Local Artist Sparks the Creative Process in Fairgoers

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-08-23

Chris Thompson, clay artist extraordinaire, behind his “ArtValanche” at the Valley Sculpture Artist’s booth at the California State Fair. Thousands of tiny clay sculptures were created by over 18,000 fairgoers and added to the booth he manned for 19 days. Photo by Sue Anne Foster

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - While visiting the Fine Art Exhibition at the California State Fair this year people were gathering around a man tossing clay into the crowd, telling them to, “Make something.” He let participants know that it was a judgement free zone. Chris Thompson volunteered every day of the fair, inviting young and old to join in the act of creating something from a lump of clay.  Thompson was the featured representative of a local sculpture group, Valley Sculpture Artists (VSA), which promotes three-dimensional art. 

He shared how his own love of making things with clay began at the age of nine when his mother tossed him a hunk of porcelain clay. He was hooked.

“People return year after year to see Chris in action,” said Sue Foster, President of VSA, the sponsor of the booth showcasing a variety of sculptures created by members.  “Chris has the gift of engaging people in the creative process.  He tosses a small piece of clay to onlookers with an invitation to make something; and they do.”

Surprising numbers of children and adults lingered while working their clay - some for up to 20 minutes. When they finished, Thompson invited them to keep it or add their sculpture to what has become known as the “ArtValanche.”  It is art until the time a portion crashes to the ground (which it did at least 40 times), then it is an avalanche. He carefully retrieves each piece and places it back on the mountain of creations, some intricately crafted with striking detail. 

Thompson estimated approximately 18,000 fairgoers had accepted his ‘clay experience’ during his 19 days at the fair, turning over 1,000 pounds of clay (donated by Alpha Ceramics) into their own works of art. He noted the incredible amount of energy put into each piece.           

He also noticed that many of those who seemed the least excited to accept his challenge, claiming that they weren’t artists, produced some of the best tiny sculptures.   

Thompson is not new to sharing his love for art with his community.  He received the Artist of the Year Award from the Sacramento Arts and Business Council after facilitating a five county project creating “A Thousand Bowls to Feed the Hungry” in 2013. He tossed and shaped the bowls and local art organizations volunteered to glaze and sell them.  This project helped to raise awareness for the arts while yielding over $42,000, which was donated to local non-profits.  In addition, Thompson recently received the prestigious 2018 Don Herberholz Award for Sculpture.

When not creating and exhibiting his own ceramic art, Thompson teaches classes to children and adults at A.C.A.I., an up and coming gallery in Fair Oaks. He is a celebrated ceramic artist and member of Valley Sculpture Artists.  

Visitors are welcome to visit Allied Ceramics Art Institute and Gallery (ACAI) located at 7425 Winding Way in Fair Oaks. A new show of exciting pieces begins each third Saturday of the month with an artist reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hours are Wednesday-Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

For more details visit websites: www.sacramento365.com and www.acaistudios.com or email: information@acaistudios.com.

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Six DAs Unite to Consolidate Golden State Killer Case in Sacramento County

Sacramento District Attorney Special Release  |  2018-08-23

Golden State Killer suspect Joseph James DeAngelo

13 Additional Charges Filed
 

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced today that the case against Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, Citrus Heights, will be prosecuted jointly in Sacramento County, where the defendant is being housed after his arrest on April 24, 2018. This joint prosecution will involve Contra Costa, Orange, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura Counties. An amended complaint charging all crimes together in one case, as well as 13 counts of kidnapping to commit robbery, was filed today in Sacramento Superior Court.
 

DeAngelo now faces 13 felony counts of murder with special circumstances allegations of multiple murders, murder during the commission of rape, robbery, and burglary. DeAngelo was charged today in an amended complaint with 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife during the commission of the offenses. He faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. DeAngelo is expected to appear in Sacramento County for arraignment on Thursday, August 23rd at 1:30 p.m. in Department 61.
 

In announcing this decision, District Attorney Schubert stated, “The joining of this case in one county is in the best interest of victims, the efficiency of the case and the fair administration of justice.  I look forward to all counties working together collaboratively in seeking justice in this case.”

