The Sweet Tweets of Nature

Story and pictures by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-01-17

Dramatic in takeoff, the great egret is one of many avian species likely to be observed during two Bird and Breakfast events at Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

Carmichael, CA (MPG) - There’s more to ornithology than binoculars and obliging birds. Add a nature preserve resonant with avian song; throw in an expert docent; garnish with breakfast fit for a kingfisher. You then have the Effie Yeaw Nature Center’s popular spring fundraiser.

“Bird and Breakfast;” will this year be staged on Saturdays March 17 and March 24, at the center’s Ancil Hoffman Park facility.  Reservations are required; the two-event fundraiser sells out every year.  Participants will likely see 40 or more species and no bird gets left behind; Sacramento Audubon guides get as excited about tiny finches as rock-star herons, snowy egrets and – yes, it’s possible – a bald eagle fly-by.

Equally fascinating are home-building habits during the most industrious time of the avian year. Because Audubon scouts locate nests in advance, visitors will likely see wren, hawk, woodpecker and titmice abodes. Higher and harder to spot, some hummingbirds will have nested by March. Nest-watching is enhanced by on-site viewing scopes.

A 27-year spring tradition, the $40 ($35 for American River Natural History Association or Audubon members) safari is followed on March 17 by gourmet breakfast. The March 24 foray is for ages six and up. This family-friendly program invites adults for $10 and children for $5. Discounts apply for ARNHA or Audubon members. Groups are welcome. Carmichael Kiwanis will serve a pancake breakfast on this date.

Silent auctions of bird-related goodies accompany breakfast. Proceeds assist the Nature Center.

Neither weekend excursion is recommended for very young children. Participants should wear stout shoes and bring binoculars. Bird and Breakfast begins at 8 a.m., both days. Learn more about the fundraiser at  

Rancho Cordova's History

Growing with Values, Trust and Communication

Interview and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-01-17

One of the biggest motivators was having the freedom to be innovative and to think differently.  Photo by Jacqueline Fox.

As the CEO of what arguably remains the fastest-growing city in the region, City Manager Cyrus Abhar is focused on keeping the momentum in motion that began with Rancho Cordova’s official transition to cityhood in 2003, and has been expanding exponentially since.  Abhar came on board as one of the city’s first employees and, prior to his appointment in 2015, served as the city’s public works director and chief building official. An engineer by trade, but an explorer at heart, Abhar is passionate about connectivity between people, culture and infrastructure, and how the links between these components drive change and prosperity.  He spoke recently with Independent Reporter Jacqueline Fox about Rancho’s economic and cultural landscape and the strategy at play for keeping pace with demands for even more changes ahead.

Q: What challenges did you face upon your appointment to in 2015?

A: I think in our first 10 years of cityhood a great deal of foundation work had been done and we were ready to move on to the next phase.  So I came here to make sure that was done and that staff was inspired and we were in a position to achieve our goals. My biggest goal was creating a sense of purpose and finding a way to empower our staff.  So one of the first things I did was lay out a new set of values based on trust and communication.  I came in wanting a staff that is empowered to do what they think is right for the community and to have the freedom to implement those things.

Q: Rancho is exploding with a renewed image, options for nightlife, shopping and work-live-play experiences. What have been the driving factors behind the renaissance?

A: One of the biggest motivators was having the freedom to be innovative and to think differently.  And, given the type of organization we are, being a young city, we haven’t had to deal with many of the legacy issues that other established cities have, so we have had a very different opportunity to be on the cutting edge, to be free thinkers, to do what others are scared to do.

 Q: Violent and property crime is reportedly down 31.5% from 2011 to 2016.  What’s driving the trend?

A: We’ve been putting a great deal of focus on community-oriented policing, which connects officers with members of the community.  But also we have been focused on what we call “intelligence-led policing,” meaning we are acting and working on policies based on data pertaining to specific crimes and implementing a realignment of our resources and policies based on that data.

Q: What can you tell us about the city’s new “Chronic Nuisance Offenders” program?

A: This is an example of data focused realignment.  We wanted to find a way to stop individuals in the community who are repeat offenders of misdemeanor crimes, such as vandalism and petty theft, and make it possible to do more than just issue citations or arrest and release.  The new program will help us identify many of these repeat offenders and (deliver) elevated charges against them.

