Sacramento bright for more than 70 years, visit www.smud.org/Bright.


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Bill Giving Tax Relief to Homeowners and Renters Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Assemblyman Matthew Harper  |  2017-05-17

On May 16th, Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblyman Phillip Chen (R- Diamond Bar) announced the passage of their “American Dream” bill which increases the existing homeowners’ exemption on their property tax from $7,000 to $25,000, giving relief to homeowners, renters and those aspiring to own a home.

“Homeowners and renters in California are paying some of the highest overall taxes in the nation,” Assemblyman Harper said. “It’s about time that the size of the homeowner’s property tax exemption kept up with the increases in cost of living. Also, I want to thank Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish for working with me to bring this bill forward.”

“High property taxes are making it impossible for too many Californians, who spent their lifetime living and working here, to stay”, said Assemblyman Phillip Chen. This bill would provide immediate relief for millions of homeowners with an emphasis on helping those whose taxes far exceed their ability to pay.”

The homeowner’s exemption hasn’t been increased in 40 years. Meanwhile, the cost of a median priced house has increased from $21,000 to over $450,000, and represents a home that only 30 percent of Californians can afford to purchase. California has a housing crisis and providing tax relief for homeowners and renters will unquestionably lead to enhanced economic stability,” said David Wolfe, Legislative Director with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The “American Dream” bill will also adjust the renter’s credit by a corresponding amount.


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Senator Gaines Issues Statement on Governor’s Budget Revise

Source: Office of Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-05-16

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) issued the following statement regarding Governor Brown’s revised 2017-18 state budget proposal:

“I demand a full and complete explanation as to why Californians’ truck weight fees have been diverted from their true purpose over the past five years and why our sky high gas taxes have not been enough to pay for our roads. Instead, we’re now forced to pay $5 billion more per year for increased gas taxes and vehicle fees to fix roads.

“California's income tax collections were nearly $1 billion short of projections during the month of April. I know the legislature will be tempted to sink every last dollar into new and ongoing spending programs at a time when we should heed State Controller Betty Yee’s warning that we may be ‘inching towards an economic downturn’ and that we must ‘tailor our spending accordingly.’

“Brown continues to sound all the right notes about fiscal discipline and debt reduction, but has the largest ever state spending plan, out of whack spending priorities and little accountability. Overtaxed Californians need relief, not a continuation of the government’s never ending tax and spend cycle that makes California so unaffordable.”

To view the entire revised budget, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.

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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IRS Tips on What to do After the Tax-Filing Deadline

Source: Internal Revenue Service  |  2017-05-10

Tax day has come and gone for most people, but some taxpayers may still be dealing with their taxes. The IRS offers these tips for handling some typical after-tax-day issues:

Didn’t File by April 18?

There is no penalty for filing a late return after the tax deadline if the taxpayer receives a refund. Penalties and interest only accrue on unfiled returns if taxes are not paid by April 18. Anyone who did not file and owes tax should file a return as soon as they can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest. IRS Free File is available on IRS.gov to prepare and file returns electronically through October 16.

“Where’s My Refund?”

The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is available on www.IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. Taxpayers need specific information to use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. That information includes the primary Social Security number on the return, the filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, etc.) and the amount of refund.

Changing Withholding?

Events – like a change in marital status – during the year may change the exemptions, adjustments, deductions or credits a taxpayer expects to claim on next year’s return. Employees can use the IRS’s online Withholding Calculator to figure and then adjust their withholding by filling out a new Form W-4, normally with the company’s personnel office. Taxpayers who do not have taxes withheld from their pay or don’t have enough tax withheld, may need to make estimated tax payments. Taxpayers who are self-employed normally need to make estimated payments that can be adjusted to avoid a balance due in the future.

Need to View a Tax Account Balance or Make a Payment?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can view their balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply for an online payment agreement. Before accessing your tax account online, you must authenticate your identity through the Secure Access process. Several other electronic payment options are available on www.IRS.gov/payments. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment.

Need to Fix an Error on a Return?

Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, must be filed by paper and is available on www.IRS.gov/forms at any time. Do not file an amended return before the original return has been processed. Taxpayers should file an amended tax return to change the filing status, or correct income, deductions or credits. The IRS generally corrects math errors and mails a request for any missing documents. Use the “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool to track the status of your amended return. It will take up to three weeks after mailing the return to show up in the IRS system. Processing can take up to 16 weeks.

Need Help Responding to an IRS Notice or Letter?

An IRS notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give instructions on how to handle the issue. Most questions can be answered by visiting the “Understanding Your Notice or IRS Letter,” on www.IRS.gov. Taxpayers can call the phone number included in the notice if they still have questions. Taxpayers have fundamental rights under the law. The “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” presents these rights in 10 categories. This helps taxpayers when they interact with the IRS. Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, highlights a list of taxpayer rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them. If normal IRS channels don’t solve the problem, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is available at 877-777-4778.

Watch Out for Scams

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer via e-mail, text or social media. Any e-mail that appears to be from the IRS about a refund or tax problem is probably an attempt by scammers to steal information. Forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue will be by mail.


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Pioneer History Day Returns, Our Heritage Matters

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-05-10

Free wagon rides will be available at California Pioneer History Day at Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma, on May 20. 
-- Photo by Patrick Twomey, 2mefotos Photography

On May 20, 2017, California Pioneer History Day is coming back to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. Admission is free, State parking fee is $8 per car. The event opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m., with parade at 10 a.m. It is sponsored by the California Pioneer Heritage Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors are encouraged to get into the spirit with period costume, if they wish.

Last year more than 5,000 people enjoyed the Day and new features have been added, to include a larger area of activities and events in the park. A log cabin will actually be erected during the day in real time, and will be donated to the Park.

Historic displays and exhibits will demonstrate how the pioneers met their needs, how they traveled and cooked and laundered their clothes. There will be periodic black powder musket firings, and the firing of a replica of the cannon purchased from Captain John Sutter in 1848. Special occasional firings of the “Candy Cannon” will shoot candy to gathered kids, who can also join in with pioneer games. There will be free wagon rides.

Visitors can try their skills making bricks, candles, dolls and other crafts, try quilting and roast a biscuit on a stick. Families can bring food to eat at the picnic area or purchase food at several food stands.

After the parade at 10 a.m., certificates of special recognition will be presented at the stage area, and VIPs introduced.

Then will come the entertainment, which will be continuous from around 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Jeri Clinger, co-founder with her husband Richard of the Galena Street East singing and dancing troop, is one of the organizers of the entertainment for California Pioneer History Day. “Singers will sing songs of that period, ones they might have been singing at some of the mining camps,” Clinger said. There will be dancing, musical numbers, and other types of entertainment in two locations on the grounds

The setting at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma is the historic spot of John Sutter’s sawmill, where gold was discovered in 1848. “It’s a very family oriented day,” Clinger said. “It’s ideal to help people in California feel the pioneer heritage here.”

Come early to beat the crowds. For more information, please see californiapioneer.org/cphd.


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