SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The leading cause of death for our nation's 15-20 year old drivers is motor vehicle collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

In our effort to help reduce motor vehicle collisions, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), East Sacramento Area Office is offering two Start Smart Classes in March. The CHP's Start Smart Program is a driver safety education class which targets new and future licensed teenage drivers between the age of 15-19, and their parents or guardians.

The class covers California’s Graduated Driver License Program, collision trends and avoidance techniques, distracted driving laws, and alcohol related driving laws. The program also offers an opportunity for new drivers and their parents or guardians to ask CHP officers clarifying questions. The class runs for approximately two hours. We encouraged parents or guardians to attend the class with their teen driver.

WHEN: April 30, 2018 (Monday) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm May 14, 2018 (Monday) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm May 28, 2018 (Monday) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

WHERE: CHP East Sacramento, 11336 Trade Center Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742

If you are interested in signing up for the class, or need additional information, please contact the CHP’s East Sacramento Area Office at (916) 464-1450, or at triggin@chp.ca.gov.

Funding for CHP’s Start Smart program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Administration.

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The Playmakers: "Team Means Family"

Story and photos by Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-10

To support Coach Roz and the Playmakers, join them at their annual BBQ dinner on April 28. Visit theplaymakers.org for more information.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “Family: I am a Playmaker. I have been blessed with coaches who care about me, pour into me, coach me hard, and love me.  Someday I may be a Mom or Dad. I will be prepared to finish the job and pay-it-forward.  That is what a Playmaker does, and I am a Playmaker.  I will not tolerate bullying, speaking negatively about someone, or being unkind.  Team means family.”

That is the first of the four core values in the Playmakers Creed that program founder and executive director Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler instills into his student athletes from day one. Established in 2009, The Playmakers Organization is more than just an after school program, it’s a family. Family, followed by Academics, Serving Others and Winning With Honor.

There are three components to the program: Character and Leadership, Reading and Literacy and Sports and Recreation. “The program is about integrating sports with character,” according to Skycrest Elementary 5th grade teacher Jinne Calvi.

Skycrest Elementary in Citrus Heights is just one of four current locations that the program is currently serving, along with schools in Rancho Cordova, Folsom and Woodland with expansion to Antelope and Rocklin on the horizon.

The nonprofit program is for third, fourth and fifth graders from all different backgrounds and walks of life. They are referred by their teachers, but participate after school voluntarily. “We are old school,” said Coach Roz. “We have the toughest kids that don’t want to go to other programs.”

With Coach Roz in charge, the program is facilitated by Sacramento State student-athletes and fraternity brothers. Sac State senior and former Phi Kappa Tau president Alec Romero has been working with the Playmakers for three years and has become Coach Roz’s right hand man. He manages the rest of the coaches and has dedicated a lot of time and hard work to help make the program what it is today.

Fellow Phi Kappa Tau brother and Sac State sophomore Peter Francisco is the newest coach and had only been on the job for a couple of days but was already leading the charge on the basketball court, running layup drills and teaching the Playmakers how to both follow directions and compete.

The program starts off in the classroom after school with the Playmakers doing their homework then openly discussing anything that may be on their minds. The coaches are there for them and help guide a very structured but free speaking conversation. The class then transitions into a few warmup exercises before heading outside, in a single file line, to play whatever seasonal sport they may choose.

Coach Roz teaches the idea of what he calls the “reverse pyramid.” This is the counter sports culture idea that the veterans and leaders of the team actually go last, rather than first. “Pups, seniors, leaders,” Roz explained. “In life, you earn the right to go last.” This prepares the Playmakers for the idea that sometimes in life you must put your family first – something that Coach Roz and his team are teaching by example.

It is clear that the Playmakers are more than willing to learn and in return lead, but just need that extra guidance from the likes of Coach Roz and his team. While it’s not always easy, by the end of each new concept, both on and off the court, everyone is on the same page and working together as a team – and team means family.

To support the Playmakers, join them at their annual BBQ dinner on April 28 from 6-9pm at the Divine Savior Church located at 9079 Greenback Lane in Orangevale. There will be a number of guest speakers, a tri-tip dinner and drinks, entertainment for all and a silent auction. Tickets are $40 and available at theplaymakers.org.

