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TODAY THE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE OF THE SOUTH SANTA CLARA VALLEY

People to Watch in 2017

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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FEATURES 10 Happy New Year Readers

OUR 2016 PUBLICATIONS IN REVIEW

CREATING A COLLEGE GOING CULTURE

20 Project Roadmap

24 People to Watch in 2017

TWELVE PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE US

38 The Story of Orkeeswa

LOCAL ROTARY ON THE WORLD STAGE

42 School Days

LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AFFORDED

46 Gluten Free Goodies

TASTY TREATS FOR DIETARY RESTRICTION

50 The Art of Photography

GIVING THROUGH A LENS

54 One Big Hearted Home

WELCOME TO THE ESCOTO’S

60 A Local Crop Revisited

THE PRUNE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

64 People on the Street

NEW YEAR’s RESOLUTIONS FOR CITY

66 Spread the Love

A VALENTINE’S DAY OF GIVING

82 Visiting a Great White

LAURA PERRY SHARES HER EXPERIENCE

98 Those Who Do

MEET SAL AND ANNE TOMASELLO

100 South Santa Clara Valley 2016

A YEAR IN REVIEW…A PHOTO ESSAY

DEPARTMENTS 14 Community Digest

AROUND SANTA CLARA VALLEY

17 Gilroy City Beat

TECHNOLOGY I PASEO OPENS

18 Morgan Hill City Beat

FIVE CORE VALUES

49 Historically Speaking

THE REA FAMILY, PIONEERS IN 1853

70 The Vine

RHONE COMES TO SSCV

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73 A County Update

YOUTH COMPUTER CODING CLASSES

76 Then and Now

THE EDES BUILDING’S TRANSITION

78 Artfully Yours

ART OF METAL SCULPTURE

88 Manners Matter

MIND YOUR TABLE

90 The Relationship Dance

HOLIDAYS…THE EMOTIONAL AFTERMATH

93 Health Wise

GOING GLUTEN FREE

94 It’s Your Swing

GREAT PLACES TO PLAY GOLF

96 Theater Scene

A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN VARELA

103 The Book Club Beat

WITH SHERRY HEMINGWAY

104 Gilroy Living at 60

JIM O’BRIANT AND KAY SPENCER

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Reimagine Your Space.

Introductory Rate

Home Equity Line of Credit

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(408) 663-5022 | www.wealthcu.org * APR = Annual Percentage Rate. APR can vary and is based on Prime Rate plus a margin of 0.00% to +5.00% based on credit rating. The APR is subject to change on the 10th of each month, based on changes to Prime Rate, the highest Prime Rate published in the Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the 20th of the prior month. Minimum APR 4%, maximum APR 18%. Up to 80% CLTV with loan amounts of $10,000 to $500,000. 10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period. During the draw period, you may withdraw (advance) funds up to your credit line limit and pay interest accrued on that balance monthly. After the draw period, you may not withdraw any more funds from the line. Your loan is then amortized and you begin to pay the principal and interest monthly. There are no loan processing or early closure fees and no prepayment penalty. You may need to pay certain fees to third parties to open the loan. These fees generally total between $450 and $1,500. If you ask we will provide you with an itemization of the fees you will have to pay to third parties. Rates, terms and conditions are effective as of publication date and are subject to change without notice. Loans are available for owner-occupied properties in the state of California only. On approved credit. Offer not applicable on refinance of existing CommonWealth HELOC's. CommonWealth Central Credit Union membership is required prior to loan funding, and is available to almost anyone. NMLS ID #458544. FEDERALLY INSURED BY NCUA

Mount Madonna School Campus Tour

January 11, 9:30am

Art & Play in the Pre & K! Jan. 5 & Feb. 15, 9:30am

Open House

February 25, 11:00am RSVP 408-847-2717

MountMadonnaSchool.org Pre/K - 12th grade CAIS & WASC accredited Nonsectarian Bus Transportation

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education

in action

2017 Speaker Series on Education An evening with neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D. speaking about the complex connection between emotion and learning. February 1, 7:00pm, at Cabrillo College.

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Our Feature Writers ROBIN SHEPHERD is a veteran journalist who serves as our Associate Editor/Senior Writer and is working as a developmental editor on a non-fiction book due out in 2017-18. Her writing has appeared in dozens of media outlets from the Morgan Hill Times to the San Francisco Business Journal and TechCrunch to the New York Times. Previously, she was a marketing pro with Bay Area creative agencies and high tech companies.

THE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE OF THE SOUTH SANTA CLARA VALLEY Published By IPC PUBLISHING A Division of InfoPOWER Communications

CRYSTAL HAN is a freelance writer and artist. She graduated from San Jose State University with a BFA in Animation/ Illustration. She aspires to become a novelist and is currently working on two books. Crystal enjoys baking, exercising, analyzing films with friends, and reading. She is also an avid cat lover.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF J. Chris Mickartz PUBLISHER/PHOTOGRAPHER Larry J. Mickartz

JORDAN ROSENFELD is the author of 4 writing guides and 3 novels. Her articles have been published in such places as: Alternet, The Atlantic, Marin Magazine, the New York Times, the Petaluma Magazine, Salon, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post and many more.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Robin Shepherd WRITERS Crystal Han

Alicia Cuadro

Elizabeth Barrett

Matthew Hendrickson

Don DeLorenzo

Sherry Hemingway

Mike Monroe

Kimberly Ewertz

Sam Bozzo

Jordan Rosenfeld

Vicki Minerva

Karen La Corte

Amy McElroy

Dan Craig

AMY MCELROY is a Contributing Writer and Editor at RewireMe. She’s been published at The Bold Italic,  Cosmopolitan, The Billfold, Noodle, Club Mid, RoleReboot, BlogHer, elephant journal, sweatpantsandcoffee.com, and others. Her website, amyjmcelroy.net, contains her editorial services and writing craft blog. KIMBERLY EWERTZ is a freelance writer/reporter.  She’s attended writing workshops at Stanford University, and Narrative magazine. A recipient of two MCMA (Missouri College Media Association) awards, she enjoys reading, and hiking through her hometown of Gilroy.  She’s currently working on a book of short stories, chronicling the life of a mother and her son dealing with the aftermath of divorce.

CONTRIBUTORS Aging Dorie Sugay Finance Jeffrey M. Orth / Daniel Newquist Real Estate Marta Dinsmore / Teri Nelson Home Financing Jayson Stebbins Children GoKids, Inc. Solar Energy Pam Garcia Tourism Jane Howard

Our Department Writers

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Edgar Zaldana ADVERTISING SALES advertise@gmhtoday.com COMMUNITY EVENTS & INFORMATION Submit for free inclusion, space permitting.

Relationship Dance Vicki Minerva

Then & Now Mike Monroe

Historically Speaking Elizabeth Barrett

The Book Beat Sherry Hemingway

Growing Up Gilroy Sam Bozzo

© Copyright 2006 -17. All rights reserved. No part, either editorial or display advertising, may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher and author. email: jchris@gmhtoday.com • phone 408.848.6540

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Artfully Yours Dan Craig

It’s Your Swing, Golf Don DeLorenzo

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

Manners Matter Karen LaCorte gmhtoday.com

Theater Scene The Vine Matthew Hendrickson Alicia Cuadra

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Contractor: James Lopez Floors, counters and tile from Superior Stone in Gilroy


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Publishers Larry & J. Chris Mickartz at Leal Granada Theater opening.

Proud Supporters Of:

eing part of the South Santa Clara Valley community for most of our adult lives has given Larry and I an appreciation for all the amazing things that are being done by our city governments, school districts, organizations and non-profits. It is because of this appreciation that we support them whenever possible within the pages of this magazine. As we look to the new year, we are renewing our commitment to them and trust that our readers will continue to enjoy finding out about their work and, with that, come to appreciate their contributions to helping make our area such an amazing place to live and work. As we pondered the transition from 2016 to 2017 we looked back at 2016 in our Year In Review, 2016 photo essay (pages 100-102) and in looking forward, we selected some individuals who we feel are in a position to make some pretty significant differences in 2017 — they are featured in our profiles of “People to Watch in 2017” (pages 24-36). We would have liked to have been able to include Dan Harney, Gilroy City Councilman just appointed by the City Council to fill newly elected Mayor Roland Velasco’s vacant seat. We are very impressed with his vision for the city and would like to share that with our readers in a future issue of TODAY. We are very excited to introduce our new website and thank Articulate Solutions for helping us provide our readers with an interactive site that is searchable and fun. We’ve added a blog in hopes that our readers will take the opportunity to let us know all the wonderful things they would like to see within our pages. Remember, this magazine is for and about you. And we want to hear from you.

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The Morgan Hill Photography Club is presenting a photography exhibition at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Street, starting January 9th and continuing through February 22nd. The exhibit, themed “Black and White,” features 56 photographs from 34 artists and includes a diverse selection of photographic genres that have been rendered in black and white. The general public is invited to attend the Artist’s Reception on Wednesday February 1st from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.

We want to wish all our advertisers, contributors, writers, and readers a happy and prosperous New Year. 2016 has been a good year for us at TODAY and it has been an honor to produce a magazine for and about the entire South Santa Clara Valley.

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Our goal has always been to produce an upscale, content-rich community magazine that highlights community involvement, activities and stories of achievement and challenges that make our region such an amazing place to live and work. We trust that TODAY is the magazine that our community will continue to embrace and enjoy for years to come.

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To start our 2017 year, we have completely revamped our website to include search capabilities and provide an ongoing conversation with you, our readers. We hope you will take a moment to visit us online and provide feedback on our new site. And don’t forget to let us know if you have a topic, person or place you would like see within our pages. In case you missed any of our 2016 issues, we’re providing a recap for you to review. If you see a story of interest, visit our website to see what you missed:

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For more information: morganhillphotographyclub.org/exhibitions/.

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TODAY THE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE OF THE SOUTH SANTA CLARA VALLEY

Plus

Steve Kinsella Gavilan’s Man For All Seasons

LAFCO’S IMPACT ON GROWTH IN SOUTH SANTA CLARA VALLEY PUBLIC ART OF MORGAN HILL REBEKAH CHILDREN’S SERVICES FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN ANTARCTICA AN OCEANTIC JOURNEY MIKE JOHNSON GIVING BACK

MAY/JUNE 2016 l MORGAN HILL • GILROY • SAN MARTIN

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March/April 2016

May/June 2016

Features

Features

Features

CordeValle Hosts Championship A Look at the Drought and El Niño The Goldsmith Legacy A County Update, Supervisor Wasserman City Beat Gilroy & Morgan Hill A Rancher’s Life with Justin Fields The Great Outdoors with Ron Erskine Morgan Hill City & YMCA Partnership Dave Peoples, In the Business of Sharing Lifestyles … A Tour of the Jones’ Home Helping People Find Answers… Meet Vicki Minerva Positive Energy at Work… Meet Chuck Berghoff Young Man on a Mission… Meet Jake Oetinger For the Love of an Old House… Orths Restore Historic Home Returning Home … A Photo Essay An African Adventure with Jean Myers

SSCV Leadership … Spotlight A County Update, Supervisor Wasserman City Beat Morgan Hill & Gilroy SSCV Libraries, Learning Opportunities Growing Up Gilroy… Patsy Torres & Ariana Filice Growing Up Morgan HIll… Greg Sellers William (Bill) Filice Celebrates 100th Redman’s Automotive, A Family Business Lifestyles … A Tour of the Knopf’s Home Art of Being Involved, Pamela Meador Team Dinsmore…Mother & Son’s Success Getting Involved …Local Options Visited AAUW Then & Now Trekking The Himalayas with Laura Lundy

Steve Kinsella Retires From Gavilan College A County Update, Supervisor Wasserman City Beat Gilroy & Morgan Hill Rebekah Children’s Services, A Family Young Entrepreneurs Launch a Product Saying Goodbye to Bob Dyer Mike Johnson, Enjoying and Giving Back Public Art In Morgan Hill…A Photo Essay Fitness Success Story … Kassi Swalboski Tips From The Car Guy …Tom Fry LAFCO, It’s Impact On Our Growth An Underwater Adventure with Laura Perry Extreme Sports with Brian Conrey

Departmentst Theater Scene …One Man Show, Bill Tindall Make It Your Own … Super Bowl Cuisine Artfully Yours …Dan Craig’s Many Lives Book Beat … Still Life & Other Finds Historically Speaking … Las Animas Partician Suit Santa Clara County Parks, Our Gift The Vine … Good Times at Bella Viva Wine Bar

Community Digest Exchange Club Celebrates 25 Years Diwali Festival of Lights Hometown Heroes Honored Community Solutions’ Black, White & Bling Kirigin Cellars 100th Year Celebration

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4/18/16 12:24 PM

January/February 2016

Departments Theater Scene … Nunsense Star, Rosalind Farrotte Make It Your Own … Braised Short Ribs Artfully Yours A Look at Impressionism Book Beat … Picking Your Books in 2016 Manners Matter… Where Have They Gone? Then And Now … The Unnoticed Charles Barns Historically Speaking … Gilroy’s Early Promotion Societies The Relationship Game… How Do Those Couples Do It? The Vine … Blended, A Winemakers Studio

Community Digest Morgan Hill Rotary Dictionary Program Wineries of SCV Host Barrel Tasting Morgan Hill Rotary Speech Contest Winners Meet Jared Huddleston

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Departments Theater Scene … Youth Productions Then And Now Morgan Hill … Mountain Lions Past and Present Artfully Yours … The New Blue Line Gallery Book Club Beat …The Nightingale Manners Matter…Phone Etiquette Historically Speaking Gilroy … Gilroy’s Old Music Hall The Relationship Game … Learning How To Say NO It’s Your Swing … Gilroy’s Oldest and Best Golf Course The Vine …A Taste of Cabernet Sauvignon

Community Digest MH Rotary’s Harvey Barrett Senior Dinner Autism Awareness Day Sobrato High State Mock Trial Finals Latino Family Fund Youth Program Gilroy Rotary Essay Contest & Clean Up Day Gilroy Sister Cities International Dinner Gilroy Foundation Gives … $1,070,595 SSCV’s Furry Police Officers

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July/August 2016

September/October 2016

November/December 2016

Features

Features

Features

Lumination at Gilroy Gardens A County Update, Supervisor Wasserman City Beat Gilroy & Morgan Hill Addressing Our Homeless Film Gurus… Niles Myers & Mattie Scariot Air For Paws … Supporting Working Dogs Farm To Table … Our Ag Culture Gilroy Garden’s Docents South Santa Clara Valley Music Venues A Tribute to Dennis Kennedy, Remembering UNFI Makes Gilroy Home The Music Man … David Schnittman

Lumination Magic at Gilroy Gardens On Documenting History… Author Michael Brookman A County Update, Supervisor Wasserman City Beat Gilroy & Morgan Hill Educating Our Kids … A Look At Public Education Garlic Festival Royalty …Kyle Perez-Robinson Hot Yoga … Bikram Yoga Studios Lifestyles … Andrea & Jim Habing’s Home All Around Good Guy … Jayson Stebbins Stitch In Time … Proud To Be Me Sewing Just Dogging Around …MH Dog Sports CALSOAP … Educating Communities Unexpected Pleasures … Croatia with Laura & Jeff Lundy

Home For The Holidays… Supporting Our Local Businesses The Hometown Advantage Benefits of Keeping $ Local La Famiglia A Bozzo … Gilroy Style Creating Balance … Art of Living Foundation A New Vision for Gavilan College Amortto and itty bitty at One Location Bubbles Wine Bar and Bistro Lifesyles … Holidays at the Little Red House Gilroy Museum Volunteers Preserving History Music In Their Bones … The Strametz’s Alex Hernandez, Crossing Guard North to Alaska with John McKay Leadership Advocacy … Kathy Sullivan Big Gifts for Big Girls and Boys

Departments

Departments

Departments Theater Scene … Lend Me A Tenor Plays Then And Now Morgan Hill … Anniversarys, Looking Back In Time Artfully Yours … Mulit-Talented Pattty Curtis Book Club Beat …Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings Manners Matter…The Thank You Note Historically Speaking Gilroy … Those Great Old Gymkhana Days The Relationship Game … The Language of Love It’s Your Swing … Women’s U.S. Open At CordeValle The Vine …A Taste of Chardonnay

Community Digest GAL’s Annual Giving Luncheon Community Solutions Hearts of Gilroy Rebekah Children’s Services Spring Fling Rotary Area 6 Cemetery Clean-up Morgan Hill Rotary College Scholarships Dr. Kathleen Rose, New Gavilan President Gilroy Leadershiip Spring Fling MH Rotary Club’s Celebration of Giving

Theater Scene … Mermaid, Emily Pember Then And Now Morgan Hill … Our National Park Service Artfully Yours … Shirley Dwyer, Life of Art Book Club Beat …The Goldfinch: A Novel Manners Matter…First Impressions Historically Speaking Gilroy … First Public School in Gilroy The Relationship Game … Managing Stress It’s Your Swing … Golf Tips for Begnners Gilroy Living … Gena & Fortune Gonzales Dining Out With Friends at Old City Hall

Community Digest MH Historical Society Prohibition Party Leadership MH Excellence Award Downtown Gilroy Fifth Street Live Johnathan Spencer … A Dream Concours at Kirigin Valley Edward Boss Prado Foundation Gala MH Sister City … Mizuho, Japan

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Theater Scene …Live Oak Drama Guild Then And Now Morgan Hill … Mountain Lions Past and Present Artfully Yours … Renee Angela Filice Book Club Beat …The Orphan Train Manners Matter…First Impressions The Relationship Game … Emotional De-cluttering for the Holidays It’s Your Swing … The Perfect Golf Gifts The Vine … A Taste of Zinfindel Gilroy Living …Tom & Sandy Moller Dinning Out With Friends at La Niña Perdida Health Wise …Say It Again, Exercise

Community Digest Gilroy Hall of Fame Luncheon MH Historical Society Founders Day GilPAC Port & Politics, Pinot & More A Taste of Morgan Hill The Great Gatsby, Gilroy Foundation Leadership Gilroy Graduation & Heart Safe

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TODAY is now searchable. You can find articles from any of our last two years’ publications simply by typing in the subject or name and read on. News & Photos We take a lot of photos; and we can only use a portion of them in our print publication. This is where we will store all the photos we take.

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Our top featured articles will be highlighted here with a short introduction. Simply click and view the entire article. Additional photos will be available.

About gmhToday gmhToday is a full-color, upscale community magazine that highlights all things Gilroy and Morgan Hill. Since 2006, gmhToday has been connecting the South Santa Clara Valley with fascinating features, relevant advertisements and current stories that inform and ignite our community. We believe this community is an amazing place to live and raise a family— gmhToday celebrates that. The magazine is published every other month, direct mailed to subscribers and advertisers and distributed FREE to over 250 locations through the communities of Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill. The journey began in 2006 with the rst issue of Gilroy Today. For over eight years, our quarterly Gilroy Today magazine was sought after, read and shared throughout the community. In 2013, the rst issue of Morgan Hill Today was published at the urging of our supporters. With the overwhelming acceptance of the new magazine, we realized that the best way to continue to grow was to unite the two magazines to celebrate this area that is rich in community, activities and stories of achievement and challenges.

About Us

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TODAY is produced for and about the communities of Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill by a team of community writers and contributors. Our new website will help you get to know us.

Latest Issues

Latest Issues

NOV - DEC 2016

SEPT- OCT 2016

JULY- AUG 2016

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Click on any three of the last issue icons to see a complete online edition. Click Archives in the menu bar and you can view every issue of Gilroy Today, Morgan Hill Today and TODAY since we started the magazine in 2006.

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Advertisers’ Thoughts

What Our Advertisers Say About gmhToday

Our community is fortunate to have gmhTODAY as a community information vehicle. The photography, the reporting, the guest writers/columns and the editorial direction is superb. The quality of the print copy, as well as the online version, rivals magazines such as Gentry, to our north, and Carmel Magazine, to our south. The articles are always timely and informative about the activities and events taking place in the South Santa Clara Valley. gmhToday supports our community nonprots as well. Coverage of our various fundraisers and grant presentations are always covered fully and with taste and accuracy. Most of our limited advertising dollars go into gmhToday because we feel they reach our current and prospective donors and volunteers.

- Donna Pray Executive Director, Gilroy Foundation

Our advertisers enjoy being represented in the premier magazine for South Santa Clara Valley and we enjoy working with them to bring their message to you. Our readers often tell us they “love” TODAY and “anticipate” each issue. We are happy to share some of their comments here.

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Who We Support

Proud Supports Of:

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These are the organizations that TODAY supports by way of media sponsorships for their events as well as coverage of their fundraising efforts. Be sure to note the “Save The Date” sidebar.

Save The Date St. Mary Blue and White Auction March 2017 Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Spice of Life Awards February 11, 2017 Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce Celebrate Morgan Hill

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Experience Our New Website gmhtoday.com today!

New House with an Old Time Country Feel

Blog

South Valley’s Finest

June 22, 2016

Our Editorial Committee, made up of community leaders, will explore the South Santa Clara Valley and choose winners in various categories on the ballot. We will do our research anonymously and pay for all meals and services. Recognition will be based only on our research. There is no connection between our winners and our advertisers. The fact that some businesses may be advertisers or later decide to advertise in the magazine will not inuence our selections.

gmhToday for July August 2016

Editor’s Choice Awards

The July issue is at the printer. Hard copies should be here the rst week of July. The on-line version is up. The 2016 July August issue of gmhToday featuring: Illumination at Gilroy Gardens, the Homeless,

New House with an Old Time Country Feel January 6, 2016 One of the ever popular features of gmhToday is the SSCV Lifestyles. Whenever we can, we feaure the story and photos of homes in the South Santa Clara Valley. They do not have to be big or lavish. Read all blog >>

Reader’s Choice Awards If you have a business that you would like to have considered as one of South Valley’s Finest, simply send a message to our editor in our comment box on this website. We will have a tool kit that includes downloadable marketing materials and links to our website and ballot available to you as soon as we get all the bugs worked out.

Let’s talk! We now have a blog and can have a conversation with our readers on our website. Join in and let us know what you like about the magazine and/or make suggestions about people, places or things you would like to see included. We are working on a juried “Editors’ Choice” and “Readers’ Choice” selection of businesses that go the extra mile. We will keep you posted and ask for your input in the next few months.

Social Media

We are still working on our award timeline and rst year categories. So keep visiting our site for updates and future timelines for voting.

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Contact gmhToday 7446 Rosanna Street Gilroy, CA 95020

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You can read TODAY on any electronic device. Visit us on Facebook.

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JOIN US FOR UPCOMING EVENTS

Year Round

Tues-Sat 10am-5pm

Wine Tasting

Sunday 11am-5pm

January 28th

Champagne & Caviar Tasting

February 18th

Sweetheart Saturday

March 18 & 19th

Cost is less than shredding your own! Paper shredding got you down?

Passport Weekend

4525 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, Ca 95020 408.842.3305 www.fortinowinery.com GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

Professional mobile paper shredding & hard drive destruction for home or business at your site

We Come • We Shred • We Recycle What could be better than that!

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First Event at New

Mike Luevano, Frank Leal and Noreen Zanella

Barbara and Gary DeLorenzo

Jim and Andrea Habing

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Dan and Therese Martin

Mary and Bill Hiland

Manny and Deborah Padilla

Aimee and Brad Ledwith

Jayson Stebbens doing his ‘thing’!

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Leal Granada Theater Community Solutions

Black White & Bling 2016 Tim and Janice Filice

Sherry and Michael Marinovich

The excitement was palpable as each guest arrived, dressed in their best finery and eager to get the first peek at the Granada Theatre. They were not disappointed. In true Frank Leal style, the venue ‘wowed’ the crowd with its classic elegance, complete with shimmering chandeliers throughout and a baby grand piano on stage.

Leslie Humphries, Jennifer Tate and Lisa Ludovici

John and Sherry Hemingway

What a night! Community Solutions’ “Black, White & Bling” Gala had the honor of being the premier event held at the newly remodeled Leal Granada Theatre in downtown Morgan Hill. The event, held on Saturday, December 10, 2016, sold out in seven days and filled the Theatre with 300 guests for an elegant evening of fun and philanthropy.

Dana Ditmore, Erin O’Brien and Mike Wasserman

GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

Sponsored by Leal Vineyards, Ladera Grill, and many other local businesses and individuals, the Black, White, and Bling Gala brought together a cadre of enthusiastic and generous donors, volunteers and community supporters to help raise awareness and funds for local children, youth and families in crisis. In addition to champagne, wine and a plated dinner, guests enjoyed live and silent auctions and a rousing game of “Heads or Tails” with the winner taking home a wine package valued at more than $2,000. The event raised more than $85,000 to support Community Solutions’ services and programs providing care and healing to local children, youth and families.

