River Cats Invite Fans to Nominate Military Family

Source: River Cats Media  |  2017-01-20

The Sacramento River Cats are asking fans to submit photos of loved ones who have or who are currently serving in the military to be featured on Salute to Armed Forces jersey.

Selected photos will be featured on the specialty jerseys worn by River Cats players and will be auctioned off during the game. The annual Salute to Armed Forces Night will take place on Saturday, May 6th when they take on the Reno Aces at Raley Field.

If you or a loved one has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, or know someone who is currently serving, please submit your photo to the "Salute to Armed Forces Jersey Submission" page at rivercats.com or by email to promotions@rivercats.com.

That night's game will be preceded by the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team game, which will conclude a day dedicated to commemorating those who serve our country.

Fans wishing to submit a photo of a service member must visit rivercats.com and then email promotions@rivercats.com with a high-resolution (300dpi) photo of the service member in uniform (must be a picture of just them) and a 2-3 sentence description of said person.

If your photo is selected, you will be contacted with information on how you can preorder the jersey. The Salute to Armed Forces specialty jersey is presented by USAA. Net proceeds from the jersey auction will benefit Blue Star Families, who proudly support military members and their families.

Youth Rugby Tourney Coming to Town

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-01-20

The Sacramento Valley Rugby Association will host this weekend

This weekend marks the beginning of the 2017 rugby season, with Rancho Cordova again hosting the 33rd Annual Kick Off Tournament (KOT).  The Cordova High School fields will be filled with over 100 youth teams from California and beyond who will travel all the way to Rancho Cordova to participate in the two-day event.

“This is the largest youth rugby tournament in the northern hemisphere,” said Jerry Ahlin, of the Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation (SVRF) and the KOT Director. In addition to multiple games, the KOT Vendor Village will have food vendors, and multiple booths selling souvenir clothing and equipment.

Boys and girls teams consist of youth and high school-age players from under 8 to 18, according to Nick Freitas, Sacramento Valley Regional Development Officer for Rugby NorCal. There are 100 teams, 60 referees and 1500 people daily, with games going from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Rugby is touted as a game suitable for all ages. Freitas explains, “I can go one and on about this one but I'll give the simple answer. Everyone gets to touch the ball during a game, multiple times. It also helps develop a well-rounded person or athlete. In rugby you can pass the ball, kick the ball or simply run [the ball]. It is also an amazing aerobic experience as the game never stops. You truly have to work as a team in rugby, the sport develops individual who can communicate and operate as a cohesive unit better than any other sport I've been a part of.”

With all the concern of late about injuries to student-athletes, especially the risk of concussion in contact sports, prospective players and families may think rugby would be too rough on the body. Freitas addressed the issue head on, “Rugby is a full contact sport; however, it has the lowest injury rate for full contact sports, by almost half. There are more major injuries in soccer and cross country than rugby. This would shock most people but it's the truth. We teach players how to fall or ‘be tackled,’ keeping the head completely out of the tackle process. Rugby can also be played as a flag or touch game.”

Freitas and Ahlin have a vision for the future of rugby and see Rancho Cordova at the heart of it all. Freitas said, “I've work in some of the roughest areas of LA bringing rugby to the community. In my experience, I've seen not only kids pick up the game but the entire community gets behind the sport. This is my vision for the future of rugby in the area. We hope to have it be a part of the local schools PE curriculum. We also want rugby to be a sense of community pride through the creation of youth leagues as well as community days where the whole family from grandma to the 7-year-old kid can come and play. Rugby is a fun, easy game that can help an entire community grow strong bonds while staying in shape. “

“Rugby at its core is much more than a game. I know lots of other sports also claim this but in my experience, it is the only sport that truly embraces this. One prime example is after every rugby match no matter the level; the two teams come together and have a meal. This instills a true sense of community as well as respect for your opponent. The KOT helps strengthen the bonds between teams competing as well as showing the community how core values can be demonstrated through the sport.

Ahlin is self-effacing and down to earth, and does much of his work behind the scenes. He is a key player in the effort to bring world class rugby to Rancho Cordova. SVRA is moving another step forward soon he said, “We have been told that we will have approval to start moving dirt for our phase one rugby fields in February. Eventually we will have 12 fields for rugby, soccer, football and Lacrosse.”

