Paying It Forward

Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-02-06

From L-R: Lisa Culp, founder and executive director, Women’s Empowerment (WEP), Kristen Garl, General Manager, Express Employment Professionals, NE Sacramento, Kathryn Ontiveros, accounting specialist at Express Employment Professionals, and WEP Development Manager, Holly Byrom, celebrate a donation from Express Employment’s annual Pay if Forward campaign.

Express Employment Hiring Drive Generates Funding for Sacramento’s Women’s Empowerment

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Express Employment Professionals (EMP) NE Sacramento has again put women in need at the top of their philanthropic agenda, which means more homeless women across the Sacramento region will have an opportunity to create a pathway to change this year.

Since 2015, EMP has donated $10 to a nonprofit of its choosing for every first-time job placement booked through its agency during Annual Pay It Forward Holiday Hiring Drive, which runs from November to December.  EMP has more than 750 franchised locations across the country and each conduct their own individual philanthropic programs. 

In 2015, Express Employment staff voted to support Women’s Empowerment of Sacramento (WEP) through as part of its giving back campaign.  The 2016 drive, the sixth annual campaign, generated 62 first-time job placements, culminating in a total of $620.00 for WEP.  On January 29, the agency’s General Manager, Kristen Garl, and Kathryn Ontiveros, EMP accounting specialist, presented WEP with their donation before a backdrop of photo stories of hundreds of just some of the women who have been helped via the programs offered at WEP since its inception in 2001.

“We are very proud to support Women’s Empowerment Sacramento,” said Garl.  “We have worked with a handful of nonprofit organizations over the last six years and they are all wonderful organizations.  But three years ago, as reviewed our goals for the campaign, our staff voted and WEP was selected hands-down by the majority of our team.”

The money will go to support WEP programs, which include a comprehensive, nine-week job-readiness education and emotional empowerment workshop for area homeless women.  That includes, resume preparation classes, mock interviewing, Internet job search training, budgeting, access to the agency’s dress for success clothing closet, transportation and even free, onsite childcare.

In addition, women enrolled in WEP programs are paired with an employment specialist, social worker and a volunteer career mentor to help them identify their skills and interests and realize their career goals.  Getting off the street and into a job, experts agree, is the sure-fire way for homeless individuals to create a pathway to a new life and end the cycle of poverty.

To date EMP has donated a total of $1,640 to WEP via its Pay It Forward campaign.

“We have an amazing relationship with Express Employment,” said WEP’s Development Manager, Holly Byrom.
“The support we receive each year is significant, and their mission is very closely aligned with our goal to help women get out of poverty and into a job, a home and a new life.”

More than 1,500 women with a combined total of some 3,500 children have benefited from the classes and services offered through WEP, 521 in 2017 alone.  Roughly 80 percent of those served, including the 157 in 2017, have successfully secured a job or enrolled in school or vocational training upon completion of their WEP program.

WEP was named Nonprofit of the Year by the Nonprofit Resource Center in 2009, one of the most prestigious honors a nonprofit can receive in the Sacramento region.  And, in 2014, WEP was chosen as the Organization of the Year at the inaugural Women’s Appreciation Awards by Congresswoman Doris Matsui, then Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assemblyman, Roger Dickinson.

WEP is a private organization and does not receive any federal funding.  Its social enterprise program generates roughly $54,000 in income annually.  Grants and family foundations account for roughly $400,000 toward its annual $1.1 million budget.  Remaining funds are generated through a combination of individual gifts, the United Way and Special Events.

“We know the pathway to breaking the cycle of homelessness is through employment,” said WEP Executive Director Lisa Culp, formerly on staff at Sacramento’s Loaves and Fishes.  “Our participants are 100 percent homeless women.  So we promise them that if they come in and complete our program, we will help them find a job, a home and a new life.”

It takes money to offer all of the services made available to local homeless women in need.  Programming costs for WEP account for $723,000 alone.  As such Garl said her agency’s support for WEP is ongoing.  As her team connects with existing and potential employers, schools and other entities, it networks for homeless women and WEP, encouraging employers to believe in second chances and supporting WEP’s social enterprise, the Get a Job Kit. 

The kit, which sells for $15.99, is a colorfully printed “tool box” for job seekers, which includes a comprehensive packet of job readiness guide sheets and resources.  It was created for WEP clients initially, but it is adding value to the community at large, especially wherever there are students or other job seekers trying to secure long-term employment.

“We are always pushing for support for Women’s Empowerment everywhere we can,” said Garl.  “We could not be more thrilled to be connected with WEP and its mission, and intend to keep supporting them for as long as we can, in as many ways possible.”

