Recent graduate Cynthia Miller and her children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,503 homeless women and their children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 77 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training.

24 women once homeless graduate from the Sacramento job-readiness program

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Community members from across Sacramento witnessed Women’s Empowerment graduate its 1,500th formerly homeless woman, Cynthia Miller of Citrus Heights, in mid-March. Miller joined 23 other graduates as they completed the comprehensive nine-week job-readiness program for homeless women.

Miller was homeless with her three young children when she was accepted into  Women’s Empowerment’s job-readiness program.

“Women’s Empowerment truly gave me hope and it boosted my confidence. It was so empowering because it made me realize how much I have to offer our community.”

Miller’s immediate goal is to attend college in the fall to obtain her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate and begin working at a senior living facility.

“My ultimate goal is stop this cycle of homelessness so my children don’t have to grow up in it anymore. I plan on providing a stable home for them and enrolling them in a school where they can make friends for life. Having all of the support from Women’s Empowerment helped me discover that achieving my dreams is possible.”

Held at the VFW Post 67 in Sacramento, 100 graduation attendees heard each graduate’s story and future plans. Each woman accepted their certificates of achievement from Intel, the California Assembly and Women’s Empowerment. She received a new handbag filled with a day planner and other items designed to help her succeed from the generous employees of Dignity Health, and enjoyed a lovely reception sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Greater Sacramento.

 “Our graduation ceremonies are a unique community event where women like Cynthia can be celebrated for their accomplishments,” said Lisa Culp, executive director of Women’s Empowerment. “At Women’s Empowerment, we know that employment and education are the most long-term solutions to truly ending homelessness. And today 24 formerly homeless women are re-joining our workforce, regaining safe housing and breaking the cycle of homelessness for themselves and their children. They are ready to achieve their dreams.”

Women’s Empowerment was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show in 2015 for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,503 homeless women and their children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 77 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org.

 

   
   

Sign up today for our Hangtown Amateur Program, and Win Tickets to the Big Dance

Forget for a moment that the world's best motocross racers will be coming to Sacramento for...

50th Annual Red Bull Hangtown Motocross Classic.

Champions like Tomac, Roczen, Osborn, Anderson, Musquin, Martin, Brayton, Plessinger, and Savatgy will be ripping up the legendary Hangtown Course, for now, it’s all about your opportunity to race the perfectly groomed Hangtown Track. For all you junior stars or seniors still riding that vintage Hodaka, there's a full Hangtown Amateur Day for you to enjoy -- Friday, May 18th. To register for the Hangtown Amateur Days, go to hangtownmx.com and click on EVENTS and then the Amateur SIGN-UPS button.

So your weekend is set -- race the perfectly groomed Hangtown track on Friday and sit back and watch the pros tear it up all daySaturday.   

It’s no wonder why they call Hangtown the “Crown Jewel”

of the AMA Outdoor Motocross Series.

To celebrate the 50th running of the Hangtown Motocross Classic, we’re giving away five, yes (5) sets of tickets to Saturday’s Big Dance. For the first 200 amateurs to sign up to race on Friday, we’re giving away Free General Admission Tickets. We will notify you if you win by email and post the winners on our website.

There's good news and bad news about tickets for this year's race. Let's start with the bad news; because of the overwhelming response for the 50th Annual Race, both the VIP and SuperTickets are already sold out.

Because of the incredible demand, we've opened up a new area this year called the 50th Hangtown Ticket. This area is on the north side of the track, with an elevated view of the course, bleacher seating under a large tent, with a great view of the track, including the Starting Gate and Finish Line.

We are also opening up our Tower Seats early this year, on April 23rd. You are right above the starting line, 30 feet in the air, with a view of the whole track. Air-conditioned Seating Area, Elevator, fully catered with Food and Alcohol, an all-day Pit Pass and all the swag you can walk away with.  These tickets are extremely limited, so get your seats early!

With many different ticket choices, and some with very limited seating, make your selection online and beat the rush.

See you at the races!

