publisherPatrice Edwards editor
contributing writersJondi Gumz, Todd Marco, Peter Melton, Risa D’Angeles, Christopher Elliott, Zoey Ocampo-Sobkoviak, Tony Tomeo, Michelle Rodriguez, Zach Friend layout
State Audit Scrutinizes
Our County FairBy Jondi Gumz
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Santa Cruz County Fair CEO Dave Kegebein, who led a financial turnaround during 11 years at the helm, has lost his job after a state audit found the fair had no receipts and had no supervisory review for $163,442 of purchases from 2017 to 2021, including $31,345 for fuel for his truck.
review and lack of oversight by the CEO, the fair board and California Department of Food and Agriculture, the agency overseeing county fairs.
The next CEO was Michael Bethke, a building contractor with a master’s degree in urban planning, Rotarian and Santa Cruz Chamber Man of the Year.
On Oct. 4, the board voted 7-2 to terminate, with Loretta Estrada and Jody Belgard voting no.
Board president Don Dietrich is over seeing the operation until a replacement is hired. He said the board will take up the matter at a regularly scheduled meeting at 1:20 p.m. Oct. 25.Dave Kegebein Don Dietrich
The fairgrounds in Watsonville, like 51 others in the state, is a state entity and required to follow state rules.
The state auditors found 12 problem areas and made 35 rec ommendations, requiring a response from the fair.
Most of the identified problems are due to lack of documentation and receipts for spending and travel, lack of an annual
Because of the fair’s lack of documen tation, the relationship between the fair and the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation, a 20-year-old nonprofit that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for improvements such as water tanks, storage, and outdoor lighting, via events and alcohol sales, also came under scrutiny.
The audit said an equipment lease agreement between the two entities did not appear to be at arm’s length, as required.
Family Legacy Dave
Kegebein’s ties with the fair go back to his childhood when his father, John Kegebein, worked for the fairgrounds.
John Kegebein put in 50 years at the fair, most recently in 2007 as a volunteer CEO for two years to help bail out the fair, which was in financial straits, and he’s still active with the Ag History Project, which is based at the fairgrounds. John’s wife Jeannie, stepmother to Dave, is the volunteer executive director of the Fair grounds Foundation.
Yvette Jordan ran the fair for three years, and left the budget in the red.
Bethke faced a deadly horse disease, equine herpes myloencepha lopathy, which shut the horse barns, lawsuits over a planned rodeo, and a threatened lawsuit by Max Kelley and his neighbors and did living close to the fairgrounds racetrack over noise from Speedway races.
Overspending was an issue, and after Bethke resigned, Dave Kegebein, a strawberry grower, offered to come in as a volunteer manager.
When his two-year stint was suc cessful, Kegebein, 56, was offered a paying position to be in charge.
The fair, also known as the 14th DAA, is required to respond in writing on
Dave Kegebein’s Departure Letter
On Oct. 4, at a specially-called board meeting of the 14th District Agricul tural Association, otherwise known as the Santa Cruz County Fair, the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) Deputy Director Michael Flores terminated me as the CEO of the 14th District Agricul tural Association.
District Ag Associations are state owned agencies with a nine-member board of directors that are appointed by the Governor so one might wonder how one individual bureaucrat from Sacramento can pressure the local board of directors. It’s really pretty simple, just show up at a fair board meeting with a team of 5 staffers dressed up in fancy clothes and intimidate, coerce, threaten and railroad the local vol unteer board with a threat of state takeover and dismissal of the directors.
Of course, if you are a state official coming into a community to seize control of a beloved community asset you might feel a bit unsafe so you bring along two Highway Patrol officers and three sheriff’s deputies.
how its 35 recommendations to improve internal controls, operations, and com pliance with state laws and regulations will be implemented.
Good internal controls are essential to assuring the accomplishment of goals and objectives, according to the University of Florida Office of Internal Audit. They provide reliable financial reporting for management decisions, and they ensure compliance with applicable laws and regu lations to avoid the risk of public scandals.
John Skinner, a floriculture volunteer at the Santa Cruz County Fair rallying Keg ebein supporters, contends the CDFA has not conducted any staff training for 10 years.
He said Kegebein was issued a state credit card and debit card in 2016 and he contends neither Kegebein nor the board was made aware of reporting requirements.
The CDFA has, however, produced regulations for county fair leaders, the 288-page Accounting Procedures Manual in 2009 and a 60-page update in 2017, both posted online.
In 2011, the Santa Cruz County fair board discussed the feasibility of hiring a comptroller for one to two hours a week to oversee finances as a third-party expert but concluded the fair could not afford it.
Patrice Edwards, publisher of Aptos Times, served on the fair board from 2006-2011.
“These are the same problems we had in the five years I was on the board and chair of finance,” she said.
“The Finance Committee had insti tuted a policy where every check needed two signatures and no reimbursement took place without a receipt or invoice,” she said. “Had the board followed through on this policy set forth by the Finance Com mittee, Dave would not have been put in this position.”
She credited Kegebein with orches trating a “spectacular comeback” for the fair.
“Lack of oversight on the part of the board’s responsibility to review the finances created this situation, along with the state’s lack of follow-through and Dave’s lack of documentation,” she said. “Very sad for our community.”
Red Tape Compliance
In his departure letter, Dave Kegebein said CDFA did not provide training on procedures or audits when he started in 2012.
He called the issues in the audit “red tape compliance that we were not aware of.”
When he started, he said it was “chaos,” with multiple lawsuits and staff dysfunction.
He said his 11-year tenure improved the facilities, which had deteriorated to be unsafe, to the best condition ever, garnering praise from customers and the community.
He also said finances have improved, from 2012 revenue of $1.3 million, and no cash on hand, to revenue of $4 million in 2021 with cash on hand of $1.75 million.
He said he had supplied “$650,000 of various resources to the fairgrounds including two years of not accepting compensation and benefits, supplying multiple pieces of equipment for daily operations, and using my own truck for transportation.”
He said he put 200,000 miles on his pickup truck doing fair business.
He contended he could have been reimbursed $116,000 over the years for his vehicle use but he opted to ask only for fuel and oil consumed, which in the audit was $35,000.
Finally, a Safe Ride to Nisene MarksBy Todd Marco
Creek Road, the main entrance to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, has seen a large surge of traffic & congestion since the start of the pandemic.
What hadn’t changed, until now, was the poor con dition of this narrow single-lane access route. Park visitors had to maneuver around large potholes and illegally parked vehicles while avoiding steep cliffs, oncoming traffic, and numerous hikers and bikers all sharing the same thin strip of crumbling road.
In 2020, after road congestion delayed paramedic response to a medical emergency in the park, a group of concerned residents & community members began meeting regularly with local agencies to brainstorm solutions.
This led to the formation of local nonprofit Nisene Rio Gateway (www.aptosnrg.org) and the start of a productive collaboration with California State Parks, the agency that maintains Aptos Creek Road.
Within weeks, State Parks installed new signage and began enforcing parking restrictions, which quickly reduced vehicle congestion along the roadway.
Still, it was clear that the poor condition of the road would need to be addressed, but the attention & budget of State Parks was focused on other priorities like rebuilding Big Basin State Park after the devastating CZU fire of 2020.
Part of Aptos Creek Road was resealed in 2021, but the lower portion was in need of more substantial paving work.
When a vehicle flipped on a steep and narrow portion of the poorly maintained road, safety concerns were once again amplified.
Fortunately, State Parks has now managed to secure funding and arranged for a full resurfacing of the access road’s challenging but vital lower section. As of Oct 5, park
visitors can now enjoy a much smoother trip into the park, whether on foot or wheels.
Of course, resurfacing won’t address all the safety concerns along the narrow access road. In particular, speeding vehicles remain a safety concern for everyone, as the 15 mph speed limit isn’t posted and is frequently violated. Similarly, there are no signs warning that the onelane road supports two-way traffic, no reminders to share the road with pedestrians and cyclists, no curb along the roadway edge, and no markings, striping, or barriers to more safely direct shared usage.
Speed humps may be required if speeding remains an issue, but hopefully drivers will responsibly enjoy the smooth new surface.
Some may prefer the road more rugged and bare, but entering the park shouldn’t put people’s safety at risk. This beautiful State Park belongs to all of us, and we all have a responsibility to care for it and the safety of others enjoying it.
We applaud and thank State Parks for their continued efforts to protect and preserve access to this precious gem. n
Todd Marco updates the Nisene Rio Gateway Forum, a private group on Facebook for people with concerns about safety at Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY REPUBLICAN VOTER
Santa Cruz County Republican Ballot
Doctors Challenge AB 2098 Targeting Covid MisinformationBy Jondi Gumz
Two doctors have filed a federal lawsuit challenging AB 2098, the new law that subjects doctors to disciplinary actions by state medical boards if they provide misinformation or disinformation to patients about Covid-19.
Dr. Mark McDonald, a psychiatrist in Los Angeles, and Dr. Jeff Barke, a boardcertified family physician in Orange County, want the law declared unconsti tutional. They claim the law aims to chill speech of doctors whose assessment of the Covid evidence differs from the state of California.
The law targets false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effec tiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
The law defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care” and disinformation as misinformation the doctor “deliberately
“Kegebein Letter” from page 4
This was done to ensure the 20 or so people waiting for the results to be announced stay under control in case the community should become overly con cerned and to have the law enforcement available in case the fair board chose to be uncooperative at which time CDFA could escort the fair board members off of the fairgrounds and initiate a takeover of operations.
I just completed my 11th fair as CEO and I am proud of the results the amazing team of employees and volun teers I assembled and have led produced. Fortunately, as I depart, the fairgrounds is in the best physical condition it has ever been since the property was pur chased in 1935 and the DAA articles of association were filed with the Secretary of State.
When I started in 2012 the fair grounds, total annual revenue stream was about $1.3 million and the association did not have any cash on hand. As I reflect back on that time, the only possible description of conditions I can think of is total chaos. Multiple lawsuits pending and complete staff dysfunction. There had been 6 managers in the 12 previous years
disseminated with malicious intent or an intent to mislead.”
Disciplinary action means the doctor’s license to practice could be at risk.
Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) introduced AB 209 and SB 1018.
Gov. Newsom said he signed the bill because “ it is narrowly tailored to apply only to those egregious instances in which a licensee is acting with malicious intent or clearly deviating from the required standard of care while interacting directly with a patient under their care.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the federal Centers for Disease Control, which makes federal policy on Covid-19 and vaccines, admitted in August: “We are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes.”
To read AB 2098, see https://leginfo. legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient. xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2098
Hospitalizations are down statewide and locally, with 10 people in the hospital
in Santa Cruz County with a positive Covid test, including one in intensive care.
As of Oct. 12, active Covid cases in Santa Cruz County tallied 535, compared to 456 a week ago.
Boosters from Pfizer and Moderna aim to protect against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, which is no longer circu lating, and the current dominant omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
To expedite emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, boosters were not tested in humans but mice. Pfizer submitted findings based on 8 mice. Human trials began in August.
A booster is recommended 2 months after the last booster dose, as protection wanes.
Moderna’s is authorized for those 18 and older and Pfizer’s is authorized for those 12 years and older. To get a booster, contact your healthcare provider or book an appointment through MyTurn, Vaccine Finder or local pharmacies. For a list, see www.santacruzhealth.org/ coronavirusvaccine.
For local information call (831) 4544242 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. n
Active COVID cases: 456
COVID Deaths: 273
As of Oct. 10 Age
85 and older: 120 • 75-84: 62 • 65-74: 49 60-64: 15 • 55-59: 4 • 45-54: 10 35-44: 8 • 25-34: 5
Yes: 223 • No: 50
Yes: 36 • No: 237 Race
White 160 • Latinx 90 • Asian 16
Black 3 • Amer Indian 1
Hawaiian 1 • Another 2 Gender
Men: 138 • Women: 135 Location
At facility for aged: 117 Not at a facility: 156
and facility condition had deteriorated to a very unsafe level.
Fast forward 11 years and in 2021, the DAA produced total revenues of about $4 million and has cash on hand of about $1.75 million. And the facility condition has been praised by the community, our many customers and users.
About the time I started as CEO, CDFA decided to have DAA’s with work with private accounting firms to obtain annual financial reviews and audits, which we have regularly completed.
As an employee of CDFA, I believe the agency had an obligation to provide regular procedural training and procedural auditing.
For my first 10 years, it was crickets, no follow thru from the state government bureaucrats to meet their obligation. This past year suddenly they chose to step up to the plate and do their job conducting a procedural audit. The auditor pointed out areas of red tape compliance that we were not aware of and we started implementing those measures.
While I was not informed of why I was terminated, I can only assume the largest issue was that the fairgrounds sup plied diesel for my truck. I purchased a new pickup truck, when I started at the
fairgrounds in 2012. It currently has 240,000 miles on it, of which approximately 200,000 of those miles were accumulated conducting fairgrounds business. Most people close to me say all I do is work so perhaps more of those miles were fairgrounds related.
At the state reimbursement rates which have varied over the years, I could have been reimbursed about $116,000 but I chose to only ask for fuel & oil con sumed while paying for all other vehicle expenses myself, which according to the audit report is a much lesser amount of $35,000.
Over my 11 years I have contributed approximately $650,000 of various resources to the fairgrounds including two years of not accepting compensation and benefits, supplying multiple pieces of equipment for daily operations, and using my own truck for transportation.
I took on the CEO role to serve my community, expecting to only be there a couple of years and have really enjoyed my time in service. The concept of a state takeover of such an important local asset is something the entire community should pay close attention to.
Kegebein told the auditors that he brings tools from home to the fairgrounds every day, so he considered that mileage a business expense. The audit said expenses from commuting from home to work are not allowed under state code.
The audit said Kegebein was informed that if he uses his personal vehicle for business-related travel, this requires paperwork, Form 261 filed annually, plus a monthly travel expense claim with the dates, locations, and business purposes. Those forms were not completed or submitted.
Fair board president Don Dietrich said via email that the audit began “around February.”
He first “learned of the issues including inappropriate use of the credit/debit cards during the August exit interview with the auditor.
That prompted him to immediately implement “procedures that restricted the use of any charge account, credit, debit or cash transaction without prior review and approval by a board member.”
He recalled Kegebein reporting during board meetings that he “made some cor rections to procedures as he was made aware of things during the audit process, however, it was a broad statement with little detail so I cannot comment on specific changes made.”
Dietrich added, “My opinion is the CEO is the person directly responsible to ensure that state rules and policies are being followed by all staff. The only employee who the board has oversight over is the CEO.”
Two board members, Bill Barton and Jody Belgard, are assigned to the Finance Committee, whose duties include regular review of the fairgrounds financials.
