Red, White and Blue Pride

Story by Elise Spleiss  |  2017-06-29
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Republic Services employees wave to the crowd of thousands. . -- Photo by Marie Youngcain

Parade Marks Twenty Year Milestone in City’s History

Following a week of temperatures reaching 106 degrees, parade goers were met with temperatures in the mid-70s for the 18th annual Citrus Heights Red, White and Blue Parade on Saturday, June 24. Several thousand residents lined both sides of Sunrise Boulevard between Madison Avenue and Greenback Lane to view more than 60 parade floats, bands, classic cars, and other entries.

At 9 a.m. two sky-divers signaled the beginning of the parade as they swiftly floated to the ground in front of Sunrise Mall. The Citrus Heights Police Department (CHDP) 10-member motorcycle team performed their intricate maneuvers, followed by the CHDP Color Guard and police commanders Gina Anderson and Daman Christensen breaking all the rules of the road driving their miniature vintage police car go-carts.

The Citrus Heights Community Marching Band followed the City Red, White and Blue parade banner which said, “Congratulations City of Citrus Heights 20th Anniversary Celebration’.

Mayor Jeff Slowey, Vice Mayor Steve Miller, council members Jeannie Bruins, Albert Fox and Brett Daniels, followed by Sacramento County Supervisor and former mayor of Citrus Heights Sue Frost, and Assemblyman Ken Cooley all arrived in style in classic 1960s cars provided by Norcal Classic Cars based in Rancho Cordova. Police Chief Ron Lawrence greeted the crowd from atop the Wells Fargo Stagecoach.

The Mayors Award went to the Harmer Family for their 24-foot self-propelled (by real feet) Flintstones 4th of July Party Bus float. Complete with a 12-foot pet Dino overlooking the bus, it took 16 rolls of duct tape to complete the construction. The floats many moving parts and costumes are the secret to what made this the parade’s top winner. The Flintstone clan will be putting on a repeat performance at the Rancho Cordova parade on July 4.

Three entries took Red, White and Blue awards: The Cemetarium Haunted House Productions float, Mesa Verde Junior Mavericks and the U.S. Marines. San Juan Alumni Association along with San Juan cheerleaders and baseball players took the Novelty Award. The Business Division Award went to KaiaFit, a women’s fitness program focusing on exercise and nutrition. Other winners were Neighborhood Association Area 6 - Sunrise Ranch, and Citrus Heights Dance Academy which won the Music Award.

A parade is incomplete without local pageant queens and ambassadors. Miss Citrus Heights, Christina Ma and her court led the way, followed by Miss Greater Sacramento, Miss Metro Sacramento and Miss Orangevale.

As with the City’s 20th anniversary block party held on June 3 at Van Maren Park, parade entries represented City services, businesses, and nonprofits throughout the city and surrounding areas and gave residents a taste of what their city has to offer those of all ages, often revealing something new they didn’t even know existed!


Tanner Stuhr Leads the Way

Submitted by Robin Stuhr and Rosa Umbach  |  2017-06-28

Tanner is honored by representatives from local political offices and the Citrus Heights city council for his hard work and leadership. Rosa Umbach presents him with his award. 
-- Photo courtesy Robin Stuhr

The Citrus Heights Chamber’s Education Committee honored Tanner Stuhr as the Education Committee’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year. The award was presented at the Chamber’s June 13, 2017, luncheon held at the Citrus Heights Community Center.

Tanner volunteered to lead the Chamber’s School Supply Drive in July and August 2016, during the summer between his sophomore and junior year (he is now entering his senior year). This enterprising young man raised over $7,000 dollars in donations (school supplies, cash, and gift card donations) for school supplies.

Tanner attended Chamber breakfasts and luncheons where he shared information about the school supply drive, provided his contact information, and accepted donations. Tanner went above and beyond to contact Chamber businesses by placing over 100 phone calls to Citrus Heights businesses describing the program, asking for donations, and following up with those that wanted to donate. He also contacted community organizations, spoke at the meetings, and collected donations. One organization he spoke to and collected donations from several times was the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band. In addition to contacting businesses and community organizations, he drove to businesses and Individuals’ homes to collect the donations.

