CDPH Reminds Californians to “Be Better” for Improved Health

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-05-31

Dr. Smith (top right in photo) launched the “Be Better” campaign at the River Cats game.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith says you don’t have to be perfect to improve your health, but you can strive to be better. “Be Better” is the new CDPH “Champions for Change” campaign unveiled today during a Sacramento River Cats game at Raley Field in West Sacramento.

“‘Be Better’ is a reminder that even small steps can make a difference in improving your health,” said Dr. Smith. “Take the stairs, snack on fruits and veggies, and quench your thirst with water instead of soda – these are simple ways that we can all be better to enjoy better health.”

Dr. Smith launched the campaign at the River Cats game as fans took part in an attempt to break the world record for the most people running in place at the same time. The traditional seventh-inning stretch turned into the “seventh-inning flex,” when fans twisted and stretched in a two-minute workout led by Dinger, the team’s mascot, and local “Champions for Change.”

“There’s no greater way to celebrate the launch of this important campaign than by showing how even the seventh-inning stretch is an opportunity to be better,” said River Cats General Manager Chip Maxson. “Our players were happy to join ‘Champions for Change’ in coming up with this fun activity for our fans and creating a new healthy baseball tradition right here at Raley Field.”

The “Be Better” campaign promotes new federal dietary guidelines that recommend Americans focus on making small shifts in what they eat and drink to prevent chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Having a normal weight reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 70 percent.

The “Be Better” campaign will include English and Spanish ads on television and radio stations, billboards and Web banners. There will also be community-level promotions coordinated with local health departments. The ads will feature “Champions for Change” – real people who have committed to be better for themselves and their families by being more active, drinking water instead of sugary drinks, and eating more fruits and vegetables.

More information about how you can become a “Champion for Change,” including how you can “Be Better”, is available on the “Champions for Change” website.


West Sacramento Radio

Women’s Empowerment Receives $25,000 Grant

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-05-31

Grant will help Sacramento women and children break the cycle of homelessness.

Women’s Empowerment has received two grants totaling $25,000 from Union Pacific and Nationwide to help homeless women in Sacramento find homes and jobs that support their families through the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area specifically designed for homeless women. Union Pacific provided $10,000, and Nationwide provided $15,000.

“Although the economy is improving, finding work when a woman is homeless can be nearly impossible without the right tools,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “The situation of homeless families in our community is dire – the Sacramento County Office of Education reports nearly 12,000 students are experiencing homelessness. We are grateful to Union Pacific and Nationwide for providing funding that will break the cycle of homelessness for many of these families.”

Women’s Empowerment’s initial eight-week program for women who are homeless in Sacramento provides women with free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness, attending classes on job-readiness, confidence and empowerment. She receives health services, focuses on job readiness with her employment specialist and volunteer career mentor, and learns financial literacy. When she graduates after eight weeks, she can access Women’s Empowerment’s graduate services at any point in her life, which include certifications, counseling, GED preparation, access to a professional clothing closet, financial literacy, and paid job training through the group’s Get A Job Kit Training and small business.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Women’s Empowerment was recently featured on NBC’s TODAY Show and on 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 1,322 homeless women and their 3,000 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 solely through private donations from the community. To donate online:

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Boy Scout Troop One to Celebrate 100 Years

Source: Boy Scout Troop One  |  2016-05-27

Sacramento’s Boy Scout Troop One will be holding its 100-year anniversary, known as the 100ofOne Celebration, this June. Popularly believed to be the oldest, continuously running Boy Scout troop west of the Mississippi River, Troop One is currently reaching out to alumni to attend its 100-year celebration.

Scouts, scouters, Eagle Scouts and anyone that has ever been associated with Troop One are invited to attend the celebration at The Center at Twenty-Three Hundred located at 2300 Sierra Blvd in Sacramento on Sat. June 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. Interested alumni are encouraged to join the troop’s mailing list to receive invitation information and updates on the event.

Throughout Midtown Sacramento’s many recent changes, Troop One is one of the few institutions that have endured. The troop held its first meeting in 1916 at the First United Methodist Church on the corner of 21st and J streets, where its meetings are still held today. In 1955, Troop One nearly folded as membership dipped to only nine scouts. However, by 1976, the troop was back to making history, as Eagle Scouts H.J. and Robert McCurry became the first pair of brothers in the nation to win the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.

Today, Troop One alumni make up some of Sacramento’s most successful business and community leaders. The troop typically rosters 70 registered Boy Scouts from all over Sacramento and the surrounding areas and its Alumni Club boasts 170 former Troop One scouts, comprised of members from as far back as the 1930s.

