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By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 08, 2024

The Douglas iris is a wildflower native to central and northern California and parts of southern Oregon. The Douglas iris is a wildflower native to central and northern California and parts of southern Oregon. Image credit: Traci Hukill

Greetings & Spring Things from Santa Cruz

(Blogpost extra: In a last-minute addition to this edition of The Newsletter, I share some thoughts on today's eclipse. See below.)

The first time I recall encountering a field of Douglas irises, which may have been at Wilder Ranch State Park just north of Santa Cruz, I looked around for the ruins of a homestead. It didn't occur to me that these could be wildflowers—I figured they had to be remnants of some long-ago-planted garden.

I grew up ten miles from Manhattan in New Jersey, which is known as the Garden State, and deserves that nickname outside the brutalized swath that is the Turnpike. But the woods that flanked the Hackensack River and surrounded the Oradell Reservoir, my childhood nature refuges, had nothing to compare with the Douglas iris. Or the California poppy. Or, to my knowledge, the Calochortus lily (see below). All of California is special in my eyes, and Santa Cruz maybe especially so.

I write as always from my beloved home in the urban forest that is Midtown Sacramento, and take you today to another of my hometowns. 

A Spring Guide, a Garden, and a Bunch of Pretty Murals

Even if you aren't planning to visit Santa Cruz this spring, you might enjoy this virtual visit. 

Natural Wonders of Santa Cruz ... Spring Renewal

When walking around this spring, keep an eye out for the stunning Calochortus lily.
The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History has some tips on what to see in the blossoming new season, from wildflowers to migrating shorebirds to humpback whales.

A Native-Plant Garden Helps Transform a Neighborhood

Felicia Van Stolk in her museum's front-yard garden.
On Hilltromper, a conversation with Felicia Van Stolk of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History about her Garden Learning Center.

Santa Cruz Murals

An online gallery of the murals of Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz County is home to amazing murals. One amazing person is working to document them in one place.

Eclipse 2024: Coincidence or Miracle?

Three pieces in the nation's two biggest newspapers on Sunday investigated the eclipse, the emotion we call "awe," and the meaning of the universe.

The Universe Winks

A  total solar eclipse can offer a rare opportunity to see stars and planets during the day.
There is no scientific explanation for the conditions that make an eclipse inevitable. It’s a coincidence. Or a miracle.

Impact Report Image for decorative use

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Our overview page for San Joaquin County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
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Chest of Hope logo Chest of Hope

Created in 2005 by friends and volunteers, Chest of Hope raises funds to support women and orphans who are suffering from domestic violence.

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From Our Media Allies

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Local News Matters Stockton logo Sanchez Resigns Charter Review Commission Prior to Stockton Council Vote to Remove Him

A DAY BEFORE a vote by the Stockton City Council regarding his tenure on the Charter Review Advisory Commission, Motecuzoma Sanchez announced his decision to resign from the post.

Local News Matters Stockton logo 38th San Joaquin Asparagus Festival: 3 Days of Fun, Food, Festivities Returning to Stockton

The 38th San Joaquin Asparagus Festival will be returning to Stockton this month for three days.

Local News Matters Stockton logo Stockton Downtown to Get ‘Complete Streets’ Makeover; Two Public Meetings Scheduled

The city of Stockton on Wednesday will host the first of two open house meetings for the community to discuss planned safety improvements on two streets.

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Recent Local News

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• Lodi Votes on EV Charge Fees

The Lodi City County voted to add hourly fees for use of city-owned EV charge stations beginning June 1.

(04/06/2024) → LodiNews

• Tracy Senior Housing Project Approved

In a unanimous vote in their April 2 meeting, the Tracy City Council approved a very-low-income 110-unit senior housing project at 301 West Street.

(04/05/2024) → Tracy Press

• San Joaquin County Appoints Interim Administrator

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors appointed Sandy Regalo as interim County Administrator.

(04/05/2024) → Tracy Press

• Lodi High Considers Schedule Change

Lodi High is considering a schedule change from 6 to 7 periods with students attending six classes on Wednesdays and four on the other days.

(04/04/2024) → LodiNews

• Jordan Giannoni to Represent Area 5 in San Joaquin County Board of Education

First time candidate and Lodi native Jordan Giannoni will put her Doctorate in Education from John Hopkins University to use representing her area on the school board.

(04/04/2024) → LodiNews

• Manteca Fire Department Covers Ripon

Manteca Fire responded to 168 fires in Ripon, providing coverage in cases when the single available fire engine and team were engaged.

(04/03/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• New Homeless Shelter to Open in Stockton

The Pathways Project homeless shelter is set to open in the fall to provide services to the city's estimated 900 homeless.

(04/03/2024) → Escalon Times

• San Joaquin Count March 5 Election Certified

The San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters certified the March 5 Election and reported 128,492 ballots cast and a voter of 34.9%.

(04/03/2024) → LodiNews

• California Snowpack Above Average for a Second Year

The California Department of Water Resources announced the water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack at 110% of the April 1 average.

(04/02/2024) → CapPublicRadio

• New Freight Terminal Construction Begins

Cheema Freightlines has commenced construction of a new terminal and shop at 16200 McKinley Avenue in Lathrop.

(04/02/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• Homeless Dorms to Open in Manteca

Manteca is opening two new portable dormitory units of 50 beds each at the homeless emergency services center at 555 Industrial Park Drive.

(04/02/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• Ripon Consolidated Fire District Underfunded

Ripon Consolidated Fire District is seeking a parcel tax increase to fund the hiring of six firefighters.

