Sierra College Students’ Imaginations Lit by Engineer at Hacker Lab

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-04-12

Peter Chang shows off class project. 
--Photo courtesy of Karen Fraser-Middleton

Peter Chang, Electrical Engineer, from Granite Bay, was selected as the Hacker Lab Powered by Sierra College in Rocklin April Maker of the Month for generously sharing his expertise with students and community members who have an idea and are trying to figure out a way to make it into a product.

Hacker Lab member, Ian Milward of MilworX (, was building an animatronic character from a popular videogame series to debut at the Halo World Championships in Burbank CA “Peter helped me give it its life, its spark,” said Milward. “He helped me with programming an Arduino microcontroller and taught me how to trouble shoot the coding scripts to give my character light, sound and movement. He kept me going with his willingness to share his knowledge, guiding me through the process step-by-step.”

Chang explained that he enjoys being part of the Hacker Lab community where members often ask, “What are you working on?” and share their projects. “When a community member, like Ian, runs into a challenge, I really enjoy suggesting ways to figure it out,” said Chang. “I’d thought about how to use Arduino to run in parallel to control lighting, sound and movement simultaneously, but never had a reason to try it until I started helping Ian.” Chang is also working with fellow Hacker Lab member, John Vu, RocketBooths, to create a service that helps people take their product idea and create a prototype using Hacker Lab equipment and experts in the community.

Chang will be teaching an Arduino Boot Camp to Build a Robotic Car from April 24 to May 10 on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9 PM at Hacker Lab Midtown.  Students will create a robotic car that can be controlled by their phones or work autonomously using a sonar sensor. This class is for people who are familiar with Arduino or have taken the beginning class, explained Chang. “If you are a hobbyist who wants to automate lighting for a project or a student who wants to learn more about microcontrollers, you’d benefit from this class,” said Chang. You do not need to be a Hacker Lab member to attend. Sign up at

Chang thrives on sharing his knowledge and learning from other Hacker Lab members. “There are a lot of tools and equipment here at Hacker Lab that can bring your ideas to life,” said Chang. “But more important than the tools are all the talented people making at Hacker Lab who are always eager to help you.”

Sierra College students have been mentored by Chang.  According to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CCC Maker Statewide Project Manager, housed at Sierra College, college makerspaces provide an opportunity for students to work with industry experts to develop career skills. “Peter shows students how to methodically trouble shoot problems just like they’d need to do on the job,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “He has also mentored students on their capstone ‘Mechatronics for Humanity’ projects, helping them think of ways robotics can be used to make a difference in others’ lives. He works through the design and presentation with them. For instance, he helped students use microcontrollers for lighting and make boxes on the laser cutter to house the controls.”

Boy Scout patrols have also toured Hacker Lab with Chang. “I was an electronics merit badge counselor for my son’s troop so I enjoy showing the boys all the tools and possible projects they could make at Hacker Lab,” said Chang. He even designed a key chain tag engraved on the laser cutter with the Boy Scout Promise and Law on it for the boys to take with them after the demonstration.

The Hacker Lab Rocklin site manager, Chuck Ferguson, indicated that Chang is a valuable contributor to the community space. “He never hesitates to welcome visitors, lend a hand or help us come up with creative concepts for events such as the City of Rocklin Mini Maker Faire,” said Ferguson.

Chang says that he is just having fun. “I enjoy sharing what I know and have fun getting involved with their projects, whether it is making a prototype, designing a toy, adding lights to a project or building solutions with Internet of Things (IoT) platforms,” said Chang. “Hacker Lab is an awesome community; I’ve connected with great people and enjoy access to all the tools.” The new Rocklin location of Hacker Lab now has welding as well as sewing, electronics, laser cutting and machining in addition to offices and co-working space for small businesses.

Sierra College and Hacker Lab’s public-private partnership formed one of the first college community makerspaces in the United States. Under the California Community College Chancellor’s Office’s Workforce Development Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy framework, Sierra College is the Fiscal Agent and Technical Assistance Provider for the statewide CCC Maker project to support colleges in building educational makerspaces.

