Judge Denies Attempt by Duran to Withdraw His Guilty Plea

Placer County, CA (MPG) - The Honorable Mark Curry sentenced Samuel Duran, 36, of Roseville today to 70 years to life in State Prison in connection with his October 25, 2013, assault on Roseville Police Officers and a Federal Immigration and Customs Agent. Duran previously plead guilty to three counts of attempted Murder on a Peace Officer and admitted discharging a weapon causing great bodily injury in connection to the incident on April 6, 2017. Under the plea terms, Duran faced a minimum prison sentence of 40 years to life and the maximum of 70 years to life. 

Duran also attempted to withdraw his guilty plea prior to the sentencing. The District Attorney’s Office opposed the motion.  Supervising Deputy District Attorney Doug Van Breemen argued that there was no basis in fact or law to allow Duran to withdraw his plea. Van Breemen argued that this was just another attempt by Duran to delay the inevitable consequences from his attempt to end the lives of police officers. Judge Curry denied Duran’s request to withdraw his plea.  

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Wilson, who prosecuted the case along with Van Breemen, encouraged the court to follow the recommendation of the Placer County Probation Department, who prepared a pre-sentence report, recommending that the court impose the maximum sentence of 70 years to life. Wilson stated to the court that Duran was nothing more than a "Cop Killer who, fortunately for our officers and our community, was bad at it.” The fact that he failed in his quest to take the lives of these officers does not mitigate his culpability or the need to impose the maximum sentence. Every day when these or any officer goes to work they understand there is a chance that they could face the likes of Sammy Duran. Just because Peace Officers accept that far too common reality as part of their responsibility, we as a community or as a criminal justice system should never accept it. We should express our unwillingness to accept it by making these cop killers like Sammy Duran spend the rest of their lives in a prison cell. If we do that, there will at least be one less cop killer that law enforcement will have to worry about and it also tells others who decide to kill cops what the consequence will be of doing so. In addition to the above, Wilson cited Duran’s violent criminal history and lack of remorse in requesting the court to impose the sentence of 70 years to life.

During the incident Duran fled from law enforcement, shooting at two Roseville Officers and a Federal Immigration and Customs Agent.  After hitting the Federal Agent with one of the shots, Duran fled through a Roseville neighborhood eventually barricading himself in a Roseville home. He continued to exchange gun fire with law enforcement during the standoff, shooting one officer in the face at close range. He was eventually apprehended hours later when he surrendered to Roseville Police Officers.  

Judge Curry’s imposed sentence of 70 years to life will make Duran eligible for parole under current law at the age of 102 years old.

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Honoring 100 Years of Service

Bill Bird, Executive Director  |  2017-07-24

Receiving the award from L-R: Mark Nelson, Chair, California State Fair Board of Directors; Tim Neuharth, Sacramento County Farm Bureau; Ken Oneto, Sacramento County Farm Bureau; Cornelius Gallagher, member, California State Fair Board of Directors (he’s behind the big golden bear); Rina V. DiMare, member, California State Fair Board of Directors; Rick K. Pickering, Chief Executive Officer, California State Fair; Jim Vietheer, Sacramento County Farm Bureau. Photo courtesy SCFB

Sacramento County Farm Bureau Organization Honored for Service to Local Communities

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Farm Bureau is celebrating 100-years of service to local communities after receiving special recognition at the 2017 California Agricultural Heritage Club Ceremony held at the California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento. Membership in the Agricultural Heritage Club is a prestigious award, which is only given to farms, ranches, organizations and agribusinesses that have maintained a fiscal responsibility in the state for at least one full century. The California State Fair is the sanctioned body that holds these records and facilitates the recognition process.

"Only a handful of county farm bureaus have been honored with this kind of designation and Sacramento County is now a part of that exclusive club," said Sacramento County Farm Bureau Executive Director Bill Bird. "It's a special recognition of what several generations of farming families have built in Sacramento County. Farm Bureau members do more than just grow the food that all families rely upon, they also work to educate others about the important work that the agricultural community does.

The award was accepted by three lifetime Sacramento County Farm Bureau members, who also operate ranches and farms in the local community. They include Ken Oneto, who grows cherries, walnuts, grapes, tomatoes and wheat on KLM Ranches in Elk Grove, Tim Neuharth, who grows certified organic pears and cherries on Steamboat Acres in the Delta and Jim Vietheer, who raises angus seed stock and cattle on the Have Angus Ranch in Wilton.

