Meghan and Harry – A Royal Way Forward

Story by Susan Skinner  |  2018-05-25

Prince Harry and his Californian bride posed with wedding attendants at Windsor castle. Among royal duties, the couple will act as youth ambassadors for the Queen. Photo courtesy St James Palace, London

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - On a sunny day in 1981, I watched Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles. Their son Prince Harry was also blessed with a sunny wedding day. There the similarities ended. Thirty-seven years have passed, and times sure have changed.

Little boys when I last saw them, bridegroom Harry and brother William now parade balding Windsor pates. Two of William’s children were among bride Meghan Markle’s junior attendants. Kate Middleton’s middle-class family exuded more allure than their royal in-laws and celebrity wedding guests garnered more attention than anyone. Even the nuptial soprano claimed meeting George Clooney was the best part of her day.

With a showbiz bride at the altar, Hollywood did indeed meet Holyrood. But what really defined this event was an unapologetic decree that multi-culturalism rules in a marriage that represents the state of Britain’s Commonwealth. Stunning in Givenchy, a mixed-race bride strode the aisle alone. She was not property to be given away. She took her father-in-law’s arm for a few final steps, allowing the stunning symbolism of a future king’s blessing. The word “obey” was absent from her vows.

You begin as you mean to continue. This wedding indicates a non-negotiable path for a modern duke and duchess and an apparently accepting royal family.

Meghan’s path to a splendid marriage was strewn with carpet tacks rather than rose petals. She hails from a crisis-prone clan. She’s American and divorced. If this was enough to rule out Wallace Simpson as a royal bride in 1936, family baggage is now more common than coronets among Windsor ranks. She might be an actress but the happiness she has brought to the Queen’s once-troubled grandson is no act – Harry’s wedding day tears were real. Moreover, the bride promises to be a stunning weapon for Windsor popularity. The arcane tradition of divine right survives only through adaptability and the new duke and duchess will help make royalty relevant to millions.  As an actress, Meghan will smile and charm her way through a life-sentence of tedium; as humanitarians who bring attention and energy to good causes, she and her besotted husband will be fantastic ambassadors for the Windsor “Firm.”

Thirty-seven years ago, no one could have told me Elizabeth II would hear a pulpit-thumping sermon steal her Archbishop of Canterbury’s thunder; that her grandson would exit his wedding to gospel anthems and ululations from Middle Eastern fans. But she is wise to endure Meg and Harry’s conquest. She accepts that millions will embrace the cosmopolitan couple like rock stars. Their children will endear royalty to future generations of her multicultural Commonwealth. Best yet, the Sussexes are too distant to the throne to threaten succession!

So, Meaghan may borrow Queen Mary’s tiara any time she likes. The Windsors will bend over en arrière to avoid mistakes that alienated a previous people’s princess. In his address, Episcopalian Bishop Michael Curry contended love was a fire – if harnessed – that could change the world. If the Sussex marriage is good, Meghan and Harry’s love might just do that. Wish them well.

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American Legion Has Its Day at the State Capitol

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-05-24

Photo courtesy Dana Nichol

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - On April 25 more than 70 members of American Legion posts throughout the state of California, along with members of the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion, spent an informative and interactive day meeting their legislators and sharing their concerns for the future of the more than 1.7 million veterans living in the Golden State.

The American Legion is one of the largest veteran advocates in the United States. Sons of the American Legion (SAL) also exists to honor the services and sacrifices of those who served their country.

Veterans Legislative Advocate Seth Reeb welcomed attendees with an explanation of the day’s events and kept the program moving as Assembly members and Senators from El Dorado Hills, Napa, Merced, Thousand Oaks, Riverside, Fullerton, Dana Point (Orange County), and Oceanside, many of them veterans themselves, explained the legislation they are sponsoring.  

Dr. Vito Imbasciani M.D., secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and head of the CalVet Leadership Team, spoke of the tragic killing of three staffers by a former patient at the Yountville Veterans Home on March 10, 2018. The patient was in a special program for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  SB1314 has been introduced to prevent this from happening again.

Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, and Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) each received the Department’s 2017 Leo P. Burke Legislator of the Year Award for their leadership, support and dedication to the veterans and service members of California.

