SMUD Helps Sponsor the Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit

By Lindsay VanLaningham, SMUD  |  2019-10-17

The tunnel leading into the Hubble telescope exhibit. Photo courtesy of SMUD/Aerospace Museum of California

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Among a crowd of Sacramento leaders, SMUD announced a partnership with the Aerospace Museum of California and a $50,000 sponsorship to host NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit for local students to experience a once-in-a-lifetime STEM education experience.

The announcement came as dozens of area leaders, residents and children got a sneak peek of the exhibit as it opened its doors to the public for Fall 2019.

“This is an incredible opportunity to expose students to science, technology, engineering and math in a new and innovative way,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “Our goal is to help the museum inspire and expose students from all over the region to the expansive possibilities in STEM education and STEM-related careers, so they truly can reach for the stars.”

The exhibit features a scaled replica of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and includes hands-on, interactive activities that allow students to explore the technology used in space to gaze at distant stars, planets and galaxies. They will also be able to learn about the new James Webb Space Telescope and how it will contribute to our knowledge into the future.

The exhibit will be on display through December 2019 and is expected to draw thousands of visitors.

In partnership with the museum, SMUD’s goal is to reach 15,000 students with this STEM education experience, particularly those in historically underserved communities. A large portion of the grant provides transportation funding for Title 1 schools, as well as free participation in the program; teacher membership; and continuing education resources.

“We’re excited to host this amazing exhibit in California for the very first time,” stated Executive Director for the Aerospace Museum Tom Jones. “The Hubble Space Telescope exhibit is a perfect complement to our other artifacts that can help tell the story of aerospace from the beginning to well into the future.”

Funding for this project comes from SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative that seeks to leverage resources for community partners in order to provide increased access to employment, healthcare, STEM education and more. This is one of many projects that will enhance the Sacramento community

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California Capital Airshow Fills Hearts and Minds

MPG Staff  |  2019-10-10

The USAF Heritage Flight featuring the F-16 Viper and the iconic World War II Era P-38. Photo by Jose Lopez

If you missed the big show, here are some great highlights!

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Soldiers Need Care Too

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-09-19

The care packages include food, personal care items, and messages of gratitude for active-duty soldiers deployed on the front lines. Photo by Shaunna Boyd.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Wednesday, September 11, Move America Forward (with support from the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce) held its second annual Packathon to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the terror attack on September 11, 2001. The event was held at Move America Forward’s Rancho Cordova headquarters, where volunteers worked together with veterans, active-duty military members, and Gold Star parents to assemble care packages for soldiers serving on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The organization shipped 911 care packages — which included letters of support along with food and personal care items — and volunteers packed approximately 500 additional boxes. Danny Gonzalez, director of communications for Move America Forward, said, “I ask that everyone do something nice for a soldier, even if it’s just thanking them for their service. … Let’s make 9/11 a day when Americans come together and really unify as one people and make it a day of service.”

The Packathon’s Master of Ceremonies was former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness, a decorated veteran with more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement. McGinness said that many servicemembers “answered the call” to join the military because of the events of 9/11: “It’s extraordinary and it speaks to the character, the courage, the valor, the selflessness that really truly is abundant in our society and in our great nation.”

McGinness introduced Sergeant First Class Jeff Raver of the Northern California Recruiting Battalion, who enlisted in the army at the age of 21 because of the attack on 9/11. Sergeant Raver described the event as “one of the tragic stories for all of us, but something to remember.” He said that just a month earlier he had taken a trip to the east coast with his brothers and they had “stood on top of those towers. So, a month later when that happened, it really hit home. That’s why I serve.” Sergeant Raver enlisted the very next day, September 12, 2001, and chose to ship out just 72 hours later. After getting through basic training, Sergeant Raver was deployed on his first tour in Afghanistan. “I was able and willing, and I decided to make that commitment.”

The event’s featured speaker was Colonel Stephanie Williams, Commander of the 940th Air Refueling Wing at Beale Air Force Base. Colonel Williams is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and she also commanded the 385th Air Expeditionary Group at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Colonel Williams was an active-duty international guard pilot starting “a normal day, I thought.” After watching news footage of the airplanes crashing into the towers, she experienced “disbelief, shock. … Ultimately seeing the towers collapse … was very, very surreal. Even having served in active duty in the military for 10 years, it was surreal to see something like that.”

At the time of the 9/11 attack, Colonel Williams said many members of the military had “served through mostly a peaceful period, but 9/11 was the start of something new to us. Think about the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen today. … The vast majority joined after September 11, 2001.” Colonel Williams said that our nation responded to the terror attack with “strength, honor, resilience, dedication, [and] focus.”

To the Gold Star Families, Colonel Williams expressed gratitude: “[I’m] grateful to those who gave all to defend our freedom. … Thank you for your family’s sacrifice and service to our nation. … Thank you for raising a hero.”

