March 1, 2021

Gilroy Chamber and Chamber Coalition Victorious in Advocacy Effort

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition worked closely with the County Board of Supervisors to limit the negative impact of the proposed $5 per hour increase Hazard Pay Ordinance the County plans to implement. The advocacy efforts by the local Chambers of Commerce were able to limit the ordinance to the unincorporated areas of the county.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a law temporarily mandating that large grocery stores in unincorporated areas of the County pay their workers an additional $5 an hour on top of their regular wages.

This new law will take effect in 30 days, applies to grocery stores and pharmacies with more than 300 employees nationwide and at least 15 employees in unincorporated areas of the County. It will last for 180 days or until the County’s COVID-19 public health emergency is terminated, whichever comes sooner.

Click here to read the Mercury News article.

Major Changes in Santa Clara County Health Order Directives

Santa Clara County, Calif. – With the continued progress in vaccinations and improving COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations, the County of Santa Clara Health Officer announced several changes in local Health Directives effective as of Friday, February 26.  In addition, the Public Health Department also announced that it will be making significant changes to local Health Directives effective as soon as the County enters the State’s “Red Tier,” which could occur as soon as Wednesday, March 3rd.

“With vaccinations now reaching more broadly into the community, including over half of those age 65 and older, we are making significant progress in protecting our most vulnerable community members,” said Dr. Sara Cody, County Health Officer.  “As things improve, it is still important for everyone to continue to practice basic prevention measures: face coverings, social distancing, and doing as much activity as possible outdoors.”

The changes to the local directives also minimize the number of businesses and activities subject to overlapping requirements from the County and the State.

The following changes are effective as of Friday, February 26th:

  • The County’s Mandatory Directive for Youth and Adult Recreational Athletic Activities will no longer be in effect. These activities remain subject to the State’s Guidance on Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports and the County’s updated Mandatory Directive for Gatherings.
  • The County’s Mandatory Directive for Programs Serving Children and Youth will no longer be in effect. These activities remain subject to all applicable State guidance (which may include the State’s guidance on Day CampsFitness FacilitiesChild Care Programs and Providers, and/or Cohorts).
  • The County’s Mandatory Directive for Schools has been converted to operational guidance to augment the requirements put in place by the State. Schools remain subject to the State’s Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools and are also encouraged to follow the County’s Guidance for Schools.
  • The Health Officer has issued a new Mandatory Directive for Case Reporting by K-12 Schools, Youth Athletic Programs, and Other Youth Programs. This new directive preserves the requirement that any program with one or more youth participants to report immediately to the County Public Health Department if any program participant tests positive for COVID-19.
  • The rules for outdoor gatherings in the Mandatory Directive for Gatherings have been relaxed in light of declining case rates and because outdoor activities have a lower risk of spread than indoor activities.
    • The Health Officer still strongly recommends that everyone wear a face covering at all times at outdoor gatherings, but face coverings are required outdoors only if within 6 feet of someone who is not a member of your household.
    • The Health Officer still strongly recommends that everyone maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from anyone who is not a member of their household at outdoor gatherings, but it is not required.
    • People are allowed to sing at outdoor gatherings without a face covering, provided that they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone who is not a member of their household.
  • Indoor gatherings of any kind remain prohibited until the county enters the State’s Red Tier.

In addition, as soon as Santa Clara County is placed into the State’s “Red Tier,” which may occur as soon as on Wednesday, March 3rd, the County will be making further changes to its local Health Directives to allow indoor activities authorized under the Red Tier, including gatherings and indoor dining, to resume in accordance with State and local capacity limits and safety protocols.  For information on what the State allows in the Red Tier, please visit covid19.ca.gov.

 

Meals for Heroes, Revenue for Restaurants

Two of the most impacted industries during the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic are Hospitality and Medical. County Health orders restricted restaurant operations, which has had a negative effect on revenues, and for some, to even remain in business. Staff at St. Louise Reginal Hospital and De Paul Health Center have been working tirelessly and endless hours saving lives and helping to keep community members safe. “Meals for Heroes, Revenue for Restaurants” will help our local businesses to create income and benefit our local health workers.

Gilroy Foundation is working in collaboration with Gilroy Downtown Business Association, Morgan Hill Community Foundation, and Morgan Hill Downtown Association to raise funds to purchase ready-to-consume meals from struggling restaurants and delivering them to both medical locations.

They will purchase 60 meals/day at a cost of $20/meal; therefore, the cost for this program will be $1,200 per day. This program will run three days a week on the restaurants’ less busy days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gilroy Foundation has established this fund with $5,000 to start the program immediately.  Morgan Hill has also collected funding for the program. If you wish to donate, any amount, please do so HERE and join the cause.

The Gilroy Foundation is delighted to join this South County collaboration to help our small businesses!

#givewhereyoulive

#SupportSmallBusiness

#gilroyca

#lovelocal

#revenueforrestaurants

Susan Valenta Youth Leadership Award – Danielle Russell

As an avid genealogist and aspiring historian, Danielle Russell first discovered her passion for history in fifth grade and found her love of genealogy in seventh grade. After learning of the fascinating lives led by her ancestors, many of whom were veterans who have been lost to the folds of time, Danielle became inspired to preserve the lives and memories of other veterans, so none would be forgotten like her ancestors had been.

One of Danielle’s proudest achievements in high school was winning one of two national student scholarships to the 2019 Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This scholarship allowed Danielle and her mother, Debbie, to travel to Gettysburg, where they met some of the leading historians in the field of Lincoln and the Civil War Era. Inspired by the wonderful people she met, and by the tremendously beautiful landscape over which her ancestors fought, this trip solidified her plans for college and beyond.

Beginning in Fall 2021, Danielle will be playing tennis for, and attending, Gettysburg College, where she plans to major in history, with minors in Civil War Era Studies, museum studies, and public history. It is her greatest dream to become a professor of American history, with a concentration in Civil War Era Studies, so that she may further preserve the memories of those who served our nation.

For future students, regardless of their chosen vocation, Danielle suggests they remain persistent and hopeful that they will achieve their dreams. She advises they remember L.M. Montgomery’s words that “Everything worth having is some trouble.” It is by that quote that Danielle first learned her dreams were possible if she only had the determination and work ethic to make them possible.

Good News!

More good news this week as the County and the school district announced the launch of a mass vaccination site at Gilroy High School. The site will offer approximately 1,000 vaccinations per day with the hope to increase to 2,000 per day if vaccine supplies allow.

Appointments can be made online at sccfreevax.org or by calling 2-1-1.

Vaccines are currently available to those who are age 65 years and older and frontline healthcare workers. Must show proof of age or work and proof of county residence.

The next tier, Tier 1B, including educators, childcare workers, agriculture/food workers, and emergency services, will be eligible for the vaccine starting February 28, 2021.

The County also announced an update to the health directive to allow a broader range of outdoor activities, effective today, February 26, 2021. These changes allow a range of social and recreational outdoor activities to resume, including youth sports, performing arts, and enrichment activities, so long as they occur only outdoors. The revised directive with additional information is available on the County’s website. The City is currently evaluating the updated directive to determine possible openings that may be applicable to City-owned property.

Apply for the Small Business Relief Grant Program

In the face of COVID-19, City leaders know that many local small businesses are struggling. A strong business community fosters strong employees and strong communities. In an effort to help support our local small businesses and our community, the City of Gilroy has established a grant program to support small businesses in these trying times, in coordination with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. Businesses operating within the city limits of Gilroy may qualify for a one-time business relief grant using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Grants are based on the number of full-time equivalent employees as of March 17, 2020 (when the Santa Clara County Health Officer issued the initial Shelter-In-Place order):

Maximum Grant Award: $5,000 for businesses with 2-10 employees $10,000 for businesses with 11-25 employees

Allowed Use of Funds: Used for working capital (rent, payroll, utilities, inventory, etc.)

Application Period: Monday, February 8 at 8:00 am to Friday, March 12 at 5:00 pm

GRANT APPLICATIONS are available on the City’s webpage.

COMPLETED APPLICATIONS will be accepted via email or mail. The application period will close on Friday, March 12th at 5:00 p.m. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until remaining grant funds run out. No applications will be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2021.

