Community briefs, May 24, 2019

CalFresh benefits expand to serve seniors, people with disabilities

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY – The County of Santa Cruz recently announced the expansion of the CalFresh food assistance program to serve people who receive Supplemental Security Income/Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP) benefits beginning June 1.

CalFresh benefits are being offered with no change or reduction to SSI/SSP benefits, and the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department is prepared to help eligible SSI recipients apply for this historic expansion, which could serve up to 5,400 new clients in Santa Cruz County.

CalFresh food benefits supplement household budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, which has been shown to improve health outcomes. CalFresh food benefits are delivered on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) debit card and can be used at any grocery store and farmers market that accepts EBT. Food benefits for one person range from $15-$192 per month. Households that already receive CalFresh and currently have a member of their household that has been excluded because they receive SSI do not need to apply. The County will contact those households at the time of their next CalFresh reporting date.

Currently Santa Cruz County serves 23,500 individuals with CalFresh benefits.


Highway 1 improvements begin June 2

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY – A project to resurface Highway 1 from the North Aptos undercrossing to the junction with State Route 9 will begin on June 2. 

This project will include upgrades to Americans With Disabilities (ADA)  Ramps, bridge rail replacement at the Fish Hook and Ocean Street bridges, improvements to electrical systems, bridge deck treatments and the replacement of concrete barriers.

The installation of construction signs began Monday during the daytime hours followed by the beginning of concrete barrier replacement the week of June 2.

The resurfacing of the highway is expected to begin next year.

Construction will occur each week Sunday night through Friday morning from 9 p.m. to no later than 6 a.m. 

Motorists will encounter intermittent closures of the Hwy. 1/17 connector ramps. Caltrans will announce in advance when these ramps closures will occur.

The contractor for this $22 million project is Granite Construction of Watsonville.

This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.


Watsonville Fire Association looking for shed

The Watsonville Firefighters’ Association needs the community’s help. 

It is looking for a storage container/shed that is 8x10 feet, or something similar, that is weather tight and can be placed behind the WFD Chief Gene Friend Museum.

The addition of the container/shed will allow the group to store items it uses for community gatherings in its patio, as well as free up some of the space within the apparatus deck of the museum.

Contact Ed Banks at [email protected] or at 763-7075.


Museum of Discovery hosting Casino Night

The Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery is hosting a Casino Night Fundraiser on Saturday, June 8 from 5-9:30 p.m. at the Capitola Mall.

This event will double as a retirement celebration for the current volunteer executive director Patrice Keet, as well as a fundraiser towards MOD’s sustainability campaign.

Must 21 years of age.

Tickets are $100 per person, and can be purchased at


Find yourself among the flowers

SANTA CRUZ — The 10th annual Kitayama Brothers Farms Gerbera Festival will come to Watsonville June 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kitayama Brothers Farms is at 481 San Andreas Road in Watsonville. 

All proceeds from the festival benefit Kids2Parks, an innovative park-equity program of Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks that takes students from Title 1 schools on State Park field trips.

The Gerbera Festival features free greenhouse tours, potted Gerbera plants and cut flowers for sale, kids’ activities, flower arranging demonstrations, a farmers market, food and Corralitos Brewing Co. beer for sale and a PopUp ParkStore.

Visit for information.


Santa Cruz County Bank makes American Banker Magazine’s Top 200

SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz County Bank was recently ranked 12th in the Top Performing 200 Community Banks and Thrifts in the United States by American Banker Magazine.

This is the sixth consecutive year Santa Cruz County Bank has ranked in the Top 200.

Performance data and rankings were released in American Banker Magazine’s May 2019 publication. A total of 601 publicly traded institutions, with less than $2 billion in assets, were included in the nationwide ranking. Ranking was based upon three-year average return on equity.  

Santa Cruz County Bank ranked fourth in the state out of a total of 26 California banks ranked in Top 200. The median three-year return on average equity for the top 200 banks was 9.89 percent compared to a median of 6.95 percent for all 633 institutions. Santa Cruz County Bank’s three-year average return on equity was 12.97 percent.


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.

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. on June 17. Winners will be announced in August.


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