A Reason for the Season

By Margaret Snider  |  2016-12-02

The Live Nativity, depicting the first Christmas, presents an “opportunity for a meaningful spiritual experience,” said Daniel Harrison, president of the Folsom Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Featuring four half-hour performances each night from Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11, admission is free. --Photography courtesy Ron Aguilar, 2015

Live Nativity Encourages the Spirit of Christmas

The Live Nativity, admission free, returns this year after an enthusiastic response from the public in 2015. Like last year, visitors pass shepherds in the fields, see the Three Kings arriving from afar, and enter Bethlehem, where the marketplace bustles around them complete with census takers and Roman guards. Mary, Joseph, and the Baby enter, all accompanied by music and narration. Six babies will make their acting debut as the newborn Christ during the four-day run from Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11. The show has four presentations per night: 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00, at 2100 California Circle in Rancho Cordova.

“’The baby is real!’ is a common reaction we’ve had,” said Heather McCauley, who is in charge of casting and direction, as well as numerous other logistical matters. “(Visitors) felt like they were going back in time and being a part of the first Christmas.” McCauley, who lives in El Dorado Hills, is a music and drama teacher.

Manned by an all-volunteer cast and crew, one set of 100 actors perform on Thursday and Saturday, and another, different set of 100 on Friday and Sunday. There are also numerous behind-the-scenes workers taking care of costumes, lighting, sound, and such things as parking, check-in, and ushering, for a total of around 300 volunteers per night.

McCauley said that it is amazing to see so many people come forward and give so much of their time to make this event happen. “It is such a special gift that we’re giving to the community, that people love, all different religions, and it’s something that people are looking for at this time of the year.”

Last year the count of visitors attending the presentations reached 7,400, several thousand more than expected. Because of that, this year’s organizers have added a reservation process, more seating, and have made other arrangements for the convenience of the patrons.

The Live Nativity is presented by the Folsom Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Stake president, Daniel Harrison, presides over congregations of the Church in the Folsom/El Dorado Hills area. “The goal is to try to help people feel that they are actually in Bethlehem and that they have a meaningful Christmas experience remembering the birth of Christ, which is the reason why we celebrate,” Harrison said.

This year reservations are recommended, but no one will be turned away. For reservations, directions, photos, and more information about the performance, see www.LiveNativity.org. The presentations are located at 2100 California Circle, off of Folsom Boulevard near Folsom Auto Mall, turning south onto Birkmont Drive, then left on California Circle.

Fire in Orangevale Home Displaces Family of Four

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-01

Two adults and two children were displaced by the fire. Total damage is estimated at $60,000; no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Just after 8:30 on November 18, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 9200 block of Lostwood Lane in Orangevale for a report of visible flames from the roof of a house. First arriving crews reported a working fire and immediately initiated fire attack. Firefighters located the fire, which had started in the chimney and spread to the attic, and extinguished it, while searching for victims, and ventilating the structure.

While first-in crews were putting out the fire, other firefighters focused on protecting the residents’ belongings. Their efforts allowed the fire damage to be limited to the chimney, attic and a wall, while saving all of the family’s possessions. Two adults and two children were displaced by the fire. Total damage is estimated at $60,000; no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

As we enter the cold season, make sure your chimney gets inspected and cleaned every year by a professional. When using your fireplace, put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave home, and always put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 3 feet from your home.

For more information, check out www.metrofire.ca.gov, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Firefighters, Sheriff’s Officers and CHP Rescue 46 Year-old Woman

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-01

Just after midnight on November 21, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to a home in Fair Oaks for a report of an overdose.  When firefighters and Sheriff’s officers arrived, the patient was no longer there. They attempted to locate her, but were unable to. After searching nearby streets, the officers pinged her cell phone, which showed it to be on the north side of the American River, near Hazel Avenue. Officers then requested the help of a California Highway Patrol helicopter, who used infrared technology to locate the woman, lying on a ledge above the river, in slippery terrain. As fire crews were en route to the new location, one of the officers climbed down the slope to make sure the woman didn’t fall off the ledge.

The victim, a 46-year-old female, appeared to have rolled nearly 70 feet before stopping on a ledge a few feet above the water line. She had a decreased level of consciousness, not responding to verbal communication. Metro Fire’s Rescue Task Force, with assistance from Folsom Fire, set up for a low angle rescue, using a second ambulance as the anchor. Once the rope system was in place, two rescuers were lowered to the ledge, where they quickly assessed her injuries and placed her in a rescue stretcher, so she could be safely hauled up the slope. The patient was then transported code 3 to a local trauma center.

