By Sarah Varanini, SSPCA   |  2018-11-20

Sacramento SPCA Rescue Coordinator Emily Egle (on left) and Sacramento SPCA Foster Coordinator Palina Chordas with two transferred dogs from the Sacramento City Animal Control on Front Street. Photo courtesy SSPCA

Petsmart Charities Donates to Help Pets Find Forever Homes

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA– The Sacramento SPCA recently announced their receipt of two new grants of $50,000 and $51,821 from PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America.  The grants are designed to increase intake and help the Sacramento SPCA transport and relocate pets so they can find forever homes.

Since 2016, the Sacramento SPCA has transferred close to 1,000 animals from overburdened shelters in Northern California to their location in Sacramento. In 2018 alone, the Sacramento SPCA transferred 328 animals from Antioch Animal Services, Contra Costa County Animal Services, Placer SPCA, Stockton Animal Control, Sacramento County Animal Control, and weekly visits to Sacramento City Animal Control on Front Street. The relocation of these pets not only allows the overburdened shelter to have open kennels for incoming animals, but gives the pets transferred the opportunity to find loving homes in a new environment. 

A $50,000 grant from PetSmart Charities was used to purchase a new transfer van, allowing the Sacramento SPCA to transfer even more animals per visit to overburdened shelters. A $51,821 grant from PetSmart Charities will soon completely renovate a new area at the Sacramento SPCA for intake and assessment of these transferred animals before they are ready to find their new families.  

“In the past, we could rescue six large dogs, or eight medium dogs or about a dozen and a half small dogs or cats,” said Kenn Altine, Sacramento SPCA CEO. “With the new PetSmart Charities van, we can load eight large crates and dozens of small and medium crates by using the folding shelves. We can bring back a wide mix of sizes that matches the needs of the partner shelter and the space availability here at Sacramento SPCA.” Employees from the Sacramento SPCA recently drove this new animal transfer vehicle to Kettleman City to transfer 15 dogs from areas affected by Hurricane Michael.

“Pet transport continues to play an important role in reducing pet homelessness and can provide a better chance for pets to find loving homes,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D. and president of PetSmart Charities. “We are thrilled to not only provide funding to support the transport of these pets from overwhelmed areas, but also increase the Sacramento SPCA’s capacity to provide quality care to pets on the journey to find their forever home.” 

Pet Transport is one of PetSmart Charities’ seven  grant categories designed to provide year-round opportunities for animal welfare organizations and non-profits to apply for funding support.  Funding from PetSmart Charities can help to cover the costs associated with pet transportation, veterinary and shelter care and vehicle maintenance and modifications.  With the help of its animal welfare partners, since 1994, PetSmart Charities has helped more than 8 million pets in need find forever homes. 

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The Art of the City

Story by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-11-18

The artists line up to celebrate the show. Photo by Jose Lopez.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – “We make an art of having fun, more fun than anywhere else in the region,” said Mayor Budge during her State of the City address. Fun was definitely on the ticket for all who attended the three for one event. Artists, art collectors, and others feasted upon an array of finger foods, viewed and bid upon silent auction 6” x 6” masterpieces, and purchased other small masterpieces including a “Mona Lisa.” Some buyers, at the end of the evening, took home half a dozen or more of the tiny pieces which served as a fundraiser for the Cordova Community Council. At $20 apiece, artwork was made available to everyone.

                Paintings, textiles, drawings, and mixed media artworks covered the downstairs and upstairs walls of City Hall for the annual fall art exhibition, juried this year by KVIE host Rob Stewart. The exhibit will remain until January, although several pieces were sold Thursday evening before 6 p.m. Symphony d’Oro ensemble performed background music.

                More music was to be had when the crowd moved into the American River rooms to hear Mayor Linda Budge’s State of the City address. Following the presentation of the colors by the Cordova High School Air Force ROTC, Cordova High School’s Chamber Choir sang “Star Spangled Banner,” followed by “I Believe,” a Jewish song that was dedicated to all victims of hate. The choir of ten girls and three boys held tea lights and lit those as they joined in the singing.