To be added to the mailing list and for more information on the event, please visit

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Remembering All of Them

Commentary by Paul V. Scholl, Publisher  |  2016-05-27

We can all wonder why wars happen, but we can also stop long enough to honor the sacrifice given for what others believed in. They believed in us.

On one sacred day each year we stop and honor all those who have gone before us to secure our freedoms and our way of life. War is ugly. It is a tragedy. It is far too often unavoidable.

The common men and women who gave their lives for the good of our country became great to each of us through their sacrifice. There is no greater deed than to give your life for your fellow man.

In my own family I have three brothers who have served in the military. There are many uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces who have also served. Each of them is a part of a larger community that the rest of us will never really understand. But we can honor their service.

I remember the funeral I went to as a young school boy for my cousin Michael Borges. I remember seeing him in the casket, and that it didn’t look anything like him. He was killed in Vietnam when his Jeep ran over a land mine. It was the first time that I remember seeing anyone that I had known dead. Wasn’t it just a few short years ago I stood safely by him in the big family Christmas photograph?

My cousin’s name is engraved in the Vietnam Memorial at the Sacramento Capital.  When my son was a young boy I took him there to see the name, tell him the story and to talk about war. Hopefully it had an impact and someday he will return, and remember.

Another cousin, Leroy Kramer, was one of the greatest guys you would ever want to meet. He was always funny, loud, and enjoyed life to its fullest. He served in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine, and in later years suffered horribly from a neurological disease from the effects of agent orange. He passed away a few years ago, but over many of his last years while suffering from the disease he became a huge fundraiser for other veterans need. Lee was on a mission to help as many of his fellow veterans as he could.

On Memorial Day, I remember these two men especially. Both of their examples changed my life in way that is difficult to explain.  I think of all the families that have similar stories and how our nation is full of heroes lost. We must honor them all.

This Memorial Day enjoy the BBQ, the parties, the day to relax. But most of all remember why the sacred and historical day exists. We can all wonder why wars happen, but we can also stop long enough to honor the sacrifice given for what others believed in. They believed in us.

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Two Vehicle Collision Results in Fatal Injuries

Source: CHP North Sacramento  |  2016-05-26

On May 18, 2016, at approximately 2:30 pm, Marcus Ashford (22), was driving a 1998 Dodge Neon southbound Walnut Ave., north of Cypress Ave., in the #1 lane.  Nikolaus Berzins (34), was driving a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck northbound Walnut Ave., north of Cypress Ave., in the #1 lane. 

For an unknown reason, the Dodge Neon swerved into the two-way left turn lane toward the F-150 pickup truck.  Mr. Berzins was unable to avoid a collision with the Dodge Neon as the Dodge Neon entered the #1 northbound lane.  The Dodge Neon and the Ford F-150 collided head-on in the northbound lanes.  The right front passenger of the Dodge Neon, an unidentified adult female, was transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.  Mr. Ashford was transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital with moderate injuries. 

Mr. Berzins sustained minor injuries, but was not transported from the collision scene.

The collision is still under investigation.

Any additional information about this news release should be directed to Officer Berry who will be available at the CHP North Sacramento Area business phone number: (916) 348-2317, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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California State Fair Helps Non-Profits Raise Needed Funds

Source: California State Fair  |  2016-05-26

The California State Fair is making it easy to support non-profits again this year through its non-profit ticket sales program. Non-profit organizations can earn $1 back for each State Fair ticket their supporters purchase online at

This program enables the California State Fair to partner with community non-profits in a way that supports their fundraising efforts and promotes theCalifornia State Fair as a community gathering place that celebrates the best of the Golden State.

Non-profits do not have to handle any ticket stock or cash, because it is completely digital. Once the non-profit meets the criteria for participation, the organization simply sends out a special promo code to its supporters.

Non-profits interested in participating, simply apply as follows:

  • Complete a short application to be considered as a potential participant. The application is available at Send the completed application to for approval.

  • Upon meeting the requirements for participation in the program, the State Fair will provide a unique promotional code that the non-profit can send out to their supporters to use when they order tickets online at

  • After the State Fair concludes, the non-profit will receive a check that totals $1 for every discounted general admission or ride wristband sale that used their special code.

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Nearly 400 San Juan Unified Seniors Earn State Seal of Biliteracy

Source: San Juan Unified School District  |  2016-05-26

Nearly 400 San Juan Unified seniors will graduate this spring with special honors reflecting their dedication to linguistic excellence.

In a recent countywide ceremony, 397 San Juan Unified students earned the State Seal of Biliteracy Award for their fluency in 10 languages, including Spanish, French, Arabic and Mandarin. Of those students, 82 are former English learners who have shown proficiency in English and their native language. Honorees receive a medal to be worn during graduation, a certificate, a seal for their diploma and a special notation on their transcript.

