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Local Scene: County spelling bee winners; Garden Club plant sales

Calendar and Briefs

Local winners qualify for state bee

Four local students will advance to the State Spelling Bee on May 14, following their successful performance in the San Benito County competition.

The San Benito County spelling bee returned to local schools on March 22, following a one-year hiatus due to Covid-19. Students in grades 4-6 compete in the elementary division, while those in grades 7-9 are in the middle school division, says a press release from the county Office of Education.

The top two winners in each division qualify for the state bee, which will be held in Stockton.

This year’s winners in the San Benito County Spelling Bee are:

– Elementary Division: 1st place: Ayden Doerr, 4th grade, Rancho Santana; 2nd place: Rodel Costales, 6th grade, Ladd Lane; 3rd place: Noelle Wentzell, 5th grade, AAA.

– Middle School Division: 1st place: Alex Lozano, 8th grade, Rancho Santana; 2nd place, Zachary Lozano, 7th grade, Rancho Santana; 3rd place: Amanda Costales, 8th grade, Rancho Santana.

Garden club holding plant sales

The South Valley Fleurs Garden Club is holding its annual plant and craft sales in Morgan Hill and Hollister.

The sales will be held April 16 from 9am to 2pm at Grace Hill Church, 16970 Dewitt St. in Morgan Hill, and April 23 from 9am to 2pm at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 649 San Benito St. in Hollister.

The nonprofit organization gives grants to schools for gardens and plantings done by the students. It also maintains the downtown planters and butterfly garden in Morgan Hill, gardens at the Senior Center and VFW Hall in Gilroy, and a fire-safe garden in Hollister.

Arts Council seeks qualifications for underpass art project

The San Benito County Arts Council seeks California-based artists or artist teams to submit their qualifications to create and install a large-scale mural, and other artistic elements, at the Washington Street Underpass in San Juan Bautista. 

This project is part of a State Highway Beautification Project, sponsored by the California Department of Transportation and the Clean California Program.

Launched by Gov. Gavin Newsom as part of his California Comeback Plan, Clean California is investing $1.1 billion for state and local governments to clean up trash and debris statewide, beautify community gateways and public areas along highways, streets and roads, and to provide jobs to thousands of Californians.

A Clean California Beautification Project at the Highway 156 and Washington Street underpass in San Juan Bautista is currently underway and is seeking artists for the installation of new public art. Washington Street is a low-volume vehicle corridor, and a pedestrian and bicycle route which links downtown San Juan Bautista with adjacent neighborhoods and a future planned community park.

The San Benito County Arts Council, together with Caltrans and the City of San Juan Bautista, is administering a Call for Artists and/or Artist Team to submit their qualifications to create and install a mural on the exterior façade and interior vertical walls of the underpass, as well as additional 2D or 3D site-specific elements which are integrated with the theme and style of the mural.

The total budget for this project is $160,000 and is funded through Clean California.

All applications must be submitted online by April 29 at

For information, visit or contact Executive Director Jennifer Laine at 831.636.2787 or

Basketball camps return

Registration is now open for Basketball Jones Hoop Camps, taking place June 13-17 at Maze Middle School.

Designed for boys and girls ages 6-15, Basketball Jones Hoop Camps include a combination of body conditioning, mental strength exercises, fundamental training, skills contests, team-building activities, competitive games, guest speakers, and theatrical skits with coaches. 

Basketball Jones Hoop Camps is a division of the Live Like Geno Foundation, whose mission is to inspire “Passion Purpose and Positivity” into the lives of community youth. All proceeds raised from the camps go toward awarding college scholarships and renovating public basketball courts.

Price for the camp is $280. Space is limited to 200 campers per location. For information, visit