Tanner also made and decorated large collections boxes and placed them in Citrus Heights businesses, then collected and stored the donations as the boxes filled. He organized, inventoried, and valued all donations in his collection center (otherwise known as the garage) and, assisted in coordinating a site for the distribution of the school supplies to the schools. Since he was back in school during the distribution, he solicited assistance from his younger brother Parker to assist with the distribution. Tanner’s mother remembers how he learned to shop with a crazy coupon lady: his mother. Together they found some great deals and clipped some awesome coupons, sometimes getting lots of free items and early bird pricing. One day, they shopped at four different stores to get story boards for the schools.

On behalf of the Chamber and Education Committee, we congratulate Tanner on his devotion and volunteerism in collecting must needed school supplies for Citrus Heights.

Lunches for the student and guests are sponsored by local businesses. Lunch was sponsored by Rosa Umbach, Education Chair, and a gift certificate to Sammy’s Restaurant was provided to Tanner from Stones Gambling Hall, courtesy of Amanda Blackwood.


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Transit Study Underway, City Seeks Input

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-06-28

City officials are in the early stages of collecting data and information in preparation for a long-range transit plan for the city, and they want the community’s input as they put it into place.

Working in tandem with representatives from the Sacramento Regional Transit District, city officials will be crafting a Comprehensive Transit Plan or study to help them determine what the best course of action is for laying out a long-range transit network that is both viable and doable, based on the city’s current and future needs.

The city’s study will include the gathering of important data considered critical to making sound decisions in future investments in a transit service that best meets the needs of the community and its residents, according to an announcement released by the city. The city’s transit plan, officials assert, must work to meet not just current, but also future needs of Citrus Heights residents.

Some of the areas of importance that the month’s-long study will include are data on connections to local and regional destinations; connections to other transit services; redevelopment and transportation investments; transit-dependent needs or demands of those who rely only regional and local transit carriers to move around the city; current and future transit demand, as well as data on projected population growth.

The city currently contracts with Regional Transit for its transit services. The study and collection of data is expected to take 10 months and is currently expected to run through February 2018.

Community input for the study is highly desired. Over the course of the next few weeks, the city will be sending out details and updates asking for community feedback on a range of points of concern and study. To play a role in this key part of the city’s future transit network, you can visit www.citrusheights.net and signup for updates and opportunities to submit your input.


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Chamber’s Executive Director Resigns, Interim Replacement Sought

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-06-28

After just seven months in the position, Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mark Creffield has resigned from his position, leaving the chamber’s top administrative slot open and forcing its board and executives to search for an interim replacement as momentum was building to boost waning membership and build up attendance at events.

According to Johnnise Downs, the chamber’s board chair, Creffield has left the chamber on good terms for a new position in Southern California. She said Creffield contributed significantly to the efforts by the chamber to address a shrinking membership base, which has slightly increased from 260 since January, but remains roughly 7.5 percent behind membership totals for 2016.

Earlier this year, Creffield said his primary goal was to help the chamber retool its brand and messaging, while also working to build membership up by as many as 48 members this year, admittedly adding the number would likely come in closer to 24.

Downs said the search will commence for an interim director, rather than a permanent replacement to allow for more time to solidify plans for carrying out goals under Creffield’s tenure and build on his successes to date. She did not have a number for the increase, but said membership is up slightly since the beginning of the year.

“Mark did a fantastic job and we are all very sorry to see him go,” Downs said. “Our plans are to not immediately replace Mark, but instead, put the word out and search for an interim executive director so we can slow down and take our time and build on the momentum he has helped establish in his time with us.”

Downs, who was installed as board chair in January, said she remains committed to the idea of rebranding the chamber and its message, but will immediately begin the process of bolstering communications with members, which she put the spotlight on immediately after her appointment. Next month, Downs said, the first comprehensive survey will go out to all members as a first-step move in determining their individual and collective preferences for everything from events to how they receive and send communication between one another and the chamber itself.

