Enjoying Life After Loss

Source: WPAC  |  2016-04-01

In the thirty years that WPAC, which started in Sacramento, has been in existence, thousands of widows and widowers have gone through their six-week Grief Recovery Workshops. What they almost always get instead, said the coordinator of the program, is: “Thank You,” or, “WPAC saved my life, or my sanity.”

One person in every couple that stays married will lose their spouse to death and according to the Holmes and Raye Stress Scale, being widowed is 100 on a scale of 0 to 100. No other loss is that devastating, and until it happens to you, one cannot imagine the life changing impact. That’s where WPAC (Widowed Persons Association of California) comes in.

In the thirty years that WPAC, which started in Sacramento, has been in existence, thousands of widows and widowers have gone through their six-week Grief Recovery Workshops. With this free, non-denominational program, they found that they could laugh and enjoy life again.

There are many bereavement groups in the Sacramento area. Some are better than others, but most deal with the loss of any loved one, even pets. When you have lost the love of your life, and someone you have lived with, probably for decades, it is hard to relate with the people in those groups.

The leaders of the WPAC program are not professionals, but many professionals refer people to them because they know how valuable going through their bereavement program and relating to others who have gone through the same trauma can be. All the trained facilitators and speakers in these workshops and are widowed. Only someone who is also widowed could understand and empathize with the pain that the participants have.

Beginning with the first week of a workshop, the subject is: “Understanding Grief.” In this session, the typical symptoms usually experience by those widowed, is discussed. Some of those symptoms are: inability to sleep, memory loss, feeling like their mind is in a fog, not being able to read and comprehend a paragraph, being confused, feeling lost, lonely and more. Because of some of these symptoms, wondering if they are going crazy is something that many of those who attend the first week of the workshops report. Finding that other people feel the same way is a relief, and relating to those on the same journey of recovery from grief is comforting.

“Coping With Stress” is the subject of the second week. Whether it is the stress of a long drawn out illness, and caring for their dying spouse, or the shock of a sudden and unexpected death, stress is something that has to be dealt with. Not only can it increase blood pressure, stress can actually change a person’s blood chemistry, and lower their immunity. If it does not cause illness, stress can make it harder to fight off illness.

Another thing that people who have lost their spouse to death usually experience, is that married friends they had, will at first express sympathy, and probably keep in touch for a few weeks, then tend to drift away, not knowing what to do with, or say to the now single half of the couple they knew. Even if the widowed friend is included in their activities, he or she will feel like a fifth wheel around couples. In fact noticing that almost every other adult seems to be married emphasizes the fact that they are now alone.

The third week of a workshop, “Changing Roles and Relationships,” covers that subject along with many other changes that the widowed person must face. One of the hardest things for the newly widowed person to accept is that their spouse is actually dead, and they are not just having a bad dream.

“Rebuilding Your Life and Moving On,” is the fourth subject that a workshop covers. Rebuilding is the correct term, because when someone is widowed, the life that they lived with their now deceased spouse no longer exists. One day they were half of a couple, the next day that couple is gone. Starting over is not easy, but with the help of WPAC, they can do it.

The fifth week of these workshops is a review and evaluations of the program. We want to know what the people who go through the workshops think, and if they have suggestions for any changes. What we almost always get instead, says the coordinator of the program, is: “Thank You,” or, “WPAC saved my life, or my sanity.” That leads to the last session of each workshop, where the participants are asked to be responsible for a social that all those involved with the past five weeks are invited to. This is usually a potluck, or they chip in money to bring in pizza or something similar. Starting to socialize again is often a problem, but it is a necessary part of rebuilding their lives, and doing it with people they have gotten to know, and made some friends with over the past five weeks is an easy way to start.

WPAC runs these free six week Grief Recovery Workshops four time per year. The next one starts on Thursday, April 21st, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Signing up in advance is not necessary, but it gives them an ideal of how many to set up for, also if they have your phone number you will get a reminder call, usually the day before. The workshops takes place in their offices, at 2628 El Camino Avenue, Suite D-18 (the building in the back).

Widowed people do not have to wait for a workshop to start to get help. Every week WPAC has Sunday Support, a peer support group from 3 to 5 p.m., and it is also open to any widowed person.

Their website is: www.sacwidowed.org There are volunteers working in their office Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you have questions, call (916) 972-9722, or stop by. Hugs are free they said.

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Mobile Homeowners Unite

Source: GSMOL  |  2016-03-30

The Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League (GSMOL) 2016 Convention will be held at the Ramada Inn in West Sacramento on April 8th, 9th and 10th.

