Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today sent the following letter to Governor Jerry Brown requesting that he take action to support the California National Guard veterans being forced to repay enlistment bonuses:
Dear Governor Brown,
I am writing to ask you to be a champion for more than 10,000 California National Guard veterans who are currently being subjected to an unbelievable injustice.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that these Guard members have been ordered to repay enlistment bonuses they received as a condition for enlisting or reenlisting in the Guard during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the nation was desperate for combat soldiers to carry out its missions.
These soldiers deployed in combat roles and risked their lives in service to freedom and their fellow Americans. Now, due to incompetence and mismanagement in the enlistment bonus program, the Department of Defense is demanding repayment from these soldiers a decade after the fact.
This is unacceptable. The time for certainty in this program was BEFORE these fighting men and women shipped off to war. To demand these bonuses back now is little more than a cruel bait-and-switch for our combat veterans. The calculation in this travesty is entirely backwards – it is the country that owes, and will continue to owe, a debt to these soldiers.
Thank you in advance for working with California’s legislative delegation in Washington to ensure that our veterans are being honored for their service and not suffering from this betrayal at the hands of the Pentagon.
Senator, 1st District
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.
Placer County’s new Animal Services Center opened its doors to the public today in North Auburn. Now that all the animals have been relocated from their dated and worn building across the street in North Auburn into the modern 29,500-square-foot facility that meets Humane Society standards, Animal Services staff can provide even better care for Placer County’s rescued animals, and many more services for the people who love them.
View our video of moving day for the animals: https://youtu.be/_BlhSw60QVA
The facility sits on 4.3-acres of county land and can house approximately 80 percent more dogs and 75 percent more cats than the previous facility. The new center also has the ability to house more than twice the capacity of animals during large incidents, such as wildfires, than the previous shelter.
“With the cat condos, the visitor-friendly dog bonding areas and the many other improvements we’ve implemented, we fully expect the adoption rates to skyrocket as a result of this beautiful, new facility,” said Wesley Nicks, Placer County director of animal services. “The transformation in the animals in just the first 15 minutes of being in the new building was amazing to watch,” he added. “We actually saw the dogs and cats go from extremely stressed, nervous, pacing and noisy or downright depressed - to quieter, happier, a more peaceful state of mind. They are finally able to just relax and be animals.”
The $23 million state-of-the-art facility showcases a large public lobby, reception desk, touch screen kiosks, retail space, multipurpose room and both dog and cat adoption areas. Additionally, there is a veterinarian clinic, administration area and an exterior area that will provide an enclosed exercise courtyard, kennels, livestock barn, exercise pasture and agility yards.
View our online photo album of the new animal shelter: https://www.flickr.com/photos/placercounty/sets/72157674480331430/
Community education classes will be offered at the new facility with a focus on responsible pet ownership. The Animal Ambassador Room will also be available for our non-profit organizations and volunteer partners to use for training, meetings and other activities that benefit the animals.
The shelter is located in the Placer County Government Center, 11232 B Ave. in North Auburn. The front office hours are Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Kennel hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To learn more about the shelter, volunteering or donations click here.
William Jessup University (WJU) in Rocklin will host the 10th Annual Bill Holtz Warrior Classic on Nov. 4-5 and the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Cross Country Championship on Nov. 5. Both events combined will bring more than 300 college athletes to Placer Valley.
First up is the two-day basketball tournament, the Bill Holtz Warrior Classic, that has a rich history with Warrior fans as well as honoring former long-time supporter and game management staff member, Bill Holtz, who lost his battle with ALS in 2011.
WJU Athletic Director and Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Lance Van Vogt, explained the exciting line up for the Warrior Men’s team, “The field is outstanding this year as we are bringing in two nationally respected programs to compete against, Oregon Tech University (OIT) and Eastern Oregon University (EOU); on the opposite side of the classic we have our GSAC travel partner Menlo, that will also be facing off against OIT and EOU.”
Bethesda Christian University out of Anaheim, Simpson University from Redding, OTI and of course WJU will be competing in the Women’s bracket.
Tickets are $10 per day or $15 for a two-day pass and half of the ticket sale proceeds will be donated to ALS as a thank you to Holtz for his incredible dedication to the Warrior programs.
On the morning of Nov. 5, the WJU Cross Country team will be out at Springview Johnson Park in Rocklin to host GSAC Cross Country Championships for the first time ever. All nine teams from the conference will be in attendance.