                As for what’s working in Rancho Cordova, it appears from the presentations that everything is working. Who would have expected the city of 70,000 to draw visitors from South Korea to its Independence Day celebration and hear that they were “blown away” by the fireworks and felt the community’s spirit.

                “There is so much happening in this city,” said Marc Sapoznik, executive director of Visit Rancho Cordova referencing Cordova Community Council’s Executive Director Shelly Blanchard’s presentation of events overview that included Sports Hall of Fame, MACC opening and the exhibits and related activities, the Rancho Cordova Concert Band, Symphony D’Oro, Kids’ Day, Memorial Day, HeartStoppers Haunted House, and the fireworks that impressed locals and visitors. Events were held on one hundred days last year.

                Sapoznik’s job is to bring people to the city and fill the sixteen hotel properties. During the past year 800,000 visitors came to the city and he looks forward to that number increasing to one million. The economic impact of the events and visitors reached $162 million with $6 million going into the general fund.

                Two new hotels are slated to open in 2019. From the sound of the audience, many were surprised to hear that Rancho Cordova hosts the largest rugby tournament in the United States. It’s also host to gymnastics, rowing, pro cycling, and will host the PAC 12 next year, and no one can forget that the California Capital Air Show is held at Mather each September. “We’re excited for 2019,” he said.

                Diann Rogers, CEO and President of Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged the board and ambassadors and showed a short video. Beth Tincher, SMUD’s government affairs representative, said that SMUD is “celebrating 41 years of energy efficiency” and introduced the woman everyone was anxious to hear.

                “Good evening, Rancho Cordova,” boomed Mayor Linda Budge. “Welcome to the art of living in Rancho Cordova.”

                The evening, she said, was about celebrating all of the artists who make up the city of Rancho Cordova – painters, sculptors, writers, architects, engineers, musicians. From the show of hands as she called out each art form, the entire audience was comprised of artists.

                Budge presented the top 15 accomplishments of 2018 beginning with birthday celebrations including 15 years of cityhood, 60 years of Cordova Recreation and Park District, and 100 years of Mather Air Force Base.

                “We asked for art and art happened,” she said.

                Mills Station Arts and Culture Center (MACC) opened in February and has hosted several exhibits, talks, and other activities. The city, she added, boasts several public art murals and mosaics. She didn’t leave out the performing arts and Sunday afternoon concerts at KP International.

                She spoke of the importance of partnerships, including the $3.4 million contribution to the Hagan pool replacement project that was presented to the community a week earlier. And she praised the new businesses choosing Rancho Cordova to call home. Hacker Lab opened this year, and the Barrel District features six breweries, two distilleries, and one meadery.

                Job growth is expected to continue. Rancho Cordova, she said, has “more jobs in the private sector than in the public sector,” which brought cheers from the audience. Those 65,000 jobs are just shy of the city’s population. Ribbon cuttings and ground breakings take place monthly. New homes, schools, and parks are also being built.

                The Community Enhancement Fund covers a lot of programs in public safety, arts, entertainment, and sports. Mayor Budge highlighted several projects, and each attendee received a “Citizen Report” showing funds going to crime suppression, school garden programs, after-school education and safety programs, Cordova Lancers, Leaders and Legends Mentors programs, MACC, Fourth of July parade, Art Ark, Lincoln Village fitness course, neighborhood abatement to pick up trash and recover shopping cars, and other projects to enhance the community.

                The Mather Heritage Trail opened this year with a 1.4 mile biking and walking path, and the city has taken innovative approaches to homelessness, she said, including using navigators and Mather Veterans Village, which is in its last phase of construction and will serve more than 100 homeless veterans and provide them the “dignity of living in their own home,” again drawing audience applause.

                “Take a minute and thank our veterans.”     

                Rancho Cordova Police Department’s neighborhood policing brings officers into the neighborhoods where they get to know residents. The program has been so successful that the department is being contacted by other jurisdictions. The team has grown with new school resource officers and K-9 detectives.

                Volunteers in Neighborhood Services (VINS) was praised, as was the work of student interns who designed renderings for the city’s new civic center to be located on the north side of Folsom Blvd. next to Folsom Lake College where the city recently acquired nine acres.

