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By Chris Neklason
Published Jul 01, 2024

Um, how much for the fire extinguisher? Um, how much for the fire extinguisher? Image credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr   Creative Commons 2.0

Staying Safe and Sane

Back when I was a young kid growing up in sixties era Redwood City, the Fourth of July was a big deal because I loved fireworks. 

As the day approached, I'd gaze at the colorful newspaper ads and brochures, and consider which of the different assortment packs my brothers and I would wheedle and plead our father into buying.

The fireworks sold from stands in parking lots back then all came from the Red Devil fireworks company. 

A favorite was the Piccolo Pete, a thin cardboard tube with a portruding fuse and a little plastic stand that was placed upright on the ground. I'd light the fuse and then run back a few yards and a bright vertical geyser of sparks would erupt with a loud piercing whistling noise.

Another favorite was pinwheels, round cardboard discs with a little rocket on the outer edge. Our father would nail one to a telephone pole and light the fuse and the wheel would spin furiously, propelled by the sparks from the blazing rocket in a flaming circle.

Like many industries, the fireworks business has consolidated and Red Devil was acquired by TNT Fireworks in 1989.  TNT has come a long way since it began in 1920 when Clyde Anderson started selling fireworks from his newsstand in Florence, Alabama.  

My perspective on fireworks, though,  has been altered over the years by being a land owner and a pet owner.  

The booms, bangs and whisling shrieks are distressing to many pets, and the houses and acres ignited by celebratory revelers keep fire departments across the state busy for days and days.

This Fourth of July marks the 248th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and we at California Local wish you (and your pets!) a safe and sane holiday. 


An App For That

This issue of The Newsletter continues our focus on fire season as the Flash/Bolt and Basin fires burning in Fresno County have thus far consumed a combined 22,000 acres. The fires grew very rapidly, and evacuation orders have been issued for several affected areas.  Folks didn't get a lot of notice to get up and go.

The need to know "what is happening near me right now" has become more pressing as fires increase in frequency and intensity.

Our featured story is about how a resident of northern California turned their experience from the awful summer fires of 2020 into One Good Thing.


Volunteers Keeping Watch Over California

Where there's smoke, there's fire. Watch Duty has all the details in one place.
The Watch Duty team monitors a variety of real-time information resources and compiles all the information in one place.


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San Benito County's Homepage

Direct your browser to https://sanbenito.californialocal.com/ to catch up on the latest news in California and San Benito County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!


Fire Season is Mosquito Season is West Nile Season

More than an itch-inducing nuisance, the mosquito is the world's deadliest animal.

Mosquito season is already underway after a wet winter and spring, and testing has confirmed West Nile virus present in Sacramento, Yolo and San Joaquin Counties.

Learn more about West Nile and the efforts to control mosquito populations in the articles below.


West Nile Virus Survivor Offers a Warning and a Plea

In the years since she recovered from a severe illness brought on by West Nile Virus, Marie Heilman has helped spread the word about the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District's "Fight the Bite" campaign.
Marie Heilman of Winters, who is happy to be alive, wants people to guard against mosquitoes and the deadly virus they carry.

Taking a Bite Out of the Mosquito Population

Mosquitos kill about 725,000 people every year, worldwide.
The pesky mosquito can be deadly as well as annoying. Here’s how local governments in California have been waging war on mosquitoes for more than a century.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Summer! cookbook.


Pop apricots on the grill for this flavorful summer salad

Grilled apricots are the star of this early summer salad.
New! Grilled apricot and feta salad with balsamic vinaigrette


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Get to Know a Group

San Benito County Historical Society logo San Benito County Historical Society

Since 1957, the Historical Society has devoted itself to collecting and preserving materials pertaining to the San Benito County of yesteryear.

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From Our Media Allies

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Benito Link logo High School District Approves for Ballot Two Companion Bonds to Fund Another Campus

The San Benito High School District Board of Trustees on June 25 approved for the general election ballot two $70 million companion bonds which, if passed, would finance the construction of an additional high school in Hollister.

SanBenitocom logo Supervisors Reverse Own Vote on Land Use Measure

In a controversial move, the San Benito County Board of Supervisors on June 25 rescinded its previous vote to put a slow growth initiative on the November ballot.

Gilroy Dispatch logo Police Will Enforce Downtown Gilroy Parking Limits

With two of downtown Gilroy’s largest parking lots closed to vehicles due to construction on Gourmet Alley and nearby street spaces filling up quickly every day, city officials will soon begin more strictly enforcing the neighborhood’s parking limits.

Gilroy Dispatch logo Gilroy Dedicates Donald ‘Elvis’ Prieto Park

The City of Gilroy celebrated two milestones for its newest downtown popup park in the past week.

Benito Link logo Hollister Council Terminates 2 Fire Service Contracts

In a 4-1 vote the Hollister City Council on June 18 agreed to terminate the city’s fire services contracts with San Benito County and San Juan Bautista. According to council members, this is a move to raise the fees it …

Benito Link logo Community Foundation for San Benito County CEO Steps Down

Gary Byrne has been leading the organization for 22 years.