“This is the first time we have had the privilege of hosting the GSAC Cross Country Finals and we are looking forward to providing a great experience for the rest of the conference while they are here,” commented Parker Daniells, WJU Head Cross Country Coach.
“We have a lot of wonderful things - the hotels, restaurants and activities, all that will be enjoyed by our visiting teams to make it a fun experience for them beyond the competition; the running community in this region is one of the best and where we actually hold the meet is a common training site for many elite athletes in our area.”
Several local athletes who will be running for WJU are expected to do outstanding in these championships. Bailey Shykowski from Colfax, Michael Kinoshita from Folsom, Hannah Schmidt out of Elk Grove and Hailey Parkhouse-McAllister from Loomis are ones to watch.
Mark your calendars and make sure to check out these collegiate competitions right here in Rocklin!
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.
Placer County continues to work on ways to improve workforce housing in the North Lake Tahoe region. A recently published study found that workforce housing in this area is inadequate and remedying the situation remains a complicated issue.
At today’s board of supervisors meeting in Kings Beach, the board received presentations on challenges, research findings and recommended strategies to increase the availability of workforce and low income housing in the area.
Tahoe-area employers have identified a lack of affordable rental or homeownership opportunities as a challenge to finding and retaining skilled labor. A recent shift in formerly available long-term rentals to more lucrative short-term rentals may be adding to an already insufficient amount of housing for workers and residents. The combination of a tourism-based economy, which results in a large amount of second homes, and constraints on land availability and regulatory controls are reasons the housing demand continues to exceed available inventory.
“This is hard stuff,” said Stacy Caldwell, chief executive officer of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. “This is a really complex region and we're not just talking about housing, we're talking about people: the people we care about, our neighbors, co-workers, the people who teach our children."
The county recently partnered with Nevada County, the Town of Truckee and the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation to develop a housing needs assessment that analyzes regional housing-related issues. The research looked at many factors affecting workforce housing. Some of the key findings of the assessment show that:
Based on these and other findings, the assessment recommends a series of policy, organizational and funding options.
For policy changes, the assessment recommends developing a regional workforce housing action plan that can support numerous innovations. These can include housing production targets, changing regulations and development standards, deed restrictions and rehabilitating and preserving existing housing.
Organizationally, the assessment advocates for establishing a regional housing entity that would lead the implementation of an action plan as well as offering advocacy and education.
For funding issues, the assessment offered an innovative suggestion: leverage public assets. With a limited supply of available privately-owned land available for workforce housing, public agency-owned property could be a significant asset for workforce housing production. The use of public lands could also augment local funding for leveraging state and federal housing funds.
Two key county documents support the efforts to improve the housing situation in the North Tahoe/Truckee area: the county’s general plan and the draft Tahoe Basin Area Plan.
Within the county’s general plan is a housing element that include goals and policies that apply to the North Lake Tahoe region. This calls for housing opportunities that meet the needs of Tahoe basin residents and workers.
If approved in early 2017, the proposed Tahoe Basin Area Plan contains policies on developing workforce housing, such as code changes to allow second units on parcels less than an acre and waiving residential allocation and development rights when units are deed restricted as affordable housing. It also includes zoning changes for mixed-use development in the town centers of Kings Beach and Tahoe City. The mixed-use zoning would allow for commercial or retail shops to have apartments upstairs.
The board provided staff guidance about how to proceed in the coming months to continue these efforts, including deeper consideration of all of the ideas brought forth by the assessment.
“I'm really curious how we might be able to take advantage of the short term rental market and encourage longer term rentals,” said District 4 Supervisor Kirk Uhler. “I guarantee you there are folks out there who bought their second homes thinking that renting it out would allow other people to pay for their vacations, and just don't realize the housing crisis we have here and the income potential they could realize by making it a longer term rental. We need to incentivize that.”
District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery encouraged staff to develop actions that can be successfully implemented in the near term.
“Talk is great, studies are great, but unless we actually take tangible steps to identify properties and start building, we're just going to have a circular conversation and that doesn't serve any of our needs,” she said.
What do Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Auburn, Foresthill, Loomis, Colfax, Kings Beach and Tahoe City all have in common? In addition to being wonderful places to live, work and play, they also have charming downtowns that epitomize Main Street USA.
