Rancho Cordova Resident Siven Ly Named United Way Young Leader of the Year

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2018-01-03

Siven Ly of Rancho Cordova receives United Way’s Young Leaders Society Member of the Year award from Stephanie Bray at a recognition event earlier this month. Photo courtesy United Way.

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Siven Ly of Rancho Cordova received United Way California Capital Region’s Young Leaders Society Member of the Year award earlier this month at a recognition event held at Antiquité Maison Privée in Midtown Sacramento. She was one of five United Way donors and volunteers honored by the local nonprofit for their commitment to United Way’s Square One Project that is ensuring local students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond. 

Ly chairs United Way’s Young Leaders Society action group and was honored for helping the group to grow as it works to support the Sacramento Kindergarten 2 College Savings Program that United Way sponsors so families can set up college savings accounts for their kindergarteners. Ly also encouraged her employer, Social Interest Solutions, to become a United Way workplace partner. 

Other honorees included the Kings’ Scott Moak, Jessica Gauna-Miller of Elk Grove, Keith and Char Donnermeyer of Granite Bay, and UPS groups in Rocklin and West Sacramento.

At the recognition event, United Way California Capital Region President and CEO Stephanie Bray told guests and honorees, “I know we have a bright year ahead as we continue to work together to make sure kids succeed in school and beyond. But it’s going to take all of us. I hope you will continue or step up your commitment to the exciting work we are all doing together through the Square One Project.”

United Way California Capital Region is leading the Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications

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Celebrating the Heron Landing Park Grand Opening

By Becca Niles, CRPD  |  2018-01-03

Kids in the community celebrate the opening of the new park. Photo by Rick Sloan

Community Enjoys Opening of Innovative Park

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - Cordova Recreation and Park District (CRPD) held a grand opening ceremony on a windy and brisk Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to celebrate the opening of CRPD’s 38th park, Heron Landing Community Park.

Heron Landing Community Park, located in Anatolia at Sunrise Boulevard and Justinian Way, is the 8th community park in the district. The 20-plus acre park has 20 picnic areas, 2 miles of walking trails, a spray pad area, 2 playground areas, 2 ballfields, a soccer field, 2 bocce ball courts, 2 tennis courts and 2 half courts for basketball. Despite excessive rain in 2016, which hampered construction, the park was finished 300 days after the ground-breaking ceremony held April 2016. The grand opening marked the completion of Phase 1 of construction with a community center planned for Phase 2 of construction.

During his grand opening speech District Administrator, Patrick Larkin, said “This park represents the next generation of parks. Heron Landing Community Park is the type of facility we will strive to bring to the community in the 21st century. This is a  place to share with your neighbors, friends and children; a place to celebrate the proud community that is Cordova Recreation and Park District.”

The grand opening ceremony was attended by over 300 community members, project partners CRPD Board members, and local dignitaries who spoke at the event including Rancho Cordova City Mayor Donald Terry, Sacramento County Board Supervisor Don Nottoli, and Congressman Ami Bera. Also in attendance were senior staff and council members from the City of Rancho Cordova, SMUD Board Director, Nancy Bui-Thompson, and Jonathan Glatz of the Office of Assemblyman Ken Cooley.

Attendees participated in a park tour with CRPD staff as well as basketball, kickball and Bocce Ball as they got to know their new park. Despite the gusty winds and cool temperatures, residents got a demonstration of the spray park and a few brave children ran through the water.

Long after the end of the event, residents were seen taking walks along the trail, practicing Lacrosse on soccer fields, climbing on playground equipment, working on their backhand on the tennis courts and one even brought out a kite to take advantage of the wind. The community’s excitement for this park is only matched by CRPD itself.

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Curling in Sacramento?

By Katie Feldman  |  2018-01-03

Wine Country Curling Club is dedicated to promoting the sport of curling in Northern California. Photos courtesy Wine County Curling Club.

Yes, and The Winter Olympics are almost here!

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The Winter Olympics are almost here and with that comes the crazy, quirky sport of CURLING. Curling is an ice sport that requires players to slide 42-pound stones over an ice sheet to a target at the other end, known as the house. Considered to be one of the most captivating sports, curling is popularly known as chess on ice and a hybrid of bowling and shuffleboard. Americans flocked to the sport with intrigue and fascination when the Winter Olympics were televised from Torino in 2006, Vancouver in 2010, and Sochi in 2014. The same will be true come February 8th when the Winter Olympics begin in South Korea.
 
Did you know that CURLING is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States?
Did you know that CURLING is one of the few sports that all ages and all abilities can do?
Did you know that CURLING is the only sport that will be shown DAILY during the upcoming Winter Olympics in February?
 
