American River Parkway Alcohol Restriction For ‘Rafting Gone Wild’

For safety, the Regional Parks Director has issued an alcohol restriction on the American River from Hazel to Watt Avenues in preparation for a non-permitted event – Rafting Gone Wild – June 25, 2016.

In 2012, The Rafting Gone Wild event resulted in multiple arrests, destruction of public and private property, and presented a significant threat to the safety of the public and our community in large part due to the intoxication level of the participants.  The event being advertised for Saturday has a strong focus on alcohol consumption, which contributes greatly to public safety concerns.

As a result of the potential risks to the community including park visitors, rescue personnel and law enforcement, the Director of Regional Parks has issued an alcohol restriction for June 25, 2016.  Violations of the alcohol restriction will be strictly enforced.



Aerial spraying to control West Nile Virus scheduled

Aerial spraying to control mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus in the area of Arden Arcade and Carmichael scheduled on June 22nd and 23rd from approximately 8:00pm to midnight. Sign up for live updates by texting "sprayupdate" to 31996.
Aerial spraying to control mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus in the area of Arden Arcade and Carmichael scheduled on June 22nd and 23rd from approximately 8:00pm to midnight. Sign up for live updates by texting “sprayupdate” to 31996.

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District announced today that aerial treatment for mosquitoes that carry the potentially fatal West Nile virus is scheduled for north of the American River (Arden-Arcade and Carmichael) on Wednesday, June 22, and Thursday, June 23, from approximately 8 pm to midnight. Vector Control reports the spraying is necessary to reduce the risk of human infection and protect public health.



West Nile Virus cases spike in Sacramento County

Sacramento County is reporting an abnormally early and strong start to West Nile Virus cases, with numbers that are second highest in the state.

According to the California Department of Public Health West Nile Virus website, Sacramento County has 47 cases in which the virus was found in dead birds and 16 cases where it was found in mosquito samples.

In comparison, at this time last year, there was one case, total.

“We have one of the largest surveillance programs in the state, so obviously the more mosquitos you trap, the more that you collect, the more you test, and the more activity you are going to find,” said Luz Maria Robles, with Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control. “We have about 23 species of mosquitos within our two counties, and out of 23 only two are capable of transmitting West Nile Virus.”

Robles said the increased rain, combined with heat, is the perfect breeding ground for the virus-carrying mosquitos.

“Heat accelerates a mosquito’s life cycle so that means they more quickly go from an egg to an adult mosquito,” Robles said. “So this year it’s like we got a little bit of a head start, or we started the season off with a bang, because we did have rain followed by that warm weather.”

The hardest hit areas of West Nile Virus are north of the American River from Arden-Arcade through Carmichael. Robles credits residents as being an important tool by reporting dead birds.

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Full weeklong Rainbow Bridge closure begins June 20

Major repair work to protect and preserve the century-old Rainbow Bridge in Folsom will require a full weeklong closure from 6 a.m. on June 20 to 5 p.m. on June 24.

Riley Street will be closed between Scott Street and Greenback Lane at Folsom-Auburn Road. Motorists can expect traffic delays and are encouraged to take Lake Natoma Crossing to Natoma Street to Riley Street as an alternate route. Detours will be clearly marked and message signs will alert motorists in advance of the closure before work begins. Local access will be available for Sudwerk’s Grille, the bicycle trail on the north side, and to the Powerhouse State Park.

Rainbow Bridge, which spans the American River at Greenback Lane, has provided a major connection for businesses and residents on both sides of Lake Natoma for nearly 100 years.  More than 25,000 motorists cross the bridge daily.  Work will include bridge resurfacing, barrier rail repairs and pavement repairs on the roadway approaching the bridge.

The closures are necessary to perform work on the Rainbow Bridge Maintenance Project.  The rehabilitation project will extend the lifespan of the historic bridge and provide a smoother and safer drive for motorists. The $1.1 million project is funded largely by a federal grant administered by the Caltrans Bridge Preventative Maintenance Program.

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Beat the heat: Kayaking on Lake Natoma

Kathy Lynn, of El Dorado Hills, went kayaking for the first time and wasn’t sure of what she was about to experience.

“Kayaking was always something I wanted to do,” she said. “I live so close to the facility and I thought it would be relaxing and fun. The only thing I was concerned about was getting into the kayak without it tipping over.”

Lynn is excited to do it again because she had a very enjoyable experience, she said.

“It was very relaxing and there weren’t a lot of people out on the lake the day I went,” Lynn said. “I am so happy I finally had the chance to get out there and do it!”

If you are looking for a relaxing day on the lake, but don’t have a boat, kayaking might be perfect for you.

At the reasonable price of $11 for non-Sacramento State University students and $8 for students, smoothly paddling through the water is a perfect weekend activity.

First when arriving at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center, you check in at the front counter and rent the kayak, said Brian Dulgar, the director the facility. Next, you fit yourself with a properly sized life jacket. Sizes range from toddler all the way to XXL, he said. The, you grab a paddle, get in your kayak by the water and paddle away for as long as you want.

