Diaper Bank: Sunrise Rotary Delivers 2500 Diapers

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-12-26

Mike Daly Handing Diapers to Robert Sanger.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – In early October, Mike Daly, president of the Rancho Cordova Sunrise Rotary Club, and other club members placed bins in City Hall, local Starbucks, Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce office, and several other locations throughout Rancho Cordova and Fair Oaks in order to collect diapers for the diaper bank at Folsom Cordova Community Partnership (FCCP). On November 6, the estimated 2500 diapers and 1500 wipes were presented to FCCP’s executive director Robert Sanger.

The ability to supply diapers, one of several safety-net resources offered by FCCP, is made possible through diaper drives, individual donations of diapers, and grant funding. The FCCP’s diaper bank is one of only a handful in Northern California and has been registered with the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) for about five years. It is only one of two registered diaper banks in Sacramento.

“It came to our attention about the stressful effect that diaper needs can have on families,” said Sanger, who learned that nearly one third of all families have a need for diapers at some point. “We felt it was important to be a diaper bank and to be able to offer that service to the community.”

Diapers are, like food and shelter, a basic need for infants, who may require up to ten diapers daily. According to NDBN, diapers, which are necessary for children in preschool and daycare, may also aid in children becoming more successful. Without diapers, children can’t attend, which means that parents may not be able to work. A monthly diaper cost for a family with an infant can run $80 or more. That cost must sometimes be weighed by low-income families against the need for food or shelter.

Sanger said that FCCP’s diaper bank currently serves a few hundred families each year. Although there are usually enough diapers to supply the needs, the stock has dropped so low that a community request to donate had been issued.

 “We want to keep diapers stocked.”

The greatest need is infant diapers, number one size, since babies use the most on a daily basis. Between community diaper drives and individual donations, they usually keep well stocked. The most successful drives, said Sanger, are those hosted by businesses or service organizations like Sunrise Rotary. Even local churches have held drives. FCCP supplies the collection bins and a draft poster that the organization or business can personalize.

“We try to work with companies and make it easy for them to host diaper drives.

Sunrise Rotary has participated in many local events to help the community, including planting trees one Saturday morning, American River clean up, collecting warm clothing and blankets for those in need, so sponsoring a diaper drive seemed a good fit.

Daly said that his club has partnered with FCCP for several years through the Christmas in Cordova event.

“One of our members, Chris Clark, works for FCCP and when he was our president he got us involved,” wrote Daly.

Daly met with Sanger and asked what the three biggest needs were. Diapers and wipes were the first things mentioned.

“I then suggested that our club would do a diaper and wipes drive to help.”

Daly commended Park West Casino, First Bank on Zinfandel, and a local business development park for their donations. Club members also stepped up to add to the collection.

“This is the first year we have done a drive for FCCP and hope to make it an annual event for them.”

FCCP serves between 500 and 600 families annually with its array of safety-net services which include diapers, emergency food, or even utility assistance.

Other safety-net services include Regional Transit bus passes, baby food, referrals, advocacy, and short-term case management for low-income families living in Rancho Cordova, Mather, Folsom, and three zip code areas (95826, 95827, and 95830) of Sacramento.

FCCP also hosts a number of activities for families including its quarterly community baby shower, exercise classes, and its annual harvest festival event. The monthly Connections Café is a drop-in lunch networking opportunities for service providers and organizations throughout the county. Six times each year, families are invited to the Cordova Lane Center for fun and educational activities.

FCCP has been serving the area for 26 years, this year celebrating 20 years as one of nine Birth and Beyond Family Resource Centers in Sacramento County, and 10 years offering community support services which include emergency diapers. In 2019, FCCP will celebrate another milestone offering employment development services to youth and adults as an America’s Job Center.

For additional information about FCCP, visit: http://www.thefccp.org/. For additional information about Rancho Cordova Sunrise Rotary, visit: https://portal.clubrunner.ca/9120. For additional information about National Diaper Bank Network, visit: https://nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/.