“Believe it or not, we have members who prefer to get only snail mail, while we have many others who just want to text,” said Downs. “So our first big and new communications tool will be this survey and it will help us determine what our members want and what they don’t want.”

Creffield formerly served as executive director for the Vacaville and Vallejo chambers of commerce. Prior to his departure, he told The Messenger that many of the chamber’s members were not taking full advantage of their benefits, including access to building a free web presence via the chamber’s site, as well as tapping a range of social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with new and existing customers.

Membership being low, so too have turnouts for monthly meetings and events, Creffield also previously pointed out, adding that he intended to also focus on getting new members to stay engaged after joining the chamber by diving into committees, attending more events and extending their membership well-beyond the ribbon-cutting ceremony.


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The California Department of Water Resources Acting Director William R. Croyle today announced his retirement, effective July 1, 2017.

Croyle put his original retirement plans on hold in January 2017 when he was asked by Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. to serve as Acting Director of the department. Cindy Messer, DWR Chief Deputy Director, will serve as Acting Director of the department until a new director is appointed.

Prior to his appointment, Croyle served as Deputy Director for Statewide Emergency Preparedness and Security at the Department, a role that uniquely prepared him to manage the Lake Oroville spillways incident in February.

“California is extremely fortunate to have had Bill at the helm of DWR this year, especially during the Oroville emergency,” said Secretary John Laird, of the California Natural Resources Agency. “We are all grateful for his commitment and public service.”

In nearly ten years with DWR, Croyle served as the Drought Emergency Operations Manager, representing the department on Governor Brown’s Interagency Drought Task Force and various other drought task forces. He also served as the Department Emergency Program Manager and spent more than six years as Chief of Flood Operations.

Croyle also worked more than 23 years for the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in Sacramento, where he served in a variety of capacities.

“I am honored to have served with many talented, dedicated people throughout my career. I am very proud of the work we have accomplished over the years bringing California through drought, flood and most recently, through the Oroville Spillway incident,” stated Croyle. “And now I’m looking forward to picking up my retirement plans where they left off six months ago.”


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Tobacco users be aware, there is a higher price tag coming this weekend. On July 1, the tax rate on tobacco products other than cigarettes will increase from the current rate of 27.3 to 65.08 percent of the wholesale cost.

In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 56, which increased the excise tax rate on cigarettes, and expanded the definition of “tobacco products” to include little cigars, tobacco and nicotine intended for human consumption, and electronic cigarettes sold in combination with nicotine.

In keeping with California law, the Board of Equalization (BOE) adjusts the tobacco tax rate annually during its April meeting. In accordance with Revenue and Taxation Code section 30123(b), the BOE is required to annually calculate a tax rate on tobacco products that is equivalent to the combined rate of tax imposed on cigarettes ($2.87 per pack of 20, or $0.1435 per cigarette).

The tobacco products tax is imposed upon the first distribution in California, paid by the licensed tobacco products distributor, and based on their wholesale cost prior to any discounts or trade allowances. The fiscal year 2017-18 Tobacco Products Tax Rate is based on the wholesale premium brand cigarette price as of March 1, 2017, as published by the Tobacco Merchants Association. The new tobacco products tax rate will stay in effect through June 30, 2018.

Other tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigars, little cigars, smoking tobacco (including shisha), chewing tobacco, snuff, nicotine delivery devices (for example, e-pipes, vape pens, e-hookahs) sold in combination with any liquid or substance containing nicotine, and any products containing, made of, or derived from any amount of tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption.


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Author Susan Spann Brings “Betrayal” to Barns & Nobel

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-06-27

Susan Spann has already signed her next book deal in the Shinobi series: “Trial on Mt. Koya,” which she said picks up where “Betrayal at Iga” leaves off.

