SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - A record number of Californians were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in 2017, according to a new report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported: a 45 percent increase compared to five years ago.

Particularly concerning, in 2017, there were 30 stillbirths due to congenital syphilis in California. This is the highest number reported since 1995.

STDs can cause a number of serious health problems. If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. Syphilis can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are highest among people under age 30. Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, and males account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

“STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms. Most people infected with an STD do not know it.”

CDPH is collaborating with local health departments and organizations throughout the state to raise awareness. CDPH is working with the California Department of Education and community groups to implement the newly enacted California Healthy Youth Act, which mandates comprehensive STD/HIV prevention education in schools.

Other state efforts leverage innovative strategies such as courses for medical providers and teachers, expedited partner treatment to local clinics, and free and low cost online ordering options for home delivery of condoms and STD test kits. For more information, visit the CDPH Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Branch.

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California Kicks Off 2018 Summer Travel Season in Record Numbers

By AAA  |  2018-05-14

According to AAA’s first travel forecast of the summer, nearly 5.2 million Californians are projected to travel over the upcoming three-day weekend.

Nearly 5.2 Million Californians Will Travel Over Memorial Day Weekend

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and Californians are expected to kickoff the unofficial start of summer in record numbers.

According to AAA’s first travel forecast of the summer, nearly 5.2 million Californians are projected to travel over the upcoming three-day weekend. This is an increase of 5.3 percent from last yearand the highest number on record for the holiday. AAA projects that 41.5 million Americans will travel nationwide, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years.

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Michael Blasky, spokesman for AAA Northern California. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Californians all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season.” 

By the Numbers: Memorial Day Travel Forecast

  • 2018 will be the seventh straight year of state growth and fourth consecutive year of nationwide growth during the holiday period.
  • More than 4.3 million Californians will drive to their destinations, an increase of 5.2 percent over last year.
  • Nearly 528,000 Californians are taking to the skies this Memorial Day, increasing air travel by 7.5 percent over last year. 

Outsmart traffic by avoiding worst times to hit the road
For those traveling by car, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25 – in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip. 

Although these travel times might look daunting, be glad you're not driving through the core of the Big Apple: The largest delay in the nation is expected to occur in New York City, where a normal 23-minute commute on I-95 West is predicted to take 2 hrs & 18 minutes, 506% higher than normal



Region Peak Normal Travel Time Predicted Travel Time Delay % Delay Speed (MpH)
I680 N San Francisco Bay 5/25/2018
3:15 PM 
53 mins 1 hrs & 7 mins 13 mins   25% 12.6
US101 N San Francisco Bay 5/23/2018
4:30 PM
31 mins 59 mins 28 mins 89% 16.7
US101 S San Francisco Bay 5/28/2018
2 PM
16 mins 43 mins 27 mins 172% 23.2
CA37 E San Francisco Bay 5/24/2018
4:30 PM
52 mins 1 hrs & 30 mins 37 mins 71% 11
CA37 W San Francisco Bay 5/25/2018
3:30 PM
20 mins 34 mins 14 mins 69% 28.7
I80 S San FranciscoBay 5/29/2018
7:45 AM
36 mins 40 mins 4 mins 12% 22
I80 N San Francisco
5:30 PM
41 mins 45 mins 4 mins 10% 19.3
I680 S San Francisco
5/24/2018 5:15 PM 13 mins 18 mins 5 mins 41% 45.3

The top domestic destinations for Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA travel bookings, are:

  • Orlando, Florida
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Anchorage, Alaska

Higher gas prices not deterring travelers
The 88 percent of travelers choosing to drive will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. California gas prices are nearly 70 cents higher compared to last year, due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply. 

Lower hotel, airline and car rental costs make up for higher gas prices
Travelers can expect some relief in their wallets when paying for car rentals and most mid-range hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average daily cost of a car rental this Memorial Day is the lowest rate in the past four years and 11 percent cheaper than last year at an average at $59. Travelers will also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels, which are trending 14 percent less expensive than last year, with an average rate of $186 nightly.

