Nearly 4,000 Volunteers Celebrate Five Years of Caring

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2017-10-13

Volunteers celebrate as United Way collects school supplies for its Stuff the Bus campaign, one of dozens of projects that took place during United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring in September. Photo courtesy United Way.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) -  Since United Way California Capital Region held its inaugural 2013 Day of Caring, 3,692 volunteers have spent one day caring for their community over the last five years. Volunteers donated 18,054 hours of service, valued at $366,572, for 182 projects with nonprofits, parks and schools across the region, including on United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring that took place Sept. 22-23. 

“In just five years, Day of Caring has become the single largest volunteer day in our region,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Thousands of volunteers have dug their hands in to help hardworking nonprofits, parks and schools that do so much for our community every day.”

Hundreds of volunteers donated time for United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring at dozens of volunteer projects, including building garden beds at schools, painting nonprofit program facilities and cleaning up parks. The event began with a kickoff breakfast and rally at Cal Expo that included an appearance by Mayor Darrell Steinberg. As part of this year’s Day of Caring, United Way held its inaugural Stuff the Bus campaign, which raised more than $11,000 in school supplies for Robla School District in Sacramento. 

Nationwide has been the presenting sponsor for Day of Caring since it began in 2013. Project sponsors for 2017 included Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, ESM Prep, KPMG, Law Offices of Deon R. Stein, Nelson Staffing, SAFE Credit Union, SMUD, Social Interest Solutions, Sutter Health, Syzmanowski Orthodontics, TaxAudit.com and Zurich. Media partners included Entercom Radio’s ESPN Radio 1320 AM, 98 Rock, Eagle 96.9 FM and 106.5 The End. 

Day of Caring is part of United Way California Capital Region’s Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org

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TAKE FLIGHT Opens at Aerospace Museum

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack   |  2017-10-13

The Aerospace Museum is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo courtesy of Aeropsace Museum.

To Debut Interactive Exhibit in October
 

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Aerospace Museum of California is proud to present an interactive new exhibit titled TAKE FLIGHT that will be available for guests to explore and enjoy from October 17, 2017 through January 9, 2018. With a variety of dynamic elements and multiple activity stations, guests of all ages will begin to understand the fundamentals needed to achieve flight. The new TAKE FLIGHT exhibit will occupy approximately 2,000-square feet of space on the ground floor inside the impressive Museum.

The new exhibit will help Museum guests learn about the evolution and history of flight before they begin their own exciting journey of discovery with a series of building activities that help them create different forms of flying machines. The exhibit is designed to help visitors explore and understand how the physical characteristics of lift, thrust, drag, rotation and gravity are important to achieve flight. Guests of all ages will especially enjoy the activity stations such as Make it Fly--Planes, Make It Fly--Rockets and Make It Fly—Copters. Museum guests will have a chance to test out and fine-tune their designs with the help of elements such as the Wing Zinger, Rocket Launcher and Wind Tube. 

Museum Guests Can Enjoy Special “Rocket Talk” Presentations by a NASA Solar System Ambassador on October 21 Only

As an added element on Saturday, October 21 only, Museum guests will have the opportunity to see a special “Rocket Talk” presentation by NASA Solar System Ambassador Jayce Pearson as he discusses the fascinating world of rocketry. Ambassador Pearson will lead three presentations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on that one day only that will each include a lively discussion of the history of rocketry, how rocketry works, and what is happening in rocketry now. Between presentations, Ambassador Pearson will be available to answer questions about rocketry, space exploration and the solar system.

The TAKE FLIGHT exhibit and special activities are included with Museum admission: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and teachers (with ID), $8 for children and youth (ages 6-17), and is free for children ages 5 and younger along with active duty military (with ID) and Museum members. The Aerospace Museum is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and school or special groups of 20 or more are encouraged to book tours in advance with the reduced admission pricing of $7 per person. 

As a companion experience to the TAKE FLIGHT exhibit, the Museum is also home to a popular and fun Flight Zone flight simulator that is a state-of-the-art STEM learning laboratory featuring 10 digital flight stations (note there is an added fee for the Flight Zone flight simulator: $5 for a 20-minute session, available for purchase in the gift shop). Flight Zone is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about the TAKE FLIGHT exhibit, the “Rocket Talk” presentations on October 21, the Flight Zone flight simulator or the Aerospace Museum of California in general, please call 916-643-3192 or visit www.aerospaceca.org.

