Sutter’s Fort Presents “Hands on History: Catch Gold Fever” 

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack   |  2018-01-10

As an event highlight, Fort visitors are invited to spend the day enjoying hands-on activities such as gold panning. Photo courtesy Sutter

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - California State Parks, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) and Friends of Sutter’s Fort are proud to present an interactive and fun “Hands on History: Catch Gold Fever” event on Saturday, January 20, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Fort visitors will have the unique opportunity to step back in time and explore an era that changed California forever. The gold discovery at Coloma echoed around the world and triggered the largest migration in United States history. Thousands of immigrants gambled and came to early California to try to strike it rich. They left family behind, spent life savings, and borrowed money all in the pursuit of gold. Many miners bought one-way passage on ships bound for California, and abandoned ships clogged the port in San Francisco as miners and sailors took off for the hills. Miners stopped at Sutter’s Fort before they headed for the hills in their quest for gold, and the Fort was often the first place to which they returned for supplies and entertainment. Sadly, the dream of riches was not often the reality and many left the hills with only disappointment in their pockets.

As an event highlight, Fort visitors are invited to spend the day enjoying hands-on activities such as gold panning, parlor and card games (and other games of chance) and “Pioneer dress-up Station” activities where families dress as pioneers (perfect for picture-taking). In addition, there will be a display of guns and weapons from the Gold Rush era and demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon. 

In addition, Friends of Sutter's Fort will be sampling out popular gold rush nugget chocolates and featuring gold rush-related items for sale in the on-site Store so visitors can bring a bit of gold rush history home with them.

All “Hands on History” activities are included in the cost of admission. Sutter’s Fort SHP admission costs are as follows: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and free for children 5 and under. For more information, call 916-445-4422 or visit

The Friends of Sutter’s Fort is a nonprofit 501 c 3 organization dedicated to the enhancement, preservation and protection of Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, and educational and interpretive programs at the park. Friends of Sutter’s Fort is a Cooperating Association for California State Parks since 2006. Friends of Sutter’s Fort is the major funder of both restoration work and programs at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. Through the generosity of our donors, in the past 3 years alone, we have funded several major projects including the painting of the exterior walls, the restoration of the blacksmith shop and the painting of the interior walls (currently underway). In addition, we are proud to provide funding to support the educational programs at the park.  For more information, please visit

 Source: T-Rock Communications

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Alvarez Named NHCC Blue Jacket of the Year

By Kris Patterson, NHCC Public Affairs Officer  |  2018-01-10

Sacramento native, Navy Seaman Valery Maritza Alvarez, a general duty hospital corpsman, was named the 2017 Blue Jacket of the Year for Naval Health Clinic Charleston, located at Joint Base Charleston- Naval Weapons Station, in Goose Creek, South Carolina. (Navy photo by Joe Bullinger)

GOOSE CREEK, SC (MPG) -  A Sacramento native was recently named one of Naval Health Clinic Charleston’s top enlisted Sailors.

Navy Seaman Valery Maritza Alvarez, a 2013 graduate of Florin High School, was named the 2017 Bluejacket of the Year for NHCC, located at Joint Base Charleston - Naval Weapons Station, South Carolina, where she has been stationed since November 2015.

Alvarez, a general duty hospital corpsman, said she was ecstatic when she found out she had been selected for the coveted award.

"Being named Blue Jacket of the Year means that all my hard work has paid off,” Alvarez said. "Everything I partake in, I do it because I enjoy it. I don’t do anything for the recognition, but it is nice to know my efforts don’t go unnoticed.”

The Navy's Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 to recognize enlisted Sailors for their outstanding achievements, exemplary conduct and military bearing, as well as demonstrated initiative in job performance. Each year, NHCC selects one Bluejacket of the Year that represents what enlisted Sailors should strive to emulate.

NHCC Commanding Officer Capt. Dale Barrette said he is honored to have a Sailor such as Alvarez serving under his command.

“She’s a stellar Sailor, disciplined and always striving for success,” Barrette said.  “I’m proud of her accomplishments and wish her the best as she progresses in her career.”

NHCC Command Master Chief HMCM Anthony Petrone said he has been most impressed by Alvarez’s level of professionalism.

