Effie Yeaw Appoints New CEO

Photo and story by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2020-02-12

Kent Anderson (center) has begun work as the Effie Yeaw Nature Center’s Chief Executive. His staff includes Heather Gabel (left), Rachael Cowan, Kimberly Rider and volunteer Bev Lewis. Winged ambassador is Swainson’s hawk Orion.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - The Effie Yeaw Nature Center has begun a new year with a new executive officer. Kent Anderson (39) will lead staff and volunteers at the beloved Ancil Hoffman Park facility.

Anderson comes to Carmichael from a similar job on the Putah Creek Council – an organization with stewardship of more than 70 miles of waterways in several Northern California counties. The Roseville-raised executive earned his Natural Resource Management degree at Chico State University.

“My association with Effie Yeaw began as a child,” he recalls. “I came here for a program on bugs. I remember how the presenter really got the audience participating.  At end of the talk, the lights came on. We suddenly saw hundreds of nocturnal insects that had been attracted to the screen. The naturalist identified the bugs and carefully passed some of them around. For a kid, being able to touch and feel the creatures was the big takeaway. This is typical of how we like to educate at Effie Yeaw. It’s all about the people who’ve come to learn. We’d rather be guides on the side than sages on stage.” The naturalist likens Effie Yeaw’s 17 staff and 235 volunteers to a big family. “People here make you feel welcome,” he says. “It’s obvious they love the work they do. They’re amazing as individuals and as a team.”

More than 100-thousand visitors per year attend Nature Center programs and explore trails that traverse its preserve. Though the non-profit lost public funding nine years ago, operations continue thanks to community support, under the American River Natural History Association’s administration.

The new executive looks forward to 2020 fundraisers: two Bird and Breakfast programs are scheduled for March 28 and April 4; the annual spring gala and art auction will raise paddles on June 13; the fall NatureFest open day (October 11) will enable much animal and human interaction.

Upcoming center improvements include the construction of a new education area and outdoor aviaries. “It’s an exciting time for people to reengage with Effie Yeaw,” considers Anderson.  “And it’s an exciting time for me to join the team.”

Lean more about the Effie Yeaw nature Center at www.sacnaturecenter.net.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Capitol Pops Concert Band will wrap up its 23rd season with a free, open to the public holiday concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Rusch Park Gym, 7801 Auburn Blvd., in Citrus Heights.

Under the baton of Director Judith Steinle, the CPCB will once again play traditional favorites, seasonal musical hits and carols in its "Holiday Celebration" program.

This performance, sponsored by the Sunrise Recreation and Park District and the City of Citrus Heights, is family friendly and a great way to usher in the holiday season. The two-hour concert includes a 20-minute intermission.

Various prizes will be on display for donation ticket drawings. The public also will have the opportunity to purchase a variety of colorful poinsettias after the concert concludes.  Longtime CPCB supporter Eisley Nursery of Auburn has donated a large poinsettia plant as a grand prize in support of the band's student scholarship fund.

Started in 1997, the CPCB has performed a diverse portfolio of high-quality, well-prepared music heard by thousands of concert-goers throughout Northern California.  Based in Citrus Heights, the self-supporting, nonprofit community band of about 50 musicians represents a wide cross-section of the Sacramento area. For more information on the Capitol Pops, visit www.capitolpops.org or its Facebook page.

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Annual Operation Gobble Distributes Thanksgiving Turkeys

By Rachael Serrao, Randle Communications  |  2019-11-29

Rancho Cordova City Council, Rotary Club of Rancho Cordova, Grocery Outlet Rancho Cordova and Kiwanis Club of Rancho Cordova members are taking the turkeys to the streets. Photo courtesy Golden State Water

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Golden State Water Company (Golden State Water) was pleased to partner with the Rancho Cordova City Council, Rotary Club of Rancho Cordova, Grocery Outlet Rancho Cordova and Kiwanis Club of Rancho Cordova to distribute turkeys this holiday season to local nonprofit organizations that serve families and individuals with limited resources through its annual Operation Gobble outreach program

Operation Gobble is a philanthropic partnership between Golden State Water, the California Water Association and local and state elected officials. This year, Golden State Water employees distributed more than 8,000 turkeys to local community-based organizations, churches, food banks, senior centers and other nonprofits in the communities it serves.

