Symphony d’Oro Celebrates Community, Heroes, and a New Name

Story by Trina L. Drotar; Photos courtesy Symphony D’Oro  |  2018-10-05

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra has a new name and a new event as it opens its sixth season. The newly renamed Symphony d’Oro Rancho Cordova will celebrate heroes big and small through its free concert, “Heroes: Celebrating All Who Make a Positive Difference in the World,” on Saturday, October 13at River City Christian.

Maestro Pete Nowlen will conduct the volunteer symphony orchestra and solo violinist, Chase Spruill, through four centuries of classics by Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonín Leopold Dvořák, Gordon Jacob, Felix Mendelssohn, and Antonio Vivaldi. 

The composers were specially selected for this concert because they “had other aspects to their lives that make them the kind of people we want to celebrate,” said Lorraine Crozier, president of Symphony d’Oro.

Beethoven composed many of his greatest works in his late 40s and early 50s when he was going deaf, and the first four notes of his “Symphony No. 5” is the most widely recognized line after “Happy Birthday,” she said. Between 1803 and 1812, Beethoven composed 116 complete pieces including an opera. Dvořák “was brought to America to develop the concept of American classical music,” said Crozier. Jacob served in WWI, was held captive, and formed a small camp orchestra using instruments fashioned out of whatever could be found. He set himself apart with his fondness for Baroque music at a time when it was not fashionable and for his ability to compose for wind bands.

Mendelssohn, said Crozier, supported his sister’s musical talent, often seeking her critique on his works. The child prodigy composed operas and symphonies including “Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream,” his most recognizable composition, at age seventeen. Vivaldi composed more than 200 concerti for solo violin, wrote operas, composed sacral vocals, and he contributed to the classic three movement concerto.

The fifty musicians who perform in the full orchestra are doctors, lawyers, architects, nurses, retired, and college students. Some are recent members. Others, like Crozier, have performed since the group’s inception in 2012 during a Sacramento State chamber music summer workshop. 

The symphony first performed as the Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra in May 2013 and celebrated Rancho Cordova’s ten year anniversary of cityhood with its second full concert. Maestro Nowlen has been with the orchestra since he led that summer workshop and is active in orchestral and chamber music circles throughout the Sacramento region and San Francisco Bay Area.

Musicians and volunteers travel from Auburn, Davis, and from the San Francisco Bay Area, said Crozier, adding that about half of the musicians, including one cellist in her 80s, have been members since the beginning. They perform as a full orchestra in four free concerts annually and one fundraiser. Many also perform in smaller ensembles for activities at Mills Station Art and Culture Center (MACC) and Rancho Cordova special events. 

“Playing in a musical ensemble is a special thing,” said Crozier. “It’s a great feeling. That is why we do it.”

They also help support Cordova Community Food Locker (CCFL), founded by a group of volunteers in 1987, which provides food for about 5,000 people monthly. Crozier said that CCFL also provides turkey dinners at Thanksgiving. During intermission, donations may be given and music lovers can meet the musicians.

And the reason for the name change, she said, goes to the heart of the orchestra and society. 

“In ancient languages gold and treasure were often the same word,” wrote Crozier in an email. “Music, and the rich musical heritage that has evolved over many centuries, is something for all humans to enjoy, preserve, and value. In sharing music we share the greatest of artistic treasures and help to preserve it for future generations.” In Spanish and Italian, the word for gold or treasure is Oro.

“The arts are really the heart and soul of the community,” she said, and refers to the compromise required when fifty talented musicians come together to perform a “team sport where everybody wins.” 

As for who heroes are, she said that “a hero gives up a seat on the bus to a person who needs it.” 

For additional information on Symphony D’Oro, visit For additional information on Cordova Community Food Locker, visit     If you go: Saturday, October 13 at 4:00 p.m. River City Christian Church, 10933 Progress Court, Rancho Cordova.