Sunday, February 12, 2017 was a day many of us will forever remember.

I was working on our property when an aide called to inform me that the integrity of the Oroville Dam Spillway was compromised that an estimated 30-foot wall of water was about to uncontrollably rush out of the spillway, and that Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea had called for a mandatory evacuation.

Knowing Sheriff Honea to be a measured person, I knew he would not call for such an order without strong evidence. He must have weighed all the factors in his thoughts and deliberation.

Immediately, I contacted him to offer my full support.

Soon thereafter, nearly 200,000 people of the North State, from Plumas Lake to Oroville, quickly loaded their treasured possessions and pets and evacuated via congested highways.

Despite heavy traffic, residents – no doubt fearing the unknown and dealing with anxiety – evacuated without chaos.

Law enforcement officials and volunteers directed citizens to where they needed to go. Hundreds of first responders assisted and transported those who were most vulnerable. Residents of neighboring regions opened their homes to displaced families.

In this time of high stress and unease, the citizens of our region held their heads high and acted admirably.

Over the next few days, Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and I visited residents at the evacuation centers. We talked and shared cookies and donuts with our friends and neighbors.

Between the visits, I called the Governor’s Office and the director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for status updates.

After this alarming incident, thousands of workers from Kiewit Corporation and its subsidiaries descended onto Oroville to make the necessary repairs to the spillway. Their hard work is greatly appreciated.

But there’s more to be done.

A year later, sediment and debris from the spillway disaster still clog the channels of the Feather River and are strewn along the riverbanks. This disregard for the environment forced Butte County, the City of Oroville and local jurisdictions to file lawsuits against the state. Penalties can be as high as $51 billion.

At the state level, I have held many meetings in my office to discuss repair and communication efforts with state officials and community members. My staff and I continue to work with Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency to get funding to shore up the levees.

Along with Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), the Oroville Strong Coalition, Assemblyman Gallagher and I travelled to Washington, DC to lobby federal officials. Our request to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delay the license renewal is pending.

This disaster has united our community. We are now stronger than ever.

On the one-year anniversary of the evacuation, community members and leaders, businesses, and public officials affected by the order gathered on the steps of the Capitol to commemorate the event and call for efforts to prevent any similar disaster in the future.

In the coming year, we will continue to encourage the Governor to sign Assembly Bill 1270 (Gallagher), a measure to require more thorough dam inspections which I shepherded in the Senate.

I will continue my efforts to push for $100 million in state funding for flood control efforts and to clean up the Feather River system.

It is also my goal to have DWR include our community in their decision making process. We want a seat at the table when DWR decides to either send more water to Los Angeles or hold back water, among the other decisions they make.  

That’s why I authored Senate Bill 955. This measure would create a citizens advisory commission for Oroville Dam and the Feather River system. This commission would allow for participation by the residents who are directly affected by the dam’s operations and strategic plans.

With the strength and support of the community, I am optimistic that we will achieve these goals for the safety of our people and the prosperity of our local economy.

 

# # #

 

Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at senator.nielsen@senate.ca.gov. Follow him on Twitter.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - The Board of Supervisors on February 6th,  authorized the County Department of Human Assistance (DHA) to enter into an agreement with Wind Youth Services (WYS) for $380,000 for rehousing and supportive services for youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; and $160,000 to Sacramento Self Help Housing (SSHH) for navigation and rehousing services for unsheltered homeless populations in unincorporated areas of Sacramento County.  Services will run February through October 2018 and may be extended further. 

In July 2017, the Board approved funding for the implementation of four County homeless initiatives to improve the County’s response to homelessness in Sacramento County.  The initiatives provide for a range of services, including shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing services specialized for a variety of households: families, individuals, and those experiencing long-term homelessness. Currently those initiatives are all in various stages of implementation.

In September, the Board approved an additional $540,000 in funding to address service gaps in the homeless initiatives and to serve vulnerable subpopulations.​ ​DHA released a Request for Proposals seeking services for families, individuals, transitional aged youth, ages 18 to 24, and unsheltered homeless in unincorporated areas of the County. The County received five responses to the RFP. 

The evaluators determined that the Wind Youth Services program integrated a spectrum of services through a strong partnership among three youth service agencies working to not only support youth experiencing homelessness stabilize in housing and employment, but to help this population avoid homelessness altogether. 

Evaluators also determined Sacramento Self-Help Housing’s (SSHH) proposal addressed a gap in homeless services by expanding engagement and rehousing services for persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness in unincorporated areas of the County.  This program will involve a strong partnership with SSHH, neighborhood leaders, such as the Carmichael Homeless Assistance Resource Team, law enforcement and DHA staff. 

