Brundage Returning to Manage River Cats in 2018

By Daniel Emmons  |  2018-01-03

New pitching coach Steve Kline and fundamentals coach Nestor Rojas to join returning hitting coach Damon Minor

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento River Cats, in conjunction with the San Francisco Giants, are thrilled to welcome back Dave Brundage for his second season as manager of the River Cats for the 2018 season.

Brundage will be joined by a few new faces for the 2018 season at Raley Field. While Damon Minor will return for his third season as the River Cats hitting coach, he will be joined by new pitching coach Steve Kline and fundamentals coach Nestor Rojas. The new training staff will be made up of athletic trainer David Getsoff and strength and conditioning coach Andy King. Travis Higgs will round out the club’s 2018 field staff, and will serve as bullpen catcher and team administrator.

An Oregon native, Brundage joined the River Cats in 2017 and compiled a 64-77 record in his 20th season as a minor league manager. Before coming to Sacramento, the veteran manager spent the previous four seasons with the International League’s Lehigh Valley IronPigs. In 2016, Brundage led the IronPigs to an 85-58 record, the second best mark in all of Triple-A baseball.

Brundage, 53, made his managerial debut in 1995 with the Riverside Pilots (Seattle Mariners Class A-Advanced) but has spent most of his managerial career at either the Double- or Triple-A levels. Prior to his four seasons with Lehigh Valley, Brundage helmed the Richmond/Gwinnett Braves for six seasons from 2007 through 2012. He made his Triple-A debut in 2006 with the Pacific Coast League’s Tacoma Rainiers. Brundage has a career record of 1,435-1,392 (.508) in 20 seasons as a manager including a 857-858 (.499) mark at the Triple-A level.

Drafted in the 4th round of the 1986 Amateur Draft out of Oregon State University, Brundage spent 10 seasons as a player in the Minor Leagues with the Phillies and Mariners organizations.

Minor, 43, returns to the River Cats for his third season as hitting coach. In his second year with the team, Minor worked closely with Triple-A newcomers and top Giants’ prospects Christian Arroyo, Chris Shaw, and Ryder Jones as they prepared for their Major League debuts.

A former Giant, Minor was drafted by San Francisco in 1996 and made his Major League debut in 2000. In 136 games over parts of four seasons, Minor hit .232 with 13 home runs. He set a career-high in 2002 when he played in 83 games and slugged 10 home runs, helping the Giants claim the National League pennant. While in the Giants farm system, he compiled a .277 batting average with 179 home runs and 648 RBI across nine seasons.

Kline, 45, joins the River Cats as pitching coach after serving in the same role for three seasons with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels and nine seasons overall with the organization. While in Richmond, Kline helped in the development of several River Cats standouts, including Tyler Beede, Andrew Suarez, and Tyler Rogers. Kline led the Giants Double-A affiliate to a top-five pitching staff (in team ERA) in each of his three Eastern League seasons, including a league-leading 3.12 team ERA in 2015.

Kline completed his 11-year Major League career as a lefty reliever with the Giants in 2007. All told, he appeared in 796 MLB games with five different organizations. The Pennsylvania native was an 8th round selection by the Cleveland Indians in the 2003 draft out of the University of West Virginia. He set the single –season record for appearances (89) in 2001 while with St. Louis, and led the National League in games played as a pitcher for three consecutive seasons (1999-2001).

Rojas, 34, will join the River Cats as fundamentals coach after managing the Class-A Advanced San Jose Giants in 2017. Since retiring at the end of the 2010 season, Rojas immediately began his coaching career and has been a bright up-and-coming coaching talent in the Giants organization.  Rojas landed his first managerial job in 2013 at age 29 with the Arizona Rookie League Giants, and led them to a 41-14 record. Prospects (and future River Cats) Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones each began their professional careers as teenagers under Rojas during that 2013 season.

A native of Venezuela, Rojas played for six seasons in the Giants organization, including two stints with Triple-A Fresno in 2009 and 2010.

Rounding out the field staff will be a new athletic training and strength and conditioning duo. David Getsoff will join the River Cats as the athletic trainer in his 10th season with the Giants Organization, while Andy King will be the River Cats strength and conditioning coach in what will be his fifth season with the Giants. Travis Higgs will return as the team’s bullpen catcher in 2018.

The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the three-time World Champion San Francisco Giants. The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento, consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. For more information about the River Cats, visit www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com.

Source: Sacramento River Cats Media

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​Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Have you signed up for Sacramento-Alert, yet? Just go to www.Sacramento-Alert.org and sign up your home and work phone numbers and emails, as well as your cell phone numbers. This way, when an emergency happens in your area, you will be notified about critical and time-sensitive issues – including fires, floods, evacuations and disasters. 