Hacker Lab Powered by Sierra College has just moved into a larger 15,000 sq. ft. building at 4415 Granite Dr., Rocklin, CA that offers offices and meeting space in addition to the much larger makerspace. Find more classes, bootcamps, co-working and making at the Hacker Lab website -

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

About Hacker Lab
Established in 2012 in Sacramento, Hacker Lab aims to educate folks and spark innovation with community driven resources. Offering co-working, maker space, courses, meet-ups and events, Hacker Lab believes that technology can change the world and the starting point is education. Hacker Lab has locations in Sacramento and Rocklin. Learn more at the Hacker Lab 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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DMV Accepts U.S. Passport Card for New Driver License

Source: California Department of Motor Vehicles Media  |  2017-04-12

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announces the acceptance of a valid U.S. passport card when applying for a first-time driver license (DL) or identification card (ID). The DMV included the U.S. passport card in the list of approved legal presence documents starting on April 3, 2017.

“We added the U.S. passport card to offer more options for our customers,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “The passport card is secure, more convenient, and less expensive than a passport book and it will help new driver license and ID card applicants establish their legal presence.”

Millions of people have applied for and received a U.S. passport card from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs since they became available in 2008. The verification process and security features in the card are similar to a passport book, which the DMV currently accepts. The DMV determined that the passport card is a readily available and secure document that will help in establishing the applicant’s legal presence.

First-time driver license applicants must make an appointment before visiting a DMV field office. Walk-ins are only accepted at Driver License Processing Centers.

The DMV has a helpful webpage that features the requirements for driver license and ID card applicants. To apply for an original driver license or ID card, customers must complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application form (DL 44), give a thumb print, have their picture taken, provide their social security number, and verify their birth date, legal presence, and California residency.

The DMV reminds all new DL and ID card applicants that they must provide proof of California residency. The residency requirement law went into effect July 1, 2016. For more information about the residency requirement visit the DMV website.

For more information about the U.S. passport card and how to apply, visit the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

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Memorial Gift Supports Growing Needs of Seniors First

Source: Placer Community Foundation  |  2017-04-11

Photo caption: Keith Hentschel, pictured below with the Board and Staff of Seniors First is presented a certificate acknowledging a $5,000 gift to the Seniors First Endowment Fund Placer Community Foundation.

Giving of time and resources is nothing new to the Board of Directors and Staff at Seniors First. Their programs and team of dedicated volunteers provide isolated seniors with the delivery of hot nutritious food, a caring watchful eye and friendship. But it was a recent and special memorial gift made to the Seniors First Endowment Fund at Placer Community Foundation that showed how giving helps heal the soul.

Keith Hentschel, Board Chair for Seniors First was presented a certificate this week acknowledging a $5,000 gift to the Seniors First Endowment Fund in loving memory of his wife Elizabeth Hentschel. Elizabeth passed away on March 12 after an aggressive battle with Dementia. She was 63 years old.

The gift was made collectively by the Board and Staff at Seniors First and will be invested for growth at Placer Community Foundation for long-term support of their organization’s programs and services.

“This gift makes the Seniors First Endowment Fund all the more special and important to me,” stated Keith. “My wife’s illness was a testament to adversity. My work at Seniors First honors her by serving those that can no longer care for themselves. I am deeply touched by this gift and committed to build resources so we can expand our reach in the community.”

According to a 2014 report by the Center for Strategic Economic Research, 22% of Placer County’s population is aged 60 and older. This is much larger when compared to areas like Sacramento the Bay Area and even the state of California which range around 17 and 18 percent. With this significant aging community comes growing demand for services countywide.

“On average, Seniors First provides approximately 80,000 individual services to seniors each year with programs and services that enhance and improve their health, safety, overall well-being and quality of life,” states Jamee Horning, Executive Director of Seniors First.

The Seniors First Endowment Fund at Placer Community Foundation provides an easy and effective way for people in the community to support the work of Seniors First. Gifts of all sizes are pooled for maximum benefit and invested for long-term capital growth.

“People may choose to contribute to the Seniors First Endowment Fund during their lifetime or through their estate plan,” states Jessica Hubbard, Philanthropic Services Manager at Placer Community Foundation. “The Community Foundation is equipped to accept a wide variety of tax-saving assets such as appreciated stock or individual retirement accounts (IRAs). When a gift best fits a person’s financial plan, it leaves more room to feel the great satisfaction in knowing they’ve made a real difference in their community.”

For Keith, the Board of Directors and the staff at Seniors First, there is deep satisfaction in knowing this gift in memory of Elizabeth’s rich and full life will forever care for those in need.

To make a donation to the Seniors First Endowment Fund visit or call the Placer Community Foundation at (530) 885.4920.

