Help address literacy challenges at Jan. 25 summit

Local education officials and experts will host a literacy summit in San Benito County next week in order to address the achievement gap in reading and language arts education among local students.

The SBCOE Literacy Summit: Unlocking a Reader’s Journey, hosted by Navigator Schools and the San Benito County Office of Education, will take place 4:30-7pm Jan. 25 at the Veterans Memorial Building in Hollister.

According to an event announcement from Navigator Schools, three out of four students in San Benito County schools are not meeting English language arts proficiency standards. Leaders and experts at the Jan. 25 summit will help unpack the challenges of improving literacy, the solutions being explored locally and how others can help. 

The summit will include lively conversations about literacy in the community, recognition of awardees who have made significant contributions to advancing literacy, and a dinner fostering community engagement. 

Roundtable discussions will be led by Dr. Caprice Young, CEO/Superintendent of Navigator Schools; Gabriela Roldan, Communications Manager of Navigator Schools; and Norma Knox, Principal of Hollister Prep School, a Navigator School. 

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Kate Kinsella, teacher, educator and international speaker. Facilitators of the summit include Keith Thorbahn, Assistant Superintendent Educational Services; Mai Opeña-Cruz, Director of Curriculum and Instruction/Equity and Access; and Tony  

The Jan. 25 event is free and open to the public. The Veterans Memorial Building is located at 649 San Benito Street in Hollister. 

Seismic retrofit grants available for homeowners 

Thousands of California homeowners are now eligible to apply for Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) seismic retrofit grants as approximately 300 new ZIP codes have been added to the program, including Hollister and San Juan Bautista.

Through Feb. 21, eligible homeowners can apply for $3,000 seismic retrofit grants to help strengthen their homes against earthquake damage. 

More than $20 million in grant funding will be available to help offset the cost of seismic retrofits that brace the crawl space walls of older homes, when present, and bolt houses to their foundations, making them less vulnerable to earthquake damage. 

The EBB grant program is administered by the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) a Joint Powers Authority between the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). 

“California has an ever-present risk of earthquakes and no one knows when or where the next Big One might hit. But we know older homes near faults are at greater risk if they haven’t been strengthened with a seismic retrofit,” said Janiele Maffei, the chief mitigation officer of CEA and executive director of CRMP. “By expanding to 815 ZIP codes, we’re broadening our reach to help more homeowners safeguard their families and properties. I strongly encourage homeowners to seize this opportunity and join the growing community of Californians who’ve taken this vital step towards resilience.” 

Income-eligible homeowners may also qualify for supplemental grants. Up to $7,000 in additional grant funds are available for households with an annual income at or below $87,360, which may be able to provide up to 100% of the funds needed to cover a seismic retrofit. Grants are contingent upon meeting eligibility requirements and available funds.

Eligible homeowners can apply for a retrofit grant at

Stroke support group meets monthly

The Getting Up and Moving Forward Stroke Support Group meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Gilroy Library, 350 West Sixth St., at 1pm.

Stroke survivors Steve Salazar and Rich Yamashita created this support group to provide a safe space for those who have experienced a stroke or brain-related injury.

The group, serving the South County and San Benito County communities, is led by local licensed physical therapist Lilly Weissinger, who moderates, offers advice and answers questions.

For information, contact Yamashita at [email protected].

Sierra Lab reports more than nine inches of snow

UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab reported Jan. 14 they received 9.6 inches of snow since Saturday morning. 

The National Weather Service said the North Bay received the most rain in the Bay Area this weekend, with up to 5.5 inches around Mount Tamalpais over a 48-hour period.  

Oakland received 1.36 inches, San Francisco received 1.15 inches and Antioch received .36 inches. Totals were lower in the Southbay, with San Jose receiving .21 inches, though Santa Cruz received up to 2.11 inches. 

The NWS reported “light rain” would return Jan. 16 into Wednesday morning. 

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