“This rescue, with all its unique aspects, demonstrates how our public safety agencies work together to benefit the community,” stated Metro Fire Battalion Chief Mark Repetto. “Sheriff’s officers went above and beyond, CHP jumped in to help find the patient, and firefighters from multiple agencies rescued, treated and transported her. Without this collaboration, it’s not likely this woman would have survived through the night.

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H2oliday Water Saving Ideas

By Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2016-12-01

Are you having a bunch of houseguests over the holidays or hosting a big party or dinner? Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) has ideas on how you can have a fun and water-efficient h2oliday season.

  1. Spread the word about using water wisely by posting a little note on the mirror in the guest bathroom reminding your guests to turn off the water when brushing their teeth or shaving, to limit their showers to five minutes or less, and to collect shower water in a bucket as it warms. SSWD has free buckets and shower timers available at their office.
  2. Save water and energy by letting your frozen food thaw in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, instead of running hot water over it.
  3. Wash fruits and vegetables in a small pan instead of rinsing under running water.
  4. After the big meal scrape the plates into the trash instead of using the sink’s garbage disposal. And if you want to really make a difference, compost the vegetable waste and use the compost in your yard.
  5. A full household means extra laundry and dishes. Remember to run your clothes washer or dishwasher only when full.
  6. Water your poinsettias, Christmas tree and potted plants with shower water or water from the drinking glasses.
  7. If you’re using the good china or silverware that requires hand washing, fill one basin with soapy water and the other with rinse water.
  8. And if you’re searching for holiday gifts make sure to look for WaterSense-labeled products.  They are certified to use less water and work as well or better than similar appliances and fixtures.

You can find WaterSense certified washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, showerheads, faucets and sprinkler controllers online or at your local hardware or appliance store and online.  There are even rebates available for WaterSense-labeled weather-based sprinkler controllers from SSWD.

Happy H2olidays from SSWD!

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United Way Offers Holiday Donation, Volunteer Opportunities

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-12-01

“The Sacramento region is filled with generous people wanting to give back during the holidays, so we’ve gathered numerous opportunities in our online Volunteer Center to make it easy to choose the project you’re most passionate about,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Local residents looking for holiday donation and volunteer opportunities can visit United Way California Capital Region’s online Volunteer Center at www.yourlocalunitedway.org to find more than a dozen needs in one place. Holiday volunteers and donors are encouraged to post photos of their work on social media using #happy2help.

“The Sacramento region is filled with generous people wanting to give back during the holidays, so we’ve gathered numerous opportunities in our online Volunteer Center to make it easy to choose the project you’re most passionate about,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Anyone can sign up to volunteer or donate, and most nonprofits across the region are eligible to add their volunteer opportunities, and can do so through the website. For questions, contact volunteer@uwccr.org.

United Way launched its online Volunteer Center in 2014 to provide an organized, community-wide portal that connects the Sacramento region’s volunteer and donor base with United Way’s 160 local nonprofit partners and other local organizations. The center is designed to connect individual donors and volunteers, as well as corporate or group volunteers, with opportunities of all sizes and commitments throughout the year. Community members can log onto the website and create a profile that lists their interests, become fans of participating nonprofits, join volunteer groups, donate unused materials and household items to nonprofits in need, learn about upcoming special events and fundraisers, and advocate for causes. The center was partly launched in response to United Way’s 450 corporate partners looking for a coordinated way to engage employees in corporate social responsibility through volunteer work, donation opportunities and events.

United Way’s Volunteer Center is part of United Way’s Square One Project, which recognizes the importance of volunteers in making sure nonprofits and schools are equipped to provide a full support system for kids. The Square One Project is a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

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Santas Needed to Fill Local Stockings

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-11-25

Help share the joy with children and their mothers who have gone from having nothing to now having a place to call home during the holidays. 
--Photo courtesy United Way.

You Can Help Formerly Homeless Women and Children

Local residents can bring smiles to formerly homeless women and children this holiday season by contributing to Women’s Empowerment’s annual Holiday Stocking Drive. The group is seeking 200 unstuffed stockings and specific fillers for local infants and toddlers, children, teens and adult women.

“There is nothing like hearing the squeals of joy from children and their mothers who have gone from having nothing to now having a place to call home during the holidays and cheerful stockings to hang in their homes,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “But these stockings not only bring joy, they give these families necessary items so they can stay healthy and warm this winter as they rebuild their lives.”

