Foster Youth to Shine at Philanthropy Luncheon

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-10-28

Local foster youth walk the runway in last year’s United Way Women in Philanthropy Luncheon fashion show. --Photo courtesy United Way

Local residents can help foster youth at United Way’s 15th Annual Women in Philanthropy Luncheon from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J Street, Sacramento. The event, sponsored by AT&T, will include a fashion show, gourmet lunch, presentations by local foster youth and an announcement about the future of the group. Tickets are $75-$125 and can be purchased at

“We have an entertaining and heartfelt program planned for this year including stories from foster youth, successes from the program, a fashion show and a big announcement about Women in Philanthropy’s exciting future,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This is an amazing opportunity for local foster youth to sit side by side with some of the region’s most powerful women and community members who care deeply about their future.”

United Way’s Women in Philanthropy brings local women together to end poverty for local foster youth by helping them become financially prepared for life after foster care. This focus is part of the Square One Project, United Way’s 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across the region, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones to prepare for success in college. To learn more about United Way’s Women in Philanthropy, visit

Taking Back a Promise to Our Vets

Source: Office of Senator Nielsen  |  2016-10-28

Senator Nielsen on Forced Repayment by Vets

Chair of the California State Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), telephoned the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), and members of the California Congressional Delegation to urge them to take action to end the aggressive collections of enlistment bonuses that were granted to California Army National Guard Members.

The Army provided these bonuses to our Guard Soldiers as an incentive to reenlist and redeploy into combat zones. Senator Nielsen issued the following statement:

“Our service men and women who made the extraordinary commitment to extend their active duty deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan did so with honor.

“This action by the federal government is outrageous and must be corrected immediately, as numerous veterans have been devastated financially by these collection actions.

“This is a betrayal of our Soldiers. I am confident that Chairman Thornberry and members of Congress will right this wrong.

“In the coming days, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), Chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, and I will work together on a bipartisan, bicameral communication to the Congress to resolve this problem.”

Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba.

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Special Report on ‘Body Art Ink’ at Work

Source: Pacific Staffing  |  2016-10-27

Generational change is often expressed in how styles affect people as fads come and go.  How your appearance affects a career may not be front of mind, but first impressions are important in work. Employment often means change to meet company or corporate culture your career path requires. While clothing or hair styles are easy to change ‘body art’ like full sleeve, facial tattoos, piercing and ear gauging are more permanent. When asked ‘Is visible body art a positive or a negative in applicants?’ Sacramento’s top regional firms shared their opinions on this fad. Just ten percent (10%) felt body art was a positive in job applicants. The majority, sixty-five percent (65%) say body art is a negative!

Some didn’t answer, and over twenty percent (20%) also say that hiring applicants with body art might depend ‘on the job and the person’. When asked specifically, fifty-six percent (56%) say full sleeve tattoos were acceptable, but most placed them in field or non-public contact jobs, or required they be covered. Sixty-two percent (62%) polled say facial tattoos and ear gauging were unacceptable.

In anecdotal comments hiring professionals polled by Pacific Staffing say ‘covering it’, ‘extreme content’, specific safety and sanitary issues would also be factors. Contacted directly by phone between August 19 and September 22 some report having no formal policy regarding body art at work. However, those surveyed also were unanimous in declaring violent, gang-related images and other extreme tattoos, facial piercings or ear stretching/gauging as inappropriate for the workplace.

While four percent (4%) of Construction/Property Development companies plan to reduce workforce in October, November and December, primarily for seasonal change, sixty-seven percent (67%) of Sacramento’s top firms are hiring through the end of the year. Every Retail firm polled is hiring!

Workforce expansion continues in the fourth quarter and hiring motivated by attrition forty-seven percent (47%) of regional demand. Fourteen percent (14%) also say seasonal needs are part of their hiring motivation.

High demand for sales crosses all industry sectors with customer service, IT, RN’s, Class A drivers, accounting/finance, general office and cooks also sought by regional employers.

Pacific Staffing discovered wages, retention and qualified applicants as concerns of regional employers. Some also say benefit enrollments, minimum wage changes and specific skills are challenges in the last quarter of 2016.

