Placer County Fair, June 22-25

Source: Amy Looney, Placer Valley Tourism  |  2017-06-07

Rounding out the month is the Placer County Fair, which is celebrating 80 years of county fair fun! Placer Valley Tourism is sponsoring free admission for all guests in honor of this incredible milestone. The fair will offer carnival rides, live bands, still exhibits, livestock competitions, BMX freestyle show, amazing vendors and so much more! Parking is only $8 so pile in and bring the whole gang! The operating hours will be 3 to 11 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, June 22-23. On Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25 hours are noon to 11 p.m. Kick-off your summer in style and head on down to 800 All America City Blvd in Roseville to cash in on Crazy 80 Years of fun at the fair!

Click here for more information.

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Sierra College Students Invent for Social Good at Makerspace

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-06-07

(L to R) Michael Halbern, Sierra College; Eric Ullrich, Hacker Lab; Lindsay Jackson, US Bank; Barbara Nichols, Sierra College Mechatronics student; Jagdeep Sohanpal, US Bank; Vivian Raeside, Sierra College Mechatronics student; Steve Hunter, Sierra College Faculty Maker in Residence; and Alan Shuttleworth, Sierra College. 
-- Photo by Karen Fraser-Middleton

With the support of US Bank and the Sierra College Foundation, Sierra College Mechatronics students developed and presented projects designed to make a positive impact on the world at a showcase event held on May 22 held at Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College.

Vivian Raeside won first place for her “Solar-Powered Water Purification System,” David Ramey won second place for his “Mech 90 Rat Trap” and Barbara Nichols won third place for her “Automatic Cat Food Dispenser.”

The judges for the Mechatronics for Humanity Showcase were Lindsay Jackson and Jagdeep Sohanpal with US Bank; Eric Ullrich, Hacker Lab; Noelle Calvert, Sierra College Foundation; Alan Shuttleworth, Sierra College; and Steve Hunter, Sierra College Faculty Maker in Residence.

Last semester’s first prize winner, Adrian Cummings used the prize money to improve his Mechatronics for Humanity invention and enter Eagertronic Cyclights in the InfyMakers Awards Contest. The project was selected as a finalist.

Raeside was inspired by her camping experiences to develop the Solar-Powered Water Purification System. “First the water is pumped through a filter that removes 99% of bacteria (such as e-coli) and protozoa (such as giardia),” said Raeside. “Then, it automatically stirs the water while a UV light destroys 99% of the remaining viruses, bacteria and protozoa. A sensor causes a warning light to turn on when the system runs out of water. The challenge is making it small enough to be portable.”

The students had access to Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College to help them with their projects. “Hacker Lab was a lifesaver,” said Raeside. “The people in the Hacker Lab community showed me how to use tools and helped me trouble shoot problems. I used the laser cutter to produce custom parts that I designed. It is open all day, every day so I always had a place to work on my project. I couldn’t have won this recognition without the support of Hacker Lab.”

Barbara Nichols discovered the Mechatronics program when she was on a tour of Career Technical Education programs with Del Oro High School students and they made hands-on projects. “We made flashlights in the Mechatronics laboratory and I was sold on the program,” said Nichols. “I have a computer programming background but I really wanted to work with my hands. The Mechatronics program was ideal and now that I have completed the final course, I am excited to find a position in advanced manufacturing.”

Nichols will be able to present her Automatic Cat Food Dispenser as an example of her skills in interviews. “Dry food can drop into the bowl in small, medium or large size portions,” said Nichols. “There is a real time clock that can be set to disperse food on 12 or 24 hour cycles. I had to code the servo motor to turn the wheel back and forth to unjam the kibble. If you are gone for a short period of time, want to control the food serving size or avoid forgetting to put out dry cat food, this invention would be a big help.”

According to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Statewide Project Manager, CCC Maker, colleges across the state are building makerspaces and forging connections with industry partners to better prepare students for careers. “The Mechatronics for Humanity Showcase encourages students to think like entrepreneurs and pushes them to consider how their work can have social benefit and impact the wider community,” said Pepper-Kittredge.

The Mechatronics for Humanity project allows students to showcase everything they’ve learned while completing the Mechatronics program and prepares them for employment, explains Michael Halbern, Mechatronics Professor, Sierra College. “At a makerspace like Hacker Lab, students interact with engineers, learn to use specialized tools, and experience the real-world collaboration needed to turn ideas into reality,” said Halbern. “The support from industry partners like US Bank is essential for connecting students with careers.”

Sign up now for Mechatronics classes starting June 12 as well as fall classes that start August 22; go to the Sierra College website to learn more.

About Sierra College Workforce Development

Sierra College Workforce Development is focused on delivering customized training to meet the needs of employers. Additional information is available at

Sierra College District is celebrating its 80th Anniversary in 2016, and the Nevada County Campus in Grass Valley is celebrating 20 years.

Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year Universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at

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Triple Your Taxes for the Fourth of July?