The Sacramento County Farm Bureau works to protect and promote agricultural interests throughout Sacramento County and to find solutions to the problems of the farm, the farm home, and the rural community. The membership-driven organization strives to protect and improve the ability of farmers and ranchers engaged in production agriculture to provide a reliable supply of food and fiber through responsible stewardship of California's resources.

Sacramento County is the 25th largest agriculture producing county in California with total agricultural production approaching $500 million. The top five county crops include wine grapes, poultry, grain corn, milk and Bartlett pears.

Sacramento County farmers put food on your fork.  Our agricultural operations and products are as diverse as the lands we carefully manage.  We are proud to provide healthy, fresh food for your family and ours.  We invite you to join our efforts to protect Sacramento County's agriculture, rural character, and our ability to produce local, high-quality food for your table.

Source:SCFB

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced July 20th, 2017, a large increase in the number of reported Valley Fever cases in California with illness onset in 2016.

From January through December 2016, 5,372 new cases of Valley Fever were reported to CDPH corresponding to an incidence rate of 13.7 cases per 100,000 people. This is very similar to the most recent peak in 2011 (5,213 cases), which was the highest number of cases since individual cases were made reportable in 1995. 

“People who live in or travel to areas where Valley Fever is common should take steps to avoid breathing in dusty air,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “If they develop flu-like symptoms, such as cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, lasting two weeks or more, they should ask their doctor about Valley Fever.”

Many counties in the Central Valley and Central Coast regions, where Valley Fever is most common, reported an increase in cases in 2016 compared with 2015. The largest number of cases and highest incidence rate in 2016 were in Kern County where more than 2,200 cases, or more than 250 cases per 100,000 people, were reported.

Valley Fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis, or cocci, is caused by the spore of a fungus that grows in certain types of soil. In California, Valley Fever is most commonly reported in the Southern Central Valley and Central Coast.  People get infected by breathing in spores present in dust that gets into the air when it is windy or when soil is disturbed, such as through digging in dirt during construction. The incidence of Valley Fever depends on a variety of environmental factors and types of human activity in areas where the fungus is present. Valley Fever symptoms can be similar to other illnesses and it is not always recognized: changes in testing, diagnosis and reporting patterns can also impact reported disease levels. It is unknown why there has been such a large increase in reported Valley Fever cases in California in 2016.

While anyone can get Valley Fever, those most at-risk for severe disease include people 60 years or older, African-Americans, Filipinos, pregnant women, and people with diabetes or conditions that weaken their immune system. People who live, work, or travel in Valley Fever areas are also at a higher risk of getting infected, especially if they work outdoors or participate in activities where soil is disturbed.

A person can reduce the risk of illness by avoiding breathing in dirt or dust in areas where Valley Fever is common. In these areas, when it is windy outside and the air is dusty, stay inside and keep windows and doors closed. While driving, keep car windows closed and use recirculating air conditioning, if available. If you must be outdoors, consider wearing a properly fitted mask (such as an N95 respirator mask which is widely available in retail stores), and refrain from disturbing the soil whenever possible. Employers should train their workers about Valley Fever symptoms and take steps to limit workers’ exposure to dust.

Most infected people will not show signs of illness. Those who do become ill with Valley Fever may have flu-like symptoms that can last for two weeks or more. While most people recover fully, some may develop more severe complications of Valley Fever which may include pneumonia, or infection of the brain, joints, bone, skin or other organs. If you think you have Valley Fever, you should contact your physician.

For additional information on Valley Fever, please visit the CDPH website.

Source: www.cdph.ca.gov

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Hearing In CHP Officer’s Death Set

Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-07-20

CHP Officer Lucas Chellew. Courtesy CHP

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - A July 13 preliminary hearing for the man accused of causing the death of CHP Officer Lucas Chellew February 22 in South Sacramento, has been rescheduled in order to give CHP investigators more time to complete their investigation of the accident.

Defense attorney Alice Michele requested an extension for the hearing for her client, Alberto Quiroz, 26 at the time of arrest, who faces one misdemeanor and three felony counts of vehicle theft, possession of a stolen vehicle and resisting arrest.

