Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 2/5/21. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few select national stories from NPR.
Tuesday was Groundhog Day and the little rascal predicts six more weeks of winter. Winter storms hammered our area last week and despite recent sunny skies the fallout from the storm persists. A southern section of Highway 1 along the Big Sur coast washed out and it’s unclear how long it will take to fix it. KAZU’s Erika Mahoney looked into the impact of closure on the Big Sur community.
Now that the rain has stopped and clean up is underway, KAZU’s Michelle Loxton looked into this question -- did last week’s storm cause the damage that was expected? She spoke with local natural disaster predictors, as she’s calling them, and their answers varied. For one expert what they thought might happen did happen. For another it was almost like his county was spared. Hear/read that story here: A Post Rainstorm Analysis: Debris Flows, A Highway Collapse And A Near Miss.
The City of Monterey unanimously adopted the Transportation Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan this week. The plan was produced through a $212,000 grant from Caltrans to study the effects of climate change on the local transportation network. The plan offers solutions to deal with sea level rise, but the solutions are expensive and have drawbacks. For example, should the city build a seawall or allow the ocean to flood Del Monte Avenue and build infrastructure to accommodate the flooding? Residents can add their thoughts on the city’s interactive website Have Your Say Monterey.
COVID-19 confusion continues. This week, we decided to answer some top questions about the vaccine programs in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties:
Q: Who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccination in Monterey and Santa Cruz County?
A: Monterey County continues to vaccinate individuals in Phase 1A of the COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule. This includes healthcare workers, paramedics and residents of nursing homes. The county has also moved onto Phase 1B, but is only vaccinating one group in this category -- people 75 years and older.
A: Santa Cruz County is prioritizing residents 75 and older. Residents who are 65+ and live in south county zip codes will be allowed to register for a vaccination clinic at the Watsonville Fairgrounds on Wednesday, February 10. The county is prioritizing these communities because they’ve been hit the hardest by the pandemic. Information on how to register for the clinic will be available next week on the County’s Health Website and social media.
Q: I am eligible to get the vaccine, how can I get one?
A: Sign up for a vaccine clinic in Monterey County by visiting www.mcvaccinate.com. Please note that slots fill up very quickly because of limited supply of the vaccine, so you may have to keep returning to this site until you get an appointment. Alternatively, you should contact your doctor because some local clinics and hospitals have their own supply of the vaccine.
A: A chart listing the vaccination sites in Santa Cruz County, and who is eligible, is on the county’s website.
Q: I am eligible to get the vaccine, but I’m not tech savvy or don’t have internet access, what should I do?
A: Monterey County officials are encouraging those who don’t have the ability to book an online vaccine appointment to ask a trusted family member or friend for support. They also say plans are in the works to create a telephone support system that operates 24/7 and will be available in a variety of different languages.
A: Santa Cruz County officials also recommend getting help from a trusted family member or friend. The county lists phone numbers to make appointments for the various locations offering vaccinations online. Here are a few from the county’s website: Kaiser Permanente (currently vaccinating eligible healthcare personnel and Kaiser patients who are 75 and older) at 866-454-8855. Call Sutter Health/Palo Alto Medical Foundation - PAMF (currently vaccinating eligible healthcare personnel and PAMF patients who are 65 and older) at 844-987-6115. Call Dignity Health Medical Group-Dominican (currently vaccinating Dignity Health patients who are 65 years and older or who work in healthcare) at 831-288-6526. Call Salud Para La Gente (currently vaccinating eligible healthcare or home health care and in-home supportive personnel in Phase 1A regardless of insurance and those who receive primary care through Salud Para La Gente who are 75 and older) at 831-728-0222.
Q: It’s not my turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine yet, when will it be?
A: Monterey County updates its COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule regularly. Find it here.
NPR also answered a list of vaccine questions this week from why we need two doses to what if my second dose comes from a different manufacturer? Check out their Q&A here.
The conversation about the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Monterey County continues next week. The Board of Supervisors says the county is at a disadvantage compared to its neighbors when it comes to vaccine allocation. KAZU’s Michelle Loxton asked why. Stay tuned for her story coming up next week.
