A Festival of Flowers

By Patrick Larenas  |  2019-10-10

Festival attendee Vanaja Chippa leans down to place flowers on display, having traveled from Fremont, California to celebrate the Festival of Flowers with family. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Telangana Association celebrated Bathukamma, the annual rain Festival of Flowers for women from the Indian state of Telangana, on October 5, with community leaders and the City of Rancho Cordova City Council providing a donation from the Community Enhancement Fund to the association.

Drawing inspiration from India’s histories, religious anecdotes and cultural symbols, this Hindu festival elevates women and the feminine aspects of spirituality, life and character. Showcasing stories of women defying emperors, slaying oppressors and evading rape and abduction, the festival depicts empowered women as well as the history of subjugation of numerous reigns and empires.

It is believed that the Flower Festival originated from the area of what is now the state of Telangana, which is located in a semi-arid portion of the Deccan Plateau in the subcontinent. Because of its drier climate, the annual monsoon, which provides three times the annual rainfall as that of Sacramento, renders the usual scrub landscape into an enormous prairie of brightly colored flowers and has been providing the life sustaining precipitation for its rivers–the foundation for civilization’s essential agriculture component.

For more information about the Sacramento Telangana Association visit www.sacramentotelangana.org

Rancho Cordova's History

Fire Victims Can File Without an Attorney!!!!

SANTA ROSA, CA (MPG) - A grassroots campaign of fire victims held a press conference on the two-year anniversary of the devastating Tubbs fire to bring awareness to fellow fire victims about the rapidly approaching deadline to file claims against PG&E and to share vital information on this looming deadline -- spoken fire victim to fire victim in a language they all understand. Over half of fire victims have not yet filed claims. This group wants to let those thousands know they could be well compensated by PG&E, and they can file a claim for free and without  an attorney by going to www.pgefireinfo.com. Facing billions of dollars in liability claims, PG&E filed for protective bankruptcy, effectively cutting in half the time fire victims would normally have to make claims against the utilities behemoth. The deadline for filing claims is now October 21, 2019 by 5pm. The claims process is simpler than many believe. Claims are not limited to property damage and include lost income, loss of community, and emotional distress. Victims do not need to hire lawyers or know the monetary value of their claim before filing. This rapidly approaching deadline has fire victims scrambling to file claims, and many more are unaware that they are about to lose their right to file forever. They need to know about www.pgefireinfo.com

October 21, 2019 is the deadline for submitting claims against PG&E for losses relating to the 2017 North Bay Fires and the 2018 Camp Fire. It is vitally important that victims file their claims by this date, even if they do not have a lawyer or don’t know the exact amount of their claim. These details can be worked out after filing. Filing is free and requires very little effort. Detailed instructions on how to file out the forms is available at www.pgefireinfo.com. To date, too many have not started the claims process. Many are holding back because of misinformation. This low participation rate could affect all fire victims, including those who file claims. Numbers count in the bankruptcy process. Eventually, a bankruptcy plan will be hammered out by the different creditor groups or may be subject to a vote of creditors. Wildfire victims could be the largest creditor group and largest voting bloc, but only if more people to submit claims. Claims are not limited to those who lost their homes. “If you ran out the door with virtually nothing, drove through smoke and flames, were shut out of your home for weeks only to return a burned-out wasteland, you have a claim for emotional distress. Chances are you had smoke damage, lost trees and landscaping, and property damage that was not covered fully by insurance. If you were a renter or lived in a mobile home, you lost personal property and were almost certainly underinsured. You have a claim,” said Helen Sedwick, a Glen Ellen area fire victim. 