Rancho Cordova's History

“Teacher Night” a First at Aerospace Museum

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-10-05

From preschool to high school, teachers inside and outside of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields came together to learn what the museum has to offer their students and discover new ways to integrate STEM learning in the classroom.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - After a full day of teaching school, instructors came from as far away as El Dorado Hills to attend the Aerospace Museum of California’s first Teacher Night on September 27. From preschool to high school, teachers inside and outside of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields came together to learn what the museum has to offer their students and discover new ways to integrate STEM learning in the classroom. Refreshments and a sneak peek at the museum’s new exhibit, “Our Solar System: an interactive journey,” including a teacher’s exhibit guide, were part of the evening’s curriculum.

The museum is located on McClellan Air Force base where it began in 1986 as McClellan Aviation Museum. Director Tom Jones, who has held the position since March, says that the museum is committed to STEM education for students of all ages and to becoming the best on the West Coast. As a Smithsonian Air and Space Museum affiliate, exhibits like the 2018 “Art of the Airport Tower” and 2017 “DaVinci Inventions” can be brought to Sacramento.

On the main floor, nestled between airplanes, an SR71 jet propulsion engine, and a history of space exploration, were activities for children of all ages, and the teachers took full advantage by seeing how parachutes function or engineering with marbles. Others learned why the moon turns blue and viewed photos of nebulae on one of the many monitors that will accompany the exhibit. Each visitor was treated to a docent led tour of the museum and its grounds.

Upstairs, at the far end, tucked in a hallway, teachers made their way to the Flyers Flight Zone to experience simulated flying on one of the six high-end gaming machines. Museum volunteers, led by Flyers Flight Zone Director Warren Searls, educated the educators and allowed each some hands-on flight time.

“There is a huge shortage of pilots worldwide,” Searls said, adding that the Flight Zone is a way to interest fifth through twelfth grade students in flight and perhaps becoming pilots. In 2017, 10,000 students visited the Flight Zone, and many from Title 1 schools received scholarships for the flight simulations. He wants teachers to encourage students to remain in school and consider taking those STEM classes.

Miss Naomi Endsley, from Orangevale’s Almondale Academy, was one of the first teachers to try the simulator.

“I didn’t crash,” she said, a sentiment echoed by other teachers who took turns at flying to New Zealand, Switzerland, and San Francisco.

Endlsey teaches second and third grades and said that she definitely picked up new ideas for her students. Like many others that evening, she had never been to the museum. She said that she’ll bring her students and let them have the chance to see a piece of history and what technology really is. She engaged in conversation with Karen Jones, the museum’s development director and Tom Jones, museum director, about what technology holds in store for the future.

Twin Rivers Unified School District teachers agreed that they would definitely bring their students, one of several school districts the museum currently facilitates STEM, history, and art learning opportunities with. San Juan Unified School District, UC Davis, Sacramento State University, American River College, University of the Pacific, and charter schools are others.

Director Jones said that the museum has a formal mentorship program with the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  Sacramento State undergraduate history students are conducting research on the museum’s airplanes and will create videos that may be accessed with QR codes to enhance the static exhibits. At least one Sacramento State graduate student is working on his master’s thesis by building an upcoming exhibit about Bob Hoover who, among other things, was a revolutionary in aerobatic flying. Sacramento City College owns the Fed Ex jet parked in the outside exhibition area and uses it as its classroom.

Even the youngest students can benefit from STEM learning as Kimberly Dillon, preschool teacher at Discovery Learning Center in Fair Oaks, said. She has brought her students to the museum for several trips and said that they really enjoy climbing the planes. Her guest that evening was her son, Anthony.

“Very cool for kids,” was the phrase most often heard from teachers.

For additional information, visit If you go: 3200 Freedom Park Drive, McClellan, CA.

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Big-Play Lancers Light Up Johnson

Story by Daniel Mano; Photos by Rick Sloan  |  2018-10-05

Lancers quarterback Johnele Sanders slipped through the middle, weaved through traffic and cut across the field en route to a 99-yard touchdown that put an early exclamation point on Cordova’s 46-8 road win on September 28 over Hiram Johnson High.

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - With the Cordova High School football team pinned at its own 1-yard line and only 21 seconds left before halftime, Johnele Sanders would have succeeded simply by staving off a safety.

Instead the Lancers quarterback slipped through the middle, weaved through traffic and cut across the field en route to a 99-yard touchdown that put an early exclamation point on Cordova’s 46-8 road win on September 28 over Hiram Johnson High.