Since Dietrich joined the board, every president has assigned those two to the Finance Committee “due to their financial background as professionals,” Dietrich said.
Asked if the fair, which employs a bookkeeper, would benefit from a Cer tified Public Accountant, Dietrich had “no comment at this time.”
In his letter, Kegebein contended the CDFA staff, accompanied by Highway Patrol officers at the Oct. 4 board meeting, persuaded the 9-member volunteer board to fire him, alleging a threatened state takeover and their dismissal.
All fair board members are appointed by the governor.
Eight appointees — not Dana McRae, appointed in November 2021 — have terms that have expired, and the governor’s office in July said “appointees serve at the pleasure of the governor until a successor has been appointed.”
The governor’s press office did not respond to a query from the Aptos Times on the issue.
The Aptos Times asked Kegebein via email if he was familiar with the state’s accounting manual and when he realized the fair was out of compliance. He did not respond.
Audit Findings: The Details
In reviewing the Santa Cruz County fair, auditors from the California Department of Food and Agriculture focused on 2019 and 2020, expanded their review to five years when requested documentation was not provided, interviewed staff and found:
• Of the $163,442 in purchases, $108,869 were made by the CEO.
• $2,237 in debit card purchases for the CEO’s vehicle maintenance, with only five invoices totaling $835.
• Spending of $5,905 for food for employee birthdays, lunches, holiday dinners and chamber mixers, which the state deemed unallowable.
• Travel expenses of $1,352 with no receipts.
• No travel expense claim form filed by the CEO as required.
• Travel expenses of $564 to a fair con vention in Texas, one of 22 states for which California bans travel.
• $4,671 of debit card purchases at retailers with no receipts and $1,352 of travel expenses paid via debit card with no receipts.
• $68,489 in equipment purchased by the CEO for the nonprofit Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation when state employees are not allowed to conduct business for an outside entity on state time.
• A 2020 lease agreement for equipment signed by related individuals, Dave Kegebein and his stepmother, Jeannie Kegebein, who heads the Foundation,
Response to Audit
Asked about the Highway Patrol at the board meeting where Kegebein was fired, Dietrich said, “I have never felt threatened by law enforcement. The officers were there to ensure the safety of all those in attendance.”
As a new appointee to the board in 2012, Dietrich had suggested Kegebein be hired in 2013 with salary and benefits after his efforts as volunteer manager made the 2013 fair a success.
In a 3-page letter to CDFA chief auditor Ron Shackelford dated Sept. 21, prior to the Oct. 4 fair board meeting, Dietrich, as fair board president, did not contest any of the 12 audit findings.
“As a result of the information you provided during the exit interview, I, as Board President, put the following controls in place as a temporary measure until a permanent policy can be developed and ratified by the full Board,” Dietrich wrote. “The temporary controls require that all purchases made on any account or with any debit or credit card be authorized in advance by either Director Dietrich, Director Belgard or Director McRae.”
He added, “Credit and debit cards are kept locked in the safe with access through the 14th DAA bookkeeper. A spreadsheet documenting the purchases has been developed and is inspected biweekly by me. This spreadsheet will be provided to the board as part of the Board Meeting Packet each month for review.”
He continued, “The long-term response
when the state requires an arm’s length agreement to avoid a conflict of interest.
• Not getting a share of revenue from Foun dation events at the fairgrounds, when typically there is a revenue split. Holiday Lights, which raised $285,478, or the Crab Feed, which raised $65,773.
• Not charging the Foundation for office space at the fairgrounds, a loss of revenue for the fair.
• No documentation on alcohol sales by the Foundation when the fair requires 5% of sales go to the fair. Lacking fair records, the auditors researched the Foundation’s 2019 and 2020 tax returns, reporting alcohol sales of $333,819 based on concession receipts and an underpayment to the fair of $3,437.
• Improperly requiring the Speedway to donate $7,500 per year for the Fairgrounds Foundation as part of its lease.
• Failure to conduct an annual CPA review, as required.
• No log for $5,914 of propane; half the ini tials on logs of the fuel tanks could not be identified by fair staff.
• Eight contracts over $5,000 not bid, as required.
• 84 employees worked more than 8 hours in the day without overtime.
• CEO accrued 684 hours of vacation time; the state cap is 640 hours.
• Property register not provided; inventory is required every three years.
• No information on free tickets or courtesy and credential passes, as required.
is to develop a policy that provides controls over use of accounts and credit/debit cards in conformance with the requirements contained in the Accounting Procedures Manual…A policy will be adopted to ensure use of personal vehicles by any employee are strictly within the guidelines for use of per sonal vehicles as outlined in the Accounting Procedures Manual. Lastly, I will recommend that the Board seek legally permissible recovery efforts relating to the misuse of debit/-credit cards by Employee A (CEO).”
Dietrich then addressed each finding, explaining how the fair will comply.
He pointed out the board is made up of unpaid gubernatorial appointees who meet monthly, a schedule that will be impacted by the approaching holidays, and does not employ permanent staff “with the skill set to develop draft policies as recommended by the Audit Office. With that in mind, the board will work diligently to attempt adoption of the nec essary policies and procedures …within the 6-month time frame.”
Asked if he spoke with the fair CEO before composing that letter,” Dietrich responded,
“I didn’t speak with Mr. Kegebein about my written response to the audit as it was tasked to me to respond on behalf of the board.”
Michele Bassi, president of the 20-yearold Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation, said via email, “Dave Keg ebein has given his time, talent and treasure to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. We
are truly disappointed in the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting.”
She pointed out the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation is a 501c3 non profit, not a state agency, and raises money “to ensure our community has a vibrant, healthy fairgrounds. We are responsible to our donors and will continue to fiscally support the fairgrounds so it is ready for times of need as well as celebration.”
Funds raised through fundraising events, campaigns, and alcohol sales go to the betterment of the fairgrounds, work that will continue, she added.
“Our audited financials confirm that we adhere to strict financial standards and audits,” she noted.
Dennis Osmer, executive director of Central Coast Energy Services, said he had worked with Dave Kegebein when they were both members of the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board.
“Dave is more interested in achievement than paperwork,” Osmer said, adding the audit is “no reason for ter mination, it’s reason for correction.”
Osmer also asked, “Where was the board?”
Fair Audits Elsewhere
The Santa Cruz County Fair is not the only one to face CDFA scrutiny.
A 2018 state audit of the Orange County Fair found officials spent more than $220,000 in state money on food, beverage and catering without documentation of state business, paid for travel to states prohibited under the Attorney General, and didn’t report a suspected embezzlement of more than $9,000. The fair CEO was fired in 2019.
In 2019, a state audit found the Kern County Fair CEO allowed more than $300,000 in questionable spending between 2016 and 2018, much of it for travel, expensive meals, and alcohol. The audit did not identify the county but multiple sources told Eyewitness News it was Kern County.
The fair had no receipts for $132,000 worth of credit card purchases, $30,000 in “excessive and unauthorized” out of state travel, and $1,200 spent on alcohol.
The audit said more oversight by the board of directors and the CDFA is in order.
This year, the acting CEO of the Sac ramento County Fair was fired after a state audit revealed she was unable to show documentation for $107,230 in reimburse ments in Sacramento County and $73,973 in Tulare County where previously she was fair CEO. She reimbursed herself for $3,503 in food and meals she said were for business purposes but did not provide a list of people at the dinners required by Accounting Procedures Manual. She did not provide documentation for $4,392 in vehicle mileage reimbursement, and she didn’t keep atten dance or vacation time records.
The Santa Cruz County Fair audit is posted on the fair website: www.santacruzcountyfair. com/images/stories/agenda/2022/oct/14th-DAA_ Final-Compliance-Audit-Report_22-006.pdf
Cover Photo: Dave Kegebein (right), and his father John, stand by the plaque dedicated to their family’s contributions to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
How To Prevent Lost Luggage andBy Christopher Elliott
CarolGrilli’s checked luggage van ished during a recent flight from Rome to Dublin. It took five weeks to find her bag, and Aer Lingus offered her only $259 for the trouble — about a third of the expense of replacing the bag and its contents.
“I was so, so frustrated,” says Grilli, a retired state employee from Smithfield, R.I. “It was utter madness.”
During the spring and summer, air lines mishandled tens of thousands of bags. (Remember those images of the luggage piled up at London’s Heathrow Airport?) Most were located quickly, but some stayed missing for weeks or are still gone. And, too often, airlines were reluctant to compensate their customers for the items, paying only a fraction of the replacement costs.
“Lost luggage issues are top of mind for many travelers, with many airlines blaming understaffed airports for this rise in missing luggage,” says Carol Mueller, a vice president at Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. “Usually, passengers can get their lost luggage back in time or receive reimbursement from the airline, but these resolutions often take days or weeks to fulfill.”
It turns out there are ways to speed up the process of retrieving your lost luggage. And you can also ensure you get the maximum compensation from an airline when your luggage goes missing. As we head into the holiday travel season, it’s the perfect time for a refresher. More lost luggage is probably inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be yours.
Grilli’s lost luggage meant she and her husband had only one change of clothes on their Italian vacation, so they had to go shopping. Factoring in the cost of new clothes and international phone calls, the tab for their lost bags came to about $800. Aer Lingus found the couple’s luggage a month later, but never fully compensated them for the loss. (The maximum baggage liability for most international flights is approximately $1,780 under the Montreal Convention.)
I asked Aer Lingus twice about Grilli’s luggage. The first time, it didn’t respond. The second time, it sent her another check to cover the rest of her losses.
How much does an airline owe you?
It depends. Transportation Department regulations stipulate that your airline may compensate you up to $3,800 for a domestic flight. But you have to show receipts for the lost items, which isn’t always possible. And expenses must be reasonable and verifiable, which allows airlines to deny reimbursements for pricey toiletries and designer clothes. Basically, the airline gets to decide how much to pay you for your loss, and there’s no easy way to appeal its decision.
If you check a bag, make sure you avoid packing certain items. “Keep all valuables, electronics and prescription drugs with you in your carry-on,” advises Christina Tunnah, general manager for the Americas at travel insurance company World Nomads. The reason: Airlines exclude those items from liability when you file a claim.
The best way to eliminate lost luggage is obvious: Avoid checking a bag. If you can downsize your luggage to a carry-on, you’ll never have this problem.
But if you must check your bag, the fastest way to get it back is to track it yourself. That’s how Sumeet Sinha found his luggage when it went missing in Switzerland recently. “I’m a classic over-planner,” says Sinha, who publishes FinPins, an investment blog. “I also love gadgets.” He had purchased an AirTag and slipped it into his checked bag. When the bag went missing, he tracked it to a location in the airport, where it was waiting for him.
“It had fallen behind a crevice at the back end of the luggage carousel,” he says. “When I got my bag, I kissed my AirTag.”
Luggage manufacturers are openly encouraging their customers to track their bags. Samsara Luggage, for example, offers a small pouch for an AirTag in some of its bags.
“Tracking technology used to be exclusively in the hands of the airlines,” says Atara Dzikowski, Samsara’s CEO. “But everyone is now discovering the tech nology to avoid lost luggage debacles.”
There are other ways to expedite the return of your luggage, which I discovered on a recent flight from London to Kirkenes, Norway. I only checked one bag, containing
Emeril’s Garden Takes Root at Starlight Elementary
Morethan 500 children at PVUSD’s Starlight Elementary will soon be chopping, measuring, digging and harvesting while learning math, science, language arts and life skills in the spacious new Emeril’s Culinary Garden and Teaching Kitchen nearing completion on their Watsonville campus.
The kitchen building will be finished soon and garden construction will begin, on track to bring new hands-on learning opportunities to hundreds --and eventually thousands-- of PVUSD students.
Set in motion 18 months ago by a $500,000 grant from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s private foundation, Star light’s new 30-student kitchen and adjoining 8,000 sq. ft. garden inspired a $1.4 million community fundraising campaign to augment PVUSD funds and complete the $3.14 million project.
As of Sept. 10, a total of $2,291,610 had been raised via gifts from individual donors, businesses and foundations.
To raise $110,000 and reach the goal, Driscoll’s, Inc. announced a $55,000 ‘chal lenge grant’ to spur a matching amount in community donations by Oct. 15.
“Driscoll’s has been an active supporter of various educational initiatives, but Emeril’s Culinary Garden and Teaching Kitchen is a first of its kind,” says Lucas Flowers, Northern District manager for Driscoll’s. “It’s a unique opportunity to bridge our local ag community to the culinary arts. We’re really excited to see this state-of-the-art learning facility in our community.”
Starlight’s new kitchen/garden is one of only five such projects in the United States, all using curriculum developed by Santa Cruz-based Life Lab, a leading edu cator in garden-based learning.
Life Lab will reach all 9,000 ele mentary students and their teachers as PVUSD expands school gardens to all 16 elementary schools by 2024.
The new learning center’s benefits continue to grow across 19,000+ students of PVUSD through field trips, mentor ships with middle and high school teens, after school and summer programming, as well as countywide teacher training opportunities.
When students reach high school, they can develop con nections to new college and career learning pathways offered through the district’s Career Technical Education programming, earning credits at Cabrillo College and the UC and Cal State university systems.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, says the expansive kitchen and garden represent “the District’s unwavering commitment to our students.
Every day in these instructional spaces, students will engage with innovative learning that enables them to explore their passions, cultivate their interests, amplify their talents and have transformative expe riences that prepare them for their futures in the Pajaro Valley.”
The new learning center at Starlight also expands community food resources and health education, providing facilitiessharing opportunities for nonprofits
including the Community Health Trust, an anchor donor, Second Harvest Food Bank, and other groups whose programs and ser vices advance well-being through health, wellness, and nutrition education.
“PVUSD is proud to invest in a project that aligns with the vision, goals, and core values of our district and our community,” Rodriguez added. n
Tax-deductible gifts can be made securely online at cgtk.pvusd.net, by donating to a special fund at the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, or by mailing a check, made out to CGTK at Starlight Elementary, to the attention of Andrea Carlos Willy, PVUSD, 294 Green Valley Road, Watsonville, 95076. For information call 831-786-2323 or visit cgtk.pvusd.net.
“Lost Luggage” from page 9
First, SAS wanted a picture of the bar-coded tag they’d given me in London. I checked my boarding pass, and there wasn’t one. Then it asked for a picture of the duffle bag. In my hurry to leave London, I’d forgotten to take a picture of the bag and its contents.
The system also asked for a temporary address in Norway. But I didn’t have one. I was a passenger on the MS Polarlys, a coastal supply ship operated by Hurti gruten. There were so many missing items that I had to file the claim by email instead of using the web form.
