Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today commemorated California Flood Preparedness Week by encouraging residents to prepare for flood season.

“Extreme weather and natural disasters are a way of life in California,” stated Jon Ericson, acting chief of the state’s Division of Flood Management. “Taking the right steps now can mean all the difference to you and your family if flooding occurs.”

More than 7 million California residents are at risk of flooding, and many don’t realize it. Flooding happens throughout the state, from rural communities to urban areas, at the base of hills and along the coast. In fact, every California County has received a flood-related emergency declaration in the past twenty years.

This year many communities are at an extra risk for flooding because of wildfire damage. Flooding after wildfire is often more severe, as debris and ash left from the fire can form mudflows. These mudflows can cause considerable damage that is not covered by homeowner’s insurance, however if the mudflows are related to flooding then NFIP flood insurance may cover the damage. Please check with your insurance provider for details.

Be Flood Ready by following these steps: Talk to your insurance agent about buying flood insurance, or contact the National Flood Insurance Program for information. 1-800-427-4661; Make an evacuation kit. Tips are available at: www.redcross.org/ ; Make an evacuation plan. Familiar routes may not be accessible during a flood; Stay informed during heavy storms; Don’t walk or drive through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

More information is available at: https://www.ready.gov/floods

DWR also cautions the public not to wait if they are told to evacuate, as first responders may not be able to reach residents later.

The state, through DWR’s Emergency Rehabilitation Program, is coordinating with local, state and federal agencies to support repair and rehabilitation work on project levees damaged during the 2017 storm season. The state has committed $80 million to repair 30 critical sites this year, prepare designs for 10 more future sites, and jointly prepare contingency plans for 100 additional sites in preparation for this year’s rainy season.

Source: DWR


...Read More!  
  |  

FBI Announces Results of Operation Cross Country XI

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), announced October 18th, that 84 minors were recovered and 120 traffickers were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 12-15, 2017.  

Within the FBI Sacramento field office’s 34-county area of responsibility, the FBI and its law enforcement partners conducted operations in the four metropolitan areas: Chico, Fresno, Sacramento, and South Lake Tahoe. Local recoveries of minors and pimping arrests during Operation Cross Country are as follows:

  • Thursday, October 12, 2017
    Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department recovered one minor
  • Friday, October 13, 2017
    FBI and Chico Police Department recovered one minor    
  • Saturday, October 14, 2017
    Porterville Police Department arrested an adult male on felony pimping charges.

In addition to successful recovery of two minors and the arrest of a pimp, more than 23 arrests were made for a variety of charges including prostitution and probation violations. The following agencies participated in Operation Cross Country XI. Butte County District Attorney’s Office, El Dorado District Attorney’s Office, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, Fresno Police Department, Hanford Police Department, Placer County Sheriff’s Department, Porterville Police Department, Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, Sacramento County Probation Department, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Sacramento Police Department, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, and Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.

This is the 11th iteration of the FBI-led Operation Cross Country (OCC), which took place this year in 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local task forces, consisting of hundreds of law enforcement partners. This year’s coordinated operations took place with several international partners, including Canada (Operation Northern Spotlight), the United Kingdom (Aident 8), Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines. 

“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm.  Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “This operation isn't just about taking traffickers off the street. It's about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse."

As part of Operation Cross Country XI, FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, and truck stops, as well as on street corners and Internet websites. The youngest victim recovered during this year’s operation was 3 months old, and the average age of victims recovered during the operation was 15 years old. Minors recovered during Cross Country Operations are offered assistance from state protective services and the FBI’s Victim Services Division. Depending on the level of need, victims are offered medical and mental health counseling, as well as a number of other services. 

“Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America, and at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we’re working to combat this problem every day,” said NCMEC President and CEO John Clark. “We’re proud to work with the FBI on Operation Cross Country to help find and recover child victims. We hope OCC generates more awareness about this crisis impacting our nation’s children.”

Operation Cross Country XI is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,500 child identifications and locations. For additional information on Operation Cross Country XI and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov.

Examples of stories from various cities that took part in Operation Cross Country XI:

On October 13th, FBI Denver recovered two minor girls—one 3-month-old and one 5-year-old. The subject, a friend of the children's family, offered an undercover officer access to the two children for sexual purposes in exchange for $600. The FBI is working with Child Protective Services to conduct a forensic interview and secure safe placement of the children. The subject was placed under arrest.