Main Streets are an important fabric of Placer County’s cities. These districts are reminders of our community’s heritage while carrying forth the prosperity of economic development and strengthening our neighborly bonds.
In an effort to help support and promote downtown development, programming and business development in each of the county’s downtown districts, the Placer County Economic Development Board has developed a task force to evaluate the Main Street Approach, a framework that guides community based revitalization efforts.
Building off three-decades of success, the Main Street Approach model harnesses the social, economic, physical and cultural assets that make each downtown district unique.
Earlier this month, task force members consisting of representatives from Auburn, Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln and Placer County joined other business representatives from all over the county including North Lake Tahoe for a tour of a well-established Main Street program in Livermore.
During the tour, representatives with Livermore’s Main Street program offered candid reflections about the challenges of the city’s approach to revitalization, including how to fund it. The Livermore Main Street program has been around for 30 years and participants received many good ideas on the opportunities associated with having a formal Main Street program.
“The Main Street Approach is tried and true, and learning how the program operates, then seeing the results first hand is really inspiring,” said City of Lincoln economic development manager, Shawn Tillman. “Business and property owners, chamber leaders and representatives from several Placer County jurisdictions brought back tremendous insight from the visit."
The North Lake Tahoe communities of Kings Beach and Tahoe City follow the Main Street Approach as a guide. The program focuses on business revitalization, and economic and community vitality. This includes: advocating for businesses' sustainability and expansion, providing a single powerful voice for the business community and connecting businesses to resources and information.
“I am drawn to the Main Street program because it leverages existing assets like historic buildings and local independent businesses,” said Placer County Economic Development Board Vice-Chair, Veronica Blake. “It was remarkable to see how the approach worked in Livermore and to expose participants to the possibilities. Downtown districts in Placer County are unique and wonderful places that should be celebrated. They stimulate tourism, create employment, increase property and sales taxes and enhance our quality of life and the sense of neighborhood and community pride,” Blake added.
As a follow up to the study mission, the Placer County Economic Development Board is partnering with the National Main Street Center and US Bank to offer a workshop for the Sacramento Region that will focus on tips, tools and resources to help create ecosystems of entrepreneurship in the county’s respective downtowns.
The workshop is a rare opportunity as the National Main Street Center and US Bank are only co-hosting workshops in four U.S. cities; Little Rock, Arkansas, Cleveland, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Roseville, California:
Creating an Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship
8:00 to 10:00 a.m.
417 Vernon Street, Roseville
Business and/or property owners located in downtown districts within the Sacramento region, economic development professionals, elected officials and others interested in promoting downtown development, business development, innovation and entrepreneurship are encouraged to attend this free event.
To RSVP, visit: http://placercf.org/event/creating-an-ecosystem-of-entrepreneurship or call 530-885-4920.
In an ongoing effort to improve the visitor experience in North Lake Tahoe, Placer County continues to invest transient occupancy tax collected in the region into transit and other visitor-serving projects. The majority of the funding goes to transit, trails and other transportation projects. The county collects a 10 percent tax on the cost of overnight accommodations that last less than 30 days. Two percent of that amount is dedicated to projects in the eastern end of the county.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors today received a presentation detailing the funds, projects and community collaborations that have led to completion of infrastructure and transportation projects.
The region’s tourism master plan has identified top tier priorities such as Class I bike paths and trail systems, pedestrian infrastructure and expansion of transportation services. County priority areas addressed by these projects include environmental stewardship, transportation, recreation and parks, visitor services, tourism and economic development.
"We’re able to leverage our own TOT dollars through other partnerships to address community needs," said Erin Casey, Placer County senior management analyst at Lake Tahoe. "We’re supporting projects that expand transit services, construct new trails and provide additional visitor-serving facilities to support the tourism economy in North Lake Tahoe. These projects also meet environmental stewardship and economic development goals."
Since the additional 2 percent funding was approved by county voters in 1996, the county has invested $32 million on projects. That funding has been used to leverage more than $235 million in local, state and federal matching funds. Since the TOT increase, more than 100 projects have been funded.
Some of the county and community partner projects that have used TOT dollars include:
Each year, the board allocates TOT funds to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association for infrastructure and transportation projects in the Tahoe Tourism and Promotions Budget. Today, the board also approved an $2.2 million increase in the association’s capital improvements budget. That budget augmentation is due to a significant increase in TOT revenues from last year’s busy ski season.
