Local Sailor Serves Aboard a Floating Airport at Sea

By Tom Gagnier, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Navy Office of Community Outreach  |  2019-06-13

Seaman Eli Ferch is a personnel specialist aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller.

ANTELOPE, CA (MPG) - An Antelope, California, native and 2009 Oakmont High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.

Seaman Eli Ferch is a personnel specialist aboard the carrier stationed in Newport News, Virginia. As a Navy personnel specialist, Ferch is responsible for administrative duties including personnel check-ins and outs and pay related issues.

Ferch credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Antelope.

“Dealing with diversity,” said Ferch. “I get along with all types of people.”

Named in honor of the first president of the United States, George Washington, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet. The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 256 feet wide.

Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft. 

George Washington is currently undergoing a four-year refueling complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, a process that includes refueling the ship’s nuclear reactors and modernizing more than 2,300 compartments and hundreds of systems. The carrier is expected to leave the shipyard in 2021 and return to Yokosuka, Japan, as the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Ferch is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Ferch is most proud of earning honor graduate in boot camp and getting promoted to seaman as a result.

“You get a ribbon too,” said Ferch. “Few people get it.”

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Ferch, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Ferch is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My uncle was in the Army, and grandpa was a Marine,” said Ferch. “They sacrificed a lot, but I admired what they did.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard the carrier. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly – this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 men and women form the air wing responsible for flying and maintaining the aircraft aboard the ship.

"Our ship’s motto is the Spirit of Freedom, and this motto is evidenced daily in the actions and character of our sailors,” said Capt. Glenn Jamison, commanding officer of George Washington. “The work they are involved in today is difficult, but is vital to national security, to our maritime strategy, and to our ability to provide compassion and aid when and where needed. I am continually impressed by the level of professionalism and expertise demonstrated by the each and every sailor who serves aboard George Washington."

George Washington, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.

All of this makes the George Washington a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, and often the first response to a global crisis because of a carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Ferch and other George Washington sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

"I’m able to serve others, both fellow military and the American public,” added Ferch. “I’m proud to be one of the few who do it.”

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Sierra Nevada Conservancy Governing Board Awards for Restoration Projects

By Brittany Covich, Sierra Nevada Conservancy  |  2019-06-13

AUBURN, CA (MPG) - At its quarterly meeting, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Governing Board approved a total of $3,122,551 in funds for five different projects focused on improving watershed and forest health throughout the Sierra Nevada.

Each of the selected projects strike at the heart of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP), SNC’s large-scale restoration initiative designed to improve ecosystem and community resilience in the Region.

“The projects authorized for funding by our board today will provide community protection and improve forest and watershed health more broadly,” said Sierra Nevada Conservancy Executive Officer, Angela Avery. “These are great examples of the type and kind of work that the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program is focused on implementing with our partners across the region.”

Four of the approved projects are specifically forest health grants funded through Proposition 1 (The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014) and Proposition 68 (The California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018). The Yuba Watershed Institute was awarded $300,000 for its ‘Inimim Forest Restoration Project – Phase 1 to aid in forest restoration and watershed health in Nevada County. Sagehen Creek Field Station, a research and teaching facility of the University of California at Berkeley located in the Tahoe National Forest, was awarded $1 million for its Pushing the Larger Landscape Into Resiliency Through Fire project. An additional $721,487 was authorized to the Sierra Foothill Conservancy in Mariposa County for the Von Der Ahe Forest Enhancement Project and $506,714 went to the Plumas Audubon Society for its efforts to improve the health of the forests in the Genesee Valley, a significant tributary to the north fork of the Feather River.

Finally, $594,350 was allotted for the Blacksmith Project, an undertaking by the El Dorado National Forest to aid in landscape resilience and improve growing conditions for trees in a 6,000-acre area east of Georgetown, Ca. Funding for this project came from CAL FIRE’s California Climate Investments (CCI) grant program, which puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work throughout the state to help improve public health, the environment, and the economy by reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs).

Additional information about these projects and the programs that fund them can be found at www.sierranevada.ca.gov in the June 2019 Board Meeting materials.

About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the 25-million-acre Sierra Nevada Region. The SNC leads the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP), a large-scale restoration program designed to restore the health of California’s primary watershed and create resilient Sierra Nevada Communities. Additional information about the SNC and the WIP can be found atwww.sierranevada.ca.gov.