My final newbie mistake, of course,
was failing to place an AirTag in my bag. Why didn’t I? No excuse. Of all people, I should have known better.
It didn’t take long for SAS to figure out that it had lost a travel columnist’s bag. A crew member on the Polarlys told me that a few minutes before our departure, a breathless baggage handler screeched to a halt at the dock and hurled
my found duffel bag across the water to a deckhand. Well, maybe it wasn’t quite as dramatic, but my bag was missing for fewer than 24 hours, and I’m both grateful and embarrassed. (Everywhere I went, AirTags were out of stock. That’s my excuse.)
But my pain is your gain. Track your luggage, take pictures of it and make sure
you have proof that you checked your baggage. The more information you can furnish your airline, the faster it can find your missing luggage.
Christopher Elliott is an author, con sumer advocate, and journalist. He founded Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He pub lishes Elliott Confidential, a travel newsletter, and the Elliott Report, a news site about customer service. If you need help with a con sumer problem, you can reach him through his consumer advocacy site or email him at chris@ elliott.org. This story originally appeared in the Washington Post. © 2022 Christopher Elliott.
Inspired to Take Action: Ending Racism and Building PeaceBy Zoey Ocampo-Sobkoviak
Endingracism and building peace is a cause that is very personal for me as a Latinx student of color and the founder of the Art and Activism Club at Mount Madonna School.
A lot of what we do in the club is about sharing the work of diverse artists, tackling systemic problems, and celebrating dif ferent cultures and identities through artwork. In a time that is plagued by social issues such as racism, violence, poverty, and war in countries like Ukraine, Pal estine, Ethiopia, Iran, Venezuela, and many others, holding events such as these remind us to continue our efforts toward achieving global peace are extremely important.
While an event like the International Day of Peace dedicated to ending racism may not have immediate tangible effects, it can inspire us to take action to better our world and be more compassionate towards our fellow humans. Change always starts small, and localized events like this can spark ideas that travel to a wider scope of people.
Mount Madonna School’s International Day of Peace event on Sept. 21 commenced with a land acknowledgment honoring the Ohlone who lived on the land before European colonization and who now pre serve the cultural practices of their people. As the land acknowledgment emphasized, acknowledging the history of a place is the first step toward healing it and ourselves. Being honest with ourselves about past crimes and darker histories is essential to moving forward in a radically positive way; a critical reckoning that I do not think we have done enough of in this country. For me, setting this intention of honoring the earth we walk on and the privileges or struggles that put us where we are today, was an essential step before we could con tinue with our talks of peace and justice.
Real Estate Update
Trick or Treat: The Secret of HalloweenPoem by Peter Melton
US Mortgage Rates
Rise for Seventh Week to Highest in 16 Years — In September, US mortgage rates jumped to a 16-year high average of 6.75%, marking the seventh-straight weekly increase and spurring a huge slump in home loan applications. Freddie Mac’s 30-year loan was 6.7% for week-ending 9/29, the highest rate since 2007.
Housing Prices Fall — Locally, the Monthly Average Sales Price (ASP) for Aptos and Santa Cruz (95060+95062) dropped signiﬁcantly from 2 months ago. Aptos – ASP last month was $1,462,598 and projected to drop 2.5% next year vs. August ASP of $1,527,425 and projected to grow 13% next year. Santa Cruz ASP last month was $1,429,215 and projected to drop 2.1% next year vs. August ASP of $1,524,416 and projected to grow 13% next year. That’s a negative growth swing of 15% looking forward.
Active Listings — Across Santa Cruz County there are 244 Active single-family home listings. The Avg. LP is $1,867,734 and Median LP is $1,496,500. The Avg. Days on Market (DOM) is a whopping 65 days! (vs. 10-14 DOM for the ﬁrst ½ of the year).
In Aptos, there are 29 Active Listings, Avg. LP is $1,886,614, Median LP is a high $1,740,000 and Avg. DOM is a whopping 55 days. Sold! — In Aptos in the past 30 days 18 homes, 2 condos, and 5 townhomes sold. High sale was 658 Bayview, $8,800,000 sales price vs. last sale in 2018 of $4,975,000, 77% appreciation in 4 years! Low sale was 743 Loma Prieta, 3 bed, 2 bath, 1556 SF, sold for $735,000 after 59 days on market, original LP $799,000. Two Willowbrook condos sold at record prices, $835,000 for 3/2/1428SF, 38 DOM, and $810,000 for 2/2/1210SF, 5 DOM. Townhome high sale was 115 Palo Alto Place at $1,375,000 and low sale was 6107 Abbey Rd 2/2.5/1190SF, sold for $760,000 on original list price of $849,000 after 31 days on market. My Sellers are weary, and my Buyers are excited!
Every year in the fall, there happens quite a scene a day I can be whatever I want, a day called Halloween. I dream up some great costume, anything from A to Z the hardest part is just choosing, what do I want to be?
For on this very special day, I can be anything I want a frog, a prince, a fairy queen or a monster out to haunt.
I know I’m not a monster, but everyone pretends that they don’t know the secret, I’m telling you my friends
My costume is not who I am, I’m hidden deep inside but once a year on this night, the real me gets to hide.
I pretend that I’m a monster (Roarrrr) and I totally act it out and I forget who I really am, because that’s what it’s all about
Because in choosing to forget you see, I create the magical chance to remember who I really am and why we do this dance
Then my friends and I put on our masks and we go walking door to door, but I have already forgotten, what do we do this for?
Sure we get some candy, but is that really all there must something deeper to this ritual of the Fall.
Perhaps all this Halloween fun has a certain goal, is it trying to remind me, is it something about my soul?
Like when I say “Trick or Treat?” What am I asking you to do?
To see past my trick to the treat that’s shining through?
“Inspired” from page 11
The speakers that followed: Rabbi Paula Marcus, Dr. Faris Sabbah, Kailash Pati Brown, our Model United Nations Club advisors Greg Shirley and Chris laine Miller, and student speakers, all had important wisdom and perspectives to share about building peace and disman tling racism.
I appreciated the different voices that were shared, and I spoke with our Upper School Director Shannon Kelly, who shared similar sentiments.
“I was inspired by International Peace Day and grateful for the different speakers we had, including Dr. Sabbah’s story about his experience living in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and emigrating to the U.S., which made the idea of cease-fire and peace-building seem more tangible,” Kelly noted. “Our student speakers were exceptional and I enjoyed how everything people touched on was interconnected and on theme.”
Our celebration of the International Day of Peace reflects our commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Devel opment Goals as a recently certified, global SDG school. I know we can go even further
And by putting that candy in my bag are you are you saying that you know that the secret underneath my mask, is the treat that is my glow
My costume is not who I am, it only covers me and when you look into my eyes, is there a glow you see?
A glow that’s coming from inside, is that another clue to handle?
It reminds me of a pumpkin carved, inside of it a candle.
And why is the Halloween mascot a pumpkin in the night?
So when we look into it’s eyes we can see it shining bright?
Just like your body or a costume the pumpkin knows what’s true that’s why the pumpkin’s smiling, it’s trying to show you
That Halloween is just like life, they really are the same It’s our annual human version of a very much bigger game
You see your body is not all you are, there is flame down deep inside and when I look into your eyes, your glow you cannot hide And that’s the Halloween Secret, it’s scary and it’s sweet and remembering who I really am, now that trick is a treat. Boo! Happy Halloween!
Video version: https://youtu.be/AuQzuZZI2-8
in how we create an equitable environment for all in our school community, and help those outside of it. I think that implanting these development goals into our lessons in the classroom, how we treat our school environment, and how we interact with the world will only benefit us as we go off to our future pursuits beyond Mount Madonna.
This is imminent for me as I apply to
college, which will no doubt thrust me into a wealth of new perspectives. I will take these lessons with me as I figure out how I want to make an impact on the world, whether by utilizing a future degree in environmental biology or through com munity organizing and art advocacy. n
Zoey Ocampo-Sobkoviak is a senior at Mount Madonna School.
Rise Together Celebration
Together Santa Cruz County, an intercultural, multi-generational coalition working to support the vision and action to build a more just and equitable County, announces $400,000 in new grants.
The public is invited to join in a com munity celebration filled with dance and musical performances, food, ways to get involved, and to meet Rise Together leaders on Friday, Oct. 14.
Rise Together was founded in June 2020 by a team from Community Foun dation Santa Cruz County and 17 local leaders of color. The group has expanded to 32 community organizers, social justice and arts leaders, journalists, indigenous cultural practitioners, public servants, storytellers, social workers, healthcare pro fessionals, youth mentors and educators, funders, and immigrant advocates.
Collaboratively, the Rise Together coalition developed its purpose and goals, determined the grant-making process, and made award decisions.
Rise Together grants support the group’s five goals: Increase upward eco nomic mobility; celebrate, and preserve the
stories and culture of Black, Latinx, Indig enous, and Asian American communities; increase equity and anti-racist policy; deliver essential services and improve well-being for People of Color to prosper; and continuously give and grow sustained funding for communities of color.
Grant money comes from the Rise Together Fund for Racial Equity at the Community Foundation, made possible by community donations. This latest round of grants builds on $423,000 awarded in 2021.
This year’s grants will sustain work started last year and launch new projects leaders had dreamed of but not yet had the funding to bring them to life. Awards will help volunteer-led organizations grow by hiring paid staff, help kids develop video and story-telling skills, strengthen families as they recover from the pandemic, and celebrate arts and culture in the region.
The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band received funding to develop a new program to grow and distribute native foods to the tribal community.
Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band said, “Thanks to the Rise Together grant, our tribe will hire a tribal member to develop our food sover eignty program and continue the work of caring for the lands of our relatives.”
A grant for Housing Santa Cruz County will help build capacity for pro moting and advocating for affordable housing. Executive Director Elaine Johnson said, “We all agree that we need to increase affordable housing inventory and equi table access. To accomplish this, we need to align contributions across multiple stake holders and be inclusive to those in need of affordable housing including the most vulnerable.”
Bella Bonner, executive director of Black Surf Club Santa Cruz, notes that unrestricted funding the organization received will be essential to building infra structure for the new nonprofit.
“Our programs emphasize joy and liberation and aim to increase mental well-being, feelings of belonging and
psychological safety, and the number of BILPOC enjoying surfing and associated outdoor and coastal recreational activities,” she said. “The support of our community and Rise Together is crucial in our organi zation’s development.”
For Ruby Vasquez, a teacher in Pajaro Valley Unified School District and leader of the folklorico dance troupe Estrellas de Esperanza, the Rise Together grant will help her students connect with veteran dancers from Esperanza del Valle to share stories and learn about the importance of maintaining dance traditions in the local community. Members from the two groups will then travel to Veracruz Mexico to learn directly from master instructors.
She said, “This will truly be a cross generational, cross cultural experience! The opportunity to highlight local veteran dancers to share their insights and passion with younger dancers will be a unique experience. Rise Together support is helping to make a dream become a reality.”
“When we hear the words ‘racial equity,’ the meaning can feel both over whelming and unclear. Rise Together shows us a path forward that is inclusive and actions that our whole community can take so that all residents have what we need to thrive,” said Community Foun dation CEO Susan True.
Rise Together Santa Cruz County members: Angela Chambers; Ashlyn Adams; Brenda Griffin; Dr. Carmin Powell; Cat Willis; Chairman Valentin Lopez; Consuelo Alba; DeAndre’ James; Elaine Johnson; Erica Padilla-Chavez; Esabella Bonner; Fe Silva-Robles; Gina Castañeda; Helen Aldana; Jacob Martinez; Jaime Molina; Jennifer Herrera; Jenny Kurzweil; Jorge Savala; Justin Cummings, PhD; Kara Meyberg Guzman; Keisha Browder; Kevin Heuer; Maria Ramos Bracamontes; MariaElena De La Garza; Nereida Robles Vasquez, PhD; Rebecca Hernandez, PhD; Ruby Vasquez; Stacey Marie Garcia, Stephanie Barron Lu; Susan True and Thomas Sage Pedersen.
Rise Together Celebration: This free in-person event 6-8:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 14, at the Community Foun dation Santa Cruz County, 7807 Soquel Drive, Aptos, includes talks, activities, music, food, and performances by Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center, Senderos, Esperanza del Valle, and Estrellas de Esperanza. COVID-19 Safety: Please wear a mask inside. If you are vaccinated and outdoors, masks are optional.
RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/
2022 Rise Together Circle of Support Grants
Amah Mutsun Land Trust: $14,400 to provide 25 weeks of wages for AMLT’s first Food Sovereignty & Native Plant Steward, whose responsibilities include producing and distrib uting healthy, organic and native foods to the Tribal community, providing education about them, and progressing toward developing a new food sovereignty program.
Aztecas Youth Soccer: $22,500 to have con tinuous funding for the Club House, a safe space for health education, life-skills, tutoring and mentoring.
Black Surf Club Santa Cruz: $22,500, operating support, programs and resources that reduce barriers to outdoor spaces, water, and surfing for People of Color to promote mental, physical, spiritual, communal healing through surfing, education, advocacy and wellness.
Campesina Womb Justice: $9,900 to start a Doula Program to train farmworkers to advocate and support each other through births. To offer womb care and personal hygiene kits, and small donations. For farm workers to exercise freedom to practice ancestral womb medicine, rooted in reproductive, menstrual, farmworker healing justice.
CA Film & Cultural Center: $13,500 for reorga nizing as a community center encompassing film and cultural education including Westside Video (YA Film School, screenings, biggest library in state), AAVE Cafe (community cooking show, barista training program), Mystery Coast Productions (Set School), and EDI Educators (diverse youth program, discussion facilitation, HR policy development, trainings and panels around gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, acces sibility) all under one roof.
Community Action Board Santa Cruz County: $18,000 to help assess community needs and realities for those in poverty. To engage with voices of community members, pay a consultant of color to help design a plan, and support surveys, interviews, focus groups to gather info and pay participants to be compensated for their time. This project will inform the next Community Action Plan, a tool to help decisionmakers respond to needs.
Digital NEST: $18,000 to provide youth in Wat sonville and surrounding area with the skills to pursue careers in multimedia and to share positive stories of their community. To produce 5 short documentaries led by 3-6 youth per film. The curriculum will be brought to other regional NESTs.
Speak for Change Podcast & Everyone’s Music School: $18,000 to jumpstart a Scholarship Program for BIPOC students, community classes and film production and expansion. To train teachers to open a new Watsonville location. Housing Santa Cruz County: $18,000 to build capacity to promote and advocate for affordable housing while staying focused on maintaining the priority of DEI throughout Santa Cruz County. Assistance with operating funds will help advance this priority, sustain leadership growth and development opportunities to serve the community.
