A Reason for the Season

By Margaret Snider  |  2016-12-02

The Live Nativity, depicting the first Christmas, presents an “opportunity for a meaningful spiritual experience,” said Daniel Harrison, president of the Folsom Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Featuring four half-hour performances each night from Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11, admission is free. --Photography courtesy Ron Aguilar, 2015

Live Nativity Encourages the Spirit of Christmas

The Live Nativity, admission free, returns this year after an enthusiastic response from the public in 2015. Like last year, visitors pass shepherds in the fields, see the Three Kings arriving from afar, and enter Bethlehem, where the marketplace bustles around them complete with census takers and Roman guards. Mary, Joseph, and the Baby enter, all accompanied by music and narration. Six babies will make their acting debut as the newborn Christ during the four-day run from Thursday, December 8, through Sunday, December 11. The show has four presentations per night: 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00, at 2100 California Circle in Rancho Cordova.

“’The baby is real!’ is a common reaction we’ve had,” said Heather McCauley, who is in charge of casting and direction, as well as numerous other logistical matters. “(Visitors) felt like they were going back in time and being a part of the first Christmas.” McCauley, who lives in El Dorado Hills, is a music and drama teacher.

Manned by an all-volunteer cast and crew, one set of 100 actors perform on Thursday and Saturday, and another, different set of 100 on Friday and Sunday. There are also numerous behind-the-scenes workers taking care of costumes, lighting, sound, and such things as parking, check-in, and ushering, for a total of around 300 volunteers per night.

McCauley said that it is amazing to see so many people come forward and give so much of their time to make this event happen. “It is such a special gift that we’re giving to the community, that people love, all different religions, and it’s something that people are looking for at this time of the year.”

Last year the count of visitors attending the presentations reached 7,400, several thousand more than expected. Because of that, this year’s organizers have added a reservation process, more seating, and have made other arrangements for the convenience of the patrons.

The Live Nativity is presented by the Folsom Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Stake president, Daniel Harrison, presides over congregations of the Church in the Folsom/El Dorado Hills area. “The goal is to try to help people feel that they are actually in Bethlehem and that they have a meaningful Christmas experience remembering the birth of Christ, which is the reason why we celebrate,” Harrison said.

This year reservations are recommended, but no one will be turned away. For reservations, directions, photos, and more information about the performance, see www.LiveNativity.org. The presentations are located at 2100 California Circle, off of Folsom Boulevard near Folsom Auto Mall, turning south onto Birkmont Drive, then left on California Circle.

United Way Offers Holiday Donation, Volunteer Opportunities

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-12-01

“The Sacramento region is filled with generous people wanting to give back during the holidays, so we’ve gathered numerous opportunities in our online Volunteer Center to make it easy to choose the project you’re most passionate about,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Local residents looking for holiday donation and volunteer opportunities can visit United Way California Capital Region’s online Volunteer Center at www.yourlocalunitedway.org to find more than a dozen needs in one place. Holiday volunteers and donors are encouraged to post photos of their work on social media using #happy2help.

“The Sacramento region is filled with generous people wanting to give back during the holidays, so we’ve gathered numerous opportunities in our online Volunteer Center to make it easy to choose the project you’re most passionate about,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Anyone can sign up to volunteer or donate, and most nonprofits across the region are eligible to add their volunteer opportunities, and can do so through the website. For questions, contact volunteer@uwccr.org.

United Way launched its online Volunteer Center in 2014 to provide an organized, community-wide portal that connects the Sacramento region’s volunteer and donor base with United Way’s 160 local nonprofit partners and other local organizations. The center is designed to connect individual donors and volunteers, as well as corporate or group volunteers, with opportunities of all sizes and commitments throughout the year. Community members can log onto the website and create a profile that lists their interests, become fans of participating nonprofits, join volunteer groups, donate unused materials and household items to nonprofits in need, learn about upcoming special events and fundraisers, and advocate for causes. The center was partly launched in response to United Way’s 450 corporate partners looking for a coordinated way to engage employees in corporate social responsibility through volunteer work, donation opportunities and events.

United Way’s Volunteer Center is part of United Way’s Square One Project, which recognizes the importance of volunteers in making sure nonprofits and schools are equipped to provide a full support system for kids. The Square One Project is 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, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

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North Tahoe Winter Parking Restrictions Are Now in Effect

Source: Chris Gray-Garcia, County of Placer  |  2016-12-01

Winter parking restrictions around the greater North Lake Tahoe area are in effect until May 1, 2017. Parking along roadway shoulders during this time is prohibited.