Motorcycle patrolman Chellew was pursuing Quiroz, also on a motorcycle, on Fruitridge Road, when he was suddenly cut off by a passing car, lost control of his motorcycle and hit a pole. He was taken to UC Davis Medical Center where he later died from his injuries. Quiroz was arrested shortly after the pursuit.

Deputy District Attorney Aaron Miller confirmed that the hearing, which was stalled for several months for settlement conferences before being calendared, was delayed so that CHP officials conducting a detailed investigation into the crash that killed Chellew could have more time to prepare.

“They need more time to put together their report before we can move forward,” Miller said, adding that the original charges have not changed in the case against Quiroz, but declining to say that they could.

The CHP report is expected to play a critical role in the case against Quiroz.  Should it reveal willful recklessness on the defendant’s part, charges against him could change to include at least one count of vehicular manslaughter.

Chellew’s widow was present in the courtroom for the hearing.  She sat flanked by CHP patrolmen, presumably colleagues of her late husband, as Judge Kevin J. McCormick asked Quiroz, clad in an orange jumpsuit inside a detaining cell, if he agreed to waive his right to have his case heard sooner. He did.

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BBB Sacramento Region Names New CEO

Danielle Spang, BBB Marketing & Communication Manager  |  2017-07-19

Lynn Conner, new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BBB serving Northeast California. Photo courtesy of BBB.

West Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Better Business Bureau (BBB) Board Chair Archie Milligan announced on July 19th,  that Lynn Conner accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BBB serving Northeast California. Conner also served as the interim CEO after former CEO, Gary Almond, chose to step down in late March.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Lynn’s impressive resume leading the BBB. Even more important for us, though, is Lynn’s character and her commitment to our mission and values, demonstrated during her many years of service on our Board,” said Milligan. “I personally appreciate the most recent example of Lynn’s commitment – her positive response to my request to serve as our interim CEO, and I certainly appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the staff to convince her to take on the position permanently,” he added.

“I’m honored and excited to be taking on the challenge as CEO of BBB serving Northeast California. Marketplace trust is as vital as ever, and I look forward to continuing to develop and promote programs that advocate trust and bring attention to those who have chosen to become BBB Accredited Businesses,” said Conner.

Conner served on the BBB Board of Directors for six years, and was the chair of that board in 2015 and 2016, helping guide the organization during a period of significant financial growth. For the last two years she was also given the distinct honor of serving on the national board of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), and is currently a member of the Finance Committee.

Conner brings thirty-five years of managerial and business related experience to this endeavor. Her background is both varied and extensive. She worked for Parasec, a $15 million public records research company, for 30 years, 22 years as President until she was succeeded by Matt Marzucco in 2009.

In addition, while working with Parasec, Lynn assisted a partner CPA firm for nine years, Flemmer Associates, as their Business Development Manager.

In 2010, Conner and her husband started their own company, Hialeah Terrace, a six-bed residential care facility for the elderly. She is the Licensee and Administrator for that company.

Conner believes in the value of the BBB mission and has demonstrated her support by maintaining both companies, Parasac and Hieleah Terrace, as BBB Accredited Businesses.

Having served for more than 12 years on the board of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), Lynn’s skills led to her election as Chair of the Board. In that role she continues to demonstrate her commitment to SETA’s mission to develop a viable, vibrant workforce in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.

Lynn holds her Certification as a Residential Care Facility Administrator.


Lynn earned a Bachelor of Science in Botany from UC Davis, as well as a Master’s of Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.

Source: BBB Media

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District Attorney's Office Updates Public on Arrests

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - “On June 26, 2016, members of the Traditional Worker’s Party (TWP) held a rally on the west steps of the state capitol after securing legal permits from the California Highway Patrol. The rally began at 11:00 A.M.  Numerous counter-protesters also arrived at the capitol to block the rally, none of whom were lawfully permitted to conduct their demonstration. In the hours that followed, violent clashes occurred between the two groups resulting in a number of assaults and several stabbings.

