Cars, Food, Swimming and Music at Hot August Bites

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-08-23

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Car, music, and food enthusiasts turned out for the annual Hot August Bites at Rusch Park on Saturday, August 11. The morning kicked off with a car show hosted by Nor-Cal Cruisers and featured 114 cars in all makes, models, and years. Shiny and the not-so-shiny sat side by side. American muscle, classic, and even a 1987 Fiat from Poland presented their best sides for one of more than 50 traditional and handcrafted trophies and bragging rights.                           

Folks frantically purchased tickets and stuffed the cups for their chance to win one of the nearly 120 raffle prizes. Funds raised will be presented to the Citrus Heights Police Athletic League on October 20 at Howl-O-Ween. Prizes ranged from traffic signs and signals to repurposed terracotta planters to 50” flat screen televisions. The chance to drop Wally Schnierle in the dunk tank proved popular with some of the young attendees who took aim and cheered when he hit the water. Funds raised will benefit a second cause.

The day’s event moved into full swing at 11 a.m. when Jax Hammer took the stage and played a stream of classic rock tunes covering just about everything from Rolling Stones and Blue Öyster Cult to Santana’s 1999 collaboration with Rob Thomas on “Smooth.” The band turned out solid covers of many iconic songs and drew crowds into the two beer gardens on either side of the stage. Shade, beers or margaritas to help raise funds for a different charity, and camaraderie were found under the tents.

Vendor booths nearly doubled from 2017’s event said Marty Buell, Sunrise Recreation & Park District’s Senior Recreation Manager, and featured a little of everything. Some of the newcomers included Farm Fresh to You, Greengraphics, and Eric’s Mobile Vehicle Repair. Texas Roadhouse’s booth featured sandwich samples and was situated at the base of the foot bridge. The City of Citrus Heights, Sunrise Recreation & Park District, and Boy Scout Troop 228 had booths. Handcrafted jewelry, handbags, key chains, and household items made from recycled denim were popular. Beauty products, veterinarians, fitness centers, and the chance to win a ticket to heaven were other vendors with samples and information. And there were several food trucks from which to choose. Squeeze Inn and Frozen Lemonade were busy late in the day.

Families were everywhere. Children and infants played and napped and ate. Adults wandered or sat, some with chairs brought from home and others with blankets they spread on the grass. Young couples stole a few quiet moments on the foot bridge under the cooling mist. Many people sheltered and lunched under the picnic structure. Some danced, and over 100 people took advantage of the free swim opportunity in the pool.

Buell said that the event has grown each year since 2014 and invited everyone out to the district’s 22nd annual Sunday Funday on September 23 at Rusch Park.

Visit for more information. If you go: 7801 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights. For additional information, visit

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CHPD Announces Promotion of Two Lieutenants to Rank of Commander

By Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2018-08-23

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Police Chief Ronald A. Lawrence announced the immediate promotions of Lieutenant Jason Russo and Lieutenant Alex Turcotte to the rank of Commander. Police Commanders are the third highest rank in the Police Department, beneath the Assistant Chief of Police and Chief of Police.

“I could not be more pleased with the outstanding leadership within the Citrus Heights Police Department. Selecting two new Police Commanders among a list of many talented personnel was a good challenge to have, as we have no shortage of qualified personnel. With their promotions to Police Commander, Russo and Turcotte now hold the third highest rank in our police department and will each command a Division. Both are skilled, experienced and committed leaders who will no doubt continue to serve our organization and citizens well into our future. These highly-decorated professionals exemplify their commitment to service with character, integrity and honor.”

-  Ronald A. Lawrence, Chief of Police

Commander Jason Russo began his law enforcement career as an intern with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office while attending Sacramento State University. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, he served the Clayton Police Department as a police officer and promoted to Sergeant in 2003. In May of 2006, Russo helped launch the Citrus Heights Police Department and was hired as one of the original Sergeants during our inaugural years. Russo has served our department in a variety of leadership capacities such as SWAT Tactical and Sniper Team Leader, Training Manager, Detective, Patrol and Traffic Sergeant. He promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 2013 and has served the department in Patrol, Special Operations and Professional Standards. Commander Russo has distinguished himself in the community through his work with the Citrus Heights Police Activities League (Board President), Relay for Life, Tip a Cop and the Holiday Referral Program. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Caption: Commander Jason Russo, Investigative Services Division

Commander Alex Turcotte began his career in law enforcement with the Ventura Police Department in 2001where he worked as a patrol officer and a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team.

