Aerojet Rocketdyne Ships Starliner Re-entry Thrusters

By Aerojet Rocketdyne  |  2018-03-21

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner conducts a docking approach to the International Space Station Photo courtesy Boeing

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Aerojet Rocketdyne recently completed delivery of all of the crew module engines for Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner spacecraft. Boeing will integrate the engines into the Starliner crew module at its Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Starliner crew module is designed to transport up to seven passengers or a mix of crew and cargo for missions to low-Earth orbit destinations. Developed in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the Starliner will carry up to four astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA missions. Each capsule is designed to be used up to 10 times and features 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-104J engines to properly orient the spacecraft during atmospheric re-entry.

“Astronaut safety is paramount at Aerojet Rocketdyne, which is why we are providing a reliable propulsion system for the Starliner crew module to ensure a safe re-entry for all of Starliner’s passengers,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake.

Each MR-104J engine produces more than 100 pounds of thrust and draws on a legacy dating back to NASA’s Voyager probes, which have traveled farther in space than any other human-made objects. Key to the reusability of CST-100 Starliner crew module engines is a patent-pending design approach that strengthens the engine to withstand extreme operating temperatures without significantly increasing its weight. The total weight of the delivered flight engines met the Boeing requirement with more than a 12 percent margin.

In addition to the crew module engines, Aerojet Rocketdyne is providing launch abort engines, service module reaction control thrusters, and service module orbital maneuvering and attitude control engines for the Starliner program.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and

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Recycling It Right Reduces Contamination

Sacramento County News Release  |  2018-03-21

Sacramento County Department of Waste Management & Recycling (DWMR) encourages everyone to recycle it right!

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - With all that goes in your recycling cart, do you know what it means to recycle it right? For starters, it means not placing garden hoses in your green waste cart or household batteries in your mixed recycling or garbage cart. Even though recycling has been around for a long time, it can still be very confusing about what goes where. What you do really does matter – a lot! Because, if you are not disposing of your items correctly, chances are, neither are your neighbors and that can add up to a big contamination problem. Sacramento County Department of Waste Management & Recycling (DWMR) encourages everyone to recycle it right!

Let’s sort out recycling!

DWMR provides curbside garbage, recycling and green waste service to about 154,000 customers in the unincorporated area. With that many customers, recycling can easily go wrong. When you load up your recycling cart with clean metals, glass beverage and food containers, and paper, and then you throw in just one unacceptable item such as Styrofoam, a light bulb, or even garbage – especially if it is a greasy pizza box or other food-soiled material – you have just contaminated all your recyclables. When those contaminated recyclables are added to our trucks, it contaminates your neighbor’s recycling, so by the time our truck finishes the route, the entire load will be a mess. 

Why is contaminated recycling such a big deal?

When a truckload of recycling has too much contamination, recycling processors either have to slow down the sort line to effectively recover the recyclables, which substantially increases the cost to recycle, or they have to reject the entire load and it’s sent to the landfill. This hurts our program and the environment, which ends up wasting the value of the material and filling up landfill space.

Sacramento County and Sacramento-area municipalities are reminding all customers about the problems of contaminated recycling – for more information, read the insert: Recycle It Right

What’s in and what’s out?

Now that we know the importance of recycling it right, there are many resources available to help you remember what to put in and what to leave out of your curbside carts! Review acceptable and unacceptable curbside recycling materials. For helpful information to learn how to recycle or properly dispose of specific items, go to the A to Z Materials Guide, or check out the lineup of Recycling Brochures. There are also a host of short recycling videos on the County’s YouTube Utilities & Residential Services Playlist

Customer outreach – more on recycling it right!

We all have busy lives and are bombarded with information every day. DWMR is currently developing a customer outreach campaign to remind residents about the importance of recycling it right and could include a door hanger “packet” with information on acceptable and unacceptable items for the garbage, green waste, and recycling carts. Additionally, DWMR is researching other measures to reduce contamination in curbside recycling carts before they end up in collection trucks. It is our goal that this outreach will help remind customers what, and what not to put in each cart. By working together, we can reduce contamination and protect our environment.

For waste management and recycling questions:

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Project Linus Seeks Blanketeers for Local Children in Need

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-03-20

An elementary soccer team with blankets from Sacramento Chapter Linus Project Photo courtesy of Claire Gliddon

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – On Christmas Eve morning, 1995, Karen Loucks came across the compelling photo of a bald three-year-old girl named Laura Williams in a long pink dress, holding her special “blankie.”   

