Thursday, May 21, 2020

Goodwill Central Coast’s e-Commerce Team Back in Action and Shipping New Items Daily While Feeding Into Nonprofit’s Mission Of Creating Jobs

Once again, there’s a buzz of activity on the top floor of the Goodwill Central Coast headquarters on Moffett Street in Salinas as Goodwill’s ecommerce team opens up operations again, listing and shipping new items daily.

Salinas, CA, May 22, 2020 — Once again, there’s a buzz of activity on the top floor of the Goodwill Central Coast headquarters on Moffett Street in Salinas as Goodwill’s ecommerce team opens up operations again, listing and shipping new items daily.


Monterey County officials gave Goodwill formal permission to open again on April 30, and, on May 4, the operation began with a manager, assistant manager and four department heads. Three days later, 12 other full-time associates who had been furloughed were recalled.

“We are working on new enhancements in our ecommerce operations daily and expect a larger and more convenient process for our customers soon,” said Alan C. Martinson, Goodwill Central Coast vice president of retail.

The e-commerce team sorts through the most coveted donated items to put up for sale at shopgoodwill.com. The website, which opened in July 2017, represents the first e-commerce auction platform created, owned and operated by a nonprofit. Goodwill designed the virtual marketplace to provide an engaging online shopping destination that would further the Goodwill mission.

“It fits our mission, reinvesting in jobs,” said Martinson. “It’s effectively a job creator within a job creator.”

Shoppers enjoy what Goodwill calls “guilt-free retail therapy,” knowing every purchase supports job training programs and promotes reuse, keeping items out of landfills and reducing the need for scarce natural resources.

Martinson hand-picked the team, store associates with experience and a sharp eye who could cull specialty items from the tons of donations, separate them, tag them, photograph them, process them, upload them, and ship them — all in one facility.

The Salinas team shipped 400 to 500 items each day, from gold jewelry to clothing, musical instruments and more, before the pandemic forced operations to close. At its height, jewelry and books were the biggest sellers on the site.

Goodwill’s Mission

Goodwill Central Coast builds lives, families and communities by helping people with employment needs become successful, supported by innovative enterprises that preserve earth’s resources.

About Goodwill Central Coast
Goodwill Central Coast, a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization, began in 1928 in the city of Santa Cruz and today has expanded into three counties: Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. Goodwill Central Coast now employs over 600 people, including employment training professionals, sales personnel, donation center attendants, warehouse and distribution workers, and administrators. Its programs strengthen communities by improving job growth, the lives of individuals and families, and the health of our environment. Each year Goodwill assists more than 13,000 job seekers get back to work and reclaim financial and personal independence. Goodwill provides a positive learning environment that creates brighter futures through connecting people to meaningful work.

Goodwill Central Coast
1566 Moffet Street
Salinas, CA 93905
(831) 423-8611
https://www.ccgoodwill.org

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://www.ccgoodwill.org

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Interim Inc.’s Supported Education and Employment Services (SEES) Program Earns Coveted CARF Three-Year Accreditation

Interim, Inc. has earned a three-year accreditation from an independent nonprofit organization that provides accreditation services worldwide, for its Supported Education and Employment Services (SEES).

Salinas, CA, May 19, 2020 — Interim, Inc. has earned a three-year accreditation from an independent nonprofit organization that provides accreditation services worldwide, for its Supported Education and Employment Services (SEES).

CARF International (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) awarded accreditation after a survey in March.

“SEES is surveyed by CARF every three years, it gives us the opportunity to improve our services and to ensure that we are meeting clients’ needs,” said SEES Program Director Idalia Matthews. “This year’s survey took place on March 5 and 6. Two surveyors from CARF participated. The preparation for the survey takes time and takes a village to make it happen!”

CARF International is an independent nonprofit organization that provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of health and human services providers. Providers that meet their rigorous standards in the areas of rehabilitation of a disability, treatment for addiction and substances abuse, home and community services, or other health and human services have demonstrated that they are committed to be among the best available.

To achieve CARF accreditation, the program must demonstrate conformance to the applicable CARF standards as evidenced by observable practices, verifiable

results over time and comprehensive supporting documentation.

CARF noted in their accreditation decision that Interim “provides quality employment planning, job development and job coaching services to clients who report high levels of satisfaction with the services provided. Interim has strong, longstanding partnerships with Monterey County Behavioral Health Bureau and the California Department of Rehabilitation, which are the foundation for the collaborative approach to service provision. Interim provides a multitude of services to address both the immediate and long- term needs of clients and the community as a whole.”

Interim’s SEES program provides a wide range of opportunities for adults with mental illness who are seeking employment or who are interested in pursuing higher education. To help clients obtain work, SEES provides career, vocational, and educational counseling, job development and coaching. SEES also improves educational opportunities by helping clients access classes and training programs at local colleges.

Interim Inc.
P.O. Box 3222
Monterey, CA 93942
(831) 649-4522
www.interiminc.org

About Interim, Inc.
Interim, Inc. is a private nonprofit organization that provides a unique combination of support services, housing and treatment for adults with mental illness in Monterey County. Services provided include affordable supportive housing, residential treatment, mental health and dual-recovery services, case coordination, therapeutic services, outreach and intensive support for homeless adults, supported education and employment, day treatment and peer support.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.interiminc.org

San Lorenzo Valley Water District Gets Information on Groundwater Levels and Goals for Future Groundwater Levels in Santa Cruz County at Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency Meeting

With the rainy season behind us, the focus of San Lorenzo Valley Water District is now on future groundwater levels as we head into the drier summer months.

Boulder Creek, CA, May 19, 2020 — With the rainy season behind us, the focus of San Lorenzo Valley Water District is now on future groundwater levels as we head into the drier summer months.

For the District groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for residents from June through October when surface water flow is low during drier months. Rainfall is the main source of recharge to the basin and surface water flows. The groundwater basin is shared by users, including the District, Scotts Valley Water District (SVWD), and Mount Hermon Association, as well as local businesses and residents using private wells.

The Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) at its Board of Directors meeting in April held an informational session that centered on groundwater levels and the agency’s goals for future groundwater levels. The District is one of three member-agencies that make up the SMGWA, along with the SVWD and the County of Santa Cruz.

The session examined the Santa Margarita Basin and its four primary aquifers: Santa Margarita aquifer, Monterey formation, Lompico aquifer and Butano aquifer. The session identified the unique characteristics of each aquifer and its particular set of users.

• The aquifer closest to the surface is the Santa Margarita. It is about 100 feet thick, on average, and is the most vulnerable to fluctuations in climate conditions. That means it recharges the fastest during periods of rainfall, but also depletes the most quickly during dry times or when lots of pumping occurs. The District and most private well owners draw water from this aquifer.

•The next aquifer down is the Monterey formation, which is not a true aquifer and a very few wells pump from it. It is a clay layer found in limited areas of the basin.

•The third layer down, the Lompico aquifer, is a main source of supply for local water districts. It is generally found around depths of 500-700 feet below the surface.

•Finally, the Butano aquifer is deepest and occurs at around 1,000 feet below the surface of the valley floor. Currently, only the Scotts Valley Water District extracts water from this aquifer.

The aquifers aren’t evenly deposited throughout the basin, according to Georgina King of Montgomery & Associates, who gave the presentation to the SMGWA. Rather, the underground bowl-shaped basin supports varying levels and depths of each aquifer in different areas. The deeper layers are exposed to the land surface in the upgradient of hillsides, which are the principal recharge zone for these aquifers.

Evaluating groundwater levels is one of the state-required elements of the Sustainable Management Criteria (SMC) in the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). As a required element of the GSP, the SMGWA board must set minimum thresholds for groundwater levels in the basin as well as measurable objectives to ensure the basin’s sustainability. The board provided input on the significant and unreasonable conditions that will be used to develop a draft qualitative statement for board review.

The SMGWA’s board meeting was held April 23, included time for public comment and participation on each agenda item, and was conducted via all-remote, web- and phone-based access due to the Santa Cruz County Shelter-in-Place Order response to the coronavirus outbreak.

If you are interested in learning more about the SMGWA or the District’s involvement visit www.https://smgwa.org/. The next SMGWA Board of Directors meeting will be held on May 28th at 5:30 p.m. The meeting Agenda and any supplementary materials will be made available www.https://smgwa.org/ as they are generated by staff. Due to the circumstances regarding the ongoing shelter-in-place orders all Agency meetings will be held in an exclusively remote-access format until further notice.

About the San Lorenzo Valley Water District
The San Lorenzo Valley Water District was established in 1941 as an independent special district. The District is governed by a five-member Board of Directors, elected at-large from within the District’s service area. A special district is a local government agency formed by voters to perform a needed service, such as water or sewer. The District’s boundaries comprise approximately 60 square miles and 190 miles of pipeline. The District currently provides service to approximately 7,900 residential, commercial, and institutional connections. The District relies on both surface water and groundwater resources, including nine currently active stream diversions, one groundwater spring, and eight active groundwater wells. The District owns, operates, and maintains two water systems from separate water sources. These sources are derived solely from rainfall within the San Lorenzo River watershed.

