Safe Water for Baja

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-05-16

Rotary members visited four locations in Baja to demonstrate the assembly and use of the filtration system. Photo provided by Jim Cralle.

Local Rotarians Distribute Water Filters in Rural Mexico

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Eight members of the Fair Oaks Rotary Club recently returned from a trip to South Baja, Mexico. As part of the Safe Water for Baja project, they helped distribute water filtration systems to local residents. Jim Cralle, the club’s international services director, spearheaded the project, collaborating with a Tahoe Rotary Club and the local Rotary Club in Los Barriles, Mexico.

The town of Los Barriles is located on the southern tip of Baja along the Sea of Cortez. “It’s desert. It’s gorgeous, but it’s desert,” said Cralle. “It’s totally different from what we’re used to.” The group also visited Caduaño, Los Tinos, and Chupaly.

Many of the residents in the Baja area live in remote farming communities surrounded by desert. Cralle explained that the locals live off the land, growing vegetables and raising cattle and other livestock. The farming districts grow mangos and papayas for export as their major sources of income.

Much of the fresh water available in the area isn’t safe for consumption because it is contaminated with salmonella and other bacteria. If they can afford it, residents buy large jugs of bottled water. If they can’t afford it, and many can’t, they just drink the available water — so gastro-intestinal diseases are extremely common.

Cralle said that the number one reason for medical intervention in the area is contact with unsafe water, and local kids miss up to 8 weeks of school each year because of stomach ailments.

The average wage is just $10 per day, and jugs of water are $5 each — so most of the locals have been drinking the contaminated water for generations.

Cralle said that they think it’s normal to have stomach issues all the time “because that’s what they’re used to.” A significant part of the project involved providing information to educate the residents about the dangers of drinking contaminated water.

Due to the remote and rural nature of much of the Baja area, the best way to improve the residents’ access to safe water is to provide small and rugged water filtration systems. The systems cost $26 each and are assembled using a 5-gallon bucket and an attached filter. They remove more than 99% of viruses and bacteria and 100% of microplastics. The systems can filter 170 gallons per day and up to 1 million gallons over time, lasting 5 – 10 years.

At the four sites they visited in Baja, the group demonstrated the assembly and use of the filtration system. They handed out the equipment and helped the locals practice setting up the filters in the buckets until everyone understood and could do it on their own. They distributed 84 total buckets, which will provide safe drinking water for 143 people.

Other Rotary clubs also participated in the project at different locations on other dates. In total, the project successfully distributed almost 400 buckets, impacting more than 1,600 people. The project cost $11,000, collected from various clubs. The Fair Oaks Rotary Club provided $4,000 for the project, as well as donating their time.

The local Rotary Club in Los Barriles plans to follow-up with recipients to review the impact of the project over time.


Bella Vista’s Interact Club Gathers Items for Baja

By Alice Rowe, Rotary Club of Fair Oaks  |  2019-05-23

Chris Nelson (the pilot from the Flying Samaritans that came to BV to receive the over 1500 items) along with...from left to right: Kaitlin Wilkins (Interact V.P.), Chris Nelson, Anna Gasparian (Interact Co-President) and Sophia Yslas (Interact Co-President). Photo by Alice Rowe

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - The Flying Samaritans is an all-volunteer organization of California pilots and medical personnel who fly monthly to rural locations in Baja to provide medical, dental and vision services to people who have very limited access to care. When Chris Nelson, a representative of the Samaritans’ local Mother Lode Chapter, spoke at a lunch meeting of the Bella Vista High School Interact Club in March, he described not only the care they provide, but also the need for common items such as toiletries and school supplies, due to the lack of any stores in these rural areas. The Samaritans collect and distribute such items during each monthly medical mission trip.

After hearing about this need, the Interact Club members realized that this was an area where they could make a difference. The club board, led by co-presidents Sophia Yslas and Anna Gasparian and mentored by faculty liaison Heather Hawkins, put together a school-wide supply drive, and members promoted the drive in individual classrooms.

The generosity of the student body became very evident when the drive ended on April 12. Over twenty classrooms had filled bags of items, and eleven of those had donated more than 100 items each. When a local women’s organization, Fair Oaks Inner Wheel, heard about the drive, they donated twenty of their children’s books, “Who’s Who”, both in English and Spanish.

When Chris Nelson returned to Bella Vista High School on May 1, he was overwhelmed with the approximately 1500 bottles of lotion, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, school supplies and children’s books that had been gathered for him to fly down to San Quintin later that month.

There are soon going to be many happy children and adults when this shipment arrives in Baja, thanks to those who donated and the leadership of the BV Interact Club, which is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Fair Oaks.


