Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 7/16/21. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few national stories from NPR.
The Monterey Jazz Festival is almost here — tickets went on sale Thursday. The three-day festival starts September 24 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. The festival will include 21 hours of performances from 22 performers, including legends like Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Pat Metheny Side-Eye and others. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the arena will be limited to 50% capacity and total ticket sales capped at 2,500. Tickets for all three days of the festival start at $220.
Investigations continue after a twin-engine Cessna airplane crashed into a house near the Monterey Regional Airport on Tuesday, killing both the pilot and passenger and setting the house ablaze. Firefighters quickly responded, containing fires caused by the crash in the Monterra Ranch community at an eighth of an acre. Nobody was inside the house at the time of the crash. Authorities identified the pilot as the airplane’s owner, Mary Ellen Carlin. Her passenger was Alice Diane Emig. The National Transportation Safety Board still hasn’t determined the cause of the crash.
Are California’s K-12 students required to wear masks indoors, or not? Guidance from the California Department of Public Health seemed to hedge on the issue this week, when it first reiterated its mandate for masks in K-12 schools, then tweeted it would leave enforcement up to school districts.
Some read that clarification as a reversal of the mask mandate. But Faris Sabbah, the superintendent of Santa Cruz County schools, said the mandate remains clear: masks are required indoors for all K-12 students in California, regardless of vaccination status. The clarification wasn’t whether to enforce the mandate, but how. CDPH’s original guidance included a recommendation that educators remove unmasked students from school property. But Sabbah said the agency later removed that guidance because enforcement is generally left to the discretion of school districts. “The requirement is set by the state,” he said. “We have to figure out how to enforce it.”
Monterey County’s Office of Education website also states that masks will be required for all students.
On the subject of vaccinating children and youth against COVID-19, the Monterey County Office of Education and Natividad Hospital are holding an online “town meeting” on Tuesday July 20 from 5 to 6 p.m. Superintendent Dr. Deneen Guss and Natividad’s Chief of Family Medicine Dr. Melissa Nothnagle will answer questions about vaccinating children against the virus. Registration is at https://forms.gle/Ro2hhazDjE5KKWv2A. The webinar will be recorded in English and Spanish for later viewing.
It’s the 70th anniversary of the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach this year, after a pandemic interruption. The event is scheduled from August 12-15 in the final days of Monterey County’s Car Week, which starts August 5. Past Car Weeks have attracted as many as 85,000 attendees, with events scattered around the Monterey Peninsula. Anticipating the typical traffic challenges, Monterey County has developed a helpful but somewhat confusing online map. The map includes event locations and links to traffic cameras to help residents and visitors navigate the peninsula. Click the tabs at the top of the map to see each day’s events, and select an event to see more details. To see the traffic camera for a particular area, click a black arrow on the map and follow the link for “More Info” in the pop-up box.
Speaking of traffic, drivers in Downtown Santa Cruz can expect some traffic disruptions over the next few months, as construction on the eight-mile Soquel Pure Water Pipeline continues. The pipeline will stretch from the Santa Cruz wastewater treatment facility to the Soquel Valley Water District. Construction crews in Santa Cruz are currently installing the pipe along California street. Starting in August, the project will continue along Laurel street from its intersection with California street to the west end of the Laurel Street bridge. Rebecca Rubin, a spokesperson for the Soquel Creek Water District, said the downtown construction should take about two months.
A soon-to-be-constructed treatment facility at the intersection of Soquel and Chanticleer avenues will purify the wastewater, and pump the purified, drinkable water to three groundwater wells in Capitola and Aptos. Rubin said the project will help ward off intruding salt water in the critically overdrafted water basin, and add a “reliable, sustainable and drought-proof water supply for our mid-county region.” The pipeline is expected to be complete in 2022.
Monterey County’s new Registrar of Voters will oversee her first statewide election in less than two months. Gina Martinez assumed her new duties on Monday July 12. She was formerly the county’s assistant registrar and replaces retiring Registrar Claudio Valenzuela. Martinez is the county’s first Latina registrar and will oversee the statewide gubernatorial recall on September 14. She joined the elections department in 2007 and has been assistant registrar of voters for the past seven years.
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Until next week,
The KAZU Team