SAFE Credit Union Awards City Year Sacramento with $20,000 Grant

By Carole Ferguson, SAFE Credit Union  |  2019-01-04

SAFE Credit Union employees making the donation to City Year. Photo courtesy SAFE CU.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Calling out the cheer, “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? City Year! City Year” staff members from SAFE Credit Union marched into the Oak Park, California, offices of City Year on a recent rainy morning to surprise the nonprofit with a $20,000 grant.

City Year Executive Director Jeff Owen and Development Manager Maggie Lawrence were on hand to accept the donation. “This is going to go a long way in our work to help students who really need some support, and our amazing AmeriCorps members who are working 10 hours a day for peanuts,” Owen said.

City Year sends near-peer mentors to under-served schools in Sacramento to help students succeed. City Year representatives cheer students as they arrive to school each day to honor them for their hard work and to pump them up for the day. During class time, AmeriCorps members use positive coaching to help students overcome challenges that may lead them to dropping out of school. They also assist with tutoring students in math and English to stay on track to graduate with their peers.

“City Year shines in its mission,” said SAFE Credit Union Community and Advocacy Engagement Manager Amanda Merz. “City Year’s dedication to helping at-risk students over hurdles and standing by them to ensure their success really spoke to us here at SAFE. By staying in school, these students will have a better foundation to build a more financially secure and personally satisfying life. We are proud to be able to assist City Year with its efforts to help our community’s students.” 

SAFE Credit Union is a leading financial institution in Northern California with more than $2.8 billion in assets and more than 229,000 members. SAFE is a not-for-profit, community-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and individuals living or working in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sutter, Butte, Nevada, Solano, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Yuba, Amador, and Alameda counties. Insured by the NCUA. www.safecu.org

Sac Choral Society

Monster Jam Series Returns

By Heather Atherton  |  2019-01-09

All photos courtesy Atherton Public Relations

THE MOST FAMILY-FRIENDLY, ACTION-PACKED MOTOR SPORT IN THE WORLD RACES BACK INTO SACRAMENTO

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable!  Monster Jam®, the most action-packed motorsports experience for families in the world today, returns to Sacramento with a new level of high-flying, four-wheel excitement!  Be prepared for another high-octane weekend of Monster Jam Triple Threat Series events featuring six different competitions of speed, racing and freestyle stunts at the Golden 1 Center from January 18–20, 2019.

Featuring eight of the most intense athletes of Monster Jam, Central Valley fans will witness a fierce battle for the championship with each Triple Threat Series competitor contending in customized high-powered vehicles: Monster Jam Speedsters, Monster Jam ATVs and of course, the iconic Monster Jam trucks in six events sure to leave fans on the edge of their seats.

Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered not only the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, but the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines capable of doing backflips, vertical two-wheel skills and racing at speeds up to 70 miles per hour to produce jaw-dropping, live motor sports action seen around the world. Now across all Monster Jam events, fans in every city will have the chance to vote for the winner in the two-wheel and freestyle competitions by real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones. 

Fans also have the unparalleled opportunity to get up close and personal to their favorite Monster Jam trucks and drivers at the Monster Jam® Pit Party pre-show experience for photos & autographs.  

Tickets are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at just $20 each. Pit Passes available to purchase for $15 each.

Tickets and Pit Passes will be available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office. Ticket prices are subject to change, venue/ticketing fees may apply.

For all the latest news, announcements and updates, be sure to watch the Monster Jam 2019 Season Kickoff Show live streaming on www.MonsterJam.com

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The elected SMUD Board of Directors approved a $1.71 billion budget. The 2019 budget provides funding for all capital and operations and maintenance (O&M) programs needed to meet the Board’s Strategic Directions in the year ahead and in future years.

