YOLO COUNTY, CA (MPG) – The California District Attorneys Association Foundation has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging young people from all backgrounds to consider becoming prosecutors and fostering greater diversity in district attorney’s offices throughout the state.

A new website, https://www.californiaprosecutors.org/, provides tools and resources for those considering a legal career or who currently are attending law school. It includes information on law schools, minority prosecutor associations, internships and jobs.

The website features written and video testimonials from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and deputy district attorneys from throughout the Golden State about why they chose their careers.

“Public service is enriching and rewarding,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Prosecutors play an essential role in our democracy by holding criminals accountable and providing justice and support to victims.”

The project was the idea of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey who recognized the need for prosecutorial offices to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. District attorney’s offices statewide are involved in the effort.

“As a prosecutor, you fight for equal and fair justice for all and you are the voice for the most vulnerable victims,” said San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan who has championed the right of human trafficking victims to receive justice.

“Prosecutors have the unique ability in the criminal justice system to seek truth, justice and accountability through traditional courts or alternative diversion programs that they design to meet the needs of diverse communities, victims and offenders” said Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig. He established a restorative justice program called Neighborhood Court which keeps many lower level cases out of the criminal justice system.

Alpana Samant, a Deputy District Attorney in San Mateo County, described her first encounter as an intern connecting with a domestic violence victim who needed another woman to hear her story.

“I realized then that I too wanted to take on the responsibility of helping people feel safe and heard and visible in my community,” she said. “I too wanted to invest my time and energy into doing work that mattered to people who sometimes felt like they didn't matter to anyone.”


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Celebrate Recovery with Higher Power

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-06-19

Women pray together at a Higher Power recovery celebration. Photo courtesy of John Heath

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Higher Power Ministry hosts a recovery celebration at Lakeside Church in Folsom every Friday at 7:00 PM. Christian bands from a variety of genres such as blues, country, and rock and roll perform at the celebration. Lead Director of Recovery John Heath joked, “I turn the church into a nightclub every Friday night, with Jesus in the middle.”

A speaker talks to the group about recovery from addiction such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, food addictions, sexual addictions, workaholics, co-dependency, and self-harm. “These are life and death situations for the people that come in here, and there’s no such thing as a hopeless case,” said Heath. “We’re getting phenomenal results.”

Higher Power Ministry originated in 1992 at Central Peninsula Church in Foster City. Senior Pastor Jeff Farrar saw the need to help people overcome the addictions that were leading them to jail, institutions, and death. Pastor Steve Aurell, who was a ministry leader until his death in 2013, knew just how difficult it is to overcome addiction since he had once served 15 years in San Quentin Prison because of his own drug addiction. As Pastor of Recovery at Higher Power, Pastor Aurell saved many lives — including the life of John Heath.

Heath had a long history of addiction. During the early 1980s, at the height of the cocaine craze, Heath worked for the Cartel transporting drugs over the border. In 1983, after a serious overdose, he was admitted to the SHARE Unit in San Francisco, the nation’s first cocaine recovery center. He spent 60 days there, breaking medical records for the levels of cocaine in his system. Even after extensive treatment, his addiction continued for many years. In addition to cocaine, he used alcohol, heroin, and eventually moved on to meth.

Heath’s wife sought guidance at Higher Power, and Pastor Aurell urged her to stand by her husband in his time of need. Heath said that Pastor Aurell “was responsible through God’s Grace for saving my life, marriage, and my family.” Heath started attending Higher Power in 2006: “It was like no other church or place I had ever been.… I felt comfortable in my skin for the first time in my life.”

After a year of sobriety, Pastor Aurell asked Heath to become a leader in the Higher Power Ministry.  “I then knew that God had a sense of humor,” said Heath. After seeing firsthand all the good Higher Power had done for people in need, Heath felt compelled to spread the message to other communities: “God tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to start a recovery church.”

