Annual Roseville Gem Show Rolls On for 2017

Contributed by James Hutchings, Roseville Rock Rollers Show Chair  |  2017-03-15

Featured, a budding “rockhound” under supervision as she delicately sorts through a tray of semi-precious stones during the Gem Hunt event during the Gem Show. --Photo courtesy of Roseville Rock Rollers.

Roseville Rock Rollers 55th Annual Gem, Jewelry, Fossil, and Mineral Show will take place at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville March 25-26. Hosted by the Roseville Rock Rollers, also known as the Roseville Gem and Mineral Society, this year’s show features gemstones, jewelry, fossils and minerals and has something for the whole family.

The group was established in 1960 as a group of local “rockhounds,” according to show chair James Hutchings. That group, deeply interested in the science and art of the earths' natural beauty in rocks and minerals, first met in homes and then as their numbers grew, expanded to the use of a local school room.

This year’s show has dozens of exhibits for attendees, such as jewelry, metal, wire and glass beading arts, fossils, crystals and minerals, but that’s not all. So that attendees aren’t rushed, the show also provides a cafeteria. “A very fine hot lunch is available at our own kitchen in Johnson Hall,” states Hutchings. The group has put together a menu of very reasonably priced food and beverages will also be available at the show’s cafeteria, featuring burgers, philly steak cheesesteaks, chicken salad, baked potatoes pies, cakes and more.

In addition to exhibits, classes and demonstrations, show goers can pan for gold, purchase equipment, buy raffle tickets, have rocks, gems and mineral identified by experts or make purchases at a silent auction.

Wishing to share the art and science of the mineral world, in the tradition of gem and mineral shows around the world, the Roseville Rock Rollers established their own gem and mineral show around 1962. The society grew, the show grew, and the show and the Society moved to the Placer County Fairgrounds where it continues today.

“As the Roseville Gem and Mineral Society has expanded to just under 300 members, the show expanded to support the costs associated with its programs, such as the Rookie Rock Rollers, juniors program, the Annual Scholarship program to Geology Students at Sacramento State Geology Department, and our year round Lapidary shop on the fairgrounds,” said Hutchings. “The lapidary shop on the Fair Grounds is the heart and soul of our Society, where we teach lapidary arts, jewelry fabrication, conduct mineral identification and mini tail gate rock sales.”

Hutchings developed his love for “rockhounding” at an early age. “Personally, I as most young people, was fascinated with rocks minerals and crystals. My parents encouraged me with my first Golden Book of Rocks and Minerals, a book still in current print, and my first rock pick.”

At the age of 38, he became seriously interested in rockhounding and gold mining, attending a mineral identification course at Sierra College, next pursuing an in depth understanding the chemistry and physics that form “these miracles in the earth.” He has put that knowledge to good use today providing what he refers to as a “mini lab” during the show to test rocks, minerals, and gems to provide guest an idea of materials they have in their possession.

While the Rock Rollers must generate funds to keep their programs operating, the primary purpose of any Gem and Mineral Show is to promote the Art and Science of the mineral world, according to Hutchings.

Like many of the group members, an early exposure to rockhounding and lapidary arts often provides a genesis of interest that often blossoms later in life, Hutchings said. “We really work hard, to attract the parents who want to expose their children to the natural world and foster that spark.”

There are presentations and activities for youngsters on identifying and handling specimens of all kinds. Students and Scouts can reinforce their California Rock Cycle curriculum and merit badge information. Scouts can have their mineral finds evaluated for rock type or mineral and validated for their required collection.

Other interesting stops are featured at this year’s show. The Education Station is the place for the "learners,” said Hutchings, “and we are all learners. There [are] demonstrators showing you the actual arts of lapidary, faceting, wire wrapping, and other jewelry arts.” The Fossils for Fun booth encourages fossil hunters to view and purchase or bid on fossils from vendors. NorCal Bats brings a live bat to show how fascinating these mammals (often found in caves along with gems, stones and crystals) are. This year "Rocklin Bach to Rock" students will perform on stage to provide entertainment for the public.

Hutchings suggests visitors come early and plan on spending the day at the show. “We take over the entire fairgrounds with exhibits, demonstrators, and vendors.”

Not to be missed are real treasures the group will have on display. “Folks tend to walk by the display cases,” he says. “These simple, well lighted boxes contain the best of the best of personal collections of minerals in variety or by theme. The displays are, ‘literally’ miniature museums showcasing specimens in the possession of individuals who have spent a lifetime collecting the best of the best of their favorite species of rock or mineral,” said Hutchings.

