Abriter Foster Family

New Study Tests Stem Cells as a Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease

Source: Karen Finney, UC Davis Health System News Service  |  2016-04-28
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As part of a multicenter clinical trial, UC Davis Health System researchers are testing whether a novel stem cell treatment can reduce the pain and mobility issues caused by degenerative disc disease. UC Davis is one of 25 sites nationwide -- and the only academic health-care system in California -- involved in the study.

Disc degeneration occurs when the cushions between vertebrae wear down, a natural part of aging that for most causes no symptoms. Those with degenerative disc disease, however, can experience serious, chronic and disabling low-back pain.

“Patients with this level of degeneration often try multiple treatments for relief, including pain medication, massage, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture,” said study principal investigator Kee Kim, professor of neurological surgery and co-director of the UC Davis Spine Center. “For some of them, nothing seems to help, and we end up operating to remove the degenerated disc and fuse the spine to eliminate motion that may cause increased pain. We want to know if a single dose of this investigational therapy can offer relief without the need for surgery.”

Kim and co-principal investigator David Copenhaver, assistant professor of pain medicine, are recruiting patients with lower back degenerative disc disease for the study. Participants will receive a single injection to the site of their pain with one of three treatments: mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs), MPCs combined with a carrier material (hyaluronic acid) or a placebo. The goal of the trial is to assess the safety and efficacy of the therapy.

Research has shown that MPCs can target damaged tissue and induce healing by organizing cells to form new tissue. The MPCs used in this study are isolated from the bone marrow of healthy donors, and then expanded and amplified to generate readily available therapeutic doses for use in patients without the need for tissue matching.

Following treatment, participants will receive six evaluations at the UC Davis Spine Center in Sacramento over the course of a year. They also will be given the option to participate in an extension of the study to track their progress for three years after the initial injection.

This phase III study follows a successful phase II trial, also conducted at UC Davis, which involved fewer patients. The phase II results were encouraging and support the current phase III program, according to Kim.

If the current trial has positive outcomes, it will support the study sponsor’s goal of seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which, if successful, would make the therapy more widely available. Even if the trial succeeds, however, MPC injections will not be the answer for all patients.

“Many patients with back pain will not benefit from this stem cell therapy and may still require surgery,” Kim said. “For some patients, it could offer improvement. For these patients, it is worth exploring this alternative.”

For more information on the study, including criteria for enrolling, please contact Janice Wang-Polagruto at 916-734-1727 or jfwang@ucdavis.edu.

More information about the UC Davis Spine Center is at http://spine.ucdavis.edu/

More information on the study sponsor, Mesoblast, is at http://www.mesoblast.com/

Sac Choral Society

Boating Scheduled to Resume at Pyramid Lake on May 2

Source: DWR Public Affairs Office  |  2016-04-28

Water Level Was Lowered to Allow Maintenance at Nearby Castaic Powerplant

Pyramid Lake’s water level will have risen enough following a planned drawdown over the past week that boating on the lake will resume on May 2, the Department of Water Resources announced today.

Boating was suspended on Friday April 22 as the water level was lowered to facilitate maintenance work at the nearby Castaic Powerplant. The drawdown lowered Pyramid Lake’s level from 2,571 feet to 2,563 feet and made the boat ramp unusable.

Boating was suspended to ensure boaters would not be left without an ability to remove their boats from the lake once the boat ramp became inoperable. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department cleared the lake of boats on April 22, and the ramp was barricaded and the boating concession closed.

Inflows from the State Water Project to Pyramid Lake have slowly increased the lake’s storage in the past week, and the boat ramp will be available for use once again on Monday morning.

Scheduled water deliveries to Southern California customers continued without interruption during the Castaic Powerplant work.


California has been dealing with the effects of drought for five years. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.


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Each year, the IRS mails millions of notices and letters to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. If you receive correspondence from them:

Don’t panic. You can usually deal with a notice simply by responding to it.

Most IRS notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice has specific instructions, so read your notice carefully because it will tell you what you need to do.

