Produce Festivals Hot Stuff for Markets

By Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-08-16

Peachy keen market visitors Isabella and Matthew Ramirez sampled fruit at the Carmichael Peach Festival.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - With summer harvests falling from branches, farmers markets are celebrating local growers. Carmichael and Folsom markets recently hosted peach festivals. Historic Folsom will host its annual “Tomato Taste Off” on Saturday, August 18. A similar festival is scheduled for Sunrise Mall (Citrus Heights) on Saturday, September 8.

Dozens of tomato varieties are grown in Sacramento and surrounding counties. At the Folsom taste Off, vendors will present cherry, beef steak, zebra and heirloom specimens.  Customer votes decide winners for categories such as most beautiful, meatiest, sweetest and best-tasting. Patron-participation contests, explains Living Smart Farmers Markets founder Marie Hall, aim to educate buyers on the many types of tomatoes available. “We set up stations with sliced samples,” she says. “People get to taste and vote for their favorites.”

Hall’s recent peach festival brought 3000 people to Carmichael Park. In addition to the fresh fruit, vendors offered peach-flavored treats, including ice creams, gelatos, cookies, cobblers, cakes and ever-popular peach pies. Thirteen chefs presented dishes for the annual dessert bakeoff. A cheesecake-in-a-jar won first prize for Dr Sarah Astarte; second place winner was Rhonda Mohr's deep-dish peach pie; third prize went to Kathleen Quinones for a platter of peach and basil tartlets.

“These festivals are a great way to bring attention to our local farmers,” approves Marie Hall. “Shopping for food shouldn’t just be a chore, it should be fun.” 

Historic Folsom Farmers Market is located at 915 Sutter Street, Folsom. Sunrise Mall Farmers Market is at 6196 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights.

Learn about the produce festivals at

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Western Wildfires Continue to Burn

By American Red Cross  |  2018-08-16

Red Cross Working to Help Those in Need. You Can Help and Donate.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Conditions are slowly improving in California as thousands of firefighters gain more ground on containing the large wildfires which have charred hundreds of thousands of acres. The American Red Cross is there, providing shelter, relief supplies and comfort for those affected.

In California, more than 1,000 Red Cross disaster workers and multiple emergency response vehicles are responding to the fires. The Red Cross opened more than 20 shelters since the fires began and has provided more than 8,600 overnight shelter stays. Red Cross workers have also provided more than 102,000 meals and snacks and distributed more than 25,000 relief items. Health and mental health disaster workers have provided more than 11,600 services and caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people to assist them in getting the help they need.

As evacuation orders are lifted in some areas and people return home, the Red Cross will continue working closely with state and local officials to ensure people get the help they need.

STAY IN TOUCH People can reconnect with loved ones through both the Red Cross Safe and Well website at and by using the “I’m Safe” feature of the Red Cross Emergency App. The Safe and Well site allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available, open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand including shelter locations and severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at

HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters like wildfires and countless other crisis by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37864, Boone, IA 50037-0864.

You can also help people affected by the California wildfires. Donors can designate their donation to the California wildfires relief efforts and the Red Cross will honor donor intent. The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on with your check. The Red Cross honors donor intent, and all donations earmarked for California wildfires will be used for our work to support these disasters.

Source: American Red Cross

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Final Carmichael Summer Concert on Sunday August 26

By MPG Staff  |  2018-08-16

The John Skinner Band will present music for all ages during a Carmichael Park concert on Sunday, August 26. Photo courtesy Steve Harriman

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - The 43rd Carmichael Park summer concert season concludes on Sunday, August 26. Musicians of the John Skinner Band are the final performers. To cater to fans of all ages, the popular combo will present a program that ranges from classic rock to swing and Latin numbers.

Carmichael-based, the Skinner Band is a co-sponsor of the concert series. Instrumentation includes trumpet, sax, trombone, bass, keyboard, guitar and drums. Susan Skinner is the featured vocalist. A full dance floor is expected. The concert repertoire includes a finale of “YMCA” to get everyone up and moving.  Downbeat is 5 pm. For information, call 916-483-7826. 

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Wait Time Scandal Shows DMV Still Doesn’t Get It

Commentary by Tim Anaya  |  2018-08-16

�DMV wait times are unbearable under normal circumstances.  They are certainly ill-equipped to handle more than 23 million people expected to come through their doors through 2020.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Benjamin Franklin famously said that there are only two things certain in life – death and taxes.  In California, you could add a third – hatred of the DMV.

Anyone who has ever signed up for a driver’s license or register a vehicle knows just how inefficient, and at times hostile, the DMV can be.  They cling to outdated thinking, as if their primary mission is registering horse buggies to drive on California’s roads.