Positive Discipline Community Resources: $35,000 for strategic planning with Impact Launch allowing for growth as an effective executive director. Increasing ability to engage in root-level systems change with a radical transformational leadership skill set. Partially support a program manager position for 1 year to support organizational capacity. Estrellas de Esperanza & Esperanza del Valle: $30,000 to provide an inter-generational,
cross-cultural experience for 28 adult and student dancers who will travel to Veracruz, Mexico, to learn from master folklorica instructors.
Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Ini tiative: $13,500 to support staffing, curation of 2-3 events, and continued operations. To support the improvement of the quality of Life for Black residents through culture, connection, pro grams, partnerships, events, space-making and belonging activities.
Santa Cruz Local: $18,000 for a part-time tem porary position to create bilingual news that addresses information needs of Latinos in Santa Cruz County.
Senderos: $50,000 to compensate five Senderos dance and music teachers equitably for their time teaching (previously as volunteers).
Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center: $13,500 to expand the capacity and reach of the Diaspora Performance Project beyond 6 selected cultural artists of the African Diaspora and community programming. Operative funding to allow TWDCC to establish a sustainable model to support the current cohort of artists while inviting more artists to join. Unrestricted stipends to support artists’ livelihood outside of operating support.
UC Santa Cruz University Library: $4,800 to provide scanners and hard drives to community members and pay them so they can scan mate rials and host an event about the Amah Mutsun Land Acknowledgement with tribal members and folks who helped write it.
Watsonville Film Festival: $18,000 for the Cine Se Puede Fellowship, which supports a cohort of emerging Latine filmmakers for one year. The program provides funding, mentorship, connections with industry reps, promotion and community.
Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan: $13,500 to provide support during winter/ non-work season to campesinos. For weekly appreciations, information packets, COVID safety messages, and gift cards for household essentials. Funds will help cover 100 gift cards of $150 when hardship for farmworkers is highest. Healing Events: $13,500 to put on events that support community healing in wake of COVID-19 and economic impact on People of Color. Funds support the capture of storytelling from elders, pay participants on panels, provide food and cover supply costs.
La Alianza Del Valle Pájaro: $5,000 for oper ating support this organization that leads two of Watsonville’s largest cultural events: Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo.
BBQueer Fest: $5,000 to compensate the performing artists and organizing leaders of BBQueer Fest — a Black, Brown, and Queer dance festival.
Fuerza Santa Cruz: $5,000 to sustain grassroots youth programming in the Beach Flats serving predominantly Latinx youth. Supporting free beach soccer, holiday and back to school drives, scholarship opportunities, snacks and supplies.
London Nelson Legacy Project: $5,000 to help fund year 1 of a 3-year project to research the history of London Nelson and other Black resi dents of Santa Cruz County.
SC Equity Collaboration: $13,500 to help fund events and activities related to the restoration and maintenance of the Black Lives Matter mural.
Watsonville is in the Heart: $2,000 to support collaborative programs with the Community Archiving Programs for Watsonville is in the Heart in collaboration with the Tobera Project. n
PVUSD Candidates on Board Policies, Teacher Shortage & Teacher Pay
TheAptos Times asked three ques tions of the candidates for Pajaro Valley Unified School District in the Nov. 8 election. Here are their responses. (Candidate Olivia Flores did not respond.)
Are you satisfied with the board policies of the last four years reflecting the wishes of the Pajaro Valley community?
Kim De Serpa: I do feel satisfied that
board policies and priorities reflect our community’s demand for safety, excellence, achievement, improved oppor tunities for students and their families, innovation, mental health and wellness, arts music and sports programs.
Pajaro Valley Unified School district’s response to the pandemic was nothing short of amazing. Our administration pivoted to distance learning in a 5-day period and as a result learning loss was minimized and our students have shown amazing learning despite the hardships we faced.
I attribute this to our leadership,
teachers, and staff who working in concert with parents made the very best of a difficult time.
Our commitment to wellness is evidenced by increasing mental health counseling to address the difficulties students faced in isolation.Natalain SchwartzJennifer SchacherKim De Serpa
Institute, and VAPA and music teachers.
Our achievement continues to grow, up 63%. No longer at the bottom ranking of California schools, PVUSD is providing excellence in learning and increased pro grams that make learning fun!
Jennifer Schacher: I believe that to have effective Board Policy, you need to be out in your community talking to parents, students, teachers and staff.
Our community wants to ensure art and music education are in our curriculum
Having students college and career ready is a concern for parents. PVUSD has AP classes, Career Pathways such as Graphic Design, Computer Programing, Bio Agriculture and many more. After school programs at all school sites that are free and readily available for students to attend. Health and safety of students is also a concern.
Upgrades to our facilities, new fencing, additional academic and social emotional counselors at school sites and the opening of the Wellness Center on Palm Ave are
ways Board policy is satisfying community wishes.
Schwartz: No, we need to provide an excellent education in a safe environment.
All are concerned with the amount of violence and drugs on school grounds. Students can’t learn if they are in fear. In July 2020, four members of the then current board voted to remove the School Resource Officers (SROs) permanently from the 3 high schools while keeping outside security at the district office.
The SROs should have never been removed. Even after the killing at AHS, the lack of action by the schools and PVUSD board of trustees was concerning.
Some of my ideas are:
1. Keep SROs on campus permanently.
2. Continue to give students the ano nymity to report potential problems via the StopIt! app.
Cabrillo Unveils Engineering Tree Mural
OnSept. 14, Cabrillo College unveiled and dedicated the Engineering Tree Mural, a ceramic mural created by a team of more than 50 faculty and stu dents, led by Cabrillo ceramics instructor Sylvia Rios.
The 10x20-foot mural adorns the ground floor wall at the south end of the Engineering building, Building 800, adjacent to the Engineering classroom (Room 810) on the campus at 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos.
Three years in the making, the mural is a beautiful work of hundreds of handcrafted, glazed, and fired ceramic tiles that depict the several disciplines of Engi neering in a detailed tree, with the natural landscape of the Central Coast in the background.
The mural was funded by a grant from the Cabrillo College Foundation Faculty and Staff Grants program and the Asso ciated Students of Cabrillo College.
The dedication event was hosted by Cabrillo’s Engineering & Art Departments, Jo-Ann Panzardi and Sylvia Rios.
Attendees heard about the process, met the mural creators, and learned about the many engineering disciplines repre sented in the mural. n
Three years in the making, the mural is a beautiful work of hundreds of hand-crafted, glazed, and fired
ceramic tiles that depict the several disciplines of Engineering in a detailed tree, with the natural landscape of the Central Coast in the background.
Cabrillo: $3 Million to Boost PVUSD Students
College is the recipient of a five-year $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen career pathways and dual enrollment of high school students, according to college officials and U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta.
The funding comes for the Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions competitive grant program.
Cabrillo is one of only 80 colleges nationwide to receive a grant.
The full grant name is “Abriendo El Camino: Connecting & Supporting High School Students into Structured College & Career Pathways.”
Abriendo El Camino aligns with the College’s mission to support all learners in accessing academic and career pathways (‘abriendo’ is the Spanish word for open) and (‘el camino’ refers to a path or road).
It is connected to the Cabrillo’s Guided Pathways initiative to provide instruction and support to students to ensure they not only have access to a college pathway but they remain on and successfully complete that path to achieve their goals.
Cabrillo will use the funds to partner with Pajaro Valley Unified School District to better align academic pathways between Cabrillo and local high schools, promote more dual enrollment, and provide mentoring and student support experi ences that will accelerate completion of
college degrees and transfer to four-year universities.
Grant funds will help hire staff and student mentors who can provide career guidance, counseling, and mentoring experiences, along with professional devel opment for faculty to improve curriculum alignment in key workforce pathways.
The grant also provides money for family engagement and education about financial aid for college classes. The grant is designed to support high school
and community college programs that link students to careers in biotechnology, health sciences, and education.
“We are tremendously excited about the way this funding will build out our Guided Pathways efforts across segments of the high school to college to career pipeline,” said Robin McFarland, interim vice president of instruction at Cabrillo. “This is an exciting partnership that will help our students enter the workforce with better preparation and the support that they need to thrive.”
Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, PVUSD superintendent of schools, said the district “is honored to support the intentional col laboration” funded by the grant.
She added, “PVUSD and Cabrillo are transforming systems together to increase equity of outcomes in structured pathways as we prepare students in our community for college, career, and life.”
The grant comes on the heels of a 2020 grant designed to strengthen pathways relationships between Cabrillo and CSU Monterey Bay.
“Grants like this represent an important investment in local students and their future careers,” said Panetta (D-Carmel Valley). “As someone who went to a community college, it is particularly meaningful to support these types of insti tutions. Community colleges are often the gateway to economic and social mobility for students that are underrepresented in key career sectors. This is an exciting opportunity for students in our region to accelerate their completion of college degrees.” n
Cabrillo serves more than 11,000 students a year and has been a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution since 2007. Enrollment is 48% Hispanic, and Cabrillo hosts three federal grants designed to promote college completion for Hispanic, low-income, and first-generation students.
AG: Wildfire Risk Guidance on New Developments
OnOct. 10, Attorney General Rob Bonta issued guidance with best practices and mitigation mea sures for local governments considering approval of development projects in fireprone areas.
Wildfires are part of California’s present, and appear to be increasingly part of California’s future. Eight of the 10 largest wildfires in California history have occurred in the past decade.
As local governments consider new development projects, Bonta said it is imperative they carefully analyze and mit igate wildfire impacts as part of the review process required by the California Environ mental Quality Act known as CEQA.
An environmental impact report that baldly concludes that certain project design features or mitigation measures will reduce or eliminate all potential wildfire risks, without first describing those risks, fails to fully analyze the project’s impacts, according to the guidance, recommending
the report first analyze the increased wildfire risks and evacuation impacts, and then consider mitigation and alternatives.
The 14-page guidance is intended to help local governments design devel opment projects in a way that minimizes impacts to wildfire ignition, emergency access, and evacuation, and protect resi dents and the environment.
“Local governments have a responsi bility to address wildfire risks associated with new development projects early in the planning process when changes to these projects can still be made,” said Bonta.
He added, “The climate crisis is here, and with it comes increasingly frequent and severe wildfires that force mass evacuations, destroy homes, and lead to tragic loss of life. We must build in a way that recognizes this reality. This guidance is intended to provide local governments with concrete considerations and specific mitigation measures for new develop ments in wildfire prone areas so that five,
10, or 20 years down the line, we aren’t faced with a catastrophe that could have been avoided.”
Recent changes in fire frequency, intensity, and location are posing increasing threats to the residents and environment of California. More acres of California have burned in the past decade than in the pre vious 90 years.
While lightning has historically been a common cause of fire, in recent years, many of the state’s most destructive fires have been caused by human activity, with catastrophic consequences. Since 2010, wildfires have killed nearly 150 people in California, and since 2005, wildfires have destroyed over 97,000 structures, including 900 in Santa Cruz County in 2020, requiring mass evacuations and exacerbating the state’s housing crisis.
Residential developments in the wildland-urban interface and other wildfire prone areas can significantly increase the risks of wildfires and the related risk to
public safety. Introducing more people via additional development increases the likelihood of fire ignition, which may then develop into a wildfire. Building housing in the wildland-urban interface also puts more people in harm’s way, and may hinder evacuation routes and emergency access.
CEQA requires state and local agencies disclose and evaluate the significant environmental impacts of locating devel opment in areas susceptible to hazardous conditions – such as wildfire – and adopt all feasible mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate those impacts.
The Attorney General’s guidance is based on the California Department of Jus tice’s experience reviewing, commenting on, and litigating several planneddevel opment projects in wildfire prone areas.
The guidance sets out best practices and mitigation measures for topics such as:
Fall Open House
Aptos High Homecoming Parade
Wednesday October 26 • 3-4 p.m., Sumner Avenue (near Camp St. Francis) to Seascape Boulevard
Thehomecoming parade starts on Sumner Avenue near Camp St. Francis and ends at Seascape Bou levard. Bring your chairs, sit along the street, and watch each class’ float. Everyone is welcome to come and watch.
Homecoming Week Themes
Monday Oct. 24: Destination Vacation: Departure Day! — Dress like you’re going to the airport, comfy clothes, airport pillows and bring your books and schoolwork in a suitcase or luggage.
Tuesday Oct. 25: Dynamic Duo Day — Choose a buddy to be the Barnacle Boy to your Mermaid Man, the Thing 2 to your Thing 1 or the Hopper to your Joyce.
Wednesday Oct. 26: Disneyland! — Mickey Mouse ears, Disneyland t-shirts, Princess dresses, and Pixar is Disney, too. So feel free to wear that Incredibles bodysuit.
Thursday Oct. 27: Get Ready for Game Day! — Show your team spirit.
Friday Oct. 28: Class Themes — Freshmen, camping in National Parks, sophomores Carnival in Rio, juniors surf in Oahu and seniors’ night out in New York! Staff can wear Mariner gear or choose any theme.
Also on Friday, The football team will play Alisal at Trevin Dilfer Field. Wear your Mariner blue, blue jeans, blue hair, blue cheeks, etc. The winning class will be announced at halftime; Homecoming royalty court and senior winners will be recognized.
Saturday Oct. 29: Monster Mash — 7-10 p.m. Wear your costume! The first 40 students in costume get a special prize! Tickets go on sale starting Oct. 17 for $10 per person in ASB in a Box on Main Quad. Tickets will NOT be sold at the door. n
Golfing to Fight Brain Cancer
On Oct. 28, tee off to fight brain cancer at Spring Hills Golf Course in Watsonville. This is a fundraiser for Andrew Theriot of Aptos and his family.
It’s a scramble tournament starting at 10 a.m. Cost to play is $125, which includes lunch. Donate $500 to be a hole sponsor. Andrew, who is 38, has undergone two surgeries chemo and radiation since he was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma. His wife Stephanie, on leave from teaching math at Aptos High, has been at his side and in charge of his treatment and care during this ordeal while caring for their toddler Audrey.
The latest news: Andrew and Stephanie are expecting a baby, due in early 2023.
While this beautiful, joyous news obviously complicates their situation, it also brings clarity and a reminder of the preciousness of time and the utmost importance of family.
So far, more than 270 people have contributed at www.gofundme.com/f/ support-for-andrew-and-his-family
To register, call Kyle Theriot, Andrew’s brother, 408-893-1701, Broc Carroll, 831-5888537, or Pat Carroll, 831-419-5218.
Spring Bulbs Begin In AutumnBy Tony Tomeo
Crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, tulip, freesia, anemone and ranunculus will not bloom until the end of winter and early spring. They are spring bulbs or early bulbs. Crocus and daffodil, including the various nar cissus, will be among the first to bloom. The others as well as a few types of iris will bloom a bit later. After they finish, summer bulbs will begin to bloom.