Senator Ted Gaines issued the following statement on the closure of the Verizon customer service center in Rancho Cordova and the 1,000 jobs lost as a result of that closure:
“Who can be surprised by this? California is doing everything it can to drive businesses out of the state. Sky-high workers’ compensation costs, painful energy costs driven by unchecked environmentalism, and now a minimum wage shooting up by 50-percent in the next few years, it’s little wonder that Verizon is packing up.
“A study this year showed 9,000 California businesses had relocated or expanded out of state recently. Sacramento recently lost Campbell’s, Waste Connections, and now Verizon. Those are more than statistics and stories; each one is a tragedy for families who are paying the price for California’s anti-business policies.
“Just today, Silicon Valley legend Hewlett Packard announced that it would be laying off 4,000 employees. How legislators can push for the expensive and useless high speed rail or keep pushing for ever higher taxes while workers are being pink-slipped by the thousands is amazing to me and needs to stop. Lower taxes and smarter regulations would show businesses that California is not a place to leave, but a place to grow and invest. I’d rather see that than Verizon’s tail lights.”
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.
For Irmgard (“Else”) Schichtel a childhood in Nazi Germany set in motion a circuitous path towards a permanent fund at Placer Community Foundation that is today, helping struggling kids like Julian discover a talent and pathway to a bright future.
Known by her neighbors to be private, unassuming and at times tenacious in her views, Else lived a quiet life in Sun City Lincoln Hills after her husband Walter’s passing in 2003. She had no children and relied on the assistance of neighbors for transportation and various needs. It was through these people she spoke sparingly of her difficult childhood.
As a young girl, Else defied and resisted joining the Nazi Youth Group. This led to her being removed from her home and placed in a labor camp. Hearing loss for the remainder of her life resulted from a strike to the head from a guard’s rifle. She chose not share more of these years and with no family left behind we are left to construct how such a childhood shaped her life and her philanthropy.
Else moved to the United States as a young woman. It was later she met and married Walter Schichtel, a World War II Veteran. She and Walter lived in Northern California; settling down in Rocklin and later Lincoln where she spent the last years of her life. Those who knew Else say she knew the history of America better than anyone and was eager to educate people. She cared deeply for our country throughout her adult life.
Else established a trust and as she fell ill, worked with her attorney Guy Gibson of Gibson & Gibson Law to leave a gift to charity.
“Else wanted her gift to support disadvantaged youth but was unaware of the nonprofits best equipped to take on this work,” states Guy. It made sense to have the estate liquidated and prudently managed by Placer Community Foundation so they could direct the funds thoughtfully.”
Else left the bulk of her estate, including her home, to Placer Community Foundation to establish the endowed Walter and Irmgard Schichtel Fund. This fund is managed by the Foundation in perpetuity with grants made annually to organizations providing high-impact programs that are flexible to the changing needs of disadvantaged youth; grants like the one made recently to the nonprofit ReCreate.
Placer Community Foundation recently granted $5,000 from the Walter and Irmgard Schichtel Fund to ReCreate in support of its new MakerMobile, an innovative instructional model for sparking student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). The mobile provides students with open-ended projects and encourages them to further explore these disciplines. Over the course of a school year, 16,000 local middle school students will develop skills for the workforce including innovation, problem solving, and creativity.
Warren T. Eich Middle School’s Principal Marc Buljan believes strongly in the importance of STEAM education. He shares, “ReCreate’s programs develop critical thinkers and bring out a new side to our students. As a result of participating, students are emerging as leaders and we have seen a drop in disciplinary issues.”
One of these students is Julian, a 7th grader, who comes from a low income background and has always struggled with schoolwork. After participating in ReCreate’s after school program, Julian’s mother Lolita says she saw a total change in her son, and his teachers noted the shift as well. She states, “ReCreate offers students the opportunity to use their imaginations and be creative and best of all, they can’t be wrong. We learned that Julian has a gift for this type of learning, and he has become much more engaged in school.”
Placer Community Foundation is honored to carry out Else’s wishes and will forever share her and Walter’s legacy in connection with meaningful grants and the young lives they touch.