“We are looking for the general public who are looking for gem stones, set and unset, handmade, and fine art jewelry, and mineral specimens from every corner of the world! We find the single most striking comment from folks who, by accident, end up at our show is, ‘I had no idea such things existed in the world!’”

For more information, tickets and coupons, visit the group’s website at

New California Law Puts Charge in Lead-Acid Battery Sales

Source: CA State Board of Equalization  |  2017-03-29

Beginning April 1, 2017, sales of lead-acid batteries will be subject to two $1 fees. Manufacturers will pay a $1 fee for every lead-acid battery sold to a retailer, wholesaler, distributor, or other person for retail sale in California. Consumers will pay a $1 fee on each purchase of a replacement lead-acid battery.

As signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act of 2016 requires retailers to register, collect, and remit the fee to the Board of Equalization (BOE); and manufacturers to register and remit the fee to the BOE. Manufacturers who are considered retailers are required to collect the $1 California battery fee as well as pay the $1 manufacturer battery fee. Retailers who purchase and import lead-acid batteries from a manufacturer who is not subject to the jurisdiction of California must pay the $1 manufacturer battery fee.

A lead-acid battery – the type commonly found in vehicles – is any battery that weighs more than five kilograms (11 pounds), is composed primarily of both lead and sulfuric acid, and has a capacity of six or more volts. Retailers will charge a refundable deposit, subject to sales tax, when a consumer purchases a replacement lead-acid battery and does not simultaneously provide a used lead-acid battery to the dealer.

The fee is expected to generate $26 million annually. Revenues collected will be deposited into the Lead-Acid Battery Cleanup Fund, where they will be used to investigate, evaluate, clean up, remediate, remove, monitor, or otherwise respond to any area in the state that may have been contaminated by the operation of a lead-acid battery recycling facility.

Beginning April 1, 2022, manufacturers will no longer be required to collect and remit the $1 fee. Instead, consumers will pay a $2 fee upon purchase of a replacement lead-acid battery.

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Legislation to Ban Sale of Nitrous Oxide Unanimously Passes First Committee

Source: From the office of Senator Nielsen  |  2017-03-29

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)

Senator Jim Nielsen’s Measure - SB 631 - Will Help Save Young Lives

After hearing heartbreaking stories of a mother’s grief over the loss of her daughter and a young man who suffered spinal cord degeneration and was confined to a wheelchair, both due to nitrous oxide abuse, members of the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously passed Senator Jim Nielsen’s (R-Tehama) measure to prohibit smoke shops and head shops from selling these “whippits.”

“There is no legitimate reason for smoke shops to sell nitrous oxide,” said Senator Jim Nielsen. “Young people buy and inhale this gas to get ‘high’ because they mistakenly believe it is a ‘safe’ substance.”

Mary Anne Rand, mother of Camille Rand who was killed in a fatal car accident by a driver who was believed to be high on nitrous oxide, said, “My daughter’s life was cut short at the age of 26. I hope Senator Nielsen’s bill becomes law to reduce the chance of any other parent suffering the loss of their child.”

Nitrous oxide use is difficult to prove because it does not stay in a user’s bloodstream for long.

Ms. Rand added, “Because deaths and injuries are just ‘believed to be attributable to’ I am afraid the extent of the problem is underreported and not statistically available.”

Specifically, Senate Bill 631, if passed and signed into law, would prohibit smoke and head shops from selling nitrous oxide.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse recreational use of nitrous oxide can lead to “death from lack of oxygen to the brain, altered perception and motor coordination, loss of sensation, limb spasms, blackouts caused by blood pressure changes, and depression of heart muscles functioning.”

“My concern about whippits, and the damage they cause to the central nervous system, led me to reach out to Senator Nielsen and share my story. I view the abuse of this substance as a public health hazard,” said Mr. Patrick O’Brien, father of a 20-year-old whose spinal cord degenerated and was confined to a wheelchair.

Senate Bill 631 passed the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously. It will now move onto the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development for its consideration.

Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at

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Sutter’s Fort to Hold Special Traders’ Faire

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-03-29

California State Parks and Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) are proud to present a vibrant, educational and fun three-day event -- “Traders’ Faire - California’s First Mall” -- on Friday, April 7 through Sunday, April 9, 2017. Offered just once a year, this lively and highly anticipated interpretive event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and offers unique insights into the early days of the Fort when it served as a central and critically important trading post. Fort visitors will be delighted to see the recently completed restoration of the historic walls, gates and blacksmith shop plus have the opportunity to step back in time to experience what California’s first shopping mall was like in the 1840s.

While it is common knowledge that Sutter’s Fort marked the beginning of Sacramento, few people understand how the Fort served as a thriving commercial center in the early days of the Gold Rush. In fact, it was the only trading center on the way to the gold fields and literally thousands of gold miners passed through the Fort to purchase needed supplies from a variety of vendors hawking a variety of goods. Thus, Sutter’s Fort essentially became California’s first shopping mall. A score of merchants operated at the Fort, a sampling of which included Brannan and Co. general store; Hensley, Reading and Co. hardware store; Priest, Lee and Co. mining equipment; Peter Burnett, lawyer and real estate firm; Joseph Wadleigh, tinsmith and even a newspaper known as the Placer Times.

During the bustling Traders’ Faire three-day event and amid a lively shopping atmosphere, Fort visitors can watch artisans create pioneer goods for sale such as clothing, housewares, toys, beads and knives. Guests will also have the opportunity to make their own crafts, haggle with traders, hammer square nail and enjoy demonstrations of black powder weapons periodically throughout the day. In addition to the interactive opportunities, guests can also shop for artisan made hand-crafted items that make for treasured keepsakes, gifts and collectibles.

Admission to this special event at Sutter’s Fort SHP is $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children 5 and under. For more, call 916-445-4422 or visit

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Placer County Offering Expedited Permitting for Winter Storm Damage

Source: Robert Miller, County of Placer  |  2017-03-28

With many houses and buildings in Placer County’s high country still covered in huge amounts of snow, potential damage from the heavy snow load may still be hidden. Damage to roofs, decks, out buildings, garages and other structures will become visible as the snow melts. Property owners will be making repairs, many of which will require building permits.

To accommodate the anticipated increase in permit applications and speed the repairs, Placer County Building Services is offering same-day permit services every Tuesday in the Tahoe City office, 775 North Lake Blvd.

Tuesday services available include permits for repairs, decks, patio covers, signs, pools, minor interior alterations, reroofs, electrical repair, HVAC change-outs, solar panel installation, window and door change-outs and other minor building, electrical, mechanical or plumbing permits.

Because many Tahoe homeowners may live outside of the area, the Auburn Building Services office is also available to serve them with same day permit services five days a week, 3091 County Center Drive. In addition, online permit submittals are available with a one to three-day turnaround for solar, reroof, water heaters, HVAC, and minor electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits. Online permits are available at For assistance, contact the Tahoe City Building Services office at 530-581-6200.

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Placer Superior Court Seeks Volunteers for Grand Jury Service

By Mary Jane Popp  |  2017-03-28

Have you ever thought about serving on a Grand Jury? The Superior Court of California, County of Placer, is seeking applications from Placer County citizens interested in an opportunity to serve on the 2017-2018 Grand Jury for a term of one year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018.

The Grand Jury is an investigative body with the authority to act as a watchdog on local government, investigate citizen complaints, and assist in criminal matters at the request of the district attorney. In order to meet the minimum qualifications for service on the Grand Jury, applicants must be United States citizens who are 18 years of age or older and must reside in Placer County for a minimum of one year immediately prior to becoming a grand juror. Service on the Grand Jury requires a substantial investment of time, usually 40-50 hours per month.

If you are interested in obtaining more information, the current Grand Jury is sponsoring a meet and greet session to discuss the workings of the Grand Jury April 20, 2017 at 1:30 PM at the Grand Jury’s Office at 11532 B Avenue in Auburn, California. Additional information and applications for Grand Jury service are available by contacting the Court Executive Office at 916-408-6186, or by visiting the court’s website at Application Deadline is Friday May 12, 2017.

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Sierra College Music Department Presents a Jazz Recital

Source: Sierra College   |  2017-03-28

A few of the students who will be performing in this Jazz Recital: Back Row L-R: James Martinez, Teddy White, Dylan Johnston, Lucas Bryant, Arthur Eriksson. Front: Tony Cervone. 
--Photo by Greg McLaughlin

The Sierra College Music Department is proud to present a Jazz Recital on Friday, April 7th, 2017 at 7:30pm in the Music Recital Hall, Room D-12, in Walker Hall (Music Building) on the Sierra College Rocklin Campus.

