Standing Up for Kids

By MPG Staff  |  2017-05-11
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Local organizations and their leaders came together at the Playmakers fundraiser to donate over $30,000 to support the afterschool program. The groups included Sacramento Breakfast Optimists, Citrus Heights Rotary, Rancho Cordova Rotary and County Club Optimists. -- Staff photo

Local Service Groups Make Major Donations to Playmakers

There are some programs for kids that make a huge difference in their lives right away. Playmakers is one of them. Local organizations and service groups stood up and supported Playmakers, a mentoring program that provides free afterschool character and leadership for 3rd through 6th graders.

The Tri-Tip BBQ Dinner fundraiser was held at Divine Savior Catholic Church in Orangevale on April 29th. Over 250 friends and businesses attended to show their support for the growing organization and their hard-working team of mentors.

Playmakers nonprofit organization is designed for at-risk kids who need assistance with academics and young leadership development. Its program includes 3 daily training segments of character development, reading and a variety of sports and recreational games for both boys and girls. It has operated its programs for 5 years and is now on 7 campuses throughout Sacramento.

The organization employs an inspiring group of trained mentors and coaches that includes former Sac State football players and college graduates. The organization believes that these qualified and impressive mentors make all the difference in the program’s results. Playmakers also creates tremendous incentives for participants’ achievements, including field trips to Stanford football games, Sac State games and trampoline field trips.

If you would like to contribute to the program, or learn how to participate in Playmakers, contact Coach Roz at Coachroz@theplaymakers.org or call them at 916 220-1284.


SMUD Launches “Shine” Community Sponsorship Program

Source: SMUD Media  |  2017-05-17

SMUD recently announced that it has launched Shine, a new community development program designed to improve and revitalize neighborhoods in the Sacramento region.

Shine awards will range from $5,000 to $100,000 and are very competitive. Any nonprofit organization —501(c)(3) or 501 (c)(6)— within SMUD’s service territory is eligible to apply.

Shine awards are available at three funding levels: Spark (up to $10,000), Amplifier (up to $50,000) and Transformer (up to $100,000). Applications will be accepted through June 26.

While SMUD will consider a broad variety of potential projects, it is primarily interested in proposals within the following areas: Neighborhood revitalization or clean up; STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math); Environmental, energy-efficiency, energy conservation or greenhouse gas reduction; General beautification.

“As a not-for-profit, community-owned organization, we work hard every day to improve the lives of our customers,” said SMUD CEO & General Manager Arlen Orchard. “The Shine program is a perfect extension of that commitment. By taking a collaborative approach and working directly with local nonprofits, we’re helping make improvements that neighborhood leaders believe will have the biggest impacts on residents in their communities.”

SMUD awarded three pilot Shine sponsorships over the past six months to test the feasibility and administration of the program. Those grants include: Lighting up the Kay and St. Rose of Lima Park (Applicant: Downtown Sacramento Partnership); Creating the College and Sports Academy of Del Paso Heights (Applicant: Mutual Assistance Network of Del Paso Heights); Renovating the Wellspring Women’s Center kitchen (Applicant: Wellspring Women’s Center).

“SMUD’s Shine award will provide an important spotlight on the great people and exciting opportunities in Del Paso Heights,” said Richard Dana, executive director of Mutual Assistance Network. “We see it as the start of something tremendous.”

A Shine program information session will be held on Wednesday, June 7 at 12 p.m. at the SMUD Customer Service Center at 6301 S St. in Sacramento.

To RSVP for an information session, or for additional questions, please email rsvp@smud.org.

For more information about the SMUD Shine program and to apply today, visit www.smud.org/Shine.

To learn more about the commitment of SMUD to this community and SMUD’s efforts to keep Sacramento bright for more than 70 years, visit www.smud.org/Bright.


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Bill Giving Tax Relief to Homeowners and Renters Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Assemblyman Matthew Harper  |  2017-05-17

On May 16th, Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblyman Phillip Chen (R- Diamond Bar) announced the passage of their “American Dream” bill which increases the existing homeowners’ exemption on their property tax from $7,000 to $25,000, giving relief to homeowners, renters and those aspiring to own a home.

