Celebrate the 27th Annual Creek Week 2017

Source: Creek Week Media  |  2017-04-07

Be part of an area-wide volunteer effort to improve and enhance our urban waterways. --Photo courtesy Creekweek.net

The Sacramento Area Creeks Council invites you to participate in cleaning area creeks in conjunction with Creek Week 2017. The fun begins April 21st when Creek Week “splashes off” for a week of county-wide educational activities, creek tours, nature walks, and more!

The “Big Day” is on April 29th when volunteers remove tons of trash and invasive plants, as well as conduct water monitoring along area creeks. Then they celebrate their accomplishments later that day at Carmichael Park.

It may seem like a small act of community service, but these local activities have large-scale environmental impacts. Habitat restoration and litter removal improves wildlife habitat and helps filter pollutants before they reach the river.

Also important to note, keeping trash out of streets and waterways helps prevent flooding during rain storms by allowing storm water to flow through unobstructed storm drains and creeks.

Be part of an area-wide volunteer effort to improve and enhance our urban waterways. Trash and invasive plant removal and water quality testing all help support a healthy creek system.

The annual Creek Week event, now in its 27th year, raises awareness about sources of water pollution, and gives participants of all ages and abilities an opportunity to have a great time and feel great about protecting our environment.

Visit www.creekweek.net to learn more about how to volunteer and for activity locations and times.

Volunteers must register by Friday, April 28th at www.creekweek.net or call one of the numbers indicated on the web site. All volunteers must complete and sign a waiver form.

The Sacramento Area Creeks Council preserves, protects, restores and maintains the natural streams in our urban communities through education, advocacy, financial support and technical expertise. Our goal is to educate the general public on the aesthetic, recreational, educational, and ecological value of our urban creeks.

Connect on Facebook at #creekweek.sac

California’s Economic Output Outpaces Nation for Fourth Straight Year

By George Runner, State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-21

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).

San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.

One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.

George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.

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Gaines Launches Effort to Repeal Gas Tax

Source: The Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.

“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.

“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”

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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Captain Shawn Condit Named Firefighter Employee of the Year

Sac Metro Fire Special Release, By Deputy Chief Eric Bridge  |  2017-04-20

(L to R) Mark Creffield, executive director of the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, Captain Shawn Condit and Deputy Chief Eric Bridge

Captain Shawn Condit began his fire service career with American River Fire Department on August 4, 1990. In 2000, American River Fire District and Sacramento County Fire Protection District merged to become the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, also known as Metro Fire. Shawn is the Truck Captain at Fire Station 109 where he oversees a truck crew of three firefighters. Station 109 is located in the Carmichael community and is unique in that this is where the Hazardous Materials unit is housed. Captain Condit coordinates the Hazardous Materials program for our department.

Throughout his career, Captain Condit has demonstrated leadership on multiple levels. Aside from being an excellent company officer, he has been a leader in the Hazardous Materials Program. His tenure in the program provides the stability needed while offering training opportunities for his crew. Captain Condit and his crew willingly take on new employees and are often called upon by the training cadre to work with academies and probationary employees. When these new individuals spend time with his crew, they are provided with a positive experience and given information that will hopefully move them down the road through the process. In addition to all his regular responsibilities at the station, Captain Condit must maintain his Hazardous Materials certification, putting added responsibility upon himself.

In addition to his hard work at Metro Fire, Captain Condit serves as a Metro Director with the Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522 union. This is an elected position by his peers. Shawn has held a position within the Union for over 10 years. He is an acknowledged leader within the union, and over the last 10 years he has moved up the ranks, starting out as a shift representative and eventually moving into the elected position he currently holds. He continues to do an outstanding job of representing the union members of our organization.

As Metro Director, Captain Condit represents the membership in many different ways. During our last contract negotiation, Captain Condit demonstrated calm, consistent leadership during the negotiation and confirmation process, acting as the facilitator for these meetings. He allowed for spirited but respectful debate. During these meetings, he is often involved in matters that are sensitive in nature and does not violate confidence. It is this trustworthiness that makes him an excellent Union officer and, by extension, Company Officer.

As a Union leader he takes a positive role in a needed position. Often times, employees are referred to him by management. His ability to listen fully to their problems and then calmly and positively advise them on a course of action tends to benefit both the department and the member. He acts in the best traditions of Union leadership and through this process, the matter is often resolved at the lowest level.

To be a leader, particularly as a firefighter, your work ethic must be self-evident. Since an outstanding work ethic is common at Metro Fire it is difficult to point out where one employee’s efforts are better than another, however in the case of Captain Condit he stands out each and every day. Many excellent company officers come to work and do their assignments and perform admirably, but taking a leadership position in the Union and Haz Mat program shows that Captain Shawn Condit is willing to give of himself to this department and its members. He is well respected within the Department, the Union and his crew.