 

 

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“You’re a Grand Old Rag: George M. Cohan’s Broadway”

By Janis Wikoff, Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center  |  2019-06-13

Image of Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. Courtesy APPAC

On Stage at the State Presenting Theatrical

AUBURN, CA (MPG) - For over a century, the name George M. Cohan has conjured the rollicking magic that is Broadway. As America’s beloved tunesmith and original “Song & Dance Man,” he was the father of modern musical theater.

You’re a Grand Old Rag, played from the showman’s original 1900s Broadway orchestrations, offers a stirring look at George M. Cohan’s amazing life and music – Give My Regards to Broadway, The Yankee Doodle Boy, Over There!, and all the rest. A tap-dancing bravura performance that brings audiences to their feet!

Based on the Orchestra’s BILLBOARD-charted “Top Classical Album” of the same name, this celebration of early American musical theater stars modern-day Broadway song & dance man, Colin Pritchard.

Now enjoying its 33nd season, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is the world’s only year-round, professional ensemble specializing in the authentic recreation of “America’s Original Music” – the sounds of early theater, “silent” cinema, and vintage dance.

PRO has acquired a considerable following both here and abroad through its radio programs on National Public Radio, New York Times' WQXR, and the BBC. Since 1989 more than 600,000,000 people have enjoyed the Orchestra’s recorded area music on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland, Disney World, and Disneyland Paris.

Date and time: Saturday, June 29, 2019~ 7:30 PM

Run Time: 2 hours with intermission

Reserved Seating: $30, $25 Groups of 6 or more

Location: State Theatre, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn CA

Box Office: www.livefromauburn.com or 530-885-0156

 

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AUBURN, CA (MPG) - The Board of Supervisors of Placer County will move forward in developing a 2-1-1 information and referral system.

2-1-1 provides free online and telephone support to community members to connect them with resources ranging from disaster aid to health and human services. Nationwide, 2-1-1 is found in all 50 states and in 38 California counties. Placer had previously been the largest county in the state without 2-1-1 service.

Supervisors directed staff to move forward with 2-1-1 implementation, while asking staff to look for cost-saving opportunities and additional financial partners to support the effort.

“I think it's evident that we need this system. Hopefully we can continue to work together with partners on this project,” said District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore. “It's clear we need to move forward.”

County staff will be formalizing contracts in the coming months and hope to see the system begin to roll out sometime in the next year.

2-1-1 systems have proved beneficial in emergencies, like the wildfires that have ravaged California in recent years. The systems allow for the quick dissemination of information regarding evacuations, shelters, road closures and aid without the need to create and staff a separate call center, all while reducing call volume to 9-1-1.
 
“Having a 2-1-1 system better positions us for future disasters and will help us keep the public up-to-date and safe,” said Office of Emergency Services Assistant Director Holly Powers. “We are looking forward to having Placer residents join the millions of Americans served by 2-1-1.”
 
2-1-1 also provides a 24/7, one-stop shop — whether online or by phone — for referrals to community and health services including senior care, employment services, housing assistance, medical providers and much more.

“Rather than having to spend time searching out and remembering phone numbers, residents will be able to simply dial 2-1-1 and have all sorts of resources at their fingertips,” said Health and Human Services Director Jeff Brown. “It will be quick and much less hassle, where folks won’t be forced to navigate through a maze of programs.”

The proposal for a new 2-1-1 system arose out of conversations with community groups, law enforcement and other local leaders. Financial partners in the current effort include First 5 Placer and the Placer County Office of Education. The system will cost up to $250,000 annually after initial startup costs.

Information about the 2-1-1 launch can be found at placer.ca.gov as it becomes available.

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AUBURN, CA (MPG) - Local residents are stepping up in support of strengthening fire services in Placer County by approving increased assessment fees for their fire protection districts.

Two ballot measures aimed at improving local fire services in the Foresthill and Placer Hills service areas received the two-thirds majority vote required to pass.

The Placer County Registrar of Voters recently certified the results of the May 7 special elections for the Placer Hills and Foresthill fire protection districts.

The additional revenue will enable Foresthill to reopen and staff its previously closed fire station and increase employee salaries to reduce attrition and improve the ability to attract and recruit personnel.

For Placer Hills, the assessment increase will enable fire officials to maintain current staffing levels, prevent significant cutbacks and provide the appropriate level of fire protection and emergency medical response services to the communities they serve, which includes Applegate, Clipper Gap, Eden Valley, Meadow Vista and Weimar.

“We are thankful that our communities support the need for additional funding and are looking forward to a brighter future for our residents,” said Fire Chief Kirk Kushen, chief for the Placer Hills, Foresthill and Newcastle fire districts. “The additional revenue will provide us the ability to continue to serve our communities with the stability of service.”