Although they will not bloom for a few months, spring bulbs go into the garden now while they are dormant. Visually, they are still unimpressive. They are even more uninteresting when hidden from view by interment. Their planting season appro priately begins prior to Halloween, and continues as long as they remain dormant and available from nurseries.
Spring bulbs generally bloom earlier within their bloom season after early planting within their planting season. Similarly, later planting delays bloom. Therefore, periodic planting of groups of the same bulbs throughout their planting seasons prolongs their subsequent bloom season. They begin to disperse roots and grow as soon as they are in the ground.
However, growth through the cool and rainy weather of winter remains subdued. Foliage should remain safely below the surface of the soil until warmer weather during the end of winter or beginning of spring. Like so many other plants in the garden, bulbs rely on chill to adjust their respective schedules after dormancy, but do not want to be vulnerable to it.
Winter is so mild here though that some spring bulbs do not experience suffi cient chill to perform reliably as perennials.
Daffodil, for example, can naturalize where it experiences more chill. Here, it may bloom best for its first spring, with less bloom annually afterward. Extensive breeding has also compromised the reliability of many perennial spring bulbs.
Some spring bulbs are actually corms, rhizomes, tubers or tuberous roots, which function much like bulbs. All are specialized storage structures that contain all that they require to survive through dor mancy and then start growth for another season. They replenish their resources through subsequent active seasons to repeat the process perhaps indefinitely.
Spuria iris Bearded iris are famously diversely colorful. Not much lacks from their floral color range. Spuria iris, Iris spuria, are quite different. Their floral color ranges only from purplish blue to bright white, all with prominent yellow throats. The least rare of this rare species is the subspecies carthal iniae, almost all of which blooms white. Seed is gen erally true to type.
Seed might be abundant without timely deadheading. However, propa gation is easier by division of the copiously branching rhizomes. Such rhizomes are fibrous and tough, with comparably tough and wiry roots. They migrate to develop broad colonies, which should appreciate thinning every few years. They rarely get too crowded to bloom nicely though.
Spuria iris blooms for almost two weeks during late spring or early summer. Two or three flowers bloom in succession on stems that are nearly as high as their deciduous foliage. Leaves are elegantly narrow and upright like those of cattail, but get only about three feet tall. Carthal iniae subspecies defoliate later than others, which defoliate through summer, then foliate for autumn.Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.
Families Are Welcome!
Raíces y Cariño Is Open in South Santa Cruz County
OnOct. 9, Raíces y Cariño, a com munity collective for families, opened its doors Sunday with an open house at 1205 Freedom Blvd 3B, Watsonville.
Directors Nora Yerena and Juliana Reyes are proud to connect their com munity to support the strength families have.
Yerena has been an activist for families her whole life, with degrees in family sci ences and ethnic studies, and certification as a family life educator.
She’s seen firsthand how difficult it can be to transition in the first few months of parenting - she’s a doula and mother of six - and how much of a joy it can be when families have their village of necessary support and community.
She’s passionate about her position as a peer mental health support, is a founding member of the Monterey and Santa Cruz Maternal Mental Health Task Forces, and has worked as a parent educator for families in recovery with the Parenting Connection of Monterey County since their inception. As the co-coordinator of Santa Cruz county’s Nursing Mothers Counsel she’s seen and helped countless families in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties.
Reyes grew up among educators, became one herself, and is married to one. An immigrant, she was educated locally
Ezio Yerena, 9, cuts the ribbon for directors Juliana Reyes, Nora Yerena, and their families.
at Cabrillo, San Jose State, and Stanford’s summer leadership training. She has worked for Pájaro Valley Unified School District as a migrant education teacher, parent edu cator, and coordinator; for Head Start; and consulted with First 5. She’s volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and with Monarch Services; is on the Delaveaga
School Site Council and District English Learner Advisory Committee; and leads a Spanish playgroup at Live Oak Resource Center. Pregnancy and parenting changed her life, and her son inspires her to be her best self, promoting equity for all children.
“Raíces y Cariño” page 23
3. Ensure all schools have cell service for communication.
4. “One strike and you’re out!” for violent students. For other altercations, a stu dent’s return would require attending anger management with parents. Teacher shortages have been an issue, to the point where administrators have filled in as substitutes.
How can this be solved going forward?
Kim De Serpa: Teacher shortages area nationwide issue. The truth is teaching is a calling, by that I mean genuinely big hearted, highly trained professionals who care deeply about kids.
Teachers should be compensated greatly. Although there are perks like a great retirement pension in our district and much more time off than the average worker, our country needs to prioritize teacher pay.
In PVUSD we have the highest daily sub rate in the county. Sadly, this means often recruiting substitutes from sur rounding districts. If you have a bachelor’s degree and have a desire to try teaching, our district can help you to train, substitute, and even earn your credential.
Jennifer Schacher: The teacher shortage is being experienced across the State.
“Raíces y Cariño” from page 22
“I’m proud to bridge three counties of resources,” says Yerena.
The new center is in partnership with the Birth Network of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz County Public Health, Positive Discipline Community Resources, Bay Area Babywearing Network, Parenting Connection of Monterey County, Shared Adventures, We Get It, MENtors, Fit 4 Mom, Grooveavoo, and of course, Nursing Mothers Counsel.
They are also partnering with private individuals to provide classes and events ranging from grief and loss support, fatherhood wellbeing, maternal and natal mental health, lactation support, birth plan workshops, queer game nights, and tabletop roleplaying for parents.
A large room provides space for movement classes and community con nection, and serves as a hub for rooms dedicated to private mental and physical care appointments, a library of babywearing carriers, and small group room prepared with infant and toddler enrichment toys.
“Mothers need support and a village,” Reyes says.
Yerena says, “Empowerment is the confidence to do what you’re really wanting to do. The only way to gain that confidence is with education and support. You can know how to do something, but if you don’t have someone there supporting you it’s really difficult to succeed. If you
A competitive salary and benefit package offering teachers a real living wage in their take home pay is mandatory.
PVUSD has also taken steps to increase substitute pay for our substitute teachers and longterm substitutes to make sure each classroom has a qualified teacher. TOSAs (Teachers on Special Assignment) also have gone back into the classrooms to fill vacancies.
The district is also exploring the idea of affordable workforce housing to help alleviate the cost of living and housing shortage that teachers face. Valuing the commitment that teachers make to our students, allowing teachers prep time, classroom aides, paying a living wage will allow PVUSD to recruit and retain qualified teachers.
with local developers to offer teacher/ staff housing at a lower cost.
3. Revisit our school budget to focus on existing hiring issues.
4. Lobby at the state and federal level for more funding.
5. Identify and eliminate unnecessary district expenses.
How does teacher pay compare to pay in other districts? What incentives can be offered to encourage teachers to stay?
Kim De Serpa: School district funding is not equal across counties or regions. This is the sad reality. Pajaro Valley Unified gets more funding than many of our sur rounding districts, but we cannot compete with “basic aid” districts who pay a lot more than we can afford to.
finally moving in the right direction. This past year the teachers were able to have their first significant raise since 2017.
PVUSD has offered signing bonuses up to $7,500 for teachers. PVUSD also gave our teachers a $2,500 retention bonus. Working with teachers to improve step and column scale, robust health benefits and a collaborative working environment will encourage teachers to stay.
Schwartz: What is more important than the district pay dif ferences is teachers need to paid enough to live here and must feel supported and valued.
Schwartz: What many teachers and staff are currently expe riencing is unacceptable. To reverse the teacher shortage, a better compensation package needs to be offered.
1. Adjust the health benefit package for younger teachers who may not need all the bells and whistles and use the savings to increase salary.
2. Offer rental housing stipends or lowcost home loans. Explore partnering
PVUSD provides the highest total compensation (salary and benefits) in our area. We also recently negotiated with our unions to provide a retention bonus of $2,500 for this school year.
We are additionally looking into workforce housing. Our hope is that once implemented, would serve to recruit and retain excellent teachers to our district.
Jennifer Schacher: Teacher pay com pared to other schools in the county is
It is the responsibility of the board to find a way to adjust the budget and to make trades or allowances or look deeper into reserves to have the teachers we need. Without excellent teachers, our students will not receive a quality edu cation. n
Kim De Serpa: www.kimdeserpa.com , cell phone 831-588-7388.
Jennifer Schacher: www.jenniferchacher. com, cell phone 831-348-9508 and email firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalain Schwartz: www.vote4nat.com.
have a village of support but no education in these topics, you will just perpetuate the traumas passed down to us. A lot of it is breaking these intergenerational trauma cycles.”
Raíces y Cariño, or RC Fam, is open daily for events and available to be
rented. The calendar and membership information can be found online at rcfam. com. Classes and events are available at membership or drop in rates, both with a sliding scale and scholarships available. Maternal mental health, fatherhood well being, lactation support, and parents of
special needs children support groups, as well as parenting education via Positive Discipline Community Resources always free. More information online at rcfam. com, via facebook (RC Fam), or instagram (rcfam831). For information, contact info@ rcfam.com or 831-288-3105. n
Where is That $1,500 PVUSD Staff Bonus?
In your Aug 26 message out you said the board approved $2,500 retention bonus. 2 paychecks have come and gone and it has not been in either. When will this bonus be given?
At the August 24, 2022 PVUSD Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a $2500 retention bonus for all staff to show our appreciation for their dedication and continued service to our students.
The first half of the retention bonus was approved to be paid on the Oct. 31 payroll and will be in the amount of $1,250. The second half of the bonus will be paid on the June 30 payroll in the amount of $1,250.
There used to be support for staff with down payments for homes. Is that still going on? Did it ever help any at PVUSD?
Through a partnership with Landed, the following number of employees of Pajaro Valley Unified were able to receive additional financial counseling and assistance:
• 393 employees who have signed up to learn more about Landed • 32 on boarded employees (those who have been matched with an agent and lender)
• 4 employees actively searching for homes
• 12 homebuyers!
Due to recent changes in the housing market, Landed’s down payment program currently has a waitlist.
However, they still have robust resources to support homeownership which can be found at https://tinyurl. com/teacher-home-purchase-help.
When will I be able to access and spend the PO for all certificated staff?
As of Sept. 21, all purchase orders (PO) had been created for eligible certifi cated staff. Detailed instructions for how to use the PO with Palace can be accessed at the following link.
New certificated staff should have received an email from Palace with login and password information.
Certificated staff who have had previous access, can just log in and start ordering. If you have forgotten your login information, the instruction sheet through the provided link will walk you through the login process.
All current PO’s will expire on Dec. 1.
An additional $125 will be provided after winter break (specific dates TBD). For additional support, please call the PVUSD Purchasing Department at 831-786-2195 or email them at purchasing_ email@example.com.
You may also call Palace Business Solutions directly at 831-476-3815 or contact them through their Customer Care Live chat https://www.gopalace.com/
Will PVUSD be offering the latest COVID-variant booster shots to teachers and staff this fall?
PVUSD and Inspire Diagnostics con tinue to partner to provide vaccines for all PVUSD staff. The most recent PVUSD hosted vaccine clinic was Oct. 13 from 1-5 p.m. at the District Office HR Conference Room (294 Green Valley Rd, Watsonville).
For more information on age & eligi bility requirements for vaccines and boosters, visit: https://santacruzcoe.org/vaccines/ Inspire also offers vaccine clinics at the following locations:
Cabrillo College, parking lot R — Sat urdays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Santa Cruz County Office of Education — Fridays 1 - 5 p.m.
Are all sixth-grade students’ families informed about sixth grade science camp regardless of which class they are enrolled in? I heard of a special education student who is not in a mainstream general Ed class not receiving this information to attend. This seems like a very flawed com munication system if this was overlooked. We believe that all students should have equity of access to educational programming including field trips such as science camp. Our District policy is to inform all fifth and sixth grade students and their families of science camp. If a student is in a Special Day Class, they may need accommodations or additional support.
When necessary, the site adminis trator and Special Services team will work to provide necessary accommodations for student success. If you have questions or con cerns regarding science camp please contact your site principal, your child’s teacher, or our Special Services Department at the Dis trict Office (831) 786-2130.
With recent incidents at high school football games (Hol lister, Monterey and other places) and news articles talking about an increase in violence at high school football games, is Pajaro Valley Unified doing any thing differently at games? To add additional security measures, PVUSD is changing some policies for home football games scheduled to be played in the evenings. For home evening football games, any middle school student or junior high school student must be accompanied by an adult to be allowed entrance to the game.
Additionally, all student bags of unac companied high school students will be checked before entering the football field. With these additional safety measures, please be patient as the lines may be a bit longer.
I just read in the newspaper that PVUSD is going to be mindful of a variety of religious observations. When I told my family, my 3rd grader asked if that meant there would be more than one Chanukah book in her class this year and if the holiday party would be a Christmas party or be a holiday party for her too. What can I tell her?
The Pajaro Valley Unified School Board
honors the rich diversity of our students and our community. For many students in our schools, the observance of religious and cultural traditions is an important part of their personal, family, and community life.
These traditions help students understand and preserve their own value systems, cultures, customs and history. As such, we will work with site principals and library media technicians to ensure there is more than one book about a variety of religions, customs, and traditions.
Additionally, if staff choose to have a holiday themed party it must be inclusive of all religions during that time. We encourage an inclusive “holiday party” instead of a party dedicated to only one religion, custom, or belief. Teachers are encouraged to provide a safe space for students to share about their own religious beliefs, cultures, and family traditions. A suggested list of books to use for educational purposes in
the classroom can be provided by the site Library Media Technician.
Plastic bottle caps are a choking hazard, I noticed a lot of students bring one to school, are we able to provide portable water bottles for our students?
During the 2021-2022 school year, all staff and students were provided a PVUSD C.A.R.E.S. reusable aluminum water bottle. A limited supply of these water bottles are still available from the district wide order.
School site leadership should contact Richard Arellano in the Purchasing Department to request additional water bottles while supplies last.
When will you release the PVUSD student test assessment results? Will it be before or after the election? Other districts have released their results, why not PVUSD?
PVUSD is proud of the work of staff and students to ensure we rebounded to 2019 performance levels after the pan demic. Due to the importance of reviewing our data, as in previous years, we scheduled a Special Board Study Session on Aug. 31 to discuss student performance data.
Unfortunately, due to not having a quorum of the Board, that meeting had to be rescheduled. However, the student per formance information has been provided through the Sept. 28 Board Meeting which focused on academic data including Early Literacy, State Assessments, Advanced Placement, Comparison of Expanded Course Opportunities with Traditional Course Offerings, and the Equity Grade Grading Pilot.