The 2019 budget is $25 million less than the 2018 budget, which is primarily due to lower planned capital expenditures, though SMUD anticipates an exciting and transformational year as the electric company continues laying the foundation for the future. Next year’s budget includes funding for many industry-leading initiatives and a variety of programs and investments that support the development of SMUD’s load-serving capacity, grid modernizations and compliance with regulatory requirements. Support for outreach and communications to educate customers about SMUD’s move to time-of-day pricing is also included.

Some major capital projects for next year include the rebuilding of three major substations that serve large numbers of residential and commercial customers, hydro generation facilities work and the designing and building of a new energy control facility. Completion of the SMUD Headquarters remodeling project, and new and ongoing technology projects are included as well.

Other major projects include removing and replacing more than 50 circuit miles of cable; automation of a couple of dozen high-voltage switches; upgrades and expansion of the downtown Sacramento electrical distribution network; expansion of the grid into new communities in Folsom and Rancho Cordova; and improvements at a bulk substation that serves the Arden area.

SMUD continues to be in a strong financial position. In 2017, Fitch and S&P upgraded SMUD’s credit ratings to AA, from an already impressive AA-, while Moody’s continues to rate SMUD Aa3. To maintain these credit ratings, which continue to be the highest in three decades, SMUD has a strategic financial target to maintain strong operating cash flow. Forecasted 2019 operating cash flow cover is 1.76 times operating cash flow, which exceeds the SMUD Board’s minimum target of cash flow cover of 1.5 times operating cash flow and supports a higher level of proposed capital spending. The higher credit rating produces a lower cost of borrowing.

SMUD customers continue to pay significantly less for electricity than most Californians, and as of September 1, 2018, more than 30 percent less than customers who are supplied by neighboring PG&E.

As the nation’s sixth-largest, community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 70 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit smud.org.

Source: SMUD Media

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Optimist’s Serve Up a Great Volleyball Tournament

John Yoshikawa, Optimist Sports Director  |  2019-01-06

The Hall of Fame inductee (in the middle) Mike Yates from Ponderosa High School. On Mike

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The 35th Annual Optimist High School Girls’ Volleyball All Star games were held on December 8, 2018 at El Camino High School. The Small Schools match was won by the North Team. The scores were 25 (South) – 23 (North), 25 (North) – 21 (South), 30 (North) - 28 (South), and 25 (North) – 17 (South). All of these sets were so exciting that they brought the fans to their feet and yelling for more.

The Outstanding Player for the North was Amy Hiatt from Placer High School and for the South Team was Jillian Petnicki from Vacaville Christian High School. The Large Schools match was swept by the South Team 25 – 21, 25 – 18, and 25 – 16, and as like the Small Schools match, the fans were super excited.

The Outstanding Player for the South Team was Sam Chavez from St. Francis High School and for the North Team was Kaylie Honberger from Whitney High School.

During the intermission, Mike Yates from Ponderosa High School was inducted into the Optimist Hall of Fame for his tremendous dedication and commitment to encourage and train our youth to take their volleyball to the next level.

Mike has been the Girls’ Volleyball Coach at Ponderosa High School for the past 5 seasons. Within that time, he has won three (3) league championships, two (2) SacJoaquin Section championships, and Ponderosa’s  first State appearance in the past 30 years….to include having an undefeated season last year. Prior to his coaching at Ponderosa, he coached at Union Mine High School for five (5) years. In his last season, he won Union Mine’s very first Section championship and subsequently went on to win the State championship.

Club Volleyball has also played an important part in Coach Yates’ activities. Within his involvement in the Precision Volleyball Club, he has been the driving influence for the boys and girls to take their volleyball game to the next level to include beach volleyball. Last year, he created the first ever high school volleyball sand league and continues to be the leading force in its development.

His involvement in volleyball would have never taken place was it not for being burned out from playing baseball. He started playing volleyball, loved the sport, and his achievements took off from there. He played volleyball at Ponderosa High School and subsequently had a successful collegiate career at California State University-Sacramento. Thereafter, he transferred these indoor volleyball skills to beach volleyball which has made him one of the best known beach players in the Sacramento area.

