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Go Red, Not Black This Friday

Posted: 2015-11-25  |  Sacramento Region, CA (MPG)

Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks invite the public to skip the shopping malls the day after Thanksgiving and instead opt outside by visiting a redwood state park for free on Free Redwood Parks Day!

Entry to the participating California redwood state parks for day use on Friday, Nov. 27th, 2015, will be free of charge. Find the complete list of all 49 California redwood state parks at

Day-use hours at parks is typically 8:00 a.m. to sunset. Hours of individual parks may vary. Please check operating hours for the California redwood state park you wish to visit at

All visitors wishing to take advantage of Free Redwood Parks Day-Use Pass must go to to download and print out a paper copy of the Free Redwoods State Parks Day-Use Pass, which must be presented to state parks staff at the entry gate or, if no state parks employee is on duty, displayed visibly on your vehicle’s dashboard to avoid being charged a fine. Free admission is only good for day use only.

Free trip guide and brochures available on the website ( as well as much more information. You can also follow the hashtags #OptOutside #IntoTheRedwoods at and at

Skip the crowds and the chaos at the mall this Black Friday and experience the peace and beauty of your local redwood state parks instead!

Bring your friends and family to explore beautiful ancient redwood forests.

Source: Save the Redwood League

Syrian Muslim Refugees Coming to Sacramento for Assistance

Posted: 2015-11-20 | Sacramento Region, CA (MPG)

After broke the exclusive story on 10,000 Syrian refugees possibly resettling in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Metairie, it has now come to light that refugees are already coming into the New Orleans area. Four Sacramento area organizations are designated to assist these refugees, primarily males between the ages of 18 to 30 years old.

Catholic Charities will receive federal grants from U.S. Department of State/Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to assist refugees.

There are nearly 180 cities in the United States that are eligible to accept the 10,000 Syrian refugees. The full list of those cities can be found on

The four local organizations designated with assisting these refugees are Opening Doors, Inc on Howe Avenue, International Rescue Committee on Hurley Way, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services on Rio Linda Boulevard and World Relief on Auburn Boulevard, all in Sacramento.

The 10,000 Syrian refugees are first flown to the United States, according to the French news wire Agence France-Presse. Hayride reports that the United States State Department (meaning American taxpayers), is paying the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the airfare.

Once the refugees arrive in the United States they could be dispersed across the 180 cities, including Sacramento, where they are aided within the first 30 to 90 days in settling and finding employment in the area.

After approximately 90 days, refugees are no longer eligible for the State Department-funded support that they were receiving through migrant and refugee services. They are then able to join support programs through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The State Department does not state how much the screening process for the 10,000 Syrian refugees will cost American taxpayers. The screening process is also unclear.

The State Department spent $1.1 billion resettling people from around the world in the country last year. That’s about $16,000 per person.

Find out more at

Since its founding in December 2009, The Hayride has been Louisiana’s premier conservative political commentary site. They are a group blog covering Louisiana and national politics and current affairs. Their work has been referenced by such national sites as Big Government, The American Spectator, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, RedState and

Pedestrian Hit in Walmart Crosswalk

Posted: 2015-11-19 | Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)

A tragedy was avoided on November 9th when a group of Walmart employees lifted a vehicle off of a woman in a Walmart crosswalk.

The woman, an 85-year-old longtime Citrus Heights resident who wished to remain anonymous, was walking across the crosswalk in front of the Walmart at 7010 Auburn Blvd. when a vehicle struck her, running over her chest and pinning her underneath.

Nic, a front-end manager at Walmart, was the first to respond and gathered a group of employees up front to help. At least five employees helped to lift the vehicle, and Christina, a Walmart accounting associate, and Xai, a Walmart asset protection associate, carefully pulled her out from underneath, talking to her and trying to help keep her calm throughout the ordeal.

The woman’s son, Russell, said that she suffered severe injuries, including a broken clavicle, a broken rib, a collapsed lung, and bleeding around the heart, but is expected to recover and is doing well.

“The hospital staff raved about what a tough lady she is and how cooperative she is,” said Russell. “She’s already up and walking and sitting in a chair.”

The Walmart employees who were involved in the rescue were also inspired by her perseverance. “We were impressed with how strong she was. Not a tear,” said Nick Gonnella, a Walmart manager who was on-scene as the accident occurred.

In total, twelve employees assisted in getting help to the woman. She is expected to recover—thanks to the quick thinking and heroic actions of the employees of Walmart.

So-Called “Nonviolent Second-Strikers” Get Early Prison Release

Posted: 2015-11-19 | Sacramento Region, CA (MPG)

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office will begin posting on its website information about “nonviolent second-strike offenders” who have been granted early release from prison.

After a federal court ordered California to reduce prison overcrowding, a number of measures were put into place that result in early prison releases, including early parole consideration for individuals characterized as “nonviolent second-strikers.” In order to qualify, inmates must not currently be serving a sentence for a crime that is legally categorized as a “violent felony” and must not be required to register as sex offenders.