Compliance will help avoid damage to parked vehicles as well as snow removal equipment and, most importantly, will prevent delays to snow removal operations. County officials stress the importance of adhering to these restrictions even during mild weather as snow maintenance operations may still be taking place.

When parking in downtown areas, visitors are encouraged to use designated public parking lots. County officials also advise renters with vacation homes to alert their tenants of seasonal parking restrictions.

Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed and fined or towed, if necessary.

More information on winter parking and snow removal zones and can be found here.

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Sierra Gold Chorus Presents a Holiday Music Extravaganza!

Source: Judi Naill, Sierra Gold Chorus  |  2016-11-29

Sierra Gold Chorus


A Holiday Music Extravaganza!

Be prepared for a fun-filled afternoon of "Christmas Carols and Cooking Chaos"! As Sierra Gold Chorus combines a popular comedy sitcom, some cooking magic and Christmas carols, they can hardly wait to share this special performance with you on Saturday, December 10, at 2:00 pm at Crossroads Church, 1101 Auburn Ravine Road, Auburn.

Sierra Gold Chorus, the Auburn Chapter of Sweet Adelines International, directed by Terrie Carrozzella, sing in four-part harmony, a cappella style. They will be singing songs from their repertoire in addition to favorite Christmas songs. To add flavor, they will be joined by the Christmas Chorus who perform with the chorus just for this show. Combine with Encore Double Quartet and the Placer High School Choir, you'll have a full plate of delicious singing.

For dessert and a dollop of laughter, PDQ Quartet, winners of the Regional Audience Favorite Award for the past three years will be featured. Carrie, Leah, Kathy and Laura enjoy creating and performing packages that show off their love of costuming, humor and song.

Some might say that Sierra Gold Chorus is one of Auburn's best kept secrets, however the past audiences always look forward to this annual show. This is the 21st Annual Show and a very popular family event which has been a sellout in recent years. So get your tickets early. The best buys are advance sale tickets: adults $20.00, youth (16 and under) $10.00. VIP Seating $30 - advance sales only. Tickets at the door will be $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for youth. Tickets may be purchased from any chorus member, online at www.sierragoldchorus.org, or call Jackie at 530-885-3801

Women are welcome to attend rehearsals throughout the year on Monday evenings at 6:45 PM at Parkside Church, Fellowship Hall, 3885 Richardton Drive, Auburn. For more information about the chorus or show, check the website: www.sierragoldchorus.org. To schedule a performance anytime of the year, call Jacque (530) 888-6657.

Sierra Gold Chorus was formed in 1993 by a group of women who loved to sing and wanted to perform in the community. The chorus became affiliated with Sweet Adelines International in 1995, and sings a cappella in four-part harmony, barbershop style.

International Headquarters – PO Box 470168 – Tulsa, OK 74147-0168 – 918/622-1444 – Fax: 918/665-0894

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Football University Championship Showcases Top Youth Football Talent on December 2-5

Source: Amy Looney, Placer Valley Tourism  |  2016-11-29

The Path to Naples Has a Scheduled Stop in Placer Valley for the West Region Championship Games

Placer Valley Tourism is thrilled to have been selected to host the Football University (FBU) National Championship West region that will take place on Dec. 2-5. There are 24 all-star youth teams competing from 6th, 7th and 8th grade that will take to the fields in hopes of advancing onto the National Championships on Dec. 17 in Naples, Florida.

Teams from San Diego, the Central Valley, the Bay Area, Sacramento, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are slated to compete over the course of this four-day regional championship and the games will be played at Rocklin High School and Mahany Park All-Weather Field.

The Path to Naples is the theme of this year's FBU National Championship and stand-out youth football players from coast to coast will be vying to reach that path. The first three rounds will take place across four regional locales - Midwest, West, South and East with 192 teams total battling it out.

"We are thrilled Placer Valley is the West Region host," commented Douglas Berman, Chairman of All American Games (AAG), the organization that owns and produces the FBU National Championships. "We know that our youth athletes and their families will have an amazing time there, and the facilities and venues available are world-class."

