Eppie’s Race is Back On

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-07-11

Great American Triathlon organizers are business partners Ken McGuire (left) and Dan Niccum.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Businessman Ken McGuire last year feared was the end of an era when the “final” Eppie’s Great race was announced.

Co-founder of Innovations Health Systems – a network of heath-centered services and facilities in the Bay Area – McGuire (52) never actually competed in the annual event.

“I felt it was too great a tradition to let die,” he explains. “People came here from all over the USA to compete. Eppie’s was a boost for our national profile. We Sacramentans talked about the great race in the same conversation as Kings Basketball games and the California International Marathon. It helped charities. For all sorts of good reasons, keeping Eppie’s alive seemed critical.”

Now, thanks to McGuire, the world’s oldest triathlon has not quite ended, after all. Steered by the Sacramento businessman, the contest that the late Eppie Johnston began in 1974 has new branding. From the starting gun July 20, and for future summers, it will be run as The Great American Triathlon. The endurance epic will again follow the American River Parkway in foot, bicycle and kayak stages. While benefitting charities, it will endure as one of our area’s great summer events.

Via many meetings and phone calls, McGuire persuaded major Eppie’s supporters to keep paddling. In January, Sacramento County gave approval for the new parkway event.

Capital City Road Management will continue to manage the race. Former volunteers have rallied, and more than 20 companies have agreed to co-sponsor. McGuire’s business partner, Carmichael resident Dan Niccum, is onboard for brand development.

The new race will continue restauranteur Eppie Johnston’s philanthropic drive that raised more than a million dollars for non-profits over 48 years. “Our fundraising for the American River Parkway Foundation and children’s health charities is important,” confirms McGuire. “We hope to write big checks for good causes. But above all, we want to maintain a community event that defines summer in Sacramento.”

The world’s oldest triathlon will set a cracking pace through the accustomed river stretches of Arcade, Carmichael, Fair Oaks and Rancho Cordova. Starting line is at William Pond Park. Athletes will follow a six-mile route to the Guy West Bridge near CSUS, and then grab bikes to pedal 12 miles to the beach below Sunrise Boulevard (Fair Oaks). There is no swimming stage; contestants will board kayaks, brave the San Juan Rapids and follow the river downstream to Rancho Cordova. Thousands of supporters, onlookers and volunteers traditionally cheer athletes through all stages. Après-race celebrations will include live music, food trucks and a beer garden beside the River Bend Park finish line.

Entry in the Great American Triathlon costs $40 for athletes 18 and under; $150 for adult competitors; junior relay is $110; adult relay is $225. Tandem water craft admission is $300. Contestants may use rented kayaks. For information, go to www.greatamericantriathlon.com

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A celebration 90 years in the making has been underway at the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Through legislation, on August 14, 1929, California witnessed the evolution of traffic enforcement with the creation of a statewide law enforcement agency known today as the CHP. The purpose of creating the CHP was to provide uniform traffic law enforcement throughout the state. To this day, assuring the safe and efficient transportation of people and goods on our highway system remains our primary purpose.

“The history of the CHP is storied tapestry,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “We, as an organization, celebrate 90 years of serving the people of this great state, which is possible because of the dedicated women and men who make up the CHP and the support of the public and our traffic safety partners.”

As California continues to grow and change, so does the span of enforcement responsibility of the CHP. When the organization began in 1929 with its 285 personnel, California had a population of roughly 5.6 million people and 2.1 million registered vehicles. Today, the CHP is comprised of nearly 11,000 dedicated professionals, uniformed and non-uniformed; California’s population has dramatically increased to nearly 40 million people, with more than 35 million registered vehicles.

The size and responsibilities of the patrol have not been the only changes through the decades. Women joined the ranks for the first time in 1974, and various types of patrol vehicles have been implemented – including aircraft, horses, and bicycles. Tragically, in the CHP’s 90 years, 231 officers have laid down their lives in service to the public. For more on the history of the Department, take a virtual tour of the CHP Museum located at http://chpmuseum.org/.

“While the CHP continues to evolve as a law enforcement agency, the priority of the Department and its personnel remains constant - fulfilling our mission while maintaining public trust,” added Commissioner Stanley.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The annual Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Hearing will be held by the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) on August 27, 2019. The hearing provides taxpayers, assessors, and other local agencies the opportunity to provide comment on any items discussed in the State Board of Equalization’s 2017-18 Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate’s Annual Report for the purposes of correcting any problems described in the report. Taxpayers may also comment on BOE-administered programs or local property tax issues.