Online: Grant applications can be e-mailed directly to chamber@gilroy.org.

By Mail: You can mail your application to the following address: Small Business Grant Application 7471 Monterey Street Gilroy, CA 95020

If you are having difficulties with delivering the application, please give us a call at 408-842-6437 and we can accommodate a pickup for you.

Click here for eligibility requirements.

February 22, 2021

Transforming the Gilroy Transit Center

By: Jolene Bradford

Transforming the Gilroy Transit Center into a livable, walkable, shoppable community near transit is the objective of our newest venture.

The Gilroy Transit Center is located next to the Gilroy Caltrain Station, on Monterey Highway and 7th Street in Gilroy. Currently, this property serves as a Park & Ride lot for VTA bus and Caltrain passengers. The Gilroy Transit Center currently serves VTA bus lines 68, 84, 85, 86, 121, and 168, and provides connections for San Benito County Express, Monterey Salinas Transit lines 55 and 86, Caltrain, and Greyhound Bus. VTA is considering a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) project that could provide additional affordable housing in downtown Gilroy.

VTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Program works with municipal and private partners to encourage the development of housing, retail, and employment centers in places that will help increase transit ridership and contribute to a vibrant community.

During the community meeting, VTA will provide you with the opportunity to learn about VTA’s TOD program. More importantly, VTA wants to hear your ideas and feedback to help shape the neighborhood. We value your participation and encourage your attendance at this meeting.

The meeting was held in English on February 18 and will be repeated in Spanish on February 24. The February 24 meeting begins at 6 p.m. You can register at the links below:

Community Meeting – Español
24 de feb. de 2021, 18:00 PST

https://reunion-comunitaria-gilroy-tod.eventbrite.com

Visit www.vta.org/gilroydevelopment for additional project information and to sign up for project updates.

Santa Clara County Expands Vaccine Eligibility to Teachers, Ag Workers

By:ERIK CHALHOUB

Beginning Feb. 28, workers in education, childcare, emergency services, and the food and agriculture industries will be eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in Santa Clara County.

County officials announced the expanded eligibility Feb. 17 after citing strong progress toward vaccinating the current group of eligible residents, which include healthcare workers and those age 65 or older.

According to Public Health Officer Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County Health System is currently scheduling nearly 10,000 vaccination appointments at sites across the county daily, in addition to several vaccination sites now operating in both Gilroy and East San Jose that do not require an appointment.

More than half of county residents age 75 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Cody said, and soon half of those 65 and older will have received at least one dose.

“As we make progress toward our goal of vaccinating at least 85 percent of our residents age 16 or older by this summer, we are laser focused on ensuring equitable access to vaccinations for those communities most disproportionately affected by Covid-19,” she said.

Vaccine supply remains a challenge, but Cody said the county’s allocation from the state has been “slowly increasing” each week.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Feb. 16 that many counties in California could move from the Purple Tier of the state’s Covid-19 reopening guidance to the slightly less restrictive Red Tier in the coming weeks, based on falling case rates and hospitalizations.

Cody said Santa Clara County is “trending in the right direction,” but it is unknown when it will qualify to move up the tiers.

“We’re doing much better, and we’re coming out of a very difficult time,” she said.

For information on vaccination sites and to schedule an appointment, visit sccfreevax.org.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

By Jocelyn Gecker and Adam Beam, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — After weeks of tense negotiations, California’s legislative leaders agreed Thursday on a $6.5 billion proposal aimed at getting students back in classrooms this spring following months of closures because of the pandemic.

But the plan does not have the blessing of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said Thursday it “doesn’t go far enough or fast enough.” Should Newsom veto it, the Legislature would need two-thirds of both chambers to override him. That has not happened since 1979.

Legislative leaders seemed undeterred, with Assembly Budget chair Phil Ting saying they “believe this is the right plan to encourage the most schools to open up.”

“Parents like myself have been watching their kids on Zoom for the last year and the learning loss is absolutely staggering,” Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, said in a Zoom call with reporters.

The state can’t force California school districts to reopen. But it can offer districts lots of new money as an incentive to resume in-person instruction. In December, Newsom announced a plan that would give $2 billion to districts that reopen by February. That plan was heavily criticized by school officials.

The “Safe and Open Schools Plan” that legislative leaders announced Thursday gives schools more time and more money for reopening than was included in Newsom’s plan.

In a news release, Newsom said his plan “is grounded in the same science that’s been recognized by the medical professionals at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the President’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr. Fauci, and by the President himself.”

“I look forward to building on the growing momentum to get our schools open and continuing discussions with the Legislature to get our kids back in school as safely and quickly as possible,” Newsom said.

The legislative plan emerged in the midst of a rapid decline of coronavirus cases in California. Health officials in Los Angeles County, the state’s largest with 10 million residents, announced earlier this week that cases have fallen enough there that all districts could resume classroom instruction if they choose.

One of those districts, Long Beach Unified, the state’s fourth-largest with 70,000 students, said Thursday it plans to resume some in-person instruction for elementary grades on March 29. If case levels continue to drop it would bring grades 6-12 back to classrooms in April.

The legislative plan would allocate $6.5 billion in state funds to schools, including $2 billion for reopening costs this academic year and $4.5 billion that schools can use until next fall to extend the instructional school year, increase the school day or other expenses to catch up on learning lost from nearly a year of distance learning. Schools will also have access to an additional $6 billion in federal funds, the bill says.

To get the money, school districts must offer in-person instruction by April 15 to “vulnerable” students in elementary schools, including English learners, homeless students, those without computers and foster children.

The proposal also requires schools that receive the money to reopen for all students in grades TK-6 when case rates in their counties drop below 7 per 100,0000 — and to all vulnerable student groups in higher grades.

Regardless of funding, the proposal requires all schools to adopt a COVID-19 safety plan by April 1 that has been approved by labor unions. Schools must continue to offer distance learning as an option to students.

Getting students back into classrooms has become a pressing political issue for Newsom, who is facing a possible recall election later this year. His plan took the same approach of offering schools financial incentives to reopen without making reopening mandatory.

But it was widely criticized by school superintendents, unions and lawmakers who said it set unrealistic timelines that included requirements to reopen as early as mid-February. They also said the plan didn’t include enough money to pay for frequent COVID-19 testing of students and teachers, and failed to address the vaccination of teachers.

The California Teachers Association started a television advertising campaign this week saying the coronavirus remains a health threat and schools shouldn’t reopen until teachers receive priority for vaccinations.

The legislative proposal would require county public health departments to offer vaccinations to school staff who return to in-person classes. It also pushes back the timeline for reopening, which would give school districts time to negotiate with labor unions, Ting said. And it gives school districts greater freedom in how to spend the funding, which each district would receive based on its student population.

Some of the chief critics of Newsom’s original plan — including Los Angeles Unified, San Diego, San Francisco and other large school districts across the state — issued a joint statement Thursday calling the new proposal a step in the right direction.

“These clear guidelines from the state will help reopen schools in the safest way possible. In addition to ensuring appropriate health measures at schools and underscoring the need to control community spread of the virus, the proposed action recognizes the critical role vaccinations for all school staff play in creating the safest possible school environment,” said the statement, signed by the superintendents from Los Angeles, Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, Sacramento and San Diego school districts.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said the proposal builds on the governor’s framework.

“We all share the same goal — to get students back into school safely,” she said.

Educator of the Year – Teri Mikkelsen

Teri believes teaching is just part of her DNA. She comes from a family of educators, so she thinks it was fate that led her to this profession. In fact, she can’t remember back to a moment where she didn’t want to teach.  she always viewed the challenge of teaching as fun since it offered a creative outlet and would allow me to interact with unique and interesting students on a daily basis. Looking back on her childhood, she can recognize that all those hours she spent having fun “playing” school was ultimately preparing her for the challenge of teaching school.

There have been so many memorable moments during her tenure here at Gilroy Unified School District, but her fondest memories have been made at Brownell.  When she began teaching eighth-grade ELA and Social Studies, she became a member of a three-person cohort.  Amazingly, eleven years later, the three of them are still teaching together. Her team’s expertise, support, and most importantly friendship inspires her to become a better teacher.

