Family – The Glue That Holds Circus Vargas Together!

Circus Vargas Press Release  |  2019-09-12

The show must go on! Circus Vargas is a community, a friendship and a family. Courtesy Circus Vargas/ Wednesday Aja

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Circus Vargas is indeed a family operation. Owned and operated by a talented young couple who together with their immediate and extended family have managed to produce some of the most incredible productions in live family entertainment in generations all under the Big Top!

Every member of the family is involved in the day to day operations of the circus and together they function like a well-oiled machine. From the most veteran member of the family to the youngest child everyone works together. Like a village of artists and performers, when you visit them, it’s almost impossible not to feel at home! “Our goal is to make everyone who comes to Circus Vargas feel welcomed, like part of the family”, says Katya Quiroga, Co- Owner-Producer along with husband Nelson.

A small self-contained city on wheels, they travel from town to town, yet always manage to keep some semblance of stability and continuity. Laid out across whatever parking lot or grass field the Big Top calls home that week, the setup is almost always the same. “We are our own little community. We have the same neighbors in each town. The trailers are parked in the exact same spots relative to the Big Top, so the environment is always familiar. You feel at home even in a place you’ve never been to before” says Katya.

The Quiroga family has 4 generations of its own traveling with Circus Vargas. Add to that the many other performers from all over the world along with their families and you’ll understand why no one is ever lonely and never bored. There are more than 20 children and teenagers at Circus Vargas and they have constant supervision.

“There is always someone’s grandmother, father, mother, brother or aunt around”, laughs Katya, “so not much chance for anyone to misbehave and we are very big on respecting our elders.” They are the perfect example of the “It takes a village…” theory. It is quite simply, a unique establishment. There is such a wonderful mix of energy, a cross between the United Nations and one big motley magical family!

Circus Vargas director, Rolanda Kaiser says it best: “The circus is a family in the sense that we feel responsible for each other. There is a tremendous respect you have for each other that doesn’t come from any other kind of job. Sometimes you literally have each other’s lives in your hands. We work together. We play together. We have barbeques, birthdays and baby showers. There is a kinship and sense of community.”

It is only fitting that with so much togetherness, these friendships foster a deep respect and camaraderie that cultivates into sincere affection. They care about each other. Not only while they are performing but behind the scenes, as well. “You’ll notice in the circus community that family really does come first,” says Rolanda. It is the backbone, the glue that keeps Circus Vargas together. “We may not be related…but we are definitely family”!

Circus Vargas will be performing in: 

1151 Galleria Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678 -  September 20-29
6166 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights, CA 95610 -  October 3-6
745 Oak Ave Pkwy, Folsom, CA 95630 - October 10-14

 

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - On September 10th, members of the California Senate Republican Caucus voted against Assembly Bill 5 which would threaten the livelihoods of many California independent contractors. AB 5 undercuts workers' freedom in many industries to choose independent work and threatens their employment status. The author of AB 5 offered carve-outs for several well-connected professions which favored certain industries over others. 

On the Senate floor tonight, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced an amendment to AB 5 which would have conformed California's test for employment with an existing federal standard and offered parity across the board. Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) presented a separate amendment that would have delayed the implementation of the Dynamex decision for two years.

In addition, other members of the California Senate Republican Caucus offered amendments to AB 5 that would provide exemptions for the following industries: forestry, health care professionals, newspapers carriers and distributors, physical therapists, interpreters, translators, single truck owner-operators, non-profits, franchisors, franchisees, and design who were excluded from AB 5. Senate Democrats blocked these efforts to protect the employment status of independent contractors.

"Over 2 million Californians choose to work as independent contractors and AB 5 only protects certain industries. I am proud to have stood with my Republican colleagues in offering better solutions to protect workers in industries such as healthcare, transportation, and newspapers carriers and distributors. If the governor truly believes in supporting a California for all, then he needs to do the right thing and veto AB 5." - Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)

"I opposed Assembly Bill 5 because it undermines the principle of equal treatment under the law and deprives many Californians the right to be their own bosses. The bill's Christmas tree of exemptions is a prime example of the Legislature picking winners and losers. Why should some people enjoy an exemption while others such as newspaper carriers and language interpreters and translators do not?" -Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)

"Economic and technological advances have spurred the creation of the gig economy giving economic opportunities to folks outside of the traditional workplace. AB 5 will not only limit an individual's ability for flexible employment, but will destroy entire industries across California. Independent contractors and small businesses are the backbone of a thriving California economy." - Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno)

"This bill has morphed into an unworkable mishmash of industry exceptions, which ultimately picks winners and losers based on who is politically-connected. A simple test should be, if you have a business license, you're a businessperson!" - Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber)

"AB 5 exemplifies everything that is wrong with one party rule in Sacramento - those with influence (i.e. union leaders) and those with money (i.e. campaign donors) get their way.  Everyone else, particularly hard-working California families, are left out.  In the Capitol absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee)

"AB 5 employs a one-size-fits-all approach that won't work for Californians. We're talking about college students, single moms, and many other hard working individuals who need flexibility to pay their bills. The majority party is once again taking away choice from the very people they were elected to serve." - Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

