Page 9

says. “So when people eat it, they can think about where it came from and the kids who grew it.” As the garden fosters connections to the outside, it has increasingly become a source of solace for teens locked into an extremely regimented existence. “When my family comes, I tell them about what I planted,” says Isaac, 15, whose full name is also withheld. “I think it surprised them at first.” Gina Lee, a Veggielution volunteer who lent her expertise to the youth on a recent afternoon, says she loves seeing the young people so receptive to her guidance. “They’re really curious,” she says. Initially, Lee admits, she had her reservations about interacting oneon-one with detainees, some of whom have been accused of capital crimes. MacWilliams says she felt the same way at first. “I was afraid when I started this,” she says. “I wasn’t sure I would be safe or what kind of a difference I could possibly yield. After my first visit, I realized that these are people, too. People who love to learn and work with the earth.” Some of the youth will get to ply their new skills outside in the near future and show their families what they’ve learned. Others, Jake included, will have to wait many more years for the chance. Still, he says, learning how to grow and prepare food is one of many skills he’s worked on acquiring this past year as his case wends its way through court. Two weeks before planting his resolution in that terra cotta pot, he earned his high school diploma. “The ceremony was crazy,” he says. “It was like getting married. I had a gown on and everything.” “Did you throw your cap up in the air?” MacWilliams asks. “No, but I gave a speech,” Jake replies. “I put a poem in there, too. My message was to try to get everyone else in my unit to graduate and get their diploma. I know they say this is a bad place, but we have to take advantage of our time here. I don’t want to sit here and do nothing.” In prison, he says, he would have far fewer chances to educate himself. “Hopefully I don’t go there,” Jake says, wiping sweat off his neck with his T-shirt. “Even though I have a record and stuff, I want to at least have something good to work on.”

Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration

Upper Guadalupe River Reach 6 Aquatic Habitat Improvement Project In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (California Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq.) and CEQA Guidelines (Title 14, California Code of Regulations, Sections 15000 et seq.), an Initial Study of the Upper Guadalupe River Reach 6 Aquatic Habitat Improvement Project was prepared to evaluate environmental impacts. Based on the Initial Study, it has been determined that a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) is the appropriate level of review. This is a Notice of Intent to adopt an MND for this project in accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15072. Project Title: Upper Guadalupe River Reach 6 Aquatic Habitat Improvement Project Project Description: The proposed project would be implemented in two phases, separated by about three years. During Phase 1, the Santa Clara Valley Water District would dewater portions of the Reach 6 channel during the dry season and place 1,160 cubic yards (CY) of gravel at two river pools located between the West Virginia Street Bridge and the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge. After placement of the gravel during Phase 1, the District would monitor and analyze geomorphic and biological conditions at the project area for about three years or until a bankfull flow event occurs (recurrence interval = 1.5 years or greater). If the results of the monitoring demonstrate that gravel placement in Reach 6 is sustainable and beneficial to the aquatic habitat, the District would implement Phase 2 of the project, which would entail dewatering the river between the Virginia Street Bridge and the Interstate-280 crossing, placing an additional 3,000 CYs of gravel in five deep pools, and placing 200 CYs of gravel to fill voids among existing boulders located in the Reach 6/3C transition area. Project Location: Upper Guadalupe River Reach 6 in San Jose, CA. Reach 6 is located between the Union Pacific Railroad crossing and the Interstate-280 crossing of the river. Public Review: The Draft MND will be available for public review from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the District Headquarters Building (5700 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, CA 95118) starting January 15, 2017. A copy of the Draft MND will also be available at the Biblioteca Latinoamerica Branch Library reference desk, 921 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95110. The Draft MND can also be accessed online at: http://www.valleywater.org/PublicReviewDocuments.aspx. The public comment period on the Draft MND closes at 5 p.m. on February 14, 2017. Contact: Comments on the Draft MND should be submitted via mail or electronically, by 5 p.m. on February 14, 2017, to: Santa Clara Valley Water District Attention: James Manitakos 5750 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, CA 95118 For further information please contact James Manitakos at (408) 630-2833, or by email at jmanitakos@valleywater.org.

9 JANUARY 11-17, 2017 | metrosiliconvalley.com | sanjose.com | metroactive.com

maximum-security units how to tend the once-neglected swath of herbs, vegetables and citrus saplings. Armed with a $5,000 Knight Foundation grant and a rotating cast of volunteers, she spends several hours just about every other weekend at the garden with youthful offenders. By doing the work themselves, the detainees learn how to plant and cover crops, how to cook with fresh produce, how to fertilize and prune, how to keep the soil alive with plant-feeding nutrients. Veggielution, which runs a nonprofit urban farm in San Jose’s East Side, and Bay Maples, a business that specializes in droughttolerant landscaping, have donated time and materials for the effort. “These are life skills they can actually use,” MacWilliams says. “There’s also a therapeutic element, being responsible for taking care of something that’s alive and needs constant attention.” For a county that has spent the past several years trying to reduce recidivism in the juvenile justice system, the gardening sessions are a welcome addition to the agency’s curriculum. It also ties into an approach adopted by the county more than a decade ago to build prosocial interaction between staff and juveniles in their care. Called positive youth development, the strategy favors rehabilitation over retribution and has resulted in dramatically lower rates of recidivism. Any activity that translates into even slight improvement can have profound implications, helping advocates make a stronger case for juvenile detainees who get involved in the program. “We can write them letters that could help the outcome of their case,” MacWilliams says. “Because we spend all this time here, we actually get to know them.” County officials have discussed folding the gardening into existing vocational training, which includes food prep and safety certification. Already, the kids who volunteer in the garden have used their crops to prepare meals, including salsa and veggie wraps. This year, MacWilliams hopes to renew her grant funding and strike up a partnership with local university campuses to serve fresh food at their cafeterias or donate some to Second Harvest Food Bank. “The way I envision it is having a sign or something that says how this food came from Juvenile Hall,” she

Msv1702  

December 11-17, 2017