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community DIGEST

Morgan Hill Community Foundation

11th Philanthopy Celebration

Photograph by Dominic Godfrey

In

COMMUNITY PHILANTHROPISTS AND VOLUNTEERS HONORED AT WINTER 2016 EVENT

T

he Morgan Hill Community Foundation (MHCF) hosted its 11th Annual Philanthropy Celebration last November at the Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center. The event showcased 33 local philanthropists and volunteers from 28 nonprofits for their outstanding contributions and service to the community. The event’s theme, “Imagine the Possibilities” featured performers from Earth Circus Productions. Event sponsors included: Pacific Gas & Electric Company (Philanthropy Leader); City of Morgan Hill and South Bay Piping Industry (Premier Sponsors); and Abacus Bookkeeping, Anritsu Company, Heritage Bank, Hiland Consulting, Recology South Valley, Santa Clara Valley Contractors Association, Santa Teresa Dental, and the Woodson Family (Spirit of Philanthropy Sponsors). Each year, MHCF awards grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and schools, and serves as a fiscal sponsor to local nonprofits. Grant applications for 2017 will be available in February to qualifying local nonprofits with a March deadline. Through the efforts of MHCF and its community partners, the foundation has awarded approximately $550,000 since its inception in 2002. morganhillcf.org

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GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

Nominating Organization

Honoree

Morgan Hill Community Foundation American Association of University Women Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley Centennial Recreation Senior Center Child Advocates of Silicon Valley Community Solutions Edward Boss Prado Foundation El Toro Culture & Arts Friends of the Morgan Hill Library Heroes4Hope Intero Foundation Leadership Morgan Hill Learning & Loving Education Center Mizuho Morgan Hill Student Exchange Program Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce Morgan Hill Downtown Association Morgan Hill Historical Society Morgan Hill Sister Cities Association One Step Closer Therapeutic Riding Rotary Club of Morgan Hill Santa Clara County Library Morgan Hill Branch Sobrato Agricultural Boosters Club South Valley Athletic Foundation Teachers Aid Coalition Town Cats of Morgan Hill Valle del Sur Art Guild Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center Youth Action Council, City of Morgan Hill

Cecilia Ponzini Janet McElroy Cindy Miller Heather & Bruce Perlitch Gaylene Austin Gryphon Financial Robin Guevara, Julie Beck, Noemi Chacon, Kiwanis Club of Morgan Hill Susan Brazelton Ric Smith Amanda Van Winkle Teressa Frances Anritsu Company Margaret Davalos Brian Shiroyama, Dennis Kennedy In Memorium Karl Priedite, Chad Martino Nancy Reynolds Scott van Keulen Rosalinda Solorzano Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller, St. Joseph Commandery Lorena Tuohey Angela Macchia Dave Funke Andrea Pasek Charlene Tsao Lai Jennifer Milton Jeanie Watson Dr. Suzanne Colbert Anna Giubileo

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

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City Beat

Technology Brings Increased Efficiency

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he City of Gilroy has instituted a new software package that will make the preparation of staff reports and agendas for the City Council and Planning Commission a much more efficient, less time-consuming and near paperless process. The software package is provided by Accela. Staff training began in October, and the system went live for the November 21st Council meeting. The process automates the entire staff report preparation, circulation and approval process for better workflow and productivity. The system then creates the agenda and meeting packet — completely eliminating paper. Past Mayor Perry Woodward stated, “This is an excellent example of the City using technology and new software not only

to improve staff efficiency, but also to further our citywide goal of environmentally sound best practices by reducing paper use.” “What used to take 4-5 hours to accomplish with a manual paper process now takes 10 minutes to complete – with just a click of a button we have a council packet ready for distribution,” stated City Clerk Shawna Freels. The City of Gilroy is also preparing to release a new website module that will update residents on local projects including housing construction, High Speed Rail and local roadway projects. This new website will also allow residents to make suggestions and comments on these projects, thus enabling staff to hear the opinions of the public on important projects.

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Downtown Paseo Panels Installed

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he idea of building two downtown paseos to connect parking on Eigleberry with shops and restaurants on Monterey began in 2013. Then Mayor, Al Pinheiro championed the project and with Joan Buchanan brought together a group of volunteers to help make it a reality. The late Claudia Salewske was also instrumental in the completion of the first historical paseo which is located between Fifth and Sixth Streets. Seven panels highlighting the local historical perspective on agriculture, hospitality, the cowboy era, business, garlic, the early settlers and community border the walkway. Landscaping, seating and over 125 engraved donation bricks are scheduled to be installed soon. A second paseo between Fourth and Fifth is still in the planning stages.

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City Beat

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he City of Morgan Hill, as an organization, lives by five core values expressed in the following values statement. “The City of Morgan Hill is an organization that provides outstanding Customer Service, excels at meeting Challenges, encourages Innovation, provides opportunities for Professional Growth, and recognizes the Teamwork of employees.” Recently, the City engaged all teammates in the organization to expand upon the organization’s core values and what the values mean to them. This conversation, over the course of five weeks, resulted in five colorful and inviting word clouds that offer a more detailed explanation of the values that drive everything the City does. These core values are also used each year as the basis of “peak performance” awards which are announced at the end of each year at the annual City of Morgan Hill Employee Recognition Celebration. Through recommendations by their peers, employees best demonstrating the Core Values are honored for their contributions and the difference they have made for the community and the organization over the year.

The 2016 Customer Service award winner is Detective Mindy Zen because she has dedicated her efforts to helping others in time of great need. This year her exceptional work, passion, caring nature and services were recognized on a much larger scale when the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office created an annual award named after her. The new award will be given to a person who best exemplifies Mindy’s tireless determination and compassion in working with survivors of domestic violence.

Two teammates were awarded the Challenge award for 2016. John Baty, Interim Planning Manager and Steve Golden, Associate Planner both were actively engaged in two significant efforts that will positively impact the Morgan Hill Community and the City organization for years to come. Because of their leadership, Morgan Hill 2035 General Plan was adopted by the Morgan Hill City Council, the City’s long standing growth management system was overwhelmingly passed by Morgan Hill voters, and the much needed TrackIt software was implemented and is now being used to more effectively manage permit and project review.

Nicole Yates, Police Records Specialist, is the 2016 Innovation award winner. Nichole worked with the courts, dispatcher teammates and others to develop a paperless warrant system. This process now allows for warrants to be processed, confirmed and sent to arresting agencies electronically. All of this was done with her motivation and drive to do things differently and better!

Daniel Cardwell, Building Inspector II, saw an opportunity within the organization and invested his time to obtain the necessary training. This included formal classwork and working alongside other teammates to prepare for new job responsibilites. He now has four Fire Inspector certifications. He is continuing to further his training with an advanced Fire Plan Review Class, advanced Plan Review and Fire Sprinkler Design class.

Teamwork: Nowhere in Nichole Martin’s (Community Services Coordinator) or Charlie Ha’s (Associate Engineer) job descriptions are they responsible for the services they are providing each week to their teammates. They both have dedicated their personal time to serve their fellow teammates by helping them to improve their health and wellness by providing lunch time classes in karate and circuit training.

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Each year one or two teammates who best exemplify all of the Core Values are named Teammates of the Year. The 2016 City of Morgan Hill Teammates of the Year are Richard Guzman, Utility Worker I and Hilary Holeman, Administrative Analyst. Some of the comments peers shared about Richard are “Richard is valued and respected, knowledgeable and reliable, kind, considerate and humble. He is always willing to help at any hour of the day with a positive attitude. He puts 200% effort in and always does quality work. He brings hidden value to customers in ways they will never see. We along with our residents, are truly luck to have such a dedicated person on our team. He must sleep with his boots on.” Teammates shared about Hilary, “Hilary is known for her positive approach and there is always a smile on her face. No matter the situation, challenge, or opportunity she has a ‘can do’ attitude. You can always go to her for help or to bounce some ideas around. If she doesn’t have an answer, if she can’t find something, she will build it! She is amazing and is on everyone’s team. She lives the definition of teamwork every day because she is collaborative, team oriented, supportive, open minded, creative, fun and inspiring!”

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Other City of Morgan Hill employees that were recognized include: Fist Bump Award: Josh Grant, Evidence Technician; Dedication and Service Award: Jenna Luna, Municipal Service Assistant, Jesus Contreras, Accountant I, and Derek Bowman, Human Resources Assistant; Dealer of Debits & Credits: Gina Nazareno, Accountant I; Mission Possible: Jennie Tucker, Community Services Supervisor; Extra (S)Mile: Erica Corona, Human Resources Technician; Couldn’t Have Done It Without You: Ken Deluna, Building Official, who retired at the end of December after 35+ years serving the Morgan Hill Community.

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Project Roadmap Written By Robin Shepherd When the time comes for our kids to start making their own decisions about getting an education and building a future, they need a roadmap. I know what you’re thinking. . . try telling that to a teenager! One local organization is doing just that, with great results. First year program participants (l-r): Edgar Gonzalez, Esperanza Gonzalez, Isidro Gonzalez, Jennifer Gonzalez, Freda Ross, Claudia Ross, Mario Banuelos, Uriel “Cookie” Alvarez, Irene Macias-Morris, Irisbel Gonzalez, Former Morgan Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy, George Flores, Luis Gonzalez, Francesco Justo.

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n 2010, George Flores, Claudia Rossi and Mario Banuelos established Project Roadmap. The focus of Project Roadmap is to create a college going culture among first-generation students and their parents. The goal is to empower kids to create their own roadmap so they can achieve their full potential, from campus to career. Empowered parents are also part of the equation. George Flores was and still is a Science teacher at Britton Middle School. Claudia Rossi was on the Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD) Board of Education in 2010, and she’s currently on the Santa Clara County Board of Education. Mario Banuelos is a founding board member of the Morgan Hill Community Foundation (MHCF). All three are passionate advocates of this program. According to George, “We attended a countywide conference, ALAS (Achieving Latinx Advancement and Success), at San José State University, and it got me thinking that we could do our own conference. We could hold workshops to help students and their parents come up with a long-term roadmap that included the steps they needed to take and a timeline.” Claudia and Mario agreed. “Project Roadmap serves kids from

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middle school through high school,” George explained. “We work with kids who think they’re not college material and kids who dream of going to the big-name schools but have little idea what it takes to get there. “From the beginning, we’ve worked closely with district counselors and teachers. Our schools disseminate the necessary information related to college planning, but for some families it can be overwhelming and additional guidance is required along the way. For Spanishspeaking parents we provide information in their native language so they can be aware and supportive of their students’ goals and actions. “Our students need to know the entrance requirements for different colleges, when to enroll in A-G classes, how many AP classes to take and what defines a competitive GPA score. Some families don’t realize they’re eligible for financial aid or how to apply for it. They need to know when the SAT must be taken and how students can prepare for it. Failure to take certain steps at the right time means missed opportunities. “It’s a reality check for the kids,” George said, adding, “There’s no room for pipedreams!”

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Claudia Rossi recalled the first meeting of Project Roadmap: “We got students and their parents together and said, ‘We want you to be able to follow the best possible path to a college education, which will open doors of opportunity. There’s a roadmap for success for each of you.’” “We met with the families on weekends and asked what their concerns were and how we could help,” Claudia added. “When a freshman student said he felt totally lost in class, we asked if a workshop on effective note-taking would help. He said yes, so we made it happen, and many students attended. When the kids said they needed help with SAT test preparation, we put together a new workshop. At one meeting a parent asked ‘What can we do to help our kids get scholarships?’ We set up a workshop for that too.” As Mario Banuelos described it, “We’re just facilitators. The kids learn to drive the process.” Mario not only committed his time to help move the project forward, but he also asked the MHCF board to consider funding support for Project Roadmap. “We invite school administrators, teachers and professionals from business, law and other fields to lead workshops,” Mario said, “Many are first-generation college grads who’ve overcome obstacles gmhtoday.com


Photos Courtesy of Project Roadmap and Morgan Hill Unified School District

to succeed in their chosen field. People like Teresa Guerrero-Daley, a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge, who shared her story of studying and working her way through college and law school, becoming a judge, and giving back to her community. She told the kids how, long ago, she was advised to drop her surname, Guerrero, to have more appeal in the job market—advice she chose not to take. She said when she walks into her courtroom today and people stand as her name is announced, she is proud of who she is and the path she chose. Students and their parents were moved by the judge’s story.” Along with monthly meetings, Project Roadmap hosts its annual student-led event, the “No Excuses” Youth Conference. A two-week “Summer School for Parents” program helps parents connect with school teachers and staff. They discover that it’s okay to ask questions and voice their concerns. “We have families living in poverty in our district,” Mario said. “These kids have grown up seeing their parents working in the fields, doing piece work, putting in long hours at multiple low-wage jobs, sacrificing to keep them in school. These kids are torn. They want to go to college but sometimes they feel selfish, thinking they should get a job right after high school and contribute to the family income. We want parents to know that college is not just a luxury for the well-to-do. “With this in mind, I invited a local friend, Humberto Rincon, to lead one of our workshops. He grew up poor, but did well in high school and was fortunate

enough to win a scholarship to UC Davis. After that he earned a master’s degree from Stanford. During high school he’d been working in a local retail store. His boss offered him a job as store manager after graduation. His dad thought he should take the job, a “sure thing” that paid a salary, rather than spending four years in college with no guarantee of a job after. He loved his father, but he chose college and went on to work as an engineer at IBM. When his own teenager started talking about college, he was ready to support her dreams, without hesitation. Our kids really connected with Humberto’s story and his message for them.” On average, Project Roadmap has served about 400 students and parents per year. The project is aligned with school district and Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) goals through the supportive partnership of Superintendent Steve Betando; Assistant Superintendent Ramon Zavala, who convenes Project Roadmap meetings; and Heather Nursement, the district’s new Director of College and Career Pathways. Community partners including Morgan Hill Community Foundation, Morgan Hill Kiwanis Club, and the Edward Boss Prado Foundation have also lent their support. “We’re committed to this program because we’ve seen it work,” Mario said. “When it works and our students are successful, it benefits their families and the entire community. The generous support we receive from our community partners is essential as Project Roadmap serves new student families each year.”

Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, MHUSD School Board Member Ron Woolf, MHUSD Superintendent Steve Betando and County Office of Education Trustee Claudi Rossi. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

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Jennifer Gonzalez,

Project Roadmap Alumna

Jenn Gonzalez is studying hard at Santa Clara University where she is pursuing a triple major in Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. After that she plans to go to law school. Project Roadmap played a big role in her secondary school experience. While a student at Britton Middle School, she worked with Science Teacher George Flores and participated in Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), a national student organization, and on the English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC). She got involved with Project Roadmap during her Sophomore year at Ann Sobrato High School.  “I realized the great need there was for marginalized communities to receive resources to guide them towards higher education. I, as a child of immigrants from Mexico, felt different from my peers whose parents volunteered in the classroom and were very present on campus. My parents have always believed in education and in me. Project Roadmap allowed them to understand the steps I had to follow to reach my goals and how they could support me as parents. They saw firsthand the impact of helping others. For me and my parents, Project Roadmap was like being part of a larger family that values education and community service. I learned that education is the most powerful tool we possess and it’s something no one can take from us. It gave me a foundation of empowerment. I know that I have individuals cheering for me, believing in my ability to succeed. I understand what my education means to my family and my community. We are breaking through old barriers and fulfilling an American Dream.”

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What Shaped Housing in 2016 C.A.R. Magazine, Cathie Ericson

California Inventories Remain Tight

Inventory shortages across California are nothing new, of course. One of the problems, said Than Merrill, CEO of San Diego’s FortuneBuilders and CT Homes LLC, is that many California homeowners are too nervous to subject themselves to the very competitive and expensive real estate market. “While many are convinced that now is, in fact, a great time to sell, they are cautious of what they might face when they become buyers themselves,” he told California Real Estate. Hopefully, the tide will soon turn. About 52 percent of homeowners believe that now is a smart time to sell, up from 34 percent last year, according to a Redfin survey. “The recovery may have reached a point in which sellers can no longer afford to hold on to their properties; there is simply too much incentive to sell in the face of today’s high demand and prices,” Merrill continued. He believes that homeowners who have been waiting patiently are now more inclined to actively participate in the housing market and contribute to today’s inventory levels.

Fewer People Are Owning Homes Homeownership hit a 50-year low, with California’s rate hovering at 54 percent, compared to 63.5 percent for the country as a whole, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). It’s easy to blame the housing slowdown on the millennials, a demographic that is notoriously slow to buy their first homes for a number of reasons, ranging from crushing student loan debt to a delay in starting their families. But it’s impossible to overlook housing affordability as a cause. In fact, the top three priciest markets nationwide are in California: San Jose, with a median home price of more than $1 million, followed by San Francisco and Anaheim/Santa Ana, according to data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Just 31 percent of California households could afford to purchase the $516,220 median-priced home in the second quarter, down from 34 percent in first quarter 2016—though up from 30 percent in second-quarter 2015, finds C.A.R. research.

Mortgage Rates Continue To Sink Despite a predicted rise, mortgage rates continued to go down, down, down, to a nearhistoric low. The fall was aided by a number of news events, most striking of which was Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, commonly known as “Brexit.” And the numbers showed it: California refinance volume increased in the first half of the year, according to the MBA. The low rates not only spurred a tsunami of refinancing among existing homeowners, but aided home buyers who could seek more house for the same or less money. With the cost of borrowing so low, former renters realized that buying could actually bring a lower monthly payment, in addition to the tax benefits of owning a home. That’s why these low mortgage rates expanded the spectrum of buyers who could participate in the market, including many served by the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). “There are areas where owning is less expensive than renting, and our ability to marry down payment assistance with an attractive lending product helped contribute to more homeownership among those groups,” said Tia Boatman Patterson, executive director of CalHFA.

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Prices Force People To Leave Are people fleeing California for cheaper pastures? This year’s outmigration was the largest since 2011, said the Californian Department of Finance, which found that 61,100 more people left than moved in for the 12 months ending June 2016. “Lack of affordability is facilitating the exodus,” said Habibi, adding that it creates issues not only for families, but for companies that are finding they have to pay increased wages to keep workers. Of course, points out Merrill, there is a silver lining in the form of more inventory. “The more homeowners who decide to leave California, the more homes that will be placed on the market, eventually making room for those who want to live in desirable areas like San Diego and San Francisco. When those houses go up for sale, the demand will be there.” And that could help the whole cycle, Habibi said. “Prices would fall to more realistic levels if we had more inventory.”

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people

to

watch

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outh Santa Clara Valley is home to busy, hard-working people who give generously through community service. They value Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin as great places to raise their kids and enjoy an active retirement. They welcome opportunities to gather at downtown venues, community centers and local parks to enjoy time together, whether it’s for a fundraiser, a holiday parade, or a family celebration. In years past, our community spirit has kept us connected, focused on quality of life for all, reminding us why we love this place we call home. In 2017 this will be more important than ever. For a region of our size, we are richly blessed with people of vision who have inspired and supported the development and preservation of assets that benefit the whole community— libraries, sports complexes, senior centers, cultural arts venues, historic downtowns, wineries, nurseries, farmlands, ranches, parks and open space. At gmhTODAY we appreciate the opportunity to highlight a few of these people to watch.

Written By Robin Shepherd

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Ashis Roy A

shis Roy is the Managing Member with El Toro Group, owner of Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Morgan Hill. In 1999, his father Arvind Roy developed and constructed the 85-room hotel, which offers 4,500 sq. ft. of banquet/meeting space. Roy brings to his work a deep knowledge of commercial investment experience, hotel operations, and a passion for the hospitality industry. He has served as El Toro Group’s Managing Member for over eight years. Previously, Roy held management positions in investment banking and financial services in San Francisco. He also worked for a carbon technology start-up in Dallas, Texas. Roy earned his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. He is a board member of the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce. “Morgan Hill is coming into its own as a destination, which contributes to the growth of our local economy. The city has many underutilized assets and its appeal as a destination is only as good as our ability to promote it. With this in mind, I’m inviting key stakeholders, including city officials, hoteliers, restaurateurs and winery owners, to come together in 2017 in support of a tourism business improvement district.”

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Edith Ramirez

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dith Ramirez is now in her sixth year as Economic Development Manager for the City of Morgan Hill. Respected as a passionate advocate for the City, she leads a variety of efforts from business development to downtown revitalization. Ramirez has also been active in Joint Venture Silicon Valley, including a term as chair of the organization’s Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance, as well as the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Roundtable and the International Council of Shopping Centers. She also engages with organizations: Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), Urban Land Institute (ULI) and San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research (SPUR). Previously, Ramirez served for eleven years as Senior Development Officer with the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, where she was involved in the Agency’s downtown management, housing and real estate, project management and industrial development divisions. Previously she was a community relations manager and legislative assistant for City of San Jose Vice Mayor Frank Fiscalini. Ramirez earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from San José State University. Ramirez and her husband are raising two children, and they have an adult son. “We’re excited to bring forward the Economic Development Blueprint to City Council this year. After extensive community outreach and feedback it offers a strategy for continued prosperity and economic vitality in Morgan Hill. Two promising new development prospects are on the horizon for the City: An 83-unit market rate apartment complex at the Sunsweet property on 3rd Street; and a 56-unit townhome project at the Hale Lumber site that will also realign Depot and Church Streets, easing traffic flow. These projects will be transformative, offering residential living spaces to support existing and new businesses in our downtown neighborhood.”

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abriel Gonzalez brings over 20 years of local government experience to his role as Gilroy’s City Administrator. He joined the City in early 2016 from a Management Consulting role with Management Partners, a national consulting firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Previously, Gonzalez served as City Manager for the cities of Mendota and Rohnert Park, California, and Augusta, Kansas; and as Assistant City Manager for the City of El Monte, California. Gonzalez has an established track record of guiding organizations smoothly through financial and operational transformations while upholding a customer-focused approach to delivery of city services. Gonzalez holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Fresno, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from National University. A native of Santa Cruz, Gonzalez now lives in Gilroy where he is a member of Gilroy Rotary and looks forward to deepening community involvement.

“I’m gratified to be part of such an outstanding city government. Two priorities for 2017 are, at the policy level, implementing city council strategic goals; and at the organizational level, guiding City administration to invest in technology, staff development, and modernization of our business practices. For staff development there’s succession planning, and developing and equipping employees to provide the best possible services to our community. We’re looking to ensure our recreation and quality of life programs continue to serve all members of the community. Gilroy’s growing community engagement improves our potential to be on the forefront as a key destination in our region.”

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Gabriel Gonzalez JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

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Rene Spring R

ene Spring was elected to a four-year term on the Morgan Hill City Council in November 2016. He ran on a platform of smart growth for Morgan Hill’s future. Rene moved to the Bay Area from Switzerland in 1998, armed with a degree in Computer Science and a keen interest in the software industry. In 2001 he landed a job at Cadence Design Systems, a Silicon Valley tech industry leader, where he currently serves as a director of program management. Rene and his family settled in Morgan Hill in 2004. He was appointed to the Morgan Hill Planning Commission in 2012 and again in 2014. In 2012 Rene also joined the board of the Morgan Hill Community Foundation and currently serves as its president. After graduating as a member of Leadership Morgan Hill’s Class of 2012, he joined its board of directors, taking on the role of board president for 2014-15. In 2013, he created a Facebook page: It’s Ours. Our Morgan Hill which has attracted thousands of followers by providing an online venue for local nonprofits and residents to share events and information with the community. Rene is married with three adult step-children, and three grandchildren who call him ‘Opa.’ “Morgan Hill faces some tough challenges over the next few years such as the impact of climate change, traffic, pressure on remaining open space and AG land, as well as the need to improve our infrastructure and financial sustainability. I look forward to working on solutions that will address the needs of our great community for years to come. It will be a tough journey that I’m ready for!” “I look forward to an exciting 2017 and to serving the people of Morgan Hill. Let’s work together to make our community the best it can be! Be engaged! Pay it forward! Smile at others! Give back!”

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Brittany Sherman I

n 2015, Brittney Sherman joined Léal Vineyards Inc., which owns the new Granada Theater, Hotel and Spa as well as Léal Vineyards, Willow Heights Mansion, Hacienda de Léal Hotel, Sycamore Creek Vineyards, and the Grove Restaurant. Sherman brings to her role as Project Manager for the Granada Theater more than a decade of hospitality industry experience including food and beverage management and sales management. Sherman earned her BA degree in Criminal Justice from San José State University. Sherman, her son and her parents are residents of Morgan Hill. Her community service includes board-level positions with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce, the Morgan Hill Downtown Association, and the South County Young Professionals Network (2016 Chair). “At Léal Vineyards we are grateful to the Morgan Hill community, which has welcomed the Granada Theatre and Granada Hotel/Spa projects with open arms. We are thrilled to open our first of two venues in downtown Morgan Hill this year. Our goal is to treat local residents and visitors to ‘the Léal Experience,’ lavishing on them a high level of service and professionalism. “The Granada Theatre brings a live entertainment and dinnershow venue to our downtown, without the necessity of jumping in the car and driving North. The Granada Hotel/Spa will offer 60-boutique hotel rooms for extended families during the holidays, a Floral Shop to commemorate special occasions, and a Deli/Market featuring fresh locally-farmed foods.”

