Grandparents Are Great!

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-09-12

Five-year-old Serenity shows off her wings at the Grandparents Day Butterfly Release.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Sunday, September 8, families from around the region celebrated Grandparents Day with a Butterfly Release at Sacramento Children’s Museum (SCM). The event, which was a collaboration between SCM and Snowline Hospice, honored grandparents’ significant impact on children’s lives.

Snowline development director Rene Hamlin said, “We wanted to do something together with the Sacramento Children’s Museum that celebrated grandparents because a lot of grandparents bring their grandkids here, and we take care of a lot of grandparents [at Snowline]. It’s Grandparents Day and releasing a butterfly in honor or in memory or with your grandparent is kind of a magical experience.”

Hamlin said that the butterflies signify “hope and renewal. Here’s something that starts out as a caterpillar, this worm thing with a lot of legs, that goes into a cocoon — and scientists have opened up the cocoon and it’s not like there’s a baby butterfly in there, it’s this goo, this primordial goo — and then it opens up to reveal this beautiful butterfly, so it’s a mystery. It’s amazing, it’s magical.”

To commence the Butterfly Release, Hamlin read a poem: “As you release this butterfly in honor of me, know that I am with you and will always be. … Now fly away, butterfly, as high as you can go. I’m right there with you more than you know,” (poem by Jill Haley). Participants warmed the butterflies in their hands to wake them from hibernation, and then released them in honor of their grandparents.


Rancho Cordova City Councilmember Linda Budge attended the Grandparents Day Butterfly Release and said, “I think this is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. Standing here holding these little creatures…. I mean, who’s ever held a butterfly?”


Budge loves spending time with her 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren: “As grandparents, it is such a treasure to have our grandchildren living here in the same area that we are. … I really appreciate everybody being here close to home. It gives us the opportunity to do mundane things like going to baseball games or to Back-to-School Night with the kids. There’s nothing better.”


The Butterfly Release celebration featured games, activities, face painting, and food vendors. Grandparents shared the day with their favorite tiny people and spoke about the importance of being intentionally active and present to make an impact on the lives of their grandchildren. One grandmother described it as the “consistency of family.” Others acknowledged the joy of getting to spoil the grandchildren and then give them back to the parents. Leslie Santana described the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren as “happiness.”


SCM’s director of museum advancement Meghan Toland said, “This is the first time the museum has ever been part of a Butterfly Release, and the reception was great. It was a really neat way to bring people of all ages to the museum. … It was really cool seeing people of all ages enjoying the event — and seeing all the butterflies released was so beautiful.” After such a successful event, Toland is hopeful that the Butterfly Release can become an annual event if there is continued community interest.


This year’s Butterfly Release was sponsored by Golden1 Credit Union, the City of Rancho Cordova, Republic Services, Oakmont of El Dorado Hills, and the Fernandez family. Proceeds from the event will benefit Snowline’s Healing All Together youth grief group and SCM’s educational programs.


Family – The Glue That Holds Circus Vargas Together!

Circus Vargas Press Release  |  2019-09-12

The show must go on! Circus Vargas is a community, a friendship and a family. Courtesy Circus Vargas/ Wednesday Aja

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Circus Vargas is indeed a family operation. Owned and operated by a talented young couple who together with their immediate and extended family have managed to produce some of the most incredible productions in live family entertainment in generations all under the Big Top!

Every member of the family is involved in the day to day operations of the circus and together they function like a well-oiled machine. From the most veteran member of the family to the youngest child everyone works together. Like a village of artists and performers, when you visit them, it’s almost impossible not to feel at home! “Our goal is to make everyone who comes to Circus Vargas feel welcomed, like part of the family”, says Katya Quiroga, Co- Owner-Producer along with husband Nelson.

A small self-contained city on wheels, they travel from town to town, yet always manage to keep some semblance of stability and continuity. Laid out across whatever parking lot or grass field the Big Top calls home that week, the setup is almost always the same. “We are our own little community. We have the same neighbors in each town. The trailers are parked in the exact same spots relative to the Big Top, so the environment is always familiar. You feel at home even in a place you’ve never been to before” says Katya.