Your notice will likely be about changes to your account, taxes you owe or a payment request. However, your notice may ask you for more information about a specific issue.

If your notice says that the IRS changed or corrected your tax return, review the information and compare it with your original return.

If you agree with the notice, you usually don’t need to reply unless it gives you other instructions or you need to make a payment.

If you don’t agree with the notice, you need to respond. Write a letter that explains why you disagree, and include information and documents you want the IRS to consider. Mail your response with the contact stub at the bottom of the notice to the address on the contact stub. Allow at least 30 days for a response.

For most notices, you won’t need to call or visit a walk-in center. If you have questions, call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Be sure to have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call.

Always keep copies of any notices you receive with your tax records.

Be alert for tax scams. The IRS sends letters and notices by mail. They don’t contact people by email or social media to ask for personal or financial information. If you owe tax, you have several payment options. The IRS won’t demand that you pay a certain way, such as prepaid debit or credit card.

For more on this topic, visit www.IRS.gov. Click on the link ‘Responding to a Notice’ at the bottom center of the home page. Also, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. You can get it on www.IRS.gov/forms at any time.

If you need to make a payment visit www.IRS.gov/payments or use the IRS2Go app to make payment with Direct Pay for free, or by debit or credit card through an approved payment processor for a fee.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on www.IRS.gov.


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The American Lung Association State of the Air 2016 released recently found that the Sacramento region continues to make significant gains in reducing pollution, reporting fewer particle pollution days and the lowest ever unhealthy ozone days.

“The State of the Air 2016 report shows us that our clean air laws are working but we must increase our efforts to cut pollution that puts lives in our community at risk,” said Olivia J. (Gertz) Diaz-Lapham, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. “Pollution from petroleum fuels and other sources is harming our residents, contributing to the incidence of asthma and other chronic lung conditions. Air pollution costs our communities in health care spending, lost productivity, reduced quality and length of life.”

Covering air pollution data collected in 2012 to 2014, the report measures the two most widespread pollutants, ozone and particle pollution, which are dangerous to public health and can be deadly. Unhealthy ozone days have fallen by 53 percent, and unhealthy spikes in particle pollution have fallen by 76 percent over the course of the State of the Air.

Moreover, annual particle pollution levels have dropped by 23 percent. These improvements were driven by passenger vehicle and diesel emission controls, along with strong local wood burning restrictions. The Sacramento metropolitan region includes El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties.

Despite these improvements, more still needs to be done as all counties in the region except Yolo County received a failing grade for ozone pollution, and both Placer and Sacramento failed for daily particle pollution. Drought weather conditions, combined with ongoing traffic, diesel and wood smoke pollution contribute to high levels of pollution in the region.

Climate change is a growing threat to air quality in California. Drought weather conditions and wildfires related to climate change are contributing to elevated levels of particle pollution in the San Joaquin Valley and other areas of the state. Key sources of soot include wood burning devices, transportation sources such as diesel engines in trucks, buses and freight, and smoke from wildfires. These soot particles are so small that they can lodge deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, and can even be lethal. In the Sacramento region, more than 200,000 residents have asthma, including 52,000 children.

“Sacramento continues to have air quality challenges but we are making progress in cleaning up the air. We know that climate change factors are contributing to increased levels of ozone and particle pollution, and will make it harder to meet federal health-based standards,” said David Tom Cooke, MD, Head of the UC Davis Section of General Thoracic Surgery and member of the Lung Association’s volunteer governing board. “Our most vulnerable loved ones, including children and seniors and those battling lung diseases such as lung cancer, asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema, suffer the greatest. We must redouble our efforts to transition off of fossil fuels for transportation and energy generation by investing in zero emissions solutions.”

To address the challenge of air pollution and climate change, the American Lung Association in California and major health and medical organizations urge the public and policy leaders to strongly support the federal Clean Air Act and the federal Clean Power Plan as well as California’s strong clean energy and clean air policies.  This year the lung association is also calling for support of Senate Bill 1383 (Lara) to set clear targets for reducing “super pollutants” like black carbon from diesel exhaust and wood burning that threaten public health locally and are accelerating climate change. 