Starting January 1st, 2015, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) began a new early parole determination process, evaluating “nonviolent second-strikers” for parole once they have served only 50 percent of their sentence or are within 12 months of having served 50 percent of their actual sentence. Upon receipt of inmate names from CDCR with a recommendation for release, the Board of Prison Hearings conducts an administrative review to determine if the inmate should be released from prison or retained for the term otherwise prescribed by law. The Board determines whether an offender would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety based on criminal history, behavior in prison, rehabilitation efforts, and written statements.

The Sacramento District Attorney’s Office takes an active role in evaluating these cases and writes letters to the Board with an overview of the inmate’s criminal history, an opinion regarding the public safety risk posed by the inmate, and the appropriateness of an offender’s early release.

As of November 13th, 2015, 72 inmates sentenced from Sacramento County have been granted early prison releases. Many of these offenders have violent and lengthy criminal histories. Examples of these early releases include:


Victor “Chunky” Montez – A known gang member with a violent criminal history including voluntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, and resisting arrest as well as drug transportation/possession and ammunition possession convictions. He was also found to be in possession of a large cache of firearms. Montez has been in and out of prison since the 1980s, violating parole seven times.


Deshawn Fisher – Prior convictions include voluntary manslaughter. In the prior offense, Fisher and his co-defendant tried to rob a group of men at gunpoint as they played cards in front of a house. Two men were shot, one died. In prison, Fisher committed battery on inmates, participated in riots, engaged in mutual combat, and threatened an officer’s life among other violent behavior. He violated parole twice by being in possession of firearms, ammunition, and drugs.


James Allen West – Committing offense is assault with a deadly weapon by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury. West beat the victim unconscious, punching and kicking him in the head wearing steel-toed boots. Past convictions include violent assaults and battery with serious bodily injury. One victim was a 75-year-old woman. West beat the other victims until they were unconscious.


Willie C. Harris – Multiple felony convictions, including a 1985 first-degree burglary strike offense. Since 1999, Harris has had seven DUI and driving with a suspended license convictions and a reckless DUI conviction. His committing offense was felony DUI where his blood alcohol level was .17, more than twice the legal limit. At the time of that offense, he was on parole for a 2008 DUI conviction where he had a .19 blood alcohol level.


Vanessa Santos – Prior convictions include two assaults with a deadly weapon. Santos stabbed one victim in the arm with a knife. Nine days later, she stabbed another victim in the leg with a knife and kicked the victim repeatedly when she was on the ground, causing great bodily injury. Santos was most recently convicted for driving recklessly through a residential area with willful disregard in an attempt to evade officers.


Kevin James Rodriguez – Since 2001, Rodriguez has been convicted of felony domestic violence, felony assault with a deadly weapon and stalking charges, and false imprisonment. He stalked, harassed, and abused his girlfriend. He chased her down with his car, almost causing her to crash, and held her and her daughter hostage in their own home, terrorizing them. In 2013, he was a parolee-at-large and led police on a high speed chase with wanton disregard for the safety of the public or officers.


“It’s important for the public to be aware of these so-called nonviolent offenders being released early from prison into our neighborhoods, as many of them pose a danger to our community,” said District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “Our office will continue to provide information that affects public safety and the interest of justice.” The Early Prison Releases webpage can be found at prison releases.

Source: Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office

Chamber Student of the Month

Posted: 2015-11-17 | Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)

The Citrus Heights Chamber’s Education Committee honored Connor Snow, seventh grade student at Lichen K-8, as the November 2015 Student of the Month. The award was presented at the Chamber’s November 10th luncheon at Northridge Country Club.

Connor Snow is the epitome of a model student. He is the type of student every teacher dreams of having in their classes. He is strong, honest, kind, and helps his struggling peers with not only academics, but with their life choices. One will never see him without a smile on his face. He initiates change in both social and academic areas. Connor is the top student in his seventh grade class, however, he would be the last person to brag about his top honors.

One of Connor’s most endearing attributes is that he is personally and deeply committed to equality for all. He aspires to be a computer scientist and is a leader in classroom technology and support. Teachers and students come to Connor when they are having technology issues and need help solving complex computer problems. In order to attain his future goal, Connor diligently works outside of school to teach himself coding.

Connor is wise beyond his years with a gentle soul. Without reservation, he was the first student his teachers, administrators, and school counselor unanimously choose for this prestigious honor.

Lunches for the student and guests are sponsored by local businesses. Many thanks to our Student of the Month lunch sponsor Atlas Disposal, courtesy of Robin Stuhr. And thanks also to B-West Marketing Group for providing a special t-shirt for the Student of the Month.

Source: Submitted by Connor’s teachers, Natalie Billo and Teresa Burke; Rosa Umbach

Veterans Day Service Honors the Fallen

Posted: 2015-11-17 | Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)

The Sylvan Cemetery in Citrus Heights held its traditional Veterans Day service on November 11th. The morning’s events began at 10:30 a.m. with a procession led by the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) Motorcycle Team and Honor Guard, followed by members of the American Legion Post 637, Boy Scout Troop 228, and members of the police department, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) rifle team, and members of the community.

