Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova)

The California Heritage Protection Act (AB 2249) was signed into law on September 21st by Governor Brown, Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) has announced. AB 2249 ensures park concessionaires in California’s state parks cannot trademark historic place names simply due to their status as a concessionaire. The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Cooley and Assemblymen Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) and Adam Gray (D-Merced) in response to the U.S. National Park Service’s controversial renaming of several landmarks at Yosemite National Park due to a dispute with their ex-concessionaire.

“This bill makes clear that trademarking of historic names in state parks by concessionaires without any independent basis for a claim is unacceptable and our state Department of Parks and Recreation cannot sign off on the type of trademarking conduct that produced the Yosemite dispute,” said Assemblyman Cooley. “With AB 2249’s signature, that kind of behavior will disqualify a concessionaire from receiving a concessions contract in California, which makes the bipartisan unanimity of the Legislature especially impressive.”

The Ahwahnee Hotel has been re-named the “Majestic Yosemite Hotel,” Curry Village is now “Half Dome Village,” the Wawona Hotel is “Big Trees Lodge” and Badger Pass Ski Area is now called “Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area.”

AB 2249 ensures nothing of the same kind occurs in a California state park. To keep concessionaires from co-opting state landmarks, this bill adds to state law a prohibition on concessionaires claiming ownership of a name associated with a California state park and disqualifies a bidder from future contracts if they attempt such trademark claims.

“Our state parks are not like football or baseball stadiums, trading sponsorship deals to the highest bidder,” said Assemblyman Gray. “The people of California protect and preserve these landmarks as a part of our history, and it is the people of California who own their storied names.”

“I have the privilege of representing Yosemite National Park and know first-hand how treasured these landmarks are by the people of our state,” said Assemblyman Bigelow. “I’m proud to co-author AB 2249 to protect historic sites up and down California.”

California’s Yosemite National Park is on the short list of America’s most magnificent parks and is filled with historic landmarks built decades ago—some date back to the 19th century. The Ahwahnee Hotel was built in the 1920s in a valley meadow with the sheer granite of Half Dome as its backdrop; its filing for the National Register of Historic Places explains its name comes from a local Native American word meaning “deep, grassy meadow.” Nearby Curry Village is named after the couple who established a summer camp there in 1899.  The Wawona Hotel, in the southwest corner of Yosemite National Park, was originally constructed 140 years ago, in 1876. All three were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s.

Assembly Bill 2249 will take effect January 1, 2017.

Head-on Collision Kills Motorcyclist and Passenger on Madison

Source: California Highway Patrol  |  2016-09-29

On September 26, 2016, at 2:54 a.m., Brandon Ray Fernandez, a 28-year-old male from Orangevale, was driving a 2015 silver Hyundai Elantra, eastbound on Madison Ave east of Lincoln Oaks Drive going the wrong way in the westbound #1 lane at an unknown speed. Mr. Fernandez was driving under the influence of alcohol. An unknown male was driving a Yamaha motorcycle westbound on Madison Ave east of Lincoln Oaks Drive in the #1 lane, at an unknown speed, approaching Fernandez’s location. The motorcyclist was carrying an unknown female passenger. The driver and passenger of the Yamaha were wearing motorcycle helmets. Both vehicles struck head-on causing both the driver and the passenger of the Yamaha to be ejected from the motorcycle. Both the driver and passenger of the Yamaha died at the scene.

After the collision the CHP responded to the scene and conducted an investigation. During the course of the investigation it was determined that Fernandez had been drinking alcohol. After a brief DUI investigation Fernandez was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and was arrested for 2 counts of felony DUI and 1 count of felony manslaughter. He was transported and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail where he also submitted to a chemical test.

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Get Notifications if Disaster Strikes

Source: Sacramento County  |  2016-09-29

With fire season upon us and winter months approaching, there is no better time to prepare for a disaster - events that often occur with little to no warning – by registering with the mass notification system at any one of the following three URL’s:, or

Register now before a disaster hits, so public safety officials can call, text or email you in the event of a disaster.

