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VW Sportwagen

Aug 31, 2008 ● By Super Admin

With the cost of fuel helping to short out the world’s economy, fewer people see the logic in buying massive SUVs for the daily grind. Interestingly, buyers who once saw station wagons as an automotive styling plague are beginning to rethink the idea of a tiny SUV, or essentially, a wagon. And, fuel economy aside, there are a lot of other reasons to love a wagon over an SUV – they’re easier to drive, ride better, often easier to get in and out of, take less room to park, frequently look better and are simply smarter for a daily use regime.Volkswagen is the latest to the segment with the new Jetta SportWagen. Where the Passat wagon was once the VW wagon of choice (it was the only one), the Jetta SportWagen brings a level of youthfulness and fun that the Passat is simply too formal and familial to offer. In a word, the SportWagen is fun. Yes, that adjective can be used in conjunction with wagon.The SportWagen is available in three trim levels and accompanying prices: S (starts at $18,999), SE (starts at $21,349), and SEL (starts at $25,990); and they are all well equipped from the get go. But, VW has taken the liberty of offering a wide array of optional extras to help tailor the exact SportWagen that customers would like to have. Things like polished aluminum exterior mirror covers, several rims from 16 inches to 18 inches, mild body kit upgrades, fog lights, leather, rear cargo cage, panoramic moon roof, manual or automatic transmission, and normally aspirated or turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (SEL only) are but a few of the things buyers can choose from to build the wagon that suits their lives perfectly.The top-of-the-line SEL is the best equipped with heated leather seats, leather shift knob, brake lever, and steering wheel, the turbocharged engine, 17-inch wheels, 12-position power driver’s seat with three-position memories, larger dual exhaust tips, premium sound system, and several more standard features that all come together to create a vehicle that truly rivals even higher-priced nameplates.Beyond how well equipped it is, the SEL is also no slouch, zipping to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds, roughly a full second quicker than the non-turbo equipped S or SE. Each is relatively athletic and much more inspiring than the heavier, larger Passat, but not quite as capable as an Audi A4. Again, keeping the prices in mind, the SportWagen is a gem.Poking around with the “Build It” feature at vw.com, and selecting the most expensive wheels, panorama moonroof, and no roof storage options, we were able to load an S model to the hilt, and tip the price to just over $28,000, but for all the goodies we checked off in the options box, it’s a bargain. We clicked the same options with an SEL and broke the piggy bank for a cool $37,917. A bit flabbergasting for a VW, but again, taking into account all of the bells and whistles, both standard and optional, it’s not a horrific deal, but does knock loudly upon the Audi A4 door. Electing the same options for an SE, we built a $33,276 wagon.In terms of comfort, the SportWagen isn’t cavernous, but it’s not tiny either – it’s just right. A little snug, but not overbearingly so, the seats are supportive, the visibility is good, and it’s simply an easy car to drive. It also offers no pretensions whatsoever, meaning you don’t get glaring jealous eyes staring at you along the highway, but rather curious folks wanting to know more. And, should you go antiquing one weekend, you’ll have plenty of room for all the needful things available, and the merchants won’t be inclined to demonstrate the pricier sides of their goods, thanks to owning a VW.Later in 2009, VW will offer a Clean Diesel version of the SportWagen, which promises to be a much more efficient vehicle than we’re used to seeing. Some sources cite that 35 MPG on the highway isn’t far fetched, and in town, the Clean Diesel SportWagen won’t be hard pressed to achieve 28 MPG, which is utterly amazing. However, the turbo and non-turbo gas-powered engines currently available do pretty well too, finding 21/31 (T) and 21/29 (NT) respectively.All things considered, the wagon is back, but in a new way. Thanks to sleek styling and ample performance, the VW SportWagen isn’t the plague-inducing wagon of yore, but rather a sexy alternative to the bank-breaking SUV.

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Youth Group

Aug 31, 2008 ● By Super Admin

Work together. Share. How many times will we utter these words to our kids before they reach 18? The answer to that question, for most of us, is incalculable. But for one organization, it is a mission. The Vision Coalition of El Dorado Hills – a nonprofit that works to increase development opportunities for area youth – practices what most of us so ardently preach.“The common thread that motivates this community is its youth,” says Coordinator Raeann Jones. “Because of the rapid growth of El Dorado Hills in recent years, villages have not had the time to coalesce. People do not know their neighbors and do not always feel comfortable reaching out. We have greater diversity now and need to learn to work together for the greater good.” Since its inception in 2003, the Coalition has partnered with decision makers representing 12 community “sectors” – business, health professionals, law enforcement, education, faith-based groups, service organizations and parents, among them – in a collaborative process for systematic change. According to Jones, involvement from these and other classifications provide an excellent paradigm for maximizing community input and accomplishment.The inclusive organizational structure of the Vision Coalition – made up of operational staff, a Youth Advisory Committee, Executive Advisory Committee, and board of directors – provides all community sectors with a voice, encourages contribution and supports an equal division of responsibilities. Jones explains that a group forum allows Coalition members to focus on similarities rather than differences in a non-threatening environment, and says that new relationships are forged and partnerships are formed at every meeting. Without collusion between the parties, the Coalition’s aims would be noble, but not achievable. The organization’s youth-centric mission is four-fold: to expand opportunities for youth that invite decision making; to increase school and social involvement; to coordinate the availability of youth-supporting resources and services; and to promote activities that keep young people healthy and free from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.  The Vision Coalition has played a key role in the development of several community projects, including the new Teen Center and Skate Park, and the Youth Transportation Van. It publishes a monthly newsletter, contributes to a weekly news column, and has helped make several videos and animated public service announcements for teens. In addition, the organization supports ongoing youth development training and peer-to-peer mentoring programs; hosts monthly birthday parties; tends a community garden for low-income youth; and has developed Project T.E.A.C.H. (Teens Educating Against Classroom Harassment) and the Parent Project – a 10-week adult-youth communication workshop. And somewhere in the middle of these efforts, the Coalition continues to sponsor a series of youth-centered health fairs, dances, concerts, raft trips teamwork and leadership training camps.“Long time residents of El Dorado Hills embrace the growth in the area, yet desire to maintain a tight-knit community where we know, care about and support each other,” says Jones. As such, the Vision Coalition, largely funded by grants, also accepts donations. Anyone is welcome to attend Coalition meetings. For times and locations, visit The Vision Coalition online at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.edhvisioncoalition.org">edhvisioncoalition.org</a> or call 916-643-4393.

