Chorale holiday concerts

San Benito Oriana Chorale will present their Christmas season concerts on Dec. 13 at San Juan Bautista Mission (406 Second Street in San Juan Bautista) at 7:30pm; Dec. 15 at Christ Fellowship Church (2066 San Benito Street) in Hollister at 6:30pm; and Dec. 17 at Christ Fellowship Church at 3pm.  

Tickets are $20 for adults, and $15 students, and are available at Postal Graphics and at the door before each show. 

Pancake breakfast and toy drive

Join local firefighters for the annual pancake breakfast and toy drive, from 8-11am Dec. 9 at the Sacred Heart Parish School gymnasium (670 College Street in Hollister). Hollister firefighters will be collecting toys for their annual toy drive, and anyone who would like to donate is encouraged to bring a new toy. 

The breakfast includes all you can eat pancakes, sausage, eggs and beverages, as well as arts and crafts for the kids. Tickets are $10 each and are available before the event at Fire Station 1, 110 Fifth Street, during business hours. If you miss getting your ticket, they’ll also be available on the day of the event at the door.

Buddy the Elf, Santa and the Grinch will be available for photos. 

Newsom announces funding to clear highway encampments

The state is making nearly $300 million in additional grant money available for local governments to clear homeless encampments, with a focus on areas near state highways and interstate highways, and provide housing options for people who are impacted. 

About half of the “encampment resolution” money announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday will be dedicated to the effort to clear encampments on what the state refers to as rights-of-way, which are public roads, highways and interstate highways owned and maintained by Caltrans. 

The $299 million in grant money adds to the $414 million already awarded from the state’s Encampment Resolution Fund, which was established through Assembly Bill 140 in 2021 to help local jurisdictions provide more re-housing options for people living in encampments near highways.

In a statement, Newsom said clearing the encampments was motivated by safety. 

“Since day one, combatting homelessness has been a top priority. Encampments are not safe for the people living in them, or for community members around them. The state is giving locals hundreds of millions of dollars to move people into housing and clean up these persistent and dangerous encampments. And we are doing the same on state land, having removed 5,679 encampments since 2021,” Newsom said. 

Cities, counties and continuums of care are eligible to apply for the grant money through the California Interagency Council on Homelessness through next June. 

The money helps fund street outreach teams and facilitates partnerships between local governments and Caltrans to clear the encampments. 

“Through the Encampment Resolution Grants, Caltrans is working to connect people experiencing homelessness on its right-of-way to more secure and stable housing situations offered by local partners,” said Alisa Becerra, a Caltrans Deputy Division Chief.

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