A Small World After All

By Shelly Blanchard  |  2017-05-25

This year’s big crowd was thrilled by the many colorful events at iFest. -- Photos by Rick Sloan

Thousands of people took a trip around the world May 13 -- but they never left Rancho Cordova.

Rancho Cordova’s international festival – iFest – returned to Village Green Park for a milestone tenth year with a visual carnival of color, wine tasting by KP International Market and even a pair of amazing camels, attracting record crowds.

On a picture perfect day, visitors grabbed selfies scaling the Great Wall of China or Eiffel Tower with the help of green screen technology. Others hitched a ride on a pedicab, learned about animals from around the world, had their arm tattooed with henna art or took a swing at a Mexican piñata. An estimated 3,500 people visited iFest 2017.

The 75th anniversary of Japanese internment was marked by a commemorative educational display, and with the help of the Sacramento Children’s Museum, kids learned about various world cultures. Faces were painted, rock walls were scaled and more. Food trucks served up everything from sweet French waffles to savory Mediterranean gyros.

But the shining jewel of the event was the jam-packed amphitheater, which was full from beginning to end as host Andy Gee directed the traffic on stage during a virtual world tour. Hula dancers, lively Mexican folklorico, Middle Eastern belly dancers and smart-stepping Irish dancers were just a sampling of what was in store on stage. Chinese Lion Dancers snaked their way and Aztec dancers provided an elaborate ceremonial spectacle.

“iFest is about cultural understanding and appreciating our differences, as well as celebrating our common values,” said Shelly Blanchard, executive director of the Cordova Community Council, producer of the event. “Everybody learns something new at iFest.”

Producer of iFest was the Cordova Community Council. Sponsors of iFest included Chick-Fil-A Rivergate, Republic Services, Michael Baker International, City of Rancho Cordova, B&J Towing, Raleys Bel-Air, Rancho Cordova Travel and Tourism, Cordova Recreation and Park District, Mary Nelsel Lyon Real Estate, Rancho Cordova Rotary, Ronnie Belka and Julie Hagan-Belka, California American Water, Smile Kingdom Dental, Wells Fargo, Sunrise Orthodontics, Golden State Water Company, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, Heritage Community Credit Union and Folsom Cordova Unified School District, American River Brewery, Costa Vida, Quick Quack Car Wash, SMUD, Grocery Outlet, Bayside Life, River City Christian and KP International Market.

Rancho Cordova's History

Five Local “Blue Star Museums” Offer Free Admission to Military Personnel and Their Families This Summer

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-05-26

Five Sacramento area museums will participate in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day (May 29) through Labor Day (September 4), 2017. The five local museums participating in Blue Star Museums include the following:  California Automobile Museum, California Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town and the Sacramento History Museum.

This year, more than 2,000 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative. The participating museums represent the fine arts, science, history, Native centers, children’s museums and more. The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), National Guard and Reserve members and up to five immediate family members.

Before planning a visit, please 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 www.arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums. For more information about SAM or upcoming activities offered by local museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Twitter at @SacMuseums or visit the user-friendly website at www.SacMuseums.org.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 30, 2016 through Labor Day, September 5, 2016. For more information, visit www.SacMuseums.org

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CRUSH LIFE: Inspiration From the Field

Story and Photos by Ethan Van Horn (Age 13)  |  2017-05-25

Our Wounded Warriors can still take a big swing at life.

I have been playing America’s game ever since I was 3 years old. I love the smell of a stadium hot dog, fresh cut grass, and the sound of a ball when it hits the bat. Baseball is my sport. I enjoy it on and off the field, and I can truly say it is the most beautiful sport around. I’ve been blessed with the speed to run from home to first base in under 4.5 seconds; that’s 90 feet! While I feel lucky to have such talent, I must admit I rarely consider what it would be like not to have these abilities.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team who is made up of some incredibly brave people…true heroes! Not just because they served in the United States military, but because they are amazing, inspiring, and all around brave souls. These men and women were wounded in combat; some lost their arms, some lost their legs… but they never lost their will to succeed!

