CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights Water District Board of Directors passed a resolution opposing Senate Bill 623 at its February 21st Board meeting. SB 623, authored by State Senator Bill Monning of Carmel, proposes the first-ever statewide water tax as a way to address a lack of access to safe drinking water for some people who live in rural, disadvantaged communities.

“CHWD agrees that there is a need for a sensible long-term funding solution to assist disadvantaged communities that do not have safe drinking water, but a tax on our customers’ water bill is not the appropriate solution,” stated Ray Riehle, CHWD Board president.

If passed by the State legislature, this tax could hamper CHWD efforts to maintain safe and reliable water infrastructure for its customers. It would also compromise local decision making and redirect local rate payer dollars to water projects outside of the Citrus Heights service area.

CHWD takes the position that assessing a public goods charge would unfairly penalize local water agencies that have already made, and continue to make, investments in water management programs and infrastructure and would make it more difficult and costly for local water agencies to fund critical local water efficiency and supply projects.

The CHWD Board of Directors believes that local control of District resources is vital to continue meeting the needs of their customers; and the District, not the State, should determine how to spend locally generated revenues to benefit CHWD customers.

CHWD has joined with its local partners, the Regional Water Authority (RWA) and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) in supporting alternative solutions to fund needed assistance to disadvantaged communities. Those solutions include making use of the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), issuing a General Obligation Bond, drawing from an agriculture fund that is proposed to be set up by imposing a fee on nitrate related products, or drawing from the State’s general fund. CHWD agrees that everyone in California should have access to safe drinking water.

CHWD believes that local elected officials know best how to spend locally-generated rate payer dollars. An additional tax on water bills that is sent to Sacramento, where a portion will be carved out to fund another layer of administration, is not efficient and is not an appropriate solution or sound policy.

Citrus Heights Water District provides a dependable supply of safe drinking water to an estimated 67,000 customers in Sacramento and Placer Counties, including about sixty percent of the area within the boundaries of the City of Citrus Heights. The District has served the community since 1920, and will continue to evolve as a dynamic provider of municipal water service to assure that its customers receive the best value without giving it a second thought.

...

RT Bus Pulls Out All the Stops

Story and Photo by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-02-21

From left to right, Citrus Heights Councilman Albert Fox, Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen, Citrus Heights Mayor Steve Miller, behind him SacRT General Manager and CEO, Henry Li, Patrick Kennedy, Vice Chair, SacRT Board of Directors, County Supervisor Sue Frost and Councilman Jeff Slowey participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the city’s new SmaRT bus service at city hall February 12.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Move over Uber and Lyft. Sacramento Regional Transit rolled out three new “smart buses” on February 12 that will offer public transit users in Citrus Heights a new way to get around within the city.

No coins needed for the new, on-demand shuttles, which are “ordered” using app-based ride-sharing technology, eliminating the need for advanced scheduling and streamlining the payment process using a smart phone or computer, similar to the same ride-sharing technology used by Uber and Lyft.

SRT’s new "SmaRT Ride” shuttle service will allow residents to virtually “hail” rides on smaller, neighborhood friendly-sized public transit buses.  This first phase of a piloted program for the new service will run for six months to give public transit riders a high-tech options for using SRT’s inter-city bus network, dial-a-ride services and Paratransit services that provide some 8,000 trips annual in the city.

It’s a game-changer for customers like Citrus Heights resident Peter Firpo, who uses a wheelchair and, usually, gets around on Paratransit buses.  He arrived for the unveiling of the shuttle program at city hall via one of the new clean fuel SmaRT Ride buses when the Paratransit bus he’d ordered the day before didn’t show up. 

“I was planning to use the Paratransit bus to get here for this today, but they never came,” said Firpo.  So I downloaded the new SmaRT Ride app, ordered the shuttle and the new bus was at my door within about 10 minutes. If I had waited for the Paratransit bus to get me, I’d have missed this.” 

Firpo said you have to pre-order a Paratransit bus 24 hours in advance. 