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Artistic Expression

Aug 31, 2008 ● By Super Admin

Like love, art is indescribable – better defined as an act than as something that is. Here, we find four local inspirations who not only create art, but also define it. Lisa Magruder“Art is more than mere decoration,” says local artist Lisa Magruder. “Art brings beauty and truth to our lives. It causes people to think and feel, and keeps a community from growing stagnant. It links one community to another, not only in space, but also in time. It brings people together and records history in a universal way. A community without art would quickly diminish and be forgotten.” A renaissance woman – one who is extremely adept at many things – is a fitting way to describe Macgruder, an art enthusiast since childhood with an MFA in painting, who enjoys creating watercolors and acrylic paintings mixed with collage pieces and other multimedia. She also enjoys printmaking, etching and framing, and has parlayed the latter of these talents into a successful custom framing business, Frame Art Studio. Magruder’s skill as an artist – her eye for design, color, proportion, and familiarity with various types of art media, papers and canvas – has led to 25 years of longevity in the framing industry. As for doing business in Folsom, Magruder says, “There is an appreciation for art [here]. People enjoy and desire quality work and service. It has quickly become an artistic-minded community.” If the community looks to its artists for inspiration, Magruder looks to her faith; many ideas and titles of her work come directly from scripture. “How to communicate my spiritual experience to viewers in a way that speaks to each person individually is my challenge,” Magruder says, adding that she is also inspired by the reactions of others, and Post-Impressionist painters like Van Gogh and Gauguin. Currently serving as the events coordinator for the Folsom Art Association, Magruder also manages the art gallery for Lakeside Church and exhibits her work in revolving exhibits at local galleries, hotels, churches, restaurants and wineries. View her online work portfolio at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.frameartstudio.com">frameartstudio.com</a> or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.folsomarts.org">folsomarts.org</a>.<hr>For more Local Inspiring Artists, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Folsom, El Dorado Hills edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at [email protected], or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Preschool

Aug 31, 2008 ● By Super Admin

To say that young children are impressionable is a blatant understatement. From birth to age five, the physical framework and wiring of a child’s brain develops largely based upon his or her experiences during those early years.Quality experiences are the goal of First 5 California’s investment of nearly one billion dollars into affordable, quality preschools for all. First 5 Executive Director Kris Perry explains, “A series of studies over a period of 40 years shows that children who participate in high quality preschool programs are less likely to be in the court system, are less likely to require social services, are more likely to graduate from high school and college, and are more likely to make higher earnings.”  Experts say it’s the basic lessons learned in preschool that set the stage for success in school, and in life. ...What Parents Can Do at Home Whether or not a child attends preschool, caregivers can play a key role in kindergarten preparation. Many ideas are offered through First 5’s Kit for New Parents, available online or through the First 5 county offices.“The best advice is to talk, talk, talk… all the time,” says Perry. “Narrate the world. If you have a young child, don’t keep your thoughts to yourself.”  She says the number of words young children are exposed to correlates to their success in school and life. To help build social skills, parents also should provide ample opportunities for peer time in the form of playgroups, story time, and activities at a local park or pool.Taking simple steps now, to enrich the precious formative years of a child’s life, gives the best possible chance for success in the future.For more Preschool Inforamtion, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Roseville Granite Bay Rocklin edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at [email protected], or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Artistic Expression

Aug 31, 2008 ● By Super Admin

Fred Ekman – Master Of Watercolors And Wine Fred Ekman has worked as a professional artist for more than 15 years. His career as a teacher began in 1958, he retired in 2000 and has been practicing his love for art ever since. While Fred is known for his watercolor creations, several years ago he found himself accidentally dipping his paint brush into a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon (rather than his water). This led him to placing a stroke of the vibrant wine on his watercolor paper. “The patina of that color on the paper was marvelous. I decided to continue. Later, I placed a wine bottle and glasses, in a still life setting, and painted them with red wine,” says Fred. This finished piece became “Limoux Rouge.” One of his most unusual pieces, “A Season Turns” (an oil on canvas painting done for a breast cancer benefit), hangs in the lobby of LPL Financial in Folsom.Ekman and his wife Lois have been married for 53 years and currently live in Sun City Lincoln Hills retirement community. He is involved with the community’s theatre group designing sets and directing several productions. He has taken a major role in a play, and is actively involved with the local art league. He can also be found teaching drawing and painting at La Provence Restaurant in west Roseville once a month, and also at Beverly’s Fabrics and Crafts in Rocklin once a week. “I’m busier now that I ever was working full time,” says Ekman.     For more information about Fred Ekman, to view his artwork, or to learn about his classes, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://fredekman.com">fredekman.com</a>.<hr>For more Local Inspiring Artists, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Roseville Granite Bay Rocklin edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at [email protected], or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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