4 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MAY 9-15, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com THE BUZZ FREE SPEECH Journalism watchdog groups are reporting that it’s becoming more and more difficult to verify information coming out of Gaza as the IsraelHamas war stretches into its eighth month. Amid rampant contradictory information, the Committee to Protect Journalists estimates at least 90 journalists and media workers have been killed since the war began. On Sunday, May 5, the Israeli cabinet voted to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in the country, immediately seizing its broadcasting equipment and blocking its websites. In April, Israel passed a law that allows the shutdown of a foreign channel’s broadcast in the country if it is deemed a threat to the country’s security. “This move sets an extremely alarming precedent for restricting international media outlets working in Israel,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. “The Israeli cabinet must allow Al Jazeera and all international media outlets to operate freely in Israel, especially during wartime.” Al Jazeera receives funding from Qatar, which is mediating ceasefire negotiations. Good: The Forest Grove neighborhood in Pacific Grove is more fire-ready than most others, thanks to its recent designation by the National Fire Protection Association as a Firewise community. To be recognized, a community must harden its neighborhood from fire, such as keeping vegetation away from structures, clearing leaves from areas such as gutters, as well as assisting their neighbors with maintaining their property, among other things. According to the Monterey Fire Department, the Forest Grove Homeowners Association spent months on the application for the Firewise recognition, which included obtaining a wildfire risk assessment from the department, detailing educational and mitigation work done in the community and creating a multi-year plan to reduce ignition risk to homes. Forest Grove is the first Firewise community in Pacific Grove and the City of Monterey Fire Department’s service area. GREAT: Three projects in Monterey County are getting a $2.1 million boost in federal funds, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, announced on May 6. She’s scheduled to be in town on Friday, May 9 to hand out three large checks: $1 million to the Rancho Cielo Drummond Culinary Academy in Salinas; $600,000 for an electric vehicle charging station in downtown King City; and $500,000 to establish the Family Justice Center in King City. The money awarded to Rancho Cielo will be used to expand the culinary academy to serve minority and “at-promise” youth as they build skills needed in the hospitality industry, according to a press release. Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni has been pursuing creating the justice center since the fall of 2022, with hopes of creating a one-stop hub of services for victims of violence. Lofgren secured the money in legislation for fiscal year 2024. GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK THE WEEKLY TALLY The amount of goods and services purchased by the County of Monterey among 469 vendors in the current fiscal year. Source: County of Monterey Contracts and Purchasing Division $344.3 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “These criminals counted on getting away with their crimes— they counted wrong.” -Acting Salinas Police Chief John Murray, speaking about 12 suspected gang members arrested in “Operation Dead End” (see story, montereycountynow.com). million 400 Cannery Row Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 645-4058 Celebrate Mother’s Day at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa and enjoy a thoughtfully prepared buffet of seasonal favorites and coastal specialties by Chef Michael Rotondo Sunday May 12th 9:30AM - 2:30PM RESERVATIONS Mother’s Day Dr. Brynie Kaplan Dau, MS, DVM Compassionate Care with exCeptional mediCine. 1023 Austin Avenue, Pacific Grove • 831-318-0306 www.pacificgroveanimalhospital.com VOTED MONTEREY COUNTY’S BEST VETERINARIAN THREE YEARS IN A ROW! ’23 ’22 ’21 SURGERY DERMATOLOGY FELINE & CANINE MEDICINE PET BOARDING PREVENTATIVE CARE REGENERATIVE MEDICINE PRP (PLATELET-RICH PLASMA) LASER THERAPY EXOTICS AND MUCH MORE