All of the selected programs will provide services that further the County’s objectives to fund services that promote permanent housing placement, residential stability, and increased skill level or income in order to prepare participants to live more independently. 

For more information on the state of homelessness in Sacramento County, visit the Responding to Homelessness website at http://www.saccounty.net/Homelessness/Pages/default.aspx

 

Source: Sacramento County Media

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Controlling the Chaos When Disaster Strikes

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2018-02-14

Paul Lynch oversees the Rocklin-based Switch Center for Verizon’s Emergency Response Team Unit, which provides onsite backup power and cellular communications networking centers during disasters and emergency situations for Northern California first responders.

Verizon's Emergency Response Center Has Connectivity Covered

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Likely, as you watched recent television or streaming images of emergency rescue operations following the devastating fires and subsequent mudslides in Southern California, for example, you gave little thought to how first-responders on the ground, in the air and elsewhere were keeping the lines of communication flowing as they scrambled into gear to save lives and prepare for recovery operations.

Behind the scenes, mobile carriers such as Verizon Wireless were doing some of the most critical work necessary in these types of situations: addressing cellular network failures, which are common in natural disasters.  Depending on the situation, this can include anything from establishing mobile satellite systems to sending drones into those places humans can’t go, including collapsed buildings, tunnels and unstable structures. 

Recently, officials overseeing Verizon’s Rocklin-based emergency services switch facility held a “Public Safety Day” event, offering some of its clients a tour of their Rocklin switch facility, once of several nationwide keeping an eye on their perspective, regional networking systems, as well as TV news coverage of any and all disasters or emergencies where first-responders are unable to get on the network.

Built in 2003, the facility’s sister location is based in Sunnyvale.  Roughly 30 people work at the Rocklin facility; however, there are more than 100 others centers set up across the country employing more than 46 teams comprised of roughly 160,000 people.

“We like to think of ourselves as ‘pre-responders,’” said Paul Lynch, who manages Verizon’s two Northern California facilities.  “We monitor situations going on all over the country and we have crews on the ground from the get-go to provide onsite support for first responders to make sure they are connected and talking to one another.”

The invite-only tours are offered monthly as a way to show emergency response teams from Cal Fire, police and sheriff’s departments, the Department of Fish Wildlife and others exactly how well-prepared and equipped the company is at providing them with on-demand connectivity during a natural or man-made disaster.

The team will mobilize portable networking call centers, mobile satellite stations and deployment of any one of the company’s veritable barnyard of “cool tools,” such as cells on wheels (COWs), cells on light trucks (COLTS), HVACs on roadside equipment (HORSEs), and generators on a trailer (GOATs).

The Rocklin switch facility tour included a walk through the engineer’s command center or NOC (Network Operations Center), where 24-hour “surveillance” of its networking operations run across wall-to-wall monitors, scrutinized around the clock by a team of six engineers, three on the day shift, three on at night. 

“We don’t highlight any of this,” said Lynch.  “We don’t grandstand what’s behind our network.  But it is important for our customers working in the emergency fields to have confidence in who they partner with and to see up close exactly what we can do and how quickly we can do it.”

Verizon’s Crisis Response Teams, in Rocklin and nationwide, conduct regularly scheduled drills and emergency tests to ensure that they are ready to roll when they are needed, including shutting down the battery rooms and switching over to generators. 

“We don’t want to be the last to know that we’ve got failure,” said Lynch.

Tim Kuka, who oversees the Rocklin facility’s Network Equipment Center (NET) located right next door to the switch facility, gave a tour of the state of the art building.  The tour offered visitors a sneak-peak at Verizon’s local 4-G networking nerve center, a mind-blowingly pristine space known as the Data Hall or “cloud room.”  The building was constructed in 2014 and contains an impressively intricate layout of data backup units and an equally mind-numbing amount of cable.

“If you would take all the conduit in this building alone and stretch it out, it would go all the way to San Francisco,” said Kuka.

First-responders to man-made emergencies also often require backup power and or connectivity support.  Case in point: Verizon’s switch teams worked closely with FBI officials during the mass shootings that occurred at a San Bernardino-based regional center in December of 2015, quickly mobilizing command centers, establishing private networking and satellite communications lines and serving to provide backup power and other services to all agencies aiding victims and overseeing the recovery efforts.

The switch facility and NEC tours culminated with a close-up demonstration of some of those cool tools, including Rocklin’s own RAD (Robotic Assistance Device), a four-wheel robot that looks like a scooter with a camera tower perched on its front end.