For the list of items needed, visit www.womens-empowerment.org. Those interested also can donate $35 to have a volunteer elf fill a stocking or donate $15 Target gift cards. Items are needed by Dec. 7 and can be dropped off at 1590 North A Street, Sacramento.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Women’s Empowerment was recently featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The 2014 Organization of the Year has graduated 1,367 homeless women and their 3,700 children. Last year, 93 percent of graduates found homes and 83 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.

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FTB Responds To Gaines' Call to Help Victimized Veterans

Source: Office of Ted Gaines  |  2016-11-24

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) reported that, per his request, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has put into place a dedicated study team to evaluate the taxation of California National Guard Bonus repayments.

“I called on the FTB to create a special task force to aid California National Guard veterans who may need to file amended tax returns resulting from the resolution of this bonus scandal and am pleased to hear they are moving forward,” said Senator Gaines. “I want these veterans to have FTB staff specifically dedicated to their plight so they are not mired in bureaucracy when trying to resolve their tax status. I appreciate the FTB working with these service men and women to ensure our veterans are being honored for their service and not suffering from this betrayal at the hands of the Pentagon.”

The FTB reports that they have reached out to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting information on the IRS interpretation of the federal tax consequences of the bonus repayment and are awaiting a response.

The FTB is also awaiting the final decision from the Department of Defense regarding the repayment of bonuses. Once the appropriate information is received, the FTB will take action to notify taxpayers and tax professionals of the appropriate tax treatment.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Fun with Purpose Pays Off for Local Girl Scouts

Source: Girl Scouts of Central California  |  2016-11-24

Ayana Watkins is a senior and student body president at Christian Brothers High School. 
--Photo courtesy Girl Scouts of Central California

Girl Scouts may be 104 years old, but the organization continues to deliver relevant, modern experiences that build leaders right here in our community.

This year was an incredible year for local Girl Scouts. Not only did 48 young women earn the highest award in Girl Scouting (the Gold Award), but one local girl earned the prestigious national Girl Scout Medal of Honor for saving a friend’s life using skills she learned while pursuing her first aid badge.

“I learned the Heimlich maneuver as a Brownie in third grade,” recalls 6th grader Abby Egawa, adding, “I did not think I would ever be faced with an emergency like this, but I do remember thinking to myself that the Heimlich maneuver was important and that I should pay attention.” Abby and her grateful friend Rosie Helft were interviewed on local television stations to talk about the harrowing experience and Abby’s quick thinking.

Just last month, two young leaders from Sacramento were recognized as “National Young Women of Distinction.”  Each year, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) confers special honors on just ten young women who personify the organization’s goal of building girls of courage, confidence and character through their Gold Award projects. They are considered the organization’s best and brightest young leaders, and the fact that two of them are from Northern California is an unprecedented honor.

Ayana Watkins, a senior and student body president at Christian Brothers High School, planned and executed a symposium for 200 underserved Sacramento youth entitled “Education Matters in Black Lives,” to address the issue of the academic Achievement Gap and the need for educational support to ensure the success of African American youth.

Her symposium included a collegiate panel of students of color and a YouTube channel that carried her message on a digital platform. Ayana believes that education is an antidote to poverty and social injustice. Through the successful implementation of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Ayana has made a difference in her community and changed the world through education. “I learned that my voice matters and that I can make a difference in society,” she said. “I was able to create something that could address an issue, benefit others and make a positive change.”

Leyna Reynolds set her sights on making California roadways safer for new drivers. Noting the high number of accidents involving inexperienced drivers, Leyna developed a program by which new drivers could post “Student Driver” decals to let other drivers know there is a newbie behind the wheel. Leyna created the decals and distributed them through a teen driver advocacy group (Impact Teen Driver) and at local driving schools and insurance companies.  She even developed a partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving!

She worked with California Assemblymember Kansen Chu, who introduced Assembly Bill 2322 to make these decals available to all permit holders while they practice their skills. She has been able to testify before the California Legislature in support of the bill. “The Gold Award experience helped me to grow myself as a person,” says Reynolds, who plans to major in international relations after graduating from C.K. McClatchy High School next June. “I learned that, with enough perseverance and hard work, anyone can change the world.” Even though it didn’t pass this year, the author of the bill plans to reintroduce it next year.

Ayana and Leyna were honored at a national celebration in Philadelphia and received national recognition as well as college scholarships. They will now have the opportunity to serve as representatives of Girl Scouts across the nation, inspiring girls to find their passions and work to change the world, just like they did.