Students earned the award by achieving a high level of speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. This year, over 1,400 students from 12 districts in Sacramento County received the seal, with the greatest number of honorees hailing from San Juan Unified.

To earn the seal, established by California Assembly Bill 815 in 2012, students must receive good grades in all English classes required for graduation and proficiently score on the California Standards Test in English Language Arts. Additionally, students must show proficiency in one or more languages by passing a test — such as an Advanced Placement test — or by completing four years of a foreign language with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

“Having achieved this level of proficiency, these students are well-poised to continue in their language studies to attain even higher levels of proficiency, eventually including language unique to their lines of work or areas of expertise,” said Nicole Naditz, who teaches Advanced Placement French at Bella Vista High School.

The seal is a statement of linguistic and academic accomplishment that offers a variety of benefits after high school, including giving students a competitive edge in applying for jobs. Heather Berkness, a special programs counselor with the English Language and Multicultural Education Department, said the seal also adds value to college applications and allows students to connect with a worldwide community.

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Gov Brown Appointments Mark Owens of Carmichael

Source: Office of Governor Jerry Brown  |  2016-05-26

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. recently announced the appointment of Mark W. Owens, 56, of Carmichael, as chief counsel in the Office of Systems Integration at the California Health and Human Services Agency, where he has been senior legal counsel since 2014 and was an attorney from 2012 to 2014.

Owens served in several positions at the California Department of Social Services from 2001 to 2012, including attorney specialist and staff counsel. He was an attorney at the California Department of Business Oversight, Division of Corporations in 2001, business development counsel at 3Com Corporation from 2000 to 2001 and corporate and securities counsel at Gray, Cary, Ware and Freidenrich from 1999 to 2000.

Owens was an associate at Boutin, Dentino, Gibson, Di Giusto and Hodell from 1996 to 1999 and president at Industrial Friction Supply Company Inc. from 1984 to 1993. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Sacramento. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $150,720. Owens is a Republican.

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Fire Camp Lets Kids Be Firefighters (For a Week)

Source: Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-05-26

Each day of camp, kids are given a chance to see and learn the varied disciplines of today’s fire service. 
--Photo courtesy of Sacramento Metro Fire Dept.

Metro Fire recently opened the application period for Fire Camp, a day camp that takes place from July 12-15, 2016.  Fire Camp provides local children a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience today’s fire service, first hand.  The program is designed to instill self-confidence, teamwork, teach life safety skills and provide a basic understanding of the firefighting profession, in a fun and exciting atmosphere.

Campers are grouped in “strike teams” of eight campers, and each strike team is mentored by two Metro Firefighters. Campers learn valuable life safety skills, while discovering what it means to be a firefighter.

To attend Fire Camp, applicants must be 11, 12 or 13 years of age, with preference given to those living within Metro Fire’s boundaries.  Applications are processed in the order in which they are received, so apply early for a better chance of securing a spot. Deadline to apply is June 6, 2016.

For applications and more information, visit our website:

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Sac Metro Begins Search for New Chief

Source: Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-05-26

Sacramento Metro Fire Chief Mark Wells

Due to the December retirement of Fire Chief Mark Wells, the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District is seeking a dynamic and visionary leader in the fire service to serve as the next Fire Chief.

Metro Fire is the largest fire agency in the Sacramento region and the 7th largest in California, serving roughly 728,000 people living and working in a 417 square mile area. Metro Fire provides all-hazard emergency services to the communities it serves and assists with emergencies outside our jurisdiction through mutual-aid agreements and deployments on local, state, and federal emergencies around the country.

Last year, Metro Fire's thirty-six fire engines, six fire trucks, and 22 medics responded to more than 93,000 calls for service. As an all-hazard fire district, in addition to Emergency Medical Response and Structure/Wildland Fire Suppression, Metro Firefighters specialize in Hazardous Materials Response (HAZMAT), Aircraft Firefighting, Technical Rescue, Aviation and Dozer Operations, Urban Search & Rescue (US&R), Swift Water Rescue, Tactical EMS (TEMS), Incident Management Teams, and Joint Terrorism Task Force/Homeland Security.

The ideal Fire Chief candidate will have a passion for public safety and be energized by Metro Fire’s fast pace and the diversity of service demands. A proven track record of leading through good, as well as challenging times, in a manner that adheres to the District’s core values of Integrity, Professionalism, Teamwork, and Service before Self will be expected.

Extensive information regarding Metro Fire, including the District’s Budget, can be found at closing date for this recruitment is midnight Monday, May 30, 2016. To be considered for this opportunity, follow the instructions on the “Apply Now” feature at

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