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Stranger Danger Education Class 

By Rick Reed  |  2018-04-10

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Parents are urged to help educate their children of the dangers they may face on the streets. Black Belt instructors at Robinson’s Taekwondo will help families learn stranger danger warning signs, how to avoid unsafe situations, raise awareness and how to call for help effectively.

This is a free community service safety event offered by Robinson’s Taekwondo. Since 1975 Robinson’s has taught thousands of students self-defense in the Sacramento region. Serving the needs of the community and making the world safer is part of the credo to be Black Belt martial artists.

The free class is on Friday, April 27 from 6pm-7:30pm at regional Robinson’s Taekwondo locations. Space is limited to parents are invited to register at www.robinsontkd.com. Click on event registration.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) -Today, a bill by Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle (Bieber) to ensure the state has a plan for dealing with discarded electric vehicle batteries passed its first legislative hurdle. Currently, there are more than 450,000 electric vehicles on the road, yet there is no plan for dealing with these batteries when they eventually reach the end of their useful life. Assembly Bill 2832 received unanimous support from the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee.

“This year, we will hear a bill that would make California go to 100 percent electric vehicles on our roads, yet we have no idea what to do with these cars when they no longer work,” said Dahle. “Eventually, the state will have millions of discarded batteries on its hands. We must have a plan in order to avoid an environmental catastrophe.”

All batteries are considered hazardous waste in California when discarded. Assembly Bill 2832 would require the Department of Toxic Substances and Control to work with stakeholders to identify a plan to reuse or recycle batteries from electric vehicles at the end of their useful life. The plan would need to be submitted to the Legislature by July 1, 2020.

The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for approval.

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle serves the 1st district.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Today, Democrats on the Assembly Committee on Public Safety killed legislation that would have protected victims of domestic violence. Assembly Bill 2462 by Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) would have required a judge or magistrate to consider whether a victim of domestic violence had been strangled or suffocated before allowing their aggressor to post bail.

“It is vital that we give victims of domestic violence time to seek help and get away from their abusers,” Harper said. “I am disappointed that Capitol Democrats do not want to help them from being trapped in the agonizing cycle of domestic violence.”

Experts across the medical profession agree that manual or ligature strangulation is “lethal force” and is one of the best predictors of a future homicide in domestic violence cases. According to The Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, the odds for homicide increase 750% for victims who have been previously strangled, compared to victims who have never been strangled.

“No woman should ever have to experience what I experienced. It is shameful that Democrats voted against the rights of victims today.” said Patricia Wellman, a domestic violence victim who brought this bill idea to Assemblyman Harper. “After my husband strangled me, he was released from jail in fewer than three hours. For the next five weeks, he stalked me. If he had gone in front of a judge, I would never have had to struggle with this life-threatening ordeal.”

Assemblyman Matthew Harper represents the 74th Assembly District; he is the former Mayor of the City of Huntington Beach. The 74th Assembly District includes the cities of Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods & Laguna Beach.

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If passed, Bill 825 will have punishing effect on women-owned companies, veterans, and the formerly incarcerated

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA(MPG) - A committee of the State Senate will this week consider a dual-action bill that would simultaneously prohibit most construction companies from competing on Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation projects for 10 years and eliminate pre-apprenticeship curricula that has facilitated employment opportunities for thousands of men and women in California.

A hearing on Senate Bill 825 will be held by the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee in Room 2040 of the State Capitol, Wednesday, April 11, at 9:30 a.m. The hearing can be viewed live on the California Senate website.

Section 2 of Senate Bill 825 would erect a barrier against smaller construction companies, including those owned by women and minorities, by requiring CDCR to sign a 10-year community workforce agreement (Project Labor Agreement) for all construction of $500,000 or more. 

Community workforce agreements, or PLAs, are exclusive construction contracts between public agencies and labor unions for projects such as prisons, schools, hospitals, and police and fire stations.  While well-intended, the exclusive nature of these PLA/CWA contracts prevent local contractors and small-business owners from competing for projects.

