United Way Honors Young Rancho Cordova Leader

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2019-01-06

Creston Whiting-Casey of Rancho Cordova receives United Way’s Young Leaders Society Member of the Year Award from president and CEO Stephanie Bray and board chair Julie Quinn at a recognition event earlier this month. Photo courtesy Kristin Thébaud

Rancho Resident Named United Way's Young Leaders Society Member of the Year

SACRAMENTO – Creston Whiting-Casey of Rancho Cordova was named United Way California Capital Region’s Young Leaders Society Member of the Year earlier this month at a recognition event held at Antiquité Maison Privée in Midtown Sacramento. Whiting-Casey was one of four United Way donors and volunteers honored by the local nonprofit for their commitment to United Way’s Square One Project that is ensuring local students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond. 

Whiting-Casey, a principal clerk with the California State Assembly, joined United Way’s Young Leaders Society in 2016, where he now serves as chair of the Leadership Council. As chair, he works to expand United Way’s reach through partnership with other young professional groups and to deepen engagement with Young Leaders Society members. He also is active with the Sacramento Global Shapers, Sacramento Semester Internship Program Alumni Association, the Sacramento Junior Giants Program, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity for Sacramento State and Masonic Lodge Washington #20. 

Other honorees included Andrea Shipley of UPS who was named Women United Member of the Year, Carolyn Mullins who is retired from AT&T and received the Boje and Price Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, and SMUD which received the Cornerstone Award.

At the recognition event, United Way California Capital Region President and CEO Stephanie Bray told guests and honorees, “I know we have a bright year ahead as we continue to work together to make sure kids succeed in school and beyond. But it’s going to take all of us. I hope you will step up your commitment to the exciting work we are all doing together through the Square One Project. Please join us in making Sacramento the best place to live, work and play for everyone.”

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending generational poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation: www.yourlocalunitedway.org

Source: Thébaud Communications

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, CA – The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) is increasing light rail service on weekends starting Sunday, January 6, 2019.  Light rail service will increase from 30 minutes to 15 minutes during peak travel hours.

“By offering more frequent service on the weekends, people will be able to travel to their destinations as safely and quickly as possible,” said Henry Li, SacRT General Manager/CEO. “All of these historic improvements reduce barriers for people to ride public transit, and show SacRT’s commitment to our customers and the community.”

On Saturdays, the 15-minute service will operate from approximately 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Sundays and holidays, the 15-minute service will operate from approximately 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All other times on Saturdays and Sundays/holidays as well as service to Folsom stations, light rail frequency will be 30 minutes. Visit sacrt.com to view the schedules.

This service improvement is just one of many customer initiatives that SacRT has implemented over the last year. SacRT expanded service hours to Folsom light rail stations in June, lowered fares in October, brought back the 25 cent transfer ticket, and reduced the student monthly pass from $55 to $20.

Visit sacrt.com for more information on fares and schedules.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Golden State Water Company (Golden State Water) announced on January 2, 2018 a new optional service program with HomeServe USA (HomeServe) to provide its homeowner customers with the opportunity to purchase coverage for exterior water and sewer service lines as well as in-home plumbing. HomeServe will be mailing information to Golden State Water customers detailing the service plans designed to cover unanticipated costs and minimize inconvenience associated with piping system repairs. This program is optional, offered as a courtesy, and customers are under no obligation to make any purchases.

“Many homeowners are unaware that they are responsible for maintenance associated with the underground service line that connects their property to the water system, and they may not be prepared to cover repair costs if the service line is damaged,” said Robert Sprowls, President and CEO of Golden State Water. “As a courtesy to our valued customers, Golden State Water has selected HomeServe to offer optional coverage options that may help schedule and make repairs to their service lines. Customers are under no obligation, but HomeServe repair plans may provide peace of mind in the event that unexpected repairs are needed.”

Water (and sewer) lines from a home to the water provider’s meter are the responsibility of the property owner. Repairs to these pipes may not be covered by basic homeowners’ insurance. As a result, property owners may have difficulty coordinating and covering the cost for emergency repairs. HomeServe’s plans serve as a line of defense, ensuring that in the event of an unexpected repair the burden on homeowners is minimized or eliminated. The HomeServe repair process is seamless, and repairs are made by licensed and approved local contractors.

HomeServe coverage includes access to a 24/7/365 Repair Hotline as well as local, licensed, and insured contractors who provide timely repair services. Exterior Water Service Line Coverage will be available for $6.99 per month. HomeServe will also offer a combined Exterior Sewer and Septic Line Coverage for a total of $11.49 per month. An Interior Plumbing and Drainage plan to cover in-home plumbing is available for $16.99 per month. Golden State Water customers enrolling in the optional plans will have convenient payment options directly through HomeServe.

“Our service plans cover the cost of the repair and provide homeowners with reputable, local contractors who will do the best possible job,” said John Kitzie, CEO of HomeServe USA. “We’re thrilled to partner with Golden State Water and look forward to the opportunity to provide coverage to help homeowners should they be faced with a repair emergency.”

Golden State Water customers can visit www.homeserveusa.com or call 1-833-492-3884 for more information.

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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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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

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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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