Q: Homelessness is a growing issue in Rancho, as it is in many cities and municipalities across the region. What is your focus on addressing the issue?

A:  Homelessness is not a crime, so we start with that in mind.  But we have our Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), which works on identifying where the issues are, connecting with the individuals and finding out how we can help them.  We have a full-time (homeless outreach) navigator who works with the homeless population to connect them with services.  We also probably have done some of the most work in creating permanent housing for the homeless.

Q: That work includes the opening of the first of a three-phased project, Mather Veterans Village. Can you give us an update on the final two phases for that project?

A: The second phase is funded and we hope to complete that in spring of this year.  Phase II funding is $10 million. Phase III funding costs will be $21 Million.  Phase II will include the addition of 46 beds and onsite services.  Phase III will include the build out of 50 more beds and we anticipate completion in the following year or two.

Q: The proposed Highway 50 Interchange appeal has been denied. What’s next for this widely contested and long-delayed plan?

A: With the lawsuit behind us, we can now focus on acquiring the necessary rights of way and developing funding strategies for the project.  We hope to construct the project in the next five to ten years but the actual timing of the project depends greatly on the pace of development and construction of new homes south of Highway 50.

Q: Breweries seem to be making a huge splash here in Rancho.  Why is this industry such a huge draw and is it sustainable?

A: We have more than 50,000 people who come to work in our community, many of whom also want a place after work nearby to enjoy an evening before heading back home, whether that’s here or in midtown or somewhere else.  We always wanted to have a vibrant sector for this, and so we created the barrel district and we are seeing the breweries coming in.  Whether it’s sustainable or not, I’m not an expert.  But for now we seem to be thriving with the number of breweries we have opened or set to open, and I’m guessing that (the industry) wouldn’t be expanding if it didn’t pencil out.  It is also having a huge domino effect with other businesses opening up in response to the new culture.

Q: Rancho has clearly overcome its image as a scrappy, Sacramento outpost.  What is its image now?

A: We have definitely seen dramatic changes with our image.  When people think of Rancho Cordova today, they think of it as a safe, inviting and vibrant community, with values and lots of opportunity for living and working and doing business.

Q: Speaking of business, can you give us an update on the SF Supermarket set to occupy the former Sam’s Club space?

A: We know the company (Shun Fat Supermarkets) has bought the building and they are looking at assessing whether it’s going to be one big market or perhaps several smaller markets with different focuses.  That is about all I can say about the project right now.

Q: What is your “pie in the sky” project for the city over the next decade?

A: I would love to have an entertainment center, with restaurants, shopping and entertainment all in one space. That’s one thing we are working on. I think we have created some great housing communities, with a lot more to come, and what I hope to continue to do and what we are striving to do, is build a strong, vibrant job market.  Part of that picture calls for the need to provide the community with quality entertainment and nightlife.

Q: If this weren’t your job, what would you be doing?

A: I think I’d be an explorer.  Probably in the Amazon.  I love cultures. I love exploring and learning about people and history.  It’s a passion for me. 

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Cordova Boys Hoops Even SVC Record

By Mike Bush  |  2018-01-17

Cordova forward LeAndre Ward hits a free throw in last week

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – On Tuesday night, the Cordova High School boys basketball team played its second consecutive Sierra Valley Conference road game.

Taking on El Dorado, the Lancers stayed close with the host Cougars in Placerville. But El Dorado slowly pulled away to post a 72-48 victory.

Cordova (1-1 in the SVC, 8-9 overall) trailed El Dorado (1-1 in the SVC, 12-6 overall) 20-15 after the first quarter. But in the second, the Cougars furthered their lead with a 23-11 scoring advantage, which led to a 43-26 halftime lead.

“El Dorado played very well, shot the ball well and just outplayed us,” said Cordova head coach Fletcher Johnson of Tuesday’s contest. “Hopefully, we can get them back into the gym and get focused on playing good basketball.”

Cordova and El Dorado were even in scoring, 11-11, in the third quarter. But the Cougars still led at 54-37 entering the final quarter.