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Recent Statewide News

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• Does a Proposed $10 Billion Bond Favor Richer California School Districts?

Small and low-income school officials say the bond measure deal is unfair. The money is allocated through matching grants, so wealthier districts that can raise more local funds will get more money from the state.

(07/01/2024) → CalMatters

• SCOTUS Rules Cities Can Ban Homeless Camps

The Supreme Court 6-3 ruling in the City of Grants Pass v. Johnson case found that the fining and arresting of homeless people does not violate Eighth Amendment rights.

(06/28/2024) → The Sacramento Bee

• Supreme Court Gives Cities in California and Beyond More Power to Crack Down on Homeless Camps

The ruling by the conservative court majority means cities no longer are prohibited from punishing homeless people for camping if they have nowhere else to go.

(06/28/2024) → CalMatters

• ‘Total System Breakdown’: California Firefighters With PTSD Face a Workers’ Comp Nightmare

Even when suicidal, California firefighters struggle to find medical help and navigate the workers’ comp morass to pay for it.

(06/25/2024) → CalMatters

• Drinking Water of Almost a Million Californians Failed to Meet State Requirements

Almost 400 suppliers, two-thirds in communities of color, don’t meet safety and reliability standards. Fixing them would cost billions.

(06/25/2024) → CalMatters

• California’s Debate Over Coastal Zone Reforms Has Created a False Choice Between Homes and Protections

A push to bolster housing production in California's coastal communities in recent years has led to heated battles over potential state reforms. Below, a veteran elected official believes the debate has created a false choice between housing and protections. The opposing view: A former attorney for the Coastal Commission says the state Coastal Act has failed to deliver on what it envisioned.

(06/25/2024) → CalMatters
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (06/30/2024)

Michael Foods Inc. Recalls Fair Meadow Foundations Liquid Egg Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2024 - M.G. Waldbaum dba Michael Foods Inc., a Gaylord, Minn. establishment, is recalling approximately 4,620 pounds of liquid egg products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens...
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/28/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Supports Legislation Providing Youth a Safe Space in Education

Addis Supports Legislation Providing Youth a Safe Space in Education sanchema Fri, 06/28/2024 - 08:58 Friday, June 28, 2024
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/27/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis on SAFETY Act & Protecting LGBTQ+ Students

Addis on SAFETY Act & Protecting LGBTQ+ Students sanchema Thu, 06/27/2024 - 12:34 Thursday, June 27, 2024 SACRAMENTO Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) released the followed statement on AB 1955 (Ward), the Support Academic Futures & Educators for Today's Youth Act (SAFETY Act): "I proudly support AB 1955, the SAFETY Act, a California LGBTQ Caucus Priority Bill. Let me clear- …
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/24/2024)

Totally Cool, Inc., Recalls All Ice Cream Products Because of Possible Health Risk

Totally Cool, Inc. of Owings Mills, Maryland is recalling multiple brands of ice cream products, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others w
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/24/2024)

Wildly Beloved Foods is Recalling Orzo (Vegan) Dried and Campbell (Vegan) Dried Due to Potential Mold

June 24, 2024, Wildly Beloved Foods of Clinton, Washington is recalling approximately 30 packages of Orzo (vegan) Dried and 30 packages of Campanelle (vegan) Dried, 10 oz, due to potential mold growth contamination. The recalled Orzo (vegan) Dried, 10oz were distributed through Payless Foods, The
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/24/2024)

DSD Merchandisers, LLC Announces Voluntary Recall of Deluxe Roasted & Salted Mixed Nuts Due to Undeclared Peanut

DSD Merchandisers, LLC is voluntarily recalling UPC 6-51433-99651-6 Deluxe Roasted & Salted Mixed Nuts, Sell by: 10/09/24, due to the presence of undeclared peanut. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to specific type of allergen peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening aller
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/21/2024)

Vitakraft Sun Seed Recall of Sun Seed Vita Prima Hedgehog Food Due to Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Vitakraft Sun Seed Inc. of Weston, OH, is voluntarily recalling one lot of Sun Seed Vita Prima Hedgehog Food because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is also a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products,
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/20/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Attends Juneteenth Celebration and Recognizes One of District 30's Women of the Year

Addis Attends Juneteenth Celebration and Recognizes One of District 30's Women of the Year sanchema Thu, 06/20/2024 - 08:46 Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/20/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Hosts Juneteenth Celebration and Proudly Recognizes District Women of the Year

Addis Hosts Juneteenth Celebration and Proudly Recognizes District Women of the Year sanchema Thu, 06/20/2024 - 08:46 Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/19/2024)

Dawn Addis CA Assembly 30:
Addis Joins Community for 5th Annual Juneteenth Jubilee in Seaside

Addis Joins Community for 5th Annual Juneteenth Jubilee in Seaside piperch Wed, 06/19/2024 - 15:56 Title Chief of Staff Email julie.cravotto@asm.ca.gov Phone 916-319-2030 Wednesday, June 19, 2024 SEASIDE, CA Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) joined community members and leaders over the weekend for the 5th Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration, hosted by the Monterey County Black Caucus. The event commemorated the …