Best Of Monterey County 2000
Thursday, March 23, 2000
Time may be running out for OOO! If she is going to recover SISCO's computer operations disc in time, she is going to need help from MoCo's hacker underground to hunt down SISCO's counter agents. As the hackers' favorite hangout during down time away from the computer, the Monterey Skate Park is the best location to secure operatives to span out across the county to locate the counter agents and retrieve the disc.
Best Place to Read the Weekly
At Homeon Any Street, Monterey County
The Weekly's fans must be a very private lot. Their favorite spots to read the county's best news and entertainment stories are their own homes and privies! True, it's useful to always have a copy around the house, whenever you need the movie schedule or the latest political happenings, but perhaps a park bench would be fun, too.
Runner-up: "My Bathroom"
Dennis the Menace/Skate ParkEl Estero Park, Monterey
It is the most daunting moment in the lives of parents. The young kids are bored and restless. They're screaming and yelling, cajoling and coercing. They want to be entertained, and they want to be entertained NOW! Fortunately, disaster can be averted with just four simple words: Dennis the Menace Park. This family-friendly playground is a great place to let the kids cut loose. They can clamber over an actual locomotive, swoop and soar on swings and slides, as they build the creative minds and strong bodies that are essential for future secret agents. Afterwards, they can enjoy a tasty treat from the killer snack bar next door. With the recent addition of the skate park, older kids now have a safe haven to congregate, roller blade and skateboard to their heart's content.
Runner-up: Garland Ranch, Carmel Valley
Best Hiking Trail
GarlandRanch Regional ParkCarmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley
This gem of a park offers many trails for all levels of outdoor interest and fitness. Bikers and equestrians can choose from several trails on the eastern and western boundaries of the park; and for hikers who like to walk with Fido, dogs are permitted on the trails off-leash so long as they are under immediate voice command. For family hiking, there are trails that skirt some lovely stretches of the Carmel River, and for the hardcore, Snively's Ridge on the top of Garland provides some spectacular, heart-pumping panoramas of Monterey Bay, Carmel Valley and Rancho San Carlos.
Runner-up: Jacks Peak, Monterey
Best Local Web Site/Internet provider
Staying in touch with the world, whether it's finding coded messages from control central or monitoring political developments in Morrocco, is an important part of Agent 000's job. She's discovered that the best place to help her keep track of the globe is redshift.com, and a quick visit to the Web site reveals why it's 000's dotcom of choice: Right there on the first page she can check weather anywhere in the world, easily walk through Redshift's portal onto the Web.
Best Teenage Hangout
Give local teens credit for rejecting shopping malls as the best place to hang out, although admittedly they're not given much encouragement to hang out there anyway. Much to the chagrin of those upright Monterey city elders, Alvarado Street is where teens like to hang. It is about as close as it gets around here to the semi-hip, urban core with its decent selection of coffeehouses, cheap eats, bookstores, movie theaters, and convenient location to the MST bus plaza; it's a good place to while away the day and much cheaper than carfare to Santa Cruz's Boardwalk.
Runner-up: Plumes, Monterey
Best Senior Hangout
Sally J. Griffin Senior Center700 Jewell Ave., Pacific Grove, 375-4454
Located on a tree-lined, ocean-view corner near Lovers Point, the Sally Griffin Center gives local elders a place to "discover who you are all over again," according to director Kimberle Herring. When Agent 000 investigated, she found the center is open weekdays from 9 to 5, with extra hours for special lectures, classes and activities. They offer yoga, art classes, lectures on personal finance, rotating art shows, and much more. As home to Meals on Wheels, the center provides hot lunches five days a week, with live music, for a suggested donation of $2.50 for seniors and $5 for non-senior guests.
Runner-up: Carmel Foundation, Carmel
Best Volunteer Organization
American Red CrossMonterey County Chapter, P.O. Box 853, Monterey/Salinas, 375-5730
Carmel Chapter, Dolores and 8th,Carmel, 624-6921
Carmel and Pajaro Rivers flooded again? The Red Cross is there, with blankets and cots. Worried about Y2K? The Red Cross put out a "to-do" list to help residents prepare. Their mission internationally is to "prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies," and in Monterey County that means providing local disaster relief, offering training classes in CPR and first aid, running blood drives and blood screenings, and providing services to military families, among other things. The county chapter has been in operation since 1898, joined by the Carmel chapter about 20 years later. Together they rely on more than 500 volunteers. That's a lot of service.