The District owns, operates, and maintains a wastewater system in Boulder Creek’s Bear Creek Estates, which serves approximately 56 homes.

Website: slvwd.com
Phone: (831) 338-2153
Fax: (831) 338-7986
Emergency Numbers:
After-hour emergencies: (831) 338-2153

Address:
San Lorenzo Valley Water District
13060 Hwy 9
Boulder Creek, CA 95006

About the Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency
Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) is a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) that was formed as a Joint Powers Authority in June 2017. It has three member-agencies: Scotts Valley Water District (SVWD), San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD), and the County of Santa Cruz (County) and is governed by the Board of Directors comprising of two representatives from each member agency, one representative from City of Scotts Valley, one from City of Santa Cruz, one from Mount Hermon Association (MHA) and two private well owner representatives. The Board of Directors holds monthly meetings that are open to the public. The staffing support and funding for the agency is provided by the member agency.

Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, overdrafted groundwater basins need to be sustainably managed by a GSA through the development of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). The GSP must be completed by 2022, and the basin must reach sustainability by 2042.

The three agencies, SVWD, SLVWD, and Santa Cruz County, are committed to working with each other and engage other stakeholders in forming a GSA and developing a GSP after the state approves the boundary modification request.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.slvwd.com

Monday, May 18, 2020

Twenty-two Interim Inc. Clients Find Housing at Innovative New Moon Gate Plaza Apartment Complex in Salinas’ Chinatown

Moon Gate Plaza apartments in Chinatown in Salinas opened in January, benefitting 20 of Interim Inc.’s homeless clients.

Salinas, CA, May 19, 2020 — Moon Gate Plaza apartments in Chinatown in Salinas opened in January, benefitting 20 of Interim Inc.’s homeless clients.

The $40 million housing project, a collaboration between MidPen Housing and the Central California Alliance for Health, is a 90-unit mixed-use housing complex with a particular emphasis on low- and extremely low- income households and the homeless.

The complex connects housing and health services for the highest users of the healthcare system, with 20 supportive apartments set aside for that population and another 20 set aside for clients of Interim Inc., Monterey County’s leading provider of adult mental health services and support. The other 50 apartments will provide housing for other low-income residents of Monterey County.

Through a collaboration of local nonprofit organizations, the ground floor of Moon Gate provides a vibrant space that incorporates arts, health and wellness, culture, and educational programming to serve all Chinatown neighborhood residents.

The complex includes a community room with a kitchen, a courtyard with community gardens, bicycle storage, a library and a multi-purpose room. Interim has an agreement with MidPen Housing for 20 of the units to house homeless clients with mental illness. The tenants for the remaining 70 apartments were determined by a lottery of qualified applicants. Two other Interim clients were chosen for apartments in the lottery.

One of the first residents of Moon Gate was Interim client Junior Rangel, who moved in on March 16 from Interim’s Shelter Cove transitional housing. He says that his studio apartment on the third floor is safe and quiet. He is getting to know his neighbors.

“I like that I have an apartment where pets are allowed. I got a puppy. Her name is Diana and she’s a corgi/chihuahua mix,” said Rangel. “The building has a place where I can walk her and get exercise.”

Since many Moon Gate residents have a history of homelessness, some will need to relearn how to budget their income, how to cook healthy meals, and other skills to live successfully in the community. With an office space on the third floor, Interim counselors will provide individualized service plans, assessments, case management and care coordination for these residents.

“The partnership between Interim and MidPen has been fantastic for the referred residents,” said MidPen Leasing Director Daniel Fagan. “The timely action and follow-up by Interim led to the placement of 20 residents. The MidPen and Interim teams communicate and collaborate regularly to better serve the residents, which in turn will likely lead to stabilized housing for the residents and the community as a whole.”

Financing for the $40 million development was provided by the City of Salinas, the Housing Authority of the County of Monterey, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the Central California Alliance for Health, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and Bank of America Merill Lynch. Dahlin Group Architectural Planning was the architect and the contractor was Ausonio, Inc. MidPen Property Management Corp. will provide onsite professional property management.

About Interim, Inc.
Interim, Inc. is a private nonprofit organization that provides a unique combination of support services, housing and treatment for adults with mental illness in Monterey County. Services provided include affordable supportive housing, residential treatment, mental health and dual-recovery services, case coordination, therapeutic services, outreach and intensive support for homeless adults, supported education and employment, day treatment and peer support.

Interim Inc.
P.O. Box 3222
Monterey, CA 93942
(831) 649-4522
www.interiminc.org

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.interiminc.org

Gil Basketball Academy Natalie Cortes

When Natalie Cortes first picked up a basketball in the fifth grade, she found even the simple act of dribbling the ball extremely difficult.

Salinas, CA, May 19, 2020 - She almost gave up the sport that first day. But she refused to give up — a trait that became a huge part of the 14-year-old’s personality.

“After many years of practice and determination, not only did I learn how to dribble, but I also learned how to do many other skills, too,” she said.


Once she joined Gil Basketball Academy, she fell in love with the game, but at one point almost had to give it up entirely.

“My parents couldn’t afford me playing basketball in GBA Select because we had too many other things going on,” she said.

So Natalie took it upon herself to email her father’s boss to explain the situation. “Because of that I got sponsored so I was able to play again,” she said.

A freshman at Alisal High School, Natalie lives in Salinas with her parents, 12-year-old brother and two 6-year-old twin sisters.

A 5-foot, 2-inch point guard/shooting guard, Natalie has learned so much from basketball.

“It has helped me gain so much,” she said. “For example, being part of a team for all these years has shown me the value of teamwork, hardwork and determination, and paying attention to every detail. This has helped me in my life to become a better person mentally and physically.”

Through GBA, Natalie has learned the value of education, and her goal is to attend a university on scholarship. Her career choice? “I don't know what it is yet, but one thing I do know is that an education will get me places in the future.”

Natalie credits Gil Basketball Academy for helping her on and off the court.

“Overall, GBA has opened so many doors for me regarding basketball. Thanks to GBA, I was recruited by NCSA (Next College Student Athlete), which I unfortunately didn’t join for many reasons,” she said. “They helped me not only to gain more expertise in basketball, but to become a better person.”

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://gilbasketballacademy.com/

Saturday, May 16, 2020

El Pajaro Community Development Corporation Serves Up 38 Family Meals to 228 Farmworkers at First Family Dinner Initiative

Thanks to the community’s kindness and generosity, El Pajaro Community Development Corporation was able to offer 38 family meals to 228 people recently as part of its first Farmworker’s Family Dinner initiative.

Watsonville, CA, May 16, 2020 — Thanks to the community’s kindness and generosity, El Pajaro Community Development Corporation was able to offer 38 family meals to 228 people recently as part of its first Farmworker’s Family Dinner initiative.

“We started the Farmworker’s Family Dinner initiative to honor our communities’ farmworkers and to give each of them a ‘break’ from cooking dinner for one night,” said El Pajaro CDC Executive Director Carmen Herrera Mansir. “We figured that after a 12-plus-hour day of very hard work under the sun, having someone else make a warm and delicious meal for the whole family is a great treat.”


The first week’s dinner was made by Cuevas Express Food and RoguePye.

The program also helped increase sales for food entrepreneurs who have experienced a drastic drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis. Some of the entrepreneurs are not eligible for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that Congress passed on March 27, 2020, or other relief programs. These are families that lost 75-100% of their income.

“Thanks to the success of this initiative, our team decided to make the Farmworker’s Family Dinner an ongoing program,” said Herrera Mansir. “Our goal is to provide 10 family dinners every night from Monday to Saturday. I hope the community will continue to support us. Please share this opportunity with your friends and network.”

Farmworkers and their families were ecstatic about the dinner:

“Our workers were very happy, they were in awe, they felt pampered!” said Javier Zamora, owner of JSM Organics farm. “Our H-2B Visa workers could not believe they were getting such a big and delicious meal. Everyone loved Esthela Cuevas’ food.”

Zamora loved the food so much that he is now planning to hire the Cuevas family (of Cuevas Express Food) to make meals for JSM farm workers.

“My wife is going to be sooo happy because she will NOT have to cook tonight,” said Gabino, a sole breadwinner and father of four who works at JSM.

El Pajaro farm-partners Zamora and Rogelio Ponce at Sun Valley Farms, both small local farmers, donate the delicious organic strawberries used to make El Pajaro’s house-branded strawberry jam. (Available online at: https://epcdc.square.site.)

