SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Children’s Home has kicked off its annual Holiday Giving Program, bringing the local community together during the holidays to serve children and families in need. Last year, our program provided gifts for 1,200 children, and the community adopted nearly 70 families, providing them with gifts, gift cards and everyday essentials. Once again this year we have 1,200 children participating; many of whom the gifts they receive through our program will be the only gifts they receive this year.

The holidays are a joyful time when we can give thanks for all that we have and give back to those in need. There are several ways for community members to get involved with the SCH Holiday Giving Program, which ends December 14.

Wish Stars and Ornaments: The classic yellow wish star includes three wishes from an SCH child. Community members are encouraged to shop for their child and return unwrapped gifts to the Sacramento Children’s Home at 2750 Sutterville Road in Sacramento. Financial contributions of $25, $50, $100 or more, as well as gift card donations help us ensure that all kids and families have their holiday wishes fulfilled and basic needs met. Some male youth in our Residential Program do not have family to spend the holidays with, so financial support specific to our snow trip enables us to send our residents on a snow trip to Mt. Shasta over the holidays.

Adopt-a-Family: Community members can also adopt an entire family this holiday season. The adoptees are families that participate in Sacramento Children’s Home programs such as the Family Resource Centers and the Counseling Center.

Volunteer Opportunities: Every year, we rely on community volunteers to help run our holiday donation site. Last year, about 200 volunteers provided nearly 100 hours of support, which included greeting donors, accepting gifts, registering gifts into our system, sorting, and wrapping.

Giving Tree Sites and Holiday Sponsors: Local businesses and schools participate by hosting Giving Tree sites with stars available to the public for pick up. Businesses and corporations also have the opportunity to sponsor an SCH Holiday Party for individual programs such as our Family Resource Centers and Crisis Nurseries to help strengthen families in our highest risk communities.

For more information about all of these options and important dates, please visit

The Sacramento Children’s Home was founded in 1867 and today it is the most comprehensive child and family service organization in Sacramento County serving more than 7,000 children and 4,300 families each year through a broad spectrum of residential, community-based, mental health and educational programs. Throughout its 151-year history, the Sacramento Children’s Home has been at the forefront of trauma-informed care and developing new ways to improve the outcomes of children and families. Through its multiple programs at six sites in the county, the Sacramento Children’s Home offers prevention, early intervention and treatment programs that are critical to strengthening families and stopping the generational cycle of child abuse and neglect. More information is available at

Source: Sacramento Children’s Home

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SMUD X-rays High-voltage Lines

SMUD Media  |  2018-11-25

Suspended from a helicopter, a lineworker conducts X-ray photography on a SMUD transmission line in the Sierra. The work helps SMUD identify potential issues in advance so they can be repaired and help avoid power outages that could affect thousands of customers. Photo courtesy SMUD Media

Working to Prevent Large Power Outages

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - SMUD’s high voltage transmission lines in the Sierra deliver large amounts of power from SMUD’s hydroelectric facilities to customers in the valley. A fault on one of those lines can significantly impact the electrical system, potentially leaving thousands of customers in the dark. Critical to the lines’ capability are splices that enable the lines to be continuous. As transmission lines are strung or repaired over time, the splices, which are tubular sleeves, can degrade.

To find potential faults SMUD is using state-of-the-art portable X-ray photography to inspect major transmission lines that feed the SMUD grid. Since the X-ray data collected is live, any potential issues are found immediately and repairs are promptly made to arrest future failure.

These high-voltage lines are strung atop high lattice-style towers. Maintenance and repairs on them can involve a lot of work, sometimes more than a hundred feet above the ground, and the work is typically done while the lines are energized so power can flow without interruption.

“Having this tool available to us helps eliminate the guesswork,” said SMUD Chief Energy Delivery Officer Frankie McDermott. “It provides another level of protection to help prevent outages on our transmission lines and helps us to harden the SMUD grid.”

To do the X-ray inspections that see inside the critical splices, they brought in lineworkers from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), who are certified to do what’s called “barehand” work on energized transmission lines high above the ground while suspended from a helicopter.

Barehanding is a technique that safely allows transmission lineworkers to “bond on” and have direct contact with energized, high-voltage lines to perform work. Special protective clothing, including gloves, socks and boots, place the lineworker within the field of electricity that surrounds the energized conductor, allowing the electricity to flow around their body.

The work is part of many ongoing projects to improve and enhance reliable power delivery. The transmission lines in El Dorado County enable SMUD to deliver power from the Upper American River Project (UARP), SMUD’s huge system of hydroelectric power plants in the Sierra. The UARP’s nearly 700 megawatts of clean power can provide about 20 percent of SMUD’s power in a normal water year, which can be crucial especially in summer months when market power is more expensive.

