SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Volunteer registration for the 2019 Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) Count is now open. The count will be conducted on the evenings of January 30 and 31, 2019.

The biennial PIT count is a county-wide special census which provides a snapshot of who is experiencing homelessness on any given night. The data gathered helps shape policy and programs designed to assist some of our most vulnerable residents.

Sacramento Steps Forward is partnering with Sacramento State’s Division of Social Work and the Institute for Social Research on this crucial project.

Sacramento Steps Forward will be recruiting hundreds of volunteers who will be trained and grouped in teams to canvass the community in organized deployments during the two evening counts, rain or shine. Volunteering does not require any prior experience but you must: be 18 years of age or older; have a strong interest in helping people who are experiencing homelessness; and attend required training's to learn to safely conduct accurate counts with teams within carefully pre-mapped territories..

If you would like to form a group of coworkers, family or friends, we will accommodate your requests. More information will be provided to registered volunteers as we prepare for the event. Volunteer at

The most recent biennial PIT Count was conducted in January 2017 and found that the total number of people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento had increased by 30 percent since 2015. Of those, people who are living outdoors on the street, in tents, cars, or RVs - increased by 85 percent. Sacramento followed a West Coast-wide trend reporting increasing numbers of people experiencing homelessness.

Sacramento Steps Forward is a nonprofit organization committed to ending homelessness in our region through collaboration, innovation, and connecting people to services. Walking side-by-side with our partners, we seek to provide people experiencing homelessness with the support and services they need to find stability and long-term housing. Since 2012, Sacramento Steps Forward has been the lead agency for Sacramento’s Homeless Continuum of Care.

Source Sac Steps Forward

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Children’s Home has kicked off its annual Holiday Giving Program, bringing the local community together during the holidays to serve children and families in need. Last year, our program provided gifts for 1,200 children, and the community adopted nearly 70 families, providing them with gifts, gift cards and everyday essentials. Once again this year we have 1,200 children participating; many of whom the gifts they receive through our program will be the only gifts they receive this year.

The holidays are a joyful time when we can give thanks for all that we have and give back to those in need. There are several ways for community members to get involved with the SCH Holiday Giving Program, which ends December 14.

Wish Stars and Ornaments: The classic yellow wish star includes three wishes from an SCH child. Community members are encouraged to shop for their child and return unwrapped gifts to the Sacramento Children’s Home at 2750 Sutterville Road in Sacramento. Financial contributions of $25, $50, $100 or more, as well as gift card donations help us ensure that all kids and families have their holiday wishes fulfilled and basic needs met. Some male youth in our Residential Program do not have family to spend the holidays with, so financial support specific to our snow trip enables us to send our residents on a snow trip to Mt. Shasta over the holidays.

Adopt-a-Family: Community members can also adopt an entire family this holiday season. The adoptees are families that participate in Sacramento Children’s Home programs such as the Family Resource Centers and the Counseling Center.

Volunteer Opportunities: Every year, we rely on community volunteers to help run our holiday donation site. Last year, about 200 volunteers provided nearly 100 hours of support, which included greeting donors, accepting gifts, registering gifts into our system, sorting, and wrapping.

Giving Tree Sites and Holiday Sponsors: Local businesses and schools participate by hosting Giving Tree sites with stars available to the public for pick up. Businesses and corporations also have the opportunity to sponsor an SCH Holiday Party for individual programs such as our Family Resource Centers and Crisis Nurseries to help strengthen families in our highest risk communities.

For more information about all of these options and important dates, please visit

The Sacramento Children’s Home was founded in 1867 and today it is the most comprehensive child and family service organization in Sacramento County serving more than 7,000 children and 4,300 families each year through a broad spectrum of residential, community-based, mental health and educational programs. Throughout its 151-year history, the Sacramento Children’s Home has been at the forefront of trauma-informed care and developing new ways to improve the outcomes of children and families. Through its multiple programs at six sites in the county, the Sacramento Children’s Home offers prevention, early intervention and treatment programs that are critical to strengthening families and stopping the generational cycle of child abuse and neglect. More information is available at

Source: Sacramento Children’s Home

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SMUD X-rays High-voltage Lines

SMUD Media  |  2018-11-25

Suspended from a helicopter, a lineworker conducts X-ray photography on a SMUD transmission line in the Sierra. The work helps SMUD identify potential issues in advance so they can be repaired and help avoid power outages that could affect thousands of customers. Photo courtesy SMUD Media

Working to Prevent Large Power Outages

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - SMUD’s high voltage transmission lines in the Sierra deliver large amounts of power from SMUD’s hydroelectric facilities to customers in the valley. A fault on one of those lines can significantly impact the electrical system, potentially leaving thousands of customers in the dark. Critical to the lines’ capability are splices that enable the lines to be continuous. As transmission lines are strung or repaired over time, the splices, which are tubular sleeves, can degrade.