My dad has been active duty for over ten years now, and I have watched him deploy twice and come back home safely. I never once thought about my dad losing an arm or a leg. I admit feeling like he is indestructible, sort of assuming he would be okay. But the truth is, when a soldier goes to war they are risking their life: there is no guarantee they will be safe.

These warriors went to war just like my dad but they were injured, injured bad. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into meeting this team. I had never met anyone who lost an arm or leg, and I was a little nervous at first. I kept thinking to myself “What if I offend them with my questions?” I sure didn’t want to do that.

But as I watched these men and women play ball, I realized we share a love of the game. Their bases may not be 90 feet apart, but who cares?! These athletes are doing exactly what I do when I lace up my cleats and hit the field: they are playing the best game around: baseball!

I sat down with two of the players, Cody and Josh, to ask them some questions about their past, and I as in awe by their stories. These athletes were just doing their job, the job they were trained to do, and then the unthinkable happened. They could have given up, but instead they found the courage and the drive to keep on going. They found a new cause to fight for, and refused to let anything get in their way.

Whether they believe it or not they are still heroes, every time they take the field or saddle up to the plate. These athletes get out on that ball field and run, dive for balls, scale the wall for that winning catch, and play their hearts out over and over again. I am sure they must be in pain from time to time, must occasionally stumble on their new legs, but they never give up. By refusing to drop their glove to the ground and quit a game, they send a powerful message about never giving up in life.

I will leave you with something one of the players, Nick, told me, something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Nick is amazing, his story is so inspiring—this hero has been through more than most of us will ever go through in our lifetime, and he still carries a smile on his face and lives life to the fullest. I asked all the players to sign my jersey, and along with his signature Nick added something special: his personal motto.

I hope it will inspire you as it does me, “Crush Life!”

First printed in MILITARY KIDS' LIFE magazine. Reprinted by permission.

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Toele Leads Lancers into Masters

By Mike Bush  |  2017-05-25

Cordova’s Faauiga Toele, shown here competing at the Sierra Valley Conference finals in the discus recently, took second place in the shot put at the Sac-Joaquin Section

Next stop is the Masters.

Members of the Cordova High School track and field program finished strong at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V meet at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock on May 18th. The top four in each event advanced to the section’s Masters’ meet, which started yesterday, Thursday, and concludes today, Friday at Elk Grove High School.

Leading the way for the Lancers, in the girls’ shot put is Faauiga Toele, who took second place with a throw of 36 feet, 4 ½ inches. Foothill of Sacramento’s Sara Blair won with a toss of 38-6.50.

“Faauiga had the second best throw,” said Cordova head coach Shane Jackson, “with a real shot of making finals at Masters.”

Toele was sixth in the discus with a toss of 86 feet, 6 inches. The winning toss was 110-08.

For the Lancer boys, Andrew Roberts took fourth place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.19 seconds. He was also part of the Lancers’ boys 4x400 meter relay team took fourth place at 3 minutes, 32.92 seconds. Other members of the squad are Bryan Estrada, Elijah Morgera and Philip Cadena. Alternate runner is Kijon Allen.

Missing out on earning a Masters’ berth in the boys’ 100-meters is Cordova’s Elijah Morgera. He took fifth place in the finals at 11.23. Ceres’ Zyler Harrison was third at 11.20.

“Huge winds in the final, so they all ran faster in that heat,” Jackson said.

Roberts competed in the long jump, taking sixth place with a leap of 20 feet, 9 inches.

As a team, Cordova boys took 11th place with 12 points. Livingston won the D-IV title with 77 points, with Placer taking second place at 67 points.

For the girls, the Lancers finished in 14th place with eight points. Placer won with 132 points, followed by Cordova’s Sierra Valley Conference rival in El Dorado, which took second place at 79.5 points.

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Register for “Criminal Justice Shadow Day”

Source: Sacramento County Media  |  2017-05-24

Sacramento County high school students are encouraged to register for the 3rd Annual “Criminal Justice Shadow Day.” This unique program gives high school students an opportunity to job shadow professionals from various criminal justice agencies.

Based on the area of interest, students will be paired with prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, probation officers, law enforcement officers, investigators and judges to get a first-hand look at the criminal justice process and the different roles within the system. There will also be a presentation on crime scene investigations (CSI), evidence collection, and forensic science used to solve crimes.

