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Placer news: year in review 2018

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Gold Country Media looks at the top stories of the year as we welcome in 2019.

 

January:

City closes sale on former golf course, controversy continues

Many Rocklin residents were relieved when the city agreed in October 2017 to purchase the former Rocklin Golf Club but a few neighbors of the property are now worried that an unmaintained parcel exempted from the purchase might cause flooding.

On Dec. 20, the city of Rocklin officially purchased 184 acres of the former golf course, which shut down in August 2015 and has sat in disarray since, worrying nearby residents of fire danger, vandalism and trespassing.

As part of the sale agreement, the city paid landowner Charlie Gibson $2.8 million up front and will make six annual payments of $531,016 beginning this December, according to a news release from the city. Total cost of the property comes to $5.8 million.

Rocklin schools changing sex ed policies

Changes are coming to Rocklin’s seventh- and ninth-grade curriculums about sex, gender and other related topics.

The Rocklin Unified School District’s Board of Education unanimously passed changes to the district’s policies as part of the consent calendar at its Jan. 17 meeting.

The sexual health education changes reflect Assembly Bill 329, otherwise known as the California Healthy Youth Act, which passed in January 2016.

Marty Flowers, who oversees both Rocklin Unified’s middle and high schools, explained districts are required to update their policies to reflect new laws, per the California School Board Association.

Koinonia Homes director making changes

Although the residential group homes operated by Koinonia Homes for Teens have gone for more than 30 years without an assault on a staff member, the top administrator said he is making changes in light of an incident Jan. 9.

Three boys, residents of a Koinonia group home in Loomis, are suspected of attacking a caregiver Jan. 9 and stealing his truck. The caregiver sustained non-life threatening injuries, including a head injury and a severed finger tip.

Two of the three boys accused of the assault and car theft have been apprehended and are in custody at Placer County Juvenile Hall.

Loomis residents alarmed by rash of burglaries

A rash of burglaries in and around Loomis has residents concerned and fearful.

Kristin Jeppson, a resident of Placer Canyon, said her home in a gated-community was burglarized in the early morning hours of Jan. 2., between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.

“It’s crazy,” Jeppson said. “They came in a side door while our whole family was home. It was most alarming.”

Jeppson said the burglar stole cash, credit cards and bank cards, wallets and identification cards. Surveillance video from the community gate was turned over to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

More businesses coming to Topgolf site

When Topgolf opened in 2016, a multi-tiered driving range rising up beside Highway 65, it was far from the end of work at the site.

Plans call eventually for two hotels, a Bayside Church campus and more on the parcel.

On Dec. 14, 2017, the Roseville City Planning Commission took a step toward Topgolf’s build-out, voting 6-0 to minor revisions in the latest phase of the site’s development. These revisions will allow a Peet’s Coffee with a drive-thru to be part of the development.

New community center planned for Granite Bay

At the moment, the sprawling red house at the intersection of Eureka Road and Auburn Folsom Road looks like a secluded fortress, replete with walls and vegetation.

A planned update could transform this property into something completely different.

The December 2017 meeting for the Granite Bay Municipal Advisory Council included a presentation about early plans to turn a 3,000-square-foot house at 6957 Eureka Road into Hacienda Carmelitas Community Center, which would cater to weddings, corporate events and more.

Business receives white powder, threatening letter

Approximately 30 people were evacuated from a Roseville office building Monday after an insurance agency there received an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter.

A report on the website for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services indicated that Roseville Fire Department was called to Asurea Insurance Agency at 3010 Lava Ridge Court “for an envelope containing approximate one teaspoon of white powder and a threatening letter.”

Roseville Fire Division Chief Jason Rizzi said the envelope was sent to an off-site lab for testing and that “it came back non-hazardous.” The OES report states that no medical complaints were made over the incident.

Roseville real estate mogul pleads guilty to $22M fraud

During an October 2017 tour of downtown Roseville, the city’s Economic Development Director Chris Robles made passing mention of a building across from Vernon Street Town Square once occupied by Kobra Properties.

What happened with that company and its former owner, Abolghasseni Alizadeh, represents a chapter of city history that moved closer to finally being settled.

Kobra Properties went bankrupt in late 2008. Alizadeh, who once ran a real estate empire, pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements to a federally insured financial institution, according to a news release by the Eastern District Court of California.

Roseville misses Amazon HQ2 cut

Perhaps it was never meant to be for Roseville to land the second headquarters for Amazon, which announced 20 finalists on Jan. 18.

Sixteen of the finalists are east of the Mississippi River, with rumors that the Seattle-based tech giant wants a second base of operations on the East Coast. Roseville didn’t make the cut. Neither did San Francisco, San Jose or Portland, to name three high-profile tech cities.

But a week after Amazon announced the shortlist for the 50,000-employee enterprise, regional leaders are undeterred, expressing optimism for the area’s future prospects.


 

February

Two new parks to open in Rocklin

Rocklin residents have two new parks at their disposal totaling three acres, after City Council officially named the parks at its Jan. 23 meeting.

Sierra Pine Park is in a retention basin inside the Sierra Pine subdivision southwest of Dominguez Road and Pacific Street. It was originally set to be an HOA-maintained space but will be open to the public. Since the housing project was approved by council in September 2017, it will be some time before the park itself opens, according to parks manager Sarah Novo.

Christine Anderson Park, located in an area of Rocklin that lacks such facilities, is under construction behind Bass Pro Shops on Silver Lupine Lane and is set to open in March. While the area was previously referred to as Rocklin 60 or Bass Pro Park, council unanimously decided to officially name it after longtime park commissioner Christine Anderson.

Sierra College, police push hard on DUI awareness

On the brink of Super Bowl weekend and other alcohol-heavy celebrations such as St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo, Sierra College and south Placer law enforcement agencies had a message for students this week: make a plan before the party starts.