In October of 2006, Turcotte was hired as a police officer with the Citrus Heights Police Department and was assigned to the Patrol Division until his promotion to the rank of Sergeant in 2007. As a Sergeant, Turcotte worked a variety of assignments, including as Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Sergeant, SWAT Team leader and the Special Investigations Unit before promoting to Lieutenant in 2013. As a Police Lieutenant, Turcotte managed a variety of units within the Patrol and Investigative Services Divisions, as well as in the Office of the Chief. In addition, he led the Department’s SWAT Team.

Commander Turcotte holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He is a graduate of the California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Command College for law enforcement executives. Commander Turcotte has served on a number of boards and associations and has been a repeat panelist at the University of San Francisco Law Enforcement Leadership Symposium.  He has received many awards and citations, including two separate awards for his role in resolving high-risk emergencies with the Department SWAT team. Commander Turcotte is a Past President of the Citrus Heights Rotary Club and currently serves as President of the Citrus Heights Rotary Foundation.

Caption: Commander Alex Turcotte, Patrol Services Division

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CHPD Arrest Violent Subject

By Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2018-08-23

32-year-old Jonathan Rykert

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) – On Monday, August 20, 2018 at approximately 9:12 a.m., the Citrus Heights Police Department received a call for service regarding a violation of a court order in the 5800 block of Northgrove Way. The reporting party (RP) stated he had a restraining order against his adult grandson and that his grandson was at the location making threats against his wife. The RP indicated his grandson may be armed with a knife.  The grandson was identified as 32-year-old Jonathan Rykert (See attached photo). Our communication center verified the restraining order protecting the grandparents from Mr. Rykert. Mr. Rykert was also found to be on probation for vandalism, trespassing, resisting a peace officer, and felony evasion in a motor vehicle.

Officers arrived on scene and made visual contact with Mr. Rykert in the backyard of the residence. Mr. Rykert began to make suicidal threats while holding an ice pick to his neck. Mr. Rykert also had two dogs on leashes and was using them as a makeshift shield between him and officers.

Officers were attempting to communicate with Mr. Rykert; however, he was becoming more aggressive and volatile. Although Mr. Rykert knew officers were also inside of the house, he picked up a metal shovel and began to smash the rear sliding glass door in an attempt to gain entry. Officers who were around the perimeter of the home quickly entered the backyard and deployed a kinetic projectile from a less than lethal shotgun.  The deployment was successful and Mr. Rykert was safely taken into custody.

Mr. Rykert sustained only minor injury. He was medically cleared and then booked into jail for misdemeanor violation of a restraining order, felony criminal threats, and violation of probation.

“This situation is a good reminder of the very dangerous situations police officers face every day. I am thankful our officers were not injured and that Mr. Rykert only sustained a minor injury. Our officers attempted to de-escalate the situation; however, Mr. Rykert was determined to not cooperate and chose to become more violent. In this case, our officers were able to set up in and around the house with several different force options.  Although this is always the goal, there are times when the circumstances, including the suspect’s actions, do not afford officers the time to safely do so. I would like to commend our officers for their exceptional work and restraint during this very dangerous call for service.” – Chief Ronald A. Lawrence

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Local Artist Sparks the Creative Process in Fairgoers

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-08-23

Chris Thompson, clay artist extraordinaire, behind his “ArtValanche” at the Valley Sculpture Artist’s booth at the California State Fair. Thousands of tiny clay sculptures were created by over 18,000 fairgoers and added to the booth he manned for 19 days. Photo by Sue Anne Foster

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - While visiting the Fine Art Exhibition at the California State Fair this year people were gathering around a man tossing clay into the crowd, telling them to, “Make something.” He let participants know that it was a judgement free zone. Chris Thompson volunteered every day of the fair, inviting young and old to join in the act of creating something from a lump of clay.  Thompson was the featured representative of a local sculpture group, Valley Sculpture Artists (VSA), which promotes three-dimensional art. 