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Tammy Brownlow T

ammy Brownlow is President and CEO of the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) where she has directed activities to attract and retain businesses on behalf of the Gilroy community since 2010. Previously, she held management positions in economic development for the cities of Morgan Hill and Sacramento. She launched her economic development career in the Midwest as an executive director of an economic development corporation serving a county-wide area. Brownlow’s 20-plus years dedicated to this field include leadership roles in strategic planning, workforce development, land use and economic impact analysis. Through her efforts, the communities she serves have benefitted from local job creation and keeping tax revenues in the local economy. Brownlow holds a BS in Business Management from William Woods University. Brownlow, a Gilroy resident, is a member of Gilroy Rotary, the Gilroy Welcome Center board of directors, and the California Economic Development Association; and she works closely with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and Gilroy Downtown Association. “In our region, the overall outlook for economic development continues to be positive. We’re working to attract advanced manufacturing, distribution, ag bio and food processing companies as well as retail and small business. Our goal in development is creation of local jobs with wages that can sustain families to work and live here. To this end, we continue to partner and share resources with the Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance, the Central Coast Marketing Team, the International Council of Shopping Centers and others to represent Gilroy with all its attributes. Interest from businesses looking to establish or expand a West Coast presence continues to be strong, and there’s growing interest in Gilroy’s downtown. With Measure H, the City’s new general plan will need to be revised to ensure land use decisions align with the Urban Growth Boundary…our efforts will be aligned with the City Council. We are also looking to increase community engagement through meetings as well as social media and neighborhood websites.”

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Trina Hineser T

rina Hineser is a potent voice in San Martin. Currently, she is President of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance (SMNA), which aims to protect San Martin’s rural atmosphere, support positive controlled growth, promote neighborhood identity and vitality, and keep members informed so they can participate in finding solutions to neighborhood concerns and have an influential voice in the local governing body. The Alliance monitors commercial and industrial growth and encourages new development to be local serving. In this role Hineser works to bridge the gap between county and community. SMNA holds quarterly community meetings with guest speakers addressing relevant topics such as Human Trafficking, Animal Control and Code Enforcement. In 2015, Hineser was appointed to the San Martin Planning Advisory Committee (SMPAC), which was formed by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 1981. SMPAC advises the County on land-use applications within the San Martin Planning Area and provides a forum for issues of importance to the community. Hineser holds a B.S. degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She and her family are long-time residents of San Martin.

“San Martin’s rural character and agrarian community need better land-use protections in the face of increased development pressure. My focus for 2017 is on maintaining the rural integrity of our community. I look forward to the continued progress of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance, and a redefined role for the San Martin Planning Advisory Committee. San Martin residents deserve to retain their rural lifestyle amid the urbanizing communities that surround us.”

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Mike Luevano

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ike Luevano joined Rebekah Children’s Services (RCS) in 2015 as Director of Communications and Development. Rebekah’s Children’s Services provides services for over 3,000 families in Santa Clara County and neighboring counties. This move brought Luevano full circle to the very organization where he began his career working as a behavioral specialist between 1995 and 2004. Prior to his current role, Luevano was an enterprise account executive with Comcast Business. Before that he was in sales with AmeriPride Services, a North American supplier of uniforms and other products to the automotive industry. Luevano also spent four years in sales and marketing in the sports and entertainment industry, and three years as Recreation Coordinator II for the Consumnes Community Services District. Luevano holds Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Applied Science degrees in Recreational Therapy from San José State University. He is a member of the Gilroy Rotary Club, Gilroy and Morgan Hill Chambers of Commerce, the South County Young Professionals Network, and Leadership Gilroy’s Class of 2017. Luevano lives in Gilroy with his wife and two daughters. “We are so grateful to the South County community for their generosity and concern for our work to ensure the hope, happiness and well-being of the 3,000 local children and their families each year. In 2017, the need for adoption, fostering, school readiness and mental health services continues to be great, but through community support we’ll continue to expand these services and their reach.”

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S

ue O’Strander is now in her third year as Planning Manager for the City of Gilroy, a position to which she brings more than two decades of related planning experience. O’Strander leads the City’s Planning and Code Enforcement team which works to streamline land entitlement permit processes and services, among other things. In January 2016, she took on an additional role as Gilroy’s Interim Development Services Manager, supporting economic development activities, community engagement, and identifying opportunities to enhance customer services. Previously, she served in city planning departments in Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Oxnard, and the county planning department of Santa Barbara. Prior to joining the public sector she worked at a private consulting firm. O’Strander holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine. She resides in Gilroy where she is a member of Leadership Gilroy (Class of 2014) and supports the Gilroy Downtown Business Association, the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce by providing updates on downtown issues. “Gilroy has wholeheartedly welcomed me and my family, and I have tremendous pride in our community. In 2017, I’ll continue to be connected with the community to identify new opportunities to support and highlight Gilroy’s Historic Downtown. I’m also looking forward to contributing to our administration’s resumed efforts on the 2040 General Plan update, which will clarify expectations and shape policies for the City’s future growth and vitality.”

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Sue O’Strander JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

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JoseMontez J

ose Montez, Gilroy Businessman, came to the United States when he was 21 years old. Although a successful business owner in Mexico, he worked, studied and struggled in the US. Today, he is a partner in a machine shop that produces prototypes for electronics, industrial and health care clients; owns a property management company managed by his wife, Anna; and oversees several real estate holdings categorized as long term, aggressive or conservative. One of his long-term investments is the Hall’s building on the corner of Sixth and Monterey in downtown Gilroy. In the near future this project will accommodate three rental units upstairs and a restaurant downstairs. Twoand-half years into this project, earthquake upgrades, permits, vandalism and construction issues delayed his progress much longer than anticipated. He believes Gilroy has turned the corner to a more prosperous and vibrant downtown. Jose’s expertise has taken him on consulting ventures to China, South America and Mexico. Jose has a degree from San Jose State University. In 2006 he survived a brain tumor. He and Anna live in rural Gilroy where they raised their five kids. His oldest son works in his property management company, two girls attend Santa Clara University, another girl will soon graduate from GECA...and three of the five kids are accomplished Mariachi performers! “I always said, our downtown is the heart of our community, our downtown identifies who we are as a community. I will never give up on doing my part in making our downtown better. Our downtown has been able to maintain its originality and great character, it offers tremendous opportunities for investors and business owners. We need to work together. We have a unique Gourmet Alley that offers endless possibilities for creative business people.”

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John Horner J

ohn Horner took the helm of Thinker Toys Inc. in 2000. As majority owner, his focus is primarily financial and strategic while his business partner guides operations of the company’s retail stores located in Morgan Hill, Monterey and Carmel. Previously, Horner put his BSEE degree to work in a 12-year high tech career in positions including: VP, Product Engineering for Ross Technology (Fujitsu), Applications Manager for Semiconductor Test Solutions, and Product Engineer at Cypress Semiconductor and AMD. Currently, Horner also serves as President and CEO of the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce, a role he’s had since 2013. The chamber is a hub for local business and organizational collaboration, producing Celebrate Morgan Hill, the Friday Night Music Series, and Taste of Morgan Hill as well as the educational skills development event known as Rock the Mock. Horner is a current member and past president of the Morgan Hill Kiwanis Club, and a supporter of the Morgan Hill Community Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Horner and his wife live in Morgan Hill and have both been very active in community organizations. His daughter works for Thinker Toys. “Looking at 2017, I’m excited about the interest in bringing more professional jobs to Morgan Hill and South County. There’s a critical need to build the work side of Morgan Hill, and the city, the chamber and schools are aligned on this issue. We have education and workforce development programs in place. We have the housing. Let’s grow the jobs.”

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Jordan Herget J

ordan Herget was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Gilroy’s St. Louise Regional Hospital in in November 2016. As CEO, his primary goal is to work with hospital physicians, nurses, staff and volunteers to identify and implement strategies for hospital revitalization. Herget brings 17 years of hospital executive experience including previous positions as Chief Operating Officer of Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose; and Chief Executive Officer of Oklahoma University Medical Center-Edmond. His expertise includes capital investments, program alignment and development, collaboration with unions, patient satisfaction, and market growth strategies including relationship-building with academic medical centers such as those at UCSF and Stanford. Earlier in his career, Herget was a senior consultant with Ernst & Young, and one of his first clients was Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of the West when it was affiliated with Catholic Healthcare West. Herget holds a Master’s Degree in Health Finance and Management from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. He was awarded an Advanced Lean Training Certification from the Virginia Mason Institute and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

“This is an excellent opportunity to be part of the growing communities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill and to join the many dedicated, long-term staff of St. Louise. I am excited to be working with an enthusiastic and experienced team, including our CAO John Hennelly. Our goal is to provide exceptional healthcare service. This will allow local residents to stay in the community for their healthcare and hospital needs with confidence in the physicians, facilities, and services that we provide.”

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The Story of Orkeeswa

Local Rotarians Support Innovative School in Tanzania

Orkeeswa School overlooks vast African plains in a remote part of Northern Tanzania — home to the noble Maasai people. This is the story of how local Rotarians came to be involved with an innovative school that is transforming lives of Tanzanian youth through the power of education. On January 22nd, Chuck Berghoff and Lorena Tuohey of the Morgan Hill Rotary Club (photo with Sue Berghoff on left) will join other Bay Area Rotarians on a trip to Tanzania. They are going to meet the students who inspired their Rotary service project in support of the Orkeeswa School. These young people are the first in their families to attain secondary and university level education.

Written By Robin Shepherd

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he beauty of this service project is that it not only connects people across nations and serves a humanitarian need, but it also supports a holistic, community-based model of education that happens to align with Rotary International’s credo of “service above self.” At Orkeeswa, students learn that life is about more than selfbetterment. It’s about learning to lead and to serve one’s community with an attitude of respect for the dignity of its people.

Tanzania’s Need

While education can break the cycle of poverty, in some parts of the world, poverty is the biggest obstacle to obtaining an education. Orkeeswa School opened its doors in 2008 to break this cycle. In the underserved Maasai community of northern Tanzania’s Monduli Hills, the traditional Maasai way of life as nomadic herdsmen is vanishing, leaving many

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in extreme poverty. Secondary school education is out of reach for roughly 90 percent of Tanzanian youth. School fees are upwards of $500 per year for families whose income may be as little as $1 per day. At Orkeeswa, education is free, to all students. Girls learn side by side with boys, promoting gender equality. And unlike boarding schools, Orkeeswa’s students attend day school in their village and return home in the evening to share what they’re learning with their families and neighbors. True to its mission, Orkeeswa’s holistic, community-based model of education balances academics with extra-curricular activities, life skills classes and community service.

Orkeeswa’s Founding Orkeeswa School was co-founded by Peter Luis, a California native whose early career as a teacher took him to far-flung

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corners of the world. About 12 years ago he went to work in Tanzania where he met Raphael Robert, who would become Orkeeswa’s co-founder, and other passionate educators. There was no secondary school for miles in any direction and they wanted to build one. They shared their vision with local village elders and asked for their endorsement. “We walked the village with the elders, who showed us a 20-acre tract of their land that they graciously offered to donate as a site for our school,” Peter said. “From the beginning, we’ve made it a priority to engage with community leaders and students’ families. We’re bringing educational opportunity to a community that traditionally counts on children to work and contribute to the family’s welfare, and practices arranged marriages for its young daughters for a dowry in the form of cattle. “For the potential of secondary school gmhtoday.com


education to be fully realized requires a socio-cultural shift,” Peter said. “Parents must allow their teens to attend school and do their homework rather than working in the fields. Girls must persevere in their pursuit of education. Boys must learn to see girls as peers who possess capabilities and potential just as they do. Schools must foster in their students a sense of commitment to their culture and community. Communities must be open to change as a new generation emerges. The change comes from within, and it takes time.” Peter also established the Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT), a nonprofit organization to raise funds to support the construction and operation of Orkeeswa School and the education of its students. One of its early board members, Anne Cross, is a friend of Chuck Berghoff, a Morgan Hill Rotarian. Their friendship is the genesis of this story.

Photos Courtesy of Rotary International

Chuck Berghoff . . . Chuck might never have connected with Orkeeswa if it weren’t for the fact that he plays in a Bluegrass garage band with Anne Cross’s husband Jon. As Chuck explained it, “When our band gets together to perform gigs, our wives often come along. On several occasions, Anne and Jon talked of having served as volunteers at the inception of Orkeeswa School and having been moved by the needs of the kids and the vision of its school leaders. Later Anne was invited to join the IEFT Board. My wife Sue and I were deeply touched and we decided to sponsor an Orkeeswa student. “In 2014, Anne asked if I thought local Rotary Clubs would be interested in raising funds to support the needs at Orkeeswa. I mentioned this to Brad Ledwith, Morgan Hill Rotary Club President at the time, and he took it to Lorena Tuohey, who leads our club’s international service projects. Literally within hours we got the ball rolling. We met with Anne Cross and members from other Bay Area Rotary Clubs. An international service project was born with the support of the Saratoga, Los Altos, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Gilroy Sunrise, San Juan Bautista, Hollister and Almaden Rotary Clubs. “In keeping with Rotary International requirements to work through an incountry Rotary Club, we partnered with Rotarians in Arusha, Tanzania. We shared their interest in making secondary school

and university education more accessible to their local youth, and we began to develop a response to that need. They were instrumental in moving the project forward and working with Orkeeswa School leaders. “So many people want to give back but they don’t always know how. Everyone has unique gifts and talents to offer. They just need someone to help them get started. Part of our process in Rotary is to find ways to allow people to participate and have a positive impact on the lives of others.” In 2015, Chuck and Sue learned that their sponsored student, Neema Jonas, and her basketball team had qualified for regional playoffs on Africa’s East Coast. They were very excited, but also in need of new athletic shoes. Chuck and Sue gladly donated the proper footwear for the team. For these young athletes it was a triple play: their first airplane flight, first trip outside of Tanzania, and first time to see the Indian Ocean. Currently, Neema is finishing 7th grade with solid academic performance and looking forward to 8th grade. She’s learning leadership as captain of her basketball and soccer teams. Also an aspiring musician, she plays the guitar and drums and leads the Orkeeswa School choir. Neema has kept up a correspondence with the Berghoffs and is eagerly awaiting Chuck’s arrival at school this month.

Anne Cross. . . “When I saw the parents streaming across the hills and valleys toward Orkeeswa School to see their students graduate with the Class of 2016, it touched me deeply,” Anne said. “Proud parents arrived in their finest tribal attire, adorned with exquisitely designed beads and swathed in bright shukas of red and blue. Students performed a traditional Maasai dance, surrounded by their families, schoolmates, teachers and local villagers. “These first-generation high school

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students had a host of academic, athletic and other achievements to their credit. The parents had no way of knowing the opportunities awaiting their daughters and sons going on to university, but they’ve seen other students who have brought their education home to their family and neighbors, and they have hope. “I attended the graduation both as an IEFT board member and an ambassador for Rotary. It was an honor to represent a group of inspired Bay Area Rotary Clubs whose members banded together to understand and respond to the needs of kids halfway around the globe.”

“Opportunity does not have a limit.”

Bertha Lepapa

Bertha’s Story Bertha wanted an education. Her father believed his children should be working the fields, not sitting in school. He died when Bertha was 13 years old. According to local tradition, she was to be offered in an arranged marriage in exchange for a dowry of cows, a staple food and primary source of income for the Maasai people. Bertha felt her destiny could only be fulfilled through education, so with permission from her mother, she returned to school instead. She shared her story in a video produced by IEFT, summarized here: One day, Bertha asked her mother, “If I graduate from Standard Seven, what will I do? Will I go to secondary school?” Her mother said simply, “No.” “I was lacking hope,” Bertha said. “I told my mom I will not get married. I better die. I want to study. I am going to do a certain exam there. She told me, ‘Go.’” Bertha never dreamed she’d have the opportunity to attend Orkeeswa Secondary gmhtoday.com

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School. “After I came here, everything changed,” she said. “I’m studying hard to reach my goal to be a teacher. Everyone is given a chance to express herself and we get to share ideas. We are learning how to be visionary leaders.” She said that after school each day, she went home and shared with her mother what she was learning at school. “. . .we educate our mothers, we educate even others around the community. Now, because I am a student, anything is possible for me through my hard working at school. Opportunities are open. I would like one day to see all of them, everybody, to get education, to see girls and boys, going to school together.” Bertha is now in 12th grade and studying Chemistry, Biology, Geography and Math. She is scheduled to go to University in the fall of 2017!

Positive Outcomes Through the leadership of Rotarians Lorena Tuohey and Chuck Berghoff of Morgan Hill, Bella Mahoney of Saratoga, and Allan Varni of Los Altos, eight Bay Area Rotary Clubs (mentioned earlier) have funded a $57,815 grant to cover much-needed additions to the school campus. A new mobile “TabLab” provides students with tablet computers so they can access high quality educational content online, offline and off the grid—a critical advantage in remote communities. TabLab comes with 20 tablets, a server with a terabyte of content, and two years of teacher training. Students can work in groups, and pursue project-based learning, using the tablets at custom desks built by local tradesmen. The school was also retrofitted with modern solar

panels, sourced in-country and installed by local tradesmen, to provide a continuous natural source of electricity. Washing stations were installed to deliver clean running water to support daily hygiene.

Anne Cross, IEFT board member and an ambassador for Rotary

Today, Orkeeswa provides secondary school education to more than 250 youth, more than 55 percent of whom are girls. According to its 2015 Annual Report, Orkeeswa is one of the highest performing schools in Tanzania with a pass rate of 100 percent for 8th, 10th and 12th Grade students. It has 18 graduates now enrolled in college/university degree programs, and 21 undergrads serving as volunteer teachers and coaches in local primary schools. Orkeeswa students performed 12,262 hours of community service through student-led projects.

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FINANCIALLY

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School Days

The South Santa Clara Valley is fortunate in having amazing public education opportunities provided through the Gilroy and Morgan Hill School District.

gmhTODAY

is happy to highlight some of their many accomplishments and programs on these pages.

Photos Courtesy of Gilroy Unfied School District

Special To gmhTODAY

GUSD Dual Immersion Program, South Valley Middle School 8th grade collaborative session

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GUSD Dual Immersion Program, Rod Kelley Elementary students participate in Buddy Reading JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

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GUSD Taps the Power of Language Written By Laura Corea-Hernandez, PIO, Gilroy Unfied School District

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tudies have shown that bilingualism, or the mastery and use of two languages, has a positive impact on learning, listening, connecting with others, and problem solving. The Gilroy Unified School District is proud of its Dual Immersion Program, which is one of only five such programs in California that serve students from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. The program has exceeded expectations and evolved to meet student needs. Part of its success owes to the dedicated leadership and support of the District’s Board of Trustees, Superintendent Flores, and GUSD teachers.

Dual Immersion Trailblazer Las Animas Elementary was GUSD’s first school to adopt Dual Immersion in 2001 under the leadership of Principal Silvia Reyes. Results there were so positive that the Board of Trustees not only supported its continuance, but also its expansion and replication, beyond the initial grant. In 2006-2007, South Valley Middle School adopted Dual Immersion, followed by Rod Kelley Elementary in 2008-2009 and Gilroy High School in 2010-2011. During the years since our district began implementing Dual Immersion, we have seen increased student enrollment in AP classes and A-G courses (Biology, World History, Environmental Science and Global Studies), and higher graduation rates. We’ve also seen an increase in students pursuing extracurricular activities, embarking on service learning projects, and taking on leadership roles in the school and community.

Student Families Embrace Program Our students and their parents are in effect making a six-to twelveyear commitment to the Dual Immersion educational experience.

Students show up willing to work hard and their parents are supportive of their students’ efforts from day one through graduation. It’s exciting to see the future that our students are creating for themselves by utilizing what they have learned from a bilingual education. As for the next generation of students, we anticipate this program will double in size, district-wide, over the next four years. Rod Kelley Elementary School Principal Maritza Salcido appreciates the program’s benefits through her role as an administrator and as the parent of a Dual Immersion student. According to Salcido, “My daughter is currently a freshman in the Dual Immersion program at Gilroy High School. Being a part of the dual immersion family has been so rewarding. Students go through the challenge of learning two languages simultaneously, managing extra homework, and meeting high expectations despite the academic rigor of this program, by exhibiting discipline and perseverance. Our students learn to value people’s differences, they develop a global view, and they are not afraid to put themselves out there. I am a proud administrator and an even prouder parent of a Dual Immersion school.”

Golden Bell Winner With each new school year, the program continues to expand especially now that our district offers it across the K-12 education pathway. In 2015, our district’s Dual Immersion program received a prestigious Golden Bell award from the California School Boards Association. All courses are A-G and we offer Spanish Language Programs, Biology, Global Studies and World History. Students are acknowledged for their commitment to the program in a special ceremony upon promotion/graduation.

Gilroy Unified School District was honored with a Golden Bell Award (2015) for its Dual Immersion Program. Pictured (L to R) are Gilroy High School Principal Marco Sanchez, former South Valley Middle School Principal Anisha Munshi, current and former Rod Kelley Elementary School Principals Maritza Salcido and Luis Carillo, and Las Animas Elementary School Principal Silvia Reyes.

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Photos Courtesy of MorganHill Unfied School District

Morgan Hill Unified School District Care Team (l to r) Jennifer Baez, Counselor at Jackson Academy and Live Oak; Aaron Duron, Counselor at Sobrato and Martin Murphy; Evelyn Alvarez, CARE Mobile Team; Andrea Bird, Lead Counselor; Jaclyn Snyder, CARE Mobile Team; and Linda Perez, Counselor at Britton and Live Oak.

CARE: An Innovative Outreach Program Written By Andrea Bird, Morgan Hill Unified School District

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he Coordinated Advocacy and Resources for Education (CARE) program was established by Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD) a result of data-driven research conducted by the District to the needs of students, grades 6-12, who fall under the criteria of homeless, foster and socio- economically disadvantaged youth. In MHUSD there are over 300 known homeless youth, and more than 1,000 who are socio-economically disadvantaged. Established in August 2016, the CARE team’s mission is to implement a sustainable outreach program aimed at removing obstacles to student achievement. These obstacles include insufficient access to food, clothing, basic hygiene and health services; transportation to and from school; and academic support beyond the classroom. Everyday things that most of us take for granted, are beyond the reach of many of Morgan Hill’s student families. The CARE team includes three counselors, each assigned to two of the District’s participating schools (Britton, Jackson Academy, Live Oak, Martin Murphy and Sobrato). The Team’s work includes looking into attendance concerns, conducting home visits, and developing personal relationships with student families, seeking to remove obstacles to academic success. The CARE program also employs a classified “Mobile team” of two who move throughout the District in support of site-based counselors. Our research shows that many student families are either unaware of services, or they become discouraged when the process to access those services is confusing, time-consuming, difficult to navigate. Our research also shows that transportation is a

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major hurdle for homeless and socio-economically disadvantaged youth. On referrals from site counselors and others, the Mobile team connects with families to ensure students are benefitting from free busing and free lunch for which they are eligible. Just by removing the transportation obstacle, we have enabled improved student attendance, engagement and academic performance. Acting on site counselor referrals, our Mobile team travels to local food pantries and “clothes closets,” providing student families with much-needed food, clothing, blankets and toiletries. Often they are able to respond within hours. Food staples are usually delivered to school sites for pick up, though a home delivery can be arranged. Food on the table, and warm, clean clothing truly make a difference. A key aspect of the CARE program is the establishment of tutoring centers at locations throughout the District. This Fall we launched two tutoring centers at local RV parks. Tutoring is provided by students from Sobrato and Live Oak high schools. Students helping students represents a non-threatening approach to academic team building. At the same time, tutors model educationally -valuable skills—focus, perseverance, stamina, and collaborative learning—which are vital to success in the 21st century, from campus to career. The CARE team is privileged and delighted to serve Morgan Hill students. Every day is an adventure with unique situations that require unique, individualized solutions. We will continue evolving our program to support student families in need so their students can thrive in school.