For more information on the State of the Air 2016 report, the public should visit: www.stateoftheair.org/california2016.

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting For Air” through research, education, and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org/california.


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SCSO Caps 20th Season with European Masterworks and New CD Release

Source: SCSO  |  2016-04-21

The Sacramento Community Center Theater will cap their 20th season with a performance featuring three contrasting choral orchestral works by Haydn, Vaughan Williams, and Dvoràk. Photo courtesy SCSO

Conductor Donald Kendrick and the SCSO plan to cap their landmark 20th season on May 14th at 8 p.m. at the Sacramento Community Center Theater with a performance featuring three contrasting choral orchestral works by Haydn, Vaughan Williams, and Dvoràk. But the celebration doesn’t end there! The evening will also serve as a huge CD release party as the SCSO plans to unveil its 9th professionally mastered CD — Carmina Burana II — at this year-end performance.

Haydn’s Harmonimesse will serve as the evening’s main musical fare, complemented by Vaughan Williams’ An Oxford Elegy, and Dvoràk’s Psalm 149 on the first half of the concert.

“The Harmoniemesse will bring back so many warm memories as this was the amazing work that we featured during our first self-funded European tour to Munich, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest in 2004,” said Conductor Donald Kendrick. Four outstanding soloists and narrator Phillip Rider will join the SCSO Team on stage for this performance.

“A post concert reception, projected supertitle translations, and Don Kendrick’s electric and educational pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. will enhance the evening’s enjoyment for our concert attendees,” added SCSO Board Member Charlene Black.

According to SCSO President James McCormick, “Our new CD is a live recording of our very well-received Carmina Burana performance on March 5th, 2016 at the Community Center Theater. We’re thrilled that the CD will also showcase the American première of English composer Jonathan Dove’s Psalms for Leo. The amazing 12-page color CD insert promises to add great value to the CD itself.”

SCSO European Masterworks tickets are $30 to $45 with a 50 percent discount for students. For tickets, call the Sacramento Community Center Box Office at (916) 808-5181 or visit sacramentochoral.com for both tickets and information.

For more information about this press release, please contact Jeannie Brown, Director of Marketing at (916) 496-0175 or President, James McCormick at (916) 536-9065.


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Senator Gaines’ Classic Car Collector Bill Passes

Source: Office of Senator Gaines  |  2016-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) recently announced that his Senate Bill 1239, which would exempt collector vehicles manufactured prior to the 1981 model year from biennial smog-check inspections, passed out of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing with bipartisan support and is now on its way to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“Collector cars and trucks are a unique and important part of California history and need to be preserved,” said Senator Gaines. “Extending the exemption to 1981 is a common-sense way to encourage that these vehicles remain on display for all to see, drive and enjoy.”

Current law allows smog-check exemptions for classic or collector cars for vehicles model year 1975 or older. However, there are many vehicles that were built after 1975 that are currently owned and operated as collector cars, such as late seventies and early eighties Corvettes, Mustangs and Mopars. Many of these vehicles are featured in classic car shows and community parades and events throughout California that help support the economy.

In order to qualify for the exemption, owners of classic and collector vehicles must insure their cars with collector car insurance. Collector car insurance places specific mileage restrictions on the vehicles, as dictated by the insurance company. Vehicles are often limited to a usage cap of around 5,000 miles in a year. This ensures the integrity of the vehicle stays intact, as well as minimizes the environmental impact that the smog check regulates.

According to the Association of California Car Clubs, there are approximately 162,000 vehicles with model years covered by this bill. Compared to the approximately 27 million motor vehicles in California, this bill will provide an exemption to just over one half of one percent of vehicles on the road today.