The Lancers needed just six offensive snaps to go up 14-0 and led 40-0 by halftime of the Greater Sacramento League victory played at Rosemont High.

“We’re now 2-5 and there’s going to be some teams that are going to be scared of us because of the athletes that we have,” Cordova head coach John McCoy said.

Sanders wasn’t the only Lancer to show off big-play prowess. Wide receiver Alvin Banks took an end-around sweep 63 yards for a score and lineman Andrew Turner scooped up a fumble before dashing 60 yards for a touchdown.

“Once I tucked it, I was gone,” Turner jubilantly told teammates on the sideline afterward.

Raymond Fite had a key block on that return and also ran for three touchdowns. Along with 115 yards passing, Sanders added another score on the ground. Cordova finished with 259 yards rushing.

“I give credit to the offensive line,” McCoy said of the team’s offensive explosion. “Those holes were huge.”

The starting offensive line was comprised of Austin McCoy, Sergey Kalashyan, Anthony Patterson, Anthony Curry and Turner.

Defensively, the Lancers were led by Elijah Jenkins (11 tackles) and Dumaurier Hackett (eight). Tim Apole forced the aforementioned fumble and Jeremiah Bankett had an interception.

Johnson’s only touchdown came in the final minute of the game.

“We shut them down,” Cordova assistant head coach Gary Lawrence said. “Before that last drive, when we had a lot of subs in, they probably only had 90 yards of total offense. We did our film work, we did our homework and we knew what they were going to run.”

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Decade Decadence For Homecoming

By Daniel Mano  |  2018-10-05

2018 Homecoming Royalty Nominees: Back Row: Evan Heidt, Jasmine Brown, Peggy Kavugwe, Annalise Tate, Kelton Stevens, James Sillas, Jaiden Brown, Jaeden Gaw, Camille Jackson, and Alivia Baldwin. Front Row: Trevor Soza-Lancaster, Gavin Sullivan, Robin Jennings, Elijah Joseph, Angela Dong, Carmen Lukban, Starla Thomas, Hannah Hontz, Soleil Boulton, and Julissa Delgado. Not Pictured: Elijah Bomar, Garrett Lopez, Braden Shubert, Kaitlynn Duffey, Johnele Sanders, and Emilie Cava. Photo courtesy Cordova High

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - A time-honored tradition will be presented with a time-related theme October 5 when Cordova High School has its Homecoming.

“Dancing through the Decades” is the theme for the floats set to be featured at halftime of the Cordova High varsity football game. The senior class has the 1990s, the juniors the ’80s, the sophomores the ’70s and the freshmen the ’60s.

Students from each class spent afternoons and early evenings this week assembling their floats.

“We definitely took in some of the ideas of the ’80s being shared in pop culture today,” said publicity representative Cyara Miller, a junior. “We’re asking our parents for help, too.”

Rough drafts for float design were turned in two weeks prior to Homecoming week, according to Miller. Each of the classes gathered their materials with the help of their class adviser and by using funds from within their class budget, she said.

“Of course we’re all very excited,” Miller said last week about Homecoming. “We’re entering Homecoming Mode to help our class show our school spirit.”

Spirit days this week include Traffic Light Monday, where students wore colors coded to their relationship status, and Athletes Day, when there was a Lancer Olympics Rally. Twinsday Wednesday, Decade Theme Day and Fired Up Friday rounded out the spirit days.

“It’s all about showing how much we love to show our school spirit,” said Baylee Rogerson, another publicity representative.

Alumni will be invited to join the class floats in a parade at halftime of the football game, a 7 p.m. Greater Sacramento League contest against Florin.

Miller also mentioned an alumni dinner before the game “so that people can reunite.”

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Appeals Case Impacts Illegal Camping Ordinance

SacCounty Release  |  2018-10-04

Since January 2018, Sacramento County rangers have issued 1,834 citations for unlawful camping under the County ordinance, and 224 citations for unlawful camping under the City of Sacramento ordinance. Photo courtesy SacCounty News

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A federal court decision has ruled that illegal camping ordinances are unconstitutional and that local governments cannot cite or arrest anyone sleeping on public property.

On September 4, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the case Robert Martin v. City of Boise, stating that enforcing anti-camping ordinances when adequate shelter beds are unavailable is unconstitutional.

