Lodi police seeking public’s help with information regarding double homicide

Originally published by SacBee.com on Sept. 10, 2018

Police in Lodi identified the victims of a double homicide Monday as Gerardo Maldonado De Santiago, 35, of Lodi and Brian Soto 21, of Stockton, according to a news release.

The Lodi Police Department responded to a report of a two-victim shooting in the area of Cherokee Lane near Lodi Avenue at around 2 a.m. on Sunday. Upon arrival, officers located the two men, who were suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Santiago was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the use of “lifesaving measures,” the press release said. Soto was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

The investigation remains open, but police believe there was an altercation that resulted in gunfire in a parking lot at the location where the victims were found. It does not appear that the men were in an altercation with one another, the release said, suggesting that another person or persons were involved.

A gun that may have been used in the shooting was found at a nearby business, police said.

The Lodi Police Department is asking for anyone, including several witnesses who are said to have been in the parking lot at the time of the shooting, to contact them at 209-333-6727.

Anyone with information can alternatively contact Detective Adam Lockie directly at 209-333-5541 or the Lodi Area Crime Stoppers at 209-369-2746 to remain anonymous. Police ask that callers reference case number 18-5623 when calling.

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Need to see a doctor? How to get free medical, dental or vision care at Cal Expo

Originally published by SacBee.com on Sept. 5, 2018

If you’re one of the approximated 112,000 people in the Sacramento area with little or no health insurance, a California volunteer group wants to help you see a doctor.

Between Sept. 21 and 23, California CareForce, a charitable branch of the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, in partnership with local nonprofits and health care professionals, is providing a clinic at Cal Expo to offer free dental, vision and medical care to individuals and families in the region, according to a press release.

The event starts at 7 a.m. each day and is expected to end around 4 or 5 p.m. depending on the number of patients seen.

Attendees will be given wristbands on a first-come, first-served basis at 4 p.m. each day for use on the following day, according to information provided to The Bee by CareForce. Everyone with a wristband will have a chance to be seen. The number of wristbands given will depend on how many medical professionals volunteer to see and treat patients.

Wristbands for the first day of services, Sept. 21, will be handed out on Thursday, Sept. 20.


The organization expects 600 to 1,000 attendees per day and more than 500 volunteer health care professionals from the Sacramento area are expected to participate. The clinic, which will be held in Buildings C and D at Cal Expo, will provide 70 dental stations, 20 medical exam rooms and 10 vision lanes. A vision lab will also be on-site to provide prescription eye glasses, according to the release.

CareForce’s partner organizations include, Sacramento Covered, Opening Doors, Salvation Army, Wellspring Women’s Center, Union Gospel Mission and Wellspace Health. CareForce said it is still looking for several volunteers, including medical professionals and general volunteers for the three-day event.

No personal identification, employment verification or proof of insurance is needed at the clinic. Services will include consultations and diagnosis and treatment of minor medical issues, the release said.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring prescription medications, loose-fit clothing appropriate for medical exams, food and drinks and some form of entertainment as wait times will be lengthy. CareForce limits services to one per day, per person.

CareForce has held the clinic several times in Sacramento since the first one in 2011. Last year’s clinic drew 1,500 people. The clinic will return to Sacramento next October, CareForce said.

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Area around ARC ranks high for alcohol-related driving deaths, study says

Originally published by SacBee.com on Sept. 5, 2018

American River College ranked fifth deadliest in the nation for alcohol-related car crashes on or around college campuses with 87 reported fatalities between 2012 and 2016, according to a recent data analysis by Cheap Car Insurance.

The study used a 3-mile radius for rural, suburban, and town colleges as well as a 1.5 mile radius for city colleges.

In addition, using data collected from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, which is hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics and provides information on higher education institutions in the U.S., the study included all public and private nonprofit schools with at least 5,000 students enrolled.

Other California schools in the top five included Southwest College in Los Angeles, which ranked No. 1 with 146 deaths, and El Camino College’s Compton Center at No. 4 with just one more reported death than ARC at 88.

The analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that nearly 29 people die each day as a result of alcohol-related car accidents in the U.S. That’s more than one person every hour, and the NHTSA says the nationwide total of DUI fatalities increased to more than 10,000 in 2016.

Furthermore, California was the deadliest state in the nation during that same period with one in four car crash deaths on or around college campuses being related to alcohol consumption and 2,625 fatalities in total.

By comparison, the data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System points out that Nevada, Oregon and Arizona had a combined total of 474 alcohol-related car crash deaths near college campuses, Cheap Car Insurance said.

The NHTSA also reports, according to the analysis, that approximately 60 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 drink alcohol, even though many of them are not of legal drinking age.