Heath moved to Shingle Springs and spent a year in prayer. Then he met Pastor John Voelz at Lakeside Church, who invited him to use the church as the site of a new Higher Power Ministry. Heath said, “We are so appreciative to Lakeside Church for allowing Higher Power to exist in Folsom and for letting us use their site to further our mission of helping those who are lost to addiction in the community.” Higher Power at Lakeside opened on July 7, 2017. “Seven, seven, seventeen — three sevens. I believe those are divine numbers,” said Heath.

“I started the ministry one person at a time,” Heath said. “We accept them however they are — high, drunk, or however they walk in.” Anyone who comes to the celebration can share with the group and seek help. “We stay there all night long if we need to,” he said. Higher Power Ministry leaders then follow up during the next week to offer additional help. If someone needs a recovery program, the leaders will find one for them. “We’re building a family,” said Heath. “It’s a huge support system.”

Many of the leaders are also recovering addicts, and Heath shares his story to inspire others to overcome their own struggles. Although Heath is not an ordained pastor, he found a way to ensure that Higher Power has a strong spiritual support system. He established an Elder Board comprised of two recovery pastors — each with 30 years of sobriety — who give spiritual advice and guidance. Heath said that Pastor Gary Freitas from Manteca and Pastor Dale Marsh from Oroville provide “spiritual direction, protection, and correction in the ministry.”

The events are open for anyone to attend. Heath said, “It’s a lot of fun. It’s not too churchy.” They serve free dinner, dessert, coffee, and other refreshments. Higher Power is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization; donation checks can be written to Higher Power Ministry and then mailed to Lakeside Church, 745 Oak Avenue Parkway, Folsom, CA 95630.

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Optimists Hold High School Baseball All-Star Games

By John Yoshikawa, Optimist Sports Director  |  2019-06-18

Outstanding Player for the South team was Kevin Haverson from El Dorado High School (left) and Outstanding Player for the North team was Josh Miller from Casa Roble High School (right). Courtesy Evening Optimist Club of Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The 48th Annual Optimist High School Baseball All-Star games were played on June 8, 2019 at Capital Christian High School on their meticulously manicured infield. Game 1 (Small Schools Teams) was won by the North Team 6 - 2. The Outstanding Player for the North team was Josh Miller from Casa Roble High School. The Outstanding Player for the South team was Kevin Haverson from El Dorado High School.

Game 2 (Large Schools Teams) was won by South Team 11 - 3. The Outstanding Player for the South Team was Grant Stevens from Franklin High School. The Outstanding Player for the North Team was William Ditler from Pioneer High School.

The North Small Schools Team was coached by Chris Millsback from Sacramento Country Day School, and assisted by Gary Jakobs from Sacramento Country Day School, Brad Gunter, Jr. from Valley Christian High School, and Ed Tupper from Casa Roble High School. The South Small Schools Team was coached by Kenny Munguia from Sacramento High School, and assisted by Kirk Crump from Sacramento High School.

The North Large Schools Team was coached Vincent Luevano from Antelope High School, and assisted by Ben Cornfield from Antelope High School, and Kevin Dawidczik and Craig Taylor from Del Campo High School. The South Large Schools Team was coached by Ben Petersen from Ponderosa High School, and assisted by Maury Castaneda from Ponderosa High School, and Derek Mayer and Larry Gregory from Laguna Creek High School.

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Sacramento History Museum Presents “A Page in Time Book Fair”

Traci Rockefeller Cusack, T-Rock Communications  |  2019-06-18

Cover of William Burg’s book, Wicked Sacramento. Courtesy Sacramento History Museum

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento History Museum is excited to welcome at least 10 highly respected local authors and/or historians for the first-time event “A Page in Time Book Fair” on Saturday, June 29, 2019 from noon to 3 p.m. The special event will take place inside the Sacramento History Museum (101 I Street in Old Sacramento State Historic Park) and is free with paid Museum admission.