Ninja assassins, espionage, family betrayal and medieval clan bloodshed are playing out across the Iga province in Samurai era Japan, the setting for Fair Oaks resident and award-winning author Susan Spann’s latest addition to her Shinobi Mysteries series, which she’ll read from and discuss at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, July 22.

Spann’s new novel, “Betrayal at Iga” (Seventh Street Books), which releases July 11, promises a rare glimpse into the private world of a Ninja Clan, specifically the family life of her returning protagonist, Hiro Hattori, a trained ninja assassin now working as a detective alongside his sidekick, Portuguese Jesuit, Father Mateo.

This new, Samurai style “who done it” is Spann’s first attempt to take her readers into an actual ninja province, in this case Hiro’s hometown of Iga. Hiro and Father Mateo are in Iga seeking refuge while the assassination of an ambassador trying to negotiate a warring clan peace treaty occurs. Hiro must confront his own past and family members, as the crime may or may not have been committed by his former lover, mother, or someone else.

“I get to take readers into the actual Ninja province with this book,” explains Spann. “I wanted to continue with the Hiro series but really go deeper into the more personal side by taking readers into the day-to-day life of a ninja clan to show how ninjas actually lived and trained at home. This isn’t something you get to see very often.”

Back in Iga, Hiro confronts an old flame who is primary suspect in the case, largely because she has opposed the signing of the peach treaty. His mother is also a potential suspect. As ninjas themselves, both women are trained assassins. In fact, Hiro and his entire family are ninjas, however, with the launch of series, Hiro finds himself on the other side of justice, permanently assigned to provide security to Father Mateo. Now, the pair operate as a sort of Japanese version of Watson and Holmes. This time, the murder hits close to home.

“This is an emotional journey for Hiro,” explains Spann, who said she spent roughly nine months researching the book in Iga in 2015. In “Betrayal at Iga,” Hiro gets to interact with his mother and grandfather, and his former lover, so it is very personal.”

Spann’s first novel, “Claws of the Cat: A Shinobi Mystery” (Minotaur, 2013), was a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel. The novel launched the Hiro and Mateo crime-solving adventures, loosely modeled on the traditional mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, in which paired detectives with seemingly opposite backgrounds, personalities and cultural DNA, work in tandem to get to bottom of the latest caper.

Spann is at once a transactional attorney with a private practice focused on business and publishing law, and an award-winning novelist with a degree in Asian studies from Tufts University. Originally from Southern California, Spann says she wanted to be a writer since she was a young girl, hooked initially into the mystery genre by the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Agatha Christy works, as well as James Clavell’s “Shogun.”

“This is just a genre I’ve been in love with forever,” she said. “All the time growing up I wanted to write,” Spann said. “I was drawn to the mystery novels I read as a young girl, but later I really got hooked on the genre after reading ‘Shogun.’ That book really inspired me.”

Spann has already signed her next book deal in the Shinobi series: “Trial on Mt. Koya,” which she said picks up where “Betrayal” leaves off, which has Hiro and Father Mateo sent to deliver a message to a Buddhist Priest in Koya. In preparation for the forthcoming series addition, Spann spent several months living in a Buddhist temple in Koya, where she said she was granted wide access to historical information and important details about the Buddhist priests in the region of the era.

“Researching the next book was a wonderful adventure and I am very excited for the upcoming release,” Spann said.

Spann’s other works include “Blade of the Samurai,” “Flask of the Drunken Master” and “The Ninja’s Daughter.”


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Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) thanks customers for their conservation efforts as it came close to breaking an all-time record for electricity use on Thursday, June 22.

While PG&E expected to reach record electricity use, an afternoon and evening sea breeze in the Bay Area provided relief to some of the heat risk and electric demands.

The heat wave drove up energy demand close to levels not seen since 2006 – especially due to air conditioner use to combat the heat. PG&E was ready for the high energy usage and ensured the company had enough energy supply, including renewables like solar energy, to meet the needs of their customers. Once the sun sets and renewables are less abundant on the grid, customer conservation efforts between 4 and 7 p.m. become even more critical.