Anyone affected by the many fires that tore through California should file a claim. These relevant fires are: Atlas, Butte, Camp, Cascade, Cherokee, Highway 37, Honey, La Porte, Lobo, Mayacama, McCourtney, Nuns (which includes Adobe, Norrbom, Patrick, Pressley, and Oakmont fires), Pocket, Point, Potter/Redwood, Sullivan, Sulphur, and Tubbs fires. The forms must be filed no later than the “Bar Date” of October 21, 2019. The Proof of Claim form is simple, takes only 15 minutes to complete. Detailed information on how to fill out and file the form can be found at pgefireinfo.com.   Claimants do not need to include documentation or other proof now; that will happen later.  They may fill in the form electronically, mail it in, or send it via overnight courier (e.g.; FedEx, Priority Mail).  Fire survivors have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by filing a Proof of Claim form in the PG&E bankruptcy.

About The Fire Victims Group:

PGEFIREINFO.com is a group of five volunteers who lost their homes in Santa Rosa and Glen Ellen. They are dedicated to helping their neighbors and communities throughout Northern California receive a fair recovery from PG&E for the devastating losses of the 2015, 2017, and 2018 fires. James Finn is a cardiac anesthesiologist and critical care physician.  Deciding to retire after barely escaping with his life and seeing almost everything he owned obliterated by the Tubbs fire, he now dedicates his time to advocacy for responsible utility management and fire safety, as well as helping fellow fire survivors navigate the intricacies of insurance and understand the truth about financial recovery from PG&E. Howard Klepper retired after his home and shop, along with 30 guitars he built by hand, were destroyed by the Nuns fire.  He wants all those who were similarly injured by this greedy and reckless company to maximize their financial recovery. After losing her home in the Nuns Fire, Helen Sedwick is dedicated to help inform and encourage fire survivors. Volunteering countless hours, she is holding community informational meetings for all fire survivors while helping her Bennett Ridge neighborhood obtain grants to reduce fire risks. Robert and Linda Upton purchased their Glen Ellen property to keep their horses at home. They are horrified at the misinformation about making claims from PG&E. They want to be sure everyone has the real facts about the process and that friends and neighbors do not regret missing the deadline when PG&E writes large checks next year.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association (CTA), issued the following statement in response to the California State Transportation Agency’s statement on Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order which proposes to realign billions of dollars from critical road construction and repair to instead fund unspecified climate change projects. In 2017, the California Trucking Association (CTA) supported Senate Bill 1– and subsequent ballot measures – in order to create a reliable source of revenue to fix California’s crumbling infrastructure.

“Making the decision to support fuel taxes was not without its challenges. Promises were made to the motoring public to fix California’s deteriorating roads and bridges. These promises must be kept.

“If the effect of the executive order is to divert funds from road and bridge repairs, these projects will once again be placed on the back burner, leading to increased congestion and unsafe roads for all motorists.

“CTA and its members will continue to work with the administration and the legislature to strike a workable solution that represents the clear will of California’s voting public and trucking industry.”

Since 1934, the California Trucking Association has been serving the commercial motor carrier industry in California and the companies that provide products and services to the trucking industry. A critical and vital component of California’s economy, nearly 80 percent of California communities depend solely on trucks to deliver their goods. Our carrier membership ranges from individual owner-operators, to small for-hire fleets, to the largest national and international carriers. Allied members of the California Trucking Association range from businesses involved with truck and trailer sales, parts and service, insurance, legal services and all other businesses that support the trucking industry.

The California Trucking Association promotes leadership in the California motor carrier industry, advocates sound transportation policies to all levels of government, and works to maintain a safe, environmentally responsible and efficient California transportation goods movement system. 

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SMUD Helps Sponsor the Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit

By Lindsay VanLaningham, SMUD  |  2019-10-17

The tunnel leading into the Hubble telescope exhibit. Photo courtesy of SMUD/Aerospace Museum of California

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Among a crowd of Sacramento leaders, SMUD announced a partnership with the Aerospace Museum of California and a $50,000 sponsorship to host NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit for local students to experience a once-in-a-lifetime STEM education experience.

The announcement came as dozens of area leaders, residents and children got a sneak peek of the exhibit as it opened its doors to the public for Fall 2019.

