Northern California's Largest 2k/5k Dog Walk & Pet Festival
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento SPCA will host the 26th Anniversary Doggy Dash at William Land Park on Saturday, April 27th from 8:30 am - 2:00 pm.
An estimated 5,000 animal lovers are expected to gather on April 27th at William Land Park both with and without their canine companions to raise funds for animals at the Sacramento SPCA. Participants will enjoy the 2K or 5K walk and are invited to stay for the Bark at the Park Festival, where they can enter their canine pal in the pup show or agility and ice cream eating contest!
In addition, participants can watch canine demonstrations, visit with more than 100 pet-friendly businesses, enjoy the "Watering Bowl" Yappy Hour Beer Garden and some great food from Sacramento's most popular food trucks. And new to this year's event is the Kids Zone, where kids of all ages are invited to enjoy face painting, coloring, bowling and other fun activities.
"The Doggy Dash offers our community the opportunity to have fun with their dog and connects people and animals with rescue groups, pet-friendly businesses and other pet lovers in the area," said Sarah Varanini, Sa PR & Social Media Specialist. "Having a great day outside with your pup while also helping homeless pets is a win-win!"
Now celebrating its 26th anniversary, the Doggy Dash has grown to include more than 5,000 attendees and is Northern California’s largest 2K/5K dog walk and pet festival, with a goal to raise $180,000 in registrations and donations this year to support lifesaving programs and directly help animals in the Sacramento SPCA’s care. Last year alone, donations from the Doggy Dash helped provide low-cost spay and neuter surgeries to more than 18,300 of our community’s animals, vaccinate 16,200 companions and find homes for more than 3,600 pets.
The 26th Annual Doggy Dash will take place at William Land Park, 3800 Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822 on April 27th. Event day registration starts at 8:30AM, the 2K/5K walk at 10:00AM and the Bark at the Park Festival immediately following the walk. To register for the 2K/5K dog walk prior to event day, visit www.sspca.org/dash.
Gibson Ranch Lantern Fest
SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - A Water Lantern Festival at Gibson Ranch last weekend launched thousands of hopes, dreams and memories on the reserve’s lake.
Organized by One World LLC, the event continued an international trend inspired by oriental tradition. At similar events hosted by hundreds of US locations, paying participants receive lanterns and marker pens. Sustainable rice paper is the canvas upon which messages of whimsy, emotion or hope are expressed. Illuminated by battery lights, the luminarias are then liberated to float in rose-hued armadas, carrying serenity and goodwill into the universe. The idea, say organizers, is to unite friends, families and strangers in celebrating life. For the Woodstock generation, it’s like attending a tamer, Max Yasgur’s Farm – with fairy lights and without mud.
Promoted largely by social media, the Gibson Ranch celebration drew almost 5000 participants. Some travelled from the Bay Area and Nevada. Indian-born newlyweds Shivangi and Bhasker Dhaundiyal heard about the karma-fest in their Sunnyvale suburb and trekked to Elverta. The couple celebrated the “perfect imperfection” of their marriage by lamplight.
Many luminarias were decorated with blessings of peace and serenity. Bereaved mom Ayrika Caeton dedicated her love-light to a lost infant son. Deceased pets, whales and unicorns were carefully drawn and launched. Before the launching ceremony, festival-goers were encouraged to meditate and share goodwill with fellow attendees. Music played, merchandise was sold, food trucks did brisk business and thousands of selfies were indulged. With as much serenity as is possible in a traffic jam, festival goers later departed amidst clouds of Gibson Ranch dust. Once the music ended, a chorus of perplexed goose-honking continued lakeside melodies.
Organizers spent the next day in rubber boots, clearing litter and lifting thousands of wood and paper craft from the lake.
Water Lantern Festival LLC is based in Utah and supports Water.org, an international nonprofit that promotes safe water in developing nations.