Traditionally, PLAs require the use of union labor, even if the successful bidding company is non-union. So, when a non-union company is granted the contract, it must perform the work using union workers rather than their own skilled and trained employees. Therefore, a company may not hire its own employees for a particular job, including workers who were formerly incarcerated. 

Additionally, SB 825 would prohibit use of the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s (NCCER) CORE curriculum, a curriculum that 18,000 individuals have completed in the past 10 years at one of 108 locations throughout California. The California Department of Education, the state Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California State University system, and the state’s community college system have all partnered with NCCER. Instead, SB 825 would turn all pre-apprentice training over to labor organizations. 

“The community workforce agreement contained in Senate Bill 825 would discourage nearly 82 percent of California’s construction workforce from competing for and winning construction contracts,” said Michele Daugherty, President and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Northern California. “Furthermore, limiting inmates to just union labor when 80 percent of construction jobs in California are provided by contractors not signed to a collective bargaining agreement, severely hampers their pursuit of a construction career. We should keep every possible door of opportunity open for those who served time and now seek a new chapter in their life.”

Testifying in opposition to SB 825 will be:

  • Christine Leone of San Jose, who started her own electrical contracting company, Leone Electric, 1993
  • Jay Hanicek, owner of American Plumbing Systems in Rancho Cordova, who started his business as a single dad
  • Robert Stewart, a superintendent for Oakland-based Helix Electric, who is a graduate of a prison training program.
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Velvety and Breathless

By Orchestra Media  |  2018-04-04

American River College Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony and Soloist Irina Samarina playing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Moving from velvety and smooth to turbulent and breathless, Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor is considered one of the great Romantic concertos and soloist Irina Samarina has the credentials to tackle the work. This concerto and Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony round out ARC Orchestra’s program on May 2nd at 7:30 pm at the ARC Theater.

The Romantic period is characterized by expanded orchestras and powerful expressions of emotions. The violin concerto is no exception.

“Sibelius’ concerto is full of images of Finland’s nature, cold as fire, dark emotional plains, dramatic melodies, and a lot of lyricism,” explained Samarina. “I love playing this concerto because it gives the soloist an opportunity to shine and gives the orchestra a strong role. The most challenging thing is to blend and balance all the emotions as an ensemble and a soloist.”

Samarina has been playing the violin since she was seven years old. She has a doctorate in musical arts and has traveled as a soloist in Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Israel, and the United States. She is currently playing in Stockton Symphony Orchestra, teaching, and is an active member of Music Teachers’ Association of California.

This will be the first time Samarina has collaborated with the ARC Orchestra.

“It is such wonderful experience,” she said. “I love how the orchestra brings melodies that the soloist is trying to stay on top of. It is great to share and put all thoughts into the music, music that brings a message of light and hope.”

The orchestra is also performing Tchaikovsky’s last symphony, one that reveals the composer’s virtuosity as well as the tragedy of his time. The first movement opens with the brooding bassoon echoed by dark notes coming from the strings before lightening up with a quicker theme from the winds. The second movement proceeds gracefully into the third which is the emotional highpoint of the work. The symphony is groundbreaking in its ending. Tchaikovsky chooses an adagio lamentoso, as slow and melancholy as the words suggest and then the entire work ends in a minor key.

“Some feel that the sixth symphony is Tchaikovsky’s suicide letter to the world,” said

Steven Thompson, ARC Orchestra director. “His death occurred nine days after the scores’ completion in what we now know was a coerced poisoning by a circle of Tchaikovsky’s former law school classmates. Their concern was that Tchaikovsky was about to be outed for being gay (in a severely homophobic Czarist Russia) which they felt would bring dishonor to their alma mater. They convinced him to take his own life through a dosing of arsenic...a horrible and painful death. The events leading up to his decision to end his life seem to have happened after the symphony’s completion date, but the story persists. At times melancholy and emotional and at other times triumphant and heroic, Tchaikovsky wrote that this symphony was the best of his works.”

For more information on the American River College Orchestra and these concerts, contact Dr. Steven Thompson at (916) 484-8433 or visit the ARCO website. General information can also be found at the ARCO Facebook page.

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