The college hosted its second annual DUI awareness event, drawing hundreds of students. On their way to and from class, students stopped to speak with county law enforcement departments, Uber, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and police officers from Roseville and Rocklin.

Rocklin Fire Department releases annual report

The numbers keep rising in Rocklin, in terms of both population and calls for help during a crisis.

According to the Rocklin Fire Department’s 2017 report, released Feb. 1, incident numbers have risen annually since at least 2009. While Fire Chief Bill Hack partially attributes this rise in calls to a rise in population, he said part of the trend is generational.

“Society has changed a little bit,” Hack said. “There are things people call 9-1-1 for that my parents’ generation would have never considered calling for.”

Hack, in his fifth month as Rocklin’s fire chief, said teams often respond to medical calls that turn out to be non-emergencies when they arrive on scene. A large factor in this trend is the prevalence of cell phones, he said, which allow concerned citizens to easily place an emergency call before checking whether the incident requires an urgent response.

St. Vincent de Paul growing in Roseville

Brian Moore eyes a man toting a pull cart around the food locker of St. Vincent de Paul.

The nonprofit, located at 503 Giuseppe Court, Roseville, recently announced it would allow people to pick their own food from the free pantry and that they could shop weekly rather than monthly. People like the man Moore is watching, who has several bags of chips stuffed into his cart, test the wisdom of these new policies.

“I don’t want to tell people what they can and can’t eat,” Moore said. “If it’s here and they want to take it, that’s what it’s here for.”

One of Roseville’s longest-running service providers for the homeless, and people who might be a step or two above homelessness, is seeing new life.

Foiled gun sale at Oakmont prompts lockdown

Two Oakmont High students were arrested after one brought a gun to school to sell to the other, prompting a campus lockdown and early dismissal for the student body.

Roseville Police Department spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said in a written statement that a juvenile student took a handgun without permission from a relative’s house “and brought it to school for a pre-arranged sale to an 18-year-old student.”

Both students were arrested on suspicion of bringing a loaded handgun on to campus, conspiracy and other charges.

Loomis gun store burglarized

Guns stolen from a Loomis business, EWG Guns, in the early morning were recovered and two Placer County men were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Loomis resident Aaron Lee Patrick, 28, and Colfax resident Rocky Alan Gordon, 62, were arrested by detectives from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The detectives were assisted by the Sheriff’s Office’s Special Enforcement Team.

The burglars used a flatbed truck to ram the wall of EWG Guns at 5913 Horseshoe Bar Road and gain access to the building, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy located a large flatbed truck less than a mile from the crime scene with extensive damage to the front end and what looked like building debris on and around the truck, the Sheriff’s Office said. The truck had been reported stolen from Loomis Drywall Supply, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Vernon Post Office’s future uncertain

On a stretch of Vernon Street populated with upscale eateries and shiny city buildings only a few years old, the Post Office at 320 Vernon St. is something of a throwback.

Finished in 1935, the Post Office is Roseville’s final building from the Works Progress Administration, a Great Depression-era federal program. This building has also been a source of worry for Roseville Historical Society members in recent months, amidst talk the city might demolish the building and construct something new.

Eleven members of the society had a private meeting with Roseville City Manager Rob Jensen, Mayor Susan Rohan and Development Services director Kevin Payne to air their concerns.

County still optimistic after transportation bill falls short

Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan said she’s optimistic that efforts to create a special transportation district in South Placer will continue, even after a bill for this recently fell short in the California legislature.

“I’m going to keep calling people until my fingers are numb,” Rohan said.

Rohan sits on the board of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, which supported the bill, AB 1324.

This bill, which expired last week after being introduced in February 2017, would have allowed jurisdictions to create special tax districts for transportation taxes. Placer County Transportation Planning Agency executive director Celia McAdam said her group would work to bring another bill forward by the beginning of the 2019 legislative session.

 

March

Gold Country Media series on human trafficking

Nationwide issue growing in Placer

History books tell us that slavery was abolished throughout the United States in 1865.

But today, 153 years later, slavery in the form of sex (and labor) trafficking is alive and flourishing throughout the United States.

The average age of sex trafficking victims is between 11 and 14 years old. California “has particularly high human trafficking rates compared to the rest of the nation,” according to state Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland.

That means that every city and town of Placer County, including Roseville, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin and Auburn is susceptible.

Human trafficking survivors must be treated with respect

Human trafficking is a silent crime. The victims blend in and go about their daily lives, the majority unaware that they are being exploited.

Even doctors and others in the medical field, who are among the few individuals to see victims when they are away from their traffickers, don’t recognize that their patient is being exploited against their will.

One survivor, Josie in a Dignity Health Mercy Family Health Center video, said that no one at her previous clinic asked why she regularly sought out medical care, although Josie was there every few months to check for sexually-transmitted diseases, buy condoms and get birth control prescriptions.

Human trafficking an issue for Placer County law enforcement

Law enforcement officers in Placer County recognize that human trafficking is an issue here. The victims are typically underage and of all ethnicities.

And human trafficking for sex has moved largely from the streets and sidewalks of some neighborhoods to the internet’s social media platforms.

Sgt. Darren Kato of the Roseville Police Department’s Crime Suppression Unit said Roseville has a problem with pimps and pandering.

Agencies say the crime happens throughout area

Although many residents say that human trafficking doesn’t happen in Placer County, that’s not true, according to Stand Up Placer representatives.

Stand Up Placer is a human-trafficking victim service agency mandated by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The agency assists between one and three new victims weekly in this county.

