Carmichael’s Oldest School Marks Centennial

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-05-18

Principal Brandei Smith (left) joins incoming Principal Marianne Williams during celebrations for Carmichael Elementary School’s 100th year. The educators hold a proclamation from Assemblyman Ken Cooley. School choir and cougar mascot joined festivities.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Carmichael’s oldest school has begun its 101st year. Carmichael Elementary (Sutter Avenue) opened its doors for Centenary celebrations last week. An estimated 600 past and present students -- and many former teachers -- attended family-style festivities.

The formal program included a performance of the school song. Borrowing melody from the US Army’s “Caisson Song,” the school’s previous Principal, Brandei Smith, authored its lyrics. The “Cougar Song,” declares:

“We are bright, we don’t fight -- we will always choose the right -- as the Cougars go rolling along (Rah! Rah!)…”

Oldest reunion participant was Jack Pefley, 94, a WW II veteran who trudged to school from his family’s Palm Drive farm during the 1920s. He and siblings began three generations of his clan to attend the institution. Youngest centenary attendees included 2018 kindergarten pupils.

Community founder and realtor Daniel Carmichael donated ten acres to establish the two-room Carmichael School in 1917. Hosting Farm Bureau dinners and church services during the Depression, the school also served as a community town hall.  Baby-boom years saw huge school graduating classes.  Administered by the San Juan Unified School District, Carmichael Elementary now has 400 pupils from kindergarten to Fifth Grade.

Though the 100-year milestone was reached last year, festivities were designed for the 2018 spring semester. Near neighbor since 1931, the Crossroads Church co-sponsored the event with hotdog dinners for all comers.  A history display included old yearbooks and vintage teachers’ clothing; a 1917 school bus recalled transport in founding years; a mock pirate ship catered for energetic attendees; a contest offered naming rights for the school mascot. After speeches and presentations, the program show-stopper starred kindergarten pupils singing and signing Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful Word.”

Among alumni staff, two contemporary school principals attended. Principal Brandei Smith master-minded the centennial but recently transferred to head Howe Avenue Elementary. Principal Marianne Williams takes the Carmichael Elementary job in August. Williams predicts high achievement for Carmichael charges. “I’m passionate that all students should receive an education that prepares them for college or for a career,” says Williams. “Carmichael has a long and rich history. I’m humbled by the opportunity to lead this school into its second century.”

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ACWA Presents Leadership Award to Carmichael Water District General Manager Steve Nugent

By Heather Engel  |  2018-05-18

Carmichael Water District General Manager Steve Nugent has been honored with the ACWA Leadership Award. Photo by Jose Lopez

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented its 2018 Excellence in Water Leadership Award to Carmichael Water District General Manager Steve Nugent for his leadership and commitment to collaborative regional integrated water management through the American River Pipeline Conveyance Project.

Working with Aerojet and the Golden State Water Company through an innovative public-private partnership, Nugent led the district in implementing the project, which recovers 10,000 acre feet of remediated groundwater annually for beneficial use within the region.

The American River Pipeline Conveyance Project not only ensures a clean water supply for neighboring Golden State Water Company customers, it also provides an additional water supply for Carmichael Water District to help guard against future droughts, and included extensive environmental restoration along the American River. The project has been recognized with awards from the American Water Resources Association and the Sacramento Environmental Commission.

“Steve has demonstrated remarkable leadership throughout his career but especially with regard to the American River Pipeline Conveyance Project,” said ACWA President Brent Hastey. “His commitment to collaborative integrated regional water management resulted in an important and highly successful regional water infrastructure project, and his innovative approach to public-private partnerships serves as a model for future efforts.”

The Excellence in Water Leadership Award – Building a World of Difference® recognizes individuals (and groups of individuals) who have made a remarkable and visible contribution to California water. The award, sponsored by Black & Veatch Corporation, was presented during ACWA’s 2018 Spring Conference & Exhibition in Sacramento where more than 1,300 local water officials are gathered through Friday for programs and panel discussions on a variety of key water issues.

For more information about ACWA’s awards programs, please visit

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Honoring "Queen Marie"

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-05-18

Congregation members honored long-time volunteer as their Queen for a Day during a Carmichael Presbyterian Church spring fundraiser.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Carmichael’s Marie Segur claims she was only ever gainfully employed for a few weeks of her long life. “I’ve been fully occupied as a mother and a volunteer ever since,” she says. Segur, 83, is one of that dwindling generation of women who married, raised children and spent every waking moment thereafter doing good work in the community.

During a recent spring luncheon fundraiser, fellow members of the Carmichael Presbyterian Church named their stalwart “Queen for a Day.”