“Homeowners and renters in California are paying some of the highest overall taxes in the nation,” Assemblyman Harper said. “It’s about time that the size of the homeowner’s property tax exemption kept up with the increases in cost of living. Also, I want to thank Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish for working with me to bring this bill forward.”

“High property taxes are making it impossible for too many Californians, who spent their lifetime living and working here, to stay”, said Assemblyman Phillip Chen. This bill would provide immediate relief for millions of homeowners with an emphasis on helping those whose taxes far exceed their ability to pay.”

The homeowner’s exemption hasn’t been increased in 40 years. Meanwhile, the cost of a median priced house has increased from $21,000 to over $450,000, and represents a home that only 30 percent of Californians can afford to purchase. California has a housing crisis and providing tax relief for homeowners and renters will unquestionably lead to enhanced economic stability,” said David Wolfe, Legislative Director with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The “American Dream” bill will also adjust the renter’s credit by a corresponding amount.


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Senator Gaines Issues Statement on Governor’s Budget Revise

Source: Office of Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-05-16

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) issued the following statement regarding Governor Brown’s revised 2017-18 state budget proposal:

“I demand a full and complete explanation as to why Californians’ truck weight fees have been diverted from their true purpose over the past five years and why our sky high gas taxes have not been enough to pay for our roads. Instead, we’re now forced to pay $5 billion more per year for increased gas taxes and vehicle fees to fix roads.

“California's income tax collections were nearly $1 billion short of projections during the month of April. I know the legislature will be tempted to sink every last dollar into new and ongoing spending programs at a time when we should heed State Controller Betty Yee’s warning that we may be ‘inching towards an economic downturn’ and that we must ‘tailor our spending accordingly.’

“Brown continues to sound all the right notes about fiscal discipline and debt reduction, but has the largest ever state spending plan, out of whack spending priorities and little accountability. Overtaxed Californians need relief, not a continuation of the government’s never ending tax and spend cycle that makes California so unaffordable.”

To view the entire revised budget, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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First American River Relay for Life Kicks Off New Era in Local Cure for Cancer

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-05-12

The first American River Relay for Life on April 22, brought together 25 fundraising teams from the communities of Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, and Orangevale for their first combined relay event under the name American River Relay for Life.

Teams gathered for the 14th year at McArthur Ballfield, San Juan High School in Citrus Heights to run, walk, play, and offer a myriad of ‘gently loved’ items, all to raise money for research and patient care programs such as a cancer navigator, classes, lodging and transportation. A total of $31,089. has been raised towards the $50K goal.
Besides the name change, the new relay returned to its previous 24-hour format, kicking off the event at 9 a.m. Saturday morning and continuing through the closing ceremony at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Members of the 25 teams created by individuals, families and friends, neighborhoods, schools, businesses, non-profits, and staff from each city, took turns running and walking laps around the field day and night.

Sacramento Metro Fire District Paramedic Captain Robert Bruce, himself a survivor, greeted attendees at the opening ceremony and presented Survivor Medals to cancer survivors. Leadership Team leaders Bryan Nay, Desiree Gallaher, and Chris Duca greeted participants, preparing them for the adventure coming in the hours head.
Bill Van Duker, a founding member of the Citrus Heights relay helped close the event, saying he is delighted with the resurgence of the local relay, having seen them go from only six hours in 2015, to 12 hours in 2016, and now returning to the 24-hour format. The Luminaria speaker, Connie Goethel shared her story of survival with the audience. Over 300 survivors, caregivers, family members and friends, and service organizations participated.

One of the longest participating family teams came from Fair Oaks. The Ures family, with over 30 members participating this year, has been walking since 2011 when Mark Steven Ures senior, died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 58. Team ‘Remembering A Wonderful Papa’ now has four generations making a difference. Fourth generation Mark Charles Ures, a 15-year-old Foothill High student, walking for his grandfather, was just completing his marathon 26.2-mile hike at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night. 
Upon registration, teams make the commitment to have at least one walker on the field during the entire event. This is no small task, so the high-energy music of all genres spun by Mark von Thaden of Skool DJ, helped to keep walkers and runners awake and motivated to complete this task the entire 24 hours.