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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – Vote-by-mail ballots will be sent out for the June 4, 2019 Special General Elections in Senate Districts 1 and 33. To mark the launch of the vote-by-mail period, the Secretary of State's office has released a new video on the options that California voters have to return their completed vote-by-mail ballots.

"You can now return your ballot using the enclosed prepaid postage return envelope, by dropping it off in-person at any polling place or vote center, or by signing it over to someone you trust to return it,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “There have never been more convenient options for Californians and working families to cast their vote-by-mail ballots. Whatever method you choose, you can check your ballot’s status by logging into or visiting your county elections office's website.”

These special elections were called when Senator Ted Gaines resigned his Senate District 1 seat after becoming a member of the California Board of Equalization and Ricardo Lara resigned his Senate District 33 seat after becoming California Insurance Commissioner. Senate District 1 encompasses all of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, and Siskiyou counties and portions of Sacramento and Placer counties. Senate District 33 is wholly contained in Los Angeles County.
Source Office of Secretary of State


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World Class Equestrian Show at Orangevale Town Fair

By MaryAnne Povey  |  2019-05-23

Nu Balance Vaulters prepare for upcoming performances at the Orangevale Town Fair June 1 & 2 featuring The Mane Event: The Greatest Showman and other Five-Star performances! Photo courtesy of Michelle Solorzano

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - What do you get when you put beautiful horses together with some talented, nimble, acrobatic horse-lovin’ riders? The Nu Balance Vaulters! This fabulous group came together in 1990 right here in our own hometown of Orangevale when club founder Michelle Solorzano decided to start a horse camp for kids.

What started out as a group of 21 kids and their ponies, has blossomed into a full-fledged unique acrobatic riding/performing club of nearly 50 performers ages 4 to 37, that have traveled the world dazzling audiences in Germany, Holland, Austria, Hungary and London performing for Queen Elizabeth herself!

“This all started out with a horse and a passion to perform,” said Nu Balance founder and trainer, Michelle Solorzano. “With my daughter’s encouragement, we decided, “let’s do this” and haven’t looked back since”.

Locally the Nu Balance team performs at the California State Fair and other county fairs, but this is the first time the team will be participating in the Orangevale Town Fair - A Pow Wow Days Tradition, in the parade, June 1, 2019 at 9 am on Greenback Lane starting at Main and traveling west to Filbert. Their FREE shows will be held in the Orangevale Community Park arena June 1 & 2 starting at 1 pm each day.

The fabulous line-up of performers and shows includes: The Greatest Showman, Boots & Bling Drill Team/Acrobats, Pair Riders, Aerial and Silks, Carriage and Buggy and Pair and Trick Riders. Then, a long line up of Disney favorites like Captain Jack, Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, Beauty and the Beast, Moana and much, much more!

“Our kids love to perform and connect with the audience,” Michelle reflected, “At the end of our show, we do a meet and greet so everyone can see the performers up close, say hi and get a photo. Don’t forget your camera!” she added.

If you needed a reason to come to the fair, this is it! Come see great entertainment for FREE!!

For more information about all the fun, FREE entertainment coming to the Orangevale Town Fair go to See ya there!

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Volunteers Pack 75,000 Meals to Feed the Hungry

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-05-22

Rotary members stack boxes of packaged meals onto a shipping pallet for distribution to developing countries. Photo by Shaunna Boyd

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Rotary District 5180 has 41 clubs in the Sacramento Region that collaborated on a district-wide meal-packaging event on May 17 at Rusch Park Community Center in Citrus Heights. More than 250 volunteers worked in shifts to bag over 75,000 meals, which will be distributed by Rise Against Hunger, a non-profit international hunger relief organization.

Music blasted through the gymnasium as hundreds of volunteers enthusiastically worked their stations, filling buckets with ingredients, bagging, sealing, packing the finished meals into boxes, and stacking boxes onto shipping pallets. Youth exchange students from Rotary International, players from the Casa Robles High School football team, members of local churches, and rotary members from throughout the District all worked together to package meals for those in need.

The meal bags include a nutrient package, a scoop of dehydrated vegetables, soy protein, and rice. One meal package boiled in a gallon and half of water will feed six people. Rich Hale, president of the Citrus Heights Rotary Club, said the meals are sent to developing countries: “They go all over the world, wherever the need is.”

“There’s a lot of starving people in the world, and you cannot function in society if you’re hungry. That’s why this is so important,” said Hale. “One bag can feed a family of six, so you can see the impact. That’s why we do it.”