Arriving in Carmichael in 1961, Kansas-born Segur and husband David found a second home in the Marconi Avenue congregation. Together they were active in many areas of church life. On the long road to becoming grandmother to 17 and great-grandmother to nine, Marie Segur served multiple terms as a church deacon and elder. She also works with other denominations and churches and, according to church deacon and elder Lisa Benadom, “Marie has touched many, many lives. I’ve learned that whenever there is a question in our church, the answer is: ‘Ask Marie.’ We all owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

The congregation’s Queen for a day spent the rest of her reign making announcements, awarding raffle prizes and tidying up after the fundraiser.

“I serve the Lord,” she explained. “And I’m blessed and grateful to serve my church in any way I can.”

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New Mental Health Program Targets Pre-teens

By Sac County News  |  2018-05-17

​​SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission has awarded Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services more than $2 million dollars in grant funding as part of Senate Bill (SB) 82 Investment in Mental Health Wellness Act third round crisis triage grant funds. ​

Sacramento is one of 11 counties to receive this third round grant funding aimed at increasing mental health services in schools for youth ages 11-14 years. 

“As we continue to build out our services continuum, we are including more services targeted at youth,” says Uma Zykofsky, Sacramento County Behavioral Health Director. 

This funding will allow Sacramento County to position three, two-person mental health service teams in three targeted middle school campuses within Sacramento County. Sacramento County’s Children and Youth Crisis Service Needs Assessment revealed gaps in the existing service continuum on school campuses for students, including a lack of awareness of mental health issues for children and crisis services. This program aims to​ close these identified gaps. 

The new program, Safe Zone Squad, will consist of a Youth Advocate Mental Health Worker and a Mental Health Counselor. Each team will have designated and consistent office hours to support walk-in crisis needs and to create a dependable presence. Each middle school campus will have a dedicated team so that students see the same team members throughout their days. The teams will work with students, faculty and parents to help demystify and destigmatize mental illness, provide education on managing escalating stress and learning how to identify and help someone who is distressed. 

"This grant is very important to Sacramento County. We are making great strides in creating a more complete responsive continuum of care for our community,” adds Zykofsky. “This grant helps bring education and behavioral health services together."

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The Canine Stars to Perform at the Sacramento County Fair!

Sacramento County Fair Release  |  2018-05-17

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - North America’s Premier Stunt Dog Show, The Canine Stars, is coming to the Sacramento County Fair for the very first time! Sponsored by Lasher’s Elk Grove Subaru, and free with Fair admission, guests will be able to watch a unique extreme sports production designed to excite and amaze pet-lovers from all walks of life.

This event highlights popular dog sports such as dock diving, freestyle frisbee disc, flyball racing, high jumping, and dog agility. Featuring multiple breeds and mixes of dogs who have been rescued or adopted from shelters, fairgoers will not be able to look away! “These dogs are true world-class champions. The Canine Stars are going bring such a fun and exciting energy to the Fair, and the fact that all of these dogs have been rescued or come from shelters really promotes a positive message to our community,” says Pamela Fyock, CEO of the Sacramento County Fair.

The Canine Stars are based out of Colorado and Wyoming, including trainers from coast to coast in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. From South America to Alaska, these world-class pups and their attentive trainers have been entertaining crowds across the map for over a decade. The shows will feature upbeat music and at least 12 talented dogs, one of which is a Belgian Malinois named Power!  

Featured on Animal Planet, ESPN, the Travel Channel and many more, this high-energy stunt dog show is one that you can’t miss! The Canine Stars is open every day of the Fair and is free with the price of admission. Tickets for the Fair and Grandstand events will be available for purchase online at or at the Sacramento County Fair office. Adult tickets are only $6.00, kids 12-and-under are FREE, and select events are discounted online until May 23rd. Join over 100,000 guests and experience more than 30 carnival rides, dozens of free exhibits, musical guests, and activities all Memorial Day Weekend.

As an added bonus this year, the Sacramento County Fair is partnering with Make-A-Wish® Foundation to host Terrell and his Adopt-A-Wish® sponsors, Sutter Health. Terrell, 14, who battles leukemia, wishes to have his very own carnival, so the Sacramento County Fairgrounds will open one day early so Terrell’s wish can come true.

Not only has Terrell has shown bravery by fighting his critical illness, but recently he was recognized as a local hero for saving neighbors in their apartment building after it caught on fire in Stockton. At his carnival, Sutter employees will be there to support him in his wish coming true as well the Stockton Fire Department to recognize him as a local hero.