Also on October 13th, a 16-year old female victim was recovered by FBI El Paso, after an undercover agent called an online advertisement for entertainment. Shortly thereafter, the agent met with a 21-year-old female, who offered a fee of $200 to engage in sexual intercourse with her and another female, the 16-year-old victim. Further investigations revealed that a second adult female drove the minor and the 21-year-old to the undercover’s location. Both female subjects have been arrested on federal charges.   


...Read More!  
  |  

Virtual Tour Explains Challenges of Dementia

By Rick Beasley  |  2017-10-23

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Dementia is not a disease.  It is a broad term used to describe a slow, severe decline in memory and reasoning skills that impact and interfere with daily life.  Even though the prevalence rate of dementia has fallen dramatically in recent years, there are still over 7 million American seniors today that have some form of dementia.

There are a large number of recognized diseases associated with dementia—Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome,  Lewy bodies to name just a few.  Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most prevalent and recognized form of dementia.  There are presently 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s.  Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds (American Alzheimer’s Association).  That is 500,000 additional Americans every year.  By 2050, that number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase to 16 million.

Alzheimer’s disease results in the loss of brain cells and cognitive functioning abilities.  Even though it is a progressively degenerative and ultimately fatal disease, Alzheimer’s can be managed with treatment, care and changes to in daily environment and living conditions.

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process.  However, increasing age is the number one risk factor involving the disease-with the vast majority of afflictions occurring in people 65 and older.

Family histories and genetics are not a major factor in the development of Alzheimer’s.  Some rare forms of dementia (such as Huntington’s disease) are inherited, but having a parent or grandparent with Alzheimer’s does not increase your overall risks compared to the rest of the population.  Less than 1% of all Alzheimer’s cases are thought to be linked genetically (Dr. Nick Fox, Institute of Neurology in London).

There are ten generally recognized warning signs of Alzheimer’s, that range from daily memory losses to decreased difficulties completing familiar tasks, to dramatic changes in moods and personalities.  Typical and normal age related changes, such as occasionally forgetting some names or appointment or misplacing items from time to time are not considered markers for Alzheimer’s.  A normal age related question would be:  “Where are my car keys?”  An Alzheimer’s warning sign might be:  “What are these keys for?”

There are a number of educational programs and seminars relating to Alzheimer’s research, care and development.  One such program is the Virtual Dementia Tour (developed by Second Wind Dreams), which briefly simulates dementia on a user in a controlled environment.  This tour is approximately 20 minutes long and consists of a 5 minute guided tour segment where the user is instructed to perform simple, household tasks while having simulated dementia characteristics, followed by an overview, cool down and debriefing period that explains what they had just experienced.  This program is intended to help provide understanding and empathy towards those afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

Carlie Beasley, of Summerset Assisted Living in Rancho Cordova, has been effectively using this program and finding immediate results, commenting:  “Our staff and family members have had dramatic experiences after going through this tour.  It has made a noticeable difference on how our staff interacts with memory care residents and how much more tolerant and empathetic family members are in dealing with their loved ones.”  Beasley is so impressed by the initial results of the tour, that she has offered to have her Summerset team provide this tour to anyone interested within the general public, adding:  “This is a compelling and possibly life-changing event that anyone remotely associated or touched by the effects of dementia should experience”.  Beasley can be reached at (916) 330-1300 or by visiting Summerset Rancho Cordova Assisted Living and Memory Care center at 2341 Vehicle Drive in Rancho Cordova.


...Read More!  
  |  

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - With the time change comes greater danger. Awareness and conflict avoidance are first steps.

Robinson’s Taekwondo offers a free clinic on personal safety and self-defense just for women.  Women are especially vulnerable as they are often exposed to danger as they pick up and drop off family members in school, run errands or shop for the holidays in the early dark. This is a special night of self-defense, safety and conflict avoidance with Black Belts and extra special tips, treats and temptations from style, fashion, makeup and more for the ladies!

