Beautiful Bouquets from Humble Beginnings

By Shelly Lembke  |  2016-12-02

The staff at Morningside Florist; (l-r) Rose White, Brandon Bowman, Rachel Neely, Jackie Snyder, Kathleen Bradley and Anya Comer will all be on hand at their 30th Anniversary celebration on December 7th. --Staff photo

The month of December will usher in more than the beginning of the holidays for one Rancho Cordova business. Morningside Florist, quietly tucked away among sedate office buildings, is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Owners Rose and George White opened their shop on Sun Center Drive with original aspirations to serve the business community. Over the years their clientele has grown beyond their original dreams as their talented designers offer complete floral services from basic bouquets and gifts to beautiful bridal creations. A single class started it all.

“I took a silk arranging class at a florist in the bay area and fell in love with industry,” said owner Rose White. And, no, that name is not a joke. “People do comment on a regular basis. My family tells me I was destined to be a florist. Some customers don’t believe it’s my real name, but they always get a good laugh.”

Being in business with her spouse is both a challenge and reward she says, and the decision to open their business here was one they made together. “We decided to open the shop in Rancho Cordova because George and I wanted to move from Silicon Valley where we worked in a commercial business.” The pair chose their location with a vision towards business to business service. “[We] felt very comfortable opening our shop in a business park environment.”

“We started from scratch,” said White. “On our first day, we did $50.00 in sales. We plugged along cold-calling every business along the Highway 50 corridor from Watt Avenue to Blue Ravine Road in Folsom.” The beginnings may have been humble, but their continued hard work, innate talent and dedication to superior customer service enabled them to branch out beyond their original plan.

“We’ve come a long way. When we started the business, our focus was on serving the companies in the business park,” White continued. “We quickly realized that the employees of those businesses could also use our services. We immediately expanded into wedding, funeral, special occasion and every day arrangements.” No matter the request, Morningside will design whatever their clients crave. Religious occasions are simply one example. “One of our customers wants a wall of flowers made with roses every year that he uses as a religious shrine for the holidays.”

Morningside Florist employs a gifted group of designers and has provided training for new ones. “We have had talented designers that we have put through the American Institute of Floral Design (AIFD). We have also brought in European floral teachers that have come to our shop for hands on training and we have locally trained designers certified from American River College,” said White.

The well-trained staff at Morningside keeps current with special attention to the needs of contemporary shoppers, especially brides, according to White. “We are very tuned in with today’s trends as well as today’s brides. Most brides want to meet our designer before they come to our shop. With our strong social media presence, people feel like they know us before they come shopping.”

“We have worked very hard to merge technology with our flower shop,” she said. The Whites and their staff have not skipped a beat when it comes to technology. “Our order entry process is completely automated, whether you call, walk in, or order online on our web site,” White stated. The business utilizes online marketing and social media tools. “We use Facebook, Yelp, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.”

Over time, the business has developed its own signature style,” White confided. “Our creative design staff wanted to go beyond traditional bouquets, so we decided to do more unique designs, what we call our ‘Morningside style.’ We take traditional seasonal flowers and mix them with exotics and interesting greens and apply our unique design skills to make one of a kind floral arrangements. We combine unique combinations of flowers and make them look great together.”

Full service at Morningside truly means full service. “As a leading florist in the Sacramento area, Morningside Florist provides top quality flowers, floral arrangements, and delightful gifts for all special occasions,” said White. Whether for anniversaries, holidays, “get well” or condolences, Morningside has just the thing and offers business, residential, hospital and funeral delivery.