Located in a spacious facility at McClellan Business Park in Sacramento, the Aerospace Museum of California is one of aviation’s greatest showcases that captures the allure of flight. With a wide range of impressive military and civilian aircraft on display – from biplanes to Russian MIGs -- and an extensive engine collection, the Museum also offers a state-of-the-art STEM learning laboratory or “Flight Zone” with 10 interactive digital flight stations. The Museum is committed to providing a world-class experience along with the opportunity to learn about and celebrate aviation’s past, present and future. For more, visit www.aerospaceca.org

For more information about the TAKE FLIGHT exhibit, the “Rocket Talk” presentations on October 21, the Flight Zone flight simulator or the Aerospace Museum of California in general, please call 916-643-3192 or visit www.aerospaceca.org.

 

Source: T-Rock Communications

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A Home for Hope

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-10-13

David Dowdy, president and Joan Marie, vice president of Healing Hands-Healing Hearts. Photo by Jacqueline Fox

Healing Hands-Healing Hearts Opens Carmichael Center

Carmichael, CA (MPG) - For many terminally ill patients, the process of transition often involves prolonged pain, fear and anxiety, among other things, creating difficult end-of-life decisions for caretakers, as well, and detracting from what should by right be a peaceful experience. But this need not be the case.

Healing Hands-Healing Hearts, a non-profit organization providing on-call, certified touch therapy to critically, chronically and terminally ill patients across Sacramento and Kern counties, has opened its first brick and mortar center in Carmichael, roughly seven years after being taken over by Bakersfield resident David Dowdy.  The non-profit is now sharing space with Compassion Central (formerly Enter the Orchid), run by Joan Marie, which offers meditative massage classes, meditation and yoga workshops, among other holistic-based programs.  Training courses for touch therapists will also now be held at the new location for Healing Hands.

The touch therapy, explains Dowdy, is intended to supplement traditional medical and end-of-life care processes. Therapy is provided in patients’ homes, long-term care and hospice facilities. The goal is to deliver them an additional remedy for relief from pain, fear, anxiety and isolation, and, in many cases, provide patients with a channel for spiritual reconnection, while gaining a renewed sense of dignity.

Therapists certified under the nonprofit’s “Touch Therapy for the Terminally Ill” program include certified nurse’s assistants (CNAs), massage therapists, energy workers and individuals, many of whom are family members of the terminally ill who simply want to learn how to help guide their loved-ones through a more peaceful, pain-free transition.  Being part of the transition process, says Dowdy, helps family members shift their focus away from the fears connected to loss toward what should be a joyful celebration of life.

“For the family member, this is a way to get involved in the experience and feel more empowered,” says Dowdy. “So much of the time they sit by the bedside or near a person in a wheelchair and feel totally hopeless. Often when I’m visiting a patient, I invite them to stand on the other side of the bed and mimic what I’m doing, learn the process. You’d be surprised how much relief this gives them and how much it impacts the patient’s ability to reconnect with their own mind, body and spirit so that they can make that transition in peace.”

Touch therapy is different from massage therapy.  It doesn’t involve the use of oils or creams.  Patients do not need to disrobe and they are “treated” just where they are, whether that’s a bed or a wheel chair, eliminating the need for to be moved from one place to another.  The approach to dying is holistic and works through a combination of traditional massage with touch pressure along various points on the body.  Treatments, says Dowdy, help restore circulation, reduce pain, aid with digestive issues, and enhance the immune system, which often can be “clogged up” by an accumulation of the same pain medications used to treat the initial illness. 

Also, and perhaps just as important as the clinical results, touch therapy, says Dowdy, works to help a patient release from fears and anxieties around their death, making it possible to reengage with loved ones and themselves, creating a more human experience for everyone involved.

“What we find with touch therapy is that often patients who are otherwise not talking or communicating with family members, or are unable to move do to pain or prolonged sitting or being confined to a bed, become lucid, are able to take part in the process of transitioning and, in some cases, start communicating again,” says Dowdy.