This year’s Criminal Justice Shadow Day will be held from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Friday, June 16, at the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers in the Sacramento County Administration Building located at 700 H Street, Sacramento.

The program is open to current Sacramento County high school students (incoming 9th graders through 12th graders). Students will need to submit completed registration forms and a signed permission slip, which can be downloaded at www.sacda.org. The deadline to register is June 9, 2017.

Space is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

DA Anne Marie Schubert states, “Since its launch in 2015, close to 200 students from 56 schools across Sacramento County have participated in the Criminal Justice Shadow Day. The success of the program is a result of the partnerships we have with our criminal justice colleagues, and our shared commitment to engage with our youth and inspire them to pursue careers in the justice system.”

The Criminal Justice Shadow Day is one of several DA youth programs designed to increase understanding and build positive relationships between youth and members of the criminal justice system.

See more at: http://www.saccounty.net/news/latest-news

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Meet the Machines Draws Record Crowd

Source: Cordova Recreation and Park District  |  2017-05-24

“Can I drive it home?” Youngsters and their parents came out to enjoy all the machines and exhibits. 
-- Photos by Rick Sloan

Nearly 2500 excited and machine-interested people came out to Cordova Recreation and Park District’s Meet the Machines event on May 13, 2017 at the Mather Sports Center. This annual free community event grows every year, with this year’s attendance being the largest participation to-date.

“Meet the Machines provides a unique opportunity for kids to get up close and personal with vehicles they have seen or heard about,” said Patrick Larkin, CRPD District Administrator. “We hope this event helps to inspire imagination, creativity and future careers.”

Children of all ages spent the afternoon learning about and exploring more than 40 machines and vehicles, including fire trucks, police vehicles, emergency vehicles, boats, garbage trucks, tractors, segways, ambulances and a rideable, motorized chicken named Cluck Norris. Participants sat in the driver’s seat, honked the horns, played the sirens and spoke to the professionals who operate the vehicles. In addition, children enjoyed the Kids Zone filled with bounce houses, balloon animals and face painting, and meeting Tombstone from the hit ABC show Battlebots.

CRPD thanks all the organizations and community leaders who brought their vehicles and participated in this event.

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Madam Ambassador Talks Diplomacy at Rancho Cordova Luncheon

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-05-24

Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis stands with City of Rancho Cordova Senior Executive Assistant, Stacy Leitner, at the May Rancho Cordova Luncheon.

On May 19th, the Cordova Community Council hosted Eleni Tskapoulous Kounalakis as the guest speaker at their monthly Rancho Cordova Luncheon at City Hall.

Kounalakis is the daughter of a prominent Sacramento developer, and she helped create the Anatolia neighborhood of Rancho Cordova. In 2010, she was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In April 2017, Kounalakis officially announced her bid for Lieutenant Governor of California.

At the luncheon, Kounalakis focused her discussion on her years as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and her democratic theories, derived from her father’s teachings on Hellenistic history and early Greek values. She shared that her most meaningful experiences were meeting everyday people on the streets, as well as her interactions with American service people headed to or from Afghanistan, versus meeting other ambassadors and foreign ministers.

Connecting everything back to her experiences in Rancho Cordova, Kounalaki drew back the curtain on her experience and role as an American diplomat, and gave 100 guests signed copies of her book Madam Ambassador.

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City Awards Exceptional High School Senior PRIDE Scholarship

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-05-24

Award Winner Annie La. 
-- Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

The City of Rancho Cordova awarded Annie La, a Cordova High School senior, with the 2017 Community PRIDE Scholarship last week. City of Rancho Cordova employees developed the scholarship program in 2009 as a way of supporting and promoting high school seniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and pride in the Rancho Cordova community. Generated by personal donations from City staff, a $500 check is awarded to one student each year.

Annie La impressed the City’s review committee with her 4.59 GPA and outstanding track record of community service with groups including the Rancho Cordova Rotary Club, Cordova High School’s Interact Club, as well as her volunteer work at dozens of community events such as Kids Day in the Park and the Hoppin’ and Huntin’ Easter Egg Hunt at Hagan Park.