                “The budget is balanced with a healthy reserve” was probably a relief to the citizens given how many services and events the city offered or sponsored.

                “Rancho Cordova will remain a safe and healthy city, as good to live in 100 years from now as it is today,” said Mayor Budge. “We want to be proud to call Rancho Cordova home.”             

                For additional information, visit:

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Aging Cordova Community Pool to be Replaced

Story by Trina L. Drotar  |  2018-11-18

(L to R) Anthony Harris (LPA), Kevin Sullivan (LPA), Dennis Berkshire (LPA), Patrick Larkin (CRPD), Arash Izadi

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Built in the early 1960s, the Cordova community pool complex at Hagan Park began to show its age on and below the surface as outlined in a May 2014 evaluation by Aquatic Commercial Consulting. The complex housed three distinct pools and closed the last pool in July 2015, forcing several power users and groups like the Cordova Blue Marlins, Cordova High’s swim team, and the Sacramento Synchronized Swim Team – the Cordettes- to move trainings, productions, and meets to other area pools. Also affected was the community at large who came for recreational swimming, to teach their children and grandchildren how to swim, or just to enjoy the pools.

                There is light at the end of a very long tunnel according to the presentation at Rancho Cordova City Hall on October 23rd by Cordova Recreation and Park District (CRPD) and LPA, the consulting firm working on a new two pool project that is expected to break ground in 2019. The road has been bumpy and not always straight as many residents and pool enthusiasts know.

                The 2014 evaluation highlighted many problems with the half century old pool complex. Cosmetic blemishes could be remedied, but here were underlying problems with copper piping and the issue of how to bring the complex up to current codes and where the money would come from. Many community members wanted to simply repair the pools and renovate the mid-century era charm of the three pools, including the diving pool with its underground observation window permitting viewers to watch divers enter the water. Others, however, understood the costs associated with renovating and opted for a new pool.

                Pools, it turns out, aren’t money makers, yet they are used and desired by the community. Whether renovation or replacement, the pool was one of the main projects the community asked for during a series of workshops held in Rancho Cordova. In 2016, Measure J entered the picture, allowing the park district to obtain a $5 million dollar loan, said CRPD District Manager Patrick Larkin. That money, he added, would fund a one pool concept as presented to the community in February. The single pool would be for recreational swimming, said Larkin, effectively leaving out some of the pool’s largest stakeholders – Cordova High’s swim team, Cordova Blue Marlins, and the Cordettes.

                A contribution of an additional $3.4 million dollars from the City of Rancho Cordova allowed the district to reconceive the plan to include an additional pool with water features for children, a larger building, fixtures, and the expansion of the lap pool from eight to ten lanes, still four lanes short of what had been available in the original complex.

                “It’s a huge win for this community,” said Larkin. “The pool is a fixture in this community.”

                The original complex, he explained was “ahead of its time, a benchmark for other towns across the country,” and said that the three pool concept was popular with users. The diving pool with its observation window, the lap/competition pool, and the children’s wading area regularly drew people from inside and outside of the park’s expansive district. The new project may not include the nostalgia of bygone days, but it will be pools for the community, thanks in part to the contribution by the City of Rancho Cordova.

                “Our two agencies are working well together on a community-first model approach,” said Larkin.

                Community members, CRPD board members and staff, City of Rancho Cordova staff, members of the power user groups, and other interested parties filled the room to learn, most for the first time, of the two pool project presented by LPA staff Anthony Harris, Kevin Sullivan, Dennis Berkshire, and Arash Izadi. The event even included frosted cupcakes, a nod towards a community member at February’s meeting who wanted frosting on the cupcake, referring to wanting more than just a basic swimming pool.

                “We heard you,” said Sullivan, referencing the feedback received from the February community workshop. “A lot of what you talked about has been incorporated into this plan.”

                The PowerPoint presentation led attendees step by step through the project from a bird’s eye view of the pool complex as it would have been with water in the pools to several views of the project to a timeline and to potential enhancements that can be added at a later date.