Learn about future water lantern events – including an October 6 festival at Lake Folsom at www.waterlanternfestival.com
Suicide Prevention Awareness Program
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - In the 1990’s there was a television sitcom named “Frasier” about a radio psychiatrist who greeted his callers with the phrase “I’m listening.” Although it was a comedy, the show did focus on real-life topics and relationships and often the discussions led to one question: what is the root cause of your issue?
Suicide is a very real issue in this country. We hear that a person “seemed just fine to me,” but that was only on the surface. To be quite frank on why I am writing about this subject is easy – I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I can relate to all the buildup and emotions on why someone would take their life.
Suicide, the act of intentionally causing your own death, is listed as a top ten cause of death in the United States, according to a 2017 Center for Disease Control report. So, I ask, are you listening when the person who committed suicide remained silent up to the end?
Recently, California State University, Sacramento hosted the Send Silence Packing national tour, a program of the Active Minds organization that brings awareness to college students who take their own lives. Founded by Alison Malmon when she was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania after the suicide of her older brother, and only sibling, Brian, she started the Active Minds organization. According to the organization’s website, Active Mind’s purpose is “to reflect the organization’s focus on action and student advocacy in mental health.” They have been doing this since 2003.
Each year, as stated on the Active Minds website, Send Silence Packing visits 30-40 schools and communities. The all-day exhibit raises mental health awareness, inspires action for suicide prevention, connects viewers to mental health resources, and jump starts action.
Send Silence Packing catalyzes conversations in a way that contributes to a community’s overall positive climate for mental health. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. The Active Minds website, www.activeminds.org has a simple, and yet very powerful message: “Are you listening?”
I spoke with Barbara Gillogly Ph.D., a Developmental Psychologist and licensed Family Therapist, about her experiences with clients who discussed suicide. “I cannot tell them not to do it (suicide), but I can listen and validate their feelings.” Dr. Gillogly continued, “People just want to vent and be heard, and not be judged. I listen to the emotion behind the words and find people just want to talk.”
I asked Dr. Gillogly what she tells someone who has lost a loved one or friend to suicide. “Go to a support group because they have been there.” It is not pretty to go through the grieving process regarding suicide as this is the toughest guilt for the survivors: could I have done something to help?”
I asked Barbara if there are any signs that are tipping points to someone taking their own life. “A person may start to give away their personal items, or they slowly start retreating from life in general” she said. My initial thought after interviewing Dr. Gillogy was that I wanted to find out more about local support groups. As it turned out, I found a person who has actually been to one, and provided me with a personal and tragic story. Sharon Ruffner lost her brother Eddie to suicide many years ago. Sharon told me that Eddie struggled with his addiction to prescription drugs and had been in some trouble with the law. Sharon told me, “Eddie was brilliant; he was a gifted pianist, artist and scientist.”
Although Eddie struggled in his life, his sister never stopped loving him and when Eddie would call and blame Sharon for an array of problems she did not create, Sharon always told her brother, “I love you and if you need help I am here for you.” It was soon after that Eddie overdosed on the prescription drugs. One question haunts Sharon: “Did Eddie really mean to do this or just happened to take extra pills by mistake?” As with my interview with Dr. Gillogly, Sharon agreed that when a family member or friend commits suicide it is difficult to comprehend. “What signs did I not recognize?” is a question that Sharon replays over and over. One piece of advice Sharon gives to other people in a similar situation is that you “never get over it; you just travel through the grief.” Eddie’s mother, Norma, went into a deep depression which Sharon described as “having her right arm cut off.” Although her Mom felt this way, Sharon said to me “I never felt devastation; I just tried to help my Mom.”
I asked Sharon what kept her going after Eddie took his life. “I kept myself busy by taking some classes and learning some professional skills. It eventually led to a career position with the San Juan Unified School District.” Sharon did tell me, “you need to allow people to help you, and that grief is an incredible personal journey. You do need to take your time to grieve.” In order to help ease the pain, Sharon said that she copes to this day by taking piano lessons to honor her brother. She also goes to Pacifica Beach in the San Francisco Bay Area and throws a rose into the water because “it was one of Eddie’s favorite places to go.”