Individuals may also present their concerns regarding agency services or other issues related to the administration of its tax programs, including state and county property taxes, alcoholic beverage tax, and tax on insurers. With respect to the alcoholic beverage tax, individuals may present their ideas and recommendations regarding legislation which may further improve voluntary compliance and the relationship between taxpayers and government.

The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Hearing is held in accordance with The Morgan Property Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights and California Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights provisions. The BOE has a Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate to ensure taxpayers’ rights are protected and to facilitate resolution of property tax problems. More information on the BOE’s Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate Office (TRA Office) and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Hearing is available at http://www.boe.ca.gov/tra/

Taxpayers are invited to share their experiences with problems encountered to bring it to the attention of the BOE and TRA Office for assistance with resolution.

The Board of Equalization is the only elected tax board in the country. Its five members include four equalization district members, and the State Controller. Under its constitutional mandate, the BOE oversees the assessment practices of the state’s 58 county assessors, who are charged with establishing values for approximately 12.8 million assessments each year. In addition, the BOE assesses the property of regulated railroads and specific public utilities and assesses and collects the private railroad car tax. The BOE's monthly meetings offer taxpayers and other interested parties opportunities to participate in the formulation of rules and regulations adopted by the Board. For more information on the BOE, visit www.boe.ca.gov.

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Railroad Museum Celebrates Toy Train Month

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack, T-Rock Communications  |  2019-08-07

Railroad Museum will debut a very special Lionel Observation Car (No. 416) from 1929 with a very personal connection to Thomas W. Sefton. Courtesy T-Rock Communications

Museum is Showcasing Prized Lionel Observation Car

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation are proud to recognize August 2019 as Toy Train Month, an annual celebration that spotlights the ever-popular Thomas W. Sefton Gallery and “Small Wonders: The Magic of Toy Trains” exhibit.

The Railroad Museum will debut a very special Lionel Observation Car (No. 416) from 1929. On public display for the first time, the prized artifact is part of the Museum’s extensive and internationally recognized toy train collection donated to the Museum by the Sefton family in 2002. The vintage toy train is especially unique due to its personal connection to Thomas W. Sefton. In fact, it was once on display in a glass showcase in Sefton's office at San Diego Trust & Savings Bank and was used as a conversation starter for those who visited his office. Observant guests to the Museum will even be able to view a small photo of the Sefton family inside the toy train.

The pre-war green State observation car (Type 1, standard gauge which is part of a State Set) will be on display for the month of August 2019 in a special case at the entrance to the Thomas W. Sefton Gallery on the Museum’s third floor. Accumulated over four decades by the late Mr. Thomas W. Sefton, the crowd-favorite collection includes 20th century toy trains, Buddy "L" riding toys, and railroad-related artifacts, featuring approximately 7,000 toy trains and a variety of accessories, such as locomotives and railroad cars from companies including Buddy “L,” Ives, American Flyer, Marklin, Marx, and Lionel.

The “Small Wonders” exhibit showcases approximately 1,000 vintage toy trains, six interactive displays, and a magnificent operating toy train layout with special pieces that are rotated regularly and decorated for the holidays and changing seasons.

In addition to the prized toy train on temporary display inside the Museum, the Museum Store will offer a special $5 price (normally $9.99) on the 30-page full-color guidebook that highlights the Thomas W. Sefton train collection during the month of August.

Railroad Museum admission is $12 for adults, $6 for youths (ages 6-17), and children ages five and under are free. More information about the California State Railroad Museum is available at 916-323-9280 or www.californiarailroad.museum.

 

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The California State Fair ended its 2019 season with strong food, beverage and, amusement ride sales which is thanks in-part to an all-new food Festival Pass. The pass allowed Fair attendees to pick four items from over 30 different offerings ranging from mouth-watering appetizers, one-of-a-kind entrees, and to-die-for desserts from 30 food vendors at a low price of $28. Food sales from the Food Festival Pass generated roughly $380,000 in revenue alone.

“The Food Festival pass was popular every single day of the Fair,” says Wille Madaus, owner of Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls, whose Bacon & Pecan Cinnamon Roll won Best of Show in the Food Festival Competition. “We had our highest grossing Saturday ever and are up more than 20% this year.”