“Wishes would not be possible without the collective support of our local community,” said Jennifer Stolo, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Northeastern California and Northern Nevada. “Because of Adopt-A-Wish sponsors like Sutter Health and lending lands from the Sacramento County Fair, Terrell’s wish is going to be a magical experience for him and his family.”

For more information on the Fair and a daily schedule visit and #ShareTheFair on Facebook:, Twitter:, and on Instagram:

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The Force Holding Animal Abusers Accountable

By Sac County News  |  2018-05-16

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Animal abuse, neglect and cruelty is more prevalent in our region than most people know. Local animal regulation agencies work cases every day, pulling animals out of precarious living conditions or caring for animals that were victims of abuse or neglect. 

One of the most popular recent situations was the puppy Thomas, found on the side of the road – clearly injured. X-rays showed he had been struck in the skull with a blunt object, shattering his skull causing severe injury to his head and eyes. 

The Bradshaw Animal Shelter, where Thomas was brought by a kind citizen after finding him, immediately began lifesaving treatment to manage his pain and treat the infection spreading in his body. Meanwhile, the shelter went public with Thomas’s story – asking for any information about Thomas. No one came forward with information and Thomas’s abuse/cruelty case is still unsolved. 

The good news is that through the generosity of the shelter’s non-profit, T.E.A.M. (Teaching everyone Animals Matter), Thomas was able to get brain surgery and is now living a nearly normal life. 

Thomas is just one example of hundreds the area animal shelters see every year. Because of the serious nature of the crimes seen, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office launched an Animal Cruelty Task Force – comprised of representatives from each animal shelter in Sacramento County and the Sheriff and Police Departments. ​

Together, these agencies are working to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for abuse, neglect and cruelty to animals. Research shows that the link between animal abuse and crimes committed against persons is strong. Often, animal abuse is a gateway to crimes against humanity. With the help of the task force, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley is looking to put a stop to this progressively violent behavior. 

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley on why she felt this task force collaborative was critical:

“For too many years in Sacramento it has been the worst of scenarios for animals.  Prosecution relies on both law enforcement and animal control to make animal abuse investigation more of a priority within their agencies.​

Law Enforcement more often than not, doesn’t receive training in animal abuse.  Like any other crime, animal abuse constitutes violations of the Penal Code and law enforcement is responsible for investigating them.  ​

At the same time Animal Control agencies have lacked training their officers as investigators.  The officers all need to develop the ability to take statements, write reports and understand their responsibilities to develop and investigate cases.  Our community expects that both animal care and law enforcement officers are performing their duties so that violators are accountable.  

We have formed the task force to unite these agencies, share successes and learn from failures.  Many on the force share an affinity for animals.  We can only improve by communication, working together and joining all forces.”


The Animal Cruelty Task Force is just one example of progressive collaboration efforts across County agencies and across jurisdictional lines – all with the goal of creating a Sacramento Countywe all love. 

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Kings Draw Second Pick in NBA Draft Lottery

Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-05-16

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - In what will be arguably the most important draft in Sacramento Kings history, the odds have already bounced in their favor. They made the biggest jump in Tuesday night’s lottery, moving all the way from the projected seventh overall pick to the second slot behind the tank-happy Phoenix Suns. It is the first time in the modern lottery era that the kings have held a top three pick.

But with a long, dismal history of draft selections recently highlighted by Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas, does it even matter at all? For what it’s worth, this is a deep draft class headlined by Deandre Ayton out of Arizona, Luka Doncic out of Real Madrid, Jaren Jackson out of Michigan State, Marvin Bagley III out of Duke and Trae Young out of Oklahoma, to name a few. The talent is definitely there.

The Suns appeared to have their sights set on Ayton all season long as they gloriously tanked. He looks ready to make an immediate impact in the league and keeping him in the state of Arizona makes sense. However, Suns new head coach, Igor Kokoskov, was Doncic's head coach when he won the 2017 EuroBasket title and is big on his guy. This may change things in the Kings’ favor yet again heading into the draft.

The Kings have a lot of options, but if Ayton fell to the number two pick Sacramento would have no choice but to take him. The 7’0”, 260 pound, 19-year-old averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his freshman year. “Elite physical tools, soft touch at the rim and a promising jump shot make Ayton the likely top pick,” according to SI’s latest Top 100 Prospect Rankings. “His sheer size and strength presents a matchup problem for most any defender, and he may be the most athletic 7-foot prospect to come along this decade.”

Ayton would be a no brainer for Sacramento, as it is extremely rare to find a 7-footer with his arsenal. But it surely won’t be that easy, it never is for a Kings organization that hasn’t reached the playoffs or finished with a winning record since 2005-2006.

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