Circumstances of the Case

Contra Costa County – District Attorney Diana Becton

Four felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife.

  • Between Oct. 7, 1978, and June 11, 1979, DeAngelo is accused of kidnapping and carrying away four women to commit robbery.

Tulare County – District Attorney Tim Ward

One felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a firearm

  • On Sept. 11, 1975, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Claude Snelling during an attempted kidnapping of the victim’s daughter from their home.

Sacramento County – District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert

Two felony counts of murder with a sentencing enhancement for multiple murders and personal use of a firearm

  • On Feb. 2, 1978, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Kate Maggoire, 20, and Brian Maggoire, 21 as they walked their dog in their Rancho Cordova neighborhood.

Nine felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife.

  • Between Sept. 4, 1976, and Oct. 21, 1977, DeAngelo is accused of kidnapping and carrying away nine women to commit robbery.

Santa Barbara County – District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley

Four felony counts of murder with a sentencing enhancement for multiple murders, personal use of a firearm, and special circumstances sentencing enhancements for murder during rape, and murder during burglary

  • On Dec. 30, 1979, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Debra Manning, 35, and Robert Offerman, 44, of Goleta.
  • July 27, 1981, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Gregory Sanchez, 27, and Cheri Domingo, 35, of Goleta.

Ventura County – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten

Two felony counts of murder with special circumstances sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during rape, and murder during robbery

  • On March 13 to 16, 1980, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Charlene Smith, 33, and murdering Lyman Smith, 43, of Ventura.

Orange County – District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

Four felony counts of murder with special circumstances sentencing enhancements for multiple murders and murder during the commission of rape, robbery, and burglary.

  • On Aug. 21, 1980, DeAngelo is accused of murdering Keith Harrington, 24, and raping and murdering Patrice Harrington, 27, of Dana Point.
  • On Feb. 6, 1981, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Manuela Witthuhn, 28, of Irvine.
  • On May 5, 1986, DeAngelo is accused of raping and murdering Janelle Cruz, 18, of Irvine.

 
Source: Sacramento District Attorney

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Western Wildfires Continue to Burn

By American Red Cross  |  2018-08-16

Red Cross Working to Help Those in Need. You Can Help and Donate.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Conditions are slowly improving in California as thousands of firefighters gain more ground on containing the large wildfires which have charred hundreds of thousands of acres. The American Red Cross is there, providing shelter, relief supplies and comfort for those affected.

In California, more than 1,000 Red Cross disaster workers and multiple emergency response vehicles are responding to the fires. The Red Cross opened more than 20 shelters since the fires began and has provided more than 8,600 overnight shelter stays. Red Cross workers have also provided more than 102,000 meals and snacks and distributed more than 25,000 relief items. Health and mental health disaster workers have provided more than 11,600 services and caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people to assist them in getting the help they need.

As evacuation orders are lifted in some areas and people return home, the Red Cross will continue working closely with state and local officials to ensure people get the help they need.

STAY IN TOUCH People can reconnect with loved ones through both the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org/safeandwell and by using the “I’m Safe” feature of the Red Cross Emergency App. The Safe and Well site allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available, open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand including shelter locations and severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters like wildfires and countless other crisis by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37864, Boone, IA 50037-0864.

You can also help people affected by the California wildfires. Donors can designate their donation to the California wildfires relief efforts and the Red Cross will honor donor intent. The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on redcross.org with your check. The Red Cross honors donor intent, and all donations earmarked for California wildfires will be used for our work to support these disasters.

Source: American Red Cross

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Wait Time Scandal Shows DMV Still Doesn’t Get It

Commentary by Tim Anaya  |  2018-08-16

DMV wait times are unbearable under normal circumstances.  They are certainly ill-equipped to handle more than 23 million people expected to come through their doors through 2020.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Benjamin Franklin famously said that there are only two things certain in life – death and taxes.  In California, you could add a third – hatred of the DMV.

Anyone who has ever signed up for a driver’s license or register a vehicle knows just how inefficient, and at times hostile, the DMV can be.  They cling to outdated thinking, as if their primary mission is registering horse buggies to drive on California’s roads.