                The lap/competition pool will be used by Cordova High’s swim team, Cordova Blue Marlins, and the Cordettes. The water is colder than that in the recreation pool which has space for lap swimming, water play features, and a zero depth entry.

                Potential enhancements include the possibility for shade canopy, a covered entrance, night lighting, and a scoreboard that was requested by a community member. Those items, explained Sullivan, will depend on the budget. Larkin also said after the presentation that he is seeking additional funding through private and corporate sponsorships, crowd sourcing, and partnerships. He has already contacted SMUD.

                Izadi showed slides of the current project as it is rendered with new pavement, a reoriented front entrance, a second entry for events. More filters, pumps, and other mechanical needs for the second pool, he explained, means expanding the building. The floor plan showed the ticket window, life guard station surrounded by glass permitting views to both pools, and the item that garnered the most excitement – fully operational, enclosed, and separate locker rooms.

                “Nice,” was heard from several people.

                Berkshire said that the lap pool will measure 75 feet by 60 feet and can accommodate water polo, meets, a variety of water aerobics, and will be used the by major groups. A full set of stairs along the one side of the shallow end of the pool will also be added. ADA compliant features for the pools include double handrails, lift, and the zero-depth entry of the recreation pool.

                “The entire pool deck will be at one consistent level,” said Izadi, who presented additional information about the project. This again drew a lot of community approval.

                Community input about the water features and other potential enhancements followed the presentation and many questions were asked about use, funding, and safety. Many people remained to engage with one another or with LPA or district staff.

                “This is where it should have been five years ago,” said one man.

                Cordova Blue Marlins Head Coach Amy Hanrahan wrote that she is “excited that the pool project is finally getting underway.” The team has been using Rosemont High School’s  pool and has had to hold smaller home meets or hold them at the competition’s pool.

                “It will be great to have our home pool back,” she wrote.

                Blue Marlins Parent Board President Stephanie Tadlock wrote that she is glad to see that more community needs will be met and that “being able to expand on the single pool concept from February’s presentation and add more features that will accommodate a wider variety of ages at the facility was a bonus to see included in the design.”

                For additional information, visit:

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Biggest Laser Tag Arena in Region Opens in Rancho Cordova

By Russell Hartley, City of Rancho Cordova  |  2018-11-18

Friends, family and member of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce celebrate the recent opening. Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Grab your kids, because the biggest laser tag arena in the Sacramento region has officially opened in Rancho Cordova! 

Jas Laser Tag features a two-story laser tag arena of almost 8,500 square feet and offers laser tag games lasting 20 minutes – the longest lasting laser tag games in the region. They also offer a unique bumper car experience, arcade games, and laser detection games.

Have a birthday coming up? Or are you looking to plan your next youth group activity? Jas Laser Tag offers private party rooms for your next event, which are available for walk-ins as well. 

On opening a location in Rancho Cordova, owner Kevin Gill said, “We saw that the City of Rancho Cordova was expanding, and we’re excited to serve the community. It’s always great to see the smiles on the parents and kids’ faces during their birthday parties that we hold here. With the community’s support, we hope to be here for years to come.” 

Jas Laser Tag offers fun and entertainment for the entire family, and is located at 9823 Old Winery Place, Suite 6.

Learn more about Jas Laser Tag and book your next party by visiting

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Rancho Cordova Police Department (RCPD) has received reports from residents about scams occurring throughout our community, with a particular focus on the elderly. RCPD wants to offer residents scam prevention and reporting tips.

Fraud Prevention Tips

·         Never give telemarketers or strangers your credit card number, bank account number or Social Security number, and never authorize bank drafts. No one should be asking for this information from you unsolicited.

·         Don’t fall for the “grandparents scam.” Scammers will call you and pretend to either be, or know, your grandchild. They will request that you send money either through wire transfer or gift cards to post bail to get them out of a legal situation. If you receive this call, consult other family members before sending any money or committing to any further course of action.

·         Never pay for a service using gift cards that are not related to the business or transaction being conducted. Once you have provided the gift card number and PIN, your money is gone. Anyone who demands payment via a gift card is a scammer, always.