Report by Pacific Staffing.  For more information, employment blogs & market surveys go to

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Farming Without Getting Dirty

By Alona Thomas  |  2016-10-27

The farm container. 
--Photo by Alona Thomas

F. Scott Fitzgerald is quoted, “I care not who hoes the lettuce of my country if I can eat salad!” There’s not much dirt and no hoeing at Rainsville Farms and the salad greens are the best. As a bit of a lettuce snob – it needs to be fresh, crisp & very clean. This farm delivers on all the above and is located on a cement slab.

Fred Chevaz, a Data Service Manager, retired after 33 years from VSP Vision Care. He wanted out of the corporate world and was looking for a place for his energies and his expertise. After researching franchises that did not give him the control he desired, he returned to his family roots in farming. His grandfather was a lifelong farmer in Rainsville, New Mexico raising his family of nine children. Fred always had a backyard garden and loved giving his crops to neighbors, colleagues and friends. His research led him to Freight Farms in Boston that provides completely outfitted containers for hydroponic farming. This company founded in 2010 “manufactures high volume crop production units made from up-cycled freight containers”. The vision is to provide a perfect environment in a small footprint 365 days a year regardless of climate.

The 40’ refrigerated container comes complete with all the tools to farm. There is not a hoe or shovel in sight, but there is Bluetooth capability, instruments that measure the nutrients in the water, a system that controls the water, LED lights and a great big panel that probably takes an IT person to manage. The container was shipped from Boston and is now parked off of Douglas Rd. in Rancho Cordova. Inside red and blue lights are on at appropriate times which allow the best growth for the lettuce. Fred spends about 10 hours a week on his farm and is able to manage it daily from his home.

He begins with pelleted seeds that almost have 100% germination. There are six varieties of Butter lettuce including Red Cross, Selanova, Green, Red, Green Oak leaf and Alkindus. Fred also has Basil and Mini Romaine. The seeds once sprouted are transferred to towers hanging vertically in the controlled air temperature of 62 degrees. The system uses 300 gallons of water a month as it recycles through the towers. A quarter of the farm is harvested each week and so there is a constant rotation of crops.

This enterprise only began in July of this year. Chefs love having access to fresh micro greens that are delivered within in a few miles of the farm. Marriot and Claim Stake Brewery have already signed on. This is a family company with his son providing graphic design and web management. His 10-year-old twins help him plant the seeds. His farm is the only the second in the state after Google. He is planning on adding two more containers as we all become more conscious of where our food comes from.

Alona’s hobby is food and all the fun that it brings. Email

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Senator Gaines Rips California’s Business Climate On Verizon Closure

Source: Office of Senator Gaines  |  2016-10-20

Senator Ted Gaines issued the following statement on the closure of the Verizon customer service center in Rancho Cordova and the 1,000 jobs lost as a result of that closure:

“Who can be surprised by this? California is doing everything it can to drive businesses out of the state. Sky-high workers’ compensation costs, painful energy costs driven by unchecked environmentalism, and now a minimum wage shooting up by 50-percent in the next few years, it’s little wonder that Verizon is packing up.

“A study this year showed 9,000 California businesses had relocated or expanded out of state recently. Sacramento recently lost Campbell’s, Waste Connections, and now Verizon. Those are more than statistics and stories; each one is a tragedy for families who are paying the price for California’s anti-business policies.

“Just today, Silicon Valley legend Hewlett Packard announced that it would be laying off 4,000 employees. How legislators can push for the expensive and useless high speed rail or keep pushing for ever higher taxes while workers are being pink-slipped by the thousands is amazing to me and needs to stop. Lower taxes and smarter regulations would show businesses that California is not a place to leave, but a place to grow and invest. I’d rather see that than Verizon’s tail lights.”

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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#Rethink Your Yard This Fall With a Visit to Antelope Gardens

Source: Original Communications  |  2016-10-20

Experts say that planting in the fall gives your plants a great opportunity to set down some roots, get well established, and helps you conserve water.

Plants require less water in the fall because the days are cooler and soil stays wet longer than it does during the warmer days of spring and summer.

And there’s no better way to get started on rethinking your yard than by visiting Antelope Gardens for plant ideas and irrigation systems to install.

The two-acre Antelope Gardens contains hundreds of species, of plants—both California native and low-water non-native plants—including Aleppo Pine, Autumn Sage, Blue Grama grass, Butterfly Bush and California White Sage.

The garden is located at 7800 Antelope North Road and is open until the end of October, Monday- Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and the second Saturday of each month from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Learn more about Antelope Gardens at

What is River-Friendly Landscaping?