Because of that ruling, the Sacramento County Department of Parks stopped enforcing the City of Sacramento’s anti-camping ordinance and the County ordinance prohibiting camping without a permit.

Since January 2018, Sacramento County rangers have issued 1,834 citations for unlawful camping under the County ordinance, and 224 citations for unlawful camping under the City of Sacramento ordinance.

The County is currently evaluating enforcement options under existing laws and regulations and will provide information to the Board on next steps. 

Sacramento County Rangers will continue to enforce ordinances including but not limited to campfires, littering, dogs off leash, possession of a shopping cart and environmental degradation. 

“As soon as I found out about the ruling, I suggested our board meet to discuss its implications, especially for my constituents who rightfully demand a clean and safe Parkway,” said First District Supervisor Phil Serna, who represents the lower reach of the American River Parkway. 

“I have many questions, including why County Counsel advised that park rangers not enforce the illegal camping ordinance without notifying or coordinating with board members,” he continued.

Source: SacCounty News

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Creativity Gone Wild

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-10-04

Local Nonprofits Help Young Authors’ Dreams Come True

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - How many children do you know who have written illustrated, and published their own book?  In Citrus Heights, 125 students, 1st through 5th grade, at the Mariposa Avenue Elementary School have added “author” to their resume, which will follow them through high school and beyond.

This unique program called “Creativity Gone Wild” is taught by members of the Mariposa Literary Academy in Citrus Heights and is designed to inspire students to stretch their minds and use their imaginations in new ways.
The program was the brainchild of Karen Szakacs, a kindergarten teacher at Mariposa in 2014, and Marsha Robinson, a local author of children’s books.  Together with Cherelyn Martello, the three women launched the first academy in 2014.
The spark that ignited the idea for the student authored books came when a kindergarten boy at Mariposa heard Robinson read her book “Rescuing Humphrey” to the class and afterwards raised his hand. He asked her to write another book about Humphrey. She answered by suggesting he write it. He replied, “I don’t know how,” and the Mariposa Literary Academy was born.
Since January, 2014 the Academy has taught 11 after-school academies (two per year) with 125 young authors to-date proudly producing their own hard cover fiction books at the end of the 16-session academy.  A maximum of 12 students are chosen by their teacher to participate in each academy.
The entire book is the work of the student author. They come up with their own fictional story, with a beginning, middle and conclusion, along with illustrations. They begin with a normal life experience such as a camping trip in the woods with their family.  They are told to enhance it using their imagination, such as being transported to another planet by space aliens. The results have truly been mind-boggling.               
To help teach the authors how to illustrate their own books, Peter Blueberry, alias Lance Pyle - a children's book author and illustrator, volunteers his time explaining the art of illustration and helping students with their own work.
Shutterfly, an American internet-based publishing service, prints the books for about $15 each. Each student receives a hardcover book for themselves, a hardcover book to sign for the school library and the Academy receives a paper copy of each student’s book. They have become the most popular books checked out by students.
While instruction and the printed books are free to participants, actual cost per pupil averages $50. In addition to the cost of publishing, funds are used for items such as paper and art supplies, snacks, and photography.
Financially, the Literary Academy, Creativity Gone Wild, is managing to stay solvent with the help of two philanthropic organizations and other donations.

Through word of mouth the Rotary Club of Citrus Heights and Soroptimist International of Citrus Heights immediately stepped up and have continued to provide the largest portion of the over $6,000 needed to fund the program for the last five years. The Optimist Club of Citrus Heights and Mariposa Parent Faculty Organization have also provided funds. 
Robinson stated in an email, “I would like to show my thanks to the organizations that have supported this program, to the volunteers that help us run the program, and to the school itself for allowing us to use their campus.” 
She would also like to invite other schools to look at the “possibilities that an academy like this can provide students” in their schools. The Mariposa Literary Academy would love to share their experiences with local elementary school teachers.

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FCUSD Candidates Discuss Pathways to Student Success

Story by Shaunna Boyd; Photo by Publisher Paul Scholl  |  2018-09-28

Candidates (L-R) Jaya Badiga, David Reid, Joshua Hoover and incumbent Ed Short are vying for three open seats on the Folsom Cordova Unified School District (FCUSD) Board of Education.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Four candidates are vying for three open seats on the Folsom Cordova Unified School District (FCUSD) Board of Education. On Monday, September 24, an informational candidate forum gave candidates an opportunity to share their opinions and priorities with district voters.

