SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Higher Power Ministry hosts a recovery celebration at Lakeside Church in Folsom every Friday at 7:00 PM. Christian bands from a variety of genres such as blues, country, and rock and roll perform at the celebration. Lead Director of Recovery John Heath joked, “I turn the church into a nightclub every Friday night, with Jesus in the middle.”
A speaker talks to the group about recovery from addiction such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, food addictions, sexual addictions, workaholics, co-dependency, and self-harm. “These are life and death situations for the people that come in here, and there’s no such thing as a hopeless case,” said Heath. “We’re getting phenomenal results.”
Higher Power Ministry originated in 1992 at Central Peninsula Church in Foster City. Senior Pastor Jeff Farrar saw the need to help people overcome the addictions that were leading them to jail, institutions, and death. Pastor Steve Aurell, who was a ministry leader until his death in 2013, knew just how difficult it is to overcome addiction since he had once served 15 years in San Quentin Prison because of his own drug addiction. As Pastor of Recovery at Higher Power, Pastor Aurell saved many lives — including the life of John Heath.
Heath had a long history of addiction. During the early 1980s, at the height of the cocaine craze, Heath worked for the Cartel transporting drugs over the border. In 1983, after a serious overdose, he was admitted to the SHARE Unit in San Francisco, the nation’s first cocaine recovery center. He spent 60 days there, breaking medical records for the levels of cocaine in his system. Even after extensive treatment, his addiction continued for many years. In addition to cocaine, he used alcohol, heroin, and eventually moved on to meth.
Heath’s wife sought guidance at Higher Power, and Pastor Aurell urged her to stand by her husband in his time of need. Heath said that Pastor Aurell “was responsible through God’s Grace for saving my life, marriage, and my family.” Heath started attending Higher Power in 2006: “It was like no other church or place I had ever been.… I felt comfortable in my skin for the first time in my life.”
After a year of sobriety, Pastor Aurell asked Heath to become a leader in the Higher Power Ministry. “I then knew that God had a sense of humor,” said Heath. After seeing firsthand all the good Higher Power had done for people in need, Heath felt compelled to spread the message to other communities: “God tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to start a recovery church.”
Heath moved to Shingle Springs and spent a year in prayer. Then he met Pastor John Voelz at Lakeside Church, who invited him to use the church as the site of a new Higher Power Ministry. Heath said, “We are so appreciative to Lakeside Church for allowing Higher Power to exist in Folsom and for letting us use their site to further our mission of helping those who are lost to addiction in the community.” Higher Power at Lakeside opened on July 7, 2017. “Seven, seven, seventeen — three sevens. I believe those are divine numbers,” said Heath.
“I started the ministry one person at a time,” Heath said. “We accept them however they are — high, drunk, or however they walk in.” Anyone who comes to the celebration can share with the group and seek help. “We stay there all night long if we need to,” he said. Higher Power Ministry leaders then follow up during the next week to offer additional help. If someone needs a recovery program, the leaders will find one for them. “We’re building a family,” said Heath. “It’s a huge support system.”
Many of the leaders are also recovering addicts, and Heath shares his story to inspire others to overcome their own struggles. Although Heath is not an ordained pastor, he found a way to ensure that Higher Power has a strong spiritual support system. He established an Elder Board comprised of two recovery pastors — each with 30 years of sobriety — who give spiritual advice and guidance. Heath said that Pastor Gary Freitas from Manteca and Pastor Dale Marsh from Oroville provide “spiritual direction, protection, and correction in the ministry.”
The events are open for anyone to attend. Heath said, “It’s a lot of fun. It’s not too churchy.” They serve free dinner, dessert, coffee, and other refreshments. Higher Power is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization; donation checks can be written to Higher Power Ministry and then mailed to Lakeside Church, 745 Oak Avenue Parkway, Folsom, CA 95630.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The 48th Annual Optimist High School Baseball All-Star games were played on June 8, 2019 at Capital Christian High School on their meticulously manicured infield. Game 1 (Small Schools Teams) was won by the North Team 6 - 2. The Outstanding Player for the North team was Josh Miller from Casa Roble High School. The Outstanding Player for the South team was Kevin Haverson from El Dorado High School.
