Council Recognizes Winners of Student Art Contest

Story and photo by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-03-05

Members of Citrus Heights City Council stand with the 13 student winners of Republic Services’ annual Poster Contest.

Approves Grant Funding for Tactical Police Gear

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Republic Services, which provides residential garbage and recycling services to Citrus Heights, recently held their annual Poster Contest in partnership with the San Juan Unified School District (SJUSD) and Citrus Heights schools, teachers, and students. This year’s contest prompt was “Put Plastics in Their Place,” and was intended to promote recent changes to recycling guidelines. Students in grades K-8 were eligible to participate in the contest, and members of the Citrus Heights City Council and city staff members helped choose the winning entries.

The contest winners were recognized at the January 24 City Council meeting. Twelve student winners received certificates and $25 gift cards to Barnes & Noble. The grand prize winner, third-grader Bethany Morales, was presented with a certificate and a $50 gift card. Arlington Elementary had the most participation and received $500 to spend on art-related school activities.

Dignity Health representative Dr. Jill Walsh, who will be the site medical director of the new Mercy Medical Group Citrus Heights Medical Office Building, updated the Council on the progress of the state-of-art medical center located at 7115 Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights. The expansion will include 50 physicians providing a wide range of primary care, family medicine, and specialty care services for patients. Dr. Walsh explained that they have planned a staggered approach to moving in to the new building, with the first wave planned for June 2019, and then second and third waves in July and August 2019.

The new medical center will serve the growing medical needs of the community and improve access to quality care for residents. Michael Korpiel, president of Mercy San Juan Medical Center, said, “We are a proud member of this community for over 50 years, and we are excited about the future.”

Councilmember Bret Daniels expressed his appreciation for the care provided by Mercy San Juan, saying that over the years many of his family members have been cared for by the dedicated staff.  He also wanted to bring up a concern about the “unintended consequences” of a new California law that says hospitals can’t discharge patients unless they have somewhere to go. Daniels is worried that the issue of homelessness in the community will impact the level of care. He said that if the beds are taken up by homeless persons, then there won’t be room to admit other citizens in need of medical attention. He asked, “What is Mercy San Juan doing to ensure that there is going to be room for the citizens of Citrus Heights?”

Korpiel replied, “The simple answer is that the law that was passed was the right thing to do. And we’ve been practicing the right thing to do already…We actively work with social workers and community partners to ensure people can be placed somewhere safe when they’re discharged…It’s the right thing to do and we’ve been doing it for a long time.”

During public comment, local resident David Warren stated that he believed “the Dignity Health representative gave an overly rosy view” of the homelessness issue. Warren said, “My experience at Mercy San Juan was very different from what was presented.” Warren claimed he saw many mentally ill or homeless people in the hospital and he believes that caused a delay in his own treatment and that of other citizens. He suggested that the Council ask Mercy San Juan to present a detailed plan for how they will deal with the homeless issue.

Chris Ryan with the Citrus Heights Police Department gave a presentation about the department’s request for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Funding. Under this program, federal funds are allocated to augment public safety expenditures, which must be spent on law enforcement activities. The JAG funding available to Citrus Heights is $27,961 for fiscal year 2017 and $29,157 for fiscal year 2018; the funds must be expended by September 30, 2020 and September 30, 2021, respectively.

The 2017 funds will be used to purchase Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) cameras, the total cost of which will be $48,000. The Department intends to use special monies from the Citizen’s Option for Public Safety (COPS) fund for costs exceeding the grant amount. The closed-circuit SWAT camera systems will give officers access to vital and time-sensitive information in high-risk situations, including the layout of structures, potential barricades, and the location of the suspect and victims.

The 2018 funding will be used to purchase approximately 30 riot gear suits in various sizes, which will cost around $40,000. To cover the costs over the grant amount, COPS funds and/or the department’s budgeted general fund will be expended. The suits will allow officers to safely respond to partner agencies in need of mutual aid, and to engage effectively in crowd control events when necessary.

Officer Ryan stated that the purchase of both the tactical cameras and the riot suits will assist officers in responding to high-risk calls while increasing officer and citizen safety. The Council voted unanimously to approve the grant funding for the requested expenditures. 

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Farley Does the Trick

By Elise Spleiss  |  2019-03-05

Detective Moranz and Farley are ready for duty. Photo courtesy Citrus Heights Police Department.