Jaya Badiga outlined her goals for the board as action, accountability, and transparency. Badiga believes the board should ensure a welcoming culture for students in district schools. She suggests introducing social emotional learning, which teaches students how to cope and function in a group so they develop increased empathy, which reduces bullying and isolation. “My experience at WEAVE and working with community organizations has shown me that our students need someone to help, not only with their academic success, but also with their social and emotional success,” said Badiga.

There is a lot of diversity in the district, both in terms of culture and academic ability, and Badiga recognizes that “education is not one size fits all.” In particular, she is concerned about the disparity in achievement rates and that special education programs in the district are falling behind.

With a limited budget for the district, Badiga’s priority would be to retain the experienced and dedicated staff members. If elected, Badiga says her decisions on the board would always be fact based, and she believes the impact on the student population is the most important factor to consider.

Joshua Hoover is a PTA member and serves on the Folsom Cordova Special Education Community Advisory Committee. He is the policy director for State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who represents the City of Folsom. Hoover advises Kiley on education issues and has worked on many policies to expand technology in the classroom.

Hoover’s goals for the district include preparing students for success by increasing STEM programs, strengthening the board’s transparency and accountability, and creating a culture of inclusion within the schools. Hoover stated that “closing the achievement gap is the greatest need and challenge facing our district.”  Hoover is particularly concerned with the lack of parental involvement in some areas of Rancho Cordova, so he wants to focus on engaging those parents because increased parental involvement leads to increased student achievement.

As a board member, Hoover says he plans to be actively engaged in the process; he will do the research and come prepared. He will have the difficult conversations in order to find the best possible policies to meet the needs of the community. “All decisions will be based on what is best for students and parents…It’s very important to listen to the needs of the community,” said Hoover.

Dave Reid has more than 20 years of education policy experience. Since moving to California in 2006, he has served as general counsel at EdFund in Rancho Cordova, is the current president of Folsom Cordova PTA Council, and is a founding board member of Folsom Cordova Education Foundation.  

Reid believes that not everyone needs or wants to go to college, so he supports bringing trades back into the high schools to give students other pathways to successful careers. He would also like to see the district partner with the business communities to provide students with internship and apprenticeship opportunities.

As the district continues to grow and more school sites are needed, Reid believes the district must be smarter about their building designs. He said single-story construction is outdated and school sites quickly run out of space so they can’t expand when necessary, while multi-level buildings would reduce the environmental impact and would allow for more growth.

Some of Reid’s top priorities are to close the achievement gap, reduce class sizes, and better address students’ mental health. If elected, Reid said, “I can’t guarantee you that we’ll always see eye to eye, but what I can guarantee you is that you will always have my ear, no matter what.”

Incumbent Ed Short has served on the FCUSD board for 16 years. He is proud of how the board handled tough decisions during the economic downturn, doing the best they could with what they had available. When making decisions on the board, Short strives to always follow the board’s mission statement and to ensure decisions align with existing goals and policies. He said it’s important for the board to involve all stakeholders in difficult decisions so that policies are fact based and fiscally responsible.

Some of Short’s top priorities are to increase programs for English learners and improve special education programs. He acknowledged that growth in the area is a major challenge, and overcrowding is a serious issue, so the district needs to focus on expanding and maintaining facilities.

Short said, “I believe my qualifications, experience, and impeccable record of service qualifies me to continue serving our kids and you as an effective board member…I do not have a personal educational or political bone to pick. I bring no baggage to the table of public service, only my sincere desire to serve the best educational interest of our children.”

All the candidates are passionate about improving the district and would bring a unique set of experiences, ideals, and priorities to the FCUSD board.  To watch the forum online, visit


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The Barrel District Experience

Story by Shaunna Boyd; Photos by Matt Van Donsel  |  2018-09-28

Enjoy Samples of Craft Brews, Fine Spirits, and “Nectar of the Gods”

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Rancho Cordova’s Barrel District is comprised of six breweries, two distilleries, and the only meadery in the area. On Saturday, October 6, the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Barrel District Experience, a fundraising event from noon to 6 p.m. that will allow ticketholders to not only sample each venue’s product, but also to experience the culture and atmosphere of each unique location.

