A Workout of the Heart

Story and Photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-02-21

Ryan Frith, owner of Fitness 19 in Fair Oaks, and two other locations in Citrus Heights and Folsom, is sponsoring two BV/DC Team athletes, one of 10 districts in the Northern California Special Olympics chapter.

Fitness 19 Sponsors Fair Oaks Special Olympiads

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Olympic fever is running high right here in Fair Oaks and will continue long after the closing ceremonies for those other games in PyeongChang are over.

The 2018 Special Olympics BV/DC (Bella Vista and Del Campo) district trainings and competitions are well underway.  And, thanks to one local business, Carmichael resident, Gabby Vaughn, 12, has enjoyed her first season as a VIP player on the BV/DC’ basketball team, one of 10 participating in year-round sports offered through the Special Olympics Northern California Chapter.

Vaughn’s mother, Suzanne, is a trainer at Fitness 19 in Fair Oaks.  Ryan Frith is the owner of the fitness center, as well as two other locations in Citrus Heights and Folsom.  Frith, a Fair Oaks resident, is currently sponsoring Gabby and the son of one of his Fair Oaks center members in the 2018 BV/DC Special Olympics sports trainings and competitions, which began with basketball in January, followed up with the Zebra Jamboree basketball playoffs and competition February 18 at the La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael.

For Frith, it has always been about giving back.  To make it possible for youth and adults, like Gabby, to have the uniforms, the ability to participate in the Special Olympics trainings locally and travel to the regional competitions, he says, just fills a space he’s reserved for a work out of the heart.

“I was sponsoring another athlete, one of Suzanne’s client’s son’s, and then Suzanne approached me about her daughter, so of course I agreed to sponsor Gabby, too,” Frith said.  “I feel pretty passionate about giving back to the community and being able to sponsor participants in the Special Olympics trainings is an honor.  Everything we do here is about fitness and health and community, so the Special Olympics ties right into that, my beliefs and my core values.”

“He’s amazing,” said Suzanne, whose daughter, Gabby, was born with autism.  It had not occurred to her to enroll Gabby in the Special Olympics trainings, but when her client told her about the joys and benefits it was bringing to her son, she approached Ryan. 

The singular purpose of the Special Olympics trainings and games is to enrich the lives of the roughly 20,000 plus children and adults with intellectual disabilities who take part, as well as their communities, through sports and education.  The programs are free, but there are costs for uniforms, snacks, as well as travel to and from competitions.  A sponsorship, says Vaugh, has helped to remove a few barriers to her daughter’s participation.

“This has been really good for Gabby,” said Vaughn.  “The sponsorship is a big deal and I’m really grateful for his help.”

Gabby agrees.  Holding a basketball high above head after a practice at Will Rogers Middle School in Fair Oaks, she beams happy all over the place.

The Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Roughly six million participants enjoy year-round trainings in various sporting events, including ice hockey, swimming, track and field, soccer, baseball and more. 

Special Olympics competitions are going on somewhere, every day, across the globe and, including local, national and regional competitions, comprise more than 100,000 Special Olympics events each year.

Locally, the BV/DC district begins with basketball each winter, followed up by track and field in March, summer trainings and floor hockey in winter, according to Gabby’s coach, Doug Thomas.

The Special Olympics Games are held every two years and alternate between winter and summer sports competitions.  The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Seattle, Washington July 1-6, 2018. More than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 state Programs and the District of Columbia, along with the support of tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators, will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports.

While there were no selections from the BV/DC district to compete in this year’s games, Gabby and her teammates have all year long to show their stuff on the various fields and courts they’ll be practicing on and, who knows, they may just find themselves traveling to the games in 2020.

Would he sponsor a participating athlete’s trip to the Special Olympics games, should one be selected?

“Absolutely,” said Frith.  “I’d love that.”

Sac Choral Society

Holmes, Cougars Knock Off Cordova

Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-02-23

Del Campo coach Dave Nobis addresses his team late in the fourth quarter in what ended in a 71-65 victory over Cordova in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Division III Playoffs.

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - The Del Campo Cougars hosted the Cordova Lancers in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Boys Basketball Playoffs on Wednesday night. The 4th seeded Cougars entered the playoffs with a 19-8 record while the 13th seeded Lancers entered at 14-12. There was a good sized crowd on hand to support the teams that are separated by just eight miles – and they were not disappointed.

