Planting a Future

Source: Helen Brewer, Rancho Cordova Leadership Class  |  2016-05-26

Tree planters stand beside the last tree to be mulched. Seated on the truck bed: Horacio Oropeza (left), Leadership 10 Class, and Nick Sikich, Leadership VI Class. Standing: Charles Jenkins (left), Karin Heyden, Rodney Fernandes, Dana Grossi, Edwin Lee, Helen Brewer, Rebecca Sikich, Rachel Pittman, and Sarah Saetern. All are members of Leadership 10 Class except for Pittman and Saetern who are from the Sacramento Tree Foundation. Resting in front is Ireland, Jenkins’ Golden Retriever.

Leadership Class Plants 27 Trees at Hagan Park

On Saturday, May 14th, nine members of this year’s Leadership Rancho Cordova Class X planted four species of trees in the dog park at Hagan Community Park, located at 2197 Chase Drive. Also lending a hand were Sarah Saetern and Rachel Pittman from the Sacramento Tree Foundation (STF) and three friends and family of Leadership Class members.

Planting procedure for each of the trees included removing the tree from a 15-gallon container, loosening its roots and soil, placing the tree in the hole that was dug by park personnel using an auger, backfilling the soil in the hole, staking with two heavy-duty stakes and ties, and finally creating a berm and placing mulch around the tree base to conserve water and soil moisture.

“The 4-hour planting went without mishap except for when the auger hit a water main; but fortunately the machine operator is a park irrigation staff member and he was able to quickly take care of the problem,” said Horacio Oropeza, Park Services Supervisor and a member of this year’s Leadership Class.

The planted trees, all donated by STF, include 10 Red Oak, 10 Sawleaf Zelkova, two Willow Oak, and five Valley Oak. Saetern, STF Community Forester, selected the species of trees and where they should be planted. She gave “special thanks for the chance to work with Leadership Class members and the park district staff. There was great team work and we got a lot done with a small group of volunteers. These trees will provide many benefits to the community as well as make it an enjoyable place for dogs to mingle.”

The sizable planting was the start of Class X’s dog park revitalization that will also include adding play equipment for dog visitors and benches for their owners. The project will be completed during the coming months and will be officially opened at a ribbon cutting during Doggie Day in the Park on September 17th.

To complete the project, Leadership Class members have participated in several fund raising projects and are asking for donations from companies, businesses, and the public. For more information, contact Dana Grossi, a member of this year’s Leadership Class, at dgrossi@cityofranchocordova or at (916) 851-8897. All donations are tax deductible as Leadership Rancho Cordova is part of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a 501©3 non-profit tax exempt organization. Donations can also be made at Leadership 10’s YouCaring website:

Leadership Rancho Cordova Class is sponsored by the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce to identify, develop, and inspire community leaders. Each year’s class undertakes a project that benefits the Rancho Cordova community. For additional information about Leadership Rancho Cordova, go to or contact Dawn Hall, Program Administrator, at (916) 273-5703 or at

Rancho Cordova Radio

Cooley Stresses “Doing Good”

Photos and Story by Margaret Snider  |  2016-05-26

Assemblyman Ken Cooley, right, stands with Rancho Cordova State Farm agent Doug Brewer at the Rancho Cordova May luncheon.

Although State Assemblyman Ken Cooley is in his first term at the Sacramento Capitol, he is not inexperienced. Cooley worked straight out of Berkeley for a senior member of the assembly. “He was Rules chairman, I was his top guy,” Cooley said.

Cooley later worked for a state senator drafting legislation, and this was while he was also on the Rancho Cordova City Council. Having worked with Cooley on the city council for years, council member and past mayor Robert McGarvey said, “He’s probably one of the most experienced elected officials there in the Capitol right now.” Therefore, when Ken Cooley began his term he was able to step right into the work.

When Cooley spoke at the May 20th Rancho Cordova Luncheon, rather than focusing on legislation he spoke about three concepts. Persistence in doing good was the first thing. “Good doers, that’s what the community needs, people who just see the need and step out to do good things,” Cooley said. Since Rancho Cordova is a military town, Cooley thought everyone would also relate to the second subject – deployment.  “So much of our life, I would say, is deployment of self,” Cooley said. “What am I going to do this day, this week, this month? What are the priorities? What is the place where I can make a difference?”