The Chamber of Commerce was looking for a new fundraising event, so Sheryl Smith, Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce board member, initiated the idea of the Barrel District Experience. “I thought it would be awesome to do an inaugural event in the Barrel District, since it’s such an asset to the City,” said Smith. As the Chairwoman of the Barrel District Experience, she really wanted to showcase everything these businesses have to offer local connoisseurs—and anyone looking for a fun evening out. Smith said, “There is not another district like this in the United States, due to the combination of distilleries, breweries, and the meadery all together in one area of the city.”  

Smith knew that the Barrel District Experience would be enhanced by introducing the right foods to pair with the tastings. The Chamber of Commerce worked with each of the nine businesses to identify what types of food would best complement their craft brews and spirits. The participating food vendors are donating substantial “bites” to accompany the libations at each location.

In addition to craft brews, fine spirits, and fabulous food, the venues will also be offering activities and games that emphasize their distinct character. The Barrel District businesses will not be closed to the public during the event, but the Barrel District Experience will give ticketholders access to private parties held at each location. The work of local artists will also be on display, loaned to the Barrel District Experience by the Cordova Art Council.

The two distilleries in the Barrel District are Gold River Distillery and J.J. PFister Distilling Company. The six breweries are Thin Line Brewing Company, ol’ Republic Brewery, Old Hangtown Beer Works, Fort Rock Brewing, Claimstake Brewing, and Burning Barrel Brewing Company.

The meadery is a major selling point of the event, because there are very few meaderies in California. Strad Meadery in the Barrel District is the only local venue where you can sample this unique honey wine, which ancient people called “Nectar of the Gods.”

The businesses within the Barrel District are not within easy walking distance of each other, so that did present a safety issue when coordinating this event. The Chamber of Commerce wanted to ensure that ticketholders are able to travel safely between the nine locations. Rancho Cordova Chief of Police Chris Pittman shared that concern and worked with the Chamber to find workable solutions. The Chamber was originally planning to offer $15 tickets for designated drivers, but that ticket price has been reduced to only $5; designated drivers will have access to the food, games, and activities at all locations. The Chamber is partnering with Lyft, which is offering $10 off of two rides within nine miles of the Barrel District. Some of the venues are also located near Light Rail stations.

Smith expressed gratitude to the event’s social media strategists, beer enthusiasts Maggie Huss and Matt Van Donsel, who helped spread the word online. Smith also acknowledged the sponsors who help make the event possible: Rancho Cordova Travel and Tourism, California American Water, Smith Real Estate Services, Councilmember Garrett Gatewood, Graphics and More, and Grand Stand.  

Tickets to the Barrel District Experience are limited and could sell out before the day of the event. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online at

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Superheroes Descend Upon Sacramento

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2018-09-28

Wonder Woman poses with three-year-olds Roxy (left) and Isla (right).

DC Wonder Woman Run Series Brings Out the Hero in Everyone

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento was overrun by superheroes on Saturday, September 22 when the DC Wonder Woman Run Series hosted its inaugural event with a 5K and 10K run through Capitol Mall. Sacramento was the first city in the United States to participate in this race.

The event was produced by SON Events in conjunction with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. Sarah Ratzlaff, director of marketing for SON Events, said, “The race has a strong overall theme of women’s empowerment. Wonder Woman embodies strength, bravery, and power. The goal of the event is to show that there’s a Wonder Woman in all of us. That’s why we’re using the hashtag #IAmWonderWoman.”

The festival area was decorated with giant balloons and lined with an array of fluttering Wonder Woman flags. Area streets were blocked off by police cars, flashing their red and blue lights. Approximately 1,300 people participated in the 5K and 10K runs. The first-place finishers were Sandra Khounvichai with a time of 20:26 in the 5K and Stephen Harms with a time of 48:43 in the 10K.