As the sun set, those who had fought hard but finally had to leave their family and friends in death, were honored as hundreds of luminaries surrounding the field were lit, creating a somber but hopeful mood. More illuminated white bags donated for $10 each by participant in honor of their loved ones, spelled out the words “Hope” and “Cure” on each side of the stadium.

While fellow team members rested or slept in their tents music continued to play, including tunes for the ‘80’s Music’ lap, ‘Glow in the Dark,’ and ‘Crazy Hair,’ where dozens of crazy wigs suddenly appeared on walkers and runners. A midnight movie, “Trolls,” was shown and team fundraising competitions throughout the night kept the momentum going.

Volunteers included students from the Orangevale Rotary Interact program at Casa Roble High School, Sacramento State students, and ‘Lisa D presents who brought her junior ‘Relay Ambassadors,’ ages 7 to 17 to help where needed. Lunch was provided by House of Chicken and Ribs in Antelope, and dinner came from Sammy’s Restaurant, Stone’s Casino.

Event sponsors included Sutter Health, Absolute Compassion, Cimino Care, the Rotary of Citrus Heights, and RE/MAX.

Donations are still being collected through August towards the final goal of $50k. To donate go to relayforlife.org/americanriverca, or contact Tamika Stove with the American Cancer Society at tamika.stove @cancer.org.


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First ‘Taste of Citrus Heights’ a Big Success for Women’s Club and CHPD

By Elise Spleiss   |  2017-05-11

The sold-out event brought 300 hungry and thirsty party goers to the community center to sample more than two dozen culinary, craft beer and local wine offerings from Citrus Heights and surrounding areas including Roseville, Auburn and Sacramento. 
-- Photo by Elise Spleiss

The first ‘Taste of” event in Citrus Heights which took place at the Citrus Heights Community Center on April 28 lived up to, and even surpassed its name on many levels. 
The sold-out event brought 300 hungry and thirsty party goers to the community center to sample more than two dozen culinary, craft beer and local wine offerings from Citrus Heights and surrounding areas including Roseville, Auburn and Sacramento.  Music, comedy, and a silent auction added to the festivities. Members of Citrus Heights City Council, Assemblyman Ken Cooley and former mayor of Citrus Heights, Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost were in attendance, enjoying the evening.

Pairing an already successful concept in fundraising with an urgent issue facing the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD), the ladies of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Citrus Heights Women’s Club, the CHPD and the community all came together to offer a solution to a problem in Citrus Heights.

Police Chief Ron Lawrence greeted the crowd, acknowledging how during his first year as police chief he has been impressed by the kindness and empathy of his officers and staff. However, he noted that the stress on all officers in law enforcement often leads to “a lot of self-medication, drinking, divorce and a high suicide rate.”  At the beginning of his term, Lawrence asked Commander Gina Anderson what the number one thing was they can do for their officers. She replied, “Appreciate them and take care of them.”

That is why funds raised from this event will be used to bring Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, author of “Emotional Survival for Law enforcement: A Guide for Officers and their Families” to Citrus Heights to present a workshop for all police officers, their families and the staff of the CHPD to be held in November.

The workshop will help officers understand and learn how to cope with the emotional “hypervigilance rollercoaster” they face every day. The goal is to help officers maintain healthy relationships and retire with many healthy years ahead of them. When a law enforcement team is healthy, their city is better served.

Along with the well-known restaurants like Benihana, Elephant Bar, and Sammy’s Restaurant and Bar, attendees discovered the smaller and more unique culinary offerings of their city they had no idea existed before this event.

Members of the CHWC spent months reaching out to restaurants large and small, especially those unique to the area like Kabob N Tikka. Other merchants and small businesses unfamiliar to many attendees until this night included Pezzo di Torta Italian bakery and Ben’s Huli Huli Chicken & Hawaiian Café.

The hard work paid off. Comments on Facebook following the event included, “Just WOW,”  “great variety,” “talk of the town,” “classy,” and “Great job for a great cause.”
To view photos, read the comments of attendees, and for a list of sponsors go to Facebook to “Taste of Citrus Heights 2017.”