The DMV is the poster child for an unaccountable government bureaucracy – and the current scandal over astronomical wait times at DMV offices shows they still don’t get it.

The federal REAL ID, enacted in 2005, requires California to change its state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards to meet new federal requirements.  By October 2020, every Californian will need a REAL ID to fly on an airplane or enter a federal government building.  You must go to the DMV in person for ID verification before you can get one.

DMV wait times are unbearable under normal circumstances.  They are certainly ill-equipped to handle more than 23 million people expected to come through their doors through 2020.

Both Democrats and Republicans are outraged.  They grilled DMV Director Jean Shiomoto at a committee hearing this week.

San Francisco Democrat Phil Ting said that he was shocked after visiting a DMV office in his district.  “What we’ve been hearing are horrific wait times of six or seven hours.  That’s unacceptable.”

Laughably, in a July letter to lawmakers, DMV says that “the current statewide average wait time once customers check-in with the ‘Start Here’ window is 23 minutes for customers with appointments and 1 hour 23 minutes for customers without appointments.”

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, told Shiomoto at the hearing that, “you have perpetuated the feeling that people can’t trust your agency.”  She’s right, and the Director inspired no confidence in lawmakers at 2 Capitol hearings this week that the agency can turn things around any time soon.

Predictably, Shiomoto asked lawmakers for more money at this week’s hearing – another $26 million.

The state has already given the DMV $70 million in additional funds to open more offices, expand hours, and hire additional personnel to handle the influx.  The DMV estimates it will need to spend over $220 million over the next 6 years to process all the applications.  That money clearly won’t address the other problems identified in this week’s hearings, namely the poor customer service culture and outdated/inefficient thinking that goes into department operations.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson was fed up after receiving numerous angry complaints from constituents.  He authored a request for the State Auditor to audit the DMV’s activities and how they are spending these additional resources.

Patterson’s audit would be one expenditure of public funds that’s actually worth every penny.  Taxpayers deserve to know just how bad things really are at the DMV and a nonpartisan audit is needed to document this and outline steps to reform the beleaguered agency and its operations.

Despite lawmakers showing their lack of confidence in Shiomoto’s leadership, the audit request failed to get enough Senate Democrat votes to pass (the request needed 4 votes each from the Assembly and Senate), despite bipartisan votes in both houses.  It’s a shame that something both parties seemingly agree on falls victim to today’s toxic political climate.

The DMV has long been overdue for a complete overhaul, and most important, an attitude adjustment.  Hopefully, the Real ID wait time scandal will be the catalyst that forces much-need change upon a stubborn department clinging to the ways of the past.

Tim Anaya is communications director for the Pacific Research Institute.

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Music Store Demonstrates Art and Heart

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-08-10

�Tim’s Music owner Scott Mandeville (center) and staff show the results of a food drive conducted in the Carmichael store. The donations assist local food banks.

Tim's Music Promotes Wellness Through Music

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Since music is the food for love, music supporters are spreading love through food donations to Tim’s Music Store. Established in a new Carmichael location last year, the instrument sales and repair shop boasts its own recital hall. Visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable groceries in lieu of admission for clinics and performances. These donations assist local food banks.

Tim’s staffers also kick in a few dollars a day for snacks in their break room. Their cash adds to an in-house fund to buy more food. In seven months since the 2018 drive began, more than 600 pounds of food has stacked up. Owner Scott Mandeville’s staff recently delivered the yield to the Sunrise Food Bank, a Citrus Heights agency that aids the homeless and families in need.

The store’s stated mission is to promote “wellness in society through music education and performance.” Sales Director Jim Hart feels this vision fits the staff’s humanitarian efforts. “Music and art are all about feelings,” he considers.  “Artists tend to be compassionate people. We’re delighted at the support this food drive has received from the musical community, as well as from our clients and employees.”

Store staffers hope to assemble more groceries for food bank donations before 2018 Christmas holidays. Anyone may assist the effort by taking non-perishable items to Tim’s Music, at 6818-B Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael.

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Rudy Moll: Irrepressible Spirit

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-08-10

�Rudy Moll (89) last year marked 60 years on American soil. A popular community figure, the Dutch-Indonesian immigrant died recently in his Carmichael home.

Citizen Rudy Dies After 60 Years in USA

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Immigrant, patriot and irrepressible spirit, Rudy Moll died recently at the age of 89.

Moll was beloved of Carmichael and Arden communities. In Sinatra hat and trademark red white and blue shirts, the little dancing man was a familiar figure at concerts, dances, air shows and any event that celebrated American culture.

Born in Dutch Indonesia, he spent teenage years in Japanese prisoner of war camps where he survived near-starvation and enforced labor. Before emigrating to the United States 61 years ago, he served the Royal Dutch Army in Holland.