Three players scored in double figures for Cordova; point guard Joe Danielyan was the Lancers’ leading scorer with 20 points, followed by forward LeAndre Ward with 12 and shooting guard Sam Danielyan at 10.

Lancer guard Raymond Fite finished with four points, and teammates Kenneth Brown and Caleb Clark had two each. El Dorado had four players scoring in double figures, with guard Anthony Smylie leading the way with 18 points.

Cordova 51, Rosemont 44

In the SVC opener at the Wolverines’ gym on Jan. 12th, the Lancers’ defense held Rosemont to a combined 14 points in the first half.

Leading 24-14 at halftime, Cordova put the game out of reach against its rivals with a 20-15 scoring advantage in the third quarter. That led to a 44-29 lead.

The Wolverines rallied in the final eight minutes of the game by outscoring the Lancers, 15-7. But Cordova held on for the win.

Ward was the Lancers’ leading scorer with 15 points, followed by Joe Danielyan with 12. Sam Danielyan was next with nine points, Brown, Tyreke Tate and Clark four points each, guard Johnele Sanders two and Jose Hernandez one.

The Lancers made 9-of-19 free throws in the game; Joe Danielyan made 4-of-5 and Ward 4-of-4.

Today, Friday, Cordova plays its first conference home game of the season against Union Mine, which played Galt on Tuesday, at Lancer Gym.

Next Tuesday, the Lancers host defending SVC champion Liberty Ranch, which defeated Rosemont by an 84-53 score, also on Tuesday. Both of Cordova’s games are scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m.

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Strong Finishes for Cordova Girls Wrestlers

By Mike Bush  |  2018-01-17

Cordova wrestler Angelia Cuevas, bottom, gets ready to break free from Tokay

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Two Cordova High School girls wrestlers placed in the top six at the Lady Tigers Invitational at Tokay High School.

The Lancers’ Atziry Chavez, competing in the 152-pound class, took third place at the tournament held on Jan. 13th inside Tokay’s main gym, finishing the day with a 4-1 record. Next was Lancer teammate in Angelia Cuevas (118), who took sixth with a 2-2 mark.

Cordova Girls Soccer

On the road on Monday, the Lady Lancers opened Sierra Valley Conference action on the road. But Galt posted a 7-1 win. The host Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Before conference play started this week, Cordova (0-1 in the SVC, 6-9-1 overall) played three non-conference games last week. In a home game on Jan. 8th, Bradshaw Christian of Elk Grove raced to a 5-1 win. The Lancers scored their only goal in the second half.

Kennedy narrowly defeated the Lady Lancers, 2-0, in a road game for Cordova on Jan. 5th. To start the New Year, Cordova was on the road, where it suffered a 7-1 loss to Center.

On Wednesday, Cordova played at Rosemont, and Thursday at Union Mine, both SVC games.

Next Tuesday, the Lady Lancers will host El Dorado in an SVC game. Cordova plays against defending SVC champion Liberty Ranch on the road. Both games start at 6 p.m. 

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State Point Media (MPG) - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that California's adolescent birth rate continues to decline. In 2015, there were 17.6 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19: a 10 percent decline from the 2014 rate of 19.6 and a 62 percent decline from the 2000 rate of 46.7.

"By empowering young people with the knowledge, tools and resources to make healthy choices, California is succeeding in reducing births among adolescents," said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

The adolescent birth rate decreased across all racial and ethnic groups between 2000 and 2015. During this time, the adolescent birth rate dropped among Hispanics from 77.3 to 27.0, among African-Americans from 59.1 to 19.7, among Whites from 22.3 to 6.9, and among Asians from 15.0 to 2.9.

Despite declining birth rates, racial disparities persist in adolescent childbearing in California. African-American and Hispanic adolescents were three to four times as likely to give birth as White females. Additionally, the adolescent birth rate varies considerably across counties, from a low of 6.7 in Marin County to a high of 43.1 in Del Norte County.

California has a number of programs aimed at preventing adolescent pregnancy and improving pregnancy outcomes among young women. CDPH funds the Information and Education Program, the Personal Responsibility Education Program authorized through the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and the Adolescent Family Life Program for expectant and parenting adolescents. Also, the state provides no-cost family planning services to eligible men and women, including adolescents, through the Family PACT Program.