To find potential faults SMUD is using state-of-the-art portable X-ray photography to inspect major transmission lines that feed the SMUD grid. Since the X-ray data collected is live, any potential issues are found immediately and repairs are promptly made to arrest future failure.

These high-voltage lines are strung atop high lattice-style towers. Maintenance and repairs on them can involve a lot of work, sometimes more than a hundred feet above the ground, and the work is typically done while the lines are energized so power can flow without interruption.

“Having this tool available to us helps eliminate the guesswork,” said SMUD Chief Energy Delivery Officer Frankie McDermott. “It provides another level of protection to help prevent outages on our transmission lines and helps us to harden the SMUD grid.”

To do the X-ray inspections that see inside the critical splices, they brought in lineworkers from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), who are certified to do what’s called “barehand” work on energized transmission lines high above the ground while suspended from a helicopter.

Barehanding is a technique that safely allows transmission lineworkers to “bond on” and have direct contact with energized, high-voltage lines to perform work. Special protective clothing, including gloves, socks and boots, place the lineworker within the field of electricity that surrounds the energized conductor, allowing the electricity to flow around their body.

The work is part of many ongoing projects to improve and enhance reliable power delivery. The transmission lines in El Dorado County enable SMUD to deliver power from the Upper American River Project (UARP), SMUD’s huge system of hydroelectric power plants in the Sierra. The UARP’s nearly 700 megawatts of clean power can provide about 20 percent of SMUD’s power in a normal water year, which can be crucial especially in summer months when market power is more expensive.

Reliability is a core value of SMUD, a policy set by the SMUD Board of Directors who is elected by SMUD customers. To fulfill that policy, SMUD continues to bolster the infrastructure that comprises SMUD’s grid. For more information about SMUD, visit


Source: SMUD Media

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Vehicle vs Bicyclist on September 19

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - On September 19, 2018 at approximately 5:20 a.m., the California Highway Patrol (CHP) was dispatched to a call of a traffic collision involving a vehicle versus a bicyclist on Watt Avenue near Whitney Avenue. A 14 year old boy was riding his bicycle on Watt Avenue when he was struck and killed by a vehicle. The driver of that vehicle fled the collision scene.  

CHP investigators began a criminal investigation in an attempt to locate the suspect vehicle and identify the responsible driver. With the assistance of witnesses, physical evidence, and information provided to Crime Stoppers, the suspect vehicle, a green 2000 Toyota Sienna, was located. A search warrant was obtained and vehicle was seized as evidence. Through subsequent investigation a person of interest, Edward John Flores (04/02/1968) of North Highlands, was identified as the possible driver involved in this collision.

On November 05, 2018, Flores came to the North Sacramento CHP Area office and spoke with CHP investigators. During the course of their conversation with Flores, investigators developed probable cause and arrested Flores for being the driver of the Toyota at the time of the collision.

Flores was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on charges of felony hit and run and driving with a suspended license.

Any additional information about this news release should be directed to Officer Mike Zerfas who will be available at the CHP North Sacramento Area business phone number: (916) 348-2337, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Sutter’s Fort to Present “Hands on History

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack   |  2018-11-25

"A Simple Emigrant Christmas" event at Sutter

"A Simple Emigrant Christmas" on December 8

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - California State Parks, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) and Friends of Sutter’s Fort are proud to present an interactive, fun and festive “Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas” event on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   

Fort visitors will be delighted to have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1850s to enjoy festive holiday traditions from early in California’s early history when people from around the world passed through the Fort gates, each with their own customs and traditions for the holiday season. Friends and families are encouraged to visit the Fort to experience a variety of early holiday traditions and cultural activities similar to what early emigrants enjoyed. Complete with docents in period attire, entertaining vignettes will be set up that showcase a few of the diverse holiday scenes that will include food, music, decorations and other holiday traditions. As a special treat for kids of all ages, Father Christmas will be on-hand to hear holiday wishes.

Fort visitors can also participate in a number of hands-on activities such as dipping and creating their own holiday candles, crafting their own “keepsake” holiday ornaments – that include snowflakes, cornhusk angels and bird nests – plus making holiday cards with nib (or “dip”) pens and colored ink, grinding raw wheat into “Christmas flour,” singing Christmas carols with Fort musicians and more.  And, of course, popular demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of the Fort’s cannon. Additionally, Friends of Sutter's Fort Trade Store will be open, providing complimentary samples of gold nugget chocolates and offering a special holiday sale. 

