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/.
Funds will provide job skills training and financial literacy for homeless women
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Women’s Empowerment has received a $25,000 grant from U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program. The grant will fund job skills training, career-readiness classes and financial literacy programs for Sacramento women experiencing homelessness.
“U.S. Bank continues to invest in the bright futures of homeless women through its generous donations to our job-readiness programs,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Our partnership with U.S. Bank ensures women can break the cycle of homelessness by gaining the skills needed to secure employment, regain a home and manage finances. When our mothers become financially self-sufficient, they create a better life for their children.”
Since 2001, Women’s Empowerment has been working to break the cycle of homelessness for women and children in Sacramento. In the initial nine-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job-readiness, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Financial empowerment courses are provided, including budgeting, improving credit score and second chance checking. With the help of volunteer teachers, women unlearn financial habits and create a step-by-step action plan for achieving their financial goals. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor.
Women who have graduated from the nine-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, and job retention services for employer and employee.
“At U.S. Bank, we invest in and support programs and organizations that help people succeed in the workforce and gain greater financial literacy,” said Jessica Cook, assistant vice president at U.S. Bank. “Through our Community Possible giving and engagement platform we are working to close the gaps between people and possibility. Our partnership with Women’s Empowerment is doing just that.”
Women’s Empowerment is an award-winning organization that has graduated 1,554 homeless women and their 3,738 children. Last year, 82 percent of graduates found homes and 76 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org.
Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. For more information: www.usbank.com/community.
Source: Thébaud Communications
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Valentine's Day is almost here! You can give that special someone an unforgettable gift! Candy, cards and flowers are nice, but adding a Singing Valentine will create a lasting memory! Quartets from Sacramento Valley Chorus will deliver Singing Valentines on Thursday, February 14. Your sweetheart, family member or good friend will be surprised and thrilled when a quartet delivers two songs, a rose, candy and a beautiful card to him or her. The package is only $40, and can be delivered to the home or business of your choice in the greater Sacramento area, including Placer, El Dorado and Nevada County. Singing Valentines are popular, so call early to ensure availability. Call 916-761-2998, to arrange for delivery.
The award winning Sacramento Valley Chorus, under the direction of Master Director, Dede Nibler, has approximately 90 members. The Chorus is preparing to compete Internationally in New Orleans in September.
Ladies from the community are invited to attend rehearsals any Wednesday night at 6:30 pm. For more information, visit SacramentoValleyChorus.com.
The Latest Job demand and hiring trends
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Employers are downshifting in the hiring race as 2019 begins. One regional company is reducing workforce by more than fifty percent (50%) as tariff related contract losses impact Sacramento area employment. In direct contacts with regional employers between November 19th and December 17th, Pacific Staffing discovered fifty-six percent (56%) of companies are hiring in the First Quarter of 2019.
Hiring has pulled back from this same time one year ago when sixty-five percent (65%) planned to hire in January, February and March. While the pace of hiring among top Sacramento regional employers has fallen throughout 2018 companies report finding applicants and specific skilled workers remain a top challenge in the new year.
While not a single company surveyed planned first quarter layoffs in 2018, in the first three months of 2019 seven percent (7%) are reducing workforces. Staff reductions are attributed to seasonal change and slower demand for products and services. Forty-four percent (44%) of hiring in the first quarter is for attrition, or replacements, among existing workforces while employers seek just forty-two percent (42%) for growth.
By talking to top regional firms each quarter since 1992, Pacific Staffing has learned there are always hiring challenges for employers, regardless of economic direction. In this first quarter of the new year seventeen percent (17%) of employers also report a continuing challenge with finding enough applicants, despite the slowdown. Others also citing increased minimum wage and hiring specific skilled trades as workplace concerns.
Sales, customer service, accounting/finance, technical, warehouse and shipping experience is in high demand through March. Drivers for route and delivery remain scarce.
The most active sector is Service companies with Manufacturers second, followed by Construction and Retail through January, February and March of 2019.
Sacramento Regional Top Companies Polled by Industry were Service (54%), Manufacturers (25%), Construction (19%) and Retail (2%)
For more information, employment blogs & market surveys go to www.pacificstaffing.com.
Source: Pacific Staffing
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - SMUD’s Board of Directors recently recognized the 21 college students who have been awarded Powering Futures scholarships for the 2018/19 academic year. All students received scholarships between $1,500 and $5,000, and the opportunity to work at SMUD as a paid intern.
The awards were based on academic merit and financial need, and preference was given to students who have declared a major relevant to SMUD.
Most of the students who receive a scholarship also accept paid summer internships in a variety of SMUD departments, including Grid Operations, Customer Operations, Geographical Information Systems, Warehouse and Fleet Operations among others. The internships provide students with excellent opportunities to learn practical skills and help launch themselves into future careers.