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‘Individual Ownership’ Model Fuels Local Economy

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - More than 110,000 consumers over the past year chose to become members of a local credit union headquartered in Sacramento County as of Sept. 30, 2017 (third quarter), according to the 3rd Quarter Credit Union Trends Report for Sacramento County.

Sacramento County now boasts 1.35 million individuals who are “member-owners” of 10 locally headquartered credit unions — a record high (the last historical peak was 1.05 million in 2009). Each person owns an equal share of his or her respective credit union, with all profits reinvested to benefit every member in the form of better interest rates and lower or no fees.

How these credit union members are spending their money on homes, remodeling projects, new and used automobiles, higher education, surviving life events, and other big-purchase items provides a key barometer into what’s happening across the local economy.

This news release reflects year-over-year trends in local loans and deposits and is published by the Ontario, CA-based California Credit Union League. Local consumers who are members of Sacramento County-based credit unions continue taking on first-mortgages to purchase or refinance homes. First-mortgages rose 11 percent, hitting a record $3.96 billion. (This may include fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, purchase, traditional refinance, and cash-out refinance mortgages). They are turning home equity into cash for remodeling or other large purchases. Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) and second-mortgages combined increased 5 percent, reaching $557 million — an amount not seen since 2015.

Credit union members have slid into the driver’s seat of a newer car or truck more often. New auto loans rose 31 percent, hitting a record $3.6 billion. Used auto loans rose 22 percent, hitting a record $3 billion.They remain true to the habit of paying for life through credit cards. Credit card lending increased 6 percent, hitting a record $628 million.

Members are also trying to save more money and increasingly using credit unions to transact purchases/bill-pay. Total deposits rose 9 percent, hitting a record $15.1 billion (including record individual amounts in checking, savings and money market accounts).

“These credit union trends will continue as long as the economy continues to perform well,” said Dwight Johnston, chief economist for the California Credit Union League.

He noted some areas of concern. Employers are having increasing difficulty finding workers in a tight labor market, which will limit economic growth “to some degree.” He also has concerns the economy may start running out of steam by late 2018. Consumer spending might be “good” by then, but its growth rate could still disappoint. If Wall Street reacts negatively to consumer spending numbers versus expectations, businesses could somewhat pull back on spending and hiring plans.

However, “There is nothing that suggests an economic slowdown is imminent, which makes the overall picture for credit unions bright,” Johnston said. “In fact, the business-skewed tax bill Congress recently passed should accelerate economic growth through at least the third quarter of this year.”

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Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., successfully supported the launch of a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, known as NROL-52, was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems included the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, two solid rocket boosters (SRBs), six helium pressurization tanks, and 12 Centaur upper-stage Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters.

“Congratulations to everyone involved in another successful mission in support of our nation’s warfighters,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “It’s an honor to know our propulsion systems are continually called upon in support of the brave men and women serving to protect the freedoms we hold so dear.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role in the launch began during liftoff when two SRBs ignited to provide 750,000 pounds of total increased thrust to launch the Atlas V rocket. (Each 67-foot-long, 5-foot-wide composite motor case contains more than 90,000 pounds of propellant, providing more than 375,000 pounds of liftoff thrust.) All Atlas V launches requiring extra boost have flown Aerojet Rocketdyne SRBs.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited after separation of the first stage to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur RCS thrusters and pressurization tanks. The RL10C-1 delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

The RL10C-1 was developed from the RL10 family of upper-stage engines, which has accumulated one of the most impressive track records of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. More than 480 RL10 engines have supported launches over the last 50 years, playing a vital role in placing military, government and commercial satellites into orbit, and powering scientific space probes on every interplanetary mission in our solar system.

The 12 MR-106 RCS thrusters are assembled in four rocket engine modules and provide pitch, yaw and roll control for the Centaur upper stage as well as settling burns prior to firing the RL10C-1 engine.

ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, manufactures the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle.

Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and


Source: Aerojet

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As travel demand decreases after a busy holiday travel season, prices at the pump should decrease as well

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Californians will kick off 2018 with the most expensive gas to begin a year since 2014, according to AAA, but prices are expected to fall in coming weeks as travel demand subsides after a busy holiday travel season.