The DMV is the poster child for an unaccountable government bureaucracy – and the current scandal over astronomical wait times at DMV offices shows they still don’t get it.

The federal REAL ID, enacted in 2005, requires California to change its state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards to meet new federal requirements.  By October 2020, every Californian will need a REAL ID to fly on an airplane or enter a federal government building.  You must go to the DMV in person for ID verification before you can get one.

DMV wait times are unbearable under normal circumstances.  They are certainly ill-equipped to handle more than 23 million people expected to come through their doors through 2020.

Both Democrats and Republicans are outraged.  They grilled DMV Director Jean Shiomoto at a committee hearing this week.

San Francisco Democrat Phil Ting said that he was shocked after visiting a DMV office in his district.  “What we’ve been hearing are horrific wait times of six or seven hours.  That’s unacceptable.”

Laughably, in a July letter to lawmakers, DMV says that “the current statewide average wait time once customers check-in with the ‘Start Here’ window is 23 minutes for customers with appointments and 1 hour 23 minutes for customers without appointments.”

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, told Shiomoto at the hearing that, “you have perpetuated the feeling that people can’t trust your agency.”  She’s right, and the Director inspired no confidence in lawmakers at 2 Capitol hearings this week that the agency can turn things around any time soon.

Predictably, Shiomoto asked lawmakers for more money at this week’s hearing – another $26 million.

The state has already given the DMV $70 million in additional funds to open more offices, expand hours, and hire additional personnel to handle the influx.  The DMV estimates it will need to spend over $220 million over the next 6 years to process all the applications.  That money clearly won’t address the other problems identified in this week’s hearings, namely the poor customer service culture and outdated/inefficient thinking that goes into department operations.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson was fed up after receiving numerous angry complaints from constituents.  He authored a request for the State Auditor to audit the DMV’s activities and how they are spending these additional resources.

Patterson’s audit would be one expenditure of public funds that’s actually worth every penny.  Taxpayers deserve to know just how bad things really are at the DMV and a nonpartisan audit is needed to document this and outline steps to reform the beleaguered agency and its operations.

Despite lawmakers showing their lack of confidence in Shiomoto’s leadership, the audit request failed to get enough Senate Democrat votes to pass (the request needed 4 votes each from the Assembly and Senate), despite bipartisan votes in both houses.  It’s a shame that something both parties seemingly agree on falls victim to today’s toxic political climate.

The DMV has long been overdue for a complete overhaul, and most important, an attitude adjustment.  Hopefully, the Real ID wait time scandal will be the catalyst that forces much-need change upon a stubborn department clinging to the ways of the past.

Tim Anaya is communications director for the Pacific Research Institute.

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Funds Will Increase the Number of Yolo County Youth Served

DAVIS, CA (MPG) - Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA) has been granted $20,000 by AT&T’s Aspire Initiative to support a workforce readiness program that provides mentoring, career interest assessments and paid work experiences for underserved youth and young adults from West Sacramento, Davis, and Clarksburg.

On Monday, August 20, 2018 at 2:00 p.m., representatives of the AT&T Aspire Initiative will present a check to Yolo County Children’s Alliance Executive Director, Katie Villegas, at Lenise’s Café in West Sacramento, the program’s first committed and staffed worksite. Also in attendance will be café owner, Lenise Mowry, and a Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) program participant and café employee, who was later hired on by the café as a regular employee.

The goal of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity program is to connect eligible youth with education, paid work place experience, and employment strategies, intended to lead to life-long success within the workforce and ultimately to economic self-sufficiency for young people and their families. Funding from AT&T will used to support additional work-site placements for the participating youth. 

This program will serve youth ages 16-24 who meet one or more of the following criteria: not currently enrolled in school; is pregnant or parenting; has been through the justice system; is in foster care; is homeless. YCCA staff provide hands on support to the youth, mentoring them all the way through their training and work experience, ensuring that they learn, grow, and gain value from the experience. WIOA program staff work closely with individual work-sites to ensure a good fit for both the youth and for the business. Additionally, staff connect the youth to other supportive services and resources such as health insurance, uniform or equipment assistance, or nutrition benefits.

