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


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Tax Freedom Day Late Again for California

From George Runner  |  2017-04-19

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

Californians who have filed their income tax returns by the April 18 deadline will unfortunately have to wait eight days longer than the rest of the nation until they’ve collectively earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.

Tax Freedom Day, calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, is the day when Americans have earned enough money to pay their taxes at the federal, state and local levels.

Nationally, Tax Freedom Day lands on April 23, but for California it lands on May 1.

“For some lawmakers, this terrible distinction seems to be a badge of honor,” said Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner. “With liberal politicians recently voting to increase gas and car taxes, I fear this day will come even later next year for hardworking taxpayers.”

According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will pay $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total tax bill of $5.1 trillion, or 31 percent of national income. That’s more than Americans will collectively spend on food, clothing and housing combined.

Compared to other states, California’s Tax Freedom Day is one of the latest in the nation. Only Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have later dates.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as an elected member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.


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Get Your Yard Ready for Summer at Mulch Mayhem

Source: Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2017-04-19

Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD), Carmichael Water District and other local water providers will be holding Mulch Mayhem events on Saturday, May 6th and 20th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at various locations throughout the Sacramento region.

This free event is designed to help local residents ready their landscapes and yards for the hot days of summer. Mulch slows evaporation, moderates soil temperature, and helps controls weeds.  As it breaks down, mulch also adds beneficial nutrients to the soil. 

“Adding three to four inches of mulch around plants and trees is one of the best ways people can reduce their landscape’s water needs,” said Greg Bundesen, SSWD’s Water Conservation Supervisor. “It’s estimated that by taking this simple step, people can save 30 gallons for every 1,000 square feet of yard each time they water.”

Customers of SSWD, Placer County Water Agency, the City of Roseville, Carmichael Water District, San Juan Water District and the City of Sacramento will be able to take up to one yard of mulch (enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck) for use at their home. The mulch is available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

Customers are encouraged to bring their own shovels, containers, tarps or other items to cover the mulch and must provide their own way to haul it away.  The free mulch is for personal use only, and cannot be resold or used for commercial properties.

Last year’s Mulch Mayhem was a huge success with all of the participating water providers running out of mulch before the end of the event. Locations and more information is available online at BeWaterSmart.info.

MUCLH MAYHEM

Location in Carmichael for Saturday, May 6th

Carmichael Water District

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

7837 Fair Oaks Blvd.

in Carmichael

Hosted by Carmichael Water District Info: (916) 483-2452


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Insight Coffee Roasters, Now Brewing at Milagro

Story and Photo by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-04-14

Jesse Song left, and shift supervisor, Alex Murio enjoy an afternoon brew at Insight Coffee Roasters’ newest location in Milagro Center.

Whether you want a dark pour over from Sumatra, a Guatemalan latte, or a tidy macchiato made with beans from Africa, the baristas at Insight Coffee Roasters in Milagro Center are ready to brew it to your liking.

Insight Coffee Roasters, which officially opened in January, joins the growing list of eateries and cafes quickly filling up the space at Milagro Center, rounding out its café experience with home-made pastries and house granola, and of course, a java menu fit for the most persnickety of coffee coinsures.

“We’re growing by the week here,” says Alex Muir, Milagro Café Supervisor, who has just trained his fifth employee, Carmichael resident, Jesse Song. “We now have six employees, including me.”

In fact, business is so brisk, in particular on weekends during the before and after dinner rush at nearby restaurants, Insight recently extended its weekend hours and is now open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. With its large, open-air positioning, and a double-sided brew bar that can accommodate roughly 20 customers at a time, Insight is an ideal spot to sit, sip and enjoy the market atmosphere.

“We love being right here in the center of the action where people are always coming and going around us, and we are looking forward to our new neighbors coming in,” Muir said. “It’s a great spot to enjoy a coffee, meet up with friends and maybe even grab desert.”

Insight keeps the menu simple with three single-origin coffees to choose from on its menu at any given time, typically one from Africa, another from the Indo-Pacific region, and one from the Americas. In addition to a standard house brew at the ready, Insight’s brew bar offers a variety of pours, including one from a Brew Chemix, which looks like something you’d have used in chemistry class, as well as brews using the Aeropress and Bonavita methods. Not sure what those are? No problem. On Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 1 p.m. Insight offers free tastings and brew education “classes,” with demonstrations on origins, roasting and brewing methods.

