4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY February 22-28, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH People from the Monterey Bay to the South Bay were surprised in recent days to receive an unfamiliar newspaper on their doorsteps: The South Bay Chronicle. But savvy readers quickly found out that the publication was riddled with misinformation, typos and unauthorized ads, all wrapped in a convincing-looking package. According to an article by San Jose Spotlight, the paper attacks Rep. Zoe Lofgren and throws its support behind her congressional challenger, Charlene Nijmeh. Spotlight found that the paper was created by Nijmeh’s political consultant, Matthew Ricchiazzi, who is known for creating websites that peddle propaganda. Nijmeh told Spotlight that she was aware of the paper, but did not endorse it. In 2023, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Ricchiazzi published false news articles on a website called San Francisco Inquirer, and he has also been tied to pushing theories of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Ricchiazzi told Spotlight that he produces his own “independent journalism” as a “hobby” under various forms of media, and said his latest foray wasn’t produced or authorized by the Nijmeh campaign. Good: Books can open up a world of imagination and delight for young children—ensuring they have access is a good thing. Over 300 preschool-level books are now available to children at 13 preschools, thanks to United Way Monterey County’s MLK Jr. Day Book Drive, the nonprofit announced Feb. 13. It was the second year of the drive, created as a way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service—last year UWMC collected 150 books. Individuals and companies donated books at several drop-off sites and through an Amazon gift list from Jan. 1 to the Day of Service on Jan. 15. “Our office looked like a library for at least two weeks,” says Gabriella Schlesinger-James, UWMC’s marketing and communications manager. Two of the most donated titles were It’s Okay to be Different, by Todd Parr, and Katy Can: A Story About Special Needs, by Erin Palmer. GREAT: A local teacher was selected as a 2023 Elite 100 Teacher by IXL Learning. James Jones is a 6th grade teacher at Monte Bella Elementary in Salinas in the Alisal Union School District. This is the first time James has won this award along with 64 other teachers. “James’ dedication to engaging and empowering his students every day is remarkable, especially as educators continue to help students recover from learning loss,” a press release said. The Elite 100 recognizes teachers for their passion for education and their innovation and creativity in the classroom. The Elite 100 is a list of teachers that is selected from over a million teachers worldwide. This year the top winners are from the U.S., United Kingdom, China and Mexico. This is the 10th year of the contest. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The approximate number of Monterey County residents ages 26-29 who were able to receive full-scope Medi-Cal insurance as of Jan. 1 regardless of citizenship or immigration status, thanks to approval of the expansion in the 2022-23 California state budget. Source: Staff report to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 6 18,000 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “These are some of the best photos of the Monterey Peninsula.” -Librarian Andres Garza, speaking about the historical works of Monterey photographer Rey Ruppel archived by the Monterey Public Library (see story, mcweekly. com). LOCATED BEHIND THE PORTOLA HOTEL & SPA | COMPLIMENTARY PARKING (831) 649-2699 | PETERBSBREWPUB.COM VOTED BEST SPORTS BAR BY MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY READERS 2 HAPPY HOURS 4PM TO 6PM AND 9PM TO 10PM NEW HOURS THURSDAY - MONDAY: 4PM TO 10PM TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY: CLOSED For Children and adults Consultation, testing and individual sessions for remediation of learning problems and learning disabilities. “I am so impressed with your services and the work you do. One of the members on the IEP list has credited you with saving her grandson’s educational life.” “...very professional and dedicated. I can say that Dr. Rita Rispoli is not only a specialist who loves working with students, but that she was born to her profession.” “We would like to thank you for your support. S__ was very happy to see his good report card and I, for the first time, realized how hard he has been trying to achieve what he wanted. We owe you tremendously. Again, thank you for your dedication to students like our son. We appreciate your sincerity and kindness.” rita rispoli Ph.d., BCet | (831)375-9450 1011 Cass Street, Suite 116, Monterey www.LDspecialist.com | rrispoli@comcast.net Difficulty learning?