The Foresthill and Placer Hills fire protection districts will reimburse the county for the cost of their respective elections.

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AUBURN, CA (MPG) - A workforce housing proposal in North Auburn got a boost today with the Placer County Board of Supervisors voting to contribute assets valued at nearly $8 million toward the $37.7 million project.

The 79-unit development is planned at the Placer County Government Center campus on county-owned land. In June 2018, the board approved an agreement with Mercy Housing California to develop the project, including an option for Mercy to lease the land - valued at $1.98 million - for 99 years at a cost of $1 a year.

“It really is difficult and expensive to build housing projects like this,” said District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore. “It takes all of us working together to find and provide funding to make them feasible and meet housing needs in our community.”

Placer’s $7.95 million contribution is a critical measure of support for Mercy’s pending application for low-income housing tax credits to help fund the project. More than $706,000 would come from the Placer County Housing Trust Fund to cover the cost of development and processing fee offsets and credits, with the rest comprised of non-cash contributions including land, housing vouchers and funding from two pending grant applications with the state totaling more than $4.5 million. The state is scheduled to announce both grant awards in June.

While Placer’s support is a major milestone for the housing project, a lawsuit filed last month by Concerned Citizens for Community and Public Lands against the county’s Placer County Government Center Master Plan update threatens to halt its construction.

Concerned Citizens states in the filing that its intent is not to target the housing project with the litigation. But because the project relies on the development standards and environmental analysis approved in the master plan update, financing and construction of the project are threatened unless the lawsuit is resolved.

The suit challenges the adequacy of the master plan’s environmental impact report, focusing on demolition of the DeWitt Theater, which the plan could eventually allow. Though the master plan update could allow for the theater’s demolition, the board’s approval of the master plan in April included a provision that allows community members up to two years to organize funding to rehabilitate the theater before the county would make any decisions about its future.

“We’re disappointed by this legal roadblock to such a critical, needed housing project, but we need to continue to do everything we can to keep it moving while we defend ourselves against this wasteful and costly litigation,” said Board Chair Kirk Uhler.

The county’s contribution to the project will only be applied if Mercy’s low-income housing tax credits and state grants are awarded, required project approvals are obtained and the project is built.

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SMUD and CDFW Stock Thousands of Trout in Reservoirs

SMUD Press Release  |  2019-06-12

SMUD and CDFW will be stocking three separate reservoirs for recreational fishing.

EL DORADO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - SMUD and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are again stocking three Sierra reservoirs with rainbow trout. The fish planting will run into August with SMUD stocking 25,000 pounds of fish into Union Valley, Ice House and Loon Lake reservoirs in El Dorado County. This is the fifth consecutive summer SMUD and CDFW have combined efforts to stock the reservoirs.

The trout plants are intended to enhance angling opportunities for the public. Surveys say fishing tops the reasons folks visit the Crystal Basin Recreation Area. On average, the stocked trout weigh one to two pounds each, including some trophy fish. SMUD, along with the owners of the Ice House Resort, have installed the “Crystal Basin Bragging Board” where anglers can post pictures of their catch from Crystal Basin reservoirs. There is also a scale available if anglers wish to weigh their catch and claim biggest-fish bragging rights. Anglers are also encouraged to tag SMUD on social media and show off their catch.

SMUD proactively works to improve the quality of life in El Dorado County, where many SMUD employees call home and work, and where the electric utility owns and operates the Upper American River Project (UARP), a system of hydroelectric generation facilities.

SMUD was awarded a new 50-year license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2014 to continue operating the UARP, which provides nearly 700 megawatts of low-cost, clean, non-carbon-emitting hydro power, enough to provide about 15 to 20 percent of SMUD’s energy capacity during an average water year. The fish-stocking effort helps SMUD meet conditions of operating its FERC license for the UARP.

SMUD will coordinate six separate trout plantings starting in early June and continuing into early August. Union Valley, the largest of the three reservoirs, will get 9,600 pounds; Loon Lake, 7,750 pounds; and Ice House, 7,650. The fish provided by SMUD will come from Mount Lassen Trout Farms of Payne’s Creek. The company also stocks SMUD’s Rancho Seco Lake, which annually hosts the very popular Trout Derby.

Fishing licenses are available for purchase from more than 1,400 license agents throughout the state and can also be obtained online at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing.

For more information about UARP and associated projects, as well as current reservoir and stream release conditions, please visit smud.org and the Community and Recreational Areas Web pages.

 

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