District 5180 held a Poker Night fundraiser in April to raise $20,000 for the meal-packing event, and Heinz donated an additional $3,000. With a total of $23,000, the District was able to set the goal of more 75,000 meals.

Hale said, “We’ve been wanting to have a big District event, so this was very successful.… Hopefully this gives us momentum for years to come and we can do this again.” Hale said that next year they’d like to fill a shipping container, which holds 289,000 meals.

Hale said Rise Against Hunger is “a very well-organized company.… They bring all the materials and all the equipment we need.”

“This is an amazing undertaking,” said Pete Schroeder of the Fair Oaks Rotary Club. “It’s just incredible when people get together and it’s organized and they know what they’re doing.”

Jim Quinney, Rise Against Hunger community engagement manager for the Sacramento territory, said, “We started working with the Rotary in Citrus Heights four years ago for the 10,000-meal event, and it’s grown and now we’re collaborating with other clubs.… It’s just been wonderful to see the spirit of collaboration, and all these people are true advocates working to end hunger by 2030.”

Quinney described the Rise Against Hunger meal-packing events as “scalable turn-key operations.” They have the resources to organize events of any size, from large work parties to small team-building events.

Quinney said, “We want to engage as many people as possible. Every day we want people thinking about hunger and how they can help.”

“Helping others is a big part of who we are, and who the club is,” said Fair Oaks Rotary Club member Joe Arguelles. “It’s important to come and stand by your fellow man and help other people, help those who need help, so you can really feel like you’ve done something good for somebody.”

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Making a Difference

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-05-22

Keynote speaker Phil Oates (bottom left), Stanford defensive linemen Jovan Swahn (left) and Michael Williams (right), and Playmakers founder Greg Roeszler (second from right) honored the players for their service.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Playmakers Organization is a local non-profit that coaches character through leadership and provides free programs to underprivileged and at-risk youth. Playmakers hosted their 10th annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, April 27 at Divine Savior Church in Orangevale.

The evening’s festivities included live and silent auctions to raise money for the organization. Proceeds from the event will fund Playmakers’ free six-week all-day Summer Character Academy. Playmakers founder Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler said, “We seek out the kids whose families cannot afford any kind of summer enrichment, so it is extremely important we have funding for our trained coaches and volunteers.”

The Summer Character Academy will serve at least 100 kids, teaching them teamwork and improving their self-confidence.

Phil Oates, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, was the keynote speaker of the event. Oates explained that the most important part of coaching is character development. He said, “Coaches sacrifice for their teams and always put the kids first.”

“Playmakers are making a difference for kids,” said Oates. “They are very fiscally responsible with the contributions they receive.… They’ll make you proud.”

The dinner was donated by Chicago Fire and was served by players from the Rio Americano and El Camino football teams. The teams are working together as part of a unique reconciliation effort after a brawl last season forced them to forfeit the final game.

The fundraiser’s title sponsor was Fitguard president Ryan Meier. Playmakers’ sponsor Harrison Phillips of the Buffalo Bills was honored at the event, and Stanford defensive linemen Michael Williams and Jovan Swahn attended as honored guests.

Thanks to many generous donations, Playmakers raised more than $30,000 to fund their Summer Character Academy. The largest donations came from the Country Club Optimists and the Azevedo Foundation.

Coach Roz thanked Playmakers civic group participants — Rotary, Optimists, and Lions — and all of the donors and volunteers for making it possible to help so many kids in the region. “Sometimes kids need extra attention. It’s about investing time,” said Coach Roz. “That’s what we do at Playmakers. That’s what we do as coaches. We never give up on the kids.”

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Walmart Opens First Stand-alone Transportation Office in Sacramento

By Kim Ericksen, Elevate Public Affairs  |  2019-05-22

L-R: Derek McCowan, James Hulbert, Richard Prescott, Uni Cerezo (GM of the Sacramento Office), Peggy Biro, Steve Harper and McClellan Park

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Walmart is opening the retailer’s first-ever standalone transportation office in Sacramento in a bid to recruit up to 130 experienced truck drivers for its private fleet.

The office, which opened a temporary location on April 1, will service stores and distribution centers in northern California, southern Oregon, and east to Reno, Nevada. Drivers at this location will qualify for the company’s recently announced driver pay increase. Walmart drivers can earn an average of $87,500 in their first year of employment with an all-in rate of nearly 89 cents per mile.

Walmart has more than 65 transportation offices throughout the country, but Sacramento will be the first that is not co-located with a distribution center. The permanent location will be located in the McClellan Business Park and will have a drop yard. The office will have 85 trucks and 100 trailers.