Thursday’s have also become a highlight for Teri since she started working at Brownell.  Every Thursday she anxiously awaits her week’s edition of the Gilroy Dispatch, so she can scour its pages for her current and former students who might be in the news. Teri said, “It’s fun to share the accomplishments of my students during class where we celebrate successes of those who were in the same exact seats as my current class. My classroom scrapbooks celebrate accomplishments like national merit scholars, youth leadership awardees, scholarship recipients, Gilroy Garlic Festival royalty, valedictorians, high school and college athletes, and so much more.”

Teri’s children’s professional lives colliding with Brownell have been a high point for her as well.  Her daughter, Sara, who graduated from GHS in 2010, completed her student teaching “across the hall” from Teri’s classroom at Brownell during the 2016 – 2017 school year. Ironically, Sara and Teri shared thirty-four eighth-grade students who would attend Miss Mikkelsen’s fourth period science class and would then head over to Mrs. Mikkelsen’s fifth, seventh, and eighth period CORE classes. Teri said, “We lived together during that time, so you can imagine my poor husband at the dinner table… What’s more, my son, Andrew, who graduated from GHS in 2012, also became involved with Brownell in 2018 when he became one of the architects designing our new school.  What a proud mom I was when I got to stand alongside him and dig my shovel in at our new school’s groundbreaking ceremony last year.  Needless to say, I look forward to the day I finally get to teach in Brownell’s new, beautifully-designed school.”

The list of memories goes on for Teri, but the ones listed sit at the top of the list.

Teri is committed to lifelong learning because, quite simply, she wants to stay up with the times and remain relevant.  She enjoys learning new things, experiencing new situations, and growing as a person.  Teri said, “I think this exceptional year is an excellent example of why having a growth mindset is so important: new approaches, techniques, and strategies had to be pursued in order to “be better and do better” by my students.”

Teri went on to say, “Teaching is a very rewarding profession, but it does take patience and time to feel proficient at it. I can’t help but think back to an article my daughter read that was written for new teachers which included a list of the best pieces of advice one could give a new teacher.  The very first entry on the list was “it will get better.”  She was mortified to read that, and it didn’t really reassure her before her first day of teaching, but I do have to give that sentiment some credence since each day teaching provides educators a chance to learn, practice, grow, and hone skills. For all the future teachers out there, give yourself a little grace; we are all works in progress.”

Educator of the Year – Leadership Gilroy

Leadership Gilroy has a 22-year tradition of developing impactful and caring leaders who serve the Gilroy community.  Since the first Leadership Gilroy class in 1998, over 300 graduates have completed the intensive multi-month Community Leadership Program and have exited the program stronger, more skilled, and more connected to their community.

Participants develop vital leadership and team-building skills, gain a deeper understanding of the local community, and forge long-lasting friendships while having a lot of fun along the way.

The alumni roster includes a veritable “Who’s Who” in the Gilroy community, including:

  • Gilroy City Council Members
  • Gilroy Police Department
  • Gilroy Fire Department
  • Local Non-Profit Leaders
  • Gilroy Mayors
  • CEO’s

At its core, Leadership Gilroy is a dynamic ten-month program that allows participants to develop vital leadership and team-building skills, gain a deeper understanding of the local community, and design a service project to benefit the community.  The service project is the most vital component of the program because it benefits Gilroy residents and allows class participants to put into practice the skills they develop throughout the program.

Program participants receive training in a wide range of topics including team building, communication, ethics, change management, and conflict resolution.

The program also provides opportunities to meet key leaders who serve locally, as well as at the county and state levels, and learn about vital community issues.

A significant component of the program is the required class community service project. As they work together to select, plan, and implement the project, class members put all the new skills they’ve learned to work while making a difference in the community, too.

Recent Leadership Gilroy class projects include:

  • Gilroy cLOVE Days
  • Gilroy Bonanza Day Parade
  • HEARTSafe Gilroy and AED Campaign
  • Spokes4Folks Bicycle Drive
  • Have a Sole Shoe Drive
  • Gilroy Farmers’ Market
  • Gilroy Demonstration Garden
  • Education and volunteer activities for youth
  • Hygiene supplies for the homeless

The Leadership Gilroy Class of 2020 was recently honored as the Gavilan College Community Spirit award winner for their class project and were recognized at a small ceremony by Dr. Kathleen Rose.  The impact of this year’s class project fills a financial void that so many nonprofit agencies have experienced with the cancellation of the Gilroy Garlic Festival.  The traditions established during the Gilroy cLOVE Days will be some that Garlic City residents celebrate for years to come.

One need not look far to see the ongoing impacts on the Gilroy community as a result of the Leadership Gilroy program.  There is the mural near the Gilroy Center for the Arts reminding us of the importance of the arts in any community.  Gilroy residents have been the beneficiaries of Spokes4Folks bicycle drive, HeartSafe Gilroy AED distribution event, Have a Sole shoe drive, and Tame the Flame fire alarm distribution.  We celebrated Gilroy’s heyday with the resurrection of the long-ago Bonanza Day parade.  Incoming freshmen earned service hours toward graduation at Gilroy Gardens with a community service fair at the end of the school year.

The future of our program is bright as we look to develop a youth leadership program along with other leadership seminars, programs, and projects.

The lives that Leadership Gilroy has touched in more than two decades of service to the community reach across all ages, races, and creeds.  The impact of the projects will be felt for years to come and the leaders who emerge from the program will continue to initiate change for the betterment of the Gilroy community.  Leadership Gilroy continues to be a vital contributor and nonprofit leader in our community, stitching a communal thread of connection between class members, residents, and other organizations.

Relief to Californians Experiencing Pandemic Hardship Announced

By: GO-Biz

On February 17, Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that they have reached an agreement on a package of immediate actions that will speed needed relief to individuals, families and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship from the COVID-19 Recession. Read more here.

Below are a few of the key provisions of the Immediate Action Agreement:

  • Direct Relief to Individuals and Families: The agreement incorporates the Governor’s Golden State Stimulus plan to assist California households that have borne the disproportionate economic burden of the COVID-19 Recession – those with incomes below $30,000, as well as those unfairly excluded from previous federal stimulus payments. The agreement broadens this initial plan and now provides direct relief to more lower-income Californians through a $600 one-time grant to households enrolled in the CalWORKS program and recipients of SSI/SSP and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).
  • Immediate Relief for Small Businesses Quadrupled: The agreement reflects a four-fold increase – from $500 million to more than $2 billion – for grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and also allocates $50 million for cultural institutions.
  • Fee Waivers for Most Impacted Licensees: The agreement provides for two years of fee relief for roughly 59,000 restaurants and bars licensed through the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that can range annually from $455 to $1,235. The agreement also reflects fee relief for more than 600,000 barbering and cosmetology individuals and businesses licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs.

There's Still Time to Apply for the Small Business Relief Grant Program

In the face of COVID-19, City leaders know that many local small businesses are struggling. A strong business community fosters strong employees and strong communities. In an effort to help support our local small businesses and our community, the City of Gilroy has established a grant program to support small businesses in these trying times, in coordination with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. Businesses operating within the city limits of Gilroy may qualify for a one-time business relief grant using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Grants are based on the number of full-time equivalent employees as of March 17, 2020 (when the Santa Clara County Health Officer issued the initial Shelter-In-Place order):

Maximum Grant Award: $5,000 for businesses with 2-10 employees $10,000 for businesses with 11-25 employees

Allowed Use of Funds: Used for working capital (rent, payroll, utilities, inventory, etc.)

Application Period: Monday, February 8 at 8:00 am to Friday, March 12 at 5:00 pm

GRANT APPLICATIONS are available on the City’s webpage.

COMPLETED APPLICATIONS will be accepted via email or mail. The application period will close on Friday, March 12th at 5:00 p.m. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until remaining grant funds run out. No applications will be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2021.

Online: Grant applications can be e-mailed directly to chamber@gilroy.org.

By Mail: You can mail your application to the following address: Small Business Grant Application 7471 Monterey Street Gilroy, CA 95020

If you are having difficulties with delivering the application, please give us a call at 408-842-6437 and we can accommodate a pickup for you.

Click here for eligibility requirements.

Support Local Businesses All Month Long!

 

Businesses still need your support, and giveaways are still occurring!