The new SmaRT Ride shuttles will provide Citrus Heights residents with curb-to-curb on-demand transit service from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.  SmaRT Ride will connect passengers to destinations in Citrus Heights, including shopping centers, restaurants, movie theaters, community centers, parks, schools and medical facilities.  

You don’t necessarily need a smart phone to use the new service.  Trips aboard the new buses can be scheduled using the app, by phone or online.  Fares for using the new SmaRT Ride buses will run $2.75 per trip or $1.35 for qualifying riders, including students, seniors and those with disabilities.

Citrus Heights is one of the first cities in the nation to adopt the micro transit technology developed by TransLoc. The new service will not only allow riders the opportunity to better manage their time to and from destinations, but also will give them options for avoiding what can amount to long walks between bus stops and home or work.

“This is a turning point in public transit,” said County Supervisor Sue Frost, who added that it is very likely the second phase of the new SmaRT ride shuttle system will expand services beyond Citrus Heights potentially to Watt Avenue, as well as the neighboring communities of Orangevale, Fair Oaks, Folsom and possibly Rancho Cordova.

“I would like to see this program expand beyond our city borders to give riders all over the county the opportunity to have a more efficient option to what we have now,” Frost said.  

A SmaRT Ride request will offer passengers an estimated pick-up time, notification when they are the next passenger in the queue, and alert them when their bus is about to arrive.  The app is tied to a software scheduling program that builds what the city is calling “flexible and efficient transit routes” to manage incoming demand.

Officials from SacRT say the new program represents a pioneering campaign for revolutionizing city bus services. SacRT is the first transit agency to bring a microtransit service to the Sacramento County Region.  As such, it puts Citrus Heights on the cutting edge of the future of transit, delivering rider convenience and potentially enticing more commuters to get out of their cars.

“SacRT is excited to be among a select few transit agencies across the nation leading the way in this new on-demand, microtransit frontier for the transit industry,” said General Manager and CEO, Henry Li. “We believe TransLoc’s demand-response technology has the potential to influence a broader audience to use public transit by conveniently connecting more people and places to our existing system.”

As soon as a passenger requests a pick up using the app, SmaRT Ride will provide them with an estimated pick-up time followed by a notification to let them know when they are the next passenger in the queue.  Riders will also be alerted when their SmaRT bus is about to arrive at their pickup location.

Daily passes also are available for SmaRT Ride service for multiple trips. 

...

Compassion Through Action

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-02-21

The staff members of a Community for Peace.

A Community For Peace Celebrates 10 Years Providing Domestic Violence Support

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - What began a decade ago in Citrus Heights as a crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence has evolved into an award-winning model for success, and the proof is in the numbers.

A Community For Peace (ACFP), through its Foundation For Peaceful Communities, offers a full continuum of trauma-informed social justice support and advocacy for victims of domestic violence, family violence, and sexual assault for women, children and men alike.  Services, provided at no charge, include emergency shelter, short- and long-term housing, children’s therapy, men’s groups, counseling, legal and youth services.

Unlike traditional programs across the state, ACFP doesn’t wait for victims to come to them.  Instead, working in partnership with the Citrus Heights Police Department and the Department of Child Protective Services, ACFP’s

Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) is state and county certified to work with police “on scene” by offering direct and immediate support to the victims.

This model, says ACFP Executive Director, Elaine Whitefeather, is serving to break down traditional barriers between victims and law enforcement, barriers that historically keep victims in a cycle of violence, largely due to fear of reprisal by their perpetrators.                                                                  

“Talking to police is one of the biggest reasons for repeat offences of domestic violence,” says Whitefeather, a survivor of domestic violence herself.  “By bringing in an advocate, the police officer can handle the crime scene, get details and do their job, while our trained, first responders work directly with the victim or victims, the child etc. and offer services right in the moment that it is happening.”

Originally called the “Citrus Heights Women’s Center,” the initial mission was to offer domestic violence information, referrals and peer support to victims through a 24-hour crisis hotline.  But by 2008 the emergency shelter, the Soroptimist International House, was up-and-running, offering women and their children a place of refuge.