In addition, Herrera Mansir expressed her gratitude to Cesario Ruiz, El Pajaro’s Kitchen Program Manager, and Izuyah Sanchez, kitchen assistant, for making this dinner “magic” happen.

To help support the Farmworker’s Family Dinner, go to: https://epcdc.square.site/product/farmworke-s-family-dinner/21?cs=true

For questions about the initiative, call El Pajaro Community Development Corporation at (831) 722-1224 or by email at info@elpajarocdc.org

About Pajaro CDC
In 1979, El Pájaro CDC was formed following widespread community support of under-represented Latino and Spanish-speaking business owners in Watsonville. For 40 years El Pajaro has helped budding entrepreneurs throughout the Central Coast by offering technical, legal, financial and managerial assistance.

“If you give someone an opportunity it can change lives, and lead to generations of success,” said Carmen Hererra-Mansir, executive director of El Pajaro CDC. “To see a journey from farmworker to entrepreneur — many started that way when they came to us — is so rewarding.”

El Pájaro CDC offers a wide range of assistance, including low-cost and often free bilingual business education and training workshops to low-income entrepreneurs. Workshops cover business plan preparation, marketing and sales, customer service, bookkeeping, computer basics, business management, and financial literacy.

In 1997, El Pajaro Plaza Vigil a retail business incubator at 23 Beach St. in downtown Watsonville was created to assist low- to moderate-income, Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with starting and operating a successful business.

Plaza Vigil houses dozens of businesses, with another 44 food purveyors using the separate Commercial Kitchen Incubator Program, a fully equipped, shared-use facility at 412 Riverside Drive.

Following a charter expansion in 2007, El Pájaro CDC serves Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. Bilingual and bicultural services businesses development services and trainings are available to anyone with plans to open or expand a small business in the region.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.elpajarocdc.org/

Friday, May 15, 2020

Gil Basketball Academy Player Profile Isabella Gonzalez

In many ways Isabella Gonzalez has two families.

Salinas, CA, May 16, 2020 - The 13-year-old lives with her two loving parents, two older brothers and her nana in North Salinas. Away from home Isabella experiences another close-knit environment as a member of Gil Basketball Academy.

“Because of GBA, I have another family,” she said. “It has helped me become a team player, and taught me to always work hard and to never give up. I love playing basketball and I think, without it, I wouldn’t be as motivated in life.”



The 5-foot, 1-inch shooting guard started playing basketball at the Rec Center at age 6, and joined the GBA Select Team two years later. This past season she averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.

But it’s what happened off the court that affected her so profoundly. Sports have a way of creating a sense of uni­ty, and that showed when Isabella’s mother Susie was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was in kindergarten, and as a 5 year old I was frightened that I was going to lose my mom,” she said. “It was so difficult to see her after her treatment and especially seeing her in the hospital. I would cry myself to sleep every night and also used to cry at school.”

Even now, every time her mom leaves to see her doctor at Stanford for a checkup, Isabella feels anxious and afraid that the cancer will return.

“It’s making me a strong person like my mom,” she said.

During her mom’s treatments, when she was really sick, “my GBA family made me feel like there was hope,” she said. “Some of the parents used to give me and my brothers rides to Stanford Hospital so we can see our mom. They would even bring food and let us stay at their houses, or took us places so my mom could rest.”

GBA also allowed Isabella to experience other cultures in different parts of the world.

“I’ve been to all the world tours that GBA has gone to,” she said. “I’ve been to New Zealand, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Italy and Mexico.”

In many of those countries, Isabella interacted with kids experiencing profound, daily life challenges, and that provided her a life lesson.

“Being in a foreign country, I have seen kids that aren’t as fortunate as I am, so my GBA family and I decided to give out some of our shoes and other things to them.”

The seventh grader attends Bolsa Knolls Middle School, and one day plans to attend a 4-year university to study in a medical field — and hopefully continue to play basketball.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://gilbasketballacademy.com/

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Max's Helping Paws Expands Access to Financial Assistance to Better Meet Needs of Pet Owners

During these extraordinary times, Max’s Helping Paws Foundation has continued its mission to help fund treatment for pets in crisis, saying yes to nearly 250 pets through 23 veterinary partner practices.

Carmel, CA, May 15, 2020 - Historically, treatment had to be through one of these partner practices. Increased needs surrounding the COVID-19 , pandemic has led the nonprofit to announce that effective Friday, May 15, 2020, pet owners will be able to apply indefinitely for Max's financial assistance programs through any Monterey County veterinary practice that would like to sponsor a client.

“Organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, must pivot to the needs of this county as best they can right now,” said Dyana Klein, who founded Max’s Helping Paws in 2016, following the death of her Miniature Pinscher Max. “Our first initiative was the launch of Chestnut's Crisis Fund, specifically designed to help pet owners financially impacted by the pandemic.”

Knowing that the ripple effects from the pandemic will be felt for a long time, the nonprofit needed to evolve to an open model based on “inclusivity, accessibility and reciprocity.”

“We know that the need for financial assistance to help keep companion pets from suffering has multiplied,” said Klein. “We have to be where the needs are, and we can't achieve that if we restrict support to a subset of local practices.”

With this new model, pet families, already in difficult situations, will not be asked to go somewhere new in order to apply for support. Eligibility and process, consisting of a client application and treating veterinary practice form, will remain unchanged. No enrollment form or contract of any kind will be required in order for a treating veterinary practice to sponsor a client.

Max’s will also unveil a simple virtual training page for new veterinary practices. “We hope to build a reciprocal support model so we can continue to help more pets at more practices,” Klein said. Max’s will highlight and feature year-round those practices that are able to reciprocate through participation in fundraising activities.

Believing financial circumstances should never decide a companion pet’s fate, Max’s relies on the generosity of the community to fund its mission. General donations are accepted through the nonprofit’s website www.maxshelpingpaws.org.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.maxshelpingpaws.or

Held continuously since 1959, Artichoke Festival cancels event for 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns

Festival board announces June 5-6 as dates for 2021 event

Salinas, CA, May 14, 2020 - In light of the current crisis surrounding COVID-19, and in the interest of public health and safety, the Artichoke Festival has cancelled its annual summer celebration, scheduled for Aug. 8-9, at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center in Monterey.

Held continuously since 1959, the festival has made this difficult decision following recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with local health agencies.

“It was decided due to the uncertainty of the times and our concerns for the health of our attendees,” said Linda Scherer, executive director. “We are excited to announce June 5-6 as the dates for 2021.”

The Artichoke Festival will refund all pre-purchased tickets by patrons for the 2020 event.

The festival celebrates the harvest of California’s state vegetable and the region that has become known as the “Artichoke Center of the World.” Over the years, it has become a primary source of funding for local nonprofits that depend upon a successful event for their viability.

To continue helping these important nonprofits, the festival has added Donate Now buttons to its website at (www.artichokefestival.org), with 100 percent of all donations given to the following charity partners: Food Bank for Monterey County; Manzanita Youth Playground; Monterey County PAL; Meals on Wheels — Salinas; Monterey County Agricultural Education, Inc.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.artichokefestival.org

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Important Water Quality Information: Consumer Confidence Report

The 2019 San Lorenzo Valley Water District Consumer Confidence Report is now available online at https://www.slvwd.com/sites/sanlorenzocawater/files/uploads/2019-annual-water-quality-report.pdf

Boulder Creek, CA, May 12, 2020 - The goal of our Annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is to inform our customers about the quality of our drinking water, the sources of our water, any monitored contaminants found in drinking water, and whether our system meets state an, d federal drinking water standards. The San Lorenzo Valley Water District safeguards its water supplies and provides surface water treatment to ensure that customers receive the highest quality drinking water possible. In 2019, as in the years past, the San Lorenzo Valley Water District is pleased to report that our water provided to our customers met or surpassed all State of California and US EPA drinking water health standards.

San Lorenzo Valley Water District operates two (2) independent water distribution systems. The two water systems are the SLVWD System and the SLVWD-Felton System. You can determine which system provides your water service by reviewing your individual Route No. located on your water bill.

Route Numbers 23-29 denotes the SLVWD-Felton System

Route Numbers 11-22 and 30-97 denotes the SLVWD System

For example; Route 32 receives water service from the SLVWD System, while Route number 26 receives water service from the SLVWD-Felton System.

Printed reports are available at the San Lorenzo Valley Water District administrative office, 13060 Highway 9, Boulder Creek, and can be mailed on request by calling 831-338-2153.

Este informe contiene información muy importante sobre su agua para beber. Favor de comunicarse San Lorenzo Valley Water District a 13060 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek CA 95006, (831)338-2153 para asistirlo en español.

For additional information regarding water quality, please contact the Water Treatment & System Supervisor, Nate Gillespie, at (831) 216-9019 or e-mail to ngillespie@slvwd.com

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://www.slvwd.com/

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Gil Basketball Academy Student Spotlight Roberto Mendoza

A freshman at Alisal High School, Roberto Mendoza has already mapped out his future.

