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Silicon Valley BBQ Championship fosters community
By David Alexander

Leonard Rideau dumped charcoal briquettes into a grill. Next to him, another grill billowed chalk-white smoke into the air. Soon, he would add the meat, seasoned in the Cajun style his father -- a Louisiana native -- taught him.

Rideau, a San Jose resident who named his barbeque Papa Bud’s after his father, is just one of 60 professional teams that competed in the Silicon Valley Barbeque Championship Friday and Saturday at Central Park, 909 Kiely Blvd. in Santa Clara. Approximately 30 more teams competed in the backyard competition.

The Santa Clara Rotary Club organized the fifth-annual Silicon Valley Barbeque Championship, and the proceeds from it go to fund its various charitable endeavors.

And while Rideau was there to compete, it isn’t what barbecuing is all about to him.

“Everybody says their barbeque is the best,” Rideau said. “[My father] taught me how ... for me it is about sharing something that I put time into. It meant something to him to do that, and it means something to me...”

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San Jose-Santa Clara’s Regional Wastewater Facility Offers 60th Anniversary Tour
By Cynthia Cheng

San Jose-Santa Clara’s Regional Wastewater Facility Offers 60th Anniversary Tour

In spite of the faint odor outside the administration building of the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility possibly coming from the facility or neighboring landfills, visitors of the June 25 public tour were eager to learn what happens to contents flushed down toilets and washed down sinks. Inside the building, visitors received complimentary fat scrapers to scrape fats, oil or greasy scraps to be transferred to the garbage can (from the pan to the can) to prevent sewage backups from sink disposal. In about one hour, visitors gained insights about the San Jose-Santa Clara...

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Summer Art Fair in Triton Museum Sculpture Garden
By Diane Andrews

Summer Art Fair in Triton Museum Sculpture Garden

The Sculpture Garden of Santa Clara's Triton Museum of Art, shaded by tall redwood trees, is a cool and sun-dappled place to linger on a warm afternoon. Strategically-placed benches enable visitors to relax and contemplate the permanent sculptures displayed in the garden...

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Michele Burchfiel is SCUSD’s Administrator of the Year
By Cynthia Cheng

Michele Burchfiel is SCUSD’s Administrator of the Year

At Mariani’s on May 25, Santa Clara High School principal Greg Shelby and Pomeroy Elementary School principal Tricia Ringel introduced Santa Clara Unified School District’s Administrator of the Year...

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Kids Love YMCA Summer Learning Program at Hughes Elementary
By Diane Andrews

Kids Love YMCA Summer Learning Program at Hughes Elementary

The 80 first-through-fifth-grade children participating in the YMCA of Silicon Valley's Summer Learning Program (SLP) at Kathryn Hughes Elementary School in Santa Clara consider themselves pretty lucky. The free, eight-week program, which runs June 13 – August 5, offers two weeks of academic tutoring by credentialed teachers, day-camp activities that include computers and art, led by trained YMCA leaders, and nutritious meals and snacks.

"We have lots of fun activities. We play sports and read. I like spirit time. We sing songs and let energy out," said 10-year-old Dylan Y.

The summer learning program (SLP) runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Breakfast is followed by spirit time, when all 80 happy campers go outside en masse for wake up stretches and songs. The campers each stand in their own space on the playground, marked by a number, and let loose as directed by the YMCA leaders. They begin with an attitude check.

"We feel good! Oh, we feel so good! Uh, uh, uh!" the kids chant, waving and pumping their arms in the air and dancing around in place.

Everyone calls out the YMCA song: "The Y is an open door/ You're right/ Since 1844/ You're right!..."

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Santa Clara City Observer: June 29, 2016
By Carolyn Schuk

Santa Clara City Observer

BREXIT Fallout in Santa Clara?

The Santa Clara City Council couldn't know last Tuesday evening that Great Britain would vote itself out of the European Union by Friday morning, and put financial markets into turmoil. But the Council could be expected to build the unexpected into the budget it passed last week.

That's because Santa Clara's finances are joined at the hip to the one of the world's most volatile economic sectors – technology.

The largest share of Santa Clara's general fund – the budget for City services – comes from business sales tax, which is roughly 45 percent of general fund tax revenue and 32 percent of all general fund revenue. Santa Clara has had an object lesson in this volatility over the last 15 years. And given the Brexit turmoil it's not likely the lesson isn't over.

Here's how Britain's vote to leave the European Union could affect Santa Clara's revenue. The value of the dollar has gone up, driving up overseas prices for goods exported from the U.S. Businesses will either reduce prices or have fewer sales. Either way, less revenue means less sales tax. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. technology companies' sales are overseas.

The tech economy operates in boom-and-bust cycles – 1985, 1992, 2001, 2008. The last one was the dotcom boom, which cratered in 2001. We're now in a similar "growth trumps profits" boom, this time the investment capital sweethearts are mobile app companies like Uber – currently valued at $62 billion, more than car manufacturers Ford and GM. And some say the writing's on the wall...

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