For questions or comments visit www.svrf.org

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Dedication of Garden on Eden Marks Transformation from “Beast” to “Beauty”

Source: Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2017-01-19

Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) Board Member Kevin Thomas cuts a ribbon with golden gardening sheers to mark the grand opening of the “Garden on Eden,” Carmichael’s newest water-wise demonstration garden. Holding the ribbon are Project Manager Cheryl Buckwalter of EcoLandscape California (left) and SSWD Water Conservation Manager Greg Bundesen. 
--Photo courtesy Meredith Carty

Sacramento Suburban Water District and EcoLandscape California on December 14, 2016 marked the grand opening of the region’s newest water-wise demonstration garden—the “Garden on Eden.”

Named for its location at 4900 Eden Court in Carmichael, the Garden on Eden transforms an ugly groundwater well site (a Beast) into a water-wise garden (a Beauty) for the community to enjoy. Previously, the landscape featured a spotty, high-water use lawn.

“The drought brought new focus and attention to the benefits and beauty of sustainable, low-water use landscaping,” said SSWD Water Conservation Manager Greg Bundesen during the event. “We’ve seen fresh interest in creating landscapes that not only use less water but have many other benefits—from preventing stormwater pollution to nurturing wildlife. This garden is designed to continue that momentum well beyond the drought.”

The garden transformation was part of a workshop series on sustainable landscaping techniques sponsored by Sacramento Suburban Water District and taught by EcoLandscape California instructors. Classroom sessions covered the basics of healthy soil, the differences between compost and mulch, water-wise irrigation, plant placement, integrated pest management, landscape design, among other topics.

Then District customers dug in during two hands-on workshops to help remove the lawn by sheet mulching, install drip irrigation and properly place plants. “Adding a hands-on component to our classroom training made it a much richer learning experience for the participants, and helped get them excited to work on their own landscape,” said EcoLandscape California Executive Director Marian Bender.

The garden features low-water use plants such as Manzanita, Chaparral Currant and Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass, efficient irrigation and unique methods for keeping rainwater on site. As a demonstration garden, the site also includes informational signage that identifies plants, irrigation and rainwater harvesting techniques so that visitors can learn how to create their own water-wise oasis.

“We had several important goals for this project,” said SSWD Board Member Kevin Thomas during the event. “We wanted to provide an opportunity to educate customers about low-water, sustainable landscaping through hands-on workshops and a permanent demonstration garden. We also wanted to be a good neighbor by investing in our community. I think we’ve accomplished that—and more,” Thomas continued. “Right now, you see young plants, soaking in all of the winter rain. Come spring, you will see them beginning to emerge into the vibrant, colorful garden for everyone to enjoy.”

The project is sponsored by Sacramento Suburban Water District in partnership with EcoLandscape California, which served as project manager and provided instruction for workshops, and is part of the District’s ongoing commitment to promoting wise water use and investing in the community.

Learn more about the transformation at Garden on Eden and information about visiting the new demonstration garden at www.sswd.org or http://tinyurl.com/hxolar4.

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An Eggstravaganza of Delicate Art

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-01-19

Sacramento’s 27th Annual Northern California Eggstravaganza is just around the corner. The yearly event features free admission in addition to shopping, a raffle and seminars taught by egg artists from around the globe. All proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Sacramento Shriners Hospital for Children.

“Egg artists from around the world will be teaching seminars, exhibiting and selling artwork created from real eggshells: ostrich, rhea, emu, goose – as small as finch eggs,” according to Show Director Diana Macias.

The seminars are February 23-26. Times and fees vary. Pre-registration is required. The exact schedule can be found online at the show website. The artists giving the seminars hail from the US, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

“Styles of artwork will include Fabergé, pysanka, etched, jeweled, beaded, painted, diorama, jewelry boxes and wearable art to name a few. Vendors will be selling supplies used to create artwork and miniatures,” said Macias.

Visit www.norcaleggart.com or email leggantdesigns@frontier.net for more information.

Photos courtesy of NorCal Egg Artists, artwork by Rosalie Juarez

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Unsung Heroines Soar in Uplifting ‘Hidden Figures’

By David Dickstein  |  2017-01-19

Set at NASA during America

The movie’s opening scene is a white cop harassing three black women on the side of a road with a broken-down car. Later, white colleagues of these ladies will refuse their using the same coffee pots, water fountains and toilets at work. Career advancement for these blacks and others working at NASA? Not with the policies set by their white superiors. The movie also throws in a couple of civil rights protests to stress the segregated and prejudiced South of the 1960s. And, yet, in the entire 2-hour-plus movie, not a single “N word” is heard or a drop of blood seen.

What is this, “Cool Runnings?”

While both movies address how unfairly and disgustingly bigotry oppresses black people’s dreams for greatness, a PG rating, mainstream marketing and sanitized storytelling do repress their potential to deliver indelible messages for civil rights, and in the case of “Hidden Figures,” equal rights as well. Picture “Schindler’s List” without Jews being killed or dialogue free of anti-Semitic slurs. But like the aforementioned 1993 comedy about the Jamaican bobsled team hoping to make the Olympics, “Hidden Figures” still inspires. Big time.

