Rotary Funds Trainings to Prevent Human Trafficking

Story and photo by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-04-23

Students surveyed after the trainings say that they can define human trafficking, they understand how traffickers recruit victims, they know how to contact the human trafficking hotline, and they know how to protect themselves and others from trafficking. Stock image purchased.

Works Towards Protecting Children through Education

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry and is the fast-growing criminal activity in the world. California has the highest volume of sex trafficking, and the Sacramento region is a hotbed for trafficking in the United States.
The local Rotary District 5180 has undertaken a large-scale campaign to combat the issue of human trafficking in the Sacramento Region.
Rotary members Brian Gladden and Bob Deering (former District Governor) initiated the project more than three years ago. Through their research, they discovered that education is the key to preventing human trafficking. District 5180 raised more than $383,000 in grant funding to educate youth and the general public about the risks of human trafficking.
District 5180 partnered with local non-profit 3Strands Global in a public awareness campaign that reached approximately 78 million people.
Deering spoke at a recent Fair Oaks Rotary meeting to explain just how insidious trafficking is in our area and to update local Rotary members about the project’s progress.
Deering said that traffickers initially contact most victims online and that approximately 65% of the victims come from broken homes. When a stranger online begins showing them love and attention, the children are extremely vulnerable to becoming a trafficking victim.
Deering explained that one of the reasons Sacramento has such high trafficking rates is due to the prevalence of gang activity. He said that trafficking is “quickly becoming the number one revenue producer for gangs.”
While drugs can only be sold once and there are numerous risks in obtaining more to sell, the traffickers view young people as merchandise that can be sold repeatedly.
Because Interstate 5 and Highway 80 both run right through the Sacramento region, traffickers can easily transport victims throughout the state. Deering said that the practice of frequently moving the victims to new locations leaves them in a constant state of confusion because they don’t know where they are or how to find help.
Deering said that the project’s most important component was getting the 3Strands Global educational trainings into local schools. Deering described AB 1227, the Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act, which was sponsored by 3Strands Global Foundation and signed into law in 2017.
The law requires California public schools to train county leadership, administrators, and educators in how to identify children who have been, or who are at risk of being, exploited — as well as how to proceed when potential victims are identified. The schools must also provide human trafficking prevention education at least once in middle school and once in high school as part of sexual health education.
Due to the passage of AB 1227, Deering thought it would be easy to get the 3Strands curriculum into local schools, especially since District 5180 would be paying for it with grant funds. But Deering soon found that navigating the politics of the local school boards was no easy feat.
At many of the schools, Deering said it took months for the local curriculum committees to review and approve the 3Strands training curriculum. He explained that some individuals at the schools didn’t appreciate outsiders coming in and suggesting curriculum improvements and that those individuals believed the schools already knew how to handle the problem.
Deering said they also dealt with one angry parent who mistakenly got the impression that the training targeted students of color. Her frequent complaints that the training was racist made that particular school board initially hesitant to accept the trainings.
But Deering knew just how crucial it was to bring these trainings to the students, especially because the average age of trafficking victims is 12 – 14 years old. So they kept pushing, and now they have educated over 25,000 students and more than 650 teachers.
The trainings are already having a significant impact. Deering said that at each training, at least a few students approach the trainers afterward to say they now recognize they were being groomed for trafficking — or that they are already being trafficked and want help getting out.
Students surveyed after the trainings say that they can define human trafficking, they understand how traffickers recruit victims, they know how to contact the human trafficking hotline, and they know how to protect themselves and others from trafficking.
Deering expressed his thanks to all the clubs in the District for supporting this project. He estimates that the remaining grant money will be spent by the end of the year, so he asked that local clubs consider using some of their funds to sponsor trainings in their neighborhood schools.
“We want to find ways to keep this going even after the initial funding runs out.”

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Sutter’s Fort to Present Maker’s Mart-Style

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack  |  2019-04-23

A vendor at Sutter’s Fort displaying an array of produce. Photo attached is courtesy of Sutter