The Oct. 12 Board Meeting will focus on behavioral data including Suspensions/ Expulsions, Chronic Absenteeism and PBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory Status.
Did PVUSD lower graduation requirements due to the pandemic?
In 2018, PVUSD engaged in an 18-month Educational Equity Audit (EEA) which examined existing District practices related to college and career readiness for students. The audit revealed the need for an action plan to systematically transform policies and practices that advance equity and close opportunity and achievement gaps.
In-person voting locations
Due to COVID-19, ballots have been mailed to all voters in the State of Cali fornia, according to the Santa Cruz County Elections Department.
In addition, in-person voting loca tions will be provided. Per the Governor’s Executive Orders and new laws, counties can adopt a model of voting that requires in person voting locations based on the number of registered voters: 1/10,000 voters.
Any voter can go to any location. Services will include:
• obtaining a replacement ballot — you do not need to bring in the ballot we mailed you. We can void the previ ously issued ballot when you come in to vote.
• voting and turning in the ballot mailed to you,
• using the Tablet to vote on an acces sible ballot or a ballot in Spanish, and
• registering and voting on the same day.
All locations will adhere to public safety protocols including wearing masks, disinfecting services, using hand sanitizer, keeping physical distances, and washing hands frequently.
Once a location opens for voting, it will remain open through Election Day, Nov. 8, for the following hours each day:
• Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm
• Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm (begins Oct. 29)
• Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm (begins Oct. 30)
• Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 7 am to 8 pm
Locations are subject to change. Check back here before you go!
Opens Oct. 10
Santa Cruz — Santa Cruz County Clerk/ Elections, 701 Ocean St., Room 310.
Watsonville — Watsonville City Clerk’s Office, 275 Main St., 4th Floor.
Opens Oct. 29
Aptos — Temple Beth El, 3055 Porter Gulch Rd.
Santa Cruz — Santa Cruz County Sher iff’s Office, 5200 Soquel Ave.
Scotts Valley — Scotts Valley Com munity Center, 360 Kings Village Rd.
Opens Nov. 5
Aptos — St. John’s Episcopal Church, 125 Canterbury Dr.
Boulder Creek — Boulder Creek Fire Station, 13230 Highway 9
Capitola — New Brighton Middle School, 250 Washburn Ave.
Meet Renaissance High Principal
new principal of Renaissance High School is Jack Reed.
He has served students since 2001 as a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal at both, middle and high school levels.
Most recently, he was principal of Emerson North
Alternative High School in Oklahoma.
He has a bachelor’s degree from CSU San Bernardino in liberal arts with a concentration in English. He has a master’s in education from National University, a multiple subject teaching credential and the California Preliminary Adminis trative Credential. n Jack Reed
Felton — Zayante Fire Department, 7700
E Zayante Rd.
Santa Cruz — Bonny Doon Elementary School, 1492 Pine Flat Rd.
Santa Cruz — Depot Park, 119 Center St.
Santa Cruz — Masonic Center, 828 N. Branciforte Ave.
Santa Cruz — UCSC Stevenson Event Center, 520 Cowell-Stevenson Rd.
Scotts Valley — Scotts Valley High School, 555 Glenwood Dr.
Soquel — Soquel High School, 401 Soquel San Jose Rd.
Watsonville — La Selva Beach Club house, 314 Estrella Ave.
Watsonville — Pajaro Valley Community Trust, 85 Nielson St.
Watsonville — Santa Cruz County Fair grounds, 2601 East Lake Ave.
Santa Cruz County has a mobile voting trailer that will be used throughout the county. n
“PVUSD Q&A” from page 24
The EEA uncovered 15 key findings. One of the key findings and identified steps completed in the first year of imple mentation of the Roadmap was the need to fully align the District’s graduation require ments to the University of California and California State University admission requirements, thus increasing expectations of our students and their options for post secondary success.
The pandemic resulted in a temporary change to graduation requirements across California.
In accordance with Assembly
any student who was enrolled in 11th or 12th grade during the 2020-21 school year and who was not on track to graduate in four years was exempt from local district graduation requirements that are beyond the state-minimum graduation credits and course requirements.
In addition, AB 104 stated that parents/guardians of students who were enrolled in high school during the 2020-21 school year may request to have a letter grade earned for a course changed to a Pass or No Pass on the stu dent’s transcript.
This reduction in credits is not available to upcoming 2023 graduates.
Libra — Sign of Balance, Harmony and Choice
is the sign of choice. Located between Virgo (earth) and Scorpio (deep waters), Libra oscillates between the two, moving up and down and in between multiple ideas, choices and realities. It is with great difficulty that Librans make decisions. So often Librans are paralyzed between two equal yet opposing thoughts.
An observant parent or friend, understanding astrology and that choice and decision making is difficult for Librans, can step in with assistance, helping them to actually make a choice. It is a delicate state to be in on both sides. But it is very important for friends, family, loved ones to understand that for most Librans, there is suffering in both making a choice and not making a choice. So they need help. Knowing this, being obervers, we can then step in with understanding help. It is most essential to do this for Libra.
Libra is the charmer of the zodiac. They love peace and harmony and ease of interaction. They are happiest having fun,
A potent time of change is occurring. Strong desires and powerful emotions can act like ocean swells almost overcoming your ability to think. Alter nately, they offer you courage to go where others, even angels, cannot. Tend to finances and resources held with another. Something’s expanding. Hopefully love and communication in relationships. Don’t be ruthless and don’t seek to conquer. Work always with and not over. A leader such as you understands cooperation.
You ponder upon your relationship in terms of love, sacrifice and usefulness. You encourage others to work and cooperate with you. Careful with your energy in relationships. You could create a separation through unaware tendencies, anger and harsh communication. On the other hand, there’s great ability to compromise if you begin a deep listening of other’s needs. Learn the art of negotiation and deeper cooperation. Venus is your guardian angel.
You become creative and strong with desires and emotions pushing you towards certain goals. It’s important to practice extreme care and safety especially while doing any physical labor lest accidents, falls, burns, cuts, things red and scratchy occur. Be kind to those around you. A lot of fire trucks, police and emergency vehicles pass by. Things filled with love, pass by too. A bit like what you’ve become. Remember patience gets you everywhere and everything.
You need some extra added pleasure, love and romance, or perhaps its sports, competitive and disci plined. However, most likely you are thinking about home and children, showering them with gifts that nurture and nourish. In turn they may not be able to respond as you need or expect. Their energies are high, fast, a bit wild and almost uncontrollable. This will pass. However, you continue to patiently watch over them with care. And do allow yourself to be a bit foolhardy at times.
being social, at parties in beautiful environments. Libras want everyone to be happy. Needing to keep the peace, not wanting to hurt feelings, Libra can have difficulty saying “no”. Thus, they are natural peace-keepers with a deep sense of mercy and justice, seeking balance and harmony in all relationships.
Libra is air (element), thus a thinking sign, both instinctual and intuitive. Libra is concerned with relationships. They have many in order to learn how to be in relationships, how to give and take, how to balance self (Aries) with “other” (Libra).
Libra combines the “I & Thou.”
Libra’s are natural negotiators, diplomats, ambassadors. They act like Capricorn sometimes (strict ). Libras are beautiful and artistic (Venus ruled) even if they do create clutter and chaos at times. That’s really the sign of an artistic creative mind. Libra charms themselves through everything. Note: Sun enters Scorpio Sunday, October 23. The call to Disciples as the Nine Tests begin! n
The themes continue – communication with family, parents, tending to home, property, traditions. Creating your own traditions. Something seeks balancing concerning your perception of family and/or parents and making peace with memories filtering through daily life. The old anger doesn’t work or hold up anymore. It actually weakens the body. The starry energies are helping to beautify, repair and organize the environments you live and work in. Prepare your home for an unusual ever-changing future.
You’re remembering and contemplating events in the past. Considering previous partnerships, lovers, friends. Careful not to intimidate or weaken yourself with critical thoughts. Gathering information should be very easy now. Allow a natural rhythm to occur with daily life, work, arrangements and plans. Begin to write Halloween (then Thanksgiving) cards by hand, using pen, ink, envelopes, stamps and a secret seal you make yourself. This is a creative meditation.
You enjoy making, having and using money. Money is a resource, a way to help others. It provides freedom and choice. It can be used to create more wealth. We are given the gifts of money and resources so we can help others. Money helps rebuild the lives of humanity in need. Tithe ten percent of your income to those in need. The oldfashioned word for giving is “charity.” Tithing insures a constant flow of return. Be sure to tend to someone in the family in need. They miss you. And now words for you - It’s good to be frivolous sometimes.
You find strength, stamina and endurance growing stronger each day. They help in meeting and responding to unusual challenges that always seem to be appearing along your way. As you pursue for yourself independence, liberty and freedom, your self-identity slowly expands. Careful not to bump your head. Careful of fire. Wear the colors red, orange and violet. Each day, complete all projects. Plan your next ones. Your intuition reaches out to help others.
• Project Density: Project density influ ences how likely a fire is to start or spread, and how likely it is that the development and its occupants will be in danger when a fire starts. Local governments should strive to increase housing density and consolidate design, relying on higher density infill developments as much as possible.
• Location: Project placement in the landscape relative to fire history, topography, and wind patterns influences wildfire risk. Local governments should limit development along steep slopes and amidst rugged terrain to decrease exposure to rapid fire spread and increase accessibility for firefighting.
Your strength is hidden and veiled for a while. Only you are aware of it resting like a coiled snake within. Next to your strengths are desires and aspirations. They are secret, too. Sometimes you don’t know your motivation for choosing things, actions, people. Sometimes you feel you’re in a conspiracy. Your past comes to brood over you. You wonder do you have enemies? To overcome this seeming strangeness, enter into a new creative endeavor. Know that you’re just in a state of completing karma. A good thing.
You have hopes, wishes and dreams and want to express yourself socially with friends and associates. You want to be part of a group that recognizes your talents, gifts, abilities and goodness. A group that doesn’t judge or criticize when you make unusual artistic moves or speak a truth. You’re strong, at times revolutionary. Don’t change. Review goals, create a mani festation journal. Write daily wants and needs, creative plans and how you see yourself in the future. I see beauty and a book.
You’re becoming an adventurer, traveler, and philosopher. Justice and mercy become a focus. You see where humanity is caught in polarization, duality, judgment and despair. You love humanity. Aquarius is the sign of humanity. You worry, sensitive to humanity’s needs. You wonder where you stand as part of humanity. An excellent question. You benefit by traveling, undergoing change, moving about here and there. Gradually, you become a world server, actually serving humanity. A disciple.
A renewal, restoration, renaissance is occurring, internally, allowing a new sense of self-confidence to come forth. You sometimes question who and what you are. Wondering if you have real needs, hopes, wishes, desires, dreams. Your needs are very important. Pisces often serves others before serving themselves. You must now turn your energies inward and seek your own counsel, reliability, safety and trust. Entrusting yourself to your own self. The past presents itself. Then disappears. A whole new world is about to appear. It’s supported by the stars.
• Water Supply and Infrastructure: As part of evaluating a project’s wildfire risk impacts, local governments should analyze the adequacy of water supplies and infrastructure to address firefighting within the site. Local governments should consider requiring on-site water supply or storage to augment ordinary supplies that may be lost during a wildfire.
• Evacuation and Emergency Access: Evacuation modeling and analysis should be completed prior to the develop ment’s approval and include evaluation of the capacity of surrounding roadways, project impacts on existing evacuation plans, and proximity to existing fire services, among other factors. Local governments should consider placing developments close to existing road and evacuation infrastructure, and where appropriate, constructing additional roads to facilitate evacuations.
• Fire Hardening Structures and Homes: Home hardening has been shown to be an extremely effective measure for preventing structure loss during a wildfire. Local governments should require developers to upgrade building materials and use installation techniques to increase the develop ment’s resistance to heat, flames, and embers beyond what is required in applicable building codes.
Home hardening by itself may not be an adequate mitigation measure in all situ ations, according to the guideance.
During the Camp Fire, which swept through Paradise in 2018, homes built before and after the 2008 Building Code update were destroyed at roughly equal rates. Home hardening to comply with the 2008 Building Code alone did not mean ingfully effect survivability of a home; rather, proximity to other destroyed struc tures, the extent of vegetative overstory, and defensive space around homes was more relevant.
To the Attorney General, this high lights the importance of combining measures, with awareness to landscape conditions, to maximize public safety and minimize wildfire-related losses.
The guidance is posted at https://oag.
Icame to the Pajaro Valley in late 2000 to serve this community as editor of the Register-Pajaronian. For the next decade, my staff and I covered a series of fair managers and scandals at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds and it seemed the fairgrounds, a huge asset to the people of the Pajaro Valley, was always facing bankruptcy. Finally, in 2011, the gates were locked, the facility closed due to a lack of funds.
Thankfully, Dave Kegebein stepped forward and led a coalition of volun teers who saved the fairgrounds from financial ruin. Kegebein left his own suc cessful business to help this community and after two years of volunteering nearly every hour of his day to the fair grounds, along with the use of his own heavy equipment, he started taking a salary in 2013.
Dave is constantly digging or pounding or planning. If you tell me that Dave isn’t that great of an accountant, I’m not surprised. If you know Dave, you know that money isn’t his motivating factor. If it were, he’d have been doing something else these past 10 years.
However, his passion for the fair grounds, where his father has worked for 50-plus years, has driven him to reju venate the place. In the past 10 years it has risen up from financial ruin to be a real gem again.
Every weekend multiple community events are occurring. The annual fair has been having some of its best attendance ever, even as attendance drops at fairs across the country.
Many have just been shut down,
which is where this fairgrounds is probably headed back now.
Firing Kegebein will be so detri mental to the fairgrounds that I don’t see it surviving. The only reason it’s still there to serve the community are the hundreds of volunteers and it’s the Kegebeins who have inspired a lot of that volunteerism.
Dave may have been paid, but that pay nowhere near compensated him for all his extra time and personal resources he poured into the place. The Kegebeins deserve a building to be named after them, maybe even a statue of both Dave and his father John.
In the end, this travesty will hurt the community much more than it will injure Dave Kegebein.
Dave will probably just move on and put his time and effort elsewhere, or maybe he’ll just retire and tinker with his antique tractors and enjoy the rest he deserves.
But the community is going to lose as the people behind this clearly don’t have the interests of the residents or the fairgrounds in mind.— Jon Chown, Marina
CANDIDATE FORUMS FOR WATER & FIRE
Meet the candidates running for Soquel Creek Water District board and Central Fire Protection board seats and bring your questions! Here are your opportunities:
• Sunday, Oct. 16 at Capitola Community Center, 4400 Jade St. Capitola. 1-3 p.m. Forum for Water District candidates ONLY.