The Quiroga family has 4 generations of its own traveling with Circus Vargas. Add to that the many other performers from all over the world along with their families and you’ll understand why no one is ever lonely and never bored. There are more than 20 children and teenagers at Circus Vargas and they have constant supervision.

“There is always someone’s grandmother, father, mother, brother or aunt around”, laughs Katya, “so not much chance for anyone to misbehave and we are very big on respecting our elders.” They are the perfect example of the “It takes a village…” theory. It is quite simply, a unique establishment. There is such a wonderful mix of energy, a cross between the United Nations and one big motley magical family!

Circus Vargas director, Rolanda Kaiser says it best: “The circus is a family in the sense that we feel responsible for each other. There is a tremendous respect you have for each other that doesn’t come from any other kind of job. Sometimes you literally have each other’s lives in your hands. We work together. We play together. We have barbeques, birthdays and baby showers. There is a kinship and sense of community.”

It is only fitting that with so much togetherness, these friendships foster a deep respect and camaraderie that cultivates into sincere affection. They care about each other. Not only while they are performing but behind the scenes, as well. “You’ll notice in the circus community that family really does come first,” says Rolanda. It is the backbone, the glue that keeps Circus Vargas together. “We may not be related…but we are definitely family”!

Circus Vargas will be performing in: 

1151 Galleria Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678 -  September 20-29
6166 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights, CA 95610 -  October 3-6
745 Oak Ave Pkwy, Folsom, CA 95630 - October 10-14


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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - On September 10th, members of the California Senate Republican Caucus voted against Assembly Bill 5 which would threaten the livelihoods of many California independent contractors. AB 5 undercuts workers' freedom in many industries to choose independent work and threatens their employment status. The author of AB 5 offered carve-outs for several well-connected professions which favored certain industries over others. 

On the Senate floor tonight, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced an amendment to AB 5 which would have conformed California's test for employment with an existing federal standard and offered parity across the board. Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) presented a separate amendment that would have delayed the implementation of the Dynamex decision for two years.

In addition, other members of the California Senate Republican Caucus offered amendments to AB 5 that would provide exemptions for the following industries: forestry, health care professionals, newspapers carriers and distributors, physical therapists, interpreters, translators, single truck owner-operators, non-profits, franchisors, franchisees, and design who were excluded from AB 5. Senate Democrats blocked these efforts to protect the employment status of independent contractors.

"Over 2 million Californians choose to work as independent contractors and AB 5 only protects certain industries. I am proud to have stood with my Republican colleagues in offering better solutions to protect workers in industries such as healthcare, transportation, and newspapers carriers and distributors. If the governor truly believes in supporting a California for all, then he needs to do the right thing and veto AB 5." - Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)

"I opposed Assembly Bill 5 because it undermines the principle of equal treatment under the law and deprives many Californians the right to be their own bosses. The bill's Christmas tree of exemptions is a prime example of the Legislature picking winners and losers. Why should some people enjoy an exemption while others such as newspaper carriers and language interpreters and translators do not?" -Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)

"Economic and technological advances have spurred the creation of the gig economy giving economic opportunities to folks outside of the traditional workplace. AB 5 will not only limit an individual's ability for flexible employment, but will destroy entire industries across California. Independent contractors and small businesses are the backbone of a thriving California economy." - Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno)

"This bill has morphed into an unworkable mishmash of industry exceptions, which ultimately picks winners and losers based on who is politically-connected. A simple test should be, if you have a business license, you're a businessperson!" - Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber)

"AB 5 exemplifies everything that is wrong with one party rule in Sacramento - those with influence (i.e. union leaders) and those with money (i.e. campaign donors) get their way.  Everyone else, particularly hard-working California families, are left out.  In the Capitol absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee)

"AB 5 employs a one-size-fits-all approach that won't work for Californians. We're talking about college students, single moms, and many other hard working individuals who need flexibility to pay their bills. The majority party is once again taking away choice from the very people they were elected to serve." - Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

"By choosing to exempt some industries, but not others, Democratic legislators and unions are picking winners and losers through a process that gives the distinct appearance of impropriety and is another indication that Sacramento Democrats continue to embrace a slide toward socialism." - Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga)