“The Powering Futures scholarship program helps us strengthen our talent pipeline and meet our future workforce needs,” said SMUDHuman Resources, Diversity & Inclusion Director Laurie Rodriguez. “We’re proud to support such an exceptional group of Sacramento students this year, and we look forward to seeing them back in the summer for their internships. They’ll have a great chance to learn about working in the energy industry and gain real-world experience that will help them in all of their future endeavors.”
The 2019/20 scholarship application period began on January 7 and will close on February 24. For those interested in applying, please visit,smud.org/Scholarships.
Senator Gaines Sworn in as Board of Equalization Member
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) was sworn in as an elected Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) during a ceremony held at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building in Downtown Sacramento. The oath of office was administered by Governor Gavin Newsom.
“I am excited to continue serving Californians as a taxpayer advocate,” said Senator Gaines. “My new role as a BOE Member comes with different challenges and opportunities, but my number one priority is to ensure hardworking Californians are allowed fair tax policies that create jobs and grow our economy.”
Senator Gaines will represent more than nine million California residents living in the 1st Equalization District, which spans inland California from San Bernardino County to the Oregon border. The five-member BOE is a publicly elected tax board responsible for administering Property Tax, Alcoholic Beverage Tax, and Tax on Insurers programs.
“Californians should be treated with respect and fairness when it comes to tax administration. They are tired of being over-taxed, and over-regulated. I pledge to fight on their behalf,” said Senator Gaines.
Prior to being elected to the BOE, Senator Gaines served 12 years in the State Legislature as a tireless advocate for California’s taxpayers, ratepayers, businesses and families. He fought to protect citizen privacy and led major efforts to bring thousands of new jobs to the state, as well as support critical legislation to strengthen and expand California’s infrastructure.
In addition to his life in public service, Senator Gaines is a successful small business owner, having owned Gaines Insurance for more than 30 years. He has been married to his wife Beth since 1986 and together they reside in El Dorado County and are blessed with six children and two grandchildren.
As a constitutional officer, Senator Gaines is currently the highest-ranking elected Republican state official in California.
Source: Office of Ted Gaines
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Sacramento-area young professionals can show off their knowledge of early 2000s trivia while raising funds to help local kindergarteners save for college at United Way’s Young Leaders Society’s annual Brews & Brains trivia night on Feb. 8 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Sacramento Masonic Temple, 1123 J Street. Guests, who must be age 21 or older, will enjoy beer, food and chances to win prizes. Guests who register as a team of six by Jan. 28 will receive the early bird rate of $135, which includes a Brews & Brains pint glass, and food and drink tickets for each team member. Individuals and couples can register for $25 each to be placed on a team and receive food and a drink ticket. To learn more: www.yourlocalunitedway.org/brewsandbrains2019.
“Whether you want to show off your useless knowledge, enjoy beer, help kids or all of the above, this is the event for you,” said Creston Whiting-Casey, chair of United Way’s Young Leaders Society. “The energy in the room is always a lot of fun as we tackle questions ranging from pop culture to politics – all to help kids in our region get excited early about going to college.”
Research shows that children with even modestly funded college savings accounts are three times more likely to attend college – and four times more likely to complete college – than those without a college savings account. Parents and guardians who attend two free financial education and empowerment courses earn a $200 college savings account for their kindergartener. Parents, relatives and friends may make additional contributions to help grow the student’s account. The program recognizes that early intervention and continued parental involvement dramatically increase the probability that children will achieve higher education.
“We want to create the expectation very early in every child’s life that higher education is both a desirable and achievable goal,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “It’s fantastic to see young professionals coming together to make sure all kids have the same access to education beyond high school.”
For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending generational poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.
Source: Thébaud Communications
THE MOST FAMILY-FRIENDLY, ACTION-PACKED MOTOR SPORT IN THE WORLD RACES BACK INTO SACRAMENTO
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable! Monster Jam®, the most action-packed motorsports experience for families in the world today, returns to Sacramento with a new level of high-flying, four-wheel excitement! Be prepared for another high-octane weekend of Monster Jam Triple Threat Series events featuring six different competitions of speed, racing and freestyle stunts at the Golden 1 Center from January 18–20, 2019.
Featuring eight of the most intense athletes of Monster Jam, Central Valley fans will witness a fierce battle for the championship with each Triple Threat Series competitor contending in customized high-powered vehicles: Monster Jam Speedsters, Monster Jam ATVs and of course, the iconic Monster Jam trucks in six events sure to leave fans on the edge of their seats.
Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered not only the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, but the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines capable of doing backflips, vertical two-wheel skills and racing at speeds up to 70 miles per hour to produce jaw-dropping, live motor sports action seen around the world. Now across all Monster Jam events, fans in every city will have the chance to vote for the winner in the two-wheel and freestyle competitions by real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones.
Fans also have the unparalleled opportunity to get up close and personal to their favorite Monster Jam trucks and drivers at the Monster Jam® Pit Party pre-show experience for photos & autographs.
Tickets are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at just $20 each. Pit Passes available to purchase for $15 each.