“This is an incredible opportunity to expose students to science, technology, engineering and math in a new and innovative way,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “Our goal is to help the museum inspire and expose students from all over the region to the expansive possibilities in STEM education and STEM-related careers, so they truly can reach for the stars.”

The exhibit features a scaled replica of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and includes hands-on, interactive activities that allow students to explore the technology used in space to gaze at distant stars, planets and galaxies. They will also be able to learn about the new James Webb Space Telescope and how it will contribute to our knowledge into the future.

The exhibit will be on display through December 2019 and is expected to draw thousands of visitors.

In partnership with the museum, SMUD’s goal is to reach 15,000 students with this STEM education experience, particularly those in historically underserved communities. A large portion of the grant provides transportation funding for Title 1 schools, as well as free participation in the program; teacher membership; and continuing education resources.

“We’re excited to host this amazing exhibit in California for the very first time,” stated Executive Director for the Aerospace Museum Tom Jones. “The Hubble Space Telescope exhibit is a perfect complement to our other artifacts that can help tell the story of aerospace from the beginning to well into the future.”

Funding for this project comes from SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative that seeks to leverage resources for community partners in order to provide increased access to employment, healthcare, STEM education and more. This is one of many projects that will enhance the Sacramento community

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PHOENIX, AZ (MPG) - The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation announced $3 million in donations to nonprofit organizations that specialize in nutrition education and fresh food access. Funds include Neighborhood Grants that support grassroots children’s nutrition education programs, as well as large, multi-year Impact Grants designed to help partners increase organizational capacity and scale programs.

“Each year, our network of nonprofit partners continues to grow and our work in local communities continues to deepen,” said Lyndsey Waugh, Executive Director of the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. “As a result, children and their families have greater exposure to nutrition education and hands-on cooking and gardening programs in their schools and community centers, and urban farms are increasing access to fresh, nutritious produce in food desert communities.”

This year, Sprouts will award 118 Neighborhood Grants totaling $725,000 to nonprofit organizations across the U.S. Recipients of these grants, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, including programs in Sprouts’ new markets in Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia.

To culminate the nonprofit support, Sprouts and the Foundation will host the second annual Day of Service on Saturday, November 9 when hundreds of team members will participate in 40 volunteer events from coast to coast.

“Central to Sprouts’ identity is giving back to the communities we operate in, and the Day of Service gives team members the opportunity to engage with the organizations the Foundation supports firsthand,” said Waugh.

Day of Service volunteer events with 2019 grant recipients will include Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture and Education Project (Sacramento, Calif.) – During the Day of Service activity, Sprouts team members will be on-site at an elementary school to install raised garden beds, plant and beautify the school garden. Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture and Education Project empowers youth and adults to discover and participate in a local food system that encourages healthy living, nurtures the environment and grows a sustainable community.

Created in 2015, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation focuses on empowering individuals, especially children, to live healthier lives by supporting programs that teach nutrition education and increase access to fresh, nutritious food. In five years, the Foundation, together with Sprouts’ vendors and customers, has donated over $10 million to more than 300 nonprofit partners. Sprouts covers 100 percent of the Foundation’s operational expenses, ensuring that every dollar raised is used to support their nonprofit partner agencies. To learn more, visit sprouts.com/foundation.

Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc., one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, has made healthy living accessible to shoppers for nearly two decades by offering affordable, fresh, natural and organic products. True to its farmers market heritage, Sprouts is known for pioneering its unique grocery model by offering a welcoming store layout featuring fresh produce at the center of the store, an expansive bulk foods section, and a vitamin department focused on overall wellness. Sprouts also offers a unique assortment of healthier products with special attributes, such as plant-based, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and grass-fed, to meet the growing and diverse needs of today’s consumer. Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., Sprouts employs more than 30,000 team members and operates approximately 340 stores in 22 states from coast to coast. Visit about.sprouts.com for more information. 