About Seniors First
Seniors First exists to provide programs, services and long-term support to Placer County seniors so that they may maintain their independence as long as possible. Seniors First is working to make this vision a reality by offering programs such as: Senior Meals and Nutrition, Information and Assistance, Transportation Services, Adult Day Programs, Friendly Visitors, Home Modification and Safety Repairs and Living Placement. To learn more visit, email or call 530-889-9500.

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, and the environment. To learn more about establishing charitable funds, visit, contact Jessica Hubbard at, or call 530-885-4920.

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Is John Muir Still Relevant Today?

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-04-11

Photo provided by Lee Stetson

Sierra College Eco Students Say, Absolutely Yes!

Earth Day Activities and “Pure Muir” at Sierra College April 20-28

Students at Sierra College, Rocklin Campus will celebrate the 47th annual Earth Day by honoring California’s legendary John Muir, often called the “apostle of the wild.” Earth Day is said to be the largest secular holiday celebrated annually by more than one billion people in nearly 200 countries.

Rocklin campus activities will include a day of celebrations and exhibits on Thursday, April 20 from 9AM to 4PM and two separate presentations on the life of John Muir – Friday, April 21 and 28 at Dietrich Theatre on the Rocklin campus.

Thursday activities will include exhibits and demonstrations showcasing the sustainable efforts of conservation, preservation and restoration organizations as well as new technology aimed at shifting from fossil fuels to alternative, renewable energy sources.

PURE MUIR – Two different presentations about John Muir

Two John Muir presentations will focus on the history and life of John Muir, the first president of the Sierra Club and inspirational spokesperson for preservation of forests, wild lands and national parks in America.

The popular one-man play, “John Muir Among the Animals” will be presented by renowned actor, Lee Stetson of Yosemite on Friday, April 21 at 7:30PM in Dietrich Theatre on the Rocklin campus – replete with rich stories of bears, rattlesnakes, sheep and even the dog, Stickeen. Stetson holds his crowds, spellbound, as they laugh and cry along with him.

Read more at:

Pre-performance tickets are available at:

The second Muir event will be a popular but rare presentation by Robert Hanna, also at Dietrich Theatre on Friday, April 28 at 7:30PM. Hanna is the great-great-grandson of John Muir. With a very busy family and professional life, Hanna says this will probably be his final presentation for some time to come.

Hanna’s presentation, entitled “Forever Muir” is a mixture of history of John Muir, growing up within the Muir family, and Hanna’s own efforts to support sustainability and conservation, especially with regards to public lands like national parks. Hanna speaks with authority, of personal and little-known facts about his great-great-grandfather and how Muir’s legacy has survived through time in his family and continues to live on today. Hanna’s humorous and inspirational presentation will include a cameo appearance by actor Lee Stetson, famous Muir scholar and impersonator.

Numerous books by Muir and others about him will be available for purchase.

More information at:

Pre-performance tickets at:

Tickets for each of these two performances are $15 general and $10 students/seniors/museum members. Available at Brown Paper Tickets and at the door.

All presentation proceeds to Sierra College Natural History Museum and Sierra College Press

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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Walk and See the Beauty of Granite Bay and Folsom Lake - May 27, 2017

Source: Sacramento Walking Sticks  |  2017-04-11

Photo by Monica Moriarty.

Everyone is welcome to come stretch their legs through a mixture of lake trails and upscale streets on the Sacramento Walking Sticks May 27, 2017 event. The route will encompass part of the Western States Pioneer Trail in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area with some moderate hills and dirt trails along the route. The longer route will take in the views of lovely landscaped homes along the shady, tree-lined streets of Granite Bay near Folsom Lake.

The start location for the walk is at the Granite Bay Village Shopping Center between Little Bliss Cakery and the Subway Sandwich Shoppe, 8789 Auburn-Folsom Rd, Suite D, Granite Bay CA 95746. People can register between 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon and everyone must be off the trails by 3:00 p.m. Everyone can walk for FREE (donations are welcomed) or $3.00 for volkswalk credit. Restrooms and water are available at the start location and in the Folsom Lake Recreation Area. There are many nearby restaurants to choose from after you finish your walk.

There will be a 6K (3.7 miles) and an 11K (6.8 miles) route to choose from; both routes would be difficult for wheelchairs and strollers. Dogs are welcome on the 6K route but they are not allowed in the State Park area of the 11K route. It is recommended that you wear layered clothing, a hat and bring/drink plenty of water to keep hydrated on the walk.