Since the heat wave first began during the afternoon of Friday, June 16, PG&E has restored approximately 379,000 customers, activated 19 local emergency centers and deployed about 5,100 field employees who supported power restoration during the heat wave. PG&E employees continue to work to restore service for the remaining customers who have experienced heat wave-related outages.

Customer demand for energy during the heat wave on Thursday, June 22 reached its highest point at 20,754 megawatts (MWs). The energy company’s all-time system peak load was on July 25, 2006, when customer demand for electricity hit 22,468 MWs. The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages the state’s energy grid, said peak usage across California was 42,000 MWs.

PG&E reminds customers that small behavioral changes can make a big difference in reducing demand on the power grid during periods of extreme heat while helping customers to stay comfortable.

For tips on how to save this summer, visit www.pge.com/summer.


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Sacramento Public Library Seeks Local Authors for Upcoming Author Fair

Source: Sacramento Public Library  |  2017-06-27

Sacramento Public Library seeks 45 local authors to showcase their work at its upcoming local author fair being held at Central Library on Sunday, Aug. 27. The fair, which will be the third of its kind at the Library, is being provided to allow local authors the opportunity to present their new work to avid readers.

Forty-five authors will be selected to participate in the fair by a committee of Library staff. Books must have been published within the past 18 months. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 10. The application can be found at www.saclibrary.org.

This year’s fair will feature award-winning author Reyna Grande as the keynote speaker. Grande recently released The Distance Between Us, a memoir about her life before and after illegally emigrating from Mexico to the United States.


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Railroad Museum is Now a Smithsonian Affiliate

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-06-21

Union Pacific 4466 is an 0-6-0 type steam locomotive built in October 1920 for the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) to perform switching chores and transfer runs. The locomotive currently resides at the California Railroad Museum. 
-- Photo courtesy Neil916

California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation are proud to announce the California State Railroad Museum is now officially recognized as a Smithsonian Affiliate.

“We are delighted to officially begin our Affiliate partnership with the California State Railroad Museum, an organization which has previously worked alongside the Smithsonian in scholarship and historic preservation,” said Myriam Springuel, Interim Director, Smithsonian Affiliations. “The story of railroading is very much the story of building the foundation of the United States and we are proud to partner with this museum which tells this national story from its beginnings in California. The collections, scholarship and expertise of the Smithsonian will be well matched by those at the California State Railroad Museum; we expect both organizations to benefit a great deal from this collaborative relationship.”

Located in Old Sacramento State Historic Park, the Railroad Museum joins a network of 216 organizations throughout the nation that are committed to serving the public through educational outreach, artifact loans, traveling exhibitions and collaborative research with the Smithsonian. Smithsonian Affiliations help to build a bridge between the local experiences available in individual communities with the national heritage preserved and displayed at the Smithsonian.

“We are proud that the Railroad Museum is now an official Smithsonian Affiliate,” said Ty Smith, Museum Director for the California State Railroad Museum. “Aligning the Railroad Museum with the Smithsonian Institution will help us further our mission of connecting people to California's railroad heritage. This partnership is both intellectual and material and will advance our ability to create a world-class experience to each and every guest who visits the California State Railroad Museums and Old Sacramento State Historic Park.”

Widely recognized as North America’s most prestigious rail museum, the California State Railroad Museum showcases more than 150 years of railroad history in 225,000 square feet of space. Each year, approximately 600,000 guests from all over the world visit the Railroad Museum, to see and experience the immaculately restored full-scale locomotives and railroad cars, impressive toy train collection, interactive and ever-changing exhibits, and much more.

“We look forward to networking and working collaboratively with other Smithsonian Affiliates to further our collective goals to educate, interpret and engage the public with the unique and memorable experiences we have to offer,” said Cheryl Marcell, President & CEO of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation.”

For more information about the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation, please call 916-323-9280 or visit www.californiarailroad.museum/.


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