Students Bring History to Life on May 6-7

Source: Amy Looney, Placer Valley Tourism  |  2017-04-25

More than 1,000 California Students to Compete in National History Competition at William Jessup University

The National History Day - California (NHD-CA) competition returns to William Jessup University (WJU) in Rocklin on May 6-7 for the third consecutive year. Placer Valley Tourism is excited to be partnering with NHD-CA again for this incredible event that brings more than 1,000 students from throughout California to Rocklin.

This year’s theme Taking a Stand in History is explored in-depth by the students in fourth through twelfth grade in several different project categories. The grade-span is separated in three divisions: Elementary (grades 4-5), Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12). Craig Irish, the NHD-CA Coordinator, explained that most students will invest anywhere from 80 to 120 hours on their projects if not more.

“We encourage the participants to go back at least 20 to 25 years and examine a topic they are passionate about, then relate it to the theme,” added Irish. “It’s very rewarding to see these youth scholars delve into their projects and to see them excited about not just learning but the process their projects take them through.”

There will be twenty-nine counties throughout California represented at this two-day event. All the of students competing at William Jessup placed in the top three in their respective county competitions that allowed them to advance on to this state level.

There are public viewing times available, a full schedule of the competition is available on-line at Admission is free so come down to WJU located at 2121 University Ave in Rocklin to see first-hand the creative and innovative youth bring history alive!

About Placer Valley Tourism
Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is made up for the 23 hotels in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, California. PVT recruits and supports hundreds of annual events with grants, marketing, volunteers and other services as needed. To learn more about how PVT can help bring your event here, visit or call 916-773-5400.

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California’s Economic Output Outpaces Nation for Fourth Straight Year

By George Runner, State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-21

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).

San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.

One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.

George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.

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Banjo-Rama Brings Lively Fun

Courtesy Sacramento Banjo Band  |  2017-04-21

Shown are members of the Sacramento Banjo Band with famous banjo player Tom Smothers from the Smothers Brothers. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Banjo Band.

The Sacramento Banjo Band will be presenting the 51st Banjo-Rama Sunday April 23 at the Elks Lodge at 5631 Cypress Avenue in Carmichael from 11:30 to 6:00.

"All profits, over and above our expenses, always go to children’s charities. In our 57 years, as a band, we have donated over $150,000 to various children’s groups," said the group. "The band does this every year because we are dedicated to keeping the Banjo popular and presenting music that has a great tune and words that can be understood and enjoyed."

This Banjo-Rama will feature nine banjo bands from all over the West Coast and seven expert players demonstrating what the banjo can do. The Elks venue will have two shows going simultaneously.

Entrance to the show will be $25.00 and the Elks will have sandwiches, drinks and snacks available at an extra charge. To play at your venue or to help promote the Banjo-Rama, please contact Ben Dale at 916-392-0139 or online at or



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Gaines Launches Effort to Repeal Gas Tax

Source: The Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.

“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.

“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Legislation to Fix Security Flaw in State’s Voter File Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Senator Nielsen  |  2017-04-20

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments unanimously voted to pass Senator Jim Nielsen’s measure to fix a security flaw the state’s voter file.

“Our democracy is an honor system based on trust,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “We must do everything we can to protect its integrity and keep the trust of the people. This measure will help ensure that trust.”

“I thank my colleagues on the committee for their support,” added Senator Nielsen.

Senate Bill 682, if passed, would prohibit the Department Motor Vehicles (DMV) from giving the Secretary of State electronic information needed to complete the voter registration affidavit for ineligible voters who hold special drivers’ licenses for noncitizens.

California’s current online voter registration system automatically allows the voter registration of anyone with a drivers’ license who self-certifies that they are eligible to vote – including individuals DMV knows to be ineligible because they were issued special noncitizen drivers’ licenses. These noncitizen drivers’ licenses do not establish voter eligibility, yet the online voter registration system only requires a drivers’ license number. As a result, undocumented residents may be unlawfully registered to vote.

There is no protocol for communication between the Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles to prevent these registrants from being approved under current law.

“Keeping the voter roll clean and up-to-date is a challenging task. This bill helps fill a gap in the security of the voter roll,” said Candace Grubbs, Butte County Elections Clerk-Recorder.

Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at

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Tax Freedom Day Late Again for California

From George Runner  |  2017-04-19

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

Californians who have filed their income tax returns by the April 18 deadline will unfortunately have to wait eight days longer than the rest of the nation until they’ve collectively earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.

Tax Freedom Day, calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, is the day when Americans have earned enough money to pay their taxes at the federal, state and local levels.

Nationally, Tax Freedom Day lands on April 23, but for California it lands on May 1.

