SPCA Comes to the Rescue

By Sarah Varanini, SPCA  |  2018-10-31

The shelter transport arrived back at the Sacramento SPCA Friday evening. Photo courtesy SPCA

Welcomes displaced dogs affected by Hurricane Michael


SACRAMENTO Region, CA (MPG) – Hurricane Michael recently displaced more than just families. It also displaced many pets in need of immediate care. On Friday, October 19, the Sacramento SPCA received fifteen dogs transferred from shelters in Florida impacted by Hurricane Michael.

Employees from the Sacramento SPCA drove their new animal transfer vehicle, which was purchased through a grant from PetSmart Charities, to Kettleman City on Friday morning to meet staff from San Diego Humane Society.  In collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, the San Diego Humane Society arranged for a transfer of 93 dogs from three shelters located in Florida to create space for animals displaced by Hurricane Michael.

The shelter transport arrived back at the Sacramento SPCA Friday evening.  “After the dog’s arrival, our priority was getting them comfortable and settled into their new housing,” said Sacramento SPCA Animal Services Practice Manager, Karalyn Aronow.  “Medical assessments and close observation of the animals will continue over the next week to determine when they will be available for adoption”.

The dogs are medium to large-sized mixed breeds, primarily consisting of lab, pit bull, and hound mixes under five years of age.  Ten of the fifteen dogs are Heartworm positive and will undergo Heartworm treatment.

The incoming pets are not direct victims of Hurricane Michael. They are adoptable dogs who have been in animal shelters in the Florida Panhandle area. They were transported out of the area to create room for pets who have been lost, strayed or abandoned due to the hurricane.

“The category 4 storm that recently devastated the Florida Panhandle and the record-setting wildfire season in California are harsh reminders of how important disaster preparedness is for us and our pets,” said Sacramento SPCA CEO, Kenn Altine.  “I witnessed, first-hand, the devastation and displacement of families and pets impacted by natural disasters while helping with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in 2005, and even closer to home this August, while assisting Haven Humane Society with relief efforts during the Carr Fire”

These reminders come just as the California Department of Water Resources encourages communities to participate in Flood Preparedness Week.  Local preparedness events and exercises are being held throughout the state to educate communities on what to do during extreme weather events.

A Flood Preparedness Funfair will be held in Sacramento at the Miller Regional Park on Saturday, October 27 from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.  In partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California Department of Water Resources (DWR), and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), event attendees will learn how keep their family and pets safe during an emergency, fill sandbags, find evacuation routes, sign up for emergency alerts, and watch rescuers in action as they perform water rescues.


Founded in 1894, the Sacramento SPCA has been providing homeless animals with individual comfort, shelter, and love for more than 124 years.  They provide compassionate medical care to tens of thousands of animals annually and offer a variety of programs and services designed to keep people and pets together for life.

More Information: www.sspca.org

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SMUD and D.R. Horton Agree to Build All-electric Homes

SMUD Special Release  |  2018-10-31

Electric utility aims to reduce greenhouse gases through “electrification”

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - SMUD and top national homebuilder D.R. Horton are teaming up to build 104 all-electric homes in two new neighborhoods. These “all-electric communities” – “Juniper,” which is planned to include 66 homes, and “Independence," which is anticipated to include 38 homes, are both located in North Natomas and will be priced for first-time homebuyers. The homes are included in the SMUD Smart Home program and are part of a broader electrification effort by SMUD, the first of its kind in the USA.

Groundbreaking for the subdivisions began earlier this summer. The model homes are completed, and the communities are open for sale. Construction will continue through 2019. If built as planned, SMUD will provide $466,000 in incentives to D.R. Horton for including appliances and equipment to make the homes all-electric. These include heat pump heating and cooling, heat pump water heating, and induction stoves—appliances that are typically more energy efficient and can deliver lower overall energy bills.

Heat pump water heaters can reduce electricity use by up to 60 percent compared to electric resistance water heaters. Instead of using electricity to create heat, heat pump water heaters use a refrigerant cycle to transfer heat from surrounding ambient air into the hot water tank. They also cool the area where they are located, usually in the garage. Induction stoves may cook 50 percent faster than electric resistance stoves, and often as fast as gas. They also use less energy than traditional electric stoves and offer digital control of the temperature, and they have no open flame. The absence of combustion in all-electric homes may result in greater occupant safety.

These homes will help community-owned SMUD meet its aggressive commitment to reach 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and surpass the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals of 80 percent by 2050.

These D.R. Horton homes are part of the SMUD Smart Home program, which offers incentives to builders and developers of up to $5,000 for new single-family homes, and up to $1,750 for new multifamily units, built to be all-electric. The homes must have all-electric appliances and mechanical systems—no gas line in the home, and no gas service at the property—in order to meet the minimum program participation requirements.