Set at NASA during America's space race with the Soviets, the Hollywoodized, yet effecting biopic follows three brilliant black female employees who, despite obstacles placed by mostly male and lily-white superiors at Langley Research Center, make significant contributions while shooting for the stars. Thanks to the movie and the book on which it’s based, by Margot Lee Shetterly, these amazing women are unsung heroines no more.

Each lady gets her day in the sun, but at center is NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson). Without her, John Glenn wouldn’t have been the first American in space, and man might not have landed on the moon as early as we did. Computer scientist Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) does the work of a supervisor at Langley, but the glass ceiling is lowered for blacks, especially those who are also women. Engineer hopeful Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) also is hampered by a system that will require miracles and, like NASA’s space program desperately trying to catch up with the Soviets, a series of firsts. The main actresses make the most of their roles, but only one, Henson, gets the stand-taking moment that both audiences and Oscar voters love.

The mostly white supporting cast includes Kevin Costner as a driven, compassionate NASA chief and Kirsten Dunst as Dorothy’s snippy quasi-racist boss. Both are fine, which can’t be said of a lackluster Jim Parsons as NASA’s chief engineer. Haven’t seen a key role performed so flatly since Wile E. Coyote got road-killed.

Flaws notwithstanding, and they really are just nits, “Hidden Figures” blends emotion, heart, drive and even humor to engaging effect. Its Disney-like approach, where hardly a discouraging word is heard or physical struggle shown, does allow for younger audiences. With STEM and equality so key to our country’s future, maybe a movie like this being PG isn’t so bad. 4 of 5 Stars

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Sacramento FBI Teen Academy Applications Available Online

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation  |  2017-01-19

Class Offers Information, Experiences, and More to High School Juniors

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Sacramento field office is accepting applications for the Spring 2017 FBI Teen Academy. This unique opportunity is open to all high school juniors attending any school—public, private, and home school—in the 34-counties the field office serves. The application package is available for download now.

Students selected to participate will spend an entire day at FBI Sacramento field office headquarters in Roseville on Friday, April 7, 2017. Applying and attending the FBI Teen Academy program is free; however, families are responsible for travel to and from the class.

The FBI Teen Academy is a unique opportunity for any student—regardless of career interest—who is curious about the FBI, what the FBI investigates, and how it serves the community. FBI Teen Academy participants engage in activities and discussions about what the FBI does and current topics relative to FBI investigations. Activities may include discussions about cyber safety, terrorism, active shooter situations, and color of law and civil rights investigations; participation in simulated evidence response team and bomb techs scenarios; and frank conversations about online communication and staying safe in an always-connected world.

After completing the class, participants better understand the FBI’s role in their communities, grasp the complexity of FBI investigations, can make lifestyle choices to be safer in their day-to-day lives, and what FBI career paths are available. FBI Teen Academy students often remain connected with the field office to facilitate presentations, mentorship, and more.

Each spring and fall, the FBI Sacramento field office hosts the FBI Teen Academy for 20-36 students who spend a day in FBI facilities to learn about the agency, what it investigates, how it serves its community, how students can make wise lifestyle choices to be safer in their day-to-day lives, and what FBI career paths are available. The opportunity is available to any high school junior in the region the field office serves and can create a lasting connection between the students and the FBI. More than 250 students have attended the FBI Teen Academy in Sacramento to date.

To find the application see www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/sacramento/community-outreach-1

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Celebrate the New Year with Free Flowering Trees

Source: Arbor Day Foundation  |  2017-01-19

Residents in your state can ring in the New Year with 10 free flowering trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation any time during January 2017.

By becoming a part of the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation, new members will receive two Sargent crabapples, three American redbuds, two Washington hawthorns, and three white flowering dogwoods.

“These beautiful trees will beautify your home with lovely flowers of pink, yellow and white colors,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “These trees are perfect for large and small spaces, and they will provide food and habitat for songbirds.”

The free trees are part of the Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting, between February 1 and May 31, with enclosed planting instructions. The 6- to 12-inch tall trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge.

Members will also receive a subscription to the Foundation’s bimonthly publication, Arbor Day, and The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.

To become a member of the Foundation and to receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to TEN FREE FLOWERING TREES, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by January 31, 2017.

Residents can also join online at www.arborday.org/january.