Sharon presented me with a newsletter from the Friends for Survival, a nationwide non-profit organization with a Sacramento chapter. The mission statement says, “We are dedicated to providing a variety of peer support services that comfort those in grief, suicide grief support, encourage healing and growth, foster the development of skills to cope with a loss and educate the community regarding the impact of suicide.” In addition, the organization states, “The loving outreach of Friends for Survival can bridge the gap between despair and renewed hope. Those whose loss is recent can lean upon the shoulders of those who have made progress in the difficult task of working through grief after a suicide death.”
The Sacramento chapter of Friends for Survival can be reached at 916-392-0664 or 800-646-7322. Their website is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personally, I came away from this story not with an ending, but a beginning. There is so much the general public needs to understand about this very real societal issue. I intend to continue writing more about this subject in the future with the goal of helping one person or one family. It is that important!
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7) at 1-800-273-8255 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.
Garden Will be Open to Local Community Members in Need of Food Assitance
CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Over spring break, the high school youth group from Carmichael Presbyterian Church (5645 Marconi Ave.) completed their mission project for the year by building a community garden in the field behind the church. During the four-day project, they built a fence, raised beds, walking paths, and a garden shed. Then they installed an irrigation system and prepped the beds for planting.
Lisa Torgerson, director of children and youth at Carmichael Presbyterian Church, said the goal is to supply vegetables to the church Food Closet that serves local community members in need of food assistance.
Torgerson said planting should begin soon, and they plan to start with tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash in two of the garden beds. The remaining beds will be open for planting by members of the church and local community. Members of the youth group, Sunday school classes, and the church will tend to the garden.
Sarah Tomlinson, a member of the youth group and a senior at El Camino High School, said that the group usually travels to other locations for their missions. For example, last year they built a school in Honduras for their mission project. This year is the first time they’ve completed a mission project in their home town. “This project is different, because we’ll get to see the impact it will have on our community over time,” said Tomlinson.
Many of the kids in the youth group have been involved for years and have formed strong friendships. Tomlinson said, “This is a really tight group of kids here.”
John Wallace, a youth advisor for the youth group since 1992, said, “It’s important for young people to give back to their community, so community service is a big focus of our group.”
Since it is a community garden, it is open to the public, and Tomlinson explained that the community garden will provide an excellent opportunity for people in the community to learn about gardening. Tomlinson invited community members to “come check it out. The fence is to keep out critters, not people.”
Student Awarded the the Funds to Implement his Idea to Preserve Natural Habitats
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Caring for Our Watersheds proposal writing contest challenges students to research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and come up with a realistic solution. Students with the top ten proposals of 550 that were reviewed presented their ideas to a panel of community judges.
First place is $1,000 cash to the winning team and $1,000 cash to the winning team’s school. In total, over $27,000 in prize and implementation money is available to students and schools who participate in the program.
Finalists were from the following high schools: Colusa, Del Oro, Foresthill, George Washington Carver, Grant Union, Mira Loma, Pioneer, and Rio Americano. Caring for Our Watersheds is a joint program of Nutrien and the Center for Land-Based Learning.
Abel Asrese won $450 in the competition. He also won an equal matching amount for his class at Rio Americano High School. In addition, the student is eligible for $1000 in project implementation funds.
In total, students compete for over $6,000 cash rewards and participating schools are eligible for over $11,000 cash rewards. Nutrien also provides $10,000 in funding to help implement students’ ideas.
Asrese’s proposal is to organize a volunteer event to remove invasive non-native species in a section of the American River Parkway. Invasive species can outcompete native plants, reduce biodiversity, and alter habitats. The event would educate volunteers and target high priority invasives such as Red Sesbania and Spanish Broom.
