RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Mike and Terri Wilson’s pet project turns a half-year old on April 19 – a puppy by dog standards, and a bona fide fledgling enterprise in business circles. But how long Dogtopia has been open is of no concern to the self-appointed boss. Tanner, a year-old, 80-pound husky-border collie mix, acts like he runs the place. Indeed, belonging to the owners of a doggie daycare facility has its advantages. Like having a bed to lay on in an office near where furry friends are released to their owners.
“Tanner, come back here – you know you can’t do that,” Mike barked in a half-serious voice as Noah, an Australian shepherd mix, was going home – not that a full-serious voice would have made any difference to the curious canine, one of the younger daytime residents of Dogtopia. Tanner and his more composed 7-year-old brother Boomer, a 90-pound English cream golden retriever, are cute as heck, but furry freeloaders. All employees get comped daycare for their pooches. Of paying guests, about 70 percent are regulars, not unlike daycare facilities for human children.
With dozens of dogs having a ball on any given day, Dogtopia has certainly brought life to 7,455 square feet that had been dead since stores selling furniture and kayaks pulled out. The first Dogtopia franchise in the Sacramento Valley is part of a renaissance for the newly remodeled Nimbus Winery. Over the past year, long-time tenants Tommy T’s and Old Spaghetti Factory have also welcomed Fort Rock Brewery and Red Door Escape Room.
Like a cat entered in a dog show, Dogtopia doesn’t seem to belong in a mall dominated by restaurants and amusement centers, Monster Golf included. But when you think about it – as a dog – it actually makes complete sense. The animals are served food and entertained in an open-play environment. Think Chuck E. Cheese’s for canines, not that the mouse mascot would stand a chance against the anti-rodent instincts of a pack of dogs.
Well, there’s one alpha male at Dogtopia who wouldn’t hurt a mouse, let alone a flea. Milo is the alpha due not to strength – he’s a sweet Shih Tzu – but seniority.
“Milo was Dogtopia’s very first customer,” said Lisa Henslee, a vice president at VSP Global who finds the facility’s location off 50 and Hazel Avenue as ideal between her El Dorado Hills home and Rancho Cordova workplace. “Dogtopia is a great doggie daycare option for my dog and for me. Milo gets to enjoy socializing with other dogs and I get peace of mind knowing that he’s in a safe and fun environment.”
Henslee, a former Gold River resident, made the switch from another daycare facility when she learned Dogtopia has webcams in each of the playrooms.
“I can check in on him, see him playing, and know that he’s having a blast!” she said.
A full day costs $33, $20 for a half day, and prices go down with multiple-day passes and memberships. Other services include dog boarding starting at $47 per night, and “spa” treatments that range from ear cleaning and teeth brushing to a nail trim and bath.
The playrooms are set up like supervised indoor dog parks, complete with a plastic fire hydrant on a patch of artificial grass large enough for dogs to, well, do what they do around real fire hydrants. Each playroom has compressed rubber flooring that promotes safe play and easy clean-up, along with a powerful HVAC system to maintain fresh air. Named “The Beach” and “The City,” each with a theme-supporting motif, the environments are under the watchful care of certified dog handlers, which here are called “canine coaches.” Dogs in each room are separated by size and temperament, and if one gets a bit, too rambunctious, crates are nearby for a well-deserved “time out.” Full-out chaos is rare, according to the Wilsons, thanks to an extensive evaluation process each pooch goes through before being welcomed beyond the free first day.
Fortunately for the Wilsons, their dogs were not among the 5 percent that don’t pass. That would be like the school principal’s kid being expelled. Tanner actually benefits from his brother having doggie daycare experience. After seeing the value of this type of service with Boomer when the Wilsons first got him, the idea of investing in the fastest-growing pet franchise made their decision for Mike to leave corporate America after 30-plus years a little less crazy.