Reliability is a core value of SMUD, a policy set by the SMUD Board of Directors who is elected by SMUD customers. To fulfill that policy, SMUD continues to bolster the infrastructure that comprises SMUD’s grid. For more information about SMUD, visit


Source: SMUD Media

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Thousands of Trees and Growing

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-11-25

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Lincoln Village Community Park was abuzz with activity on a cool, sunny November 3rd morning. City of Rancho Cordova, Soil Born Farms, West Coast Arborists, and Sacramento Tree Foundation staff arrived early to set up the registration booth, lay out the eight piles of colored bandanas for each of the planting teams, “Tree Hero” shirts, and morning wake up goodies of coffee, hot chocolate, and edibles that included locally harvested apples brought in by Soil Born Farms. Shovels, bags of compost, trees, and other supplies were organized, moved, stacked, and packed into trucks for transport to the locations. Men, women, teens, children, and members of various groups arrived, signed in, picked up their packets and bandanas, chatted, and enjoyed some down time before work began.

Mayor Linda Budge strolled the park with Jake, her white poodle. Mature trees stood tall in the background beginning their annual fall color show, and a gaggle of geese wandered across the grass. She was there to celebrate the planting of the 1000th tree to be planted in Rancho Cordova since 2015 as part of an effort to expand the city’s urban forest. During the first year, 100 trees were planted in the Lincoln Village neighborhood. During the next two years, the goal was to plant one tree a day. Those numbers were surpassed with 367 and 474 trees.

A Chinese pistache, which can reach 60 feet when mature, was chosen for the planting. Shiree, Soil Born Farms’ Edible City Assistant, worked with Gabriel from West Coast Arborists and Jason from the Sacramento Tree Foundation to prepare the planting hole. Mayor Budge and Sacramento Tree Foundation Executive Director Ray Tretheway wielded golden shovels for the ceremonial planting.

Steve Harriman, Rancho Cordova Public Works Division Manager of Operations and Maintenance, led the group of nearly 100 volunteers through a tree chant before sending the teams off. Volunteers included students from C.K. McClatchy and Cordova high schools, SAVA (Sacramento Area Vocational Academy), Sac State Hornets, Rancho Cordova Sunrise Rotary Club, representatives from Congressman Ami Bera’s office, Rancho Cordova Police Department, Davey Resource Group, Cordova Recreation and Park District staff, members of the “It Takes a Lincoln Village” group, and citizens from near and far. Some volunteers wanted to play in the dirt. One young woman said she came because she’d heard that birds have lost nesting places and she wanted to help them and the environment. Others, like Fayzah and her family, came to help out of civic pride in their community.

Shade trees are beneficial for homes, providing much needed shade during the summer months. They can also help improve air quality, and reduce cooling costs, which is why SMUD provided the day’s shade trees.  There is a need to expand the city’s urban forest, said Mayor Budge, which is why the city’s Free Trees+ program is supported by the Community Enhancement Fund. Many trees, she added, had been lost during the drought – some died and some had been removed by homeowners who mistakenly believed that they used too much water.

One twist to Saturday’s planting was the inclusion of fruit trees provided by Soil Born Farms under a grant serving the Lincoln Village community and communities in South Sacramento.

 “Thanks to Soil Born Farms, we are planting fruit trees this time. Some of our home builders have selected decorative trees for our new homes that are messy or have invasive roots. We are hoping that by replacing them with a tree that has the benefit of providing fresh fruit for our families, Rancho Cordova residents will want to enjoy these trees for longer periods. In my own yard, the trees are constantly dropping leaves, flowers or seeds – all year long. So I can really understand people wanting a tree that provides shade and food at the same time!”

The orange team’s first stop was Artur Margaryam’s front yard where they planted two new fruit trees, a mandarin and an Asian pear, bringing his total number to eight trees which include lemon, pomegranate, and persimmon. Team leader Stephanie Robinson, Communication and Engagement Manager at Sacramento Tree Foundation, demonstrated proper planting techniques. Hole depth and width, how to build the mound, the proper height for the tree’s crown were shown and then she asked for volunteers to do the work which was checked by her and Ray Tretheway.

She addressed the need to call 8-1-1 before digging so that any underground utility lines could be marked and those areas avoided. She spoke about compost and Tretheway weighed in on the importance of removing grass from the soil being dug up. As with too much fertilizer, the grass can potentially burn young roots because the grass heats up.

While volunteers took turns digging the hole and removing grass from the dirt, another group worked to free the mandarin from its container and massaged the root ball. This, Robinson explained, is important because the roots have grown into circles while in the container but they need to grow outward to prevent the tree from falling over. She covered mulch and reminded volunteers that it provides insulation from heat and cold and can be obtained free of charge from SMUD’s corporation yard.

 “Education is our central mission,” said Robinson, adding that she wants volunteers to “feel invested in our urban forest.” The foundation fields hundreds of telephone calls each week about watering, pruning, and other topics, and offers free workshops.

 “This region would be unlivable without trees,” she said.

City Manager Cyrus Abhar wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with the tree planting crew either. He helped mulch the Asian pear tree alongside Fayzah and her family who’d ridden up earlier on bicycles.

Harriman gathered volunteers once again and led them in a tree cheer before they left Margaryam’s home for their second, and last, stop where they would plant eight trees on a single property. Residents, through the Free Trees+ program, are eligible to receive up to ten trees on their property. Volunteers squatted, counted down, and then grew tall as trees waving their arms like unstaked fruit tree limbs bending in the wind and growing stronger.

For additional information about Lincoln Village Community Park, visit: If you’re going: 3480 Routier Road, Rancho Cordova. For more information about Sacramento Tree Foundation, visit: For more information about Soil Born Farms, visit: For additional information about Free Trees+, visit:

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Cordova Recreation and Park District Honored at Statewide Conference

By Neil McCormick, CSDA  |  2018-11-25

In the photo from left to right: Neil McCormick, CSDA Chief Executive Officer; Brian Danzl, CRPD Board of Directors Secretary; Laura Taylor, CRPD Park Planning & Development Manager; Rick Sloan, CRPD Board of Directors; Marty Boyer, Communication Advantage. Photo courtesy CSDA

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Cordova Recreation and Park District received the Innovative Program of the Year award for a large district by the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) during the association’s Annual Conference and Exhibitor Showcase, which was held in Indian Wells from September 24-27, 2018.

The Cordova Recreation and Park District was awarded for their “Heron Landing Community Park” project. The district identified the need to support the growth that is expected in the Rancho Cordova community and through a decade-long planning, design, stakeholder engagement and construction process created this 20-acre park in the Anatolia neighborhood of the Cordova Recreation and Park District, the only community park in this resident area. The park is intended to support and serve a growing community with amenities ranging from programmed athletics facilities to wildlife observation to multi-generational play areas. The District anticipates programming for soccer, lacrosse, softball, flag football, tennis, bocce ball, basketball, turf volleyball, kickball, and ultimate frisbee.

During seven community outreach events, stakeholders provided input and direction regarding the selection and implementation of programming elements and desired amenities; additionally, a community meeting was held to specifically discuss the proposed sports field lighting. Throughout the project, Cordova Recreation and Park District worked closely with the City of Rancho Cordova, the County of Sacramento, and the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District to create an accessible and safe community space. This park demonstrates a 21st century ethic of sustainability and technology, provides a myriad of opportunities, and furthers the District’s mission to “lead the region in recreation and parks through excellence and transparency in serving the needs of our diverse and growing community.” 

Since the park opened on December 16, 2017 it has been praised by community members and professional association alike. Resident Google postings on the park give it a score of 4.8 out of 5.0. In February 2018, it received a Facility Design and Park Planning award from the California Parks and Recreation Society District 2. In March 2018, it received an award from the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts for Outstanding New Facility. 

The criteria for this CSDA annual award included originality of project, tangible and positive results produced and a documented decrease in district costs or a demonstrated improvement in the district’s quality of service without significantly increasing costs.

The California Special Districts Association is a 501c(6), not-for-profit association that was formed in 1969 to promote good governance and improved core local services through professional development, advocacy and other services for all types of independent special districts.

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Sutter’s Fort to Present “Hands on History

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack   |  2018-11-25

"A Simple Emigrant Christmas" event at Sutter

"A Simple Emigrant Christmas" on December 8

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - California State Parks, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) and Friends of Sutter’s Fort are proud to present an interactive, fun and festive “Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas” event on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   

Fort visitors will be delighted to have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1850s to enjoy festive holiday traditions from early in California’s early history when people from around the world passed through the Fort gates, each with their own customs and traditions for the holiday season. Friends and families are encouraged to visit the Fort to experience a variety of early holiday traditions and cultural activities similar to what early emigrants enjoyed. Complete with docents in period attire, entertaining vignettes will be set up that showcase a few of the diverse holiday scenes that will include food, music, decorations and other holiday traditions. As a special treat for kids of all ages, Father Christmas will be on-hand to hear holiday wishes.

Fort visitors can also participate in a number of hands-on activities such as dipping and creating their own holiday candles, crafting their own “keepsake” holiday ornaments – that include snowflakes, cornhusk angels and bird nests – plus making holiday cards with nib (or “dip”) pens and colored ink, grinding raw wheat into “Christmas flour,” singing Christmas carols with Fort musicians and more.  And, of course, popular demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of the Fort’s cannon. Additionally, Friends of Sutter's Fort Trade Store will be open, providing complimentary samples of gold nugget chocolates and offering a special holiday sale. 