“Holiday memories are built around a warm meal with loved ones,” said Paul Schubert, Northern District General Manager for Golden State Water. “Golden State Water appreciates the opportunity to partner with local elected leaders and community organizations to deliver Thanksgiving turkeys to those in our community who need them most.”

Operation Gobble has been a Golden State Water tradition since 1990. Over the last 29 years, Golden State Water has donated more than 240,500 turkeys through the program.

“Operation Gobble is an important holiday tradition for all of our employees,” said Ronald Moore, Golden State Water’s Operation Gobble project leader. “We take great pride in serving more than 80 communities in California, and that service extends far beyond the water we deliver to homes. It’s also about giving back.”

To learn more about Golden State Water’s community partnerships and philanthropic activities, customers are encouraged to visit gswater.com, or follow @GoldenStateH2O on Twitter and Facebook.

Golden State Water Company (Golden State Water) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR).   Golden State Water provides water service to more than 1 million people in over 80 communities throughout California, and distributes electricity to approximately 24,000 customers in the City of Big Bear Lake and surrounding areas in San Bernardino County, California, through its Bear Valley Electric Service division. American States Water Company also owns a contracted services subsidiary, American States Utility Services, Inc. (ASUS).  ASUS provides operations, maintenance and construction management services for water and wastewater systems located on military bases throughout the country under 50-year privatization contracts with the U.S. government.

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It’s “Adopt a Grandparent” Time for the Holidays

By Natalie Miller  |  2019-11-29

Ladies of the Shine Unit and Fire Unit gear up to bring Holiday cheer to our local “grandparents.” Photo courtesy of Hayley Coury

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - It’s time for our annual “Adopt a Grandparent” Fundraiser. Local Mary Kay Sales Directors and Beauty Consultants use their businesses as a way to give back to seniors with a program we started calling “Adopt a Grandparent”. It breaks my heart that each holiday season, many residents of long term care homes are "forgotten". Nearly 3 million go without visits or gifts. This is where we come in! We put together small gifts to deliver to the residents of care centers that we have chosen to sponsor. Last year our unit sponsored residents at Park Place, Mission Carmichael Health Care Center, and Almond Avenue Residence Club. Such a small gesture can bring so much joy.

A big thank you goes to our previous sponsors. Because of you, over the last few years, we have been able to gift between 500-800 residents in Sacramento County. This year we would like to gift 500 residents, but we can’t do it without you! It’s $17 to sponsor 2 seniors. Each resident sponsored will receive a pair of fuzzy socks or mittens, a hand or foot cream and a hand written card on your behalf!

Thank you all so much in advance. If you decide to donate, please call or text Natalie Miller at 916-621-0833 or email www.millernatalie29@yahoo.com


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Food Locker Ribbon Cutting Coincides with Holiday Food Drive

Story and Photos by Margaret Snider  |  2019-11-29

City of Rancho Cordova Mayor Robert McGarvey (right) presents a $10,000 check to CCFL Executive Director Walter Little as a donation for the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas food giveaways.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Since its inception in 1987, the Cordova Community Food Locker has provided food for over 17 million meals for residents in our community. On November 8, 2019, the Food Locker officially commenced its holiday season food drive, along with a ribbon cutting, sponsored by the Rancho Cordova Chamber, for the launch of its new website. “We’re going to have the ribbon cutting ceremony,” Executive Director Walter Little said at the event, “and I would like all Very Important People to come on this side of the ribbon. If anybody remains standing on that (other) side, you don’t understand how important you are, so get over here on this side while we take a picture.”

The website, developed by Susan Dakuzaku, has a lifetime hosting license contributed by Beth Walter of McNellis Partners. At https://www.ranchocordovafoodlocker.org, the website allows donations to be made online and gives information about the Food Locker and its programs, patrons, and partners.

Sacramento County District 5 Supervisor Don Nottoli attended the event. “It is just tremendous that they continue to build on that really strong foundation of community service here in helping people put food on the table,” Nottoli said. “The whole operation is a real credit to the community.”

After the ribbon cutting, Mayor Robert McGarvey presented a check of $10,000 on behalf of the City of Rancho Cordova, consisting of $5,000 each for food for the Thanksgiving and Christmas food distributions. The City previously this year provided a $49,000 grant to the Food Locker from the Community Enhancement Fund for purchase of a commercial freezer, creation of the website, and other program operations and maintenance.