“I was unhappy at my job, and we wanted to do something where we’d have a steady stream of money so we can take elaborate trips when we retire,” said Mike, who before his professional life went to the dogs, was director of planning for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Rancho Cordova. From managed care to pet daycare, one could say. If you like that, how about from white collar to dog collar? No doubt, Mike has heard them all. His wife, not so much. Terri has kept her 9-to-5 job at VSP, where she’s senior vice president and general manager of International Vision Care. On weekends and after hours, she dons the franchisee hat.
Among Dogtopias 13 months and younger, Rancho Cordova’s ranks among the highest in the categories of customer satisfaction and staff retention. In fact, 16 of the original 20 employees are still there as of this printing, led by general manager and Citrus Heights resident Nickole Fiola, who worked previously for Mike when both were at First Health.
Being a top dog within the Phoenix-based company is a tasty treat that the Wilsons don’t take for granted. It’s dog-eat-dog in the growing doggie daycare business, and just a few miles away are Folsom Dog Resort and Waggin’ Tails in Citrus Heights, among other places where the area’s dog-owning population can park their pooch.
“Bringing a high-end daycare and boarding facility to the Sacramento area is one motivator for us,” Terri said. “Another is that we enable more families to experience the joy of dog ownership, just as we did when discovering the value of dog daycare with Boomer.”
Proceeds Fund Free Summer Program for Local At-Risk Youth
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Playmakers Organization is a local non-profit that coaches character through leadership and provides free programs to underprivileged and at-risk youth. The Playmakers Organization is hosting their 10th annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, April 27 at Divine Savior Church, 9079 Greenback Lane in Orangevale.
Playmakers founder Greg Roeszler (known as Coach Roz) said the goal of the organization is “to serve extremely at-risk kids and support them in the development of character, academics, sports and recreation — and to create a bond that the kids and their families can depend on.”
Roeszler said the upcoming fundraiser dinner “is a very inspirational evening; it’s very kid-driven.” Roeszler explained that kids who are involved in the Playmakers program speak at the event and “they will bring you to happy tears.” The dinner is an opportunity for the kids “to tell their story.”
The event will honor Playmakers sponsor Harrison Phillips of the Buffalo Bills and will celebrate Playmakers civic group participants — Rotary, Optimists, and Lions. Playmakers will also be welcoming Stanford defensive linemen Michael Williams and Joe Swahn as honored guests. The keynote speaker will be Phil Oates, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings.
Players from the Rio Americano and El Camino football teams will be serving together at the dinner, helping to set up the event and serve food throughout the evening. Their service is part of an effort to reconcile the teams after a brawl last season that forced them to forfeit the final game.
Food will be provided by Chicago Fire, which will be serving pizza, wings, and salads. The event includes a live auction, DJ, and no-host bar.
Proceeds from the event will fund the Playmakers Summer Academy, an all-day program that is completely free for families that can’t afford childcare during the summer months.
Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase at www.theplaymakers.org/tickets.
DMV Office serves members of the Legislature
SACRAMENTO, CA - Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) introduced Assembly Bill 862 today that would prohibit the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from operating a secret DMV field office that only serves a select group of individuals in state government, including Members of the Legislature and their staff.
“At a time when the DMV is failing to adequately serve Californians, it is unconscionable that lawmakers tasked with keeping the department accountable do not have to wait in the same lines as the people they represent,” Kiley said. “We’ll see if there’s more interest in fixing the DMV once all California Legislators are required to endure the same experience as their constituents.”
Multiple news reports and audits in recent months have highlighted the DMV’s deficiencies, including:
Over 6-8 hours wait times in many locations; Mishandling of 23,000 voter registrations since passage of Motor Voter law; Incorrectly registering over 1,500 ineligible voters, including non-citizens; Preventing over 500 eligible voters from registering due to failure to submit paperwork on time; Employee sleeping on the job over 2,000 hours; Dozens of technology outages disabling operations for hours at a time; Failing to comply with federal law regarding Real ID identity verification; Resignation of DMV director responsible for mismanagement.
Most recently, an audit by the Department of Finance uncovered a number of concerning findings at the DMV including an outdated organizational structure, poor performing IT systems, and a failure to properly train employees to meet the needs of customers.
Assemblyman Kevin Kiley represents the 6th Assembly District, which includes the Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado County communities of Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, Orangevale, Penryn, Rocklin, Roseville, and Sheridan.
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Responsible parents looking for ways to supplement the educational and personal growth opportunities for their children should consider hosting a teenage exchange student for an academic semester or year. Children and adults alike, by interacting daily with a new, international family member, broaden their perspective on the world and discover new facts and ideas.
NorthWest Student Exchange places international high school students with families all over the country, including here in our community. Exchange students add a dimension to the family dynamic that cannot be achieved in any other way.
The benefits to the exchange student are obvious: honing their English language skills; learning about the educational system in this country; understanding U.S. social, political, and cultural values; and establishing international friendships. Benefits to the hosts are similar: Not only can host families learn about another culture and its values; they can view the U.S. through another’s eyes, and thereby gain a broader understanding of our own country.
Families do not need to have children at home to host! Many childless couples, empty nesters, and single-parent families have enjoyed exchange students. NWSE places students from dozens of countries who have varied interests. I will do my best to match a student to your family’s lifestyle and interests.
Those unable to host, can earn up to $175 for every student placed with people you refer to me, who do host. While host families are not compensated for hosting, tax deductions may be available. Check with your tax preparer.
NWSE exchange students are closely screened for appropriate motivation, academic and language skills; our students have solid emotional and practical support from NWSE professional partners abroad, and from the students’ natural parents in their own countries.
Our students come with their own spending money and health and accident insurance. Hosts are not expected to be tour guides. Students are here to go to school to improve their English, not be tourists. NWSE local Academic Coordinators, like me, recruit, screen and orient local host families and provide close support throughout the program.
My family has personally hosted students from France and China and we keep in touch with every student - even years later! While they stayed with us, they shared games they play at home with us, cook their favorite meals and try to teach us their language and share their culture. We also have been invited to stay at their family’s homes when we go to their country. One of our French students even calls me his “American Mom.”
There are flexible hosting terms available. You may host for as little as a month as a Welcome Host, or, if you’re unsure if hosting is right for you, you may host on a trial basis. If everything works out, you may continue for a longer term. In other words, if you’re unable to continue hosting for any reason, you’re not “stuck” with hosting the student.
It’s easy to get more information about hosting. Potential hosts can call me, Sheryl Longsworth, Local Area Coordinator at 916-833-1218 or email@example.com; or by contacting NWSE at 877-850-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, you can visit the NWSE web page at https://www.nwse.com and click on Host an Exchange Student. Students are placed with hosts quickly, so if interested, contact me as soon as possible to get a student that is the best fit to your family’s lifestyle and interests.
Had Expressly Stated He Wouldn't Interfere with Doctor-Patient Relationship
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - State Senator Richard Pan, the author of SB 277, a law that requires kindergartners to get twenty-seven different doses of medication and fifteen different shots or forego a public education, has introduced SB 276, a bill that would require government permission for a doctor to opine that certain vaccines could harm a patient. This is an unprecedented and dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, likely violates doctor's free-speech rights, and contradicts Pan's own public promises from just a few years ago.
Pan has claimed there is a problem with “medical exemptions” – i.e., official opinions by a doctor that if a child is vaccinated, that child could suffer harm. Medical exemptions are extremely rare, and doctors grant them only if a child or a family member suffers from things like a debilitating disease (such as leukemia), or if a child or a family member had a well-documented negative reaction to a vaccine or one of its ingredients. Just 0.7% of students obtain such an exemption, up from 0.2% before the passage of SB 277, a change that is not statistically significant. The total number of children exempt from the state’s vaccine requirements (i.e., including those 1.1% exempt due to disabilities) has actually dropped since the passage of SB 277, going from 2.6% to 1.9%, indicating that Pan’s plan is a solution in search of a problem.
Pan's legislation would require doctors to get permission from a government department -- the state Department of Public Health, before issuing an opinion for a patient on this issue. Such interference in the doctor-patient relationship is unprecedented, and the only analogous laws have been in state's requiring state approval of abortions -- something that has been universally deemed improper.
Pan’s planned attempt to crack down on doctors would almost certainly get in the way of a doctor making an evaluation based on empirical, scientific evidence. “Imagine being the parents of a child who the federal government concluded was injured because of a condition that made them susceptible to vaccines, and then your family doctor tells you she is too terrified to exempt your younger child from those same vaccines, because the thought police might take her license,” said Christina Hildebrand, President and Founder of A Voice for Choice Advocacy, a non-profit that advocates for medical freedom. “I can’t imagine what good would come from the government regulating a doctor’s free will to diagnose as he sees fit – it starts to resemble regulation of free speech,” Hildebrand concluded.
Pan, a politician representing the Sacramento region, is a regular beneficiary of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, averaging just shy of $100,000 from it every legislative session. He is the top recipient of such funds in the state legislature, and the pharmaceutical industry, in turn, is his largest contributor.
“Any legislation or action on behalf of drugmakers that interferes with a doctor’s individual judgment will be hotly contested,” said Hildebrand. “We cannot let government determine what is in the best interests of any individual, overriding the doctor-patient relationship. Every doctor and patient in the state should be alarmed if such action is brought forward. If this can be done with vaccinations, what medical treatment will be next? Patients need to be able to trust their doctors and not worry that they are being pressured or worried that their honest, scientifically based medical judgement will be overruled by a legislatively appointed official who has never met them.”
For more information see: WWW.AVOICEFORCHOICEADVOCACY.ORG
Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) who served on the California Board of Prison Terms, the largest parole authority in the nation, from 1990 to 2007, issued the following statement:
"Victims who survive the horrific murder of child or a parent or a spouse suffer a pain that never completely goes away. When the murderer is convicted and sentenced to death, family members experience a basic sense of justice.
"Governor Newsom callously disregards the anguish of these families and rips from them any sense of justice, victimizing them all over again.
"The Governor's action today brings back the pain and agony they have been forced to endure.
"This executive order is an affront to our system of justice.
"A jury convicted these violent criminals. In some trials, 12 people spent weeks, sometimes months, of their lives reviewing witness testimony, physical and DNA evidence, and before determining beyond a reasonable doubt that these murderers committed the most heinous acts against other human beings.
"California voters have spoken loudly and clearly, as recently as 2016, that the death penalty serves as a legal and appropriate punishment for those who commit vicious, evil crimes. Special circumstances are always of the most vicious and cruel acts one human can inflict upon another.
"The Governor has the authority to delay the implementation of the law but his action is eroding faith of California voters in our democracy and our system of justice."
The Original Night Stalker, also known as the East Area Rapist, is awaiting trial for the torture, rape and murder of an estimated 63 people. These calculated crimes were so heinous that he could face the death sentence, if convicted by a jury of his peers. If convicted during Governor Newsom's term, justice would not be served for these victims and their families.
Below is a link to the Los Angeles Times' list of "the 13 men executed by California since 1978." Today, there are 737 just like them on death row.
Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at email@example.com. Follow him @CASenatorJim.
Available for Free Tours April 19-22
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - As part of a series of special events, activities and exhibits designed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation proudly invite the community to Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car that will be on display Friday, April 19 through Monday, April 22, 2019.
Free public tours will be available each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the visually-exciting rail car on display at Old Sacramento State Historic Park.
The Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car is a new, multi-media walk-through exhibition that provides a glimpse at the past while telling the story of modern-day railroading. Through sound, images and interactive technology, visitors will see how Union Pacific is building America in their communities and throughout the world. The Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car is part of Union Pacific's historic Heritage passenger rail car fleet going on a multi-stop tour that begins in Sacramento followed by a stop in Roseville before moving on to Sparks, Nevada and Ogden, Utah.
After entering the converted baggage car, guests will first learn about the investment, hard work and knowledge that went into building the Transcontinental Railroad. Moving forward along one wall they'll learn about the evolution of the locomotive, beginning with the world-famous UP No. 119 and leading to the modern-day diesel powerhouses. On the opposite wall, rail fans will trace how fresh apples are delivered from California and Washington to New York and understand every aspect of rail operations and innovation along the way. Next, exciting interactive technology will show how Union Pacific is using lasers, cameras and other detection devices to accurately inspect moving rail cars and railroad track. Guests will even be able to test their skills to see how they measure up as rail car inspectors. Before exiting, visitors will be able to communicate how they connect to the railroad using high-tech thermal reactive tiles. A final display celebrates the history of Union Pacific's Passenger Heritage Fleet through vintage photos.
For more information about the Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car including stops and tour hours, please visit https://www.up.com/heritage/experience-up/index.htm
For more details and updated information about events, activities and exhibits presented by the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation, please visit www.Railroad150.org; for more information about the Museum or Foundation visit www.californiarailroad.museum; and for more information about Waterfront Days happening over Memorial Day Weekend, please visit www.oldsacramento.com
The mission of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation (CSRMF) is to generate revenue and awareness on behalf of its destinations, while supporting the preservation, interpretation and promotion of our railroad heritage. The Foundation provides funding for ongoing support of numerous programs, both at the museum's Old Sacramento location and at the historic park in Jamestown, Calif. For more information, please visit www.californiarailroad.museum.
SACRAMENTO COUNTY (MPG) - To reduce the stress and trauma experienced by children who are victims of sexual abuse and violent crimes, Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services; local law enforcement agencies; and the District Attorney’s Office team up at the Sacramento County Special Assault Forensic Evaluation (SAFE) Center.
The SAFE Center is an accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance and provides a safe and comfortable place for a child to be interviewed by a specially trained social worker, called a Forensic Interview Specialist.
“The SAFE Center conducts a thorough forensic interview in the least intrusive way possible, and the child only has to be interviewed once, rather than being questioned multiple times by different agencies,” said Michelle Callejas, Sacramento County Director of Child, Family and Adult Services. “Since the Center opened in 1991, we have conducted 12,000 interviews and last year alone we provided a safe space for over 350 children and youth.”
To reduce the stress on the child, the Forensic Interviewer is the only other person present in the room during the interview. The Forensic Interviewers have many hours of specialized training and years of experience talking with children about difficult subjects. They also use interviewing techniques that preserve the integrity of the investigation. The interviews are conducted in a room with a one-way mirror so law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office and Child Protective Services staff can observe.
The SAFE Center interviews are an efficient way to investigate child abuse cases and are core to identifying new leads and gathering evidence in a case. Although the interviews cannot be used in lieu of testimony and children may still have to testify in court, this approach greatly reduces the trauma of having to repeatedly talk about the abuse they have endured.
The SAFE Center moved in February of 2018 to 3701 Power Inn Road to join services and co-locate with the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center. The co-location has enabled the SAFE Center and the Department’s Adult Protective Services program to have a stronger working relationship with the Family Justice Center in serving the community.
“We could not be more excited about our new location and collaboration with the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center,” said Darby Geller, SAFE Center Director. The Center now acts as a multifunctional place for families to receive services pertaining to abuse, counseling, safety planning and so much more. I’m proud to see how the program continues to grow, evolve and become such an important asset to the community.”
The partnership with Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center allows the SAFE Center to offer new opportunities in 2019 which include on-site therapeutic crisis intervention, assessment, psycho-education and ongoing therapeutic treatment through the addition of a trauma-informed mental health clinician. These additional services were made possible through a grant funded by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and will be provided by the UC Davis CAARE Center, a long-standing partner in providing trauma-informed services for children and families in Sacramento County.
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking information to aid the identification and apprehension of a bank robbery suspect who is allegedly tied to four robberies in the greater Sacramento region. The young Caucasian male is suspected of the following robberies:
Friday, November 23, 2018, at approximately 1:55 p.m. at
River City Bank located at 239 E Street in Davis;
Tuesday, November 27, 2018, at approximately 2:05 p.m. at
U.S. Bank located at 903 Colusa Avenue in Yuba City;
Wednesday, January 2, 2019, at approximately 1:43 p.m. at
U.S. Bank located at 1020 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills;
Friday, February 15, 2019, at approximately 3:25 p.m. at
U.S. Bank located at 1020 white Rock Road in El Dorado Hills;
Additionally, the suspect also allegedly attempted to rob the Wells Fargo Bank located at 1235 Stratford Avenue in Dixon on Saturday, March 2, 2019, but was unsuccessful.
During the commission of each of the robberies, the suspect entered the bank, approached the teller, and presented a demand note. After receiving money, the suspect then departed on foot.
The suspect—believed to be 20 to 30 years old—stands 5’6” to 5’10” tall with a thin build. He has frequently worn hooded sweatshirts with the hood pulled over baseball-style caps, dark basketball-style shorts, and black shoes. Images of the suspect, including a composite developed from surveillance footage from the robberies, are available on the FBI’s Wanted Bank Robber website: https://bankrobbers.fbi.gov/robbers-container/2018-12-20.9882688550.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, Davis Police Department, Dixon Police Department, and Yuba City Police Department are investigating this series of bank robberies.
Individuals with information about this man may call the FBI Sacramento Field Office. Tips may also be submitted online at: tips.fbi.gov. If the subject is spotted in the community, the public is urged to call 911 and not approach the individual. Wanted fugitives, bank robbers, and other cases in need of additional information from the public are posted on the FBI Sacramento Division’s Most Wanted page.
Dream Foundation celebrates Winston Cain’s life with a final NASCAR Race
El Dorado Hills, California (MPG) - Despite being diagnosed with ALS, which has left him paralyzed from the neck down apart from the use of one arm and hand, 71-year-old El Dorado Hills resident, Winston Cain, hasn’t stopped dreaming.
Winston has always loved NASCAR and car racing, having attended many races throughout his life. Now bed bound, Winston watches NASCAR intently every Sunday. He loves to imagine himself as the announcer, “Start your engines!” and dreams of attending one final race with his family.
With support from Autoclub Speedway and Homewood Suites, Dream Foundation fulfilled Winston’s final Dream. This past month, Winston, his wife, daughter, and son-in-law enjoyed VIP treatment and a special meet and greet with his favorite driver, Chase Elliot at the Fontana NASCAR race of March 16th. The foundation will also provide accommodations, a wheelchair accessible van rental and extra travel funds for the trip.
Glory Ariche from Genentech, one of Dream Foundation’s Mission Partners, served “Dream Host” at the intimate gathering of Thursday, March 14th delivering everything that Winston needed for his Dream journey. Also in attendance were Snowline Hospice’s Rene Hamlin, Jeremy Lansing, and Janice Curtin who referred Winston to the organization’s dream-granting program. Their commitment to Winston was instrumental in bringing his final Dream to life.
Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 30,000 final Dreams over the last twenty-five years.
The Foundation is proud to maintain Charity Navigator’s four-star rating—its highest—for sound fiscal management, ensuring its donors and partners that their investment will be used wisely. Dream Foundation receives no state or federal funding—we rely solely on private donations. To support our mission please visit: DreamFoundation.org/donate.
Snowline Hospice serves the Sacramento, El Dorado, and Placer Counties, delivering end of life care and support to patients and their families. Since 1979, Snowline has been dedicated to meeting the unique physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who are nearing the end of life's journey. Our goal is to enhance living, comfort the dying and support the grieving with compassion and dignity.