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Society for the Blind Members to Join National Fitness Challenge

By Kristin Thebaud  |  2019-01-04

Society for the Blind members join the challenge. Photo courtesy Society for the Blind.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Society for the Blind, a Sacramento-based nonprofit serving blind and low vision people in Northern California, has received a grant from Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore Foundations to create opportunities for individuals to participate in the National Fitness Challenge, an initiative founded by the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore. Society for the Blind is one of 17 organizations across the nation that is participating in the National Fitness Challenge and is using grant funding to offer adaptive yoga classes, walking groups, running clinics and other sports and fitness activities that can help people who are blind or low-vision to maximize healthy lifestyles. These activities will be offered over the course of eight months to help hundreds of youth and adults to increase physical fitness levels and live healthier lives.

“The goal of the National Fitness Challenge is to help people with visual disabilities to live more active lifestyles,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “The program launched during Blindness Awareness Month in October, and through May 31, 2019, will highlight what people with visual disabilities can do, rather than what they cannot do. We are lucky to live in an age where a person with vision loss can achieve most anything they set their mind to doing, and we are grateful to Anthem Blue Cross Foundation and CareMore Foundation for helping us to empower this year’s participants.”

This year’s challenge integrates technology and social media to inspire participants to set goals, create team environments and encourage leadership. Each participant has been provided with a Fitbit Flex 2 wearable – a universal way to measure activities, calories burned and number of steps taken. Participants also have the opportunity to utilize Fitbit Coach, which is a personalized training app that provides adaptive video workouts and audio coaching. Foundation grant funding is being used to provide Fitbits, fitness and nutritional instruction, performance prizes as well as technical and financial support for all participants.

“Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety,” said Ricardo Young, CareMore Health Medical Director. “We are proud to support members of the Society for the Blind through our collaboration with the National Fitness Challenge, and to create access to activities supporting healthier individuals and stronger communities.”

More than half of those who are blind or low vision in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical fitness routine, mostly due to barriers to accessible fitness or misconceptions about their abilities. Individuals of all abilities should have equal opportunities to engage in activities that improve health outcomes, so the National Fitness Challenge aims to increase access to fitness and health for blind and low vision people. 

“Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is committed to removing barriers and increasing access to critical programs and services that help individuals and communities to lead healthier lives,” said Dr. Barsam Kasravi, Interim Anthem Blue Cross Medicaid Plan President. “We are proud of our Foundation’s ongoing support of people with visual disabilities and are confident that this support will go a long way in helping Californians to improve their overall wellness while enjoying the physical and emotional benefits of exercise and group sports.”

Since 2011, the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore has provided $1.3 million in grant funding to U.S. Association of Blind Athletes for the National Fitness Challenge initiative and has impacted thousands of Americans with visual disabilities by partnering with 40 different agencies across the country. To learn more about the National Fitness Challenge, visit www.usaba.org/NationalFitnessChallenge

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 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 more than 5,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information: SocietyfortheBlind.org

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Rotary Donates Holiday Food Baskets to Local Families

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-01-04

Got Milk to Donate? Photo provided by Rotary Club of Fair Oaks

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - On December 20, the Rotary Club of Fair Oaks held their annual holiday food basket donation for local students and their families. Jim Erickson, a member of the Rotary Club of Fair Oaks, explained why he volunteered to lead the food basket project for the second year in a row: “I’ve been in Rotary for about two years, and my primary focus is things that will benefit the local community.”

The volunteers from Rotary started their day at 7:00 AM, picking up food from Sacramento Food Bank and purchasing some additional food items at local grocery stores. From 8:30 AM until around noon, volunteers assembled the food boxes in empty classrooms at Northridge Elementary School.