Here are a few other ways you can be entered to win prizes all month long.  Make sure to tag #lovelocalGilroy, or email us at chamber@gilroy.org so we don’t miss you!

  • Shop at any business with a 95020-zip code and share a picture of either the item you purchased or a picture of your receipt.
  • Take a picture of a place you love here in Gilroy.
  • Write a loving review for a Gilroy business (screenshot/share it with us).

February 15, 2021

Rotary Club of Gilroy Collecting Grocery Gift Cards

Sharing the love has a literal meaning for Rotary members this February as they collect grocery gift cards to share with Gilroy’s struggling friends and neighbors.

According to recent national surveys, four of ten Americans are experiencing food insecurity for the first time.  These community members are not sure where their next meal will come from.  The plight of hungry children and families is not new, but the pandemic has highlighted the extreme need surrounding us.

To show our love for our neighbors, the Gilroy Rotary Club is collecting and donating gift cards to St. Joseph’s Family Center and the Salvation Army.  These gift cards will be distributed directly to the families these organizations serve.

For those interested in donating, gift cards can be purchased in denominations up to $50 from local places of business that sell groceries.  The gift cards are being collected at the locations below during the times shared:

  • Alpine Landscapes, 8595 Murray Ave., Gilroy
    • 7:00AM – 4:00PM, M-F
  • Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, 7471 Monterey St., Gilroy
    • 9:00AM – 5:00PM, M-F
  • Fortino Winery, 4525 Hecker Pass Hwy., Gilroy
    • 12:00PM – 4:00PM, T-S

For more information, contact Whitney Pintello at whitney.pintello@gmail.com

About Rotary Club of Gilroy

Gilroy Rotary is an organization working to make our community a better place for all. They provide grants, scholarships, and donations in support of a wide variety of community needs. Join Gilroy Rotary to make friends and contacts—and more importantly, to make a difference.  They meet Tuesdays at 12:00PM.  For more information, contact us at rotary481@gmail.com

gilroyrotary.org

City of Gilroy Launches Small Business Relief Program

In the face of COVID-19, City leaders know that many local small businesses are struggling. A strong business community fosters strong employees and strong communities. In an effort to help support our local small businesses and our community, the City of Gilroy has established a grant program to support small businesses in these trying times, in coordination with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. Businesses operating within the city limits of Gilroy may qualify for a one-time business relief grant using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Grants are based on the number of full-time equivalent employees as of March 17, 2020 (when the Santa Clara County Health Officer issued the initial Shelter-In-Place order):

Maximum Grant Award: $5,000 for businesses with 2-10 employees $10,000 for businesses with 11-25 employees

Allowed Use of Funds: Used for working capital (rent, payroll, utilities, inventory, etc.)

Application Period: Monday, February 8 at 8:00 am to Friday, March 12 at 5:00 pm

GRANT APPLICATIONS are available on the City’s webpage.

COMPLETED APPLICATIONS will be accepted via email or mail. The application period will close on Friday, March 12th at 5:00 p.m. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until remaining grant funds run out. No applications will be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2021.

Online: Grant applications can be e-mailed directly to chamber@gilroy.org.

By Mail: You can mail your application to the following address: Small Business Grant Application 7471 Monterey Street Gilroy, CA 95020

If you are having difficulties with delivering the application, please give us a call at 408-842-6437 and we can accommodate a pickup for you.

Click here for eligibility requirements.

All Aboard! FREE Water Infrastructure Virtual Bus Tours

Join Valley Water for a four-part virtual tour series in February!

All stops in the February series (Feb. 16 – 25) run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Join us for our Water Infrastructure Virtual Bus Tour Series – an opportunity to safely visit our facilities and learn how our water infrastructure works together to provide safe, clean drinking water for Santa Clara County residents, help keep communities safe, and preserve our natural resources – all from the comfort of your home.

All stops are FREE of cost.

Catch any of the stops at your convenience.

Stop #1 provides a breakdown of where our water comes from and challenges our water resources face. Come along with us on a visit of our county’s largest reservoir, Anderson Reservoir in Morgan Hill. We will also feature the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project, an exciting look at how replacing a small dam can result in enough water to supply water for up to 1.4 million people during an emergency for up to a year! (Tuesday, Feb. 16)

Stop #2 highlights how we keep our water safe and clean. We will take you on a tour of our treatment plants and state-of-the-art water quality lab. Learn how we test for more than 400 contaminants to ensure our drinking water is safe! We will also get a sneak peek at one of our largest facility upgrades – the Rinconada Reliability Improvement Project. Check out how our oldest water treatment plant in the valley is getting a makeover while continuing to operate 24/7 to provide safe, clean drinking water. (Thursday, Feb. 18) 

Stop #3 explains Valley Water’s role as the flood protection agency for our county and how we work with partner agencies and the community to complete flood protection projects. We will briefly visit the completed Downtown Guadalupe River Flood Protection Project and get a look at the Coyote Creek Flood Protection Project that is underway. (Tuesday, Feb. 23)

Stop #4 walks us through the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, where we learn about how we are pursuing drought-resilient supplies through advanced water purification. Tune in to learn about the future of water reuse in Santa Clara County. (Thursday, Feb. 25) 

Volunteer of the Year, Maria Cid

Maria is someone who loves giving back to her community & surrounding communities any way she can. She enjoys coordinating fundraisers for local nonprofits and has sponsored a variety of organizations on her own. Maria has been blessed with so many opportunities throughout the years, that she believes it is her duty to give back and invest in the community she loves, and that’s what Gilroy is to her.

Maria’s vision of a thriving community is having everyone work together to help one another. Community is always being willing to help others and lend a helping hand. It is being compassionate, understanding, loving, and empowering of others. The Gilroy community is everything to her and it includes her family, friends, loved ones, and everyone she is connected with including her clients.

Maria works to empower everyone around her, especially young women who are avid in accomplishing their goals. She would like to instill in others the importance of knowing their WORTH, speaking their VOICE, sharing their TRUTH, and spreading their LOVE.  Inspire those around you and never give up. Maria hopes to inspire others to get involved with local organizations and offer their skillsets, their talents, whatever experience they have. She believes it’s important to do it from the heart and be sincere about it. Maria said, “Contribute to your community without expecting or receiving anything in return. Be genuine and if you can change or inspire one person’s life, then you did your job.”

Maria is a family-oriented person and she prioritizes family above everything else. As a result, her biggest inspiration is her mother. Maria’s mother was a truly caring person and her values and morals transcended to everyone she encountered. She taught Maria the values of hard work and never giving up. Maria said, “It is because of her that I fight for what I believe in and never back down in the face of adversity.”

Currently, Maria serves as a Board Member for Youth Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and families throughout San Benito and South County. Furthermore, she is a supporter of the Edward Boss Prado Foundation & Cecilia’s Closet & Food Pantry whose sole mission is to provide food and assistance to challenged youth and families throughout South County with dignity. Maria had the great privilege of being named Board President for the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival Inc. (PJIFF) and is a founding Board member of 6th Street Studios & Art Center where they provide affordable studio, exhibition, and classroom space for local creatives. Additionally, they will offer programming for at-risk youth art education, art supply drives for homeless artists, and artist grants.  Moreover, Maria was a founding committee member for the #GILROYSTRONG in response to the Gilroy Garlic Festival Tragedy. She was the Assistant Director for SCRAMP at Laguna Seca Raceway for 15 years. She is an advocate for the March of Dimes, and a proud Ambassador for the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maria sponsors lunches for first responders (firefighters, police officers, nurses, doctors, and scientists) as they work arduously to save lives.

Volunteer of the Year, Jorge Mendoza

Jorge Mendoza has been an active community leader in Gilroy since 1994. However, his passion to help others and for social justice began when he was very young. Over the last 27 years, Jorge has been an inspiration to all who know him. Jorge strongly believes that Gilroy is the perfect size in where everyone has the opportunity to grow, give a helping hand, and work towards a better tomorrow. Jorge believes that Gilroy has a huge need for services and programs, but at the same time, he also believes that Gilroy is full of wonderful people with huge hearts that are always willing to help. Jorge believes that the solution to many problems can be resolved when we hear each other’s needs, when we support each other and when we work collectively towards a better future. Jorge is always willing to lend his hand to help others regardless of who they are or where they come from without expecting anything in return. “Giving is better than receiving” is something that Jorge likes to share with the youth that he works with in the community.