That same year, then Citrus Heights Police Chief, Christopher Boyd, sat on the board of directors for what was now being called A Community For Peace.  According to Whitefeather, Boyd hired her as a consultant to work alongside the police department to expand its services and structure.  Through a grant from the city, ACFP was able to obtain state and county certifications to provide training for first responders, creating a one-of-a kind model for change.

In 2012, Boyd was awarded the James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing for ACFP’s DVRT First Responders partnerships.  ACFP also has been selected as the Best Social Service agency of Citrus Heights for three years consecutively.

“This program is currently the only one of its kind in the state,” Whitefeather said. 

The statistics support the impact:  In Citrus Heights, the number of domestic violence-related calls to the police department between 2013 and 2017 fell 23 percent.  Other related calls are down and, combined, mark the equivalent of 5.5 fewer domestic violence calls in Citrus Heights for service each week. 

“Between the city of Citrus Heights and the Citrus Heights Police Department, they truly have invested in this issue of domestic violence,” said Whitefeather.  “They have been with us every step of the way and that’s how we have reduced the calls.”

Meanwhile, the number of victims who are requesting restraining orders against their abusers is rising, indicating that growing numbers of victims are willing to come forward.  Restraining orders, explains Whitefeather, are key to preventing an escalation of repeat offenses, often the precursors for escalated violence leading to homicide.

“That’s another barrier being broken,” says Whitefeather, adding that the number of women who also make follow up calls to her agency for help after the DVRT team has met them, also are on the rise.

“I’ve been in the field for almost 40 years and this is the first time where we’ve ever been able to see this,” Whitefeather said.  “Before this program, only eight percent of the time would victims call back for our services.  Today, the number is closer to 60 percent.”

Housing also is one of the biggest barriers for victims of domestic violence, women and men alike.  To that end, ACFP helps fill the gap by providing the emergency crisis shelter, as well as transitional housing and master leased apartments for long-term self-reliance, all through the help of community partnerships, grants and private funding. 

As ACFP celebrates its 10th Anniversary, it does so with plans to open a second emergency crisis center in Sacramento’s Oak Park District this year.  The new center will not only provide identical services to the Citrus Heights location, but also will house an onsite thrift store, a social enterprise pipeline for additional funding to support programs and services, as well as employment opportunities for participants.

“We are looking to now repeat our Citrus Heights model through a partnership with the Sacramento Police Department,” said Whitefeather.  “We conducted a pretty detailed review of the data for the Citrus Heights location, which revealed that large numbers of women were utilizing the center and services but didn’t live in the area.  They were coming from the South Sacramento area.”

The new 6,000-square foot location is being funded, in part, by Soroptimist International, grants and other sources, Whitefeather said.

“Pretty amazing to think of it,” said Whitefeather.  “We started out with $30,000.  Today we have an operating budget of $1 million. 

Services for marginalize individuals, including the LGBTQ community, are also provided through the ACFP Tapestry For P.E.A.C.E. (Personal Excellence Achieved Through Community Empowerment) program, which offers support for victims of sexual abuse and trafficking, as well as domestic violence. 

Whitefeather has plans to open a Tapestry for P.E.A.C.E. coffee shop somewhere in the downtown area, to be staffed by program participants, creating learning and earning opportunities but also another pipeline for funding.

“We have a lot going on, and a lot of work to do,” said Whitefeather.  “More than 80 percent of the staff we have now are survivors, including myself.  So we understand and we give as much as we can because we have all been there.”

...

Sunday, February 12, 2017 was a day many of us will forever remember.

I was working on our property when an aide called to inform me that the integrity of the Oroville Dam Spillway was compromised that an estimated 30-foot wall of water was about to uncontrollably rush out of the spillway, and that Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea had called for a mandatory evacuation.

Knowing Sheriff Honea to be a measured person, I knew he would not call for such an order without strong evidence. He must have weighed all the factors in his thoughts and deliberation.

Immediately, I contacted him to offer my full support.

Soon thereafter, nearly 200,000 people of the North State, from Plumas Lake to Oroville, quickly loaded their treasured possessions and pets and evacuated via congested highways.