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Gavilan College Awarded Third STEM Grant

Written By Jan Janes

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s the current Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) grant reached its final year, and while faculty and administrators waited to hear the fate of its newest grant submission, Gavilan College received a site visit from evaluators. At the end of the visit, staff heard their decision: approval of Gavilan’s third STEM grant totaling more than $4.7 million across five years. HSI STEM grants, funded by the United States Department of Education, became more competitive as the number of qualifying Hispanic serving institutions grew from 100 to 415. Of the 254 applications recently submitted, 91 were funded. Gavilan College was one of only five grant applicants in the country with a perfect score of 100. “I think an important factor influencing the evaluators during the site visit was the enormous amount of student involvement,” said Rey Morales, Biology instructor and lead faculty with the STEM program for eight years. He cited the summer internship opportunities and Gavilan’s unique learning venues available to students, as well as the supplemental instruction and service learning activities made possible by the first two STEM grants. The official name is Strengthening Hispanic STEM Students: Comprehensive Support, Guided Pathways, Renewed Learning.

On campus, they call it STEM III The new grant will enable Gavilan to create a STEM Center within the Math and Science Quad. Plans are still in flux about where activities will move and change. Lab upgrades were a major component for STEM II. The Math Tutoring Lab, always filled to capacity, may move to a larger space, freeing that area to be designated as the new STEM Center. Another key component of the new grant is expanded STEM counseling and community involvement. A full time counselor dedicated to STEM will meet a few times each semester with students. The connection between counseling staff and faculty will be strengthened so students could meet with both, offering better insights about career opportunities. Marla Dresch, Gavilan Math instructor and the new Activity Director for STEM III, outlined opportunities for outreach: “There will be outreach to area high school students, to high school faculty, and especially to high school counselors, informing them of STEM opportunities at Gavilan.” There will also be outreach to families about STEM education and career options available. “The annual community outreach program, Science Alive, is held in February each year,” Dresch said. The program invites middle school students onto campus to participate in hands-on math, science and computer workshops. Because the college Student Center is undergoing seismic retrofit repairs, the program may be postponed or cancelled in 2017.

Teaching and learning opportunities abound With the new grant, summer enrichment programs will expand. Summer Bridge, an existing program which offered academic boot camps as a transition between high school and college, will continue and add more classes during intersession. A new bridge program, STEM Transition, will offer math and science summer classes between the first and second college years. Another new program, Guided Pathways, will plot a clear academic roadmap as STEM students begin their studies. Students learn how the GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

Students installed a native garden adjacent to the Gavilan College Life Sciences building to serve as an outdoor classroom.

classes build upon one another and when they’ll be ready to transfer. The pathways approach also allows students to set up contingency plans if changes occur in their schedules. Established transfer agreements with San José State University are shared with students so they know the correct classes to take and what GPAs are expected. The pathways approach encourages students to enroll in accelerated classes which combine classes that typically span two semesters into one class, doubling the units and emphasizing learning immersion. “As students put a whole lot of effort into their math, it creates synergy and students get good at it,” Dresch said. Instructors take note of students who master math principles, recruit them to become paid math tutors and offer them tutor training. “This encouragement leads the tutors to accelerate their own knowledge, then go on to schools like UCLA and Berkeley and enter a STEM profession,” Dresch said. STEM III will enable the college to purchase equipment benefiting student research efforts. According to Morales, “Supplies such as a wireless weather station help students understand effects of weather on plants and animals, and portable wifi microscopes to quickly assess water quality.” Computer tablets share live data and enhance interactive learning. Camping equipment allows students to participate in service learning programs off campus at state and national parks and local ecological reserves.

Summer internship program flourishes Summer interns benefit from field and lab research under guidance from science mentors throughout the Bay Area. They apply in the spring, get paid over the summer, often launching careers in their chosen STEM fields. Participation leads to improved motivation, dedication to studies and a realization they can do the work. Neighboring universities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and STEM related businesses have all worked with Gavilan College to offer internships. Field research teaches students collaborative, practical skills unavailable in a traditional classroom setting. “The unique attributes at Gavilan—field activities, outdoor classrooms, the pond overlook, native garden and the meadow restoration — add a creative approach to the way we teach our students,” Morales noted..

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Patti’s Perfect Pantry and Tea Cafe:

Gluten Free Goodness in the South Valley Written & Photographed By Amy McElroy

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or someone who spent her life exploring cooking, giving up gluten in 2008 was a difficult health choice for Patti Tartaglia. But turning her gluten-free lifestyle into a growing business that provides others with highquality, flavorful products gives her a strong sense of satisfaction.

Growing-Up Cooking

Tartaglia grew up a latchkey kid in Connecticut, spending her afternoons watching Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet. “I was an overweight child, and my mother was a boring cook,” Tartaglia said. “As I got older, I experimented. I wanted to lose weight with flavorful food.” When she would babysit, she’d read other people’s cookbooks and write down recipes. She started working in restaurants at 16. “I became more of a foodie and would come home wide awake and start baking. My mother got mad because I gave it all away, so I wouldn’t eat it. But the ingredients were very expensive, so I started taking donations.” That was the beginnings of her baking business. Before she went to college, Tartaglia recalled, “My combined love of medicine and food led my mother to say I should go to Cornell and major in Home Economics. That was the 1970s. But I said, ‘No I have to do something important.’ She also wanted us to set up a muffin and waffle store. It’s funny how things go full circle.” Tartaglia worked in restaurants until she was 27. After completing a college degree in Biology she sold pharmaceuticals. She and her husband moved to Redwood City in 1992 and started a family. When her kids started school, a headhunter told her she had too much experience to get a job at her level.

The Transition to Gluten-Free

While job hunting, a good friend of hers had decided to go gluten free because of intestinal and other health problems, which Tartaglia herself was experiencing. It motivated her to eliminate gluten from her diet. “Within three weeks, it changed my life,” she said. But for someone who thrived on a lifetime of cooking, especially artisan breads and pizza, this discovery came with a sacrifice. Instead of bemoaning her situation, she decided to go back

to school, studying the holistic side of nutrition to round out her education. After obtaining her Certificate in Nutrition Education, Tartaglia wanted to counsel people. But the economy was bad, and she couldn’t find enough clients on her own. Fortunately, she happened to meet the wife of the owner of People and Planet, the former Morgan Hill natural food store. At the time, they needed someone to counsel people about cooking healthy food and to bring in products for people to taste. Tartaglia began renting a local kitchen to test market the products she made for People and Planet and several wholesale markets in Aptos. When the rental kitchen was no longer available, she considered building her own kitchen but decided it would require too much time and expense. One day a client said, “Patti, we don’t want to learn to cook. Can you start making this stuff for us?” By that time, Tartaglia had realized she didn’t have the personality to be counselor; instead, she was a doer.

The Bakery Is Born

About that time, former bakery Penny Cakes in Gilroy —on First Street—was going out of business. Tartaglia opened Patti’s Perfect Pantry in that location in 2011. But the kitchen was only 300 square feet, so Tartaglia couldn’t generate enough product to make a living. After a while, she began to consider relocating. In general, she said, “The gluten-free business is a highly unsatisfied market where most of the products are bad.” She knew people would be willing to drive some distance to a more central location to buy it. “It just wasn’t the correct location to draw people down from San José.” When her Gilroy lease was up in 2015, she considered buying property in downtown Gilroy. But the current location in Morgan Hill became available at that time, with the added benefit of being close to the highway off Tennant Avenue. After six months of renovation to the existing bakery kitchen, she re-opened in 2016. Similar to the previous location, the new café offers more than the average bakery. Decorated in an Alice in Wonderland theme with framed posters bearing sayings such as, “Be Careful What You Drink,” the shop provides customers

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a choice of lunch items and pastries— with indoor and outdoor seating—to enjoy their savory and sweet treats with gourmet beverages. Regular offerings include cupcakes, scones, cookies, cinnamon rolls, pizza, sandwiches, and daily lunch specials. Tartaglia has tried to create an environment appropriate to serving high quality, gourmet items. This year, she’s planning to offer afternoon tea menus featuring loose-leaf teas. As for the décor, her favorite character from childhood was Alice in Wonderland. One day she looked up and saw her Mad Hatter teapot on her shelf and that provided the inspiration for the bakery’s theme. “I wanted it to be whimsical and fun—a place where the ladies could come in the afternoon and relax and talk with friends.” Her clientele is varied, with only a percentage who have celiac disease—the inability to digest and absorb gluten, which damages the intestines and prevents the absorption of nutrients. Most are gluten intolerant, while others have some autoimmune disorders and, according to Tartaglia, are eating gluten free to try to reduce inflammation. She also sells to numerous athletes who are trying to improve their performance. Many simply enjoy her American bakerystyle products. She said she makes everything from scratch, thereby preventing any crosscontamination with gluten. “So, there are no chemicals or preservatives in our food.” Also, her sweet items contain onehalf the sugar in other recipes.

The Ups and Downs of Running a Small Business

Tartaglia and her baking assistant, Melissa Peterson, do all the cooking. “I’m on my feet 12 hours a day, with barely a chance for a bathroom break,” Tartaglia said. She has several other part-time staff to manage lunch traffic, dishes, and general customer service. Her husband, Joe, handles the accounting and janitorial work. Sundays and Mondays, the bakery is closed, but Sundays are shopping days. The hardest part of the job comes during the holidays—the busiest time of the year—in wanting to make everybody happy. “I’m a people pleaser,” she said, “and there’s only so much you can do. I work non-stop through the holidays, and I can’t accommodate special dietary

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requests. Thanksgiving is always bigger than Christmas because people are still into eating. Then, I take a weekend off.” She tries to use themed food for holidays. They close the first two weeks of January when everyone is trying to follow their New Year’s resolutions. “After a few years we realized, it doesn’t make sense to be open, and it’s a good time to take a break after the holiday rush.” Tartaglia said that since the move, the bakery’s business has increased by about twenty-five percent. But being a small business is still extremely difficult. “As soon as you’re getting above water, some new tax or regulation comes out. Instead of helping you, it feels like they want to slap you down. Also, I don’t know why people in small communities don’t support small businesses more.” For example, she buys her coffee from a small local part-time business who can’t even afford to go full-time. But people bring Starbucks coffee cups into her shop, even though she sells gourmet coffee herself. “I had to put my foot down. Until you’ve been in someone’s shoes, you don’t get it.”

What’s more, she doesn’t think people understand the benefit of small businesses. “What gives a town its flavor? It’s not Starbucks.” Tartaglia works hard to maintain a strong relationship with the community. While she gets inundated by requests for donations and gift certificates for local fundraisers, she said, “I always donate, but I don’t always feel like I get the support back.” Despite all the struggles of running a small business, Tartaglia treasures the unique relationship with her customers. Her husband says it’s the only business he’s seen where people come in and say, “Thank you for being here.” Tartaglia believes that people who are gluten free feel misunderstood. She’s happy to provide a place where they feel welcome to eat without judgment or questions. “Parents come in and tell their kids ‘You can eat everything here.’ I love seeing that.” “If I wanted to make more money, I would have gone back to corporate America. I’m rich in people around me,

but cash poor. I’ve said to my husband, ‘This business has self-actualized me.’ It has given joy to so many people; that’s why I do it. Some days I wake up and ask ‘Why am I doing all this?’ But I start baking cookies, see my customers, and it all goes away. Besides, if I’m not busy, I get bored,” she said, laughing.

Goals for Future

Tartaglia would like to expand if she had more investors. “I’m looking for a partner because I need someone to get me to the next level.” In the gluten free business, “The hardest thing to do is bread, and it’s the thing I excel at. My goal is to build a name for myself, so someone will want to license the product.” She smiled, saying, “Especially since I’m not 20.” Her products have already garnered much attention, winning some local “best of” recognition as the best small bakery three years in a row, best specialty food in Gilroy for 2015, best lunch and best pizza. Her advice to people about glutenfree products is to be open minded and “Try new things.”

Happy New Year

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Rea Family Were Among Gilroy’s Early Pioneers

Written By Elizabeth Barrett

Photo Courtesy of Gilroy Museum

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he day following their Illinois wedding in 1853, Thomas Rea (1820-1907) and Mary Anne Rea (1827-1899) set forth on an ox-team emigrant train for the West. The 15-man traveling group included only one woman, the newly wed Mrs. Rea. Once the band reached San Jose, the Reas headed south to Gilroy, which at the time was a settlement of three homes, one small schoolhouse, a hotel with a mail collection drop, and a store. His 1853 arrival was not Thomas Rea’s first trip to California. Along with multitudes of other Forty Niners, he had headed West in 1850, first arriving in San Francisco. For the following two years, he worked in the Sierra gold fields before returning via the Isthmus of Panama to Illinois, where he married Mary Ann Jones At first, the Reas settled west of town on the Solis Rancho, where Thomas soon took up farming. In 1857, he began to purchase portions of the Las Animas Rancho, starting with a 160-acre parcel. Over time, he expanded his acquisitions of the historic rancho to nearly 1000 acres. During this period, the railroad line was being completed south from San Jose. Rea served on the celebration committee that welcomed the first passenger cars to Gilroy. Many dignitaries gathered for the event at the newly- constructed depot, including Santa Clara County officials, the City Councils of San Jose and San Francisco, and regional newspaper reporters assigned to cover the historic event. Besides farming, Thomas became a successful dairyman, as referenced in a December, 1868 Gilroy Advocate article, which noted that his ranch “produced excellent butter.” By this time, Gilroy had become known as the dairy and cheese making capital of California. Eventually, Thomas’s son James took over the family dairy, and the Reas moved into town, occupying an impressive home that sat on the corner of Sixth and Alexander Streets. After deciding to go into politics, Thomas threw his hat into the local ring, beginning with terms on the Gilroy City Council from 1872-1876. He went on to serve in the California State Assembly from 1873-1874. He was then elected Gilroy Mayor, serving from 1886-88.

Samuel Rea, Thomas’s younger brother, had come to California in 1852. He worked at the mines in Downieville until 1859, when he moved to Santa Clara County. Besides operating the dairy and cheese making business with brother Thomas, Samuel raised stock and bred horses. Like Thomas, Samuel also ran for public office, becoming County Supervisor, First District, from 1876-79. An 1881 biographical sketch noted “Mr. Samuel Rea owes his success in life entirely to his own unaided efforts and is now one of the thrifty farmers of the Gilroy Township, that locality of truly excellent agriculturalists.” Samuel lived on his ranch south of town until 1899, when he moved to San Jose. Pioneer Thomas Rea’s family extended across the Gilroy generations. Thomas and Mary Anne had two sons and five daughters plus an adopted daughter. They were: James (1854), Addie (1855), Emma (1857), twins Clara and Carrie (1858), and George (1862). Their adopted daughter, Mary, was born in 1850. Daughter Clara married William Jacob Hanna and their children were Samuel, Thomas Rea and Walter Jacob Hanna. Clara’s twin sister Carrie never married but was prominent in Gilroy society. Other Rea children married into the pioneer Pyle (Mary), Strange (Addie), and Loupe (Emma) families. Thomas and Mary Anne’s youngest child, George, followed the family tradition and went into dairying. He married Mary Lee Tully, the daughter of Congressman P.B. Tully. Always the entrepreneur, he founded a mercantile business in Gilroy and later partnered with George Dunlap in running the 20,000-acre Coyote Cattle Company. He also operated a meat market in Gilroy and in 1902 was an incorporating member of the South Santa Clara Fruit Drying Co. George served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors from 1895-1907. Following his father’s death, he became president of the Thomas Rea Real Estate Company. The Rea Building, once a prominent

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Bronze Statue on Monterey Street in downtown Gilroy depicts “The Handshake” between Banker Thomas Rea and Landowner, Electa R. Ousley in 1872, a symbol of “A Community Partnership.” feature at the corner of Monterey and Fifth Streets, was one of the family’s real estate developments. The structure had been built with 300,000 bricks and the best quality redwood from the Hanna Mill at Mt. Madonna. The upstairs portion of the building became the first Gilroy Private Hospital, founded in 1898 by Dr. Jonas Clark. Besides housing the former Gilroy Private Hospital on its upper floor, the downstairs held a onetime popular department store, the Henry Hecker Company, later known as the Roth-Winans store. The landmark building was demolished in 1936. When the Rea building was torn down, wreckers found an old brass and cast iron gas light fixture in the walls, and a roll of 24 inch wide Irish linen, left from the store’s early mercantile days. Thomas and Mary Anne Rea are buried in the family plot at Gavilan Hills Cemetery in Gilroy. The City of Gilroy memorialized Thomas Rea and his contributions to the community with both a street named in his honor and a statue of him, shaking hands with pioneer Electa Ousley, located on Monterey Street.

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The Art of Photography

Giving Through a Lens Written By Kimberly Ewertz

“Maureen always had a camera, and she was always taking photos … when I saw her photos, I realized that she had a huge talent.” Leigh Ann Clifton Director of Marketing Mount Madonna School

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Photographs Courtesy of Maureen Pramanik

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You would never guess after meeting Gilroy resident Maureen Pramanik that the fast-paced and hectic world of the stock market is one of her main passions in life, but you’d be wrong. In 1986 Pramanik graduated from Rutgers University. Soon after she immersed herself in the world of foreign currencies, working on the floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, which, considering Pramanik’s soft-spoken nature and almost shy demeanor makes her quite an enigma. “That job was my favorite of all favorites,” Pramanik said smiling. “You had to really be up on basically the news of the world.” Pramanik may have remained on the East Coast, caught up in the world of foreign exchange, but after meeting and marrying Debashis Pramanik more than twenty years ago, the couple moved across the United States and chose California to establish their new home. After settling in Gilroy, the Pramanik family grew by one; their son Will was born 14 years ago. With his birth came the catalyst for Pramanik’s second passion in life, photography, providing her a creative way of documenting Will’s early years. Debashis, already a photography enthusiast, became his wife’s tutor and schooled Pramanik on the technical aspects of digital photography. “I tend to be a visual person, and it just kind of put that all together,” Pramanik said, adding, “It was somewhat of an artistic outlet, first of all, and I just enjoy taking pictures.” Over the next few years, with her son as the main subject of her photos, Pramanik perfected her newfound talent. When Will reached second grade, the Pramanik’s decided a change of venue would be good for their son, and Will was enrolled at Mount Madonna School (MMS). As it turned out, the new school venue also provided Pramanik an audience for her talent. “Within weeks of joining the school Maureen started taking photographs of special occasions, and sharing them with the school office,” Lara Kilpatrick, former Director of Admissions at Mount Madonna, said. “She soon became a regular MMS parent photographer, donating her time and energy, capturing intimate moments in the lives of the students in school performing arts productions, winter concerts, class projects, and special gatherings.” Leigh Ann Clifton, current Director of Marketing and Communications at MMS, noticed Pramanik right away when she came to the school over six years ago. “She always had a camera, and she was always taking photos,” Clifton said. “I realized, almost immediately, when I saw her photos, she’s got a huge talent.” Mount Madonna’s numerous annual theatrical performances became a pet project for Pramanik, as she made every effort, every year, to capture photos of every student, in every production. “She always made a point of getting images of each and every student, whenever possible,” Kilpatrick said, adding, “This made all the students feel special, noticed, appreciated.” Pramanik admits photographing live action is quite a challenge.

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“During the plays you only have a fleeting moment, and whatever you get, you get.” But for Pramanik, the enjoyment of her passion far outweighs the challenges, no matter what the subject matter, and her most successful photos, the ones she grudgingly admits are good, are those that capture true emotion. “It’s very satisfying, you feel like you captured the essence of who that person is, at that moment,” Pramanik said. “When the person is being more genuine, I guess that’s how I base whether it’s a good photograph or not, it’s my personal barometer.” Pramanik’s artistic interests also include sketching, and one evening a week she hosts a meet-up group at First Street Coffee to do just that. “It does seem like a natural development from sketching to photography, they’re very much related, they’re both very visual, you end up with a picture,” Pramanik said. Although Will has moved on from Mount Madonna to Christopher High, Pramanik has every intention to continue her involvement, as well as her contributions, to the school, the staff, and the students, who embraced her talent, her dedication, and her selflessness. And there is no doubt that her efforts will continue to be appreciated. “Photos that she’s taken years ago, are still being used in some ways, and we will be using her photos for a long time,” Clifton said. As an alumni parent, and former administrator at MMS, Kilpatrick said she’ll remain deeply thankful to Maureen Pramanik “for her unique eye into the soul of the individual, her photographic excellence, and her exceptionally giving spirit.”

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got medicare?

Need a Health plan? Part D (Rx) plan?

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ADVERTORIAL

To Go Solar… or NOT Go Solar?

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ow, as a customer I’ll bet you have never heard of a solar company trying to dissuade its customers from going Solar, but the “reality of things” dictates that Going Solar needs to be the right thing to do for the specific customer. Many solar companies are ready to install solar on any and all roofs for any and all customers. Many customers, as well, want to Go Solar at what appears to be at any and all costs, because of the numerous benefits of Solar. Most fair-minded and professional solar companies however, will avoid the “cookie-cutter approach” to solar and consider the individual needs of its customer before proceeding in a less than beneficial manner for that customer. Therefore, as counterproductive as it may sound, there are times and instances where the best approach to Solar, is NO approach at all!

When NOT to consider going with a Solar System:

When the energy bill is too low - for electricity bills less than $100 per month, unless one is specifically interested in the environmental benefits of Solar, it is difficult to justify the added expense to Go Solar. There may be some instances where it does make sense. For example, if one is planning on using more electricity in the future, purchasing an electric car that might include the use of an electric car charging station. A customer might be attracted to the benefits of Solar battery backup systems (Sunverge.com) for powering the home during outages, or peak shaving—simply storing less expensive generated energy from solar for use during the more expensive times of the day. Generally, however, regardless of what solar company representatives may say, a below $100 per month electricity bill is stretching the cost benefit ratio of solar quite a bit.

When location on the roof or shade becomes a limiting factor.

Pamela Garcia, Founder, Simmitri. Simmitri is a Silicon Valley Corporation, birthed in the Gilroy/Morgan Hill area, in 1995, that helps it’s residential and commercial clientele harness Solar Energy Technology in all its forms today, and into the future. 408.779.3333 simmitri.com

Some roofs will not get enough sunlight due to a poor alignment to the sun. A north or east facing orientation is less beneficial, And a south facing isthe best. Even if the location of the solar array on the roof is oriented correctly, there may not be enough sunlight to generate sufficient electricity output because of shade. The array can be negatively affected by shade from trees, obstacles, roof obstructions, leaves continually falling on the solar panels, or the like. Even though micro inverters, AC Panel technology, and thin film solar have been shown to mitigate this problem somewhat, if there is quite a bit of shade, solar is generally not the way to go. Unsuitable roofs. Some roofs are too steep, or need replacement or improvement before a solar array can go on them. A roof that is 15 to 20 years old or more may not be the best candidate for solar. Think of replacing the roof, if it might present a potential problem, BEFORE installing a solar system. Utilizing a GAF roof system by a “Master Elite“ certified installer, along with high- efficiency Sunpower Panels, can be the most effective way to approach roof and solar appropriately, and also to maintain “best of industry” complementary warranties when installed together. Simmitri is a fair-minded and professional solar company that believes that one size does NOT fit all. BIG SOLAR companies with their cookie-cutter approach to energy management fail to recognize the unique differences and needs of each and every individual customer. The “mission” at Simmitri is to restore the balance of power by shifting the energy imbalance away from utilities and BIG SOLAR to the individual homeowner. We provide every customer with clean power, designed and installed the way it should be: with efficiency, comfort, health, safety and cost effectiveness. Additionally, Simmitri is a “Master Elite Certified Roof Professional” company with GAF, the largest roof manufacturer in all of North America, as well as a Sunpower “Elite Dealer” experienced in designing and installing “the most powerful solar panels on the planet” for years. Visit Simmitri.com or Call Simmitri at (408) 779-3333 to see if Going Solar is right for you.

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One BigHearted Home Written By Larry J. Mickartz

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Adam & Laura Escoto

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dam and Laura Escoto’s home is just west of downtown Morgan Hill. It is a small but not a tiny house. It is only 1250 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath. There is something unique here. It has a great spirit...a big heart. The Escoto’s moved into the circa 1920’s home in 1987 and were soon joined by a son and twin boys. They quickly realized there was just not enough room for that many people. The son and boys stayed, and Adam and Laura moved into a larger new tract home. While the new home was roomy and well appointed, the older home beckoned them back. After nine years the son and boys moved into their own place. Adam and Laura answered the call of the older home...“the magic came back.” Adam and Laura worked on the old place, terraced the angular back yard and extended their living space outdoors. Today the home is welcoming and a tribute to family and their Mexican heritage. The warm wood floors, cozy rooms and curved moldings give the house a comforting feel. Windows stream in sunlight everywhere and warmly accent their many art pieces. Adam and Laura travel the Southwest and often bring back interesting and unique pieces which complement their collection of furniture and art, created by the family. Just inside the front door is a glass bookcase that is a museum-like tribute to family and memories...baby shoes, special items from kids and grandkids, a photo of “Ayu,” their white German Shepherd, a green car, grandparents’ hats, travel tokens and more..