Runner-up: Meals on Wheels
Best Radio Station
KOCN, 105FMThe world moving too fast for you? Think today's hits sound more like noise than music? You aren't alone. Weekly readers went retro this year, selecting KOCN, "Oldies 105," as their top choice in radio. Need some Beatles? Listen to KOCN on "Moptop Mondays." When Agent 000 wants to take a ride with "Mustang Sally" or revisit "Mrs. Robinson" she tunes to KOCN, where yesterday's music lives today.
Runners-up: KWAV, 97FM; KPIG, 107.5FM
| Editors Pick |
Best Place to Contemplate Nature
Point Lobos State ReserveHighway 1, 3 miles south of Carmel, 624-4909
Forget the Monterey Bay Aquarium. At Point Lobos, you can commune with nature in all its authentic glory, minus the tanks and petting pools. And it's free if you park on the highway and walk in. The reserve is a world-class kayaking and diving spot (by permit), but it's a great place to walk, too. A mild hike around the perimeter takes you past sea lions, harbor seals, and everyone's favorite sea otters frolicking in the kelp forest. Walk down to one of the reserve's many beaches, and experience firsthand the wonders of the tidepool life, including colorful sea stars and anemones clinging to the sea-swept rocks. Between December and April, Point Lobos is a great place to observe passing gray whales.
For more info, check out www.ptlobos.parks.state.ca.us.
Most Influential Person in MoCo
Leon PanettaIntegrity is a commodity that's particularly hard to come by these days, particularly among the power-mad, money-hungry movers and shakers in the world of business and politics. But every once in a while, an individual comes along who does it right. Here in MoCo, that individual is Leon Panetta. The man exudes integrity, and comes across as a regular guy willing to help out with any worthwhile cause. As the titular head of the Panetta Institute, Leon has emerged as a heavyweight in the local education scene, drawing powerhouse politicians and media folk to his seminars and giving legitimacy to CSUMB as a serious institution of learning. We would hate to lose you again Leon, but Washington still beckons for politicians of your caliber.
Runner-up: Clint Eastwood
| Editors Pick |
Best Place to Get Out of the Office and Into Greenery
Laguna Grande ParkCanyon Del Rey Boulevard, Seaside
Pity the employees who toil all day in the wilds of downtown Monterey or Pacific Grove. The coziest meeting of water, walking path, and playground are found in Laguna Grande Park, just behind the huge Embassy Suites. Walking distance from many businesses in Seaside and North Monterey, the path winds around the lake, through two playgrounds, and several flocks of ducks and geese. In a lunch-hour, you can make the loop, then sit on a bench and breathe deep before returning to tackle the daily grind.
Best Local Politician
Congressman Sam Farr, (D) CarmelNow that Sam has locked up the Democratic nomination for Congress, it looks like a cake-walk for re-election in November. Clearly local folks seem to like the job Sam is doing. His record on the environmental front remains solid, and he's been a good foot soldier in the war against the radical right. But before Sam gets too confident, he may want to check out what residents had to say in the next category.
Runner-up: Leon Panetta
Best Person to Vote out of Office
Local: Congressman Sam Farr, (D) CarmelNational: President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton
They say that familiarity breeds contempt, which may explain why readers voted Sam Farr best local politician (see previous category), but would like to see him move on and get a real job for a change. As for our boy Bill, it's a different sort of familiarity--the touchy feely kind--that may account for Bill having finally worn out his welcome. Bill coulda been one of the great ones, but along with a certain intern whose name has become synonymous with a certain act, he basically blew it. You shoulda inhaled, Bubba!
Runner-up: Sandy Koffman
Best TV News
KSBW238 John St., Salinas, 649-8077
Some people in Monterey County seem to live for the evening news and Channel 8 is what they flip to at 6 and 11pm. The amiable Dan Green, cheery Erin Clark, and trusty Jim Vanderzwaan provide local news, weather, and even pet stories every weeknight. Their modern style and friendly camraderie makes the KSBW team our readers' favorite. (Fortunately for Agent 000, she was able to evade the intrepid Channel 8 news team while investigating the Silicon Valley invasion.)
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