Third is tyranny of the urgent. You start the day, Cooley said, with an idea of what you need to accomplish, and it doesn’t take long for life to intervene. “There are fires to be put out,” Cooley said. “Somebody calls you up with an urgent personal need. And suddenly there goes the day.” With these three things as a base, Cooley talked about matters on which he has deployed himself during his term.

Cooley went on with a statement from John Stuart Mill who wrote a book on representative government in 1861. “The proper office of a representative assembly is to watch and control the government, to throw the light of publicity on its acts, to compel a full exposition and justification of all of them, which any one considers questionable,” Cooley quoted.

Oversight, Cooley feels, has been greatly diminished in the legislature over the past 20 years. He accepted the position of chair of the Rules committee even though it meant he could not chair a policy committee. “When it comes to oversight functions, take off your party hat . . . I point out to (those who have taken an oath of office) that oversight is a chance for us to start to learn as members to function together and not fight over partisan issues.” Cooley has now put together a guide on oversight. “In collaboration with staff, for the first time in probably 40 or 50 years, the California State Assembly has a Legislative Oversight Handbook,” Cooley said. “I feel like this is an example of being personally persistent in doing good.”

Paul Andersen, a safety professional who came to the luncheon specifically to hear Cooley speak, said that we need people who are responsible and ethical themselves to be on the ethics committee. “I really appreciate that Ken is of the people, for the people, and regardless of his party, I will always support him and follow his lead.” Andersen said

Cooley is the chair of the subcommittee on foster care. He has introduced legislation dealing with the issues of human trafficking, child abuse generally, and child sexual abuse. Lots of kids end up in trafficking out of the foster care system, he said. “I feel part of my responsibility as a member,” Cooley said, “since I’m pretty experienced in legislative work and advocacy, is to be an advocate for people who don’t have an advocate.”

Also at the luncheon, Rancho Cordova State Farm agent Douglas Brewer came to know Cooley when he chaired the government relations committee with the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce. “If you look at the history of Ken’s political career, you’ll see that he has always reached out to the other side of the aisle,” Brewer said. “Ken does a good job, I think, of being able to bridge those differences.”

In finishing, Cooley, who with his wife Sydney has lived in Rancho Cordova since 1977, thanked the residents of Rancho Cordova. “There’s a great deal of frustration and disappointment frequently at the end of the day, that the things that you meant to do didn’t get done. I just thank you for being persistent in living with that tension.”

For more information about Assemblyman Ken Cooley, see

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Falcons’ Baseball Season Comes to an End

Source: Ron Richardson, Folsom Lake College  |  2016-05-25

The FLC baseball season came to end Sunday afternoon at Santa Rosa JC when the Falcons fell to the number-one seeded Bear Cubs, 7-1, for their second straight defeat after winning Friday’s opener. The Falcons had not lost two games in a row since late March and had only lost once since then. They finish the season with a final overall record of 26-15 (an FLC record for wins), having advanced to the regional playoff round of eight.

The Falcons surprised the Bear Cubs by winning game one on Friday, 3-1. Sophomore starting pitcher Will Felton had another outstanding game to finish his FLC career, allowing just one run on four hits in almost six innings of work. Meanwhile, sophomore Tyler Kaim provided all the runs Felton would need with his three-run home run to left field in the third inning. Jason Wullenwaber took over for Felton and struck out seven Bear Cubs in his 3+ innings of work to earn the save.

On Saturday, the Bear Cubs jumped out to a 4-0 lead with pairs of runs in both the first and second innings. Greg Vaughn’s home run to left cut the deficit to 4-1 in the third inning, but that was as close as the Falcons would get as Santa Rosa’s Alec Rennard was nearly unhittable, allowing just three hits over his eight innings. Santa Rosa added three runs in the 4th and two more in the 6th to break it open, eventually winning 10-4.

In Sunday’s deciding game, three Bear Cub pitchers combined to limit the Falcon offense to just one run on four hits as Santa Rosa won 7-1. The Bear Cubs advance to host Chabot College in the Sectional round with the winner heading to a State Final Four berth.

Congratulations, Falcons, on an outstanding record-breaking season!

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Falcon Golfers Not on Target

Source: Ron Richardson, Folsom Lake College  |  2016-05-25

The FLC men’s golf team concluded their season on Monday with a disappointing showing at the CCCAA state championship tournament in Palm Springs, finishing eighth with a total team score of 789 at Desert Island Country Club.