Ready, Set, Shop Traders’ Faire! Event April 26-28

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - To the delight of shoppers and local artisans near and far, California State Parks, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) and Friends of Sutter’s Fort are proud to present a vibrant, high-energy and fun three-day event – Shop Traders’ Faire! – on Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28, 2019.
Designed as a maker’s mart and offered just once a year, this lively event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each of the three days and offers a unique shopping bazaar where visitors can purchase a wide variety of locally crafted goods. Visitors to Sutter’s Fort can expect to browse and shop hand-crafted goods from many of the talented local artisans, a sampling of which includes the following:
Basket Tree – jewelry crafted from traditional materials from the Pit River Tribe and more
Beaded Hats by Leanne Snow Bear – traditional Native American beadwork
Bigelow Leathers – handmade leather journals
Biscuits the Blacksmith – hand-forged metal goods
Bubbling Goat Soaps – soaps and lotions
Bull Hat Company – palm leaf hats shaped on-site
Crooked Creek Trader – leather bags, wooden canteen, knifes and more
Debbie’s Novelties – supplies, soap stone, dolls, beadwork, dream catchers, sun catchers, ornaments, abalone work and more
E & D Beads – trade beads, old tools, pottery and beadwork
Hippocampus Forge – metal goods
Indigenous American Art – airbrushed Native American Art prints, Southern Plain style Jewelry and apparel
Native Three Feathers – handmade dolls, necklaces and earrings
Needlin’ Women – fabric, patterns and artwork
Phoenix Obsidian Designs – flint knapped items, stone tools, furs, leather and more
Roquero Gems & Medicine Bags – gems, medicine bags and more
Stone Rose Designs – handcrafted jewelry
Talbott & Co. Heritage Goods – clothing, hats, toiletries and accessories
As background, Sutter’s Fort once served as a thriving commercial center in the early days of the Gold Rush. In fact, it was the only trading center on the way to the gold fields and literally thousands of gold miners passed through the Fort to purchase needed supplies from vendors hawking a variety of goods. Admission to this special Shop Traders’ Faire! event at Sutter’s Fort SHP is $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children 5 and under (regular admission pricing is $5 per adult, $3 for youth). For more information, call 916-445-4422 or visit

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Playmakers to Host Annual Fundraising Dinner

By Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-04-13

(Left to right) San Juan Unified School District Athletics Director Ron Barney, Rio Head Coach Sam Stroughter, El Camino Head Coach JP Dolliver, Playmaker Founder Greg Roeszler, and Playmaker Director Phil Dubois plan to bring rival teams together through community service. Photo by Shaunna Boyd.

Proceeds Fund Free Summer Program for Local At-Risk Youth

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Playmakers Organization is a local non-profit that coaches character through leadership and provides free programs to underprivileged and at-risk youth. The Playmakers Organization is hosting their 10th annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, April 27 at Divine Savior Church, 9079 Greenback Lane in Orangevale.

Playmakers founder Greg Roeszler (known as Coach Roz) said the goal of the organization is “to serve extremely at-risk kids and support them in the development of character, academics, sports and recreation — and to create a bond that the kids and their families can depend on.”

Roeszler said the upcoming fundraiser dinner “is a very inspirational evening; it’s very kid-driven.” Roeszler explained that kids who are involved in the Playmakers program speak at the event and “they will bring you to happy tears.” The dinner is an opportunity for the kids “to tell their story.”

The event will honor Playmakers sponsor Harrison Phillips of the Buffalo Bills and will celebrate Playmakers civic group participants — Rotary, Optimists, and Lions. Playmakers will also be welcoming Stanford defensive linemen Michael Williams and Joe Swahn as honored guests. The keynote speaker will be Phil Oates, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings.

Players from the Rio Americano and El Camino football teams will be serving together at the dinner, helping to set up the event and serve food throughout the evening. Their service is part of an effort to reconcile the teams after a brawl last season that forced them to forfeit the final game.

 Food will be provided by Chicago Fire, which will be serving pizza, wings, and salads. The event includes a live auction, DJ, and no-host bar.

Proceeds from the event will fund the Playmakers Summer Academy, an all-day program that is completely free for families that can’t afford childcare during the summer months.

Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase at

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DMV Office serves members of the Legislature

SACRAMENTO, CA - Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) introduced Assembly Bill 862 today that would prohibit the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from operating a secret DMV field office that only serves a select group of individuals in state government, including Members of the Legislature and their staff.

“At a time when the DMV is failing to adequately serve Californians, it is unconscionable that lawmakers tasked with keeping the department accountable do not have to wait in the same lines as the people they represent,” Kiley said. “We’ll see if there’s more interest in fixing the DMV once all California Legislators are required to endure the same experience as their constituents.”

Multiple news reports and audits in recent months have highlighted the DMV’s deficiencies, including:
Over 6-8 hours wait times in many locations; Mishandling of 23,000 voter registrations since passage of Motor Voter law; Incorrectly registering over 1,500 ineligible voters, including non-citizens; Preventing over 500 eligible voters from registering due to failure to submit paperwork on time; Employee sleeping on the job over 2,000 hours; Dozens of technology outages disabling operations for hours at a time; Failing to comply with federal law regarding Real ID identity verification; Resignation of DMV director responsible for mismanagement.

