Kids Get to Explore at Meet the Machines

By Alyssa Rasmussen, CRPD  |  2018-05-25

Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Even at the new location, Hagan Community Park, Cordova Recreation and Park District’s Meet the Machines event keeps getting better and better each year. This year, children from the district and beyond could explore, and – to varying degrees – interact with, more than twenty mighty machines. From a hot air balloon where ‘riders’ could ignite the burner, to a CHP Patrol car where children could sound the siren, the event was great for the curious child.

Outside of vehicle exploration, children were invited to jump into the trike course, scale the rock climbing wall, have their face painted, ride trains around a zigging and zagging course, and enter the District’s logo contest for the 2019 event. Also, the District gave away beach balls stamped with its 60th anniversary logo. The beach balls created a whirl-wind of fun as a pressure blower shot the balls repeatedly into the air, delighting the kids with the thrill of the chase.

The sponsorship of local businesses helps make the event possible. This year, the community has five local organizations – Folsom Ready Mix, Republic Services, Sacramento Area Sewer District, Smile Kingdom Dental, and KP International Market – to thank. And to the 1,500 machine-lovers that made it out and enjoyed the event: hope to see you again next year!

Rancho Cordova's History

Nature Center Hosts Fundraiser

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-05-25

Canvases donated by high profile Sacramento artists like Pat Mahony (left), Marcy Friedman and Boyd Gavin will be among art auctioned for the benefit of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Judges awarded sculptor Sandy Whetstone (at right) the Best of Show prize for her creation called "Leda and the Swan." The Wild Things exhibition can be previewed at Sacramento Fine Arts Center in Carmichael.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Now in its ninth year operating as a non-profit, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center is preparing for its “Art Where the Wild Things Are” fundraiser with new patronage. As honorary chair, Pat Mahony Getz and her husband Randy follow such luminaries as Magazine publisher Cecily Hastings, artists Marcy Friedman and Greg Kondos, Congresswoman Doris Matsui and the late Russ Solomon.

Administered by the American River Natural History Association, the facility and its preserve welcome almost 100,000 visitors per year. “The Center has a special history in this community,” notes retired Effie Yeaw executive Betty Cooper. “Caring supporters keep us open and available for future generations.” Part of the funds raised on June 9 will provide free nature enrichment programs for schools that could not otherwise afford them.

The Sacramento Fine Arts Center is a vital gala partner and an art show that supports the fundraiser and offers work from throughout Sacramento.  Jurists are artists Marcy Friedman and Boyd Gavin. Celebrity artists contributing this year include Jian Wang, Pat Mahony, Boyd Gavin, David Peterson, Gregory Kondos, Maria Winkler and Terry Pappas. Celebrated landscapist Earl Boley will be remembered with a canvas donated by his widow, Susan Leith.  Keith McLane of KLM Auctions will wield the gavel.

Silent auctions will offer more award-winning work. From May 15, these can be viewed in a free “Art Where the Wild Things Are” exhibition at the Fine Arts Center (Gibbons Drive), Carmichael. This year’s selection includes several entries by nature photographers.

A sunset supper and beverages are part of the $100 per person gala admission, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Nature Center in Ancil Hoffman Park. Valet parking is free. Table sponsors are welcome. For information on the event, visit

To learn about the Sacramento Fine Arts exhibition, visit  “Lake bottom” by Boyd Gavin and a study of Carmichael creek by Jian Wang are among VIP donations to be auctioned at the June 9 gala.

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Meghan and Harry – A Royal Way Forward

Story by Susan Skinner  |  2018-05-25

Prince Harry and his Californian bride posed with wedding attendants at Windsor castle. Among royal duties, the couple will act as youth ambassadors for the Queen. Photo courtesy St James Palace, London

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - On a sunny day in 1981, I watched Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles. Their son Prince Harry was also blessed with a sunny wedding day. There the similarities ended. Thirty-seven years have passed, and times sure have changed.

Little boys when I last saw them, bridegroom Harry and brother William now parade balding Windsor pates. Two of William’s children were among bride Meghan Markle’s junior attendants. Kate Middleton’s middle-class family exuded more allure than their royal in-laws and celebrity wedding guests garnered more attention than anyone. Even the nuptial soprano claimed meeting George Clooney was the best part of her day.

With a showbiz bride at the altar, Hollywood did indeed meet Holyrood. But what really defined this event was an unapologetic decree that multi-culturalism rules in a marriage that represents the state of Britain’s Commonwealth. Stunning in Givenchy, a mixed-race bride strode the aisle alone. She was not property to be given away. She took her father-in-law’s arm for a few final steps, allowing the stunning symbolism of a future king’s blessing. The word “obey” was absent from her vows.