Salinas, CA, May 10, 2020 - A freshman at Alisal High School, Roberto Mendoza has already mapped out his future. He has selected a particular path that requires hard work and discipline — not the easy one that often leads to a deadend.


He’s learned such wisdom on the court as a member of Gil Basketball Academy that provides structure and a sense of belonging.

“There are people who don’t believe in me, trying to lure me into problems such as drugs,” he said. “These problems helped me to be myself, and not try to fit in with others. It has taught me to not be scared to be different.”

The 5-foot-4 point guard has been a member of GBA for nine years. In both 7th and 8th grade he was part of the Monterey County All Star Team, earning the Hustle Award one season. His first year at AHS he won Most Outstanding Award, as the team finished with a 24-0 record.

“Basketball has not only helped me become physically stronger, but also mentally,” he said. “It taught me to be a leader, and to be able to collaborate with others well. Basketball has helped me to stay off the streets, and to motivate myself to become better at everything I do.”

Mendoza calls GBA “a safe spot, and a family for me,” with coaches and parents who care about him as a person, not just a player.

“It has taught me to help others, and to become a leader, and not follow in the wrong footsteps,” he said.

GBA has opened lifelong friendships that Mendoza treats as family. “The people in this academy support me, and always motivate me and help me stay on track with sports, and also education,” he said.

Mendoza’s future plans after high school include attending a four-year college, and continuing to play the sport he loves. “I want to earn a scholarship to play basketball, and help me pay for college,” he said.

Mendoza sees education as his key to success in life.

“Education will help me obtain a better lifestyle as I grow into the person I will become,” he said. “It’s my main priority in life because it will lead my path to success.”

Mendoza doesn’t exactly know what his future holds, but he believes that he will lean on the lessons learned through GBA.

“They help you to not only learn important life skills, but to give back to our community,” he said. “It has taught me to be respectful and humble with others off and on the court.”

Basketball, truly, has changed his life.

“If I did not play basketball I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” he said. “I wouldn’t be as motivated to become a better person. It has also taught me to face the barriers, and to surpass them.”

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://gilbasketballacademy.com/

Thursday, May 7, 2020

VNA Immunization Clinic still serving patients during pandemic through convenient curbside service

While the spread of COVID-19 has the public sheltering in place, immunization rates have fallen in the United States.

Monterey, CA, May 08, 2020 - While the spread of COVID-19 has the public sheltering in place, immunization rates have fallen in the United States.

During the current pandemic, VNA Community Services continues to provide convenient curbside vaccinations with minimal contact.

This service is especially important to the following individuals:

Pregnant women who need a Tdap vaccine to protect the baby against whooping cough.
Employees who need Hepatitis A or B vaccine in order to work in a high-risk environment.
College-bound teens who need Meningococcal or HPV vaccines for the fall.
Older community members who need protection against Shingles and Pneumonia.
Curbside car service is available by appointment at the VNA’s Monterey office in Ryan Ranch.

Call (831) 648-3777 for more information.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://ccvna.com/




Gil Basketball Academy MVP Spotlight Isaiah Regalado

Isaiah Regalado has developed astounding basketball skills as a member of Gil Basketball Academy, but the MVP is just as proud of the life skills he’s learned along the way.

Salinas, CA, May 07, 2020 - Isaiah Regalado has developed astounding basketball skills as a member of Gil Basketball Academy, but the MVP is just as proud of the life skills he’s learned along the way.

The Alisal High School freshman earned the MVP award this past season as a 6-foot shooting guard. He also earned a scholar athlete honor for maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher.


“Playing basketball has helped me a lot in life with being able to manage my time with school and homework,” Regalado said. “It has also helped me by becoming more responsible in making sure that I am at practice on time or have all my right gear for the games.”

Born in San Jose, Regalado moved to Salinas in the third grade, attending Spreckels Elementary and later Buena Vista Middle School.

One obstacle he’s overcome is the stress of choosing a high school. While all of his classmates and friends ended up at Salinas High School, Regalado decided to attend Alisal High instead. “This was a hard choice because I only knew a couple of people who would be going there, but wasn’t close to any of them,” he said. “However, I felt Alisal was the best fit for me.”

Regalado, 14, recognizes a built-in support system around him, including his uncles, aunt, grandparents and especially his mom.

His family, and also GBA, has helped Regalado learn the value of an education. “An education will help you grow in life and I prioritize it before anything else,” he said. “Having an education can increase the number of job opportunities you have once done.”

After high school, Regalado wants to attend a 4-year university and study law.

Beyond stressing education, Regalado said GBA has taught him how to become a better person in life and to be more responsible.

“They have taught me the importance of giving back to the community, by helping out at their academy, teaching kids how to play the game of basketball, which I’m so passionate about,” he said.

Regalado has been playing basketball since age 8 (competitively since the age of 11), and he also enjoys playing baseball and golf. But he’s learned there is life outside of sports.

“This academy has helped me meet a lot of new people and strive to be a better person. All of their coaches/mentors are so encouraging and sincerely want the best for each one of their athletes.”

His favorite GBA memory is attending a world tour to Mexico. “That was an awesome experience,” he said. “We learned a lot about the history of places we visited, and to play basketball there was an experience I will never forget.”

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://www.gilbasketballacademy.com/

Monday, May 4, 2020

Cinnamon Shore Reopens, Welcomes Families Eager to Return to the Texas Coast

New protocols and procedures promote social distancing and create a haven for family fun after weeks of isolation.

Port Aransas, Texas, May 04, 2020 - Cinnamon Shore is now open to the public and for short-term vacation rentals, in line with the decision of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board to open the city for fun on May 1, 2020. As families eager to escape isolation head for wide open spaces like the broad beaches of Mustang Island, they will find a safe haven at Cinnamon Shore.


“We’re thrilled to welcome guests back to Cinnamon Shore, with the right changes in place to ensure everyone has a great time and remains socially distant in our little beachside town,” says Jeff Lamkin, CEO of Sea Oats Group, developer of Cinnamon Shore.

The community is following the Texas governor’s executive order for reopening Texas. Under current guidelines, the development’s Dune Pool, Kiera’s Pool and Stillwater Pool remain closed, but when the governor’s order allows public pool usage in a later phase, Cinnamon Shore will have stringent sanitizing procedures and social distancing measures in place. On-site restaurants Lisabella’s Bistro and Dylan’s Coal Oven Pizzeria are now open for to-go orders, and they’re offering special Mother’s Day menus on Sun., May 10.

Other new measures to ensure the safety of homeowners, guests, and employees include:
• In-car check-in/check-out procedures, with concierge service so guests never have to enter the vacation rental office.
• More frequent sanitizing of public areas, including elevators and stairwell railings, outdoor seating, and play areas.
• Signage around the property to remind guests of social distancing.
• Guest room cleaning with industry-leading sanitizing protocols, including attention to high-touch items such as remote controls, light switches, and the like.
• Discontinuation of indoor social activities, as well as select outdoor activities.

For a complete look at the procedures and processes that Cinnamon Shore is establishing during this phase, see “We’re Reopening! Welcome Back.”

Meeting pent-up demand
Many Cinnamon Shore homeowners weathered the stay-at-home orders inside the village, enjoying spacious living quarters, walking the wide-open beach, and enjoying life beside the scenic lakes, dunes, and parks. Now, Lamkin says, pent-up demand for easy-to-drive-to vacation destinations will cause families to reserve vacation rental spots quickly for the rest of May and the peak summer season. “People are looking for alternatives to air travel for vacation time with family, and they’re looking closer to home,” he says.

With a full roster of family-friendly activities for Mother’s Day Weekend, Memorial Day, and into the summer, Cinnamon Shore is readyfor more families to discover its charms. “We’ll see first-time guests and lots of longtime fans,” says Lamkin.“We can’t wait to welcome everyone heres.”

Cinnamon Shore is a New Urbanist community established in 2007. The master-planned community is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets, front porch living, and resort-like amenities. Its expansion, Cinnamon Shore South, is in the early phase of development nearby on the Gulf side of Mustang Island.

For more about the community, visitcinnamonshore.com.

About Cinnamon Shore
Cinnamon Shore is a pedestrian-friendly planned community nestled behind the protective dunes on Mustang Island along the Texas Gulf Coast. It is the first new urbanism development for Sea Oats Group, which is fulfilling its vision of a traditional seaside village with a wide array of amenities and recreational facilities intertwined with beach cottages, luxury villas and vibrant town centers. Now comprised of two communities –the original, Cinnamon Shore North, and its new, 150-acre, Gulf-side expansion, Cinnamon Shore South–every detail of the master plan for both is designed to embrace the natural ambience of Mustang Island and the slow-paced charm of a walkable neighborhood. For more information, visit http://www.CinnamonShore.com, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@CinnamonShore).

