“Kids should worry about being kids and not where their next meal is coming from.” This simple statement is at the heart of the Rancho Cordova-based service organization Blessings in a Backpack (BIAB) and its Program Coordinator JD (Janice Davis). BIAB provides meals to hundreds of Rancho Cordova students for whom hunger is a constant threat.
The group works year-round, utilizing everything from online shopping, accepting donations, food drives and more to address the ever-growing need. On April 1st, they are sponsoring one of their premier fundraisers, the 3rd Annual Girls Night Out. “There will be vendors with some very cool stuff. Doug Thomas from 96.9 the Eagle will be our M.C.,” according to BIAB’s website. There will also be beer, wine and a special Mardi Gras mix for sale. Advance tickets are $20 or $25 at the door and also include appetizers and desserts all evening, raffles and prizes. Vendors on hand include a massage therapist, henna tattoos, artwork, books, chic clothing, scented candles, stylists and much more.
The actual numbers of children going hungry in this city are staggering, according to Davis. “Sadly, hundreds of our children right here in Rancho Cordova have to wonder if that lunch they're eating on Friday is their last meal until they return to school on Monday. We are a nonprofit working to end the 60 (plus) hours some children go without food. The kids receive free breakfast and lunch every day of the school year but what about the weekends? That's where Blessings in a Backpack steps in. We send home 6 meals and 2 snacks each Friday to help combat a child from going hungry.”
BIAB is a national organization feeding 90,000 children across the country. “I was watching the nightly world news and they did a story about kids going hungry when they leave school on Friday because they didn't have food until they got back to school on Mondays. Then I found out our schools are Title 1 schools so I knew our kids were getting breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday but what did they do that 60 plus hours over the weekend? That's exactly why I got involved,” Davis explained.
The group works year-round, utilizing everything from online shopping, accepting donations, food drives and more.
This week actually marks a milestone Davis’ work. “It was 3 years ago today I started feeding 30 kids at Cordova Villa.” Back then Davis, along with her husband, daughter and granddaughters Logan and Lindsay, began their efforts in her living and dining rooms, storing and packing between 30 to 40 food bags each week.
The more they became involved, the greater they realized the need was. Currently BIAB provides meals for students at five schools. “Last year we fed over 200 children and had to move the operation out of the house to store and pack our food bags. This process worked pretty well for us but children were constantly asking us asking me what they could do to help, which got us to thinking,” said Davis.
Thus, began BIAB’s partnerships with an impressive array students, teachers, government, social service campaigns and agencies. One such student group, Kids Helping Kids, was among the first to pitch in. “We decided to move packing the food bags to each of our schools. Their respective student councils lead up the packing each week. BIAB delivers the food to the schools each Wednesday and the children take it from there. Kids helping Kids has helped create just a bit more kindness,” Davis commented.
BIAB works hard to meet a shockingly deep need right in the Rancho Cordova community. “Sadly, hundreds of our children right here in Rancho Cordova have to wonder if that lunch they're eating on Friday is their last meal until they return to school on Monday,” she said.
“Many of the children we've encountered expressed surprise that other students might go weekends without food,” according to Davis.
BIAB has a current core team of 20 adult and ten junior volunteers. Because BIAB is part of a national network, Davis can concentrate her efforts on building relationships with schools, corporate and private sponsors and getting donations where they need to go. “I raise [money] and feed the kids. The cool thing is we get to keep 100% of what we raise to feed our kids here at the FCUSD.”
Thus far non-denominational congregation Unity of Sacramento has provided space for BIAB, but as the needs have increased, so has the need for additional storage. Davis said, “We are in desperate need of a bigger storage locker to keep our food in. We are very fortunate to have large food drives to help us cut down our food bill but it will not fit in our current location. We do not need refrigeration; simply a room we can store the food in and I can come and load it out of. The Rancho Cordova area would be perfect as the schools we feed are in Rancho.”
For more information on BIAB, their programs and partners visit them on the web at www.bibsac.org.
Picture putting a paper bag over your head and trying to land a C-124, four-engine cargo plane in Iceland, in the middle of winter, with two engines down.
“It’s called ‘zero-zero visibility,’ said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert J. McMurry, 96, who actually pulled off that landing and many other nail-biting missions during his 24-year career as an enlisted aviator.
McMurry and his daughter, Gail Spelis have co-authored his memoir, Proud Pilot: A True Story of Family, Wartime and Survival Against the Odds, which traverses his childhood in Omaha, Nebraska, the middle and teenage years in the Bay Area, the events that led to in his enlistment and all things in between. Several chapters are devoted to the many white-knuckle experiences McMurry endured while serving in the air force, including that 1956 mission to an Icelandic refueling station, which he calls “the most harrowing of all.”