“She can go into dull, dark, dirty and dangerous places,” said Jim Larson a vendor with Robotic Assistance Devices, which partners with Verizon to provide the RAD.  “She can be manually operated or put on automatic to handle perimeter security during a disaster or emergency, taking pictures the whole time while emergency personnel are doing their jobs.”

Verizon’s 46 emergency networking teams across the country also are prepared and ready to help set up networking stations with water, food and other supplies, as well as connectivity support relief efforts, specifically by the Red Cross.  Its response teams also will provide first responders and others with handsets, dedicated mobile hotspot devices and private networks. 

“Everything we provide is free, except in cases where we have to set up satellites,” said Lynch.

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A Sweet Goodbye

By Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2018-02-14

Betty Cooper and Paul Tebbel (second and third from left) recently retired as executives for Carmichael’s Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Among goodbye gifts were paintings by artist David Peterson (left). The Nature Center’s new director (right) is Torey Byington.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Effie Yeaw Nature Center has bid farewell to two of its most senior staffers. Executives Paul Tebbel and Betty Cooper recently retired after long careers in natural history education.

Cooper (63) served the center for 23 years. When it lost county funding and settled under the wing of the American River Natural History Association in 2010, Cooper assumed a critical financial development role. “ARNHA took a giant leap of faith in taking us on,” she considered. “Continuing our operations required tripling their fundraising.  We all realized how much people loved this place. For more than 40 years, it’s provided education and tranquil space where you really can connect with wildlife.”

Cooper’s greatest success was in partnership with the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. The two non-profits came up with an “Art Where Wild Things Are” gala. In nine years of sipping wine and auctioning art, the event has become the most glamorous night of the Carmichael calendar. “Compared to our more family-oriented programs, this gala is elegant,” explains its organizer.  “We sell out almost every year. It’s great to see well-known artists, philanthropists and elected officials in our beautiful preserve. Fine food, fine art and fine people blend delightfully.”

Paul Tebbel (63) joined the Effie Yeaw staff in 2011. The new executive director’s biggest challenge was managing the transition of a County facility to a nonprofit. “We started from scratch in creating staffing and accounting systems,” he explains. “Most importantly, we had to rebuild public confidence. Many supporters thought we would close.  Our job was to convince them we were still in business. Thankfully, our members came back and provided the support that keeps us thriving. We would not have survived without hardworking ARNHA volunteers and our staff. Betty Cooper has been a fantastic co-leader. There’s nothing she can’t do.”

The retirees’ roles will be taken over Torey Byington, who previously directed a nature facility in Wayland, Michigan. Both Cooper and Tebbel plan to volunteer for future Nature Center projects. “Effie Yeaw and its programs are a great mission,” said Cooper. “The staff and volunteers are like family. That’s not something you can walk away from.”

Learn about the Nature center’s educational programs at www.sacnaturecenter.net

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Non-Profit Wildlife Event Coming to McClellan Park

By Rick Reed  |  2018-02-14

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Help the volunteer heroes of nature at the non-profit Wildlife Care Association of Sacramento and give small animals and birds brought to them injured, orphaned and displaced across our region that second chance by participating in the annual Nuts & Berries Fundraiser.

The event will be a raffle for more than $10,000 in prizes. The Nuts & Berries event will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018 from 12pm-3pm at McClellan Conference Center located at 5411 Luce Blvd, McClellan, CA 95652.  The festivities will begin at 12 pm when Wild Things Inc. will hold several presentations with exotic animals such as a Capuchin Monkey, an African Crested Porcupine, and a Crocodile.  This will be a casual event which will include door prizes and refreshments.  

The event is open to the public, $5.00 at the door, admission is included with raffle ticket purchase. In addition, we will live stream the raffle draw, so you can watch to see if you won, even if you can’t make the event. The raffle draw will begin at 2 pm and will be live streamed on Facebook @wildlifecareassociation.

These regional volunteers in wildlife rehabilitation need your support to help thousands of small birds and animals recover to return to the environment.  The Wildlife Care Association depends on your donation of time and money to save them.

Visit www.wildlifecareassociation.com to learn more about Nuts & Berries tickets. $75.00 each or two for $140.00.

If you’ve found injured wildlife call 916-965-WILD. Wildlife Care Association of Sacramento serves the public 10am-6pm seven days a week year-round at 5211 Patrol Rd. McClellan Park.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Exactly one year ago today, hundreds of thousands of North Sacramento Valley residents were forced to evacuate their homes as the result of the spillway failures at the Oroville Dam.  Today, on the one year anniversary of this mass evacuation, the legislature passed Assemblyman Gallagher’s (R-Yuba City) dam safety legislation, AB 1270.