About Sea Oats Group
Port Aransas-based Sea Oats Group is one of the most successful developers of coastal properties in any market nationwide, including the Texas Gulf Coast, where the value of its beachfront portfolio is unequalled. The firm is dedicated to creating traditional neighborhood developments that provide residents with the highest possible quality of life, while preserving the integrity of the resort landscapes they occupy. By combining living spaces with retail areas in a walkable, connected plan, Sea Oats Group weaves together beautiful places to live, work and play. For more information, visit www.SeaOatsGroup.com.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR89u
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.CinnamonShore.com

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Max’s Helping Paws Finds New Meaning in "There’s No Place Like Home” As They Switch From Sparkling Gala to Online Fundraiser

Max's Helping Paws’ theme for their now-cancelled May 9th fundraising gala, “An Evening in the Emerald City,” was based on Dorothy’s famous last line from the beloved ‘Wizard of Oz” movie.

Salinas, CA, May 01, 2020 - Max's Helping Paws’ theme for their now-cancelled May 9th fundraising gala, “An Evening in the Emerald City,” was based on Dorothy’s famous last line from the beloved ‘Wizard of Oz” movie. Today, this phrase, "there’s no place like home" has taken on new meaning.



The non-profit has incorporated the people, stories and information that would have been shared during “An Evening in the Emerald City” into a “Fundraiser-In-Place” website MAXSPAWS.ORG.

The fundraiser will run May 1-31, 2020.

The site, including a welcome video by well-known local pet-lover Dina Ruiz Eastwood, features messages from founders Dyana Klein and Dr. Jonathan Fradkin, program details, as well as interviews with donors, partners and pet owners. “In this crazy time when there is so much uncertainty, Max’s Helping Paws gives hope and peace of mind to people who simply can’t afford to care for their furry family members. I’m so proud to be part of it!” said Ruiz Eastwood.

“We’re so grateful to our generous gala sponsors who have continued to support the event during the transition to Fundraiser-in-Place. It’s important they know their participation is an essential component of our success,” said Dyana Klein.

Event Sponsors Include:

Pet Specialists of Monterey
Weathertech
Fremont Bank
Dawg Gone It Dog Daycare
Victor Medical
Carmel Valley Vet
IDEXX
Chidlaw Marketing

Mag One Media

Max's Helping Paws’ donors have offered a dollar-for-dollar match for the first $35,000 raised through the MAXSPAWS.ORG website.

The Foundation has helped nearly 250 local families fund treatment for pets in crisis, providing more than $200,000 in financial assistance.

“In this crazy time when there is so much uncertainty, Max’s Helping Paws gives hope and peace of mind to people who simply can’t afford to care for their furry family members,” said Ruiz Eastwood. “I’m so proud to be part of it and hope you consider making a donation.”

For more information, please visit www.maxshelpingpaws.org.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.maxshelpingpaws.org

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

VNA Hospice to Participate in Second Bloom Project, Repurposing Flower arrangements for Hospice patients

Due to busy schedules and time constraints, florists often rush from one project to the next, giving new meaning to the term “left on the cutting room floor.”

Salinas, CA, April 29, 2020 - However, while bits of edited film never make it to the big screen, unused flowers don’t need to be discarded. They can be beautifully and tenderly repurposed to brighten the day of someone in hospice care.

That’s the idea behind Second Bloom Project, a local nonprofit that brings together people — nurses, patients, design volunteers and community florists — through repurposed bedside arrangements.

Central Coast VNA & Hospice has announced its participation in the uplifting program, started by former professional florist Anne Bell.

“To be able to recycle this joy and beauty at no cost to our partners in hospice is an incredible feeling,” said Bell.

Bell worked previously in the event and floral design department at Pebble Beach Co., and couldn’t help noticing all the excess flowers thrown in the green bin.

“I felt that it was wasteful to throw away those flowers that could bring so much joy,” she said.

Bell once ran her own floral design business in Danville, but closed the business when she had triplets (who are now in college). Years later she stumbled upon a Roseville nonprofit called Petal Connection, and volunteered her services a few times a week to arrange flowers for hospice patients.

Four years ago, Bell and her husband moved from Roseville to La Selva Beach to build an empty nest after raising five children. She took the job at Pebble Beach Co., and loved the work, but always remembered the joy of volunteering at Petal Connection. So she quit and convinced Pebble Beach management to participate in her new nonprofit.

“From my past experience with the Petal Connection, I realized that this scenario presented an opportunity to bring an institution like Pebble Beach together with the community to spread joy,” she said.

VNA Hospice is proud to accept these floral gifts that they eventually deliver to patients all over the Central Coast. Because hospice care addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs, Second Bloom fits perfectly within VNA’s mission.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the great appreciation of hospice patients and their families by this unexpected gift of flowers,” said Bell. “I love having the opportunity to work with flowers and give back to my community.”

For more information about the Second Bloom Project, visit www.secondbloomproject.com. For more about VNA Hospice, visit www.ccvna.com.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.secondbloomproject.com

Sunday, April 26, 2020

VNA expands New Beginnings grief support groups to include virtual and telephonic access

Despite unprecedented circumstances surrounding a global pandemic, VNA remains committed to the needs of its community — including grief support through individual work or groups.

Salinas, CA, April 26, 2020 - During these trying weeks, VNA’s goal has been to maintain accessibility to every individual, which necessitated the addition of virtual and telephonic support meetings.

Facilitated by VNA hospice chaplain and grief counselor Mick Erickson, “New Beginnings” grief and loss support groups, along with individual work, are offered free as a community service.

Before the pandemic, Erickson provided emotional and spiritual support to patients and families of those at the end of life, facilitating six groups each week in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.

“Now we are in the process of transforming how we provide those services,” Erickson said.

While following CDC and county health guidelines, VNA is still able to offer weekly face-to-face meetings. Now, through a service called Teams, Erickson can provide live, online counseling, utilizing audio and video.

It has proven to be a valuable tool for Erickson.

“I see people with an added layer of stress in their lives,” he said. “In addition to their personal life stress and their grief, there are added concerns about health and safety. This is resulting in high anxiety, fear, depression, discouragement and despair.”

Because shelter-in-place mandates have isolated so many, “the need to feel supported and loved is more important than ever before,” Erickson said. “People need to feel there is someone out there who acknowledges and values how they feel and what they are going through.”

For onsite meetings, VNA adheres to approved safety policies, with no more than eight attendees permitted, and everyone practicing social distancing guidelines. VNA asks the public to refrain from attending if:

You or a family member has a sore throat, cough and/or fever
You have had contact in the last 14 days with someone who is suspected (or confirmed) as having coronavirus.
You have had contact with someone who has travelled internationally in the last 14 days.
Those interested in virtual meetings should contact VNA with the group of their choice and provide an email address. They will receive an invitation to join the group at the appropriate time.

Weekly Meeting Schedule
Mondays, 4:30-6 p.m. — San Martin Presbyterian Church, 13200 Lincoln Ave., San Martin
Tuesdays, 12:30-2 p.m. — Mars Hill, 610 San Benito St., Hollister
Tuesdays, 3:30-5 p.m. — Microsoft Teams Virtual Meeting (via phone or video)
Wednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m. — Church of the Wayfarer, 7th and Lincoln, Carmel
Thursdays, 4:30-6 p.m. — Microsoft Teams Virtual Meeting (via phone or video)
Get connected and make a request at ccvna.com/supportgroups. Join virtually by emailing Ed Horsley at ehorsley@ccvna.com.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://ccvna.com

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Chasing Dreams, Finding Cures barrel-race fundraiser (Nov. 7-8) in King City sets goal of $30K for St. Jude’s

Each year, the parents of more than 13,000 kids hear the heartbreaking words: “Your child has cancer.”

King City, CA, April 24, 2020 — Each year, the parents of more than 13,000 kids hear the heartbreaking words: “Your child has cancer.” That’s 43 children every day, with an average age of 6. Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, cancer remains the number one cause of death by disease in children.

St. Jude Children’s Hospital stands on the front line of this battle. The pediatric treatment and research facility — focused on children's catastrophic diseases, particularly leukemia and other cancers — costs about $2.8 million a day to run, but patients are never charged for their care.

Fundraising becomes crucial for St. Jude’s, with 75 percent of costs covered by public contributors. Over the last three years, Chasing Dreams, Finding Cures has raised $53,000 for the hospital through its annual barrel race in King City.

The fourth annual fundraiser (working through A Key for a Cure) is scheduled for Nov. 7-8 at Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City, and organizers invite the public to be a part of making magic happen again.

All proceeds donated will fund innovative pediatric cancer research, which is a less-toxic immunotherapy treatment that utilizes advanced medical technology to reprogram cancer cells.