Plan to attend this safety awareness and simple self-defense clinic, our instructors will help raise awareness of dangerous situations and locations, show how to escape an attacker’s hold and give everyone who attends a safety ‘mindset’.

Experts and vendors will also attend to share ideas, tips and treats with those attending.

The event is being held at all Regional participating Robinson’s Taekwondo locations across the Sacramento area on Friday Night, October 27, 2017 at 6:30pm

This special community service event is FREE, but failing to be aware and prepared to survive a very high price to pay! Be safe not sorry later, but register today!

Visit www.robinsonstkd.com to register. Click on Events! 


...Read More!  
  |  

Women's Empowerment Receives $25K from US Bank

By Kristin Thébau  |  2017-10-18

U.S. Bank Foundation representative Pam Maxwell presents check to Women’s Empowerment’s board of directors and executive director Lisa Culp.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program has awarded a $25,000 grant to Women’s Empowerment. The grant will support classes and programs that help homeless women gain the skills and confidence they need to secure a job and create a brighter future for their children. 

“We are so impressed with U.S. Bank’s commitment to breaking the cycle of homelessness in our community,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “This generous donation will ensure homeless women can get a job, become financially self-sufficient and provide their children with a safe, stable home. We are very grateful to U. S. Bank for their investment in ending homelessness.”

In Women’s Empowerment’s initial nine-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job-readiness, financial literacy, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor. 

Women who have graduated from the nine-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point in their lives when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, and job retention services for employer and employee.  

“The building blocks of a thriving community where all things are possible include stable employment opportunities, a home to call your own and a community connected through a culture of arts, recreation and play,” said Jessica Cook, product manager with U.S. Bank and Women's Empowerment board member. “Women's Empowerment provides the most comprehensive solution in Sacramento for women and children who are homeless. At U.S. Bank we believe in Community Possible and are proud to have Women's Empowerment as one of our partners in Sacramento.”

Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org

Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. Philanthropic support through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate giving program reached $54.2 million in 2016. Visit www.usbank.com/community.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com


...Read More!  
  |  

Sacramento Arts Festival Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary 

MPG Staff  |  2017-10-18

John Lane, of John Lane Photography, will be displaying his photographs at the upcoming Sacramento Arts Festival, November 3 – 5, at the Sacramento Convention Center Complex.Photos courtesy c3 Communications, Inc.

Sacramento Region, CA  (MPG) - The 20th Annual Sacramento Arts Festival, considered the best ever in quality and variety, returns to the Sacramento Convention Center from November 3 through November 5. The festival has become not only the premier art and craft show in the Central Valley, but is also one of the top art festivals in the country.

Local favorite John Lane of Carmichael and John Lane Photography, will be displaying his photographs at the upcoming Arts Festival.

Strolling through the festival, attendees can shop from a vast selection of extraordinary art and contemporary craft.  Visitors can choose from ceramics, clothing, decorative fiberworks, furniture, glass, gourd art, jewelry, leather, metalworks, paper, stone, woodworks, drawings, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, sculpture, photography and two and three dimensional mixed media.

Festival attendees can shop for themselves, their homes and for one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.  There is something for everyone including:

The festival includes 225 of America’s best contemporary craftspeople and fine artists offering more than 15,000 original works. It will feature both local and national artists from 11 states, as far away as New York

There will be special demonstrations of craft and art where attendees can meet and talk with the talented artists and craftspeople about how they make their unique items

Also included will be delicious festival food featuring Spiro’s Gyros (Greek), Indian Gourmet, American cuisine, and five vendors selling take home food, as well as continuous live Main Stage entertainment including the GG Amos Blues Band, The Kurt Ribak Jazz Quartet, and Gabe Lewin on guitar

The event is planned for Friday through Sunday, November 3 – 5. Times are Friday 10am to 6pm,  Saturday 10am to 6pm,  and Sunday from 10am to 5pm, at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St. (Entrance at 14th and J Streets), Sacramento, CA 95814. Admission is $8 Adults, $7 Seniors, with children under 12 free. For more information, tickets and $1 off coupon please visit www.sacartsfest.com

Source: c3 Communications, Inc.