River-Friendly Landscaping is a way to have a beautiful yard that also benefits the Sacramento region. It’s an integrated approach to landscape design that focuses on conserving and protecting natural resources, and encompasses seven basic principles:

  • Landscaping Locally: Using plants that are native to Sacramento and therefore require less water, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Landscape for Less to Landfill: Using grass clippings and plant debris as mulch, and reusing building materials for landscape features.
  • Nurturing the Soil: Adding compost and mulch to have a healthier soil for your plants in which to grow.
  • Conserving Water: Designing a landscape that features native and low-water use plants and minimizes the amount of turf grass.
  • Creating A Wildlife Habitat: Using native plants to provide food for birds and beneficial insect species.
  • Reducing Energy Use: Planting trees to shade your home and air conditioner reducing the amount of energy needed to cool it.
  • Protecting Air & Water Quality: Reducing the use of fertilizer and pesticides, and keeping them out of the air and waterways.

You can find out more about River-Friendly Landscaping by visiting

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100,000 “Gently Used” Books Available

Submitted by Friends of Sacramento Public Library  |  2016-10-20

An ever-changing inventory of more than 100,000 “gently used” books, videos, and audio books will be offered for prices from fifty cents to $2 at the Saturday November 5 sale at the warehouse of the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library.

Sale hours on Saturday, November 5th, will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a preview and sale on Friday November 4 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for Friends members only.

(You can join at the door for $20).

The warehouse is at the rear of the Friends’ store at Suite E, 8250 Belvedere Avenue, just south of 14th Ave. between Power Inn Rd. and Florin-Perkins Rd.

Plenty of parking is available, but visitors should be careful not to park between the “No Parking” signs on the south side of Belvedere.

Income from the sale helps pay for programs, equipment, and materials local libraries need but can’t afford.

With more books constantly needed, the Friends will be glad to have yours, too. See a staff member on how to donate.

The book store is open weekly on Thursdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as during the sale. Items there are priced from $1 up. For more information, call (916) 731-8493 or go to

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Dr. Johnson Chosen to Head National Plastic Surgery Association

Source: Steve LaRosa Media  |  2016-10-20

Among her duties, Johnson will serve as leader of the 12-member physician executive committee, which sets policy for ASPS, and will also be the chief spokesperson dealing with media and regulatory agencies.

Sacramento plastic surgeon, Dr. Debra J. Johnson of The Plastic Surgery Center has begun her tenure as President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Johnson is only the second female physician to be chosen president of ASPS, which was founded in 1931.

Among her duties, Johnson will serve as leader of the 12-member physician executive committee, which sets policy for ASPS, and will also be the chief spokesperson dealing with media and regulatory agencies. Her position will require extensive travel, representing ASPS within the United States and at various international plastic surgical meetings.

“It is an honor to serve as president of the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Plastic surgery is known for its creativity and innovation: from surgery on children for birth defects, to face and hand transplants, to fine cosmetic surgery. ASPS is a trusted resource regarding patient education and surgical safety and we strive to keep our members up-to-date on the latest procedures” said Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson became involved as a member of ASPS in 1991, and soon volunteered to serve on committees within the organization. Her strong volunteerism and performance were rewarded as she served as committee chair, and then member of the Board of Directors. She was elected Vice president 4 years ago, and served as president- elect this year. Johnson will take over the reins from David Song MD, professor and chief of plastic surgery at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Johnson joined The Plastic Surgery Center in 1989 as the first female plastic surgeon in Sacramento. She received both her M.D. degree and her plastic surgery training at Stanford University. She took additional training at Clinica Planas in Barcelona, and the Institut Francais de la Main in Paris.

ASPS has over 8000 members, represents 95% of all board- certified plastic surgeons in the United States and is committed to patient safety and education.

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Water Conservation Drops Below 18 Percent

Source: State Water Resources Board  |  2016-10-14

Many communities who certified that they didn’t need to conserve are still conserving up a storm, while others have slipped.

The State Water Resources Control Board recently announced that urban Californians’ monthly water conservation declined to 17.7 percent in August, down from 27 percent savings in August 2015, raising concerns that some water suppliers are abandoning their focus on conservation as California heads into a possible sixth drought year.