Fire Chief Todd Harms was honored to name Captain Shawn Condit as Metro Fire’s 2016 Suppression Employee of the Year.

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RT Financials Showing Positive Trend for Fiscal Year 2018

Source: Sacramento Regional Transit District Media  |  2017-04-20

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (Sac RT) has been relentlessly optimizing business practices over the past eight months to bring its financial house in order, and the positive results are very encouraging. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, Sac RT is trending below budget. This has allowed Sac RT to develop a budget for FY 2018 that is expected to be $1.6 million less than the prior year.

 Additionally, by working diligently over the past year with rating agencies, last week Sac RT received great news from Moody’s, a bond credit rating service, that upgraded Sac RT’s bond rating from “negative” watch to “stable” outlook, which will help Sac RT to issue future bonds at a much better interest rate for regional capital projects. The significant transformation that Sac RT has made in the last year, as well as strong political support and strong board governance, is building up RT’s long-term financial stability, which will continue to move Sac RT in a new direction.

Under the direction of Henry Li, General Manager/CEO, Sac RT committed to strengthening its finances while making the system more clean, safe and convenient for riders. Sac RT has identified innovative revenue sources, strengthened its finances and reduced expenses to fund maintenance and capital investments. By aggressively containing costs and pursuing revenue enhancement opportunities, Sac RT has secured more than $3 million in operating funding, which helped enhance customer services.

“At a time when many public agencies are increasing budgets, we have been able to reduce ours. We are figuring out innovative ways to do more with less.” said Henry Li, General Manager/CEO. “Our number one priority is the customer, and the ability to reduce the annual budget without cutting service or increasing fares is a huge victory from where Sac RT was a year ago.”

Based on these positive trends, Sac RT projects to add to its fund balance for the first time in three years, and build up an emergency cash reserve of $6 million (with a 2017 year-end goal of $9 to $10 million). This will go a long way towards reducing Sac RT’s reliance on its line of credit to pay bills, a goal set by the Board of Directors.

By building strong employee and labor relations, Sac RT has been able to identify ways to reduce the annual increases associated with salaries and benefits that continue to offer value to employees, at a sustainable cost. There will only be a small increase in spending in this category for FY 2018, which is expected to be $1.95 million, or 1.8 percent, a modest amount for an organization that provides over 1,000 jobs to the region.

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North Ridge Country Club Launches $3.5 Million Renovation Plan

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-20

Long-awaited plans for renovating one of the region’s oldest private country clubs is officially underway at North Ridge Country Club. The new course is expected to officially open in early 2018. 
-- Photo courtesy North Ridge Country Club

Long-awaited plans for renovating one of the region’s oldest private country clubs is officially underway at North Ridge Country Club, involving a $3.5 million overhaul that promises members and guests at the club alike a trail of new greens and bunkers on par with some of the finest courses in the world.

The club’s membership overwhelmingly approved the renovation plan and began the bid process for contracting roughly a year ago, ultimately selecting Palo Alto-based Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects (RTJ II) for the project, which is credited for development of more than 270 golf courses across 40 countries and six continents.  “We got it down to three finalists for the design of our new course, and then we took it down to one, and RTJ II won out,” said North Ridge General Manager, Rink Sanford.

During an April 6 groundbreaking for the project, Robert T. Bruce Charlton, president and chief design officer for RTJ II, said the course would be going from good to outstanding, likening the ultimate overhaul to a “My Fair Lady” transformation, Sanford said.

“I love the quote Robert gave at our ground-breaking,” said Sanford. “He said ‘I like to compare North Ridge Country Club to a classy older woman who is beautiful and graceful, but just in need of a new dress.’  To me, his description just perfectly crystalizes what North Ridge is all about and how beautiful she really is.”

RTJII founder Robert Trent Jones, who passed away in 1987, is known for cutting trail of legendary successes in the completion of some of the country’s most notable golf courses, beginning with a winning contract to design the Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta in collaboration with golf legend Bobby Jones, followed up by securing a commission to redesign the 11th and 16th holes at Augusta National Golf Club.

Coveted for its high-elevation and rolling terrain, North Ridge Country Club was founded in 1952 by architects William Francis Bell and his son, Billy Jr., renown for crafting elite courses at Rivera Country Club, Bel-Air Country Club and Torrey Pines, among others.

The 18-hole parkland golf course at North Ridge Country Club is spread across approximately 165 rolling green acres on Madison Avenue in Fair Oaks.  Although the club’s event center and adjacent buildings were renovated in 1997, the 63-year old course itself, says Sanford, will be getting its first upgrade, a much needed makeover to keep the facility competitive with other private clubs in the region and beyond.

“This is a fine course and we have good conditions, but what we are really doing now is modernizing and making an investment in our course to stay competitive in the private club market,” Sanford said.