Despite heavy traffic, residents – no doubt fearing the unknown and dealing with anxiety – evacuated without chaos.

Law enforcement officials and volunteers directed citizens to where they needed to go. Hundreds of first responders assisted and transported those who were most vulnerable. Residents of neighboring regions opened their homes to displaced families.

In this time of high stress and unease, the citizens of our region held their heads high and acted admirably.

Over the next few days, Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and I visited residents at the evacuation centers. We talked and shared cookies and donuts with our friends and neighbors.

Between the visits, I called the Governor’s Office and the director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for status updates.

After this alarming incident, thousands of workers from Kiewit Corporation and its subsidiaries descended onto Oroville to make the necessary repairs to the spillway. Their hard work is greatly appreciated.

But there’s more to be done.

A year later, sediment and debris from the spillway disaster still clog the channels of the Feather River and are strewn along the riverbanks. This disregard for the environment forced Butte County, the City of Oroville and local jurisdictions to file lawsuits against the state. Penalties can be as high as $51 billion.

At the state level, I have held many meetings in my office to discuss repair and communication efforts with state officials and community members. My staff and I continue to work with Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency to get funding to shore up the levees.

Along with Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), the Oroville Strong Coalition, Assemblyman Gallagher and I travelled to Washington, DC to lobby federal officials. Our request to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delay the license renewal is pending.

This disaster has united our community. We are now stronger than ever.

On the one-year anniversary of the evacuation, community members and leaders, businesses, and public officials affected by the order gathered on the steps of the Capitol to commemorate the event and call for efforts to prevent any similar disaster in the future.

In the coming year, we will continue to encourage the Governor to sign Assembly Bill 1270 (Gallagher), a measure to require more thorough dam inspections which I shepherded in the Senate.

I will continue my efforts to push for $100 million in state funding for flood control efforts and to clean up the Feather River system.

It is also my goal to have DWR include our community in their decision making process. We want a seat at the table when DWR decides to either send more water to Los Angeles or hold back water, among the other decisions they make.  

That’s why I authored Senate Bill 955. This measure would create a citizens advisory commission for Oroville Dam and the Feather River system. This commission would allow for participation by the residents who are directly affected by the dam’s operations and strategic plans.

With the strength and support of the community, I am optimistic that we will achieve these goals for the safety of our people and the prosperity of our local economy.


# # #


Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at Follow him on Twitter.

...

Citrus Heights Student of the Month Honored by Chamber at Luncheon

By Rosa Umbach, Education Chair  |  2018-02-21

(L-R) Phillip Norton of Congressman Ami Bera

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights Chamber’s Education Committee honored Ashlynn Brann, 8th grade student at Sylvan Middle School, as the February 2018 Student of the Month. The award was presented at the Chamber’s February 13, 2018, luncheon held at the North Ridge Country Club in Fair Oaks.

Ashlynn has a 4.0 GPA, plays the flute in the school band, and has played soccer for the Citrus Heights Soccer team for nine years. She was one of five students selected from Sylvan Middle School to play in an Honors Band. After several practices, the Band held a performance at Rio Americano High School on February 7th.

Ashlynn’s English teacher, Mr. Shaw, shared that she is always focused on the task at hand and doesn’t allow herself to get distracted. She is very kind, always polite, sociable, and gets along with other students and staff very well. She is a really good student. Always in the top three grades wise in his class, and is sure that is true in all her classes. Her participation is amazing. She is always engaged, participating, and learning.

Local businesses sponsor the lunches for the student of the month and their guests. Many thanks to Stones Gambling Hall as this month’s Student of the Month lunch sponsor and for providing the Student with a gift certificate to Sammy’s Restaurant.

...

SilverSneakers Fitness Program Improves Older Adult's Physical and Mental Health

NewsUSA  |  2018-02-15

For more information about SilverSneakers, go to

(NewsUSA) - Joanne C. was 74 when she had a stroke two years ago that left her paralyzed on the entire right side of her body. She refused to

accept that she'd end up in a wheelchair and began rehabilitation, determined to get her life and

body back to where it was before her stroke.