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-06-07

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado)

Are you ready for California to double your taxes? What about triple or quadruple them? A bill currently making its way through the state Legislature could push tax rates up beyond imagination, making us tax serfs to the state, and driving hundreds of thousands of jobs out of California.

Senate Bill 562 (SB 562), the “California Healthcare for All Act,” proposes to ban private insurance coverage and force every citizen in the state into the equivalent of the Medi-Cal system we provide for the poor and disabled, where state-provided healthcare would be the only option. The costs would be staggering.

A recent analysis by the California Senate Appropriations Committee estimated that implementing SB 562 would set back California taxpayers $400 Billion. This year’s general fund spending – including roads, schools, universities, prisons and more – is estimated around $124 billion. In a highly-taxed state that just recovered from years of massive deficits and still teeters on the edge of fiscal ruin, where is this additional taxpayer money supposed to come from? Four hundred billion is more than $10,000 a year from every man, woman and child in the state. Do most California families have that kind of money laying around?

That extraordinary cost is consistent with estimates from other states and is the major reason that single-payer schemes have been voted down or abandoned before implementation. New York state is currently proposing its own SB 562. In 2019, when New York’s plan would be active, the state expects to collect $82 billion in taxes, but would need another $91 billion to pay for its single-payer scheme. New York, as is the case with California, will more than double its overall revenue.  See a trend?

And that $91 billion number might be charitable. An analysis by healthcare expert Avik Roy concluded that New York’s plan could cost $226 billion a year, nearly quadrupling the state’s current tax collections, just  to pay for healthcare, not government’s other responsibilities. Roy estimates that the plan would jettison 175,000 jobs from the state, as “high-wage, high-value industries move to neighboring states” as a result. California, a much larger state, could shed hundreds of thousands of jobs under SB 562’s crushing fiscal mandate.

California’s plan also proposes to pay for all care for all residents, regardless of whether they are in the state illegally, or whether they are here legally but just moved here to take advantage of the state’s “free” medical care. California, already the king of the tax dollar giveaway, would become the hot new destination for immigrants and indigents seeking care, driving the costs even higher.

And, even if the costs were not fantastically, impossibly high, SB 562 presents other problems for California healthcare. Our state suffers from a shortage of healthcare providers, particularly in rural and inner-city areas, a condition that would only be intensified by the provider rate caps in the bill.

Single-payer systems are also prone to deadly wait times since they ration care to reduce costs.

The United States is a medical innovator and California is the nation’s bioscience hub. That will disappear in the price-controlled, socialized system California legislators are trying to dump on the people. Price caps, a key component of single payer plans, spell doom to medical innovation.

Remaking the entire healthcare system is a terrible idea if the reform is going to make healthcare slower, less innovative, and wildly more expensive.

SB 562 is an ill-advised plan with unpayable costs that would make California taxpayers sick.

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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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning people of the risks of Salmonella infection associated with contact with live poultry. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from January 2017 through May 25, 2017, 372 ill persons in 47 states have been infected with several Salmonella strains that have been linked to live poultry contact; 36% are children younger than 5 years old. Seventy-one ill persons have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Infected persons include 21 California residents from 15 counties.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and usually begin 12 to 72 hours after a person has been infected. Most infected people recover within a week without treatment. However, some people may have severe illness that requires hospitalization. Young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe illness.

Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks.

Live poultry, especially baby chicks and ducklings, may have Salmonella in their feces and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean, which can get on the hands, shoes, and clothing of people who handle or care for the birds. Salmonella can get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, bedding, plants, and soil in the area where the birds live and roam.

If you have contact with live poultry: Always wash hands with soap and water after handling live poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam; Prevent live chickens, ducks, and geese from coming into the house; Do not allow children younger than 5 years to handle or touch live poultry and eggs without supervision and subsequent handwashing; Do not snuggle or kiss the birds; Do not touch your mouth, or eat or drink while near live poultry.

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CRUSH LIFE: Inspiration From the Field

Story and Photos by Ethan Van Horn (Age 13)  |  2017-05-25

Our Wounded Warriors can still take a big swing at life.

I have been playing America’s game ever since I was 3 years old. I love the smell of a stadium hot dog, fresh cut grass, and the sound of a ball when it hits the bat. Baseball is my sport. I enjoy it on and off the field, and I can truly say it is the most beautiful sport around. I’ve been blessed with the speed to run from home to first base in under 4.5 seconds; that’s 90 feet! While I feel lucky to have such talent, I must admit I rarely consider what it would be like not to have these abilities.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team who is made up of some incredibly brave people…true heroes! Not just because they served in the United States military, but because they are amazing, inspiring, and all around brave souls. These men and women were wounded in combat; some lost their arms, some lost their legs… but they never lost their will to succeed!

My dad has been active duty for over ten years now, and I have watched him deploy twice and come back home safely. I never once thought about my dad losing an arm or a leg. I admit feeling like he is indestructible, sort of assuming he would be okay. But the truth is, when a soldier goes to war they are risking their life: there is no guarantee they will be safe.