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Sunrise Mall is a vital element of Citrus Heights’ economy and community, so in July the Citrus Heights City Council approved a General Plan Amendment that requires the development of a Specific Plan to ensure a comprehensive and cohesive planning effort in the redevelopment of Sunrise Mall.

The language in the General Plan Amendment specifies that the goal is to “transform the Sunrise Mall area into a premier regional destination and a flourishing center of community life where residents and visitors shop, work, live, and play.” In order to reach that goal, Economic Development Manager Meghan Huber said the creation of the Specific Plan will bring together the “owners, stakeholders, and community to envision a viable and successful future at Sunrise Mall.”

At the October 10 City Council meeting, Huber explained that the process will have four parts: market analysis, community outreach, Specific Plan execution, and the environmental impact report (EIR). “It’s an important process,” said Huber, “and it’s important to take it on with the right partner.” Huber said staff reviewed the qualifications of six consultant teams and identified Gensler as the best qualified to assist the City.

An international architecture and planning firm, Gensler is experienced in master planning and turning malls into lifestyle centers. Huber said Gensler would serve as the project manager and provide the lead planning and visioning effort. Gensler also has a robust team of subconsultants including MXD Development Strategists, which will provide market analysis and economic feasibility; De Novo Planning Group, which will be responsible for preparing the EIR; Fehr and Peers, which will handle traffic engineering and transportation concerns; and Mark Thomas, which will oversee the civil engineering. Gensler also agreed to the City’s aggressive timeline of completing the Specific Plan within 18-24 months.

Gensler’s Project Manager Nate Cherry addressed the Council, sharing his excitement about the process: “You’ve got to have a big idea that people can understand and get behind.” Cherry said the Specific Plan will make Citrus Heights competitive with other cities in the region by creating a retail, entertainment, wellness, and lifestyle space. Cherry said onsite affordable housing would “provide villagers where you’re hoping to create a village.” And with climate change presenting significant challenges, Cherry said there are opportunities for “making streets greener, integrating green spaces, [and creating] more sustainable land-use patterns.”

The budget for the contract with Gensler is $1,208,885, and funding for the project will come from various sources: $310,000 from the SB2 Planning Grant, $440,000 from the Sewer Credit Program, $350,000 from Development Fund 330, and $108,885 from the General Fund 2021/2022 budget — with staff looking for alternative funding sources over the next two years.

During public comment, one local resident spoke in opposition to adopting the Gensler contract. He felt that the contract should have been made available for at least a month so the public had time to review it and provide written comments. He expressed concern that residents won’t be informed about opportunities to participate in the process: “Too many people in our community only find out about things afterwards. And we have an obligation to make sure everyone knows in advance when there will be opportunities for public input.”

Another resident spoke in support of the contract, praising Gensler’s vision for the Sunrise Mall Specific Plan. “I want to volunteer. I want to be on that committee,” he said.

Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey said that over the last 10 years the mall has had many different owners with many different ideas, “but none have come to fruition. At this point, we have to step in, engage the community, spend some money, come up with our own plan. … I’m 100% ready to move forward.”

Councilmember Bret Daniels said, “This is a very big deal. … We don’t exist without Sunrise Mall. There’s no Citrus Heights City today without Sunrise Mall, and so the future of Citrus Heights could also pin … on what happens at Sunrise Mall.” Daniels also expressed hope that the Pop-Up Stadium idea could be revived.

Councilmember Steve Miller explained that “the ownership group is the one that’s going to have to buy into this and put the money up. It’s their money at risk. But we want to create an environment, an incubator, that will help them realize the biggest potential out of this property. … I’m looking forward to this process.”

Mayor Jeannie Bruins said, “I think we have to have vision. … I think this is an exciting opportunity. We have 100 acres here right in the middle of our business district to create something that otherwise we would not have had the opportunity to do.”

Mayor Bruins called for a vote on the resolution, and the Council unanimously approved the contract to utilize Gensler’s professional services in the creation of the Sunrise Mall Specific Plan.