Before setting out for Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, make travel arrangements, access exclusive member discounts, request roadside assistance and more. Learn more at

The 2018 Memorial day holiday period is defined as Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. 

AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to its 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 117 years ago.  Visit for more information. 

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Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the Trump Administration’s Plan to Lower Drug Prices

FDA Statement  |  2018-05-11

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Today is an important day in the Administration’s collaborative effort to address the rising cost of drugs. We know that the high list cost of drugs can adversely impact peoples’ access to medicines. People rely on medicines to improve their quality of life, manage chronic conditions and treat life-threatening illnesses. Access to prescription drugs is a matter of public health. I applaud President Trump for making this one of the Administration’s priorities and introducing a bold plan that puts patients first in advancing actions to address the rising list prices of prescription medicines. The FDA shares the goal of ensuring that American patients have access to quality and affordable care that meets their needs. This is why we’re prioritizing actions to encourage the timely development and approval of generics and biosimilars.

To date, we’ve taken a number of steps as part of our Drug Competition Action Plan (DCAP). We’re helping remove barriers to generic drug development and market entry in an effort to spur competition that results in lower drug prices for patients, and greater access.

One key aspect of our role is to strengthen and enhance the overall generic drug review process. We’ve committed to timelier generic drug reviews to reduce the cycles of review that generic applications typically undergo. In 2017, we approved a record number of generic drug applications—more than 1,000 full or tentative approvals. We expect to beat that goal this year. And although the FDA doesn’t have a direct role in drug pricing, by ensuring that regulatory requirements are efficient, predictable and science-based; we can help reduce the time, uncertainty and cost of generic and biosimilar product development.

In addition, we’re calling out abuses of the system that impede competition and doing our part to fix them. The agency is committed to adopting strong policies and taking action, when necessary, to reduce gaming of statutory and regulatory requirements to help ensure that drug companies don’t use anticompetitive strategies to delay development and approval of important generic drugs.

Our efforts have included taking significant steps to support complex generic drug development and application review; prioritizing the review of certain generics; publishing a list of off-patent, off-exclusivity branded drugs; and enhancing the efficiency of certain aspects of the submission process for generic drug applicants.

The President made it clear today that we all need to play a role—including the FDA and its sister agencies like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—to put American patients first by taking bold actions to help patients have access to affordable medicine. The FDA will continue what it started with DCAP by taking new steps to address the significant health challenges we face and extend that momentum to implementing new measures as part of a forthcoming Biosimilar Action Plan that aims to facilitate the development and approval of biosimilars—which will help address patient access to costly biological products that can treat a range of chronic and life-threatening conditions. We will also be taking additional steps to address some of the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) “gaming” abuses that can delay the entry of generic drugs.

These are among some of the new actions that we’ll be taking in the coming weeks. The FDA will continue to work to promote drug competition and access for patients, to advance our public health goals.

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Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

By USPS  |  2018-05-11

To donate to the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on Saturday, May 12.

Feeding America’s Hungry

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers, who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive — the largest one-day food drive in the nation. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, May 12.

Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food the past 24 years.

Carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands are involved.

The United States Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, AFL-CIO, Feeding America, United Way, Valassis and Valpak Direct Marketing Systems are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

To donate, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on the second Saturday in May. The carrier will do the rest. The food is sorted, and delivered to an area food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.

With 49 million people facing hunger every day in America, including nearly 16 million children, this drive is one way you can help those in your own city or town who need help.

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Amgen Tour of California in Sacramento

By Sac County News  |  2018-05-10

About Amgen Tour of California: Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring.

​SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Get ready for the Amgen Tour of California! Starting May 13 through May 19, the exciting cycling stage race will cover 645 miles of roadways, highways and coastlines during its seven stages from Long Beach to Sacramento. 