“Alvarez has demonstrated exceptional reliability, quality of work, initiative, and attention to detail,” Petrone said.  “Her constant drive to always improve makes her an exceptional person and an extraordinary member of the Navy.”

Alvarez provides medical support in NHCC’s largest department, Medical Homeport -- a team of physicians, nurses, medical assistants and support staff who provide patient-centered, comprehensive care and preventive medical services for service members, their family members and veterans. She also serves as an assistant command fitness leader, and as a member of the command’s color guard team, quick reaction force, multicultural committee, Corpsman Ball committee, and the command activities committee.

Alvarez had already completed two years of advanced education at Sacramento City College before joining the Navy in June 2015. She said she hopes to continue her education by earning a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and participating in the Navy’s Physical Therapy Technician Program at San Antonio, Texas.

Naval Health Clinic Charleston is located in the 188,000 square foot John G. Feder Joint Ambulatory Care Clinic located on the Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station, Goose Creek, South Carolina. NHCC provides a wide range of services including a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) certified Medical Home Port program for Family Practice, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine patients; dermatology; ophthalmology; ambulatory non-interventional cardiology; physical therapy; optometry; and a wide variety of wellness programs for more than 17,000 service members, family members and veterans, annually. For more information,

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Baby Basket Drive Raises Most Funds Ever

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2018-01-10

Ana Alvarado receives a baby basket from Sacramento Life Center, thanks to the group’s Baby Basket Drive held each December. Photo courtesy Sacramento Life Center

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Life Center’s fourth annual Baby Basket Drive for new moms raised the most funds of all four years, totaling $13,746, which will buy 275 baskets in 2018. The drive is held each December to kickstart the 500 baby baskets needed so that every Sacramento Life Center patient who gives birth in the coming year can receive a basket of needed items, including formula, diapers, newborn clothes, pacifiers and more.  Last year’s drive raised $8,470, which bought 170 baskets.

Donations will be accepted throughout 2018 and can be made online at by writing Baby Basket Drive in the message box on the donation page. Gifts can be made in any increment, but a donation of $50 buys one basket.

“We were thrilled at how many people stepped up to be a baby’s first Santa this holiday season by donating to our Baby Basket Drive,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Many of our patients come in scared that they might be pregnant, and it’s our job to provide them with a warm, caring support system and resources that will sustain them long after the baby comes. These baskets give new parents a boost of confidence along with much needed supplies.”

The Sacramento Life Center’s mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications

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The Sweet Sound of Success

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-01-05

“Being in an unincorporated area when people feel there is no one there to help them grow their business, we can fill that gap with education, assistance and networking and promotion.  I don’t’ know anywhere else where you can go for all of that for $125 a year.”  Linda Melody, executive director, Carmichael Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Paul Scholl

In 2009 the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce had just over 100 active members, attendance at events and networking luncheons was dismal and it was operating in the red.  In a last-ditch effort to keep the organization open, member Linda Melody was appointed to replace the outgoing executive director.  As the chamber approaches the celebration of its 70th anniversary, active membership has more than doubled since Melody’s arrival, participation is robust. Under Melody’s direction, the chamber also was instrumental in establishment of the Fair Oaks Avenue PBID, now called the Carmichael Improvement District or CID, which is looked to as a model by neighboring communities considering a PBID of their own.  Below, Melody discusses her strategy for reinvigorating the chamber and where it’s headed next.

Q: How did you land your position and what was the chamber’s status at the time?
A: I was already a member of the chamber through my prepaid legal services company.  I actually didn’t know anything about the chamber before I joined but I thought it would be a good way to get exposure.  Then a number of months later the president of the board at the time resigned and the vice president took over.  She contacted me to ask if I would join the board.  About a month later the chamber was broke and my predecessor at the time came in to say her check had not cleared.  We had to pay her with the few renewal fees that had come in.  She left and I was asked to take over.”