Colonel Williams also thanked Move America Forward for hosting the event: “Having been deployed myself, it meant a lot to know that fellow Americans at home were thinking about me and were behind me and my teammates in what we were doing to defend freedom worldwide. … Thank you for your tireless support of our military members.”

If you are interested in sponsoring a care package or volunteering your time, visit

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The U.S. continues to experience cases and outbreaks of measles, largely due to unvaccinated or under-vaccinated segments of the population. Measles can be a serious disease. This year has seen the greatest number of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1992, and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. Of those diagnosed with measles, approximately 10% have required hospitalization. The majority of cases are among people who were not vaccinated. The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine has been approved in the U.S. for nearly 50 years. It is highly effective and very safe. As a result of its use, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, rubella in 2004, and since 1989, mumps cases have decreased by 99%.

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‘Green Lights Initiative’: Seeing the Light on Bulb Disposal

By David Dickstein  |  2019-09-05

LEDtronics, one of the largest U.S.-based manufacturers of LED products, launched on Aug. 20 the 60-day Green Lights Initiative to help raise awareness on how citizens and companies can properly recycle lighting devices. Photo by Raffi Shubukian

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Recycling at home or work has become part of our daily routine, but one ubiquitous device that still raises questions over disposal is light bulbs. Do they go out with the normal trash? Get tossed in recycling containers? Do you save them for the next neighborhood e-waste event? The answers aren’t easy, thanks in part to new technologies to Thomas Edison’s illuminating invention along with society’s growing environmental concerns.

A 60-day initiative to help raise awareness on how citizens and companies can properly recycle lighting devices launched on Aug. 20. The Green Lights Initiative is sponsored by LEDtronics, one of the largest U.S.-based manufacturers of LED products, and whose lighting has put a shine on Sacramento from a downtown comic book store to the passenger trains that roll through the downtown and Roseville stations.

Besides donating to Keep America Beautiful with a check purposely dated Nov. 15 to coincide with America Recycles Day, the Torrance, Calif.-based company is taking to social media, print and electronic media to get the word out. New and long-time supporters of proper lighting disposal will be urged to sign an online petition at

“‘When my light bulbs burn out, where do I put them?’ Being in the lighting business for nearly 40 years, we get that question a lot,” said Shaan Lodhie, LEDtronics’ chief operating officer. “Our company makes only LEDs, which are safe to dispose of in trash bins because they contain no hazardous chemicals. But that’s not necessarily the right option for environmental, safety and other reasons. When it comes to CFL and fluorescent bulbs, both of which contain small amounts of mercury, chucking them in the trashcan or with the recycling isn’t wise for intensified reasons.”

LEDtronics’ donation to Keep America Beautiful will help the non-profit with its mission to “inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment.”

Tips on Disposing Light Bulbs                                                                                                                                                       

When a real light bulb goes out, how great it would be if an imaginary light bulb appeared over your head to signal a bright idea for what to do next. With so many types of lighting on the market, even a single home or business can have multiple ways to illuminate. Materials being shared through the Green Lights Initiative include a “how to” on properly disposing and recycling the most common types of light bulbs. Here’s a summary of tips by lighting category:

CFL and fluorescent – Small amounts of the toxic chemical mercury make these bulbs harmful to your health and environment. Simply tossing them in the trash is unwise, and in some circumstances unlawful. Because broken CFL and fluorescent bulbs are damaging to the environment if they enter landfills or the water supply, more stringent and rigorous steps are required to dispose. A local home improvement store or recycling center might be able to take this work – and the bulbs – off your hands;

LED – Safe as it is to dispose of LEDs in trash bins due to an absence of toxic chemicals, recycling them is still the best option from an environmental and safety perspective. Better than tossing them in your recycling container, locate a recycling center that accepts LEDs, which contain reusable components;

Incandescent and halogen – Like LEDs, these types typically contain no toxic chemicals. Disposing them in a trashcan or recycling bin is one solution, but a better one is handing them over to a recycling center. Because glass in incandescents and halogens shatters easily, wrapping the bulbs in recyclable packaging materials is also smart.

If you need help finding a recycling center that accepts bulbs, visit or

For further information on the Green Lights Initiative, visit

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Presenting Two Evenings of VIP Cocktail Farm-To-Fork Cocktail Train Rides

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack, T-Rock Communications  |  2019-09-05

The VIP Cocktail Train Ride as an official Farm-to-Fork sponsor cruises along the scenic Sacramento River. Photo courtesy of Kelly B. Huston

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Showcasing the rich history and deep connection between agriculture and the railroad, the California State Railroad Museum Foundation is proud to continue its multi-year partnership with Visit Sacramento as an official Farm-to-Fork sponsor. To celebrate the important role the railroad once played in bringing the fruits of the farm to emerging new communities throughout the region and nation, the Foundation is excited to present two evenings of VIP Cocktail Train Ride experiences on Saturday, September 28 & Sunday, September 29, 2019.