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) is working on Senate Bill SB 1375 that would reinstate the “VETERAN” license plate, which will be available only to veterans. Gaines spoke of his father who at 18 years joined the Army Air Corps during World War II, serving on a tail gunner on a bomber in Germany.

Assemblyman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) and Chair of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs described AB 2325, which would protect an eligible veteran’s ability to access county mental or behavioral health services.

Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, explained his Bill, SB 1080, which would streamline the state’s driver licensing requirements for active duty military and their families so they can begin earning extra income from ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber without unnecessary fees and delays.

Other examples of bills included AB 2394, which exempts military retirement pay from California state income tax, AB 2801, which addresses the problem of veteran and law enforcement memorials being vandalized, and SB 1452, which would establish the War on Terror Memorial Committee to look into the feasibility of the construction of a memorial in or around the State Capitol Park.

Other proposed legislation addresses veteran housing, homelessness, issues with disabled veterans, and more funding for county veterans service officers from the current $5.6 million to $7 million.

Elizabeth Perez-Halperin, a U.S. Navy veteran, was recently named Deputy Secretary of Minority Veterans at the California Department of Veteran Affairs. She gave a presentation of her work with minority and unrepresented veterans including African American, Latino, Native American, LGBT, and the homeless. In a recent issue of CalVet Connect, she describes her work, “To help immigrant veterans become naturalized citizens.” Herself a member of the Native American community, she said, “I am committed to ensuring that we actively identify and address any challenges in serving ALL veterans.”

The American Legion (AL) and American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), both founded in 1919, exist to help veterans and their families. The AL is active in supporting the interests of veterans and representing on their behalf.  According to the ALA, they are the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Working side-by-side with their American Legion posts, members volunteer tens of thousands of hours in their communities and raise millions of dollars to support its programs.

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Mount Vernon Memorial Park to Host Memorial Day Service

By Dignity Memorial  |  2018-05-24

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Around 4,000 are expected to attend Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary’s Memorial Day Service at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 28, at the cemetery located at 8201 Greenback Lane in Fair Oaks. Community leaders and Veterans organizations join each year at this service to honor the men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  

To properly honor those who fought and continue to fight for our country, Mount Vernon and volunteers have scheduled the following visuals and activities:

  • A 50 foot flag hung by the Sacramento Metro Fire Department
  • Performances from the Army Band
  • A flyover by two T-38 jets
  • Consolidated Drum Band
  • A few words from guest speakers from the California National Guard
  • Two skydivers will land in the cemetery with a 30 foot American flag and a POW/MIA

Mount Vernon will also have hundreds of flags displayed throughout the park courtesy of the local Boy Scouts, who very graciously post the flags each year.

“This Memorial Day event is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the men and women who have served and who have sacrificed,” said Lisa Goudy, general manager of Mount Vernon, an honored Dignity Memorial® provider. “It is our privilege to provide this service for our community and are looking forward to honoring our military for their service in defense of our freedom at this time-honored tradition.”

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Maestro Kendrick Shares His Final Bow

By Anthony Barcellos  |  2018-05-24

SCSO Conductor led the 250-voice Chorus and Orchestra in the West Coast premiere of Dan Forrest

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - When a distinguished professor retires into emeritus status, we expect him to be taking a bow at his retirement party. However, Don Kendrick of Sacramento State found a way to have his students take a bow with him. And he did it simply by including them in the public performance celebrating his retirement.

Kendrick is the founder of the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra, which honored their creator with an event on May 12 at the Community Center Theater. The performers included 280 singers, 3 soloists, and an orchestra of 52 professional musicians. The huge force was assembled by combining the musicians of the SCSO with Sacramento State’s three choirs — the Women's Chorus, the Men's Chorus, and the University Chorus — and the Sacramento Children’s Chorus.

The concert comprised three works: Ottorino Respighi’s Suite No. 2 of “Ancient Airs and Dances,” Antonín Dvorák’s “Te Deum,” and the West Coast premiere of Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo.” The Respighi work is a purely orchestral composition, so the tiers of seats for the singers were empty as Kendrick launched the performance with a sense of anticipation. As SCSO president Jim McCormick noted in his pre-performance presentation, Respighi “gets the endorphins flowing!”

The singers filed in and filled the performance space to capacity for Dvorák’s “Te Deum,” an ancient hymn of praise in Latin. With a text derived from the Book of Psalms, the “Te Deum” was a joyous foreshadowing of the new work constituting the evening’s concluding work, which was also derived from the Psalms. Supertitles helpfully provided both Latin text and English translation.