Raving recommendation letters from her teacher and Rotary Club Past President played a role in her selection as this year’s 2017 Community PRIDE Scholarship; however, it was her writings about returning to Rancho Cordova after college to continue to make a difference in her community that made Annie’s application stand out among the others. Annie has been accepted to U.C. Los Angeles to study biology, and she aspires to become a dental surgeon.

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Vettes & Vets: The American Muscle Car Show

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-05-24

The Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show is being held Monday, May 29, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front Street, Sacramento. 
-- Photo courtesy of the California Automobile Museum

Hit the road to the California Automobile Museum on Memorial Day for the 8th Annual Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show sponsored by Performance Chevrolet. The popular annual event celebrates America’s love for the automobile while honoring our country’s brave veterans and active duty military. All car owners and enthusiasts are encouraged to enter their vehicles – especially Corvettes, American “muscle cars” and military vehicles – in the show that takes place in a parking lot behind the Museum. At noon, the amazing cars on display will be judged in a variety of categories including a best-in-division award for each generation of Corvette.

In addition to the eye-catching automobiles, attendees will be treated to a DJ spinning some classic summer tunes, military color guard and national anthem along with a barbecue lunch available for purchase.

Car show guests are encouraged to visit the California Automobile Museum that has a world-class and ever-changing collection of vintage and classic vehicles on display. Plus, this is a great opportunity to catch the last weekend of the special “To the Rescue: Fire Trucks and People that Saved Our Cities” exhibit. Lastly, military veterans and active duty military (and their families) will receive FREE museum admission all day on Memorial Day in recognition of their service.

The car show is FREE for spectators. To register a vehicle, pre-registration cost is $30 (includes free admission to the museum for driver and one guest). Museum admission is $10 for Adults, $9 for Vintage (ages 65+), $5 Youth (ages 6-18), FREE for children 5 and under. On 5/29, Veterans and Active Duty Military and their families get in FREE.

The Vettes & Vets and American Muscle Car Show is being held Monday, May 29, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. *Gates open at 8 a.m. for show vehicles at the California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front Street, Sacramento.

For More information: 916-442-6802 or www.calautomuseum.org

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Sacramento nonprofit Society for the Blind is one of 13 groups across the nation – and one of only three in California – that are competing in the United States Association of Blind Athletes’ and Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s fifth annual National Fitness Challenge. Society for the Blind and its competitors will provide more than 300 blind and visually impaired youth and adults with an opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives. Other California participants are Junior Blind in Los Angeles and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Bay Area.

“We are pleased to again partner with USABA to help break down barriers, and leverage technology to help those with vision impairments enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of exercise,” said Brian Ternan, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “Together, we want to ensure that those with visual impairments are not denied the opportunity to lead an active life and have the opportunity to avoid the health risks that come from a sedentary lifestyle.”

Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Because of the many barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, approximately 70 percent of the nearly 56,000 children and youth who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical education curriculum.

When the National Fitness Challenge kicked off in Sacramento this spring, participants who signed up with Society for the Blind had a number of physically challenging activities to look forward to. In efforts to increase participants’ levels and step counts, staff at Society for the Blind will be working with dance instructors, personal trainers, judo instructors and more. In addition to raising their overall physical activity, participants will also become more aware of opportunities in their community.

“Society for the Blind is honored and excited to again be a part of the National Fitness Challenge,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director. “This partnership with USABA and Anthem raises awareness and, more importantly, participation of people with vision loss in health and fitness activities. We look forward to friendly challenges among our fellow participating agencies as we increase the physical fitness and overall health and wellness of our participants.”

For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers that included the Lions Clubs of America to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation: www.SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind with a mission to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information: www.usaba.org, www.twitter.com/USABA or on Facebook as United States Association of Blind Athletes.

In addition to grant funding, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation will provide volunteers at events across the state during the nine-month program. Local employees will have the opportunity to meet participants and help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges.

®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. For more information: www.twitter.com/AskAnthem,  www.twitter.com/AnthemBC_News or www.facebook.com/AskAnthem.

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