The Cougars jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before Cordova finally got on the board two minutes in after a steal and finish by senior point guard Calvin Augusta. Del Campo senior small forward Michael Holmes answered with his first bucket of the night but the Lancers responded with back to back threes, cutting the lead to 9-8. The Lancers’ gritty defensive intensity picked up, but their offense remained inconsistent despite grabbing the slim lead. Cordova led 13-12 after the opening quarter.

After being frustrated by the Lancers physical defense in first quarter, Del Campo’s Holmes opened the second up with a three-point play to get the home crowd going. But the Lancers’ Sam Danielyan nailed a big three in retaliation to retake the lead at 22-20. Neither team could gain much separation as the half ended at 30-27 in favor of Cordova.

The teams exchanged two baskets each out half time and both offenses appeared to be fired up. Holmes started being more aggressive for the Cougars after a quieter first half in which he only scored nine points. But Augusta’s fiery point guard play combined with some key three point shooting wouldn’t allow Del Campo to recapture the lead. Cordova was feeling confident as Danielyan nailed another deep three as the third quarter expired to take a 50-45 lead into the final quarter.

It was a lift off of the bench by Del Campo senior Marshaun Hunter that got the home crowd back into the game early in the fourth. Hunter was all over the offensive glass, giving the Cougars much needed second chance opportunities. But it was Holmes who took over down the stretch. He would turn it on and score 19 in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter to lead Del Campo back from what was looking to be a big upset in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin playoffs.

Defensively, the Cougars swarmed Augusta and finally found a way to keep him out of the paint. The Lancers offense couldn’t put anything else together as their three pointers dried up. Between the late offensive outburst from Holmes and big threes from guards Rory McGinnis and Jordan Bryant, the Cougars took the lead with just under three minutes to go and held on for the 71-65 win.

“I just kept playing,” Holmes said in regards to his tough start. Del Campo moves on to face the Patterson Tigers on Friday night but Holmes and the Cougars don’t care about the matchup because they know that regardless of their opponent they have to play much sharper basketball if they want to reach the ultimate goal of winning a championship.

As for the Lancers, their season comes to an end sooner than they had hoped. But at 14-13 overall, a winning season and a playoff appearance is still a bright spot for a young team that suited up five underclassmen and dealt with the absence of senior point guard Calvin Augusta due to a knee injury for the better part of the season.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017 was a day many of us will forever remember.

I was working on our property when an aide called to inform me that the integrity of the Oroville Dam Spillway was compromised that an estimated 30-foot wall of water was about to uncontrollably rush out of the spillway, and that Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea had called for a mandatory evacuation.

Knowing Sheriff Honea to be a measured person, I knew he would not call for such an order without strong evidence. He must have weighed all the factors in his thoughts and deliberation.

Immediately, I contacted him to offer my full support.

Soon thereafter, nearly 200,000 people of the North State, from Plumas Lake to Oroville, quickly loaded their treasured possessions and pets and evacuated via congested highways.

Despite heavy traffic, residents – no doubt fearing the unknown and dealing with anxiety – evacuated without chaos.

Law enforcement officials and volunteers directed citizens to where they needed to go. Hundreds of first responders assisted and transported those who were most vulnerable. Residents of neighboring regions opened their homes to displaced families.

In this time of high stress and unease, the citizens of our region held their heads high and acted admirably.

Over the next few days, Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and I visited residents at the evacuation centers. We talked and shared cookies and donuts with our friends and neighbors.

Between the visits, I called the Governor’s Office and the director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for status updates.

After this alarming incident, thousands of workers from Kiewit Corporation and its subsidiaries descended onto Oroville to make the necessary repairs to the spillway. Their hard work is greatly appreciated.

But there’s more to be done.

A year later, sediment and debris from the spillway disaster still clog the channels of the Feather River and are strewn along the riverbanks. This disregard for the environment forced Butte County, the City of Oroville and local jurisdictions to file lawsuits against the state. Penalties can be as high as $51 billion.