When you sign up, it lets local officials, public safety and emergency personnel provide you with real-time information so you and your family will know what to do or where to go in the event of a flood, neighborhood evacuation, major road closure, severe weather or other dangerous conditions. Choose how you want to be contacted – by phone call, text or email. As well, sign up for multiple locations that mean the most to you by registering your home address, work address, your parent’s address or your children’s school location in the counties of Sacramento, Yolo and Placer. Officials will only notify during an emergency or public safety event, or if public help is needed, for example, to find a missing child or adult. 

Signing up is easy and your information is protected. Register, now, on the region’s mass notification system: Sacramento-Alert.orgYolo-Alert.org or Placer-Alert.org.

​For additional information about how to prepare for emergencies, such as rain and cold temperatures, go to the Sacramento Ready website or the Sacramento County Emergency and Preparedness website. ​

Source: Sacramento County Media

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Still Too Early To Draw Conclusions from Season’s First Snow Survey

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Department of Water Resources (DWR) manual snow survey, held January 3rd, east of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada found little snowpack, which was predictable after a dry December throughout California. Measurements at Phillips Station revealed a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 0.4 inches, 3 percent of the average SWE of 11.3 inches in early January at Phillips as measured there since 1964. SWE is the depth of water that theoretically would result if the entire snowpack melted instantaneously.

“As we’re only a third of the way through California’s three wettest months, it’s far too early to draw any conclusions about what kind of season we’ll have this year,” DWR Director Grant Davis said. “California’s great weather variability means we can go straight from a dry year to a wet year and back again to dry. That’s why California is focusing on adopting water conservation as a way of life, investing in above- and below- ground storage, and improving our infrastructure to protect our clean water supplies against disruptions.”

More telling than a survey at a single location, however, are DWR’s electronic readings today from103 stations scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada. Measurements indicate the SWE of the northern Sierra snowpack is 2.3 inches, 21 percent of the multi-decade average for the date. The central and southern Sierra readings are­­ 3.3 inches (­­29 percent of average) and 1.8 inches 20 percent of average) respectively. Statewide, the snowpack’s SWE is 2.6 inches, or 24 percent of the Jan. 3 average.

“The survey is a disappointing start of the year, but it’s far too early to draw conclusions about what kind of a wet season we’ll have this year,” said Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program who conducted today’s survey at Phillips. “There’s plenty of time left in the traditional wet season to reverse the dry trend we’ve been experiencing.”

California traditionally receives about half of its annual precipitation during December, January, and February, with the bulk of this precipitation coming from atmospheric rivers (ARs). So far this winter, an atmospheric high-pressure zone spanning the western United States has persistently blocked ARs from reaching the state. If that zone were to move or break up, storms could deliver considerable rainfall and snow this winter.

Davis noted that forecasting accuracy falls off dramatically after just a week or 10 days into the future. “Current technology and computer modeling can tell us what our weather might be weeks into the future, but we’re essentially blind to what the weather will be beyond the two-week mark,” he said. “That’s why we are putting in so much effort to improving medium- and long-range modeling.”

The Phillips snow course, near the intersection of Highway 50 and Sierra-at-Tahoe Road, is one of hundreds that will be surveyed manually throughout the winter. Manual measurements augment the electronic readings from the snow pillows in the Sierra Nevada that provide a current snapshot of the water content in the snowpack. 

California’s exceptionally high precipitation last winter and spring has resulted in above-average storage in 154 reservoirs tracked by the Department. DWR estimates total storage in those reservoirs at the end of December amounted to 24.1 million acre feet (MAF), or 110 percent of the 21.9 MAF average for the end of the year. One year ago, those reservoirs held 21.2 million acre-feet (MAF), 97 percent of average. End-of-year storage is now the highest since December 2012 (24.3 MAF), which was early in the first of five consecutive water years of drought in California.

DWR conducts five snow surveys each winter near the first of January, February, March, April, and May. On average, the snowpack supplies about 30 percent of California’s water needs as it melts in the spring and early summer. The greater the snowpack water content, the greater the likelihood California’s reservoirs will receive ample runoff as the snowpack melts to meet the state’s water demand in the summer and fall.

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Society for the Blind Wraps Up Fitness Challenge

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2017-12-22

Ramona Herriford learns adaptive judo from 2012 London Paralympian Katie Davis at Society for the Blind’s Paralympic Sport Event that wrapped up the group’s participation in the National Fitness Challenge. Photo courtesy Society for the Blind

Participates in National Fitness Challenge with Paralympic Sport Event

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - More than 30 kids and adults with vision loss across the Sacramento region came together in November to learn Paralympic sports at Society for the Blind in Sacramento. The all-day event was the grand finale to Society for the Blind’s participation in the National Fitness Challenge sponsored by the United States Association of Blind Athletes and Anthem Foundation. The Paralympic event included clinics in rowing, golf, judo and goalball, as well as lunch and presentations by athletes leading the clinics.

