WHO’S IN TOWN?
For 100 years, the Agricultural Council of California has been a strong advocate of farmers’ interests in Sacramento with the goals of keeping the industry competitive and the quality of food produced in the state high. It represents more than 15,000 farmers, from small family farms to big brands. The Ag Council is celebrating its centennial over two days, starting with some Pebble Beach golf and a big party the first day and business meetings the next. Speakers include Joseph Castro, president of CSU Fresno and Chuck Conner, president of theNational Council of Farmer Cooperatives. The Ag Council is capping off its meetings with a luncheon to honor California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross.
Mon-Tue March 4-5. Portola Hotel and Monterey Conference Center, 1-2 Portola Plaza, Monterey. agcouncil.org.
As the news industry has faced unprecedented consolidation in recent years, nonprofits are making unprecedented investments to bolster local journalism. The Knight Foundation announced Feb. 19 it would invest $300 million over five years. “Without revenue, you can’t pay reporters. Without reporters, you can’t develop consistently reliable news reports about what’s happening in your town. Without that reliable news report, you can’t figure out how to run local government. It isn’t rocket science,” Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen said in a statement. Contributions includes $20 million to the American Journalism Project, which will make grants to local, nonprofit news organizations; $5 million to ProPublica, which is in its second year funding local investigative reporters through its Local Reporting Network; $5 million to Report for America, which places new reporters in local newsrooms for one year at a time. Another $10 million toReporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will help papers defray First Amendment legal expenses.
GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK
The U.S. Department of Defense is a world leader on inventive ways to tackle climate change and designing high-efficiency buildings. A new barracks at the Presidio of Monterey gets at that mission, cutting energy consumption by half thanks to advances like LED lights, added insulation and and a solar thermal heating system; water reductions happen via a grey water harvesting and treatment system. But the building goes beyond eco cred: It’s being dedicated on March 1 in memory of Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt, a Defense Language Institute alum and Medal of Valor recipient. Pyeatt died at 24 in an IED attack in Afghanistan on Feb. 5, 2011. He was born in Suffolk, England, and moved frequently in his youth with his Air Force family before joining the Marine Corps in 2007. He graduated from DLI’s Russian language program in 2009, then went on to serve with the 2nd Radio Battalion.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the homeless of Chinatown, as frigid temperatures and driving rain combined to make street life even more miserable than usual. In the past few weeks, three Chinatown residents died, although officials say it doesn’t appear that any died of exposure. Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. John Thornburg identifies the three as Adrian Salas, 49; Maria Murillo, 63; and 74-year-old Elsa Urvina. “We don’t have causes yet, we’re waiting on toxicology,” Thornburg says. Doug Dunn, a Salinas resident who volunteers in Chinatown, says he was friends with Salas (whose name, Dunn says, was Silas), and that Murillo died in her tent on the street, while Quintero died at a hospital. “These people are scared. Some are addicted and mentally ill and some are poor,” he says. “I see mothers and fathers living with their children in cars. It’s disturbing.”