“Human trafficking is incredibly prevalent in Placer County. With the exception of a few, all of the 141 survivors we served in 2017 were trafficked in Placer County,” said Amy Maggard, Stand Up Placer’s chief program officer/program director. “Placer County residents are being trafficked in Placer County but neighboring county residents are also being trafficked here. Both victims and traffickers have reported that they make more money in Placer County and that the ‘Johns’ (the purchasers of sex) are safer; the girls are robbed and beaten less often.”

Rocklin residents upset by tree removal

Some residents of a Rocklin neighborhood are upset over the removal of hundreds of oak trees March 14 for an at times controversial, apartment complex project.

The Sierra Gateway Apartment project, located at the southeast corner of Rocklin Road and Sierra College  Boulevard in Rocklin, has gone through numerous revisions, been the subject of at least two lawsuits and was turned down twice by the Rocklin Planning Commission in 2015. Although the Rocklin City Council approved the project despite the Planning Commission actions, the apartment complex was delayed while a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was completed.

The 195-unit, three-story project was unanimously approved by the Rocklin City Council in December. Opponents of the project filed another lawsuit, which is pending, and seemingly felt no further action would be taken until the legal action was resolved.

Shooting threat results in Roseville High lockdown

Roseville High School was placed on lockdown in the morning after a student overheard a conversation where a gun was mentioned, according to the Roseville Police Department.

The lockdown started at 11 a.m. and ended at about 1:30 p.m.

The Roseville Police Department reported on social media that no guns or weapons were found after officers investigated the threat on campus.

According to a social media post by Roseville Joint Union High School District executive director of personnel services Brad Basham, the lockdown was spurred by a conversation a student overheard in a restroom. The student believed one of the other students in the restroom had a gun.

Rocklin projects could impact Loomis schools

Two Rocklin developments, an apartment complex and a mixed-use project, could add as many as 325 students to the Loomis Union School District, according to a school district report.

The district’s Board of Trustees, at a special meeting March 22, voted unanimously to steer students at the Rocklin residential developments from Loomis Grammar School to Franklin Elementary School. The two Rocklin projects fall within the Loomis Grammar School’s attendance area.

The proposed Sierra Gateway Apartment complex and Sierra Villages mixed-use project will be located at the southeast and northeast corners, respectively, of Rocklin Road and Sierra College Boulevard. The apartment complex is planned for 195 units and the mixed-use project calls for 640 homes.

City celebrates 125 years

For the city of Rocklin, ringing in 125 years served a twofold purpose: celebrating the past and looking toward the future.

The city’s anniversary celebration was held Feb. 24, the date of Rocklin’s incorporation in 1893. Hundreds of attendees from Rocklin and beyond came out to celebrate with cake, prizes, kid-friendly activities and presentations. Local food vendors opened up shop and Sacramento-based City of Trees Brass Band provided live music.

Quarry Park Adventures, set to open in May, was another tenet of the celebration. City Council members unveiled a new bridge built over a waterfall at the facility. Councilman Scott Yuill said the adventure park project has been a “transformative moment in Rocklin’s 125-year history,” bringing new life to a dormant area of town.

Brainstorming new life for Sunset Whitney

At the start of the first public meeting since Rocklin purchased the former Sunset Whitney Golf Course in January, a poster board asking residents to name their dreams for the future park was blank.

But within the Feb. 28 forum’s first hour, the board was plastered with sticky notes asking for items such as a nature center, an equestrian facility, tennis courts, gold panning and a golf course.

Village opponents cite density, traffic among issues

Opponents of the proposed Village at Loomis mixed-use project are increasing their efforts to either stop the development or influence town leaders to make changes in its size.

In addition to a petition in circulation around town, Village at Loomis opponents were set to stage a demonstration before Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting. Although no actions nor presentations were scheduled for the meeting, which was to be called to order and then immediately continued to a date to be determined, opponents planned to use the public comment period to voice their concerns.

Roseville city manager bids farewell

Roseville City Manager Rob Jensen announced that he would retire June 29.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for the past six months or so,” Jensen, 56, told the Press Tribune. “My desire was to ensure that when the announcement was made and the transition occurred, that we had a plan in place that was going to put the city’s success first.”

Local school threat nets arrest

A quick response by Roseville Police resulted in the arrest of a Roseville man March 5, after a report of threats against an Adelante High School student through social media.

Approximately one hour following the report, officers located 19-year-old Trevor Joseph Marshall behind a business on the 3900 block of Douglas Boulevard. Marshall was found sitting in his vehicle and in possession of loaded assault rifle, similar to an AR-15.

Marshall was reportedly three miles from the high school when he was arrested at 1:15 p.m., according to Dee Dee Gunther, spokeswoman for the Roseville Police Department. Gunther added that there were no students on campus at the time of the incident, due to a half-day schedule for staff training.

Residents upset over fate of Dry Creek

Old classmates, teachers and community members came together to discuss the fate of Dry Creek Elementary School.

At a school district board meeting on March 15, the school board decided to move forward with the property sale.

Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District owns another 12-acre school site off of Vineyard and Crowder in the Dry Creek community that the school board said is build ready and would cost significantly less to build a new school site.


 

April:

PVT to unveil @theGrounds

More than $10M in renovations made to 60-acre fairgrounds site

What happens when you take a time worn 60-acre fairground, stir in $10 million and toss it around for 304 days? You get a shining new addition to Placer County, known as @theGrounds that will be an asset to the city of Roseville and Placer County.

Next Tuesday, Placer Valley Tourism officials and numerous Placer County leaders will proudly showcase the facility to show the community what has become of this project through the unique collaboration of both Placer County and Placer Valley Tourism.

On Wednesday afternoon, workers were busy throughout the 60-acre site at on All American City Boulevard, just off of Washington Street. Placer Valley Tourism CEO David Attaway took The Press Tribune on a tour of the facility.