On February 7th, after releasing water from series of heavy storms, the spillway at Oroville dam collapsed.  Authorities were forced to use the untested emergency spillway, which also eroded, forcing the evacuation of almost 200,000 people.  Had the emergency spillway broken, a three-story wall of water would have come down the Feather River, causing unimaginable destruction to communities downstream. 

“The Oroville disaster jeopardized lives, property, and California’s water supply and conveyance system.  The silver lining is that the crisis highlighted that we must do more to ensure we are taking care of vital infrastructure, like the levees and dams that protect our communities.  AB 1270 will help us do this by ensuring that California leads national and global efforts to update and modernize dam safety requirements,” said Gallagher.

AB 1270 will require the Department of Water resources to work with independent dam safety and risk management organizations to update dam safety protocols.  These protocols must include things identified the by the forensic team as contributing to the spillway failure, like the review of the original design and construction of dams and auxiliary structures like spillways. 

“Most of our dams are over fifty years old, and many are considered high-risk.  We must do the necessary work to identify deficiencies and correct them,” added Senator Nielsen, a co-author of the bill.

AB 1270 now heads to the Governor’s desk where, if signed, it would take effect immediately.

For more information on Assemblyman Gallagher, and to track legislation visit www.assembly.ca.gov/Gallagher

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is alerting customers in the Central Valley to be aware of scam activity with criminals posing as PG&E workers. 

Law enforcement officials in the area have received reports of individuals claiming to work for PG&E going door to door to investigate outages of electric and phone service but refusing to show identification. There have also been new reports of phone scams with callers demanding payments immediately.

These recent reports of imposters have come from the Fresno area but past history indicates that scammers move throughout the region. In the greater Sacramento area, recent reports of scam phone calls related to service shut off and bill payment have been received.

PG&E reminds customers that its representatives will always carry identification and will never ask for immediate payment with a prepaid cash card over the phone or in person.

PG&E offers the following tips to help protect customers from all types of potential scams:

·         PG&E’s Credit Department will not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone.  Anyone who has received such a phone call and provided credit card or checking account information should report it immediately to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.

·         Customers with concerns about the legitimacy of a call about a past due bill, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

·         Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.

·         If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in the community.  If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.

·         Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.

PG&E takes security seriously and will actively work with law enforcement to help stop any scam victimizing customers. Anyone who has received such a call can report it immediately by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

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Sutter’s Fort Presents “Hands on History: By Land and By Sea”

By Traci Rockefeller Cusack   |  2018-02-08

Fort guests will also hear the amazing tales of adventure and survival these nomads experienced on the journeys. Photo courtesy The Friends of Sutter’s Fort

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – Sutter’s Fort visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1840s to understand the two different ways emigrants originally came to California – by land or by sea – while sharing the unique challenges they faced and what daily life was like during their journeys. As background, Sutter’s Fort was once home to sailors who “jumped ship,” trappers who became overland trail guides because of the failing fur trade, wagon train parties looking for a new life, and soldiers who served in the Mexican-American War and whose services were terminated in California – 3,000 miles from their homes in the east. 

California State Parks, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) and Friends of Sutter’s Fort are proud to present an interactive and fun “Hands on History: By Land and By Sea” event on Saturday, February 17, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. With interpretive themes that change monthly, the popular and interactive “Hands on History” events typically happen on the third Saturday all year long.

As an event highlight, some of the special hands-on activities awaiting Fort visitors include helping to pack a wagon while making choices about what to bring along for their journey of a lifetime, determining latitude with a sailing sextant, hoisting a laden barrel, weaving rope, learning simple knots, creating maps with available resources, and even marching to the beat of a military drum. And, of course, popular demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon. Fort guests will also hear the amazing tales of adventure and survival these nomads experienced on the journeys, including from reenactors of the Mormon Battalion who will talk about the perils of their overland journey to California and their role in the Mexican-American War.

Admission to Sutter’s Fort SHP costs during “Hands on History” days is $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children 5 and under (regular admission pricing is $5 per adult, $3 for youth).  For more information, call 916-445-4422 or visit www.suttersfort.org.

The Friends of Sutter’s Fort is a nonprofit 501 c 3 organization dedicated to the enhancement, preservation and protection of Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, and educational and interpretive programs at the park. Friends of Sutter’s Fort is a Cooperating Association for California State Parks since 2006. Friends of Sutter’s Fort is the major funder of both restoration work and programs at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. Through the generosity of our donors, in the past 3 years alone, we have funded several major projects including the painting of the exterior walls, the restoration of the blacksmith shop and the painting of the interior walls (currently underway). In addition, we are proud to provide funding to support the educational programs at the park.  For more information, please visit www.suttersfort.org

Source: T-Rock Communications

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