In fact, in some cases terminally ill patients with less than a month to live, says Dowdy, have gone on to extend that period out for several months, the longest a year.  Many patients get to say goodbye to their family members, whereas before touch therapy treatments, were nonresponsive, isolated in their illness.

“I’ve had three patients come out of commas and get to say goodbye to family members,” Dowdy says. “What we are doing, through the power of touch is, in many cases, helping to create a physical space for leaving, often for patients who just aren’t ready to go out of fear of leaving those they love behind.”

Dowdy, who left a 20-year career in the geological sector as a design engineer “completely burnt out,” was always interested in massage therapy. 

“I wanted to do something for myself, but also learn to do something I could pass on to others as a way to help them feel better,” Dowdy said.  “My wife saw I was burnt out, and I had always told my kids to do what you love. So I had to retool my career and figure out what was coming next.”

What came next for Dowdy was enrollment in a 16-week massage therapy training course in Citrus Heights, followed by several months of volunteering while healing from heart valve replacement surgery.  Then, through a series of events, Dowdy says he was asked to attend a board meeting in Sacramento for Healing Hands-Healing Hearts, then under the direction of Jo Williams, who founded the organization in Sacramento in 2001.  He’d been looking for a way to parlay the massage therapy training into a new career working more closely with terminally ill patients.  So, when it was announced at that meeting that Healing Hands was going to dissolve, he immediately took action.

“This was exactly the kind of business I wanted to start for myself,” Dowdy said.  “So when it was announced that it was going to close, I knew what I needed to do and I had my lawyer draw up transfer papers and take it from there. It was actually very simple.”

While the mission of Healing Hands has remained primarily intact under Dowdy and Marie’s vision, the menu of services is expanding and training courses have become more structured under a new, comprehensive training manual for touch therapists, crafted by Dowdy.  In addition, Dowdy and Marie, are launching a new component of the Healing Hands mission, expanding its reach to veterans.  The Alfred J. Goularte Veterans Care Program, named after Marie’s father, a WWII veteran who served in the U.S. Army’s airborne division from 1943 to 1945 will help veterans who, although not necessarily terminal, suffer from a range of chronic health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fibromyalgia, depression and injury related pain.

Healing Hands-Healing Hearts currently has a roster of roughly half a dozen certified touch therapy massage workers, in addition to Dowdy and Marie, and is currently operating on donations from grants and fees from training courses.  Its current, major supporters include the Spiritual Center for Positive Living, Mercy Springs Foundation and Kern Community Foundation.

Touch Therapy certification classes are open to all and the next one on the calendar is a 16-week course scheduled to begin in November in Bakersfield.  Courses typically run about $225.00, Dowdy said.

Long term, the vision is to expand even further, with Healing Hands-Healing Hearts brick and mortar “branches” dotting country as, according to Marie, who now serves as the organization’s vice president, western culture grows ever-more open to non-traditional avenues for caring for the terminally ill.

“We, as a culture, especially among millennials, are more than ready for a different approach to end-of-life care,” says Marie. “We say ‘rest in peace’ when someone passes.  But the truth is, we all have a human right to rest in peace while we are alive.”

wwwhealinghandshealinghearts.org 

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Metro Fire Rolls Out in Pink for Breast Cancer

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-10-13

For the last two years, Metro Fire has won the contest for most money raised for Movember’s “First Responder Challenge,” which involves fire departments and others across the region. Photo courtesy Sac Metro Fire

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District (Metro Fire) kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness month with the debut of one of its Pierce manufactured fire trucks decked out in a pink wrap, ribbon and a touch of blue Oct 5, part of its two-month campaign to raise funds and awareness for breast and other forms of cancer.

The big pink truck made its debut at Metro Fire headquarters in Mather as part of the centerpiece of the campaign “All Cancers All People.” Metro Fire has partnered with the Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, and the Movember Foundation to put the focus on men’s health and cancer awareness in November.  

“The centerpiece of its multi-month campaign was the transformation of one of our Pierce Manufactured fire trucks from fire engine red to “October Pink” and just a touch of blue ombre,” says Christopher Vestal, Metro Fire captain/paramedic and public information officer.”

Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation Executive Director Cindy Love, alongside cancer survivors from Metro Fire and others who have been impacted by cancer attended the roll out for the campaign. Albie Aware, founded in 2007, offers assistance for life-saving diagnostic testing, patient advocacy, prevention education and compassionate support to individuals battling breast cancer.  

The Movember Foundation was founded in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia to essentially fund research and programs dealing with education and treatment for prostate cancer.  In 2007, Movember launched in the United States with a partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Today, the foundation works to conduct outreach and fund research for men’s cancer and various other health-related causes, including suicide prevention, with a global reach and roughly 5 million participants.               

Metro Fire’s pink truck, which has been named “All Cancers All People,” got its makeover courtesy of Sacramento-based Vehicle Wraps Inc., with a little help from Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522 and the Sacramento Metro Firefighters Association, Vestal said.  In addition to the debut of the pink and pale blue truck, Vestal said Metro Fire was teaming up with the Sacramento Kings to conduct “surprise visits” to patients across the region and deliver free tickets to the Kings’ Oct. 9 game against the Portland Trailblazers, during which Albie Aware breast cancer survivors will be participating in the half-time ceremony.

This is the fourth year Metro Fire has been involved in promoting cancer awareness in the county. The way Metro Fire sees it, the outreach goes hand-in-hand with its normal duties.

“We view this as something that extends our mission to providing services to our community throughout the region, not just emergency situations, but also preventative outreach,” Vestal said. “We have a duty to let people know about how early detection helps save lives and about the services available to those who are diagnoses with cancer.”

For the last two years, Metro Fire has won the contest for most money raised for Movember’s “First Responder Challenge,” which involves fire departments and others across the region.  Metro Fire collected $32,000 in donations for 2016 and $28,000 in 2015.

“Metro Fire will be working hard again to win Movember’s “First Responder Challenge” for the third year in a row after setting a record in 2017 record of $32,000,” Vestal said.

Wanna join in the fun?  You can engage, socially that is, with Metro Fire by sharing your cancer related story or message of support using the hashtag #AllCancersAllPeople on the department’s social media pages on Facebook (Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District), Instagram (@metro_fire_sacramento), and Twitter (@metrofirepio).

For more information: visit www.metrofire.ca.gov

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Sacramento County Growers Smash Crop Output Records

By Bill Bird, SCFB  |  2017-10-04

The high prices for wine grapes and other commodities in Sacramento County masked troubling news that yields in several commodity areas dropped significantly last year. Stock photo

2016 Crop and Livestock Report Tops $500 Million for the First Time

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Led by a dramatic increase in the price for wine grapes, Sacramento County farmers and ranchers set a record for overall agricultural output last year. The 2016 Crop and Livestock Report released by the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner's Office revealed that the gross value of all agricultural production in Sacramento County reached a record high of more than $507 million. The figure represents a 7.9 percent increase over last year's numbers, despite a record fifth year of drought that hurt many agricultural operations.

"Wine grapes continue to rule as King in Sacramento County as they have for the past eight years and milk continues to hold onto the number two slot," said Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner Juli Jensen during her presentation to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. "California is the third top producing state in pears, behind Washington and Oregon. Sacramento County is the top pear producing county in California."

The high prices for wine grapes and other commodities in Sacramento County masked troubling news that yields in several commodity areas dropped significantly last year. The numbers for field crops such as rice, wheat, silage corn, oats and irrigated pasture all suffered significant declines. Yields for other crops such as cherries and walnuts also dropped, as did cattle and calves and other livestock. The value of aquaculture also fell sharply in Sacramento County, led by a steep decline in the price for caviar.

Sacramento County Farm Bureau Executive Director Bill Bird admitted that while drought may be to blame for the lower output for some commodities, other factors may also be playing a role.

"Our farmers and ranchers are forced to pay the highest labor costs in this country," said Bird. "The high minimum wage coupled with very expensive workers compensation insurance, liability insurance and health care benefits costs our growers millions of dollars. These are costs that growers in other states are not forced to shoulder."

The 2016 Crop and Livestock report also revealed that nursery stock climbed back into the top five agricultural products produced in Sacramento County, which is attributed to a recovering housing market and efforts by homeowners to replace lawns with drought tolerant landscaping.