The state championship title went to Reedley College, a team the Falcons defeated in three of the five NorCal Major tournaments, with a team score of 745.  Playing two 18-hole rounds in one day, five of the six Falcon golfers had one round of 80 or more.  The lowest 36-hole total for FLC was Eric Olsem’s 156, achieved with two rounds of 78.

Despite the disappointing finish, the Falcons accomplished several FLC firsts during 2016:  school record low team score, two school record-tying individual low scores, a 3rd Big 8 championship, Big 8 Player of the Year (Mason Troike), NorCal MVP (Troike), and the third FLC golf team to qualify for the state championship tournament.  Congratulations Falcon golfers and Coach Zarecky on another outstanding season!

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Gulchuk Leaps to Top 3 Finish for Lancers

By Mike Bush  |  2016-05-25

Julia Gulchuk flew very high for the Cordova High School track and field team in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV/V Championships at California State University, Stanislaus toward the end of last week.

The Lady Lancer leaped to third place finish the triple jump at 35 feet, 7 ½ inches. She accomplished that feat in her first attempt on May 19 th .

“It was a great day, with Julia moving on in the triple jump,” said Cordova head coach Shane Jackson. “She did amazing and reached the next level.”

The best thing about her mark in the triple jump, Jackson points out, is that it was her season best that was accomplished on her 18 th birthday.

Another Lancer who had a strong finish, but fell short of earning a berth at the section’s Masters Championships was Azariah Dozier. Competing in the 200 meters, she took second place in her flight at 26.99 seconds, but missed in earning a spot in the final 16.

The next stop for Gulchuk is the section’s Masters Championships, which will be held at Elk Grove High School, which started yesterday, Thursday, with the trials.

The finals will end today, Friday.

According to the section’s Website,, the trials and finals for the girls’ triple jump were scheduled to take place on Thursday.

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Making Progress, Eyeing the Future

By Mike Bush  |  2016-05-25

Leading Cordova in hitting this season was Logan Appino, shown here during a recent home game, with a .488 batting average. 
--Photo by Rick Sloan

Big shoes to fill.

That’s what first-year Cordova High School baseball head coach Doug Hughes had to do this season. For more than 40 years, Guy Anderson guided the Lancers’ diamond program to many league and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances.

“The thing I want to continue to do that Coach Anderson was able to do is build a strong program and have a winning tradition,” Hughes said. “Everyone involved with the Cordova baseball program knew this wasn’t going to happen overnight.”

One of Hughes’ goals this season was to have a junior varsity baseball team, which one wasn’t fielded last season. This season, Cordova didn’t field a lower level team.

“That is one of our main goals for next year,” Hughes said. “For us to be successful we need to build from the ground up.”

This season, Cordova posted a 5-10 in the Sierra Valley Conference and 6-15- 1 overall. At one point during the season, the Lancers were still in the thick of the conference’s race toward grabbing one of the three playoff appearances.

“It was an exciting time around the field as well as the campus knowing we were in the hunt for the playoffs,” Hughes said. “The keys for us were we were getting timely hits, good pitching and we were catching the ball.”

In early April, the Lancers won four of six SVC games that ignited them into a playoff run. Cordova started its season at 0-4- 1 that included conference losses to El Dorado and eventual SVC champion Union Mine.

“Our goals we set as a team were to be students first, to have fun, play as a team, compete everyday (and) never give up, give 100 percent,” Hughes said. “A 100 percent of the time and make the playoffs. We fell one goal short and that was making the playoffs.”

At the plate, the Lancers were led by junior Logan Appino, who had a batting average of .488 and seven stolen bases. Three Cordova players batted over .300; sophomore Jeremy Buck (.387), plus 13 RBIs, and Jarrett Harris and Spencer Gudgel, both of whom had .306 averages.

In the field, Gudgel had a .986 fielding percentage, followed by Appino at .959. Jordan Myers followed at .933 and Chris Wheat at .926.

There were two seniors on this year’s squad in Harris and Jacob Larson, “Jarrett and Jacob gave me a warm welcome to the Lancer family from day one,” Hughes said. “Jarrett was our captain and team leader. He was a coach on the field.”

Of the 14 players on the squad, 12 are projected to return next season; seven juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen.