Oh, and there is tea: green, white, oolong and red tea, hot or cold, as well as chai, matcha latte, hot chocolate, Kombucha and, of course, cold pressed brew, with or without caffeine. Finally, if you’re brewing for 20, Insight offers catering services.

“I think what sets us apart from other coffee chains is our personalized approach to the art of coffee,” said Muir. “We don’t just brew your coffee and call your name out for pick up. We try to interact with our customers, help teach them about the different kinds of brewing systems there are and the coffee itself. It’s a learning experience and a place to really enjoy coffee the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.”

The Carmichael location is Insight’s fifth store and first foray into east Sacramento County. Insight’s flagship store first opened its doors in 2011 at in Sacramento’s South Park neighborhood. Downtown locations are at Pavilions Plaza, the capitol location is at 1014 10th St. (not inside the capitol building) and Fremont Park.


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More Taxes on Cigarettes and Electronic Vaping Devices

Source: California State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-13

California voters approved Proposition 56, which increased the excise tax rate on cigarettes and expanded the definition of “tobacco products” to include any type of tobacco, nicotine, little cigars, and electronic cigarettes sold in combination with nicotine.

On April 1, 2017, the cigarette tax rate increased from $0.87 to $2.87 per pack of 20 cigarettes. In addition, the distribution of nicotine delivery devices – including, but not limited to, electronic cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pens, and e-hookahs – sold in combination with substances containing nicotine are now subject to the current tobacco products tax rate of 27.30 percent of the wholesale cost of the product.

Nicotine delivery devices sold independently and not in combination with any liquid or substance containing nicotine are not subject to excise tax. This includes any battery, battery charger, carrying case, or any other accessory used in the operation of a nicotine delivery device.

Any product approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as a tobacco cessation product or other therapeutic purpose when that product is marketed and sold for such approved use (for instance, nicotine patches) will also not be subject to the excise tax.

Additional information regarding the provisions of Proposition 56 is available online. You may also view the BOE’s online Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Guide on the BOE website.

The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board that hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. The BOE collects $60.5 billion annually in taxes and fees, supporting state and local government services. For specific help, please contact the BOE at 1-800-400-7115.


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Chuck's Thrill of a Lifetime

Source: Eskaton  |  2017-04-13

The excitement on Chuck’s face was priceless. Thanks Cain, for making Chuck’s day! 
--Photo courtesy Eskaton

Thanks to Cain Robles, social service coordinator at EVC, Chuck received a private tour of the Golden1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings. Chuck has been a resident of the Eskaton Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) for about 11 years, first in independent living, then assisted living and now in skilled nursing. He took his daughter, granddaughter, and two great-granddaughters on the tour with him. The excitement on Chuck’s face was priceless.

World War II veteran Chuck Berkstresser Jr. earned two master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degrees: Geology and geography; chemistry and physical science. The 93-year-old boasted, “I had more guns pulled on me in the geology field than I ever did in combat.” He was in Europe during the Battle of the Bulge where he heard shooting but was never involved in it. At the U.S. Geological Survey, he worked in the resources division as a geologist. Later he became a teacher at the City College.

Some of his hobbies include photography (mostly scenery), reading (non-fiction), and sailing. He also loved traveling with his wife before she passed away few years ago. At the mention of sailing, Chuck was particularly excited to share his stories.

In one instance, he and his wife went sailing in Tahoe. First the lake was too calm. He said, “My sails were hanging limp. There wasn’t a puff of air.” But the next time they went out, the water was way too rough and choppy. The size and depth of Lake Tahoe made his wife nervous.

During a Lake Meade sailing exhibition, Chuck and his wife sailed nearly 300 miles in 3½ weeks. They lived on the 26-foot boat equipped with a two-burner stove and a port-a-potty. “We were self-contained,” he added. Together they traveled to every state except North Dakota, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama.

He met his wife while taking Organic Chemistry. She was a lab instructor and he would stay late asking her questions. This gave him time to ask her to go out with him. They later got married and had four daughters.

Chuck now lives at Eskaton Village Carmichael, and when asked what his favorite thing about living at Eskaton is he said: “The food, the friends, the staff, and the friendship with the staff. It’s just a good place.” His most important lessons from his life have been: “Be honest, work hard, and do your job. And when you get a chance have fun. By all means, have fun.”


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