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Several art pieces and furniture were created by Laura’s son’s deceased father. The inverted pyramid table in the living room is an eye catcher. It somehow looks out of place yet at the same time, very much at home. In the breakfast nook is another piece in pastel and glass. There is a chest made of 1940s materials. The son has also made several art renderings, framed in tin, depicting new arrivals to the Echo Park and Boyle Heights neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Laura’s mother’s photo watches over the dining room. Complementing these family pieces are original art and photos from the Southwest... including tributes to Adam’s love of horses. There is a photo of paint horses by local photographer Lori McIntosh. The nook above the fireplace is filled with black Southwest pottery and one white horse! The large backyard is an extension of the house and a great gathering place...almost reminiscent of a Mexican plaza where people gather to socialize. Adam describes it as a space for “social communications.” The omnipresent Agave plants are offspring of a huge

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plant that was removed in the renovation. Adam called the old large Agave “Benito,” a tribute to his grandfather. A large bright green succulent sits in a tractor disk that was also discovered in the renovation of the yard. The yard is filled with quirky sculpted figures: the large gecko on the fence, the Mariachi serenading the gathering and the iron prickly pear cactus. Near the back door is a souvenir of their trip to Cuba...an old license plate. The sturdy gate leading to the front was made from old wood salvaged from Gallo Winery. Adam is a transformational leader with more than 20 years in the field of Education Administration. Laura has worked with nonprofits and participated in building strong community educational communities and community partnerships. She has over 20 years’ experience in local government, primarily in redevelopment agency leadership. She has a special passion for the development and implementation of award-winning affordable housing programs and projects. They are both very active in Morgan Hill, providing their expertise whenever needed. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

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Connecting with grandchildren in today’s tech world…

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oday’s grandparents might find that it’s harder to connect with their grandkids. With the rise of technology, grandchildren would rather spend their time staring at the screens of their phones, iPads, and computers than spend quality time with their family. Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you want to get more bonding time with your grandkids you might want to embrace technology the way they do. Here’s a little bit on how and why:

A Grandparent’s Importance

Grandparents have been around a while and have accrued a lot of life experience along the way. They know the things that matter in life, as well as the things that don’t. Conversely, children, especially younger ones, think everything is hyperimportant. Their constant exposure to social media and other online platforms means that they are more likely to fall prey to the vitriol lurking everywhere on the internet. To a child, a nasty comment from someone online may feel like the end of the world, and if they get too many of them it can seriously harm their self-esteem. Grandparents can use their broader worldview to explain that a mean comment from a stranger, while hurtful, doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. You can use this situation to explain that anonymity does not mean it’s okay to say mean things to others and that they should be nice and civil, even if no one knows them online. After all, if you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face, then don’t say it online. In general, this new generation of kids receives too much peer socialization through texting and computers and not enough one-on-one time with mature adults. Children develop higher self-

esteem and better emotional and social skills, including the ability to withstand peer pressure, if they have a caring adult they can rely on. Your real life presence in your grandchildren’s lives will help keep them in the real world. With your help, they’ll develop a better sense of who they are, where they come from, and what kind of people they want to be.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

So if too much screen time is the problem, why should you learn to use digital media too? For starters, keeping up with technology means you are better able to stay in touch with your family and understand the world they face. Many grandparents live hundreds of miles away from their grandkids. By emailing, texting, Skypeing, or maybe even Snapchatting (for the extra hip grandparent) with your grandkids, you are able to keep a regular dialogue with them and be more present in their day-to-day lives. Even if you don’t live far away from your grandchildren, they are more likely to communicate with you through online and social media than anything else, which means they are more likely to open up to you if something is troubling them. Teenagers and school age kids pick up on technology effortlessly and they are often eager to show off the skills they’ve learned. Zero in on a few things you would like to learn how to do, such as downloading music or maybe learning a game your grandchild loves, and ask them to teach you. As they explain how the programs work, your grandkids will be honing their knowledge as well as developing a greater sense of confidence in themselves. They will feel like they have an important role to play in the family. Even if you don’t grasp things completely, the time you share together can be

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enjoyable and your willingness to learn their technology will make you the “cool” grandparent.

Shared Sharing

Your willingness to understand the world your grandchildren are growing up in means they are more willing to learn about the one you grew up in. Introduce them to games you used to play as a kid or to your favorite card games. Show them how you used to listen to music before the age of iPods or show them your favorite old movies. In a world that’s become instantaneous, there’s still something thrilling about getting a letter or care package in the mail. Whether you live miles away or just down the street from your grandkids, set up a pen pal correspondence and send them a funny letter. It’s especially great practice for kids who are learning how to write and they’ll have a great time waiting for the next letter to arrive. By sharing the interests, skills, and hobbies of your youth, or ones you still have today, your grandkids learn new activities and ideas that help them gain a better sense of their place within history. They may find that they have a new favorite game, movie, or genre of music that they’ll want to share with their friends. Article Brought To You By:

855 Moro Drive, Gilroy • .gokids.org gmhtoday.com

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Santa Clara Valley … Once Known of as the “Prune Capital of the World”

Where Have All the Prunes Gone

Written By Kimberly Ewertz

The men quoted in this article were at one time involved in prune farming — Ernie Belleza who, with his two brothers, farmed prunes from early 40s through the mid 50s; Angelo Benassi’s family farmed for decades; and Joe Filice’s grandfather learned prune farming as a young man in Italy. His father and uncle farmed prunes from 1945 to the late 60s; and Terry Kickham Wolfe had 25 acres, known as the Kickham Ranch.

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lthough prune farming is a rare commodity in Gilroy today, the history of the sweet stone fruit grown almost exclusively in Santa Clara Valley dates back to the 1800’s. French vineyardis Louis Pellier, who hailed from a country famous for its Pruneaux d’Ente, moved to California in the mid 1850s and purchased a tract of land near Mission San José. He named it Pellier’s Gardens. It was on this land that Pellier, with the help of his brother Pierre, grafted cuttings of the Le petit prune d’Agen rootstock, which grew in the Agen area of his French homeland, with local wild plum trees. This cultivation experiment resulted in the birth of the California dried plum.

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Gilroy resident Richard Perino grew up working his family’s prune farm along with his brother Stan. He recalled the contribution of Henry Miller, a local pioneer in the industry. “One of the first persons that started with stone fruit was Henry Miller,” Perino said. “Where the Red Barn is today, that area there, he started experimenting with grapes, prunes, apricots, and peaches… seeing how fruit in the late 1800’s, how they would work to grow.” By the 1880s the increase in imported dried plums from Europe gave notice to local farmers, who switched their plantings to plums, initiating Santa Clara Valley into the dried plum industry.

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By the turn of the century the Valley was hailed as the Prune Capital of the World, with 85 percent of the prunes grown in the area being the French variety (californiadriedplums.org). Ernie Bellezza credited the Gilroy prune farmers’ success to quality. “The quality of the fruit here, in this area here, that’s why they used to call this area the “Prune Bucket,” Bellezza said. The creation of the Transcontinental Railroad in the late 1800’s provided an increased market for dried plums across the nation, and California’s crops soon displaced imports. The growth of the dried plum industry called for an increase in the number of processing plants, “a horse-and-wagon

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Photographs by Kimberly Ewertz and courtesy of Phill Laursen

Angelo Benassi at his home in Gilroy, which is his father’s prune farm that he purchased in 1939. Benassi’s stands in front of the barn, and the structure used as a “home” for the migrant workers. Above, Benassi in front of a truck bed with a license plate from 1953 and below, an old dehydrator building.

haul of the growers,” resulting in over 80 dried plum packing plants operating in the Santa Clara Valley by 1900. Perino recalled that local growers sold to plants including “Sunsweet, Valley View, and Mayfair Packing,” and added, “Our family sold to Mayfair.” Angelo Benassi explained that “Sunsweet Growers was a marketing cooperative (a cooperative made up of farmers).” “Instead of everybody having their own dryers and processing machinery, you had it all at one; everybody put money into it, and they built a Sunsweet facility, and it was centrally located,” Perino added. Unfortunately, with the good came the bad, and by the turn of the century, crop

acreage in California’s valleys had reached 90,000 acres, setting the stage for an over-supply crisis. Adding to the prune farmers’ problems was the state of quality standards, which in the early 1900s were almost nonexistent, allowing U.S. and overseas packers to repackage poor quality fruit with California fruit, and then sell it as “California grown.” These types of discrepancies led to the establishment of the Dried Fruit Association of California (today’s DFA of California) in 1908. The DFA’s effectiveness in overseeing distribution, legislation, quality improvements and technological innovations, enabled a successful transition into the 20th century for the dried plum industry.

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It thrived for the next several decades, and by 1941, with the U.S. involvement in the World War II, sales of the dried fruit industry reached the highest level in history. Lower post-war demand caused a glut of product for the California dried plum farmer. This prompted the industry, in August 1949, to establish volume and quality control with the adoption of the Federal Marketing Agreement and Order for dried plums. It was soon followed by, the State Marketing Order for California Dried Plums in January 1952. The establishment of the two organizations resulted in the creation of the California Dried Plum Board (CDPB), whose mission expanded world-

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wide demand for dried plums through trade promotion, consumer advertising, education and research. Both programs have operated continuously ever since. While plantings peaked in 1929 and continued to remain stable throughout the war, by 1951 crop acreage had dropped off. Gradual urbanization of Santa Clara Valley greatly impacted the local farmer whose livelihood depended on the harvest. “In 1950, we were at our peak in Santa Clara County, in terms of acres of prunes, and there were 50,000 acres at that time. And from there on it started to dwindle,” Benassi said. Proceeds from the harvest were the farmer’s entire yearly earnings, and the town’s well-being was equally dependent

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on a successful harvest. “I came here in 1959, as a senior in high school, and we wanted to know when school was going to start, and they [the town] said, ‘when the prunes are up’,” Joe Filice recalled. “Back in those days, you could go grocery shopping and they [the grocers] would keep a tally of it, and you’d pay, when you got paid for the prunes. They worked with us to pay the bills,” Terry Kickham Wolfe said. Eventually the rise in labor costs prompted the industry to replace pre-war harvesting methods with more innovative practices and equipment. Work previously done by hand—shaking prunes from the trees with a shaking pole, picking the

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Richard Angelino, Fred Angelino, Angelo Benassi, Joe Rizzuto, Al Gagliardi, Don Manzo

prunes off the ground, raking the roads smooth to ensure the delicate fruit wasn’t damaged as it was trucked from the fields to the drying area to be sun dried— was being automated using modern mechanical harvesting machines. Natural sun drying was accelerated with dehydrators, which altered the farmer’s workload; but didn’t lessen it. “My dad used to sleep in the barn, to pull the cars out of the dehydration tunnel. Every hour he had to get up, and pull the car out, and put another one in. Basically, my dad went without sleep and he went to work the next morning, every other day he wouldn’t sleep,” Stan Perino said. Fred Angelino, 99 years young, believes the mechanization process was one reason for Gilroy’s decline in the industry. “Here, we had to do it by hand, and our crop was long and spread out, where it would be four or five pickings, and it was all hand harvest.” Bellezza believes the decline was also due to the San Joaquin Valley. “What happened was the Valley kind of took over, just like everything else.” By the 1960s and ‘70s, high tech companies began populating the area and Santa Clara Valley transitioned from the Prune Capital of the World to Silicon Valley. It wasn’t until the mid 1980s

that society’s concerns about healthy eating and lowering cholesterol rekindled interest in the California dried plum. The “High Fiber Fruit Campaign” of the ‘80s resulted in a four-year growth in domestic shipments of the fruit. In 2000, with FDA approval, the California Prune Board was granted permission to use “dried plums” as an alternative name to prunes. This name change has been credited with an upswing of sales over the next 10 years. With continued interest in healthy eating habits, the dried plum is destined to remain a staple for many years to come. For the local families who experienced the prune industry’s peak, their memories continue to provide an emotional connection to an era when work was hard, money was tight, and everything relied on the family business. “My fondest memory is, I learned to drive in the orchard, I was about 10 or 11. I drove the truck, but I had one condition, I had to clear the road up ahead, don’t dare step on a prune,” Filice said. Kickham Wolfe’s favorite memory is the prune boxes. “I loved to make forts with those boxes, when the work was done.” For Al Gagliardi, who grew up in

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the prune business and became a Deputy Sheriff after returning from the war, his pursuit of those prune boxes, and the memories they preserve, resulted in an impressive collection. “Al’s got over 150 unique prune boxes,” Benassi, said. Gagliardi, with the help of Benassi and Phil Laursen, created a book entitled “Preserving Gilroy’s Prune Heritage” that showcases his collection. It’s available at the Gilroy Museum. For Al Ciacco, it’s the olfactory sense that triggers his memories. “I used to love the smell of the prunes from the dehydrators, you know that smell in the air,” he said with a smile. “Ten years or so ago they used to [dry prunes] in Morgan Hill, and I used to drive up there just to smell it.” Don Manzo said prune farming literally changed his life. “Well, when I was raising prunes I was still a bachelor, and we had this family that came [to help us pick], from Texas. They had three girls, they were adults, and I finally married one of them.” Richard Perino said he appreciated moving beyond traditional harvesting to using machinery: “The memory I have is when we were 14, we actually helped with the processing of the prunes...we would load the trucks and then we would dump them into the hopper, and dip them. It was good.” gmhtoday.com

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People on the Street

You’re in Charge…

what is your New Year’s Resolution for the City for 2017?

Following the election of November 2016, residents of Gilroy and Morgan Hill from many ages and walks of life responded to this question.

Written By Amy McElroy

Growth and development remain primary concerns for citizens in both Morgan Hill and Gilroy Betsy Ding, Retired Morgan Hill

John Litzinger, Civil Engineer Gilroy

“Our community must reflect balanced growth that includes affordable housing for young families with their new ideas and energy and a place for seniors with their storied experience that adds so much to our town. We also need a balance of light industry and businesses that will support jobs and open spaces for recreation and wildlife that will enrich our lives.”

Concerned about the eventual location of the high-speed train (HST) station—the establishment of which was passed as part of Measure H in the November 2016 election. The station will either be located downtown or east of the Gilroy Outlets. “The location of the HST station will determine where and how dense the city will grow for the next 100 years. Cities always grow where there is infrastructure.” From the time Gilroy was first built around Llagas Creek, to when the town instead began to grow around the railroad, then increased in the same area as cars travelled parallel up Monterey Road, until Highway 101 took growth east toward the Gilroy Outlets, Litzinger explains that growth always follows the transportation hub. As a result, he wants to ensure a careful, considered choice is made for the city about the placement of HST station.

Megan McCarthy, Student Gilroy High School Senior “My New Year’s resolution for Gilroy is to maintain the character of our small town without letting modernization and overpopulation take over the city I grew up in.”

Other citizens are focused more specifically on development of activities for their cities. Owen McMillanm, Student Morgan Hill High School Senior Wants the city to develop more things for people to do—and not just for teenagers—saying, “You can only go to the movie theater and bowling alley for so long.”

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Bertha Castillo, Student Gilroy — Attending California State University at Monterey Bay “The city needs a recreation center and a teen center. We need to give youth something productive to do with their time.”

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Maria Reps, Mother Gilroy A year ago from Minnesota with her five children. Ironically, despite Gilroy’s wonderful climate, she misses all the outdoor activities from her neighborhood community back in Minnesota. Here, she finds a lack of family-oriented, age-appropriate things for her children to do in her community and neighborhood—especially outdoors. She’d like to see more activities in parks, organized monthly crafts, and family-friendly events throughout the city.

Some residents have specific desires for their downtown areas.

Liz Ronco, Hair Stylist Morgan Hill A resident for 16 years—would like to see more clothing stores and boutiques. “We have so many great restaurants. It would be nice for people to be able to walk around and shop after they eat.”

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An independent cyclist, would like to see Morgan Hill’s downtown reduce Monterey Road to one lane on each side, on a permanent basis. “It would reduce traffic for cycling purposes and for all the restaurants with outside seating,” he explains. As the lanes stand now, he finds the greenpainted bike lanes confuse both drivers and cyclists. “The city needs to make clear what the green lanes are for. They should mean, stay out of that lane if you see a cyclist.”

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Matthew Wood Morgan Hill “I want to keep the historic quaintness of the old town as much as possible.” He’s concerned about what he calls, “the new hamster cage housing” near downtown. Having moved from another small town, he says he’s seen what people do to them. “I want to keep Morgan Hill a nice destination that people enjoy.”

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This Valentine’s Day Spread Your Love to Those in Need

Written By Jordan Rosenfeld


O

n Valentine’s Day we most often celebrate

populations always appreciate staple foods, they also enjoy

romantic love, displaying our affection to

special holiday-themed treats to hand out to those who partake

significant others through gifts of flowers,

of their services. Whether you bake your own goodies or bring

chocolates, and lavish dinners out. However,

in a few boxes of chocolates, your sweet effort will not go

what if this year you celebrated love in all of its forms by giving of your time, energy and thoughtfulness to those in

unappreciated.

need, instead? Thanksgiving and Christmas are traditional

Support Childhood Cancer Research

holidays for giving to others, and by the time February rolls

There is perhaps no group who suffers more at the holidays

around, many of us go back to our regularly scheduled

than parents who have lost children. After losing her six-year-

routines. This year, consider how you can help those people

old daughter Jennifer to an aggressive cancer just three years

who might be most in need of love that they are no longer

ago, local Gilroy mom Libby Kranz started the non-profit

able to experience or who are enduring challenging life

organization Unravel Pediatric Cancer, which raises money for

situations. From elderly widowers to parents who have lost

research on childhood cancers. Her Gilroy-based organization

children, here’s a roundup of things to do this Valentine’s Day

offers many ways for people to get involved in the fight to end

that bring love to those who need it most.

childhood cancer. If you know any family that has had to bear this unbearable kind of loss, considering reaching out with a

Take a Valentine’s Gift to Someone in a Nursing Home

special note of love at this time of year.

Many of the elderly folks at retirement communities have

Give Love to the Unsung Workers in Your Community

lost a spouse, or have infrequent visits with family, spending

Some of the most hardworking people are those we think about

much of their time alone. “Even just giving a few minutes

the least because they so quietly and efficiently go about their

of your time, a personal touch and personal contact makes

jobs: The clerks who ring up your groceries, the postal person

a big difference,” says Jean Tognaccini, owner of Villa Serena

who delivers your mail, the people who do your yard work,

retirement home in Morgan Hill. Better yet you can get a

housecleaning, and those who pick up your garbage. Consider

group together to “adopt” a nursing home, and be sure that

surprising one or more of these people in your life with a

every resident there gets a gift or card.

Valentine’s note or gift.

Adopt a Platoon

Offer to Babysit a Friend’s Kids

Our military personnel don’t get to take holidays off much of

Parenting is some of the most important and exhausting work

the time, and many of them are separated from their loved ones

anyone can do. Many parents have trouble arranging childcare

for long stretches of time. A bright spot of cheer at this time

in order to spend some quality time together at this time of

of year can make all the difference. Visit adoptaplatoon.org to

year. If you’re in the position to do so, offer to babysit a friend’s

find out how you can send cards or gifts to these dedicated

children so they and their significant other can go out on a date.

military folks.

Take a Single Friend Out

Send Valentine’s to Incarcerated Youth

Valentine’s day can be awfully lonely if you’re not with a partner.

For youth in juvenile detention centers, every holiday, no

Single people generally find this holiday boring at best, and

matter how small, can be a reminder of the loved ones they

unbearable at worst. If you’re in the position to do so, consider

don’t get to spend time with for the time being. Consider

taking a single friend out for a “date” to do something fun.

sending small valentine’s cards or gifts to these youth to let Whatever you choose to do, let this Valentine’s Day be a

them know they’re not alone.

reminder of all the ways you can spread your love into the world

Bring Valentine’s Treats to Your Local Food Pantry

for good, even if all you do is to call up your mother and tell her

While food pantries that serve low-income and homeless

you love her, or hug your loved ones extra tight.

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Self-Employed and Buying a Home

T

By Jayson Stebbins Mortgage Professional

Jayson Stebbins is a 23 year veteran of the Mortgage Banking industry and an Accredited Mortgage Professional through the Mortgage Bankers Association. He grew up in Morgan Hill and currently lives in Gilroy. He is the local Branch Manager of Guild Mortgage, a 56 year old Mortgage Banking firm. His office is in Morgan Hill and serves all of Santa Clara, San Benito, and Monterey counties. You can reach Jayson and his Team at 408-782-8800 or at jstebbins@guildmortgage.net

here are many choices in the world that we face every day that can sometimes create a paradox. Where both options are not great, and one may actually cancel the other out. I am not talking about satellite vs. cable or paper vs. plastic: we are talking about the choice and paradox of the self employed business owner or contractor. The choice of paying high income taxes or qualifying for a mortgage. Let me explain: in the days before the mortgage meltdown, and before the abuses that came about for the Alt-A or sub-prime lending, self employed people actual had a few years of mortgage lender “utopia”. They could manage their tax returns as they saw fit, write off expenses, take depreciation and reduce their gross income down to a manageable net number. That allowed them to take advantage of the benefits of self employment that come from the write off’s the IRS allowed. Then when it came time to qualify for a mortgage, even though they didn’t show a lot of income on the tax returns, lenders would audit their bank statements, see the cash flow flowing through the business accounts, and be able to qualify the borrower based on the overall picture, the cash flow and their “stated income”. Now those loans became one of the primary programs heavily abused and ultimately were done away with after the meltdown. You can still find them, but they are private in nature or portfolio lenders and expensive. Traditional mortgage lending has taken the stated

income loan off the table. So now what do you do if you are self employed? Well now it becomes more strategic. There needs to be conversations with long term planners and tax accountants. If you know you want to buy a home, do you report higher income, pay more taxes for a few years so you can qualify for a home? Do you wait, save money for a much larger down payment so you don’t have to borrow as much? How do you find the balance between reducing your tax rate/ payments and qualifying to buy a home? There is not an easy answer to this problem, thus a label of a paradox. There are a few tools out there to help. The conventional lending world has created a “one year waiver” rule which, for qualified clients, will allow us to qualify self-employed families using just one year of tax returns. This will help if there has been some cyclical up and down in income, or a strategic approach to filing one aggressive income year. Also available are programs that use “asset depletion” or “pledged assets” - these programs are for borrowers who have a large asset based but difficulty proving their income or file with lower income numbers. If you are willing to pledge a portion of assets against a default, or if your asset base is large you can offset some of the qualifying payment with your cash accounts. These programs are designed to help where they can, but will not fit all clients. Being self employed and buying a home can be very difficult, but planning, forethought, and a good group of advisors can make it a reality.

Jayson Stebbins is a licensed mortgage agent in CA for Guild Mortgage Company NMLS#38463; Licensed by CA Disclosure:Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. NMLS Company Unique ID 3274; Branch Unique ID 38480. The postings on this editorial don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of Guild Mortgage Company or its affiliates.  This information is not guaranteed to be accurate and shall not be construed as a guarantee of loan approval.  All loans are subject to underwriter approval, and are subject to change without notice.  Equal Housing Lender.

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Dr. Jernell Escobar Covering All the Bases

Dental Health

J E R N E L L E S C O B A R D D S , I N C

7880 Wren Avenue Suite D-142 Gilroy • 408-847-2658 www.jescobardds.com

DENTAL HEALTH

GENERAL TREATMENTS

COSMETIC TREATMENTS

Oral Hygiene Children’s Dentistry Prophylaxis (Teeth Cleaning) Periodontal Maintenance Arestin TMJ Facial Pain

Fillings/Restorations Sealants Dentures Bridges Dental Implants Crowns Tooth Extractions Root Canals

Bonding Porcelain Veneers Inlays & Onlays Teeth Whitening Invisalign

"Dr. Escobar and staff are professional, friendly and comforting. They inform the patient of what the procedure will entail so there are never any surprises. The staff is always punctual and very, very thorough."