The fundraiser has set a goal to bring in another $30,000 this year. Sponsorships are available at different levels, from Silver ($150) to Saddle ($1,600). Silent auction item donations are also needed.

The two-day event begins with a dinner, dance and live auction on Nov. 7, 5:30-10 p.m., at Salinas Valley Fairgrounds, 625 Division St., in King City. Music will be provided by the Steve Bernal Band, with auctioneer John Flook leading the auction. Spectators are welcome to the barrel race on Nov. 8.

For more information call 831-524-0324.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.kingcitychamber.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Second annual Concours at Pasadera launches Car Week 2020 with collector cars, motorcycles, and Hot Wheels Featured theme: “Ford vs. Ferrari”

In recognition of exhibitors who have presented outstanding vehicles in prior years, both the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and The Concours at Pasadera will encore previous award-winning automobiles, along with awarding new Class Winners, during their August 2020 events.

Monterey, California, April 21, 2020 - In recognition of exhibitors who have presented outstanding vehicles in prior years, both the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and The Concours at Pasadera will encore previous award-winning automobiles, along with awarding new Class Winners, during their August 2020 events.


Last year’s Concours at Pasadera offered a Car Week experience like no other: Champagne and delectable hors d’oeuvres, along with cars competing in class awards from Tiffany & Co., and the backdrop of a luxurious private country club and Jack Nicklaus-designed Signature golf course. As one guest said about last year’s event: “Fine cars, excellent cuisine in an atmosphere of casual elegance.” While that may sound difficult to eclipse, members of The Club at Pasadera have every intention of doing just that at the second annual event on Friday, August 7, from 2-6 p.m.

The concours will showcase a juried collection of modern, classic, competition, commercial and vintage automobiles, along with motorcycles gathered from club members and enthusiasts. Also featured will be an Alumni Arena, presenting 25 chosen exhibitors from five classes. Guests will experience a tribute to the famed “Ford vs. Ferrari” competitions held at Le Mans between 1966-69. Competition vehicles from both marques will be on display. In all, the exhibition encompasses more than 80 cars and motorcycles from North America, Europe and Asia.

The first ever Hot Wheels Concours will be part of the Pasadera event, inviting both younger and older exhibitors to present their collections for awards. Guests also will enjoy an exceptional culinary experience, with the event benefiting countywide charitable causes.

Ford vs Ferrari
While the focus will be centered on Friday’s festivities, Pasadera will host a pre-Concours party for exhibitors and sponsors on Thursday, August 6, from 5-8 pm, highlighted by a private screening of scenes from the film Ford vs. Ferrari starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon.

The film follows a determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary, Carroll Shelby (Damon), and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who build a new racing car intended to defeat the perennially dominant Ferrari racing team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.

Bring your Hot Wheels
The famous toy from Mattel has become hugely collectible, with fans unearthing pieces that could belong in an investment portfolio. For the 2020 event, the Hot Wheels Concours will present scale-model cars (1967-2020) owned by exhibitors from around the world. Famed collector Bruce Pascal will exhibit a selection of his prized models, one of which will be the famous 1969 Beach Bomb valued at $175,000.

Life-sized Hot Wheels cars also will be a part of this incredible event. The Concours at Pasadera will feature five exciting categories for entrants: Vintage Hot Wheels (manufactured between 1968-1977 with red lines on the tires); Classics (1978-1994); Modern Classics (1995-2020, including the 1995 “Treasure Hunt” launch); Customized (manufacturing dates open); and Special Exhibition (rare examples accepted by the jury). A Best of Show will be awarded, chosen by attending guests by popular vote, given to the piece that best represents the spirit of the show and its exhibitor.

Each Hot Wheels exhibitor will receive a selected Hot Wheels vehicle as a gift from the Concours committee. Those interested in exhibiting should register here.

Pasadera’s Philanthropy
Proceeds from the 2020 Concours at Pasadera will benefit The Bridge Restoration Ministry and CASA of Monterey County (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).

The Bridge exists to provide a residential setting for those struggling with addictions, providing safety, structure, discipleship and supervision for the purpose of restoring them back to God, family, work and community. Referrals come from Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, families, local businesses and local and state correctional programs. Its current goal is to acquire a new facility, working with Pepperdine University to obtain a location in Pacific Grove.

CASA trains and supports community volunteers who advocate for abused or neglected children placed in foster care, upholding the children’s rights while pursuing a safe and permanent home.

2020 Poster from Famed Artist
World-renowned artist Simon Bull has captured the spirit of the 2020 Concours at Pasadera through his love of color — and cars. Poster prints will be available for $35 with proceeds donated to charity. The creation of this English-born artist can be viewed thru a network of fine galleries around the world including Meuse Gallery on Ocean Avenue in Carmel. Guests to Concours at Pasadera will be able to view Bull’s one-of-a-kind, colorfully painted Aston Martin on display.

Tickets and More Information
Monterey Motorsports owner Rick Barnett is leading the organization for the event and will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Tiffany & Co. created the Class and Exhibitor Awards. Event information at pasaderaconcours.com.

A 2020 Concours ticket includes:
Admission into the Concours at Pasadera
Hosted Champagne
Heavy hors d’oeuvres

Early-Bird Pricing (RSVP before July 10)
General admission adult (18+): $110, $195 per couple
General admission (under 18): $40
Children 5 and under are free

Standard Pricing (RSVP after July 10)
General admission adult (18+): $125, $225 per couple
General admission (under 18): $50
Children 5 and under are free

Club at Pasadera Member Early-Bird Pricing (RSVP before July 10)
Member general admission adult (18+): $95, $165 per couple
Member general admission (under 18): $30
Children 5 and under are free

Members of The Club at Pasadera interested in purchasing tickets should email admin@thelcubatpasadera.com. General admission tickets may be purchased at https://pasaderaconcours.com/tickets/

Exhibitors and Sponsors
The exhibition fee is $250 and includes two event tickets, a Tiffany Exhibitor award, car bio and photo shoot. To guarantee a review of entry by jury, each exhibitor must apply by July 6.

Alumni exhibitors will be charged $250 and includes two event tickets, sterling silver Tiffany 2019 Alumni pin, car bio and photo shoot. To guarantee a review of entry by jury, Alumni exhibitors must apply by May 15.

The Elite exhibitor fee is $350 and includes Alumni and Exhibitor entries, two event tickets and both Exhibitor and Alumni awards. To guarantee a review of entry by jury, Alumni exhibitors must apply by May 15.

Applications may be found at https://pasaderaconcours.com/application. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Rick Barnett at rick@montereymotorsports.com.

The Club at Pasadera is at 100 Pasadera Drive in Monterey, between Monterey and Salinas off Highway 68.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://pasaderaconcours.com

Monday, April 20, 2020

"VNA & Hospice Receives Grant Award from Monterey Peninsula Foundation”

VNA & Hospice is proud to announce it has received a grant award from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation for $60,000 to support general operating funds for the VNA & Hospice.

Monterey, CA, April 20, 2020 - VNA & Hospice is proud to announce it has received a grant award from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation for $60,000 to support general operating funds for the VNA & Hospice. The Monterey Peninsula Foundation is the nonprofit organization that stages the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and distributes the proceeds to charity. The Foundation powers positive community change in the Monterey, California area through its world class golf charity events. VNA is honored to be one of this year’s recipients of this prestigious event.

VNA is dedicated to providing the highest quality health care to residents of the Central Coast by meeting their individual needs in a caring, effective, honorable, and accessible manner. VNA transforms the care and culture to meet the changing needs of patients, families, and caregivers. We achieve positive results every day through quality standards, empowerment, teamwork, and accountability.

Media Contact: Jane Russo, 831-372-6668

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://ccvna.com/

ARCpoint Labs of Monterey Bay Introduces Lab-Based COVID-19 Antibody Test

The test marks a step forward in COVID-19 research; reveals whether asymptomatic patients have already been infected, suggesting potential immunity

Monterey, CA, April 20, 2020 — ARCpoint Labs of Monterey Bay, one of more than 100 diagnostic testing lab franchises across the U.S., has announced a new lab-based COVID-19 antibody test that could change the way people and businesses are reacting to the pandemic, providing a path toward normalcy for Americans.

ARCpoint Labs of Monterey Bay is offering up to 90 appointments per day to members of the public starting April 20th, available via the website labtestmonterey.com.

“We won't be able to do the finger-stick version of the antibody test any longer, but we switched to a version of the test that uses a whole tube of blood from the arm, is more accurate and sophisticated, has earlier detection, and is considered by doctors and health professionals to be a big step forward in medical usefulness,” said ARCpoint of Monterey Bay co-owner and lab director Spenser Smith. “This test is a new and improved version that we are rolling out to continue our embrace of the newest testing technologies for COVID-19.”

