Community briefs, May 10, 2019

Dientes Beach Flats clinic crosses milestone

SANTA CRUZ — More than 700 low-income patients have come to the Dientes Community Dental Care Beach Flats location in the past eight months, bringing the number of visits to 2,500 since it opened in September 2018.

Dientes expanded its Beach Flats clinic days thanks to the support of Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente.

According to the Oral Health Access Santa Cruz County Strategic Plan, only 31 percent of MediCal patients can access a dentist in the county, making the demand for dental care extremely high.

Because of this difficulty of finding consistent dental care or a dental home, many patients need extensive treatment to improve their oral health.

“Before we were open as a full-time clinic, it was difficult to fit patients in to complete all the care they needed,” said Beach Flats clinic Manager Nicole Mello. “Now that we are open four days a week, we have been able to help patients finish their treatment and begin to focus on preventative care for even more patients.”


50 year class reunion for Watsonville-Aptos-Mora Class of 1970

The 1970 graduating classes of Watsonville, Aptos and Mora high schools are planning a 50-year reunion on Sept. 19, 2020 at the Seascape Golf Club in Aptos.

Class members are encouraged to visit to update contact information and spread the word about the event.

For additional information email [email protected]


California Water Service Group Opens College Scholarship Program

The California Water Service Group officially opened its annual College Scholarship Program. Eligible students residing in areas served by the utility’s California, Hawaii and Washington subsidiaries may now apply online for one of the scholarships under the $60,000 program, which provides two $10,000 grand-prize awards and additional, smaller awards for college and higher-education expenses.

“Through the California Water Service Group Scholarship Program, we hope to support the next generation of leaders in the communities we serve,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As they embark upon the next stage of their lives, we want to help young scholars who are bright, hard-working, and ambitious – those who share our commitment to making good things happen in their communities.”

To apply to the College Scholarship Program, students must be pursuing a degree in higher education and plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate program at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school for the upcoming academic year. Scholarships will be awarded based on academic achievement, community service and financial need.

The annual scholarships are part of the Group’s stockholder-funded philanthropic giving program and are not paid for by customers’ rates. The program is administered by Scholarship Management Services, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To date, Group has provided $300,000 in scholarships to students through the program.

To learn about the scholarship program or to apply, California students can visit The application period for the sixth-annual program will close at 1 p.m. PT on June 17. Winners will be announced in August.


Santa Cruz County Bank Ranked as Optimal Bank in 2018 by Seifried & Brew

SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz County Bank, a locally owned and operated full-service community bank headquartered in Santa Cruz County, was recently ranked as an optimal performer in the prestigious Seigfried & Brew 2018 Top 15th Percentile. The Top 15th Percentile represents a select group of high-performing banks that are made up of the best 782 out of 5,213 community banks in the nation. Within the Top 15th, Santa Cruz County Bank ranked 267th nationally and ranked seventh in California.

The Top 15th ranking is based on a comparison of the S&B Risk Index and measures of performance. The Risk Index includes an array of risk factors that banks must constantly manage, such as liquidity risk and capital risk. Measures of performance, or reward, are primarily a bank’s return on average assets or return on average equity. S&B measures individual bank performance by determining the balance of risk and reward and then compares banks across the United States. The banks included in this index have assets between $10 million and $30 billion.


Soquel Creek Water District honored with ‘Transparency Certificate of Excellence’

SOQUEL — The Soquel Creek Water District was recently honored by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF), a state-wide nonprofit dedicated to providing recognition and professional certifications to special district officials and employees. For the third time since 2015, the District has received the Transparency Certificate of Excellence. The District’s General Manager, Ron Duncan, also received the distinguished Special District Administrator Certification.

In February 2015, the District became the first special district in Santa Cruz County to receive the Transparency Certificate, which is awarded in recognition of outstanding transparency and good governance. Every two years, special districts must be re-accredited to demonstrate transparency is maintained, and updated with any new or required methodologies. Following the District’s initial recognition, SDLF reaccredited the District in April 2017. Now, the District is again reaccredited for another two years, as of April 2019. 

“We are here to serve the community. It is our obligation to keep our customers informed and involved on all the issues facing the District and about actions we take on behalf of our customers.” said Dr. Tom LaHue, President of the District’s Board of Directors. “This award recognizes that our staff and Board are doing a good job of that. We’re honored and proud to achieve this certification from the SDLF, and are dedicated to continuing to meet that high standard.”


Congressman Panetta cosponsors bipartisan legislation to repeal tax hike on Gold Star Families

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20) announced that he is an original cosponsor to bipartisan legislation repealing an unnecessary tax hike on Gold Star families.

The 2017 tax law reclassified how Gold Star children’s assets are taxed, increasing the tax rate on their survivor benefits from 12 to 15 percent up to 37 percent.

The Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act, H.R. 2481, introduced by Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA-02), would reclassify such benefits as earned income, significantly reducing the tax burden.

Several members of the Congressional For Country Caucus, a caucus providing principled military veteran Members of Congress a platform to work in a cross-partisan manner, also cosponsored the legislation.

“Families of fallen servicemembers deserve the support and gratitude of the nation,” said Panetta, Founder and Chair of the For Country Caucus. “This legislation ensures Gold Star spouses and children receive their earned benefits as previously constituted and are not burdened with an egregious tax hike.”


Red Cross urges blood donations to help trauma patients

There’s no way to predict when or where an accident will happen. That’s why the American Red Cross needs donors to give blood and platelets during Trauma Awareness Month this May and throughout the year to help ensure that trauma centers are prepared the moment an injured patient arrives. 

Donors of all blood types are urged to give now to help meet the needs of trauma patients and others with serious medical conditions. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

In thanks, all those who come to donate blood, platelets or plasma with the Red Cross now through June 10, will receive a $5 Gift Card via email. More information are available at

Upcoming blood donation opportunities May 1-23:


• 5/15: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 220 Elk Street 


• 5/17: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Pajaro Valley Health Trust Hall, 85 Nielson Street.


SCBHS welcoming comments for Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Services the Santa Cruz County Suicide Prevention Task Force is seeking input on its draft Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan, which was released earlier this month.

The plan envisions a system of prevention, intervention and postvention through priorities that include the establishment of new programs and services, an improved understanding of local strengths and needs and better information sharing and collaboration.

View and download the plan at under “Suicide Prevention Draft Strategic Plan 2019.”

Comments on the draft can be submitted through May 16 directly through that website under “Submit a Public Comment” or at 763-8203. The Task Force will hold a town hall meeting to receive additional feedback May 16, 5:30-7 p.m. at 1400 Emeline Ave., Building K, Room 206-207.


Adult ed art show

WATSONVILLE — The community is invited to an art show featuring the work of students from Watsonville/Aptos/Santa Cruz Adult Education art classes.

The event is today at the center at 320 Rodriguez Street from 12:30 until 5 p.m.

The free event includes pottery making for kids, painting activities, collage making and food.

For information, call 713-8442.


Video News
More In Local News