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A Clean Sweep for Creeks

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-04-20

Sacramento County youth organizations rallied to clean up waterways during Creek Week. Girl Scout Troops 333 (Antelope) and 890 (Foothill Farms) celebrated a job well done during festivities at Carmichael park.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A party celebrating Creek Week caused a big splash – and vital lessons in water conservation – last weekend at Carmichael Park.

Many sponsoring agencies sent an unfiltered message: everyone must do their bit to save and protect water. Early that morning, 2,000 volunteers from youth and neighborhood groups formed an army to scour 85 locations.  Creeks from the Delta to Folsom and from Elk Grove to Antelope benefited from the clean-up.

Four work areas within the Rancho Cordova community yielded 1,420 pounds of trash. City biologists also conducted a nature walk along the recently-restored banks of Cordova Creek.  The tour celebrated revitalization of a formerly barren channel; Cordova Creek Naturalization Project replaced decades-old concrete creek lining with tons of river rock. Achieved in partnership between city, Sacramento County and the non-profit Water Forum, the three-mile effort has recreated 10 acres of vegetated habitat.

Now 28 years old, Sacramento County’s Creek Week program aims to refresh dozens of waterways by removing garbage and invasive plants. The annual volunteer work force is swelled by the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps, whose members recycle dumped rubber tires.

Beyond tires, mattresses and shopping carts, the 2018 junk-hunt gleaned many tons of smaller stuff alien to healthy arteries.  Sacramento Area Creeks Council President Alta Tura noted that high waters from recent rains washed much trash downstream into river flows.  “At the same time, more garbage entered our creeks and was trapped by vegetation,” she said. “Cigarette butts, plastic straws and fast food packaging are more damaging to wildlife than big stuff. Animals ingest plastic and can end up starving to death. Waterfowl can become entangled in discarded fishing lines. There’s no place in our waterways for plastic in any form, yet thousands of plastic items were among the tons of junk we bagged. The volunteers did a stellar job.”

At Carmichael Park, rewards for the weary army included clean tee shirts and hot dogs dished up by Carmichael Chamber of Commerce and Mission Oaks Park District volunteers.  “The party celebrates everyone’s hard work,” said Tura.  “It also teaches people about nature; how to save water and be better stewards of our environment.”

Learn more about the annual creek cleanup at www.creekweek.net

To report illegally dumped tires to the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps, call (916) 792-0429.

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Walmart to Host Free Health Screening Event in Sacramento Stores

Walmart Press Release  |  2018-04-19

What: Sacramento Walmart stores will be hosting the second Walmart Wellness Day event of the year on Saturday, April 21. This free health screening event provides people in the community an opportunity to learn valuable health information, including:

  • Blood glucose
  • Blood pressure
  • Body mass index
  • Low-cost immunizations
  • And in select locations, customers can also take advantage of free vision screenings

Since its first Walmart Wellness Day event, the company has provided more than 2 million free screenings to people across the country, helping countless customers uncover existing health problems. For some, the screenings have been life-saving. Hundreds of thousands of Americans turn out for each Walmart Wellness Day event, making it America’s largest single day health fair event. 

Screening like these provide important resources for people who may be dealing with challenging health conditions. More than 35 percent of children in in grades 5, 7, and 9 attending public schools in Sacramento County were obese, according to a 2015 study from Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. And according to the California Department of Health, Sacramento County has a significantly higher rate of diabetes related deaths compared to statewide data.

Additional assets may be found here for packaging stories in advance of Walmart Wellness Day.

Media is invited in store to capture an interview with a store spokesperson and customers, alongside photos and b-roll of the event.       

Where:         Sacramento Walmart Stores

When:           Saturday, April 2

                      10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day, an annual event created to raise awareness and inspire people everywhere to be better stewards of the environment and our natural resources. 

At Sacramento Suburban Water District we can help make it easy to protect the Earth’s fresh water, one of our most precious resources.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

  • Keep your sprinklers tuned up

Walk your yard, checking sprinklers one zone at a time. Look for broken and clogged sprinklers, or ones that have been misdirected and are watering your car instead of your yard.

  • Check before you water

Use a moisture meter to determine how dry, wet or moist the soil is.You can get a free one from bewatersmart.info (while supplies last).