Seven years in the making, Spelis says the decision to help co-author her father’s memoir was divinely inspired, but as is the case with many of the close-call stories in the book, its fruition also had a lot to do with timing.
“I had heard my dad tell stories all my life about being a service pilot and I’d always wanted to write this book,” Spelis said. When the economy soured in 2008, her family real estate company took a heavy blow, which put her at a personal crossroads. “The recession came along and I did not know which direction to turn. I was at my desk, praying for guidance and I asked God to show me what he wanted me to do next.”
The creative spirit, says Spelis, came to her almost immediately, however, she began writing a very different book. “It was flowing out of me faster than I could keep up with,” she said. A short time later, as her father was recounting stories during a family reunion, it hit her: “dad’s memoir” was the book she needed to be working on.
“I knew that was it,” said Spelis. “I had my direction and I wanted to honor dad by writing this book to help give his life meaning and purpose,” Spelis said.
More than 50 years had lapsed between the military and the memoir, published in 2015. McMurry was 87 when they began the writing. Between the air force and civilian pilot employment, he clocked some 33,000 hours in the air. He’d survived cancer and other illnesses, and experienced the death of his wife, Jeanne in 2012 after 69 years of marriage.
But memory had a will, and through it all McMurry’s memory had a mission of its own. He is, after all, a member Mensa and, to keep his mind sharp, he works the crossword puzzle every morning. In ink.
“There’s nothing wrong with his memory,” said Spelis, who says she wrote as her father dictated. “I’d ask dad to start in and remember the next thing, and he’d just sit back, close his eyes, put his fingers on his forehead and he’d go right there.”
As a young man, McMurry wanted to be a professional trumpet player. In high school he had his own band, which even backed up a fledgling entertainer and former Burlingame High School alum, singer, TV personality and media mogul, Merv Griffin. “I was never really great at it,” recalls McMurry. “It was frustrating. All artists want to be great at what they do.”
Then, World War II broke out and, as an enlisted member of the National Guard, McMurry was called to active duty on March 3, 1941. Two months in, he found the hours of pulling army caissons and cannons over unforgiving terrain on horseback and sleeping on the ground nothing short of miserable. When a notice was posted announcing pilot training exams, McMurry jumped at the opportunity. He was the only member of his company to pass.
“World War II changed everything for me,” McMurry said.
Spelis said the core of the book was “on paper” in about six months, however, the collection of photos, editing and other finishing touches took seven years. Her passion for her father’s work and their unshakable bond, they both agree, made this “labor of love” a reality.”
“I could not be more proud of Gail, and I enjoyed the whole process,” said McMurry. “We worked for hours every day. We would get tired, and sometimes we’d even forget to eat.”
Proud Pilot, a True Store of Family, Wartime and survival against the Odds, is available online at: www.gailspelisauthor.com/product-page/book
The Sunrise Event Center in Rancho Cordova was shining brightly on local business owners during the annual Best in Business Awards dinner held March 16th.
The Winners were: Non-Commissioned Officers Association for Non-Profit of the Year, Costa Vida Restaurant for Rising Star, Oliver’s Captured Moments for Chairman’s Award, Dogs Drink Coffee for Micro-Business of the Year, Bigtime Speedway for Small Business of the Year, Graphics and More for Mid-sized Business of the Year and KP International Market for Large Business of the Year. Ellie Witt was named the Chamber Ambassador of the Year.
Major sponsors included Aerojet Rocketdyne, Easton Development Company, SMUD, City of Rancho Cordova, Hyatt Place, Murphy-Austin-Adams-Schoenfeld LLP, Business Computer Services of Sacramento, AMPAC Fine Chemicals, Kaiser Permanente, California American Water, Marriott Rancho Cordova, PG&E, Raley’s, Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism, Republic Services, Sublime Digital Media and Wells Fargo.
The event was catered by West Coast Events and supplied by Elite Party Rentals.
A special “Thank You” goes out to the Leadership Rancho Cordova Class XI and the Chamber Ambassador Team.
Next year’s annual Best in Business Awards will have a new theme. “Aloha” has seen its last sunset. If you have any ideas for a great theme contact the Chamber of Commerce at 916-273-5700.
The world’s first electric stand-up personal watercraft is now available from Free Form Factory, a Rancho Cordova company that is making waves in our community and around the globe. The Gratis X1 is a high-performance personal watercraft that is free of fuel, noise, and emissions and is a completely new and unique experience for water sports enthusiasts.