Museum guests will have the opportunity to meet the intriguing local authors and historians who can relate the fascinating history of Sacramento through a variety of viewpoints and cultural backgrounds. While additional participants may be added to the line-up, the confirmed authors/historians are as follows (two of whom have Sacramento related books being released later this month):

William Burg – local historian and author of Wicked Sacramento (release date June 24, 2019); James Christian Scott – librarian/archivist for Sacramento Public Library and contributor to Images of America: Sacramento (release date June 24, 2019) ; Annette Kassis – author of Prohibition in Sacramento: Moralizers and Bootleggers in the Wettest City in the Nation; Steve Pate-Newberry and Michelle Alberigi McKenzie – photographer and narrator for Sacramento, CA: A Photographic Portrait; Karun Yee – (representing the Chinese American Council of Sacramento) and contributor to Canton Footprints; Mary Helmich – local historian and author of A Legacy in Brick & Iron: Sacramento’s Central and Southern Pacific Railroad Shops; Ric Hornor – local historian and author of Golden Highway 1 – North, Golden Highway 2 – South, and The Golden HUB; Dr. Mark A. Ocegueda – local historian, professor and author of Mexican American Baseball in Sacramento; Dr. Bob LaPerriere – (representing the Sacramento County Historical Society), local historian and contributor to the reissued 1853 Colville’s Sacramento Directory.

Admission to the Sacramento History Museum costs $8 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children ages 5 and under. Museum members who purchase a featured book can receive 20 percent off and non-members can receive 10 percent off the price of the featured book.

For more information about the “A Page in Time Book Fair” and/or the Sacramento History Museum in general, please visit www.sachistorymuseum.org.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Four developers who illegally graded roads and pads on a series of remote Trinity County properties, some of which were sold to cannabis cultivators, have agreed to pay a $325,000 fine to settle a lawsuit brought by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (North Coast Water Board).

The development activity, conducted without the necessary permits, made the land vulnerable to erosion and runoff issues that washed sediment into the nearby Indian Creek watershed, a tributary of the Middle Fork Trinity River, according to an investigation by the North Coast Water Board. In addition to the financial penalty, the developers and current landowners are named in a Cleanup and Abatement Order that requires correction of water quality violations.

“Illegal development for cannabis cultivation continues to be a significant issue and is a direct threat to the water quality of the north coast,” said Josh Curtis, assistant executive officer of the North Coast Water Board. “The settlement reflects that the parties acknowledged their illegal conduct, and we will be monitoring compliance with the Cleanup and Abatement Order so that these violations are corrected.”

Soil discharges into watersheds are a common concern with this kind of illegal grading, which are made worse by heavy winter rains that trigger runoff of soils that have been disturbed.

After investigating the violations, the North Coast Water Board sued the four parties in Trinity County Superior Court. The California Department of Justice filed the lawsuit on behalf of the North Coast Water Board, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board’s Office of Enforcement.

The settlement resolves the litigation with a stipulated judgment against the parties.

“We prioritized this case for enforcement because the unpermitted and poorly planned development of the properties caused actual and threatened discharges to Indian Creek, which is tributary to the sediment-impaired Middle Fork Trinity River,” said Curtis.

The four defendants (Clay Tucker, Barney Brenner, Rincon Land Holdings LLC, and Independence Corporate Offices, Inc.) acquired the largely undeveloped properties, then graded a series of roads and pads and sold the properties. The development was conducted without the necessary permits and in a manner that caused sediment from runoff to cloud the tributaries of Indian Creek and threaten fish habitat.

Through a combination of regulatory actions, including a Cleanup and Abatement Order for the shared access road and mandatory enrollment in the Cannabis Waste Discharge Regulatory Program for properties engaged in cannabis cultivation, the North Coast Water Board is working with the four developers and the subsequent property owners to ensure all water quality threats are addressed.

In addition to the guaranteed payment of $325,000, a suspended liability of up to $200,000 was imposed on Tucker. It will be triggered if he engages in, directs or finances conduct that violates the California Water Code within five years of the stipulated judgment.

For information regarding the North Coast Water Board, please visit https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/

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Be Part of the Fourth of July Parade

By Shelly Blanchard, Cordova Community Council  |  2019-06-17

These Uncle Sams want You to join the Rancho Cordova 4th of July Parade. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Bust out the red, white and blue, stock up on sunscreen and forward march – it’s time to register for the Rancho Cordova Fourth of July Parade and Youth Band Competition.