“This is a pretty exciting time for us and an exciting time for Placer County,” said Attaway, as he walked across the new sidewalks while crews were installing the final section of new lush sod throughout an area that was once populated with worn, unappealing asphalt. “So much has been done here to transform this facility and there is still so much more ahead.”

Remembering firefighter Trent Lindholt

The Auburn City Fire Department announced the passing of active duty Placer  Engineer Trent Lindholdt, 47, on April 10.

Lindholdt had fought stage-four lung cancer since his diagnosis last November.

After months of medical care, Lindholdt returned home on April 8. He spent his last two days surrounded by his wife, family and brothers from fire departments all over Placer and Nevada counties.

Lindholdt was a firefighter for 27 years. He started in the United States Forest Service, then moved to Lincoln and Rocklin, and spent the last 20 years of his career with the Auburn City Fire Department as an engineer.

Two Loomis businesses closing: Yogurt Shop, Christensen's Saddlery

Two long-time Loomis businesses, with nearly 40 years between them, will be closing this month: The Yogurt Shop and Christensen’s Saddlery.

Christensen’s Saddlery has been open for 32 years and the Yogurt Shop has been open nearly seven years.

Owner John Christensen said he is retiring. He opened his first saddle shop 50 years ago in his garage.

“The decision to close the store was a very difficult one,” Christensen said. “I have been planning retirement for some time now and closing the store is one of the steps in the process. I am very grateful for all the wonderful horse people in Northern California that have supported us over the years.

Inaugural Mandaride to benefit education foundation

Anniversaries are special times.

Although tin or aluminum is the suggested gift for a 10-year anniversary, the Loomis Basin Education Foundation instead will give the seven schools in the Loomis Union School District a 100-percent increase in its annual grants. The seven schools will receive grants of $10,000 next year instead of the usual $5,000.

Natalie Myers, a Loomis Basin Education Foundation member and one of the inaugural MandaRide organizer, said the foundation wants to increase its annual contributions to schools in the Loomis Union School District from $5,000 per year per school to $10,000 per year per school in recognition of its 10th anniversary.

Loomis Planning Commission continues to wrestle with Village project

A town of Loomis staff report on The Village at Loomis, for the Loomis Planning Commission, was released after press time for The Loomis News. Town Manager Sean Rabe, Public Works director Britton Snipes and town planner Robert King, in the staff report, recommend denial of The Village at Loomis project because of: inconsistency with the Planning Commission's direction regarding minimum lot sizes and setbacks; inadequate active park space and inadequate General Commercial zoning for the overall project.

Loomis Planning Commission recommends denial of Village

During the 12th meeting on the Village at Loomis, the Loomis Planning Commission voted 4-0 April 25 to recommend denial of the sometimes controversial village project to the Town Council. Commissioner Linda Kelly was absent.

The Village at Loomis is a proposed 66-acre project located behind Raley’s Supermarket and adjacent to I-80. It includes 294 single-family homes and a 117-unit apartment complex as well as a commercial element.

Seven actions will be required before the project can break ground, including certification of the Environmental Impact Report; amending the General Plan land use map and rezoning the project site to a planned development zone.

Project opponents lined Taylor Road prior to the meeting at the Blue Goose Event Center, protesting the proposed development.

Quarry Park to open in May

Sitting on a little over five acres, a jam-packed adventure park is being built in Rocklin.

Quarry Park Adventures is an interactive park experience with zip lining, rock wall climbing and other activities for the family.

The park, set to fully open by Memorial Day weekend, is still in construction phases but the last of the building should go up quickly.

Whitney students help stop Florida shooting

Two Whitney High School students recently played a big part in stopping a potential school shooting 3,000-plus miles away.

Jacob Halley and Buster Carlson, both 17, saw an alarming comment under the music video for Foster the People. After Carlson saw the comment, he showed Halley and they decided to contact the FBI and a Florida Sheriff’s Department.

Long-term agreement with Bill McAnally announced for operation of All American Speedway

Bill McAnally Racing Promotions has obtained a long-term contract for the operation of all motorsports events at All American Speedway in Roseville.

 

The announcement was great news to many in the community, particularly local competitors and race fans, who have been anxious to see improvements come to the facility.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to develop the speedway into a successful motorsports attraction,” said Bill McAnally Racing Promotions Bill McAnally. “We’re proud to partner with Placer County and Placer Valley Tourism in making this happen and for the speedway to be a part of the future of @the Grounds.

“We want it to be a place for families to get together and enjoy some great entertainment,” McAnally said. “I remember what it was like when I raced there. We see the potential for the speedway, based on the success we’ve experienced in recent years with the big October event.”

That annual event, promoted by Bill McAnally Racing Promotions, has been cited as the biggest one-day event of the year in Placer County.

“We want to build on that energy and excitement,” McAnally said.


 

May

Opinions differ on commercial vacancy in Loomis

Commercial space in downtown Loomis or the lack of it was raised at the April 25 Planning Commission meeting and opinions around town differ.

Specifically, Loomis Planning Commissioners were concerned that there isn’t enough commercial space included in the proposed Village at Loomis project. Commissioner Jean Wilson said at the meeting that there is actually a lack of available commercial space and that some of the vacancies give residents and visitors the wrong idea.

“The Horseshoe Bar and Grill being closed gives a bad impression,” said Wilson, referring to a vacancy at the intersection of Horseshoe Bar Road and Taylor Road, arguably the busiest stretch of road in Loomis. The property across the street from the former restaurant, the Smog Station, has the same owner and is also vacant.

Loomis lauded for economic development

A recent downtown Loomis improvement project has garnered a statewide economic-development advocacy group’s attention.

The downtown master plan’s Phase 1 was finished in September. California Association for Local Economic Development recognized the town and Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce for that work at a May 8 Town Council meeting.

