Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - At their regular meeting on December 14, 2017, the Citrus
Heights City Council selected Steve Miller as Mayor and Jeannie Bruins as Vice Mayor for the next 12 months.  Each year, the City Council selects one of its members to serve a one-year term as mayor and vice mayor.  

Steve Miller was appointed to the City Council on December 13, 2005 to fill a vacancy on the City Council.  He was elected in November 2006 and re-elected November 2010 and 214.  

Jeannie Bruins was elected to the City Council November 2002 and re-elected November 2006, 2010 and 2014.

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Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - Residents living in and around the Citrus Heights, California can learn about their risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other chronic, serious conditions with affordable screenings by Life Line Screening.  Twin Oaks Avenue Baptist Church will host this community event on 12/22/2017.  The site is located at 7690 Twin Oaks Avenue in Citrus Heights.

Screenings can check for:

  • The level of plaque buildup in your arteries, related to risk for heart disease, stroke and overall vascular health.
  • HDL and LDL Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes risk
  • Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
  • Kidney and thyroid function, and more

Screenings are affordable, convenient and accessible for wheelchairs and those with trouble walking.  Free parking is also available. 

Packages start at $149, but consultants will work with you to create a package that is right for you based on your age and risk factors.  Call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at  Pre-registration is required.

Screenings in California are provided by Life Line Mobile Screening. 

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SMUD thanks customers who donate every month to provide assistance to others in the community

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Some Sacramento residents find it tough to make ends meet, particularly during the holiday season. With EnergyHELP, SMUD customers can quickly and easily help others in the community who are struggling to pay their electric bills.

Participating in EnergyHELP is easy. Customers can sign up at about two minutes. They simply enter their account information, choose a donation amount and choose one of four partner nonprofit agencies—Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, the Salvation Army, Travelers Aid Emergency Assistance Agency or the Folsom Cordova Community Partnership. Those agencies then provide up to $200 in bill assistance to low-income customers whose electric power has been, or is about to be, disconnected for non-payment.

The agencies also work directly with the households receiving bill assistance to provide in-person resources and support to help them get back on track and moving toward a more stable future. So far this year, the agencies have assisted more than 4,000 community members via the EnergyHELP program.

About 14,000 SMUD customers now donate monthly to EnergyHELP. Typical monthly tax-deductible donations range between $1 and $10, but some customers contribute as much as $100 per month. By December 31, SMUD customers will have donated more than $500,000 this year.

Since its inception in 2004, EnergyHELP has raised more than $5 million and benefitted more than 37,000 households in crisis.

To learn more about EnergyHELP, visit or call 1-888-742-7683.

Source: SMUD Media

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Be Part of Something Bigger

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-12-14

Volunteers Julie Walker-Howard, left, Ruth Ann Wright, and Veronica LoCurto staff the produce tables at the Orangevale Food Bank. Photo by Gary McFadyen

Providing Food, Resources and Hope

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Orangevale Food Bank found its mission when it was conceived as an idea in 2011.  That mission is to make a positive impact in the communities of Orangevale and Fair Oaks by providing food, resources and hope to families in need.  Their doors opened in January of 2012. 

“We primarily get our food through small local donations in addition to donations from local grocery stores,” said Keith Wright, assistant director.  “We get close-to-date food from Trader Joe’s, WalMart, Safeway, and Sprouts locally.”  They also have food drives to collect nonperishable foods. 

The food bank relies on volunteers for everything from bringing food in, to sorting it and preparing it for easy dispersal.  On distribution days volunteers check in clients and distribute the food.  “I come on Monday before they open up at 11,” said volunteer Linda Eldredge.  “I do the bags, and I stock and I condense, and tell them what they’re going to need . . . I think the hardest part is that we sometimes don’t have enough volunteers.”

Linda Ervin was a client of the food bank at one time, when her husband had passed away and she needed help.  She figured that they were helping her, she should start giving back.  Ervin started volunteering three years ago.  “I love the clients, they’re fantastic, the volunteers are fantastic, they’re my second family.”  Ervin also serves the organization as ambassador to the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce from the food bank.  “The work is so rewarding.  It’s my first love,” Ervin said.  “I will never give this up, never in a million years.”

Wright joined up soon after the organization started.  A friend was volunteering there and since Wright had construction skills, the friend recruited Wright to do light construction work.  Now he serves alongside the volunteers as assistant director, along with Tom Carden, executive director.  Wright said the biggest challenge right now is reaching the people who need help.  “Some people don’t have the means to get here, or don’t have the physical capability to get here,” Wright said.  “We’re a volunteer organization . . . So we’ve got to find a way to meet that need without overtaxing our volunteer sources.”

Ray Cook, who is retired, finds the food bank a great place to volunteer.  “You feel like you’re part of something bigger than you could be as an individual,” Cook said.  “This, to me, is my purpose in life, to help other people.”