"By choosing to exempt some industries, but not others, Democratic legislators and unions are picking winners and losers through a process that gives the distinct appearance of impropriety and is another indication that Sacramento Democrats continue to embrace a slide toward socialism." - Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga)

"California has become a hostile place to do business. Tonight, the Legislature turned this hostility toward millions of independent contractors. With the exception of a few professions, Assembly Bill 5 will restrict a worker's ability to work flexible hours that fit their needs." - Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)

"Make no mistake, AB 5 is an abuse of the legislative process by big labor union bosses who want to force companies who give opportunities to independent contractors into making their contractors join the union. As amended, AB 5 picks winner and losers, and the big losers will be the people of California who chose to work independently and pursue their own dreams and will be prevented from doing so by this onerous legislation." -Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County)

"A legitimate owner operator trucker is the quintessential independent contractor. This classic 'little guy' has put his or her heart, soul and personal resources into building an independent business. By excluding these truckers from AB 5, the Legislature has capriciously eliminated their livelihood." - Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita)

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove represents California's 16th Senate District.

 

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Grandparents Are Great!

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-09-12

Five-year-old Serenity shows off her wings at the Grandparents Day Butterfly Release.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Sunday, September 8, families from around the region celebrated Grandparents Day with a Butterfly Release at Sacramento Children’s Museum (SCM). The event, which was a collaboration between SCM and Snowline Hospice, honored grandparents’ significant impact on children’s lives.

Snowline development director Rene Hamlin said, “We wanted to do something together with the Sacramento Children’s Museum that celebrated grandparents because a lot of grandparents bring their grandkids here, and we take care of a lot of grandparents [at Snowline]. It’s Grandparents Day and releasing a butterfly in honor or in memory or with your grandparent is kind of a magical experience.”

Hamlin said that the butterflies signify “hope and renewal. Here’s something that starts out as a caterpillar, this worm thing with a lot of legs, that goes into a cocoon — and scientists have opened up the cocoon and it’s not like there’s a baby butterfly in there, it’s this goo, this primordial goo — and then it opens up to reveal this beautiful butterfly, so it’s a mystery. It’s amazing, it’s magical.”

To commence the Butterfly Release, Hamlin read a poem: “As you release this butterfly in honor of me, know that I am with you and will always be. … Now fly away, butterfly, as high as you can go. I’m right there with you more than you know,” (poem by Jill Haley). Participants warmed the butterflies in their hands to wake them from hibernation, and then released them in honor of their grandparents.

 

Rancho Cordova City Councilmember Linda Budge attended the Grandparents Day Butterfly Release and said, “I think this is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. Standing here holding these little creatures…. I mean, who’s ever held a butterfly?”

 

Budge loves spending time with her 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren: “As grandparents, it is such a treasure to have our grandchildren living here in the same area that we are. … I really appreciate everybody being here close to home. It gives us the opportunity to do mundane things like going to baseball games or to Back-to-School Night with the kids. There’s nothing better.”

 

The Butterfly Release celebration featured games, activities, face painting, and food vendors. Grandparents shared the day with their favorite tiny people and spoke about the importance of being intentionally active and present to make an impact on the lives of their grandchildren. One grandmother described it as the “consistency of family.” Others acknowledged the joy of getting to spoil the grandchildren and then give them back to the parents. Leslie Santana described the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren as “happiness.”

 

SCM’s director of museum advancement Meghan Toland said, “This is the first time the museum has ever been part of a Butterfly Release, and the reception was great. It was a really neat way to bring people of all ages to the museum. … It was really cool seeing people of all ages enjoying the event — and seeing all the butterflies released was so beautiful.” After such a successful event, Toland is hopeful that the Butterfly Release can become an annual event if there is continued community interest.

 

This year’s Butterfly Release was sponsored by Golden1 Credit Union, the City of Rancho Cordova, Republic Services, Oakmont of El Dorado Hills, and the Fernandez family. Proceeds from the event will benefit Snowline’s Healing All Together youth grief group and SCM’s educational programs.

 

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The U.S. continues to experience cases and outbreaks of measles, largely due to unvaccinated or under-vaccinated segments of the population. Measles can be a serious disease. This year has seen the greatest number of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1992, and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. Of those diagnosed with measles, approximately 10% have required hospitalization. The majority of cases are among people who were not vaccinated. The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine has been approved in the U.S. for nearly 50 years. It is highly effective and very safe. As a result of its use, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, rubella in 2004, and since 1989, mumps cases have decreased by 99%.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - A Sacramento woman is currently in the hospital in a semi-comatose state after using a Pond’s-labeled skin cream tainted with methylmercury. This is the first reported case of methylmercury poisoning of this type linked to a skin cream in the United States. The woman obtained the skin cream through an informal network that imported the cream from Mexico. This type of cream is used by consumers as a skin lightener and to remove spots and wrinkles. The mercury was not added by the Pond’s manufacturer, but by a third party after purchase.