Tickets and Pit Passes will be available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office. Ticket prices are subject to change, venue/ticketing fees may apply.
For all the latest news, announcements and updates, be sure to watch the Monster Jam 2019 Season Kickoff Show live streaming on www.MonsterJam.com.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The elected SMUD Board of Directors approved a $1.71 billion budget. The 2019 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 and in future years.
The 2019 budget is $25 million less than the 2018 budget, which is primarily due to lower planned capital expenditures, though SMUD anticipates an exciting and transformational year as the electric company continues laying the foundation for the future. Next year’s budget includes funding for many industry-leading initiatives and a variety of programs and investments that support the development of SMUD’s load-serving capacity, grid modernizations and compliance with regulatory requirements. Support for outreach and communications to educate customers about SMUD’s move to time-of-day pricing is also included.
Some major capital projects for next year include the rebuilding of three major substations that serve large numbers of residential and commercial customers, hydro generation facilities work and the designing and building of a new energy control facility. Completion of the SMUD Headquarters remodeling project, and new and ongoing technology projects are included as well.
Other major projects include removing and replacing more than 50 circuit miles of cable; automation of a couple of dozen high-voltage switches; upgrades and expansion of the downtown Sacramento electrical distribution network; expansion of the grid into new communities in Folsom and Rancho Cordova; and improvements at a bulk substation that serves the Arden area.
SMUD continues to be in a strong financial position. In 2017, Fitch and S&P upgraded SMUD’s credit ratings to AA, from an already impressive AA-, while Moody’s continues to rate SMUD Aa3. To maintain these credit ratings, which continue to be the highest in three decades, SMUD has a strategic financial target to maintain strong operating cash flow. Forecasted 2019 operating cash flow cover is 1.76 times operating cash flow, which exceeds the SMUD Board’s minimum target of cash flow cover of 1.5 times operating cash flow and supports a higher level of proposed capital spending. The higher credit rating produces a lower cost of borrowing.
SMUD customers continue to pay significantly less for electricity than most Californians, and as of September 1, 2018, more than 30 percent less than 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 more than 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, visit smud.org.
Source: SMUD Media
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Society for the Blind, a Sacramento-based nonprofit serving blind and low vision people in Northern California, has received a grant from Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore Foundations to create opportunities for individuals to participate in the National Fitness Challenge, an initiative founded by the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore. Society for the Blind is one of 17 organizations across the nation that is participating in the National Fitness Challenge and is using grant funding to offer adaptive yoga classes, walking groups, running clinics and other sports and fitness activities that can help people who are blind or low-vision to maximize healthy lifestyles. These activities will be offered over the course of eight months to help hundreds of youth and adults to increase physical fitness levels and live healthier lives.
“The goal of the National Fitness Challenge is to help people with visual disabilities to live more active lifestyles,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “The program launched during Blindness Awareness Month in October, and through May 31, 2019, will highlight what people with visual disabilities can do, rather than what they cannot do. We are lucky to live in an age where a person with vision loss can achieve most anything they set their mind to doing, and we are grateful to Anthem Blue Cross Foundation and CareMore Foundation for helping us to empower this year’s participants.”
This year’s challenge integrates technology and social media to inspire participants to set goals, create team environments and encourage leadership. Each participant has been provided with a Fitbit Flex 2 wearable – a universal way to measure activities, calories burned and number of steps taken. Participants also have the opportunity to utilize Fitbit Coach, which is a personalized training app that provides adaptive video workouts and audio coaching. Foundation grant funding is being used to provide Fitbits, fitness and nutritional instruction, performance prizes as well as technical and financial support for all participants.
“Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety,” said Ricardo Young, CareMore Health Medical Director. “We are proud to support members of the Society for the Blind through our collaboration with the National Fitness Challenge, and to create access to activities supporting healthier individuals and stronger communities.”
More than half of those who are blind or low vision in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical fitness routine, mostly due to barriers to accessible fitness or misconceptions about their abilities. Individuals of all abilities should have equal opportunities to engage in activities that improve health outcomes, so the National Fitness Challenge aims to increase access to fitness and health for blind and low vision people.
“Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is committed to removing barriers and increasing access to critical programs and services that help individuals and communities to lead healthier lives,” said Dr. Barsam Kasravi, Interim Anthem Blue Cross Medicaid Plan President. “We are proud of our Foundation’s ongoing support of people with visual disabilities and are confident that this support will go a long way in helping Californians to improve their overall wellness while enjoying the physical and emotional benefits of exercise and group sports.”
Since 2011, the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore has provided $1.3 million in grant funding to U.S. Association of Blind Athletes for the National Fitness Challenge initiative and has impacted thousands of Americans with visual disabilities by partnering with 40 different agencies across the country. To learn more about the National Fitness Challenge, visit www.usaba.org/NationalFitnessChallenge.
For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information: SocietyfortheBlind.org.