These warriors went to war just like my dad but they were injured, injured bad. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into meeting this team. I had never met anyone who lost an arm or leg, and I was a little nervous at first. I kept thinking to myself “What if I offend them with my questions?” I sure didn’t want to do that.

But as I watched these men and women play ball, I realized we share a love of the game. Their bases may not be 90 feet apart, but who cares?! These athletes are doing exactly what I do when I lace up my cleats and hit the field: they are playing the best game around: baseball!

I sat down with two of the players, Cody and Josh, to ask them some questions about their past, and I as in awe by their stories. These athletes were just doing their job, the job they were trained to do, and then the unthinkable happened. They could have given up, but instead they found the courage and the drive to keep on going. They found a new cause to fight for, and refused to let anything get in their way.

Whether they believe it or not they are still heroes, every time they take the field or saddle up to the plate. These athletes get out on that ball field and run, dive for balls, scale the wall for that winning catch, and play their hearts out over and over again. I am sure they must be in pain from time to time, must occasionally stumble on their new legs, but they never give up. By refusing to drop their glove to the ground and quit a game, they send a powerful message about never giving up in life.

I will leave you with something one of the players, Nick, told me, something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Nick is amazing, his story is so inspiring—this hero has been through more than most of us will ever go through in our lifetime, and he still carries a smile on his face and lives life to the fullest. I asked all the players to sign my jersey, and along with his signature Nick added something special: his personal motto.

I hope it will inspire you as it does me, “Crush Life!”

First printed in MILITARY KIDS' LIFE magazine. Reprinted by permission.

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State Theatre Presents James McMurtry

Source: Lia Carotta, Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center  |  2017-05-25

On Stage at the State Theatre in Auburn

James McMurtry

Sunday, August 6, 2017 ~ 7:30 pm

James McMurtry is an acclaimed rock and folk/Americana singer. His latest release, Complicated Game, spotlights a craftsman in absolutely peak form as he turns from political toward personal “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” McMurtry says. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman”.

The New York Times Magazine’s “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going” features  James McMurtry, “Copper Canteen,” the opening track on his 2015 album, “Complicated Game,” is the song I’ve returned to most since Election Day. The narrator is a hunter, a fisherman and a small-business owner. He doesn’t go to church, but his wife does. Although retirement is in sight, and he has a pension, he hasn’t been able to save as much money as he would like, in part because the store he owns is getting squeezed by “the big boxes out on the bypass.”

Complicated Game delivers McMurtry’s trademark story songs time and again, but the record brings a new (and certainly no less energetic) sonic approach. First, recall blistering beats and gnashing guitars from his magnum opus Just Us Kids (2008). Now, unplug. “The label head wanted more acoustic,” McMurtry explains. “We built everything as we went so we ended up with more acoustic guitar as we went. We just played whatever sounded right for a given song, but we weren’t necessarily saying this is an acoustic record.” Complicated Game doubles down on literate storytelling longtime enthusiasts expect.

John Mellencamp served as co-producer on McMurtry's critically lauded debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland, marking the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill Records. McMurtry has worked with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely, and Dwight Yoakam.

In 2004, McMurtry released the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three. The following year, Childish Things notched arguably his most critical praise, spending six weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Childish Things and single We Can’t Make It Here won the Americana Music Awards for Album and Song of the Year, respectively. McMurtry received more Americana Music Award nominations for 2008’s Just Us Kids.

Date and Time: Sunday, August 6 2017 ~ 7:30 pm

Run Time: 2 hours with intermission

General Admission: $30 Advance, $32 Day of Show

Location: 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn CA

Box Office: or 530-885-0156

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Sierra College Wins National Award

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-05-24

The Sierra College Marketing Department staff are the proud recipients of two Paragon awards from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations. The two Bronze awards were awarded for Sierra College’s 80th Anniversary logo design and the 80th Anniversary Microsite.

NCMPR’s prestigious Paragon Awards recognize outstanding achievement in design and communication at community and technical colleges. It’s the only national competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges. There were nearly 1,750 entries from 247 colleges in this year’s Paragon Awards competition Nearly 80 judges from across the country in the marketing and PR industry reviewed and scored the entries. Altogether, 92 colleges came up winners.

Multimedia and Web Specialist Tosh Campanella received word from NCMPR stating, “On behalf of the NCMPR District 6 Executive Team, I’d like to thank you for participating in the NCMPR District 6 Medallion Awards. This year’s contest was full of great work done by great college communicators. Congratulations on your successful projects!”

Campanella worked with the Marketing team to create the Sierra College 80th Anniversary Microsite. The web address is Marketing is in the process of editing additional videos that will be loaded to the site. Community members are encouraged to load their own Sierra College stories onto the website.

About Sierra College
Sierra College District is rising to meet the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills.  Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at

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