Montessori Murals Capture California in Art

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-08-31

A 36-foot trout dominates Kocina’s zoology mural. Subject matter reflects cultural studies at the Carmichael school.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - A five-summer mission at the California Montessori Project (Carmichael) has festooned the old La Sierra High School campus with five murals. The last was recently unveiled to reveal a dazzling pageant of California history.

Explains artist/teacher Noah Kocina: “The work reflects two significant events in our history – the establishment of Spanish missions and the rush to find gold.” Over summer vacations, Fair Oaks resident Kocina completed this and previous tableaux that total 2,500 square feet in area. Reflecting utilitarian 1960s school design, his canvases were originally concrete classroom abutments.

The Montessori Project began leasing teaching space from Carmichael Recreation and Park District in 2019. Kocina and director of school operations Gary Bowman beheld blank concrete slabs and envisioned opportunities for beautification – and for enhancing the school’s community presence.  Bowman suggested a series of murals and commissioned Kocina to get painting during summer teaching breaks. “I’d start at 6 am,” says the artist. “Mornings were completely quiet, and painting felt like meditation. I’d work six or seven hours, until it got so hot my paint dried before I could apply it.”

Kochina’s designs represent Montessori philosophy and five cultural elements of school studies: botany, zoology, geometry, geography and history. Before he began painting, one lone wall already bore a painted Stars and Stripes.  CRPD administrators okayed his murals as long as the nation’s symbol remained. “We were fine with that,” says Kocina. “But I wanted the flag grander and larger. I incorporated it in my geometry mural – there’s a lot of geometry in the design of a flag.” His botany mural centers around a huge California poppy. A 36-foot trout dominates his zoology design. The muralist’s big view of geography shows the solar system in relationship to Planet Earth. He plans a separate future work illustrating native American life before missionaries and miners arrived.

Though Kocina was paid for his five-summer project, the tableaux are still works of passion. “At first, I tried to keep my art simple,” he recalls. “I began with only one person in my geometry design. By the final mural, I was working on an epic. I used as many people, animals and symbols as I could. Every man, woman or child in all five works is a likeness of someone affiliated to this school.”

“Planning the last mural, was like casting a play,” he says. “I had to find 23 people with face and body types to match monks, miners, a Mexican senorita and the goddess Minerva from our State seal.” One of Kocina’s daughters became his goddess and even constructed body armor for reference photos. Near Minerva’s spear-point, the artist himself peeps Kilroy-like over the California state line. “Hardly anybody’s noticed me yet,” he says. “But I’m there as a final signature. I like to conceal objects in my painting to give the kids an extra layer of interest when they’re poring over it. My face is an extra Easter egg.”

To view the Montessori murals, park at 5330 Gibbons Drive, Carmichael and enter playing fields via fence gates. Learn more about Noah Kocina’s art on Instagram at n_kocina.

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Cake4Kids Bakes in Sacramento

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-08-31

Alyssa Van Hofwegen (L) and Mary Barnes show off a delicious example of one of the cakes.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A baker’s dozen is thirteen as the cake enthusiasts who attended Cake4Kids’ orientation at Arcade library on Saturday, August 18 know. This second orientation in the Sacramento region for the Sunnyvale-based nonprofit drew bakers of all backgrounds and ages hailing from Carmichael, Arden Arcade, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove, Rancho Murieta and beyond to learn more about Cake4Kids.

Mary Barnes, Cake4Kids’ Sacramento ambassador, led the hour long program. Barnes is a Sacramento native who first discovered the group when she lived in San Francisco. When she returned to Sacramento to pursue her legal career she wanted to bring the program with her and spoke about why she chose the eastern part of Sacramento.

“We thought about logistics,” she said, “An area where there were a good number of residential areas to pull volunteers from.”

This area, she explained, is close to freeways, homes, several nonprofits serving the demographic that Cake4Kids supports – homeless, recent immigrants, those in foster care, and victims of human trafficking – and it doesn’t cost money for parking so that left downtown and midtown out of the running.

“It is supported by Carmichael, east Sacramento, Sac State students, and ARC students. We thought it was a good location to start because of all of those factors.”

In addition to being the nonprofit’s Sacramento ambassador and tackling the job of finding volunteers, contacting agencies, and filling requests, Barnes, like other volunteers, works full time. She is also a volunteer baker and delivered the first cake in Sacramento to Opening Doors, an organization that serves individuals and families escaping human trafficking and refugees new to the area. She baked a vegan banana cake for a boy and decorated the cake with a racecar theme, complete with toy cars atop a protective layer of marzipan, and topped with vegan chocolate frosting.