“The purpose of the contest is simple,” says Nutrien program advisor Lindsey Verhaeghe. “Our goal is to encourage students to learn about their local watershed and be inspired to make improvements to the land, air and water. With community and school support, we have seen the creativity and determination students have for protecting and preserving the environment. It’s inspiring when they turn their ideas into reality.”
Each year more projects are implemented with the help of community resources and environmental organizations. Anyone who enters the contest is eligible for funding to complete his/ her project. “Seeing students implement their projects is truly impressive. Caring for Our Watersheds not only encourages youth-led ideas, but helps make them happen,” says Beth Del Real of Center for Land-Based Learning.
Nutrien is the world’s largest provider of crop nutrients, inputs, and services, playing a critical role in helping growers around the globe increase food production in a sustainable manner. Nutrien produces and markets three primary groups of nutrients: nitrogen, phosphate and potash as well as controlled release fertilizers and micronutrients.
Nutrien’s capabilities and extensive agricultural retail network makes them well positioned to meet the growing needs of their customers. Contact: www.nutrien.com.
The mission of the Center for Land-Based Learning is to inspire, educate and cultivate future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards. Combining innovative hands-on experience with classroom learning, participants in Land-Based Learning programs develop leadership skills, learn how sustainable agriculture practices contribute to a healthy ecosystem, and create connections to agricultural, environmental, and food system careers. For more information, visit www.landbasedlearning.org
Funds to be Used to Expand the Low Vision Clinic
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Society for the Blind recently received a Vision 2020 campaign donation of $150,000 from the Northern California Lions Sight Association (NCLSA) and the Lions Clubs International (LCIF) to support the expansion of the group’s Low Vision Clinic and training space for people who are blind or have low vision.
NCLSA donated $75,000 to purchase equipment and vision testing devices for the clinic and secured an additional matching grant of $75,000 from LCIF to add an indoor orientation and mobility course.
“Lions Clubs across the world have a long history of supporting organizations that help people with vision loss, so we are deeply honored that the Lions chose to invest in Society for the Blind here in Sacramento,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. Roeseler continued:
“As the only comprehensive vision rehabilitation center in the Sacramento region, Society for the Blind is a critical resource for people who are blind or have low vision. The generosity of the regional and international Lions means that more people across California who are experiencing vision loss will have access to critical assessment and treatment.”
Society for the Blind’s Low Vision Clinic is one of the longest running community-based clinics in the region. The Low Vision Clinic provides care, vision rehabilitation, low vision devices and transportation assistance to more than 375 people each year.
Clinics are staffed by three optometrists with special training in low vision eye care and serve patients with cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other congenital and degenerative eye diseases.
Clinic staff includes a vision rehabilitation therapist who works with patients with some functional vision, teaching them techniques to use their remaining vision safely and effectively and providing training on assistive devices.
“It’s in our Lions Club DNA to help organizations like Society for the Blind,” said Douglas Wight, governor, Lions District 4-C5. “Across the world, we work to bring greater stability and independence to people with vision loss by providing services and supporting organizations that do this work.”
Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential.
Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.
Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world with more than 1.4 million members. The organization’s mission is to support the efforts of Lions clubs and partners in serving communities locally and globally, giving hope and impacting lives through humanitarian service projects and grants. For more information, visit LionsClubs.org.
You Gotta Try This!
CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - It’s that time again! Come experience the best Carmichael has to offer at the 17th annual Taste of Carmichael. You will not want to miss this fun event as it has been named the Best Event in Carmichael by the community in the Best of Carmichael contest!
Ticket holders can sample food from dozens of American and ethnic restaurants, bakeries and markets throughout the evening. Valley and foothill wineries and breweries will be on hand to pour you their latest vintages and drafts. There will also be live music provided by the popular bands.
Come prepared to win! There will be a number of raffles and a silent auction, so you’ll want to bid or buy tickets. Many local businesses and non-profit groups will be represented, just look for the friendly faces and informational flyers among the booths.