...Read More!  
  |  

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - After five years of drought, the 2017 water year brought unexpectedly heavy precipitation, ranking second only to 1983 as California’s wettest year for statewide runoff. The dramatic swing in water conditions highlights the need to develop better long-range weather forecasting to cope with the state’s highly variable annual precipitation. 

DWR begins water year 2018 intent on narrowing the forecasting gap with improved sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasting. Working with researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, DWR is developing innovative technology to forecast land-falling atmospheric rivers.

“Current short-term forecasting for seven days out is 70 percent accurate, while the 14-day forecast is only seven percent accurate,” said DWR Director Grant Davis. “That isn’t adequate for water management. Advancing accurate, even longer-range forecasting is critical for our ability to plan for California’s highly variable weather.”

The water year that ended September 30 saw an extraordinary number of atmospheric rivers that created high water conditions throughout the state. The Feather River watershed received record runoff in January and February, which led to some of the highest inflows into Lake Oroville ever recorded. More accurate forecasting would have helped DWR manage reservoir levels to deal with significant inflow in the days following the February 7 discovery of erosion on the main spillway at Lake Oroville. Better forecasting also would help inform the spillway’s reconstruction timeline based on predicted precipitation.

The record-setting precipitation in Northern California and above-average rainfall elsewhere contributed to flooding in several river systems. Fifty-two counties declared states of emergency due to the January storm sequence, and flood fight materials and specialists were pre-positioned in Merced, Butte, Stanislaus, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties based on the forecasts in anticipation that local agencies would request support.

Despite record-breaking rainfall in Northern California in water year 2017, drought impacts still linger. Governor Edmund Brown Jr. issued an executive order in April to end the statewide drought emergency, but maintained a state of emergency for the counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne, where homes with dry or contaminated private wells continue to receive emergency drinking water deliveries.

One success story stemming from the drought is the East Porterville Emergency Water Project, which will see 756 unincorporated East Porterville homes connected to the City of Porterville’s municipal water supply by the end of 2017. Similar projects are underway in the communities of Okieville, Monson, and Seville-Yettem to connect an additional 195 homes to a sustainable water supply.

Another highlight of the 2017 water year was the announcement that 99 percent of the state’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins met a key deadline to form local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014. California depends on groundwater for a major portion of its annual water supply, particularly during times of drought. The long-term planning required by SGMA will reduce the impacts of groundwater overdraft, including subsidence, and provide a buffer against drought and climate change.

Although a wet 2017 minimized the risk of subsidence in historically affected parts of the San Joaquin Valley, DWR continues to fund satellite- and aircraft-based radar monitoring of subsidence by NASA to support local implementation of SGMA.

Looking ahead, DWR is preparing for the uncertainty of water year 2018 and beyond. In August, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board adopted the 2017 update to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, prepared by DWR, which recommends long-term multi-benefit actions to improve flood risk management. This past year DWR awarded more than $4.2 million in Delta Flood Emergency Response grants to improve Delta flood response and increase public safety.

In the past five years, DWR has awarded 46 grants totaling $25 million to develop and update flood safety plans, and increase coordination, training, and flood fight supplies for local agencies across the state.

Ongoing SGMA implementation will bring overdrafted groundwater basins into balance to protect our water supply against the impacts of prolonged drought and climate change.

California WaterFix will upgrade California’s water supply infrastructure to more reliably transport water through the Delta, protecting against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change. The project provides a more flexible and environmentally-responsible way to convey water during significant precipitation events for use in dry years. Construction could begin in 2018, pending support from public water agencies.

The first phase of reconstruction on the Lake Oroville spillways will be completed by November 1, 2017, ensuring the spillway can handle 100,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) this water year. Phase 2, which will be completed by end of 2018/early 2019, will bring the spillway to final design with a capacity of 270,000 cfs. The emergency spillway will be reinforced with several erosion-prevention features, including a cutoff wall to prevent head-cutting erosion.

In the face of California’s highly variable weather patterns, DWR and our local, state, and federal partners are working together to ensure that Californians are prepared. Infrastructure improvements and advances in accurate, long-term forecasting are critical to public safety and sustainability. When it comes to water, California must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Read more about water year 2017 in the report “What a Difference a Year Makes.”

Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.

Source: DWR


...Read More!  
  |