Game 2 (Large Schools Teams) was won by South Team 11 - 3. The Outstanding Player for the South Team was Grant Stevens from Franklin High School. The Outstanding Player for the North Team was William Ditler from Pioneer High School.
The North Small Schools Team was coached by Chris Millsback from Sacramento Country Day School, and assisted by Gary Jakobs from Sacramento Country Day School, Brad Gunter, Jr. from Valley Christian High School, and Ed Tupper from Casa Roble High School. The South Small Schools Team was coached by Kenny Munguia from Sacramento High School, and assisted by Kirk Crump from Sacramento High School.
The North Large Schools Team was coached Vincent Luevano from Antelope High School, and assisted by Ben Cornfield from Antelope High School, and Kevin Dawidczik and Craig Taylor from Del Campo High School. The South Large Schools Team was coached by Ben Petersen from Ponderosa High School, and assisted by Maury Castaneda from Ponderosa High School, and Derek Mayer and Larry Gregory from Laguna Creek High School.
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento History Museum is excited to welcome at least 10 highly respected local authors and/or historians for the first-time event “A Page in Time Book Fair” on Saturday, June 29, 2019 from noon to 3 p.m. The special event will take place inside the Sacramento History Museum (101 I Street in Old Sacramento State Historic Park) and is free with paid Museum admission.
Museum guests will have the opportunity to meet the intriguing local authors and historians who can relate the fascinating history of Sacramento through a variety of viewpoints and cultural backgrounds. While additional participants may be added to the line-up, the confirmed authors/historians are as follows (two of whom have Sacramento related books being released later this month):
William Burg – local historian and author of Wicked Sacramento (release date June 24, 2019); James Christian Scott – librarian/archivist for Sacramento Public Library and contributor to Images of America: Sacramento (release date June 24, 2019) ; Annette Kassis – author of Prohibition in Sacramento: Moralizers and Bootleggers in the Wettest City in the Nation; Steve Pate-Newberry and Michelle Alberigi McKenzie – photographer and narrator for Sacramento, CA: A Photographic Portrait; Karun Yee – (representing the Chinese American Council of Sacramento) and contributor to Canton Footprints; Mary Helmich – local historian and author of A Legacy in Brick & Iron: Sacramento’s Central and Southern Pacific Railroad Shops; Ric Hornor – local historian and author of Golden Highway 1 – North, Golden Highway 2 – South, and The Golden HUB; Dr. Mark A. Ocegueda – local historian, professor and author of Mexican American Baseball in Sacramento; Dr. Bob LaPerriere – (representing the Sacramento County Historical Society), local historian and contributor to the reissued 1853 Colville’s Sacramento Directory.
Admission to the Sacramento History Museum costs $8 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children ages 5 and under. Museum members who purchase a featured book can receive 20 percent off and non-members can receive 10 percent off the price of the featured book.
For more information about the “A Page in Time Book Fair” and/or the Sacramento History Museum in general, please visit www.sachistorymuseum.org.
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Four developers who illegally graded roads and pads on a series of remote Trinity County properties, some of which were sold to cannabis cultivators, have agreed to pay a $325,000 fine to settle a lawsuit brought by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (North Coast Water Board).
The development activity, conducted without the necessary permits, made the land vulnerable to erosion and runoff issues that washed sediment into the nearby Indian Creek watershed, a tributary of the Middle Fork Trinity River, according to an investigation by the North Coast Water Board. In addition to the financial penalty, the developers and current landowners are named in a Cleanup and Abatement Order that requires correction of water quality violations.
“Illegal development for cannabis cultivation continues to be a significant issue and is a direct threat to the water quality of the north coast,” said Josh Curtis, assistant executive officer of the North Coast Water Board. “The settlement reflects that the parties acknowledged their illegal conduct, and we will be monitoring compliance with the Cleanup and Abatement Order so that these violations are corrected.”