“This was a really exciting day as we had kids as young as 10 and seniors up to age 85 learning favorite Paralympic sports and discovering ways to stay active and competitive with vision loss,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “This was such a fun way to wrap up our hard work in the National Fitness Challenge.”

Society for the Blind finished seventh in the challenge out of 13 groups across the nation – and one of only three in California – that competed in the United States Association of Blind Athletes’ and Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s fifth annual National Fitness Challenge. Society for the Blind and its competitors provided more than 300 blind and visually impaired youth and adults with an opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives. Other California participants were Junior Blind in Los Angeles and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Bay Area.

When the National Fitness Challenge kicked off in Sacramento this past spring, participants who signed up with Society for the Blind had a number of physically challenging activities to look forward to. In efforts to increase participants’ levels and step counts, staff at Society for the Blind worked with dance instructors, personal trainers, judo instructors and more. In addition to raising their overall physical activity, participants became more aware of opportunities in their community.

For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers that included the Lions Clubs of America to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation: www.SocietyfortheBlind.org

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind with a mission to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information: www.usaba.orgwww.twitter.com/USABA or on Facebook as United States Association of Blind Athletes. 

In addition to grant funding, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation will provide volunteers at events across the state during the nine-month program. Local employees will have the opportunity to meet participants and help them achieve their health and wellness goals. 

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges. 

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As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers there are things they should do now to get ready for filing season.

For most taxpayers, Dec. 31 is the last day to take actions that will impact their 2017 tax returns. For example, charitable contributions are deductible in the year made. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2017 count for the 2017 tax year, even if the bill isn’t paid until 2018. Checks to a charity count for 2017 as long as they are mailed by the last day of the year.

Taxpayers who are over age 70 ½ are generally required to receive payments from their individual retirement accounts and workplace retirement plans by the end of 2017, though a special rule allows those who reached 70 ½ in 2017 to wait until April 1, 2018, to receive them.

Most workplace retirement account contributions should be made by the end of the year, but taxpayers can make 2017 IRA contributions until April 18, 2018. For 2018, the limit for a 401(k) is $18,500. For traditional and Roth IRAs, the limit is $6,500 if age 50 or older and up to $15,500 for a Simple IRA for age 50 or older. Check IRS.gov for more information about cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2018.

Taxpayers should be careful not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. Taxpayers can take steps now to make sure the IRS can process their return next year.

Taxpayers who have moved should tell the US Postal Service, employers and the IRS. To notify the IRS, mail IRS Form 8822, Change of Address, to the address listed on the form’s instructions. For taxpayers who purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, they should also notify the Marketplace when they move out of the area covered by their current Marketplace plan.

For name changes due to marriage or divorce, notify the Social Security Administration so the new name will match IRS and SSA records. Also notify the SSA if a dependent’s name changed.  A mismatch between the name shown on your tax return and the SSA records can cause problems in the processing of a return and may even delay a refund.

Some refunds cannot be issued before mid-February. By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February for tax returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb 27, 2018, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

Some Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers must be renewed. Any Individual Taxpayer Identification Number not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years will expire on December 31, 2017. Additionally, all ITINs issued before 2013 with middle digits of 70, 71, 72 or 80 (Example: 9XX-70-XXXX) will also expire at the end of the year. As a reminder, ITINs with middle digits 78 and 79 that expired in 2016 can also be renewed. Only taxpayers who need to file a U.S. federal tax return or are claiming a refund in 2018 must renew their expired ITINs. Affected ITIN holders can avoid delays by starting the renewal process now.

Those who fail to renew before filing a return could face a delayed refund and may be ineligible for some important tax credits. More information, including answers to frequently asked questions is available on IRS.gov/ITIN.

Keeping copies of tax returns is important. Taxpayers may need a copy of their 2016 tax return to make it easier to fill out a 2017 tax return. Some taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need to provide their 2016 Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI, to e-file their 2017 tax return.

Taxpayers who do not have a copy of their 2016 return and are existing users can log in to IRS.gov/account if they need their AGI. Otherwise the IRS will mail a Tax Return Transcript if requested online or by calling 800-908-9946. Plan ahead. Allow five to 10 days for delivery. Learn more on the website about identification verification and electronically signing tax returns. The IRS has a special page on IRS.gov with steps to take now for the 2018 tax filing season.

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The holidays can be stressful during the best of times, but layer on the responsibilities of caring for a loved with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and your holiday season can be quickly overwhelming.   Don’t lose the magic of the holiday season, but take some steps to plan for yourself and the loved one who you are caring for.   You can find joy this holiday season by adapting and celebrating together.