You can also a screwdriver to check. Stick an eight-inch screwdriver into the soil. If you can push it in more than three inches below the surface, you don’t need to water.

  • Add plenty of mulch around your plants and trees

Mulch helps to regulate the temperature of the soil and reduce water loss to evaporation. Be sure to add two to three inches around plants and four to six inches around trees (taking care to keep mulch away from the base of trees).

  • Set up a Water-Wise House Call

During this one-hour complementary service, SSWD’s water-efficiency experts will check for leaks inside and outside of your home, check the flow rates on your faucets and showerheads and make recommendations on ways you can use water wisely. http://www.sswd.org/customers/water-wise-house-call

  • Apply for rebates.

SSWD has rebates available for its customers for irrigation system upgrades, WaterSense-labeled weather-based sprinkler controllers, pool covers, and even high-efficiency toilets. Complete details are available at http://www.sswd.org/departments/conservation/rebates

And remember, caring for the environment shouldn’t be limited to just one day. It’s important to make every day, Earth Day.

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2018-19 Watershed Stewardship and Education Grant

Sac County News  |  2018-04-19

Photo courtesy Sac County News

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - ​The Sacramento County Stormwater Quality Program is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Watershed Stewardship and Education Grant.  Each year,​ the Stormwater Quality Program offers schools, non-profit, and community organizations up to $2,500 for projects to help students understand the importance of keeping local creeks and rivers clean and healthy.

This is the 13th year the County is offering grants to help raise awareness about the need for protecting creeks and rivers.  By collaborating with schools over the years, the County has seen positive results from students who participate in the program and show a better understanding of stormwater pollution.  Expanding this program to non-profits and community groups offers another avenue to increase education.
Thirty-five schools have participated in the program.  Will Rogers Middle School is one of the original participants and has taken part in the program every year since it launched in 2005. 

Over the years, grant winners have completed 85 projects like creek clean ups; hands on education about Sacramento’s watershed, creeks, or rivers; eco-friendly gardens; water quality experiments to assess the health of a creek/river; and school-wide campaigns to increase awareness about stormwater pollution.  Each year, grant winners submit a report to the County on their projects shows many of the students in the program gaining a better understanding of stormwater pollution and the environment.
Eligible projects must in some way protect or enhance local creeks, rivers, or watersheds.  Projects will generally fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Educational Projects - Projects that inform or instruct about the aquatic ecosystem, watersheds, or stormwater pollution prevention
  • School/Club Projects - Projects that can be organized by teachers, classrooms, or clubs
  • Community Outreach Projects - Projects that involve and inspire the community
  • Monitoring Project - Projects that measure water quality, species, or habitat
  • Restoration Projects - Projects that restore or enhance riparian habitats, wetlands, creeks, or rivers

Eligible projects must be implemented within the Stormwater Utility boundaries of Sacramento County or directly affect the residents of these areas.  The application for the 2018-19 Watershed Stewardship and Education Grant is available on the Stormwater Quality Program webpage.


The application deadline is July 1, and the grants are awarded in August.

For more information, contact Jeanette Huddleston at 916-​874‐4711 or huddlestonj@saccounty.net.

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Qualifying Veterans and Japanese American Citizens May Receive Belated High School Diplomas

By Operation Recognition  |  2018-04-18

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) wants to honor the many contributions of those whose education was interrupted due to wartime circumstances. Current and former Sacramento County residents who left high school to serve in the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War, and received an honorable discharge, may contact SCOE to receive their high school diplomas. SCOE also presents diplomas to Japanese American citizens forced to leave high school due to WW II internment. Individuals may request diplomas on behalf of themselves or qualifying family members, including persons now deceased. Those who earned a G.E.D., or graduated from high school while in an internment camp, are still eligible for diplomas. To be considered for the spring 2017 awards ceremony, submit applications by April 26, 2017. Applications are available from the Sacramento County Office of Education by calling (916) 228-2416 or visiting scoe.net/or.

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Trump, Brown Tangle Over California State Border Control

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-18

Governor Jerry Brown

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - California Governor Jerry Brown spoke at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, defending his sanctuary cities and claiming that the country’s immigration debate has become “an inflammatory football that very low-life politicians like to exploit.” He continued, “And I think it’s shocking, it’s despicable and it’s harmful to California, mostly to the people.”