"California has become a hostile place to do business. Tonight, the Legislature turned this hostility toward millions of independent contractors. With the exception of a few professions, Assembly Bill 5 will restrict a worker's ability to work flexible hours that fit their needs." - Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)

"Make no mistake, AB 5 is an abuse of the legislative process by big labor union bosses who want to force companies who give opportunities to independent contractors into making their contractors join the union. As amended, AB 5 picks winner and losers, and the big losers will be the people of California who chose to work independently and pursue their own dreams and will be prevented from doing so by this onerous legislation." -Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County)

"A legitimate owner operator trucker is the quintessential independent contractor. This classic 'little guy' has put his or her heart, soul and personal resources into building an independent business. By excluding these truckers from AB 5, the Legislature has capriciously eliminated their livelihood." - Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita)

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove represents California's 16th Senate District.


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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The California Senate approved Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), a measure that will put tens of thousands of owner-operator truckers, who service agriculture, retail and other industry sectors, out of business. Despite efforts by the California Trucking Association (CTA) to amend the measure in a way that would protect independent truckers, Assembly Bill 5 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) passed with an overwhelming XX-XX vote.

“AB 5 could have been amended to address worker misclassification issues, as well as protect the 70,000 predominantly minority-owned truckers currently operating as independent contractors,” said Shawn Yadon, CTA’s CEO. “There is no reason why protecting workers does not include defending the right of tens of thousands of drivers who have built their businesses around the independent owner-operator model, invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their trucks and have operated their own businesses for decades.” 

Since the bill’s introduction, CTA has advocated for changes to AB 5, including requirements for operating authority, ownership of vehicles, exclusivity and transparency about pay. These changes would have set a clear criterion and established independence in a way that protected employees from misclassification without hurting entire sectors of the business community.

Instead, AB 5 proponents created a scenario in which they chose winners and losers by carving out some professions while excluding others. In an attempt to address some of the concerns of California’s owner-operators, AB 5 was amended to allow drivers working within the construction industry to continue operating as independent truckers for a two-year grace period. However, AB 5 will severely limit work opportunities for tens of thousands of independent owner-operators in other business sectors.

In California, more than 136,950 trucking companies remain primarily small, locally owned business with small fleets and independent drivers.

“AB 5 will have implications that will go beyond employment classification,” said Yadon, CTA’s CEO. “Like the rest of the nation, California is experiencing a shortage of truck drivers, this measure will aggravate the problem by removing thousands of drivers from rosters as many have indicated they will move to other states or seek a different line of work all together.”

AB 5 now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature. If signed into law, AB 5 would deny a significant segment of the trucking industry the ability to continue operating as independent owner-operators, forcing them to abandon the investments they have made in their vehicles and taking away their flexibility to set their own schedule and determine their own destiny for their business.

Governor Newsom has until October 13, 2019, to approve or veto this bill.


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The Mushroom: Plant or Animal?

By Margaret Snider  |  2019-09-12

MACC event coordinator and curator Cheryl Gleason shows Anita Bhattacharya and son Anish, 4, some of the wonders of mushrooms at the opening reception for the Natural Wonders show. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Visitors to the current show at the Mills Station Arts & Culture Center will see details of living things that exist among us all the time and are often taken for granted.

The Natural Wonders exhibit treats visitors to a close-up photographic review of mushrooms, seeds, and pollinators. The reception on Wednesday, September 4, opened with the graphic display of many types, forms and functions of all three, along with many facts not generally known. Jennifer Jewell, host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place, created the exhibit as curator of the Gateway Science Museum, California State University at Chico. John Whittlesey, naturalist and Northern California plantsman, provided the primary source for the many photos. Artist Ron Hall enhanced the exhibit here in Rancho Cordova by providing a recording of bird songs and weather effects.

“What Rancho Cordova does for the area is by far so much better than what other communities do,” said visitor David Buck. “It’s just awesome. I’m glad I live here.” He has noticed and enjoyed the presence of nature since he was a child. “I want to stay (at the exhibit) a whole week.”