At $3.10, California’s average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline today is 33 cents more than drivers paid in January, 2017. At nearly $3.23 per gallon, San Francisco residents are paying the highest prices for gas in Northern California -- 3 cents more than motorists in South Lake Tahoe, which normally tops the charts for the region.

“Last year was a historic travel season, with AAA forecasting record travel numbers for nearly every holiday, but prices historically will drop after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve,” said Michael Blasky, a spokesman for AAA Northern California. “Californians today are paying about 60 cents more than the national average, which AAA attributes to the state’s strong economy, higher taxes on gasoline and stricter environmental regulations."

The last time Californians started a year paying more than $3 for gas was in 2014, when the average price in January of that year was $3.62. Gas prices rose above $4 that summer.

Still, January prices don't always indicate how prices will move throughout a year. Motorists in California paid just $2.55 for regular unleaded gas to begin 2015, but by May were paying above $3.70 per gallon.

Oil prices were more stable in 2017, with prices for a barrel hovering around $50 much of the year. Prices rose late in the year and began 2018 over $60 a barrel, a 2-year high. 

“With global oil producers trying to scale back their production, supply could drop while demand for energy remains high,” Blasky said. “If they’re successful in cutting back oil production, gasoline prices will likely rise as well to meet the demand.”

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CDPH Offers Free Radon Test Kits

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - January is National Radon Action Month and the cold winter months are the best time to test for this odorless and colorless gas. CDPH is offering free test kits to households in California throughout the month of January, or until supplies run out.

Radon, a naturally occurring gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Testing for radon in your home is a simple process,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Taking steps for remediation, if needed, can be critical for indoor air quality, and improving the safety of your home.”

The kits are provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Indoor Radon Grant fund, and are limited to one free test kit per household. The aggregated information from the test results will be used to update statewide Radon Potential Maps, which show the likelihood of radon in a specific region.

Test kits can be ordered through the CDPH Indoor Radon Program webpage or by calling the program toll-free at 1-800-745-7236. Options for remediation of radon in the home are available at the CDPH Indoor Radon Program.

Additional information about National Radon Action Month is available on the EPA National Radon Action Month website at


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A Passion for Progress

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-01-12

“We are growing at a relatively rapid pace,” says Curt Haven, director of economic development and neighborhood services.  Photo by Jacqueline Fox

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - By a count of years since its incorporation in 2003, the City of Rancho Cordova is barely a teenager.  But considering the caliber of economic and cultural growth taking place, it would not be too far off the mark to call this the city’s “Golden Age.” 

Rancho has a hefty portfolio of available land for retail and residential build out alike.  It currently serves as home to several of the state’s largest employers, including Blue Shield, Delta Dental, Franklin Templeton, Health Net and VSP.  Health insurance firm, Centene Corp. reportedly has signed what is considered to be the largest office lease in the region in 2016.

The city has an employment pool of roughly 70,000.  It’s easy access to Highway 50, the presence of five light rail stations and the fact that it is situated above the flood plain and considered seismically sound, are a huge draws for major developers.

At the same time, Rancho’s changing demographics are driving cultural shifts, resulting in the expansion of its food and entertainment sector.  More than half of its residents are under 35.  There is no shortage of support for the expanding foodie industry that is both retaining commuters after work hours and drawing out locals.  

“We are growing at a relatively rapid pace,” says Curt Haven, director of economic development and neighborhood services.  Haven’s job is to spearhead the mapping out of the city’s economic strategies, steer redevelopment processes and serve as the city’s formal liaison to neighborhood associations.  Haven carries the distinction of being the city’s first employee and is on track to see Rancho Cordova bust wide open.

“Highway 50 is my home,” says Haven, a formerly self-employed operator of an auto parts business who got involved with the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce prior to cityhood.  He became the chamber’s CEO and ultimately went on to chair Rancho’s incorporation committee and helped spearhead the push for the ballot measure for independence.

“Because I was the CEO of the chamber, I just had a love and desire to see Rancho become a greater city than it already was,” said Haven.  “I knew it could come back if it had the distinction of being its own city with its own governing capacity.”