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Hats for the Homeless

By Margaret Snider  |  2018-12-26

Elder Barrows, center and Elder Dunyon offer hats to a homeless woman during the recent storm as City of Rancho Cordova senior code enforcement officer looks on with a smile. Photo by Gary McFadyen

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - A storm with heavy rain and wind had just passed through Rancho Cordova the night before. Married couple Eric and Cathi Niven, with six young women and 10 young men, all missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all wearing Santa hats, made their way through the puddles near Folsom Boulevard. They came bearing bags of knitted and handmade hats, scarves, quilts and blankets for the homeless. City of Rancho Cordova Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) members Kerry Simpson and Russ Ducharme worked with the group as liaison between the missionaries and the homeless.

Eric and Cathi Niven are from Monticello, Utah. Cathi Niven told Monticello resident Jeri Burt how much she would like to help the homeless in the Sacramento area. Before long over 200 items had been made and shipped to Sacramento. “(Cathi) called me and asked me if I could make some scarves and stuff,” said Jeri Burt. “Of course I already had a jump start on it.”  Burt makes a practice of forming groups to crochet hats and scarves for those in need, and many from Monticello and La Sal, Utah, were excited to be part of it. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem like you can do near enough, but just touching one person at a time is just a huge blessing,” Burt said.

Simpson said that homeless people are not spending their days looking for work or finding a way to get income. “They’re thinking about how they’re going to feed themselves, where are they going to sleep?” Simpson said. “When they’re out in the elements, where are they going to get that warm coat when the weather changes?” 

William Hawkins, 68, accepted a hat. He used to be a maintenance man and worked for general contractors. He was a character actor and backstage tech in Broadway shows. Then he had two heart attacks and heart failure, lost his place and has been homeless for two years. He’s seen a lot of suffering, and gone through it himself. “I’m not saying things I’m thinking about, I’m saying things I know,” Hawkins said. “Because what I think isn’t worth a dime, it’s what I know that counts.”  Hawkins was glad to see the young people helping others, and said it shows how things are improving. “These young people are (helping), Hawkins said. “You go to get on the light rail, they want to help you, they hold doors for you, they’re more than happy to.” 

Cathi Niven took a picture of Hawkins and another man receiving hats. “We sent (the picture) immediately to the lady who had actually done the knitting, and she was excited to see that,” Cathi Niven said. The missionaries timed the distribution to coincide with the first day of the annual Latter-day Saint global initiative called Light the World. Thousands participate in individual and group service from December 1 to 29. (see www.lighttheworld.org).

The City of Rancho Cordova Homeless Outreach Team includes Simpson, who coordinates, two Rancho Cordova police officers, Ducharme as senior code enforcement officer for the City and two individuals for cleanup. A homeless navigator travels the City helping the homeless obtain IDs, driver’s licenses, social security cards, whatever is needed. “Team members’ positions overlap,” said Rancho Cordova communications officer, Ashley Downton, “with the core purpose to build relationships with homeless individuals and families, and provide services, education, and resources in partnership with local organizations, to help them become self-sufficient.” 

While the missionaries were finding people who needed the hats and quilts, Rancho Cordova resident Jennifer Barnes came by, who used to be homeless herself. Now with a job and a place to stay, she doesn’t forget those among whom she lived. Daily she comes out to check on people she knows, to bring them something or just see how they are getting along. “It’s really hard,” Barnes said. “You have a choice to either rise above it or get stuck. There are some people who get stuck.”  The missionaries gave Barnes a pile of the homemade items on December 1 to distribute to people she sees, and Ducharme spoke with her about helping the City to make contact with people who need help.

“It’s a collaborative effort between many people in the community,” Downton said. “Together we can make a difference and help change peoples’ lives.” 

This can happen by connecting not only with people in our community, but also joining the efforts of people in Monticello, Utah, with others in Rancho Cordova, California.

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Local Business Provides 78 Kids with Holiday Gifts

By Libby Considine, ECMC Group  |  2018-12-26

ECMC employees step up and contribute to the community again this holiday season. Photo courtesy ECMC

Through the Volunteers of America Holiday Angels Program

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Employees from local nonprofit ECMC Group spread holiday cheer last week by donating and delivering gifts for 78 children at Volunteers of America.

Employees purchased three gifts from each child’s wish list and delivered them wrapped and ready to open. ECMC Group has sponsored the Holiday Angels program at Volunteers of America for the past six years, making sure all children living at the transitional home will have gifts this holiday season. 

ECMC commits to making a positive impact on its communities through service, charitable giving and good corporate citizenship. ECMC Group is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed through programs promoting financial literacy, college access and college completion.