For more information, contact Rose White and her staff at Morningside Florist, 11170 Sun Center Drive in Rancho Cordova at 916-635-9891 or online at

Rancho Cordova's History

A Reason for the Season

By Margaret Snider  |  2016-12-02

The Live Nativity, depicting the first Christmas, presents an “opportunity for a meaningful spiritual experience,” said Daniel Harrison, president of the Folsom Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Featuring four half-hour performances each night from Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11, admission is free. 
--Photography courtesy Ron Aguilar, 2015

Live Nativity Encourages the Spirit of Christmas

The Live Nativity, admission free, returns this year after an enthusiastic response from the public in 2015. Like last year, visitors pass shepherds in the fields, see the Three Kings arriving from afar, and enter Bethlehem, where the marketplace bustles around them complete with census takers and Roman guards. Mary, Joseph, and the Baby enter, all accompanied by music and narration. Six babies will make their acting debut as the newborn Christ during the four-day run from Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11. The show has four presentations per night: 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00, at 2100 California Circle in Rancho Cordova.

“’The baby is real!’ is a common reaction we’ve had,” said Heather McCauley, who is in charge of casting and direction, as well as numerous other logistical matters. “(Visitors) felt like they were going back in time and being a part of the first Christmas.” McCauley, who lives in El Dorado Hills, is a music and drama teacher.

Manned by an all-volunteer cast and crew, one set of 100 actors perform on Thursday and Saturday, and another, different set of 100 on Friday and Sunday. There are also numerous behind-the-scenes workers taking care of costumes, lighting, sound, and such things as parking, check-in, and ushering, for a total of around 300 volunteers per night.

McCauley said that it is amazing to see so many people come forward and give so much of their time to make this event happen. “It is such a special gift that we’re giving to the community, that people love, all different religions, and it’s something that people are looking for at this time of the year.”

Last year the count of visitors attending the presentations reached 7,400, several thousand more than expected. Because of that, this year’s organizers have added a reservation process, more seating, and have made other arrangements for the convenience of the patrons.

The Live Nativity is presented by the Folsom Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Stake president, Daniel Harrison, presides over congregations of the Church in the Folsom/El Dorado Hills area. “The goal is to try to help people feel that they are actually in Bethlehem and that they have a meaningful Christmas experience remembering the birth of Christ, which is the reason why we celebrate,” Harrison said.

This year reservations are recommended, but no one will be turned away. For reservations, directions, photos, and more information about the performance, see The presentations are located at 2100 California Circle, off of Folsom Boulevard near Folsom Auto Mall, turning south onto Birkmont Drive, then left on California Circle.

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Right Under My Nose

By Alona Thomas  |  2016-12-01

After our tour, Cindy Baker, Chair of the foundation and adopted grand-daughter of Mr. Murer, taught us how to make Limoncello, Italy’s favorite Lemon Liquor.

It is a wonder sometimes, how I can be so generally unaware of a terrific opportunity on my doorstep. Our Gold River Villager group recently visited the Murer House in Folsom. These day trips are organized by one of our members who expands our horizons in various directions. This day we gathered at the home of Giuseppe “Joe” Murer in Folsom.

In 1906 Joe emigrated from Italy to San Francisco to help with the rebuilding of San Francisco after the earthquake. Two years later he came to Folsom. His story is the ultimate emigrant tale of a man dedicated to making a better life for himself and his community. He constructed many buildings on Sutter Street including the Fire House, Post Office and refurbished the Folsom Hotel. He served as Fire Chief for the Volunteer Fire Department. In 1925 he built his home, just off of Folsom Blvd., based on architecture from his native Italy.

Joe’s home is protected as part of Historical Folsom and The Murer House Foundation has pledged “to educate and preserve the community’s understanding of the site”. There is an extensive historic photo gallery of Joe, and the chronological development of Folsom during his time. The 900-sq.-ft. home is a wonderful example of his handiwork. Tours of the museum are on first Saturday of the month from 10 AM to 2 PM. Admission is free.

After our tour, Cindy Baker, Chair of the foundation and adopted granddaughter of Mr. Murer, taught us how to make Limoncello, Italy’s favorite Lemon Liquor. This delicious liquor is easy to make with lemons, 95- proof Everclear and simple syrup. We peeled the lemons and received detailed instructions on how to filter and bottle. The hardest part is waiting at least one month for the infusion to take place. Next we did a tasting comparing the Limoncello made in class to one purchased – there was no contest – the Murer house recipe was absolutely the winner.

