Community briefs, Feb. 3: PVUSD announces results of reading challenge

PVUSD announces results of reading challenge

WATSONVILLE — Pajaro Valley Unified School District Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez announced that the district read 9,959,810 of the 10 Million Words reading challenge that ended on Jan. 17 using “Paso a Paso, Creciendo Juntos,” or Step by Step, Growing Together, an app promoting early literacy in English and Spanish.

The 10 Million Word Challenge was five times the originally established challenge of two million words, which was reached soon after the challenge was announced mid-September.

According to PVUSD, through the challenge, students spent almost 5,000 additional hours on literacy and read 38,110 books.

“Paso a Paso, Creciendo Juntos, Step by Step, Growing Together is a strategy to accomplish our PVUSD Target for Student Success, and is integral to helping every child read on grade level by third grade,” Rodriguez said. “We are pleased to support our students and future students in becoming successful readers through Paso a Paso. Early access to literacy is key to fostering a love for reading.”

Top readers included the Child Development Department (1,395,473 words), Amesti Elementary (1,354,962 words) and HA Hyde Elementary (908,477 words).

Rodriguez announced another challenge that would result in two young students winning a donated Chromebook. Omnipro of San Francisco donated Chromebooks to PVUSD in support for early literacy achievement. The challenge will be rolled out to the schools on Valentine’s Day and the winners will be announced at the end of spring recess, April 9.


County Clerk offering Watsonville office hours

WATSONVILLE — The County Clerk will hold its monthly office hours in Watsonville on Wednesday for people who are applying for passports, marriage licenses, or fictitious business names; getting married; being sworn in as a Deputy Commissioner of Marriage; obtaining a health officer verification; or registering as a notary.

The hours are from 7:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the City Clerk’s Office located at 275 Main St., fourth floor (sixth floor of the parking garage).

The County Clerk offers office hours in Watsonville one Wednesday each month in an effort to make clerk services more accessible for South County residents.

For information or to make an appointment, call 454-2060 or visit the County Clerk’s website at


Corralitos Grange offering scholarships

CORRALITOS — The Corralitos Grange #487 is offering scholarships for ag majors.

Those who are interested and would like an application can call Shirley Spain at 724-7962 or email patnova[email protected]

The deadline is April 1.


Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center honored for reducing C-sections

SANTA CRUZ — Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz was recently recognized by the California Health and Human Services Department (CHHS) for reducing cesarean births for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies.

Nine hospitals at the not-for-profit network have among the lowest cesarean section (C-section) rates in California, and were named to the state’s 2017 Hospital C-section Honor Roll.

The agency announced the honor roll recognition on behalf of Smart Care California, a coalition of public and private health care purchasers that collectively cover 16 million people statewide — or 40 percent of all Californians. It is the second consecutive year that Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz has made the list.

“Quality and safety are our top priorities here and our clinicians work hard to ensure our C-section rates are low,” said Trina White, chief administrative officer of Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz. “We deliver patient-centered care to make sure that mothers and babies are supported in every way and that they are healthy and happy throughout the birth process.”

Even for low-risk, first-birth pregnancies, there is a huge variation in hospital C-section rates. Rates in California hospitals range from less than 15 percent to more than 60 percent. To respond to the rise in unnecessary C-sections, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the Healthy People 2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low-risk, first-births to 23.9 percent.

The Smart Care California honor roll acknowledges hospitals that have achieved — and in many cases gone beyond — that goal. The Sutter Health system NTSV C-section Rate for a rolling 12 months ending Nov. 30, 2017 was 21.3 percent, below the 23.9 national goal.


Tax-defaulted properties to be auctioned

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — Twenty-two tax-defaulted properties across the county are scheduled to be auctioned from March 2-5.

Each of the properties are a minimum of five years past due on taxes. The properties range from undeveloped land, agricultural property and homes that are located throughout the county.

Among the properties in Watsonville are the former location of Patito Video at 1106 Freedom Blvd. and agriculture land on 144 Coy Drive.

The auction will be held online at

The website lists the properties, minimum bids and outlines the instructions and requirements for bidding, which include a $5,000 refundable deposit.

Pre-registration for bidders is required by Feb. 26.

The county holds a tax-defaulted property auction every year, with debtors allowed to redeem properties up until the auction is held. The list of available properties is subject to change.

Once a winning bid is announced, payment is due within 48 hours.


Health department warns consumers about shellfish

MONTEREY COUNTY — The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams or whole scallops from Monterey County. 

Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have been detected in mussels from this area. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin.

This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources.

PSP toxins affect the central nervous system, producing a tingling around the mouth and fingertips within a few minutes to a few hours after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.

For information, call the CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133.


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