Consider the state’s historic drought causing elevated wildfire danger, or winter storms and the many levees surrounding our urban core. Both events can occur rapidly, sometimes forcing evacuations, shelter in place orders and road closures. The regional mass notification system is a critical link for you to immediately learn of required actions.

Sign up for alerts at either, or - it’s easy and your information is protected. Officials will only text during an emergency or public safety event, or if public help is needed to find a missing child or adult.

The unique feature of the system is the ability to handle more than one contact method for residents including cell phones, alternate numbers, text, email and even landlines. You choose the best notification method or chose them all. You can also register multiple locations, such as your work address, your parent’s address or your children’s school, in order to get alerts about the places that mean the most to you.

For more information or to register alternate phone numbers or e-mail addresses, visit, or

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Region Welcomes America's Navy Pilots

By M. Dawn Scott, Navy Office of Community Outreach  |  2016-09-29

The Blue Angels, Navy Band Southwest, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, USS Constitution Sailors and equipment, and Navy recruiting assets will be participating in the Sacramento Navy Week.

Sacramento hosted the Navy for the third time in eight years when Navy Week kicked off on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Sacramento Veterans Auditorium with a concert celebration, and concludes with the Capitol Air Show featuring the Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels.

“Sacramento Navy Week is an opportunity for people to see America’s Navy up close, and to make sure that happens, the Navy brings in as much as possible and approximately 60 events have been planned,” said Mr. Gary Ross, lead planner for Sacramento Navy Week with the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO).

Navy Week Flag Host Rear Adm. Douglas “Woody” Beal, deputy commander, Navy Recruiting Command, will have the honor to participate in various ceremonies and meet with local business, civic and educational leaders during the week.

“It’s an honor to be a part of Sacramento Navy Week and it is important for the Navy to come here to share our capabilities and to renew bonds between Sacramento and the Navy,” said Rear Adm. Beal.

Several outreach events have been coordinated with corporate, civic, government, education, media, veterans, community service and diversity organizations in the city. The Blue Angels, Navy Band Southwest, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, USS Constitution Sailors and equipment, and Navy recruiting assets will be participating in the Sacramento Navy Week.

Navy Band Southwest music group “Destroyers” will also perform at Sacramento’s “Block Party” at 6:00 pm. Sept. 30, and at the California Capital Airshow on both Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2 in Rancho Cordova.

“The Destroyers is more than your average rock band,” said Chief Musician Justin Belka, from NBSW. “Spanning charts through the decades, from the 70’s to today, this dynamic group of professional musicians is sure to please any crowd and appeal to people of all ages. The Destroyers utilize the latest sound reinforcement technology and performance techniques, allowing them to accurately reproduce any music style or genre, from Bruno Mars to Johnny Cash.”

Sailors from USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, and a ship that actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855, will come dressed in uniforms from the 1800s to provide educational interactions about the ship’s history and current activities.

“The best part of serving on the Constitution is the sense of pride, history and heritage,” said Seaman Casey Kaczmarek.

Constitution’s interpretive history presentations, which include hands-on artifacts, will be presented to numerous schools in the area.

The culmination of Sacramento Navy Week will be the California Capital Airshow featuring the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels, celebrating their 70th anniversary of flying excellence.

“The pilots want to be very approachable and connect with the American people by meeting, asking questions and seeing the pilot in action,” said Blue Angels Public Affairs Officer Lt. Joseph Hontz.

Sacramento’s warm welcome to the Navy promises for a week of events and activities that all should remember long after the Navy Week and the airshow have concluded.

Sacramento Navy Week is the 13th of 15 Navy Weeks in 2016 that focus a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements designed to bring America’s Navy closer to the people it protects.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit

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State Water Board Bans 100 Tank Sites from Cleanup Fund

Source: State Water Board  |  2016-09-29

$20 Million to be Paid in Largest Settlement of its Kind

As part of a settlement agreement, the State Water Resources Control Board has permanently banned 100 of Shell Oil Company’s underground storage tank (UST) claims, held by a subsidiary Equilon Enterprises LLC, from the UST Cleanup Fund for allegedly claiming reimbursement through false or misleading statements on claim forms.

