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Vacaville Music Therapy is touching young lives

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Music therapist, Brianna McCulloch (left) uses sign language to communicate with Rayna Neff, 13 of Vacaville during a recent session. McCulloch uses the rhythm of the music to help Neff learn words by regulating her speed and to help form syllables.Ê (Joel Rosenbaum -- The Reporter)

Sometimes when 13-year-old Rayna Neff sees her music therapist, Brianna McCulloch, she gets so excited that she can’t get her words out.

Rayna was born with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, a rare disease that appears in just one out of 50,000-60,000 people. The syndrome, which prevents the body from making cholesterol, has also caused Rayna to be on the moderate to severe spectrum for autism. Her body cannot make cholesterol.

“It really affects her brain,” said her mom, Nicole Neff. “Her neurons do not fire properly. It causes intellectual disability.”

Rayna is at the developmental level of a toddler. She is so happy when she sees her therapist that the words won’t come. But McCulloch knows how to help.

Continue Reading on The Reporter

Hamilton’s ‘My Shot’ Been Adapted By CA Doctors To Convince People To Get Vaccinated

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The songs of Hamilton have been stuck in our heads since the Broadway musical was made available on Disney+ last summer. The Tony-winning show from Lin-Manuel Miranda has had its second wind of having a huge cultural moment since first debuting on the stage in 2015. It has become the inspiration for a YouTube music number adapted by North California physician Dr. Andrew Liu, who wrote a new version of “My Shot” to educate the public about getting their COVID-19 vaccinations.

The doctor, who practices in Vacaville, California, decided to remix one of the popular big numbers from Hamilton and create a music video to promote the importance of vaccines to make the COVID-19 pandemic a distant memory. He recruited his wife, Dr. Tuong-Vi Ha, and six other local healthcare workers to reimagine “My Shot.”

Physicians… they get the job done. It’s a super impressive video complete with new raps and lyrics to the song from the award-winning musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. They cleverly trade out the metaphorical “shot” of taking a chance with the two literal shots in the arms they hope everyone will decide to make an appointment to get done once it becomes locally available to them. The song switches out “young, scrappy and hungry” for ”down, tired and angry” to describe medical workers’ deposition following a year of treating 124 million cases worldwide and 2.73 million deaths.

Continue Reading on Cinema Blend

Free Krispy Kreme Doughnut For Vaccinated Vacaville Customers

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VACAVILLE, CA — Many have heard health officials tout the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, but there’s a new sweet deal for those who do get vaccinated. Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut to those who have received one or two doses of the vaccine.

Krispy Kreme announced the promotion starting on Monday, March 22. Anyone who has received one or two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can request one free glazed doughnut. A COVID-19 vaccination record card must be shown to receive the offer.

The offer can be redeemed in the drive-thru or walk-in location but not through online ordering or delivery. A customer can receive one free doughnut per day with no purchase necessary, but there are no limits to how many times you can redeem it. All customers in a group can receive the free doughnut if they show their vaccination card. All U.S. locations are participating in the offer.

Continue Reading on Patch

Doctor rewrites ‘Hamilton’s’ ‘My Shot’ to get word out about COVID-19 vaccines

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A California doctor is trying to make sure that no one misses their shot so he’s rewritten the lyrics to one of the songs from the Tony Award-winning Broadway show “Hamilton.”

Dr. Andrew Liu who practices medicine in Vacaville, California, put his own spin on the song “My Shot,” rewriting it to tout the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, KVOR reported.

He and other medical professionals, who call themselves Vax in 8, sang and danced to the re-imagined song after he realized how many people were unwilling to get the vaccine, The Los Angeles Times reported.

After Liu had the idea for the song, he then asked others at his hospital not only to help brainstorm ideas, writing the song about four months ago, but also to appear in the production. The final edit was released earlier this month.

Dr. Tony Berger’s son made the animation used to illustrate how the vaccine works.

Continue Reading on Boston 25

5 Bay Area nurseries have the plants you’re looking for — orchids, palms and more

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VACAVILLE, CA - JANUARY 29: Ornaments and plants are displayed for customers at Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2020. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Sure, you can go to your favorite home improvement store and pick up the plants that everyone grows. But if there’s something special —something unique — you just have to have for your garden, nothing compares to a homegrown nursery, and the Bay Area boasts plenty of them.

While it’s true that big box stores, which often offer plants at discounted prices, have driven several family-owned businesses under, the nurseries that survived did so with clever pivots: They expanded their plant selection and focused on specialty plants, such as herbs, orchids, California natives, Asian plants and palms.

These are some of our favorites.