Citrus Heights Police K9 to Serve Sacramento Region

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA  (MPG) – Police K9 Farley, newest addition to the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD), may be performing an invaluable service, keeping illegal drugs from reaching the streets of Sacramento and beyond, but it’s all just a game of fetch to him. 

Farley is a single-purpose narcotics detection canine. The two-year old Labrador Retriever was sworn into the CHPD by Police Chief Ron Lawrence at the December 13, 2018 city council meeting.  He was assigned to work with his handler / partner Detective Dave Moranz, a 28-year veteran of police work who has been with the CHPD since its inception in 2006.

Officers Farley and Moranz are a team, assigned to the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Narcotics Enforcement and Criminal Investigations Task Force. During their intensive five-week training, Farley was trained to sniff out and alert Detective Moranz to the ingredients in four illegal narcotics; marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin. Farley received his official Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) certification on November 23, 2018.

After being on the job for only three months, Farley has been involved in the seizure of 40 pounds of marijuana, 9 grams of cocaine, 16 grams heroin, and 9 grams methamphetamine.

Farley begins searching for drugs only upon hearing the words, “peanut butter” spoken by his handler. As far as Farley is concerned, he is not looking for drugs, only his tennis ball. Working as a team, Farley detects the scent of the narcotic and alerts Detective Moranz by a behavioral change such as sitting close to the source of the odor of the controlled substances he is trained to alert to.  Moranz watches him while he is working an area and checks to validate what he has found. Farley is rewarded with a “good boy” and a few tosses of his tennis ball each time his mission is accomplished.

In an email, Police Chief Ron Lawrence expressed his pride in Farley’s accomplishments.  “Having Farley on our team has been a tremendous asset. He is not only an expert at sniffing out illegal drugs and helping to solve crimes, but he is also a huge hit within our community. Everyone seems to love Farley! In a very short period of time, Farley has already proven himself as a valuable member of our policing team.”

The team continues their training weekly at different locations with different trainers to keep their skills sharp. Moranz described to this reporter one search where a substance was hidden high on the wall inside a covered a key case. Farley heard his command, took off and ended up twirling in a circle towards the source of the odor of the controlled substance. He then clamped his paws onto the wall beneath the box and stared at it until rewarded for his work.

Of the five K9’s with the CHPD Farley is the only one certified for narcotics detection. K9’s Dax, Blitz, Luke and Jake are trained in officer protection, tracking and criminal apprehension.

Farley spends his off time with his handler, Dave Moranz.  Both are on-call to assist CHPD and USPIS wherever and whenever there is a need for a narcotics detection canine.  Farley has also been called out by CHPD to assist in searching for illegal narcotics and on other cases.

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Sayonara Youth Center is Thriving

By Elise Spleiss  |  2019-03-05

Transformations Continue and Lives Are Changed on Sayonara Drive. Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - If there is a residential street or neighborhood that can be showcased as a template for totally revitalizing itself, it is Sayonara Drive in the city of Citrus Heights.

For the first ten years of cityhood, Citrus Heights endured the stigma of the crime and blight on Sayonara Drive. This three-block swath of land was known for gangs, drugs, shootings, assaults, and a myriad of other calls to 911.  Located off Sunrise Boulevard, between Greenback Lane and Auburn Road, Sayonara was the street to avoid. Calls to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department were, on average 32% higher than anywhere else in the city.

That was then. Now, almost 13 years since the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) was formed in 2006 and began a methodical transformation of the street, crime is down more than 70%, 15 offending apartment building were demolished and a long, ongoing collaboration was created and is continuing to this day to keep Sayonara Drive safe for its families and the surrounding communities.

This collaboration is between Campus Life Connection, which oversees the work of the Sayonara Children and Youth Center, CHPD, local churches and other service organizations, and members of the community at large. All continue to work alongside the families of Sayonara Drive.

The mission of the Center according to the Campus Life Connection / City Life website is to “develop character, confidence, responsibility and faith in the lives of young people and their families through educational, social, physical and spiritual programs.”

Integral to the project’s success was the work of a new Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Unit created by then Police Chief Christopher Boyd to address the problems on Sayonara. Officers formed relationships with students at the first Sayonara Children and Youth Center housed in two small apartment units.  

Eventually, as trust grew between police and residents, these officers, working with the City, volunteers from the community and local churches, along with the students and their parents became a successful team, eventually taking back their street.

In 2012 a new 2,700 square foot Children and Youth Center and a new park and playground was built for the residents of Sayonara Drive with a federal grant.