The project, funded by a state grant, included sidewalk improvements along Taylor Road between Horseshoe Bar Road and Walnut Road, new bicycle lanes and new crosswalks. Phase II will improve sidewalks on Taylor Road between Horseshoe Bar Road and King Road.

Future of Penryn fire district uncertain

Placer County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create a special committee to address fire services in the county and, specifically, financially-distressed fire districts, including the Penryn Fire District.

The fire services’ ad hoc committee is expected to work with county staff to put together a comprehensive public education and outreach campaign. The campaign will evaluate standards of fire coverage and related costs and conduct surveys and community forums to measure public support for consolidated fire services.

Jim Martinez presents Roseville Jazz Day

Roseville Jazz Day will take over 311 Vernon St. in Roseville from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, thanks to jazz pianist Jim Martinez.

Presented by music software company, Invisible Touch Music, the event sold almost 1,000 tickets by Wednesday.

 

June

Donna Silva named state, county classified employee of the year

Loomis native Donna Silva, who some call a fixture at Del Oro High School, was recognized twice in May as the classified employee of the year for both Placer County and the state of California.

Silva, the school’s counseling secretary for the past 23 years, said she was “humbled, honored and extremely proud to represent the counseling team here at Del Oro.”

An average day for Silva includes answering questions, directing students and fielding calls.

Pola Kalchenko recognized by Placer County Office of Education

Pola Kalchenko, a Penryn Elementary School custodian, was recognized May 23 by the Placer County Office of Education.

Kalchenko was named Classified Employee of the Year for the maintenance, operations and facilities category. Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica presented Kalchenko with the award.

Kalchenko, who has worked at Penryn Elementary for nearly 15 years, said receiving the recognition was “a big surprise.”

A place of preservation faces future concerns: Potential budget cuts for Maidu Museum

The Maidu Museum and Historical Site at 1960 Johnson Ranch Drive is a local tribute to the native Maidu and Nisenan people who lived here hundreds of years ago.

Guided tours, native art receptions, special Maidu campfire events, native cultural speakers, petroglyph tours and native historical movie screenings are some of the events and activities at the Maidu Museum.  

 

July

Work on I-80, Highway 65 interchange underway, going great

Construction of major improvements to the Interstate 80 and Highway 65 interchange is underway the last few weeks and the project is going great, according to Placer County Transportation Planning Agency executive director Mike Luken.

The project is a partnership between the planning agency and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The $50 million project is expected to wrap up in 2020, according to Luken.

“We are on time and on schedule now,” Luken said. “This is Phase I of a $450 million upgrade to the interchange, one of the most vital congestion points in the region.”

Specifically, work is being done on the northbound lane to the Stanford Ranch/Galleria Boulevard exit.

Thieves terrorize Roseville in massive burglary

Burglars terrorized Roseville by breaking into more than 30 cars.

The burglars broke into vehicles July 18 parked outside Roseville businesses, according to police.

The Lazy Dog Restaurant, The Hyatt Place Hotel and The Falls Event Center were among the businesses affected as the break-ins occurred in their parking lots on the corner of Gibson Drive and Roseville Parkway, according to Roseville public information officer Rob Baquera.  

Rocklin leaders concerned about proposed Costco in Loomis

Rocklin leaders are not happy that a new Costco is proposed to be built off Sierra College Boulevard in Loomis.

The informational item on Rocklin’s June 26 City Council meeting was about the tentative plans regarding building a Costco supermarket on the Loomis/Rocklin border. The development will be within the Loomis town limits.

Nearly every Rocklin council member expressed serious concerns over the negative impacts it will have on Rocklin taxpayers.

“This design is really disingenuous because, frankly, 100 percent of impacts will be on Rocklin taxpayers,” Rocklin Vice-Mayor Joe Patterson said. “Most of the traffic will affect Rocklin residents (pertaining to the only entry and access point in the proposed development leading out to Sierra College in Rocklin). “My view is that Rocklin taxpayers don't spend a dime on ongoing maintenance costs for this project. It’s a great economic development for Loomis but I still don’t think Rocklin taxpayers should be on the hook.”

County wine ordinance ineffectively enforced, grand jury finds

Placer County’s wine ordinance, approved in 2008, is ineffectively enforced, according to the 2017-2018 Placer County Grand Jury’s Final Report.

The ordinance requires wineries to obtain permits before hosting promotional or temporary outdoor events. According to the report, the enforcement policy of the winery ordinance is reactive rather than proactive.

Dr. Grover Lee, winemaker and managing partner at Wise Villa Winery, said he dealt with Placer County and the wine ordinance for more than two years and “did everything they said until they ran out of things to tell me to do.”

Lee described the wine ordinance as “strict and ridiculous.”

Downtown Tuesdays wraps up record-setting season

As the age-old saying states, all good things must come to an end.

Such will be the case next Tuesday, July 31 as residents have one final opportunity to gather in the street and enjoy the sights, sounds and tasty delights of Roseville’s Downtown Tuesday nights with their neighbors for the year.

After a very successful season, it’s time for the weekly street festival to go dormant until 2019.

Since its beginning many years ago, Downtown Tuesday Nights has been a free event for all ages and that theme continued this year, attracting record crowds over the last two months.  Attendees responded positively to this year’s many new amenities and will surely pack the street this Tuesday to enjoy them one final time to close out the month of July.

In 2017, some 60,000 visitors patronized Downtown Tuesday nights. After next Tuesday, this year is expected to top that record high.

“This season broke records for attendance, which made our sponsors very happy,” said Darlene Lyons, president of EZ Events, which presents Downtown Tuesday Nights among other community events. “On June 24th, we estimate that 8,000 people attended alone.”


