Community briefs, Aug. 30, 2019


Beginning Taiko for people with Parkinson’s

Evidence suggests that Taiko can improve mobility, improve cognitive function through patterning and vocalization, reduce pain and lessen depression through community building. NextStage Productions and Watsonville Taiko are teaming up to offer a class for people with Parkinson’s Disease on Mondays from 10-11 a.m., beginning on Sept. 9 through Oct. 28, with a demonstration/performance for friends and family on Nov. 4.

It is not a drop-in class, and participants must be registered. There are still places left.

Practice drums will be provided and there is no charge for this class. Drummers can buy a set of drumming sticks (bachi) for $5.

For information or to reserve a place in the class, contact Julie Lorraine at 688-0888.

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Watsonville-Mora class of ‘64 reunion

Watsonville and Mora high schools graduating classes of 1964 are planning a joint 55th year reunion on Sept. 28.

For information call Jodi Steenstrup at 588-1030, Carolyn Hayes at 688-6410 or Jane Fort at 728-8722.

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Wine tasting benefits Habit for Humanity

SANTA CRUZ — Staff of Life Natural Foods will host “Taste the Best and Forget the Rest Fest,” benefit for benefit Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay, a local non-profit in Santa Cruz County, on Sept. 8 from 3-6 p.m.

Staff of Life will offer more than 50 wines at the event, including local wines Storrs, Alfaro, Keenan Vineyard, Mountain Peoples and imports from around the world. Tasting categories include: Local Wine, High-end Wine, Biodynamic Wine, Natural Wine, Pink Wine, Summer Sippers and Cider. Gourmet cheese will also be available to taste and purchase.

“We have pulled together the top winemakers and wines to offer Santa Cruz, Monterey, Los Gatos and surrounding areas for a not to miss event,” said Cesar Olivares, Sommelier, Cheesemonger and Director of Specialty at Staff of Life.

Tickets available at eventbrite for $10. At the door they are $18. Must have ticket to taste.

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PVUSD looking for crossing guards

The Pajaro Valley Unified School District is looking to hire crossing guards for the 2019-20 school year.

Apply online at pvusd.net.

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Land Trust permanently protects 27 acres of Phil Foster Ranch 

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA — San Benito Agricultural Land Trust (SBALT) recently announced the permanent protection of 27 acres of Phil Foster Ranch, also known as Pinnacle Organically Grown, in San Benito County’s fertile San Juan Valley.

The agricultural conservation easement was purchased by the Land Trust with mitigation funds originating from two housing development projects in nearby Hollister.   

Phil and Katherine Foster have been farming organically for 30 years. They produce about 60 different crops on 295 acres across two ranches, one in San Juan Bautista and the other in Hollister. They market their crops, including vegetables, fruits, nuts and apple juice, at the farm on Saturdays, farmers markets throughout the Central Coast, retail stores throughout Santa Cruz County and through several regional wholesalers. 

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Friends of SC County Parks hires new executive director

Mariah Roberts will take the helm of Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks as executive director, the non-profit organization recently announced.

Roberts is an educator and designer raising her children in Live Oak. She spent 12 years working throughout the South Bay and Central Coast counties as an education consultant designing, building and implementing unique play spaces and curricula for children with developmental and medical needs.

More recently, in her position as executive director of the Chanticleer Park Neighbors Association, she created a groundbreaking public-private partnership with the County of Santa Cruz and grassroots volunteer organizations to design, fund and build the county’s first fully-inclusive playground, LEO’s Haven at Chanticleer Park, which is slated to open winter of 2019-20.

As one of Roberts’ first executive actions, she spearheaded the launch of a County Park Friends Membership Program to support expanded access to swim lessons for youth across the county. 

Meet Roberts and learn more about the County Park Friends Membership Program at the Free Community Swim at Simpkins Swim Center Monday from noon-4 p.m.

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National Preparedness Month

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday proclaimed September 2019 as National Preparedness Month, emphasizing the importance of being prepared for local emergencies or disasters.

“Santa Cruz County has seen more than its share of emergencies, and our community knows the importance of disaster preparedness,” Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chair Ryan Coonerty said. “We encourage everyone to sit down with their families and create emergency plans that take into account neighborhood evacuations, disaster supplies, family medical needs, pets, family communications and more. The more we do now to prepare, the more resilient we become.”