Most recently, an audit by the Department of Finance uncovered a number of concerning findings at the DMV including an outdated organizational structure, poor performing IT systems, and a failure to properly train employees to meet the needs of customers.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley represents the 6th Assembly District, which includes the Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado County communities of Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, Orangevale, Penryn, Rocklin, Roseville, and Sheridan.

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Chamber Awards Honor DA and Business Leaders

By Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-04-13

Sacramento DA Anne Marie Schubert (center) was named Person of the Year at the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce gala. She was joined by Rosemarie Martell, Connor Pexa, Ron Greenwood and Mahmud Shariff. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) ­- Carmichael Chamber of Commerce has chosen Anne Marie Schubert – in her second term as District Attorney – as Carmichael Person of the Year. A recent awards dinner saw Schubert and other community leaders honored. Shriners Hospitals of Northern California was named Non-Profit of the Year.

More than 250 chamber supporters attended the sold-out fundraiser at Arden Hills Resort. Program emcee was Good Day Sacramento anchor Tina Macuha. Presenters included former Sheriff John McGinness.

While protestors against Schubert’s recent decision not to charge police officers in the 2018 Stephon Clark shooting gathered in the street, the DA’s indoor reception was notably warmer.  Attendees greeted her introduction with a standing ovation.

The gala also recognized greengrocer Rosemarie Martell as 2019 businesswoman; jeweler/philanthropist Mahmud Shariff was named top businessman; realtor and community activist Ron Greenwood took volunteer laurels. El Camino High School student Connor Pexa was lauded for volunteer work with seniors.

With her two young sons on hand, Anne Marie Schubert reflected that she – and predecessor DA Jan Scully – both were raised in Carmichael and attended Loretto High School. She reflected that if her youth was a halcyon time, her recent times as DA have been harrowing. “2018 was a very tough year,” she said. “There were tremendous highs and lows for my department but we will always be about justice. The [Chamber of Commerce] award means so much to me because I grew up in this neighborhood as one of seven kids. It warms my heart when people come up to me and say they worked with my dad. I’ll always be proud to come back to this community.”

Among auction items offered at the fundraiser, a painting of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center by Carmichael artist David Peterson sold for $700. A group breakfast tour at Good Day Sacramento with Tina Macuha raised $450. Alpha One Ambulance owner Tom Arjil won a $2000 diamond ring donated by Sharif Jewelers.

Event sponsors included SMUD, Dignity Health, Golden 1 Credit Union and SAFE Credit Union.

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Dogtopia is Barking Up the Right Tree

By David Dickstein  |  2019-04-13

Terri and Mike Wilson own Dogtopia in Rancho Cordova. Photo by David Dickstein

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Mike and Terri Wilson’s pet project turns a half-year old on April 19 – a puppy by dog standards, and a bona fide fledgling enterprise in business circles. But how long Dogtopia has been open is of no concern to the self-appointed boss. Tanner, a year-old, 80-pound husky-border collie mix, acts like he runs the place. Indeed, belonging to the owners of a doggie daycare facility has its advantages. Like having a bed to lay on in an office near where furry friends are released to their owners.

“Tanner, come back here – you know you can’t do that,” Mike barked in a half-serious voice as Noah, an Australian shepherd mix, was going home – not that a full-serious voice would have made any difference to the curious canine, one of the younger daytime residents of Dogtopia. Tanner and his more composed 7-year-old brother Boomer, a 90-pound English cream golden retriever, are cute as heck, but furry freeloaders. All employees get comped daycare for their pooches. Of paying guests, about 70 percent are regulars, not unlike daycare facilities for human children.

With dozens of dogs having a ball on any given day, Dogtopia has certainly brought life to 7,455 square feet that had been dead since stores selling furniture and kayaks pulled out. The first Dogtopia franchise in the Sacramento Valley is part of a renaissance for the newly remodeled Nimbus Winery. Over the past year, long-time tenants Tommy T’s and Old Spaghetti Factory have also welcomed Fort Rock Brewery and Red Door Escape Room.

Like a cat entered in a dog show, Dogtopia doesn’t seem to belong in a mall dominated by restaurants and amusement centers, Monster Golf included. But when you think about it – as a dog – it actually makes complete sense. The animals are served food and entertained in an open-play environment. Think Chuck E. Cheese’s for canines, not that the mouse mascot would stand a chance against the anti-rodent instincts of a pack of dogs.