“We have several requests for vegan cakes from this organization.  We’re challenging our bakers right away,” said Barnes, adding that all requests had been claimed and filled since the first orientation in July with twenty attendees.

In 2010, Cake4Kids was born. Only thirteen cakes were baked and delivered that year. Fast forward eight years when more than 10,000 cakes have been baked and delivered by volunteers as far south as San Diego. The nonprofit also serves Fresno, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, and five other California counties. Each cake is prepared from scratch especially for the child, decorated, packaged in a cake box, and delivered to the requesting agency. Although volunteers never meet the children, they often receive thanks from the children or, in some cases, from the parents or caregivers.

Before volunteer bakers can claim cakes, they must attend a mandatory orientation where they’ll learn about the organization, the demographic served, logistics, and resources. One of the volunteer benefits is that each baker may take cake decorating classes and be reimbursed for up to $100.00 each year. The ability to be a fabulous decorator is not a requirement, although some cakes are quite lavish. Each cake, she added, must have the child’s name.

During the orientation, Barnes said that 60,000 children are in foster care and only 5% between 15 and 18 years of age are adopted in California. Nearly 30 percent of children are homeless in the United States, and Barnes referenced the thousands of U.S. based human trafficking cases annually. These are some of the at-risk children Cake4Kids serves.

Julie Eades, the organization’s executive director, attended the inaugural orientation in July and said in a telephone interview that, “When you’re on or near the poverty line, a cake might not be the thing you choose to spend your money on. We talk about the fact that these children get moved from home to home and sometimes they don’t get any birthday celebrations. Not because nobody cares. It’s just one thing extra that people caring for them have to think about.”

Cake4Kids serves children and young adults up to the age of 24 and Eades said that some children as old as twenty have never had a cake before the one baked and delivered by a volunteer. She also said that the older children are extremely appreciative of the cake made just for them. Everyone should feel special one day a year.

Men, women, and children 16 years and older interested in baking cakes and bringing joy to a child should sign up to be a volunteer on the organization’s website. Sacramento orientations will be held through December at Arcade and Arden-Dimick libraries. The goal is to have 100 volunteers on board. On October 20 and December 22, orientations will be held at Arcade library on Marconi from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. On November 10, Arden-Dimick will host from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. The September orientation date and location has not been set. For additional information, visit www.cake4kids.org.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Gov. Jerry Brown was recently ordered by the state’s 3rd Appellate District Court to repay more than $331 million in funds the state illegally diverted from a national fund intended to help homeowners struggling with foreclosures from the housing crisis. Instead of complying with the court order, Democrats are pushing through a bill to legitimize the theft of funds.

The Assembly already passed Assembly Bill 1829, which makes the statutory changes related to the National Mortgage justifying this theft.  AB 1829 was passed on a party line in the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, 12 – 5, with all Republicans on the committee voting no.

Bill Analysis reports:

In 2012, the federal government and 49 states sued, and eventually settled with, the five largest mortgage servicers in the country related to their actions leading up to and during the 2008 financial crisis. The resulting National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) resulted in comprehensive new mortgage servicing standards, provided more than $20 billion in financial relief for homeowners damaged by the mortgage crisis, and provided about $2.5 billion directly to states for a variety of uses, including “to compensate the states for costs resulting from the alleged unlawful conduct of the [bank defendants].” California’s share of this $2.5 billion was roughly $410 million. Under the terms of the settlement, each state’s Attorney General would designate the uses of the funds. The California Attorney General’s Office designated allowable uses of the received funds.

“California received approximately $410 million of the $2.5 billion paid to the states by the big five mortgage servicers – Ally (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo – under a National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) with the federal government, the ruling states,” Legal NewsLine reported.

Under then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the National Mortgage Special Deposit Fund was established in 2012 to directly help homeowners who suffered and were impacted by the housing crisis.

However, the money was “unlawfully diverted” to the general fund, affirming a lower court’s ruling in a case taken against the state by the National Asian American Coalition, COR Community Development Corp. and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Upon receiving the funds Governor Brown’s administration raided $331 million dollars from it and spent it backfilling budget deficits in various agencies.

Legal NewsLine explains:

The money was to be placed in each state’s NMS Deposit Fund and the attorneys general were charged with setting the parameters of how it could be spent, with the states ordered to comply. Then-Attorney General Kamala Harris drew up a set of instructions on how the money could be used.