North Ridge was designed incorporating an old push-up mound construction method, explained Sanford, which has, over time, created drainage issues for the course, spurred by deteriorating root structures, all of which have created challenges for players and rendered the course vulnerable to erosion.

“Our forefathers picked a phenomenal place to put in a course,” said Sanford.  “We are at the highest point in the area and we are blessed with a lot of rolling hills and terrain, but the old push-up method that was used to design the course originally needs to be addressed.”

Sampson said that the course’s natural elevation changes will allow RTJII to redesign the club’s greens and bunkers to take advantage of its hilly topography in ways “that were simply not possible many years ago,” adding construction of the new greens and bunkers will be achieved without disrupting mature trees that have called North Ridge home for decades.

“Today, players really want greens with solid drainage, and so what this will do for us is allow us to keep the mature trees and the rolling hills, but in and around the greens and bunkers we’ll be adding better drainage to bring the course in line with some of the most competitive, high-caliber golf courses anywhere in the world,” Sanford said.

Meanwhile, high-quality, temporary bentgrass sod greens are being created to offer members temporary greens to utilize during the construction process.

In addition to the cache of a world-class design firm capturing the bid for the renovations, the renovation project will also have a local touch.  RTJII’s Senior Project Architect, Mike Gorman was raised in Sacramento and is reported to have grown up playing the course.  “This is like home to us,” RTJII’s Charlton said.  “We travel all around the world, and having a project near our offices in Palo Alto, with Mike’s family still living in Sacramento, makes this extra special.”

The new course is expected to officially open in early 2018, Sanford said. While there are no increases on the horizon this year for membership fees, it is anticipated that fees will increase once the new course is fully operational.  The current annual membership fee for North Ridge is $6,500, however, due to the construction, which is expected to run through August, the club is offering a promotion of $4,500, which runs through June.

“The long-term hope is that once the new course is up and fully operational in early 2018, our membership price will go up, and that will be in keeping with what’s going on with other clubs and membership fees at private courses across the country,” Sanford said.

Membership at North Ridge, said Sanford, is currently at 463, near full capacity. To cover the costs of the project, members voted to each pay their share of the $3.5 million, for a total of roughly $8,000 or $60 a month each.

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Washburn to Play Softball at Saint Anselm

By Steven Shaff, Assistant AD, St. Francis High School  |  2017-04-20

Head Coach Kevin Warren said. “She is a great situational hitter who under-stands the game and is a student of the game.”

St. Francis senior Lauren Washburn has committed to play softball at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, fulfilling a lifetime dream to play in college.

“It took a lot,” said Washburn of her softball career. “I have been trying to do it (have a chance to play softball in college) since the seventh grade. To finally be able to say, I am going somewhere to play softball is achieving that goal.”

Washburn is a three-year letter winner in the St. Francis softball program. She is hitting .500 this season with 22 RBI with seven multi-hit games. She had a season-high four RBI in a win over Casa Roble earlier this season.

“She is a consistent hitter and puts the ball in the play,” said Head Coach Kevin Warren. “She is a great situational hitter who understands the game and is a student of the game.”

Washburn will join a program coached by Jill Gagnon, who is in her fourth season. She led the program to back-to-back 20-win seasons in her first two years and a berth in the NCAA Division II Championship in 2015. The Hawks upset third-seed Queens College in the first round. She has coached 10 all-conference selections in her tenure.

Washburn found her school by starting with her academic interests. She is going to study forensic science and minor in chemistry at Saint Anselm, a Catholic Benedictine school that plays in the Division II Northeast-10 Conference.

“Not many schools have the forensic major,” recalled Washburn about her academic search. “We googled it and a list of schools came up and I applied to them. It looked the most appealing and I started emailing the coach, starting the relationship and I went on a visit.”

Washburn was drawn to the campus. The school is located on a hilltop overlooking Manchester, N.H., within an hour of the seacoast, Boston, the White Mountains and New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.

“It is very pretty out in New Hampshire and there is a lot of snow,” said Washburn. “It was a really pretty campus and people were very nice and friendly.”

The snow presents challenges for a sport played outdoors in the spring and will provide a contrast to the sunny California weather Washburn is accustomed to in Sacramento.

“Right now the field is still covered in snow so they have been traveling a lot,” said Washburn. “I like to travel and they go to states like Florida and Massachusetts to play a lot.”

Entering the third week of league play, Washburn still has more than half her senior season left with the Troubadours. She hopes to make the most of it for her and her Troubie teammates.

“I want to keep being a team player and help St. Francis go somewhere (in the postseason),” said Washburn.

Washburn participated in the St. Francis Signing Day Celebration on April 12 at 9 a.m.