The class was very well organized and Cindy was an enthusiastic teacher. She explained that Murer House is “A Little Bit of Italy in Folsom”. Classes center on Italian flavors from cheese making to the “how to” of Minestrone soup. Italian speaking classes are available. There are numerous special events throughout the year and court for bocce ball. It is best to check the web site for more information.

Gold River Villagers is a social organization with the goal “to acquaint Villagers with one another and foster similar interests”. This adventure was just one of the events of the group. Both day and evening activities are organized to foster friendships among members. Membership is open to Gold River Community Association residents only.

Contact Alona Thomas hobby is food and all the fun and love it brings.

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Police Chief Michael Goold Set to Retire in December

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2016-12-01

“My time serving the Rancho Cordova community as its Police Chief over the past three years has been an absolute pleasure and the best three years of my career,” said Chief Goold. 
--Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

Rancho Cordova Police Department Chief Michael Goold announced that he will be retiring at the end of December 2016. Chief Goold has been with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for 23 years, serving as the Police Chief in Rancho Cordova during the last three years.

“My time serving the Rancho Cordova community as its Police Chief over the past three years has been an absolute pleasure and the best three years of my career,” said Chief Goold. “I am a resident of Rancho Cordova, as well as Police Chief, so while I will miss serving the community in that capacity, I look forward to still being a part of this community post-retirement.”

The announcement was made during the November 21st City Council meeting by City Manager Cyrus Abhar.

“Chief Goold will be sorely missed,” said Cyrus Abhar, Rancho Cordova’s City Manager. “As Chief of Police, he has implemented many new programs that have made our community a safer and more vibrant place. Chief Goold is a conscientious leader whose contributions will be felt for years to come.”

During his tenure, Chief Goold started the City’s Adopt-a-School Program, an innovative initiative aimed at building relationships of trust between students and officers. In addition, at the City Council’s request, Chief Goold put in place a unique proactive policing team in Rancho Cordova –the Crime Suppression Unit (CSU). The CSU team focuses on proactively reducing violent crime and conducting undercover operations to reduce other types of crime.

“Chief Goold has been the best kind of law enforcement leader, policing with both an eye toward the public safety, as well as a heart toward building community,” said Mayor David Sander. “We wish Chief Goold well in his retirement, and thank him for his excellent service to our community.”

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Fire in Orangevale Home Displaces Family of Four

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-01

Two adults and two children were displaced by the fire. Total damage is estimated at $60,000; no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Just after 8:30 on November 18, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 9200 block of Lostwood Lane in Orangevale for a report of visible flames from the roof of a house. First arriving crews reported a working fire and immediately initiated fire attack. Firefighters located the fire, which had started in the chimney and spread to the attic, and extinguished it, while searching for victims, and ventilating the structure.

While first-in crews were putting out the fire, other firefighters focused on protecting the residents’ belongings. Their efforts allowed the fire damage to be limited to the chimney, attic and a wall, while saving all of the family’s possessions. Two adults and two children were displaced by the fire. Total damage is estimated at $60,000; no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

As we enter the cold season, make sure your chimney gets inspected and cleaned every year by a professional. When using your fireplace, put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave home, and always put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 3 feet from your home.

For more information, check out, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Firefighters, Sheriff’s Officers and CHP Rescue 46 Year-old Woman

Source: Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District  |  2016-12-01

Just after midnight on November 21, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to a home in Fair Oaks for a report of an overdose.  When firefighters and Sheriff’s officers arrived, the patient was no longer there. They attempted to locate her, but were unable to. After searching nearby streets, the officers pinged her cell phone, which showed it to be on the north side of the American River, near Hazel Avenue. Officers then requested the help of a California Highway Patrol helicopter, who used infrared technology to locate the woman, lying on a ledge above the river, in slippery terrain. As fire crews were en route to the new location, one of the officers climbed down the slope to make sure the woman didn’t fall off the ledge.

