Daily news from Monterey County Weekly

ETC. Photo of the day by Daniel Dreifuss. Firefighters extinguish the flames that spread through a house and to a canyon following a plane crash in the Monterra residential development off of Highway 68 on July 13. Submit your best horizontal photos. (Please include the location where the photo was taken in the caption.)

How a Seaside church is working to keep parishioners safe.

Good afternoon. 

Pam Marino here, thinking about how checking into Greater Victory Temple in Seaside reminded me of checking into my dentist during the pandemic.

As I wandered into the building looking for Pastor Ronald Britt on July 2, I was stopped by a woman who told me to go back and sign in. I had cluelessly walked by the Covid-19 check-in station by the door, which included the sign-in sheets for contract tracing purposes and a temperature check gadget affixed to the wall. I dutifully filled out the sheet and stood for my temperature check under her watchful eye.

The woman turned out to be Britt’s wife and the church’s first lady, Angelia Britt. She’s a retired registered nurse and former director of nursing services at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad. Her “retirement” consists of a full-time job coordinating various programs at activities at the church, including the volunteer nursing unit.

When the pandemic came to Monterey County in March last year, Angelia sprung into action with her husband and volunteers, setting up rigorous rules and sanitation measures.

“Our main goal here at the church is to make sure everyone is safe. We have an older population,” she says. Everyone must wear a mask. The church purchased an air purification system and sanitizing mist equipment.

When Pastor Britt, Angelia and I sat down for an interview about the faith community’s pandemic efforts, Angelia wasn’t sure we should remove our masks at first. The Delta variant was gaining a foothold and she was worried about it, but she agreed when I assured her I was fully vaccinated.

“If it was up to me it would be closed,” Angelia says of the church, laughing. Her husband smiled and leaned in, joking with both of us, “Yes, put that in, if it was up to my wife, the first lady of the church, I wouldn’t be coming up here having church. But I had to overrule some things.” At the beginning of the pandemic services were held virtually with essential staff only inside the sanctuary. Today, a limited number of parishioners are allowed on Sunday mornings.

Pastor Ronald Britt and his wife, First Lady Angelia Britt. Photographed by Daniel Dreifuss.

There’s a reason the couple are concerned about Covid. Their denomination, the Church of God in Christ, has been hard hit by the virus losing many leaders along the way, Pastor Britt says. The large Pentecostal denomination based in Memphis, Tennessee, is predominantly African American, according to its website. During the pandemic, Black Americans have been three times more likely to be hospitalized than whites and two times more likely to die from Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

So the Greater Victory Temple has been active—early on they purchased 15,000 masks early on to distribute to the community and they’ve hosted testing and vaccination clinics. The church at 1620 Broadway Ave. is currently home to the state-sponsored testing site. (See the county’s testing web page for hours.)

With the Delta variant in play, the Britts are taking no chances. They say the church will continue to work to keep people both in the congregation and in the community at large safe. 

Even beyond the pandemic, some safety measures they started in the church will remain, Pastor Britt says, including the plexiglass shields installed in front of the pulpit and choir areas to block aerosolized particles from speakers and singers from traveling directly toward the congregation to help prevent colds, the flu and other infectious diseases. “That’s going to remain until Jesus comes,” he says. “This pandemic taught us a lot.”

-Pam Marino, staff writer, pam@mcweekly.com

BY THE NUMBERS

Numbers from the Monterey County Health Department, updated on July 12, show that 67 percent of county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.

LATEST LOCAL NEWS

A small plane crashes into a home outside Monterey Regional Airport off of Highway 68. The crash started a fire in the Monterra residence, which also spread into the canyon.

Linda Martin-Hellyer uses photography to remember her late husband—and heal her grief. After Philip Hellyer died in July 2020, Linda set off on an ambitious project to take and share photos, every day, for 365 days.

MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest takes to the track at Laguna Seca. See photos from the weekend event.

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LOCAL INSPIRATION

LOCAL INSPIRATION of the day. From Monterey to Hawaii in 43 days. The British Endurance Limits team, four guys who set off to row unsupported from Monterey to Hawaii on May 31, have arrived in Oahu. The whole journey took 43 days. Here, the team rows through the Monterey Harbor on May 26, shortly before setting off. Photographed by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier. Submit your Local Inspiration (digital art, music, multimedia, video, etc.; please include the medium you’ve used, and note when and where it was created).

Looking to get out and move? Toro Park has something for everyone—from trails to grassy lawns and picnic areas.

Marina City Council meets to approve a budget. Join the discussion tonight, Tuesday July 13, at 6pm.

Her Drive collects bras, hygiene items and more for people in need. And two Pacific Grove High seniors are organizing a local edition of the drive. Donated items (including new and gently used bras, personal hygiene products, etc.) can be dropped off at Captain and Stoker in Monterey or Starbucks at 865 Lighthouse Ave., with more locations coming. Items collected will then be donated to Community Human Services, Community Partnership for Youth, YWCA Domestic Violence Safe House, H.o.m.e. Resource Center and Al & Friends.

BEST OF MONTEREY BAY® REAL ESTATE

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IN CONTEXT

How to manufacture a moral panic. Where does the uproar on the right about critical race theory come from? Largely from the deliberate dissemination of myths masquerading as facts. 
-New York Magazine, July 11, 2021

Lego’s quest for the perfect recycled plastic brick. Each year, Lego turns 100,000 metric tons of plastic into 110 billion bricks, and most of it isn’t recyclable. But that’s changing.
-Wired, July 11, 2021

PLEASE SUPPORT LOCAL & INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
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HELPFUL DISTRACTIONS

Food waste? There’s an app for that. Too Good To Go allows restaurants and grocery stores to sell surprise bags of leftovers to customers at discounted prices

The tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady really does win the race!

We welcome your tips, comments and feedback. 

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