Admission costs for this special “Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas” event at the Fort are as follows: $7 per adult (18 and older), $3 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and free for children 5 and under.  For more information, please call 916-445-4422 or visit

Source: T-Rock Communications

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Changing the Landscape of Residential Senior Care

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2018-11-20

A ribbon cutting ceremony at Bellhaven Estate was attended by members of the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce, registered nurses from local hospitals, and a representative from Ted Gaines’ office who presented the Brooks with a certificate of recognition. Photo provided by Dan and Monica Brooks.

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - Dan and Monica Brooks recently opened a new state licensed senior care home in Orangevale. Bellhaven Estate offers unique retreat-style senior living on an expansive and beautiful property.

Although Bellhaven has only been open for a few weeks, the Brooks have been busy meeting with prospective residents and offering tours. They are currently licensed for six residents and are already at 50% capacity with three residents signed up to move in.

The Brooks ran a senior care home in Natomas for four years, which was at full capacity with a full wait list, but they were thrilled to find this new location because it offers residents more opportunities to connect with nature. Dan stated, “We are trying to change the landscape of residential senior care.”

The estate is located on two acres with wide paved pathways so residents can explore the natural beauty of the property. They will soon be putting in a vineyard and have plans for gardens to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. With many areas for relaxing outdoors, residents can enjoy the horse and chickens that also live on the property. Monica said it is “the perfect location” and they were awed by the tranquility.

Bellhaven offers many activities to keep residents engaged. A musician visits the estate to provide live entertainment with renditions of songs by John Denver and the Beatles. Every six weeks they will host a spa day with a licensed hair stylist and nail technician to pamper the residents. Once a month, the Bellhaven Brunch offers a full spread of delicious foods for residents and their families.

The Brooks plan delicious meals because they feel it gives the residents great joy to look forward to good dinners and decadent desserts each night. Dan loves to cook and offers cooking demonstrations to get the residents involved in the process.

Bellhaven has at least one caregiver onsite at all times, and sometimes up to four depending on the activities and needs on a given day. At some care homes, the night staff can sleep while residents sleep since the assumption is that residents will wake the caregiver if they need help. Monica explained that Bellhaven does not follow that method because of concern that a resident might need help but be unable to request it if they are in medical distress. Staff members at Bellhaven spend the night awake and making frequent checks to ensure the continued safety of all residents.

The Brooks spend much of their time at the estate and are both very involved in every aspect of care, from playing games with residents to helping them with showers. “We do everything we ask our staff to do,” said Monica.

At Bellhaven, they want the residents to always feel that it is their home. Residents have their own personal spaces and are encouraged to invite family and friends to visit. The Brooks strive to offer exceptionally personalized service and care.

Monica has a background in children’s services, so she loves working with the residents and their families. She said, “I supported families through change when I worked in children’s services, and now I support families through change on the other side.”

Dan has 13 years of medical experience as a firefighter and paramedic, and in his experience going on medical calls he saw the need for more specialized and individual senior care. That need is what started the conversation and inspired the Brooks to open their own senior care home. Monica said, “If you are more on the quiet side, you can get lost in those larger facilities. Having only six residents at a time allows us to keep it super personal and offer extremely high-quality care.”

For more information, visit

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Alsco Gives Support to Seniors Through Philanthropic Partnership Program

By Nina Canning  |  2018-11-20

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Alsco Inc., the premier linen and uniform rental services company, recently joined the Eskaton Foundation’s Philanthropic Partner Program to better support senior citizens as they age, helping  them remain independent, but also provides volunteer opportunities and education forums about the aging experience for Alsco employees.

Seniors are an often overlooked demographic when it comes to charitable giving. In fact, in the United States, only two percent of all giving is directed to senior causes.

“Our donation allows us to support seniors through the innovative health, housing and social services the Eskaton Foundation provides to seniors,” says Mark Kotsios, general manager, Alsco Sacramento.

Eskaton, which means “the dawning of a new day,” is a community-based nonprofit whose mission is enhancing the quality of life of seniors to transform the aging experience. Eskaton Foundation supports the needs of seniors in the greater Sacramento area.

Alsco is a fourth-generation family owned and operated business, founded in 1889, that was recognized by the prestigious Hohenstein Institute for having invented the linen and uniform rental industry. Celebrating 129 years of business, Alsco provides linen and uniform rental services to customers that include restaurants, healthcare, automotive industry and industrial facilities. With over 180 locations, Alsco provides world-class service to over 355,000 customers in 14 countries. Learn more at

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