AT&T’s Aspire Initiative connects communities through proven strategies to help students succeed by partnering with organizations that meet the needs of young people and investing in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that helps prepare today’s youth for the future.

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WOODLAND, CA (MPG) - Join the Yolo County Library and the Friends of the Yolo Branch Library at the third annual Cruisin’ Into the Next Chapter Classic Car and Truck Show on August 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Yolo Branch Library, located at 37750 Sacramento Street in Yolo.

All are welcome to attend this free family-friendly event which will feature a wide array of classic cars and trucks, antique fire trucks and low-rider bikes.  In addition to the car show, there will be music, free face painting and books for children, craft activities in the library and tours of the historic Yolo Blacksmith Shop.  Participants will also be able to enter to win raffle prizes, browse vendors and purchase t-shirts and Yolo key chains to support the Friends of the Yolo Branch Library. 

This free event is sponsored by the Friends of the Yolo Branch Library and the Yolo County Library. All proceeds from raffle tickets, food purchases, car registration fees and donations will go towards funding library programs at the Yolo Branch Library which serves the communities of Yolo, Zamora, Dunnigan and the surrounding areas. 

Support for this event is also generously provided by the Yolo Fire Protection District, Yolo Blacksmith, Yolo Market, Cache Creek High School, MasterTech Japanese Auto Specialists, Full Talent Auto Restorations, VC Upholstery, Rockwell Sound and Lighting and dozens of other local businesses.  For more information, contact Meg Sheldon at megxsheldon@gmail.com or call (916) 837-9171.

For more information about this event visit: www.friendsofyololibrary.org/.  For more information about the Yolo County Library visit: www.yolocountylibrary.org or connect with the Library on Facebook at www.facebook.com/yolocountylibrary.org.

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Alice Cooper: Rock’s Super Villain

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-08-09

Alice Cooper recently kicked off his “Paranormal Evening” tour. He is set to play locally at Jackson Rancheria on Wednesday, August 15 and his new live album A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper at the Olympia Paris drops on August 31.

A Paranormal Evening with the Godfather of Shock Rock

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “You can’t shock an audience anymore - that died a long time ago,” said Alice Cooper. One of the originators of shock rock, Cooper understands that times have indeed changed since he spearheaded a movement in the early 70s but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to embrace his role as the bad guy.

Rock’s villain began playing out his own dark vaudeville in the earliest days of his career. “That started from the very beginning; that was always with us,” said Cooper. “I think because we were art students and that was something I saw as being essential for rock and roll. I would see all these bands - that were great bands - and they were all heroes and I just kept thinking, ‘Where’s the villain?’”

That’s when Cooper took it upon himself to become that villain and change rock and roll forever. “Every parent in America did not want their children to see this character,” said Cooper. “People would make things up…by the time you got into town you were the worst person ever. We found that funny.”

In a life well before the internet and social media, the stories took on lives of their own. “The more of the misinformation, the bigger we got. The parents hated us so much that the kids liked us.”

From guillotines and blood to the black attire and mascara, it was all about giving the crowd something that they had never experienced before. “And if you really look at it, it was just really a lot of fun,” recalled Cooper. “The audience was really having fun with us. There was nothing satanic about it.”

Times may have changed, the stage antics may be a little less shocking, and the internet may have depleted art, but that won’t stop the Godfather of his craft from putting on a vintage performance. “It will be a very similar show (tonight) to the one in the 70s except now it will be accepted a little more as excitement and entertainment more than just shock value.”

One way that Cooper has been able to continue performing at a high level for the better part of five decades is by interjecting his band with youth and energy. He prides himself not only on theatrics but on the quality musicianship that got him there to begin with.

“Everybody in my band is top of the line,” he boasted. “Glen Sobel, our drummer, just got voted best drummer in rock and roll. Nita (Strauss) just got voted best female guitar player. So I’ve kind of got a premier band. That makes such a big difference to me when I get on stage that my band can blow just about anybody off the stage.”

Cooper recently kicked off his “Paranormal Evening” tour. He is set to play locally at Jackson Rancheria on Wednesday, August 15 and his new live album A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper at the Olympia Paris drops on August 31. For more information visit www.alicecooper.com.

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