Serving as the perfect ending to the youth football season, this is one event you truly won't want to miss. Games start at 8 a.m. on Friday and on Saturday and Sunday they will kick-off at 10 a.m. Come check out the action at Rocklin High School located at 5301 Victory Lane in Rocklin or 1545 Pleasant Grove Blvd. in Roseville for the Mahany Park games. The championship games, which will be played solely at the Mahany All-Weather Field on Monday, Dec. 5 are slotted for 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

About Placer Valley Tourism
Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is made up for the 23 hotels in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, California. PVT recruits and supports hundreds of annual events with grants, marketing, volunteers and other services as needed. To learn more about how PVT can help bring your event here, visit www.playplacer.com or call 916-773-5400.

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Santas Needed to Fill Local Stockings

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-11-25

Help share the joy with children and their mothers who have gone from having nothing to now having a place to call home during the holidays. 
--Photo courtesy United Way.

You Can Help Formerly Homeless Women and Children

Local residents can bring smiles to formerly homeless women and children this holiday season by contributing to Women’s Empowerment’s annual Holiday Stocking Drive. The group is seeking 200 unstuffed stockings and specific fillers for local infants and toddlers, children, teens and adult women.

“There is nothing like hearing the squeals of joy from children and their mothers who have gone from having nothing to now having a place to call home during the holidays and cheerful stockings to hang in their homes,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “But these stockings not only bring joy, they give these families necessary items so they can stay healthy and warm this winter as they rebuild their lives.”

For the list of items needed, visit www.womens-empowerment.org. Those interested also can donate $35 to have a volunteer elf fill a stocking or donate $15 Target gift cards. Items are needed by Dec. 7 and can be dropped off at 1590 North A Street, Sacramento.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Women’s Empowerment was recently featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The 2014 Organization of the Year has graduated 1,367 homeless women and their 3,700 children. Last year, 93 percent of graduates found homes and 83 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org.

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FTB Responds To Gaines' Call to Help Victimized Veterans

Source: Office of Ted Gaines  |  2016-11-24

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) reported that, per his request, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has put into place a dedicated study team to evaluate the taxation of California National Guard Bonus repayments.

“I called on the FTB to create a special task force to aid California National Guard veterans who may need to file amended tax returns resulting from the resolution of this bonus scandal and am pleased to hear they are moving forward,” said Senator Gaines. “I want these veterans to have FTB staff specifically dedicated to their plight so they are not mired in bureaucracy when trying to resolve their tax status. I appreciate the FTB working with these service men and women to ensure our veterans are being honored for their service and not suffering from this betrayal at the hands of the Pentagon.”

The FTB reports that they have reached out to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting information on the IRS interpretation of the federal tax consequences of the bonus repayment and are awaiting a response.

The FTB is also awaiting the final decision from the Department of Defense regarding the repayment of bonuses. Once the appropriate information is received, the FTB will take action to notify taxpayers and tax professionals of the appropriate tax treatment.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Placer Cannabis Ordinance Would Allow Limited Cultivation for Personal Use, Ban Commercial Cannabis Activities

Source: Chris Gray-Garcia, County of Placer  |  2016-11-23

Limited cultivation, both indoors and outdoors, of cannabis for personal use will be allowed in unincorporated areas of Placer County under a new ordinance introduced today by the Placer County Board of Supervisors. The ordinance was introduced by a vote of 4-0; District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery was absent.

The ordinance requires two readings and will go into effect 30 days after its second public hearing, tentatively scheduled for the board’s Dec. 6 meeting in North Lake Tahoe. If there are no changes made at its second reading, it will become effective Jan. 6, 2017. It’s the first of a two-phased effort by the county to enact comprehensive cannabis regulation, focusing immediately on allowing limited personal cannabis cultivation and banning commercial cannabis activities while providing Placer residents with clear guidance on what is and isn’t allowed and providing county staff with the tools they need to enforce the ordinance.

County staff will also return to the board in the coming months for consideration of a draft zoning text amendment to outline additional detailed requirements for outdoor cultivation.

The board left open the possibility, however, of an allowance for the limited commercial cultivation of medical cannabis in the future. At the recommendation of District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes, the board directed staff to return with a recommendation for the makeup and timing of a cannabis working group to discuss that possibility - made up of county staff from all relevant departments, as well as representatives from Placer’s cities and the medical cannabis industry - for their consideration.