Another item Hughes plans to address in the off-season to have ready for next spring – the return of the Cordova Easter Baseball Tournament. The tourney was cancelled this season.

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Kay Albiani, one of the longest serving and most influential and honored members of the Los Rios Community College District Board of Trustees, will be stepping down this year after 20 years of service.

Albiani, who has represented the Elk Grove area on the Los Rios Board since her first election in 1996, has served numerous terms as Board president – in 1998, 2004-2006 and 2010. She will finish out her fifth consecutive term as a trustee this December.

And prior to joining the Los Rios Board, she served 18 years on the Elk Grove Unified School District Board. She was president of the California School Boards Association in 1985 and served as a director from 1980-1986. In 2005, the Elk Grove Unified School District named a middle school in her honor.

“Kay has been an outstanding leader at the local, state and national level. Her vision and commitment to our students has been unshakable,” said Los Rios Chancellor Brian King. “She will be greatly missed on the Los Rios Board of Trustees. She has been passionate about her constituents in Elk Grove, and has always seen the bigger picture for the capital region. It is hard to imagine where Los Rios would be today without Kay.”

In addition to her Los Rios service, she was president of the California Community College Trustees in 2005 and was a gubernatorial appointee to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors from 2004-2008, where she also served as president.

“The past 20 years have been very rewarding for me, being able to work with such outstanding trustees, administration, staff and students, who – as a team – have worked to bring the Los Rios Community College District into the 21st century as a progressive and innovative district with excellent facilities,” Albiani said. “We have become the nationally recognized premier community college district and the most outstanding district in the state of California.

“Through taxpayer support, we have been able to provide a new campus (Folsom Lake) and new, modern facilities to existing campuses to provide students with career opportunities for the future, whether for technical training, transitional education to four-year institutions, or the world of work.  I am proud to have been a part of this growth.”

For her service to community college, Albiani has been honored with the Pacific Regional Trustee Leadership Award and the prestigious M. Dale Ensign Trustee Leadership Award, both from the Association of Community College Trustees.

“After nearly 40 years of service as an elected community college and K-12 school board member, Kay Albani may well be one of the finest public servants in all of California,” said former Los Rios Chancellor and California Community Colleges Chancellor Emeritus Brice Harris. “She has helped literally hundreds of thousands of area students get a better life through education at the Elk Grove and Los Rios districts.  Her impact on our region had been immense.”

Albiani, who attended Sacramento State, has represented the Board’s Area 7 residents of Elk Grove, Florin, Sloughhouse, Jackson Road and a part of Rancho Cordova.

Albiani and her husband, Gil, are co-owners of Albiani Land and Livestock. She has a lengthy track record of volunteering time and serves on the boards of many community organizations.

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It’s a Small World After All

By Shelly Blanchard  |  2016-05-25

Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl-Citalli shared the Four Spirits of this ancient culture with a moving performance of drums, conch shell horns and spiritual chanting to culminate a wildly expressive evening on the iFest stage.

Thousands of people took a trip around the world May 14.  But they never left Rancho Cordova.

Rancho Cordova’s international festival – iFest – returned to Village Green Park with a visual carnival of color, new wine tasting and chalk art activities, and attracting record crowds.

Visitors grabbed selfies scaling the Great Wall of China or Eiffel Tower with the help of green screen technology.  Others hitched a ride on a pedicab, checked out local art, learned about animals from around the world, had their arm tattooed with henna or took a swing at a Mexican piñata.  An estimated 4,000 people visited iFest 2016.

Children searched for treasure during the Go for the Gold Scavenger Hunt and scrambled through a Brazilian Rain Forest climbing adventure while food trucks served up everything from Filipino lumpia to Mexican tacos.

But the shining jewel of the event was the jam-packed amphitheater, which was full from beginning to end as host Andy Gee directed the traffic on stage during a virtual world tour.  Hula dancers, lively Indian Bollywood beats, Middle Eastern belly dancers and Ukrainian Bandura musicians were just a sampling of what was in store on stage.

“iFest is about cultural understanding and appreciating our differences, as well as celebrating our common values,” said Shelly Blanchard, executive director of the Cordova Community Council, producer of the event.  “Everybody learns something new at iFest.”