Julie Habeeb has been site director since 2015 when Gladys Standard, the first site director retired. Habeeb, 28, works with over 100 students from elementary through high school who call this building and playground their home away from home.

Habeeb volunteered at the “old” center in 2008 while in high school. She kept in touch with the Center and some of the students during her three years in Los Angeles working for a non-profit. Upon her return in July of 2012 she was hired on staff with Campus Life Connection to be the Program Assistant at the Sayonara Center. In 2015 she was hired as site director at Sayonara.

At risk children and teens work and play hard and thrive at the Center. There is never a dull moment when students begin to arrive for the after-school program. Tutors and other volunteers help with homework, make healthy snacks, help on the computer or baking or artwork. When homework is completed many students and volunteers head next door to play on the half-sized basketball court.

Students are constantly learning during their time at the Center. One of the goals of the City Life program is “to raise leaders in their communities who will affect long term change.” Not only do they learn at the Center but working with Sunrise Park and Recreation, playing football, basketball, martial arts, and attending CHPD  Police Activities League (PAL) events.     

During the summer there are middle and high school trips day camps and trips including Break Away at Bayside, swim lessons and Extreme Camp with the CHPD.

 Two students tell why they like going to their after-school program and other outing. Sergio, 12 says, "The reason I attend the Center is because it’s a fun place to be at and it's also a cool hang out spot. I look forward to fieldtrips with the Center. My favorites so far have been going to Santa Cruz and to Mojo Dojo."

Richard, 15 says, "If it wasn't for the Center I am sure I would have dropped out of school already."

If you would like to be a volunteer at the Center call 916- 390-1117.

 

Sources: Campus Life Connection

California Police Chiefs Association

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Sac County Airport Firefighters “Brave the Shave”

 Sacramento County Special Release  |  2019-02-06

Sacramento County Airport Firefighters “Brave the Shave” in honor of  Captain Anderson. Photo courtesy Sacramento County.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County Airport Firefighters shaved their heads as part of the second annual “Brave the Shave” in honor of Captain Tim Anderson, a Sacramento County Airport Firefighter who lost his life to cancer in 2017. Brave the Shave was started one year ago by Tim’s son Mason, when his mother Lacey was diagnosed with breast cancer just 6 months after his dad, Captain Tim Anderson died.

After hearing the news of his mom's diagnosis, Mason at 10 years old wanted to have a shaving party in an effort to turn a difficult situation into something positive. Mason challenged local area firefighters to shave their heads with him as a way to honor his dad and support his mother. In 2017, 112 firefighters in 4 states and 2 countries shaved their heads in support of the Anderson family. ​

Mason’s mom Lacey is now cancer free and this year Mason would like to open Brave the Shave up to all firefighters and their families affected by cancer in an effort to make December Firefighter Cancer Awareness month. Firefighters and anyone else wanting to offer their support were asked to shave their heads in the month of December and post the pictures or videos to Mason's Facebook page Brave the Shave with Mason Anderson or his Instagram Brave the Shave Mason Anderson. This year's goal is 150 shaved heads. Mason is only 57 shaved heads away from meeting that goal!

Source: Sacramento County Media

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Sac County Airport Firefighters “Brave the Shave”

Sacramento County Special Release  |  2019-01-04

Sacramento County Airport Firefighters “Brave the Shave” in honor of  Captain Anderson. Photo courtesy Sacramento County.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County Airport Firefighters shaved their heads as part of the second annual “Brave the Shave” in honor of Captain Tim Anderson, a Sacramento County Airport Firefighter who lost his life to cancer in 2017. Brave the Shave was started one year ago by Tim’s son Mason, when his mother Lacey was diagnosed with breast cancer just 6 months after his dad, Captain Tim Anderson died.

After hearing the news of his mom's diagnosis, Mason at 10 years old wanted to have a shaving party in an effort to turn a difficult situation into something positive. Mason challenged local area firefighters to shave their heads with him as a way to honor his dad and support his mother. In 2017, 112 firefighters in 4 states and 2 countries shaved their heads in support of the Anderson family. â€‹

Mason’s mom Lacey is now cancer free and this year Mason would like to open Brave the Shave up to all firefighters and their families affected by cancer in an effort to make December Firefighter Cancer Awareness month. Firefighters and anyone else wanting to offer their support were asked to shave their heads in the month of December and post the pictures or videos to Mason's Facebook page Brave the Shave with Mason Anderson or his Instagram Brave the Shave Mason Anderson. This year's goal is 150 shaved heads. Mason is only 57 shaved heads away from meeting that goal!