But the legislature then passed an act setting up the special deposit fund, which included a provision that allowed 90 percent of the money to be diverted to the general fund, regardless of Harris’ instructions. A total of $331 million was sent to the state’s main fund.

Harris instructed that the money be spent, among other elements, on the administration and monitoring of the compliance elements of the agreement, supporting relief programs, ongoing investigations and enforcement, borrower relief, funds for legal aid and grants.

 

In 2014 a coalition of minority counseling groups sued Gov. Jerry Brown and his Department of Finance, accusing them of illegally diverting the NMSDF relief funds. In June 2015 a Sacramento County Superior Court Judge ruled that the funds were indeed “unlawfully transferred and must be returned.” And the 3rd Appellate District Court upheld the lower court’s decision. However, the Legislature is ignoring the Appellate Court ruling.

Apparently, those Senate Democrats who voted to pass the bill were apparently okay with taking money that was specifically intended for homeowners damaged in the housing crisis. Senate Democrats just turned their back on all the damaged California homeowners who lost so much during the housing crisis.

California continues to suffer from a housing crisis because of a lack of affordability. AB 1829 is not simply a clarification of legislative intent; it is a shameless theft by this administration of money intended for the California homeowners whom the funds were intended to help.

Specifically, the settlement funds would have directly helped many California homeowners, including low-income families and people of color. Ironically, Democrats stood side-by-side with “Occupy” groups, proclaiming their outrage over the actions of “Big Banks” and ”Wall Street” which hurt homeowners in California. The Legislature is also thumbing its nose at the judicial system. Over the years there have been many sneaky, back-room and duplicitous actions perpetrated on the people of California by the governor and Democrat-controlled Legislature. But stealing money intended to help people damaged by what Democrats called “predatory lenders” and “Wall Street” in order to bail out the gross abuses by the Governor’s and Legislature’s wasteful and spending is probably among the lowest actions.

Now, when the illegal diversion of funds have been called out by the courts and this Legislature has a chance to make things right, Democrats not only can’t acknowledge the wrongness of their diversion, they’re actually seeking to legitimize it.

In a unanimous opinion authored by Judge Andrea Lynn Hoch, the appeals court largely affirmed but remanded the case to a trial court with an order to issue a writ of mandate “directing the immediate re-transfer from the general fund to the NMS Deposit Fund the sum of $331,044,084,” Legal NewsLine said.

After this “reclassification” of intent, the State will probably appeal to the California Supreme Court.

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El Camino Football Bounces Back

By Keith Jouganatos  |  2018-08-31

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Airshow After Dark is Back

California Capital Airshow Release  |  2018-08-31

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - As the sun sets, the skies over Mather Airport will ignite with a feast for the senses as thrilling jets and aerobatic performers light up the sky with streaming flares, showers of colorful bursts from their wings and thundering pyrotechnics.

The California Capital Airshow After Dark (Airshow After Dark), presented by Sacramento County in partnership with the City of Rancho Cordova, is a unique nighttime extravaganza of flying, fireworks and music amid an aviation-themed festival atmosphere of family fun and entertainment. Airshow After Dark will kick off the weekend commemorating Mather Airport’s 100th birthday, Friday, September 21 at 5:00pm.

Come check out the ramp before the flying starts:

  • Explore STEM exhibits including Aerojet Rockedyne's LaunchPad & Sacramento Children Museum's Kiddie Hawk
  • Take a walk down memory lane in the Mather 100 Museum
  • Check out the Recruiting Zone and learn about a variety of job opportunities in all branches of the U.S. military
  • Grab a bite to eat from one of the many concessions booths & interact with miles of exhibitors!

Flying performances begin at 6:30pm:

  • Opening ceremonies will include the U-2 Dragon Lady & T-38 Talons
  • Enjoy Matt Chapman's aerobatic performance in his Embry-Riddle Extra 330LX
  • The Canadian CF-18 Hornet will rock the skies -- don't miss the afterburner!
  • Check out the most unique aircraft in the Airshow industry -- Fat Tire Cowboy's Yak 110

Don't miss these performers lighting up the sky with lights and pyrotechnics:

‘Magic by Moonlight’ - The world’s only nighttime aerobatic performance in a Beech 18. Equipped with 17 spotlights and 13 strobes, the top of this huge transport airplane lights up the night sky. Smoke, noise, choreography, and an incredible musical score, captivates audiences in this one-of-a-kind performance!

“Mr. Airshow”- “Mr. Airshow” will also amaze the crowd at NIGHT with fireworks mounted on ShowCat’s wingtips. This act will send chills down your spine as he flies a spell-binding performance set to music against the night sky.