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2019 Amgen Tour of California Coming to Rancho Cordova

Russell Hartley, City of Rancho Cordova  |  2018-12-26

Rancho Cordova City Council gears up for the Amgen announcement. Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - You read that right. The City of Rancho Cordova and Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism are beyond excited to announce that Rancho Cordova will be a host City for the 2019 Amgen Tour of California! On May 13, 2019, the City will be welcoming the only event on the top-level World Tour in the United States to Rancho Cordova for the first time as part of the tour across the state.

“The City of Rancho Cordova is extremely excited to host the Stage 2 Start of the Amgen Tour of California,” said Rancho Cordova City Manager Cyrus Abhar. “This race will bring an international team of elite cyclists to a city that is international in its diversity. We are thrilled to be a Host City because it speaks to our culture of fun, our desire to partner with like-minded organizations, and our love for the international. We look forward to making this event truly unforgettable.”

The City of Rancho Cordova is a vibrant community that values diversity, partnerships and fun. Rancho Cordova is a bronze-level bicycle city due to our connected neighborhoods, business parks, 16 miles of pedestrian and bike paths, and beautiful six miles of American River Parkway trails. The City’s more than 100 restaurants, Barrel District, variety of entertainment options, and 16 lodging properties provide the ideal basecamp for the Stage 2 Start.

The 2019 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG. Rancho Cordova will be one of 13 Host Cities selected for the 14th edition of America’s premier professional cycling stage race set for May 12-18, 2019. Throughout seven stages over seven days, the world’s elite cyclists will contest more than 750 miles of roadways, highways and coastlines from Sacramento to Pasadena.

Stay tuned to the City of Rancho Cordova’s social media channels for more information regarding the 2019 Amgen Tour of California. Connect with the City by visiting www.cityofranchocordova.org.

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By Jan Float  |  2018-12-26

Tamara Bish, Sasheen Garrison, Kellen Arno and Karen Jones

GOLD RIVER, CA (MPG) - Who survives without a solid support system? The Stingrays, with chlorinated cups that runneth over, are grateful for the generosity of its Sponsorship and volunteerism of its Board Members, the irrefutable infrastructure of their team.

Unbeknownst to this general readership, Stingrays’ Sponsors are integral to the athletes’ improved performance levels. Sport Support enables them to purchase ever-evolving electronics, in-the-water and dryland training tools, and other swimming-related necessities. Thanks to Sponsorship, three seasons ago was the unveiling of a mounted “Colorado” system, which transmits through techno-nutso wireless hardware and software instantaneous digital results. Runs like clockwork … and required to Keep Up with the Times.

Last year Gold River welcomed first-time sponsor Paul Scholl, the publisher of the Messenger Publishing Group, depicted here with Jeff Float and Theresa Mulnix. Decked out in team shirts, Paul and Theresa wanted in on a piece of the action and, it’s fair to say, were Stung by the Stingrays’ energy and synergy.

To name but a few Sponsorship perks, the team extends appreciation by printing on the backs of its shirts all Sponsors’ logos and names. Hanging directly alongside the all-eyes-on-deck Colorado scoreboard is a full-sized banner filled with the same listing; and the Website devotes a tab entitled “Sponsors,” complete with contact information. Seven months of home, away and Championship meets cover a wide swath of marketing exposure. It’s a win-win: The Stingrays get geared up while the Sponsors get built up!

Comprising this year’s set of Sponsorship was The Malone Group, SystemLytics, Sierra Asset Management, Synergy Capital Lending, Get Some Jerky and New Balance. Twinning as Sponsors and Board Members are, on the left, Tamara Bish, Social Coordinator and a realtor with The Malone Group. Shown on the far right is Sponsorship Coordinator Karen Jones, who works in tandem with her husband Tom as owner/operators of SystemLytics. Smack dab in the middle stands the Human Hub, President Sasheen Garrison and League Representative Kellen Arno, both of whom serve in the most demanding and valued of Board positions. Not bad for Sport Support, huh?       

Ready for a huge announcement? Ta-da-ta-da: As of this New Year, Gold River is beyond thrilled to be competing in the League’s Gold Rush Conference. As contenders in the top-tiered Comstock Conference for the past five seasons, the Stingrays have been labeled as “Small-but-Mighty” -- for mighty good reason -- their opponents double and triple in size. So Kellen and his fellow League reps voted to move one team up and another down. The Stingrays BELIEVE this is a Good Move. No stopping the Mighty Good competition now!  