Soil discharges into watersheds are a common concern with this kind of illegal grading, which are made worse by heavy winter rains that trigger runoff of soils that have been disturbed.
After investigating the violations, the North Coast Water Board sued the four parties in Trinity County Superior Court. The California Department of Justice filed the lawsuit on behalf of the North Coast Water Board, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board’s Office of Enforcement.
The settlement resolves the litigation with a stipulated judgment against the parties.
“We prioritized this case for enforcement because the unpermitted and poorly planned development of the properties caused actual and threatened discharges to Indian Creek, which is tributary to the sediment-impaired Middle Fork Trinity River,” said Curtis.
The four defendants (Clay Tucker, Barney Brenner, Rincon Land Holdings LLC, and Independence Corporate Offices, Inc.) acquired the largely undeveloped properties, then graded a series of roads and pads and sold the properties. The development was conducted without the necessary permits and in a manner that caused sediment from runoff to cloud the tributaries of Indian Creek and threaten fish habitat.
Through a combination of regulatory actions, including a Cleanup and Abatement Order for the shared access road and mandatory enrollment in the Cannabis Waste Discharge Regulatory Program for properties engaged in cannabis cultivation, the North Coast Water Board is working with the four developers and the subsequent property owners to ensure all water quality threats are addressed.
In addition to the guaranteed payment of $325,000, a suspended liability of up to $200,000 was imposed on Tucker. It will be triggered if he engages in, directs or finances conduct that violates the California Water Code within five years of the stipulated judgment.
For information regarding the North Coast Water Board, please visit https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/
Results of Statewide Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign Released
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Despite a statewide public education campaign about the dangers of distracted driving, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued 19,850 citations during the month of April to drivers who violated California’s hands-free cell phone laws. This total represents a 3.6 percent increase from April 2018. As part of the campaign, the CHP identified two statewide, zero-tolerance enforcement days, April 4 and 19. During that time, the CHP issued 2,459 citations to drivers for violating the handsfree law.
The CHP, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Impact Teen Drivers (ITD), local law enforcement, and other traffic safety partners worked together throughout Distracted Driving Awareness Month to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Only statistics from the CHP were available for release.
In addition to phones, other serious distractions include eating, grooming, applying makeup, reaching for fallen objects, using a vehicle’s touchscreen, knobs, dials or buttons, changing clothes, or any other task that takes your eyes or mind off the road.
“Citations are just one tool law enforcement has at its disposal for combating driver distraction,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Our ultimate goal is compliance with California’s handsfree law so that nothing diverts a driver’s attention or interferes with their ability to safely operate a vehicle.”
The OTS continued its “Go Safely, California” public awareness campaign for the month of April and early part of May with a focus on distracted driving. The education effort included TV and radio spots, social media posts, and outdoor billboards with messages encouraging Californians to put down the phone while driving.
“Drivers on their cell phone are a stubborn problem that will continue to require extensive education about the dangers and enforcement of laws against using cell phones behind the wheel,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “It is a bad habit that may be hard for some to break, but is something that far too often leads to tragic consequences,” she added
ITD, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that educates teens on the dangers of reckless and distracted driving, kicked off Distracted Driving Awareness Month with a Teen Safe Driving Roundtable at California State University, Sacramento. ITD hosted the event with the CHP and the National Transportation Safety Board to discuss ways to improve teen driver safety where driver distraction is the primary cause of crashes.
“Seventy-five percent of teen fatal car crashes do not involve drugs or alcohol but everyday behaviors become lethal when a new inexperienced driver chooses to engage in them behind the wheel,” said ITD Executive Director Dr. Kelly Browning.
The OTS hosted an event April 12 at Sacramento’s Inderkum High School to educate students on the importance of driving free of distractions. Students even had the chance to experience first-hand how distractions impact your driving ability through simulator goggles.
The OTS is holding a statewide distracted driving video and billboard contest for high school students, with $15,000 in total cash prizes. All California high school students ages 14 to 20 are eligible to participate. The OTS is still accepting entries through May 20. For details on rules and how to enter, visit gosafelyca.org.