Sacramento County will see cyclists weaving through our area: 

​​​​Thursday, May 17 in Elk Grove for Women’s Overall Start and Stage 5 - Men’s

​​There will be many vantage points along the 77-mile course of the Delta to catch a glimpse of the best riders in the world cruising down the road. Stage 1 of the women’s tour will start in Elk Grove and zoom south on Franklin Boulevard, then east through the Walnut Grove area past Ryde along Highway 160 and up to Courtland. The tour will bring the competitors to Hood and back to Elk Grove. Like the women’s race, the Men’s Stage 5 ends in Elk Grove, but don’t expect the two races to intersect before the finish line. The men’s race heads north and east to enter Sacramento County along Ione Road and travel into Rancho Murieta via Jackson Road (Hwy 16).  They’ll take a left onto Dillard Road and then left onto Clay Station Road. The riders will then bank right onto Twin Cities Road (Hwy 104), whip through Galt, and head north on Bruceville Road into Elk Grove to finish their 109 mile race.  

Friday, May 18, in Folsom for Stage 6 – Men’s

​​The Men’s Stage 6 leaves Sacramento County from Folsom and heads to South Lake Tahoe.

Saturday, May 19, in Sacramento for Men’s Overall Finish and Woman’s Overall Finish 

Both the women’s and men’s race finish at the State Capitol. The women’s race is a flat, 43-mile street course around downtown.  The men take on a 90-mile trek that starts downtown, takes them out to Winters and back to the Capital.

Find out where to watch the Amgen Tour and the festivities that enhance this annual spectator sporting event. There is also a Tour Tracker app so you don’t miss any of the action. 

The Sacramento Sports Commission also has information about the Amgen Tour, things to do and places to eat and encourages spectators use the free bike valet set up by the west steps of the Capitol on Sunday. 

In addition to enjoying the Amgen Tour as a spectator, give bike riding a try. The May is Bike Monthhas great tips for getting started and you can participate in fun riding pledges, challenges, events and prizes. 

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Master of the Chorus - Dr. Donald Kendrick Retires

Special to MPG  |  2018-05-10

Dr. Don Kendrick and SCSO’s season finale is on Saturday, May 12 at the Sacramento Community Center Theater: Praise and Jubilation.

Retires from Sacramento State after 33 Years of Teaching

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – “Singing is a joyous experience,” explained Dr. Donald Kendrick. “Choral music prepares you for life.”

In August 1985, Dr. Kendrick accepted the position of Director of Choral Activities at Sacramento State University. For the past 33 years, this energetic Canadian has worked diligently to create an awareness of the power and importance of choral and orchestral music via three important pillars of our society - the Community, the State and the Church.

“33 years is a long time,” admitted Dr. Kendrick. “I have seen so many students come together to perform beautifully.”

Don’s final gift for his 110 students and community members in his three Sacramento State choirs will be to provide them with an opportunity to partner with the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra. The students will have the rare chance to sing with a professional orchestra at the SCSO’s season finale on Saturday, May 12 at the Sacramento Community Center Theater: Praise and Jubilation.

Kendrick lovingly refers to this SCSO season finale as his downtown Sacramento State retirement party. There will be a post-concert reception in the Sacramento Community Center Theater lobby following the final performance.

This unique performance will also feature the Sacramento Children’s Chorus Director Alexander Grambow. The musical forces on stage will include 280 singers, three soloists and a 52-member professional orchestra. The main fare on the program is a West Coast première of American composer Dan Forrest’s stunning Jubilate Deo. This work was only recently premiered in Carnegie Hall in 2016.

The rousing performance will feature seven languages with projected supertitle translations. The work brings to life the global aspect of the traditional Psalm 100 text “O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands” by setting it in seven different languages and drawing from a wide spectrum of musical influences. Each movement combines some characteristics of its language-group’s musical culture with the composer’s own musical language.

In the first half of the program Kendrick has programmed Dvorak’s Te Deum (Hymn of Thanksgiving), a work that he recorded with the SCSO and some of the Sacramento State students at the Liszt Academy in Budapest during their summer 2004 European Tour. Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances will showcase the SCSO Orchestra to round out the concert.