The statewide organization is a non-profit benevolent group for mobile home owners. Through a system of chapters in California, it is able to educate owners on their civil rights and responsibilities relative to living in a mobile home park.

During the convention, members will hold breakout sessions, panel discussion groups, and attend an Awards Banquet Saturday evening. Sessions include subjects concerning mobile home ownership, real estate sales and marketing, earthquake, and flood insurance, disaster preparedness, and evacuation planning.

Attorneys will present programs based on legal issues. Keynote speaker for the Banquet will be Senator Joe Dunn, former head of the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Homes.

Mobile homes offer low-income seniors one of the last opportunities to live independently as the cost of other types of housing continues to escalate in California.  They have the opportunity to have yards and gardens and to live in single unattached housing instead of small low cost apartments which may not coincide with their older years.

GSMOL champions the property rights of homeowners and is an advocate for the members throughout California. GSMOL lobbies the legislature for fair and just protection under the law so owners can experience the quiet peaceful enjoyment of their mobile home communities. It strives to educate homeowners on their legal rights as renters of their mobile home spaces. GSMOL proposes legislation for the benefit of mobile home owners and attempts to defeat legislation that would diminish the health and lifestyle of park residents.

The GSMOL corporate office is located in southern California, however there are hundreds of chapters located in northern California, on the coast, in the Sacramento area, in the Central Valley and in the foothills.

Basic schedule is Friday April 8th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday April 9th from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday April 10th from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. For a detailed schedule and more information visit www.gsmol.org/convention/ or visit the Ramada Hotel at 1250 Halyard Drive, West Sacramento, Cailf., or call the hotel at (916) 371-2100.

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A Tribute to Toby

By Kay Burton  |  2016-03-25

They say that dogs are miracles with paws that leave paw prints on your heart. Toby left his indelibly etched on John and Barbara’s and hopefully on the hearts of all who knew him.

It was with heavy hearts that John and Barbara Williams of Pioneer Village in Gold River had to notify their friends, neighbors and relatives that their beloved Toby is now chasing turkeys, cats, and squirrels in canine heaven. After all, it’s heaven, he might even catch some! Toby was well known in Pioneer and John and Barbara wanted to honor his memory by sharing a tribute to this beautiful creature. The following is John’s farewell. They say that dogs are miracles with paws that leave paw prints on your heart. Toby left his indelibly etched on John and Barbara’s and hopefully on the hearts of all who knew him.

 

Farewell to Toby:

 

As it must come to pass for all of us, the circle of life closed for our beloved Toby on March 12th, 2016, after a 13 year 10 month wonderful run. They say that a dog’s life is something that, given loving masters, is a treasure to behold. And, oh my, what a terrific life he had. The son of a smart Border Collie Mom and a gentle giant Golden Retriever Poppa, he embodied the best of both breeds as I’m sure our neighbors in Gold River will attest. We called him a handsome dude because, let’s face it, he was drop dead gorgeous.

Toby spent his energetic days, months and years here in Gold River, enjoying the challenges of the abundant wildlife we are blessed with, and sniffing, peeing, and meeting up with his canine buds in the ‘hood. Cats, however, were a different story. There were many Mexican standoffs and frantic, but hopeless, chases of his feline nemeses that began to be relegated to simple observation in his later years.

The wildlife encouraged his hunting adventures and trips to the river. I’m sure that he said to himself that, “if I only could fly those turkeys would be in trouble.” Squirrels were simply too quick to pursue with any hopes of capturing them, and he couldn’t climb those darn trees, but the challenge prevailed nevertheless. Evening strolls often surprised him with does and bucks down near the river and I can only imagine that he thought they were worth chasing just to see if he could keep up.

We had the occasional confrontation with the momma coyotes and it’s a good thing he was on the leash. Horses on the trail were another confusing encounter. Big and aloof they just didn’t seem to fit into his idea of what should be down by the river. On the other hand the annual salmon run was a fun exercise in trying to catch the spawning fish that always eluded him.

One thing that kept Toby fit and curious was his addiction to galloping along the American River bike trail, hitched up to the Springer on the Toby Bike. Safe and secure we often went up to Lake Natoma and as far as four miles down the north side of river to explore the old dredge tailings and roads that make up our unique local environment.