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning photo-journalist Eddie Adams, the article in Parade Magazine told of Laura’s battle with leukemia and how her blanket has helped her get through more than two years of grueling chemotherapy.

After reading that article, Karen Loucks, who was 23 at the time, and had just learned to crochet, decided she could crochet blankets to help children like Laura; thus started Project Linus.

To date, Loucks, her friends and hundreds of volunteers have presented thousands of homemade blankets to Denver's Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center and many other venues locally and worldwide.  

‘Linus’ was chosen for the logo, as the image of Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts character with his trusted security blanket tells the mission of the project perfectly.

Since 1995, 400 chapters nationwide have delivered close to 7,000,000 blankets to children in need of all ages.

In a recent phone interview with Loucks, she said, “For me, it’s thrilling to be a part of this… I don’t like to do something unless I can make a difference. I don’t get on the hamster wheel just to see it turn…. Here I can see results every day. We can’t stop the disasters but can have a positive effect and help where we can… It’s kids helping kids, they use their own hands to help others.”

The Sacramento Chapter, with Claire Gliddon at the helm since 1997, is working tirelessly to get their own blankets out to children in need in Sacramento and Placer counties. Local “blanketeers” made and delivered 12,437 blankets to needy children in 2017.

Today Gliddon is seeking more volunteers of all ages and organizations that need that “hug” for children.  Donations of material and yarn to make even more blankets are needed. Seniors and others who love to knit, crochet, quilt or sew can join in the fun and camaraderie of creating something that will make a huge difference in the life of a child or teenager. These ‘homemade hugs’ can be as simple or complex as the creator choses.

There are no meetings, no quotas.  The only requisite is that blankets be new, handmade and washable. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, whether you can make one blanket a year or 100, all are welcome. Blankets can be made at home, with friends, at a community facility such as the Fair Oaks Library, or at one of the many chapter gatherings that take place all over Sacramento and Placer County. Yarn and fabric is available if needed.

“Blanketeers” include seniors, members of faith communities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs and both junior high and high school students needing community service hours.  Yarn is even provided to the Chowchilla Women’s Prison and men at Folsom State Prison to make blankets for the chapter. 

Blankets are donated to over 100 local organizations all year. These include hospitals, low-income elementary schools, food closets, shelters, police departments, child abuse prevention programs, the Sheriff’s Department, Ronald McDonald House, My Mother’s Voice, My Sister’s House and Wellspring Women’s Center, to name a few.  Blankets are also donated to children of veterans.  Every blanket gets a tag sewn on that says, “Made with Love for Project Linus.”

The children know the difference from a manufactured blanket and are “touched that a stranger would take the time to make something for them.” One child stated, “This is the only thing in the hospital that’s mine.”

Following the Columbine school shooting in 1999, blanket donations expanded to victims of other disasters. Besides mostly staying local, children affected by 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, fires in California, and school shootings are just some of the recipients of blankets from Gliddon’s blanketeers.

Gliddon and her volunteers have been invited to exhibit their blankets at the California State Fair since 2015.

A special plea is going out to all collectors for new or almost new Beanie Babies. The project starts at the beginning of each December when they choose a handful of low income schools and present every kindergartener with a warm blanket.  A very special touch is the addition of a Beanie Baby in a little pouch with each blanket.  In 2017, 790 blankets were delivered to these schools just before Winter break.

Those who join receive an information packet with a list of gatherings, drop-off sites and suggested sizes.  For more info, contact Claire Gliddon at (916) 965-8955, e-mail or visit their website and Facebook page at Project Linus-Sacramento-Chapter.

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Choosing Kindness: A Hands-On Approach to Understanding

Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-03-20

Dwight Lunkley has a little fun with some of the students in a sensitivity workshop at California Montessori Project, American River Campus in Fair Oaks.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - One of the students had a little trouble reaching the foot pedals on his wheelchair.  The break was a bit of a challenge too. As he tried rolling it out on to the blacktop at the California Montessori Project, American River Campus in Fair Oaks, a trail of fellow fourth graders followed, bringing up the rear.