Brown let it be known that he has no plans of changing his stance on the state’s immigration and sanctuary cities.

“We’re not backing off,” Brown said. “And I believe we have the legal horsepower to block the immediate legal moves by the Trump administration.”

The 80-year-old Brown, who is in the final months of his second term as California governor, proclaimed, “I’m not riding off into the sunset. You can be sure that you’ll hear from me.”

Just before Brown spoke on Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border. The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!”

Trump took to Twitter once again on Wednesday morning, saying that many parts of sanctuary cities throughout California want out of Jerry Brown’s control.

“There is a Revolution going on in California,” Trump tweeted. “Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept. Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!”

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA - The Internal Revenue Service today offered taxpayers still working on their 2017 taxes a number of tips. These basic tips are designed to help people avoid common errors that could delay refunds or cause future tax problems. 

As the April 17 deadline approaches, the IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. Doing so, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Free File Fillable Forms means there is a free option for everyone.

Request extra time

Anyone who needs more time to file can get it. The easiest way to do so is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an extension on Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and pay any amount due.

Alternatively, people can complete a paper copy of Form 4868 and mail it to the IRS. The form must be mailed with a postmark on or before April 17. Download, print and file it anytime fromIRS.gov/forms.

Taxpayers are reminded, however, that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. Tax payments are generally due April 17, and taxpayers should pay as much as they can to avoid possible penalties and interest.

Make a payment, get an extension

In addition to using Free File to get a filing extension, taxpayers can pay all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension when using IRS Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or paying by a credit or debit card. By selecting “extension” as the reason for the payment, the IRS will also accept the payment as an extension – no need to separately file a Form 4868. Taxpayers will also receive a confirmation number after they submit their payment. When paying with Direct Pay and EFTPS taxpayers can sign up for email notifications.

Any payment made with an extension request will reduce or, if the balance is paid in full, eliminate interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after April 17. The interest rate is currently 5 percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.

Refunds

The safest and fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to have it electronically deposited into their bank or other financial account. Taxpayers can use direct deposit to deposit their refund into one, two or even three accounts. See Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, for details.

After filing, use “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or download the IRS2Go Mobile App to track the status of a refund. It provides the most up-to-date information. It’s updated once per day, usually overnight, so checking more often will not generate new information. Calling the IRS will not yield different results from those available online, nor will ordering a tax transcript.

The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.

Special instructions for paper filers

Math errors and other mistakes are common on paper returns, especially those prepared or filed in haste at the last minute. These tips may help those choosing this option:

  • Fill in all requested Taxpayer Identification Numbers, usually Social Security numbers, including all dependents claimed on the tax return. Check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.
  • When using the tax tables, be sure to use the correct row and column for the filing status claimed and taxable income amount shown.
  • Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign.
  • Attach all required forms and schedules.
  • Mail the return to the right address. Check Where to File on IRS.gov.    

 

Penalties and interest

 

By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline. Taxpayers who are thinking of missing the filing deadline because they can’t pay all of the taxes they owe should consider filing and paying what they can to lessen interest and penalties. Penalties for those who owe tax and fail to file either a tax return or an extension request by April 17 can be higher than if they had filed and not paid the taxes they owed.

The failure-to-file penalty is generally 5 percent per month and can be as much as 25 percent of the unpaid tax, depending on how late the taxpayer files. The failure-to-pay penalty, which is the penalty for any taxes not paid by the deadline, is 0.5 percent of the unpaid taxes per month.

Installment agreements

Qualified taxpayers can choose to pay any taxes owed over time through an installment agreement. An online payment plan can be set up in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement application to set up a short-term payment plan of 120-days or less, or a monthly agreement for up to 72 months.

Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov/forms and should be mailed to the IRS along with a tax return, IRS bill or notice.

Owe tax?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can use IRS Direct Pay or any of several other electronic payment options. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment. Or, mail a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury” along with a Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher.

For further help and resources, check out the IRS Services Guide.

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