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IRS Tips on What to do After the Tax-Filing Deadline

Source: Internal Revenue Service  |  2017-05-10

Tax day has come and gone for most people, but some taxpayers may still be dealing with their taxes. The IRS offers these tips for handling some typical after-tax-day issues:

Didn’t File by April 18?

There is no penalty for filing a late return after the tax deadline if the taxpayer receives a refund. Penalties and interest only accrue on unfiled returns if taxes are not paid by April 18. Anyone who did not file and owes tax should file a return as soon as they can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest. IRS Free File is available on IRS.gov to prepare and file returns electronically through October 16.

“Where’s My Refund?”

The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is available on www.IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. Taxpayers need specific information to use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. That information includes the primary Social Security number on the return, the filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, etc.) and the amount of refund.

Changing Withholding?

Events – like a change in marital status – during the year may change the exemptions, adjustments, deductions or credits a taxpayer expects to claim on next year’s return. Employees can use the IRS’s online Withholding Calculator to figure and then adjust their withholding by filling out a new Form W-4, normally with the company’s personnel office. Taxpayers who do not have taxes withheld from their pay or don’t have enough tax withheld, may need to make estimated tax payments. Taxpayers who are self-employed normally need to make estimated payments that can be adjusted to avoid a balance due in the future.

Need to View a Tax Account Balance or Make a Payment?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can view their balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply for an online payment agreement. Before accessing your tax account online, you must authenticate your identity through the Secure Access process. Several other electronic payment options are available on www.IRS.gov/payments. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment.

Need to Fix an Error on a Return?

Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, must be filed by paper and is available on www.IRS.gov/forms at any time. Do not file an amended return before the original return has been processed. Taxpayers should file an amended tax return to change the filing status, or correct income, deductions or credits. The IRS generally corrects math errors and mails a request for any missing documents. Use the “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool to track the status of your amended return. It will take up to three weeks after mailing the return to show up in the IRS system. Processing can take up to 16 weeks.

Need Help Responding to an IRS Notice or Letter?

An IRS notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give instructions on how to handle the issue. Most questions can be answered by visiting the “Understanding Your Notice or IRS Letter,” on www.IRS.gov. Taxpayers can call the phone number included in the notice if they still have questions. Taxpayers have fundamental rights under the law. The “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” presents these rights in 10 categories. This helps taxpayers when they interact with the IRS. Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, highlights a list of taxpayer rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them. If normal IRS channels don’t solve the problem, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is available at 877-777-4778.

Watch Out for Scams

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer via e-mail, text or social media. Any e-mail that appears to be from the IRS about a refund or tax problem is probably an attempt by scammers to steal information. Forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue will be by mail.


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Pioneer History Day Returns, Our Heritage Matters

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-05-10

Free wagon rides will be available at California Pioneer History Day at Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma, on May 20. 
-- Photo by Patrick Twomey, 2mefotos Photography

On May 20, 2017, California Pioneer History Day is coming back to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. Admission is free, State parking fee is $8 per car. The event opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m., with parade at 10 a.m. It is sponsored by the California Pioneer Heritage Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors are encouraged to get into the spirit with period costume, if they wish.

Last year more than 5,000 people enjoyed the Day and new features have been added, to include a larger area of activities and events in the park. A log cabin will actually be erected during the day in real time, and will be donated to the Park.

Historic displays and exhibits will demonstrate how the pioneers met their needs, how they traveled and cooked and laundered their clothes. There will be periodic black powder musket firings, and the firing of a replica of the cannon purchased from Captain John Sutter in 1848. Special occasional firings of the “Candy Cannon” will shoot candy to gathered kids, who can also join in with pioneer games. There will be free wagon rides.

Visitors can try their skills making bricks, candles, dolls and other crafts, try quilting and roast a biscuit on a stick. Families can bring food to eat at the picnic area or purchase food at several food stands.

After the parade at 10 a.m., certificates of special recognition will be presented at the stage area, and VIPs introduced.