Jorge admires all working families in Gilroy that are always willing to help others regardless of their own financial or language limitations. Jorge respects ordinary people in the community that contribute to the betterment of Gilroy. He aspires to be just like them, to be able to create positive change in the community and to impact the lives of those in most need in Gilroy. Jorge’s real inspiration is anyone with a compassionate heart who dares to sacrifice themselves to help others without expecting a reward in return. One of the families that has inspired Jorge in recent years is Mr. Alvino and Ms. Edit Lopez, from Gilroy. They try to help everyone who crosses their path without asking anything, they simply support and make the time to be present in the lives of others.

Through his volunteer work, Jorge has been involved in several community-based agencies, local and county government departments and has co-founded many Gilroy community-based initiatives. Jorge has been an active member of the following social justice groups to advocate for human rights and immigrant rights: St. Mary Parish, Services Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN), People Acting Together in Community (PACT), and PICO National Network.

Additionally, Jorge has played an integral role in co-founding San Ysidro Nueva Vida (mission is to create better-living standards for everyone in Gilroy), Nuevo Amanecer (focus is to help homeless families), Survivors of Cancer (focus is to bring resources to Gilroy for families who have been impacted by Cancer). Jorge has also been very involved in St. Mary Parish as a member of the coordinating team for the youth group and in different ministries. During the last 25 years of his involvement, he has founded the Virgin of Juquila community celebration, the Virgin of Guadalupe Celebration, and has served as a member of the Hispanic Council and Pastoral Council. Jorge is also a graduate from the Institute of Leadership in Ministry Diocese of San José in 2000 (3-year program).

Jorge is currently volunteering with City of Gilroy Recreation, Gilroy Police Department, Carry The Vision, Community Solutions, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, St. Mary Parish, and other agencies.

Jorge is also very civically engaged and encourages others to join him. Jorge has played a key role in getting out the Latino Vote, the Census 2020, and has been volunteering as a Community Promotor during the current pandemic to ensure that COVID-19 information and resources are accessible to the most vulnerable in Gilroy. Jorge consistently attends city council meetings to advocate for services and resources for the most vulnerable residents of Gilroy. Lastly, Jorge has also been an active voice in advocating for a more positive and open police-and-community collaboration and was instrumental in the formation of the Bilingual Community Police Academies.

As a volunteer, it is important for Jorge to be engaged with different organizations because he expands his knowledge about resources that he can use to help families in need. Jorge is very encouraged to help because he feels useful, people call him at any time and they know that if he does not have the answer, he looks for it. Helping others is very important to Jorge because he has the ability to hear the needs of people with an open heart and mind. Jorge is not shy when it comes to seeking support from community-based agencies and other partners that can bring resources to families in need. Jorge is committed to making Gilroy a better community for everyone through his selfless volunteer work.

When Jorge is not volunteering in the community, he enjoys spending time with his two daughters Britany and Tiffany, and his wife Ines.

Turner Named Chamber Executive of the Year

By: STAFF REPORT, Gilroy Dispatch

Mark Turner, the president/chief executive officer of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, was named the Chamber of Commerce “Executive of the Year” by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) on Feb. 4.

Turner received the award during the association’s annual management conference, which was held virtually this year.

“I’m deeply touched and incredibly honored to be selected by W.A.C.E. to receive the award,” Turner said. “There are some extraordinary Chamber executives who have received this before me and plenty of others who could have received this year instead of me. This job, like so many, requires a supportive network of people around you and for me, it’s been my wife and family, not to mention the amazing group of Board members I work for and the outstanding team I work with, such as Jude Miranda, Candace VanSambeek and Victoria Valencia.”

The award is given annually to the Chamber executive who has excelled in the following areas during the past year: financial management, communications, legislative affairs, membership programs and community services performed by the chamber.

W.A.C.E. is an association of chamber executives and staff professionals with members in 19 Western states and Canada designed to promote and enhance the professional development of chamber executives. With approximately 800 members, W.A.C.E. is the largest state or regional association of chamber of commerce executives in the United States.

Win a $50 Gift Card to Garlic City Cafe!

You could win a $50 gift certificate to Garlic City Cafe, donated by Gilroy Chamber Ambassador, and Farmers Insurance Agent, Maria Cid. Raffles will take place each Sunday of February, and there are no limits to the number of entries.

Here are a few other ways you can be entered to win prizes all month long.  Make sure to tag #lovelocalGilroy, or email us at chamber@gilroy.org so we don’t miss you!

  • Shop at any business with a 95020-zip code and share a picture of either the item you purchased or a picture of your receipt.
  • Take a picture of a place you love here in Gilroy.
  • Write a loving review for a Gilroy business (screenshot/share it with us).

February 8, 2021

City of Gilroy Launches Small Business Relief Program

In the face of COVID-19, City leaders know that many local small businesses are struggling. A strong business community fosters strong employees and strong communities. In an effort to help support our local small businesses and our community, the City of Gilroy has established a grant program to support small businesses in these trying times, in coordination with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. Businesses operating within the city limits of Gilroy may qualify for a one-time business relief grant using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Grants are based on the number of full-time equivalent employees as of March 17, 2020 (when the Santa Clara County Health Officer issued the initial Shelter-In-Place order):

Maximum Grant Award: $5,000 for businesses with 2-10 employees $10,000 for businesses with 11-25 employees

Allowed Use of Funds: Used for working capital (rent, payroll, utilities, inventory, etc.)

Application Period: Monday, February 8 at 8:00 am to Friday, March 12 at 5:00 pm

GRANT APPLICATIONS will be available on the City’s webpage, beginning on February 8.

COMPLETED APPLICATIONS will be accepted via email or mail, starting on Monday, February 8. The application period will close on Friday, March 12th at 5:00 p.m. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until remaining grant funds run out. No applications will be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2021.

Online: Grant applications can be e-mailed directly to chamber@gilroy.org

By Mail: You can mail your application to the following address: Small Business Grant Application 7471 Monterey Street Gilroy, CA 95020

If you are having difficulties with delivering the application, please give us a call at 408-842-6437 and we can accommodate a pickup for you.

Click here for eligibility requirements.

Young Professional of the Year, Chef Carlos Pineda

Chef Carlos Pineda is the Director of Hospitality and Culinary Services at Rebekah’s Children Services.  In his role, Chef oversees Food Services, the Culinary Academy, and Kneaded Bakery, and strives to create a safe and welcoming space for everyone who steps foot onto campus.   Chef Carlos was born and raised in Gilroy, California, and graduated from Gilroy High School before attending and graduating from the Professional Culinary Institute in 2008. After graduation, he interned with The Pebble Beach Company, then went on to work as a Chef in Monterey, Carmel, Los Angeles, San Jose, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy.

In 2010 he helped develop the Culinary Academy at Rebekah Children’s Services, which serves disenfranchised youth ages 15-25. The program teaches job skills, culinary skills, and life skills so that graduates will be ready to enter the workforce, trade school, or college. Chef Carlos has had the privilege of assisting 1500 students in completing the program and moving on to even greater opportunities.

In 2014 Chef Carlos completed the requirements to receive his California Teaching Credential for Vocational Education. Over the years of working with his students, Chef Carlos realized the importance of mental health care and the need for a better-informed instructor. He has started pursuing a degree in Psychology so he can better serve his students and his community.

Carlos is an avid supporter of the LGBTQ community and is highly committed to contributing in an impactful way to various service organizations in the Bay Area, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, South County Young Professional’s Network, Gilroy Exchange Club, El Cajon Project, Leadership Gilroy, and Gilroy Foundation. Chef Carlos also serves on the Gilroy Ostrich Farm Advisory Committee and is the Assistant Chairperson for the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association Recipe Contest. He has served in the past as a member of the City of Gilroy Housing Advisory Committee and is also a Past President of the Gilroy Sunrise Rotary Club. In June 2017 he received the Nob Hill Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and was highlighted as one of Gilroy and Morgan Hill Today’s 2018 People to watch. In 2018 he received the Gavilan College Community Spirit Award. He is the reigning Champion of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, taking 1st place during the 2017, 2018, and 2019 annual competitions, donating his earnings each year to the Gilroy Foundation, One Giving Tree, and Rebekah Children’s Services respectively. More recently Chef Carlos was awarded the 2020 Leadership Gilroy LIFT Award (Lead Inspire Focus Team) for exemplifying what it means to lead others in our community and around the world.