The dollar figures in the report do not reflect the cost of the production of these agricultural commodities. The figures also do not reflect grower costs such as processing, transportation and labor.

Sacramento County farmers put food on your fork.  Our agricultural operations and products are as diverse as the lands we carefully manage.  We are proud to provide healthy, fresh food for your family and ours.

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Washington, DC (MPG) - The Internal Revenue Service has an important reminder for taxpayers who filed for an extension and face an Oct. 16 filing deadline: The adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from their 2015 return may be needed to electronically file their 2016 tax return.

For those taxpayers who have a valid extension and are in or affected by a federally declared disaster area may be allowed more time to file. Currently, taxpayers impacted by Hurricanes HarveyIrma and Maria as well as people in parts of Michigan and West Virginia qualify for this relief. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details.

As a reminder, taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax returns and supporting documents for a minimum of three years. Prior year tax returns are even more important as the IRS makes changes to protect taxpayers and authenticate their identity.

Extension filers should plan ahead if they are using a software product for the first time. They should have kept a copy of their 2015 tax return or if not, will need to order a tax transcript, a process that may take five to 10 calendar days. The AGI is clearly labeled on both the tax return and the transcript.

Taxpayers who prepare their own electronic tax returns are required to electronically sign and validate their return. Using an electronic filing PIN is no longer an option. To authenticate their identities, taxpayers will also need to enter either of two items: their prior-year AGI or their prior-year self-select PIN and their date of birth. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must authenticate their identities with this information.

Generally, tax-preparation software automatically generates the prior-year AGI and/or self-select PIN for returning customers. However, taxpayers who are new to a software product must enter the prior-year AGI or prior-year self-select PIN themselves.

How to Find AGI; Plan Ahead if a Mailed Transcript Needed

The adjusted gross income is gross income minus certain adjustments. On 2015 tax returns, the AGI is found on line 37 of Form 1040; line 21 on Form 1040A and line 4 on Form 1040EZ. Taxpayers who e-filed and did not keep a copy of their original 2015 tax return may be able to return to their prior-year software provider or tax preparer to obtain a copy.

Those who lack access to their prior-year tax returns also may go to irs.gov/transcript and use Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail. A transcript is a summary of the tax return or tax account. There are various types of transcripts, but the Tax Return Transcript works best. Look for the “Adjusted Gross Income” amount on the transcript.

Taxpayers must pass Secure Access authentication in order to access Get Transcript Online and immediately access their transcripts. Those who cannot pass Secure Access authentication should use Get Transcript by Mail or call 800-908-9946, and a transcript will be delivered to their home address within five to 10 calendar days.

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Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Parkinson Association of Northern California (PANC) is holding its Annual Education and Information Conference at the Sacramento Convention Center on Saturday, October 21st from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The event will provide information, education, and inspiration to people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) along with their carepartners and family members and interested members of the community. Featuring regionally recognized expert clinicians and therapists in the field of movement disorders, the conference will highlight the future of the disease along with inspiration and tools to help attain the highest possible quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Additional Information about the event and registration options can be found by visiting the PANC website at www.panctoday.org. The cost to attend the event which includes a full-day of presentations, exhibit fair, and lunch is $25 per registrant.

“Our annual conference is an upbeat event of community, learning and connection. We educate attendees about the latest in Parkinson’s disease research and therapies and connect individuals who share challenges and successes with PD. We’re excited to host this event for our Northern California constituents and look forward to an uplifting day,” says PANC president, Nancy Kretz.

Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed in more than 50,000 Americans each year. We are asking for the assistance of the media to help make this event a successful one and provide this information and event coverage to your audiences who may have PD, know someone with PD, or possibly be diagnosed in the future.

The Parkinson Association of Northern California has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s, their families, and carepartners since 1996. We facilitate over 30 regional Support Groups, host the Annual Conference, publish a quarterly newsletter (Parkinson Path), offer financial support for caregiver respite, support medical community collaboration across healthcare providers, and more. We live our motto, ”Until there is a cure…hope and healing every day.” For more information see www.panctoday.org

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