The parade wound through the cemetery starting at the south end where those who died in the Spanish-American and Civil War were interred, and making four more stops along the Avenue of Flags. American Legion Chaplain Jerry Smith paused briefly at each of the five areas in the cemetery, honoring those buried there from the different wars and conflicts, ending with World War II at the Veterans Memorial in the center of the cemetery. He related a brief history of the issues of that war, with a count of all who had perished as a result of it.

The memorial continued at the gazebo area. Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan thanked the American Legion, Sylvan Cemetery, and City of Citrus Heights for sponsoring the event. She also thanked the Folsom Harmony Express choir for adding to the memorial with their patriotic songs including the military branch medley and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

MacGlashan said Sacramento County is always anxious to help its veterans. The Veterans Services Office was established in 1946 to determine and obtain benefits for veterans by working with the county, Veterans Administration, and with state and local government to direct them to the correct places to obtain benefits. A new program to work with homeless veterans, Sac Steps Forward has been established. The first goal to be met by the end of 2015—to find housing for the 668 homeless vets—has almost been met.

Chief Christopher Boyd spoke of his pride in the veterans on the force. CHPD officers who are military veterans wear a special pin presented to them when hired.

Mayor Sue Frost spoke on behalf of the city council, congratulating our local vets for their courage, creativity, gifts of service to our community, and to the police and to all other organizations that support them.

American Legion Commander Paul Reyes quoted poet Maya Angelo, “How important it is for us to recognize our heroes and our ‘she-roes,’ including all the women who have fought and worked to service and protect their country.” He noted that “we give thanks to the 24 million Americans who strengthen our nation. Our veterans are drawn from many generations and many backgrounds no matter where they fought, and have contributed to the character and greatness of America. And we honor a new generation of men and women who are defending our freedom. Since Sept. 11th, 2001, they have fought on many fronts. More than 1.4 million are on active duty around the world. From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, our vets have borne the cost of America’s wars.”

Finally, Master of Ceremony Jim Monteton emphasized that since 1775—239 years ago—with the signing of the Declaration of War (Independence) and from Valley Forge until today, our young men and women have maintained the same optimism and belief that they are doing something worthwhile that George Washington’s ragtag army showed to win their battle.

Following the ceremony, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave the rifle salute. They are all descendants of someone who fought in the Civil War.

Regular Eye Exams Can Help Save the Sight of Diabetics

Posted: 2015-11-17 | Sacramento Region, CA (MPG)

One in four Americans age 65 or older has diabetes, putting them at increased risk for vision loss and blindness. Fortunately, diabetes-related vision loss is largely preventable with regular care. Yet studies have found a majority of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes do not get the necessary eye exams despite the fact that the exams could be covered under their existing insurance.

The California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (CAEPS) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) are recognizing November as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month and reminding older Americans that if they have diabetes, they should obtain these critical eye exams each year.

“When it comes to diabetes-related vision loss, the good news is it is largely preventable. Unfortunately, many seniors in California are simply not aware that they need these eye exams,” said Leah Levi, MD, CAEPS president. “This month we are encouraging seniors—indeed, all Californians with diabetes—to take a minute to think about whether they have had an exam within a year, and if not, to make an appointment as soon as possible.”

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can affect the small blood vessels in the eyes, causing them to leak and grow irregularly. This leads to vision loss if left untreated. This condition is known as diabetic retinopathy and affects about 30 percent of people living with diabetes. It can also lead to other blinding ocular complications, such as diabetic macular edema. In this disease, the macula—the part of the eye responsible for detailed vision—swells, damaging vision and leading to blindness. Risk for these complications increases with age and duration of diabetes.

To prevent diabetes-related vision loss, both Academies recommend people with diabetes get a dilated eye exam each year. Getting these exams can help prevent 95 percent of this type of vision loss. The exams are performed by ophthalmologists—physicians that specialize in medical and surgical eye care—and optometrists. For those with Medicare, because plans vary, people with diabetes should talk with their primary care doctor to determine the best process for setting up an eye exam. Those with Medicare Advantage may have different benefits from those with only Medicare Part B, which is traditional Medicare. Those with commercial insurance would need to check their specific policy.

Comprehensive eye exams include putting dilating drops into the eyes to help the pupil expand. This allows a better view of the retina—the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye—and makes it easier to see early signs of diabetic retinopathy. Cameras may also be used to record any disease progression. These special cameras include a microscope to get close-up images of the retina.

These eye exams allow early detection, monitoring and, if needed, treatment of diabetic eye disease. This can prevent unnecessary vision loss, enabling people with diabetes to continue to live full and productive lives. Such exams also allow checking for conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts, for which people with diabetes are at an increased risk.

“It is essential for people with diabetes to get eye exams every year,” said Rahul N. Khurana, MD, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a retina specialist. “Sometimes my patients are surprised to find that Medicare or other insurance covers these sight-saving exams, which are simply one of the best steps a person can take toward preventing vision loss.”

For those with Medicare, the program covers 80 percent of the cost of eye exams for people with diabetes and the remaining 20 percent is typically paid for by the patient. If this cost is a concern, EyeCare America may be able to help. This is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It can help older Americans get a comprehensive eye exam and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost. Learn more or see if you or your loved one qualifies at

Source: Stephanie Rosa

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