“Kayaking is for everyone,” Dulgar said. “I have two daughters and they grew up here. They were exposed to water starting at 18 months old. We encourage all ages to try it and have the ability to become comfortable around and in the water.”

A nice thing about kayaking is that on a day with a nice temperature it can be an escape from life and an relaxing experience, he said.

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Swift water rescue teams saving lives

Summer is a fun season to hangout on the river with friends for a day of relaxation in the sun, but sometimes in fast moving waters, things can turn ugly fast.

“A call comes out, and we respond to Tiscornia Park with an elapse time of about 10 minutes, said Michael VanCamp, president of DART, the Drowning Accident Rescue Team. “We get on scene and our Swift Water Team enters the water and starts a hasty search in the area that bystanders said they ‘thought’ was the area.”

Concurrently, VanCamp finds the person that actually saw the missing person. This took him about two to three minutes to locate the witness. The elapsed time is now approximately 18-20 minutes, he said.

“I perform the ‘Show Me’ portion of the interview and learn the location that the Swift Water Team was searching was off by about 30 degrees, VanCamp said. “Once the Swift Water Team adjusts the search area, they found the man within moments.  The team brought him up and to the shore. Once at the shore Fire/AMR took him. They started CPR and transported him to the hospital.”

This is just one example of many heroic efforts DART performs when they get a call about a possible drowning.

DART is a non-profit, all volunteer organization whose mission is to save lives and recover property from various lakes and waterways. They respond to all water related issues within Sacramento County as well as all areas touching Sacramento County.

“We’ve responded as north as Clear Lake and south down past Stockton,” VanCamp said. “During the summer season, we have a large amount of calls to Tiscornia Park, by Discovery Park, and up the American River.”

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17-year old hiker airlifted with minor injuries

Amanda Lee, 17, fell 60 feet down a rocky hillside after hiking near the American River Thursday. She was soon airlifted by a CHP helicopter to Sutter Roseville hospital with only minor injuries.
Lee was with her friend, Hailey Cade, when Cade said Lee simply stepped on the wrong rock at around 1 p.m. near the Auburn Dam Overlook.
“We were hiking and trying to take a picture when she stepped on a rock and fell,” Cade said, holding a large camera, while her friend was flown off. CalFire suspected Lee had an arm injury, but was otherwise okay.
Units responded to the emergency from CalFire, Auburn City Fire, AMR ambulance and Auburn Police Department. Two California Highway Patrol helicopters arrived at first after participating in a training operation near Tahoe.
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Folsom Lake rangers predict busiest weekend in years

State park rangers predicted Friday that as many as 75,000 people will visit Folsom Lake during the Memorial Day weekend to take advantage of the reservoir’s highest water level in years.

Ranger Ryan Steele said the crowd could be the biggest since the drought began four years ago.

“We’ve had such a low water level that the lake hasn’t been very enticing for everybody,” Steele said. “Now, they have the opportunity to come out here and really use it for its full recreational potential.”

By early Friday afternoon, cars and trailers with boats were starting to line up the Granite Bay entrance to Folsom Lake State Park.

On the beach at Beal’s Point, extra lifeguards are scheduled to be on duty.

The campgrounds are reserved for all three days of the weekend.

Myrna Bennett, of San Francisco, said her weekend at Folsom was just the start of a summer of campouts.

“Then we’re planning to go to Rancho Seco in Sacramento. Then we’re planning to go to Lake Shasta,” Bennett said. “And the other one, it’s (Lake) Tulloch.”

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Body recovered from American River, Sacramento fire says

Crews recovered the body of a drowning victim Friday afternoon from the American River, the Sacramento Fire Department said.

The identity of the person, a male of an undetermined age, is unknown. The body has been turned over to the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office.

The body was discovered around 3 p.m. by a person paddle boating down the river near the Howe Avenue boat ramp.

“I saw a couple of feet so I got back to it to double check, and I see two hands floating up and mossy,” Mel Mendez said. “There was another another family of paddle boaters, and I said, ‘Can you confirm this? I think I found a body.'”

DART searched upstream from the Howe Avenue Bridge before the body was recovered, fire department spokesperson Chris Harvey said.

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Bald Eagles Spotted in Sacramento County

A couple of bald eagles have been seen recently near Lake Natoma, just about 20 miles east of Sacramento off Highway 50.

During a visit to the lake on Wednesday, FOX40 spoke with several people who reported recent bald eagle sightings.

“I was shocked that we even have them here,” remarked Mary Ann Williams, who captured iPhone images of the birds perched high up in a tree while she was hiking with a friend a few weeks ago.

“I don’t know why, but I looked up, and I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Williams said.

Wildlife experts say bald eagles are thriving due to conservation efforts.

“For the last 40 years or so, every wildlife agency has worked to bring them back,” explained Andrew Hughan of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Lake Natoma, surrounded by high dense trees, is a suitable habitat.

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