Barbecue sales, always a Fairgoer favorite, hit an all-time high with $1.3 million in gross sales while new, fresh food options such as the Fair’s first vegan stand, Frik’n Vegan, had a very successful debut. The food vendor has already confirmed plans to return to the fairgrounds next year. Non-profit organization Friends of the California State Fair program sold over 7,585 pounds of fruit during the California State Fair Farm.

“Food has a powerful way of bringing people together” said General Manager and CEO of Cal Expo & State Fair Rick Pickering. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a common place for Fairgoers of all backgrounds to come together and celebrate our state’s rich history, diverse cultures and some long-standing and new traditions that make California great.”

Overall, the total for food and beverage sales was $8.5 million this year, bringing local sales tax revenue to the city, county, and state over just 17 days of the Fair.

Butler Amusements, the CA State Fair vendor responsible for the amusement rides, also reported its highest weekend in history with sales of over $500,000 on Saturday, July 20 and more than $400,000 in sales for rides on Sunday, July 21, making it a $1,000,000 ride weekend. More than 100,000 people rode the monorail and Skyride, taking in views of the entire fairgrounds and the surrounding areas from high above.

The California State Fair closed out its 2019 season — where innovation was a major theme — with an exciting Drone Light Show presented by DISH. Other novel ideas were created at the Fairgrounds, including Esports gaming tournaments every day of the Fair, the unique Bank of America sponsored Selfie Experience, and other new and exciting exhibits.

“This year’s fair brought together the beauty and innovation that demonstrates the very best of California,” said Pickering.

The state-wide Youth Mariachi Competition returned for a second year as part of a celebration of Mexican culture's influence of the Golden State. The competition, held at the illustrious Golden 1 Stage, showcased talented youth mariachi ensembles from throughout the state. The competition gave participants an opportunity to win up to $5,000 in grants for their respective academy or school mariachi program.

The new Esports Gaming tournament sold out all of its tournament slots and first-ever California State Fair Bear Cup champions were crowned. The Esports Gaming tournament garnered more than 700,000 viewers around the country on the California State Fair’s very own Twitch channel; hosted on Twitch's front page. Esports is a new and booming video game competition and having this event showcases California’s robust tech industry.

An innovative Drone Light Show produced by The Great Lakes Drone Company, was followed by a traditional fireworks show that wrapped up the CA State Fair's events. The combination of the old, beloved fireworks and the new drone light show symbolizes the innovation and nostalgic activities the Fair provides.

The CA State Fair provided opportunities for community engagement by providing free entrance to 10,000 military, veterans and first responders. Attendees on Mondays who provided three non-perishable food items received free admission during SMUD Giving Monday. Attendees donated a total of 31,000 pounds of food; all of which went to the Elk Grove Food Bank. Fair guests also had multiple opportunities to adopt an animal from Front Street and SPCA animal shelters.

“We look forward to continuing this strong tradition of showcasing innovation and have already begun plans to ensure the 2020 California State Fair can achieve newer and greater entertainment heights,” added Pickering.

Despite an extremely hot final weekend, Californians from all regions of the state were welcomed and enjoyed the Fair, and all its activities, for 17 days! Total attendance at the California State Fair increased from the prior year, up more than 5%, for a total of 601,761 happy Fairgoers.

To stay up to date with all things California State Fair, please visit www.castatefair.org

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A Personal Blast Off!

By Sal Arrigo, Jr.  |  2019-08-07

Image of a Saturn V rocket similar to the one that carried the Apollo 11 space capsule to the Moon. Photo by Sal Arrigo, Jr.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - It all started in northern New Jersey at Kittle Field, a part of the Stokes State Forest Service. I was 10 years old and my Dad and I were about to blast off my first Estes model rocket. I was hooked after that experience. Fast forward to July 16, 2019, and I was at the U.S. Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama, ready to witness the world record attempt of the launching of 5,000 model rockets simultaneously in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the Apollo 11 astronauts.

To achieve the record, the Rocket Center said the launch must meet the following criteria: Use commercially available rockets and build them following basic manufacturer guidelines; Pass 30 meters (or about 100 feet) in altitude; Have an independent specialist verify the counting method. An independent specialist is anyone who can claim a general level of experience or knowledge in the specific field of our record attempt (someone who has experience with model rocketry or aerospace engineering.)