Disqualifying these 100 claims could save the UST Cleanup Fund up to $150 million, significantly reducing Shell’s future reimbursements from the UST Cleanup Fund. In addition, the settlement agreement required Shell to pay $20 million to the parties to the settlement agreement. Specifically, Shell has paid the State Water Board more than $11 million to settle the State Water Board’s administrative claims and alleged False Claims Act violations.

Shell has paid an additional $8 million in settlement moneys to the state’s Office of the Attorney General and a whistleblower related to the alleged violations of the False Claims Act. The State Water Board’s portion of the settlement moneys will go to the UST Cleanup Fund and be used to reimburse other UST Cleanup Fund claims.

“The UST Cleanup Fund is a critical tool the State Water Board uses to protect public health and safety and the environment,” said Cris Carrigan, director of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement. “It is imperative that claimants not engage in bad faith or fraud when accessing these vitally important public-benefit funds by submitting false or misleading statements. If they do, the State Water Board has powerful administrative authority to disqualify and take deductions against claims.”

“The UST Cleanup Fund relies on accurate and truthful claimant self-reporting when issuing reimbursements,” said UST Cleanup Fund Manager Lisa Babcock. “We are pleased that Shell has now complied with the requirement and recognizes the critical need for full disclosure to the UST Cleanup Fund.”

State Water Board staff had challenged Shell’s UST Cleanup Fund claims since 2007, and developed an administrative case to disqualify certain claims from seeking reimbursement. The State Water Board and the Office of the Attorney General uncovered evidence that Shell failed to disclose reimbursements it received from insurance companies for the same sites where Shell was seeking UST Cleanup Fund reimbursement. Claimants are prohibited from receiving UST Cleanup Fund reimbursement for cleanup costs that have been, or will be, reimbursed from another source. Shell UST Cleanup Fund claims were placed on hold during the dispute between Shell and government agencies. As part of the settlement, the State Water Board will process reimbursement of up to $20 million in eligible claims subject to certain conditions set forth in the settlement.

Allegations and Settlement Agreement

On April 6, 2010, a whistleblower filed a complaint in Sacramento Superior Court against Shell alleging fraud under the California False Claims Act. The complaint alleged that when Shell submitted applications to the UST Cleanup Fund seeking reimbursement of costs at UST sites, it failed to disclose it previously had received reimbursement from a series of insurance claims, litigation, and settlements for the same sites on its Non-Recovery Certifications. This action resulted in a misrepresentation to the State Water Board as all types of monies received from other sources must be disclosed on its Non-Recovery Certifications. Double payments are not allowed under the UST Cleanup Fund.

The whistleblower complaint stated Shell’s failure to accurately report to the State Water Board the sources of other payments constituted a violation under the False Claims Act. The judicial action sought triple damages, penalties and attorney fees and costs against Shell. After the complaint was filed, the Office of the Attorney General coordinated its investigation with the State Water Board to determine how to best pursue and potentially resolve the claims asserted in the false claims lawsuit, as well as the State Water Board’s administrative claims.

Although the State Water Board was not a party to the False Claims Act litigation, it joined in the settlement negotiations arguing that it had independent administrative and litigation claims it could pursue. Shell cooperated with the State Water Board and the Office of the Attorney General in the investigation. The State Water Board’s resolution of the matter was contingent upon the settlement containing both a disqualification of certain claims and a reimbursement of funds previously paid to Shell from the UST Cleanup Fund. The disqualification of certain claims sends a strong message to all UST Cleanup Fund claimants of the importance of fully disclosing all monies that have been, or will be, reimbursed from another source.

Under the terms of the False Claims Act component of the settlement agreement, Shell will pay more than $11.3 million to the State Water Board and almost $5 million to the Office of the Attorney General in damages. In addition, Shell will pay more than $3.4 million to the whistleblower, in addition to reimbursing the third-party plaintiff for attorney fees and costs.