·         If someone requests money from you in the name of a charity, listen carefully to the name of the charity requesting money. Fraudulent charities often use names that sound similar to a reputable, well-known organization, such as the "American Cancer Association" instead of the American Cancer Society.

·         Ask for a financial report before you donate. A reputable charity will always send you one.

·         Investigate before you invest. Never make an investment with a stranger over the phone. Beware of promises that include the terms "get rich quick" or "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

·         If you feel like someone is trying to scam you by phone, your best protection is to just hang up. You can also tell these callers politely that you are not interested, don't want to waste their time, and please don't call back.

Report a Scam

RCPD is asking residents to report any and all criminal activity. If you are a victim of a scam, please report it in the following ways:

·         If a subject is at your home and you feel they are trying to scam you, call 9-1-1.

·         If you feel you have been scammed, make a report by calling our non-emergency line at 916-362-5115 or online at

·         Please also report the scam to the appropriate agency or company that someone is claiming they are from, such as the IRS, PG&E, etc.

By working together, we can continue to make Rancho Cordova a safe place for all!

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MATHER, CA (MPG) - The Capital SouthEast Connector Joint Powers Authority has announced $20 million in grant funding previously secured through the California Transportation Commission’s (CTC) Local Partnership Program (LPP) available through Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, is secure following the failure of Proposition 6. This statewide proposition would have repealed SB 1, a 2017 law that generates $5.2 billion annually in new transportation funding that is permanently designated for road repairs and public transportation.

“The voters of California have spoken and, based on the outcome of Proposition 6, understand the importance of prioritizing funding sources to maintain our state’s transportation infrastructure,” said Derek Minnema, executive director of the Capital SouthEast Connector JPA. “The $20 million in funds previously secured through SB 1 will be invested judiciously to continue the advancement of the Connector, which will provide instant regional congestion relief to downtown Sacramento and close a critical rural-to-suburban connectivity gap here in our region.”

The Connector received the third largest statewide funding award of close to 90 grant applications for projects throughout California.

Earlier this year, the Sacramento Transportation Authority ranked the Connector as it’s No. 1 regional transportation project pursuing funding through the CTC’s LPP grant program.

The Connector closes a rural-to-suburban connectivity gap by transforming 34 miles of two-lane rural roads into a state-of-the-art, four-lane expressway connecting the communities of the City of Elk Grove, Sacramento County, City of Rancho Cordova, City of Folsom and El Dorado County. The new expressway will provide instant regional congestion relief to downtown Sacramento, provide parallel capacity to Highway 50, and an evacuation route for the southeastern part of Sacramento County. Project benefits also extend beyond the region as the Connector has been identified as a key project within California’s Central Valley Major International Trade Region, and will connect three U.S. Department of Transportation’s Primary Freight Network Routes that are the backbone of goods movement within the Central Valley.

The Connector JPA was formed in December 2006 and includes Sacramento County, El Dorado County and the cities of Elk Grove, Folsom and Rancho Cordova. It is responsible for the Connector’s planning, environmental review, engineering design, development and construction.

For more information, visit


Source: Randle Communications

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Help the Community Food Locker

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - We are looking for Business Leaders to help us fill the Cordova Community Food Locker for the Holidays. The Cordova Community Food Locker has served over 1.5 Million people in our community since their inception in 1987. They are committed to serving families locally, and just like most organizations working to end hunger, they are incredibly stretched for enough resources during the Holiday Season.

Here is the challenge; Raise a minimum of $1000!; Donate as many Turkeys as possible!

The WINNER will be the KING or QUEEN TURKEY in the 2019 Rancho Cordova 4th of July Parade (banner and all), Signage at the Rancho Cordova Community Golf Classic, and Dinner for Two at Il Forno Classico! Of course, you will also have bragging rights and the sense of knowing you made a huge difference in Rancho Cordova!

The person who raises the most money and collects most turkeys WINS!

*In order to qualify as the Winner, the minimum challenge of $1000 must be met, one point for every dollar and every turkey – person with the most points wins.

Julie Hagan-Belka to be part of the challenge at (916) 296-3876

Source: Roth Staffing Companies

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