Smith said the downside of the new tests is that it takes longer to perform, can’t be done in a drive-through setting and is more expensive, at $150 as opposed to the $68.31 cost of the finger-prick test cost. But the arm-draw test is more reliable and sophisticated and has shown to be more accurate than the finger-prick tests, which was rushed into service nationally and has shown to have a high rate of inaccuracy compared to the arm-draw tests.

In mid-March, the FDA issued a policy that allowed for manufacturers and laboratories to create, distribute and use rapid serological (antibody) tests without requiring an Emergency Use Authorization to allow more people to have access to tests amid the pandemic. ARCpoint began using point-of-care tests that gave results within 10 minutes, to great success in its franchised locations across the U.S., including the Monterey lab.

On or around April 8, however, the FDA added additional clarification to the policy, requiring tests to be performed in high-complexity labs. This new wrinkle led ARCpoint to partner with Access Medical, a high-complexity laboratory, to offer a lab-based serological test as part of its ongoing effort to expand access to the most innovative COVID-19 testing available.

The test, which detects SAR-CoV-2 antibodies — specialized immune proteins the body produces in reaction to the COVID-19 virus — may reveal whether or not an asymptomatic individual has already been infected with the virus.

For the vast majority of viruses, antibodies signal immunity, meaning asymptomatic individuals who test positive are likely resistant to or functionally immune to the novel coronavirus. As research continues and access to testing improves, public health authorities expect reliable antibody testing to be a key part of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

By confirming the presence of antibodies in some individuals, the test can restore confidence and provide relief for Americans whose lives have been upended by social-distancing measures. Crucially, it will also provide a tool for businesses — particularly those businesses deemed “essential,” whose employees regularly interact with potential carriers like healthcare workers and grocery store employees — to minimize risk for employees at work.

“This could be a major development in terms of understanding how widespread this disease has actually been,” said Dr. Chris Cherubino, Medical Director for ARCpoint Franchise Group. “Because we currently have no idea how many people may have recovered from and be immune to the virus, everyone is forced to take the strictest precautions; as a result, much of the country has been shut down. By providing antibody tests, we can begin to build a body of evidence and hopefully restore some measure of normalcy for people and businesses as the fight to contain the coronavirus continues.”

These high-complexity immunoassay antibody tests require a simple blood draw; samples are submitted to a lab for analysis and returned in two to five days. Beyond the result for the consumer, these lab-based tests make a greater impact in the fight against COVID-19 because blood samples and results are reviewed by scientists, who can use the data to guide future research.

In an effort to bring the test to a diverse group of people in the local communities it serves, ARCpoint labs of Monterey Bay is beginning to offer appointments for this test to members of the public via an online appointment-making website, located at labtestmonterey.com. The lab is also able to make arrangements with critical businesses, first responding agencies, and other organizations to test staff directly during onsite or exclusive testing events.

“Because this is a new virus, regulations are constantly changing, and ARCpoint is adapting to those changes to provide the best testing solutions in real time. If and when the FDA begins issuing EUAs for the rapid point-of-care serological tests, we will offer them again, but are currently focusing our efforts on the lab-based tests so as to not leave our franchisees and their communities without a solution,” said John Constantine, President and CEO of ARCpoint Franchise Group. “As a country, we don’t have access to good statistical information about how widespread the virus is. The more tests that can be conducted, the better that data will be. The better the data, the better decision-making can happen at a local and federal level. Our antibody test will provide a glimpse into the full scope of this virus. We are working with partners who are developing a quantitative test that will indicate how much of the antibody is present in a large sample of individuals, which will help guide future research of how we treat and prevent this virus.”

Dr. Cherubino adds, “It is very important to understand that this test will not tell you if you have the virus currently. This test is only to determine if you may have had the virus in the past and have recovered.”

With 100 locations across the U.S., each with the capacity to administer several dozen tests per day, ARCpoint Labs will be able to reach a wide swath of patients quickly.

“In a crisis of this magnitude, there is not going to be a single solution that suddenly brings everything back to normal. Still, it’s hard to overstate the impact this test may have in terms of allowing people to get back into the world and providing crucial insights into the nature of the virus,” Constantine said. “We are proud to be one of the first to introduce this kind of test widely in the U.S., but mostly we are just excited to play a small role in providing the first step in getting some relief in this difficult chapter.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Marci Bracco Cain, (831) 747-7455

Media note: ARCpoint Co-Owner and Labs Lab Director Spenser Smith is available for media interviews. Please contact Marci Bracco Cain at (831) 747-7455 to set up an interview.

ABOUT ARCPOINT LABS
ARCpoint Labs is a full-service national third-party provider/administrator of accurate, reliable, and confidential diagnostic testing for individuals, companies, and legal and healthcare professionals. ARCpoint Labs has been in the drug and alcohol testing business for over 18 years, and our staff has over 60 years of combined industry experience. ARCpoint Labs has over 100 locations across the country with an additional 18 locations slated to open within the next 12 months. For more information on ARCpoint Labs, visit www.arcpointlabs.com.

ARCpoint Labs of Monterey Bay
24560 Silver Cloud Court, #103 Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: (831) 324-0772
Email:
Website: www.arcpointlabs.com
COVID-19 Appointments: labtestmonterey.com

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.arcpointlabs.com

Saturday, April 18, 2020

VNA & Hospice Receives $5,000 Grant Award from Barnet Segal Charitable Trust

VNA & Hospice has announced a $5,000 grant award from the Barnet Segal Charitable Trust to support general operating funds.

Pacific Grove, CA, April 18, 2020 — Founded in 1986, the Barnet Segal Charitable Trust is a private foundation based in Carmel. It has been providing support to VNA is dedicated to providing the highest quality health care to residents of the Central Coast by meeting their individual needs in a caring, effective, honorable and accessible manner

About VNA
Since 1951, the not-for-profit VNA has provided a wide range of home health care, serving Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and South Santa Clara counties. VNA places an emphasis on individual patient needs and goals, providing care in an ethical, effective, compassionate and fiscally responsible manner. For more information, visit www.ccvna.com.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.ccvna.com

VNA Hospice among Health Agencies to Order Masks from Nonprofit Organized by Pacific Grove Teens

Given the nationwide shortage of personal protection equipment (or PPE), some health-related agencies have had to expand their search for items such as face masks.

Pacific Grove, CA, April 18, 2020 — Given the nationwide shortage of personal protection equipment (or PPE), some health-related agencies have had to expand their search for items such as face masks.

Central Coast VNA Hospice found some help from a Pacific Grove family who has launched an innovative nonprofit called Masks for Monterey County.

Toula Hubbard found a way to keep her kids active and connected through a Girl Scout service project. Her two teenagers created the nonprofit to connect mask makers with healthcare professionals, essential workers and those in need.

Toula, a life and wellness coach, lives in Pacific Grove with her husband Chris, her daughter Thalia, 16, and son Niko, 15.

“Gratitude and a sense of belonging are important to wellness,” she said. “So volunteering and gratitude are basic principles that clients learn to exercise and my children have been raised with.”

The registry at www.masksformontereycounty.org is two weeks old and already has more than 4,000 requests, with more and more seamstresses added each day.

Currently there is a worldwide shortage of protective face masks, which help slow the spread of the virus. VNA Hospice has ordered 300 masks from MFMC, and will be receiving them each week in batches of 30.

Most of the masks are typically made with 100 percent cotton fabric.

“Honestly it doesn’t matter what type of mask is made,” Toula said. “We just need the masks and we will match the mask type to the appropriate group.”

What they call AB masks have a spot for a filter, and are prioritized to health care workers. Some masks are simply cloth, great for those interacting with the public, such as grocery workers, postal workers and essential employees of all types.

“We have some people who have asked that masks be made to cover the N95 mask,” she said.

All masks are reusable, and each recipient is instructed to sterilize between each use.

When the pandemic ends, the family will collect any unused masks, sanitize them and repurpose them by donating to dialysis centers and other facilities that cater to the immune compromised.

A junior at Pacific Grove High School and a member of Girl Scout Troop 30626, Thalia had been keeping an eye out for potential Girl Scout Gold projects. She joined her brother, a freshman at PGHS and a member of Boy Scout Troop 43, in the endeavor.

“We have many friends who are health care workers, and essential employees, and the conversation started around how to get them resources to protect themselves and others if they are carriers without knowing,” Toula said.

She challenged her kids to take a look at the need and see what they could do to help. In the process, they learned new skills, among them creating a website and launching social media platforms. Each has worked to help draft marketing materials while problem solving the logistics of moving fabric donations and completed masks around the county.

So far, masks have been sent to healthcare workers, home-health workers, those passing out food to the needy, fire and police departments, essential county agency workers, grocery store and drug store workers, nonprofits and other agencies serving the community.

“Our intention is to also provide masks to the second wave of those in need including the vulnerable and elderly,” Toula said.