In August of 2020 Chef Carlos created the #YESCHEFCARLOS Podcast, a weekly conversation that Chef shares with his followers worldwide. This outlet allows Chef Carlos to reach anyone who is interested in his story and expertise. Chef Carlos’ motto is to always “educate, inspire and lead.” Chef believes that by educating, inspiring and leading future generations, we can empower them to advocate for themselves and become resources for their communities.

Non-Profit of the Year, Operation Freedom Paws

Operation Freedom Paws (OFP) has been building lifesaving human-canine relationships as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for a decade. Their mission is to empower veterans, first responders, children and other individuals with disabilities to restore their freedom to live full lives. Clients are taught to train a rescue dog for their specific disability and upon completion of the program become certified service dog teams. With their four-legged healers by their sides, clients lead enriched lives, engage in their communities, and gain the skills to manage everything from PTSD, anxiety, and traumatic brain injuries to mobility issues and fluctuations in blood sugar levels. OFP provides their 48-week training program, a safe place to go 24/7 and the resources needed for healing at no cost to their clients. Since opening their Gilroy doors in 2011, they’ve been honored to serve 439 clients, 2,195 family members and rescued 377 dogs.

The profound impact of OFP’s program is evident in their graduation survey results. Graduates report a 35% decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 23% decrease in their level of anger, and an 11% decrease in their use of medication. They’ve also shared a 41% increase in their level of communication and quality of life. OFP attributes their success to the hard work their clients have done and continue to do every day and to the woman at the heart of OFP, Founder and Executive Director, Mary Cortani. Mary brings 44 years of knowledge and expertise to OFP and deeply cares about her clients and their families. She’s built a team that shares her vision and a donor community who makes it possible for clients to focus on the healing and not the costs.

While Mary and her team’s objective will always be to serve their clients first, they’re also dedicated to serving their community. In times of emergencies, the team coordinates with police, firefighters, EMS and local shelters to house dogs for free, and provide food and support for first responders during devastating events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the California wildfires.

OFP also believes in being advocates for medical advancement and public education. In 2020, Mary and Army veteran, Connor Quinn, co-authored a children’s s book called, “Four Paws, Two Feet, One Team,” to help kids understand the vital roles service dogs play in the lives of individuals with disabilities. That same year, OFP began their participation in a Johns Hopkins University study to determine how service dogs impact a veteran’s quality of life.

OFP and Mary have been honored for their hard work with numerous awards including Top Ten CNN Hero, The Red Cross Clara Barton Award, the Coretta Scott King Award from the Martin Luther King Foundation, KSBW’s local and national Jefferson Awards, and special Congressional recognitions.

In looking towards the future, OFP’s priority is to continue to best serve the physical and mental well-being of their clients and welcome new individuals with disabilities into the OFP family. With the unprecedented stressors COVID-19 now presents in our world, Mary hopes to bring on board more mental health therapists and make on-site improvements that will empower clients to cope with the daily challenges and heal. Mary is also working on a capital plan that will enable OFP mentor-trainers to bring the program to other regions where they can help save the lives of more individuals with disabilities – one service dog team at a time.

Personal Care Industry Reopens After a Year of Stops and Starts

By:ERIK CHALHOUB, Gilroy Dispatch

Shag Salon, like every other salon across the state, has had a rollercoaster of a year.

The salon was one of the businesses deemed “non-essential” during the initial Covid-19 shelter-in-place order, and shut down on March 17. It was allowed to reopen in July, but only for a brief moment, forced to close until the industry got the eventual OK to operate in September. But the latest shelter-in-place order in December shut down salons again.

Now, with the state’s decision to lift the order on Jan. 25, Shag Salon, at 64 Fifth St. in downtown Gilroy, reopened once again on Feb. 2. The business, owned by Rhondy Rodgers and managed by her daughters Lea Orlando and Heather Pacheco, knows what to expect in its fourth go-round.

“My cell phone has been ringing off the hook, the salon phone has been ringing off the hook,” Pacheco said. “It’s been a little bit crazy. We’re trying to take it in stride, and people have been really understanding.

“We’re just going back with a positive attitude. We’re not dwelling on things.”

During the shutdowns, Shag Salon had to learn to pivot its business model to stay afloat, Pacheco said. It began offering curbside pickup of its Aveda hair and skin products, as well as free delivery within the Gilroy and Morgan Hill area. The salon also began creating how-to videos and holding drawings on social media to connect with clients.

Pacheco said that if not for the pandemic, the salon likely never would have offered such services.

“I’m so thankful and grateful we have a salon that survived this,” she said. “I’m thankful I work with intelligent people that helped pivot our business to the point where we not only survive, but we thrive through this.”

With the reopening comes a number of safety protocols. Clients, who are now greeted with a hello instead of a hug, Pacheco noted, must have their temperature checked and sign a wellness form before entering the building. All staff wear masks and a face shield, and must spend 15 minutes sanitizing their stations between each client.

As a result, to reduce the number of people within the building at any given time, the stylists currently do not work full-time. Pre-pandemic, stylists would see roughly 12 clients a day, but now, that number has dropped to four, which is difficult for a commission-based position, Pacheco said.

In recent months, the salon lost a stylist, who moved to Texas as she was unable to afford rent in California, as well as two receptionists. Two receptionists have since been hired to fill the gap.

“I’m really proud of our staff,” Pacheco said. “They have been super helpful, and whatever they need to do they’ve jumped in. We’ve gotten really lucky with a wonderful staff.”

Personal care industry laments state’s rhetoric

Santa Clara County health officials confirmed Jan. 28 that they have no knowledge of any coronavirus outbreaks traced back to salons.

In a lawsuit filed recently against Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state officials, the Professional Beauty Federation of California (PBFC) argues California singled out the industry because of its lack of lobbying power.

“The personal services sectors are the quintessential small business sectors,” PBFC attorney Fred Jones said in a recent phone call, “and yet, because we don’t have the same clout as Hollywood or big business, we have become the sacrificial lambs to the Covid gods.”

It’s a sacrifice borne disproportionately by minorities, he points out.

The state’s focus on salons and cosmetic services has hammered an industry composed overwhelmingly of women, immigrants and members of LGBTQ community. Of PBFC’s 621,000 dues-paying licensees, Jones said, more than 80 percent are female and 75 percent are first-generation immigrants.

“This is the profession that this governor has sacrificed,” he said. “That’s not very politically correct, is it?”

In Jones’ telling, the industry’s financial woes began when Newsom blamed a Northern California nail salon for the first known case of community spread of the novel coronavirus. PBFC, reporters and other industry groups demanded data to support the assertion. State officials never provided that.

“What he didn’t realize was that he was throwing all this shade at our industry in the minds of Californians,” Jones said. “As a result, we’ve had a cumulative seven months of lockdowns. This is our third reopening after our third closure since March, and every time we reopen, there are less clients coming back because they’re picking up the message that this industry is unsafe.”

WE ARE OPEN  Shag Salon has reopened for the fourth time in the past year. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

While state officials and their local counterparts repeated the narrative of the dangers inherent to salons, research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested otherwise. The study published last summer found face masks may have prevented a pair of Covid-positive Missouri hairstylists from spreading the virus to as many as 140 clients.

Missouri’s Springfield-Greene County Health Department, which led the investigation, determined that policies requiring people to cover mouths and noses and the salon’s strict sanitation policies played a substantial role in curbing what could have been a huge outbreak.

Jen Erickson, founder and CEO of Silicon Valley Apprenticeship Barbering/Cosmetology and a 25-year industry veteran, said clients should rest assured that salons are safe to patronize. Passing the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology test requires 1,600 class-hours—about 1,000 more than needed to become a police officer—and fluency in sterilization and cross-contamination.

“With the pandemic,” she said, “a lot of us even went above and beyond, retrofitting salons to make things safe, spending money even though we weren’t making any.”