“We are thrilled to unveil the world’s first electric, stand-up personal watercraft. With the Gratis X1, riders will experience a powerful, fun and quiet ride on some of the most pristine waterways on earth,” said Founder and CEO of Free Form Factory Jordan Darling. “Free of the restrictions imposed on gas-powered watercraft, the Gratis X1 gives riders of all levels the ability to explore lakes, rivers and oceans they could only dream about riding before.”
All levels of water sports enthusiasts who are looking to ride waterways that are off limits to gas-powered personal watercrafts now have the freedom to ride almost anywhere with the new Gratis X1. This personal watercraft, which can be charged anywhere using a standard electrical outlet or a propane-based generator, also features LED headlights for increased safety and visibility.
“We are proud that Free Form Factory chose Rancho Cordova for its headquarters,” said Mayor Donald Terry. “We congratulate Free Form on its innovation and being the first to bring an electric, personal stand-up watercraft to market.”
Free Form Factory relocated its headquarters from New York to Rancho Cordova in June 2016. Free Form Factory chose the Sacramento region after considering locations in Austin, Texas and the state of New York, but after poor service and difficulty securing funding from other markets, the City of Rancho Cordova and the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council began working with Darling’s team to connect them with the resources they needed.
“We move fast, and we needed a community that moves just as fast,” Darling said. “Rancho Cordova and Greater Sacramento were able to deliver what we needed, period.”
Free Form Factory’s mission is to reimagine the recreational and professional water sports industry through innovative, durable, and environmentally friendly products. To learn more about Free Form Factory and the new Gratis X1, visit www.ridefreeform.com
The Sacramento County Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, city officials and the region’s top law enforcement representative are beginning to plant the seeds for both complying with and addressing potential impacts from the legalization of marijuana under the passage of Proposition 64 in November.
On Monday, March 27, the County Planning Commission will be finalizing recommendations for zoning changes that, if adopted by the full board of supervisors at its April 11 meeting, will officially ban all commercial sales of marijuana in the county, effectively criminalizing the establishment of so-called pot dispensaries, as well as pot sales through delivery services, commercial growing, and other means. It’s a bolstering of laws already in place, but necessary for the county as other changes under the law take effect.
In addition, the full board of supervisors will be discussing cleanup language for existing zoning laws now governing medicinal marijuana use and cultivation in private residences in order to bring county codes into compliance with laws now permitting the recreational use and cultivation of marijuana under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).
With its passage, the law makes it legal for all adults 21 and over to now grow up to nine pot plans inside a private residence or accessory unit, such as a small green house. The county previously amended zoning laws to allow for the personal use and cultivation of medicinal marijuana, however existing “permissive zoning” code on recreational pot use and cultivation still prohibits it.
“We’ll be taking up the zone amendment and talking about clean up language in order to come into compliance with the new law and take measures to deal with commercial marijuana use and growing,” said County Supervisor Sue Frost.
The AUMA puts the state of California in charge of governing the licensing process for commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana and it has until January 1, 2018 to accept applications for that process. The state, however, is leaving it up to the local municipalities to adopt and enforce local ordinances aimed at either regulating or, if they chose to, as Sacramento has, prohibit all commercial marijuana sales “activities.”
Once zoning code amendments are in place, the county supervisors will also likely have to contend with the thorny issue of compliance with the new law and enforcement of violations and related crime as they may or may not come into conflict with laws set by the federal government, which still classifies marijuana as an illegal Class 1 controlled substance.
“I can only speak for myself, but we may be having conversations at some point about crime and other issues, and I want to proceed very carefully because we do not jeopardize the funding we get for several programs from the federal government,” Frost said. “Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance and is still illegal as far as the federal government is concerned.”
That said, Frost added she has also begun talking with local law enforcement about the likely future impact on local crime and other issues by the legalization of commercial marijuana sales in other counties.
“It’s bound to spill over,” said Frost. “But, I’m from Citrus Heights, and here we weigh out all of our options very carefully before we make any decisions. That same principal will apply here as far as I’m concerned. I can’t speak for the entire board, but that’s my approach.”
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said she has already made it clear she sees a through line between the passage of Prop. 64 and Prop. 57, which allowed for the early release of some convicted felons on incarcerated for what are considered “lesser crimes,” many drug- and alcohol-related, and the potential myriad problems to come with the new laws on pot use in the state.