Continue Reading on Mercury News

San Juan Unified To Welcome Back All Students For First Time Since Distance Learning Began

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CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) – On Monday, the San Juan Unified School District is welcoming all students back for the first time since distance learning began more than a year ago.

It’s something that some students and parents like the Oldham family in Citrus Heights were happy to see come to fruition.

“I was really excited to take this chance and go back,” Audrey Oldham, a sophomore at Meraki High School, said.

“It just feels weird to have to reintroduce myself to some people and get to know people again,” Sabrina Oldham, a fifth-grader at Carriage Drive Elementary, said.

A spokesperson for the district said that there have been some students on campus that were there for special education and other types of programs prior to this move. The district is eager and excited to welcome back students again.

Continue Reading on CBS Sacramento

Coronavirus: Solano public schools unlikely to return to the ‘before times’

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Rebecca Schlafer-Miller a fifth-grade teacher at Edwin Markham Elementary School in Vacaville works with her students via Zoom during distance learning Tuesday. After a year of teaching by video conferencing software either from their homes or empty classrooms, teachers in the Vacaville Unified School District will be welcoming students back to school in the coming days. (Joel Rosenbaum -- The Reporter)

Like most of us, Vacaville area educators, students and families recall the week in March 2020 when their world began to change. A year and some days since, many long for the “before times.”

However, across Solano County and the nation, online education has taken root. As classroom instruction is about to resume in a hybrid model for what’s left of the academic year, local educators hold out hope that students will welcome the change.

In emailed responses to a series of Reporter questions, Ed Santopadre, associate superintendent for Vacaville Unified, noted ways student learning and achievement has been affected by the pandemic and remote learning.

“We are very proud of the work by our students, teachers, administrators and support staff to make sure students had the tools they needed and continue to motivate them to keep trying,” he said. “We have concerns about the academic progress of some students but believe we can work hard to have them catch up for what they missed. Learning is not a straight line and is very individual, so our teams are looking at each student and what supports they need.”

Continue Reading on The Reporter

Graduations In Person? California Allows Districts To Begin Making Ceremony Plans With Limits

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VACAVILLE (CBS13) — The pandemic has led to many missed milestones for students and their families, but there’s new hope graduation may go on.

The California Department of Public Health says districts can start making plans for possible in-person graduation ceremonies, as numbers trend in the right direction. The catch is that the ceremonies will likely be outdoors, with limits on who can attend.

“I’m missing out on my senior year,” said Samantha Brown, a Vacaville high school senior. Thanks to COVID, she’s lost nearly a year of activities.

“When it started, I really thought it would be two weeks or a month,” Brown said.

Starting Monday, she’s finally returning to campus and headed back to sports. Her family said things seem to be looking up.

“We’re just packing the whole year into five weeks,” said her mom, Lael Brown.

Continue Reading on CBS Local

Vacaville launches pilot program blending street cleanup with homeless work experience

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Andre T. Walker picks up litter near the Vacaville Art Gallery building Tuesday near Andrews Park. Walker is part of a pilot program called Vacaville Clean Streets that offers members of the city's houseless community, coaching, mentoring, and even the ability to perform citywide beautification tasks, such as cleaning up graffiti or picking up litter, receiving a gift card for their work at the end of the week.  (Joel Rosenbaum -- The Reporter)

A program aimed at providing job skill opportunities for unhoused individuals while also beautifying city streets has finally made its way into Vacaville in the form of a pilot program called Vacaville Clean Streets, which launched Tuesday.

Vacaville Clean Streets is an offshoot of Downtown Streets, a San Jose-based nonprofit that operates in several Northern California communities and provides a structured work program for the homeless. The program allows participants to receive coaching, mentoring and even the ability to perform citywide beautification tasks, such as cleaning up graffiti or picking up litter, receiving a gift card for their work at the end of the week.

Vice Mayor Nolan Sullivan has been trying to bring such a program to Vacaville, as he has seen the Downtown Streets program in person in West Sacramento, where he works as a service centers branch director for Yolo County’s Health & Human Services Agency.

“West Sacramento, in particular, has done some really unique things to assist their homeless but also assist the city and the residents,” he said. “We’ve been trying to bring something like this to Vacaville for the last few years.”

Continue Reading on The Reporter

Chase That Started In Vacaville Ends With Rollover Crash In Front Of California State Capitol

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A chase that started in Vacaville ended with a rollover crash right in front of the California State Capitol early Tuesday morning.

The chase started a little before 2 a.m. California Highway Patrol says they tried to pull over a driver in the Vacaville area on suspicion of speeding and possible DUI, but that driver took off.

Officers chased the suspect all the way to the Capitol Mall in Sacramento.

There, the car then appears to have hit some barriers and ended up flipping over.

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The driver and a passenger were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Continue Reading on CBS Local

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