Sacramento County Public Health urges the community to immediately stop using similar skin creams imported from Mexico due to the risk of contamination with methylmercury,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. “Methylmercury is extremely dangerous to adults and children.” 

Sacramento County Public Health is working closely with the California Department of Public Health to test similar creams in the Sacramento-area for methylmercury. Methylmercury can enter the nervous system and can cause severe illness among household contacts, especially in pregnant and breastfeeding women and children. Signs and symptoms include the following:

Difficulty concentrating, memory loss; Nervousness, irritability, anxiety; Depression, insomnia; Headaches; Weight loss, fatigue; Tremors, numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or around the lips

Children with prolonged exposure may show these symptoms: Pink hands and feet; Skin flaking; Excessive saliva or thirst, gum disease; Irritability, poor appetite; Poor muscle tone, leg cramps; High blood pressure, and a rash.

In California, over the last nine years, there have been over 60 poisonings linked to foreign brand, unlabeled, and/or homemade skin creams that contained the less toxic form of mercury, mercurous chloride or calomel.

For those who use imported skin creams from Mexico:

Stop using them immediately; Put the cream in a closed Ziploc bag and bring to your doctor; Go to the doctor and get tested for mercury in your blood and urine; Contact CDPH at (510) 981-4354 or AskEHIB@cdph.ca.gov. For free medical advice in English or other languages, call California Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222

 

For more information or to view a list of skin creams that have been tested and confirmed to have mercury, visit the Department of Health Services website.

 

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The California Senate approved Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), a measure that will put tens of thousands of owner-operator truckers, who service agriculture, retail and other industry sectors, out of business. Despite efforts by the California Trucking Association (CTA) to amend the measure in a way that would protect independent truckers, Assembly Bill 5 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) passed with an overwhelming XX-XX vote.

“AB 5 could have been amended to address worker misclassification issues, as well as protect the 70,000 predominantly minority-owned truckers currently operating as independent contractors,” said Shawn Yadon, CTA’s CEO. “There is no reason why protecting workers does not include defending the right of tens of thousands of drivers who have built their businesses around the independent owner-operator model, invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their trucks and have operated their own businesses for decades.” 

Since the bill’s introduction, CTA has advocated for changes to AB 5, including requirements for operating authority, ownership of vehicles, exclusivity and transparency about pay. These changes would have set a clear criterion and established independence in a way that protected employees from misclassification without hurting entire sectors of the business community.

Instead, AB 5 proponents created a scenario in which they chose winners and losers by carving out some professions while excluding others. In an attempt to address some of the concerns of California’s owner-operators, AB 5 was amended to allow drivers working within the construction industry to continue operating as independent truckers for a two-year grace period. However, AB 5 will severely limit work opportunities for tens of thousands of independent owner-operators in other business sectors.

In California, more than 136,950 trucking companies remain primarily small, locally owned business with small fleets and independent drivers.

“AB 5 will have implications that will go beyond employment classification,” said Yadon, CTA’s CEO. “Like the rest of the nation, California is experiencing a shortage of truck drivers, this measure will aggravate the problem by removing thousands of drivers from rosters as many have indicated they will move to other states or seek a different line of work all together.”

AB 5 now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature. If signed into law, AB 5 would deny a significant segment of the trucking industry the ability to continue operating as independent owner-operators, forcing them to abandon the investments they have made in their vehicles and taking away their flexibility to set their own schedule and determine their own destiny for their business.

Governor Newsom has until October 13, 2019, to approve or veto this bill.

 

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ECMC Group Celebrates $10 Million in Giving

By Alex Kuntz, ECMC Group  |  2019-09-12

An ECMC Group board member joined ECMC Group employees to help present checks to organizations they nominated to receive a grant. Single Mom Strong was nominated by two employees. ECMC Group

MATHER, CA (MPG) - On Sept. 4, ECMC Group in Mather hosted an event to celebrate meeting its $10 million milestone for corporate giving. During the event, 11 local nonprofit organizations received a total of $275,000 through ECMC Group’s GO! Program, which allows employees to nominate and vote for local nonprofits to receive grants through its affiliate ECMC Foundation.

The GO! Program is one of many efforts ECMC Group offers to involve employees in its mission to give back to the communities where employees live and work. The organization has a robust social responsibility effort that enables employees to give back to their communities, including through company-sponsored volunteer activities. In 2019 alone, the organization has offered over 30 volunteer events, and more than half of employees have participated with paid time off for a total of over 1,300 hours and more than $1 million in community outreach donations year-to-date.

The GO! Program reception allowed employees to meet the organizations they nominated for grants and to learn more about the good work they do in the communities they serve. Organizations honored include:

Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking; Eagleforce Robotics; Growth Public Schools; Hooked on Fishing Not Violence; Loaves & Fishes; Sierra Forever Families; Single Mom Strong; Society for the Blind; The Taylor House; Team Sacramento Judo; VA Northern California Health Care System.

Now in its fifth year, the GO! Program has disseminated a total of $5.9 million through 288 grants nationally. In California, the program has distributed a total of $1.3 million through 56 grants. ECMC Group is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed.

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