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Finding your passion is everything as a champion lacrosse team, a history buff and a cancer survivor prove. Read about your neighbors' accomplishments here.

Walking in the footsteps of a pioneer

David Scharlach

David Scharlach, a Deer Creek Hills docent, is discovering -- and sharing -- bits of area history.

"There are fascinating little tidbits of history that I think are just phenomenal," says Murietan David Scharlach about the things he's learned on the way to becoming a Sacramento Valley Conservancy Deer Creek Hills docent.

He knew a little about the area and the docent training piqued his interest in learning more. "It got very addictive and I started going to the California State Historical Library, the state archives, the Pioneer Room," he recalled.

Among the people he's learned about are the Miser family, Rancho Murieta's long-ago neighbors. Dressed like Solomon Miser, Scharlach makes history come alive when he tells hikers about the settler who came out west in 1847 and led a small wagon train when he returned with his family after gold was found. The enterprising Miser established a toll road that's present day Latrobe Road, according to Scharlach. The Miser family cemetery can still be seen in Deer Creek Hills.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Scharlach led hikers on a natural history tour to close out the spring hiking season at Deer Creek Hills. He showed them grinding rocks and the remnants of old homesteads to tell the story of how Native Americans and pioneers lived on the land.

"There are things about this area that few people know. At one point in time it was surveyed by William Tecumseh Sherman. Before he went back to fight in the Civil War, he actually owned 2,600 acres ... we don't know exactly where, but probably somewhere in the Cosumnes Township," said Scharlach. "In his memoirs he says, 'I crossed over the Cosumnes River and headed north into the foothills,' which is exactly Deer Creek Hills, which is exactly Rancho Murieta."

He points out that Carson Creek is named for Kit Carson, another famous figure who passed this way.

To anyone who knows David Scharlach, the enthusiasm and energy he brings to his pursuit of history come as no surprise. For years, as scout master for Boy Scout Troop 633, he shared his interest in astronomy and made the night skies a knowable part of their world.

The Falcons are division lacrosse champs


The Falcons -- division champions.

Story and photo courtesy of Pleasant Grove Lacrosse Club

The first-year lacrosse Junior C team known as the Falcons, in association with Katherine L. Albiani Middle School, handily won their semi-final and final games in Marin County on May 20, to bring home the title of champions for their division. It was an exciting, emotional victory for the boys, coaches and families alike.

"This was the best day of my life," said Mitchell Abess, 13, after he received his gold medal from the sponsoring Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association.
There were 19 teams in the division and the Falcons entered the finals with a record of 13, 5 and 1 for the season. The Falcons were defeated in their five regular season losses by the same teams that played the final four games on Sunday. In the first game, the Falcons beat first-place Yuba City, who had not lost a division game all season, with a score of 8-4. The championship game was against San Jose for a final of 6-3.

Lacrosse originated with the Native North Americans and is the oldest sport in America. Extremely popular in the East, lacrosse is the fastest-growing game in the U.S. and is rapidly gaining in popularity on the West Coast. In 2001 Major League Lacrosse was founded and there are now 10 teams, including the San Francisco Dragons, with two more slated for next year. Locally, in Elk Grove there was one team in 2006, and four in 2007. The Falcons' club, the Pleasant Grove Lacrosse Club (PGLC), expects to oversee four teams next year as well, including at least one girls' team. In addition, teams are sprouting up in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville and nearly every nearby community.

"Every kid that picks up a stick gets hooked on the sport. Most of these boys never held a stick before we began practicing in February," said Falcons' Coach Paul Frank. "It's hard to explain the magnitude of what they have accomplished in winning a Northern California state title. They far surpassed my wildest expectations, that they could come together, work that hard, and achieve that level of success."

The Falcons' team, consisting of 25 seventh and eighth graders, was launched by the PGLC in 2006 to provide a local opportunity for the boys and their families. "It's really great to be a part of something that is still new and growing," said PGLC President and Falcons' Manager Paul Abess. "Not only were the kids excited, but the parents were awesome and always ready to participate and help the team out. It was a very positive experience all around. Traditionally, this game is held to a high standard. We saw that all season long."

The PGLC will be looking for more coaches next year for boys' and girls' teams and will begin planning the season in the fall. For more details or to inquire about coaching, please e-mail mailto:paulabess@sbcglobal.net?subject=Your story at RanchoMurieta.com.

A cancer survivor's story


People of all ages helped fight cancer in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure.

Photo and story courtesy of Joelle Brincka

My daughter Breanne and I joined Allison Smith's Team "Happy 2 B Here" of Murietans in the recent Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure in Sacramento. We all joined her team to support her in her effort to celebrate her but also to bring awareness to the cause. We had a wonderful day, walking/jogging/running, young and old, survivors, all joined to support this amazing cause and Allison, our friend and neighbor whom we are proud of. This is her story.

One in seven women will be stricken with breast cancer in her lifetime. On Oct. 18, 2005, Allison found out she was number seven. When she started treatment, her daughter Veronica simply told her the cancer would go away despite the odds and despite its advanced stage. And amazingly -- after eight weeks of chemotherapy -- this is exactly what happened. No surgery or radiation. A complete remission.

Prior to her diagnosis, Allison worked out regularly at Murieta Health Club. After her diagnosis, she did not want that to change. So she kept on going. Even during the worst of the chemo, exercise provided a wonderful reassurance, a sense of control and renewed her strength.

Soon her hair started to fall out, first in strands, then clumps. She never set out to be an inspiration. She just wanted to be here for her kids' birthdays. But if she can inspire anyone, that is just an added blessing.

So, having so many of us willing to run with her makes her feel very thankful. Allison's team was lost in the sea of runners, but, just like the team name says, "Happy 2 B Here." If we can help just one woman to avoid what she went through, it's all worth it.

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