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Fit for the family

Family Circle Magazine’s second annual search lands Rocklin in top 10
By: Michael Althouse, The Placer Herald
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Recognized for going green, Rocklin was named one of 10 best towns for families in an article that appeared in Family Circle Magazine. According to Paula Chin, senior editor for Family Circle, the magazine was focusing not only on good schools, low crime and great neighborhoods, but also environmentally friendly towns. “This year we wanted to highlight towns for going green,” Chin said. “We were looking for small towns with populations between 15,000 and 150,000,” she said, adding that average income and home prices were also considerations. Chin said that this is the second year the magazine has recognized the best towns for families. “The first year we had a phenomenal response, it generated more (Internet) traffic than any other Family Circle article,” Chin said. Starting with demographic data that fit the magazines criteria regarding population, income, home prices and a town’s efforts to be environmentally friendly, the magazine began an exhaustive process to reduce the list to the top 10. “You might find a town that in terms of data looks great on paper but then we’d talk to people and something came up and we would have to take them off the list,” she said. The other towns on this year’s list include: South Burlington, Vt.; Oro Valley, Ariz.; Brunswick, Ohio; Shoreview, Minn.; Wheeling, Ill.; Webster Groves, Mo.; Broken Arrow, Okla.; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.; and Ankeny, Iowa. Winners from last year’s top 10 were not considered. “Last year the towns that won were so pleased that the mayors convened a conference, not to pat themselves on the back, but to share information and show how other towns could do the same,” Chin said. Rocklin City Councilmember Scott Yuill said that with “a great blend of business and schools and a diverse population, it’s no surprise to me that Rocklin is a great place for families.” “Green technologies can take a lot of different directions,” Yuill said, adding, “Rocklin is ripe for these kinds of companies to come in.” “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to previous city planners and council members,” he said. “From schools to the low crime rate to parks and open space, there are very few places where you can poke holes into what we’ve done here.” City Manager Carlos Urrutia gives credit to the city’s elected officials throughout the years. “They have stuck to the general plan. There is always a lot of pressure from groups who want to deviate from the general plan,” Urrutia said. “It’s a big honor to be selected, but the biggest honor is that it wasn’t solicited,” he said. “We didn’t apply for this, they found us on their own.” “It goes beyond the city and the schools and the businesses, it’s everybody working together,” Urrutia said. Denise Owings, her husband Dane and their children moved to Rocklin from Sacramento about eight years ago. “We liked the beauty of the town and the school district is outstanding,” Owing said. “Family involvement in the schools is very important,” she said, adding there are a lot of young families in the community - another of Family Circle’s considerations. About four years ago, the Owings opened Owings American Taekwondo Association Black Belt Academy in Rocklin, a business that encourages family involvement. While the Owings still have a martial arts business in Sacramento, the family moved to Rocklin en masse. When the Owings lived in Sacramento, Dane’s sister and her family as well as his parents lived nearby. Now they are all in Rocklin within walking distance of each other.