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City Open for Comprehensive Transit Plan Bids

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-01-13

Citrus Heights is ready to revisit its Comprehensive Transit Plan and will now be taking bids from interested companies. According to the city’s Transit Plan, qualified firms can register with the city online or through the General Services Department.

Per the city of Citrus Heights, “This project is federally funded and is subject to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Policy.” At this juncture, the city is searching for professional consulting services to “develop a Comprehensive Transit Plan and recommendations for the City.”

The General Services Department selection process begins with Requests for Proposals (RFP) and then evaluates the proposals and creates consultant teams to determine which companies to interview.

Part of the city’s requirements is ongoing collaboration with city staff and “significant outreach with Citrus Heights residents and community stakeholders” via surveys, open houses, focus groups and personal as well as group interviews.

According to the city, “Engagement shall be designed to obtain feedback on current services, and assess demand, preferences and community priorities for public transportations services.” The chosen consultant must, according to Citrus Heights, “ensure all public outreach events are publicly noticed to promote maximum attendance.” This will include website, media releases, public notices and surveys and more. Media and translation for Spanish-speaking residents is also required.

The ability work well with other local transit entities is also a stated necessity. According to the City’s current documentation, “The Project includes ongoing and regular coordination with RT (Regional Transit) as one of the Project partners. In addition, the Consultant shall coordinate as appropriate with other local agencies… potentially impacting Citrus Heights transit users, including Roseville Transit, Placer County Transit Authority, Folsom Transit services and the City of Rancho Cordova’s Transit Division.”

The selected consulting firm must show Scope of Work, Project Management, Personnel and Staffing, Qualifications, Experience and References, Federal/State Funded Project Experience and Quality and Responsiveness of the Proposal. Interested parties can contact the city at GSD-Mailbox@citrusheights.net or 916 727 4770. Proposals are due by 2 pm January 20, 2017.

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Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game Coming to Bonney Field in 2017

Source: Cal Expo  |  2017-01-13

Along with the All-Star Game, MLL has more exciting activities planned for Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8. Before the All-Star Game there will be a FanFest at Bonney Field where fans can meet MLL players, enjoy live music and interactive exhibits.

The world's best lacrosse players are coming to Sacramento, CA. Major League Lacrosse has chosen Bonney Field at Cal Expo as the site for the 16th All-Star Game in 2017. The MLL All-Star Game will take place on Saturday, July 8 at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

Along with the All-Star Game, MLL has more exciting activities planned for Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8. Before the All-Star Game there will be a FanFest at Bonney Field where fans can meet MLL players, enjoy live music and interactive exhibits. The All-Star Shootout Tournament presented by ADVNC Lacrosse and the All-Star Skills Competition will take place at Cherry Island Sports Complex in Rio Linda, CA. More information about those events can be found at www.advnclacrosse.com.

MLL chose to host the 2017 All-Star Game in northern California because it is the epicenter of lacrosse in the state of California and arguably, the Pacific Coast. According to US Lacrosse, there are more youth lacrosse players registered with US Lacrosse in the Northern California region than in greater Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego combined. Also, the region played host to the San Francisco Dragons, an MLL franchise that played from 2006-08.

This top-caliber event is just the latest addition to hit the pitch of Bonney Field, which is also home to the Sacramento Republic FC and PRO Rugby Sacramento. For more information about the MLL All-Star Game excitement see news.majorleaguelacrosse.com.

Cal Expo is home to the California State Fair and plays host to hundreds of other signature events each year. The Cal Expo property is home to Bonney Field, a premier sports and entertainment venue with seating of 11,000.

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Local Sailor Participates in Pacific Partnership

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach  |  2017-01-12

Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Thomas Williams (shown above), from Sacramento, California, assigned to the Blackjacks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 U.S. 
--Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Trevor Kohl-rus/Released

Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Thomas Williams, from Sacramento, California, assigned to the Blackjacks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, prepares to jump into the water during a rehearsal for a Pacific Partnership 2016 search and rescue drill.

During the drill, aviation rescue swimmers hoisted simulated casualties from the water into an MH-60S helicopter for medical evacuation to hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). The Pacific Partnership search and rescue field training exercise spanned across three locations in Padang and included a water rescue, a field hospital for patient triage and transport, and a mass casualty at a local soccer field.

The day's events were facilitated by Tentara Nasional Indonesia, local first responders and the Pacific Partnership humanitarian assistance and disaster relief team. This is the fifth time Pacific Partnership has visited Indonesia. Partner nations are working side-by-side with local organizations during disaster response training, civil engineering projects, Women, Peace, and Security seminars, medical subject matter expert exchanges and a live field training exercise aimed at improving the capacity of local government, civilian agencies and partner militaries to collectively respond in crisis.

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