Kendrick feels strongly about having his choirs perform out in the community. For twenty-five years his three choirs performed in the beautiful acoustics of Sacred Heart Church in Sacramento. His December Procession of Carols is a tradition that we fervently hope Sacramento State will continue following Don’s retirement.

For more than three decades Kendrick has demonstrated his mastery of creative concert programming. His impact as an educator and conductor has greatly enhanced the quality of life in our region and has resonated on a national and international level.

“I have so many happy memories. So many of my students went on to perform around the world,” said Dr. Kendrick.

The dedicated teacher of over three decades has enhanced lives through great music, bringing beauty, hope and inspiration to our community, but when asked what he learned over the years, Dr. Kendrick graciously replied, “Patience and understanding.”

“The most important thing is that we have music in our lives – period,” said Dr. Kendrick. “And we should bear in mind that we all have a voice.”

Kendrick’s Downton Sacramento State Retirement Party at a Glance
May 12th SCSO Season Finale – Praise & Jubilation

Event: Praise & Jubilation

Date: Saturday, May 12 at 8 PM

Pre-concert talk at 7 PM Doors open at 6:30 PM

Location: Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street, Sacramento

Post-Concert Reception in the Sac CCT Lobby – Come join us.

Tickets: 916-808-5181 or

$43-$53 – Students = 50% discount

Student Rush Seats (with ID) - $10 – As of 6:30 PM on May 12th

Information: 916-536-9065 (SCSO Office)

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Governor Brown Issues Executive Order to Protect Communities from Wildfire, Climate Impacts

From the Office of Governor Brown  |  2018-05-10

California Governor Jerry Brown

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - In the face of the worst wildfires in California’s history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order to combat dangerous tree mortality, increase the ability of our forests to capture carbon and systematically improve forest management.

“Devastating forest fires are a profound challenge to California,” said Governor Brown. “I intend to mobilize the resources of the state to protect our forests and ensure they absorb carbon to the maximum degree.”

Key elements of the order include:

  • Doubling the land actively managed through vegetation thinning, controlled fires and reforestation from 250,000 acres to 500,000 acres.
  • Launching new training and certification programs to help promote forest health through prescribed burning.
  • Boosting education and outreach to landowners on the most effective ways to reduce vegetation and other forest-fire fuel sources on private lands. 
  • Streamlining permitting for landowner-initiated projects that improve forest health and reduce forest-fire fuels on their properties.
  • Supporting the innovative use of forest products by the building industry.
  • Expanding grants, training and other incentives to improve watersheds.

Today’s order will improve the health of the state’s forests and help mitigate the threat and impacts of deadly and destructive wildfires, which hinder the state’s progress towards its climate goals. Forests serve as the state’s largest land-based carbon sink, drawing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in trees and shrubs and in forest soils. But even a single wildfire can immediately cancel all those benefits. 

The Governor’s May budget revision – to be released tomorrow – will include $96 million (from various funding sources) to support these actions. This $96 million comes in addition to $160 million proposed in January’s Cap and Trade expenditure plan to support forest improvements and fire protection.

A Forest Management Task Force will be convened in the coming weeks to help implement this order and its accompanying Forest Carbon Plan, which was finalized today following more than a year of development and public outreach.

Today’s executive order follows the commitment the Governor made during this year’s State of the State address to thoroughly review – and improve – how the state manages its forests and reduces the threat of devastating fires.

Eight of the state’s 20 most destructive fires have occurred in the past four years. Last winter’s Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties was the largest in recorded history.

Yesterday, the California Environmental Protection Agency released new findings on the significant and growing impacts of climate change in California, noting that fires, drought, sea level rise and record heat pose an immediate and escalating danger to California’s ecosystems, wildlife, public health and economy.

Since convening a Tree Mortality Task Force in 2015, more than 1.2 million dead or dying trees have already been removed from the state’s forests. 

The full text of today’s executive order is available here.

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