The VIP Cocktail Train first debuted in 2015 and was recognized as a finalist in Sunset Magazine’s Travel Awards competition in the “Best Train Experience” category. New this year, the elegant experience features themed wine and food pairings courtesy of Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand winner Frank Fats as guests travel along the picturesque Sacramento River in beautifully restored luxury train cars.

“2019 continues to be an important year for the railroad and we’re thrilled to continue the celebratory activities aboard Cocktail Train Rides while partnering with the esteemed Fat Family Restaurant Group, the oldest restaurant in the city to be owned exclusively by one family,” said Cheryl Marcell, President & CEO of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation.

“The Sacramento Southern Railroad was once primarily used to transport pears, asparagus, celery, seeds and other agricultural products to markets from local Delta communities. Today, the Museum and Foundation are proud to offer historic and authentic excursion train rides and VIP Cocktail Train ride experiences on the very same Sacramento Southern Railroad.”

With VIP train rides on each evening at 6 p.m. departing from the Central Pacific Freight Depot along the Old Sacramento Waterfront, VIP Cocktail Train ride guests can sit back and experience what first-class was like during the early decades of the 20th century as developed by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Once they board, ticketed guests will be treated to a series of exquisite small plate appetizers provided by Frank Fat’s and paired with a craft cocktail, wine or sparkling selections.

The deliciously delightful menu includes Honey Walnut Prawns paired with a craft cocktail that features Gold River Distillery Vodka; Vegetable Chow Fun paired with a Chardonnay from Talbott Vineyards; Cumin Spiced Lamb Skewers from Superior Farms paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon from Mettler Family Vineyards; and finished with a choice of delicious desserts that include Banana Cream or Chocolate Cream Pie Shooters paired with Champagne served in a keepsake souvenir glass.

Uniformed stewards will provide the finest first-class service onboard three of the California State Railroad Museum’s first-class cars: the Audubon dining car, the El Dorado lounge car and the French Quarter lounge car from the 1950s that served the famed Southern Pacific “Sunset Limited” service. As an added treat, the cars will be pulled by two eye-catching locomotives – Western Pacific No. 913 and Southern Pacific No. 6051 – both of which are classic streamlined locomotives representative of the first generation of diesel-electric locomotives.

Space is limited on the Farm-To-Fork Cocktail Train and tickets are on sale now. Train ride tickets cost $125 per person and all train ride guests must be 21 years of age or over. The VIP Cocktail Train is a Foundation fundraiser for the California State Railroad Museum and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, and corporate sponsorships are available by calling 916-407-2213. For more information or to purchase tickets on the VIP Cocktail Train, please visit


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CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - NatureFest, a family-friendly event focusing on science & nature education, will run from 10am to 3pm at Effie Yeaw Nature Center on Sunday, September 22.

Nearly 40 local organizations will participate as exhibitors and sponsors, providing demonstrations and activities related to science education and outdoor recreation. Each exhibitor booth is interactive, and there are live animal shows and guided nature walks throughout the day.

Highlights include: An array of local and exotic animals presented on stage by Wild Things and Save the Snakes; Live bats, reptiles, and birds of prey at booths and shows all day long; Fly-tying instruction for kids; Karuk, Maidu, and Wintu tribe cultural demonstrations such as basket weaving; Hands-on art projects; Guided walks through the 100-acre nature preserve.

“This year we are celebrating our ninth annual NatureFest. This family-friendly event has grown each year, both in attendees and exhibitors,” said Heather Gabel, the Nature Center’s Interim Executive Director. “Last year we welcomed over 1,500 visitors and 30 booths. NatureFest is a great way to be introduced to the variety of nature related topics and activities in the Sacramento Region. We hope you will join us for this educational and fun event!”

Exhibitors include: NorCal Bats, Wild Things, Save the Snakes, Folsom Zoo, Sacramento Audubon Society, Maidu, Wintu, and Karuk Tribal demonstrations, Golden Country Wildlife Rescue and many more.

For more information, visit or call 916-489-4918.

About Effie Yeaw Nature Center: Founded in 1976, the Nature Center is part of a 100-acre nature study area with riparian and oak woodlands, shrub lands, meadows, and aquatic habitats. The nature area is included as a "Watchable Wildlife" site in the California state guide because of its reliable wildlife viewing opportunities.  In addition to the nature preserve, much loved by walkers, artists and photographers, other features of the Nature Center include: Replica Nisenan Maidu Summer Village, Museum Exhibits and Collection, Resident Animals, Native Plant Landscaping, Discovery Gift Shop. The Nature Center is the American River Parkway’s interpretive center dedicated to providing educational and interpretive programs and information about the natural environment to schools, children, and the public.

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