The volunteers at Orangevale Food Bank are very mission driven, Wright said.  “I think they are here because they want to take care of people.  I assume the same is true of all food banks, but I feel like Orangevale does a fantastic job of nurturing that volunteerism.  People who come here seem to come with the spirit that they really want to help people.”

The food bank is open for food distribution three days a week:  Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The food bank is located at 6483 Main Ave. in Orangevale. 

You can sign up to volunteer for the Orangevale Food Bank by going to  Just enter your town or zip code to find a variety of projects and ways to serve in your community. 

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Much Needed Warm Wishes from Meals on Wheels

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-12-14

The non-profit provides roughly 500,000 meals and safety checks to roughly 1,500 home-bound seniors annually.  Photo courtesy Meals on Wheels

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - To have food to eat is one thing.  To be warm and remembered may possibly be the other top two most requested “gifts” on the list of many seniors this year, and Sacramento’s Meals on Wheels is hoping for your help in making those wishes possible.

If Meals on Wheels doesn’t ring a bell it should.  The non-profit provides roughly 500,000 meals and safety checks to roughly1,500 home-bound seniors annually.  The Sacramento operation is part of a network of more than 5,000 local Meals on Wheels chapters across country.  Meals on Wheels was established under the Older Americans Act created by congress in 1965 to ensure seniors 60 and over have food.  It is funded through a combination of public-private partnerships, state and federal grants, private donations and an army of volunteers.

This year, the agency has introduced a new program giving you another option for supporting: Project Warm Wishes, says Michelle Bustamante, program specialist for Meals on Wheels, Sacramento, has a goal to give each of its participants the gift of warmth, as in fuzzy slippers, blankets, throws, hats, gloves and socks, anything to help participants stave off the cold.  

“The goal of this new part of our services is to provide a simple Christmas gift to let people know they are remembered and they are not alone, because so many are isolated and don’t have anybody to share the holidays with,” said Bustamante.  “So our goal is to get a gift to all of those individuals who are registered for our home delivery program and we are thinking about ways to keep them warm and comfortable.”

Scarves, warm sweat suits, even tea and tea kettles are also potential gifts you can donate through Project Warm Wishes, and you can add to the list things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, coloring books for adults, jigsaw puzzles and word search books.

“In addition to a meal, this holiday season we also want to give the gift of warmth and let our participants know that, even though they may be alone, they are not forgotten,” Bustamante said.

If you want to go deeper, consider becoming a driver for Meals on Wheels.  While the job is 100% volunteer base and requires you to use your own car and pass a DMV and background check, the relationships formed with participants and the warmth you get in return are unsurpassed.

“I will tell you that, in addition to providing nutritional meals for our participants, one of our main areas of focus is the relationships that are formed between the drivers and our participants,” said Bustamante.  “We provide a safety check with every visit and the bonds formed between our drivers and the participants is unbelievable.  They are so reliant on seeing that friendly face and the elimination of isolation is so important.”

Not all seniors are homebound.  For those who are more mobile, Meals on Wheels has 20 All Seasons cafes set up across the Sacramento County region where more than 1,000 receive a free lunch and a place to socialize with others —a critical component of fighting off isolation.

There is an All Season Café set up at Rusch Park Community Center in Citrus Heights, Mission Oaks Community Center in Carmichael, and the Orangevale Community Center.  Transportation to and from the café’s is available for some participants.

“The café population is a bit more mobile, and they love the idea of having a place to go each day during the week for a meal and contact with others,” Bustamante said.  “Those folks are also forming relationships with the volunteers and some of these centers where the cafes are, is like a second home to them.  They’ll celebrate birthdays there together, the birth of grandchildren, and really make connections that are so important when you are elderly and perhaps on your own.”

There has never been a more critical time to support Meals on Wheels, including becoming a volunteer.   Congressional budget cuts could impact the future of the public-private partnership for the agency, Bustamante said.  Having a solid core of rotating volunteers (there are currently about 500 in the region) who spend their time either preparing the packing of the meals for the drivers, delivering the meals and providing safety checks, or working in one of the cafes, lays a foundation for longevity.

“We are always in need of new volunteers to help us out,” Bustamante said.  “We are not really clear on what the future holds.  As we all know there are future budget cuts that could affect us and the senior population is skyrocketing, so we need to be able to keep up.”

Humans are not the only ones who benefit.  The aniMeals on Wheels program also provides pet food for the critters who provide vital companionship for many Meals on Wheels program participants.

“Seniors’ pets are often the only family member they have,” said Bustamante.  “And we found out that many of our participants were feeding their pets part of the meals we deliver, so we always need donations to help make it possible for them to keep their pets and enjoy their meals.”