SMUD customers who own existing homes in the SMUD service territory can also qualify for up to $13,750 for existing homes that convert from gas to electricity. For example, owners of existing homes may receive up to a $4,500 incentive to replace an existing gas furnace by installing an electric heat pump space heater. A homeowner may receive up to a $3,000 rebate to switch out an existing gas water heater for an electric heat pump water heater.

There are also rebates available from SMUD for traditional efficiency measures such as duct sealing, insulation, and windows.

More information about SMUD’s all-electric conversion incentives and other energy-saving information is available at SMUD.org.

Source: SMUD Media

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“Teacher Night” a First at Aerospace Museum

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-10-05

From preschool to high school, teachers inside and outside of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields came together to learn what the museum has to offer their students and discover new ways to integrate STEM learning in the classroom.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - After a full day of teaching school, instructors came from as far away as El Dorado Hills to attend the Aerospace Museum of California’s first Teacher Night on September 27. From preschool to high school, teachers inside and outside of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields came together to learn what the museum has to offer their students and discover new ways to integrate STEM learning in the classroom. Refreshments and a sneak peek at the museum’s new exhibit, “Our Solar System: an interactive journey,” including a teacher’s exhibit guide, were part of the evening’s curriculum.

The museum is located on McClellan Air Force base where it began in 1986 as McClellan Aviation Museum. Director Tom Jones, who has held the position since March, says that the museum is committed to STEM education for students of all ages and to becoming the best on the West Coast. As a Smithsonian Air and Space Museum affiliate, exhibits like the 2018 “Art of the Airport Tower” and 2017 “DaVinci Inventions” can be brought to Sacramento.

On the main floor, nestled between airplanes, an SR71 jet propulsion engine, and a history of space exploration, were activities for children of all ages, and the teachers took full advantage by seeing how parachutes function or engineering with marbles. Others learned why the moon turns blue and viewed photos of nebulae on one of the many monitors that will accompany the exhibit. Each visitor was treated to a docent led tour of the museum and its grounds.

Upstairs, at the far end, tucked in a hallway, teachers made their way to the Flyers Flight Zone to experience simulated flying on one of the six high-end gaming machines. Museum volunteers, led by Flyers Flight Zone Director Warren Searls, educated the educators and allowed each some hands-on flight time.

“There is a huge shortage of pilots worldwide,” Searls said, adding that the Flight Zone is a way to interest fifth through twelfth grade students in flight and perhaps becoming pilots. In 2017, 10,000 students visited the Flight Zone, and many from Title 1 schools received scholarships for the flight simulations. He wants teachers to encourage students to remain in school and consider taking those STEM classes.

Miss Naomi Endsley, from Orangevale’s Almondale Academy, was one of the first teachers to try the simulator.

“I didn’t crash,” she said, a sentiment echoed by other teachers who took turns at flying to New Zealand, Switzerland, and San Francisco.

Endlsey teaches second and third grades and said that she definitely picked up new ideas for her students. Like many others that evening, she had never been to the museum. She said that she’ll bring her students and let them have the chance to see a piece of history and what technology really is. She engaged in conversation with Karen Jones, the museum’s development director and Tom Jones, museum director, about what technology holds in store for the future.

Twin Rivers Unified School District teachers agreed that they would definitely bring their students, one of several school districts the museum currently facilitates STEM, history, and art learning opportunities with. San Juan Unified School District, UC Davis, Sacramento State University, American River College, University of the Pacific, and charter schools are others.

Director Jones said that the museum has a formal mentorship program with the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  Sacramento State undergraduate history students are conducting research on the museum’s airplanes and will create videos that may be accessed with QR codes to enhance the static exhibits. At least one Sacramento State graduate student is working on his master’s thesis by building an upcoming exhibit about Bob Hoover who, among other things, was a revolutionary in aerobatic flying. Sacramento City College owns the Fed Ex jet parked in the outside exhibition area and uses it as its classroom.

Even the youngest students can benefit from STEM learning as Kimberly Dillon, preschool teacher at Discovery Learning Center in Fair Oaks, said. She has brought her students to the museum for several trips and said that they really enjoy climbing the planes. Her guest that evening was her son, Anthony.

“Very cool for kids,” was the phrase most often heard from teachers.

For additional information, visit www.aerospaceca.org. If you go: 3200 Freedom Park Drive, McClellan, CA.

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Sacrificing the Parkway

SacCounty Release  |  2018-10-04

Since January 2018, Sacramento County rangers have issued 1,834 citations for unlawful camping under the County ordinance, and 224 citations for unlawful camping under the City of Sacramento ordinance. Photo courtesy SacCounty News

Appeals Case Impacts Illegal Camping Ordinance

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A federal court decision has ruled that illegal camping ordinances are unconstitutional and that local governments cannot cite or arrest anyone sleeping on public property.