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THE VINE

Rhone Region A

lthough it is quite common to see Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel produced in the Santa Clara Valley area, the past few years have seen a surge of producers embracing the grape varieties of the Rhone valley. These grapes—which are called such for the river valley region in France from which they originate— include Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre primarily for reds, with Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Roussanne for whites. The Rhone, as it is often called, is not unlike the Santa Clara Valley in that both areas have a mediterranean climate, which favors robust red wines. Some of the most renowned wines in the world originate from the area, including the Syrah based wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie in the North, and Grenache based blends such as Chateauneuf Du Pape hail from the South. Though Grenache is a major variety, there are 13 grapes that can comprise this blend, all with their own nuances and flavor profiles. It is common to see a handful blended together, and some of the more common ones from the Southern Rhone have long lived in the Santa Clara Valley, including local celebrity Carignan. The wines from this area are well known as robust red wines with lots of character and ripeness. Here in our valley, we see several examples of “GSM” blends—that is Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre—that harken to the old world wines of Southern Rhone. An example that comes to mind is Aver Family vineyards

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based in Gilroy. Their “Hope” blend is a Rhone style blend, with aromas of dark ripe fruit such as blackberry, plum, and blueberry with notes of pepper, smoked meat and menthol. Though Aver Family adds two other grapes also found in the Rhone (Carignan and Petite Sirah,a highly concentrated descendent of Syrah), the wine is still stylistically similar to what one could expect from these types of wines. Another great example is the “Audition” from La Vie Dansante wines, located in the Blended Winemaker Studio, also in Gilroy. Similar, yet different; La Vie Dansante makes this wine solely with Syrah and Carignan, which allows for a great concentration of color, lots of dark fruit character, and a balanced acid structure which lends itself quite nicely to barbeque or other grilled meat dishes. La Vie Dansante also makes a rose of Grenache which exhibits mouthwatering flavors of cherry and strawberry with a great acid balance and a touch of color from grape skin contact during fermentation. If you are a fan of Rhone wines I recommend you stop by the Winemaker Studio on Dryden ave in Gilroy and taste the La Vie Dansante portfolio. One of my personal favorite white wines is a bit of a celebrity in the Rhone valley, most notably in the region of Condrieu. Viognier (pronounced VeeOwn-Yay), a highly aromatic varietal that commonly shows notes of honeysuckle, peach, and white flowers, but is not normally sweet (though this wine is a

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By Alicia Cuadra

great pairing for spicy foods when it does contain a small amount of residual sugar). This is a type of wine I like to direct people to who say they dislike Chardonnay —though that is another topic entirely— ,and a great wine to give those looking for something with a bit more complexity. One of my favorite local examples comes from Lion Ranch in San Martin. Their estate Viognier is a wonderful example of all the best elements of Viognier; citrus fruit with a touch of green apple and minerality. Notes of lemon blossom and white flowers, with hints of white peach, green pineapple, and grapefruit, I could probably drink this wine all day in the summer. The Engelhardt family, producers of Lion Ranch, fell in love with Viognier while in Condrieu, and their passion for this variety really shines through. They also produce Grenache Blanc as well as a white blend called “Lion’s Share,” and recently planted red varieties at their San Martin Estate as well. With the success they have had with the whites, I can hardly wait to see what they do with their reds. Alicia Cuadra is a Wine Educator and Consultant in the Monterey Bay. She is a certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine and Italian Wine Professional. Follow her blog at AliciaSeesWine. com and on social media @AliciaSeesWine.

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408.842.8118 www.leadoart.com 7436 Monterey Street, Gilroy

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Highest Return On Investment Home Projects

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fter the New Year, many homeowners are feeling the need to move to a larger or smaller home or renovate their existing property. Spring is usually the peak time to sell or buy your new home so getting your prior home ready for ale can be a priority. Looking at the return on your investment is very important both in desirability for your home and getting the highest possible price. The following projects remind you of the ones that you get the best return for your dollars spent.

Highest ROI Averages: Top 5 Projects Replacing the entry door is 101.8% The entry is the first thing buyers see. Don’t let your home be judged by a shoddy door. A steel door is best return and next is a fiberglass door. Installing a new fireplace is 91% of your investment Buyers rank fireplaces among the top 3 amenities they want in their home. For best air quality and local guidelines, you may want to have a fireplace insert installed. Remodeling the kitchen is 85% of your investment. The kitchen often makes or breaks a sale. Buyers know it is expensive and time consuming to remodel a kitchen so when they look to buy they are drawn to a remodeled kitchen first. Converting the attic into a bedroom is 83% of your investment. The average cost of the key elements to strengthen the floors, add insulation, framing if needed and finishing is approximately 5K to 6K. Yet adding another bedroom can possible ad up to 40 K to the price of your home. Replace the exterior siding or cladding of the home is 80.7%. The appearance and future maintenance of the home is seen right when you drive up and means everything to curb appeal and quality of the home.

Inexpensive and Simple Renovation Tips Fix all your windows and doors. Replace fogged windows, caulk them and fix any dry rot and be sure they can open and close easily. Be sure you wash them and make them sparkle. Wash down and paint walls a neutral light color which will make the rooms seem larger and not gloomy. Update your lighting fixtures to reflect the current trends and try to find some inexpensive similar trendy lights. Lastly ditch your old carpets. Replace with light new carpets, or refinish hardwood beneath the carpet if you are lucky to have Hardwood floors. A refinishing can make the whole home look new and up to date. References: RIS Media/2016

Fast Facts

Morgan Hill

September

October

144

112

72

51

48

57

41

42

51

98.9%

99.2%

99%

Active (Homes on the Market) Homes Sold Average Days on the Market Sale to List Ratio

November

Teri Nelson, Realtor Intero Real Estate Services 408.425.5200 BRE#00858151

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY SUPERVISORS OFFICE

County Update With Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman

Supervisor Mike Wasserman was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in November 2010, and re-elected in 2014. He represents District 1, which includes Gilroy, San Martin, Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and portions of San Jose. (supervisorwasserman.org)

Free Youth Computer Coding Classes at Morgan Hill and Gilroy Libraries

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outh Coding Classes are now being offered at all Santa Clara County Library District libraries, free of charge! As the Chair of the Santa Clara County Library District, I wanted to make computer coding classes more accessible to kids, especially to our under-served youth. Computer coding, a system of signals representing letters or numbers which are then transmitted electronically to a computer to complete a task, is becoming increasingly important in today’s electronic world as well as the skills and knowledge needed to write and create these codes. The new, robust offering of coding classes and events include Hour of Code, CodeF1rst, Girls Who Code, Introduction

to Arduinos, Teen Hackathon/CU Hacks, Middle School Intro to Programming using Javascript, Miss CEO, Steam Robotics Classes, Java Coding Class, CoderDojo Coding Club and more. An educated workforce serves everyone’s interests: better paying jobs when kids finish school and more local hiring. The earlier that a girl or boy can learn to code, the more ingrained these skills will be. We wouldn’t expect future doctors to take their first biology classes in college; why should tech workers wait to learn these fundamental skills until much later in their studies? They shouldn’t! It is vitally important for our current and future local workforce have these fundamental skills. According to

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the founders of Hour of Code, computing jobs are the #1 source of new wages in the United States. And while there are currently 523,222 open computing jobs nationwide, only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce last year. It’s time to change that. And free library coding classes for kids are a good start. Visit the Library District website for more information: sccl.org.

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Access to numerous insurance companies to find the plan that fits your needs • • • • • • • • •

Health Insurance On and Off Exchange Dental Vision Supplements (Put Cash benefits directly to you) Medicare Long Term Care Life Insurance Term or Permanant Annuities and Wealth Transfer Final Expense

Disclaimer: HealthMarkets Insurance Agency is the d/b/a, or assumed name, of Insphere Insurance Solutions, Inc. which is licensed as an insurance agency in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availablity varies by state. HMIA000521

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2017 Honda Pilot

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THEN AND NOW

The Transition of a Downtown Corner Written By Mike Monroe Dan McCranie at the site of his Second and Monterey Development Project. Lower opposite page: Conceptual image of the project slated for completion in late 2017.

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s an owner of a small family business for many years, I always have a touch of nostalgia when I look at an older commercial building and think of all the people who have worked there and relied upon it to shelter their livelihoods. It’s much more than just a structure. Maybe an owner or an employee learned of the end of World War II while there on the job, or the success of the operations provided the needed funds for a college education or the purchase of a home. For many family business owners, their old addresses carry many memories. One such building was located at the southwest corner of 2nd and Monterey in downtown Morgan Hill. Dan McCranie, owner of Morgan Hill’s popular Ladera Grill restaurant (in the Skeels Building), purchased the property in 2012. The shell of the circa 1900 building was demolished in 2016 and a “pop-up” park was installed while the land, which for most of its commercial life supported different retail establishments, awaited redevelopment. At a downtown visioning summit in 2016, Dan McCranie unveiled plans for a new three-story, mixed-use building on the site. The new establishment will include office space, an art gallery, a wine bar, a restaurant, and Morgan Hill’s first rooftop dining/lounge area. It’s slated for completion in late 2017. Historically speaking, details about the construction date and first occupant of the original wood framed structure are uncertain. My best hunch is that it was built sometime after 1902, shortly after the Mason General Merchandise

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store went in across the street. The little community of Morgan Hill (estimated population 250) began to experience its first growth spurt before becoming an official city in 1906. It had been about a decade since Hiram Morgan Hill and his wife Diana Murphy Hill began to sell most of her inheritance of the Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche property totaling nearly 4,500 acres to a real estate developer named Chauncey Hatch Phillips. The Hill’s retained their summer home property, Villa Mira Monte on Monterey Road and maybe (now owned and maintained by the Morgan Hill Historical Society). All the land south of Dunne Avenue was controlled by Diana’s aunt, Catherine Murphy Dunne, as the massive landholdings acquired by the Murphy family since 1845 were just beginning to be sub-divided. Several families from South Dakota made their way to California at this time, including the Edes and the Stone families. Charles Willis Stone (1857 -1940) and his wife Catherine Walwarth Stone were married in 1883. They moved to Iowa in 1885 where their son Fred was born. A younger son died at age 7 months of malaria. The cold weather motivated the Stone’s seek the California climate and they settled Morgan Hill in 1893, the same year the Southern Pacific Railroad established a train depot in town. It was a tiny town with graded dirt roads and only a few short blocks running off the old State Highway, now Monterey Road. At first, Charlie Stone obtained a contract with the San Francisco Examiner to establish an orchard in San Martin. He also

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worked for the real estate company of Burbank and Devendorf (agents for the Catherine Dunne Ranch), driving a team of horses to show prospective settlers around the area. An historic print from the “Images of America” series about Morgan Hill depicts Charles Stone and his son Fred hauling packed prunes in the early 1900’s. In 1905, Charles and Fred decided to try their hand at retail merchandising, opening a small store at the corner of 2nd and Monterey. The exterior building wall along Second Street (formerly Hatzfield Street) boldly proclaimed “C.W. Stone and Son - Groceries and Provisions,” along with a vintage 1900s advertisement for “Drifted Snow Flour - Best By Every Test.” They sold flour, feed, hay, glassware and groceries. In 1910, the Stones sold their property to George Estes, a local realtor, and A.B. Imus took over the business. Imus also operated a hardware store and sold gasoline to the automobile owners in town. You could say that George A. Edes (1840-1909) had printer’s ink flowing in his veins. His ancestors were newspapermen going back to the 1700s, the Boston Gazette, and a significant Tea Party enjoyed by the colonists of Massachusetts. In 1876, he married Nettie Englesby and they had two sons, Verti and Clyde, while living in Watertown, South Dakota. He was a bit of a rolling stone—always looking for new ventures—and when C.H. Phillips advertised for a newspaper publisher in Morgan Hill, he jumped at the opportunity. He established the Morgan Hill Sun and printed the first gmhtoday.com


Photograph on left by Mike Monroe, right is a rendering by KTGY Architecture

edition in 1893. His family joined him in 1894 and they built a home at the corner of Del Monte Avenue and First Street in 1896. In 1902 Edes sold the newspaper to his competitors at the Morgan Hill Times. Mr. Edes also served as Morgan Hill’s postmaster from 1897 until his retirement in 1905. A large portrait of Verti Edes delivering the mail with his horse-drawn mail carrier buggy still hangs in the offices of Union Bank on Tennant Avenue. George’s sons, Verti and Clyde, decided to strike out on their own in 1916 by taking over the 2nd and Monterey building from the Stone family and forming the Edes Brothers partnership as “Dealers in Choice and Staple Groceries with Prices Right.” The Edes Bros. name soon adorned the Second Street wall of the building, along with a new ad for flapjack mix. They expanded into a general merchandise store until 1923, when they dissolved their partnership and changed career paths. Clyde Edes served as Mayor of Morgan Hill from 1920 to 1928. Edes family members still residing in South County suggest that the brothers were experiencing some cash flow problems caused by an overly generous credit policy. That same year, the family purchased the property with their mother, Nettie, as owner. It’s my opinion that the family probably rented out their business or installed a manager for about 10 years, keeping the Edes Bros. name on the building until at least 1933, when Monterey Road was widened. In 1920, the Estes family sold the property to J.Y. Jones, who transferred the property deed to Nettie Edes three years later. Nettie leased out the retail property to three successive businesses, beginning in 1924 with Steeles Cash & Carry Grocery, in 1927 to Tremeroux Meats, and in 1931 to Rainbow Grocery. Even so, the Edes Bros. name remained emblazoned on the original building until 1938 when it was remodeled and downsized to accommodate the widening of Monterey Road. All businesses on the west side of the street had to adjust their property line by 17 feet to handle the expansion

of Monterey Road as a State Highway. Property records show the Edes family re-financed the property through Ester Camfield. After the reconstruction, John Telfer became the new tenant, opening Telfer’s Market at the busy corner. After World War II, the Edes family returned to their corner property. Verti had established an insurance business (later to become Pacific Diversified) and Clyde had worked at the Farmer’s Union until his son George’s return from the Navy. Clyde and George gave John Telfer a year’s notice to vacate their building, after which they opened it as Edes Hardware. John opened Morgan Hill’s first supermarket on Monterey Road, where the Goodwill store stands today. He also served as Morgan Hill’s mayor from 1931 to 1946. Tragically, he was killed in an automobile accident in 1948 as he was crossing the street at Monterey and Second. Shortly thereafter, the first traffic signals were installed in Morgan Hill. In 1960, the Edes family sold the hardware business to the Squeri Brothers, who operated there until 1968. After owning the building nearly 45 years, the Edes family sold it to new owners with a new business plan. Alfonse “Al” (1920-2008) and Charlotte (1930-2005) Statti opened

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Statti’s “Corner Drug” as a combination pharmacy, soda fountain and gift shop. The fountain had 16 stools and served sandwiches, sodas, and ice cream treats. “Corner Drug” was a great place to meet downtown especially for Live Oak High School students. It was open 7 days a week and Al was everyone’s friendly local pharmacist. When the Statti’s retired in 1988, the Gibault family assumed ownership, moving from their commercial space in the Skeels Building to take over the Edes property. Charles and Darlene Gibault were in the medical profession and Charles was an avid cyclist. In the 1980s they became the proprietors of South Valley Bikes. A long-time employee of the Gibault’s, Mark Silva, briefly owned the bike shop from 2005 to 2008. In 2017, we look forward to a new chapter in the storied life of Morgan Hill’s southwest corner at 2nd and Monterey; this one to be composed by Dan McCranie, a respected long-time business and community leader in Morgan Hill. Dan was inspired to preserve a bit of Morgan Hill history in his new downtown project and so, along with other design elements, the Edes Bros. name will once again adorn the southwest corner of 2nd and Monterey. Stay tuned.

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ARTFULLY yours

BY DAN CRAIG

P Richard Stark

Metal Sculptor Extraordinaire 78

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ainting and sculpture are two forms of creative expression with very different processes to achieve the resulting work of art. Michelangelo, who was more than proficient in both disciplines, reportedly said that good painting is the kind that looks like sculpture. Painters typically apply paints to a canvas or other twodimensional surface using brushes and palette knives, whereas sculptors create three-dimensional forms and shapes typically out of wood, metal, or stone and employ tools that are vast and varied, depending on the medium. The chosen medium for metal sculptor Richard Starks is sheets of steel and his tools are welders, saws, benders, grinders, plate rolls and drill presses, to name a few. In fact, his studio-workshop in the west Gilroy foothills has the appearance of a full-blown metal fabrication shop. “I have been collecting tools, equipment and skills since high school – almost 55 years now,” Starks reflects. “I wouldn’t consider my shop fully equipped but I do have what I need to do the work I am currently doing.” And what splendid work it is. Viewers of his finished art pieces would never guess they weren’t created out of a solid steel beam. Starks begins with sheets of twelve gauge COR-TEN steel that he bends, welds and sands to a smooth, seamless finish. COR-TEN, a U. S. Steel brand, is a metal made

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Photos by Kim Bush

up of a blend of alloys that form a stable rust-like appearance. It has been used for bridges and larger structures but is also a favorite of architects and sculptors for its naturally oxidizing finish. His favorite sculptor, abstract expressionist Clement Meadmore, was among the first artists to recognize the sculptural potential of COR-TEN steel. His influence can be seen in Starks sculptures. Dozens of his works in various sizes and shapes adorn an outdoor sculpture garden and indoor gallery on his rural one-acre lot off Hecker Pass Highway that he also calls home. Industrialist, rusted beams twist and turn in abstract geometric forms, seemingly carved from a single, solid metallic mass, boldly flex against the surrounding space. A typical sculpture takes one to two months to complete and he doesn’t always know what’s next, saying sometimes he needs to get away from a work in progress to contemplate his next steps so he doesn’t get sloppy. It is the metal mastery of Starks in shaping, forming, welding and finishing that creates the seamless appearance but it is his creative side that envisions the final product. He’s always looking for new ideas. “Most of my work today originates from imagined shapes I have created in my mind and in my sketchbook.” Born in Sacramento, his parents, both school teachers, moved the family to Watsonville before he was a year old. After graduating from Watsonville High School, he attended Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz before transferring to San José State University where majored in Industrial Studies and minored in Art. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in 1968, Starks enlisted in the Navy. Before receiving a medical discharge one year later, he obtained his teaching credential. “I told them when I went in that I had flat feet and a bad back. They heard that a lot back then, but after a thorough medical exam they determined I was telling the truth.” In 1970, following a brief stint as a delivery driver for Ford’s Department Store, Starks followed in his parent’s footsteps and began his career in education. He was hired full-time as the metal shop teacher at Piedmont High School in San Jose. He spent the next twenty-five years working as a metal and auto shop teacher at various high school campuses in the East Side Unified School District. Upon his retirement in 2005, he went back to SJSU, taking eleven semesters in sculpture and public art. During those years, his work as a sculptor evolved. Starks moved to his current home and workshop in 1996, because it provided the space he needed for his work. The ground was weed infested and barren. “It was like looking at a piece of metal.” Doing what he does so well, he ‘sculpted’ it all into the lush grounds visible today, including his sculpture garden, workshop, and stately redwoods, that he planted himself. Starks has held exhibits at art festivals, gallery shows and open studios from Geyserville to Carmel and all stops in between. Tours of his studio and workshop are available by appointment only. To view his portfolio or arrange for a tour, visit his web site at richardstarks.com.

Dan Craig is a local artist whose early works were in the Realism style. He now enjoys an Impressionistic style. He lives in Morgan Hill with his life partner, Kim.

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{ } AGING

with an Attitude

They DO Remember!

Dorie Sugay is the Executive Director of Visiting Angels, a company that provides living-assistance services to seniors and adults-in-need who wish to stay in their own home or receive one-on-one care within a facility.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It was written independently of Visiting Angels. The names of clients and caregivers were changed to protect their privacy.

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aya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” There was a time when people believed this to be untrue for those with Alzheimer’s; after all, their memory is impaired. But since then, experts have come to realize that those with Alzheimer’s DO remember certain things rather well. They remember how an experience made them feel, they remember how you made them feel. In the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, a study group published an interesting conclusion to a study they conducted. They showed two films to individuals with Alzheimer’s: one film was sad, the other film was happy. They then tested the individuals to assess how much they remembered. As you might guess – most, especially those in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s, did not remember much about the films. They did, however, remember how the films made them feel. Lead author Edmarie Guzman-Velez, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, said: “Our study highlights the fact that actions towards patients with Alzheimer’s disease have consequences, even when the patients do not appear to remember the actions. In fact, actions may have a lasting impact on how the patients feel.” The study revealed that an individual with Alzheimer’s might not remember abuse experienced at the hands of another individual, but their feelings for the abuser, for example, lingered, their negative reaction towards someone might have significant meaning. So how can you use this information if you have a loved one who is challenged by Alzheimer’s? First – remind yourself that they may no longer intellectually process information the way you do, but they can still gather “emotional data.” Thoughts that could go through the mind of someone in the mid to advanced stages of Alzheimer’s for example, may include: “My daughter really loves me” or “My daughter thinks I am a burden” or “My son doesn’t really even know I exist” or “My son is present for me.” When you visit but your eyes are glued to your cell phone, they feel your mental absence. Frankly you are better off visiting for a short period of time and being present than hanging around for an hour but not really engaging with them. Their brains may no longer work like yours does, but their radar for how people feel about them or the current situation works just fine. Visiting Angels had a client named Carrie who would get ornery when a caregiver named Amelia was present. Interestingly enough, when her other caregiver named Elisa took over, she was more cooperative, she was happier. The Care Specialist finally figured out that Amelia merely tolerated

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Carrie and it showed, whereas Elisa was very caring and actually enjoyed being around Carrie and it showed in her actions. In fact, when Elisa figured out that Carrie liked to sing, she brought her karaoke, and got Carrie to sing with her—they had a party! But if you ask Carrie what she did, many times she would forget and say something like, “I don’t remember, but we had fun, we laughed.” She could not remember that they sang on the karaoke, but she remembered how good she felt, how much fun she had. Long after the memory was buried, she would crack a smile when she thought of having fun with Elisa. It is very difficult to care for a family member with Alzheimer’s and it is not uncommon for family members to lose their patience, or find themselves resentful. If you are worried about a bad experience your loved one had with you, don’t despair. Yes, they will initially remember the sadness or anger, but there is hope! Researchers have found that we use two different ways to forget bad memories: suppression and/ or substitution. Our ability to rid ourselves of painful memories is believed to involve some sort of teamwork effort between the brain’s amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. But the amygdala is affected when Alzheimer’s disease is present. Because of the damage to the brain, the Alzheimer sufferer won’t necessarily be able to suppress bad memories as successfully as you would. Just as experts have suggested redirection when someone with Alzheimer’s is fixated on something, they have also suggested that one work to substitute bad experiences with good ones. So, if you had a fight with your Mom the night before and you said some things you regret, work to substitute that experience. If she brings it up and she recalls that you made her feel bad, redirect her focus and engage her in an activity with you that could eventually substitute for that one bad night. Of course, redirection and substitution may not necessarily work too well if the experience was traumatic. The ideal situation of course is to make sure that you have enough help and you have stress-free quality times with your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Reach out to family or friends. Consider hiring a caregiver. Take care of yourself, take a break—it is better to enjoy good experiences than work to substitute bad ones because people with Alzheimer’s DO remember how something or someone made them feel. Sources: Alzheimer’s net Blog: Study Supports Emotions Last After Memory Faces. Nov 10, 2014 Alzheimer’s Association: Caregiver Tips and Tools They Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel by D. Rabe-Kern, RN, MSN, CNS

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In the Shark Cage with Laura Perry Written By Robin Shepherd

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Photography By John Thakara

If you have an overactive imagination, read this article at your own risk. If you are passionate about the Earth’s vast, deep blue oceans, read on. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, prepare to be impressed. If the Earth’s apex predators ever got together and decided to invite humans into their VIP club, Laura Perry would be on their shortlist. More than two years ago, she signed up for a cage diving experience with great white sharks. The long-anticipated adventure became a reality when her number was called. Having returned from said adventure – alive and in one piece – Laura told gmhTODAY it was a ONCE in a LIFETIME opportunity. We’ve been following Laura’s travels for some time now, and her uncharacteristically cautionary response led us to explore a little further. Here’s what we discovered…

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Laura Perry and son, Kevin Lewis

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ast October Laura traveled to Guadalupe Island, located roughly 150 miles west of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Her motivation? October is peak season for the arrival of female great white sharks who for centuries have chosen these waters as their preferred birthing grounds. “No human has ever seen the birth of a great white shark in the open ocean,” Laura noted, adding, “Maybe that’s why they’ve been around so long.” She went on to explain that the waters off the coast of Guadalupe Island are known among diving enthusiasts as ‘the Shark Café.’ This ocean area midway between Baja and the Hawaiian Islands got its name in 2002 from Monterey Bay Aquarium researchers monitoring great white behavior via satellite tracking tags. They tracked great whites diving as deep as 1,000 feet every 10 minutes in an area that for a shark was like a desert – devoid of prey. Male and female sharks diving and loitering in the area led researchers to conclude that they must be mating there before heading to coastal waters in search of whales and other big stuff to eat. Laura drove to San Diego where she joined her son Kevin Lewis and his friend A.J. Lockhart from Santa Barbara, and her photographer friend, John Thackara—all avid divers and surfers who were hankering to get up close and personal, safely, with a great white. They took a bus to Ensenada (per Laura, the bus ride was scarier than diving in shark cages) where they joined divers from around the globe onboard the Nautilus Belle Amie, a 135-foot dive boat fitted with five dive cages. Two cages were kept near the surface and three submersibles were lowered to a depth of about 30 feet.