At the state level, I have held many meetings in my office to discuss repair and communication efforts with state officials and community members. My staff and I continue to work with Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency to get funding to shore up the levees.

Along with Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), the Oroville Strong Coalition, Assemblyman Gallagher and I travelled to Washington, DC to lobby federal officials. Our request to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delay the license renewal is pending.

This disaster has united our community. We are now stronger than ever.

On the one-year anniversary of the evacuation, community members and leaders, businesses, and public officials affected by the order gathered on the steps of the Capitol to commemorate the event and call for efforts to prevent any similar disaster in the future.

In the coming year, we will continue to encourage the Governor to sign Assembly Bill 1270 (Gallagher), a measure to require more thorough dam inspections which I shepherded in the Senate.

I will continue my efforts to push for $100 million in state funding for flood control efforts and to clean up the Feather River system.

It is also my goal to have DWR include our community in their decision making process. We want a seat at the table when DWR decides to either send more water to Los Angeles or hold back water, among the other decisions they make.  

That’s why I authored Senate Bill 955. This measure would create a citizens advisory commission for Oroville Dam and the Feather River system. This commission would allow for participation by the residents who are directly affected by the dam’s operations and strategic plans.

With the strength and support of the community, I am optimistic that we will achieve these goals for the safety of our people and the prosperity of our local economy.


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Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at senator.nielsen@senate.ca.gov. Follow him on Twitter.

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February Fair Oaks Luncheon Welcomes New Members, Discusses the Future

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-02-21

New Chamber members were welcomed by those who attended February’s luncheon. Left to right: Liz Yoakum of Keller Williams - New Member Ambassador, Nathan Guzman of the Prancing Poodle, Kristina Kuprienko DMD of Fair Oaks Dentist, Pat Mills of Studio Tupos and Phil White of Fish Habit Outfitters. Photo courtesy of the Fair Oaks Chamber

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - The Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce held their February luncheon on Thursday, February 15 at the Fair Oaks Community Clubhouse. Members gathered to network and discuss the upcoming events around the community, including the 69th Annual Fair Oaks Fiesta, which is set to take place on Sunday, May 6, and the 25th annual Taste of Fair Oaks, which takes place on Friday, June 8.

New members were welcomed and each individual introduced themselves in front of the luncheon crowd, explaining what their business does and why they joined the Chamber. Executive Director Kimberley Pitillo also recognized the Fair Oaks Water District and Bob’s Cycle for being members of the Chamber for over 40 years.

The Chamber is currently accepting applications for both Miss Fair Oaks as well as the Jr. Honorary Mayor. Both applications must be submitted before the second Thursday in May to be considered. Visit www.fairoakschamber.com for more information. Fair Oaks Chamber monthly luncheons are held every third Thursday. Monthly Chamber mixers are held every second Wednesday.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - The Board of Supervisors on February 6th,  authorized the County Department of Human Assistance (DHA) to enter into an agreement with Wind Youth Services (WYS) for $380,000 for rehousing and supportive services for youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; and $160,000 to Sacramento Self Help Housing (SSHH) for navigation and rehousing services for unsheltered homeless populations in unincorporated areas of Sacramento County.  Services will run February through October 2018 and may be extended further. 

In July 2017, the Board approved funding for the implementation of four County homeless initiatives to improve the County’s response to homelessness in Sacramento County.  The initiatives provide for a range of services, including shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing services specialized for a variety of households: families, individuals, and those experiencing long-term homelessness. Currently those initiatives are all in various stages of implementation.

In September, the Board approved an additional $540,000 in funding to address service gaps in the homeless initiatives and to serve vulnerable subpopulations.​ ​DHA released a Request for Proposals seeking services for families, individuals, transitional aged youth, ages 18 to 24, and unsheltered homeless in unincorporated areas of the County. The County received five responses to the RFP. 

The evaluators determined that the Wind Youth Services program integrated a spectrum of services through a strong partnership among three youth service agencies working to not only support youth experiencing homelessness stabilize in housing and employment, but to help this population avoid homelessness altogether. 

Evaluators also determined Sacramento Self-Help Housing’s (SSHH) proposal addressed a gap in homeless services by expanding engagement and rehousing services for persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness in unincorporated areas of the County.  This program will involve a strong partnership with SSHH, neighborhood leaders, such as the Carmichael Homeless Assistance Resource Team, law enforcement and DHA staff. 