The California Highway Patrol Protective Services Division investigated the incident.  After several months of reviewing video footage, interviewing witnesses, and attempting to identify participants, the investigators submitted arrest warrant requests to the District Attorney for review.  In all, arrest warrants for 101 individuals were submitted for consideration.  Many of the charges submitted did not meet the District Attorney’s filing guidelines including: 85 counts of Unlawful Assembly, 55 counts of Conspiracy to Unlawfully Assemble and 32 counts related to the possession of illegal signs and banners.  In several other cases, there was clear evidence of felonious conduct but the identity of the perpetrators could not be established. Unfortunately, included in this category were all of the stabbings and the attack on a local television reporter. After reviewing all of the evidence submitted, the District Attorney’s Office sought and received arrest warrants for individuals whose conduct represented the most egregious offenses that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

We cannot disclose the names of all of the individuals for whom warrants have been issued until after arrests have been made. We can confirm at this time that William Planer and Porfirio Paz have been arrested on charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon or by Means of force Likely to Inflict Great Bodily Injury and Participating in a Riot. Planer was arrested in Colorado and is pending extradition to California. Paz was arrested in Southern California and is scheduled to be arraigned on July 24, 2017 in Department 63 at 8:30 AM.” - Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi

District Attorney's UPDATE (July 19, 2017):

Yvonne Felarca was arrested last night in Southern California on charges of Assault by Means of Force Likely to Inflict Great Bodily Injury, Participating in a Riot, and inciting a riot.  We have no further information as to Felarca’s court date at this time.

Michael Williams was arrested today in Yolo County on charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Participating in a Riot. Williams is set for arraignment on July 21, 2017 at 1:30 in Department 63 of the Sacramento Superior Court.

There are no further outstanding warrants related to this incident.

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Crumbling Seat of Govt Looks Towards a Facelift

Debra Gravert, Office of Ken Cooley  |  2017-07-19

Ken Cooley at the Annex Hearing. Photo courtesy Office of Ken Cooley

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Chairman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) of the Joint Committee on Rules convened the second of several hearings to examine the condition of the State Capitol Building Annex and the Legislature's options for dealing with California’s aging seat of government on July17th, 2017.

“The functionality of our State Capitol Annex is key to our ability to govern,” said Chairman Cooley. “Today’s hearing made clear that the current status of our building does not match our basic needs as a co-equal branch of government.  Our partners in the Executive branch stand ready to help move us forward to build a ‘People’s House’ we can all be proud of for the next century.”

Testimony at the committee began with strong statements of commitment from Marybel Batjer, Secretary, Government Operations Agency and Daniel C. Kim, Director, Department of General Services (DGS) for the Legislature’s endeavor.  Jason Kenney, Chief, Project Management and Development Branch, DGS then gave a presentation regarding the current conditions and status of the building and what next steps can be taken.

Mr. Kenney remarked on the fact that the Capitol’s East Annex was finished in 1952 and was designed for a part-time Legislature and before modern technology.  Today, the Annex’s wear and tear has significantly increased beyond its original intended usage.  There have not been any significant renovations to the major systems in need of repair.  Many “band-aids” have been used, but most upgrades cannot be done while the building is occupied.  According to Mr. Kenney, this project offers the Legislature an incredible opportunity to make significant upgrades to security, technology, and the free movement of people.  He also spoke about the planning process to identify space for lawmakers and staff during construction and potential Capitol Park impacts. 

Diane Boyer-Vine, Legislative Counsel, next spoke on the law and legal precedent for Capitol projects.  She remarked that the Legislature is the law-making branch and that this is reflected in the law governing the Capitol, with the exception of the first floor that houses the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and is overseen by DGS.  She also described the funding that was set up by SB 836 of 2016, which also outlines legislative control over the building and its zoning.

One of Chairman Cooley’s primary considerations has been to engage security partners from the beginning so that safety components are integrated into the initial design as opposed to attempting to fit these needs as an afterthought into an already re-constructed building.  To conclude the Joint Rules hearing, a presentation on public building design considerations by Senate Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Debbie Manning, Assembly Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Bryon Gustafson, and California Highway Patrol Chief Chris Main reinforced the need to make security discussions a priority.  Many security considerations in the Capitol have been a reaction to incidents at the Capitol or elsewhere and are outside of the basic architectural design.  A more in-depth look at the particular security needs will be delivered to the Joint Committee on Rules during a closed meeting on August 22, 2017.

The Assembly maintains a website for the Architectural Program for California’s Capitol at http://annex.assembly.ca.gov/.  The full video of the hearing is posted on the website.

Source: Office of Ken Cooley

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