Meals On Wheels, Sacramento/Project Warm Wishes
7375 Park City Dr., Sacramento
To Donate or Inquire about Volunteering:
Call (916) 444-9533

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Anna Ng Named Student of the Month

Jinne Calvi, Teacher, Skycrest Elementary  |  2017-12-14

(L-R) Jonathan Glatz of Assemblyman Ken Cooley

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights Chamber’s Education Committee honored Anna Ng a fifth grader at  Skycrest Elementary K-5 School, as the November 2017 Student of the Month. The award was presented at the Chamber’s November 14, 2017, luncheon held at the North Ridge Country Club in Fair Oaks.

On a hot day in August of 2017, Anna arrived to California by way of Iowa. It was 110 degrees the day Anna's family unpacked and moved into their new home in Citrus Heights. "It's hot and dry!" Anna recalls letting out in desperation. A week later, Anna was meeting me, her 5th grade teacher, before the school year started. Anna still wasn't sure about California, let alone a new school. Rest assured, even though she still doesn't like the heat here, she is loving her 5th grade year!

Anna is a natural leader and a great collaborator. She encourages her table mates to persevere and finish tasks well. During STEM challenges, she is competitive, but always fair. Her leadership ability and empathy led to her becoming a 2017 Safe School Ambassador. Anna has made a yearlong commitment to be a positive force on our campus.

She is an exceptional student, too! As a gifted writer, she mentors others in their writing processes. We used her personal narrative as an exemplar in ELA. In Math, she helps those around her to understand the concepts and even previews upcoming content for her table mates so they are "ahead of the game."

Anna's optimism and quiet charisma are infectious. Everyone wants one of Anna's drawings or to be assigned a seat next to Anna. She is careful to let others speak and patient when their words take time to process. She is generous in her help and always encouraging. Anna is an all-around great kid and it's a joy to recommend her for Citrus Heights Student of the Month for November.

Lunches for the student and guests are sponsored by local businesses. Many thanks to our Student of the Month lunch sponsor Sunrise Marketplace, courtesy of Kathilynn Carpenter. Additionally, thank you to Stones Gambling Hall, courtesy of Amanda Blackwood, for providing a gift certificate to Sammy’s Restaurant for the Student of the Month.

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Toys for Tots Collection a Busy Time for Community

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-12-14

Posing in front of the 57-foot 1966 Vietnam era Huey are Marine Lance Corporal Reed, Toys for Tots Coordinator Corporal Campos, Congressman Ami Bera, and Boy Scouts Austin Eckard and Matthew Boster with Troop 635 leader Cathy Best. Photo by Elise Spleiss

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) – Every year on the morning of the annual Citrus Height’s Toys for Tots collection day in front of the Citrus Heights Veteran’s Community Center, drivers traveling west on Sylvan Road wonder what is the cause is for the sudden back-up.

However, this year on November 18, frustration quickly turned into awe as a 57-foot 1966 Vietnam era Huey helicopter, World War II jeep and other memorabilia slowly came into view. The fifth U.S. Marine Toys for Tots collection event was under way.           

Drivers who had gifts and financial donations were diverted into the Center by volunteers as other helpers including the Casa Robles High School ROTC Cadets and Boy Scout Troop 635 received donations. Other motorists waiting in the short back-up realized what the event was, left to buy a new toy or two and returned to drop them off with the volunteers.

As in previous years, the community began bringing new toys, stuffed animals, games, books, clothing and other items to the Center a week before this day. It is not too late to donate. Donations will be accepted inside the Center at 6921 Sylvan Road, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until December 19.  Other veteran’s group and community organizations in the area have been collecting for this toy drive.  Gifts for teens are also needed.  Many of the homeless families in the Sacramento area will also be recipients of these donations.

Congressman Ami Bera joined with Center owners Jim and Jean Rounsavell to sponsor this event at its inception in 2013.  He was accompanied by his staff to meet and celebrate with the community. Bera said of the event in an email, “My office has collected toys since December of 2013. We’ve also partnered with the Citrus Heights Veterans Community Center and other groups to collect hundreds and hundreds of toys…it’s an honor to partner with the men and women of our military, and it’s even better that we get to do it helping children.”

This year one of the Center’s own veterans took on the role of Santa Claus for the day to mingle with the community and hear the Christmas wishes of all.  Word is he “loved’ his new role and would like to do it again!

Visitors to the event also got a taste of WWII history. The Huey helicopter is said to be “perhaps the most enduring symbol of Vietnam combat”. This 1966 gunship saw serious action in Vietnam. Shot down twice, it was repaired both times and is now available for events courtesy of Curt Knapp and the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association.  Visitors can climb up and sit in the cockpit, view the original instruments throughout, and see where the guns and rocket tubes were mounted on each side. With the cargo compartment full of equipment there would have only been room for two pilots and two gunners to sit.

Don Miller, a local WWII memorabilia collector transported his authentic 1942 WWII jeep and other artifacts from his collection for the public to inspect.

Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which collects and distributes toys to children and teens whose parents cannot afford to buy them Christmas gifts. 

For information of the Veteran’s Center go to

VN Helicopter Pilots Association:

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