All of the selected programs will provide services that further the County’s objectives to fund services that promote permanent housing placement, residential stability, and increased skill level or income in order to prepare participants to live more independently. 

For more information on the state of homelessness in Sacramento County, visit the Responding to Homelessness website at http://www.saccounty.net/Homelessness/Pages/default.aspx


Source: Sacramento County Media

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Controlling the Chaos When Disaster Strikes

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-02-14

Paul Lynch oversees the Rocklin-based Switch Center for Verizon’s Emergency Response Team Unit, which provides onsite backup power and cellular communications networking centers during disasters and emergency situations for Northern California first responders.

Verizon's Emergency Response Center Has Connectivity Covered

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Likely, as you watched recent television or streaming images of emergency rescue operations following the devastating fires and subsequent mudslides in Southern California, for example, you gave little thought to how first-responders on the ground, in the air and elsewhere were keeping the lines of communication flowing as they scrambled into gear to save lives and prepare for recovery operations.

Behind the scenes, mobile carriers such as Verizon Wireless were doing some of the most critical work necessary in these types of situations: addressing cellular network failures, which are common in natural disasters.  Depending on the situation, this can include anything from establishing mobile satellite systems to sending drones into those places humans can’t go, including collapsed buildings, tunnels and unstable structures. 

Recently, officials overseeing Verizon’s Rocklin-based emergency services switch facility held a “Public Safety Day” event, offering some of its clients a tour of their Rocklin switch facility, once of several nationwide keeping an eye on their perspective, regional networking systems, as well as TV news coverage of any and all disasters or emergencies where first-responders are unable to get on the network.

Built in 2003, the facility’s sister location is based in Sunnyvale.  Roughly 30 people work at the Rocklin facility; however, there are more than 100 others centers set up across the country employing more than 46 teams comprised of roughly 160,000 people.

“We like to think of ourselves as ‘pre-responders,’” said Paul Lynch, who manages Verizon’s two Northern California facilities.  “We monitor situations going on all over the country and we have crews on the ground from the get-go to provide onsite support for first responders to make sure they are connected and talking to one another.”

The invite-only tours are offered monthly as a way to show emergency response teams from Cal Fire, police and sheriff’s departments, the Department of Fish Wildlife and others exactly how well-prepared and equipped the company is at providing them with on-demand connectivity during a natural or man-made disaster.

The team will mobilize portable networking call centers, mobile satellite stations and deployment of any one of the company’s veritable barnyard of “cool tools,” such as cells on wheels (COWs), cells on light trucks (COLTS), HVACs on roadside equipment (HORSEs), and generators on a trailer (GOATs).

The Rocklin switch facility tour included a walk through the engineer’s command center or NOC (Network Operations Center), where 24-hour “surveillance” of its networking operations run across wall-to-wall monitors, scrutinized around the clock by a team of six engineers, three on the day shift, three on at night. 

“We don’t highlight any of this,” said Lynch.  “We don’t grandstand what’s behind our network.  But it is important for our customers working in the emergency fields to have confidence in who they partner with and to see up close exactly what we can do and how quickly we can do it.”

Verizon’s Crisis Response Teams, in Rocklin and nationwide, conduct regularly scheduled drills and emergency tests to ensure that they are ready to roll when they are needed, including shutting down the battery rooms and switching over to generators. 

“We don’t want to be the last to know that we’ve got failure,” said Lynch.

Tim Kuka, who oversees the Rocklin facility’s Network Equipment Center (NET) located right next door to the switch facility, gave a tour of the state of the art building.  The tour offered visitors a sneak-peak at Verizon’s local 4-G networking nerve center, a mind-blowingly pristine space known as the Data Hall or “cloud room.”  The building was constructed in 2014 and contains an impressively intricate layout of data backup units and an equally mind-numbing amount of cable.

“If you would take all the conduit in this building alone and stretch it out, it would go all the way to San Francisco,” said Kuka.

First-responders to man-made emergencies also often require backup power and or connectivity support.  Case in point: Verizon’s switch teams worked closely with FBI officials during the mass shootings that occurred at a San Bernardino-based regional center in December of 2015, quickly mobilizing command centers, establishing private networking and satellite communications lines and serving to provide backup power and other services to all agencies aiding victims and overseeing the recovery efforts.