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Adult Arrested for Sexual Assault on a Child

By David Gutierrez, Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2019-10-17

Jason Earl Hook. Photo courtesy CHPD

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights Police Department’s Investigative Services Division is actively investigating a series of child molestation cases involving multiple victims.  The department is requesting help from the public with this investigation. 

On 09/08/19, detectives launched an investigation into a child molestation.  The investigation resulted in the identification of a 43 year old resident of Citrus Heights, Jason Earl Hook, as the suspect.  The investigation also revealed several other victims.  Some of the incidents occurred as far back as 2008, and all identified cases occurred while Hook lived in Citrus Heights.

All of Hook’s victims were known to him, would visit him at his residence, and some were friends of family members.  Hook’s victims have been identified as both males and females between the ages of 8 and 17 years old.

On 9/27/19, Citrus Heights Police Detectives arrested Hook for 25 counts of child molest and he is currently in custody at the Sacramento County Jail awaiting trial.  Hook has been charged with:

Four counts of 288 (C)(1) - Lewd act on a child victim 14 or 15 years of age and defendant is 10 years older than the victim;

Six counts of 288 (A) -Lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old;

Seven counts of 288.7 (B) - Oral sex act with a child 10 years old or younger;

Eight counts of 288 (B)(1) - Lewd act on a child under 14 using force

Although several of Hook’s victims have been identified, it is suspected others are still unknown.  While residing in Citrus Heights, Hook lived on Birdcage Street.  Hook also taught light saber classes for both Sunrise Community Church and San Juan High School’s after school club.  

He is described as a white male, 5’9”, 275lbs, 43 years old, has brown hair and brown eyes.

Citrus Heights Police Detectives are seeking any information regarding Hook or any additional victims.  Any person with information regarding Hook, or any victim that has yet to come forward is encouraged to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department, Investigative Services Division at (916) 727-5500 or contact our dedicated crime tip line at (916) 727-5524.

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“Meet & Greet” for the US-Ukraine Foundation Friends of Ukraine Network in Washington DC

US-Ukraine Foundation Press Release  |  2019-10-17

“Meet & Greet” Robert A. McConnell, Coordinator of External Relations for the US-Ukraine Foundation Friends of Ukraine Network located in Washington DC. Photo courtesy USUF

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Robert A. McConnell, co-founder of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and Coordinator of External Relations for the Foundation’s Friends of Ukraine Network will visit the Greater Sacramento UA community to share information on the Foundation’s many initiatives to create and sustain an exchange of information between the United States and Ukraine in order to build peace and prosperity. The U.S. Ukraine Foundation is a U.S. 501(c) (3) nonprofit, nongovernmental organization established in 1991 to support democracy, a free market and human rights for Ukraine. More information on USUF is available at https://www.usukraine.org/

Robert McConnell is Principal of R.A. McConnell and Associates.  Previously, he has served as head of the Government Advocacy Practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Vice President – Washington for CBS, Inc., and Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice during the Reagan Administration.

The event will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 12 noon to 1:00 pm at the Ukrainian Federal Credit Union located at 6029 San Juan Ave. Citrus Heights, CA 95610.

For more information contact:

Mikhail Tkach, Branch Manager at Ukrainian Federal Credit Union 916-721-1188

Stepan Skots, President of Ukrainian American House 916-410-1110

John Kun, Chief Operating Officer at US-Ukraine Foundation 202-789-4467

Tamara Denysenko, Board member at Ukrainian Federal Credit Union 585-703-7828

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Reporting from the World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

By David Dickstein  |  2019-10-17

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos makes opening remarks in the Yucatan. Photo by David Dickstein

MERIDA, MEXICO (MPG) – They held a World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates last month in Mexico and a softball game broke out.

If the above phrasing sounds familiar, Rodney Dangerfield liked to joke, “I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.” After attending what was billed as a forum to “address global issues with a view to encourage and support peace and human well-being in the world,” only to walk away disappointed, I knew that by borrowing from the late comedian, I’d have the perfect, albeit sad introductory line.