Most drinking-related car crashes near college campuses occur on Saturdays and Sundays, which is on par with the rest of the U.S., according to information from Mothers Against Drunk Driving as cited in the report.

“Fatal alcohol-related crashes are 17 percent more likely to occur between midnight and 2 a.m. around college campuses than anywhere else in the country,” the report said.

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UC Davis social justice group seeking Sacramento’s next youth poet laureate

Originally published by SacBee.com on Aug. 29, 2018

Words can inspire, advocate and empower.

Teenage writers, poets or spoken word performers have an opportunity to reach the community in Sacramento and affect change in an even stronger way by entering a contest organized by Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, a UC Davis-based social justice group, for a chance to become the next Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate.

The group, known as SAYS, was founded in 2008 by Dr. Vajra Watson, the Director of Research and Policy for Equity at UC Davis, according to a description on the official SAYS website. The group says it “breaks the barriers of underachievement by elevating the voices of students as the authors of their own lives and agents of change.”

The contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sept. 23 and entrants must be from 14 to 19 years old, should be writers and leaders and be “committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity and education across Sacramento,” according to the application.

The application asks whether applicants are poets, rappers, spoken word artists, performance poets, youth leaders or a combination of all of those. In addition, five writing samples, a video sample of a reading and information on why the applicant wants to be poet laureate, past experiences in leadership, and skills and accomplishments are required.

In May, the Black Child Legacy Campaign worked with Sacramento Area Youth Speaks to present ‘poetic service announcements’ at the Crocker Art Museum about the challenges of growing up while black.

To apply, fill out the application located here.

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A couple got engaged at Sam Smith’s Golden 1 show. See how Smith reacted

Originally published by SacBee.com on Aug. 29, 2018

Love wasn’t just in the air because of Sam Smith’s music at his recent Golden 1 Center tour stop as the artist actually paused in the middle of singing his hit song “Latch” to acknowledge a man proposing to his girlfriend in the front row.

According to a report on the Golden 1 Center official website, Mark DeMille planned the proposal to his new fiancee, Samantha, with a little help from the arena’s staff. DeMille told 106.5 The End’s Wake Up Call hosts that he tried to reach out to Smith himself, but was unsuccessful.

So, he contacted Golden 1’s staff and was able to get a little assistance with being able to be center stage during the couple’s favorite song.

DeMille, who dated Samantha for four years prior to his proposal, decided to pop the question at the concert because Smith’s music was a big part of the couple’s relationship, DeMille told the Wake Up Call.

“I was not expecting it at all,” Samantha told Golden 1 Center. “When he got down on one knee, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh there are like 13,000 people watching us right now.’ ”

Smith’s reaction was caught on video as the popular singer blew kisses to his newly-engaged fans and said, “This couple here just proposed in front of me. Oh my god. Congratulations, you guys.”

In 2015, Smith won four Grammy Awards, including for Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album (“In the Lonely Hours”). His single “Stay With Me” won Grammy awards for Record and Song of the Year. Smith’s second album and the reason for the tour, “The Thrill Of It All,” will be released Nov. 3. Smith is also scheduled to perform Oct. 7 on “Saturday Night Live.”

The video of the proposal and Smith’s reaction can be seen on Golden 1 Center’s YouTube channel and an audio clip of the couple’s interview on The Wake Up Call show can be heard here.

A version of this story was also published in the print edition of The Sacramento Bee in the local section on page 3B Aug. 31, 2018.


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Reporter from Fox affiliate in Arkansas joins Fox 40 in Sacramento

Originally published by SacBee.com on Aug. 16, 2018

There’s a new face at Fox 40, Sacramento’s KTXL affiliate.

Her name is Charmaine Nero and she was introduced to the community via an Instagram post from the news station Tuesday.

The news reporter is a native of Long Island, New York, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Brooklyn College and a master’s degree from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, according to Nero’s Facebook page.

Her interest in journalism began with an internship at Fox 5 New York and the New York Film Academy, where she gained many of the skills needed for a career in broadcast media.

Nero also won several scholarships, awards and fellowships during her college years, including a 2015 fellowship that allowed her to cover the NBA All-Star games.

The reporter announced on her social media channels on July 25 that she would be joining Fox 40. She previously worked for Fox 16 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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Sal of ‘Impractical Jokers’ will ‘never forgive you’ if you miss him in Sac

Originally published by SacBee.com on Aug. 16, 2018

He might be deathly afraid of cats, but getting up in front of people and making them laugh doesn’t bother him at all. And now he’s coming to Sacramento.

Sal Vulcano, a member of improvisation comedy troupe The Tenderloins, who star in TruTV’s “Impractical Jokers,” is making a stop at Punch Line Sacramento on Saturday, Sept. 22.