On September 4, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the case Robert Martin v. City of Boise, stating that enforcing anti-camping ordinances when adequate shelter beds are unavailable is unconstitutional.

Because of that ruling, the Sacramento County Department of Parks stopped enforcing the City of Sacramento’s anti-camping ordinance and the County ordinance prohibiting camping without a permit.

Since January 2018, Sacramento County rangers have issued 1,834 citations for unlawful camping under the County ordinance, and 224 citations for unlawful camping under the City of Sacramento ordinance.

The County is currently evaluating enforcement options under existing laws and regulations and will provide information to the Board on next steps. 

Sacramento County Rangers will continue to enforce ordinances including but not limited to campfires, littering, dogs off leash, possession of a shopping cart and environmental degradation. 

“As soon as I found out about the ruling, I suggested our board meet to discuss its implications, especially for my constituents who rightfully demand a clean and safe Parkway,” said First District Supervisor Phil Serna, who represents the lower reach of the American River Parkway. 

“I have many questions, including why County Counsel advised that park rangers not enforce the illegal camping ordinance without notifying or coordinating with board members,” he continued.

Source: SacCounty News

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Creativity Gone Wild

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-10-04

Local Nonprofits Help Young Authors’ Dreams Come True

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - How many children do you know who have written illustrated, and published their own book?  In Citrus Heights, 125 students, 1st through 5th grade, at the Mariposa Avenue Elementary School have added “author” to their resume, which will follow them through high school and beyond.

This unique program called “Creativity Gone Wild” is taught by members of the Mariposa Literary Academy in Citrus Heights and is designed to inspire students to stretch their minds and use their imaginations in new ways.
               
The program was the brainchild of Karen Szakacs, a kindergarten teacher at Mariposa in 2014, and Marsha Robinson, a local author of children’s books.  Together with Cherelyn Martello, the three women launched the first academy in 2014.
               
The spark that ignited the idea for the student authored books came when a kindergarten boy at Mariposa heard Robinson read her book “Rescuing Humphrey” to the class and afterwards raised his hand. He asked her to write another book about Humphrey. She answered by suggesting he write it. He replied, “I don’t know how,” and the Mariposa Literary Academy was born.
              
Since January, 2014 the Academy has taught 11 after-school academies (two per year) with 125 young authors to-date proudly producing their own hard cover fiction books at the end of the 16-session academy.  A maximum of 12 students are chosen by their teacher to participate in each academy.
               
The entire book is the work of the student author. They come up with their own fictional story, with a beginning, middle and conclusion, along with illustrations. They begin with a normal life experience such as a camping trip in the woods with their family.  They are told to enhance it using their imagination, such as being transported to another planet by space aliens. The results have truly been mind-boggling.               
              
To help teach the authors how to illustrate their own books, Peter Blueberry, alias Lance Pyle - a children's book author and illustrator, volunteers his time explaining the art of illustration and helping students with their own work.
               
Shutterfly, an American internet-based publishing service, prints the books for about $15 each. Each student receives a hardcover book for themselves, a hardcover book to sign for the school library and the Academy receives a paper copy of each student’s book. They have become the most popular books checked out by students.
               
While instruction and the printed books are free to participants, actual cost per pupil averages $50. In addition to the cost of publishing, funds are used for items such as paper and art supplies, snacks, and photography.
              
Financially, the Literary Academy, Creativity Gone Wild, is managing to stay solvent with the help of two philanthropic organizations and other donations.

Through word of mouth the Rotary Club of Citrus Heights and Soroptimist International of Citrus Heights immediately stepped up and have continued to provide the largest portion of the over $6,000 needed to fund the program for the last five years. The Optimist Club of Citrus Heights and Mariposa Parent Faculty Organization have also provided funds. 
        
Robinson stated in an email, “I would like to show my thanks to the organizations that have supported this program, to the volunteers that help us run the program, and to the school itself for allowing us to use their campus.” 
               
She would also like to invite other schools to look at the “possibilities that an academy like this can provide students” in their schools. The Mariposa Literary Academy would love to share their experiences with local elementary school teachers.

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Superheroes Descend Upon Sacramento

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2018-09-28

Wonder Woman poses with three-year-olds Roxy (left) and Isla (right).

DC Wonder Woman Run Series Brings Out the Hero in Everyone

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento was overrun by superheroes on Saturday, September 22 when the DC Wonder Woman Run Series hosted its inaugural event with a 5K and 10K run through Capitol Mall. Sacramento was the first city in the United States to participate in this race.

The event was produced by SON Events in conjunction with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. Sarah Ratzlaff, director of marketing for SON Events, said, “The race has a strong overall theme of women’s empowerment. Wonder Woman embodies strength, bravery, and power. The goal of the event is to show that there’s a Wonder Woman in all of us. That’s why we’re using the hashtag #IAmWonderWoman.”