The batters of my metaphorical softball game were the Nobel Peace Prize winners whose three days in the Yucatan Peninsula included sit-downs with the press. The credentialed journalists were the pitchers, and by throwing mainly softball questions, the mostly Mexico-based contingent squandered the rare opportunity of asking tough and/or insightful questions to the distinguished do-gooders. In all, 30 Nobel Peace Prize laureates attended the event, representing themselves or winning organizations. The softball field, just to close out the sports-related figure of speech, was next to the working press room inside a world-class convention center in Merida, capital of the state of Yucatan.

Poor organization and logistics made covering the event a living hell, but of greater importance to you readers is how the Nobel Peace Prize winners responded to the questions that didn’t kowtow to the people of honor, few and far between as they were. Most journalists asked pandering softball questions like this one to Dr. Bernice King, the youngest child of revered Dr. Martin Luther King: “As a privileged white woman who can’t relate to the struggles of people of color, what can those like me do to help?” Knowing the organization, that eye-roller will probably get that woman a permanent invitation to all future World Summits. That would be a travesty with the white journalist already feeling so privileged and all.

Then a real question from the press was asked. My first of two called on MLK’s daughter to substantiate claims she made earlier at the World Summit about the leader of the Free World: “You have repeatedly called President Trump a racist. Can you give one example of something racist he has said or done?” King fumbled with her response, often looking to her handlers for help.

“Um, I mean there’s so much stuff that, um, that one can say,” King said. “He’s talked about sh*thole nations, the way he’s spoken about Mexicans – there’s a host of things I see that come across as if he does not like certain groups of people.”

So far I hadn’t heard a specific example of Trump being a racist, and as King continued with her response, she seemed to go further astray.

“Anyone who does not agree with him or stands up to him almost becomes enemy No. 1,” she said. “He just attacks, and it’s not always driven by race – it’s driven by Trump. That’s the bottom line. He’s a different kind of person than what you’d call your typical racist because … look at the way he spoke about Senator [John] McCain. Who does that? The army vet, the reporter, it’s on and on and on and on.”

King is a delightful woman who I had the pleasure of sitting next to on the plane to Mexico City. And what an honor and thrill it was when my offer of my blanket was warmly accepted when she felt a chill halfway there. All that aside, I would be remiss as a journalist if I didn’t say that my question didn’t continue to trip King up. She seemed to ramble and contradict herself.

“Out of his mouth I have heard him denounce white supremacy. I’ve heard that,” King said. “Whether or not he denounces it in a way that pushes away those who support him is another discussion. Those are the examples I have. It’s hard for somebody to believe he’s not racist. I can say that just because …. There are some things he’s done policy-wise that’s helped to uplift some of the black community. The First Step Act in terms of prison reform …. Racism is prejudice plus power. Racism is when you think an entire group of people is inferior to you or your peer group. I don’t know if anyone has examined that. Does President Trump feel that all blacks or Mexicans are inferior as a group? That’s a question we have to ask and determine.”

My second question for King, a quasi-lighthearted one, made the civil rights activist laugh out loud, which, all professionalism aside, was pretty cool. I asked, “When the family sits down for Christmas dinner, what’s the conversation like with Cousin Alveda at the table?” Alveda Celeste King, for those who don’t watch Fox News, is a civil rights activist, former Georgia congresswoman and a vocal supporter of the President. The 68-year-old niece of MLK has defended Trump on many occasions, including on national TV when she said, “Racism is just a word that’s being bandied and thrown about and thrown at the president, in my opinion, unjustly. President Trump is not a racist.”

After a good laugh over a question her PR person said had never been asked before, Bernice King gave a thorough, thoughtful response:

“Because our family has such strong unconditional love for each other we do not let those kinds of things tear us apart as a family,” she said. “We have strong, vehement disagreements about how President Trump conducts himself. She is a Christian and she is also a minister, but at the end of the day she does what she does. I say what I need to say, she says what she needs to say.”

