The Tally 03.05.20

WHO’S IN TOWN?

You see a glass of wine, maybe you think of highbrow pairings or a fancy restaurant. Some people think of how to stop pests in the vineyard that grew the grapes that were made into that wine. Some of those people are in town this week for the Central Coast Winegrape Seminar, bringing together pest control experts for the latest on Red Blotch Disease, caused by the red blotch virus, and an update on local vineyard research projects at UC Cooperative Extension in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. The disease was first documented on Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa County in 2008. Speakers include Selena Vengcofrom Napa, entomology specialist Kent Daane from UC Berkeley, and plant pathologist Akif Eskalen from UC Davis.

1-5pm Friday, March 6. Monterey County Agricultural Center, 1432 Abbott St., Salinas. Free. 759-7350, cemonterey.ucdavis.edu.

FREE SPEECH

From the comfort of your own couch, you can watch Monterey Planning Commission or Pacific Grove City Council meetings. (Trust us – it’s actually pretty interesting TV, and we recommend it.) That’s thanks to the five community channels operated by nonprofit Access Media Productions, more commonly known as AMP Media. (It’s mostly channel 25, or online, where you’ll catch government meetings.) They also welcome members of the public to drop in (10am-5pm Mon-Fri) to learn how to use television production and podcasting gear to make your own media, and for a monthly membership fee, you can get regular access to said equipment. One new podcasting partner is Voices of Monterey Bay, which co-hosts a grand opening party for AMP’s new studio. “It’s more accessible,” AMP Executive Director Christine Winge says of the space. “For us to grow, the space needed to be bigger and taller and have more bells and whistles.” The party is 5:30-7pm Friday, March 6 at AMP’s new digs, 465 Tyler St., Monterey.

GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK

GOOD:

The city of Soledad is slated to get a shiny new park. On Feb. 28, officials announced Soledad was the only city in Monterey County to receive grant funding from the California Department of Parks and Recreation as part of an allocation of $255 million in grants, thanks to funds from voter-approved Proposition 68’sStatewide Parks Program. The state received 478 applicants for a total of $2.3 billion in funding. The selection process required three rounds of review, and Soledad is one of the lucky grantees. And a big grantee: The average award was $4.1 million. Soledad is receiving a $7.6 million grant that will go toward constructing Metz/Orchard Park. The future park will become a new community gathering space complete with an amphitheater, skate park, playground (with fencing and shade structures), picnic areas, fitness stations and a dog park.

BAD:

Grupo Flor was fast out of the gate in the world of legalized cannabis. The Salinas-based company had inroads in dispensaries, distribution networks, international partnerships and real estate, by renting out greenhouses and then subleasing those to cannabis growers. A crunch in capital markets helped bring that to a screeching halt, but so did one whopper of a lawsuit, brought by former business associate and Peninsula mogul Nader Agha. Grupo co-founder Gavin Kogan told the Weekly for a recent cover story the company would spend the rest of the year paying down debt, including an enormous legal bill for the Agha suit, but as that story went to print, new laswsuits were filed. One came from an insurance company alleging Grupo has failed to pay workers comp insurance to the tune of about $100,000, and another came from a landscape designer who filed a small-claims suit alleging non-payment as well.

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