Californians continue to conserve water in significant amounts even in the absence of state-mandated conservation targets. The cumulative average savings from June 2015 through August 2016 was 23.3 percent, compared with the same months in 2013.  Since June 2015, two million acre-feet of water has been saved — enough water to supply 10 million people, more than one-quarter the state’s 38 million population, for a year.

Water conservation has dropped steeply among some local water suppliers. These declines highlight the need for continued education and dialogue with customers on the importance of conserving and using water as efficiently as possible. As the State Water Board continues to monitor conservation levels, a return to state-mandated conservation may be necessary beginning next year.

“The statewide August conservation results raise questions, and we are examining the data to understand why some areas slipped more than others,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “Are we seeing relaxation of conservation messaging and programs, or are we seeing abandonment of programs?  One may be appropriate, the other is not.  It’s a mixed picture.  Many communities who certified that they didn’t ‘need’ to conserve are still conserving up a storm, while others have slipped more than seems prudent.”

Conservation levels have remained significant for many communities that had certified that they did not need top down mandates to keep conserving.

While some local water suppliers may have relaxed water use restrictions from those that were in place last summer, most agencies have kept up locally mandated restrictions and targets, which is appropriate and which the state strongly encourages.  Regardless of a supplier’s individual conservation requirement, the statewide prohibitions on specific wasteful practices such as fountains without recirculating pumps, or irrigation of turf in street medians, remain in place.

“Percentages alone tell only part of the story, because a 15 percent reduction by someone using under 100 gallons per person a day can be more challenging than a 30 percent reduction by someone using 250 or 300 gallons a day,” Marcus said.  “That’s true of agencies and it is true for individuals.  In particular, we urge suppliers where conservation levels have dropped steeply to reach out to high use customers to find ways to conserve, and to join their community’s conservation efforts.  The legislature’s passage and Governor’s signing of SB 814 will help water suppliers send monetary signals to their highest users about the need to keep conserving while the drought continues. Most important, it sends a signal that all Californians are in this together and that fairness includes those who use the most doing their part along with the rest of us.”

SB 814 (Hill) requires urban water suppliers to establish financial penalties for excess water use during droughts. Suppliers can either create excess-use ordinances with defined penalty amounts, or they can adopt rate structures that charge their highest users more during drought emergencies.

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Tada! Students Soon to Get Trained Dance and Theatre Teachers

Source: CA Alliance for Arts Education  |  2016-10-14

TADA! made it through both houses of the legislature, buoyed by the support of the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California Dance Education Association and California Educational Theatre Association. This effort picked up many vocal allies along the way, including actress Annette Bening (shown above), who testified on behalf of the bill in the Senate Education Committee.

California students, living in the arts and entertainment capital of the country, will now be provided education by credentialed Theatre and Dance educators. The Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!), authored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) and supported by a coalition of advocates led by the California Alliance for Arts Education, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown today.

“Up until now, dance teachers had to get a PE credential to teach dance in California,” says Jessy Kronenberg, Co-President of California Dance Education Association. “PE dance is beneficial for coordination and team-building, but dance as art fosters the 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.”

Twice before, legislative efforts to create these credentials were vetoed by the governor at that time.

“This is an issue that has burned in the hearts and minds of arts education advocates since 1970, when dance and theatre credentials were eliminated by the Ryan Act” says California Alliance for Arts Education Executive Director, Joe Landon. “Over a thousand advocates responded to our action alerts and sent messages of support to their elected officials in Sacramento”

But, TADA! made it through both houses of the legislature without a single negative vote, buoyed by the support of the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California Dance Education Association and California Educational Theatre Association. This effort picked up many vocal allies along the way, including actress Annette Bening, who testified on behalf of the bill in the Senate Education Committee.

“I think it’s the right thing; it serves students, it dignifies our teachers, and it will uplift our community,” said Ms. Bening.

 “California is the arts and entertainment capital of the world, yet we are one of only two states in the country that does not authorize teaching credentials in theatre or dance,” Allen said.  “I am so pleased that we have finally elevated these two important disciplines to the stature they deserve,” he added.

“The next generation of theatre and dance teachers will be the proud bearers of theatre and dance credentials ensuring that California pre-K-12 students are instructed with sound pedagogy in a standards-based curriculum.,” said CETA President Carol Hovey.

At the same time, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 2862 (O’Donnell) into law enabling California to finally update its Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) content standards incorporate new practices and technologies to arts curriculum, instruction, and instructional materials

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