Orrock Gives Update on Oroville Dam and Water Situation

Story and Photo by Margaret Snider  |  2017-03-22

California Water Commission Information Officer Chris Orrock gestures in front of screen view of the Oroville Dam emergency spillway as it appeared in February.

At the Rancho Cordova March Luncheon on March 17 Diann Rogers, president and CEO of the Rancho Chamber, introduced Chris Orrock. “Chris and I and his lovely wife Michelle go way back,” said Rogers. “He had a front row seat for the big show up in Oroville a few weeks back.”

On February 12 Orrock, who is public information officer for the California Water Commission and Department of Water Resources, was in Oroville on the Sunday shift and was getting ready to go home when a member of the staff ran up to say something was wrong. “In five minutes a massive amount of people on their cell phones were running toward me,” Orrock said.

Orrock was trying to decide who he needed to talk to and what he needed to do, when an official told him that they had two minutes to leave. “So we take off,” Orrock said. “Meanwhile, as we pull out on the road, the Sheriff issued the evacuation order. All of a sudden the roads are jammed.” Without even a change of clothing, Orrock began his 12-day stint working 19-hour days in Oroville, collecting information and keeping the media and public informed.

The heavy rains had raised the level of Oroville Dam to such a degree that the water was flowing over the emergency spillway. Though the spillway was created for that purpose, it had not ever had to be used since being built in 1968. The problem started as a small hole that began to erode and enlarge. “The worry we had,” Orrock said, “is that erosion was working so fast, if it would have come up... it could have caused its collapse, which would start a domino effect down the line, and have an uncontrolled release of a 30-foot to an 85-foot wall of water coming down the stream into the neighborhood.”

With the help of Cal Fire and many others, the situation came under control, and the evacuation ended. Nevertheless, the reconstruction and repair will continue for months. “Nothing like this has ever happened at any dam in the world,” Orrock said. “We’re learning as we go.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, and numerous other government and nongovernment entities are helping on the project.

Orrock had something to say about the status of the drought, as well. “Just because we get a lot of rain now, doesn’t mean the drought is over,” Orrock said. A big factor still contributing to drought in California is the shortage of groundwater. This has caused the ground to sink, illustrated by the Big Sur bridge and other bridges in the San Joaquin Valley. “The pillars actually no longer touch the bridge, and that’s because of what’s called subsidence,” Orrock said. “... Groundwater is so depleted that it will take years to renew, even if rains continue at the same high rates.” The good news is that there are near record levels of snowpack. “Snowpack is 30% of our total water usage in California.”

Proposition 1, a water bond, was passed in 2014 and provides 2.7 billion dollars for public benefits associated with water storage projects. “It’s not a grant program... it’s an investment program,” Orrock said. “We want to make sure that the residents of California get something back for giving this money to us.”

A vital part of Proposition 1 is above-ground storage. “The majority party didn’t want it,” Orrock said. “The minority party, the Republicans, wanted to continue to try to get some more above-ground storage. So we’re hoping that we’ll get a wide variety of people applying and be able to get most of the groundwater recharged and some above-ground storage.”

American River Brewing Company was the Magic Maker sponsor for this month’s luncheon, appropriately since water is very important to their business. Owner David Mathis provided table decorations of two types of beer, their newest cans, which guests could take home. “Our water comes from Golden State Water, local to Rancho Cordova, and is actually Sierra runoff, so the water is very, very pure,” Mathis said.

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Team Works to Beautify Cordova Village

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-03-22

Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

Mayor Donald Terry, along with volunteers from the City of Rancho Cordova, Republic Services, Rancho Cordova Police Activities League (PAL), Cordova High School Lancers football, and Volunteers in Neighborhood Services (VINS), worked together recently to beautify the Cordova Villa neighborhood by hosting a neighborhood clean-up. Many households participated by placing debris and trash outside on the curb for collection. Every year, the City of Rancho Cordova and Republic Services come together to host a neighborhood clean-up in the community.

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Rancho Cordova Little League Holds Opening Day

All Photos courtesy Rick Sloan  |  2017-03-22

The Cubs are excited about getting the season started.

On March 11th, Rancho Cordova Little League kicked off with its Opening Day Ceremony that began at 8 a.m., with players and coaches meeting for the early morning parade and following festivities.

The Boy Scouts conducted the Color Guard ceremonies.  The event also featured a face painting booth, a group photo booth, two Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Trucks, and a DJ playing great music.

“Dinger” of the Sacramento River Cats was the special guest, high-fiving players, coaches and families in attendance.

For more information visit http://www.rcll.org

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New League but Same Division for CHS Athletics

By Mike Bush  |  2017-03-22

Come summer 2018, the Cordova High School athletic program will experience changes.

That is when the Lancers say good-bye to their home of Sierra Valley Conference of the last four years, and hello to a new league that requires less traveling.