He’ll be performing two stand-up sets, one at 7 p.m. and one at 9:30 p.m. A secret special guest is also being advertised for the show.


Tickets are priced at $40 in advance and $45 on the day of the show. Reserved premium seating is available at $50. Punchline has a two drink minimum per person and shows are 18 and over. The club is at 2100 Arden Way.

According to a description of the show, the Staten Island native, famous for shouting “I will never forgive you” while being chased through a corn maze by a person in a giant cat suit on an episode of “Impractical Jokers,” began doing solo stand-up shows recently. However, he has toured with The Tenderloins for many years and has appeared on “Impractical Jokers” since 2011.

The comedian has also made appearances on Comedy Central’s “This is Not Happening” and co-hosts a podcast with “Impractical Jokers” co-star Brian “Q” Quinn called “What Say You?”

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Gluten-free Girl Scout cookies include brand-new flavor, returning favorite

Originally published by SacBee.com on Aug. 16, 2018

The Girl Scouts of the USA are coming for your taste buds once again with a brand-new variety of cookie for the 2019 sales season.

The organization is introducing the Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie to its roster of popular treats, according to a press release.

The new gluten-free flavor will be joined by returning gluten-free variety Toffee-tastic. Both flavors will be available in select markets and limited quantities, but one of the gluten-free options will be available in every market, according to the Girl Scouts.

“The new Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie features rich caramel, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a hint of sea salt in a chewy cookie,” the release said. “Toffee-tastic, introduced in 2015, is a rich, buttery cookie with sweet, crunchy, golden toffee bits.”

Prices for the new and returning flavors may be higher than the other varieties in some markets because the cost of producing gluten-free products is higher than other types of cookies, the organization said.

On the other hand, cookie variety “Trios,” which combined chocolate chips with peanut butter and oats, is being discontinued, according to CBS News.

The Girls Scouts of the USA serves 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults throughout the nation. Selling cookies is the top form of fundraising the Girls Scouts do each year. Sales help pay for program supplies, activities and group travel as well as teach girls several valuable life skills, according to the official Girl Scouts website.

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Bone thugs-n-harmony to join Nelly and Fat Joe at Raley Field in October

Originally published by SacBee.com on Aug. 16, 2018

Rappers Nelly and Fat Joe are coming to Raley Field in October, and now music fans have a chance to see the rap group that made the phrase “see you at the crossroads” famous.

The Sacramento River Cats announced Thursday on Twitter that multi-platinum rap group Bone thugs-n-harmony will join the show.

“Tha Crossroads,” the group’s 1996 homage to their mentor, the late rapper Eazy-E, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, R&B and Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and Hot Rap Singles charts. It also won a Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group.

The concert was originally scheduled for Sept. 15 but it was pushed back to Oct. 18.

In early August, scheduling conflicts were cited as the reason for the postponement of the show, according to a report from Sacramento’s CBS 13.


Tickets are still available for the 7 p.m. concert and start at $34. Tickets to watch the show on the field run $39 and center stage tickets will set concert-goers back $69. Note that the latter two ticket options are standing room only.

According to the show’s description, tickets purchased for the original date are still valid for the new date.

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Looking to adopt a cat or dog? Find one for free this weekend

Originally published by SacBee.com on Aug. 16, 2018

The Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento is once again popping at the seams with cats, dogs and other adoptable pets.

To make room for more animals in need of their forever homes, the organization announced Wednesday on its Facebook page that it will host a free adoption day on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Adoptions of cats and dogs of all ages and sizes will have no fees from noon to 5 p.m., according to the post.

Efforts to adopt out more pets are being made more and more in hopes of shelters killing less animals due to overcrowding.

“Be a superhero for pets at our crowded shelter,” the post said. The post had nearly 200 comments and 1,700 shares as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, so the competition for adopting animals may be pretty fierce.

Additionally, pet owners can get a free rabies vaccination, microchip and pet ID tag when they license their animal. Licensing pets is required in Sacramento and runs $20 per pet, annually. Not complying with the law can result in a $300 citation.

Front Street Animal Shelter is located at 2127 Front Street in Sacramento.

If you’re unable to find a pet at Front Street, the Bradshaw Animal Shelter will host its monthly adoption event on Sunday, Aug. 19. The joint effort with radio station 106.5 The End lasts from 10 a.m. to noon at Elk Grove Subaru, which is located at 8581 Laguna Grove Drive.

The event’s organizers said in a Facebook post that the animal shelter will have several adoptable dogs on site. Each adoption includes a pair of River Cats tickets and 106.5 will be giving away prizes. Note that adoption and other fees may apply.

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