If public health officials produced data that showed salons as high-risk for coronavirus outbreaks, that would be one thing, Jones said. But he has yet to see any from the state or local governments. What few numbers are available seem to back his suspicions about the shutdowns being less science-and-data-based than Newsom lets on.

Statistics released in December by the New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office show that 74 percent of Covid cases for which there’s contact-tracing data available were attributed to household gatherings. Bars and restaurants accounted for just 1.43 percent of the spread. Salons and personal care services, just 0.14 percent.

Jones wants to see similar California data.

Pacheco said she welcomes the reopening news, but wishes the salon industry got a heads up earlier to prevent what she called a chaotic scramble.

The steps the salon industry has taken to further bolster its safety protocols should boost clients’ confidence that they are in a safe environment, Pacheco said. Still, she expects business to remain tight as it weathers the coming months.

“We’re excited to see our guests, but we would love to be at full capacity,” she said.

Shag Salon is currently rebooking guests who had previous appointments, and expects to take in new bookings later in the month. For information, visit shagsalongilroy.com or facebook.com/shagsalonxo.

Jennifer Wadsworth contributed to this article.

Win a $100 Gift Card to Westside Grill!

You could win a $100 gift certificate to Westside Grill, donated by our friends at Coldwell Banker, Gilroy. Raffles will take place each Sunday of February, and there are no limits to the number of entries.

Here are a few other ways you can be entered to win prizes all month long.  Make sure to tag #lovelocalGilroy so we don’t miss you!

  • Shop at any business with a 95020-zip code and share a picture of either the item you purchased or a picture of your receipt.
  • Take a picture of a place you love here in Gilroy.
  • Write a loving review for a Gilroy business (screenshot/share it with us).
  • Participate in Downtown Gilroy is for Lovers’ essay contest (deadline is February 8).
  • Follow Gilroy Chamber of Commerce on Facebook/Instagram
  • Follow Visit Gilroy on Facebook/Instagram
  • Follow Gilroy Downtown Business Association on Facebook/Instagram

February 1, 2021

Large Business of the Year

Alpine Landscapes was a spin-off company when Ryan’s father, Allen Dinsmore, sold Dinsmore Landscape Company, in 1997, which was located in Santa Clara, CA. At the time of the split Dinsmore Landscape Company was 80 employees. From 1997 – 2009, located in Gilroy, Alpine Landscapes averaged 7 to 10 employees. Ryan has fond memories as a young kid working for his father at both companies. Ryan says, “When I was 5 years old, I remember mowing the carpets of my dad’s office hallways with a plastic lawn mower”. Working in the field and gaining respect for the labor-intensive industry was a common occurrence during summer months. After graduating from Chico State in 2009, Ryan joined his father in the business. He had an itch to learn the ins and outs and grow a company that already had a great reputation for quality work and excellent customer service.

Ryan and his father grew the company from 10 employees to 25 employees from 2010 – 2015. Ryan purchased the business from his father in 2016. He began putting the building blocks in place and implementing certain procedures to excel the growth. According to Ryan, “We grew from 25 employees to 75 employees in four years. I have learned that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Should someone else have to run your business or you were forced to sell it, would it be able to operate at the same level without you? Putting the right team members in place, whether that is managers or field personnel, that can fill critical roles and know more than me has really paid off. It has allowed the company to continue growth while keeping the same reputation. Have we stumbled a bit? Of course. Many times. But that is what continually makes us better and will allow us to create those partnerships that last for many years.”

Over the past year, Alpine Landscapes, has had to search for a new location as they have outgrown their current one. “The decision was simple. We wanted to keep our HQ in Gilroy. Yes, we perform work all over the Bay Area. But 90% of our workforce lives down here in the south county. Keep the work here, where you live. It’s also nice to support local organizations”. Some of the organizations the company supports are Rotary, St. Joseph’s, and Wreaths Across America to name a few.

Alpine’s new headquarters is currently under construction on north Monterey Road within the city limits. “We purchased an old run-down property, on 1.6 acres, and are fully renovating it. It will provide a facelift to this area of Monterey Road. We are excited to move-in mid-2021.”

Alpine, with all the commercial services they offer (maintenance, irrigation, enhancement/construction, and tree care) plans to continue its growth in the many years ahead. Recent accolades will certainly help support their growth. In 2019 they were awarded the John Redmond Memorial Award for a project in Morgan Hill. It was awarded for the best maintenance of any commercial property in the state of California. “We did not enter any properties, in 2020, into trophy award categories. Judging was to be done virtually by photo submission only. This did not seem fair to all. How can someone really comprehend the detail level or correct horticultural practices being performed on a project without walking it?”

What advice would you give other business owners, such as yourself, who want to grow their company? “Trust the people you hire and try to get out of the way. Don’t be an internal roadblock. It can be difficult. Just because you have done one thing right for so many years, doesn’t mean it cannot be done better or more efficiently another way. Stay up to date on technology. Technology is out there to improve efficiencies. Who are your core customers, or in our case partners? How can you learn to service them better and create more partnerships based upon those relationships? Last, take care of your employees. They are the heartbeat of your operation. Make it an enjoyable experience for them where they want to make it a career and not just another job.”

Small Business of the Year

Bracco’s Towing and Transport Inc. was founded in 1992 by Dion Bracco. From passenger cars to large commercial vehicles, we have the equipment and expertise to tow, recover and transport your vehicle or cargo efficiently and professionally.

Dion has an interesting story as to how he turned a side gig, the desire to be self-employed, and a $25,000 gift into a successful business, all while performing the duties of a single father with custody of his children. Listen to Dion’s story here.

Dion said, “Being born and raised in Gilroy, I love being part of something; I can drive around Gilroy and remember what it used to look like back when the population was less than 10,000 people, and US 101 went through town and seeing people I went to school and played sports with.”

Bracco’s Towing is a member of the California Tow Truck Association where Dion served on the Executive Board as Treasurer and Vice President of Education. Bracco’s Towing has been recognized by the State of California and the City of Gilroy on numerous occasions for their support of programs to eliminate drunk driving.

In addition to the services they provide, Dion also takes pride in supporting the local community which has supported him through the years allowing Bracco’s Towing to grow to three locations. They dedicate time and resources to organizations that include the Exchange Club of Gilroy, Memorial Day Parade, Sober Graduation, Every Fifteen Minutes, Towing Operators Working to Eliminate Drunk Driving, Breast Cancer Awareness, Gilroy Gang Task Force, Police Activities League D.A.R.E., School Crossing Guards, Salvation Army, St. Joseph’s Family Center, New Hope Compassion Center, Downtown Flag Project and Anchorpoint Christian Warriors Football.

When asked about giving back to the community, Dion said, “It’s the way I was raised. I grew up seeing my father helping others and volunteering in the community, it’s satisfying to giving, helping, and supporting others.”

As for Dion’s advice to others looking to build a business, he said, “I have found that it’s best to shut-up and listen to others who are successful and learn from them, join professional organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, and become known in the community by attending community events and volunteering to help.” Dion went on to say, “You need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. You need to be willing to sacrifice, my children grew up doing their homework in the passenger seat of a tow truck and playing in the tow yard.”

Dion also understands the importance of having the right people on board. Dion gives credit for his success to having the best employees in the industry. Dion said, “I have been blessed to have a great team of professionals.” Dion even has two employees, whose fathers also worked for him.

Lawmakers Propose Extending Eviction Moratorium

By Nigel Duara, CalMatters

Legislators are prepared to extend California’s eviction moratorium to the end of June while offering landlords an incentive to forgive back rent using an extra $2.6 billion the state received from the latest federal relief bill.

Legislators and groups representing landlords and tenants worked on a deal over the weekend, and the bill, SB 91, was introduced this morning, which means lawmakers can vote on it Thursday morning.

“We have a deal,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference, noting that the deal also extended to financial assistance for unpaid utilities.

“The whole idea is to leverage the (federal) dollars to pay back back rent and get about 20% (forgiven),” Newsom said. “Those tenants are allowed to at least get their lives a little more stable.”