Another confusing part of the pandemic -- coronavirus variants. Goats and Soda, NPR’s global health blog, used helpful illustrations to explain how the variants developed.
Now, some public health experts want us to take a closer look at our masks and how they fit. NPR outlined five hacks and tips to improve the everyday item we can’t leave the house without. One of the tips is to double up, something Dr. Anthony Fauci recently touted.
COVID-19 Updates as of Friday morning:
Santa Cruz County Cases - 13,790 total, 155 deaths
Monterey County Cases - 40,463 total, 288 deaths
- San Benito County Cases (as of Thursday) - 5,405 total, 55 deaths
The nominees for the 2021 Golden Globes came out this week. Television shows and movies have certainly provided an escape during the pandemic. The awards ceremony will be broadcast later this month on February 28. (The date was actually pushed back because of COVID-19.) Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will broadcast live from two different locations. Find the full list of nominees here. Eric Deggans, NPR’s TV critic, reported on the lack of diversity among the nominations. He was surprised Michaela Coel’s HBO drama I May Destroy You was not on the list. And he reported that no black women were nominated in the slots for female performers. Two actors from the San Francisco Bay area received nominations: Jane Levy was nominated for Best Actress in a Television Series - Comedy for her role in NBC’s “Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.” Levy attended Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo in Marin County. Andy Samberg, who was born and raised in Berkeley, was nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in the comedy “Palm Springs.”
Black History Month is here and NPR is celebrating Black voices, highlighting the legacies of Black leaders, and also diving into difficult questions about what it means to be Black in America today. Learn more about what’s happening at NPR for Black History Month here.
What do Anthony Fauci, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Claire McCaskill, John Kasich and Condoleezza Rice all have in common? They’re among the speakers invited to this year’s Leon Panetta Lecture Series. The Panetta Institute, which presents the series, says a full line-up of speakers are “nearly confirmed” for what will be the 24th edition of the annual event. Each year the series has a theme. In 2021 it’s ‘New Leadership in a New Decade – Can America Be Healed?’ Leon Panetta, former defense secretary and CIA director, will moderate the discussions with the first event slated for February 22.
The pandemic is shaking up a long-standing clam chowder cook-off in Santa Cruz. Local restaurants are reimagining the 40th annual contest as they compete for the title of “Best Santa Cruz Clam Chowder.” The event will take place from February 15 to 21. Here’s how it works -- people can purchase a restaurant week passport, although it’s not necessary. Then, it’s time to eat -- visit participating restaurants and vote for your favorite chowder. The winners will be announced on February 22. Passports cost $10 and the proceeds support the City of Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation Department.
Monterey County is in need of volunteers to help with their response to the COVID-19 emergency. You can find a list of volunteer opportunities here. The county is looking for volunteers in four areas: COVID-19 vaccine administrators who need to be licensed to administer vaccines by the state of California. In addition, COVID-19 non-license staff support who will be assigned to record keeping, patient registration and traffic control. To volunteer you are required to attend a one-hour volunteer orientation and take a TB (tuberculosis) test and the county would prefer volunteers to be bilingual. They’re also looking for volunteers to help in the operation of alternative housing of COVID-19 positive patients. All of these positions are unpaid.
During KAZU’s 2020 end-of-year membership drive we took the money we would have used as a thank-you gift to our supporters and donated it to local food banks. Some of these contributions, along with plenty of support from other community members, helped Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Cruz County raise over 5.5 million meals during their holiday drive. The food bank says the money will help over 80,000 county residents each month, adding the pandemic has increased the need for food with many out of work and many still struggling with the high cost of living in the region.
And we bid a fond farewell to Silvia -- a Hyundai Accent that has been a reliable companion to KAZU Membership Director Noel Freitas for 16 years. Silvia will join other cars, trailers, boats and more that have been donated to KAZU’s Vehicle Donation Program. The program has flourished over the last year, with over $100,000 raised. Each vehicle donation has the potential to drive hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars that will help keep us on-air for many more years to come. We make it easy, the pick-up is free, and your gift is tax-deductible. So if you’re looking to get rid of (almost) anything on wheels, click here to book your free tow.
Until next week,
The KAZU Team