Local parents and former school employees often volunteer to join the Rotarians for the assembly. With so many volunteers, the work goes quickly and Erickson said it is always a very fun and festive atmosphere. He said, “It’s a fun project. It’s one of those feel-good projects where everyone enjoys doing it and feels good about what we’re doing.”

Food baskets are distributed to approximately 100 families each year. The majority of the recipient families are from Northridge Elementary, and some are from Earl Legette Elementary. Teachers advertise the program through social media and word of mouth, and families are able to sign up anonymously. There are no qualifications needed to participate, families just have to sign up and they will receive food baskets to help them with their holiday meals. Each family receives a frozen turkey and two boxes of food, which include canned and boxed food, fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, and milk. “There’s enough that they can make at least a few meals,” said Erickson.

Distribution began right after school, and families were able to pick up their baskets from 2:30 until 6:00 PM. If families are ever unable to pick up their baskets during that time, the Rotarians will make a special delivery to the family’s home to ensure they receive their food for the holidays. 

Erickson said that this year’s holiday food basket donation was particularly significant because it was the last year the project was coordinated by Marci Ortega, a teacher at Northridge Elementary. Ortega is retiring at the end of the school year after 15 years of teaching at Northridge Elementary. Erickson acknowledged all the hard work Ortega has put into coordinating the food basket donations over the years: “Ever since it started, it’s been her project.”

Ortega said the project is “very near and dear to my heart…and we couldn’t do it without the assistance of Rotary.” She is now training two young teachers to take over the project and she is “so proud of our school.”

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Bringing Hope to the Camp Fire Children

Submitted by Bringing Hope to the Camp Fire Children  |  2019-01-04

Carl Burton bringing toys to Camp Fire Children.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Republicans of River City and American River Republican Women joined with California Federation of Republican Women in raising items and funds to help families of deadly wildfires in Northern and Southern California.

Carl Burton, President of RRC, said, “We collected enough toys for the of fire victim’s children to fill up my jeep, and we made delivery of them last Saturday, December 15, to Oroville Municipal Auditorium.”

Bonnie Williams, President of American River Republican Women, said, “Our neighbors are in trouble they need our help, so we are going help.”

Because of the Butte County, Camp Fire surpassed all other fires in California becoming the most destructive fire in our history, burning over 125,000 acres and obliterating over 6,453 homes.  It was also the deadliest fire with 88 dying in the fire, mostly older Americas.

It’s not too late to help join us in supporting our neighbors dealing with their losses. This Christmas season, we are suggesting gift card donations.”  Give gift cards from Gas Stations, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes; groceries from Albertsons, Ralphs, Safeway, Save-Mart, Stater Bros., Trader Joes, and Vons; clothes from J C Penney, Kohls, Macy's, and Target.

For Northern California victims, please send gift cards to: Republicans of River City, P.O. Box 1776, Carmichael, CA 95609

Burton said, first as Americans and as Republicans, we believe “No one may forsake their neighbors when they are in trouble.  Everybody is under obligation to help and support their neighbors as they would themselves like to be helped.” Martin Luther 1483-1546

Source: Republicans of River City

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AMERICAN PICKERS to Film in California!

By Emily Chafetz, CINEFLIXUSA  |  2019-01-04

Photos courtesy AMERICAN PICKERS

Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team are excited to return to California! They plan to film episodes of the hit series AMERICAN PICKERS throughout the region in March 2019!

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.

AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-OLD-RUST.

facebook: @GotAPick

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Sac County Airport Firefighters “Brave the Shave”

Sacramento County Special Release  |  2019-01-04

Sacramento County Airport Firefighters “Brave the Shave” in honor of  Captain Anderson. Photo courtesy Sacramento County.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County Airport Firefighters shaved their heads as part of the second annual “Brave the Shave” in honor of Captain Tim Anderson, a Sacramento County Airport Firefighter who lost his life to cancer in 2017. Brave the Shave was started one year ago by Tim’s son Mason, when his mother Lacey was diagnosed with breast cancer just 6 months after his dad, Captain Tim Anderson died.