This was exactly the kind of learning experience intended: hands on, real time, fumbling through it kind of learning.  It was only for practice however, practice for what it really feels like to be wheel chair bound.  Once the students tackled the wheel chair they got a shot at walking blindfolded with a white cane, punching out their names backward in Braille, learning about how prosthetic limbs work and what it feels like to have the not-so visible kinds of disabilities, such as autism and dyslexia.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” said Alaina Lawrence, 9 of Carmichael working at the Braille learning table.  She and some of her schoolmates were participating in an onsite sensitivity and awareness workshop led by volunteers with the Granit Bay-based nonprofit organization, A Touch of Understanding (ATOU).  Officially launched in 1996 by Leslie DeDora and her father, Edward Ennis, ATOU marshals the wisdom and experience of volunteers, many with disabilities themselves, and, along with a truck-load of props, heads into schools across many portions of the Northern California region to conduct onsite workshops for school age children in an effort to minimize bullying, social isolation and discrimination against those living with disabilities. 

“We know children are curious and they will ask questions if they feel comfortable doing so,” said DeDora.  “What we do is provide a safe space for them to learn how to talk to and accept someone who is different from them. I think in many cases kids in schools mistreat others because we don’t give them the information they need to truly understand what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes.”

Dwight Lunkley, who sports two prosthetic arms and is partially disfigured from a near-death off-roading accident in 1994, handled a portion of the speaker sessions that accompany the hands-on activities.  He says there’s nothing more impactful than one-on-one interaction with children as a way to teach tolerance and educate them about what happened to him and how it has impacted his life.  

“I love coming in to the schools and talking to kids,” said Lunkley.  “You’d be amazed at how smart, compassionate and inquisitive they are about me.  So we work together to teach them about what is going on with us, why and how we are really just like them and that even with a physical disability we can have happy lives.  But we show them, we don’t just tell them.  That’s how they learn the compassion.”

DeDora said her aunt had intellectual disabilities that were initially difficult for her to understand until she was taught by her parents about the importance of celebrating, not rejecting someone because of their differences.

“I remember inadvertently making my aunt cry because I didn’t understand why she looked like the adults in the room, but acted like the kids,” said DeDora.

DeDora parlayed that early education in compassion into a career working as a tutor of students with disabilities in the public schools system.  Realizing more could be done to provide young people with tangible opportunities for breaking down misconceptions about people with disabilities, she launched “Walk a Mile In Their Shoes” in 1996.  After conducting 60 successful “pilot” presentations, ATOU was formed.  Today, the organization has an annual budget of approximately $400,000, three staff members and an army of volunteers, including interns from Sacramento State College working on degrees in adaptive recreation, nursing programs or other related fields.

Much of ATOU’s funding comes through grants and the sensitivity workshops, the fees for which $1,200 each are split between ATOU and the participating campus.

ATOU also relies heavily on funds raised during its annual “Art from the Heart” gala, now in its fifth year.  This year’s gala is slated for April 20.  Donated artwork is displayed and available for purchase.  The event includes silent and live auctions, a raffle, wine, appetizers and likely some of the most inspirational speakers you’ll ever have the pleasure of hearing from.

“It will be a fun, informative and inspirational evening, celebrating art in its many forms and embracing those among us with disabilities,” DeDora said.

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Lyon Real Estate-Agent Support Center Gives $5,000 Grant To Bradshaw Animal Shelter

By Lyon Cares Foundation  |  2018-03-19

Bradshaw Animal Shelter is the recipient of a $5,000 grant courtesy of the Lyon Cares Foundation. Photo courtesy Lyon Cares Foundation

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Lyon Cares Foundation announced that Bradshaw Animal Shelter is the recipient of a $5,000 grant. Bradshaw Animal Shelter’s mission is to provide public safety and protect the health and welfare of animals in our communities through education, responsibility, and compassion.

Operated by Lyon Real Estate, the Lyon Cares Foundation offers time, talent, and treasure to local nonprofits that make their communities a better place. Funds are raised through escrow and payroll contributions by Lyon agents and staff in addition to Lyon’s annual Golf Tournament.

“We will be using the grant through Teaching Everyone Animals Matter (TEAM), our 501C3 non-profit affiliate to help the ill and injured animals that come to our shelter,” said Dave Dickinson, Director of Sacramento County Municipal Services. “This grant will help animals that need extra medical care before being deemed adoptable.” 

“It gives us great pride to give this grant to Bradshaw Animal Shelter,” said Lyon Real Estate president Pat Shea. “They are doing very important work.”