With the spreading news that Gold River is taking it down a notch, new families are making overtures, the Board is proactively toiling away, and registration is now open. A newly-devised and popular dryland program has been implemented, so much so that it’s now wait-listed. Due to swimmers graduating out of the program [into college and a more elite level], Sponsorship is expected to taper off this year. Those interested in assisting and advertising are invited to contact Coordinator Karen: karenannjones@yahoo.com. In 2019, the Smaller will never be Mightier … with Stingrays’ Sport Support!

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Sacramento Area Cadets Become CHP Officers

Story by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-12-22

Photos by Trina L. Drotar and courtesy CHP

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – When they woke on the morning of Friday, November 16, the 46 men and women who arrived for final inspection spent their last morning as California Highway Patrol cadets. The class of 43 men and 3 women received their stars in a ceremony filled with pomp, circumstance, and a lot of fun.

Poor air quality had cancelled the cadets’ run to the state capitol earlier in the week, and the final inspection had to be moved from the quad into the dining hall, and the emergency vehicle operator course (EVOC) demonstration was also cancelled, but none of those things dampened the spirit and the joy shared by cadets and their family and friends upon finishing a grueling six months at the state’s only CHP Academy.

Among the graduates was Margarito Meza, the first graduate in the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars (LECS) program at Sacramento State which began in 2017 to prepare college students from all disciplines for careers as sworn law enforcement officers at the local and state level. Program director Shelby Moffatt and a large group of LECS students were on hand to support Meza. Four are currently in the CHP Academy and are expected to graduate in 2019.

Early arrivals toured the Academy’s museum and learned the history of the CHP and its role in popular culture. Timelines, motorcycles, including a rare 1941 model, and communications equipment spanning several decades are on display in the museum which is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. and is free of charge.

Not free were the hours of intense physical and mental training that cadets endured during their six months away from family and friends. Cadets live on the West Sacramento campus for the duration of their training and education which includes a host of courses from basic Spanish to marksmanship to how to perform field sobriety tests. They must pass the EVOC driver training, attain certification in arrest techniques, and keep on top of their physical training. During the ceremony, a short film created by the graduating class provided family and friends a glimpse of life during the past six months at the Academy.

Prior to the ceremony in which cadets received their badges, they underwent their final inspection. Photos were snapped and hugs were given to cadets for a few minutes before the inspection began. Commissioner Warren Stanley, Deputy Commissioner Scott Silsbee, Assistant Commissioners Amanda Ray and Nick Norton, and Captain James Mann greeted each cadet, moving through the ranks, shaking hands, and providing encouraging words to each.

In that group was Erik Rodriguez of West Sacramento whose family was joined by several of his military buddies who had flown in from Texas for his special day. The 34-year old veteran was honored with a plaque for being the class’s most inspirational cadet, and he was recognized for his work as one of the company commanders. He will report to the San Francisco Bay Area for his first assignment as an officer.

Graduates are required to report to their first assignments within ten days and are sent where the greatest need is so many were sent to the southern part of the state. Cadets select up to three possible choices and are never first stationed in Sacramento.

Perhaps the brightest smiles to be found were from Cortez Sanders of Sacramento, his parents, and his extended family. His proud father, Bennett, was also recognized during the ceremony as he is a CHP employee. Sanders’ mother, Adrienne, said that she is very proud of her son and all the work he put into becoming an officer. It was his father who held the honor of pinning the badge on his son, one of the traditions that did occur outside as is custom.

Cortez will report to Redwood City for his first assignment and will be joined there by fellow Sacramentan David Waggoner who was honored as outstanding athlete. Also headed to Redwood City are Trevor Gossett of Sacramento and David Tran of Elk Grove.

                For additional information, visit: https://www.chp.ca.gov/chp-careers/officer/life-in-the-academy. For additional information about the LECS program, visit: https://www.csus.edu/hhs/lecs/.