Santa Cruz County is vulnerable to a variety of disasters, including storms, earthquakes, wildfires, flooding, power outages and more. Residents are encouraged to download the Code Red app to make sure they receive emergency notifications, and the County Office of Emergency Services maintains a number of preparedness resources for residents and their families at www.santacruzcounty.us/OES.

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Community Bridges purchases property to house Lift Line fleet

WATSONVILLE — Community Bridges, one of the largest nonprofit agencies in Santa Cruz County, has purchased property on Ohlone Parkway in Watsonville to serve as the hub for its Lift Line fleet.

Lift Line provides over 60,000 door-to-door rides a year to seniors and people with disabilities in need of medical transportation throughout the region of Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Lift Line is also the first and only transit organization currently operating electric vehicles (EVs) in Santa Cruz County.

Previously Lift Line was renting property on Ford Street in Watsonville, but the new property will provide a permanent location for Lift Line’s fleet of 17 vehicles.

“Our purchase of the Ohlone Parkway property is exciting for both Community Bridges and the City of Watsonville,” Ray Cancino, Community Bridges CEO, said. “This purchase has ensured permanency to the transportation service and will allow us to continue to provide critically needed free transportation for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. It will also allow us to be more environmentally responsible.”

Community Bridges’ plans for the property include installing publicly available charging stations for EVs and building a solar canopy to power both the building and its vehicles.

“We are in it for the long-term benefit to our community,” Cancino said.

Lift Line plans to move in October 2019 after $300,000 of renovations have been completed.

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PV Education Foundation Fundraiser

The Pajaro Valley Education Foundation will hold a fundraiser at Jalisco Restaurant on Sept. 12 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 per person.

In addition to food and company, attendees will have the opportunity to bid on various items during the evening’s silent auction.

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Prunedale to host Dog Agility Regional Championships

The United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. (USDAA®) will close its 2019 Regional Championship qualifying season with the Western Regional Championship in Prunedale from Saturday to Monday.

Hundreds of canine athletes and their handlers will gather at the Manzanita Park Sports Complex to compete for top honors as well as qualification to the Cynosport® World Games. The National Dog Agility Championship to be held in Tennessee this October.

The Bay Team, a San Francisco area-agility club, has been hosting the USDAA® Western Regional Championship for the past 17 years. Club secretary Karey Krauter of Palo Alto said the competition will attract nearly 300 dogs and about 200 humans from Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Canada.

“I love seeing all the best competitors in the west come out for this,” Krauter said. “They are so inspiring.”

Spectators at the Western Regional Championship are admitted free. Competition begins at 9 a.m. each day and runs through late afternoon Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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Six-state effort for Labor Day fights impaired driving

SACRAMENTO — Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest on the highways, which makes impaired driving even more dangerous. To help keep the roadways safe, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is joining forces with five other Western states with the slogan “No safe place for impaired drivers” to crack down on drunk and drugged driving for the coming holiday weekend.

In partnership with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the state patrols of Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington will work as a Western States Traffic Safety Coalition to place special emphasis on the enforcement of drug-impaired driving.

The states will jointly stress that driving under the influence (DUI) means drugs as well as alcohol in their educational efforts.

In California, roads will be patrolled by all available CHP officers for the Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP), from 6:01 p.m. today to 11:59 p.m. Monday.

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Dominican adds 3D navigation system for lung cancer

SANTA CRUZ — A new 3D navigation system for lung tumors at Dignity Health Dominican Hospital helps doctors save lives by finding and treating early-stage lung cancer sooner than previous technology allowed. 

The new technology can help find cancers at stage 1—where the cure rate is at least 80 percent—compared to the average survival rate of just over one year by the time cancer reaches stage 4.

“Dominican Hospital is the first facility in Santa Cruz County to offer this new, life-saving tool,” said Dominican President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “It’s part of Dominican’s ongoing commitment to ensure that our community has access to leading-edge technologies and care.”

The lung biopsy navigation system generates a 3D roadmap of the lung and pathways to the tumor by incorporating CT scan images together with electromagnetic sensors, which are placed on the patient’s chest during the procedure. Utilizing advanced mapping software, physicians are able to follow the most accessible pathway through the airway to the lesion.

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