• Monday, Oct. 17 at Aptos Grange, 2555 Mar Vista Drive, Aptos. 6-8:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Aptos Grange. Soquel Creek Water District board candidates AND Central Fire District board candidates for the new Area 5, which includes vot-ers on the ocean side of Highway 1 between New Brighton Beach and La Selva Beach.
This is the first time Central Fire District will have district-based elections.
See Area 5: https://ndcresearch.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/ index.html?appid=4cb830fa156a4ff7a988d40cba60c6b7
RED CROSS: HELP FLORIDIANS RECOVER
The American Red Cross is helping people devas tated by Hurricane Ian in Florida. More than 1,500 volunteers from all 50 states — including 39 from Northern California — are helping those affected recover.
“People’s lives were turned upside down by this massive storm,” said Hanna Malak, regional CEO for the Red Cross Northern California coastal region.
The Red Cross and its partners are providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and a shoulder to lean on. On Oct. 2, nearly 2,800 people sought refuge in more than 30 Red Cross and partner shelters in Florida. Up to 80 Red Cross emergency vehicles are delivering food and supplies. Volunteers are helping families replace prescription medications, eyeglasses, canes and wheelchairs.
Dangerous weather conditions and floodwaters have canceled dozens of blood drives. Individuals in areas unaffected by Hurricane Ian — especially those with type O blood — are urged to give blood now.
Make a Donation: Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word IAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Financial donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
Give Blood: Schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets. Use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcross blood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Volunteer: Review the most urgently needed volunteer positions at red-cross.org/volunteertoday and get involved.
Oct. 25: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 220 Elk St., Santa Cruz.
Oct. 27: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Four Points by Sheraton, 5030 Scotts Valley Drive Scotts Valley.
Oct. 18:10; 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley, 85 Nielson St., Watsonville.
20TH ANNUAL SCOTTS VALLEY HAUNTED HOUSE
Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29, 30, Scotts Valley High School, 555 Glenwood Drive
The haunted house is a Scotts Valley High School tradition, a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lym phoma Society. This is an outdoor walking tour that lasts 20 minutes. There may be a one-hour wait to get in; See the Thriller Dancers while you wait.
The theme this year is Schmetterling County Fair.
Tickets are $10 per person, cash only, and are sold at the gate from 6:30-9:30 p.m. No advance tickets. Not recommended for children under 10.
Family tickets, intended for children ages 2-9, with scarier elements replaced by trick-or-treating will be 5-7 p.m. Oct. 29-30. Credit cards accepted for the family tour at https://svhaunt.org/public/home. html
AFFORDABLE DENTAL CLEANINGS
The Cabrillo College Dental Hygiene Clinic in Aptos offers affordable cleanings and X-rays. There are 24 chairs, hospital-grade air filtration systems, lasers, intraoral cameras, and pan oramic imaging, and treatment by dental hygiene students.
Fees are: Oral assessment, $20; cleanings, $50-$100, X-rays, $30-$60, and sealants, $25 per tooth. Payments must be by cash or check.
Appointments are three hours long, and multiple appointments are required to complete your dental treatment. Proof of vaccination is required. Appointment times for fall: Tuesday and Thursday, 8:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. and Wednesday, 1:15 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 831-479-6431.
REGISTER TO VOTE TODAY
The deadline to register for any election is 15 days before the election date, which this year is Nov. 8 (making Monday, Oct. 24 the deadline).
Online applications will be considered timely for the election if submitted by mid-night on the deadline. For information, see https://www.votescount.us/Home/Voter RegistrationInformation.aspx
LOSING A PARENT GRIEF SUPPORT
This virtual, 6-week group hosted by Hospice of Santa Cruz County ends Wednesday, Nov. 9.
Losing a parent can be challenging, no matter how old you are. Whether it was a long-term illness or sudden death, the loss can be jarring. You may reach for the phone or drive past their home, only to realize they are no longer there. This supportive group offers a safe space to open up, share memories and connect with others who have lost a parent. You don’t have to navigate the difficult waters of your loss alone. Advance registration is required. This isn’t a weekly drop-in event and may not be at the same time each week. To register call (831) 430-300 and ask for “Grief Support.”
POLL WORKERS NEEDED
Have you thought about being a poll worker for the Nov. 8 election?
As a poll worker, you help ensure a safe, fair, and efficient election for all voters. Poll workers support early voting locations, ensure technology functions, and help minimize delays at polling places on election day.
Fill out the form at: https://www.votescount.us/Home/ ElectionOfficerRequestForm.aspx
HELP WITH STUDENT DEBT RELIEF
Employers in California can deliver tens of thousands of dollars in federal student loan relief
to employees, by informing them about the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Providing this life-changing benefit to employees comes at zero cost to employers because it’s a free federal program.
An estimated 825,000 Californians could benefit from the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by having their federal student loans can celled after 10 years of public service work, but fewer than 15,000 have benefited from this program to date.
From now until Oct. 31, it is easy to get credit for the PSLF program.
For information, see: https://www.californiaborrowers.org/ about-the-campaign
Second Harvest Food Bank will provide community distributions at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 E. Lake Ave. Watsonville, on Mondays from 4 to 7 p.m. to accommodate working families.
• Oct. 24
• Nov. 7 & 21
• Dec. 5 & 19
Volunteers are welcome — and needed. Volunteers are asked to arrive at the fair-grounds before 3:30 pm for training. Second Harvest Food Bank will provide a light dinner and volunteers can take food for themselves or others.
If you are interested, email Stephanie Russo at stephanier@ thefoodbank.org, or call (831) 232-8186.
WHERE TO PUT EV CHARGING STATIONS?
Where should public electric vehicle charging stations be located in six counties between Ventura and Santa Cruz?
Santa Cruz County has joined with five other counties to develop the Central Coast Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy, which is currently in the process of determining the best locations to place public electric vehicle charging stations around the Central Coast.
An interactive mapping tool is available to the public through October 2022 at www.bit.ly/ CCZEV.
The goal is to identify ideal locations for new public charging stations in the six counties. Visit www.centralcoastzevstrategy.com. for more information.
A video tutorial on how to use the interactive mapping tool is at www.bit.ly/InteractiveMapVideo
SUPPORT FOR MOTHERS OF SURVIVORS
Survivors Healing Center is offering online women’s support groups and mothers of survivors of childhood sexual abuse support group. The goals are to empower through a healing process and prevent sexual abuse of children and youth.
You are not alone. You are not to blame. More info: (831) 423-7601 or www.survivorshealingcenter. org
Daily thru October 31
SCULPTURE IS: IN THE GARDEN 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sierra Azul Nursery & Garden, 2660 E. Lake Ave., Watsonville
The wildly popular exhibit “Sculpture IS: In the Garden” is back at Sierra Azul Nursery & Garden.
2022 marks the 16th Pajaro Valley Arts sculpture exhibit, in partnership with Sierra Azul.
Curators Susana Arias, Hedwig Heerschop, and Jeff Rosendale selected 90+ sculptures created by 48 artists and collaborators.
Visit the stunning two-acre demonstration garden, relax under the umbrellas, and spend an afternoon enjoying the exhibit!
Ongoing Through Oct. 31
ADOPT A PET FOR A DONATION
The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter has hun dreds of adoptable animals looking for their forever home. Now through Oct. 31, all shelter pets will be available for a ‘Pay it Forward’ donation. The suggested donation is between $20-$200 and adopters can target their donation: Planned Pethood Fund (low cost/free spay/neuter) or Extra Mile Fund (spe-cialty lifesaving procedures for homeless animals).
Santa Cruz Subaru will donate $100 for every dog or cat adopted during October.
The adoption fee includes spay/neuter, microchip (including registration), vaccinations, rou-tine treatment for fleas/worms, and a wellness exam by a local participating veterinarian.
According to the ASPCA, the average annual cost of having a pet is about $1,300, with the first-year cost of $3,000.
Pets are a lifelong commitment, and the Shelter wants new pet owners to understand the financial responsibility they are taking on.
PET LOSS AND GRIEF SUPPORT VIA ZOOM
6 to 7:30 p.m., virtual meeting BirchBark Foundation’s Pet Loss and Grief Support Zoom group offers a free support group, moderated by a licensed grief counseling therapist. Register at https://www.birchbarkfoundation.org/ griefsupport or call 831-471-7255.
Fridays, Saturdays and a Sunday HAUNTED MINE TOURS
October 21, 22, 28, 29, 30
5-9:30 p.m., Monterey County Fair & Event Center, 2004 Fairground Road, Gate 7 (Tours start at 6 p.m.)
The Artichoke Festival’s Miner Madness — A Haunted Mine Tour takes place on the last two weekends in October at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey; enter at Gate 7. Free parking on Fairground Road.
Produced with the creative team of Escape Room 831 of Monterey, this under-ground scare pit is open to miners and excavators age 12 and up.
Younger kids can visit the Halloween Maze (free Maze admission if you buy Mine Tour tickets in advance online).
Craft vendors will be on hand with treats, crafts and games, and entry to the Pumpkin Patch is free. Prices: $20 for general admission; $15 for active military and seniors 62+; $5 for Halloween Maze entry per person. No refunds. Tickets at artichokefestival.org.
Every Fourth Saturday COMMUNITY WRITERS
Calling all writers! Monthly virtual open mic for poets and prose writers.
In October, it’s Oct 22, from 2:30 - 4: 30 p.m. via Zoom. Sign-up to read ahead of time at the email com firstname.lastname@example.org or come at 2:15 p.m.
Time limit 5 minutes for any original work. Free.
This month’s featured reader is Charles Prentiss. Please come. All levels of writers welcome.
Zoom: 532 385 492 • passcode 42020 email@example.com
Saturday October 15 thru Saturday October 21
UC MASTER GARDENERS FALL PLANT SALE
Order online, pick up by appointment at Watsonville and Salinas locations
Monterey Bay Master Gardeners announce their annual Fall Plant Sale, with the online pop-up nursery open for one week.
Fall is the best time to plant cool-weather food crops and California native plants and other perennials, when the soil is still warm and can get established through winter rains.
Our fall plant collection features drought-tolerant, water-wise and native and/or pollinator perennials with a robust selection of winter vegetables and herbs. The collection includes indoor plants, suc culents and bulbs ready for the garden.
All funds benefit the all-volunteer UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, which offers a gardening help line, events and seasonal classes to empower our home gardening community with knowledge and skills to grow food and garden sustainably.
For information, visit mbmg.ucanr.edu .
Monday October 17
WATSONVILLE COMMUNITY HOSPITAL CELEBRATION
2-4 p.m., Watsonville Community Hospital, 75 Nielson St. The community is invited to a celebration at Watsonville Community Hospital.
The celebration will thank supporters who helped the hospital be purchased by the community in the form of the Pajaro Valley Health District Project. Questions? Email june _ponce@Watsonvillehospital.com
The hospital offers free classes monthly on Zoom for pregnant women, breastfeed-ing mothers, and newborn and mommy care.
Wednesday October 19
RIO DEL MAR IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION MEETING
6:30 p.m., Rio Sands Hotel Reception/Meeting Room, 116 Aptos Beach Road, Aptos (Doors open at 6:00 p.m.) The Annual Meeting is open to RDMIA members and Rio Del Mar residents.
Speakers will include: Matt Machado, Director Santa Cruz County Public Works. Matt will discuss transportation and other public works news and take questions from members.
Kieran Kelly, on behalf of Supervisor Friend, will provide District 2 updates and take questions from members.
Bruce Jaffe and Rachel Lather, of Soquel Creek Water District, to explain the range of initiatives designed to provide customers with a safe and reliable source of water and take questions from members.
This will be an informative meeting that addresses issues in our Rio Del Mar community.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NONPARTISAN PRO/CON OF STATE BALLOT MEASURES
12 - 1:30 p.m., Downtown Branch Library, 224 Church St, SC
The League of Women Voters invites the community to learn about the pros & cons of the Nov. 8 state ballot measures at a free, in-person event at the Downtown
WEEKENDS AT CEMENT SHIP
Fish and chips are best enjoyed with a beautiful ocean view, and that’s what you can expect each Saturday and Sunday until the end of November. Starting Saturday, Oct.16, Scrumptious Fish and Chips will serve their award-winning food noon to 6 p.m. weekends at the Cement Ship in Aptos.
Scrumptious Fish and Chips food truck will have a private and spacious picnic area across from the Cement Ship, where guests can enjoy lunch or dinner.
The owners are Tim and Helen Korinth of Aptos, who enjoy walking their dog along the beach path at Seacliff State Beach and noticed the snack shack available.
They hail from a small village in Great Britain. They launched their award-winning food truck three years ago to bring a bit of Britain to Santa Cruz County. They specialize in made-from-scratch, beer-battered British-style fish & chips, sourcing beer from local brewers and twice frying the potatoes to create a fluffy interior with a crunchy exterior.
The menu includes beer-battered shrimp and British bangers, plus Loaded Chicken Tikka Masala Curry and Loaded Vegan Gauc Chips.
So far, Scrumptious has served at local breweries and farmers markets and now the Cement Ship. For the menu and calendar of events see https://www.scrumptiousfc.com
Branch Library and online via Zoom.
Attendees can pick up a copy of the League’s Easy Voter Guide.
To participate via Zoom, visit https://us06web.zoom.us/j/8821
APTOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FALL MIXER
5-7 p.m., Sand Rock Farm, 6901 Freedom Blvd., Aptos
Explore the beautiful 10-acre Sand Rock Farm bed and breakfast/vacation rental with the Aptos Chamber of Commerce.
The Victorian house and grounds date to 1887. Grab some raffle tickets, sip wine, and enjoy appetizers as you network with your neighbors.
The cost is: $5 donation for chamber members, $10 public.
For information, see: Aptoschamber.com or call (831) 688-1467.
Thursday October 20
PVUSD STATE OF THE DISTRICT
8:30 a.m., Watsonville City Hall community room, 250 Main St.
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District will present “The State of the District” at Watsonville City Hall community room.
The theme is “Learning and Innovation For Transfor mation.”By Appointment, Capitola Library,
Attendees will witness a performance featuring the 1938 dedication of The Rotary Tree on the Redwood Loop
Trail. It is based on chapter 10 of Big Basin Redwood Forest: California’s Oldest State Park (2021) by historian Traci Bliss.
Centennial Celebration: At Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Cocoanut Grove on Sat-urday, Oct. 22, from 6-10 p.m. Keynote speaker Nicki Scott, Rotary International vice president, dinner and dancing. Tickets are $150 per person. RSVP at (https://www.santacruzrotary.com/our-centennial. html).