Feast and famine shaped Moll’s life. Every rice grain was coveted by POWs during Japanese occupation of his homeland. When peace came in 1945, American rations were salvation. Moll was among many mixed-race immigrants who struggled for acceptance in Holland after Indonesian independence. He pursued a dream to live in the bountiful USA, whose air-dropped food helped save him.

Carmichael Presbyterian Church sponsored his immigration (with his first wife Sonja), in 1956. Their first landlady was Effie Yeaw. “She was strict,” he recalled of the community matriarch. “But she was fair. Everyone in Carmichael knew all about my wife and me. We were the first refugees they’d seen. We’d always lived in cities and we had to get used to village life.”

Moll last year celebrated his 60th year in the “village” that welcomed him.

No prouder patriot could be found. He recalled prisoners’ elation when US P-38s chased Japanese Zeros over Indonesia. “My father (an electrical engineer) refused to work for the Japanese,” he explained. “They loaded thousands of us in a ship and took us to Celebes. I was small, so I stayed with the women and children; pappie was taken to a men’s camp.

“We slept on hard bamboo cots and dreamed of breakfast. We finished every last grain of rice and it was never enough. The guards saw boys as future enemies and treated us bad. Mom protected me; she was terrified I’d be taken to men’s camp, where things were worse. We all learned to help each other; we also learned not to waste. When I see people throwing away food, I still remember those hungry times.

“The first American grocery store I saw was in Carmichael. My wife and I had never seen so much food; it seemed cheap. We wrote home that we were in the land of plenty.”  

The immigrant found a clerking job for PG&E in Arcade and retired from this company 30 years later. By then, he’d married his second wife, Mady. Music lovers, the Molls were dancing fixtures at local concerts. Moll also volunteered his baritone for the Northern Californian Vocal Artists Association and sang at Rhythm and Shoes dance performances. Passionate about American aircraft, he supported the P-38 National Association and any event that spotlighted aviation. 

A dapper figure at every senior social, Rudy was greeted by scores of friends. “I don’t feel like an immigrant,” considered the naturalized American. “My brown skin never bothered anyone here; I’ve always felt accepted. America has been good to me.”

Rudy Moll is survived by his wife Mady; daughters Maureen and Gisa; son Andy and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. His memorial service will be held on Tuesday, August 14, at St Ignatius Church (3235 Arden Way).

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Alice Cooper: Rock's Super Villain

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-08-09

�Alice Cooper recently kicked off his “Paranormal Evening” tour. He is set to play locally at Jackson Rancheria on Wednesday, August 15 and his new live album A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper at the Olympia Paris drops on August 31.

A Paranormal Evening with the Godfather of Shock Rock

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “You can’t shock an audience anymore - that died a long time ago,” said Alice Cooper. One of the originators of shock rock, Cooper understands that times have indeed changed since he spearheaded a movement in the early 70s but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to embrace his role as the bad guy.

Rock’s villain began playing out his own dark vaudeville in the earliest days of his career. “That started from the very beginning; that was always with us,” said Cooper. “I think because we were art students and that was something I saw as being essential for rock and roll. I would see all these bands - that were great bands - and they were all heroes and I just kept thinking, ‘Where’s the villain?’”

That’s when Cooper took it upon himself to become that villain and change rock and roll forever. “Every parent in America did not want their children to see this character,” said Cooper. “People would make things up…by the time you got into town you were the worst person ever. We found that funny.”

In a life well before the internet and social media, the stories took on lives of their own. “The more of the misinformation, the bigger we got. The parents hated us so much that the kids liked us.”

From guillotines and blood to the black attire and mascara, it was all about giving the crowd something that they had never experienced before. “And if you really look at it, it was just really a lot of fun,” recalled Cooper. “The audience was really having fun with us. There was nothing satanic about it.”

Times may have changed, the stage antics may be a little less shocking, and the internet may have depleted art, but that won’t stop the Godfather of his craft from putting on a vintage performance. “It will be a very similar show (tonight) to the one in the 70s except now it will be accepted a little more as excitement and entertainment more than just shock value.”

One way that Cooper has been able to continue performing at a high level for the better part of five decades is by interjecting his band with youth and energy. He prides himself not only on theatrics but on the quality musicianship that got him there to begin with.

“Everybody in my band is top of the line,” he boasted. “Glen Sobel, our drummer, just got voted best drummer in rock and roll. Nita (Strauss) just got voted best female guitar player. So I’ve kind of got a premier band. That makes such a big difference to me when I get on stage that my band can blow just about anybody off the stage.”

Cooper recently kicked off his “Paranormal Evening” tour. He is set to play locally at Jackson Rancheria on Wednesday, August 15 and his new live album A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper at the Olympia Paris drops on August 31. For more information visit

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