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Laura noted that unlike some dive boats, the Belle Amie’s cages were constructed of stainless steel with soldered bars. It reassured her in the face of earlier news that a shark had penetrated the dive cage of another boat with cages made of weaker aluminum bars that were only bolted together. The Mexican government had responded with new safety requirements, basically to protect the sharks from inadvertently being trapped in unsafe cages, risking the safety of both sharks and divers. The Belle Amie cruised overnight before anchoring. Cage diving began at 6:30 am. “The anticipation was huge,” Laura said. “I’d waited two years to make this dive, and this was only one of two places in the world to do cage dives, the other one being off the coast of Africa. The water was incredibly clear and temperate in the high 60s to low 70s, the ideal environment for great whites. “I wore my dry (diving) suit, which allowed me to stay toasty warm even while staying in the water for up to four hours at a time. I added about 45-50 pounds to my weight belt so as not to bounce around, up and down, in the shark cage.” “Our air supply was maintained in the boat. We submerged with our regulators, connected by a breathing line to the surface with backup tanks in the diving cage, just in case. Several of us climbed into the dive cage and the divemaster stood in the cage on a platform just above us. First, the boat crew threw buckets of chum into the water to attract the sharks. They came, swimming alongside and directly at us, and then under and over our dive cage. Clink, clink, clink, it’s dorsal fin would hit the cage bars as it swam by. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

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“The rule of law for cage diving? One touch and you’re out, on deck for the rest of the trip. Not only is it dangerous for the diver and a liability for the crew, but by touching sharks and other marine animals we wipe off the beneficial parasites that coat their skin and provide their natural immunity in the wild. I’ve been diving since 1989 and I admit the urge to reach out and touch that majestic, utterly magnificent creature as it swam by was hard to resist. Next, the crew on deck pierced whole frozen tuna with thick rope and threw them into the water, jerking the bait up and down to tantalize and excite the sharks. It worked. “During my first cage dive, a great white came from out of nowhere. Like a 747, a bolt of white lightning, it shot past us on a quest for the tuna as our crew yanked it into the air. Frustrated, the shark whipped around and came at us, gnashing its huge jaws lined with thousands of multi-layered, serrated teeth on the bars of our cage.” “I was awed, scared and mesmerized at the same time. These powerful creatures have been hunting the world’s oceans for millions of years. Predation begins in the womb. The first pups to hatch eat the unborn eggs. Once they fly the coop, mom or dad may

Carcharodon carcharias

THE GREAT WHITE SHARK navigates the coastal waters of all the Earth’s major oceans. Mature females stretch to an average of 15-17 feet, with males measuring about 10-13 feet long. These apex predators can weigh in at a hefty 4000-5000 pounds. But listen up people! Their life expectancy is about 70 years. I dare say, plenty of time to figure out how to match wits with humans in dive suits who, in a shark’s world, look like a yummy seal dinner! While great whites are solitary hunters, their only natural predator, the orca, likes to hunt in pods. Their greatest enemy? Fishermen who continue to capture them, cut off their fins to sell for pricey shark fin soup, and throw them back, finless, leaving them with no recourse but to drown in their own home. As the world’s leading aquariums have discovered, great whites taken in during the decadeslong interval between birth and sexual maturity never reproduce, making population recovery and growth difficult. They not only maintain the health of the marine food chain by eating the sick and weak, but they are self-appointed and very effective garbage collectors…they keep our oceans clean.

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decide to eat them. Obviously only the strongest survive at the top of the food chain. Great whites hunt 24 hours a day. They depend on constant movement, with oxygen-rich water passing over their gills, for survival. “Watching them swim from the cage, I realized how well their bodies are camouflaged for hunting. Viewed from above, their blue-gray top side allows them to blend in with the ocean floor. Viewed from below, their white underbelly allows them to blend with the surface water.” “Their long, pointed snouts are imbued with Ampullae of Lorenzini, which allow them to sense the electromagnetic field of everything in their environment, including the heartbeat of their prey. They can even smell blood in the water as much as five miles away. When their pupils are fully dilated they can see prey at the surface from 600 feet below. Massive muscles and uniquely shaped tails allow them

to swim straight up at speeds of 15 to 35 mph.” “On day one, I thought, hey, my surfboard’s for sale! By day three I didn’t want to get out of the water,” Laura said. “The sharks were at home. I was the intruder. It was pure adrenalin for three days, and my respect and awe grew the more I learned about the great whites.” Laura was appreciative of the onboard lectures provided by trip organizers. She learned that great whites, like whales, have distinctive markings that allow researchers to identify and track their migrations and life spans. She was also grateful that a portion of her trip fees would be donated by trip organizers to the preservation of great whites and groups fighting shark fin hunting practices, which are illegal.

“One night, after a full day in the water with these massive predators, our group of divers sat on the top deck of the boat and watched “Jaws” under a sky filled with stars. I heard that Peter Benchley admitted remorse after his book led to a box-office smash that created a generation of shark haters. Today the great white is listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species, although marine biology experts worry that its fate is far less certain.

“I’ve seen all kinds of sharks in my years of scuba diving, but there’s absolutely nothing like a great white. That said, I don’t feel the need to see them close up again. I’m done. Even though I’m a lover of the ocean — surfing, snorkeling or paddle boarding — I think I’ll wait awhile!” Laura Perry

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manners MATTER

Basic Table Setting

Karen La Corte is an etiquette and manners expert trained and certified by the Emily Post Institute in Vermont. She has been teaching etiquette and manners to children and adults for over thirty years. She is also a certified image and fashion consultant. Karen is happy to answer any personal etiquette or image questions you may have by emailing her at karen@marxtowing.com

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ood table manners begin at home. You’ll have fundamental rules set in place when you dine out in a restaurant or in someone else’s home. Depending on the type of dinner party you are having, you can set a table that is basic and casual to one that is polished and refined. This is where the fun begins. You can incorporate your artistic style and personal expression in your table by the dishes and silverware you choose, the linens that are selected, and the centerpiece that takes center stage. Your menu and the beverages you will be serving will also influence how you should set the table. Here are a few simple rules to help you that are timeless. •

Use the silverware farthest from your plate first.

A fork is preferable to a spoon.

Forks should go to the left of the plate, and the knife and spoons should go to the right.

The salad fork should be on the far left, and the main course fork should be closest to the plate.

To the right of the plate, the meat knife should be closest to the plate (cutting edge facing the plate), followed by the bread knife, the teaspoon, and the soup spoon. A cocktail fork may be placed to the right of the soup spoon. This is the only fork placed to the right of the plate, the exception to the rule.

A small butter knife is placed diagonally on top of the bread and butter plate. This dish should sit to the left of the dinner plate above the forks. It may also sit to the right of the dinner plate to the left of the water glass, if wine glasses are not being used.

A salad plate may be set to the left of the dinner plate above the forks. Or, if salad is being served to you, it may be placed on top of your dinner plate.

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BY KAREN LA CORTE

The napkin can be placed to the left of the forks, under the fork or forks, in one of the wine glasses or water glass, or placed atop the dinner plate. It is opened only half way when placed on your lap. Luncheon napkins are opened fully.

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The water glass should be positioned directly above the knives to the right of the dinner plate. Bottled water may be served in a more casual atmosphere, however, a water glass should still be offered.

When serving wine, the red wine glass and the white wine glass should be placed after the water glass in that order. Glasses can be set on a diagonal toward the center of the table to allow more room. your choice of timing for serving champagne will dictate to the positioning of the champagne flute.

Food is served from the left. Beverages, and empty plates are removed from the right.

Soup is eaten with the soup spoon and crackers are eaten with the fingers. The spoon is scooped away from you, not towards you. There’s an old saying I used to tell my kids to help them remember: “As a ship goes out to sea, so I scoop my soup away from me.” I can’t remember where that came from, but the saying has been in my mother’s house and my house forever.

Bread is to be buttered with a knife. The butter is to be placed on your butter dish first, and then butter one piece at a time.

Dessert spoons and forks can be brought in on the dessert plate just before dessert is served, or they may be placed directly above the dinner plate, spoon handle facing right and fork handle left, fork below the spoon. Use the fork to hold the dessert in place and to push the food onto the spoon if necessary.

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Hwy 101 at Cochrane Road I Morgan Hill It’s alright to use just the spoon or the fork if you feel more comfortable (spoons for ice cream and fruit, forks for pie or cake). •

The coffee cup is placed to the extreme right of both the water glass and the utensils.

Alas, the dinner plate is always in the middle of the utensils. It is the star of the show.

A SIMPLE RULE TO REMEMBER EAT TO YOUR LEFT, DRINK TO YOUR RIGHT. ANY FOOD DISH TO THE LEFT IS YOURS, AND ANY GLASS TO THE RIGHT IS YOURS. It’s OK to ask when in doubt. And remember the words from Emily Post, “it doesn’t matter which fork you use, what really matters is that you use a fork!” These are all just guidelines to go by when dining. If someone uses the wrong utensil at a dinner party, don’t bring that to their attention. That would be using bad manners and more wrong than using the wrong fork. Dining with friends and family is all about building relationships, not calling folks out on what they do wrong. Have fun with this. I have more to come next issue on table manners!

Something For Everyone!

HARRY & SON

JEWELERS

Leasing Information: Prime Commercial 408.879.4000 Dixie Divine I Doug Ferrari I Denise Lupretta Sequoia Management Company l 408.559.9227 OFFICE & RETAIL SPACE l MINI STORAGE l APARTMENTS In Fremont, Morgan Hill and San Jose GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

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89


the RELATIONSHIP dance

WITH VICKI MINERVA

Holidays… the emotional aftermath

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s difficult as the holidays are famed to be, I’ve found that many hold it together through December and struggle more once the New Year comes. For some, the decision to divorce may have waited until after the holidays. For others, it’s the fallout of an emotional time with (or without) the family. It may be the “first” holiday without a loved one from death or divorce. Having survived the end of the year, the realities are tough once you’ve turned the corner into January. The holiday stresses can be compounded for those who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression that occurs as daylight shortens creating a predictable seasonal pattern in winter. It can make for a perfect storm when holiday stress or drama hits at a time when you’re already vulnerable. There are many types of depression: Major Depression, Chronic Depression, situational depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, each having a pattern of its own. I can’t adequately cover them here, but I think it important to understand some basic things whether it’s for yourself, or someone you love. Symptoms include: • Difficulty concentrating (can be significant) • Fatigue, decreased energy • Feeling pessimistic or hopeless • Feeling guilty, worthless, helpless, poor self esteem • Insomnia, typically early morning waking or over sleeping • Irritability • Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed

• Overeating or loss of appetite • Physical complaints-feeling achy, headaches, or digestive problems • Thoughts or attempts at suicide

There’s a helpful video, “I had a Black Dog, his Name was Depression,” which illustrates what it’s like on YouTube. Everyone has down days. The severity of the feeling and the duration (lasting 2 weeks or longer) makes this different than the sadness or discouragement common to all of us. There is a biological (sometimes hereditary) component that moves it to a different place. This is a physical thing that affects the brain and therefore mood. It’s a disease that crosses ages, genders, socioeconomic status, and races. Contrary to the opinion of some, this is not a character defect. It’s a real disease. The brain is an organ, affected by many environmental and chemical factors. Others may say things like “Snap out of it” because they want you to feel better but don’t know what you’re dealing with, or how to help. They may hope tough love will turn things around, but it’s not helpful and in fact, it can make things worse. If it was that easy, you’d have dealt with it a long time ago. If you or a loved one are struggling with these symptoms, there are some things which you can do to do to improve your mood. First see your doctor to make sure there isn’t a physical cause (thyroid problems, Vitamin D deficiency, hormonal issues, or other things which might have depression as a symptom). From there, go back to the basics. Start moving. Physical exercise can be as efficient as medication for some people. Pay attention to your sleep patterns and implement good “sleep hygiene” (google it for more information). Eat healthy. Cut the junk food and alcohol consumption. Edit your schedule to reduce stressors. Get outside.

Notice what you say in your head. My guess is that there are some condemning comments you make to yourself. These are words you’d never say to someone you care about because it would be too hurtful. Once you have noticed what you’re saying, begin to gently say to yourself, “Don’t go there.” How you think affects how you feel. You may need the help of a professional to identify some of the negative beliefs and patterns that push you down. Medication may be needed for some. It isn’t the first line of defense, and there are those who have a distrust of pharmaceuticals, but it can make a difference that helps with bringing back a level of resiliency that helps in treating depression. Be prepared—finding the right medication for you may take a few tries as it is highly personal how people respond to any given medication. I am concerned about the isolation that often comes with depression. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) has a host of information and support at nami.org/# that can help link you to resources and people who understand. Stay connected to your support systems. Connect with your spiritual disciplines to help find hope and peace in the midst of your suffering. See a therapist or your doctor.

Don’t Give Up! Vicki Minerva has lived and worked in the South County area as a Marriage and Family Therapist for over 35 years. She and her husband George raised two beautiful daughters with the help of the village here. Her education includes a M.Div. degree from Fuller Seminary and a M.A. in Marriage, Family Counseling from Santa Clara University. You can contact her at 408.848.8793 or visit her website at vickiminerva.com

My goal is to provide you with some information and help you access tools that will help you live your life and manage your relationships in healthier ways. This information is not a substitute for personal counseling and should not be taken out of context. There are many reputable therapists in the South County area should you need additional help.

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7

Simple Things You Can Do to Get 2017 Off to a Solid Financial Start

1. Meet with your financial advisor to help you set the right financial goals. It is important to take an assessment of where you stand in terms of your overall financial and retirement savings, and retirement income goals each year. Work with your advisor to update your budget, savings and spending needs for the year. 2. Sanity check your investments.

By Daniel T. Newquist, CFP®, AIF® Daniel T. Newquist, CFP®, AIF® is a Principal Wealth Advisor with RNP Advisory Services, Inc., in Morgan Hill with over 19 years experience advising clients on their personal wealth, retirement planning, insurance, and business planning needs. Investment advisory services offered through RNP Advisory Services, Inc. – a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. RNP Advisory Services and Securities America are separate entities. The Investment Fiduciary standard of care applies to adversary services only. Website: RNPadvisory.com Phonel: 408-779-0699.

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Starting a family? Getting older? Make sure your investments reflect your current lifestyle and goals. Review your accounts with your advisor for a sanity check to ensure that your savings portfolio is still well-balanced and in line with your risk tolerance and years to retirement. 3. Investment windfalls or dogs? Consider this… Consider seeking help from professional experts if you’ve had either a windfall, significant investment gain, or losses, your portfolio will need some attention. If you have had a windfall —and on the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve had some dogs you need to dump—talk to your accountant and/or your financial advisor. These professionals can best assess the timing of certain transactions, which could possibly create some tax efficiency. 4. Really understand your health insurance. It’s important to make sure you understand everything you’re getting from your health insurance benefits. It’s been very dynamic the last few years with the Affordable Care Act, and many employers have made changes to their plans. Ask questions to make sure that you know as much as you can about your coverage, GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

including maximizing tax savings through any Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) your employer may offer. 5. Make sure you have enough insurance protection.

Did you have a baby? Get married? Buy a house? Certain life events may make it advantageous to add more insurance coverage. Review your levels of insurance or protection through your employer, by working with an advisor, or directly with an insurance company. 6. Wills and beneficiaries—just get it done. If you have benefits or a retirement savings account at work, make sure your beneficiaries are current. It’s an age-old story about the illfated 401(k) account in which the beneficiary turned out to be the ex-spouse, instead of the current spouse. Also, update your will, power of attorney, and advanced directives. A lot of people really don’t enjoy doing these things, so why not address it all at once. 7. Update your resume. Earning the most you can during your working years affects your savings and retirement. Updating your resume and LinkedIn® profile can position you to quickly respond to new job opportunities or employment changes. Take a couple of hours and update your resume, so that it’s fresh and sparkling with your recent accomplishments over the last year. Take time to think about what is important to you, and make it a lifelong habit. Success isn’t merely about setting goals, but maintaining them. I wish you the very best in 2017.

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Health Wise

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with Crystal Han

luten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. It serves as a binding agent, helping foods hold together and maintain their shape. Because wheat is one of the main staples of the American diet, going gluten-free not only means giving up breads, cereals, pasta, pastries, and beer, it also means eliminating seemingly innocuous things like sauces, foods containing “natural flavorings,” vitamin and mineral supplements, some medications, and toothpaste; all of which use the binding elements of gluten to maintain the structural integrity of their products. Anytime you eliminate huge food groups from your diet, you set yourself up for nutritional deficiencies. Many whole wheat and grain products are fortified with B vitamins, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium. The fiber you naturally get from whole wheat is said to aid proper digestion and help lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Despite what people might think, many gluten-free products are not fortified with the essential vitamins and minerals present in their whole grain counterparts. More surprising still, studies have shown that a glutenfree diet may actually harm our natural gut flora and immune function by allowing an overgrowth of harmful bacteria to grow in the intestines. This is because the components found in whole wheat act as prebiotics that feed our good bacteria. Additionally, many gluten-free products are derived from rice, which can contain significant levels of arsenic. That means you are more likely to increase the levels of arsenic in your body.

BEFORE TEN YEARS AGO PEOPLE RARELY GAVE THE SUBJECT OF GLUTEN MUCH THOUGHT. NOWADAYS, GLUTEN HAS BECOME THE ULTIMATE CULINARY VILLAIN, RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING FROM CHRONIC FATIGUE TO CANCER. GOING GLUTEN-FREE HAS BEEN LAUDED FOR HELPING PEOPLE LOSE WEIGHT, IMPROVING THEIR HEALTH, AND CURING THEIR PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL AILMENTS. FOR PEOPLE WHO SUFFER FROM GLUTEN SENSITIVITIES, OR CELIAC DISEASE THE PREVALENCE OF GLUTEN-FREE PRODUCTS IS EXTREMELY FREEING; HOWEVER FOR THOSE WHO DON’T HAVE THESE CONDITIONS AND ARE GOING GLUTEN-FREE … One of the biggest claims of the gluten-free movement is that it promotes weight loss. So far, there has been no definitive evidence linking weight loss to the elimination of gluten from one’s diet. In fact, research suggests that it may actually cause you to gain weight. The same way “fat free” foods compensate for a loss of flavor by adding more sugar and sodium, gluten-free foods add more fat, sugar, and sodium to get that extra ‘oomph’ gluten naturally provides. As a result, gluten-free foods will often have a higher calorie count than whole grain and wheat products. Those who claim to have lost weight by going glutenfree could have done so because they eliminated processed foods or sweets from their diet, such as swapping a cookie for an apple or swapping pasta for grains like quinoa.

Much like going vegetarian or vegan, there is a right way and a wrong way to eliminate gluten from your diet. Going gluten-free also means you may be spending a lot more money. Research has found that gluten-free products are more expensive than their regular counterparts, sometimes by double or triple the cost. This is probably due to the added costs manufacturers face for certification and labeling regulations. Despite these regulations, however, a number of products labeled as gluten-free still may have more than the FDA’s 20 parts per million of gluten. Manufacturers often use the same equipment to

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process their gluten products for their gluten-free ones, meaning there’s a risk of contamination. Furthermore, some manufacturers may eliminate gluten from their products but add malt, malt extract, or malt syrup for flavoring, all of which are usually made from barley. That means you may be paying more for something that might still have gluten in it. Much like going vegetarian or vegan, there is a right way and a wrong way to eliminate gluten from your diet. If you truly wish to go gluten-free, make sure to eat a variety of grains, such as amaranth, corn, millet, quinoa, teff, and the occasional serving of rice. Whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, lean meat and poultry, fish, and nuts are naturally gluten free. Be sure to keep an eye out for the sugar, fat, and sodium content of gluten-free products in stores. If the gluten-free diet works for you, try to be mindful of how much you praise it. For the more than 300,000 people in this country with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is a burden. Someone who can’t enjoy a slice of birthday cake at the office or a beer at a get-together might find it extremely frustrating to hear about how wonderful going gluten-free is. Sources: WebMD, NutritionFacts.org, CRYSTAL HAN is a freelance writer and artist. She graduated from San José State University with a BFA in Animation/ Illustration and is an aspiring novelist, currently working on two books. gmhtoday.com

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it’s your SWING

with Don DeLorenzo

Great Places to Play

CINNABAR HILLS GOLF COURSE

Twenty-seven holes of challenging golf await you in southwest San Jose just past Uvas and Chesbro reservoirs. The home course for San José State is very popular and rightfully so. All three nines are great layouts and all slightly different. The Valley, Lakes and Mountain nine hole tracks are named appropriately for their different terrain and features. On any given day you will play two of the three nines for your 18-hole round. I wish I could say one was better than the other but as a true testament to the course they are all enjoyable and all challenging. All three of these nines will challenge the beginner golfer’s skills but the Lake nine provides more wide, open fairways than the other two. Rates: Weekday $86 – Weekend $110. [408.323.5200/ cinnabarhills. com]

COYOTE CREEK GOLF COURSE

Located in South San Jose along the 101 freeway, Coyote Creek has two 18 hole layouts to challenge you. The Tournament Course has more undulation and is a bit more difficult than it’s counterpart the Valley Course. Both are well maintained and offer great amenities. Coyote Creek has very good practice facilities for you to fine your game. The recreational golfer would be more comfortable on the Valley course where the serious golfer would prefer the tournament course. The downside of Coyote Creek is twofold. The wind can really blow out there

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Now that you have that new Titleist 917 Driver, those Callaway irons and the latest GPS golf watch, you need a place to try them out and make sure they’re worth all the hype. We are so lucky to live where we can play golf at an array of local course twelve months out of the year — courses that are diverse in style, difficulty and price. So, no matter if you are a beginner or a veteran, recreational or serious, the following list of golf courses in our area will have something to offer you!

during most of the year. If you play during the fall and winter it doesn’t blow as much as it does during the spring and summer. Unfortunately, no matter what time of the year you play, you can’t get away from the freeway noise on many holes. But don’t let the wind or noise stop you from experiencing Coyote Creek! Rates: Weekday Valley $70 – Tournament $90 — Weekend Valley $121 – Tournament $141. [408.463.1800/ coyotecreek.com]

EAGLE RIDGE GOLF COURSE

Located against the western foothills of Gilroy, Eagle Ridge is as picturesque as it is challenging. The golf course features large undulating putting greens and equally undulating fairways. Many bunkers guard both the greens and stray tee shots. There are also several water features throughout the 18 hole layout. Much like Cinnabar Hills, the design favors the experienced golfer over the recreational or beginner due to the fact that there are several “forced carry” shots that you must execute. Eagle Ridge features a great driving range and large practice putting green. The difficult aspect of playing Eagle Ridge is the houses. Many golfers may feel a little intimidated when the windows of a million-dollar home are only a slice off the driver away. Rates: Weekday $79 – Weekend $99. [408.846.4531/ eagleridgegc.com]

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the layout, Ridgemark offers a great course that is fun for all skill levels. It has mature trees, large greens, water features and a course that moves nicely up and down. There are some houses that you have to contend with but it’s not as tight as some courses. The course has something for every golfer: length on some holes, carry-over water hazards on some holes, and nice flat fairways for most beginners. The wind can blow a little in the afternoons so keep that in mind when you are enjoying this great course. Rates: Weekday $48 – Weekend rates $59. [831.637.8151/ridgemarkgolfclub.com]

GAVILAN COLLEGE GOLF COURSE

The one true beginner/recreational golfer’s course on this list, Gavilan has sparked the love of golf for thousands of South County residents (including myself). Designed for a quick round with little trouble and an easy walk, Gavilan is a mecca for junior golfers, (The First Tee of Silicon Valley host classes there), seniors, ladies and anyone looking to play nine holes in less than 90 minutes. Gavilan has had its ups and downs over the years but it is a great value for your golf dollar (rates start at $6) and the conditions have vastly improved. One item Gavilan can’t get away from is the spring wind. Late afternoons from March through August, the course can get a bit “breezy.” Gavilan also offers “FootGolf,” a variation of regular golf played with a soccer ball into a larger hole. And not to be overlooked, a free cup of coffee with your round. You don’t see that kind of hospitality around much anymore. Rates: Weekday $15 – Weekend $22. [408.846.4920/gavilangolfcourse.com]

GILROY GOLF COURSE

Dubbed “The Best 11-Hole Course in the World,” Gilroy Golf Course has been a local favorite since it opened in the 1920s. Recreational golfers and droves of seniors call this place home. At 6000 yards for 18 holes it can be enjoyed by all types of golfers. The small sloping greens make it a challenge for the experienced golfer, where the wide fairways and no water hazards appeal to the beginner. Gilroy gets its “11 hole” nickname because there actually are 11 different holes. A golfer plays hole #7 up the hill to the Gilroy Elks lodge and the spectacular scenic hole #8 hole down to Hecker Pass Highway. on the front nine. Those playing 18 holes will play two par 4’s, #16-17 which go around the hill on their back nine. Gilroy Golf Course is not an easy walk with the ups and downs but the greens are as good as any in the Valley and very challenging. Your golf experience won’t be complete until you’ve played the “11 hole gem.” Rates: Weekday $35 – Weekend $47. [408.848.0490/gilroygolfcourse.com]

SAN JUAN OAKS

San Juan Oaks is as close to a PGA Tour caliber golf course as we have in the area. Designed by Gene Bates with a “signature of approval” from Fred Couples, the course is just a joy to play. It meanders through the foothills between Hollister and San Juan Bautista with great views of the farmland below. Beginner friendly? Not so much. This course is designed with the accomplished player in mind but they have an awesome practice range and practice putting green for beginners to fine-tune their game. San Juan Oaks has a creek that comes into play on several holes, and plenty of sand traps both fairway and greenside. So if you want that “special” experience, go to San Juan Oaks. It’s worth the higher price tag. Rates: Weekday $85 – Weekend $110. [831.636.6113/ sanjuanoaks.com]

SANTA TERESA

Located in South San José of Bernal Road, this long-time favorite has something for every skill level. The championship 18-hole golf course is challenging and always in good shape. Recently, a 9-hole “short course” was added that is excellent for the beginner/senior/ junior golfer or those who just want to work on their short game. This course used to be wall-to-wall golfers and is still a very busy place so don’t expect a “quick” round, but it is a quality golf course and fun and a challenge to play. Rates: Weekday $60 – Weekend $81. [408.225.2650/santateresagolf.com]

RIDGEMARK GOLF COURSE

Located on Airline Highway east of town lies a great 18-hole course built on an old turkey ranch. Once just an 18-hole course, it expanded to 36 hol;es but has since shrunk back to 18 again. Unfortunately, its not the original 18 but 9 newer holes and 9 from the original course. Regardless of GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

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All rates are the posted “rack” rates for 18 holes. All of the courses have more discounted rates for certain times of the day or for just 9 holes if applicable. Most courses offer specials or discounts during the winter months. Call the courses directly for the most up to date rates. Also, go to golfnow.com and golf18.com for specials —and then GO GOLFING!! gmhtoday.com

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Theater Scene A Conversation With

John Varela John Varela has lived in our little corner of South County since the late 1970s. He served as a member of the Morgan Hill City Council in the early ‘90s and as Mayor in 1995-96. In 2016, he was elected to the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Recently I sat down with John to learn about his background in theater. His responses to my questions were so enjoyable that I decided to share them with you in our original Q and A format. I hope you enjoy my conversation with John Varela as much as I did.