Over the years, your participation in the Taste of Carmichael has helped the Kiwanis Club of Carmichael’s Foundation’s charities such as the Kiwanis Family House, local schools, visual and performing arts projects, children’s programs and numerous community projects. All of the proceeds go back to the community to support children and families so bring your appetite and a friend or two, and join the others as you savor the best of local flavor—the Taste of Carmichael!
The Taste of Carmichael is presented by the Kiwanis Club of Carmichael and will be held on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Carmichael’s La Sierra Community Center, 5325 Engle Road. You must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets for this year’s festivities are $45.00 in advance, but may be purchased at the door for $50. Purchase tickets by visiting www.CarmichaelKiwanis.org or calling Linda Martin at (916) 531-3087 or Donna Miller at (916) 944-2137.
Source: Kiwanis Club of Carmichael, Taste of Carmichael
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - More than 250 unhappy parents showed up at the San Juan School Board Meeting on Tuesday night April 9th, to ask the board to not adopt the district staff recommended and proposed History and Social Science curriculum for elementary-aged students.
This was the first of the last two SJUSD board meetings before they would vote on whether or not to adopt the curriculum as proposed. The loudest objection aimed at the school board coming from the many parents who spoke at that meeting, came from a group of aggrieved moms and dads who claimed that they were intentionally left out of the discussions that would have allowed them to help shape the recommendations to the board on the matter that could have provided options that would both comply with SB48, and that would meet concerns of parents on both sides of the controversial curriculum issue: The issue of teaching about a person’s sexuality and the subsequent classroom conversations regarding sex and sexual preferences of people who have made contributions in some form to society. The discussion these parents say they were left out of was the one about what material would be used, at what age level would it be appropriate, and how it would be taught.
During the Public Comment portion of the board meeting, Chelsy Erickson, one of the large number of parents in the district feeling disenfranchised, told the board “nothing has shocked or disappointed me more than the lack of inclusion of the parents by not giving us a seat at the table so we could have a voice.” She continued, “invitations were buried in a flood of ‘general informational’ emails and robo calls, but there was no specific information telling parents that there would be sensitive or controversial material involved.” Erickson told the board that this crucial specific information was left out of district communications to parents until the eleventh hour when it was finally added only because a concerned mother challenged San Juan School District staff and insisted that the notifications specifically mention the LGBT inclusion items in the curriculum being proposed. These parents contend that there was neither a robust nor truly transparent effort by the district to inform parents of the extraordinary content in the new curriculum and that the crucial information was not fairly or appropriately highlighted in notices until January of this year; thirty months into a thirty-six month timetable, effectively giving concerned parents no time to organize and demand they be given a seat at the planning table.
Larry Gilmore, parent of a third grader, told the board that he is one of approximately 2,500 tax paying Concerned Parents of San Juan Unified School District who objected to the way the district went about adopting the state’s curriculum for elementary-aged students. He told the board that they violated their Professional Code of Conduct in that they allowed misrepresentation and distortion of facts during public discussion. In his examples he cited EC 35160.1 (Education Code) where the Legislature found and declared that “school districts have the flexibility to create their own unique solutions” which can be “liberally construed to effect this objective”. He also cited SB 48 and the HSS Framework law that state “while mandatory in regard to its implementation, it falls to the teacher and the local school and district administration to determine how the content is covered and at which grade level(s).”
Gilmore asked the board why, knowing this was such a volatile issue, they didn’t give more complete information, or invite parents to explore options that under the law would be a more acceptable solution for all involved. He urged the board to delay adoption until parents can fairly be given this opportunity.
Becky Milton stood before the board saying, “I respectfully ask that you do not adopt this new curriculum in its entirety”. She stated that she is a firm believer in public education, and that she taught and subbed in SJUSD for over 10 years. “This is too much too soon,” she said, “the complex nature of sexuality and gender identity are not appropriate topics to discuss with elementary age children at school”. Quoting the Fair Act (SB 48) she too stated that the board could choose to push back the curriculum and to focus the fair act at the more appropriately aged high school level.