Organized by the Cordova Community Council, the Rancho Cordova Fourth of July Parade is a hometown favorite, attracting youth sports leagues, churches, businesses and more to decorate anything that rolls for a friendly Fourth of July parade competition.

The parade also includes a Youth Band Competition, with high school musicians from throughout the area marching down Coloma Road in pursuit of Fourth of July glory. This year’s parade is expecting seven bands will be participating in the competition, with support from the City of Rancho Cordova’s Community Enhancement Fund.

While the parade attracts plenty of participation, it also attracts a large crowd of spectators, which swells into the thousands along the 1.5 mile route that begins at Coloma Road and McGregor Drive, heads to Chase Drive, then Rinda Drive before calling it a day.

Interested in being part of this Rancho Cordova tradition? Signing up is easy: go to www.RanchoCordovaJuly4th.com and follow the parade sign-up link. Entry fee is $30, payable online at the time of sign-up. Deadline to enter is July 1.

Would you like to be part of the Volunteer Team that produces the parade? Volunteers are needed to help with staging and parade management. Volunteers receive a free volunteer t-shirt, a post event victory lunch – and gratitude from the Rancho Cordova Parade Team. For more information, contact Cheryl Gleason at 916-273-5712.

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Wilton History Group is Honored as Nonprofit of the Year

By Amanda Kirchner  |  2019-06-17

From left to right: Lorraine Robinson Vice President of Wilton History Group, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, Edgar Monroy, President of the Wilton History Group, and board member of Wilton History Group, Adriana Monroy. Photo courtesy of Office of Ken Cooley.

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On Wednesday, June 5th, Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) honored the Wilton History Group as the 8th Assembly District’s 2019 Nonprofit of the Year.

Each year, the California Legislature hosts the California Nonprofit Day Celebration to recognize the many nonprofit organizations that make significant contributions to their communities and California.

“The Wilton History Group is a jewel of the southern region of Sacramento County. The dedication of the Group’s membership and volunteers clearly demonstrates the talent and pride these individuals have in preserving the rich history and hard work by our early settlers that created the Wilton community,” said Assemblyman Cooley. “I am very proud to honor the Wilton History Group as this year’s Nonprofit of the Year, and have the opportunity to share a local gem in our community.”

The Wilton History Group was founded on December 10th, 2003 with the intent of collecting and preserving records of historical and sentimental value to the Wilton community. Named after Seth Wilton, a rancher who donated his land in 1908 for the building of the Central California Traction Railroad line, this group has been inspired to keep their small town history and values alive.

Wilton History Group utilizes a variety of research sources and detective skills to collect information on Wilton’s colorful history. Wilton residents often donate items left by elder family members, many of whom were original settlers of Wilton. The Wilton History Group is able to collect newspaper articles and artifacts from the Wilton area, such as original photographs which are duplicated on acid-free paper and stored in their archives for future generations to enjoy. Committee members and volunteers seek out the area’s earliest residents to interview memorable occurrences in Wilton.

Wilton History Group generously gives back to the community with annual events, such as the Memorial Day Observance in late May at the Post Office and History Day in early October at Dillard Elementary School. At many of these events, the community enjoys various displays of local veterans and historical items that provide a strong sense of pride and respect for the people who had a dream and created Wilton.

“It's a grand honor for the Wilton History Group to be recognized,” said Edgar Monroy, President of the Wilton History Group. “We are genuinely humbled and energized to press on in our journey to preserve our beautiful history. The quality of giving defines the fiber of a good society, we are thankful to be part of this good process and humbled by the recognition.”

Assemblyman Ken Cooley represents the 8th Assembly District which includes the communities of Arden-Arcade, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Herald, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Murieta, Rosemont, Wilton and other portions of unincorporated Sacramento County. For more information, please visit:http://asmdc.org/members/a08/

Source Office of Assemblyman Ken Cooley

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