The switch facility and NEC tours culminated with a close-up demonstration of some of those cool tools, including Rocklin’s own RAD (Robotic Assistance Device), a four-wheel robot that looks like a scooter with a camera tower perched on its front end.

“She can go into dull, dark, dirty and dangerous places,” said Jim Larson a vendor with Robotic Assistance Devices, which partners with Verizon to provide the RAD.  “She can be manually operated or put on automatic to handle perimeter security during a disaster or emergency, taking pictures the whole time while emergency personnel are doing their jobs.”

Verizon’s 46 emergency networking teams across the country also are prepared and ready to help set up networking stations with water, food and other supplies, as well as connectivity support relief efforts, specifically by the Red Cross.  Its response teams also will provide first responders and others with handsets, dedicated mobile hotspot devices and private networks. 

“Everything we provide is free, except in cases where we have to set up satellites,” said Lynch.

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A Sweet Goodbye

By Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-02-14

Betty Cooper and Paul Tebbel (second and third from left) recently retired as executives for Carmichael’s Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Among goodbye gifts were paintings by artist David Peterson (left). The Nature Center’s new director (right) is Torey Byington.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Effie Yeaw Nature Center has bid farewell to two of its most senior staffers. Executives Paul Tebbel and Betty Cooper recently retired after long careers in natural history education.

Cooper (63) served the center for 23 years. When it lost county funding and settled under the wing of the American River Natural History Association in 2010, Cooper assumed a critical financial development role. “ARNHA took a giant leap of faith in taking us on,” she considered. “Continuing our operations required tripling their fundraising.  We all realized how much people loved this place. For more than 40 years, it’s provided education and tranquil space where you really can connect with wildlife.”

Cooper’s greatest success was in partnership with the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. The two non-profits came up with an “Art Where Wild Things Are” gala. In nine years of sipping wine and auctioning art, the event has become the most glamorous night of the Carmichael calendar. “Compared to our more family-oriented programs, this gala is elegant,” explains its organizer.  “We sell out almost every year. It’s great to see well-known artists, philanthropists and elected officials in our beautiful preserve. Fine food, fine art and fine people blend delightfully.”

Paul Tebbel (63) joined the Effie Yeaw staff in 2011. The new executive director’s biggest challenge was managing the transition of a County facility to a nonprofit. “We started from scratch in creating staffing and accounting systems,” he explains. “Most importantly, we had to rebuild public confidence. Many supporters thought we would close.  Our job was to convince them we were still in business. Thankfully, our members came back and provided the support that keeps us thriving. We would not have survived without hardworking ARNHA volunteers and our staff. Betty Cooper has been a fantastic co-leader. There’s nothing she can’t do.”

The retirees’ roles will be taken over Torey Byington, who previously directed a nature facility in Wayland, Michigan. Both Cooper and Tebbel plan to volunteer for future Nature Center projects. “Effie Yeaw and its programs are a great mission,” said Cooper. “The staff and volunteers are like family. That’s not something you can walk away from.”

Learn about the Nature center’s educational programs at www.sacnaturecenter.net

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Non-Profit Wildlife Event Coming to McClellan Park

By Rick Reed  |  2018-02-14

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Help the volunteer heroes of nature at the non-profit Wildlife Care Association of Sacramento and give small animals and birds brought to them injured, orphaned and displaced across our region that second chance by participating in the annual Nuts & Berries Fundraiser.

The event will be a raffle for more than $10,000 in prizes. The Nuts & Berries event will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018 from 12pm-3pm at McClellan Conference Center located at 5411 Luce Blvd, McClellan, CA 95652.  The festivities will begin at 12 pm when Wild Things Inc. will hold several presentations with exotic animals such as a Capuchin Monkey, an African Crested Porcupine, and a Crocodile.  This will be a casual event which will include door prizes and refreshments.  

The event is open to the public, $5.00 at the door, admission is included with raffle ticket purchase. In addition, we will live stream the raffle draw, so you can watch to see if you won, even if you can’t make the event. The raffle draw will begin at 2 pm and will be live streamed on Facebook @wildlifecareassociation.