Shockwave Jet Truck - You won’t want to miss Shockwave’s night show performance as it lights up the darkness with flames, thunderous noise and a flash of speed that will jolt your senses!

Redline Airshows - Jon Thocker and Ken Rieder in their RV-8s will light up the skies over Mather Airport with heart-stopping aerobatics enhanced by luminescent flairs, showering pyrotechnics and music!

US Army Golden Knights - This one-of-a-kind jump includes pyrotechnic canisters affixed to the soldiers' legs!

This one-of-a-kind Airshow will conclude with a MASSIVE wall of fire and breathtaking fireworks display!

The party will continue with a live concert – dance the remainder of the night away to pop hits performed by Wonder Bread 5 celebrating the Grand Opening of Sacramento Mather Jet Center’s massive NEW facility!

Check out a preview of the Night Show: http://bit.ly/2018CCANightShow

Don’t Miss Out - Purchase tickets NOW and SAVE

Source: California Capital Airshow

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SACRAMENTO, REGION, CA (MPG) - Beginning in June of this year, consumers from across the United States began reporting that they were losing money to one of eight similar online retailers advertising a California address, including the websites: BestDealBaby.com, AutomotiveXX.com, Banozoo.com, BeautyCareDeal.com, ChangeAX.com, Yokooza.com, BestDealAppliances.com, and ElectroxDeal.com.

These ecommerce websites advertised a variety of merchandise which Better Business Bureau (BBB) found to be available for purchase from other online retailers, including one of a kind handmade products from members of the website etsy.com. Additionally, addresses advertised on the websites did not appear to be legitimate store fronts or warehouses and included apartment complexes and residences. Scammers often advertise fake addresses at which no one representing the alleged business is actually located.

Complainants reported to BBB that shortly after completing their purchase they received an automated email stating:

“Your order on [website URL] has been refunded. [. . .] While our website may have indicated an in-stock status, one or more items in your order were not in stock at the time your order was to be fulfilled. Your order cancellation will process today, and we are currently processing your refund. However, depending on your card issuer, it may take up to 7-21 days for the money to be available in your card balance.”

Despite the promise, consumers received neither their purchase nor a refund. In total, consumers who contacted BBB of Northeast California reported losing $5,753.51 to these scam websites.

In the past year BBB of Northeast California has received 102 reports of Online Purchase scams. These reports make up almost twenty percent of all scams reported in Northeast California, and are the number one scam reported in California and the U.S. overall. Considering the popularity of online shopping, it is not surprising that scammers have been taking advantage of the opportunity it presents.

BBB urges consumers to avoid becoming victims by verifying the validity of all ecommerce websites before making a purchase. A website may be a scam if:

  1. It was recently created. You can verify the website's creation date by checking the URL on the website, whois.com.

  2. It does not prominently display verifiable contact information, such as a phone number, email address, and a street address.

  3. The street address is fake, a home address, or belongs to a different business. Do an online search of the advertised address; you may be surprised.

  4. The price is too good to be true. Fake websites often lure potential victims with their amazingly low prices. If you know the product costs $500 everywhere else, and the website you are looking at has the exact same product for $150, it may be a scam.

  5. Other consumers have reported being scammed by the website. Check for other online reviews and search the business name and URL on bbb.org.

If you do decide to purchase from an online retailer, BBB suggests paying with a credit card, instead of a debit card. If the company fails to deliver the product, you can file a dispute with your credit card company. If you can’t tell whether an online retailer is legitimate, use the BBB Locator to contact your local Better Business Bureau.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - As students return to school, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges parents and guardians to ensure immunizations are on their back-to-school checklist. Many vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, can easily spread in child care and school settings.

“Immunization can help keep our children healthy, in school and ready to learn,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “If you haven’t done so already, check with your child’s doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs. Vaccinations are the best way to ensure that students are protected against serious and preventable diseases.”

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for getting sick and spreading diseases to students in their classrooms, and children and adults within their communities. Babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions are especially susceptible.

California law requires students to receive certain immunizations in order to attend public and private elementary and secondary schools as well as licensed childcare centers. Schools and licensed childcare centers are required to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records of all children enrolled, and report students’ immunization statuses to CDPH.

Families that are having difficulty obtaining required immunizations prior to the start of school can contact their local health department for assistance in finding other local immunization providers.

Visit www.ShotsforSchool.org for more information on immunization laws and required vaccinations for students in California.

www.cdph.ca.gov

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