Milton asked that rather than making a decision that would divide the district, all parents and educators be allowed to “work together to build bridges”. And in Erickson’s comments she asked the board to give the parents, both proponents and opponents of the current proposal, the opportunity to work together to find mutually acceptable paths for implementation.
The boards concluding remarks in this meeting did not acknowledge or address the complaints cited, or the sincere requests of parents asking for a postponement and opportunity to fairly participate and work together. Their remarks did, however, with the exception of one, indicate that each of them had already decided to vote for adoption of the proposed curriculum at the next board meeting.
The April 23rd meeting was also packed. Concerned parents filled the main board room, an overflow room, and stood shoulder to shoulder in the halls to hear the proceedings. Again, parents from both sides addressed the board. Again, the disenfranchised parents protested that the district intentionally left them out of the discussion, and they pleaded with the board to postpone adopting the new curriculum and allow parents a chance to work together to come up with a plan for presenting the material in a way that would meet both the requirements and concerns of parents on both sides of the issue.
“We put our trust in you when we voted for you”, said Erickson, addressing the board at the second meeting in a row, “won’t you put some faith and trust in us by giving us the opportunity to work on this together”.
Closing remarks from the board differed little from the last meeting. This time a board member and the superintendent did acknowledge the request from parents for postponement but said that it would not change the fact that they were required by the state to adopt the proposed curriculum, and that they had no choice but to vote for it.
It is important to note here that other school districts including Capistrano Valley Unified School District and Clovis Unified School District have intentionally not adopted the state approved History and Social Studies curriculum in an effort to cooperate more with concerns of all district families and communities. These two districts have joined with at least 24 other school districts in California, including Orange County School District, who are using the flexibility built into the law, and working with parents to come up with solutions that work to meet the important needs of the children and families in their districts.
The pleas of the disenfranchised parents had no impact on the outcome. In the end, as predicted from the meeting two weeks earlier, the school board voted unanimously to adopt the new curriculum provided and approved by the state.
View the board videos at SanJuanParentsLeftOut.org
Shriners Hospitals for Children Restoring Our Faith in Humanity
CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Sacramento was fortunate when Shriners Hospital for Children opened its doors here in 1997. It’s something many of us take for granted, but not the children whose lives begin with tragic physical deformations or are severely burned. To honor this work the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce recently awarded Shriners Hospital for Children with the Nonprofit of the Year Award.
David Pirie of the Northern California Board of Governors for Shriners attended the ceremony and received the award on behalf of the Organization. He thanked business leaders, chamber members and others present for the recognition.
Subsequently, on April 23, the Carmichael Chamber also presented the philanthropic organization a donation for $2500 to the Director of Development for Shriners Hospital for Children, Alan Anderson.
Because of the economic recession and rising health care costs, Shriners had been struggling with its traditional model of volunteer and member based funding.
But Anderson said, “We have not lost that single purpose of giving these kids something closer to a normal life, especially when we hear parents are implicitly told by other institutions that their child won’t amount to much.”
Shriners can do this because they have been leading this independent effort of healing children for well over a century. This enabled them to develop an endowment fund, a specialized infrastructure of hospitals, and research facilities across the country.
Anderson explained some of the history, “Shriners was an early investor in 20th century research and therefore the organization can devote more of that money and resources per child.” Other more profit oriented institutions do not devote funds with “this kind of astonishing efficiency rate.”
Margaret Kugler M.D., Coordinator of Educational and Vocational Services, tells us what also makes Shriners Hospital for Children in Northern California so different, “the Hospital has an integrated school system so the child can continue learning and participate in many of the activities, in addition to the arts and entertainment that normal children enjoy.”
Shriners Hospital for Children cares and trains kids with long term conditions, their organization having been designed to house those up to 18 years of age. “The spirit of this is just not possible if we were just a conventional hospital,” Anderson added.
For more information visit: www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/sacramento
For more information about Carmichael Chamber of Commerce visit: www.carmichaelchamber.com