Q: How many members were on the roster upon your arrival?
A: We had roughly 342 members on our roster, however, when I started calling and introducing myself as the new executive director, a good number of them laughed on the phone and told me they hadn’t been a member for two or three years.  No one was updating the roster.  When I culled the list down to active members, it was about 113.  Attendance at our monthly luncheons, which were not being held consistently, averaged about 12.  It was really bad.  They weren’t engaged. Then, it was announced that, by the end of that year, if we didn’t raise $4,000, we would have to close the doors.  I was shocked.  It was a really difficult time. 

Q: What was your strategy for keeping the Chamber’s doors open and its resurgence?
A: I would talk with other CEOs and EDs at other organizations and think ‘I am in way over my head.”’ But I knew the chamber needed to be resurrected, so I just started getting to know each one of our members personally.  Our mixers were hit and miss, if held at all, so no engagement there.  Then I really just began by reaching out to the business owners in the community one on one.  I talked to them about the value of the chamber and got to know who they were and what they were looking for. I also started to look at ways to raise more revenue through the addition of new fundraisers and events.”

Q: What new events and programs have you implemented?
A: There was already an installation dinner on the calendar, but I realized that no one really cared about it.  It was not a major event.  So in 2010 I launched the Person of the Year Awards and we folded it into the installation event.  That first year we honored then Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness and we made it a fundraiser. That event is now going to be in its ninth year.  It has really grown to include a full plate of honorees, including Nonprofit of the Year, to which we donate a portion of the event’s proceeds.  We also launched the member orientation breakfast, which is held each quarter.  This event is important because it’s our way of providing those touch points that you need bring members into the fold and keep them active.  It isn’t just about the ribbon cutting.  We also brought in 24 chamber sponsors, as well as some terrific and very supportive event sponsors.  We added quarterly power lunches, and also now partner with neighboring chambers for our multi-chamber mixer, which provides wonderful exposure for our members and an opportunity to meet with other chamber members from surrounding communities.

Q: What is your current membership?
A: We have 272 active members and I know every one of them. I have contact with them throughout the year. Our volunteers call every member to find out if they are coming to the luncheons and events.  It’s all about that personal touch.  Our monthly luncheons now have 100-plus in attendance and we have had dignitaries and officials from all over come and speak.  They are truly well attended and vibrant events now.

Q: Your chamber was instrumental in getting voters to approve the PBID.  Why push for that?
A: That’s right. We are the first chamber to ever orchestrate the beginning of a PBID and we have a seat on the board of the PBID.  We worked very hard and we were just rejoicing when we got the votes we needed.  We went out and we talked to people and said ‘Look, we are not an incorporated city and don’t have the tax base to address the issues of concern on our own.  We pushed to help businesses understand that the PBID would give them a voice and bring in revenue to strengthen their businesses.  Now, we have onsite security and street clean up in place, which is making a huge dent in the problems with blight and crime along the boulevard. We also have hired our administrator to oversee the distribution of funds and operations management. I know it was the right thing to do and now we are seeing the positive results from it.

Q: What’s on tap for 2018?
A: Beginning in January we will be expanding our board of directors from 11 to 14.  We just had our elections and all were approved and will be sworn in on Dec. 19.  We are moving our multi-chamber mixer to the fall because everyone’s calendar is so full in June.  As far as programs go, we are going to be putting a lot of emphasis on education for our members next year.  We want to bring in more speakers to our events who can talk about those issues that members want help with or need to learn more about to grow.  Of course on January 9, we celebrate our platinum anniversary.  The chamber will turn 70 and I’m excited to say I’ve scheduled our first speaker, Barry Broome who serves as the first President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council.  Economic development issues are very important here.  When I arrived, we had a 23% vacancy rate.  It is currently under 10 %.  Of course we want to see that number go to zero, but we are definitely moving in that direction.

Q: What is your message to those considering a membership?
A: My message is that the Carmichael Chamber is a very exciting, energized and growing chamber.  In 2016 and 2017 we were identified as the second-fastest growing chamber in the region.  Being in an unincorporated area when people feel there is no one there to help them grow their business, we can fill that gap with education, assistance and networking and promotion.  I don’t’ know anywhere else where you can go for all of that for $125 a year.

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Curling in Sacramento?

By Katie Feldman  |  2018-01-03

Wine Country Curling Club is dedicated to promoting the sport of curling in Northern California. Photos courtesy Wine County Curling Club.