Under the terms of the Barry Keene Act component of the settlement agreement, 100 UST Cleanup Fund claims where Shell was previously qualified to receive reimbursements will now be permanently barred from the UST Cleanup Fund. These claims are no longer eligible to receive any reimbursement for cleanup costs. The UST Cleanup Fund’s average reimbursement is about $500,000 per eligible claim, but many claims use the entire $1.5 million allotment, so the savings for the UST Cleanup Fund is between $50 million and $150 million.

A copy of the settlement agreement approved by the Sacramento County Superior Court can be found at the State Water Board webpage.

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Aerojet Interns Gain Powerful Experience

Source: Areojet Rocketdyne  |  2016-09-29

“As an intern at Aerojet Rocketdyne I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most experienced and talented engineers in the aerospace industry,” said Bryce Chane.

Aerojet Rocketdyne hosted its largest group of college interns this summer with 79 students. In the past three years, Aerojet Rocketdyne has hired 196 interns from more than 50 different universities across the nation.

“Our internship and co-operative education programs are central to transferring knowledge within the company to the next-generation. We are also able to take advantage of their fresh perspective and incorporate new thoughts and ideas into the company,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake.

Aerojet Rocketdyne offers internships to students pursuing many areas of study, including finance, economics and business; however, the majority of the opportunities are in the engineering field. The company matches its interns with a mentor who provides guidance and assigns them a project based on their abilities, college courses completed and area of study. Interns are also included in a program called “Launch” which was created to ease the transition of newly hired recent graduates from college to the work environment through mentoring, social networking and identifying potential leadership opportunities

“As an intern at Aerojet Rocketdyne I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most experienced and talented engineers in the aerospace industry,” said Bryce Chanes about his experience this summer working as a Project Engineer Intern at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Los Angeles facility. “With their guidance and mentorship, I was able to hone my engineering skills and enhance my professional toolset in a way that no other experience can.”

Chanes worked on the important AR1 engine, which will end reliance on the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine, currently used to power the nation’s most reliable launch vehicle. AR1 is taking advantage of the latest manufacturing processes, materials and technology to be able to rapidly develop and certify an engine by 2019 that will be more capable than the RD-180.

“I am so impressed with our current class of Aerojet Rocketdyne summer interns and the exciting projects they were able to work on, like AR1. They are our future leaders in engineering, science and business,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “I cannot wait to see what they do next.”

“I believe every college student should have the opportunity to try out the career they think they want to pursue as early as possible to get a feeling about what it’s like to walk in those shoes. I am lucky in that I knew from an early age that this is what I wanted to do,” said Chanes about his experience.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s internship program currently has interns at eight of its 14 sites and plans to grow the internship program to meet the increased need for qualified employees with real world experience.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and

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SPCA Black & White Fur Ball - October 8, 2016

Source: Sacramento SPCA  |  2016-09-29

Hooray for Hollywoof

Join the Sacramento SPCA on Saturday, October 8, 2016 for the “Hollywoof” themed Black and White Fur Ball – a uniquely elegant tented gala featuring food and wine tastings, silent and live auctions, music and spectacular live entertainment by local artist David Garibaldi.

This spectacular evening will take place from 6 – 10:30pm at the Sacramento SPCA Campus and is sure to dazzle, entertain and inform.

Purchase your tickets for the Black and White Fur Ball and come see why the Sacramento SPCA is so much more than a shelter! Eat, drink, be entertained, meet animals and enjoy tours of the facility.

Grab your favorite black and white "Hollywoof" attire, and plan to join the SPCA for an elegant evening. General admission tickets are $65 and are sure to sell out soon. Visit to purchase your tickets or email for additional information.

Giving More Than Shelter. Saving Animals, One Life At A Time.
Founded in 1894, the Sacramento SPCA has been providing homeless animals with individual comfort, shelter, and love for more than 120 years. They provide compassionate medical care to tens of thousands of animals annually and offer a variety of programs and services designed to keep people and pets together for life.

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Domestic Violence Shelter Funding Extensions Signed by Brown

Source: Yating Campbell, Fiona Ma  |  2016-09-23

Board Member Fiona Ma, CPA, was elected to the Board of Equalization in November 2014, to represent the Second Equalization District.