Joanne's hard work paid off. She has regained much of her strength and movement and

can walk again. In large part, she credits her SilverSneakers exercise classes - offered through

her HumanaChoice® PPO, a Medicare Advantage preferred provider organization (PPO) health plan - as key to her successful recovery.

Being a SilverSneakers member helped keep Joanne in good physical condition before

her stroke. "SilverSneakers helped me be familiar with many of the exercises they had me do in

physical therapy and gave me the confidence and strength to persevere through a difficult rehab

process," Joanne says.

Numerous studies, including Tivity Health's SilverSneakers Annual Member Survey of 2016,

confirm that exercising, especially with others, improves older adults' physical and mental

health.1,2, 3

However, there are challenges that prevent many Medicare beneficiaries from joining gyms and

fitness classes.

By offering SilverSneakers through its Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Humana is

working to overcome those barriers so more people with Medicare can benefit from


For those on a fixed income, joining a gym can be expensive. SilverSneakers

provides gym access at no additional cost to many of Humana's MA members across the country,

including those in Florida and Texas. SilverSneakers has partnered with almost 14,000 fitness and

wellness centers around the U.S. and, with national reciprocity, SilverSneakers members can go to

any one of those facilities.

The program is designed with the Medicare population in mind and taught by

certified instructors who offer classes and modifications for all fitness levels. These instructors

are specifically trained to help members avoid stress-related injuries to muscles and


There's also a wide variety of classes offered, including circuit training, yoga,

Latin dance and even an outdoor boot camp. SilverSneakers members also have access to all of a

facility's amenities, which can include a range of exercise equipment, weight rooms and swimming


"According to Tivity Health's annual survey, SilverSneakers has made a significant

difference in the lives of many of our Medicare Advantage members, not only in their physical

health, but also in their social life," says Lauri Kalanges, M.D., Humana's Medical Director

of Medicare Products for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Tivity Health's Annual Member Survey of 2016 found that 91 percent of SilverSneakers

participants reported an improved quality of life. SilverSneakers has had a substantial impact on

the health of its participants, reducing hospitalizations and the risk of depression.3

For more information about SilverSneakers, go to

Humana is a Medicare

Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization with a Medicare Contract.  Enrollment in any Humana plan

depends on contract renewal.  This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact

the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments and restrictions may apply. Benefits may

change each year.  SilverSneakers is not offered on all Humana MA plans in all areas.

...

(NewsUSA) - Many people assume that it is a normal part of the

aging process, but no one should resign themselves to foot pain.

According to the The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), some foot problems

are hereditary, but many others result from cumulative neglect and abuse. Gaining weight can affect

bone and ligament structure. In fact, women suffer four times more foot problems than men, and a

lifetime of wearing high heels can leave a painful legacy.

Normal wear and tear alters foot structure. With age and use, feet spread and lose

cushioning. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, one-sixth of nursing home

patients need assistance to walk, while another one-fourth cannot walk. Seeking professional

treatment for foot pain can help senior citizens enjoy a higher quality of life, not to mention

increased mobility and independence.

"Foot pain can limit a senior citizen's ability to participate in social

activities or work," said Dr. Ross Taubman, president of the APMA. "Even worse, foot problems can

lead to debilitating knee, hip and lower back pain."

Podiatric physicians serve in foot clinics, nursing homes and hospitals across the

country, where they help keep older patients on their feet. The APMA offers these tips to older

Americans hoping to walk pain-free:

-Remeasure your feet every time you buy new shoes. Feet expand with age, so you

can't assume that your shoe size will remain constant. Shop for shoes in the afternoon -; feet

swell through the day.

-Keep walking. Feet strengthen with exercise, and walking is the best exercise for your


-Choose your legwear carefully. Don't wear stockings with seams. Never wear constricting

garters or tie your stockings in knots.


-Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water. Use a mild soap that contains moisturizers.

After washing your feet, pat them dry and massage them with lotion. Inspect your feet for redness,

swelling and cracks or sores, which require a doctor's attention. Do not cut off corns, and only

trim nails straight across.

-See a podiatrist at least once a year. For more information, visit APMA's Web site at

...Read More!