Distracted driving remains a top concern for California drivers. According to a 2018 public opinion survey conducted by University of California, Berkeley, nearly half of all drivers surveyed listed distracted driving because of texting or talking on a cell phone as their biggest safety concern on roads.
“Many drivers understand the risks they take looking at or using their phone, but do it anyway,” Director Craft said. “Drivers must use self-discipline and make it a habit to stay off the phone.”
California has had distracted driving laws since 2008. The CHP, the OTS, and ITD remind drivers that under the handsfree cell phone law, drivers are not allowed to hold a wireless telephone or electronic communications device while operating a vehicle. Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a cell phone for any reason, including hands-free.
WALNUT CREEK, CA (MPG) The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered the most dangerous for teen drivers. In the past five years, during that time, nearly 3,500 people across the country were killed in crashes involving teen drivers.
New data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that the three most common behaviors that contribute to the spike in teen crashes during the summer months are speed, impaired driving, and distracted driving.
Following are some impressive facts on the issue:
More than a quarter (28%) of teen crashes involve speeding; One in six (17%) teen drivers test positive for alcohol in fatal crashes; More than half (60%) of teen crashes involve distraction.
“As an advocate for safe roads, AAA wants parents and guardians to be concerned about scary, but true, teen driving statistics,” said Michael Blasky, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Through education, training, and parental involvement, we can help young drivers become better and safer drivers. This in turn, can help make the roads safer for everyone.”
To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents and guardians to:
Lead by example and minimize your own risky behavior when driving; Talk with teens about the dangers of risky driving situations, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving; Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers; Become familiar with resources like TeenDriving.AAA.com, which can help prepare families and teens for the summer driving season.
“Not only do teen drivers pose a risk to themselves, they’re also a risk for their passengers and others they share the road with,” Blasky said. “We want parents and guardians to take this rite of passage seriously by setting and consistently enforcing rules for teen drivers this summer.”
In addition to TeenDriving.AAA.com, the AAA StartSmart program can help parents and guardians become more effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.
About AAA Northern California
AAA has a proud history of serving Members for over 100 years. AAA is on a mission to create Members for life by unleashing the innovative spirit of 4,000 employees representing 6 million Members across Northern California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. In addition to legendary roadside assistance, AAA offers home, auto and life insurance, and extraordinary travel services. According to Via Magazine's Smart Guide, being a AAA Member can save you more than $1,200 a year. Learn more at AAA.com.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Seven Sacramento area museums are participating in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America by offering free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families now through Labor Day (September 2), 2019.
The seven local museums participating in Blue Star Museums include the following: Aerospace Museum of California, California Automobile Museum, California Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Powerhouse Science Center and the Sacramento History Museum.
First Lady of the United States Melania Trump and Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence are honorary co-chairs of Blue Star Museums 2019. This year’s participating organizations include fine art, science, history, and children’s museums, as well as zoos, aquariums, gardens, and more.
The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military –
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members.
Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.
Before planning a visit, guests are encouraged to contact the individual museums for hours of operation and note some are normally closed on Mondays and in observance of holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day.
For more information or a complete list of participating Blue Star museums, please visit https://www.arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums. For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @SacMuseums or visit the user-friendly website at www.SacMuseums.org.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org. Follow Blue Star Museums on Twitter @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily, #bluestarmuseums.
About the Sacramento Area Museums (SAM)
Comprised of 30 greater Sacramento area museums working in partnership with Visit Sacramento, SAM’s mission is to raise awareness of local museums by giving the community the opportunity to discover California’s fine art, history, science and wildlife treasures. SAM achieves its mission through implementing cooperative promotions and developing strategic marketing alliances, by encouraging sharing of knowledge and resources among its partner institutions. For more information, visit www.SacMuseums.org.
*Some museums closed on Memorial Day (Mon., May 27, 2019) and Labor Day (Mon., Sept. 2, 2019); please check participating venues for holidays and hours.