Wine Country Curling Club is dedicated to promoting the sport of curling in Northern California. They curl out of Skatetown Ice in Roseville and offer leagues, learn-to-curl programs, corporate events, tournaments, and adaptive curling (wheelchair curling, blind curling, deaf curling, stick curling, and Special Olympics curling). WCCC curls on Sunday mornings but also offers the occasional Saturday night event and they are one of 4 clubs in California. WCCC is a volunteer-run, 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is a member of USA Curling and the Mountain Pacific Curling Association (MoPac). They hold two tournaments each year which brings over 40 teams (including past Olympians) to the area to compete in a 3-day event.
 
“From hosting watch parties at local bars to holding as many learn-to-curl sessions that we can schedule through Skatetown Ice, we are doing everything in our power to let the Northern California community know that we are here,” said Wine Country Curling Club President Katie Feldman. WCCC has taught approximately 150 people to curl in just this year alone and they anticipate that number to double during the first half of 2018.
 
Wine Country Curling Club is available for live spots (or taped roll) which would be perfect for background video as the newscasters discuss the Winter Olympics results. They are also interested in offering curling demonstrations either on location (at Skatetown Ice or the Downtown Outdoor Ice Rink) as well as in-studio. WCCC can teach TV/radio/print personalities how to curl in less than 20 minutes, so that when they inevitably talk about it in February, they will know the basics of the sport.
 
For more information contact: Katie Feldman, (916) 849-9731 katie@winecountrycurlingclub.com
Check out winecountrycurlingclub.com

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Cal American Water Unveils New Well Treatment Unit

By Luke Gianni, External Affairs California American Water  |  2018-01-03

Cal Am engineering staff, including director of operations Audie Foster (holding Rancho Cordova proclamation)and  Chamber of Commerce staff,  City Councilmember Robert McGarvey and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli. Photo courtesy Cal American Water.

$1.3 Million Unit will Treat for PFAA in Drinking Water Well

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - California American Water held a special  ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, December 6th, to celebrate the commissioning of its new well treatment unit on Nut Plains Drive in Rancho Cordova.

The unit will treat for Perfluorooctanoic and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acids otherwise known as PFAA which are found in some fire-fighting foams and other industrial materials. It is an unregulated substance by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that recently has been identified as a possible water contaminant. In 2014 and 2015, California American Water found low levels of PFAA at the wellsite, the only one of more than 60 wells in the area. In 2016, the EPA lowered advisory levels for PFAA’s as new science became available.  The company proactively shut the well down and commissioned a treatment project to build a unit to treat for these substances. 

“California American Water is erring on the side of caution because that is in the best interest of protecting public health and safety,” said Audie Foster, California American Water’s Director of Operations.  “We took proactive measures to protect our community, however small the risk. I want to thank our state, federal and local government partners for assisting us in expediting this project so we could bring this much needed well back into service. I see this as a good example of government and the private sector working together to efficiently accomplish the shared goal of public safety and cost-effective engineering.”

The total cost of the project is $1.28 million and employs a granular activated carbon system.

California American Water provides high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to more than 660,000 people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.

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Yep, Pot Goes Legit, Sort of

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-01-03

Because marijuana remains categorized as a controlled substance under federal law, the state has left it up to individual counties and cities to determine if they wanted in on the action or not, giving them a Dec. 31 deadline. MPG copyright image.

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - In many cities across California, Sacramento included, the cultivation and sale of recreational cannabis becomes legal Jan. 1, opening the flood gates for an industry widely expected to generate a gold mine for municipalities who have said “yes” to the legitimization of the pot business.

However, Sacramento County, as well as the cities of Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and Folsom, among others in Placer County and points across the map, each have stuck to their guns and have banned what they view as the coming of the wild west of commerce. 

Anticipating an uptick in violent crime, robberies, homelessness and headaches, coupled with a complicated process for management of the commercial side of the cannabis industry, these areas have echoed a resounding “NOT” to the cultivation of cannabis in their towns.  There are also too many questions, they say, about how to affectively assess pot farmers on their profits from what is currently a cash-and-carry industry, not to mention the offense of the smell from burning weed wafting over their neighborhoods.

So pot is legit as of Jan. 1, and yet it isn’t, depending on where you reside and how you intend to consume or even grow it. 

If you’re cloudy on the issues, there’s good reason for it.  The medicinal marijuana laws passed several years ago that ushered in the growth of the pot dispensary market made it legal for those with a “prescription” from their physicians to purchase limited amounts of pot.