He shared how his own love of making things with clay began at the age of nine when his mother tossed him a hunk of porcelain clay. He was hooked.

“People return year after year to see Chris in action,” said Sue Foster, President of VSA, the sponsor of the booth showcasing a variety of sculptures created by members.  “Chris has the gift of engaging people in the creative process.  He tosses a small piece of clay to onlookers with an invitation to make something; and they do.”

Surprising numbers of children and adults lingered while working their clay - some for up to 20 minutes. When they finished, Thompson invited them to keep it or add their sculpture to what has become known as the “ArtValanche.”  It is art until the time a portion crashes to the ground (which it did at least 40 times), then it is an avalanche. He carefully retrieves each piece and places it back on the mountain of creations, some intricately crafted with striking detail. 

Thompson estimated approximately 18,000 fairgoers had accepted his ‘clay experience’ during his 19 days at the fair, turning over 1,000 pounds of clay (donated by Alpha Ceramics) into their own works of art. He noted the incredible amount of energy put into each piece.           

He also noticed that many of those who seemed the least excited to accept his challenge, claiming that they weren’t artists, produced some of the best tiny sculptures.   

Thompson is not new to sharing his love for art with his community.  He received the Artist of the Year Award from the Sacramento Arts and Business Council after facilitating a five county project creating “A Thousand Bowls to Feed the Hungry” in 2013. He tossed and shaped the bowls and local art organizations volunteered to glaze and sell them.  This project helped to raise awareness for the arts while yielding over $42,000, which was donated to local non-profits.  In addition, Thompson recently received the prestigious 2018 Don Herberholz Award for Sculpture.

When not creating and exhibiting his own ceramic art, Thompson teaches classes to children and adults at A.C.A.I., an up and coming gallery in Fair Oaks. He is a celebrated ceramic artist and member of Valley Sculpture Artists.  

Visitors are welcome to visit Allied Ceramics Art Institute and Gallery (ACAI) located at 7425 Winding Way in Fair Oaks. A new show of exciting pieces begins each third Saturday of the month with an artist reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hours are Wednesday-Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

For more details visit websites: and or email:

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Six DAs Unite to Consolidate Golden State Killer Case in Sacramento County

Sacramento District Attorney Special Release  |  2018-08-23

Golden State Killer suspect Joseph James DeAngelo

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced today that the case against Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, Citrus Heights, will be prosecuted jointly in Sacramento County, where the defendant is being housed after his arrest on April 24, 2018. This joint prosecution will involve Contra Costa, Orange, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura Counties. An amended complaint charging all crimes together in one case, as well as 13 counts of kidnapping to commit robbery, was filed today in Sacramento Superior Court.

DeAngelo now faces 13 felony counts of murder with special circumstances allegations of multiple murders, murder during the commission of rape, robbery, and burglary. DeAngelo was charged today in an amended complaint with 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife during the commission of the offenses. He faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. DeAngelo is expected to appear in Sacramento County for arraignment on Thursday, August 23rd at 1:30 p.m. in Department 61.

In announcing this decision, District Attorney Schubert stated, “The joining of this case in one county is in the best interest of victims, the efficiency of the case and the fair administration of justice.  I look forward to all counties working together collaboratively in seeking justice in this case.”

Circumstances of the Case

Contra Costa County – District Attorney Diana Becton

Four felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife.

  • Between Oct. 7, 1978, and June 11, 1979, DeAngelo is accused of kidnapping and carrying away four women to commit robbery.

Tulare County – District Attorney Tim Ward

One felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a firearm

  • On Sept. 11, 1975, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Claude Snelling during an attempted kidnapping of the victim’s daughter from their home.

Sacramento County – District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert

Two felony counts of murder with a sentencing enhancement for multiple murders and personal use of a firearm

  • On Feb. 2, 1978, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Kate Maggoire, 20, and Brian Maggoire, 21 as they walked their dog in their Rancho Cordova neighborhood.

Nine felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife.

