‘Blue Star Museums’ Free to Military Personnel and Families

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack, T-Rock Communications  |  2019-06-13

A U.S. Air Force F-4 McDonnell Douglas Phantom II at the Aerospace Museum of California. Photo courtesy of the Aerospace Museum of California.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Seven Sacramento area museums are participating in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America by offering free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families now through Labor Day (September 2), 2019.

The seven local museums participating in Blue Star Museums include the following: Aerospace Museum of California, California Automobile Museum, California Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Powerhouse Science Center and the Sacramento History Museum.

First Lady of the United States Melania Trump and Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence are honorary co-chairs of Blue Star Museums 2019. This year’s participating organizations include fine art, science, history, and children’s museums, as well as zoos, aquariums, gardens, and more.

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military –

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members.

Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.

Before planning a visit, guests are encouraged to contact the individual museums for hours of operation and note some are normally closed on Mondays and in observance of holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day.

For more information or a complete list of participating Blue Star museums, please visit https://www.arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums. For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @SacMuseums or visit the user-friendly website at www.SacMuseums.org.

About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org. Follow Blue Star Museums on Twitter @NEAarts and @BlueStarFamily, #bluestarmuseums.

About the Sacramento Area Museums (SAM)
Comprised of 30 greater Sacramento area museums working in partnership with Visit Sacramento, SAM’s mission is to raise awareness of local museums by giving the community the opportunity to discover California’s fine art, history, science and wildlife treasures. SAM achieves its mission through implementing cooperative promotions and developing strategic marketing alliances, by encouraging sharing of knowledge and resources among its partner institutions. For more information, visit

*Some museums closed on Memorial Day (Mon., May 27, 2019) and Labor Day (Mon., Sept. 2, 2019); please check participating venues for holidays and hours.

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Nonprofit Childcare Opens Center to Support Families

By Jessica Keefe, Elevate Public Relations  |  2019-06-12

Single Mom Strong Founder Tara Taylor. Photo courtesy Elevate Public Relations

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Single Mom Strong, a nonprofit created to meet the unique needs of local single mothers and their families through support, education and events is expanding its mission by addressing the lack of affordable, quality childcare in the region. Its new Empowerment Center, where a Grand Opening is set for Saturday, June 15, 2019, will immediately offer value- and activity-based summer camps, addressing a great need for working families.

When the school year kicks off, the Center will offer preschool and childcare programs, including extended hours and drop-in care, in a co-operative style childcare where parents can volunteer in exchange for reduced rates.

In addition, the Center will offer a variety of personal and professional growth programs for single mothers, with a wide range of topics such as goal setting, budgeting and self-defense, as well as one-on-one coaching and mentoring.

“The cost of childcare is a significant strain on the family budget, particularly for single parents. The problem multiplies when school is not in session and full-day programs are needed such as during summer and winter breaks. We need to find better solutions to the childcare dilemma for families. Single Mom Strong’s new summer program is a great option. Then, when the EmpowerME preschool and co-op childcare programs open in the fall, families will have an affordable long-term care option with the opportunity to volunteer in the Center in exchange for reduced-cost care for their children,” said Founder Tara Taylor.

Taylor created Single Mom Strong as a response to her own challenges as a single mother. “I know from my own experience that it really does take a village to raise a child. I raised my daughter alone from the age of 6 months old without support from her father. It was the hardest, but most rewarding thing I have ever done. I wanted to make that path a bit easier for other single mothers, so I decided to create the “village” that every mom needs when raising a child and Single Mom Strong was born.”

Despite mothers’ best efforts, statistics show that children raised by single mothers suffer in a variety of ways: they are more likely to have educational deficiencies, engage in sex at a younger age, have lower occupational status and income as adults, and give birth outside of marriage themselves, among other issues. In fact, eighty-five percent of all children with behavioral problems come from fatherless homes.

Meanwhile, single mothers are plagued with feelings of guilt and inadequacy and usually find themselves living at or below poverty level. Single Mom Strong is working with local single mothers to change these statistics.

Since its inception in Sacramento less than three years ago, Single Mom Strong has served over 400 mothers and children in the greater Sacramento area.

The interest list for Single Mom Strong’s EmpowerME summer program is open but space is limited. Interested parties are encouraged to learn more at SingleMomStrong.org and attend the Grand Opening hosted by Taylor and the Center’s new Childcare Director Le Taunya Terrell. The event will feature a ribbon cutting, facility tours, carnival games, silent auction, special guests and treats.