The Governor signed two bills strongly supported by the Chairwoman of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) Fiona Ma, CPA, to help victims of domestic violence and businesses devastated by natural disasters.

AB 1559 (Baker) will create a checkoff box on California personal income tax return forms which will allow Californian’s to donate to the newly created Domestic Violence Victims Fund. Domestic violence shelters will be able to apply for a grant from the new fund, administered by the California Office of Emergency Services, to help provide much-needed assistance to victims.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), nearly one-third of all women murdered in the United States in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner. In 2010, 1,017 women, more than three a day, were killed by their intimate partners. A survivor's safety and well-being is most at risk during episodes of violence and when attempting to leave an abuser. Domestic violence shelters are a key part of safety planning to prepare ahead of time and be as protected as possible.

“Women and children who have endured physical, mental, and emotional abuse need our help putting their lives back on track. AB 1599 (Baker) will help keep the shelter doors open and provide a place where women and children can sleep soundly, without fear,” said Chairwoman Ma.

During her six-year tenure in the Legislature, Chairwoman Ma served as Chair of the Domestic Violence Select Committee and witnessed how many California domestic violence shelters were forced to turn away women and children because of a lack of funding. In 2013 NNEDV conducted a 24-hour survey of domestic violence programs across the nation and reported 66,581 adults and children had found refuge and assistance, while an additional 9,641 requests for services were unmet because of a lack of resources. Each one of those unmet requests is another lost opportunity to break the cycle of violence. Now that Governor Brown has signed AB 1399 (Baker), shelters will receive greatly needed financial resources.

“California business owners who have been severely impacted by natural disasters are focusing on the recovery of their business, which will affect their ability to file and pay their taxes,” said Chairwoman Ma.

“The Board of Equalization can now grant tax relief to countless businesses across the state that have been impacted by natural disasters. I’d like to thank Governor Jerry Brown for recognizing the urgency of this bill and acknowledging that California needs to do more to assist victims in the recovery process,” said Assemblymember Bill Dodd.

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Orion Jettison Motor, the Journey to Mars

Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne  |  2016-09-23

Third development jettison motor for NASA’s Orion Launch Abort System fires for 1.5 seconds at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility in Rancho Cordova, California.

Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully tested its third development jettison motor for NASA’s Orion spacecraft at its facility in Rancho Cordova, California. Orion is being built to take humans farther into space than ever before, and the jettison motor is a critical element for ensuring astronaut safety. Leaders from NASA and Lockheed Martin, the agency’s prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft, visited Aerojet Rocketdyne to witness this key test.

“The first crewed flight of the Orion spacecraft is just around the corner,” said Roger McNamara, Lockheed Martin Launch Abort System director. “The Launch Abort System is such an important safety feature; it’s great to see progress happening across the country and right here in Sacramento.”

In the event of an emergency during launch or ascent, Orion is outfitted with a Launch Abort System (LAS) that can activate within milliseconds to propel the capsule away from danger and position the crew module for a safe ocean landing. The LAS consists of three solid rocket motors: the abort motor that pulls the crew module away from the launch vehicle; the attitude control motor that is used to steer the crew module following an abort; and Aerojet Rocketdyne’s jettison motor, which separates the launch abort system from the crew module so that parachutes can be deployed for a safe splashdown.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s jettison motor is the only LAS motor that will be activated on Orion’s next test flight, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), which is scheduled for 2018. During the three-week EM-1 mission, Orion will travel about 40,000 miles beyond the moon and return to Earth.

“Reliability of the jettison motor is critical to the safety and execution of the mission. Unlike other launch abort system motors, the jettison motor operates every time,” said Jim Paulsen, vice president of NASA programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “Astronaut safety and reliability of our exploration systems is paramount at Aerojet Rocketdyne. EM-1 is the first integrated flight of Orion and the new heavy lift Space Launch System rocket, and Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems will be supporting the mission from liftoff to splashdown.”

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