The festival area was decorated with giant balloons and lined with an array of fluttering Wonder Woman flags. Area streets were blocked off by police cars, flashing their red and blue lights. Approximately 1,300 people participated in the 5K and 10K runs. The first-place finishers were Sandra Khounvichai with a time of 20:26 in the 5K and Stephen Harms with a time of 48:43 in the 10K.

The DC Wonder Woman Run Series is designed to empower the Superhero in everyone, so runners and walkers of all ability levels were encouraged to participate, regardless of their athletic abilities. Many participants had never run or walked in a 5K before this event. After completing the course, each participant was given a Wonder Woman medal. The festivities continued after the race, with a celebration featuring food trucks, a beer tent, face painting, official Wonder Woman merchandise, and a main stage with live musical entertainment.

Race participant Christie Pierce said he was persuaded to join the race just the evening before: “I decided to tag along. I said, ‘Sure, I’ll wear a skirt, I’ll do it.’ But more importantly, I decided to do it because I support strong, independent women.”

Theresa Ivaldi, Karli Cisneros, and Christina Mundy entered the race together. They thought it would be more fun to run together in a group of friends. This was Ivaldi’s first run, and she thought the Wonder Woman run was a fun way to start. Cisneros said, “I love running and love spending time with my friends, so I figured why not combine the two.” Mundy said, “What better way to run a 5K with friends and family than a Wonder Woman run that represents women’s power?” Mundy’s kids, Isabella (10) and Jackson (8), and their friend Sophie Carr (10), all love Wonder Woman. They enjoyed the race and especially loved getting a shiny medal to commemorate their accomplishment of crossing the finish line.

The DC Wonder Woman Run Series will be hosted in Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, and Los Angeles this fall. The Los Angeles run, as the flagship run, will be the largest in the series with 7,000 – 8,000 participants expected. If you would like to participate in one of the upcoming runs, or for more information on the DC Wonder Woman Run Series, please visit the website at www.dcwonderwomanrun.com.

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Sacramento CERT Needs You

Story by Trina L. Drotar; Photos courtesy Sacramento CERT  |  2018-09-28

The Basic CERT course, Level 3, is sanctioned by FEMA and was developed by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) after the Mexico City and Kobe earthquakes.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento’s California Emergency Response Team’s (CERT’s) graduation drill took place on Saturday, September 1 from 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Northern California Regional Public Safety Academy in McClellan Park. The community participated and explored their inner actors as volunteer victims with broken arms or legs or other injuries for the day’s free event.

The drills tested the program’s graduates on practical skills including sizing up a building to determine if it is safe to enter; search and rescue; transport; and triage and treatment. They assessed situations simulating burning buildings and locating victims in dense smoke and at night. Graduates radioed transport crews, practiced victim transport before another group assessed injuries, bandaged, and prepared victims for transport to a medical facility said Robert Ross, Chief, Operations, Sacramento CERT, CERT 22.

“Watching, you don’t get to see as much,” he said, adding that the role of victim teaches more to the community who wants to understand what happens during an emergency such as a fire.

Ross explained that most people see only the end result.

“It’s a good way to see them in action and experience it without being in a collapsed building,” he said.

The Basic CERT course, Level 3, is sanctioned by FEMA and was developed by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) after the Mexico City and Kobe earthquakes. The course, Ross explained, is for everyday citizens with no previous training or particular skills who want to learn how to prepare for a disaster and is offered at no charge.

“Civilians will be on their own for the first 72 hours,” said Ross, and will learn about disaster psychology and how to prepare bags with the necessities to assist in their immediate neighborhoods. Ross said that people don’t often think about bringing items like pet toys when they need to evacuate. Trained civilians can put out small fires and even triage in their neighborhoods if the need arises, but they need to practice, and that’s where the graduation drill comes in.

Graduates learn about fire behavior, which has been especially bad in California this summer, identification of hazardous materials, including those being transported, and terrorism. Upon graduation, CERT trained civilians can assist locally and can transfer their CERT training to other cities or states if they move. Since the Sacramento region is prone to flooding, this would also be covered in local training.

This level is required in order to continue with advanced courses to be certified as a Disaster Service Worker or a First Responder. Additionally, graduates may pursue training to join one of the special teams – Urban Search & Rescue, Animal Response, or Radio Communications.

“During a disaster cell phones won’t work, satellite phones are few and far between,” said Ross. “Ham operators during Hurricane Katrina passed messages. We can talk to Japan if we need to,” he said.

One legally blind team member who used a motorized wheelchair ran the ham radio and was one of the best in Sacramento.

“There are no limitations on who can participate. There are many ways to be involved, with a job for everyone.”

For additional information, visit www.sfdcert.org. Look for them at many local public events. The next academy will be held in spring of 2019.

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