“I agree with the very measured approach our board has been taking, but I’ve also been contacted by people who are concerned about the cost to the taxpayer to regulate this industry,” said District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes. “So what I’d like to see is the formation of a working group that can begin a discussion about seeking revenue to recover our costs.”

The cost of starting up and implementing the county’s enforcement program in its first year is already included in its current fiscal year budget. Annual costs in the future are expected to be $609,000, including staff, vehicles and equipment.

The new ordinance is consistent with the 1996 Proposition 215 Compassionate Use Act, 2015 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also known as Proposition 64. It allows cultivation of up to six non-medical plants on 50 square feet or cultivation of 50 square feet of medical cannabis for personal use, but bans all commercial activity related to cannabis including cultivation, processing, manufacturing, delivery and distribution. Cultivation, both indoors and outdoors, will only be allowed on parcels where the private residence of the authorized grower is located.

Board members remained concerned about the safety and nuisance impacts of outdoor cultivation in residential areas, and expressed support for elements that are expected to be included in the upcoming zoning amendment to limit those impacts. Staff anticipate the amendments will limit outdoor cultivation to an area of no more than 50 square feet; establish a 100-foot setback from property lines and require plants to closer to the grower’s residence than to a neighbor’s; require grows to be fenced; and prohibit outdoor cultivation within 600 feet of a school, church, park, library, fairgrounds or youth-oriented facility.

“This issue is going to continue to evolve,” said District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran. “In order to be in a position to lead rather than react, we need to have folks talking about this. I’d rather be ahead of the curve than behind it."

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Placer County’s Fourth Annual Employee Art Show Opens November 29

Source: Chris Gray-Garcia, County of Placer  |  2016-11-23

Placer County’s fourth annual Employee Art Show, Placer Creates, opens Nov. 29. The show, coordinated in partnership with PlacerArts, will display over 60 pieces created by 27 artists at five county building locations for public viewing.

“For some employees, Placer Creates is the first time they have displayed their artwork,” art show committee chair, Ferrin Call, said. “Placing the art in public spaces allows us to share our talents with the community we serve and show them another side of county employees.”

Visitors will experience a different flavor of art with each county building they visit. Textiles, paint, fused glass and even music will be on display for everyone to enjoy.

This year, the Placer County Youth Commission contributed a collaborative piece to the show as a guest artist entry. Inspired by their involvement in the International Hexagon Project, each commissioner created a hexagon that represented their passion for leadership and completed the phrase “I stand for…”. Their work will be on display at the County Administrative Center in Auburn.

Everyone is welcome to attend Placer Creates’ opening reception on Nov. 29, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Community Development Resource Center in North Auburn.

All art will be on display Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (closed holidays) from Nov. 29 through Feb. 28, 2017 at the following locations:

Community Development Resource Center – 3091 County Center Drive, Auburn, CA
County Administrative Center – 175 Fulweiler Avenue, Auburn, CA
Larry Oddo Finance Administration Building – 2986 Richardson Drive, Auburn, CA
Tahoe Administrative Center – 775 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe City Library – 740 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA (library hours)

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Placer County Lauds Best Year Yet for Capitol Corridor Ridership

Source: Scott Sandow, County of Placer  |  2016-11-23

Ridership of the Capitol Corridor rail service grew 5.8 percent this year over last, District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes reported at today’s Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting. The increase, to 1.56 million, brings overall ridership to an all-time high - and triple the level it was in 1998.

Holmes represents the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency on the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority’s board of directors. The CCJPA is a partnership among the six local transit agencies in the Capitol Corridor’s eight-county service area, which shares the administration and management of the service.

“The Capitol Corridor is such a huge benefit to the region, reducing congestion on the roads and carbon emissions, and just making life easier for so many of our residents,” Holmes said. “With plans for expanded service and more energy sustainability and safety improvements steadily moving forward, the future looks even brighter."

The Capitol Corridor is a crucial transportation mode for Placer County residents, connecting commuters with Sacramento and the Bay Area.

For the seventh year in a row, the Capitol Corridor ranked first in reliability of service among Amtrak’s 47 routes nationwide. It also achieved an all-time-high customer satisfaction rating of 89 percent - the highest score in its history.

A proposed project to expand service between Roseville and Sacramento, the Sac-Roseville Third Track project, made good progress last year, too, with the CCJPA board adopting the project’s environmental impact report - a key milestone in the approval process - and identifying full funding of the $78 million project. More information on the project and the Capitol Corridor service is available here.

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