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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Sacramento Life Center Receives $12.5k From American River Bank to Care for Low-Income Pregnant Women

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-04-20

Marie Leatherby of Sacramento Life Center accepts a check from American River Bank to help low-income pregnant women. Photo courtesy Kristin Thébaud Communications

American River Bank has awarded a $12,500 grant to Sacramento Life Center for the nonprofit’s Mobile Medical Clinics that provide free medical services to low-income pregnant women, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling, education and resource referrals.

“This grant from American River Bank will almost fully cover the costs of having one of our Mobile Medical Clinics on the road one day a week for a year,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “We are grateful to American River Bank for supporting low-income pregnant women in our community and understanding the importance of women receiving care in their own neighborhood so transportation isn’t a barrier.”

For a schedule for the Mobile Medical Clinics, visit www.svpclinic.com.

“The Sacramento Life Center does amazing work coming alongside and supporting young women in need,” said David Taber, president and CEO, American River Bank. “This organization is truly a lifesaver.”

The Sacramento Life Center's mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit www.svpclinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit www.saclife.org.


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Coming of Age During the Holocaust: A Day of Remembrance

By Elise Spleiss  |  2016-04-18

A young Gina Parker. From the age of 15 to 22, Parker survived five labor concentration camps from 1939 to 1945, three in Poland and two in Germany. Photo courtesy of Tamara Theodore

Holocaust Remembrance Day is May 5th, 2016. On Sunday, May 1st, 2016 the Sacramento region will have an opportunity to learn about the experiences of two Holocaust survivors during World War II. This is a highly educational event and children and teens are encouraged to attend with their families.

The theme for this year’s Sacramento Yom HaShoah (Day of Remembrance) Commemoration is: “The Holocaust: Coming of Age during the Holocaust.”

The stories of survivors Gina Parker and Rita Rimalower-Nettler will be told by their daughters, Tamara Theodore and Michele Gold. Both survivors were 15-years-old when their stories began.

Theodore will tell her mother, Gina Parker’s story in public for the first time.  From the age of 15 to 22, Parker survived five labor concentration camps from 1939 to 1945, three in Poland and two in Germany. She also suffered through but survived two “death marches.” She was finally freed from the second march by Russian troops on April 23rd, 1945 at the age of 22. She weighed 65 pounds and was wearing only a prison dress, a high heel shoe and a boot. The march began with 10,000 prisoners but only 20 had survived from her group.

In 2007 Parker visited the classroom of Janet Smith, a teacher at Lincoln High School. Her talk was readily received by the students. Theodore will have thank you notes from these students at her talk. Gina Parker died on February 19th, 2013 of COPD, a pulmonary disease, related to enforced testing done on her by doctors during her incarceration.

Theodore said that she often felt guilty when she asked her mother about her experiences. Even though those memories made her physically ill Parker maintained, “I will go to the grave with the pain I have and the loss I have. But I don’t have any bitterness towards the Germans. They were duped.”

Michele Gold is an educator at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and author of “Memories that Won’t Go Away: A Tribute to the Children of the Kindertransport.” Gold’s mother was Rita Rimalower-Nettler who was 15-years-old when became one of 10,000 Jewish refugee children brought from Germany to Great Britain from 1938 to 1940 on the Kindertransport. She arrived in England on March 3rd, 1939 and was taken in and raised by a loving family. Gold uses the more than 40 post cards discovered in her mother’s belongings following her death in 2008 to tell her story. The cards which had been written to her aunt and uncle in Switzerland tell the of Rita’s attempts to discover what had happened to her parents.

This special event will include a candlelight procession at 6:15 p.m., a poetry reading and recognition of the student winners of the “Tribute to the Rescuers” essay contest. The international contest, sponsored by the Institute for Holocaust Education, asks contestants to recognize an historical individual or group who showed moral courage with a tie into the Holocaust.

The commemoration is Sunday, May 1st from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Mosaic Law Congregation, 2300 Sierra Boulevard, Sacramento. For more information: (916) 488-1122.