After the intermission, Maestro Kendrick led the ensemble in Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo” (Be joyful in the Lord), a cosmopolitan composition comprising seven world languages in seven movements. The boisterous first segment in Latin cites passages from Psalm 100 and exhorts the entire world (“omnis terra”) to celebrate. The second movement is an ethereal exchange of statements and echoes in Hebrew and Arabic, a plaintive call for unity.

The third movement incorporated the Chinese two-stringed fiddle, played with bow by guest performer David An. The Mandarin text derived from Psalm 23’s invocation of the Good Shepherd, and the music was a tranquil meditation highlighted by a soprano soloist.

After being lulled into a sense of peaceful serenity by two movements, the audience was jolted into full wakefulness with the percussion-driven opening of the fourth movement, as the chorus sang out a Zulu text calling for enthusiastic celebration. The kinetic impact of the movement was felt throughout the theater, and the singers were swaying to the music’s dance impulse.

The fifth movement offers a lyrical respite, “Bendecid su nombre” (Bless his name), with Spanish-language text and a mood of contemplation. Strings are prominent, with both harp and guitar accompaniment.

The title of the sixth movement is “Song of the Earth,” but it is not evocative of Mahler. Rather, it is a wordless celebration of the entire world, until eventually the singing of the performers resolves into one word: Alleluia!

The finale encompasses all that went before in recapitulation and closes the circle of life with evocations of the opening bars, particularly the “jubilate” (celebrate) theme. The title is “Omnis Terra” (the whole world), and it builds to a dramatic climax full of excitement and drama. The audience, full of pent-up energy because of the frequent reminders to be quiet as the performance was being recorded, finally burst into explosive applause and shouts of approval. Kendrick took his bows, as did his students and all the other performers with him.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - As we head into fire season, Sacramento County Department of Regional Parks has a multi-pronged plan to reduce fire risk, defend wildlife habitat and protect our natural resources and neighborhoods adjacent to the parks.  

For its 2018 Fire Fuel Reduction Action Plan, the Department of Regional Parks has lined up sheep and goat grazing contracts, is maintaining firebreaks and has partnered with Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District and Sacramento Fire Department for targeted range management burns with coordinated Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District permits. 

SMUD, Western Area Power Administration and PG&E are also working in concert with Regional Parks to reduce fuels where major transmission lines intersect the American River Parkway. The utilities have annually entered the site throughout fire season to address noxious weeds, fuels, and trees growing close enough to powerlines to pose a potential fire hazard.  

As the weather warms, the tall, dense grasses and vegetation will be drying out and creating extreme risk in many areas of the 23-mile American River Parkway, as well as Dry Creek Parkway, Mather Regional Park, and Rollingwood Open Space. 

“The range management burns will be highly coordinated and used when they allow for the best outcome in effectively reducing fuels. All of the Plan’s proactive measures will help reduce the number and severity of uncontrolled, catastrophic fires in our Regional Parks that threaten wildlife habitats, mature trees, riparian areas and public safety,” said Director Jeff Leatherman, Sacramento County Regional Parks.

To decrease the number and size potential of wildfires in our parks system, the techniques used will be applicable for each area and will include: 

  • Firebreaks – A combination of mowing, soil discing, and targeted herbicides will be used where appropriate to create perimeters around open fields, along fence lines and behind neighborhoods.  This work is scheduled to be completed by end of June. 
  • Ladder Fuel Hand-Crews – In limited, hard to reach areas, hand-crews will remove vegetation that allows the potential for a fire to climb up or move into urban areas. 
  • Grazing – There are hundreds of acres of undeveloped or protected land in our Regional Parks. This vegetation can be a costly and deadly fire hazard. Goats and sheep are ideal for vegetation management and make fast work of eating down weeds, bushes and grass. Grazing is expected to occur between May and the end of June, with roughly 5,000 sheep/goats grazing at various locations along our Parkways and open spaces. By the end of June, the sheep/goats are expected have grazed roughly 625 acres in Sacramento County.
  • Range Management Burns – In some areas, Range Management Burn are the most effective tool against catastrophic wildfires. The ability to burn certain areas under very controlled circumstances (low temperatures/wind, higher humidity, air quality monitoring) allows for the best outcome in effectively reducing fuels and continued fire danger. Along with closely monitoring the conditions, nesting bird surveys will be conducted in the areas of the pending range management burns. The burn permits outline specific weather and air conditions that must be met before the range management burns will be authorized. The burns should conclude by June 30, but may resume in fall, if necessary. 
  • Annual Encroachment Permits – Residents who live adjacent to Regional Parks properties are able to apply for free annual encroachment permits to maintain a fire break behind their property line. These allow residents to string-trim grass and weeds for up to 50 feet beyond their private property line. To request a permit, provide your name, address and contact information to Regional Parks at