In 2018, each of Lyon’s 14 offices, in addition to their headquarters office will be giving two $5,000 grants to organizations of their choice, totaling $150,000.  Lyon’s Agent Support Center chose Bradshaw Animal Shelter to be the recipient of their grant. 

The Lyon Cares Foundation provides time, talent, and treasure to local nonprofits that make their communities a better place. Our partner in giving is the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. In 2017, Lyon Cares gave grants totaling $160,000 to 32 organizations in the Greater Sacramento Area and will be giving grants totaling $150,000 in 2018.

Ranked the number one brokerage in annual home sales in the greater Sacramento region by the Sacramento Business Journal, Lyon Real Estate has served the area for over 70 years. In 2017, the company closed 7,333 transactions worth a total of $3 billion in sales volume. Lyon Real Estate has 950 agents in 17 offices located throughout the region. The company is a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the largest network of premier locally-branded firms, as well as LeadingRE’s Luxury Portfolio International® program. In addition to its real estate services, Lyon Real Estate offers RELO Direct, a global relocation program. For more information about Lyon Real Estate, click to and follow us on

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Bright Shining Stars

Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-03-16

Third from left, front row, Janice Wagaman, Volunteer Director, Front Street Animal Shelter and 2018 Outstanding Volunteer Coordinator of the year joins members of the board of directors from DOVIA.

DOVIA Annual Awards Shines a Light on Outstanding Volunteers

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - How do you inspire a team of volunteers not to roll their eyes when asked to do perhaps the most humble of tasks - scooping up dog waste?

With a lot of patience and a willingness to meet them where they are at, says Janice Wagaman, who was selected by the Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA) March 8 as the agency’s 2018 Outstanding Volunteer Coordinator of the Year.  

DOVIA Sacramento is a non-profit organization providing support, workshops and trainings for professional volunteer managers at agencies across the county.

For the last five and a half years, Wagaman has served as the director of volunteers at the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento.  Wagaman is tasked with the job of overseeing roughly 2,400 volunteers at the shelter, which range from high school students to elderly adults with retirement time on their hands - all of whom come in with various levels of passion and commitment for service and, of course, an unwavering dedication to helping animals.

“It’s a tough job, lots of passion there, and often it is very emotional,” said Wagaman.  “But I absolutely would not have any other job in the world,” said Wagaman.  “In my case, one of the biggest challenges is inspiring new volunteers who are starting out at the first level to understand the importance of some of the more menial tasks we have to get done, which is go and pick up poop.  And the other challenge is that, with so many people and so many different levels of compassion and passion for being of service at the shelter, I don’t always have the time I would like to have to get to know all of my volunteers on a personal level.”

Under her directorship, Wagaman has created a new volunteer program called “SMART (Sacramento Missing Animal Response Team) Pet Alert, which has played an instrumental role in helping to boost the number of the shelter’s lost animals who are returned to their owners from 23 percent to nearly 30 percent. 

“My volunteers are really pushing this at an amazing level,” said Wagaman, one of three volunteers nominated for the award. “They are using social media aps and programs, like Next Door and Facebook to help reconnect lost animals with their owners and it is having a huge impact.  I’m super proud of them and this program.”

In addition, the shelter’s overall “Leave Live Rate” under Wagaman’s direction is at 87 percent - that means 87 percent of the animals brought in to the shelter due to separation from their owners, abandonment or other reasons, are being rehomed each year.

“That’s a good number,” said Wagaman.  “Of course, we’d love to see 100 percent, but we are proud and always working toward the goal.”

The annual awards also include recognition for Outstanding Youth Volunteers.  Taking that award for 2018 was Janae Bonnell, 18, a senior at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills.  Bonnell has worked as a volunteer at Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento since 2016.  One of 14 young volunteers nominated for the 2018 award, she plans on a career in pre-med.  She has clocked hundreds of hours as a volunteer working in, among other places, the hospital’s pre-operation unit, post-anesthesia care unit, operating rooms and admissions department.

“Really, this is amazing, but I am very impressed with all of the other nominees who are volunteering out there like me,” said Bonnell, as she posed for photos alongside her parents and sister.  “I love working with people and of course being at Shriners gives me valuable experience that goes along with what I want to do, which is pre-med.”

Bonnell took home a scholarship for $500 as part of her award.