Then will come the entertainment, which will be continuous from around 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Jeri Clinger, co-founder with her husband Richard of the Galena Street East singing and dancing troop, is one of the organizers of the entertainment for California Pioneer History Day. “Singers will sing songs of that period, ones they might have been singing at some of the mining camps,” Clinger said. There will be dancing, musical numbers, and other types of entertainment in two locations on the grounds

The setting at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma is the historic spot of John Sutter’s sawmill, where gold was discovered in 1848. “It’s a very family oriented day,” Clinger said. “It’s ideal to help people in California feel the pioneer heritage here.”

Come early to beat the crowds. For more information, please see californiapioneer.org/cphd.


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Mail Carrier Canned Food Drive is May 13th

Source: Willie Henderson, Food Drive Coordinator  |  2017-05-10

Each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from our customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people who need our help.

Last year we collected over 80 million pounds of food nationally, feeding an estimated 64 million people. Over the course of its 24 year history the drive has collected 1.5 billion pounds of food thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire Nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The need for food donations is great. Currently, 49 million Americans are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Thirteen million are children who feel hunger's impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. More than 5 million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help.

Our food drive timing is crucial. Food Banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime many pantries are depleted entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.

Participating in this year's Letter carriers stamp out hunger Food Drive is easy. Just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by your mail box on Saturday, May 13th and your letter carrier will do the rest. With your help, letter carriers and the US postal service have collected over 1.5 billion pounds of food in the United States over our first 24 years as a national food drive. Please help us in our flight to end hunger as we celebrate our 25th anniversary year in America's great day of giving.


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Senior Health Fair Will Promote Healthy Aging

Source: Jayna Karpinski-Costa, SOAR Neighborhood Association  |  2017-05-10

Exhibits, workshops, health screenings, and fun activities are on the agenda for the 10th annual national award-winning Senior Health and Resource Fair on Thursday, May 18th, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Citrus Heights Community Center located at 6300 Fountain Square Drive in Citrus Heights.

Hosted by the SOAR Neighborhood Association, the free event will feature 60+ exhibitors that will provide information pertaining to seniors regarding housing, health care, legal services, support groups, caregiving, and more.

Workshops will start at 9:30 a.m. with Fall Prevention. Specialist Kelly Ward will also conduct free balance assessments after the workshop.  According to healthcare professionals, “Falls are the number one cause of injury and injury-related deaths in people over the age of 65.”  Citrus Heights Police Lt. Jason Russo will lead the other 9:30 workshop, “Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Crime”.  At 10:30 a.m., “Genealogy – Getting Started” will be offered by Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogy Society, audiologist Steve Milo will address “Hearing Loss & Aging”; and yoga instructor, Andrea McGowan, will teach how to use a chair for exercises that will improve strength and flexibility, increase mental clarity, and manage pain.  Complimentary snacks will be served at the two 11:30 a.m. workshops: “Money Smart for Older Adults”, led by Dale Covey, El Dorado Savings Bank manager, and “Alzheimer’s – 10 Early Warning Signs” conducted by the Sacramento chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Thomas Spencer, a Citrus Heights activity guru, will lead a leisurely “walk and roll” stroll from the Community Center to Stock Ranch Nature Preserve – about 1.35 miles round trip at 9:30 a.m.  Participants will receive a “goodie bag” from the Sunrise Recreation and Park District.

Other activities will include screenings for blood pressure and blood sugar by Sacramento County public health nurses. A Sacramento County registered dietitian will be available for nutritional counseling and a pharmacist from Walgreen’s will offer one-on-one consultations about prescription medications.

“We are living longer and we want to age healthy,” said Dr. Jayna Karpinski-Costa, president of SOAR, the neighborhood group that coordinates the Health Fair.  “There are a tremendous number of resources for seniors in our community and SOAR strives to feature as many as we can in one spot.”

In addition to SOAR, Health Fair sponsors include the City of Citrus Heights, Republic Services, SMUD, and the Arcade Creek Neighborhood Association. For more information, please contact Dr. Jayna Karpinski-Costa at (916 599-3647) or at vetlaw@drjayna.com.


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