Volunteer docent Larry Ladd said that he likes to ask questions of kids who visit exhibits like this, questions that get them thinking. “Is the mushroom more like a plant or an animal?” he might ask the kids. A mushroom decomposes wood and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. “If you go by behavior, what it looks like, you’ll automatically say plant,” Ladd said, “but as soon as you start talking about breathing out carbon dioxide, that’s a different story… Genetically, mushrooms are more like people than they are like trees.”

Anita Bhattacharya attended the exhibit with her son Anish, who is 4.  Looking at the mushrooms with him, she said, “I can’t believe we have that many kinds of mushrooms, just in Northern California!”

Last year, its first year, the MACC hosted six exhibits, this year there are eight, and ten scheduled in 2020, according to Cheryl Gleason, event coordinator and curator of the MACC. The first show, in February 2020, will be “1968: A Folsom Redemption,” which features photos and memories of Johnny Cash concerts at Folsom Prison. “I’m trying to get some inmate art from Folsom Prison to complement that show,” Gleason said. “There is this big surge in arts in prisons to help recidivism rates.”

Amy Cohen, executive director of Exhibit Envoy in San Francisco, worked with Gleason to bring the Natural Wonders exhibit to Rancho Cordova. “I love being a part of the small museum field,” Cohen said. “My hope is that our organization makes the lives of small museum staff easier and less stressful as we all work together to make great exhibitions with limited time and resources.”

The MACC is located at 10191 Mills Station Rd., Rancho Cordova, at Mather Field Road and Folsom Boulevard. For more information, please contact Cheryl Gleason, MACC event coordinator and curator, at 916-273-5712 or e-mail


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Raising Dementia Awareness in Rancho Cordova

By Carlie Beasley, Summerset Senior Living  |  2019-09-12

Summerset Senior Living’s Resident Liaison Victoria Olivarez, checking in attendees Merlin Mauk and Becky Harvey. Courtesy Summerset Senior Living Rancho Cordova

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - “Summerset Senior Living, Rancho Cordova launched the City’s first ever “Raising Dementia Awareness” campaign this past Friday. Inspired by those who have dementia and their caregivers, Summerset wanted to create a space that was informative and cholk-full of resources for those needing more assistance in the fight against dementia. Community members from neighboring cities caught wind of Summerset’s campaign and came in droves to see what all the buzz was about.

Senior Safety Specialist, Dot Boyd, showcased her Electronic Caregiver watches, which provide 24/7 emergency coverage for those active, ill, aging, and disabled. Attendees marveled at the sleek look of the band, and the cutting edge technology that will alert EMS if assistance were to be needed.

Laura Wayman, known as “the Dementia Whisper,” held 30-minute presentations throughout the day showcasing her new film simulating what it feels like to be affected with dementia symptoms. Rancho Cordova Police Officer, Steven Gonzales went through the training with Wayman. First responders are already seeing the increase of calls due to someone affected by dementia. Wayman’s goal is to train all first responders in the Sacramento area in an effort to raise their dementia awareness and minimize anxiety when assisting someone with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Summerset Senior Living Marketing Director, Tracy McLinn, dreamed of a day like this where resources were plenty for people that really needed guidance in this care-giving journey. 

“We thought it was important to bring Dementia Awareness to this city because there are many family members caring for a loved one in their home. It is our duty as a community to help these primary caregivers any way we can with resources and education. Greater awareness and understanding of dementia is important to challenge the myths and misconceptions that surround the condition.”

If you are caring for a loved one affected by dementia, or any debilitating disease, reach out to your community and see what kinds of resources are there to help you. Rancho Cordova is filled with people always willing to help in any way they can.”

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ECMC Group Celebrates $10 Million in Giving

By Alex Kuntz, ECMC Group  |  2019-09-12

An ECMC Group board member joined ECMC Group employees to help present checks to organizations they nominated to receive a grant. Single Mom Strong was nominated by two employees. ECMC Group

MATHER, CA (MPG) - On Sept. 4, ECMC Group in Mather hosted an event to celebrate meeting its $10 million milestone for corporate giving. During the event, 11 local nonprofit organizations received a total of $275,000 through ECMC Group’s GO! Program, which allows employees to nominate and vote for local nonprofits to receive grants through its affiliate ECMC Foundation.