 

Source: Sacramento County Media

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Citrus Heights, CA Sunrise MarketPlace Business Improvement District in collaboration with 101.5 K-Hits will be hosting a drive thru coin drop for the Carr Fire Victims on Saturday, August 4, 2018 from 8 AM – 11 AM in the Marketplace at Birdcage parking lot near Vitamin Shoppe.

A drive thru drop-off location will be setup in the Marketplace at Birdcage parking lot, in between the Vitamin Shoppe and the Men’s Wearhouse on Sunrise Blvd in Citrus Heights. Motorists can drive up, roll down their window, drop change in the bucket and be on their way. The donation site will also be accepting cash, checks and gift cards; but will not be accepting any clothing or other physical items as these have not been requested at this time.

All donations will go to the Tri-Counties Bank 2018 Carr Fire Fund. The funds will be distributed to people in need through the United Way of Northern California and local non-profit emergency relief agencies directly serving fire victims with immediate needs. According to Tri-Counties web site, these non-profit organizations have been vetted as trusted and well-managed direct emergency service providers. Funds will be allocated to local agencies based on proportionate need and expected impact.

“Last year we co-hosted a donation drive for the Napa fire victims with 101.5 K-Hits, which was overwhelmingly supported by residents and radio listeners.  We look forward to a similar result this year”, said Julie DePrada, Special Events and Projects Coordinator for Sunrise MarketPlace. 

About Sunrise MarketPlace

Sunrise MarketPlace is a collection of more than 400 retailers, restaurants and professional services in one of the region's most heavily travelled commercial corridors in the heart of Citrus Heights, CA.  The Shopping and Business Improvement District is located along Sunrise Boulevard between Arcadia Drive (just north of Greenback Lane) and Madison Avenue, and along Greenback Lane between Birdcage Street and Fair Oaks Boulevard. The District was created in 1999 to advance the commercial vitality of the business corridor.  For more information visit www.ShopSMP.com.

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Fill the Boot for Burns

By Rachel Crowell, FFBI  |  2018-01-23

Firefighters accepting donations during a previous Fill the Boot fundraiser. Funds raised help adult and children burn victims recover from their injuries and move on with their lives. 
Photos courtesy of Firefighters Burn Institute

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Firefighters from throughout the Sacramento area are suited up and ready for this year’s 24th annual “Fill the Boot for Burns” Boot Drive to be held in Citrus Heights February 8th through 11th. Firefighters from many of the fire departments serving Sacramento and the surrounding communities will spend their day shaking their boots and volunteering their time to collect donations at the intersections of Sunrise Blvd. and Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights. Firefighters will be collecting donations to support the Firefighters Burn Institute (FFBI) and assure that the best possible burn treatment and recovery programs are available in Northern and Central California.

          The Boot Drive is open to the public and will include a FREE Safety Fair on Saturday, February 10th, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Safety Fair will include fire department displays, helicopter landings, vehicle extrication demonstrations and fun activities for the kids.  This event will be held in the Sunrise Mall parking lot, weather permitting.

          Donations collected during the annual boot drives have also made it possible for the FFBI to pledge two million dollars toward the construction of the new FFBI Regional Burn Center at UC Davis Medical Center. The 7,900-square foot, 12-bed burn unit now provides comprehensive care with the most technologically advanced treatment options available to burn patients throughout inland northern California, northwest Nevada and southern Oregon.

          The FFBI, founded in 1973 by Sacramento Area Fire Fighters, Local 522, has grown into the area’s largest firefighter-run charity. It helped establish the first burn unit in Sacramento in 1974 and continues to donate medical equipment, fund burn research and provide free burn recovery programs, including two annual camps for young burn survivors.

          The Firefighters Kids Camp is held each summer for kids ages 7 to 17 years, and the Little Heroes Preschool Burn Camp for children ages 3 to 6. These camps provide burn survivor children a safe place to be just like everyone else and provide a positive environment to overcome challenges and achieve goals. Camp provides an opportunity for kids who have experienced terrible circumstances to see a future filled with endless possibilities.

          Please come out and show your support and help our Firefighters “Fill the Boot for Burns!”  For additional information please contact the Firefighters Burn Institute at (916) 739-8525 or visit their website at www.ffburn.org.

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