 

August

Developer offers changes to Village at Loomis

A sometimes controversial proposed development, the Village at Loomis, has been revised and developer Todd Lowell hopes the changes will satisfy the Loomis Town Council.

And, at a Loomis Town Council study session, Lowell announced the elimination of two-story homes adjacent to David Avenue.

Included among the issues Lowell tried to address with the changes were increased setbacks, larger lot sizes, fewer homes and increased park acreage.

Homelessness in South Placer subject of meeting

Placer County residents have a chance to weigh in on a complicated and emotional issue Aug. 16 when the county department of Health and Human Services holds a meeting in Roseville about the homeless.

The meeting’s purpose at the Maidu Center in Roseville is to get feedback from the community as the county puts together a strategic plan to address homelessness, according to Katie Combs-Prichard, a Placer County Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman.

Wells Fargo on Granite Drive robbed Thursday; suspect still at large

Wells Fargo on Granite Drive in Rocklin was held up at gunpoint.

The suspect is still at large, according to law enforcement officials.  

Rocklin Police are asking for the public’s help with information on the armed bank robbery at Wells Fargo at the 4800 block of Granite Drive, according to a police press release.

The suspect entered the bank, armed with a handgun and demanded money from the Wells Fargo employees, according to Rocklin Sgt. Rich Cabana. When officers arrived, the suspect had fled the area on foot, Cabana said.

Roseville sushi restaurant addresses viral worm incident

A Roseville Blue Nami customer got additional protein at lunch July 27.

The customer, Steven Maurizzio, published a Facebook video of a worm wriggling out of a lemon that was placed in his water. The video has now amassed more than 1.5 million views.

Roseville Blue Nami co-owner Steven Lui confirmed that a lemon was contaminated with a worm at the restaurant.

Roseville home-explosion cause that kills 1 remains unknown

A suspicious house explosion occurred in Roseville that left one father dead and his daughter temporarily hospitalized..

Killed in the house fire in west Roseville was Kevin Jon Hourigan, 48, of Roseville, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

Rocklin has only contested school board race

Rocklin voters will cast ballots in the only contested school board race in South Placer County come November, with five candidates running for three seats on the panel.

The candidates for the Rocklin Unified School District board of trustees are Susan Halldin, a current member of the board; Mark Klang, a member of the board from 2000 to 2004; Dereck Counter; Rick Miller and Tami Seigel.

Air quality a concern for Placer County possibly through October

As multiple wildfires continue to plague California this week, air quality is being compromised in Placer County. With fires such as the Mendocino Complex Fire burning itself into the record books, air quality for much of the state has now been issued as “unhealthy” or even in some areas “hazardous,” according to officials. Placer County is no exception.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and the Placer County Air Pollution District jointly issued an official smoke-related health statement Monday that mandates certain precautions be taken until Friday.

“It’s really important that people understand that we have two different types of air quality pollutants, ‘particulate matter’ which is visual to the human eye and ozone pollutants that we can not see,” said Placer County Air Pollution Control District associate planner Ann Hobbs.

Rocklin man charged with killing two posts bail at $90,000

Sean Matthew Walker, a Rocklin man arrested for vehicular manslaughter on two counts in Fairfield, posted bail at $90,000 on Aug. 16, according to law enforcement officials.  

A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer and another person were killed Aug. 10 on the side of Interstate I-80 in Fairfield, according to law enforcement officials.

Walker was responsible for the deaths and charged with two felony counts, according to Solano County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Monica Martinez.

“Sean Matthew Walker, 36, of Rocklin has been charged with two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in violation of Penal Section 192(c)(1),” according to a Solano County District Attorney’s Office Aug. 16 press release.

 

September

Six candidates running for two Roseville City Council seats

The six candidates running for two Roseville City Council seats are Krista Bernasconi, Stephanie Dement, Bruce Houdesheldt, Sehrish Khan, David Larson and Pauline Roccucci. After 70 years, Main Drug closes its doors

Long-time Placer County institution, Main Drug, a pharmacy in Loomis, operated by the Takemoto family for more than seven decades, closed. Hiroshi and Rose Takemoto opened the store in 1945.

Gordon Takemoto, owner and pharmacist at Main Drug, said he and his wife, Joanne, have been thinking about retirement for a while. Takemoto sold his pharmacy files to the Target/CVS pharmacy at 5104 Commons Drive in Rocklin and the Main Drug telephone number will be transferred there. His assistant, Matthew Hatashita, has been hired by the same Target/CVS.

“I wanted to sell it to an independent but the deal fell through,” Takemoto said. “I wanted to announce the closing a month earlier but (Target/CVS) wanted us to wait.”

“I’ve been here all my life,” added Takemoto, whose parents opened the store. “Except for being in Alaska with the service and college, I’ve lived my life here.”

Takemoto said Main Drug was more than a job because his customers were his friends.

Rare species of fox found in Rocklin

An extremely rare silver fox was found in Rocklin after reports of a suspicious animal lurking around the Whitney Oaks greenbelt, according to Gold Country Wildlife rescue officials. “Silver foxes are a melanistic form of the red fox and both the red fox and the silver fox are not native here to Northern California,” said Gold Country Wildlife Rescue President Sallysue Stein. This region is home to the Sierra Red Fox and the Sierra Gray Fox, according to Stein.

Roseville garbage truck engulfed in flames

At 11:31 a.m. Monday, the Roseville Fire Department received a call reporting a city garbage truck engulfed in flames at the corner of North Sunrise Avenue and Eureka Road directly behind America’s Tires. The driver escaped unharmed and no injuries were reported, according to Roseville Fire Department spokeswoman Jaime Garrette.

 

October

Council candidates file Form 460

Three Rocklin City Council candidates running for two seats in the Nov. 6 election have collected a total of $59,935 in cash campaign contributions, as of Sept. 22, according to documents filed at the Rocklin City Clerk’s office.