Part of the verification process is determining that a record number of rockets exceeded the 100-feet threshold. The launch at the US Space Center successfully launched 4,923 model rockets. Although confident that the 100-foot mark was achieved, (the previous world record was 4,231 model rockets successfully launched), the Space Center said it may take up to 16 weeks to receive confirmation from the Guinness World Records officials.

What fascinates us with the moon and the stars and the planets? The Apollo 11 astronauts represented all those people like us who thirst for adventure, and we are fascinated when someone actually lives our dream for us. I met a volunteer named Eli, who works as a Planetarium Specialist at the US Space Center. He told me he has a love of rockets and enjoys “educating people about his work.” We discussed how many people, approximately 3,000, came to witness the model rocket launch.

One aspect of the launch was the number of children who witnessed the event, and it makes sense since children from all over can enjoy Space Camp at the US Space Center. It is one of the most popular programs, and according to the US Space Center it is “designed to inspire and motivate youth to push the boundaries of human exploration just as generations before them did. Space Camp is internationally popular, with visitors from all 50 states and more than 60 foreign countries.”

As you start to grasp the history that surrounds you at the US Space Center, one does not need to go any farther than to stand face to face with two of the most iconic symbols that represent our space program – the Saturn V rocket and the Space Shuttle. I have to admit I am still in awe of seeing these two monuments, and part of the generation that welcomed them to our side. What was it like to be in these vehicles for our space explorers? Fortunately, we had a president that also wanted to know the answer.

In September 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech that focused the United States on landing men on the moon. The President said, “… the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading spacefaring nation.”

It wasn’t long after that we became “trekkies” and became obsessed with the science fiction television show called “Star Trek” that debuted in 1966 and ended in 1969, just one month before we landed men on the moon. Whether a television show or a real life space drama, we were imagining being on the moon, or being one of the characters on “Star Trek.” I take note when we can see an eclipse, or to see the planets align, or witness shooting stars. What exactly is out there in space? 

Now nearly fifty-seven years since President’s Kennedy speech, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced the creation of the Artemis program. Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. The goal of the program is to return astronauts, including the first woman and the next man, to the lunar surface by 2024. American astronauts will also step foot where no human has ever been before - the Moon’s South Pole. When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, it is estimated that 600 million people watched, and I ask you, will you and your family be watching in 2024?

For more information on the US Space Center and the City of Huntsville (the Chamber of Commerce is especially helpful), please visit these helpful websites:

https://www.rocketcenter.com/

https://www.rocketcenter.com/INTUITIVEPlanetarium/daily#page-title

https://www.rocketcenter.com/featuredexhibitions

https://www.huntsville.org/

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The California State Auditor reported an uptick in applications by eligible individuals interested in serving on the next 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission. To date, more than 13,735 applications have been submitted. The Commission is tasked with redrawing Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts.

“We’ve been closely monitoring applications since the initial application period opened on June 10th, and we have seen a steady stream of applications submitted,” said Elaine M. Howle, California State Auditor. “But over the last several days we received an uptick in applications, including a one-day period in which we received more than 1,000 applications. This leads me to believe many more Californians who are learning more about redistricting and are developing an interest in the opportunity may now want to take advantage of the chance to draw California’s Congressional and State Legislative district lines. That is why I am extending the application period which will now close on Monday, August 19th at 5:00 p.m.”

Applicants must submit an application online at shapecaliforniasfuture.auditor.ca.gov. The application takes just minutes to complete.

“My office has been analyzing the number and flow of applications since we began accepting applications. It is clear to me that for the last week, we have seen a significant increase and with every passing day, we are getting a broader application pool that is more and more representative of California’s diversity. I’m thrilled that so many civically-involved Californians are interested in being part of shaping California’s future and want to keep the process open until August 19th at 5:00 p.m. to make sure that everyone who is interested has the opportunity to apply,” said Howle.

For more information about application data, eligibility requirements, or to apply to be a member of the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission, please visit shapecaliforniasfuture.auditor.ca.gov or call (833) 421-7550. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @ShapeCAFuture.

Every ten years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts. In 2008, California voters passed the Voters FIRST Act authorizing the creation of an independent Commission comprised of 14 members. The 2020 Commission will include five Democrats, five Republicans, and four who are either registered without, or “independent” of, any political party (decline-to-state or no party preference) or with another party. The Commission is responsible for drawing the lines of each district. The initial application period for new Commission members began on June 10, 2019, and will now run through August 19, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.