The family has friends who work and volunteer for VNA, a nonprofit close to their hearts.

“VNA provides so many services in the community, and you can see why their nurses and volunteers need the added protection,” she said.

All masks donated are free, but there are costs for materials and delivery, so the Hubbards have set up a donation portal on the website.

The lesson in this project is clear.

“Make a difference in the center of your circle, and the ripple effect will have others creating a similar circle with a similar ripple effect,” Toula said. “At the end of the day we are all in this together.”

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.masksformontereycounty.org

Monday, April 13, 2020

Monterey Testing Laboratory One of Few on Central Coast Providing COVID-19 Antibody Testing

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has closed many businesses across the country, but there has also been an unexpected surge in some businesses, especially in the medical, health care and laboratory fields.

Monterey, CA, April 14, 2020 — The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has closed many businesses across the country, but there has also been an unexpected surge in some businesses, especially in the medical, health care and laboratory fields.

One such business is the Monterey-based ARCpoint Labs of Monterey Bay, one of the nation’s leaders in drug testing, alcohol screening, DNA and clinical lab testing, corporate wellness programs and employment/background screening.

Prior to the quarantines and closures mandated by COVID-19, about two-thirds of ARCpoint business came from wellness testing, specialized testing for people with specific conditions or diseases, such as celiac and lyme disease and mold sensitivities.

But now, according to ARCpoint co-owner and lab director Spenser Smith, more than 90% of its testing is focused on COVID-19 antibody testing, tests that determine whether a person has been infected by the virus and recovered, which produces antibodies that can be tested two ways: by a simple finger-prick to draw blood, or a more involved process that takes a tube of blood from the arm, much like a standard blood test.

ARCpoint had been doing almost all of its antibody tests the first way, with a drive-through system set up in its parking lot. The other method involves going into the laboratory to have your blood drawn. Results from the finger-prick test can be produced within 15-20 minutes, but because of the high volume of tests, are usually available by the end of the day. The second method requires the blood to be sent to a lab in Florida, with results available in a couple of days.

The FDA had allowed labs to give the finger-prick tests on April 1, but by April 11 had changed its guidelines so that labs, including ARCpoint, could only give the second test.

“It means we won't be doing the finger-stick version of the test for now, but we will be switching to a version of the test that uses a whole tube of blood from the arm, is more accurate, has earlier detection, and is considered by doctors and health professionals to be a big step forward in medical usefulness,” said Smith. “This test is a new and improved version that we are rolling out to continue our embrace of the newest testing technologies for COVID-19.”

Smith said the downside of the new tests is that it takes longer to perform, can’t be done in a drive-through and is more expensive, at about $175 as opposed to the $68.31 cost of the finger-prick test cost.

The concept of the blood tests is that people who have been exposed to the virus can develop antibodies, which can help them resist another infection. That way the body’s antibodies against COVID-19 can reduce the chances of getting infected again.

The hope is that those tested and found to have immunized antibodies could then return to work and help restart the economy.

Smith said his company, which was founded three years ago by him, his brother (who is the lab director on the toxicology side), mother and father, is hoping to get the costs down for the arm-draw method of testing.

The priority for testing is first responders and health care workers (as well as those on the front lines, such as grocery store workers, maintenance and janitorial workers and delivery drivers), but those who exhibited symptoms, didn’t get tested, and recovered, are also welcome to be tested.

For now, all testing is done by appointment-only, by phone or through its appointment portal on its website at arcpointlabs.com. Smith said he wanted the public to know that these tests, which are the same as the tests Stanford University and USC used in their studies on the prevalence of COVID-19 exposure in California, only detects protective antibodies to the virus rather than the virus itself.

The tests that detects the virus itself, the most common test is the so-called PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test, involves taking nasal and throat swabs, which then have to be sent to a centralized lab to test for viral RNA (ribonucleic acid, the marker that contains genetic information to detect the presence of the virus). These tests can often take days (sometimes weeks because of the demand) to get results. ARCpoint currently offers a small number of these tests to patients with a doctor’s order, but supplies have been limited throughout the nation since the onset of the outbreak.

Smith said that ARCpoint is part of a franchise operation that has more than 100 facilities across the country, but that the Monterey operation is just one of a half-dozen that is doing the COVID-19 antibody testing.

Right now the company is doing its testing on a cash-only basis since insurance companies have not determined a pricing and billing system for COVID-19 tests yet.

Because of the increased volume of testing ARCpoint has been experiencing, they have had to hire several temporary employees to handle the demand, Smith said.

Smith added that his company would like to offer PCR testing for the virus more widely, but that testing currently is experiencing a lot of issues, including the accuracy of the testing, false positives and lengthy waits for results. Because of that, health officials are urging Americans to reserve diagnostic tests for the active virus — the PCR tests — for health care workers, first responders and patients in hospitals.

ARCpoint Labs is a full-service national third-party provider/administrator of diagnostic testing. The services at its Monterey Bay location encompass both onsite and offsite pre-employment, random, post-accident and reasonable suspicion drug testing. In addition, ARCpoint also serves many judicial, athletic, and medical clients across the United States.

The family, which has made the Monterey Peninsula its home for over 30 years, has been in the drug and alcohol testing business for more than 18 years, has 50 years of combined business experience on the Central Coast, and its staff has over 60 years of combined industry experience.

ARCpoint Labs’ mission is to provide accurate, reliable, and confidential diagnostic testing for individuals, companies, and legal and healthcare professionals.

Media note: ARCpoint Co-Owner and Labs Lab Director Spenser Smith is available for media interviews. Please contact Marci Bracco Cain at (831) 747-7455 to set up an interview.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
https://www.arcpointlabs.com/

Saturday, April 11, 2020

SLV Water District to Replace Damaged Water Main on Bear Creek Road

Notice of Road Closure: Work will be performed during evening hours to minimize traffic impacts on the community

Boulder Creek, CA, April 11, 2020 - The San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) today announced it is working with the County of Santa Cruz Department of Public Works to replace a water main on Bear Creek Road that was damaged in January 2020.


This work will require closing Bear Creek Road at the stop sign (mile post marker 1.71) from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday April 13, 2020 through Friday April 17, 2020. Construction activities are being performed during the evening hours to minimize traffic impacts on the community. Emergency services have been notified and have implemented contingencies for response.

Immediately after the damage occurred, District crews rerouted water service in the area through a bypass line to ensure customers had access to water. The final construction will replace the bypass line with a permanent water main.

ABOUT THE SAN LORENZO VALLEY WATER DISTRICT:
The San Lorenzo Valley Water District is located in the mountains of northern Santa Cruz County. The District serves more than 7,900 metered connections. Established in 1941, the District supplies water to the communities of Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Ben Lomond, Zayante, Scotts Valley, Mañana Woods, Felton and Lompico. For more information, visit www.slvwd.com or www.facebook.com/slvwaterdistrict

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.slvwd.com

For Mother’s Day, Center for Community Advocacy honors health education volunteers called Promotoras

The Spanish word “promotora” translates simply to “promoter,” but in the farmworker community it means so much more.

Salinas, CA, April 11, 2020 - A Promotora is a camp health aide, a lay health adviser, and outreach worker, a community health representative and more.

Most Promotoras go by another title — madre. As mothers they dream of providing a better future for their children. They dream of helping to create healthy, safe and strong neighborhoods.

With Mother’s Day approaching on May 3, the Center for Community Advocacy wishes to honor all of its CCA-trained, volunteer Promotoras. These women remain significant pillars within CCA’s efforts to provide education, orientation and health support to farmworkers and other low-income working families.

This year CCA has created an awareness campaign called “Por el Amor de Madre” (For the Love of Mother), and is accepting donations through its website www.cca-viva.org to aid the Promotoras program.

Trained by CCA and health service providers, Promotoras comunitarias deliver preventative health information/interventions to neighborhoods in the Salinas and Pajaro valleys. These efforts help educate their peers about chronic diseases, behavioral health and youth violence prevention. For many farmworker families, Promotoras may be their only source of health information. This may mean the difference between preventive care and diagnosis of a preventable chronic disease.

Through CCA’s Promotoras, each year hundreds of farmworker families and other low-income families learn and teach others about:

● simple and healthier ways to eat and cook.
● ways to increase their physical fitness.
● how to prevent, detect and make referrals to proper health providers.

To support the CCA’s Promotoras program, or to get more information, call CCA at (831) 753-2324 ext. 12.

About Center for Community Advocacy
CCA provides education, orientation and legal support to farmworkers and other low-income working families who want to establish neighborhood committees that work to improve housing and health conditions. CCA trains these committees to negotiate with landlords to resolve issues such as unsafe housing conditions, housing discrimination and security deposits. CCA also trains these committees to provide preventative health information and interventions in their neighborhoods.

Contact:
Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455
http://www.cca-viva.org