Proposition 64, passed in November 2016, effectively made it possible for weed growers who are lucky enough to obtain licenses from the state to come out of the shadows and begin cashing in on the commercial recreational pot market, which is expected to generate roughly $1 billion for the state annually.  Tax proceeds on pot farmers’ bounties will, in part, support enforcement and oversight of the industry, among other programs. 

In addition, Prop. 64 allows for the personal cultivation of up to six living pot plants for non-medical purposes, provided they are grown inside a person's private residence or a green house, but not in a field or backyard, as many cultivators have been doing under the radar for years. 

So, where and when will it be legal to grow, sell or possess pot?  And are pot dispensaries legal or not? 

Because marijuana remains categorized as a controlled substance under federal law, the state has left it up to individual counties and cities to determine if they wanted in on the action or not, giving them a Dec. 31 deadline to say so, in order for the approval process for applications from prospective growers to begin Jan. 1. 

The City of Sacramento voted this fall to join the party and is currently cultivating its own guidelines for commercial growing and distribution.  Licensees will be taxed 4% of their proceeds, for starters.  Applications for conditional use permits are required and renewable annually.  Depending on the type of business you want to run, city fees for setting up a grow operation will run you anywhere between $9,000 and $15,000, and between $8,000 and $13,000 to renew the license each year.

But, since it’s a cash flow operation, there are many unanswered questions as to how growers will deposit and move earnings, just one of the headaches fueling the Rancho Cordova City Council’s “no” vote.

“We have been watching all the things the city of Sacramento is going through and we see it as just a headache we do not want to deal with,” said Vice Mayor Linda Budge following her council’s 3-2 vote against lifting the ban on commercial operations Dec. 4.

Sacramento currently has roughly three dozen pot dispensaries, again built out primarily after the medicinal pot laws went into effect, but there is a moratorium on approval of new applications for licenses.  Pot cultivation beyond the legal limit of six plants inside a residence, delivery services and pot dispensaries all remain illegal in Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and countywide.  

Proponents of Prop. 64 and the decriminalization of the marijuana industry site the stigma of pot and previous felony-level charges for minor offenses that, they say, often stood between offenders’ abilities to find a job or, in some cases, obtain approval for adequate housing.  

Opponents of the law, however, including city officials, law enforcement agencies and county prosecutors  have repeatedly pointed to what they see as a direct through-line between cannabis cultivation and pot dispensaries and serious crime, including murder, which they expect will continue, despite the changes in the law.

“I’ve been a prosecutor for 30 years, and as long as I’ve been involved with cases involving crimes related to marijuana, it has always been a very high-risk, dangerous activity,” said Robert Gold, assistant chief deputy district attorney.  “It is always going to be a dangerous activity whether legal or not, because so many of the growers are less sophisticated.  The bad guys are going to believe that they have a lot of product, a lot of money and probably guns.  And the other thing is, they won’t often report crimes against themselves, which makes them vulnerable victims.”

Gold also cautioned that it remains illegal, regardless of where you live, to carry more than an ounce of marijuana, but conceded the misdemeanor charges that now accompany most minor pot infractions, make it difficult to justify the costs of prosecuting such cases.

“The law certainly has resulted in changing the laws in favor of those who want to make this a business,” said Gold.  “Whether you grow 25 plants illegally or 250,000 plants, it’s a misdemeanor and 180 days in the county Jail.  So even for a convicted felon, it’s now like a speeding ticket.”

POT OR NOT:

Sacramento Region:
The City of Sacramento: YES
Sacramento County: NO
Citrus Heights NO
Folsom: NO
Rancho Cordova: NO
Elk Grove: NO
Galt: NO

Placer County: NO
Roseville: NO
Rocklin: NO

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Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The SMUD Board of Directors approved a $1.74 billion budget. The 2018 budget provides funding for all capital and operations and maintenance (O & M) programs needed to meet the Board’s Strategic Directions in the year ahead.

The 2018 budget also positions SMUD for changes coming to the utility industry so SMUD can continue to meet our community’s energy needs. The budget sets the stage for operational efficiencies and improvements, as well as expansions of customer offerings in the near future, and opens up SMUD to seek new revenue opportunities.

SMUD is in a strong financial position. SMUD has a robust cash balance and operating cash flow and will fund the majority of capital investment with cash on hand, only planning to borrow $200 million next year. Recently Fitch and S&P upgraded SMUD’s credit ratings to AA, from an already impressive AA-, while Moody’s continues to rate SMUD Aa3. This is the strongest SMUD’s credit ratings have been in 33 years.