Incumbent Jill Gayaldo led the three with $32,880 in total cash contributions; Bill Halldin collected $18,940 in cash and Michele Vass raised $8,115 in cash.

Six Roseville City Council candidates running for two seats have collected a total of $83,438 in cash campaign contributions, as of Sept. 22, according to documents on file at the city clerk’s office.

Candidate Krista Bernasconi led the pack with $41,328 in total cash contributions and Sehrish Khan has the fewest cash contributions with $926. Bruce Houdesheldt collected $20,817 in cash contributions while Stephanie Dement, David Larson and Pauline Roccucci all collected less than $10,000.

Roseville resident turned activist: Bicycle helmet saves daughter's life after being struck by SUV

Tragedy almost struck Sept. 25 as Gracelyn Clark, 7, was crushed under an SUV after she was hit at the intersection of Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard and Zinnia Way in Roseville.

“My daughter was dragged underneath an SUV and trapped beneath it,” said Lisa Clark, Gracelyn’s mother. “Her bike was on top of her and she actually couldn’t move. Her helmet was stuck at the tire.”

Thousands attend Eggplant Festival

Downtown Loomis was on display Saturday for thousands of visitors who came to Taylor Road for the 31st annual Eggplant Festival.

Taylor Road, from Horseshoe Bar Road to Oak Street, was closed for the event that was moved back to Loomis’ main thoroughfare for the first time in decades. The Eggplant Festival in recent years was held in the Loomis Depot Building parking lot.

Roseville resident Linda Breen one of original Merry Pranksters

Linda Breen, also known as Anonymous, and her dog, Freedom, live in a granny flat in an older downtown Roseville neighborhood.

Breen is a member of the Merry Pranksters, a group of authors and musicians organized by author Ken Kesey, who traveled the United States in a bus called Furthur starting in the summer of 1964. The group and its extended road trip was immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

80th anniversary of Night of Broken Glass to be commemorated

Nov. 9 to 10, 1938 is remembered as Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, in Germany.

During this time, members of the Nazi party’s Sturmabteilung or Storm Detachment, carried out a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany. Pogrom has several meanings but most commonly refers to the deliberate persecution of an ethnic or religious group that is condoned by local authorities.

Rabbi Yitzchak Wagner and Margot Goldberg will speak at the Rocklin Event Center to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass. Chabad Jewish Community Center of Placer County sponsors the event.

Whitney High School coach practices inclusion

Whitney High School’s Nicholas French is a counselor, coach and teacher.

Now in his sixth year at the Rocklin school, French has taught for 17 years, 16 of those years in special education.

Although recruited from Fresno’s Hoover High School to be the head varsity basketball coach at Whitney, his biggest impact on campus might be his inclusion of special needs students in physical education and advocacy for Unified Sports.

 

November

Brawl ends Rocklin prep football game

What was an ordinary Friday night at Whitney High School in the peak of football season turned ugly for the Rocklin school.

A large fight broke out during the third quarter of the Whitney High School versus Grant Union High School football game, according to a Rocklin Police Department press release.  

“Out of concern for crowd and player safety, the remainder of the game was canceled and not played,” said the department via the press release.

According to law enforcement officials, there were concerns over the large numbers of individuals fighting.

Case dismissed against city of Rocklin; Hoot Coffee owners plan to appeal

A case was dismissed between the city of Rocklin and Hoot Coffee at a hearing Oct. 18 by Placer County Superior Court Judge Todd Irby, according to court documents.  

Hoot Coffee and Party Place are a connected business and building in Rocklin at 6831 Lonetree Blvd.

Owners Michael Beaman and Robert Lindsey took the city of Rocklin to court in order to reopen their coffee shop, according to Beaman.

The owners allege that the city of Rocklin “committed various intentional and negligent torts and contract breaches against (Hoot Coffee),” according to court documents. These actions culminated in the city forcing Hoot Coffee to close its business after a child was found to be stuck in the bounce house at Party Place, according to Beaman.

Halldin, Counter, Miller win election to Rocklin school board

Susan Halldin was reelected to the Rocklin Unified School District board of trustees and Dereck Counter and Rick Miller were elected to the board.

Three seats were up for election. Todd Lowell and Wendy Lang did not run for re-election and Halldin ran for her seat.

Roseville, Rocklin measures approved by voters

A Roseville sales tax increase measure and a Rocklin parcel tax measure both passed.

Measure B, a half-cent sales tax increase to raise revenues to the city of Roseville’s General Fund, passed with 19,510 yes votes (61.41 percent).
The measure received 12,259 no votes (38.59 percent). The measure, which needed
a simple majority of votes for approval, was not designed to fund any particular service.

Rocklin’s Measure A, a parcel tax designed to fund city parks and the maintenance of parks, passed with 11,298 yes votes (77.43 percent) to 3,294 no votes (22.57 percent).

Gore pulls off stunning upset in District 1 county supervisor race

For the past eight years, Jack Duran has been Placer County’s District 1 supervisor.

With the Nov. 6 Statewide Direct Primary Election results in, Duran lost to challenger Bonnie Gore, who is currently Roseville’s vice-mayor.

Whitney High School broadcast and production program winning awards

Tucked away at Whitney High School’s Building B in Rocklin is a television studio and video production facility that looks like the home of an award-winning daily news show.

And it is.

Whitney High School broadcast journalism and film production teacher Ben Barnholdt oversees a team of award-winning students. The Whitney High School broadcasting program won the 2018 National Student Production Emmy for outstanding achievement in the commercial category and the daily news show, “Unleashed,” was nominated in the newscast category. The Emmy awards are given out by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Cowpoke Fall Gathering celebrates 24 years of cowboy poetry

Music sometimes takes a backseat to poetry at the annual Cowpoke Fall Gathering in Loomis, but this year, the featured performer was Kristyn Harris, an “American Idol” contestant and winner of many western music awards.