The GO! Program is one of many efforts ECMC Group offers to involve employees in its mission to give back to the communities where employees live and work. The organization has a robust social responsibility effort that enables employees to give back to their communities, including through company-sponsored volunteer activities. In 2019 alone, the organization has offered over 30 volunteer events, and more than half of employees have participated with paid time off for a total of over 1,300 hours and more than $1 million in community outreach donations year-to-date.

The GO! Program reception allowed employees to meet the organizations they nominated for grants and to learn more about the good work they do in the communities they serve. Organizations honored include:

Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking; Eagleforce Robotics; Growth Public Schools; Hooked on Fishing Not Violence; Loaves & Fishes; Sierra Forever Families; Single Mom Strong; Society for the Blind; The Taylor House; Team Sacramento Judo; VA Northern California Health Care System.

Now in its fifth year, the GO! Program has disseminated a total of $5.9 million through 288 grants nationally. In California, the program has distributed a total of $1.3 million through 56 grants. ECMC Group is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed.

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Men’s Soccer Team Wins Home Opener

By Ronald Richardson, Folsom Lake College  |  2019-09-12

Freshman Kameron Kascht scored the Falcons’ first goal, then assisted on the game winner. Photo courtesy FLC

FOLSOM, CA (MPG) - The Falcon men found themselves in a tense battle with Lake Tahoe College in their home opener last Tuesday afternoon at Falcon Stadium, but came out victorious with a late tie-breaking goal, 2-1.  The Falcons controlled the match early as they took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute on a goal by freshman forward Kameron Kascht.  They immediately followed that with three near misses, including one off the crossbar and one off the post, and looked like they would win going away.  But the Coyotes clamped down and began creating their own chances, though neither side scored again in the first half.

Just seven minutes into the second half, the Coyotes found an opening and made it count to tie the match at 1-1.  The remainder of the second half was tense as both teams worked hard to break the tie, but it was the Falcons who found the net in the 81st minute. Kameron Kascht drew several defenders to him as he charged the goal, then dropped a pass to sophomore Tanner Boyea, who scored the goal.  With time running down, the Falcons were able to turn away any further threats to secure the win.

With an early-season record of 2-0, the Falcons will host Butte College on Friday evening at 6:30 pm. 


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Men’s Soccer Team Remains Unbeaten

By Ronald Richardson, Folsom Lake College  |  2019-09-12

Ethan Viers (10, shown here vs Lake Tahoe on Sept 3) scored the Falcon’s only goal in their 1-0 win over Butte

FOLSOM, CA (MPG) - Last Friday evening’s matchup of two undefeated men’s soccer teams resembled a heavyweight boxing match, with Folsom Lake and Butte trading heavy blows throughout the match but with neither able to knock the other one out.  The teams were evenly matched - as evidenced by the scoreless first half of play – and both featured talented players.  But it was Folsom Lake that drew first blood in the 58th minute when Kameron Kascht passed to a waiting Ethan Viers for a 1-0 Falcon lead.  The Roadrunners did not back down, instead intensifying their offensive push in an effort to tie the score.  But again, the Falcon defense was up to the task and held the visitors in check.  Falcon freshmen goalkeepers Arman Salimi and Gerardo Perez shared the spotlight as they combined for the shutout victory


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Women’s Soccer Improves Early Season Record

By Ronald Richardson, Folsom Lake College  |  2019-09-12

Michaela Clark recorded the first “Hat Trick” of the Falcons’ 2019 season on Friday at West Hills. Photo courtesy FLC

FOLSOM, CA (MPG) - The San Joaquin Valley town of Lemoore is not usually high on many lists of ‘places to see’, but the FLC women’s soccer team sure enjoyed their Friday afternoon visit as they dominated West Hills College, 6-1, in a non-conference match.  The Falcons scored three goals in each half of play, led by freshman forward Michaela Clark, who recorded her first Hat Trick with three goals, plus an assist.  Sophomore Emma Thompson added two goals and Sarah Freed scored the other.  Falcon coach Donny Ribaudo was impressed with freshman center-back Payton Zanatta and the return from injury of sophomore defender Sarah Postema;  both will help solidify the defense moving forward.  The Falcons improved their early season record to 3-0-1.


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