“We’re excited to open a facility in Sacramento where there is a deep pool of talented, experienced truck drivers,” said Uni Cerezo, regional transportation manager of the Sacramento transportation office. “Walmart continues to explore how we can operate more efficiently and serve our customers’ changing needs, and this office will serve an important customer market for us.”

Walmart plans to accept internal Walmart transfers and recruit externally. To qualify to drive for Walmart, a driver must have 30 months of commercial driving experience in the last three years and a clean safety record for the past three years. For details and to apply, please see

Those drivers hired to staff the Sacramento transportation office will differ from others in the industry in that they will start and end their weeks in the same location and have home time each week. Other perks and benefits of driving for Walmart extend well beyond the competitive per/mile rate and activity-based pay. Some of the reasons truck drivers say they enjoy working for Walmart include:

Great benefits. Walmart drivers have access to company benefits on the first day and can earn as much as 21 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) in their first year;

Predictable home time. Walmart operates on a weekly schedule, so drivers know when they will be home and on the road. We use a bidding process two to three times a year to set their schedules, so drivers know where they stand on work-life balance;

Walmart is one of the safest fleets operating with contemporary well-maintained equipment. At Walmart our drivers drive and earn money rather than waiting for a truck to be fixed. Walmart offers quarterly safety bonuses and a safety incentive and recognition programs. The American Transportation Association has awarded Walmart the Safest Fleet in the Over 250 Million Mile Division for the past 5 consecutive years;

Transportation offices all over the country. Walmart operates more than 70 transportation offices throughout the U.S.;

No-touch freight. Walmart truck drivers don’t unload trucks;

Safe parking. Walmart drivers park in well-lit, safe parking in Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers across the country.


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Camp Fair Oaks and Activities

By Mary Cattolica  |  2019-05-17

The WOW Bus making a stop at the a Camp Fair Oaks Fieldtrip. Photo courtesy of Fair Oaks Parks and Recreation

Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District
FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - When Summer HOT, we make camp COOL! Send your kids to the coolest camp in town for a summer FULL of fun! Camp Fair Oaks provides children, ages 5-12, with the opportunity to make friends, experience and discover new interests. Let out stellar camp staff make this a summer they’ll never forget!

Registration for Camp Fair Oaks will close THURSDAYS at 5pm for the following week’s camp.
Full Day (9AM-4PM): $170 ($165 resident)
Extended Care (7:30AM-5:30PM): $190 ($185 resident)
Camp Special: Purchase all 8 weeks by May 31st, 2019 by 5:00PM and receive ½ off Week 9!
Sibling Discount: $10/week ($15/week res.)
NOTE: Sibling Discounts and Camp Special ONLY available for In-Office registrations!

Fair Oaks Community Garage Sale
It’s time for people to clean out their closets and garages! Are you looking for some new treasures? Shop nearly sixty sellers for some great deals and steals at the Fair Oaks Community Garage Sale!
June 1, 2019 | 8AM-1PM | Fair Oaks Park – Upper Parking Lot | 11549 Fair Oaks Park

The W.O.W. (Wonderful Outdoor World) Bus is getting kids back outdoors! Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District is proud to announce the arrival of The W.O.W Bus to a park near you! This FREE program brings children and families of the community together through a variety of group games, sports, arts & crafts, and free play. There are plenty of fun activities to go around!

Sunday, May 19 | 10AM-12PM | Madison Place Park
Monday, June 10 | 5PM-7PM | Fair Oaks Park
Friday, July 12 | 5PM-7PM | Fair Oaks Park
Saturday, August 10 | 10AM-12PM | Village Park
Sunday, September 8 | 10AM-12PM | Miller Park

The W.O.W Bus will not be held when temperatures exceeds 100 degrees during the designated event time or on rain or Spare the Air days.

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Del Campo High School Graduate Receives a $10,000 Scholarship

By Kerry Heinrich, WoodmenLife  |  2019-05-17

Courtney Warner, recipient of the $10,000 WoodmenLife Focus Forward Scholarship. Courtesy of WoodmenLife

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Courtney Warner, a 2018 graduate of Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, was recently awarded the prestigious $10,000 WoodmenLife Focus Forward Scholarship®. Warner, who is a WoodmenLife member, submitted an application highlighting her grades, activities and volunteerism, as well as an essay on patriotism.

Courtney, the daughter of Paul and Martha Warner of Carmichael, is actively at her university, where she is involved as the Director of Internal Events for Sororities and Fraternities. She also plays intermural soccer.

She attends California State University in Sacramento, where she is majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. She plans on entering the nursing program. Her family is a member of WoodmenLife CA Chapter 339 in Sacramento.