The victim, a 46-year-old female, appeared to have rolled nearly 70 feet before stopping on a ledge a few feet above the water line. She had a decreased level of consciousness, not responding to verbal communication. Metro Fire’s Rescue Task Force, with assistance from Folsom Fire, set up for a low angle rescue, using a second ambulance as the anchor. Once the rope system was in place, two rescuers were lowered to the ledge, where they quickly assessed her injuries and placed her in a rescue stretcher, so she could be safely hauled up the slope. The patient was then transported code 3 to a local trauma center.

“This rescue, with all its unique aspects, demonstrates how our public safety agencies work together to benefit the community,” stated Metro Fire Battalion Chief Mark Repetto. “Sheriff’s officers went above and beyond, CHP jumped in to help find the patient, and firefighters from multiple agencies rescued, treated and transported her. Without this collaboration, it’s not likely this woman would have survived through the night.

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H2oliday Water Saving Ideas

By Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2016-12-01

Are you having a bunch of houseguests over the holidays or hosting a big party or dinner? Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) has ideas on how you can have a fun and water-efficient h2oliday season.

  1. Spread the word about using water wisely by posting a little note on the mirror in the guest bathroom reminding your guests to turn off the water when brushing their teeth or shaving, to limit their showers to five minutes or less, and to collect shower water in a bucket as it warms. SSWD has free buckets and shower timers available at their office.
  2. Save water and energy by letting your frozen food thaw in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, instead of running hot water over it.
  3. Wash fruits and vegetables in a small pan instead of rinsing under running water.
  4. After the big meal scrape the plates into the trash instead of using the sink’s garbage disposal. And if you want to really make a difference, compost the vegetable waste and use the compost in your yard.
  5. A full household means extra laundry and dishes. Remember to run your clothes washer or dishwasher only when full.
  6. Water your poinsettias, Christmas tree and potted plants with shower water or water from the drinking glasses.
  7. If you’re using the good china or silverware that requires hand washing, fill one basin with soapy water and the other with rinse water.
  8. And if you’re searching for holiday gifts make sure to look for WaterSense-labeled products.  They are certified to use less water and work as well or better than similar appliances and fixtures.

You can find WaterSense certified washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, showerheads, faucets and sprinkler controllers online or at your local hardware or appliance store and online.  There are even rebates available for WaterSense-labeled weather-based sprinkler controllers from SSWD.

Happy H2olidays from SSWD!

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United Way Offers Holiday Donation, Volunteer Opportunities

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-12-01

“The Sacramento region is filled with generous people wanting to give back during the holidays, so we’ve gathered numerous opportunities in our online Volunteer Center to make it easy to choose the project you’re most passionate about,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Local residents looking for holiday donation and volunteer opportunities can visit United Way California Capital Region’s online Volunteer Center at to find more than a dozen needs in one place. Holiday volunteers and donors are encouraged to post photos of their work on social media using #happy2help.

“The Sacramento region is filled with generous people wanting to give back during the holidays, so we’ve gathered numerous opportunities in our online Volunteer Center to make it easy to choose the project you’re most passionate about,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Anyone can sign up to volunteer or donate, and most nonprofits across the region are eligible to add their volunteer opportunities, and can do so through the website. For questions, contact

United Way launched its online Volunteer Center in 2014 to provide an organized, community-wide portal that connects the Sacramento region’s volunteer and donor base with United Way’s 160 local nonprofit partners and other local organizations. The center is designed to connect individual donors and volunteers, as well as corporate or group volunteers, with opportunities of all sizes and commitments throughout the year. Community members can log onto the website and create a profile that lists their interests, become fans of participating nonprofits, join volunteer groups, donate unused materials and household items to nonprofits in need, learn about upcoming special events and fundraisers, and advocate for causes. The center was partly launched in response to United Way’s 450 corporate partners looking for a coordinated way to engage employees in corporate social responsibility through volunteer work, donation opportunities and events.