  1. You can say no. You simply cannot do it all. Give yourself permission to limit how you will spend your time this holiday season.   Let someone else host and enjoy their hospitality. Bake fewer cookies, simplify your decorations, and buy few gifts. If you focus on what is most important, you will enjoy those activities much more.
  2. Inform out of town visitors. Your loved one’s behavior may be changing.   Inform your visitors, who have not seen them recently, what to expect. Let them know that they may no longer recognize them. Setting these expectations before they arrive can relieve the stress and anticipation for you and them.
  3. Choose the time of day that is best. Many people who suffer from Alzheimer’s become more uncomfortable and agitated in the evening due to sundowning.  Suggest that family meals be done in the morning, brunch, or lunch.   Who knows, you might create a new tradition?
  4. Let your loved one help with preparations. Let them help you wrapping presents, decorating the house, setting the table, or making a simple dish. Break these into manageable smaller tasks that you do together to limit frustration. Sharing these activities together can evoke memories of the past.
  5. Ask for help. The holidays are about family and friends.   Allow them to help you. Set up a buddy system at parties, so someone else can help you look after them. Have potluck meals, so the burden of all the shopping and cooking does not fall on you. Delegate shopping or meals prep to others who offer to help.
  6. Creative gift giving. For the stressed caregiver, a certificate for housecleaning during the holidays would be appreciated or a certificate for respite care so they can enjoy a break. For the loved one with dementia, think about soft and warm items like robes, slippers, soft clothing, shawls, and blankets, especially for those suffering from poor circulation.
  7. Set limits. Loved ones with dementia become tired very easily.   Try to keep them to their routine as much as possible. Keep gatherings low key and short, or provide them a place to get away and lie down from the noise and activity.
  8. Enjoy your traditions. A special dish, a favorite holiday song, or lit tree or menorah may be welcome and comforting memories for your loved one.

As the caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, you may have to adapt your holiday plans, but this does not mean that you have to miss the magic of the season.   You may create new traditions or enjoy a simple, more relaxed season. You may find joy in the eyes of your loved one as they remember a past holiday.   You will find gratitude in enjoying another holiday with some you love and care for.

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Re-imagining transit service is a top priority for the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT). The SacRT Board of Directors took a major step toward that goal this week by unanimously voting to award a $400,000 contract to Jarrett Walker + Associates (JWA ) to conduct a Route Optimization Study (ROS).

JWA has an excellent reputation in the transit industry for being innovative in its approach to planning and redesigning transit systems.  Under the guidance of Jarrett Walker, JWA was responsible for successfully re-imagining the Houston Transit System and for leading a Comprehensive Operational Analysis of the public transit network in Indianapolis.  Closer to home, JWA is credited with developing “Next Network” a Transit Ridership Improvement Program that was rolled out for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which operates in the Silicon Valley.

“Walker is a dynamic presenter, known for building Board consensus along with community support for study recommendations,” said SacRT Chair Andy Morin.  “This is an extremely important factor, if this study is to be a useful model to govern redesign efforts.” 

The ROS will evaluate SacRT’s existing service conditions, as well as current travel patterns, to determine the type of design changes to recommend.  The goal is to provide frequent service on bus routes that are traveling to destinations where people want to go. New transit trends, such as on-demand bus service using a smartphone app and zero-emission bus deployment, will be evaluated for possible inclusion into SacRT’s service design. 

“Our number one priority is to significantly improve mobility and connectivity in the Sacramento region for years to come,” said General Manager/CEO Henry Li.  “Improving accessibility and convenience is essential, if we are to become a world-class transit system in the Sacramento region.”

JWA, a Portland, Oregon based company, will rely on AIM Consulting, a Sacramento public relations firm, to manage local community outreach for the ROS.  AIM intends to outreach to passengers and non-transit users alike during two intense cycles that will be defined through a Public Engagement Plan.  Community input will be a major component of the study, and JWA has committed to creating compelling visuals to effectively engage the public.  Virtual workshops and online surveys will be major components of the outreach effort.

“Transit planning requires some tough choices, but we know how to lead conversations that will help stakeholders and officials understand their options fully,” said Jarrett Walker, Principal-in-Charge. “We build the understanding so that when a final plan is adopted, everyone understands the rationale behind the new network.”

JWA will begin work on the ROS in January with SacRT’s team, and it’s expected to take approximately 12 months to complete. Visit sacrt.com and click on the Route Optimization Study to learn more about the upcoming route redesign.

SacRT operates approximately 69 bus routes and 43 miles of light rail throughout Sacramento County, including the cities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove.  Sacramento buses and light rail trains operate 365 days a year. SacRT's entire bus and light rail system is accessible to the disabled community. ADA services are provided under contract with Paratransit, Inc. 

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