Professor Greg McLaughlin and the Sierra College Jazz Combos will present an intimate evening of jazz and popular music from the American Songbook and beyond. Pieces to be performed include “In a Mellow Tone”, by Duke Ellington, “Song For My Father”, by Horace Silver, “Moondance”, by Van Morrison, “Red Clay”, by Freddie Hubbard, and Sting’s “La Belle Dame Sans Regrets”.

The Sierra College Rocklin Campus is located at 5100 Sierra College Blvd., Rocklin CA. Admission for this concert is $6 student/senior and $10 general. Tickets are available at the door. All proceeds benefit the Sierra College Music Department.

For directions to the Music Building or more information about this concert and other events at Sierra College, call the Sierra College Music Department at (916) 660-8054 or log on to our website at Click on the Events tab at the top of the home page, then choose Music/Drama from the right side Event Categories.

About Sierra College
Sierra College District is rising to meet the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at

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NorCal High School Cycling League is Gearing Up for the Granite Bay Grinder April 8-9

Source: Amy Looney, Placer Valley Tourism  |  2017-03-28

1,100 High School Mountain Bikers to Compete on Folsom Lake Trails

On April 8 and 9 more than a thousand high school mountain bikers will be riding the course around Folsom Lake in Granite Bay for their fourth official race of the season, first of the year in Placer Valley. Dubbed the Granite Bay Grinder, this race course is known for having it all: scores of singletrack, several technical sections, mud, sand, big beautiful oak trees, tall grass and a gorgeous view of the now full Folsom Lake.

Placer Valley Tourism in conjunction with the NorCal High School Cycling League are thrilled to be teaming up to bring this race back to Placer Valley where the riders and spectators alike always have a blast.

Executive Director for the NorCal League Vanessa Hauswald elaborated, “We are really excited to get back to Granite Bay for our annual high school mountain bike race; the community here is incredibly supportive of youth cycling and in so many ways it feels like we are coming home when we are at Granite Bay for our event.”

They are expecting 1,100 student-athletes to race over the course of this two-day event. With numbers that large they have the races broken down into 11 categories of competition which include freshman girls, sophomore girls, JV girls, varsity girls, freshman D1 and D2 boys, sophomore D1 and D2 boys, JV D1 and D2 boys and varsity boys.

Come check out these fearless high school mountain bikers as they rip through the course in hopes of making it to the podium. Folsom Lake State Recreation area does charge a $12 fee per vehicle at the gate; however, admission to the race is free. There will be food trucks and merchandise booths on site. We hope to see you there!

About Placer Valley Tourism
Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is made up for the 23 hotels in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, California. PVT recruits and supports hundreds of annual events with grants, marketing, volunteers and other services as needed. To learn more about how PVT can help bring your event here, visit or call 916-773-5400.

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Placer Valley Tourism to Take Over As New Placer County Fairgrounds Operator

Source: Scott Sandow, County of Placer  |  2017-03-23

The Placer County Board of Supervisors today approved Placer Valley Tourism, a private nonprofit organization, as the new operator of the Placer County Fairgrounds and approved a budget revision appropriating $2 million for fairgrounds repairs.

With an agreement now in place, Placer Valley Tourism will be obligated to complete at least $6 million in repairs to the fairgrounds, with the county paying a $2 million share of that amount. The county’s agreement with PVT covers the All-American Speedway from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2032, and the remainder of the fairgrounds property from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2052.

“We understand we are accepting a trust and responsibility here,” said Placer Valley Tourism Chief Executive Officer David Attaway. “We’ve learned how important this is in shaping those future generations through great programs like 4-H Club and FFA and other activities that happen in this space.”

Placer Valley Tourism’s plan for operating the fairgrounds includes the repair and updating of existing buildings and parking lots, and overall facility maintenance. PVT is also exploring the potential for building a possible future new indoor sports and events center and other amenities.

“I am excited about this opportunity and what it means to Placer County and the City of Roseville,” said District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran. “In order for the fairgrounds to be a win for everybody, the county, city and residents must work together. I am confident that we will be able to achieve success with flying colors.”

Placer County Fairgrounds operations are improving and will continue as the fair looks to celebrate its 80th year June 22-25.