Devastating wildfire

California is enduring historic wildfires across the state. According to CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) the Camp Fire north of Sacramento and east of Chico is now the most deadliest and most destructive fire in California’s history. As of the early stages of the fire, 42 people died and more than 200 people are missing.

Many pets and farm animals have also died in the fire. More than 7,000 structures, including homes, have been destroyed.

Camp Fire smoke causes Placer County schools to close; air quality conditions continue to worsen

With the Camp Fire burning in Butte County, Placer County Air Quality Control District officials are warning that hazardous conditions are also in Placer County. As a result, schools in Placer County are closing their doors as conditions worsen.

This past week has been the worst smoke conditions Placer County has seen over an extended period of time, according to Placer County Air Pollution Control District’s associate planner and spokeswoman Ann Hobbs.

Roseville ranks No. 1 U.S. for flood protection

Earlier this year, then Roseville City Manager Rob Jensen mentioned FEMA’s top rating for Roseville in terms of flood protection. Months later, with one of the first winter storms hitting the area, city officials told Gold Country Media that nothing has changed as Roseville continues to be the top city in the nation when it comes to flood mitigation.

In 2006, Roseville became the first city in the country to earn the highest rating (Class 1) as part of  the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Community Rating System, according to city of Roseville Public Works spokeswoman Helen Dyda.

 

December:

11th Holiday Home Tour benefits Loomis students

A Dec. 8 tour of five holiday-decorated homes will benefit Loomis Unified School District schools. It is the 11th year for the Loomis Holiday Home Tour.

“We have the best tour,” said Taffy Maurer, event co-chairwoman with her daughter, Darcie Stratton. “It is so giving of the owners to open their homes.”

The day will also feature a holiday boutique with free admission and more than 30 local vendors in the H. Clarke Powers Elementary School’s multi-purpose room. Boutique merchandise includes jewelry, clothes, ornaments and other Christmas decorations.

Developer submits revised plans for Village at Loomis

Todd Lowell has returned from the drawing board.

The developer for the proposed Village at Loomis project has re-submitted plans to Loomis town staff and the town council will hold a hearing on the project at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10.

Lowell does not expect to have to make any more changes to the project.

“I’ve checked all the boxes,” Lowell said Nov. 5. “From a policy basis, I expect they will move forward.”

An extension of Doc Barnes Drive from Horseshoe Bar Road to King Road, at a cost of $10 million would be the first portion of the project. Lowell said he will honor his commitment to the Loomis Union School District. A $2.9 million facilities-mitigation deal between the school district and Lowell was approved by the district’s board of trustees on Dec. 14. and is $1.8 million more than required by law.

The revised plans include a reduction from 261 homes to 251 homes; increased minimum lot sizes of 5,000 square-feet for the Village Traditional district and increased minimum lot sizes of 3,000 square-feet for the Village Residential and Village Court districts; single-story restrictions for lots adjoining Sun Knoll Drive, David Avenue and Silver Ranch Avenue with 20-foot rear setbacks; and increased off-street parking in the Village Residential district.

Loomis civic, business leaders and residents react to Town Council decision

Reaction to the Loomis Town Council’s 3-2 decision Monday to move forward the proposed Village at Loomis development is mixed.

Then Loomis Mayor Rhonda Morillas and Councilmen Tim Onderko and Brian Baker voted to keep the project moving forward through the process. Town Councilmen Miguel Ucovich and Jeff Duncan voted no. The Loomis Town Council is expected to take up the project again Jan. 8.

Proposed project developer Todd Lowell is happy with the council’s approval.

TSI Semiconductors in Roseville suffers workforce reduction

Roseville-based manufacturing company TSI Semiconductors will lay off 240 employees, almost half of its entire workforce in February, according to TSI spokesman Scott Olsen.

“Right now, they remain active employees and are simply not expected to return to work,” Olsen said. “They will be paid as if they were here and their benefits are still active. It’s as if they were here in all respects, except that they physically don’t have to report to work.”

Wish granted for Cade Christopherson; Make-A-Wish sends Cade and his family to visit LEGOland in Denmark

The “Not all Heroes wear capes” slogan comes full circle for 11-year-old Cade Christopherson. The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted the Lincoln boy’s wish to fly to Denmark and visit LEGOland headquarters in Copenhagen.  

This comes after Cade’s challenges was told to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and other local agencies that made this wish possible. Cade is a sixth-grader at Twelve Bridges Middle School in Lincoln.

Cade was born with a congenital skeleton condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease. Cade has endured more than 30 bone breaks, according to his father Matt Christopherson, starting with his femur when just an infant.

Roseville woman missing since Dec. 14 found dead Wednesday in Nevada County

A Roseville woman was found dead Wednesday afternoon in Nevada County, five days after she was reported missing, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.  

On Dec. 14, the Roseville Police Department and other local enforcement agencies asked for the public’s help in locating 41-year-old Briana “Bri” Ferguson, who was reported missing that day by her husband, Dan Ferguson.

Ferguson was last seen at about 2:48 p.m. Dec.14, at her west Roseville home, according to Roseville Police Department spokesman Rob Baquera.

Gold Country Media asked Baquera for more information Wednesday afternoon about Ferguson’s death.

“Earlier today, we received a tip from someone who spotted a white Jeep in a remote area of Nevada County,” Baquera said. “We contacted Nevada County Sheriff's Office who performed an area check for the vehicle. They located the missing Jeep Grand Cherokee and confirmed the vehicle belonged to Mrs. Briana Ferguson. The vehicle was unoccupied.”