“I’m planning to be there at the meeting on the 11th to make sure the board of supervisors understands all of our concerns about what this passage means with respect to crime,” said Schubert. “What this law effectively does is not only makes it a misdemeanor for having just a little over the limit, but it’s still just a flat misdemeanor even if you are caught growing mass quantities over the limit.”
In addition, said Schubert, there are the potential side-effects impacting community services and its residents, including a likely uptick in the number of DUIs on marijuana, underage use of marijuana, emergency room visits, car accidents, and spikes in crime.
“I am concerned about crime going up, I’m concerned about hospital visits going up due to accidents, the number of DUI offences under the influence of marijuana going up, and all the things that relate to that,” Schubert said. “Now, we are going to comply with the laws are they are written, but we also want to figure out how we are going to effectively plan for these other issues going forward.”
Four games in six days.
During that time span, the Cordova High School baseball team split half of those games into wins. Most important is that the wins were in Sierra Valley Conference action.
The latest conference win came on Monday at El Dorado High, where Cordova (2-1 in the SVC, 3-5) posted a 6-4 win over the host Cougars. That game had the Lancers’ bat come alive with 11 hits. Leading the way was Jeremy Buck, who went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Following Buck in hitting were Austin Smith, Logan Appino and Trevor Ready, all of whom had two hits each. Appino also had a stolen base. Nick Ravareau and Spencer Gudgel had a base hit each. Ready and Gudgel also had two RBIs each.
On the mound, Smith went the distance for the Lancers. He allowed only four hits, and struck out five Cougar batters.
Sheldon 14, Cordova 4
In a non-league game at the Huskies’ field on March 18th, the game was tied 1-1 after the first inning. Then in the bottom of the second frame, Sheldon scored four times for a 5-1 lead.
The Huskies expanded their lead to 7-1 in the third, and scored at least one run through the sixth inning. The game was called at that time due to the 10-run mercy rule. Sheldon finished the contest with 13 hits.
Cordova had seven hits. Buck and Appino had two hits each. Ready, Smith and Zack Guererro had a hit each. Guererro’s lone hit was a double.
Union Mine 13, Cordova 3
In an SVC game in El Dorado on St. Patrick’s last Friday, the visiting Lancers had eight hits.
Appino had the big bat again for Cordova, going 3-for-3. Ravareau and Guererro had two hits each, and Jordan Meyers had one.
Cordova 10, Rosemont 9
In the SVC home opener on March 15th, Appino was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 that included a triple and an RBI.
Part of the Lancers’ hitting parade against the Wolverines was Tipton, Ready, Ravareau, Smith and Buck, all of whom had a hit each.
Appino and Smith split time on the hill. Appino allowed only two hits, and struck out three Rosemont batters. Smith fanned four and walked two.
On Wednesday, weather and field conditions pending, Cordova was scheduled to play an SVC road game at Galt.
Today, Friday, Cordova will host Liberty Ranch in an SVC game. Next Monday, the Lancers play a non-conference game at Franklin of Stockton. Next Wednesday, Cordova is back in SVC action at Rosemont. Game times for all three are scheduled for 4 p.m.
A mid-day deluge and lightning storm couldn’t stop the FLC women’s softball team from playing their scheduled game at Sacramento City College on Tuesday afternoon, although the Panthers came out on top 7-3. Falcon shortstop McKenna Rickles continued her hot hitting as she became the first Falcon softball player to hit two home runs in one game, accounting for all three FLC runs. The Falcons took a 2-1 lead on the first of Rickles’ homers in the third inning, but the Panthers quickly responded with four runs in their half of the inning. Rickles’ solo homer in the seventh - her third hit of the day – raised her team-leading batting average to .392. Two Big 8 teams desperate for a win - each with just one conference victory thus far in 2017 - squared off in Santa Rosa on last Saturday as the Falcons visited the Bear Cubs for an afternoon doubleheader. It couldn’t have started out worse for the Falcons as they gave up seven runs in each of the first two innings, ultimately losing the opener 15-6. The Falcon bats finally came to life in the fourth and fifth innings as they scored six runs, but the early 14 run deficit was too much to overcome. McKenna Rickles had two hits, collected two RBI, and stole a base as the Falcons’ offensive star of the game.
Rickles took the mound for the Falcons in the late game, and after the Falcons took a 1-0 lead in the first, things were looking positive for the visitors. But as has been the case, one error led to more mistakes and the Bear Cubs took full advantage, scoring five runs in the second inning. Rickles settled down and shut them out the rest of the way, but despite her second multi-hit offensive game of the day, the Falcons only tallied one more run as they lost 5-2. The Falcons hope to right the ship on Tuesday, when they’re scheduled to visit Sacramento City at 3:00 pm.