Included among the list of nominees for the Outstanding Youth Volunteers is Carmichael resident and El Camino High School senior, Konark Mangudkar, honored for his volunteer work at Eskaton Village Carmichael since 2016.  He is interested in a career in neuroscience and technology and has an infinity for working with seniors and in the arena of memory care.

“I get a lot out of working with the elderly, especially those with memory loss issues,” said Mangudkar.  “I know they often don’t know who I am, but sometimes they do. It’s a very rewarding place to help out.  I know I am getting more out of this than I expected at first.”

The other nominees in the Outstanding Youth Volunteers category were Ivori White, with the Sacramento Public Library, North Natomas branch; Adrian McCauley, Sacramento Public Library; Rachel Neches, Reading Partners Sacramento; Cassandra Ng, City of Sacramento Volunteer Program; Cassidy Schreiner Girl Scouts, Friends of Meals on Wheels; Jihad “Gigi” Hamid, Sacramento Public Library, Arden Dimick; Cecilia Uribe-Smith, Sacramento Public Library-Arden Dimick; Celio Gonzalez, Sacramento Public Library, Galt; Isabel Nguyen, Kaiser South Sacramento; Hadley Nevin, Fairytale Town; Isabel Gatdula, Angelique Ashby’s Youth Action Corps and Emily Chin-Ito, ACC Senior Services.

The two other nominees for Outstanding Volunteer Coordinators adult category are Jordon Powell, American River Parkway Foundation and Katie Curler, Alzheimer’s Association.

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Big Hearts, Big Results

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-03-16

Rancho Cordovan of the Year recipient Wayne Harmer and Good Day Sacramento’s Cambi Brown celebrate the big night. Photo courtesy Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Seven Rancho Cordova residents and three organizations were honored as Rancho Cordova’s Volunteer Superheroes at the 19th Annual Community Volunteer Awards on Friday March 9 at City Hall. 

Good Day Sacramento’s Cambi Brown served as Master of Ceremonies, entertaining the audience with a fast paced description of each honorees achievements, scripted by the Council’s Shelly Blanchard.

The event was sponsored by the Cordova Community Council. Their website describes the council as “a non-profit organization that presents Rancho Cordova special events through working with member volunteer organizations. They are Rancho Cordova’s organization of organizations.” 
While many of this year's recipients were recognized for recent accomplishments, they have devoted decades to their passion to help others and to make Rancho Cordova a great place to live. They have shown strong leadership skills and the ability to win over and work with those needed to help accomplish their goals.
Those who have benefited from their hard work include students, schools, refugees, sports and music programs, veterans, the homeless and hungry, animals and an entire city.

Wayne Harmer took home the Rancho Cordova Citizen of the year award. He was the only honoree to have the words “a little crazy” attributed to his volunteer style - and for good reason. Like the other honorees, Harmer has spent thousands of hours volunteering at all kinds of jobs but goes just enough beyond what is expected of him to earn that title.
He graduated from Cordova High School, served in the U.S. Air Force as a crew chief on a KC-135 Stratotanker, retired out of Mather and worked in Rancho Cordova as a mail carrier for 15 years before taking on his new position, volunteer at Rancho Cordova.

Harmer has made himself indispensable to the City because, as Blanchard’s script read, “He will build anything, haul, anything, repair anything and paint anything. He has become a go-to volunteer for the Council and will volunteer with any activity going on in the city, including transforming Hagan Park into an amusement park every summer (which keeps him busy for two weeks), Kids Day, parking management and directing traffic.

Of all Harmer’s volunteer titles, that of Float Master is his favorite as it allows him to be either designing or building all year. His large, dynamic parade floats have won awards in both the Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova annual parades.

Harmer’s talents do not end here, and as with the other honorees, whatever he does, he does with his community in mind.

They all realize what has been given to them in their lives and are eager to give back to see Rancho Cordova become an even better place to live and work.

Full list of the winners:

Rancho Cordovan of the Year - Wayne Harmer
Super Hero - Patrick Willis
Distinguished Community Service - Bill Kong & Walter Little
Outstanding Service to Youth - Stacy Murray Lynch
Neighborhood Champion - Kris McCall
Distinguished Community Service Organization - Rancho Cordova Moose Lodge
Distinguished Service by a Faith Community - LDS Sacramento California Cordova Stake
Distinguished Community Business Partner - ECMC Group
We Could Not Have Done it Without You - Dennis Lamantia

For more information go to:

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