Yes, and The Winter Olympics are almost here!

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The Winter Olympics are almost here and with that comes the crazy, quirky sport of CURLING. Curling is an ice sport that requires players to slide 42-pound stones over an ice sheet to a target at the other end, known as the house. Considered to be one of the most captivating sports, curling is popularly known as chess on ice and a hybrid of bowling and shuffleboard. Americans flocked to the sport with intrigue and fascination when the Winter Olympics were televised from Torino in 2006, Vancouver in 2010, and Sochi in 2014. The same will be true come February 8th when the Winter Olympics begin in South Korea.
Did you know that CURLING is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States?
Did you know that CURLING is one of the few sports that all ages and all abilities can do?
Did you know that CURLING is the only sport that will be shown DAILY during the upcoming Winter Olympics in February?
Wine Country Curling Club is dedicated to promoting the sport of curling in Northern California. They curl out of Skatetown Ice in Roseville and offer leagues, learn-to-curl programs, corporate events, tournaments, and adaptive curling (wheelchair curling, blind curling, deaf curling, stick curling, and Special Olympics curling). WCCC curls on Sunday mornings but also offers the occasional Saturday night event and they are one of 4 clubs in California. WCCC is a volunteer-run, 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is a member of USA Curling and the Mountain Pacific Curling Association (MoPac). They hold two tournaments each year which brings over 40 teams (including past Olympians) to the area to compete in a 3-day event.
“From hosting watch parties at local bars to holding as many learn-to-curl sessions that we can schedule through Skatetown Ice, we are doing everything in our power to let the Northern California community know that we are here,” said Wine Country Curling Club President Katie Feldman. WCCC has taught approximately 150 people to curl in just this year alone and they anticipate that number to double during the first half of 2018.
Wine Country Curling Club is available for live spots (or taped roll) which would be perfect for background video as the newscasters discuss the Winter Olympics results. They are also interested in offering curling demonstrations either on location (at Skatetown Ice or the Downtown Outdoor Ice Rink) as well as in-studio. WCCC can teach TV/radio/print personalities how to curl in less than 20 minutes, so that when they inevitably talk about it in February, they will know the basics of the sport.
For more information contact: Katie Feldman, (916) 849-9731
Check out

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Jamba Juice Opens in Carmichael

By Paul Scholl  |  2018-01-03

Ashley holds up my first order, my favourite, a large Peach perfection! Photo by Paul Scholl

Carmichael, CA (MPG) – Good things often come to those who wait, but I was really getting tired of waiting for Jamba Juice to open. It has been a couple of weeks now, but one of the latest foodie locations to come to the area is now open daily and ready to serve all those who love their juice to start the day.

This location was under construction for many months, held up by permitting and some other issues. Many people in the community were beginning to wonder if it was ever going to become a reality.

Jamba Juice offers a fundraising program for local organizations. It sounds like a good way to help raise funds for a good cause and to eat something really good for you. Stop by and ask the staff for more information.

The Carmichael location is in the same shopping center as Noah’s Bagels and the recently opened Wing Stop, right at the split of Fair Oaks Blvd. and Manzanita Ave. The official address is 7423 Fair Oaks Blvd.

When you stop by to visit tell them you are really glad they are now open and welcome them to the Carmichael community.

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Yep, Pot Goes Legit, Sort of

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-01-03

Because marijuana remains categorized as a controlled substance under federal law, the state has left it up to individual counties and cities to determine if they wanted in on the action or not, giving them a Dec. 31 deadline. MPG copyright image.

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - In many cities across California, Sacramento included, the cultivation and sale of recreational cannabis becomes legal Jan. 1, opening the flood gates for an industry widely expected to generate a gold mine for municipalities who have said “yes” to the legitimization of the pot business.

However, Sacramento County, as well as the cities of Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and Folsom, among others in Placer County and points across the map, each have stuck to their guns and have banned what they view as the coming of the wild west of commerce. 

Anticipating an uptick in violent crime, robberies, homelessness and headaches, coupled with a complicated process for management of the commercial side of the cannabis industry, these areas have echoed a resounding “NOT” to the cultivation of cannabis in their towns.  There are also too many questions, they say, about how to affectively assess pot farmers on their profits from what is currently a cash-and-carry industry, not to mention the offense of the smell from burning weed wafting over their neighborhoods.