The bike days began to fade as did his endurance when he was about 12-human-years-old. Funny, but my own biking days ebbed away as well. There’s something about the progress of time that affects all of us. But the lure of the trail and the critters, the sound of the rush of the river, the calls of the ducks and gulls, and the smells that all dogs crave, kept him going strong, if not a bit slower. And this was to continue until he just couldn’t stay on his feet just a few days ago. As always, he was strong, elegant, and loving, right up until God called him home. Maybe there are some slow squirrels in dog heaven or turkeys that can’t fly. He certainly deserves to find out

R.I.P. my old friend. You will be more than missed. I’ll see you at the Rainbow Bridge.

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Nostalgia on Wheels

Story and photos by Steve Liddick  |  2016-03-14

Citrus Heights resident Steve Rainville is a collector of Studebaker automobiles. His pride and joy is this restored 1955 Studebaker Commander. It is the same model as his first car, purchased when he was 14 for $65. To get this one in its present pristine condition it cost a great deal more than that.

A half-century ago, when he was 14-years-old and still too young to legally drive, Citrus Heights resident Steve Rainville bought his first car. It was a 1955 Studebaker Commander. He paid $65 for it. When he was in his 60s he found another Studebaker of the same model. He bought it. To date he estimates it has cost him $25,000 to turn it into the pristine gem that sits glowing in his driveway.

If that seems like a hefty price for a trip down memory lane, look at it from the viewpoint of someone who would like to recapture a small sliver of youth. Like anything else, it is worth exactly what the buyer is willing to pay for it.

Why the vast price difference in a half-century in what would appear to be the same car?

For one thing, there are fewer of them now than when Studebaker was turning out 100,000 cars a year at its peak of production, compared with the millions of vehicles being built annually by the auto making giants. Rarity increases the value of anything, from stamps to baseball cards. Consider, too, that Studebaker never enjoyed the popularity of its big brothers in Detroit. In fact, the company took a lot of ribbing when the 1948 model came out and detractors claimed you couldn’t tell which was the front end and which was the back end, whether it was coming or going.

Of his sleek pride and joy, Rainville said, “It’s not completely stock.” The car had gotten severely crunched in a violent freeway rear-ender. Steve and his girlfriend got pretty well crunched too. They suffered whiplashes. He had the structural damage repaired and made “a few” revisions. “I put in a 1963 engine, a heavy-duty transmission, bucket seats, a floor shift, head rests (a guard against possible future rear-ender whiplashings), front disc brakes, and rebuilt the front suspension.” Not to mention an immaculate paint job and a thousand dollars’ worth of white sidewall tires.

Other than that, it’s the same car he had in his adolescence.

There is a second Studebaker in the backyard. It is a 1963 pickup truck. Not nearly in the show quality condition of the two-door jewel that is out where the world can see it.

You might think parts would be scarce for the elderly classics. “Parts are easy to get for most models,” Steve said. “There’s a guy in Los Angeles with a warehouse full.”

The Studebaker company has a California connection. There were five Studebaker brothers. John came west to Placerville at the height of the gold rush. But he didn’t pan for gold in the wet socks sense. He made a hefty amount of money by building wheelbarrows and selling them to the miners. His brothers ultimately lured him (and the money he had saved), back east, where they went into the carriage and buggy business. Most notably, they supplied the beer wagons pulled by the Budweiser Clydesdales, and a Studebaker buggy ordered by President Benjamin Harrison when he was in the White House.

The business eventually turned to battery-powered cars (the Studebaker Electric). When internal combustion engines became more reliable, they began building the smog-makers of the type we know today.

There are more than 12,000 members in 100 Studebaker Drivers Clubs around the world. One club serves greater Sacramento area collectors. Since the cars are representative of an earlier era, so are most of their drivers. Steve Rainville is among the younger members. “At 65, I’m one of the kids,” he said.

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Critics have long questioned why violent intervention was necessary in Libya. Hillary Clinton’s recently published emails confirm that it was less about protecting the people from a dictator than about money, banking, and preventing African economic sovereignty.

The brief visit of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Libya in October 2011 was referred to by the media as a “victory lap.” “We came, we saw, he died!” she crowed in a CBS video interview on hearing of the capture and brutal murder of Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi.

But the victory lap, write Scott Shane and Jo Becker in the New York Times, was premature. Libya was relegated to the back burner by the State Department, “as the country dissolved into chaos, leading to a civil war that would destabilize the region, fueling the refugee crisis in Europe and allowing the Islamic State to establish a Libyan haven that the United States is now desperately trying to contain.”