You begin as you mean to continue. This wedding indicates a non-negotiable path for a modern duke and duchess and an apparently accepting royal family.

Meghan’s path to a splendid marriage was strewn with carpet tacks rather than rose petals. She hails from a crisis-prone clan. She’s American and divorced. If this was enough to rule out Wallace Simpson as a royal bride in 1936, family baggage is now more common than coronets among Windsor ranks. She might be an actress but the happiness she has brought to the Queen’s once-troubled grandson is no act – Harry’s wedding day tears were real. Moreover, the bride promises to be a stunning weapon for Windsor popularity. The arcane tradition of divine right survives only through adaptability and the new duke and duchess will help make royalty relevant to millions.  As an actress, Meghan will smile and charm her way through a life-sentence of tedium; as humanitarians who bring attention and energy to good causes, she and her besotted husband will be fantastic ambassadors for the Windsor “Firm.”

Thirty-seven years ago, no one could have told me Elizabeth II would hear a pulpit-thumping sermon steal her Archbishop of Canterbury’s thunder; that her grandson would exit his wedding to gospel anthems and ululations from Middle Eastern fans. But she is wise to endure Meg and Harry’s conquest. She accepts that millions will embrace the cosmopolitan couple like rock stars. Their children will endear royalty to future generations of her multicultural Commonwealth. Best yet, the Sussexes are too distant to the throne to threaten succession!

So, Meaghan may borrow Queen Mary’s tiara any time she likes. The Windsors will bend over en arrière to avoid mistakes that alienated a previous people’s princess. In his address, Episcopalian Bishop Michael Curry contended love was a fire – if harnessed – that could change the world. If the Sussex marriage is good, Meghan and Harry’s love might just do that. Wish them well.

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Cordova Recreation and Park District’s Day of Service Volunteers Help Create Beautiful and Tree-Filled Parks

By Alyssa Rasmussen, CRPD  |  2018-05-25

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Volunteers arrived with energy and enthusiasm to serve their community at Cordova Recreation and Park District’s Day of Service events on Saturday, May 5. Over the span of only a couple of hours, each group made a big difference at both Hagan and Rosemont Community Parks.

Rosemont community members, with guidance and donations from the Sacramento Tree Foundation, planted eight trees that will grow to provide shade for future park-goers. Community member Gary Vorce and his planting crew named their tree ‘Five, Five, Fifty-Five.’ It commemorates the date the tree was planted, May 5, and – incidentally on the same day – Vorce’s fifty-fifth birthday.

“Being a part of the community truly makes your community home. It means a lot to me to work side-by-side with my neighbors and to add to the scenic beauty of the parks. Years from now, the families that planted a tree can bring future generations to the tree they planted and named,” he said.

Another tree was named ‘Zara’ after a young woman that helped to plant it. Yet another was given the moniker ‘The Hughes’ Tree’ after the family of seven that worked together cheerfully to plant it.

At Hagan Community Park, community members spread throughout the park to collect trash and to apply fresh paint to roads and signs. Mom, Katia, worked with her daughter, Sheccid, to repaint the road that serves as an entrance to the park. “I want my kids to know what it is to give back and to be part of the community,” Katia shared.  

Though the District has held Day of Service events in past years, this year was special. It offered those involved the opportunity to celebrate the District’s 60th birthday by giving our parks the gift of their care. Thank you Cordova Recreation and Park District community members, we are thankful!

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Fun, Family, Friends & Fitness!

By Jan Float  |  2018-05-25

Gold River is acclaimed for being the most gracious hosts and throwing the best Pool Parties. Photo by Tom Jones

GOLD RIVER, CA (MPG) - Can you name another sport that combines all of these in a single all-hands-on-deck venue? Trite but oh-so-true: It Takes a Village. Accordingly, Gold River has named its village “Stingrays Nation.” Without parental volunteers, running around in their various capacities, neither would there be a nation nor a team. From poolside, parents take a time-out to watch their children swim their hearts out. Talk about hubbub -- fun-filled, family-oriented, friends-animated, fitness-at-its-finest!

Gold River is acclaimed for being the most gracious hosts and throwing the best Pool Parties. After opening their gates, opponents are warmly greeted and shown around Stingrays’ Nation. Cue craziness: Check-ins, tents set up, gear unpacked, electronics checked -- a flurry of actions to settle in and begin the day. Both teams then take a patriotic pause, place hands over hearts, and enjoy a Stingrays’ solo/duet/trio singing poignant renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner. All swimmers warm-up [wake up] their bodies; “WE BELIEVE” cheers galvanize the masses; the referee, starter, timers, stroke-and-turn judges, age-group parents and others take their marks; witty announcers start broadcasting; and athletes are off to the races!