 


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The Power of Music Closes Generation Gap

Source: River City Chorale  |  2016-04-18

Del Campo Madrigal Choir, conducted by Pam Mitchell, joins with the long established River City Chorale in its Spring Concert, April 29th and May 1st. Photo courtesy River City Chorale

The younger generation cannot imagine a world without social media, while those of us over a certain age may not be fluent with anything beyond email, but there is one thing that we all understand: the power of music.

While styles may be different, it is still possible to span the years separating younger and older singers with beautiful choral music. Come hear it for yourself, when the Madrigal Choir of Del Campo High School, conducted by Pam Mitchell, joins with the long established River City Chorale in its Spring Concert, April 29th and May 1st.

The program with also feature two teenage soloists: Shelby Pierce, alto, and Colin Regan, baritone. Shelby has been singing since she was about 4-years-old. She enjoys many genres of music, but her heart belongs to Broadway. Her goal is to go to a performing arts school and major in music. Shelby is a junior at Del Campo High School. Colin sings with the Waldorf High School Choir at the George Washington Carver School of Arts and Sciences. He plays a number of musical instruments and is an award-winning tap dancer and Irish Dancer. Colin is also a writer, and his greatest dream is to write film scores for movies.

The River City Chorale has, in the last year, launched a Young Artists Program, the goal of which is to provide young singers with the opportunity to perform for audiences beyond their high school friends and family, as well as to have the opportunity to sing with an established adult group with professional accompaniment. They trust that it will be a joyful and productive meeting of music lovers across the generations!

The River City Chorale is the longest existing community choir in the greater Sacramento area; it is entering its 40th year of providing beautiful and accessible music at convenient venues. Fifty-five voices strong, the Chorale is well known for offering eclectic programs of both secular and sacred music that appeal to a very wide audience. Conducted by the talented Richard Morrissey and accompanied by the highly skilled Theresa Keene, there will surely be something for everyone to enjoy.

The Friday, April 29th concert will be held at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3235 Pope Avenue, Sacramento, starting at 7:30 pm. On Sunday, May 1st, the venue is the First Baptist Church of Fair Oaks, 4401 San Juan Avenue, starting at 4 pm. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Tickets for children under 12 are $5. Parking is free. Go to RiverCityChorale.org or call (916) 331-5810.


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It's Pothole 'Sweep' Time Again

Source: Sacramento County  |  2016-04-13

There are over 5,200 lane miles of paved roadways in the County’s unincorporated area and it’s inevitable that somewhere in this large infrastructure of streets there will be potholes.

The Sacramento County Department of Transportation (SACDOT) will start its “Spring 2016 - Pothole Sweeps Week,” on Monday, April 18th, 2016. This is an intensified effort to identify and repair potholes, and is part of continuous efforts to improve preventative maintenance activities for unincorporated area roadways. Pothole sweeps weeks are performed twice each year: in late spring to repair potholes caused by inclement weather; and in early winter to ready road surfaces for the storm season.

Residents are encouraged to contact Sacramento County concerning potholes on neighborhood streets. To report a pothole residents can call 311 (or 875-4311) or report online at www.311.saccounty.net. This County-wide effort will begin in the Arden Arcade community -- which is the center of our service area -- and will continue through the remainder of the unincorporated area.

There are over 5,200 lane miles of paved roadways in the County’s unincorporated area and it’s inevitable that somewhere in this large infrastructure of streets there will be potholes. SACDOT’s policy is to:  “Repair all potholes as soon as possible.” The Pothole Sweeps Week program enhances ongoing pavement maintenance activities, which include SACDOT crews who are sent into the field Monday through Friday each week to specifically repair potholes. Some facts about potholes in Sacramento County:

•Potholes Reported To Customer Service Annually = 970.

•Potholes Repaired Annually = 41,000.

•Potholes Repaired Per Month = 3,400.

•Annual Cost for Pothole Repair = $2.8 million.

•Square feet of potholes repaired annually = 94,000.

•Repair Cost Per Square Foot = $30.

•Repair cost per pothole = $68.

•Reported potholes are typically repaired within 72 hours.


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