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Lonnie Cook Survived the USS Arizona Bombing

Story by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-12-22

Photos by Trina L. Drotar and courtesy Lonnie Cook

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) – Lonnie Cook and his wife of 68 years, Marietta, have lived in Aegis of Carmichael since July after moving from Oklahoma. Cook is witty, a natural storyteller, just a tad bit feisty, and he recently celebrated his 98th birthday. He’s a celebrity without a star on the Hollywood or Sacramento Walks of Fame. He has no viral videos on YouTube or Facebook. He is, however, one of only 335 men who survived the attack on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941, and as of 2017, was one only five still living. And he knows exactly where he was when the bombs hit.

He entered the U.S. Navy when he was 19 years old. Only two years into his six year term, after having showered and changed into clothes to go ashore in, the bombs hit the battleship.

 “It’s good I didn’t take too long,” he said, “or I would have been blown up.”

Cook was part of the 3rd division in charge of the gun turret. The ship, he said, sunk 15 to 18 feet before the orders to abandon were given. The next morning, he was one of several men who volunteered to go on the destroyers.

The couple was married two years after Cook finished his service. He attended college in Salinas and learned to weld. He spent 30 years as a welder.

 “I helped build the two largest boilers west of the Mississippi River for Babcock and Wilcox and Kellogg, and I put a 20” gas line right through Brooklyn, NY in ’57,” he said.

The couple traveled the country for work, and he has many stories. He worked 75 straight graveyard shifts once, but could not spend all the money he had earned. He needed the sleep.

 “We bought a house, paid $59 thousand for it. I don’t remember what we put down. Three years later, I put $37 thousand cash in a paper sack, my 45 in my belt, and we went to Salinas Bank to pay the house off.” This would be unimaginable today as would be the hunting he did on his way to and from high school each day.

Cook, who is not a large man, was captain of his high school football team three out of four years, and he smiles a bit when he says that he crowned three football queens. He is not a football follower and admits that he had considered basketball a sissy game, but he has since learned that it is not. Cook always chose hunting season over basketball.

He joined the service, he said, because he had no work and no money.

 “I had to do something,” he said.

His mom sent him to business school, but that did not work out because the city, with its street cars and police sirens, was too loud for the young man who grew up in the country.

 “I couldn’t sleep, so I told her I’m not going back, so I joined the service.”           

Two years later, he was on the USS Arizona expecting to go ashore on leave when the bombs dropped.

 “Our shower was up just forward of where it blew up,” he said. “I’d just come back down to my locker.” His work station was Turret 3 as part of the gun crew and he was at the bottom when the bombs dropped.

“I started up through the turret and I was half way up on the shell deck when it exploded and it turned the lights out and almost knocked me off the ladder, but I went on up into the gun room and we stayed there until we could go up on deck and take people off.”

Most of the people on deck were crippled and burned beyond recognition he recalled and since the day’s uniform was t-shirts and white shorts, the men had no protection.

Cook ended up on the USS Patterson DD-392 for temporary duty. He saw Lt. O’Hare shoot down six planes and become the first navy ace. He was in the Coral Sea battle when the Lexington was sunk, and went to Midway.

 “When that was over I went to Alaska and took a tanker back to Pearl. I got transferred and went to electro hydraulic gunnery school in D.C. for three months,” he said. “We got a call to go New York City to pick up the Battleship Iowa, which was a new battleship, and escorted it with President Roosevelt to Africa.” The men spent time down the coast of Africa while President Roosevelt was engaged in meetings.

 “I spent four days there, then came back to pick the battleship up, took it back to New York, and went down through the canal in time for January 1st.”

He served in the Marshall Islands, Taipan, and made three landings in the Philippines before being transferred to Charleston, South Carolina to work on the hull of the USS 583 and picked up a convoy to the Azores.

“When that was all over, went through the canal and in February ’45 we hit Iwo Jima, landed troops, and when that was over, April 1st we hit Okinawa. We stayed there until that over June 23rd. We come back to San Francisco and that ended my wartime,” he added.

Cook never returned to the military service and was not eligible for the draft. The last two ships he served on accumulated a total of 31 battle stars.

He returned to Oklahoma where he met his bride. Although she would follow him for most of his post-military career, he first followed her to California because she was going to care for a pregnant friend. The couple married in June of 1950 in a private wedding, spent 30 years in Salinas, 29 in Oklahoma, and returned to California once again because his bride wanted to.

 “I didn’t want to, of course,” he said about leaving Oklahoma. “I decided she deserved what she wanted, so I gave up everything I had- guns, fishing tackle, everything I had - and we come to California.

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