Throughout the meet, bee-bopping tunes blare, coaches high-five swimmers, computer wizards generate results, the team photographer snaps away, swimmers are led to ready benches, hospitality serves snacks and drinks to officials, ribbons are labeled, gold-silver-bronze incentives are distributed, yummy snow-cones are custom made, burgers and hotdogs fly off the BBQ. It’s a whirling dervish of Fun, Family, Friends & Fitness activity. Stingrays’ Spirit is so rampant that a few seasons back, rehearsed adults surprised the crowd with a join-in Flash Mob … busting out some decent moves to Michael Jackson’s Thriller! Okay. Michael was admittedly somewhat better.

Emulating the team’s announcers, “Here’s introducing the Kronbetter Family!” Mike, Laura, and their happy swimmers, Alexa and Luke, serve as prime examples of life within Stingrays Nation. This fun foursome always jumps right in, contributing to the joy, laughter and all-round camaraderie. As the 7-8 boys age-group parent, Laura corrals up this rambunctious group and ensures they’re on the ready bench for their next event, each boy with cap and goggles in hand and on head. Mike and Laura understand that young athletes learn to set goals, reach their potentials, and rack up personal-best stats. 11-year-old Alexa and Luke, at age eight, benefit from these priorities at home and as team members.

After establishing their faster-than-expected seed times on May 5, including an astonishing 201 Personal Bests, Stingrays Nation opened those gates to Arden Hills the following week. These two teams aren’t exactly rivals. They BELIEVE as Gold River does: It’s all about Fun, Families, Friends & Fitness. By a narrow margin, 37 points, the Stingrays were in for the win.

After Championships in July, those who hit rigid time standards compete in the grand finale, August’s Meet of Champs. Here in Meet No. 1, from a small-but-mighty roster of 127 Stingrays, 20 made the cut. Stingrays Nation has a jam-packed June (five meets and four social events). Whew! Fun, Family, Friends & Fitness. With this schedule, there will be much to report next month!

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American Legion Has Its Day at the State Capitol

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-05-24

Photo courtesy Dana Nichol

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - On April 25 more than 70 members of American Legion posts throughout the state of California, along with members of the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion, spent an informative and interactive day meeting their legislators and sharing their concerns for the future of the more than 1.7 million veterans living in the Golden State.

The American Legion is one of the largest veteran advocates in the United States. Sons of the American Legion (SAL) also exists to honor the services and sacrifices of those who served their country.

Veterans Legislative Advocate Seth Reeb welcomed attendees with an explanation of the day’s events and kept the program moving as Assembly members and Senators from El Dorado Hills, Napa, Merced, Thousand Oaks, Riverside, Fullerton, Dana Point (Orange County), and Oceanside, many of them veterans themselves, explained the legislation they are sponsoring.  

Dr. Vito Imbasciani M.D., secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and head of the CalVet Leadership Team, spoke of the tragic killing of three staffers by a former patient at the Yountville Veterans Home on March 10, 2018. The patient was in a special program for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  SB1314 has been introduced to prevent this from happening again.

Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, and Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) each received the Department’s 2017 Leo P. Burke Legislator of the Year Award for their leadership, support and dedication to the veterans and service members of California.

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) is working on Senate Bill SB 1375 that would reinstate the “VETERAN” license plate, which will be available only to veterans. Gaines spoke of his father who at 18 years joined the Army Air Corps during World War II, serving on a tail gunner on a bomber in Germany.

Assemblyman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) and Chair of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs described AB 2325, which would protect an eligible veteran’s ability to access county mental or behavioral health services.

Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, explained his Bill, SB 1080, which would streamline the state’s driver licensing requirements for active duty military and their families so they can begin earning extra income from ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber without unnecessary fees and delays.

Other examples of bills included AB 2394, which exempts military retirement pay from California state income tax, AB 2801, which addresses the problem of veteran and law enforcement memorials being vandalized, and SB 1452, which would establish the War on Terror Memorial Committee to look into the feasibility of the construction of a memorial in or around the State Capitol Park.

Other proposed legislation addresses veteran housing, homelessness, issues with disabled veterans, and more funding for county veterans service officers from the current $5.6 million to $7 million.