For more information on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission application and selection process, please visit ShapeCaliforniasFuture.auditor.ca.gov.

The California State Auditor is a state entity that is independent of the executive branch and legislative control. The purpose of the California State Auditor is to improve California government by assuring the performance, accountability, and transparency that its citizens deserve. For more information on the California State Auditor, please visit www.auditor.ca.gov.

 

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Chivas de Guadalajara and Club Morelia Clash on the Pitch at Raley Field

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Raley Field, along with Latin Entertainment and Girasol Promotions, is honored to bring an evening of professional soccer to the Sacramento region. Tickets go on sale this Friday, August 2 for the Wednesday, October 9 friendly soccer match between Chivas de Guadalajara and Club Morelia at Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats.

Club Deportivo Guadalajara – often simply known as Guadalajara and popularly known as Chivas – is a Mexican professional football club based in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Guadalajara plays in Liga MX with 12 First Division titles, and is one of the ten founding members of the Mexican First Division. They, along with longstanding rivals Club América, have never been relegated to the second-tier division.

Morelia is a Mexican professional football club based in Morelia, Michoacán, playing in Liga MX. In recent years, Monarcas Morelia has been one of the main protagonists in the Mexican First Division. Although the team had played Mexican professional football for 70 years, it had never won a First Division tournament until 2000.

Tickets will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, August 2 at the Tri Counties Bank Ticket Office at Raley Field. Prices start at $40 for general admission, $55 for reserved seating, and $110 for on-field VIP seating. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and the match will kick off at 7:00 p.m.

Raley Field is the West Sacramento home of the Sacramento River Cats, Triple-A affiliate of the three-time World Champion San Francisco Giants. Raley Field is consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, and Flex Plans can be purchased for the River Cats’ 20th season by calling the River Cats Ticket Hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). The only place to guarantee official River Cats tickets is at www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Even with a $22 billion surplus, California Democrats passed Assembly Bill 91 which will raise $1.9 billion in new taxes on small businesses.

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) issued the following statement:

“On one hand, Democrats say they are providing a $220 million savings for small businesses, yet on the other, they are increasing taxes on small businesses by $1.9 billion dollars. The last thing Californians need is another tax increase especially when we have a $22 billion surplus. Small businesses need our help to keep their doors open and this will only hurt them,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove.

Senator Shannon Grove represents California's 16th Senate District.

Source Office of the Senate Republican Caucus

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Say Cheers… 2nd Annual “Sunset Sip” Coming to the Old Sacramento Waterfront

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack, T-Rock Communications  |  2019-08-01

“Sunset Sip” guests will enjoy an elegant evening of unlimited wine tastings made from some of El Dorado’s best grapes, tasty light appetizers from local restaurants, and entertaining live music. Photo courtesy of T-Rock Communications

OLD SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Wine lovers are invited to sip, sample and celebrate summertime along the iconic Old Sacramento Waterfront during the 2nd Annual “Sunset Sip” happening on Thursday evening, August 8, 2019. Timed to coincide with the region’s first-ever River City Wine Week and presented in partnership with the El Dorado Wine Association, “Sunset Sip” guests will enjoy an elegant evening of unlimited wine tastings made from some of El Dorado’s best grapes, tasty light appetizers from local restaurants, and entertaining live music performed by Simple Creation amid a scenic sunset experience over the river.

Available for guests ages 21 and over, the “Sunset Sip” wine tasting event begins at 6:30 p.m. at 1100 Front Street with a special VIP early entry time at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $50 for general admission which includes admission at 6:30 p.m., unlimited wine tastings and light appetizers or $75 for VIP early entry with unlimited wine tastings, a VIP lounge area, special Reserve wine tastings, and an opportunity to chat one-on-one with the wine maker.

Advance tickets for the Old Sacramento Waterfront’s “Sunset Sip” are available via Eventbrite. For more information about River City Wine Week, please visit http://rivercitywineweek.com/. For more about upcoming events and activities and/or information about the Old Sacramento Waterfront in general, please visit www.oldsacramento.com.

With more than 125 shopping, dining, entertainment, historical attractions and world-class museums, the unique and dynamic Old Sacramento Waterfront is located along the picturesque Sacramento River. The 28-acre National Historic Landmark District and State Historic Park is alive year-round with innovative new events, experiences and activations along with heritage events that showcase the California Gold Rush and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

 

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