Daily news from Monterey County Weekly

ETC. Photo of the day by Audrey Word. Along 17 Mile Drive a buck passes in front of a rainbow in the sprinkler watering the golf course at the Links at Spanish Bay. Photographed with an iPhone SE 2nd edition. Submit your best horizontal photos. (Please include the location where the photo was taken in the caption.)

The future of parks in Del Rey Oaks is suddenly looking a little bit brighter. 

Good afternoon. 

David Schmalz here, thinking about swing sets for big people, and how the future of parks in Del Rey Oaks is suddenly looking a little bit brighter. 

Allow me to explain: Last week, while checking out the agenda packet for the Sept. 28 Del Rey Oaks City Council meeting, I skipped ahead to see if there was anything interesting about the city’s proposed update to its sign ordinance (there wasn’t). 

But in the process of scrolling, around page 180, I passed over some documents that grabbed my eye—I’m not sure why, other than some had handwriting—so I clicked in. The documents turned out to be applications to serve on the city’s Recreation and Parks Committee, and one handwritten application in particular stood out: 

Name: Matthew Patrick Hickey.
Occupation: Student 6th Grade. 
Work Address: Foothill Elementary. 
Experience related to the appointment: I play on playgrounds often. 
Why do you wish to be appointed: To add big kid swings to the parks because I cannot fit in the baby swings.
As far as you know, what will be expected of you if you are appointed: To represent the kids, go to the meetings, and give ideas to improve parks and other areas in the town.

When I scrolled up a bit more to see the city’s call to apply for the four open positions, I learned that they required one resident each in three different neighborhoods in the city, as well as a youth representative under 21 years old. 

Matthew Hickey, it turns out, was the only applicant who qualified for the latter, and he’s now officially a member of the city’s newly convened Recreation and Parks Committee, serving a term of two years. 

“I had no idea Matthew was going to apply, and his application brought smiles to a lot of people,” Del Rey Oaks Mayor Alison Kerr says. “City Hall can’t stop talking about it.”

The potential existence of this committee was long ago established in the city code, but so far as Kerr has been able to learn, one was never formed. When that came to her attention, she set out to change it. And the committee is probably going to stick around for awhile, as Kerr says Matthew’s mother, Cindy, told her that Matthew’s younger brother now also wants to be on the committee when Matthew terms out. 

“We’re really excited,” Cindy says, recalling how she and Kerr talked years ago about making better playgrounds for their kids. Matthew is also psyched, if a bit anxious, and says his first priority is upgrading Del Rey Park, which is near his home.  

“I’ve noticed there’s only one set of swings there—baby swings—and I’m hoping we can have older kids’ swings, so older kids can enjoy them as well,” Matthew says. “To be honest, I’m kind of nervous, also very excited but mostly nervous, because I’ve never been on a committee before.”

I for one hope Matthew succeeds in his vision to make play in Del Rey Oaks parks more accessible to older kids, because it is every bit as important to them as it is to younger kids. I would also argue it’s important to adults too, and I hope Matthew advocates on my behalf in that respect. Who doesn’t love a good swing?

-David Schmalz, staff writer, david@mcweekly.com

BY THE NUMBERS

The total U.S. miles driven in 2020 declined 13.2 percent year-over-year to 2.83 trillion, the lowest total since 2001. 2020 was only the fourth year of year-over-year decline this century and the first since a 0.6-percent fall in 2011

LATEST LOCAL NEWS

Two early morning shootings in Salinas. A shooting at about 1:45am left a 19-year-old man dead at the scene.When police arrived at the homicide scene, they report they saw a vehicle speeding with no lights on in the area. During a traffic stop, an officer shot the driver, who is a suspect in the homicide that happened just a few minutes earlier.

Monterey Peninsula College on the hunt for a new leader after only one year. After a short tenure David Martin is moving on to another job with City College of San Francisco.

A stadium lights proposal at Carmel High kicks off complaints from neighbors. Home field advantage has always been important to athletes, but for decades the student-athletes of Carmel High School have been limited to having that advantage in daylight only.There’s a listening session tonight at 6pm at CHS to hear neighbors’ feedback.

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The Sardine Factory Indoor dining nightly at 5pm. Special Early Dinner Menu from 5-6pm. Click here for menus, details and reservations or to place a takeout order. 701 Wave Street, Monterey, 831-373-3775

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LOCAL INSPIRATION

LOCAL INSPIRATION of the day. Volunteers Laura Murphy, Tom Hughes and Cathy Riviera (left to right) at the community garden at Capra Park. Read about the disparate group of Seaside residents that is uniting to improve the city’s park habitat.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).

Salinas Caregiver Support Group will hold a virtual meeting from 12:30-2pm on the first Wednesday of each month. It’s for people with family members diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related neurocognitive disorder. Register at 647-9890 or online.

The Transportation Agency for Monterey County will be kicking-off walking school buses in the cities of Gonzales, Soledad and Greenfield at 7:30 am on Oct. 5, 6 and 7—utilizing the colorful sidewalks painted by volunteers this summer. Maps of the walking routes are available in English and Spanish on the Safe Routes to School website.

Want to eat more local produce? Tera Farm’s box service, called “Farm to My Neighborhood,” has pickup sites in Monterey County. Their promise? The 100-percent fresh and organically grown produce is from farms one to two hours away and 100 percent of your dollars go to the farmer. (Learn more about the farmer in our Q&A.)

BEST OF MONTEREY BAY® REAL ESTATE

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IN CONTEXT

California state park with ties to racist past will now be called by its Indigenous name.
- Los Angeles Times, Oct. 1, 2021

New Zealand gives up on eradicating Covid completely. The country plans to ease lockdown restrictions, despite an ongoing outbreak.
- The Associated Press, Oct. 5, 2021

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HELPFUL DISTRACTIONS

Workplaces need fresh air, not foosball tables and coffee bars. Employers have been offering the wrong office amenities.

Robots are taking over Italy’s vineyards. Travel restrictions due to Covid are making the typical migrant workforce hard to come by.

We welcome your tips, comments and feedback. 

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