Elizabeth Perez-Halperin, a U.S. Navy veteran, was recently named Deputy Secretary of Minority Veterans at the California Department of Veteran Affairs. She gave a presentation of her work with minority and unrepresented veterans including African American, Latino, Native American, LGBT, and the homeless. In a recent issue of CalVet Connect, she describes her work, “To help immigrant veterans become naturalized citizens.” Herself a member of the Native American community, she said, “I am committed to ensuring that we actively identify and address any challenges in serving ALL veterans.”

The American Legion (AL) and American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), both founded in 1919, exist to help veterans and their families. The AL is active in supporting the interests of veterans and representing on their behalf.  According to the ALA, they are the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Working side-by-side with their American Legion posts, members volunteer tens of thousands of hours in their communities and raise millions of dollars to support its programs.

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Maestro Kendrick Shares His Final Bow

By Anthony Barcellos  |  2018-05-24

SCSO Conductor led the 250-voice Chorus and Orchestra in the West Coast premiere of Dan Forrest

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - When a distinguished professor retires into emeritus status, we expect him to be taking a bow at his retirement party. However, Don Kendrick of Sacramento State found a way to have his students take a bow with him. And he did it simply by including them in the public performance celebrating his retirement.

Kendrick is the founder of the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra, which honored their creator with an event on May 12 at the Community Center Theater. The performers included 280 singers, 3 soloists, and an orchestra of 52 professional musicians. The huge force was assembled by combining the musicians of the SCSO with Sacramento State’s three choirs — the Women's Chorus, the Men's Chorus, and the University Chorus — and the Sacramento Children’s Chorus.

The concert comprised three works: Ottorino Respighi’s Suite No. 2 of “Ancient Airs and Dances,” Antonín Dvorák’s “Te Deum,” and the West Coast premiere of Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo.” The Respighi work is a purely orchestral composition, so the tiers of seats for the singers were empty as Kendrick launched the performance with a sense of anticipation. As SCSO president Jim McCormick noted in his pre-performance presentation, Respighi “gets the endorphins flowing!”

The singers filed in and filled the performance space to capacity for Dvorák’s “Te Deum,” an ancient hymn of praise in Latin. With a text derived from the Book of Psalms, the “Te Deum” was a joyous foreshadowing of the new work constituting the evening’s concluding work, which was also derived from the Psalms. Supertitles helpfully provided both Latin text and English translation.

After the intermission, Maestro Kendrick led the ensemble in Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo” (Be joyful in the Lord), a cosmopolitan composition comprising seven world languages in seven movements. The boisterous first segment in Latin cites passages from Psalm 100 and exhorts the entire world (“omnis terra”) to celebrate. The second movement is an ethereal exchange of statements and echoes in Hebrew and Arabic, a plaintive call for unity.

The third movement incorporated the Chinese two-stringed fiddle, played with bow by guest performer David An. The Mandarin text derived from Psalm 23’s invocation of the Good Shepherd, and the music was a tranquil meditation highlighted by a soprano soloist.

After being lulled into a sense of peaceful serenity by two movements, the audience was jolted into full wakefulness with the percussion-driven opening of the fourth movement, as the chorus sang out a Zulu text calling for enthusiastic celebration. The kinetic impact of the movement was felt throughout the theater, and the singers were swaying to the music’s dance impulse.

The fifth movement offers a lyrical respite, “Bendecid su nombre” (Bless his name), with Spanish-language text and a mood of contemplation. Strings are prominent, with both harp and guitar accompaniment.

The title of the sixth movement is “Song of the Earth,” but it is not evocative of Mahler. Rather, it is a wordless celebration of the entire world, until eventually the singing of the performers resolves into one word: Alleluia!

The finale encompasses all that went before in recapitulation and closes the circle of life with evocations of the opening bars, particularly the “jubilate” (celebrate) theme. The title is “Omnis Terra” (the whole world), and it builds to a dramatic climax full of excitement and drama. The audience, full of pent-up energy because of the frequent reminders to be quiet as the performance was being recorded, finally burst into explosive applause and shouts of approval. Kendrick took his bows, as did his students and all the other performers with him.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - As we head into fire season, Sacramento County Department of Regional Parks has a multi-pronged plan to reduce fire risk, defend wildlife habitat and protect our natural resources and neighborhoods adjacent to the parks.  

For its 2018 Fire Fuel Reduction Action Plan, the Department of Regional Parks has lined up sheep and goat grazing contracts, is maintaining firebreaks and has partnered with Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District and Sacramento Fire Department for targeted range management burns with coordinated Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District permits. 

