Calendar & Briefs: MLK, fracking events in county

Children from a church – ranging in age from toddler to young teen – performed as 'folklorico' dancers  who focus on traditional Latin American dances last year on Martin Luther King Day.

The fifth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast is set for 9 a.m. Monday at San Juan Oaks Golf Club.
Local MLK event
The fifth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast is set for 9 a.m. Monday at San Juan Oaks Golf Club. There will be an array of keynote speakers in the program including Assemblyman Luis Alejo. There will be community awards and a silent auction, along with performances by Bethany Youth Empowerment. For ticket information, call Elvira Robinson at (831) 801-5530. The price is $35.
Chamber awards dinner
The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau announced details on this year’s annual awards dinner where the organization will honor a man, woman, business and ambassador of the year. The 94th annual awards dinner is set for 6 p.m. on Jan. 24 at San Juan Oaks Golf Club and has a theme, “The Stars of San Benito County.” The evening starts with a champagne reception and includes some “changes and surprises,” according to a chamber announcement.
HDA quarterly breakfast
Pacific, Gas & Electric is sponsoring the Hollister Downtown Association’s winter Quarterly Breakfast on Jan. 28. Take the PG&E Home Energy Checkup by answering a few simple questions, and discover how to save energy dollars, according to the HDA. Breakfast will also include a guest speaker, Kathy Z. Johnson, director of the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Foundation. She will be sharing recent activity with the foundation and how it works with the hospital to meet the healthcare needs of the community. Be sure to RSVP and send a payment of $15.
‘California Crossroads’
A touring event to promote opposition to fracking and to encourage an end to using fossil fuels is set to make a stop in San Juan Bautista. The March for Real Climate Leadership event is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building at 58 Monterey St.
Ranch dance
The Sacred Heart Parish School Ranch Dance and Auction is Jan. 31 from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Bolado Park Pavilion. This event will have the Brigantino’s tri-tip BBQ, full no-host bar, local wines, cold beer and sweet snacks. Enjoy music by Soul Kiss as you dance the night away. For more information about the event and tickets, please go to sacredheartschool.org.
County fair expanding to a four-day event
The San Benito County Fair is expanding from three days to four days starting this year, according to an announcement from the 33rd Agricultural District. It will run from Oct. 1, a Thursday, through Oct. 4, a Sunday. The fair also announced the theme for the 2015 fair of “Cowboy Boots & Local Roots” as the idea provided by Hollister resident Jennifer Morris as part of the fair’s theme-naming contest held on Facebook. Morris will win free entrance and parking through the run of the fair. According to the announcement: Planning is well under way for all aspects of the 2015 San Benito County Fair, and fair CEO Donnette Carter noted that many volunteer opportunities are available. Individuals may select to serve on one of the many fair committees, or sign-up to assist during the fair itself. Volunteer roles are plentiful and vary based on the interest of the individuals and the functions of the fair.  Year-round volunteers are also welcome to work in the office or on the grounds at Bolado Park Event Center, home of the San Benito County Fair.  For more information, please contact Carter at the fair office, (831) 628-3421.
Women’s Club scholarships available
The Women’s Club of Hollister Scholarship Awards Program applications are available to young women who are active in community service, academic leadership and activities selected by graduating high school senior females. Seniors with a 4.0 GPA are encouraged to complete the application available at their school, regardless of household size or financial status.  Each year $2,000 is awarded from the club and applications are due to be returned completed to their local schools by Feb. 6th.  For schools located outside San Benito County, please have the application returned by mail by Feb. 6.
Alejo lauds the governor’s budget
Assemblyman Luis Alejo lauded the governor’s budget plan in a statement released Friday, particularly $57.1 million toward implementation of the legislator’s bill allowing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday proposed a $113.3 billion budget plan. The following is the statement from Alejo, D-Salinas.“California’s budget outlook has improved significantly since Governor Brown has returned to office and I’m glad to say that his budget proposal for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year is one that is pragmatic and reasonable.”
Homeless census volunteers needed
The San Benito County 2015 Homeless Census is looking for 25 to 40 volunteers to create a point-in-time count of people living outdoors in January as part of a nationwide effort to quantify homelessness.Volunteers will join a homeless guide to walk the county from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Jan. 28 and will add local numbers to other counts occurring at the same time across the nation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires this point-in-time count during the last 10 days of January every two years. The census is important because it increases communities’ understandings of homelessness, helps retain and improve funding for services, and creates data that informs future program and policy planning.
The training for volunteers will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 19 in room 203 at the Veterans Memorial Building at 649 San Benito St. in Hollister. A virtual training is available upon request. For details, email [email protected] Volunteers are expected to have a car and cell phone. They should also be able to walk two to three miles. Community members interested in volunteering should go to surveymonkey.com/s/SanBenito2015VolunteerRegistration.
Public health warning on peak flu season
The San Benito County Public Health Department issued a reminder to residents about the upcoming peak to the flu season. According to the announcement: Anju Goel, health officer for San Benito County, says that while we are seeing an increase in flu activity in our area, it is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. So far this season, influenza A H3N2 viruses have been most common. These strains have had the highest seasonal mortality levels of the past decade. Roughly half of the season’s H3N2 viruses that have been analyzed are ‘drifted’, which means they have some differences from the H3N2 virus included in this season’s vaccine. Depending on the formulation, flu vaccines protect against three or four different flu viruses. Even during a season when the vaccine is only partially protective against one flu virus, it can protect against the others. Influenza activity in San Benito County appears to be increasing and, although Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has had no admissions due to complications from the flu, local providers are seeing more patients with flu symptoms in their practices. Dr. Goel also notes that in addition to getting vaccinated, frequent hand washing and other healthy habits are critical to prevent illness. People who are ill should take actions to stop the spread of germs such as:
• While sick, limit contact with others
• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months of age or older, but is particularly important for those at higher risk of severe influenza, including pregnant women, children under five years of age, the elderly, and persons with certain underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, and heart disease.  For more information about related services, call public health at (831) 637-5367. Also, visit www.flu.gov for additional information about staying well during this influenza season.

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