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around town him instruction. Erickson says cooking “is a skill for life.” The best part, she says, is that her students also learn about other subjects along the way, including chemistry, physics, cultural anthropology, math and more. “Their learning is supported by what we’re learning in the kitchen,” Erickson says. BEST COLLEGE TEAM Hartnell Women's Soccer Team Hartnell College 411 Central Ave., Salinas (831) 755-6700, “Sectional football games have the glory and the despair of war,” John Steinbeck noted. Likely he was talking about American football, not soccer. But that’s how the rest of the world knows it. The ferocious Panthers have played solidly over the past couple of years, and it’s a strength that has been built by head coach Ivan Guerrero for over a decade. Two years ago, the team won its first state championship. Last year they made it to the second round of playoffs. These felines are no longer strays, but serious house cats any opponent has to be cautious with. BEST COLLEGE PROFESSOR Enid Baxter Ryce CSU Monterey Bay 5108 Fourth Ave., Marina (831) 582-3126, “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist,” John Steinbeck observed. How true. That’s why he is a revered writer. And that’s why Enid Baxter Ryce is a revered instructor. Ryce’s lectures in the Cinematic Arts & Technology Department and the Arts, Humanities & Social Science Department aren’t just a class, but an experience. Her students go out of the classroom, work with their hands and collaborate with others. Ryce says her goal is to make her classes relevant to students and their personal goals. Beyond cultivating creativity, they work on real projects for institutions like NASA, National Geographic and museums— experiences they add to their resumes. BEST PLACE TO WORK Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula 23625 Highway 68, Monterey (831) 624-5311, We’re a little biased at the Weekly, because it’s a really good place to work. But CHOMP—the wonderful acronym for Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula—clearly has us beat. Besides a healthy environment and good benefits, the Montage Health facility offers perks such as a great cafeteria serving the best milkshakes in the entire county (see Specialty Foods for proof). That’s why the doctors and nurses we depend on stay on, year after year. So CHOMP being the best place to work is good for all of us. BEST LOCAL POLITICIAN Jimmy Panetta 1200 Aguajito Road, Monterey (831) 424-2229, When the newly elected Congressman Jimmy Panetta went to Washington in 2017, he entered a ferment: Donald Trump, also newly elected, had turned the GOP establishment upside down, a trend that has continued. Yet Panetta entered into that fray with the hope, if not conviction, that he could get legislation done by reaching across the aisle to his GOP colleagues. It’s the same mentality that Joe Biden has brought to his presidency, as Biden has 16 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 ’22 ’23