US-NATO intervention was allegedly undertaken on humanitarian grounds, after reports of mass atrocities; but human rights organizations questioned the claims after finding a lack of evidence. Today, however, verifiable atrocities are occurring. As Dan Kovalik wrote in the Huffington Post, “the human rights situation in Libya is a disaster, as ‘thousands of detainees [including children] languish in prisons without proper judicial review,’ and ‘kidnappings and targeted killings are rampant.’ ”

Before 2011, Libya had achieved economic independence, with its own water, its own food, its own oil, its own money, and its own state-owned bank. It had arisen under Qaddafi from one of the poorest of countries to the richest in Africa. Education and medical treatment were free; having a home was considered a human right; and Libyans participated in an original system of local democracy. The country boasted the world’s largest irrigation system, the Great Man-made River project, which brought water from the desert to the cities and coastal areas; and Qaddafi was embarking on a program to spread this model throughout Africa.

But that was before US-NATO forces bombed the irrigation system and wreaked havoc on the country. Today the situation is so dire that President Obama has asked his advisors to draw up options including a new military front in Libya, and the Defense Department is reportedly standing ready with “the full spectrum of military operations required.”

The Secretary of State’s victory lap was indeed premature, if what we’re talking about is the officially stated goal of humanitarian intervention. But her newly-released emails reveal another agenda behind the Libyan war; and this one, it seems, was achieved.

Mission Accomplished?

Of the 3,000 emails released from Hillary Clinton’s private email server in late December 2015, about a third were from her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal, the attorney who defended her husband in the Monica Lewinsky case. One of these emails, dated April 2nd, 2011, reads in part:

Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver…This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).

In a “source comment,” the original declassified email adds:

According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

1. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,

2. Increase French influence in North Africa,

3. Improve his internal political situation in France,

4. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,

5. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.

Conspicuously absent is any mention of humanitarian concerns. The objectives are money, power and oil.

Other explosive confirmations in the newly-published emails are detailed by investigative journalist Robert Parry. They include admissions of rebel war crimes, of special ops trainers inside Libya from nearly the start of protests, and of Al Qaeda embedded in the US-backed opposition. Key propaganda themes for violent intervention are acknowledged to be mere rumors. Parry suggests they may have originated with Blumenthal himself. They include the bizarre claim that Qaddafi had a “rape policy” involving passing Viagra out to his troops, a charge later raised by UN Ambassador Susan Rice in a UN presentation. Parry asks rhetorically:

So do you think it would it be easier for the Obama administration to rally American support behind this “regime change” by explaining how the French wanted to steal Libya’s wealth and maintain French neocolonial influence over Africa—or would Americans respond better to propaganda themes about Gaddafi passing out Viagra to his troops so they could rape more women while his snipers targeted innocent children? Bingo!

Toppling the Global Financial Scheme

Qaddafi’s threatened attempt to establish an independent African currency was not taken lightly by Western interests. In 2011, Sarkozy reportedly called the Libyan leader a threat to the financial security of the world. How could this tiny country of six million people pose such a threat? First some background.

It is banks, not governments, which create most of the money in Western economies, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged. This has been going on for centuries, through the process called “fractional reserve” lending. Originally, the reserves were in gold. In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt replaced gold domestically with central bank-created reserves, but gold remained the reserve currency internationally.

In 1944, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were created in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to unify this bank-created money system globally. An IMF ruling said that no paper money could have gold backing. A money supply created privately as debt at interest requires a continual supply of debtors; and over the next half century, most developing countries wound up in debt to the IMF. The loans came with strings attached, including “structural adjustment” policies involving austerity measures and privatization of public assets.

After 1944, the US dollar traded interchangeably with gold as global reserve currency. When the US was no longer able to maintain the dollar’s gold backing, in the 1970s it made a deal with OPEC to “back” the dollar with oil, creating the “petro-dollar.” Oil would be sold only in US dollars, which would be deposited in Wall Street and other international banks.

In 2001, dissatisfied with the shrinking value of the dollars that OPEC was getting for its oil, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein broke the pact and sold oil in euros. Regime change swiftly followed, accompanied by widespread destruction of the country.

In Libya, Qaddafi also broke the pact; but he did more than just sell his oil in another currency.

As these developments are detailed by blogger Denise Rhyne:

For decades, Libya and other African countries had been attempting to create a pan-African gold standard.  Libya’s al-Qadhafi and other heads of African States had wanted an independent, pan-African, “hard currency.”

Under al-Qadhafi’s leadership, African nations had convened at least twice for monetary unification. The countries discussed the possibility of using the Libyan dinar and the silver dirham as the only possible money to buy African oil.