So pot is legit as of Jan. 1, and yet it isn’t, depending on where you reside and how you intend to consume or even grow it. 

If you’re cloudy on the issues, there’s good reason for it.  The medicinal marijuana laws passed several years ago that ushered in the growth of the pot dispensary market made it legal for those with a “prescription” from their physicians to purchase limited amounts of pot.

Proposition 64, passed in November 2016, effectively made it possible for weed growers who are lucky enough to obtain licenses from the state to come out of the shadows and begin cashing in on the commercial recreational pot market, which is expected to generate roughly $1 billion for the state annually.  Tax proceeds on pot farmers’ bounties will, in part, support enforcement and oversight of the industry, among other programs. 

In addition, Prop. 64 allows for the personal cultivation of up to six living pot plants for non-medical purposes, provided they are grown inside a person's private residence or a green house, but not in a field or backyard, as many cultivators have been doing under the radar for years. 

So, where and when will it be legal to grow, sell or possess pot?  And are pot dispensaries legal or not? 

Because marijuana remains categorized as a controlled substance under federal law, the state has left it up to individual counties and cities to determine if they wanted in on the action or not, giving them a Dec. 31 deadline to say so, in order for the approval process for applications from prospective growers to begin Jan. 1. 

The City of Sacramento voted this fall to join the party and is currently cultivating its own guidelines for commercial growing and distribution.  Licensees will be taxed 4% of their proceeds, for starters.  Applications for conditional use permits are required and renewable annually.  Depending on the type of business you want to run, city fees for setting up a grow operation will run you anywhere between $9,000 and $15,000, and between $8,000 and $13,000 to renew the license each year.

But, since it’s a cash flow operation, there are many unanswered questions as to how growers will deposit and move earnings, just one of the headaches fueling the Rancho Cordova City Council’s “no” vote.

“We have been watching all the things the city of Sacramento is going through and we see it as just a headache we do not want to deal with,” said Vice Mayor Linda Budge following her council’s 3-2 vote against lifting the ban on commercial operations Dec. 4.

Sacramento currently has roughly three dozen pot dispensaries, again built out primarily after the medicinal pot laws went into effect, but there is a moratorium on approval of new applications for licenses.  Pot cultivation beyond the legal limit of six plants inside a residence, delivery services and pot dispensaries all remain illegal in Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and countywide.  

Proponents of Prop. 64 and the decriminalization of the marijuana industry site the stigma of pot and previous felony-level charges for minor offenses that, they say, often stood between offenders’ abilities to find a job or, in some cases, obtain approval for adequate housing.  

Opponents of the law, however, including city officials, law enforcement agencies and county prosecutors  have repeatedly pointed to what they see as a direct through-line between cannabis cultivation and pot dispensaries and serious crime, including murder, which they expect will continue, despite the changes in the law.

“I’ve been a prosecutor for 30 years, and as long as I’ve been involved with cases involving crimes related to marijuana, it has always been a very high-risk, dangerous activity,” said Robert Gold, assistant chief deputy district attorney.  “It is always going to be a dangerous activity whether legal or not, because so many of the growers are less sophisticated.  The bad guys are going to believe that they have a lot of product, a lot of money and probably guns.  And the other thing is, they won’t often report crimes against themselves, which makes them vulnerable victims.”

Gold also cautioned that it remains illegal, regardless of where you live, to carry more than an ounce of marijuana, but conceded the misdemeanor charges that now accompany most minor pot infractions, make it difficult to justify the costs of prosecuting such cases.

“The law certainly has resulted in changing the laws in favor of those who want to make this a business,” said Gold.  “Whether you grow 25 plants illegally or 250,000 plants, it’s a misdemeanor and 180 days in the county Jail.  So even for a convicted felon, it’s now like a speeding ticket.”


Sacramento Region:
The City of Sacramento: YES
Sacramento County: NO
Citrus Heights NO
Folsom: NO
Rancho Cordova: NO
Elk Grove: NO
Galt: NO

Placer County: NO
Roseville: NO
Rocklin: NO

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