After that, a parade of enthusiastic donations followed:  Catholic Charities, Diocese of Sacramento donated $2,500; Franklin Templeton regional Rancho Cordova office $2,500; River City Christian Church $2,000; EMEC $1,000; KP Market $1,000; Father Dan Madigan $1,000; Golden State Water $1,000; Ross and Sandy Johnson $1,000; Optimist Club of Rancho Cordova $350.

In addition, Ron and Julie Belka – Roth Staffing Companies, will be donating 1,500 turkeys, equivalent to $15,000. “Their turkey drive is a big thing for us,” said Ross Johnson, who serves on the Cordova Community Food Locker Board.

Sean Twilla, Water Distribution Superintendent, pledged 200 turkeys for Golden State Water, equivalent to $2,000, besides their $1,000 dollar monetary donation.

The donation goal is $50,000 for this holiday season, enough to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for 2,000 families, an estimated 8,000-10,000 people. To date, $26,000 has been raised. Donations can be made and information obtained online at the new website or in person at the CCFL, 10497 Coloma Rd., Rancho Cordova, next to St. John Vianney Catholic Church.

In the 1980s when Coloma Road was called church row because of the abundance of churches there, the Rev. Walter Little sat down with church leaders and asked, “What is it that you need that we can provide?” The food locker came up at that time, though Little said his idea of a food locker was about the size of a small garage. “We told (Father Dan Madigan) what we wanted, and the first words out of his mouth were, “Walter, you’re thinking too small.”

As he closed his talk at this event, Little spoke of a meeting he attended recently with the Interfaith Service Bureau. City Councilman Garrett Gatewood also attended. Gatewood took Little aside, saying that because of new laws and the importance of this project to the City and its people, they needed to find a way to increase the food locker’s capabilities. “I gave him a few ideas,” Little said. “Then he looked at me and he said, ‘Walter, you’re not thinking big enough’.”

At the ribbon cutting event Little said that the Food Locker will be working with the City as well as churches, fraternal organizations, and every level of government. “When you go inside you’re even going to find that the Pope himself has blessed this operation,” Little said.

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Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra Presents Wells Fargo Home For the Holidays

Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra Press Release  |  2019-11-29

Come and discover the new updates to this venerable concert hall as we officially kick off the beginning of the holiday season in downtown Sacramento. Photo courtesy SCS

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra with Music Director Donald Kendrick celebrate their 24th year of performances in the Capital Region with their annual Wells Fargo Home For the Holidays on Saturday, December 7 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM in the recently renovated Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.

Come and discover the new updates to this venerable concert hall as we officially kick off the beginning of the holiday season in downtown Sacramento.  The professional symphony orchestra and large chorus will also welcome the Sacramento Children’s Chorus, Alexander Grambow, Director, in brand new carols by Gordon Thornett and John Rutter. 

The evening will also include the debut performance of Tenor Chadwick Somers who recently completed his Doctoral degree in vocal performance from the esteemed Eastman School of Music. To guarantee merriment, this community celebration will feature familiar holiday classics along with the Christopher Cook Puppet presentation of  The Grinch Medley and how the Grinch stole Christmas.

The performance opens with a candlelit procession and an arrangement of Joy to the World by Texas composer Randal Alan Bass. The audience get the chance to sing a Christmas Pop Singalong with the orchestra, and the choir will unveil an African carol “Betelehemu” as well as the majestic “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.  Be a part of this Sacramento standing room only tradition.

For tickets, call the Memorial Auditorium Box Office: 916-808-5181
For further information visit the Sacramento Choral Society website at sacramentochoral.com or email the SCSO at scso2005@gmail.com

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The Gift of Time Together

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-11-21

Russ’s father Woody developed a friendship with Ted Danson while visiting the set of Becker. (Left to right) Russ Woody, Claude Woody, and Ted Danson. Photo provided by Russ Woody

A Son’s Story of the Journey through His Father’s Terminal Illness

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The relationship between a son and his dying father is beautifully chronicled in Russ Woody’s new book, Tuesdays with Ted. The memoir is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking as it details the final months of Claude Woody’s life and the lasting impact that time had on his son.