Besides launching a project to help preserve a local redwood forest, now known as Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, the club has:
• Led efforts to fund improvements to the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Park and the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building
• Awarded $1 million in college scholarships to students
• Provided $400,000 in grants to organizations supporting youth and the arts and other nonprofits
• Invested annually in programs to produce clean drinking water, provide education, improve health and promote peace.
“We hope that the community will join us in this celebration,” said Erik Dybdahl, president of Santa Cruz Rotary. “We hope they also might be inspired by this achievement to attend a meeting at their local Rotary club sometime soon.”
Saturday October 22
CELEBRATING 170 YEARS
11 a.m., First United Methodist Church, 229 Stanford St., Watsonville
Watsonville First United Methodist Church, 229 Stanford St., Watsonville, will host a celebration of serving the Pajaro Valley community for 170 years.
The Capitola Library hosts an opportunity to get individual help on your advanced directive with a trained volunteer from Hospice of Santa Cruz County on Oct. 20.
You can also get your advance directive witnessed to make it a legal document.
Registration is required.
Schedule a one-on-one appointment between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Contact Vanessa at Hospice of Santa Cruz County at 831430-3047 or email@example.com.
Friday October 21
6:30-8 p.m., Watsonville Family YMCA, 27 Sudden St. Central Coast YMCA will offer chills and thrills during the Halloween season with its Spooktacular 2022.
Spooktacular events feature trick-or-treat stations, arts & crafts, costume parade and more fun for the whole family, all free to the community.
For info, call (831) 757-4633 or go to centralcoast ymca.org.
Friday October 21
Saturday October 22
ROTARY CELEBRATES 100 YEARS
Lunch to follow by reservation, call 831-724-4434 or email office@Watsonville1stumc.org
BOWL STRIKES AGAINST CANCER
1-2:45 p.m., Boardwalk Bowl, 115 Cliff St., Santa Cruz.
2022’s WomenCARE’s 26th Annual Strike Out Against Cancer Bowling Benefit will once again be at the Boardwalk Bowl.
The goal is $70,000.
This year marks Women CARE’s 30th anniversary.
Organizers look forward to a fun day of bowling and raising money and awareness, adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols for the in-person event.
A virtual option is also available.
There are several ways you can support this year’s event: Bowl, sponsor pledge or donate. See https://www.bowlathon. net/event/strike-out-against-cancer-2022/
1-4 p.m. Alladin Nursery & Gift Shop, 2905 Freedom Boulevard, Watsonville
Experience local wines, craft beers, ciders, live music, delicious food, and a stroll through the garden at Alladin Nursery & Gift Shop.Wharf
The Rotary Club of Santa Cruz celebrate its 100 years of service with two communi-ty events: Historical Re-enactment: With the Mountain Parks Foundation, the Rotary Club of Santa Cruz will present a historical re-enactment of Rotary International honoring the ancient redwoods on Friday, Oct. 21, from 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m. at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton.
Hosted by Rotary Club of Freedom to benefit Pajaro Valley Shelter Services.
Tickets are $35 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uncorkcorralitos-tickets-411617036637?aff=ebdshpsearchauto complete
Serving on Public CommissionsBy Zach Friend, Supervisor, Second District
Eachyear, the Board of Supervisors makes appointments of its members to local boards and commissions.
In addition to serving on the Board of Supervisors (this year as Vice Chair) I also serve on your behalf in a number of other capacities on local, regional and national commissions.
Sometimes you may need help on specialty issues that are associated with these commissions so I wanted to give you an overview of these commissions and encourage you to reach out if you have con stituent needs associated with any of them.
California State Association of Counties Health and Human Services Committee — Vice-Chair
The CSAC Health and Human Services Committee has responsibility for the development of policies and proposals relating to: aging and long-term care, alcohol and drug pro grams, mental health, the Medically Indigent Services Program, the California Work Oppor tunity and Responsibility to Kids (Cal Works) program, foster care, child welfare services, adult protective services, the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, the General Assistance program and homeless services.
Criminal Justice Council — Chair
The Criminal Justice Council of Santa Cruz County (CJC) was created over thirty years ago in an effort to provide a more effective criminal justice system for the citizens of Santa Cruz County.
The CJC works to increase coordi nation and cooperation between criminal justice partners — government, nonprofit, educational and others, reduce youth involvement in gang, create a forum for discussion of and recom mendations for programs and plans for solutions to criminal issue and provide long-range planning for the criminal justice system.
Flood Control and Water Conservation District: Zone 7 — Chair
Zone 7 was formed for the primary purpose of improving the flood carrying capacity of the Pajaro River, Sal sipuedes and Corralitos Creek system within the Pajaro Valley floodplain. Zone 7 capital projects are intended to limit the potential for flooding within the floodplain area. Much of the focus is on protecting (and rebuilding) the current levee system to protect life and property in the Pajaro Valley.
Library Financing Authority — Chair Including members from the cities and county, this joint powers authority exists for the purpose of financing the acqui sition, construction and improvement of public library facilities.
Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) — Board Member
LAFCO was created by state law in 1963 to regulate the boundaries of cities and special districts. LAFCO’s objectives are: encourage efficient service areas for services provided by cities, counties and special districts, to guide urban development away from prime agricul tural lands and open space resources and to discourage urban sprawl.
Monterey Bay Air Resources District — Board Member
The Air District is responsible for air monitoring, permitting, enforcement, long-range air quality planning and edu cation related to air pollution as required by the California Clean Air Act and Federal Clean Air Act.
The District also provides rebates for fireplace conversions (to cleaner burning options) and electric vehicle lease or purchases.
National Association of Counties: Telecommunications & Technology Committee — Board Member
The National Association of Counties (NACo) serves as the primary advocacy
organization for counties. They advocate county priorities in federal policymaking and allow for information sharing of model county polices and practices to optimize taxpayer resources and provide cost savings.
This committee focuses on all matters pertaining to telecommunications and technology policy, including the county role as a telecommunications regulator, service provider, and consumer, cable services technology and implementation, information technology development and implementation, information technology innovation, e-governance, and geo-spatial data collection and utilization.
National Association of Counties — Board of Directors
The Board of Directors for the National Association of Counties (NACo) serves as the primary voice on county policy pri orities to our federal partners including the Administration and Congress.
Oral Health Access Santa Cruz County Committee - Co-Chair
This group of local health industry experts, community leaders, and edu cation advocate improve the oral health of Santa Cruz County by creating data driven strategies that increase access to care and education.
Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency — Chair
major roads, bus and paratransit and the rail corridor.
The RTC pursues and allocates funding for all of these transportation elements and adopts policies to improve mobility, access and air quality.
Santa Cruz County Consolidated Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board — Alternate
The Santa Cruz County Consolidated Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board oversees the activities of the five redevelopment successor agencies in Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz Mid-County Water Agency — Board Member
MGA is an 11-member board who oversee the groundwater management activities of the Mid-County Basin Area in Santa Cruz County.
The basin management goals are: ensure water supply reliability for current and future beneficial uses, maintain water quality to meet current and future beneficial uses and prevent adverse envi ronmental impacts.
he Pajaro Regional Flood Man agement Agency is a joint powers authority of the County of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Flood Control and Water Conservation Zone No. 7, the County of Monterey, the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, and the City of Watsonville.
Formed in 2021, the agency will plan, finance and implement projects and pro grams to reduce flood risk from the lower Pajaro River and its tributaries in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.
Regional Transportation Commission — Board Member
The RTC sets priorities for the transpor
Santa Cruz-Monterey-Merced Managed Medical Care Commission — Board Member This commission is the governing board for Central California Alliance for Health. The board has fiscal and operational respon sibility for the health plan, sets policy and strategic priorities for the organization and oversees health plan service effectiveness.
The board is comprised of members of government, the Alliance’s health care partners and the public in the Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced counties.
Santa Cruz County Sanitation District — Board Member
The Sanitation District is responsible for the collection of wastewater within the district’s boundaries and environmental compliance. n
As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts. If I can be of any help on these com missions or in my capacity on the Board of Supervisors please don’t hesitate to contact me
SCCAS Featured Pet
This week the Pet of the Week for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is a very special pup and very good boy — Reef!
Reef is a Shelter favorite, and you will soon know why — he is a real catch! This playful pup came into the Shelter as an owner surrender with his buddy and has been charming us all since. He was an outdoor dog and is looking for a patient adopter who will help him transition from outdoor only lifestyle to an indoor, family pup. While at SCCAS Reef has blossomed — he is in playgroups with several other dogs, goes on lovely walks around the neighborhood and has made friends with staff and volunteers.
This dog has gone to a few events with volunteers and has been a star every time — he loves meeting new people, is so polite and curious but not overwhelmed in new places. He still is working on getting in the car but once he is in, he is very calm and rides well. While he would not be good in a home with a cat, he would love to have a confident resident dog to play with and learn from. Reef charms everyone he meets — if you are looking for a sweet and fun buddy he may be the one you have been waiting for.
All human and dog family members must meet prior to adoption at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.
October Adoption Special — ALL Shelter animals will be available for a Donation Based Adoption Fee. The suggested donation is between $20-$200 and adopters can select a fund for their donation to go to: Planned Pethood Fund (low cost/free spay/ neuter) or Extra Mile Fund (specialty lifesaving procedures for homeless animals).
Adoptions are first come, first served! Please view available animals on our website and then visit the Shelter to turn in your application. All adoptions require proof of home ownership or landlord approval. Please have this information pre pared. If an animal is in Foster Care, please bring in your adoption application and schedule an appointment to meet the animal. Call 831-454-7200 x0 during business hours or visit www.scanimalshelter.org for more information!
Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s full-service, open-admission shelter: Santa Cruz Location (Public Entrance): 1001 Rodriguez St., Santa Cruz, 95062
Location: CURRENTLY CLOSED 580 Airport Blvd, Watson ville, CA
SCCAS Main line: 831-454-7200.
CELEBRATING 2022 ARTIST OF THE YEAR
7 p.m., Crocker Theater, Cabrillo College, 6500 Lower Perimeter Road, Aptos
Annie Morhauser, founder of Annieglass and the 2022 Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year, will talk about her life’s work at an event in her honor at the Crocker Theater. A Q&A will follow.
Admission is free; seating is first-come, first-served. Masks are required.
Her dinnerware and home décor products, with a new collection twice each year, are sustainably handcrafted. She has two pieces in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
She employs more than 20 people in her 16,000-square foot production studio on Harvest Drive in Watsonville.
She donates cash and in-kind donations to 400 nonprofits annually.
10 a.m.-4 p.m., Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St. Bring your appetite and join the fun at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as professional and amateur chefs compete for the title of Best Chili! 10 am to 4 pm.
9am-10am: Chef’s prep (no heat) 10am-1pm: Chili cook time 10am: Tasting kits go on sale for $12. Part of each sale goes to the Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller Memorial. 1pm: Public tasting begins 4pm: Winners announced at Neptune’s Stage (beachside of Neptune’s Kingdom)
Monday October 24
COLLEGE AND CAREER FAMILY NIGHT
6-8 p.m., Cabrillo College, Buildings 1000 (Library) and 1100 (gym), SAC West, Soquel Dr, Aptos Cabrillo College in Aptos is hosting College and Career Family Night. Activities will be in the Library and the gym. Food trucks will be on hand.
The event, free and open to the public, is a chance to meet university representatives from public, private, and out-of-state colleges and universities.
It is also an opportunity to learn about Cabrillo College’s certificate, degree and transfer oppor tunities, attend workshops, and explore various resources.
There will be workshops on financial aid and transfer pathways from a community college to a 4-year university. Masks are required inside Cabrillo buildings.
Friday October 28
TRUNK OR TREAT
5-8 p.m. Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s headquarters, 5200 Soquel Ave.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office will host Trunk or Treat. This is a free, fun-filled, spooktacular evening of trunk or treating, games, candy, decorated trunks, and food vendors.
Free parking and shuttle service at the Capitola Mall, 1855 41st Ave., Capitola. https://www.facebook.com/SantaCruzSheriffsOffice
Friday October 28
FOOD TRUCK FRIDAY, HALLOWEEN STYLE
4:30-7:30 p.m., Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley
It’s our annual Halloween Trick-or-Treat Food Truck Friday at Skypark. Everyone dressed in a costume receives candy at all the food vendors.
Food vendors include Scrumptious Fish & Chips, Mattia Pizza, Taquizas Gabriel, Kuki’s Bowls, Cracked Cookies & Aunt LaLi’s.
Alex Lucero and The Live Again Band will perform.
Free admission & free parking; friendly leashed pups are welcome. Bring lawn chairs & blankets — picnic tables also available.
The Scotts Valley Educational Foundation is hosting the popular Beer & Wine Gar-den.
For more info: www.foodtrucksagogo.com.
MOUNTAINFILM ON TOUR AT RIO THEATRE ON OCT. 28
7 p.m. (Doors open 6 p.m.), Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz
Mountainfilm on Tour brings a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed and inspiring documentary films curated from the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colorado.
The Rio Theatre will host the films in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for children and students at RioTheatre.com and the day of the event.
A portion of tickets sold will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank.
See the complete playlist at https://www.riotheatre. com/events-2/2022/30/mountainfilm
Monday October 31
APTOS COMMUNITY HALLOWEEN PARADE
3 p.m., Aptos Village Green (in front of New Leaf Market), 448 Granite Way
Show off your Halloween costumes. Children of all ages are invited to a parade around the Aptos Village Green. Village businesses will offer treats after the pa-rade. This is a free family-friendly celebration. Rain will cancel the event.
For information, contact the Aptos Chamber of Commerce at (831) 688-1467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday October 31 thru Sunday November 7
CAPITOLA PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL
Art Sale: Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Jade St. Community Center, 4400 Jade St., Capi-tola Capitola Plein Air will return Oct. 31, when 40 profes sional artists arrive in Capito-la to paint the town … literally!
Artists set up their easels on the wharf, shore, and streets of seaside Capitola, to paint live for four days.
You’ll find more than 100 paintings on display, for sale, and entered into a compe-tition on Sunday at Jade St. Community Center.
You can vote for the People’s Choice Award, have a meal from the food trucks, and take home a piece of Capitola culture.
For full details, visit https://www.capitolapleinair.com/
Saturday November 26
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 221 Thunderbird Drive, Aptos Aptos United Methodist Church will host its ninth annual Holiday Boutique. Road signs will direct customers from Highway 1 to the church in Seascape.
Local vendors will offer a wide variety of gift items for sale while church members will sell jams, baked goods and plants.
The boutique attracts customers from across Santa Cruz County and beyond as it provides an opportunity to shop for one-of-a-kind handcrafted items. n