Under his guidance, Rancho’s Development Services Team, comprised of representatives from various city departments, as well as partnering agencies, manage a lot of “moving parts”. Those involve the attraction of and service to new and existing businesses, whether that’s a Blue Shield bringing in some 600 jobs, a craft brewery or a mom and pop eatery.

The approach, says Haven, is small town.  He and or a member of his team will sit down with just about every prospective business owner interested in setting up shop in Rancho to help them navigate the process.  The city’s OpenCounter service and online tools help also provide a quick way for any prospective business owner to generate a list of the permitting and fee requirements expected in advance.

“There’s a whole bunch of moving pieces involved in our approach to serving the economic growth of our city, but we keep it that way so it’s nimble,” said Haven.  “Because we are a new city, we were able to set up processes for businesses that weren’t siloed or heavily bureaucratic.  We answer questions quickly.  Even if someone just has an idea, they can come in and sit around a table with us and discuss their plans.  Whether they are a large company or a small one, they all want certainty.”

Recently, the city and chamber co-created a marketing program as a way to both keep commuters in the city after working hours and bring out the locals at night.  The “Stay An Hour After Work” campaign touts Rancho’s 16 “happy hour” hot spots, nearly two dozen fitness “centers,” and its much-revered and expanding Barrel District, offering a full range of eateries and breweries delivering craft beers and specialty cocktails across a swath of Rancho’s industrial section of town.

The Barrel District is home to Gold River Distillery, the first distillery to come in line since Prohibition.  J.J. Pfister Distilling Company, Burning Barrel Brewing Company, as well as Strad Mead, which will serve wine distilled from honey, are also on their way into the district.  It will be the first meadery in the region.

Combined, these businesses are feeding the reinvention of Rancho.  It is not just a big place for corporations to spread out in or large developers to blueprint a new housing community.  While those are both critical components of Rancho’s growth and attraction, everyone knows when paychecks are spent in the same city where they are earned, economic prosperity and a destination status are solidified.

“About two years ago we had a discussion with the city council about Rancho’s amenities and we talked about how to keep employees who don’t live here in the city after 5 p.m.,” said Haven.  “We also talked about where our residents are going after work.  So we collaborated with the chamber on that program as a way to build up night life and we see it working very well.”

There are also existing businesses who are actually facing issues with aging, if you can believe that for a city on the cusp of 15.  To address some of those issues, Haven’s department launched the Commercial Façade Improvement Program in 2016, which makes mini-grants of up to $5,000 available to businesses to cover the costs for things such as new signage, exterior cleaning and painting, new awnings, lighting and landscaping.

Matching grants for up to $70,000 are also available through the program, funded by the city’s Community Enhancement Fund, supported through the half-cent sales tax measure approved by voters in 2014. The city also offers businesses support through its Revolving Loan and Business Incentive programs.

“Our job is also to retain businesses, so we want to do whatever we can to support small-scale infrastructure projects or beautification projects,” Haven said.  “It’s important that we do what we can to help ensure their longevity and success.”

New projects coming in line also include a 199-unit, upscale apartment project at Capital Village and the Sunridge Plaza project at Sunrise Boulevard and Douglas Road, which will feature, among others, 9Round Kickboxing, Bark Avenue, Chase Bank, Jimboy’s Tacos and Soho Sushi.

While he can’t share details, Haven confirmed San Gabriel-based Shun Fat is attempting to open an Asian supermarket inside the now vacant 114,431-square foot building on Sunrise Avenue, formerly home to Sam’s Club.

Several upscale, single-family housing communities also are on the radar, but perhaps the most widely discussed one is the planned Rio Del Oro project, which calls for 12,000 new homes, six elementary schools, one middle school and the first high school to open in the city in five decades.  It, too, will include several miles of commercial real estate opportunities.

Rancho took a disastrous hit economically with the closure of the aerospace sector in the1990s.  Its reputation as home to scrappy immigrant communities, low-income housing, shuttered buildings and growing blight was widespread.  But years of advocacy for cityhood lead by Haven and fellow members of the incorporation team, followed by a laser-focused plan for reinvigoration upon its hard-won vote for cityhood, have put Rancho Cordova firmly back on the map.

“I knew that I always wanted to work 

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