After hearing the news of his mom's diagnosis, Mason at 10 years old wanted to have a shaving party in an effort to turn a difficult situation into something positive. Mason challenged local area firefighters to shave their heads with him as a way to honor his dad and support his mother. In 2017, 112 firefighters in 4 states and 2 countries shaved their heads in support of the Anderson family. â€‹

Mason’s mom Lacey is now cancer free and this year Mason would like to open Brave the Shave up to all firefighters and their families affected by cancer in an effort to make December Firefighter Cancer Awareness month. Firefighters and anyone else wanting to offer their support were asked to shave their heads in the month of December and post the pictures or videos to Mason's Facebook page Brave the Shave with Mason Anderson or his Instagram Brave the Shave Mason Anderson. This year's goal is 150 shaved heads. Mason is only 57 shaved heads away from meeting that goal!

 

Source: Sacramento County Media

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Hearts of Champions

By Andrea Hatch  |  2018-12-22

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - For the first time in ten years the Casa Roble Varsity Football team made it to the championships. It was not an easy journey to end a season with such accomplishment. When I asked Coach Horner what the hardships and joys have been he said that the joy is just being able to be part of the championships, and the hard parts are week to week. He said one of the biggest challenges is keeping the guys motivated each day. With 50 players on the team 31 are returning players and 17 of the 31 are returning starters, this has definitely given Casa Roble a leg up this season. Casa Roble made it to the semi-finals last year and that only made them hungrier this year to get to the championships. This success did not happen overnight by any means.

Coach Horner offered the boys an off season option and they were all in. After getting so close last season the team wanted to give it their all this season. Off season started on January 20, 2018 and it entailed a personal trainer and starting their workouts at 5:30 a.m. four days per week. That is dedication for any age group, but especially for teenage boys. Coach Horner said, “I watched boys become men”. He watched them work harder than ever before and said, “This accomplishment has nothing to do with the coaches. Players win games, they do all the work; we just put them in the right place and teach them to play with passion”. He said it takes leadership to keep the team focused, especially when they get a “false sense of awesome”, which is a common issue with any group that is continuously succeeding. Coach Horner said, “We had to teach them that they have to work hard even when they feel untouchable”. It takes a pretty great coach to see what the team needs and to help guide them all the way through. It seems to me the coaches have definitely stepped up and done their part to help in the success shown by Casa Roble this season.

I asked the coach if the team is required to do any type of community service or volunteering. He said that they are not required to, and he isn’t sure if they do it just to appease him, but that they definitely step up anytime they are asked to pitch in. There is a church nearby that does a yard sale and the team was asked if they wanted to take 45 minutes away from practice to help out and they did. They were able to unload what would have taken the church staff a week, or more, in 45 minutes. It helped the church and gave the boys a sense of accomplishment. They also participate in Orangevale night by volunteering their time to work the booths, which gives the younger age groups people to look up to.   

                Casa Roble not only works to better themselves, and their community, but they voluntarily strive to help those around them as well. As we are all aware, many people have been affected by the Paradise fire. When the football players were given an option to help, or not, they chose to jump in and adopt the Paradise football team. They did not do this to “look good” or to get “kudos” from their community, they did this because they have been taught that other football players are not just their rivals, they are family. I see it as a sibling relationship. We fight and compete with our siblings on a daily basis, but if they are in trouble we step up and do what we can to help them. The Casa Roble football team took care of their football brothers, which is what we hope to see from our youth.

                While Casa Roble made it to the Championship they did not win today’s game against Rio Linda. The final score was 63-14. While they did not win, they did work hard and did their best. They worked together as a team and their stands were full of community support. Casa Roble are winners even if the score at the end of today’s game said differently. It has taken them a decade to get here and something tells me it will not take another decade to see them in the championships again. Anyone that works as hard as they have will definitely been seen again soon. Way to go boys, keep up the good work.

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