Producer of iFest was the Cordova Community Council. Sponsors of iFest included Chick-Fil-A Rivergate, Republic Services, Michael Baker International, City of Rancho Cordova, B&J Towing, Raleys Bel-Air, Rancho Cordova Travel and Tourism, Cordova Recreation and Park District, Mary Nelsel Lyon Real Estate, Rancho Cordova Rotary, Ronnie Belka and Julie Hagan-Belka, California American Water, Atlas Disposal, Smile Kingdom Dental, Wells Fargo, Sunrise Orthodontics, Golden State Water Company, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, Heritage Community Credit Union and Folsom Cordova Unified School District.

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Safetyville to Hold Annual Family Day Special Event

Source: Safetyville  |  2016-05-25

On Saturday June 11, Safetyville USA will host the newly revamped Family Day @Safetyville (formerly known as Family Safety & Health Expo). This is a free event designed to give families valuable information and access to community resources in the Sacramento area.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about safety and health from over 60 safety, health, youth education, and recreation information booths. In addition, there will be safety and health giveaways as well as food, refreshments and raffle tickets for great prizes.

Brand new to this annual safety and health event are educational breakout sessions designed for 9-12 year olds on topics such as: bullying, internet safety, bicyclist safety, pedestrian safety, and traffic safety.

Since 1999, Safetyville has offered an annual free safety and health event for families throughout the Sacramento region. Family Day @Safetyville is the new and improved take on this annual family tradition.

This event is an important part of our mission to help reduce injuries and save lives in our community through our unique safety education programs like Safetyville USA. We provide elementary school age children a highly interactive docent guided tour of our little city. They learn the important health and safety lessons such as pedestrian safety, fire safety, stranger-danger, animal safety, how and when to dial 9-1-1, nutrition, dental hygiene and the value of exercise.

For more information about this event, please contact Pam Gates at 916.438.3357 or email

Safety Center Incorporated is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1934 to reduce injuries and save lives by empowering our community to make positive life changing decisions. For more information, visit or call 800.825.7262.

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Olympians to Teach Water Polo Skills

By Ella Tomlin  |  2016-05-20

Jessica Steffens, Olympian at the Attacker position earned a Gold Medal in 2012 and a Silver Medal in 2008.

The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics are just around the corner and our area will welcome four decorated Water Polo Olympians to Rio Americano High School on June 4th. American River Water Polo Club is offering an opportunity for our local athletes to learn from the best of the best. During three, one-hour clinics, the athletes will learn skills, strategies, and competitive mind-set from some of the most elite athletes in the world.

Jessica Steffens, Olympian at the Attacker position earned a Gold Medal in 2012 and a Silver Medal in 2008. Sean Nolan, Olympian at the Goalie position was with the 2000 Olympic team. Sean Nolan, is currently the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program - National Goalie Technical Director. Peter Hudnut was an Olympian Defender on the 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Team. Joining the group will be four-time Olympian, Ryan Bailey; He was part of the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Men’s water polo teams and is considered one of the all-time great centers in the sport of Water Polo.

After the clinic, Peter Hudnut, Ryan Bailey, and ARWPC’s own Heather Moody, will be the guests for meet and greet event at Ten22, a restaurant in Old Sacramento. From 6-8 p.m., they will share their Olympic experiences, chat about the sport of water polo and what the sport means to them. Tickets are available for purchase tickets

American River Water Polo Club actively supports growing the sport of water polo throughout the Sacramento region. The club offers recreational and competitive water polo programs with their main location of Rio Americano High School along with some programs also located at the Folsom Aquatic Center and MC McClatchy High School. During the summer, the club offers a non-competitive swim team at Rio Americano. It runs for 6 weeks. The club recently added summer swim lessons at El Camino to help promote water safety in our community. ARWP’s Performance Director, Heather Moody, a two-time Olympian as a player and two-time as a coach, heads up a dedicated staff that focuses on fundamental development of core water polo skills and quality swim programs for all ages.

Each year, the club offers three free water polo clinics and the next clinic is June 5th from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Rio Americano High School. This free clinic is open to kids from 5-13 who can swim a minimum of 25 yards. The youngest group, 5- to 8-year-olds, use a pool float noodle to help support them while in the pool. The clinic groups are divided up by age and time so check out for a detailed list of times found at the register button.

Join ARWPC for their free clinic and other aquatic programs. Check out a great sport that combines swimming skills, basketball and a lot of fun!

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