King then spoke much like the minister she is and her father was: “One thing I’ve learned about different opinions and ideologies is if you sit down and listen long enough and shut down your right to be right and allow yourself to hear what a person is saying, you might discover a bit of truth. That’s how my father developed his philosophy of non-violence. He was able to read and study a lot of different philosophers and theologians. Even those he didn’t agree with. So, if we’re going to create a more humane world, we have to learn to do that. Alveda has taught me because she’s so strong in what she feels and believes. We had a discussion over Labor Day weekend, and I sat and really listened to some of the things she was saying, and as I thought about them holistically there was some truth in that, and I had to acknowledge that. We have a tendency with people we disagree with to disagree with them fully. If there’s something specifically that I don’t like that is a part of your ideological system I shut you all the way down. I discount that there may be something in your makeup that is very beautiful, very powerful and has truth to it. But we don’t allow ourselves to open up to people unless they think mostly like us. And if we continue to do that then we’re going to have friction and tension and conflict.”

Attending his ninth World Summit was Frederik Willem de Klerk, former president of South Africa and a 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner with Nelson Mandela for their role in ending Apartheid. The political prisoner he freed and would later succeed him as the country’s leader. De Klerk’s response to a question on migration was refreshing in that he was the only laureate to say that nations cannot open the floodgates for immigrants.

“Migration is not only a problem between the USA and Mexico,” de Klerk said. “Look at the hundreds of thousands of people crossing Africa into Europe to escape from dangerous situations, from hunger and joblessness, and the problems the European countries have in assimilating these migrants. Migration is a problem around the world and it’s going to become a bigger problem. In the case of Europe, the population is shrinking, and just to keep the economy at the level where it is they will have to take in migrants. But I have sympathy for any country that says, ‘We can’t take anybody who wants to come into the country. We have to have an immigration policy that also puts importance on the interests of our country. We need migrants with specific skills.’ So, immigration policy should strike a balance between humaneness and protecting the interests of the country.”

Participating in her sixth World Summit was Rigoberta Menchu Tum, a Guatemalan Indian who was awarded the Peace Prize in 1992 for her work championing rights of indigenous peoples and reconciliation between ethnic groups. The morning of her so-called press conference, during which she and her guest panelists gobbled up all but the last few minutes for questions, Tum was on a different panel on migration. She believes that no one flees their country unless they’re desperate, and their sole objective is to live where they are safe. Assuming that’s true, I asked Tum why the caravans originating in Honduras and El Salvador make the long and dangerous journey to the United States instead of seeking asylum in the first safe country they reach, which so happens to be her homeland of Guatemala? “How open are the arms of your country, or is your nation happy when the refugees continue on to Mexico to ultimately be handled by the USA?” Her response, through an interpreter, was so off the mark, I may as well have asked if she likes meatloaf on Tuesdays. Even her panelist friend told me she completely dodged the question. Clearly, Tum is riding the Peace Prize train without practicing what she preaches. Hypocrisy reared its ugly head several times during her abbreviated Q&A; at the start she urged the media to ask tough questions.

A fixture at these near-annual events is Lech Walesa, who won the Peace Prize in 1983 for founding Poland's anti-communist Solidarity movement that played a key role in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. My question for the former Polish president, a pro-capitalist, was whether he would have been more successful developing his country as “The America of the East,” as he declared in 1991, with a businessman in the White House, Trump, than an actor-turned-politician, Ronald Reagan. Walesa said that it probably wouldn’t have mattered who was the U.S. president at the time because the collapse of communism throughout Europe happened faster than anyone predicted.

“My strategy was Poland first, but then East and West Germany reunified and there was a snowball effect in other countries of the [Eastern] Bloc,” Walesa said. “The speed actually surprised President Reagan and myself, too.”