“Courtney was chosen as a recipient of this scholarship because of her dedication to excellence in academics.” said WoodmenLife President & CEO, Patrick L. Dees. “WoodmenLife is thrilled to be able to recognize that achievement and help Courtney realize her dream of furthering her education with this prestigious scholarship.”

The WoodmenLife Focus Forward Scholarship program is part of the organization’s member extras. The program awards up to $1 million annually to members furthering their education in a two-year or four-year college, university or technical school.

This year, WoodmenLife will award more than 850 scholarships ranging from $500 to $25,000.

WoodmenLife was founded in 1890 as a not for profit. The organization gives back to its nearly 700,000 members, who join together in a shared commitment to family, community and country. With a legacy of financial stability, WoodmenLife offers quality life insurance and retirement products. To learn more about the organization and the extras members enjoy, visit


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Rancho Cheerleads AMGEN to the Sierras

By Patrick Larenas  |  2019-05-16

Captions: And the race begins! Amgen Stage 2 takes off from Rancho Cordova. Photo by Jose Lopez

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Monday May 13th AMGEN’s blue 2019 Tour of California portal opened an adventure of a lifetime for professional cyclists into our state’s renown scenic panoramas. At roughly 89 feet of elevation, Rancho Cordova became the perfect point of departure for AMGEN’s uphill race from the countryside all the way across the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Riding a bicycle a few blocks, for many of us, is seen as an act of valor and environmental consciousness. But those who competed for close to 150 miles uphill had the real valor and the full environmental experience―not to mention the strongest legs and lungs.                                                

Kristin Klein, President of the Amgen Tour of California said, “The 14th annual Amgen Tour of California will not disappoint. This year the riders will face the most climbing, the longest road days and arguably the most competitive field in the history of the race.”

“The riders know when they come to the Amgen Tour of California they’ll get a bit of everything…mountains, ocean breezes, lush forests, farm fields and vineyards – it’s quite a way to sightsee this beautiful state, and we’re proud to call the Amgen Tour of California an international postcard for the state.”

The starting line in Rancho Cordova for Stage 2 was lined with hundreds of local cycling enthusiasts cheering on the big race. This was a big day for the city and its residents in hosting Amgen.

Bob Stapleton, Chairman of USA Cycling said “Kristin (Klein) calls this one of America’s greatest races. I call it one of the world’s greatest races.”

“Economically this really is a Grand Tour. If you look at where the money and interest and eyeballs that support cycling come from, American companies are the number two direct sponsor of teams, and if you look at the total support, all the money, goods and services that come into cycling, United States is number one.”

Rob DeMartini, the USA Cycling President and CEO mentioned “I was immediately impressed by the depth of talent that is here at the Amgen Tour of California. I look forward to spending time with all of the American riders here and am pleased we were able to field a National Team and give our up and coming riders an opportunity to race on home soil.”

Present at the race, Mark Cavendish, of Team Dimensional Data said that with this Tour of California, ““I’ve been here many times, not just for the bike race, but for holiday and for training camps, and I always feel welcome at The Amgen Tour of California, so it’s good to be back.”

“The race has gotten harder, and the race has stepped up. As Bob (Stapleton) said, it’s one of the most important races on the calendar now, and with that comes a bigger challenge to win, and it’s good that more people are watching.”

George Bennet, Team Jumbo-Visma – “[Winning the Yellow Jersey] is the main objective. I don’t know if it’s going to be easier, but it will be a lot different than last time, without the time trial and different riders here as well. It’s going to be a challenging week.”

“The winner on (Mount) Baldy is going to get the Lexus. Mount Hamilton is hard, but it’s not like two years ago when we could light it up and survive to the finish…it all comes down to Baldy and staying out of trouble the other days.”

Richie Porte, Trek-Segafredo noted how this race is evolving. He said “A lot of ways this [The Amgen Tour of California] is leading how cycling has got to go.”

Tejay van Garderen, EF Education First Pro Cycling offered his thoughts on racing at home. “It’s always a treat to be able to come home. Now being on a truly American team coming and racing on American soil provides a different feel and a different level of motivation.”

“This race is for sure a huge target, and it’s something that our team has been talking about all spring, that we need to be ready to do well at this race” said Evan Huffman, Rally UHC Cycling on the importance of getting a good start.

Alex Hoehn, USA Cycling offered his gratitude on being able to participate. “I’m grateful to USA Cycling for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent here at the Amgen Tour of California in front of the best teams in the world. It’s not often that a young rider like me gets to line up with some of the best in the pro peloton, and this will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life” He said.

Rancho Cordova can be proud as a Amgen Stage 2 host city.

Sources: Marissa Mavaega, Amgen 

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