Despite a federal eviction moratorium that runs until the end of March, legislators were working to preserve the complicated and delicate framework of California’s deal, which allowed those who have paid 25% of their rent during the pandemic to avoid eviction and owe the back rent as civil debt.

California’s original eviction moratorium ends Jan. 31, and a new deal would need to be in place before then.

Tenant groups told CalMatters during negotiations over the extension that they had been sidelined, and raised those concerns again today. Their chief objection to the deal is the provision allowing landlords to decline the federal rental relief.

“If federal tenant protection policies are mandatory because of the decades of evidence that landlords discriminate, such as fair housing, why would we allow landlords to opt out of a tenant protection program where the cost to society and human life could be catastrophic,” said Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment executive director Christina Livingston in a statement.

Assemblymember David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat who wrote the original eviction moratorium that took effect in September, called the proposal “necessary but far from perfect.”

“The power imbalance between tenants and landlords is troubling as the amount of rental assistance a tenant receives is determined solely by the cooperation of their landlord,” Chiu said in a statement Monday morning. “I expect there will be a need to revisit this legislation to address gaps and provide relief to additional tenants.”

The proposed moratorium extension deal also addressed one of the California Apartment Association’s major demands: A unified statewide eviction moratorium that preempts any local efforts to establish a longer moratorium.

The association’s chief lobbyist, Debra Carlton, said that “while the bill doesn’t contain everything we asked for,” the group is satisfied that the deal includes back rent owed to landlords.

“Without this money, many landlords are at risk of losing their rental units,” Carlton said in a statement. “It is imperative that the state release that money quickly.

Using $2.6 billion in federal relief as rental subsidies, the proposal would pay landlords 80% of unpaid back rent incurred between April 2020 and March 2021 if landlords agree to forgive the remaining 20% in back rent and agree not to pursue evictions.

Should landlords not agree to accept the rental relief dollars, the deal instructs courts to reduce damages owed the landlord, assuming the tenant met the eligibility requirements.

Per federal rules, rental assistance is limited to those who make up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The outline obtained Monday suggests that priority for rental relief will go to those earning less than 50% AMI. Area Median Income for a four-person household in Los Angeles County is $77,300. Eighty percent of that is $61,840.

Lawmakers have more work ahead of them in trying to help families recover from the pandemic-induced recession. Last month, Newsom also proposed a Golden State Stimulus of $600 for low-wage Californians in addition to federal relief.

While members of the legislature are still considering the state stimulus as part of an early-action budget package and many have voiced support, legislative staffers speaking on background say it has taken the backseat to more urgent negotiations to extend the eviction moratorium. Neither house has yet held a hearing on the $600 tax credits.

State Supreme Court Says Dynamex Decision Is Retroactive

By Ashley Hoffman, CalChamber

The California Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that its April 2018 decision changing the test for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee applies retroactively. The latest ruling opens California businesses up to millions of dollars of liability.

The state high court’s April 2018 decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court held that whether a worker is an employee for purposes of the California Wage Orders is determined by the “ABC test.”

ABC Test

Under the ABC test, a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the hiring entity establishes all three of the following conditions:

  1. The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
  2. The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
  3. The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

Borello Test

This Dynamex decision came as a large surprise to California businesses. For decades, California courts and state agencies had applied what is known as the Borello test for determining whether a worker was an independent contractor or employee for labor and employment purposes.

The multi-factor test had been established in S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v Dept. of Industrial Relations in 1989 and looked primarily at whether the hiring entity had a “right to control” the manner in which the worker performed the contracted service.

Although Borello was technically not a Wage Order case, because the courts and California state agencies had relied on Borello to determine whether workers were properly classified for purposes of claims under the Wage Orders, any business seeking advice or guidance on this issue would be told to look to Borello and would have relied on that multi-factor test.

Some businesses staked their entire business model on Borello and its wide acceptance by courts and state enforcement agencies as the applicable test for purposes of employment claims. Dynamex overturned decades of precedent in one fell swoop.

Vazquez v. Jan-Pro

Now, employers have a second surprise—on January 14, 2021, the California Supreme Court held in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. that Dynamex is retroactive because the decision did not change any “settled rule” about what test applied to the Wage Orders and doing so is not “improper or unfair” to employers.

The court explicitly rejected Jan-Pro’s argument that Dynamex should not be retroactive because it, and others, had reasonably relied on Borello in determining how to classify its workers, reasoning that employers had no reasonable basis for relying on Borello for Wage Order claims and claiming that Dynamex was not a “sharp” departure from the basic approach of Borello.

Even if the court is technically correct that Borello was not a Wage Order case, the court’s decision, unfortunately, does not reflect reality. Worse, it opens up businesses that acted in good faith under the universally accepted Borello standard to millions of dollars of exposure.

The court’s Vazquez opinion states Dynamex applies retroactively to all cases “not yet final” as of the date of the Dynamex decision. Most claims for unpaid wages under the California Labor Code carry a three-year statute of limitations that can be extended to four years as long as the plaintiff also includes a claim under California’s Unfair Competition Law, plus the penalties that can be added to those claims under both the Labor Code and the Private Attorneys General Act.

A business that relied in good faith on Borello can now be liable for not following the ABC test before the Dynamex decision was ever issued.

Exemptions from Dynamex

AB 5 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), signed on September 18, 2019, codified the Dynamex decision and extended it to several additional California employment laws while creating industry-specific exemptions. AB 2257 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), passed last year, added additional exemptions and made clarifications to AB 5.

For businesses that are exempted from Dynamex under AB 5, the Legislature should make it clear that the exemptions also apply retroactively. This would ensure that at least some businesses that reasonably relied on the once universally accepted Borello standard are spared from costly litigation.

Record Drop in School Enrollment

California’s K-12 public school enrollment has dropped by a record 155,000 students amid the pandemic — a 500% increase in the enrollment declines posted in recent years, CalMatters’ Ricardo Cano reports. The staggering figure is the latest indication of how the pandemic has upended the educations of 6.1 million students, many of whom haven’t set foot on campus in nearly a year. And it isn’t just public schools that are affected: California’s private school enrollment has dropped by nearly 29,000 students. With Newsom’s school reopening plan unlikely to accelerate kids’ return to the classroom, a coalition of parent groups across the state on Monday launched Open Schools California to lobby for campuses to reopen as soon as safely possible.

Open Schools California: “Schools across the country have safely reopened — meaning this is not an issue of whether it can be done, but rather a lack of political will in California.”

Meanwhile, college students graduating this year will enter one of the most volatile job markets in recent history. Student reporters from CalMatters’ College Journalism Network are following six seniors as they prepare for post-college life in a world where youth unemployment has soared alongside levels of anxiety and depression.

Gilroy Chamber Member Updates

Homebuyers Workshop

Whether you are buying for the first time, the last time or anywhere in between, Guild Mortgage is here to help you. Join the Stebbins Mortgage Team on February 4 at 12:00 pm or 6:00 pm for information for all levels of buyers, Realtors, and some time for Q&A as well. Please email Jayson Stebbins for the link and the passcode to join.

Is Fiber High-Speed Internet Right For You? The Neon Exchange will be going Live on Facebook on Friday, February 5 at 12:00 pm with Leslie Humphries, Enterprise Account Executive with WAVE Broadband to discuss business presence here in South County as a viable option now with high-speed fiber internet. South County residents now have fiber internet provider choices at affordable rates.

Join on Facebook and learn about:
– WAVE’s company profile
– Services offered
– Choosing Fiber v. Cable
– Costs Associated

Win a $50 Gift Card to Fifth Street Coffee!

Raffles will take place each Sunday of February, and there are no limits to the number of entries.
Here are a few other ways you can be entered to win prizes all month long.  Make sure to tag #lovelocalGilroy so we don’t miss you!

  • Shop at any business with a 95020-zip code and share a picture of either the item you purchased or a picture of your receipt.
  • Take a picture of a place you love here in Gilroy.
  • Write a loving review for a Gilroy business (screenshot/share it with us).
  • Participate in Downtown Gilroy is for Lovers’ essay contest (deadline is February 8).
  • Follow Gilroy Chamber of Commerce on Facebook/Instagram
  • Follow Visit Gilroy on Facebook/Instagram
  • Follow Gilroy Downtown Business Association on Facebook/Instagram