“For some lawmakers, this terrible distinction seems to be a badge of honor,” said Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner. “With liberal politicians recently voting to increase gas and car taxes, I fear this day will come even later next year for hardworking taxpayers.”

According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will pay $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total tax bill of $5.1 trillion, or 31 percent of national income. That’s more than Americans will collectively spend on food, clothing and housing combined.

Compared to other states, California’s Tax Freedom Day is one of the latest in the nation. Only Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have later dates.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as an elected member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit

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Wife, Mother, Taekwondo Student Fights On

By Rick Reed  |  2017-04-19

She says she takes after her mom, and looks much younger than her 44 years. A wife and mother herself, Monique Griffith is also a fighter. With family and friends in support she is an accomplished victor in her first battle. Like many women she faced breast cancer, fought and won, once. This time her story is about second chances, a caution to other survivors and a way to share strength in the battle against cancer.

Six years later, she is battling cancer, again. This time however she has discovered a new weapon that is helping her remain strong as the struggle resumes. This breast cancer survivor is training in a martial art. “I kind of enjoy doing things that maybe I shouldn’t be able to do,” like having purple and pink hair that Monique is proud to show off and won’t like losing. She explains the diagnosis with, “Doctors say they can’t cure it they can just try to keep it stable for now.” Despite that unwelcome news, she remains strong in her desire to remain positive and keep fighting. While dealing with the news, Monique says she found strength and focus to help her as she tested to win her Black Belt in Taekwondo. “In Taekwondo training, where do I start.” she says, “I have gained so much strength, my body stronger and my mind so much sharper because I am constantly memorizing and learning, pushing myself.”

Her daughter, twelve-year-old Emily is her joy in life and an important aspect of TKD classes was training, challenging and growing together on the mats. “I’ve had a goal to get my Black Belt for sixteen years” Monique says, “Emily decided she wanted to train so I signed her up, and then I couldn’t stand it so I signed up too.” She remains upbeat with the support of her family at home and community at Robinson’s Taekwondo Rocklin, “It’s given me something to look forward to and I achieved my Black Belt right before my Stage 4 diagnosis. It was something I wanted to do to prove to myself that I could do it.” Black Belt instructor in Rocklin, Clint Weithington says “No changes to the program for Monique, she rocked the full test to win her Black Belt, and I don’t think she would have it any other way!”

Her story also serves notice to all who are impacted by breast cancer that winning the battle may not end the war. Doctors say Monique has a recurrence of cancer stemming from her original breast cancer, now stuck in the lining of her lungs making it inoperable. Despite this new challenge, this mom and wife keeps faith by continuing her martial arts training. It helps in many ways beyond just the physical according to Monique, “The friendships that I formed with classmates, strong deep friendships. We are family, going to each other houses, going to each other’s parties. We support each other and having that support since I was diagnosed as Stage 4 has been phenomenal.”

As she laughs and says, “I very much enjoy a challenge.” That same indomitable outlook has grown into a powerful new tool for Monique. TKD’s healthy fitness the Black Belt endurance and strength gives her new tools to utilize in managing chemo-therapy daily. With radiation therapy added to treatment she explained, “As an adult in my 40’s whose gone through that difficult diagnosis again, it proved to me that I am not done.” Her family and her TKD community support her, and she says getting the Black Belt and training with her daughter and friends show her life is not over, “Absolutely, it did so much for my confidence, and it made me feel normal again. After going through what I have to sometimes just feeling normal is all you want.”

Monique says Taekwondo is also a way to help Emily learn, “She just didn’t like any sports, so this was the first time she actually loved a physical activity. It’s good for her body, it’s good for her mind and she knows that nobody will hand her a Black Belt.”. She knows that when she has a goal she can win by training hard. As her Black Belt mom says, “I can’t hand her this. It’s taught my daughter a lot about growing up, taking responsibility and working hard. It’s also given us something to do together.” And no matter what as Monique continues treatment, she says, “I know Emily can take care of herself.” Emily is now training to win a Black Belt and for Monique this is quality time.

Even with her cancer challenges her only fear was giving up, “At first, diagnosed at Stage 4 I was really heartbroken because I thought my Taekwondo career is over. I was really upset.” She says, “My husband and I talked and he said, ‘you know what just keep going until you hit a brick wall’, so I decided to go ahead and earn a Second Degree for Black Belt.” And she says, “As long as my body allows it I will keep pushing it. That has given me a goal to look forward to every day going to Robinsons. The work ethic, the process of learning new things, getting a belt.” Monique says she chose Robinson’s because, “I really loved the balance, the fun while learning discipline, respect and the will power of perseverance in never surrendering.”

Cancer is a life and death fight but never surrendering your positive outlook, having goals, family and friends makes life worth the battle.

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