Written By Matthew Russell Hendrickson

Q: John, when did you start acting?

I started acting in high school. My most memorable theater experience was performing at the world-famous Pasadena Playhouse in a competitive review of Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” in the role of Peter. Peter is a shy introverted, mindyour-own-business kind of guy, confronted in Central Park by Jerry, a young thug testing Peter’s resolve. In an unusual twist of fate, roles reverse as Peter must defend his honor when Jerry unexpectedly threatens Peter with a knife, then hands Peter the knife, then rushes at Peter, impaling himself and screaming, “Oh My God!” It was my first acting experience, in a one-act play, at age 16.

and returned to theater in the early ‘80s after attending your parents’ now famous “Center Stage.” I filled in one of those little postcards on the table asking the question “Have you ever considered acting? If so, please fill in this card and leave it with us.” Well, I received a call from Russ Hendrickson soon after, inviting me to come and read a script for an upcoming show, “The Foreigner.” I was cast as David. The show was fabulous and launched my desire to get back on stage

.

Aside from Pasadena Playhouse, my stage appearances have been primarily in South County. There is so much going on here. Center Stage, located in Gilroy, was my play-ground, eventually relocating to “Old City Hall” where the fabulous “Angry Housewives” was performed, and of course South Valley Civic Theater, offering so much opportunity in venues throughout Gilroy and Morgan Hill. Also with the Pintello Family entering to fill the void left when Center Stage closed; The Pintello Comedy Theater was born, my first performance in “Nobody’s Perfect” was so much fun. The theater was shared with a day care center and neighboring church, so rehearsals were at times challenged by strange “goings-on” next door, but even with loud howling and screams of an apparent exorcism, rehearsals were

Q: Why did you start acting? I loved the stage work, the main reason I loved being on stage; performing for my family and friends and gaining confidence as a public speaker. Little did I know then how important a role that performing in high school stage productions would become in my future life.

Q: Since then, how many shows have you been in?

I have performed in thirteen stage productions and one film, beginning in the early 1960’s. I took a hiatus through the ‘70s

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Q: Which theater companies have you performed for?

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Now playing only temporarily interrupted; these kinds of happenings could only take place in a Pintello Comedy production. Rehearsals are always fun and of course every actor receives the Gold Star in appreciation of their performance on the Pintello stage, a valued treasure to own! And of course, Kevin and Allan Obata debuted Limelight Actors Theater, creating an actor’s workshop, allowing avant-garde theatrical experiences performed in the likes of San Francisco, L.A., Broadway, et al.

Q: What was your favorite role you have performed on stage?

All of my acting roles are special to me, but some do stand out. All of my acting roles are special to me, but some do stand out. As Reverend David Lee, in “The Foreigner,” I performed my best interpretation of a Ku Klux Klan leader; an interesting character (also my first role after being away from the stage for over two decades). I made my singing debut as Dr. Mark Bruckner in “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever,” and Director Mary Ann Bruegmann yelled out at me during rehearsals, “Relax! It looks like you’re having a coronary!” In “Angry Housewives” I played Larry, appearing on stage wearing a blue satin sheath dress, white high heels, a blonde wig and pearls and singing a chorus of “Eat Your F%&#ing Corn Flakes!” I also played the Old Man in “Bathroom Humor,” which had me constantly competing with guests at a party for the use of the bathroom. . .guests of course always had preference, as I hopped, skipped and jumped in agony waiting my turn. By far my most challenging and interesting of roles was that of Lyman Wyeth in “Other Desert Cities,” which was my first true serious dramatic role.

Q: What is it about performing in front of an audience that you enjoy the most?

An actor’s anthem and British musical, “The Roar of the Grease Paint, The Smell of the Crowd,” pretty much sums up what I believe most stage performers feel and experience when on stage. No matter the venue, a small intimate club or a massive professional Broadway stage, it is the feel and smell of a live crowd, the murmur the actors hear back stage while prepping just prior to curtain opening, the heat of the stage lights blaring down, the first line spoken by the actor, the anticipation of my entrance, the whole enchilada; there is absolutely nothing I can compare to an opening night at the theater. John Varela will be in Limelight Theater’s upcoming production of “The Country House,” which opens on January 27th.

Matthew Russell Hendrickson has been involved with community theater for over 35 years. He is currently a designer’s assistant for Brotin Design, a founding member of a local film production company, Oscar Dante Motion, and is still heavily involved with local theater.

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The Country House By Donald Margulies

January 27, 28 February 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 What’s life without a little drama? A brood of famous and longing-to-be-famous creative artists have gathered at their summer home during the Williamstown Theatre Festival. When the weekend takes an unexpected turn, everyone is forced to improvise, inciting a series of simmering jealousies, romantic outbursts, and passionate soul-searching. Both witty and compelling, THE COUNTRY HOUSE provides a piercing look at a family of performers coming to terms with the roles they play in each other’s lives. Playing At Limelight Actor’s Theater 7341 Monterey Street • Gilroy limelightactorstheater.com

Footloose the Musical February 24, 25 March 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 When Ren and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period. What he isn’t prepared for are the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher. When the reverend’s rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid. Footloose celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind. Playing At South Valley Community Theater (SVCT) 17090 Monterey Road • Morgan Hill svct.org

Farce of Habit

World Premiere by Jones Hope Wooten Feb 3, 4, 10, 12, 17, 18, 24, 25 Comic fireworks explode in “Farce of Habit,” an absurdly-funny Southern-fried romp sent at the finest little fishing lodge in the Ozarks. The Wilburn family is juggling pesky guests, a gaggle of nuns, a wronged woman bent on revenge, and caffeine withdrawal, as the storm of the century heads their way. Oh, and did we mention there’s an axe murderer on the loose? Laughing your way through the take-no-prisoners lunacy of a Jones Hope Wooten Comedy is one habit you’ll never want to break! Playing At Pintello Comedy 8191 Swanston Lane • Gilroy pintellocomedy.com

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Gilroy Foundation has been one of the Tomasello’s “helping out” efforts for many years. Sal shown here at the Gilroy Chamber breakfast speaking for the “Love of the Game” fundraiser and both Sal and Annie at the Foundations’s awards presentation held at Union Bank.

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Those Who Do...

Annie & Sal Tomasello

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nnie and Sal Tomasello are well-known personalities in Gilroy. The are often seen enjoying retirement and helping out with a variety of causes. Annie and Sal have been on the local education scene for a long time. Together they have more than 75 years of educational experience. Annie began her career as a bilingual aide and went on to hold a variety of positions in programs for at-risk students, crisis response, and for five years overseeing the First Five program of the Gilroy Unified School District. Sal started out teaching, coaching and serving as principal at the secondary school level and went on to become a director at the district level. Along the way they had two children, Mark and Melissa. Annie was born in Gilroy while Sal was born in San Francisco and moved to Gilroy in 1959. They have known each other since 7th grade catechism class at St Mary’s, began dating in their junior year of high school, and got married in 1969. In their household two things dominate...family and education. Today in retirement they continue their strong commitment to education. As founding members of the Latino Family Fund de Gilroy, one of the donor-directed funds of the Gilroy Foundation, they are very involved in the Youth in Philanthropy and Leadership Program. The Latino Family Fund (LFF) currently has over $100,000 in assets and has distributed over $25,000 in grants since its inception in 2006. Annie chairs the Committee that reviews the grant proposals and recommends the awards. Sal has chaired the annual Tequila Tasting fundraiser in May. The LFF has attracted notice in the South County area and is experiencing growth in membership and assets. Last year the LFF was honored by Community Agency for Resources Advocacy and Services (CARAS) with the Community Champions Award and by the YMCA of Silicon Valley‘s Project Cornerstone Initiative with the Community Values Youth Award. The Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) is currently active with twenty-five students at both Solosano and South Valley Middle Schools. Youth selected for the project are capable students

Written By Larry J. Mickartz

who show leadership potential. They attend training sessions throughout the year. The LFF gives YIP grant money which the students are to distribute. To date, the students have distributed $7,000. The students assess needs, seek applications from local non-profits, evaluate the proposals and select the recipients. Several times in the last few years the students found more than one worthy project and raised additional funds on their own to fund a second grant. Plans are in place to expand the Youth in Philanthropy and Leadership Program to Brownell Middle School, as well as Gilroy and Christopher High Schools. The second component of the YIP project is leadership. The training sessions devote time to leadership qualities and activities. Fifty YIP students recently traveled to Microsoft Silicon Valley to understand Microsoft’s philanthropic activities. Annie and Sal get really animated when they talk about the potential and energy of this group of students. They are both involved in the leadership training and mentoring activities with the students. Annie and Sal some how find the time to do more. Sal is involved in a program to mentor and coach new school administrators in Gilroy. He also sits on the Board of the Gilroy Foundation. Annie is involved with the Youth Board and Grants Committee of the Gilroy Foundation after previously serving on the Board of Directors for six years. She also sits on the Personnel Commission for the City of Gilroy, the Gilroy Hall of Fame committee and was recently selected to the Board of the Saint Louise Regional Hospital Foundation. In 2013 Annie and Sal co-chaired the Gilroy Foundation “Day in the Country” event, which raised $57,000. Family is important to Annie and Sal. So much so that Sundays are family pasta night at their home. The gathering often brings kids, grandkids, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Their beautiful home is the “go to” place for grandkids, family and friends. Even in retirement, Annie and Sal are people who do!

Sal and Annie (left end) with YIP middle school students — Latino Family Fund’s visit in December 2016 to Microsoft. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

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SOUTH SANTA CLARA VALLEY…

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2016, A YEAR IN REVIEW

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1 The Goldsmith Family Legacy of Giving 2 Remembering Bill Filice 3 Kirigin Cellars Launched Centennial Celebration 4 Morgan Hill’s Art Walk opened 5 AAUW Morgan Hill held their Wildflower Run 6 Leadership Morgan Hill announcing the 2015 Leadership Excellence Award honoree, Joe Aiello 7 Guglielmo Winery honored at Celebrate Morgan Hill event 8 Gilroy Rotary held Clean-up Day at Gilroy Gardens 9 K9 Morgan Hill Officer Basco 10 Morgan Hill Community Center’s new Gateway Sculpture 11 Gilroy Community Leaders Discuss Downtown Revitalization Options 12 We Say Goodbye to Bob (R.J.) Dyer 13 Morgan Hill’s Friday Night Concert 14 Spring South Valley Wine Passport Event 15 Morgan Hill’s Parking Garage Opened 16 CordeValle hosted U.S. Women’s Open Championship 17 Gilroy Gardens Brought the Chinese Culture to Gilroy in Illumination 18 A Garlic Festival Ice Cream Selfie 19 Gerry Foisy (aka Mr. Garlic) retired after 29 years 20 Sam Bozzo and Gene Sakahara retired the SakaBozzo schtick after 25 years 21 Gone But Never Forgotten, Dennis Kennedy 22 Rebekah Children’s Services held their first Spring Fling 23 Edward Boss Prado Foundation’s An Evening in Venice 24 Street Music at Taste of Morgan Hill 25 Hall of Fame Recipients Honored 26 Community Solution’s Black, White & Bling Raffle Winners 27 Leal’s Granada Theater Opened. More photos at gmhtoday.com.

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BOOK CLUB BEAT

THE BOOK

A MAN CALLED OVE

with Sherry Hemingway

Author Frederik Backman

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Man Called Ove is an unlikely tale of humor and redemption. Who could love a man who expects the worthless world to disappoint him, or punches the hospital clown in the emergency room? Nearly everyone, apparently. In 2014, a Swedish blogger wrote this novel about an endearing curmudgeon, and the world fell in love with Ove. The book sped across the planet, selling 2.8 million copies and was translated into 38 languages. As of this writing, it has spent 26 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The newly released Swedish movie, based on the book, is Sweden’s submission for Oscar consideration as a foreign language film. Ove (pronounced OO-veh) is a 59-year-old Swede living alone in a nondescript row house. His approach to life is reflected in his daily routine. He awakens at dawn to “inspect” the neighborhood for parking violators. When he finds one, he immediately telephones the useless bloody imbecile who can’t read signs. The man Ove is today has been

honed by a life of tremendous hardship. He is lonely, his deeply loved wife has died, his best friend is disappearing into Alzheimer’s and he has been forcibly retired from the job he held for a third of a century. Ove is at the end of his rope, literally, and is meticulously planning suicide. Ironically, this is where the humor and his redemption begin. Ove intends to die, neatly and efficiently, but every attempt is thwarted by someone in need of his help. It seems the world has a different plan for Ove. This book’s unexpected, feel-good plot will make you laugh and cry, occasionally at the same time. This book is about how one man can rebuild his own world and make a difference in so many lives, including new neighbors (“foreigners”), scraggly cats, abused women and gay teenagers (“bent”). He remains forever cranky, cantankerous and surrounded by people who refuse to see it. What they see is a man with a golden heart, but little tolerance for anyone who does not drive a Saab. Love this book. Love Ove.

LuSal Book Club Named for founders Lucy Grisetti and Sally Wrye, the LuSal Book Club started as a group of tennis buffs and evolved into a book club. Members of the three-yearold group are a mix of Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin residents. They are (front row, l-r) Mary Ann Ruggles, Barbara Carr, Donna Melching, Diana Scariot; (back row, l-r) Ann Raymaker, Sally Wrye, Stacey Nydam, Lucy Grisetti and Carol Marques. Missing are Debra Grove, Ruth Irving and Brenda Sass. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN

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LuSal’s Book Picks Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Never Home by Laird Hunt The Paris Wife by Paula McLain The Light Between Oceans by M.L.Stedman SHERRY HEMINGWAY spent her childhood after lights out with a book and flashlight under the covers. With degrees from Kent State University and Harvard University, her lifelong career was in journalism and public relations. Her hobbies are travel in (very) remote countries, volunteering, and two book clubs. gmhtoday.com

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gilroy LIVING

WITH SAM BOZZO

Kay Spencer & Jim O’Briant

Sixty Something In Gilroy…

Jim O’Briant

& Kay Spencer 104

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met Jim O’Briant and Kay Spencer at the regular Wednesday night dinner at the Gilroy Elks Lodge. I found out that Jim was the Director of the Pacific Brass Band, a 30-piece brass band. To my surprise, Kay said she had worked for the San Martin Winery back when they had tasting rooms in San Martin, San José and Monterey. The winery was among the first in California to have tasting rooms with their wineries. Back in the 1960s I’d worked there too, on weekends, for a whopping $1.94 an hour and a 50% discount on the wine.

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Jim O’Briant In Concert

As we talked, I found out that Jim was conducting the Pacific Brass Band for a concert in conjunction with the Christopher High School Band. Judy and I went, and it was a great concert. This led to our discussion about doing a concert at the Elks and raising funds for high school scholarships, which you will hear about later in this story. It also got us talking about being in your 60s and living in Gilroy. Our story begins with Kay being born in Modesto and growing up in Patterson, California, where her family had a dairy and farmed apricots. Jim was born in Missouri, but his family moved on to Iowa where he lived until he graduated from high school. Kay and Jim first “met” online in 1990 when they were active participants in a “Wine Bulletin Board.” When Jim’s work brought him to California in 1992, he emailed Kay and suggested getting together for a glass of wine. They each showed up with two bottles, two wine glasses and a corkscrew. They’ve been together ever since. They moved to Gilroy in the spring of 1993, when Kay accepted a position as controller of a local winery. She went on to work for E&J Gallo in Modesto. When she worked for Gallo she remembers being in the same building with Charlie Rossi (known to the public as “Carlo Rossi”). He came in to the office once in a while to answer his fan mail. Kay indicated that she “attended wine industry events and met some of the giants of the wine industry including Robert Mondavi, his brother Peter of Charles Krug, and members of the Sebastiani family.” As it turns out, Sam Sebastiani and I were in the same graduating class at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose in 1958. In 2012, Kay became a Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) Certified Master Barbeque Judge. She told me that her first competition as a certified Judge was at the 2012 Morgan Hill “No Bull” BBQ Cook-off. Since then she has judged competitions in Washington, Nevada and throughout California. In October 2015, Kay was a judge at the largest BBQ competition in the USA in Kansas City.” Last summer she even judged at the first Gilroy Garlic Festival BBQ competition.

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Jim graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in Music Education. In Iowa, he taught public school music and in 1977 he joined a community band in Bettendorf Park, Iowa, where he played and directed from 1980 to 1988. After coming to California, he joined the Watsonville Community Band and the Pacific Brass Band and the South Valley Symphony. Jim still plays tuba in the South Valley Symphony and is now the Music Director and staff arranger for the Pacific Brass Band. He conducted the band at its first appearance in the band shell at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Last summer, the Band played at a fundraiser for the South Valley Symphony at Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill and they’re booked for a return engagement in summer 2017. On March 19th, 2017, the Pacific Brass Band will be playing, under Jim’s direction, at the Gilroy Elks Lodge to raise funds for Elk’s scholarships. Jim says “the afternoon concert will be presented in a relaxed setting with champagne, appetizers and desserts.” Jim also organized his own band called “The Zinfandel Stompers Vintage Jazz Band.” Jim and his bandmates Howard Miyata and Erik Siverson of Gilroy have been playing together for 10 years. You can see them on the second Tuesday of each month at 88 Keys Cafe and Piano Bar in Morgan Hill. Jim is a 10-year member of the Gilroy Elks Lodge and is currently the President of the Lodge’s RV Club, the Garlic Roamers. Kay is a member of the Hollister Elks and a member of their RV club. In the fall of 2013, Jim succumbed to temptation and purchased a new Can-Am Roadster, a 3-wheel motorcycle, along with a small trailer to haul his tuba to music rehearsals. Kay enjoyed riding with Jim so much that she bought her own motorcycle. They enjoy riding many of the hilly and mountainous roads in and around Gilroy and Morgan Hill. Jim and Kay said that life in their 60s in Gilroy has been good. “It is far enough from the rat race of big cities and it’s relatively peaceful,” they told me, “and it’s close enough to the Bay Area and Monterey Bay. Just between Gilroy and Morgan Hill, there’s more than enough to see and do.” Life sounds pretttttty good for Kay and Jim.

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Kids Want to Be Loved, Not Exploited

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Written by Beth Edmonds

In 2015, former Britton Middle School Principal Glen Webb invited Beth Edmonds to conduct a prevention training for the entire school. Webb recognized the program for raising student awareness of warning signs and revealing tactics used by sexual predators, and for providing practical directions on what to do if someone tried to exploit them or other students. The program included staff and parent previews. “The video and discussion literally had the students’ complete focus and attention,” Webb said. “They had an innate recognition that this issue is real … the information provided to students was crucial to advancing their safety.”

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s I write this article on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I’m listening to my daughter play “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on the piano. I can’t help but relate that song title to one of the most pressing social issues we parents and grandparents face today—protecting our kids from unhealthy, unloving relationships. The need to be loved and to belong is on the third tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that motivate human behavior. Only our most basic needs for sustenance and safety take precedence. From the moment we are born, we have a deep desire to connect with others in loving relationships based on trust. First, with our parents, other caregivers and extended family, then our circle widens to include teachers, schoolmates, and so on.

When Kids Look for Love Online

But what happens when our kids put their trust in the Internet and social media to widen their circle of connections and to find acceptance and love? While digital technology is a key enabler of 21st century education, there is a dark side to the Internet where people aren’t always who they represent themselves to be and “relationships” can turn abusive. Kids may encounter this on Facebook and other social networks, but they can also be victimized by people who use online marketplaces to buy and sell sex—all too often, the demand is for minors under the age of 18. This is a form of human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, and it is a federal crime punishable by imprisonment. Some years ago, this issue touched my heart. I wanted to protect my own kids from becoming victims, either directly or indirectly, of human trafficking. I began to volunteer with Community Solutions of Santa Clara County, a non-profit human services agency, in the Solutions to Violence Department, focusing on victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Human Trafficking. I also became a volunteer and took a training with Shared Hope International (SHI), a non-profit dedicated to bringing an end to sex trafficking of minors in the U.S. Since completing the SHI training, I have had the opportunity to provide trafficking prevention education to local schools as well as community and faith-based organizations. This has included programs at Britton Middle School, Live Oak High School, Gilroy United Methodist

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Church, and a Morgan Hill Library event co-hosted by Community Solutions and the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. I look forward to providing more of these programs in 2017.

Know the Red Flags

Traffickers use cyberspace to engage kids in seemingly friendly or romantic relationships. They target vulnerable kids by watching their online behavior. To help safeguard our kids, we need to know the red flags that indicate they are being “courted” or controlled by a trafficker. By engaging our middle and high school kids in conversation, they can learn about the red flags and how to protect themselves, and they can share their feelings and experiences too. Traffickers look for minors on social networks, in their neighborhoods and at school, and lure them with promises of protection, love, adventure, a home. At some point the charade is over. The trafficker starts making demands, and if needed, uses lies, intimidation, threats and violence to control or coerce kids to do his bidding. Traffickers primarily target kids 14-16 years of age—old enough to have some independence, young enough to be naïve to what’s happening. Look for signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts; unexplained absences from school; a sudden shift to a less appropriate style of dress; sexualized behavior; an atypical pattern of being withdrawn, depressed, distracted, or overly tired in class; bragging about making or having lots of money; showing off expensive clothes, accessories, shoes, or a new tattoo (one way traffickers lay claim to their victims); an older boyfriend or new friends with a divergent lifestyle; posting or texting about wild parties; or showing signs of gang affiliation.

Turn to Trusted Resources

If you feel someone you know is being trafficked, please call 911 if it’s an emergency. To get help or report a tip, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or Text “BeFree” (233733); or contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST. To learn more about the services provided by Community Solutions and Shared Hope International, visit communitysolutions.org and sharedhope.org. Our kids need to be loved and to belong, but their need should never be exploited. We need to work together to keep trafficking out of our community and help our kids to be safe.

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12 gmhtoday Jan Feb 2017  

The 2017 January February issue of gmhToday features: a review of 2017 issues, Project Roadmap, People to Watch in 2016 (Ashis Roy, Edith R...

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