  • Between Sept. 4, 1976, and Oct. 21, 1977, DeAngelo is accused of kidnapping and carrying away nine women to commit robbery.

Santa Barbara County – District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley

Four felony counts of murder with a sentencing enhancement for multiple murders, personal use of a firearm, and special circumstances sentencing enhancements for murder during rape, and murder during burglary

  • On Dec. 30, 1979, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Debra Manning, 35, and Robert Offerman, 44, of Goleta.
  • July 27, 1981, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Gregory Sanchez, 27, and Cheri Domingo, 35, of Goleta.

Ventura County – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten

Two felony counts of murder with special circumstances sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during rape, and murder during robbery

  • On March 13 to 16, 1980, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Charlene Smith, 33, and murdering Lyman Smith, 43, of Ventura.

Orange County – District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

Four felony counts of murder with special circumstances sentencing enhancements for multiple murders and murder during the commission of rape, robbery, and burglary.

  • On Aug. 21, 1980, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Keith Harrington, 24, and raping and murdering Patrice Harrington, 27, of Dana Point.
  • On Feb. 6, 1981, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Manuela Witthuhn, 28, of Irvine.
  • On May 5, 1986, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Janelle Cruz, 18, of Irvine.

Source: Sacramento District Attorney

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Landscape Expert and Educator to Host Workshop

Special Release  |  2018-08-21

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - Cheryl Buckwalter is dedicated to helping usher California into a new age of sustainable, regenerative landscapes and landscape practices. During her 15-year career, Cheryl has been a consultant, educator, residential landscape designer, and Principle of Landscape Liaisons. Credentials include, a degree in Environmental Horticulture, Qualified water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL), and Qualified River Friendly Landscaping (RFL), Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (CLIA), Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL), and Qualified River-Friendly Landscaping (RFL) Green Gardener, as well as an instructor and curriculum developer of the Program. Board of Directors member for ReScape California.

To help bring about a balance between urban landscapes and the environment, Cheryl has been a principle developer and project manager for numerous public-sector programs, and for resources and learning tools for landscape professionals and residents. Cheryl’s commitment is demonstrated through her design projects, teaching experiences, professional affiliations, and volunteer service.

Sign up for this informative, Free Water Smart Landscape Workshop at Orange Vale Water Company on Wednesday, August 29th – (6:00 – 8:00 pm).


(916) 988-1693

(Orange Vale Water Company)

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Produce Festivals Hot Stuff for Markets

By Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-08-16

Peachy keen market visitors Isabella and Matthew Ramirez sampled fruit at the Carmichael Peach Festival.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - With summer harvests falling from branches, farmers markets are celebrating local growers. Carmichael and Folsom markets recently hosted peach festivals. Historic Folsom will host its annual “Tomato Taste Off” on Saturday, August 18. A similar festival is scheduled for Sunrise Mall (Citrus Heights) on Saturday, September 8.

Dozens of tomato varieties are grown in Sacramento and surrounding counties. At the Folsom taste Off, vendors will present cherry, beef steak, zebra and heirloom specimens.  Customer votes decide winners for categories such as most beautiful, meatiest, sweetest and best-tasting. Patron-participation contests, explains Living Smart Farmers Markets founder Marie Hall, aim to educate buyers on the many types of tomatoes available. “We set up stations with sliced samples,” she says. “People get to taste and vote for their favorites.”

Hall’s recent peach festival brought 3000 people to Carmichael Park. In addition to the fresh fruit, vendors offered peach-flavored treats, including ice creams, gelatos, cookies, cobblers, cakes and ever-popular peach pies. Thirteen chefs presented dishes for the annual dessert bakeoff. A cheesecake-in-a-jar won first prize for Dr Sarah Astarte; second place winner was Rhonda Mohr's deep-dish peach pie; third prize went to Kathleen Quinones for a platter of peach and basil tartlets.

“These festivals are a great way to bring attention to our local farmers,” approves Marie Hall. “Shopping for food shouldn’t just be a chore, it should be fun.” 

Historic Folsom Farmers Market is located at 915 Sutter Street, Folsom. Sunrise Mall Farmers Market is at 6196 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights.

Learn about the produce festivals at

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