Asked about Trump’s chances to win a Peace Prize this December, the Polish activist danced the polka around the question, responding through an interpreter that while the world leader diagnoses situations in a correct way, the solutions he applies are wrong.

“He wants to move in a different direction than the whole world is heading,” said the man who won his Nobel Prize by doing just that. Walesa used Trump’s policy on protecting the nation’s southern border with Mexico as an example. “He says there are too many people coming into the United States. There should not be a wall, but money invested in Mexico to create jobs. And once this is done, this will level the disproportion between the countries.”

Trump’s mistake, Walesa said, is “forgetting that people behave like interconnected containers of water.” He elaborated. “There is a great disproportion in development in the world. It’s not Mexico’s fault of this disproportion. It’s the United States’ fault. We need to move the water from one container to another. We need to level the disproportion.”

Walesa didn’t sound like he’d put money on Trump winning a Peace Prize this year or any year. Despite efforts to keep the peace, namely making historic inroads with North Korea and in the Middle East, all without war breaking out, Trump seems to be on the same prizeless path as some past Republican presidents. Reagan engineered the end of the Cold War, and Richard Nixon, by normalizing relations between the U.S. and China, forced the Soviet Union to yield to pressure for detente with the United States.

The last GOP president to win the Peace Prize was Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Since then, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama have been so honored in addition to Vice President Al Gore – all Democrats. This from an organization that as late as last month’s World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates said the selection committee has no political bias.

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The New Inductees

By Shelly Lembke  |  2019-10-17

2019 inductees from front row L-R: Steve Finch, Doug Hilton, Dr. Jim Champa, Don Martinez III, Tom Doherty and Jacquecar Robinson. Back row L-R: Mike Ondina and Robert “Pete” Reed. Not pictured are: Annie Klimecki-Roe, Chris Nyman, Bill Ferreirae, Billy Ferreirae and Tom Williams. Photo by Rick Sloan

RCAA Names New Hall of Fame Members

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Rancho Cordova Athletic Association hosted its 5th Annual Rancho Cordova Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on October 12, at City Hall. The sold-out event was hosted by celebrity emcee and Rancho Cordova native, Ken Rudulph, who wowed and wooed the crowd with personal anecdotes about the famous Lancers who were inducted that night.

This year’s inductees continue to expand the Rancho Cordova Sports Hall of Fame’s figural list of “Who’s Who” in the Rancho Cordova Sports Legacy. Current Vice-Mayor David Sander, Ph.D, opened the evening by emphasizing that the Rancho Cordova Athletic Association exists to continue this legacy by promoting youth sports in the City, “Where every kid gets to play.”

Individuals inducted this year: Dr. Jim Champa (Football & Wrestling), Tom Doherty (Coach), Bill Ferreirae (Heart of a Champion), Billy Ferreirae (Heart of a Champion), Steve Finch (Baseball), Doug Hinton (Baseball), Don Martinez III (Wrestling), Chris Nyman (Baseball), Mike Ondina (Baseball), Robert ‘Pete’ Reed (Coach), Jacquecar Robinson (Track/Body Building), Annie Klimecki-Roe (Swimming), Tom William (Football). Certainly not to be forgotten was the group induction of the entire 1985 Cordova High Lancer Football Team and Coach Max Miller, who became the first Sac-Joaquin Section team to nail down an unheard of 14-0 season.

The individual and group achievements of these coaches and student-athletes set records that still stand today, and their accomplishments are nothing short of stellar, with many going on to college and professional sports as athletes, team captains, leaders and coaches at all levels. Others became community leaders and impressive, influential professionals in education, law, medicine, fundraising, CEOs and other important positions that continue to touch lives and encourage lessons learned from sportsmanship.

The evening began with an adult cocktail hour that was paired with delectable appetizers prepared and artfully served by the Cordova High Culinary Academy students. Past inductees and local dignitaries were welcomed and recognized, as were the event’s sponsors, which were an impressive mix of individual, civic and corporate groups.


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