The DC Wonder Woman Run Series is designed to empower the Superhero in everyone, so runners and walkers of all ability levels were encouraged to participate, regardless of their athletic abilities. Many participants had never run or walked in a 5K before this event. After completing the course, each participant was given a Wonder Woman medal. The festivities continued after the race, with a celebration featuring food trucks, a beer tent, face painting, official Wonder Woman merchandise, and a main stage with live musical entertainment.

Race participant Christie Pierce said he was persuaded to join the race just the evening before: “I decided to tag along. I said, ‘Sure, I’ll wear a skirt, I’ll do it.’ But more importantly, I decided to do it because I support strong, independent women.”

Theresa Ivaldi, Karli Cisneros, and Christina Mundy entered the race together. They thought it would be more fun to run together in a group of friends. This was Ivaldi’s first run, and she thought the Wonder Woman run was a fun way to start. Cisneros said, “I love running and love spending time with my friends, so I figured why not combine the two.” Mundy said, “What better way to run a 5K with friends and family than a Wonder Woman run that represents women’s power?” Mundy’s kids, Isabella (10) and Jackson (8), and their friend Sophie Carr (10), all love Wonder Woman. They enjoyed the race and especially loved getting a shiny medal to commemorate their accomplishment of crossing the finish line.

The DC Wonder Woman Run Series will be hosted in Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, and Los Angeles this fall. The Los Angeles run, as the flagship run, will be the largest in the series with 7,000 – 8,000 participants expected. If you would like to participate in one of the upcoming runs, or for more information on the DC Wonder Woman Run Series, please visit the website at

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Sacramento CERT Needs You

Story by Trina L. Drotar; Photos courtesy Sacramento CERT  |  2018-09-28

The Basic CERT course, Level 3, is sanctioned by FEMA and was developed by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) after the Mexico City and Kobe earthquakes.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento’s California Emergency Response Team’s (CERT’s) graduation drill took place on Saturday, September 1 from 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Northern California Regional Public Safety Academy in McClellan Park. The community participated and explored their inner actors as volunteer victims with broken arms or legs or other injuries for the day’s free event.

The drills tested the program’s graduates on practical skills including sizing up a building to determine if it is safe to enter; search and rescue; transport; and triage and treatment. They assessed situations simulating burning buildings and locating victims in dense smoke and at night. Graduates radioed transport crews, practiced victim transport before another group assessed injuries, bandaged, and prepared victims for transport to a medical facility said Robert Ross, Chief, Operations, Sacramento CERT, CERT 22.

“Watching, you don’t get to see as much,” he said, adding that the role of victim teaches more to the community who wants to understand what happens during an emergency such as a fire.

Ross explained that most people see only the end result.

“It’s a good way to see them in action and experience it without being in a collapsed building,” he said.

The Basic CERT course, Level 3, is sanctioned by FEMA and was developed by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) after the Mexico City and Kobe earthquakes. The course, Ross explained, is for everyday citizens with no previous training or particular skills who want to learn how to prepare for a disaster and is offered at no charge.

“Civilians will be on their own for the first 72 hours,” said Ross, and will learn about disaster psychology and how to prepare bags with the necessities to assist in their immediate neighborhoods. Ross said that people don’t often think about bringing items like pet toys when they need to evacuate. Trained civilians can put out small fires and even triage in their neighborhoods if the need arises, but they need to practice, and that’s where the graduation drill comes in.

Graduates learn about fire behavior, which has been especially bad in California this summer, identification of hazardous materials, including those being transported, and terrorism. Upon graduation, CERT trained civilians can assist locally and can transfer their CERT training to other cities or states if they move. Since the Sacramento region is prone to flooding, this would also be covered in local training.

This level is required in order to continue with advanced courses to be certified as a Disaster Service Worker or a First Responder. Additionally, graduates may pursue training to join one of the special teams – Urban Search & Rescue, Animal Response, or Radio Communications.

“During a disaster cell phones won’t work, satellite phones are few and far between,” said Ross. “Ham operators during Hurricane Katrina passed messages. We can talk to Japan if we need to,” he said.

One legally blind team member who used a motorized wheelchair ran the ham radio and was one of the best in Sacramento.

“There are no limitations on who can participate. There are many ways to be involved, with a job for everyone.”

For additional information, visit Look for them at many local public events. The next academy will be held in spring of 2019.

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