Claude, who was always known as Woody, served as a Marine in WWII and then worked for PG&E, a job which required the family to move to a new area of California every couple years. Russ spent his teenage years in Fair Oaks, attending Bella Vista High School and then interning at a Sacramento TV station during college.

An Emmy and Golden Globe winning TV writer and producer, Russ has worked in television for more than 30 years on shows including Murphy Brown, Cybill, Mad About You, The Drew Carey Show, and The Middle. But it was the time he spent writing and producing Becker that would turn out to be his most significant project.

In 2001, after Becker had finished its third season, Russ learned that Woody had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — a terminal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, leading to gradual loss of motor function as the muscles in the body atrophy. In the book, Russ wrote that Woody “would die by slow, gradual asphyxiation” as the muscles around the lungs ceased to function. Woody’s form of ALS was aggressive and started in his throat; he quickly lost the ability to speak and had to type on a machine called a LightWRITER to communicate. Russ described it as an “incremental death. His body was going away one piece at a time … while his mind — healthy as ever — was being held hostage.” Woody eventually lost the ability to swallow and was unable to hold his head up without a neck brace.

It was 17 months between Woody’s diagnosis and his death in September 2002. “Since his diagnosis,” Russ wrote, “I’d been marking time, first in months, then weeks, then days and there were still more days to be had, to be shared. Not many, but there were more, and I wanted them, those days, those hours, however many were left.” Russ described that time with his father as “the most meaningful year and a half of my life.”

To spend as much time as possible with Woody, Russ moved him to a home in Studio City nearby his own and brought him to the set of Becker for filming each Tuesday during Season 4.  The cast and crew of Becker treated Woody like family, and Russ was overwhelmed and grateful for the love and kindness they showed his father. Woody was even an extra in one episode and was the inspiration for an episode about ALS. During that time, Woody developed a special friendship with the star of Becker — Ted Danson (hence the book title, Tuesdays with Ted). Russ said that Woody had been a fan of Cheers, so “the idea that Ted Danson would become his pal was kind of flabbergasting to him. And Ted just adored him. It was really sweet to see. … He would just go out of his way to be with my dad.”

Russ wrote the book to both remember the precious time he spent with his father and to help his sons understand, since they were so young at the time. “I think by the time my father died, they were both 4 and 6, so they were in the middle of it … but they didn’t really understand what was going on,” said Russ. The boys, Henry and Joe, have some memories of that time with their grandfather: bunk beds and pancake breakfasts, backyard forts and indoor racetracks. Russ said his main objective was “to put the story in perspective for them.”

“In the last week of my dad’s life, I had a conversation with him; I asked him about his regrets,” said Russ. “He thought about it and he said he wished he’d spent more time with me when I was little.” At that time, Russ was working long hours in the writers’ room at Becker, and he then made the decision that he would stop writing for sitcoms so he could have a more flexible schedule: “I wanted to spend that time with my boys, and I got to do that.”

The experience with his father had a significant impact on how he relates to his own sons: “I’m so glad that both he and they got to spend that time together. … I think about my memories of him, and conversations I had, and the conversations I had with the boys. … It does affect you.”

Woody “had a great capacity for taking what was and living with it,” said Russ, grateful for every moment he was able to share with his father. In the book, Russ wrote that “with the ticking clock of ALS, the time I did spend with him was all the more intense. It forced me to recognize everything, to say everything, and that was a blessing.”


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Tis The Season To Be "Merry And Bright!"

By Judi Naill, Sacramento Valley Chorus  |  2019-11-21

The Sacramento Valley Chorus includes women who live in the greater Sacramento area including Placer, Nevada, Yolo, San Joaquin, Yuba, and El Dorado counties. Photo courtesy Sacramento Valley Chorus

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento Valley Chorus is preparing for a "Merry & Bright" season!  You and your family will enjoy an afternoon of music, laughter, food and giving by attending the Merry and Bright production. The chorus, directed by Master Director Dede Nibler, can hardly wait to share this special performance with you on Saturday, December 7th, at 2:00 pm at La Sierra Community, 5325 Engle Road, Carmichael. 

Sacramento Valley Chorus, a Chapter of Sweet Adelines International, recently celebrated their 40th anniversary.  Approximately 80 women sing in four-part harmony, a cappella style. They will be singing songs from their repertoire in addition to favorite holiday songs.  The chorus is honored to be joined by the 2019 graduates of Harmony Academy who will perform with the chorus just for this show. Add more Merry and Bright to the season when several quartets perform. To satisfy your sweet tooth, a dessert dash will be thrown into the mix for fun and excitement.