During the fifth and final meeting of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s league realignment held at The Reserve at the Spanos Park in Stockton, the section’s league realignment committee voted in favor of changes for the next four-year cycle that runs from summer 2018 through spring 2022.

Part of that change includes Cordova moving to a new Division IV league, which its name has yet to be determined. Joining Cordova as part of the new six school league are Florin, Valley, Johnson and West Campus, all of Sacramento, and Natomas. Currently, Florin, Valley and Johnson are part of the Metro Conference, D-II, and West Campus and Natomas in the Golden Empire League, D-IV.

“Cordova welcomes the opportunity to compete with schools in the new league,” said Cordova Athletic Director Tom Pena. “While we will miss the tradition of competing in the SVC, we are excited to play closer to home and reduce the travel time our students must sometimes endure during league play.”

Cordova and the current SVC, which is currently D-IV will under the new league realignment proposal will drop to D-V, includes El Dorado, Galt, Liberty Ranch, Rosemont and Union Mine. El Dorado is in Placerville and Union Mine is in El Dorado, just outside of Placerville.

Taking Cordova’s place in the SVC is Bradshaw Christian of Elk Grove, which is currently in Sierra Delta League, D-VI.

According to Will De Board, director of communications for the section, ballots have been sent out to all 192 schools in the section to vote on the changes that range from high schools in Yuba City to the Merced areas.

The section’s Board of Managers and league officials will cast their votes of the changes at the next BOM meeting, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday, April 5th, also at The Reserve. Time for the meeting has not been determined, according to the section’s website, www.cifsjs.org.

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Hit and Run Suspect Sought by CHP

Shelly Lembke  |  2017-03-16

Screen-capture of CHP Hit and Run suspect.

East Sacramento CHP and Rancho Cordova PD are requesting public assistance with identifying a possible hit and run vehicle involved in a fatal collision on February 23, 2017, at approximately  8:13 pm.  The collision occurred on northbound Sunrise Boulevard north of Coloma Road.  The make and model of the vehicle has been identified as a 2002-2009 Dodge RAM 1500, equipped with a light colored or metallic toolbox, mounted directly behind the cab.

The driver of the pickup may be a white or Hispanic male, approximately 5'08" to 6'00" tall, between 190 and 225 pounds.  At the time, the driver was wearing blue jeans and a bright colored hoody style sweater, according to CHP Public Information Officer Tommy Riggin.

For CHP-provided video of the suspect, click here: https://cfs.chp.ca.gov/cfs/public.php?service=files&t=d6f342dd9ad5772d146ac9fcb06a5374&download

If anyone has any information regarding the identity of the driver and/or vehicle, please contact the East Sacramento CHP Area Office at (916) 464-1450, or the public information officer at (916) 802-5372.  
"Any assistance that you can provide is greatly appreciated," said Riggin.


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Church Members Serve in Nicaragua

Submitted by Richard Cable All photos courtesy Eventide Community   |  2017-03-16

Providing solar ovens in Las Huertas.

A delegation of 18 members of the Sacramento Presbytery, ages 14 to over 70, spent spring break volunteering in Nicaragua. The team is a part of an ongoing partnership with CEPAD, an Ecumenical, Not for Profit serving the people of Nicaragua by building schools and supporting sustainability in its villages.

The volunteer team began their service at a CEPAD School in the colonial city of León. The team painted three classrooms but the highlight was presenting the school with 18 laptop computers generously donated by members of Davis Community Church.

“When the computers were first presented, there was a lot of confused chatter,” stated Rev. Jeanie Shaw, pastor of Eventide Community − a sister church to Grace Presbyterian in Sacramento − and mission trip leader, “the students had never seen a laptop before. After a student yelled out, 'Computadora,' [computers!] the whole assembly erupted in gleeful pandemonium.”

“Nicaragua is the second poorest country in our hemisphere,” said Dr. Grace Chou of Tahoe Donner and a mission volunteer, “and to empower these students with technology was the gift of a lifetime.” Dr. Chou also took the task of installing the computers for the school.

The team then visited the District of San Fransico Libre, a high desert region that ranks the poorest in the Nicaraguan. They visited the small village of Las Huertas where the entire village gathered at the home of their community leader and welcomed us.

“The village is comprised of only 29 families,” Pastor Shaw describes. “Their one and two room houses are handmade of adobe or cement blocks. Cooking is done over firewood in outdoor clay ovens. Floors are just packed earth.”

The village has no refrigeration or running water. Electricity was only introduced last year. And domestic animals roam freely everywhere; cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and dogs. Cattle are driven down the road twice a day led by men on horseback. Oxcarts take loads of firewood to sell into other nearby villages. But everything is clean in Las Huertas, dirt yards swept every day at dawn.