These regional volunteers in wildlife rehabilitation need your support to help thousands of small birds and animals recover to return to the environment.  The Wildlife Care Association depends on your donation of time and money to save them.

Visit www.wildlifecareassociation.com to learn more about Nuts & Berries tickets. $75.00 each or two for $140.00.

If you’ve found injured wildlife call 916-965-WILD. Wildlife Care Association of Sacramento serves the public 10am-6pm seven days a week year-round at 5211 Patrol Rd. McClellan Park.

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Best of Fair Oaks 2017

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-02-13

Todd Colston, (at right) is congratulated by Rich Peters, Editor at MPG. Todd is the owner of Velocity Pizza, which won the awards for “Best Restaurant,” “Best Pizza” and “Top Vote Getter.”

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Northridge Country Club hosted the Chamber of Commerce’s “Best of Fair Oaks” awards ceremony on Thursday, January 25. The room was filled with community members and business owners, all coming together for a great evening to acknowledge and thank those who make Fair Oaks and the surrounding areas so great.

Velocity Pizza was the big winner of the night, taking home the honors of “Best Restaurant” and “Best Pizza” as well as being the top vote getter of the year. They were also nominated for “Best Brew Pub” but fell just short to Fair Oaks Brew Pub.

The Chicken Festival won for the “Best Event of the Year” with the Taste of Fair Oaks, Christmas in the Village and Fair Oaks Fiesta being nominated as well.

Fair Oaks Recreation & Park edged out Movies in the Park and Fair Oaks Theatre Festival for “Best Recreation & Entertainment” while the Rotary Club of Fair Oaks took home “Best Service Clubs” over FO Youth Advisory Board and the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce.

Fair Oaks Coffee House was awarded the all-important “Best Coffee” award over Dutch Bros, Peet’s Coffee Safeway, Starbucks -  Madison, Java Johnny’s and Dot’s Javita Café.

The award for “Best Home Business” went to Dot Boyd and Javita Coffee, edging out Diana Cralle’s Tupperware, Mysti Lingenfelter’s doTerra Essential Oils and Roselyn Barbray’s Optavia.

All votes were chosen by the people of Fair Oaks, members of the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce and readers of the American River Messenger newspaper. Votes were tabulated through the BestofFairOaks.com throughout 2017.

To see all of the 2017 winners go to http://www.fairoakschamber.com/best-of-fair-oaks.html

Thanks to everyone for coming out and making the night a great success. We hope to see you and your business at next year’s ceremony. To become a chamber member, go to fairoakschamber.com and register today.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Exactly one year ago today, hundreds of thousands of North Sacramento Valley residents were forced to evacuate their homes as the result of the spillway failures at the Oroville Dam.  Today, on the one year anniversary of this mass evacuation, the legislature passed Assemblyman Gallagher’s (R-Yuba City) dam safety legislation, AB 1270.

On February 7th, after releasing water from series of heavy storms, the spillway at Oroville dam collapsed.  Authorities were forced to use the untested emergency spillway, which also eroded, forcing the evacuation of almost 200,000 people.  Had the emergency spillway broken, a three-story wall of water would have come down the Feather River, causing unimaginable destruction to communities downstream. 

“The Oroville disaster jeopardized lives, property, and California’s water supply and conveyance system.  The silver lining is that the crisis highlighted that we must do more to ensure we are taking care of vital infrastructure, like the levees and dams that protect our communities.  AB 1270 will help us do this by ensuring that California leads national and global efforts to update and modernize dam safety requirements,” said Gallagher.

AB 1270 will require the Department of Water resources to work with independent dam safety and risk management organizations to update dam safety protocols.  These protocols must include things identified the by the forensic team as contributing to the spillway failure, like the review of the original design and construction of dams and auxiliary structures like spillways. 

“Most of our dams are over fifty years old, and many are considered high-risk.  We must do the necessary work to identify deficiencies and correct them,” added Senator Nielsen, a co-author of the bill.

AB 1270 now heads to the Governor’s desk where, if signed, it would take effect immediately.

For more information on Assemblyman Gallagher, and to track legislation visit www.assembly.ca.gov/Gallagher

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