Starting as young at 5 years old, girls have “fun with purpose,” gaining valuable life skills, sharing new experiences while having fun and building friendships! In addition to leadership, the organization offers great camps, STEAM opportunities and financial literacy programs.

There is always room for more girls in local troops, year-round. To learn more about Girl Scouting, to join a troop or to volunteer, visit Girl Scouts Heart of Central California at girlscoutshcc.org or 800.322.GIRL.

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SCSO Adds More Festive Cheer to 2016 Celebration

Source: Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra  |  2016-11-24

SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick helps our Community celebrate the season at Memorial Auditorium at Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays on December 10th.

New Matinée, Puppets, Stories Added to Christmas Celebration

Great news! Since last year’s popular Sacramento standing room only Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays celebration sold out, the SCSO has added a new 2 PM matinée followed by a 7:30 PM evening performance on Saturday, December 10th in Sacramento’s venerable landmark, Memorial Auditorium.

SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick has once again created a fresh and sparkling program designed to capture the magic and spirit of the season for the whole family. Says Kendrick, “This year we will welcome Mr. Grinch himself, along with life-size puppets, narrations and San Jose Opera Baritone headliner Matt Hanscom. It is our pleasure to welcome back the Sacramento Children’s Chorus and continue our tradition of a candlelit procession and audience sing-along, all accompanied by our professional SCSO Orchestra and dedicated Chorus. We will even offer a musical nod to last summer’s Olympics in Brazil and pay homage to Downton Abbey at this celebration.”

The SCSO is once again proud to partner with Wells Fargo to help Sacramento area families celebrate the season in a meaningful way. The warm atmosphere created by Memorial Auditorium’s u-shaped seating plan fosters a very strong sense of community at the concert. SCSO Christmas CDs will be available as stocking stuffers in the lobby.

“We are working hard to provide a festive and celebratory mood for our Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays concerts as we plan to welcome families who come together to celebrate this joyful season,” says SCSO Board Member Jeannie Brown. “It is a time to experience a wonderful sense of old-fashioned community and camaraderie brought about by the enduring music of the season.” Come celebrate the Christmas season at the SCSO’s 2016 Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays on Saturday, December 10th at 2 PM and 7:30 PM at Memorial Auditorium. For information, call the SCSO at (916) 536-9065 or visit sacramentochoral.com.

Tickets priced at $50, $40, and $35 (Students enjoy 50% discount) are available by calling the Community Center Box Office at 916-808-5181 or online at www.sacramentochoral.com.

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Support the Sheriff’s Toy Project

From Sherrie Carhart, Sacramento County Sheriff Department  |  2016-11-18

Visit the Toy Project facility for an unforgettable “feel good” experience. You can take a virtual tour right on the website or for an appointment to visit in person.

The Sheriff's Toy Project, an innovative collaboration between peace officers, non-profit agencies, private donors and businesses, was created to better serve less fortunate children and families. The program provides a character building environment for offenders, who work with law enforcement officers to help people who are in times of need or suffering from hardship. The Toy Project provides a connection between law enforcement, people in need and those in the community capable of giving.

As we prepare for Christmas, we are seeking donations of new items in their original packaging. We provide gifts for babies to young teens up to 17 years old. Because we have a large number of older children, we have difficulty in finding them an age appropriate donated item. This is where you can make a difference. Any help you can provide in the form of a donation or gift card is greatly appreciated. We are optimistic about our ability to provide for the less fortunate in the Sacramento county area. Your donation will play such an important role in our efforts to provide for those at Christmas who would otherwise be without.

In 2015 7,728 kids were served, being presented with 840 bikes, 480 computers, 29,248 toys, and there was an additional $21,500 spent on charitable needs.

On the website are the requirements for families seeking assistance. Applications are limited and are given on a first come, first served basis. Applications started October 31st.

Referrals for recipient families come through our Sheriff’s Service Centers, Sheriff’s Deputies, Detectives, Probation Officers, Social Service Agencies, Schools and other local non-profit organizations. On the website are the requirements for families seeking assistance. Applications are limited and are given on a first come, first served basis. Applications started October 31st.

Donations can be dropped off at any Sheriff’s Service Center.

Visit the Toy Project facility for an unforgettable “feel good” experience. You can take a virtual tour right on the website or for an appointment to visit in person.

The Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Project’s website is www.toyproject.org or call at 361-4571. The Sheriff’s Toy Project is a 501 c (3) organization.

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