The fairgrounds began operating in 1937 on about 61 acres within the City of Roseville. Operation and management of the fairgrounds have been handled by the Placer County Fair Association since that time. All the state’s 78 fairgrounds historically received fiscal support from the state. In 2010, the fairgrounds received about $350,000 from the state for operations, improvements and maintenance. However, that support dried up with the recession and the fairgrounds stopped receiving state assistance. When it resumed in 2013, state support dropped precipitously.

With the reduction in state assistance, the association has struggled financially and has been forced to reduce staffing levels, which affected facility maintenance and administration. The funding loss caused fairgrounds operations to suffer and the county stepped in, allocating $200,000 in 2015 to deal with deferred maintenance. Representatives from the association expressed support for the transition at today’s board meeting.

Realizing a need for new ideas and input, the board of supervisors created the Fairgrounds Revitalization Committee in 2015. The committee has been charged with assisting staff in developing ideas and refining concepts for fairgrounds repair and operations, and helping define a vision for the fairgrounds’ future.

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County Unveils Placer County Government Center Master Plan Layout Proposal

Source: Scott Sandow, County of Placer  |  2017-03-23

After considerable analysis, stakeholder engagement, design and planning, the Placer County Board of Supervisors today were presented a plan for a re-envisioned Placer County Government Center and expressed general support for the direction of the master plan.

County staff narrowed three draft site plan options developed in recent months with community and employee input to a single recommended version for the board’s consideration, which envisions brand new campus amenities like an event center; consolidation of county buildings to provide an intuitive navigational experience for visitors; a wellness-oriented work environment for employees to promote walkability; open space to help preserve the area’s natural foothill esthetic; a DeWitt heritage district to honor the campus’s rich history; and non-county land use opportunities such as mixed-use residential housing, hotel and commercial retailers. Under the plan, the county’s executive office and board of supervisors’ chambers, along with related offices, would move from their current location in Auburn and join other county services at the PCGC campus.

“We’re really trying to create a new and exciting environment that brings together county services and community amenities, all in one vibrant area,” said Paul Breckenridge, senior architect for Placer County and project manager for the master plan update.

The master plan for the 200-acre campus was last updated in 1993. The campus was originally the site of a World War II-era U.S. Army hospital complex that was in use for two years before the end of the war. It was then used as a state psychiatric hospital, and eventually deeded to Placer County by the State of California in the early 1970s. Since then, the county has striven to be a good steward of the campus, using the buildings to provide county services, and replacing a number of them over the years with more modern facilities. A portion of the campus has also been leased for private use by Home Depot.

Evaluating future county space needs, potential relocation of county staff currently housed off-campus in Auburn and the cultural legacy of the campus are significant areas of study for the master plan update.

The importance of prioritizing various types of housing was a strong theme throughout the board’s discussion today.

“The potential for mixed-use commercial and residential is extremely promising,” said District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes. “It is important to me that we get workforce and affordable housing and more small, single-family units as there is such a great need in our community.”

“Affordable housing is always at the top of my list of concerns for the county,” said Chairwoman and District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. “I am very pleased this proposal offers a broad spectrum of housing opportunities. This is not just a government center, this is the heart of Placer County and it’s the heart of this area.”

Upgrading the campus’s aging infrastructure to improve energy and resource efficiency is another high priority. Project planners have also sought broad public input on new potential uses for the campus, including possible commercial and residential development, as well as a potential multi-age community center, currently being studied in a separate feasibility study.

Watch a short video explaining the need and purpose for the Placer County Government Center master plan update here. More information on the master plan update is available on the project website here.

Planning proceeds for future county building investments, funding

In a workshop later in the meeting, the board weighed in on five requests by county departments to build new facilities, with a few of them to be located at the Placer County Government Center campus. The board voted unanimously to allow all five to move forward in the planning process, including a new administrative and field services building for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, a new coroner’s facility, a new crime lab, a storage facility for the Clerk-Recorder-Elections Office and a retrofit to inmate housing facilities at the Auburn Justice Center.

With the board’s direction to continue development of the PCGC master plan update, environmental planning for the projects sited on the campus would proceed cooperatively with planning for the broader campus.

County staff is expected to return to the board this summer with a five-year, detailed capital financing plan to guide when the county will build and how it will be paid for. The board also approved the development of a long-range capital projects list and a plan for facility maintenance. As longer-term plans and priorities are developed, the board strongly encouraged county staff to facilitate a comprehensive public outreach effort to solicit input into those priorities.

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