Admission costs for this special “Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas” event at the Fort are as follows: $7 per adult (18 and older), $3 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and free for children 5 and under.  For more information, please call 916-445-4422 or visit

Source: T-Rock Communications

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Celebrate the Season and Shop Local

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - On Saturday, December 1, the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District (FORPD), will host the 35th annual Christmas in the Village celebration. The event will feature holiday activities for the whole family.

The festivities will begin at 3:00 PM with a children's craft area at Santa’s Workshop, free pictures with Santa, and various arts and craft vendors. Get into the Christmas spirit by decorating Christmas cookies and entering the Gingerbread House Contest, all while enjoying holiday music throughout the event. Hot beverages will be available at the Hot Chocolate and Cider Booth, and Sacto MoFo Food Trucks will be on site.

The Christmas Parade will start at 4:00 PM and the route will follow Fair Oaks Blvd. Plaza Park will offer excellent views of the parade as well as the Festival of Trees, which will begin at 4:30 PM. Christmas carols and candle lighting in the park at 5:30 PM will be followed by the Christmas tree lighting at 6:00 PM. The evening finishes with an outdoor movie at 7:00 PM.

Katy Coss, FORPD recreation superintendent, said, “I feel the Christmas in the Village event and Tree Lighting is special because it brings the community and partner groups out to celebrate the joy of singing carols, drinking hot cocoa, watching the parade, and waiting anxiously together in the dark for the bright lights to flip on and kick-off such a wonderful holiday season!”

Christmas in the Village is a rain-or-shine event, so bundle up in some cozy sweaters to celebrate the season with your family, friends, and neighbors.  

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Changing the Landscape of Residential Senior Care

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2018-11-20

A ribbon cutting ceremony at Bellhaven Estate was attended by members of the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce, registered nurses from local hospitals, and a representative from Ted Gaines’ office who presented the Brooks with a certificate of recognition. Photo provided by Dan and Monica Brooks.

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - Dan and Monica Brooks recently opened a new state licensed senior care home in Orangevale. Bellhaven Estate offers unique retreat-style senior living on an expansive and beautiful property.

Although Bellhaven has only been open for a few weeks, the Brooks have been busy meeting with prospective residents and offering tours. They are currently licensed for six residents and are already at 50% capacity with three residents signed up to move in.

The Brooks ran a senior care home in Natomas for four years, which was at full capacity with a full wait list, but they were thrilled to find this new location because it offers residents more opportunities to connect with nature. Dan stated, “We are trying to change the landscape of residential senior care.”

The estate is located on two acres with wide paved pathways so residents can explore the natural beauty of the property. They will soon be putting in a vineyard and have plans for gardens to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. With many areas for relaxing outdoors, residents can enjoy the horse and chickens that also live on the property. Monica said it is “the perfect location” and they were awed by the tranquility.

Bellhaven offers many activities to keep residents engaged. A musician visits the estate to provide live entertainment with renditions of songs by John Denver and the Beatles. Every six weeks they will host a spa day with a licensed hair stylist and nail technician to pamper the residents. Once a month, the Bellhaven Brunch offers a full spread of delicious foods for residents and their families.

The Brooks plan delicious meals because they feel it gives the residents great joy to look forward to good dinners and decadent desserts each night. Dan loves to cook and offers cooking demonstrations to get the residents involved in the process.

Bellhaven has at least one caregiver onsite at all times, and sometimes up to four depending on the activities and needs on a given day. At some care homes, the night staff can sleep while residents sleep since the assumption is that residents will wake the caregiver if they need help. Monica explained that Bellhaven does not follow that method because of concern that a resident might need help but be unable to request it if they are in medical distress. Staff members at Bellhaven spend the night awake and making frequent checks to ensure the continued safety of all residents.

The Brooks spend much of their time at the estate and are both very involved in every aspect of care, from playing games with residents to helping them with showers. “We do everything we ask our staff to do,” said Monica.

At Bellhaven, they want the residents to always feel that it is their home. Residents have their own personal spaces and are encouraged to invite family and friends to visit. The Brooks strive to offer exceptionally personalized service and care.

Monica has a background in children’s services, so she loves working with the residents and their families. She said, “I supported families through change when I worked in children’s services, and now I support families through change on the other side.”

Dan has 13 years of medical experience as a firefighter and paramedic, and in his experience going on medical calls he saw the need for more specialized and individual senior care. That need is what started the conversation and inspired the Brooks to open their own senior care home. Monica said, “If you are more on the quiet side, you can get lost in those larger facilities. Having only six residents at a time allows us to keep it super personal and offer extremely high-quality care.”

For more information, visit

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