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Dementia Expert Speaks in Carmichael

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-20

Steffany Jamison, Marketing Director for Aegis Living of Carmichael (left) and Laura Wayman, author and dementia expert during a broadcast of The Dementia Whisperer radio program (right). 
-- Photos by Shelly Lembke

Aegis of Carmichael has brought Laura Wayman, nationally renowned author and dementia expert, to Carmichael. Wayman is the author of, A Loving Approach to Dementia Care, published by John Hopkins University Press. This Monday Wayman did a live broadcast of her radio show The Dementia Whisperer, from Aegis and will also be speaking at the community on Tuesday, April 25.

“I’m going to tell you a story,” said Wayman, in response to the question of how she began her current career. She then revealed a tale of young love and happily married life of a couple whose world and lives were devastated, and even lost as a result of dementia. Her parents.

After witnessing their struggles with the progressive disease, Wayman has devoted her life to education and outreach about dementia and Alzheimer’s. “Laura is a dedicated Gerontologist (A.A. degree in Gerontology, Social Services Designee Certification). She has presented keynote speeches, workshops, in-services, classes, trainings and seminars up and down the west coast on Dementia Care,” said Steffany Jamison, Marketing Director for Aegis Living of Carmichael.

Aegis engaged Wayman to speak to its staff on how to recognize the signs of dementia and utilize techniques to decrease the often stressful situations. Jamison said, “Aegis of Carmichael was fortunate to have Laura speak to our staff for an in-service training, and they were mesmerized and, without doubt, the most attentive ever, during an educational gathering.”

Jamison continued, “Her material will provide the opportunity for audience members to feel a full range of emotion, from tears to laughter, and comfortably relate to sometimes serious and disturbing information, leaving with a new sense of confidence, purpose and direction.”

As part of Aegis’ own outreach, they have asked Wayman to return April 25, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Her presentation is open to the public. The first 25 people to RSVP will receive a free copy of Wayman’s book, courtesy of Aegis. Light refreshments and complementary valet parking will be provided. To reserve seating, contact Aegis of Carmichael at (916)972-1313.

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Legislation to Fix Security Flaw in State’s Voter File Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Senator Nielsen  |  2017-04-20

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments unanimously voted to pass Senator Jim Nielsen’s measure to fix a security flaw the state’s voter file.

“Our democracy is an honor system based on trust,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “We must do everything we can to protect its integrity and keep the trust of the people. This measure will help ensure that trust.”

“I thank my colleagues on the committee for their support,” added Senator Nielsen.

Senate Bill 682, if passed, would prohibit the Department Motor Vehicles (DMV) from giving the Secretary of State electronic information needed to complete the voter registration affidavit for ineligible voters who hold special drivers’ licenses for noncitizens.

California’s current online voter registration system automatically allows the voter registration of anyone with a drivers’ license who self-certifies that they are eligible to vote – including individuals DMV knows to be ineligible because they were issued special noncitizen drivers’ licenses. These noncitizen drivers’ licenses do not establish voter eligibility, yet the online voter registration system only requires a drivers’ license number. As a result, undocumented residents may be unlawfully registered to vote.

There is no protocol for communication between the Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles to prevent these registrants from being approved under current law.

“Keeping the voter roll clean and up-to-date is a challenging task. This bill helps fill a gap in the security of the voter roll,” said Candace Grubbs, Butte County Elections Clerk-Recorder.

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@sen.ca.gov.

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Koobs Nature Area Ushers in Earth Day

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-19

The Koobs Nature Area is a community treasure: a 4.7-acre parcel of native trees and other plants that form diverse ecosystems for interaction that will soon be open to the public on one Saturday of each month. In celebration of Earth Day, the area will be open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, April 22.

Each of the open dates will feature a learning theme, with hands-on activities. In addition, there are hiking trails throughout the parcel, along a creek and three ponds enthusiasts can experience a riparian environment, bird sanctuary, butterfly gardens, and thirty markers which form self-guided tour.

The Nature Area and Earth Day event are sponsored in part by the nonprofit organization Kiwanis Club of Carmichael, the La Sierra H.S. Alumni, the Montessori Project, the Carmichael Organic Gardening Club, the Foothill and Del Campo Key Clubs, Carmichael Recreation and Park District and the Carmichael community.

Visitors to the free event can enjoy light refreshments an also learn about the United States Audubon Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Sierra Club, Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Scout Troop 55 and more. Self-guided tour booklets and binoculars for birding will be available for loan during the festivities. Dogs will not be permitted.

Koobs is located next to the La Sierra Community Center, at 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael. For more information contact Linda Jones at 916-944-2393 or visit www.carmichaelkiwanis.org.

April 22:   Earth Day

May 13:    Birds and birding

June 10:   Flowers and their parts

July 8:      Pond Critters

August 12:        Fairy Houses

September 9:    Acorns and oak trees

October 14:       Nature Fun

...Read More!