About Single Mom Strong
Based on the premise that a single mother can simultaneously be a professional success and a great parent, and the belief that neither the single mother nor her children are limited in any way by this circumstance, Single Mom Strong is:

A community, meeting the need for belonging and love for single mothers and their children; A place of empowerment: for single mothers, through education and opportunity for balance; for their children through education and positive relationships; A means for betterment: with their children in safe, quality child care, single mothers can better provide for their families and achieve personal goals

About The Empowerment Center
Located at 7525 Auburn Blvd. in Citrus Heights, The Empowerment Center is the only resource of its kind in the area and the flagship program of Single Mom Strong.

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Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary Gives Back to Fathers on their Special Day

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary, a proud provider in the Dignity Memorial® network, will be giving away free hot dogs and Dad’s root beer floats beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Father’s Day, Sunday June 16th, and continuing until 2:00 p.m. We are thankful for the fathers in our community and want to honor them for their daily sacrifices and dedication to their families and community.

For any questions regarding this special event, please contact Lisa Goudy at 916-969-1251 or Lisa.Goudy@dignitymemorial.com

Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary is located at 8201 Greenback Lane, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

About Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary

Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary is a proud member of the Dignity Memorial network in Fair Oaks. The Dignity Memorial network of more than 2,000 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is North America’s most trusted resource for funeral and memorialization services. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence. For more information, visit www.mountvernonmemorialpark.com.




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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Old couches. Left-over lumber. One-legged chairs. Used laptops and TVs. Broken refrigerators. Beat-up mattresses. Does this sound like your backyard or garage? Did you know the Sacramento County Department of Waste Management and Recycling will come to your home and pick these items up from your curb at no charge?

One Bulky Waste Pick-Up per calendar year is included in your garbage rate. The no-charge pick- up is good for an 8’ x 4’ x 4’ pile, with a maximum material amount of 5 cubic yards – about the size of a pickup bed loaded to the top of the cab. Additional pickups are only $25!

Bulky Waste Pick-Up services are available by appointment only. To schedule your pick-up, call (916) 875-5555 or complete the Waste Management and Recycling form online.

Acceptable items include: Appliances, E-Waste (TVs and computer monitors), Universal Waste (household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs less than 4 feet, and cell phones), Furniture/Mattresses, Pipes, Lumber, Lawn/Tree/Shrub Trimmings.

Please use your green waste container as much as possible for leaves, grass, weeds and prunings. The more you use your green waste cart, the more space in your Bulk Waste Pick-Up for items that cannot go into a cart.

Place these items to the side of your pile: Tires (no rims; maximum of 5); Junk.

Lumber, pipes and trimmings should be no more than four inches in diameter and five feet long.

Unacceptable items include: Commercial Waste, Dirt, Rocks, and Bricks, Glass Panes, Concrete, Vehicle Batteries, Household Garbage, Hot Ashes, Heavy Materials (like auto bodies, engines, etc.), Hazardous Waste. This includes paint, oil and chemicals. This material may be dropped off at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility located at the North Area Recovery Station. Call (916) 875-5555 for hours.

Customers are asked to place the materials in front of their property and on the same side of the street 24 hours before scheduled pick-up.

The County offers this service to help customers keep their neighborhoods and homes tidy. It also helps reduce illegal dumping.

Sometimes, people without access to trucks or trailers will illegally dump unwanted items along roadsides or in rural areas of the county. This causes blight and costs taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars every year to address.

Ted Horton, superintendent of operations for the Department of Waste Management and Recycling, says that each year the county removes about 23 million pounds of household junk through the Bulky Waste Pick-Up program.

Couches, beds and wood are the most commonly disposed of items. “But we’ll even take old hot tubs, as long as they are cut in half,” said Horton.

Appointment availability varies. Depending on demand there may be a wait of up to 3-4 weeks.

If you’d like to get rid of household junk or have questions about the program, please email sacgreenteam@saccounty.net or call Customer Service at 916-875-5555, Monday – Friday,

8:00 am – 4:30 pm.

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SMUD and CDFW Stock Thousands of Trout in Reservoirs

SMUD Press Release  |  2019-06-12

SMUD and CDFW will be stocking three separate reservoirs for recreational fishing.

EL DORADO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - SMUD and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are again stocking three Sierra reservoirs with rainbow trout. The fish planting will run into August with SMUD stocking 25,000 pounds of fish into Union Valley, Ice House and Loon Lake reservoirs in El Dorado County. This is the fifth consecutive summer SMUD and CDFW have combined efforts to stock the reservoirs.