(04/01/2024) → Manteca Bulletin

• Sanchez Resigns From Commission

Controversial 209 Times website publisher Motecuzoma Sanchez resigned from the Charter Review Advisory Commission a day before a vote to remove him.

(04/01/2024) → Stocktonia

• Interim San Joaquin County Administrator Appointed

Following the termination of the contract of the previous county administrator, Jerome Wilverding, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors appointed Sandra Regalo to fill the role in the interim.

(04/01/2024) → Stocktonia
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Recent Statewide News

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• California Fails to Adequately Help Blind and Deaf Prisoners, US Judge Rules

Thirty years after prisoners with disabilities sued the state of California and 25 years after a federal court first ordered accommodations, a judge found that state prison and parole officials still are not doing enough to help deaf and blind prisoners.

(04/08/2024) → California Healthline

• Business Groups and Lawmakers Battle Over Ballot Measure to Limit California Tax Increases

Anti-tax groups in California have qualified a measure for the November ballot that would make raising state and local taxes much more difficult. It’s a showdown that’s been building for nearly five decades.

(04/08/2024) → CalMatters

• Opinion: I've Covered California's Homeless Since Before the Word Was Used. This Is What I Learned

I thought my journalism and others’ could change policy, perhaps even inspire a New Deal-style response equal to the challenge. Such was my naiveté.

(04/06/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• These Californians Just Got Protection From Big Rent Hikes

Tenants in many new privately owned, low-income units will be protected from double-digit increases. So will some in existing units, after a state committee on affordable housing imposed a rent cap.

(04/05/2024) → CalMatters

• CA Budget Deal Gets Early Start on Deficit

Not filling open positions in state government, cutting a school facilities program and several climate initiatives, delaying funding for public transit — these are some of the first steps that California officials plan to take to deal with a looming multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

(04/05/2024) → CalMatters

• Bill to Mandate ‘Science of Reading’ in California Schools Faces Teachers Union Opposition

The move puts the fate of AB 2222 in question, but supporters insist that there is room to negotiate changes that can help tackle the state's literacy crisis.

(04/04/2024) → EdSource

• Photographers Capture Spectacular Streaking Lights of Southern California

It quickly became clear that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was responsible for the show. The lights were a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 new Starlink satellites into orbit. The rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 7:30 p.m., and it’s trail was visible from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park.

(04/02/2024) → SF Gate
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (04/05/2024)

Global Mix, Inc Recalls Tejocote Products Because of Possible Health Risk

Global Mix, Inc. of New York, is recalling tejocote products to include the following brands: Eva Nutrition, Science of Alpha, Niwali, NWL Nutra. The recalled products are labeled as tejocote root but are toxic yellow oleander. Ingestion of yellow oleander can cause neurologic, gastrointestinal, an
Image of City of Lodi seal. City of Lodi   (04/04/2024)

Basics of Budgeting

Curious about how the City budget works? You can learn more from this "Basics of Budgeting" presentation.
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/02/2024)

World Green Nutrition, Inc. Announces Expansion of Recall of Tejocote Products Due to the Presence of Yellow Oleander

World Green Nutrition, Inc is announcing the expansion of their January 12, 2024 recall to include GREEN ELV NUTRITION brand Elv Control Herbal Supplement 90 capsules, due to the presence of yellow oleander. These additional products have been found via random FDA testing to contain yellow oleander,
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/02/2024)

Abdallah Candies Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almond in Abdallahs 8 oz. Sea Salt Almond Alligators

Abdallah Candies of Apple Valley, MN is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of Abdallah Candies 8 oz. sea salt almond alligators. The products have a chocolate covered cherries label with code 0315 on the bottom of the box. The boxes do contain sea salt almond alligators but have an incorrect i
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/29/2024)

Lidl Voluntarily Recalls Deluxe Branded Macarons Party Edition Due to Undeclared Allergens

Lidl US has announced a voluntary recall of Deluxe branded Macarons Party Edition due to undeclared allergens. The recall was issued due to undeclared wheat, soy, egg, milk, and tree nuts (almonds, pistachios, and coconut) in the products as a result of non-English ingredient labeling. People who ha
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/29/2024)

Tropicale Foods Recalls Helados Mexico Mini Cream Variety Pack Because of Possible Health Risk

Tropicale Foods of Modesto, CA is voluntarily recalling 5,224 units of Helados Mexico Mini Cream Variety Pack with best by date of "MO Best By 10/11/2025", because the mango bars in the variety pack have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and someti
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/28/2024)

Shawnee Milling Company Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk and Egg in "5lb. Food Club All Purpose Flour"

Shawnee Milling Company of Shawnee, Oklahoma is recalling 5 lb.Food Club brand All Purpose Flour with Best if Used by date 03/07/2025, because it may contain undeclared milk and egg. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs or milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/27/2024)

Geisslers Supermarket Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Egg, Wheat, and Milk in Sushi Product

Geisslers Supermarket Inc. of East Windsor CT has issued a recall of all Sushi products produced by EZnoble Sushi for Geisslers Supermarket Inc. produced or purchased on 3/26/2024, and 3/27/2024, with a sell by date of 3/27/2024, and 3/28/2024. They may contain undeclared egg, wheat and milk. Custom
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/21/2024)

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Ineligible Frozen Siluriformes Products Imported from the People's Republic of China

WASHINGTON, March. 21, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for imported frozen Siluriformes products that were illegally...
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/16/2024)

Wenders LLC Recalls Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews Because of Possible Health Risk

Wenders LLC of Dublin, CA is recalling specific production lots of Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews - (SKU Number - 37884) Lot# T12139, T12140, T12141, and T12142 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious