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Community briefs, Sept. 27, 2019

Coastal Cleanup Day collects 7,700 pounds of debris

MONTEREY BAY REGION—More than 2,000 volunteers collected more than 6,000 pounds of trash and over 1,700 pounds of recycling from 64 beaches, rivers and inland areas across Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties in Saturday’s Coastal Cleanup Day. 

The annual event is California’s biggest cleanup of the year, which takes place annually on International Coastal Cleanup Day. 

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Low-income seniors can postpone property taxes 

Low-income elderly, blind or disabled California homeowners can postpone property taxes under a new state-funded program, which for the first time now includes taxes on manufactured homes. 

Between Oct. 1 and Feb. 10, 2022, eligible property owners may apply for property tax postponements, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

In fiscal year 2019-20, the State will fund $13 million in loan postponements under the Property Tax Postponement Program (PTP Program). 

To be eligible for this program, you must: 

• Be at least 62 years of age or blind, or have a disability 

• Own and occupy the home as your primary place of residence 

• Have a total household income of $35,500 or less

• Have at least 40 percent equity in the home 

• Meet other requirements. 

Administered by the State Controller’s Office, PTP Program allows eligible homeowners the option to postpone payment of property taxes on their primary residence. The program makes current-year property tax payments on behalf of approved applicants directly to the Santa Cruz County Tax Collector’s Office. 

Approved accounts accrue simple interest with the State at a rate of 7 percent per year, and a lien is recorded against the property until accounts are paid in full. 

Repayment becomes due when the homeowner moves, sells, transfers title, defaults, refinances, dies or obtains a reverse mortgage. 

For information and eligibility requirements, visit bit.ly/2l3lOiK, call 800-952-5661 or [email protected]

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Santa Cruz Museum names new director

SANTA CRUZ — The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History recently announced the appointment of Felicia Van Stolk as Executive Director. After a yearlong search, the Board of Directors decided to recognize one of its local emerging leaders and to make a critical promotion from within our organization. 

Van Stolk grew up in Santa Cruz County and graduated from UC Los Angeles with a degree in marine biology and conservation ecology. She joined the Museum three years ago as Education Director. She is the first woman of color to serve as the museum’s Executive Director. 

“We can attribute a great deal of our recent growth to the innovative and engaging education programs designed by Felicia and her team,” said J.M. Brown, president of the Board of Directors. “Felicia was a key figure in creating our recent strategic plan, and now will have the opportunity to set that plan in motion alongside the Museum staff, board and other supporters.” 

Under Van Stolk’s tenure as Education Director, the Museum expanded school programs and public programs and worked with Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, Coastal Watershed Council, Nueva Vista Community Center, Norris Center for Natural History, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

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Cabrillo Community College District refinances bonds

APTOS — The Cabrillo Community College District (Cabrillo College) today announces that it has refinanced a portion of Cabrillo’s Election of 2004 General Obligation Bonds and 2012 General Obligation Refunding Bonds, resulting in $29,542,000 in interest rate savings to local taxpayers.

Under the leadership of its Governing Board, Cabrillo Administration took the initiative to capture historically low interest rates to refinance the remaining portions of 2004 General Obligation Bonds, Series B and 2012 General Obligation Refunding Bonds. Cabrillo was able to reduce the interest rates on the prior bonds from an average of 4.84 percent to 2.53 percent, reducing the community’s tax bill by an unprecedented total of $29.5 million over the life of the bond refinancing.

“We wanted to make sure that we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars and try to save folks money over the long haul,” said Cabrillo College President and Superintendent Matt Wetstein. “It’s important to stay on top of interest rate trends, and in this case, our ability to refinance was a real big win for our community.”

This was the second time in recent history that Cabrillo College has delivered savings to its community. In May 2012, Cabrillo completed a similar bond refinancing and saved local taxpayers a total of $4.8 million.

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District attorney Rosell, Sheriff Hart endorse Laird

SANTA CRUZ — John Laird, candidate for California State Senate District 17, recently announced he has been endorsed by Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart and Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell. 

“John Laird has been working and advocating for our community for many years. John supports public safety and a fair and impartial criminal justice system,” said Sheriff Hart. “John has a wealth of experience at the local and state level and I trust he will serve the residents of our community well. I’m proud to support John in the 2020 election to represent us as our 17th District State Senator.”

Added Rosell: “John Laird has a strong history of standing up for fairness, stronger funding and continuous improvement for our justice system. John’s values align with those of our community. His understanding of California’s complex judicial system is based on years of experience in policy development and budgeting work. We need John in the State Senate and I’m looking forward to working to support his campaign.”

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Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz County awards more than $500,000 in grants

Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz County has awarded more than $500,000 in grants to 28 community nonprofits working to improve the health of the community. Several grantees are located in Watsonville.

The grants to Santa Cruz County community non-profits focus on programs that improve access to health care, encourage healthy eating and active living, enhance mental health in the community and improve safety/security for children and families.

The grants are part of Kaiser Permanente’s Community Health program, and they range from $6,700 to $80,000. The grants are from Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz County, and Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Regional headquarters in Oakland.

“These yearly grants continue our mission of improving the health of the neighborhoods we serve,” said Irene Chavez, Senior Vice President and Area Manager of Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center, which oversees the Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz County Area. “I’m particularly pleased that 6 of the Kaiser Permanente Community Health grants here in Santa Cruz County support mental health programs, since reducing stigma about mental health conditions is a way to enhance healthy living.”

A grant to a Watsonville-based non-profit, Monarch Services Housing program, supports its efforts to improve safety for children and families facing homelessness in Santa Cruz County because of domestic violence.

“Kaiser Permanente’s grant to fund Monarch Services’ Housing program will increase our clients’ access to safe, permanent housing as well as wrap-around services that are necessary as clients rebuild their lives after experiencing domestic violence,” said Kalyne Foster Renda, Acting Executive Director of Monarch Services in Watsonville.  “Services provided will include comprehensive case management, housing navigation, rental assistance, therapeutic services, education and job training resources, childcare assistance, transportation, and legal services. Providing these vital services for our clients will greatly reduce the risk of clients living in and/or returning to abusive and unhealthy living conditions.”

Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz County expects to announce more grants to nonprofits in the coming months. Since it opened services in the community in 2017, Kaiser Permanente has awarded up to $1 Million each year to Santa Cruz County non-profits enhancing health care.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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