This show is expected to be a "sell-out", so get your tickets early. Ticket prices, including hors d'oeuvres, are only $25.00. Tickets may be purchased from any chorus member or get information online at sacramentovalleychorus.com.

Women are welcome to attend rehearsals throughout the year on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM at Arena Christian Center, 4027 N. Freeway Blvd, Sacramento. For more information about the chorus or show, check the website: www.sacramentovalleychorus.com.

International Headquarters – PO Box 470168 – Tulsa, OK 74147-0168 – 918/622-1444 – FAX 918/665-0894

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Hands on for Crafty Christmas Spree

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-11-21

Fair founder Pat Holbus (left) and friends come bearing gift socks for the annual St. John the Evangelist School’s Christmas fair, December 6, 7 and 8th.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - St John the Evangelist School’s blowout -- “A Holiday Show of Hands” – will ensure a crafty Christmas for thousands of shoppers on December 6, 7 and 8th.

Now in its 41th year and boasting more 150 craft vendors, the market annually fills the entire Catholic school campus on Locust Avenue.

Entrepreneurial spirit annually soars during the three-day fundraiser. A preview (5-9 pm) on the evening of December 5 requires $5 admission but Saturday and Sunday browsing is free. Doors open at 9 am both days. Organizers have this year added a “sock drive.” For each donation of a new pair of socks, guests will be included in a prize drawing. “We’ve used the fair to raise funds for the school for 40 years,” explains organizer Pat Holbus. “This year we also want to give back to the community. The socks will be distributed to those in need. December is a cold month; we’re doing something to take the chill off.”

Because traffic cloggs Locust and surrounding streets on fair days, free shuttles will run from Carmichael Elks Lodge and Church on Cypress parking lots.

Hot meals and toddies will be available for purchase. “People come here from all over Sacramento; even some from out of state,” says Holbus. “Our market is part of a Sacramento tradition. It’s a weekend that says Christmas is here at last.” 

St John the Evangelist School is located at 5701 Locust Avenue.

For information, call (916) 481-8845 x 216.

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A Magical Time of the Year at Sunrise Marketplace

By Julie DePrada, Sunrise MarketPlace  |  2019-11-21

Sac Civic Ballet brings the story of the Nutcracker to life with two special ballet performances. Courtesy Sunrise Marketplace

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Magical Moments returns to Sunrise MarketPlace (SMP)! Visitors to the District will be treated to four free interactive, family-friendly pop-up experiences with a chance to win a $250 shopping spree at every event. Each Magical Moment will be on a different day at a different location within the District.

SMP kicks off Magical Moments on Friday, November 22, 2019 with a Holiday Laser Light Show from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. For one special night, the Lowes parking lot will be transformed into a holiday rockin' spectacle with Laser Light Shows, the Magical Moments’ Giant Human Snow Globe, Laser Tag Arena, Animated Inflatables, and food and hot beverage trucks. The light shows begin at 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, and 8:30 PM. 

Celebrate A Frozen Winter Festival on Saturday, November 30, 2019 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at Sunrise Village. Frozen Winter Festival is a pop-up carnival that will provide child-size amusement and spirited entertainment! This year we will have some very special guests from Frozen. Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff will be onsite for photos and two special performances.  Enjoy the festive carnival, which has a variety of games and activities for children of all ages. Have a blast bouncing around in the inflatable bounce houses. Get your face painted by a special holiday elf. Get your picture taken with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Mouse and the Christmas Bear. Stop by the SMP booth to enter to win a $250 gift card and then climb into the Giant Magical Moments Human Snow Globe to take your Magical Memorable Moment.

SMP wraps up Magical Moments with the Nutcracker on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Sunrise Mall in the Macy’s Court. Join us as the Sac Civic Ballet brings the story of the Nutcracker to life with two special ballet performances. The first 100 children will receive a hardback Nutcracker book. Make sure to stop by and visit the Elves on the Shelves for Storytime. The event also features Nutcracker character appearances, a background photo op, and a “meet & greet” with the ballet dancers.

Visit shopsmp.com/Events for more information on locations and times for each event.

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