Until the recent US/NATO invasion, the gold dinar was issued by the Central Bank of Libya (CBL). The Libyan bank was 100 percent state owned and independent. Foreigners had to go through the CBL to do business with Libya. The Central Bank of Libya issued the dinar, using the country’s 143.8 tons of gold.

Libya’s Qadhafi (African Union 2009 Chair) conceived and financed a plan to unify the sovereign States of Africa with one gold currency (United States of Africa). In 2004, a pan-African Parliament (53 nations) laid plans for the African Economic Community – with a single gold currency by 2023.

African oil-producing nations were planning to abandon the petro-dollar, and demand gold payment for oil/gas.

Showing What Is Possible

Qaddafi had done more than organize an African monetary coup. He had demonstrated that financial independence could be achieved. His greatest infrastructure project, the Great Man-made River, was turning arid regions into a breadbasket for Libya; and the $33 billion project was being funded interest-free without foreign debt, through Libya’s own state-owned bank.

That could explain why this critical piece of infrastructure was destroyed in 2011. NATO not only bombed the pipeline but finished off the project by bombing the factory producing the pipes necessary to repair it. Crippling a civilian irrigation system serving up to 70 percent of the population hardly looks like humanitarian intervention. Rather, as Canadian Professor Maximilian Forte put it in his heavily researched book Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa:

[T]he goal of US military intervention was to disrupt an emerging pattern of independence and a network of collaboration within Africa that would facilitate increased African self-reliance. This is at odds with the geostrategic and political economic ambitions of extra-continental European powers, namely the US.

Mystery Solved

Hilary Clinton’s emails shed light on another enigma remarked on by early commentators. Why, within weeks of initiating fighting, did the rebels set up their own central bank? Robert Wenzel wrote in The Economic Policy Journal in 2011:

This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising.

It was all highly suspicious, but as Alex Newman concluded in a November 2011 article:

Whether salvaging central banking and the corrupt global monetary system were truly among the reasons for Gadhafi’s overthrow…may never be known for certain—at least not publicly.

There the matter would have remained—suspicious but unverified like so many stories of fraud and corruption—but for the publication of Hillary Clinton’s emails after an FBI probe. They add substantial weight to Newman’s suspicions: violent intervention was not chiefly about the security of the people. It was about the security of global banking, money and oil.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. Listen to “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” on PRN.FM.

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SaveCalifornia.com Announces Pray Tour

Source: SaveCalifornia.com  |  2016-03-14

“If people who know what is good are not the main influencers of government, how in the world can we have good government?” ~ SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson

SaveCalifornia.com invites you to join national Christian leader Franklin Graham in Sacramento, Thursday, March 31st, for an important election-year rally supporting faith, family, and freedom.

As our nation hangs in the balance, the “Decision America Tour” is your opportunity to unite and take a public stand for Godly, moral values and for your constitutional freedoms. It’s a time to pray for God to do what only He can do, and a time for you to commit to what He’s called you to do.

THE VISION: “Franklin Graham is traveling to all 50 states in 2016 to hold prayer rallies, to preach the Gospel, and to challenge believers to take a stand and take action. He’ll be urging Christians to vote, to live out their faith in every part of their lives, and to pray for our nation just as Nehemiah cried out to God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore hope to His people.”

This totally aligns with the moral, family values of SaveCalifornia.com—and you!

 “If people who know what is good are not the main influencers of government, how in the world can we have good government?” ~ SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson

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Eye Screenings for Free Cataract Surgeries

Source: Kaiser Permanente  |  2016-03-04

A Kaiser Permanente ophthalmologist performs cataract surgery during Mission Cataract 2013 on a patient who regained her eyesight following the operation.Photo courtesy Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente physicians and staff in Sacramento will offer screenings for area residents who may be eligible for free cataract surgeries that will be performed this spring.

The screenings, by appointment only, will be on Saturday, April 16th, at the Kaiser Permanente Point West Medical Offices, 1650 Response Road, Sacramento.

The surgeries are part of Mission Cataract USA, an annual program in which participating doctors provide the sight-restoring procedure to hundreds of people across the nation who have no health insurance and can’t afford the operation. This is Kaiser Permanente’s 21st year in the program. Kaiser Permanente physicians and staff will perform as many as 20 free cataract surgeries on eligible individuals in early May.

Screening appointments can be made until the available slots fill up. To sign up for the screening, or to request more information, call: (916) 973-7159.

Annual service is for Sacramento-area residents who are uninsured.

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