The beauty of a volkswalk is that it is noncompetitive and untimed; therefore, the Sticks encourage people to enjoy the sights and sounds along this route. You’ll be off the city streets for most of the walk and will enjoy seeing Folsom Lake in a whole different vantage point. Bring your cameras and if it should rain, we’ll still be walking with umbrellas held high and rain ponchos on.

The Sacramento Walking Sticks Volkssport Club is the largest in the USA with over 550 members; you do not have to be a member to walk with the Club. We are an active Club with group walks scheduled every Tues and Thurs morning, random Fri mornings and every Wed evening. There is always a volkswalk hosted by various clubs in the northern and central regions of California on the weekend and carpooling is offered and encouraged. The Sticks have a monthly “Walking Book Club” with a designated book selection to read; there will be a 5K walk and book discussion that coincides with the book selection each month. You don’t even have to read the book to join in the walk and/or discussion.

The Sticks host Full Moon walks and once each month travel on a Road Adventure together; recently we walked in Sebastopol, Mill Valley and Alameda and have Oakdale, Lake Tahoe and Union City on the calendar.

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Metal Brouhaha at Sierra College’s Weld Expo ’17

Sourcce: Sierra College  |  2017-04-11

The Miller Welding Road Show Truck #2 will be at Weld Expo ’17 at Sierra College on April 22. 
--Photo courtesy of Bill Wenzel.

Sierra College will host Weld Expo ‘17, a fun “Metal Brouhaha,” at the Rocklin campus on Saturday, April 22 from 9 am to 4 pm. The community is invited to see metalworking and welding robotics demonstrations, learn about and participate in virtual welding competitions, try many different kinds of welding, connect with local metal fabrication companies and discover career opportunities ranging from blacksmithing to state-of-the-art welding technology. Admission and parking are free.

The American Welding Society’s Sierra College Student Chapter is coordinating this event for makers, builders, students, welders and community members to showcase the impact of metalworking in construction and fabrication, explained Bill Wenzel, Department Chair, Welding and Advanced Manufacturing, Sierra College. “At the Weld Expo ’17 Metal Brouhaha, attendees can discover the wide-ranging impact and methods for metals joining and machining,” said Wenzel.

The Miller Welding Road Show Truck #2 will be at Weld Expo offering classes and hands-on opportunities, according to Wenzel. “Industry partners including Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric, PG&E, Siemens, LB Construction, Airgas, Harris Industrial Gases and Advanced Gases will be offering demonstrations, showing tools, explaining career opportunities and describing the projects that they work on in the region,” said Wenzel. Crafters and blacksmiths will also be demonstrating their techniques.

Our industry is rebuilding America, explained Wenzel. “There are so many new opportunities for those with knowledge and skills to apply these technologies to fascinating careers offering excellent pay. This fall, Sierra College is expanding into the world of CNC Machining with Haas Automation,” said Wenzel. “Our graduates are constructing and repairing ships, planes, bridges, pipelines, power plants and buildings as well as producing and machining innovative products being shipped all over the world.” He indicated that there are employment opportunities with local growing businesses.

Learn more about earning welding industry certification as well as Sierra College program, certificates and degrees in Welding and Advanced Manufacturing at

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

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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CHP Investigating Fatal Collision

Courtesy California Highway Patrol  |  2017-04-10

Sacramento Calif. - At 1949 hours CHP Truckee Communication center received a call of a traffic collision on Interstate-80 Eastbound, at Iceland Grade (East of Hirschdale Road).  An uninvolved charter bus was reported to be on scene and blocking traffic and another vehicle was overturned with a trapped party.  The driver of the charter bus utilized 911 and requested law enforcement and fire personnel to respond with extrication equipment.  He then placed reflective triangles in the roadway to warn oncoming traffic of the blocking bus while he attempted to render aid to the victim .

A CHP Officer arrived on scene and contacted the involved parties and witnesses, as well as the bus driver.  The CHP Officer reentered his patrol vehicle and began to back up to establish a lane closure.   As the officer began to back-up, for yet to be determined reasons, the patrol vehicle tragically struck the bus driver who was a pedestrian in the roadway.  The party was transported to Renown Hospital in Reno, Nevada, by Truckee Fire Department with major injuries.

The pedestrian was pronounced deceased by Renown Hospital at 0053 hours on Sunday April 9th, 2017.

The collision investigation in being completed by CHP Valley Division Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT).  CHP Valley Division Public Information Section will be handling all inquiries.

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