The Saturday afternoon finale of the three-game series with Santa Rosa started out well for the Falcons as they took a first-inning 2-0 lead. But things quickly turned ugly as the Bear Cubs capitalized on five doubles, three singles, three hit batters, and a passed ball to score 10 runs – all in the second inning. To their credit, the Falcons didn’t fold as they rallied to score six more runs over the next five innings. Carson McCusker smashed his eighth home run of the season in the sixth inning, a two-run shot that landed on the middle of the track, having completely cleared the protective screen in left field. The 15-8 final score was reflective of the type of season it has been thus far for the Falcons: lots of hitting and decent run support, but the pitching has been far from reliable. The team ERA in nine conference games is 7.96, meaning they’re allowing nearly 8 earned runs per game. With three games against Modesto (7-11 overall, 3-3 in Big 8) this week, the Falcons hope to turn things around.
Upcoming Sports Schedule
Fri March 24 M/W Tennis – Big 8 Playoffs TBD
Sat March 25 Softball vs Sierra at FLC, 12:00 and 2:00 pm
Baseball at Modesto, 1:00 pm
Clea Meyers, a retired Rancho Cordova teacher, reached a major milestone with her 100th birthday in March. She’s having lots of parties with well-wishers.; Meyers can be seen walking around Eskaton Village in Carmichael, where she lives. With her pedometer clipped on, Meyers participates in the Eskaton Step It Up walking program, logging an impressive 7,000 steps per day – which she has no problem achieving.
According to Meyers, good food, good exercise and attitude are the secrets to living a long and healthy life. She explained, “It’s about having a positive attitude and caring for others.” During her nearly 100 years on earth, she has practiced what she preaches. About 15 years ago, she began knitting hats for children in the hospital.
The mother of two, grandmother of five, and great-grandma to nine, grew up in Nebraska. She met her husband there, they were both in education. In 1959, after visiting her sister and brother-in-law in Sacramento, the couple decided to move out west. “It was so nice to get out of the snow and ice,” she said. “And the teacher salaries we so much better in California.”
Meyers spent 20 years teaching second grade at Peter Shields Elementary in Rancho Cordova. She loved teaching. The greatest part for her was working with the students, she said, “Opening their eyes to the world and seeing them grasp and grow into adults.”
Meyers is proud to be a resident at Eskaton Village, Carmichael where she has lived since 1997. “Absolutely the best place one can live,” she exclaimed. “The food is so good."
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced that Sacramento Public Library is among the 30 finalists for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 23 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families and communities.
“The 2017 National Medal Finalists represent the leading museums and libraries that serve as catalysts for change in their communities,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “It is our honor to recognize 30 notable institutions for their commitment to providing programs and services that improve the lives of individuals, families and communities. We salute them and their valuable work in providing educational opportunities to their community and celebrate the power libraries and museums can have across the country.”
Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. IMLS is encouraging community members who visited Sacramento Public Library to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page. To Share Your Story and learn more about how these institutions make an impact, please visit www.facebook.com/USIMLS.
The National Medal winners will be announced later this spring. The representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C. to be honored at the National Medal award ceremony.
To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit www.imls.gov/2017-medals.
Source: Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Along partisan lines, Senate Democrats passed two legislative proposals that would make California a safe haven for convicted felons who are in the country illegally and provide free legal service for them.
Former chairman of California’s state parole board, Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), and sheriffs across the state denounced the Democrat-controlled legislature’s actions.
“How many more lives have to be harmed before Sacramento politicians wake up and realize these policies are dangerous for our communities?” said Senator Nielsen. Nielsen represents the families of two sheriff’s deputies killed in the line of duty by a convicted criminal who was deported twice for committing several crimes, for membership in a drug cartel, and for entering the country illegally. “This is not about immigration; this is about enabling criminal behavior and activity that endangers our citizens.”
The California State Sheriffs’ Association stated in their letter to the author, “This bill creates a severe public safety problem.”
Specifically, Senate Bill 54 (De León), is a legislative proposal that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, school police and security departments from sharing information about criminals with federal officials.
The second measure Senate Bill 6 (Hueso) would provide free legal services to arrested individuals. SB 6 takes general fund monies from programs like scholarships for college students to give to organizations to defend criminals.
“California leaders must protect the safety of our citizens from convicted felons who are here illegally – not hire lawyers for them,” said Senator Nielsen.
To contact Senator Nielsen, please call him at 916.651.4004, or via email at email@example.com.