The trout plants are intended to enhance angling opportunities for the public. Surveys say fishing tops the reasons folks visit the Crystal Basin Recreation Area. On average, the stocked trout weigh one to two pounds each, including some trophy fish. SMUD, along with the owners of the Ice House Resort, have installed the “Crystal Basin Bragging Board” where anglers can post pictures of their catch from Crystal Basin reservoirs. There is also a scale available if anglers wish to weigh their catch and claim biggest-fish bragging rights. Anglers are also encouraged to tag SMUD on social media and show off their catch.

SMUD proactively works to improve the quality of life in El Dorado County, where many SMUD employees call home and work, and where the electric utility owns and operates the Upper American River Project (UARP), a system of hydroelectric generation facilities.

SMUD was awarded a new 50-year license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2014 to continue operating the UARP, which provides nearly 700 megawatts of low-cost, clean, non-carbon-emitting hydro power, enough to provide about 15 to 20 percent of SMUD’s energy capacity during an average water year. The fish-stocking effort helps SMUD meet conditions of operating its FERC license for the UARP.

SMUD will coordinate six separate trout plantings starting in early June and continuing into early August. Union Valley, the largest of the three reservoirs, will get 9,600 pounds; Loon Lake, 7,750 pounds; and Ice House, 7,650. The fish provided by SMUD will come from Mount Lassen Trout Farms of Payne’s Creek. The company also stocks SMUD’s Rancho Seco Lake, which annually hosts the very popular Trout Derby.

Fishing licenses are available for purchase from more than 1,400 license agents throughout the state and can also be obtained online at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing.

For more information about UARP and associated projects, as well as current reservoir and stream release conditions, please visit smud.org and the Community and Recreational Areas Web pages.


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Best of the Best

Story and photos by “Best Photographer” Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-06-06

Artist David Peterson’s watercolor vision of Carmichael’s Milagro Centre was auctioned and won by a $500 bid from Dr. Ashkan Alizadeh. Alizadeh’s Marconi Dental group also took best dentist honors.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Business folk were toast of the town when the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce and Carmichael Times hosted a "Best of Carmichael" awards gala last week. Winners were decided by votes; applause, certificates and proclamations rewarded victory.

Thirty-three contested categories included professional services, markets, restaurants, fitness centers, non-profits – and many more entities that make Carmichael a business and residential hub. Dominating for member gala attendance, the Carmichael Kiwanis Club took dual awards for best service group and for hosting the annual Taste of Carmichael festival. River City Brewery supped up acclaim for preferred pub and additional kudos for winning most votes overall. Lido Café and Bakery took the cake for best restaurant. The Effie Yeaw Nature Center was this year voted tops for recreation and La Sierra Center (Carmichael Park District) scored as best community center. Eskaton Village rallied votes to secure best senior living. Carmichael Presbyterian was this time heaped with best-church praise.

While many new winners emerged, some old winners prevailed. For the third year, Bel Air #511 was elected best grocery store. Katie Pexa’s Farmers agency was a third-time champion for best insurance provider.

Over three years, the competition has garnered increasing community excitement. Six hundred more voters participated than in 2018, and 163 guests enjoyed the sold-out celebrations.

Raffles and auctions added to the banquet’s competitive atmosphere. David Peterson’s watercolor painting of the Milagro Centre brought a winning bid of $500. In a furiously contested dessert auction, several bespoke cakes brought bids of $200 each. Wine flowed. Victors and supporters rejoiced. In the Milagro Centre’s Patriots ballroom, Carmichael’s business people ate, drank and were exceedingly merry.

See a complete list of Best of Carmichael winners on BestofCarmichael.com

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CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - A 24-year tradition, the annual Community Band Festival recently filled Carmichael Park with marches, anthems and pop songs.

The two-day event was sponsored by the Sacramento Valley Symphonic Band Association and featured 15 volunteer ensembles. Aged from grade schoolers to nonagenarians, more than 700 volunteer musicians came from as far as the Sierra Foothills and the Bay Area. Sacramento-area bands included Roseville, Carmichael, Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova players.

An anchor ensemble for the event, the Sacramento Symphonic Winds has played all 24 seasons.

The event kicked off a summer-long program of free weekend entertainment in Carmichael Park. This Saturday (June 8), perennial rocker Mick Martin will offer a program of blues.

Music starts at 6:30 pm. Concerts continue on Saturdays and some Sundays until the end of August. All performances will be held in the band shell, near the park’s North Avenue entrance.

For information, call (916) 485-5322 or visit www.carmichaelpark.com

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