Well, there’s one alpha male at Dogtopia who wouldn’t hurt a mouse, let alone a flea. Milo is the alpha due not to strength – he’s a sweet Shih Tzu – but seniority.

“Milo was Dogtopia’s very first customer,” said Lisa Henslee, a vice president at VSP Global who finds the facility’s location off 50 and Hazel Avenue as ideal between her El Dorado Hills home and Rancho Cordova workplace. “Dogtopia is a great doggie daycare option for my dog and for me. Milo gets to enjoy socializing with other dogs and I get peace of mind knowing that he’s in a safe and fun environment.”

Henslee, a former Gold River resident, made the switch from another daycare facility when she learned Dogtopia has webcams in each of the playrooms.

“I can check in on him, see him playing, and know that he’s having a blast!” she said.

A full day costs $33, $20 for a half day, and prices go down with multiple-day passes and memberships.  Other services include dog boarding starting at $47 per night, and “spa” treatments that range from ear cleaning and teeth brushing to a nail trim and bath.

The playrooms are set up like supervised indoor dog parks, complete with a plastic fire hydrant on a patch of artificial grass large enough for dogs to, well, do what they do around real fire hydrants. Each playroom has compressed rubber flooring that promotes safe play and easy clean-up, along with a powerful HVAC system to maintain fresh air. Named “The Beach” and “The City,” each with a theme-supporting motif, the environments are under the watchful care of certified dog handlers, which here are called “canine coaches.” Dogs in each room are separated by size and temperament, and if one gets a bit, too rambunctious, crates are nearby for a well-deserved “time out.” Full-out chaos is rare, according to the Wilsons, thanks to an extensive evaluation process each pooch goes through before being welcomed beyond the free first day.

Fortunately for the Wilsons, their dogs were not among the 5 percent that don’t pass. That would be like the school principal’s kid being expelled. Tanner actually benefits from his brother having doggie daycare experience. After seeing the value of this type of service with Boomer when the Wilsons first got him, the idea of investing in the fastest-growing pet franchise made their decision for Mike to leave corporate America after 30-plus years a little less crazy.

“I was unhappy at my job, and we wanted to do something where we’d have a steady stream of money so we can take elaborate trips when we retire,” said Mike, who before his professional life went to the dogs, was director of planning for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Rancho Cordova. From managed care to pet daycare, one could say. If you like that, how about from white collar to dog collar? No doubt, Mike has heard them all. His wife, not so much. Terri has kept her 9-to-5 job at VSP, where she’s senior vice president and general manager of International Vision Care. On weekends and after hours, she dons the franchisee hat.

Among Dogtopias 13 months and younger, Rancho Cordova’s ranks among the highest in the categories of customer satisfaction and staff retention. In fact, 16 of the original 20 employees are still there as of this printing, led by general manager and Citrus Heights resident Nickole Fiola, who worked previously for Mike when both were at First Health.

Being a top dog within the Phoenix-based company is a tasty treat that the Wilsons don’t take for granted. It’s dog-eat-dog in the growing doggie daycare business, and just a few miles away are Folsom Dog Resort and Waggin’ Tails in Citrus Heights, among other places where the area’s dog-owning population can park their pooch.

“Bringing a high-end daycare and boarding facility to the Sacramento area is one motivator for us,” Terri said. “Another is that we enable more families to experience the joy of dog ownership, just as we did when discovering the value of dog daycare with Boomer.”

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Capitol Pops Concert Band will celebrate its 22nd anniversary with a free, open to the public concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019, in the Rusch Park Auditorium, 7801 Auburn Blvd., in Citrus Heights.

Under the baton of Director Judith Steinle, the CPCB will perform a fresh program of pops tunes reflecting the band's "Take Me Away" theme -- a musical journey designed to please a wide variety of listener tastes. The two-hour concert includes a 20-minute intermission.
This performance is co-sponsored by the Sunrise Recreation & Park District and the City of Citrus Heights.

Longtime band supporter Eisley Nursery in Auburn will provide a special rosebush for the band’s student scholarship raffle. Other raffle prizes will be available to attendees making voluntary donations. Spring flowers grown by Eisley Nursery will be available for purchase at the conclusion of the concert.
Started in 1997, the CPCB has performed a diverse portfolio of high-quality, well-prepared music heard by thousands of concert-goers throughout Northern California. The Citrus Heights-based, self-supporting, nonprofit community band of about 50 musicians represents a wide cross-section of the Sacramento area.

More information can be found on the band's Facebook page or at

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