SMUD, Western Area Power Administration and PG&E are also working in concert with Regional Parks to reduce fuels where major transmission lines intersect the American River Parkway. The utilities have annually entered the site throughout fire season to address noxious weeds, fuels, and trees growing close enough to powerlines to pose a potential fire hazard.  

As the weather warms, the tall, dense grasses and vegetation will be drying out and creating extreme risk in many areas of the 23-mile American River Parkway, as well as Dry Creek Parkway, Mather Regional Park, and Rollingwood Open Space. 

“The range management burns will be highly coordinated and used when they allow for the best outcome in effectively reducing fuels. All of the Plan’s proactive measures will help reduce the number and severity of uncontrolled, catastrophic fires in our Regional Parks that threaten wildlife habitats, mature trees, riparian areas and public safety,” said Director Jeff Leatherman, Sacramento County Regional Parks.

To decrease the number and size potential of wildfires in our parks system, the techniques used will be applicable for each area and will include: 

  • Firebreaks – A combination of mowing, soil discing, and targeted herbicides will be used where appropriate to create perimeters around open fields, along fence lines and behind neighborhoods.  This work is scheduled to be completed by end of June. 
  • Ladder Fuel Hand-Crews – In limited, hard to reach areas, hand-crews will remove vegetation that allows the potential for a fire to climb up or move into urban areas. 
  • Grazing – There are hundreds of acres of undeveloped or protected land in our Regional Parks. This vegetation can be a costly and deadly fire hazard. Goats and sheep are ideal for vegetation management and make fast work of eating down weeds, bushes and grass. Grazing is expected to occur between May and the end of June, with roughly 5,000 sheep/goats grazing at various locations along our Parkways and open spaces. By the end of June, the sheep/goats are expected have grazed roughly 625 acres in Sacramento County.
  • Range Management Burns – In some areas, Range Management Burn are the most effective tool against catastrophic wildfires. The ability to burn certain areas under very controlled circumstances (low temperatures/wind, higher humidity, air quality monitoring) allows for the best outcome in effectively reducing fuels and continued fire danger. Along with closely monitoring the conditions, nesting bird surveys will be conducted in the areas of the pending range management burns. The burn permits outline specific weather and air conditions that must be met before the range management burns will be authorized. The burns should conclude by June 30, but may resume in fall, if necessary. 
  • Annual Encroachment Permits – Residents who live adjacent to Regional Parks properties are able to apply for free annual encroachment permits to maintain a fire break behind their property line. These allow residents to string-trim grass and weeds for up to 50 feet beyond their private property line. To request a permit, provide your name, address and contact information to Regional Parks at

Visit the Regional Parks website to learn more the 2018 Fire Fuel Reduction Action Plan for Sacramento County Parks.

The objective of the Department of Regional Parks is to provide safe, accessible and clean recreational facilities for park users while maintaining more than 15,000 acres of parks throughout Sacramento County. ​

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Rancho Cordova Memorial Day Observance

By City of Rancho Cordova  |  2018-05-23

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Bumgarner Expected to Make Rehab Start Saturday in Sacramento

By Sacramento River Cats  |  2018-05-23

Photo by Barry Sibert

San Francisco Giants’ Ace is Scheduled to Begin Rehabbing His Broken Left Pinky Finger

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Four-time All-Star, three-time World Champion, and 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner is expected join the Sacramento River Cats Saturday, May 26 as he begins his Major League rehab assignment. The Giants’ ace is scheduled to start Saturday night as the River Cats host the Albuquerque Isotopes.

Bumgarner is rehabbing a broken pinky finger on his left hand, an injury he sustained when he was struck by a comebacker in a Spring Training game on March 23. As part of his rehab, Bumgarner threw a batting practice session this weekend at AT&T Park in San Francisco and threw a simulated game to Giants hitters on Tuesday in Houston. The lefty is expected throw about 45 pitches on Saturday, and make at least two starts before rejoining the Giants’ rotation.

The 28-year-old was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round (10th overall) of the MLB June Amateur Draft in 2007. He made his Major League debut on September 8, 2009 and was a key contributor in the Giants’ 2010 Postseason run. Bumgarner made history during the 2014 Postseason, throwing a record-setting 52.2 innings, including a historic five-inning save in Game 7 to clinch the Championship for San Francisco.

Bumgarner’s rehab assignment in Sacramento is scheduled to begin this Saturday, May 26 as the River Cats host the visiting Albuquerque Isotopes at Raley Field. First pitch is 7:07 p.m. and gates will open at 5:00 p.m. Tickets and ticket packages are still available at For more information, please call 916.371.HITS (4487) or visit

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