The 2018 budget is $161 million more than the 2017 budget, due mostly to higher planned capital expenditures. SMUD continues to upgrade electrical infrastructure to maintain safe and reliable service, as well as invest in the technological foundations to meet future challenges. Offsetting these increases is a lower commodity budget due to declining natural gas costs, which SMUD locked in through hedging programs.

As the utility business evolves, SMUD is increasingly reliant on technological solutions in all business areas. As a customer-owned utility, SMUD continues to focus on improving the digital channels its customers use to do business with SMUD. The 2018 budget includes initiatives to deliver a new SMUDapp with bill pay and outage communications functionality, as well as increasingly personalized customer experiences on SMUD’s digital channels.

In 2018, SMUD embarks on exploring new business opportunities that open new markets and revenue streams. These include expanding opportunities for new revenue in traditional wholesale energy markets, such as successfully selling excess transmission capacity, plus new net revenue from non-traditional sources such as the new e-commerce solution, the SMUD Energy Store.

SMUD signed a contract in 2017 with Valley Clean Energy Alliance (VCEA) to provide Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) services. SMUD’s work with VCEA, which launches next spring, will create a new revenue stream for SMUD and creates possibilities for expansion into other CCA markets.

The capital budget includes funding for improvements and investments to support development of SMUD’s load serving capacity—the amount of power needed to meet high demand during peak summer hours—as well as continued modernization of the grid; regulatory compliance; and customers’ experience dealing with SMUD. Some major capital projects include:

·       Rebuilding Station E and Station G substations downtown.

·       Construction of the new Franklin substation in Elk Grove.

·       Rehabilitation of the SMUD Headquarters building.

·       Re-purchase of Solano Wind 3.

The O&M budget includes funding for the work associated with SMUD joining the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) in 2019. The EIM is a real-time, wholesale power market managed by the California Independent System Operator that enables participating utilities to buy low-cost energy available across eight western states—the resulting efficiencies of pooling power resources across a wide geographic area provides cost savings and environmental benefits. Other O&M expenditures include:

·       Power plant maintenance and overhauls.

·       Repair costs due to storm and wildfire events.

·       Technological enhancements to existing electrical equipment.

SMUD customers continue to pay significantly less for electricity than most Californians, and as of November 1, 2017, about 32 percent less than residential customers who are supplied by neighboring PG&E.

As the nation’s sixth-largest, community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for 70 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visitsmud.org.

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Proposed South County Ag Program Would Reduce Groundwater Pumping

Elk Grove, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Farm Bureau (SCFB) testified in support of an ambitious recycled water project before the California Water Commission this week in downtown Sacramento. The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District's (Regional SAN) plan would provide a safe and reliable supply of tertiary treated water for agricultural irrigation uses, which would reduce groundwater pumping and cause ground water tables to rise in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region.

Regional SAN is attempting to obtain funding for the project through the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) contained in Proposition 1, the water bond that California voters approved in 2014. The WSIP set aside $2.7 billion in funding for water storage projects that improve the operation of the state water system, are cost effective and provide a net improvement in ecosystem and water quality conditions.

"Sacramento County farmers and ranchers smashed crop production records last year by producing a record high $507 million worth of wine grapes, milk, pears, nursery crops and other agricultural commodities," said SCFB Executive Director Bill Bird during testimony before the CWC. "Our members broke that record because they had access to clean and reliable irrigation water supplies. Any project that would increase the reliability and quality of irrigation water supplies for Sacramento County growers has the Farm Bureau's support."

Modeling presented to the CWC showed that the groundwater recharge facilitated by the project would lead to a 20-30-foot increase in the groundwater elevation in the South American Sub-basin, plus increase flows in the Cosumnes River, a tributary to the Delta.

According to testimony provided by Regional SAN during the CWC hearing, the project is consistent with the objectives and intent of Proposition 1, and provides substantial agricultural, ecological, and regional water supply benefits at a low cost, particularly when compared to surface storage projects.

"This project is an example of the type of innovative multi-benefit groundwater projects California needs to implement to ensure our state has a more sustainable and reliable water supply," said Bird. "If Sacramento County growers are not forced to pump ground water for irrigation purposes because they can receive a reliable supply of water from another source at roughly the same price, they won't use those pumps."

The CWC is expected to start allocating grant funding for water storage projects early next year.

 Sacramento County farmers put food on your fork.  Our agricultural operations and products are as diverse as the lands we carefully manage.  We are proud to provide healthy, fresh food for your family and ours.  We invite you to join our efforts to protect Sacramento County's agriculture, rural character, and our ability to produce local, high-quality food for your table.

For more information call the Farm Bureau at 916-685-6958 

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