Visit the Regional Parks website to learn more the 2018 Fire Fuel Reduction Action Plan for Sacramento County Parks.

The objective of the Department of Regional Parks is to provide safe, accessible and clean recreational facilities for park users while maintaining more than 15,000 acres of parks throughout Sacramento County. ​

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Citrus Heights Student of the Month: Izabel Kirk

By Brett Tujague and Heather Berkness  |  2018-05-24

Izabel is an outstanding student at Mesa Verde high school. She has been very dedicated to her academics over her four years in High School and has worked hard to graduate in the top 10% of her class.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights Chamber’s Education Committee honored Izabel Kirk, a senior at Mesa Verde High School, as the May 2018 Student of the Month. The award was presented at the Chamber’s May 8, 2018 luncheon held at the North Ridge Country Club in Fair Oaks.

Mesa Verde vice principal and school counselor provided the following to illustrates Izabel’s strengths and achievements and why she was selected for this honor.

Vice Principal Brett Tujague (Izabel’s former English teacher) wrote: “Izabel Kirk is one of the best students I ever had as a teacher at Mesa. Her attention to detail and confidence as a student leader is something that all students should strive to achieve. She is a steady and committed student who takes pride in the small details day in and day out. Izabel’s individual determination and mindset of success are her strongest attributes as a student. She is a natural, independent thinker and has the skills to break down ambiguous content into comprehensible pieces; a skill that she will undoubtedly utilize in her collegiate career.

Some of her more memorable moments from my class came from comments she made in Socratic Seminars, which she frequently contributed in. Her comments in discussions from texts by Bacon, Voltaire, Boethius and other novels students read and discussed were deep with meaningful insight. She is respectful of her peers’ opinions and confident in her own. She consistently used diplomacy and tact when working with various groups, which I appreciated during our discussions related to provocative issues.

Perhaps, even above all these fine attributes is Izabel’s positive, enthusiastic spirit; I enjoyed this part of her the most. Izabel has always worked very hard for her academic success and will continue her stride as a Hornet starting next fall at Sac State. Great Job Izabel!”

Counselor Heather Berkness wrote: “Izabel is an outstanding student at Mesa Verde high school. She has been very dedicated to her academics over her four years in High School and has worked hard to graduate in the top 10% of her class. She continues to challenge herself by taking honors and AP coursework into her senior year. Most recently, Izabel has earned the Seal of biliteracy in French. She will be attending Sacramento state in the fall and is interested in pursuing a career in Accounting.”

Local businesses sponsor the lunches for the student of the month and their guests. The Education Committee thanks Sides & Ferkovich Accountancy Corp., courtesy of Mike Sides, as this month’s Student of the Month lunch sponsor and Stones Gambling Hall for providing a gift certificate to Sammy’s Restaurant for the Student of the Month.

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Togo's Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary Ribbon Cutting

By Citrus Heights Chamber  |  2018-05-24

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Togo’s Greenback Square held their 15 year anniversary ribbon cutting on Friday, May 11.  They are located at 8053 Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights.  Owners Keith and Victoria Ridge cut the ribbon along with assistant manager Cameron Herman.  Attendees included City of Citrus Heights Council Member Al Fox, Jonathan Glatz of Assemblyman Ken Cooley’s office, Vance Jarrard of Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost’s office, Citrus Heights Chamber Executive Director Cendrinne DeMattei, Citrus Heights Chamber Board Members John Casey and Rosa Umbach, Citrus Heights Chamber Ambassadors, and Communications and Outreach Associate Breanna Niekamp of Sunrise MarketPlace. Photo courtesy Citrus Heights Chamber

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