United Way’s Volunteer Center is part of United Way’s Square One Project, which recognizes the importance of volunteers in making sure nonprofits and schools are equipped to provide a full support system for kids. The Square One Project is a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. To donate or volunteer, visit

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Vandals Strike Youth Rugby

By Shelly Lembke  |  2016-12-01

The Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation (SVRF) managed to acquire a set of portable buildings from Sierra College to use as classrooms, meeting rooms, a cafeteria and more.

Rancho Cordova youth sports recently took a heavy blow when the future site for a regional rugby and soccer complex fell prey to ransacking vandals. Situated on land in Mather Park, the damage is extensive.

Longtime Rancho resident and local sports figure Jerry Ahlin, perhaps the primary player in finding and securing the site for youth sports, is the one trying to clean up the mess. He found the damage on a regular trip to check the facilities.

“This is the fourth time,” said Ahlin, indicating the site has been attacked before. “What do we have to do? Put up a sign that says, ‘Future Home of Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation?”

While the site remains largely undeveloped, The Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation (SVRF) managed to acquire a set of portable buildings from Sierra College to use as classrooms, meeting rooms, a cafeteria and more. The idea was to use the buildings until funds could be secured for more permanent structures. The extensive damage will now set all that back.

Amid the completely broken windows, smashed restroom fixtures, ripped walls, ceilings, kicked in doors, graffiti and stripped wiring, Ahlin is re-securing the site and trying to figure out where to go from here. Worldwide, rugby is a rapidly expanding sport and big foundations are helping finance development to nascent programs across the globe. China, he says, recently was gifted $10 million dollars to develop their national program. Funds like that could go a long way here, once there was a little more to build on.

Ahlin and his non-profit SVRF have contributed heavily to perpetuate and grow sports in Rancho Cordova. The SVRF brought the annual January Rugby Kick Off Tournament (KOC) to Cordova High and donated $20,000 to repair and upgrade acres of playing fields at the school. The event is hugely popular and brings thousands of global players, coaches and families to Rancho Cordova—and that brings in revenue and business for the city, as well as helping establish Rancho as a sports destination.

The SVRF plan is to develop the roughly 90-acre site, which is leased from Sacramento County, with up to six rugby fields and six soccer fields, a European-style clubhouse, classrooms for training referees, students and players, meeting rooms and a cafeteria, all set in a central courtyard. “This would bring a whole new industry to the area,” says Ahlin, including professional level athletes. There is nothing like it anywhere in northern California and the phenomenal growth of the sport indicates the timing is right.

Ahlin wants to expand rugby for more age groups and activity levels. Youngsters (or adults) of nearly any age can play flag rugby and learn the sport without contact. Coach and referee training ensures not only fair game play, but that safety precautions are taught at all levels, reducing injuries. Unlike some sports, rugby players are taught to utilize their bodies and protect their head and neck at all times.

“Rugby really is a family sport,” says Ahlin, who happens to be a Cordova Community Council honoree for Distinguished Service to Youth. Sportsmanship is strongly stressed. Opposing teams often lend players to the other during games and gathering together afterwards to thank the referees, other teams and families for coming out to participate. Hosting teams often provide food for the opposition as a courtesy for traveling and playing. It’s just part of the rugby culture.

For information or to join, volunteer or donate, contact Jerry and The Sacramento Valley Rugby Foundation at 916-804-4332, or Online at

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Support Our Furry Friends This Holiday Season

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2016-12-01

Our furry friends need your help! The City of Rancho Cordova is sponsoring Rio’s Pet Outreach, a yearly collection for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats in need this holiday season.

The City is accepting unopened cat or dog food, leashes and collars, gently-used towels and blankets, peanut butter, newspapers, new pet toys and beds, and more. The items collected will be donated to the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) to support animals in its care.

Items can be dropped off at Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive, and the Neighborhood Services Center, 2880 Gold Tailings Court, through Friday, December 23rd, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Rio’s Pet Outreach was started in 2009 in honor of a City staff member’s American Pit Bull Terrier named “Rio”. Though Rio has since passed away, the City continues the name in his memory.

For the full wish list and more information, visit or call (916) 851-8770.

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