About Placer Community Foundation
Placer Community Foundation (PCF) grows local giving to strengthen our community by connecting donors who care with causes that matter. Known for sound financial management and knowledge of the nonprofit sector, the Community Foundation continually monitors the region to better understand the nature of local needs, so that it can invest in areas such as arts and culture, education, health and human services, animals and the environment. To learn more about establishing charitable funds during your lifetime or through your estate plan, visit PlacerGives, contact Jessica Hubbard at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (530) 885-4920.
After the discovery in September of an insect that can carry a disease fatal to citrus trees, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has placed trees in a 118-square-mile area near Lincoln under quarantine.
The quarantine zone is bordered on the north by Riosa Road; on the south by the Roseville city limit; on the west by Brewer Road; and on the east by Fowler Road. The quarantine map for Placer County is available online at: http://maps.cdfa.ca.gov/QuarantineBoundaries/ACP/ACP_147.pdf.
The quarantine prohibits the movement of citrus and curry leaf tree nursery stock, including all plant parts except fruit, out of the quarantine area and requires that all citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems prior to moving out of the quarantine area. An exception may be made for nursery stock and budwood grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved structures, which are designed to keep the insects and other insects out. Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area may not transport or send citrus fruit or leaves, potted citrus trees or curry leaves from the quarantine area.
County-wide quarantines are also in place in Fresno, Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura Counties, with portions of Alameda, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Placer, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties.
The Asian citrus psyllid is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening, or HLB. All citrus and closely related species, such as curry leaf trees, are susceptible hosts for both the insect and disease. There is no cure for HLB and once a tree becomes infected, the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. In California, HLB has only been detected on residential properties in Los Angeles County. This plant disease does not affect human health.
Residents in the area who think they may have seen psyllids or symptoms of HLB on their trees are urged to call the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the local Placer County Agricultural Commissioner’s office at 530-889-7372. For more information on the psyllid and HLB, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp.
The State Water Resources Control Board recently announced that urban Californians’ monthly water conservation declined to 17.7 percent in August, down from 27 percent savings in August 2015, raising concerns that some water suppliers are abandoning their focus on conservation as California heads into a possible sixth drought year.
Californians continue to conserve water in significant amounts even in the absence of state-mandated conservation targets. The cumulative average savings from June 2015 through August 2016 was 23.3 percent, compared with the same months in 2013. Since June 2015, two million acre-feet of water has been saved — enough water to supply 10 million people, more than one-quarter the state’s 38 million population, for a year.
Water conservation has dropped steeply among some local water suppliers. These declines highlight the need for continued education and dialogue with customers on the importance of conserving and using water as efficiently as possible. As the State Water Board continues to monitor conservation levels, a return to state-mandated conservation may be necessary beginning next year.
“The statewide August conservation results raise questions, and we are examining the data to understand why some areas slipped more than others,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “Are we seeing relaxation of conservation messaging and programs, or are we seeing abandonment of programs? One may be appropriate, the other is not. It’s a mixed picture. Many communities who certified that they didn’t ‘need’ to conserve are still conserving up a storm, while others have slipped more than seems prudent.”
Conservation levels have remained significant for many communities that had certified that they did not need top down mandates to keep conserving.
While some local water suppliers may have relaxed water use restrictions from those that were in place last summer, most agencies have kept up locally mandated restrictions and targets, which is appropriate and which the state strongly encourages. Regardless of a supplier’s individual conservation requirement, the statewide prohibitions on specific wasteful practices such as fountains without recirculating pumps, or irrigation of turf in street medians, remain in place.
“Percentages alone tell only part of the story, because a 15 percent reduction by someone using under 100 gallons per person a day can be more challenging than a 30 percent reduction by someone using 250 or 300 gallons a day,” Marcus said. “That’s true of agencies and it is true for individuals. In particular, we urge suppliers where conservation levels have dropped steeply to reach out to high use customers to find ways to conserve, and to join their community’s conservation efforts. The legislature’s passage and Governor’s signing of SB 814 will help water suppliers send monetary signals to their highest users about the need to keep conserving while the drought continues. Most important, it sends a signal that all Californians are in this together and that fairness includes those who use the most doing their part along with the rest of us.”
SB 814 (Hill) requires urban water suppliers to establish financial penalties for excess water use during droughts. Suppliers can either create excess-use ordinances with defined penalty amounts, or they can adopt rate structures that charge their highest users more during drought emergencies.