The leaders of the village had chosen water collection as the primary project this year and the Truckee team provided 8 families with large cisterns, tubing for gutters on the houses and plastic sheeting for a large catch pond for collecting water during the rainy season. The team also provided tools for the village and together with the villagers, dug out the collecting ponds.

As a pilot project, the team also brought five solar ovens and demonstrated how they worked to the villagers.

“There was real excitement when they learned that their rice would never burn again,” Shaw said.

“Nicaragua is a culture with beautiful formality,” Dr. Chou observed. “We were presented with beautiful, yet formal, welcome speeches and prayers.”

Spencer Edmundson and Jack and Tiege Wright of Truckee gave the Nicaraguan youth enough baseball equipment for the whole village and a game immediately got underway. Baseball is their national past time and the boys were quickly led to a sugar cane field where the villagers, wielding machetes, cut down the cane to make a baseball diamond. Ash from fire pits were spread to mark the lines and they yelled, “¡Jugar a la pelota!” [Play Ball!] Teams were chosen, and our youth pitched and their youth batted the balls skyward (almost lost in the sugarcane). Afterward, the laughter and high fives between teams needed no translation.

“We come from two different countries,” Shaw said in a formal thank you, “but we are all Americans − North Americans and South Americans. And most importantly, we are all one in Christ.”

The Mission Team shared their reflections of their experience on Sunday, March 12th at Eventide Community within the Fellowship Hall of the Arden Christian Church in Sacramento.

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A Real Person Behind the Relay

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-03-16

Hundreds of participants celebrate at Relay for Life events. Relays are open to all: the public, cancer survivors, caregivers and anyone whose life or heart has been touched by this disease.

Each year members of local communities gather together to participate in the Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Each event has a local coordinator. The American River Relay for Life is coordinated by Tamika Stove. Stove first became involved with Relay for Life as a volunteer, but found it so rewarding that she stayed with it and now works year-round to promote the event.

Describing herself as “easy going and caffeinated,” Stove puts in long days working for the American Cancer Society, but finds time to be part of Rotary Club and the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, where she has served both as a Chamber ambassador and as a board member. Her passion for community service is simply part of who she is. Being involved is the way she lives her life. “I feel like I’m part of the world around me,” she said of her work. “It makes me feel good. That’s a powerful thing.”

Relay for Life began in 1985 when Tacoma, Washington doctor Gordon Klatt walked and ran over 80 miles around a track in a single 24-hour period. Today’s relays last between six and 24 hours. Dr. Klatt’s desire was to raise money to aid the American Cancer Society (ACS) in their quest for a cure.

Following Dr. Klatt’s example, the ACS continues to utilize monies raised by the event to fund cancer research, services for the public and cancer patients, speakers and more, all as part of their mission to find a cure and increase awareness about this disease that touches so many around the world.

Stove puts a year into planning each Relay for Life event. She does constant community outreach, happily taking time to answer questions, provide support and recruit volunteers. There are ample opportunities for involvement, she says, and no matter the size of the contribution, whether in the form of time or money, she is enthusiastic, grateful and gracious to have all the help she can get.

Relay for Life relies on all forms of help from the community. There are corporate sponsors of all sizes, from small businesses to large firms. Volunteers can form teams to walk during the event to show support or individuals can show up the day of the event and help with something simple, such as handing out bottled water or setting up the event’s famous luminarias.

Each Relay for Life is a public event and open to all, per Stove. Her ongoing challenges of recruiting volunteers, plus the planning and execution of each Relay, do not deter her in the least. She began her work with the Relay for Life as an ordinary volunteer, donating about an hour a week to making phone calls and distributing flyers.

Her deep commitment to community involvement was fostered early in life. Growing up as the daughter of a dad serving in the United States Air Force, Stove learned about dedication and working for the public good. As a “military brat,” she also became accustomed to moving and finding her place in her new communities. “It helped me value relationships,” she said. Stove works hard to foster those relationships each day in dealing with the public and spreading the word about Relay for Life and the mission of the ACS.

This year’s American River Relay for Life will be held April 22- 23, beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting 24 hours. The event will be hosted at San Juan High School at 7551 Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights and begin with Opening Ceremonies, followed by a Survivor Lap for anyone having been diagnosed, a Caregiver Lap and then by teams on the track. Each time keeps a member on the track always because, as the ACS says, “Cancer never sleeps.” When participants are not on the track there are games, entertainment and activities provided to promote awareness and education about the fight against cancer. Nightfall signals the lighting of the luminaria45s to commemorate the lives that have been lost and celebrate those who have survived cancer, as well as to provide a literal light in the darkness and remind people they are not alone when it comes to this disease. The Relay wraps up with recognizing the work of the volunteers themselves.

For more information on this year’s American Rive Relay for Life, contact Tamika Stove at tamika.stove@cancer.org or americanriverrelay@gmail.com or visit the American Cancer Society’s website at www.acsevents.org.

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