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Santa Clara’s Homesteaders 4-H Club Makes The Best Better
By Melissa McKenzie

Even though 4-H (head, heart, hands and health) Clubs began as “The Tomato Club” and ”Corn Growing Club,” most people associate the organization with raising livestock for market purposes. However, today’s 4-H Clubs are about so much more than agriculture. In fact, the modern 4-H Clubs of America are youth-driven social clubs that allow young people to explore everything from crop growing to STEM programs.

Jackie Penner, 19, has been involved with 4-H for eight years. Originally joining Santa Clara’s Homesteaders 4-H Club because of an interest in dairy goats, Penner has raised numerous animals and taken on a leadership role within the organization. Now in her final year, Penner, a nursing student at Washington State University and Foothill College...

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No Easy Answer to Santa Clara's Forecast Structural Deficits
By Carolyn Schuk

No Easy Answer to Santa Clara's Forecast Structural Deficits

While Santa Clara's general fund revenues are projected to grow 15 percent from $221 million to $255 million over the next five years, general fund costs are projected to grow at over twice that rate–35 percent–from $219 million to $295 million.

That adds up to a $38 million deficit in 2022-23 and a $116 million...

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Small Business Spotlight: Eyers Hitch Center
By Melissa McKenzie

Small Business Spotlight: Eyers Hitch Center

Now in its 50th year, Santa Clara’s Eyers Hitch Center is a true family affair. With over 85 years of experience between co-owners Cecil and Eric Eyers, Eyers Hitch Center prides itself on the service and expertise it provides customers.

In 1967, Cecil was eager to start his own business. A welder by trade, Eyers served in the United States Navy and worked as a maintenance mechanic and welder at a lumber yard in Santa Clara for several years...

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Former Wilcox Star Shining in the Major Leagues
By Andrew Bensch

Former Wilcox Star Shining in the Major Leagues

Kyle Barraclough’s fastball reaches the mid-90s and his slider can be absolutely devastating. The Miami Marlins relief pitcher also happens to call Santa Clara home. The 27-year-old right hander grew up playing at Briarwood Little League before going on to star at both Wilcox and Saint Mary’s. After four years of collegiate ball, Barraclough was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. In August of 2015 he made his big-league debut with the Marlins in Atlanta.

“It was always kind of the goal,” said Barraclough on his journey to the big leagues. “I had some success in high school and college. I knew I was probably going to get drafted somewhere. I was going to be given the chance. It all fell into place, everything just worked out on its own through perseverance and hard work...”

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A Passion for the "Story" in History
Story and photo by Erasmo Guerra

A Passion for the "Story" in History

Mary Hanel, the former history librarian at the Santa Clara City Library retired three years ago this month, but she’s as busy as ever. She attends lectures and programs at Santa Clara University through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. And, as a board member and docent volunteer at the Harris-Lass House Museum, she’s helping organize their “Art on the Lawn” exhibit in August.

The recent afternoon I met up with her at the Central Park Library, she’d just returned from visiting her mom at a local senior living facility and had, in her purse, a paperback copy of Hidden Figures, the biography of black female mathematicians who worked at NASA, which she’s reading for a book club...

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Westside on the Verge of First Section 5 Championship Since 1968
By: Andrew Bensch

Westside on the Verge of First Section 5 Championship Since 1968

For the second-straight week, Santa Clara Westside’s 11-12-year-old All Stars have won three in a row. After winning District 44 two weeks ago with wins on consecutive days–Thursday, Friday and Saturday–Westside has now doubled down to begin the Section-5 tournament. With yet another three wins last week–also on Thursday, Friday and Saturday–their overall win streak now stands at six...

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This Week's Letters

I hate long, tired comments about length of service especially from me.  But it is important for my argument to state that I have appeared or corresponded with Santa Clara Commissions for 44 years, served on two separate commissions, and the Charter Review Committee.  Mr. Barber seems to imply that there is some buckaroo serving on a commission in Santa Clara.  Granted that in any society, there are city commissioners or elected representatives with "challenged" intellectual ability, more apt to event planning than theoretical physics, but such is the way of things.  In the last fifty years, only one city commissioner has been formally investigated, coming within a fleck of being dismissed for harassing staff and favoring fermented beverages.  I think, given our outstanding crew of commissioners, Mr Barber should put up or shut up.  We have too many web based commentators who smear for no reason except for twinkie money, the Weekly is better than that as Mr. Barber who needs to say "who," "what," and "when." He knows better, Barber is a columnist not a silly podcaster living off fermented honey.

James Rowen

Just read your recent article about housing and the mention that the state has made granny units easier. Technically that may be true, but realistically the burdens still far outweigh the benefits.  I have spent the last two months researching building a granny unit in my back yard here in Campbell, California. My husband and I have a nearly 13,000 square-foot lot with the large open space backyard, perfect for a secondary dwelling unit. However, after checking with every utility company and the city regarding policies and permits, I soon realized I need to come up with roughly 35K (possibly more) before I even begin working with a contractor. The only noticeable change my city made in regards to the new ordinance is in regards to the size of unit I am allowed to build changed from 640 to 900 ft.², and the strict parking restrictions went away. However, the utility requirements set by the city, plus all their fees is still making it quite difficult for people to consider a backyard unit.

Karen Petersen

Due to the mismanagement of the city house and rental policies, I and the entire neighborhood of El Captain and Sheraton Dr., in Santa Clara, were affected by the parking spill-over coming from nearby renters. As a result, we couldn't even have room to place our garbage and recyclable cans and they would even block the vital access to the fire hydrant. Through the joint effort of neighbors, the city was compelled to place signs regulating street parking. The residents were given free of charge temporary parking permits. And guess what, due to the efficient enforcement of our police department, the parking problem was resolved. When the temporary permits expired, the city council unexpectedly imposed a 21 dollar fee for each renewal. I think this strategy is misguided, unjust and unfair, for several reasons. The City has embarked in an uncontrollable housing development, which invariably caused traffic and parking problems. What used to be designated as a single-family home, now is multifamily one with more cars. The astronomical housing prices and high rents, have dramatically changed our demographics and lifestyle.  Garages are transformed into storage rooms, forcing residents to park on the street. Now is it right for our mayor and city council to force our tax paying citizens, to pay for what is inherently theirs. Developers should be the ones to assume the responsibility of providing the appropriate and necessary parking facilities, not the citizens of Santa Clara. Please help us maintain the good quality of life, that this City has been known for and widely recognized as such.

Rufino Vargas

AbleCloset Gives Special Needs Children Access to Life Improving Equipment
Story and Photos by Cynthia Cheng

AbleCloset Gives Special Needs Children Access to Life Improving Equipment

When Kelly Steitz ordered a walker for her daughter, who has cerebral palsy, her daughter refused to use it. The equipment sat in their home unused. Years later, Steitz conjured up the idea to start a website where parents of special needs children can check out equipment that they need free of charge. Since its 2010 launch, AbleCloset, a 501c3 non-profit organization, has served about 300 families per year. Wheelchairs, walkers, gait trainers, shower chairs and other equipment for special needs children fill AbleCloset’s Santa Clara warehouse located at 1815 Walsh Ave. (between San Tomas Expy. and Lafayette St.).

“The purpose of AbleCloset is to loan out equipment for two to six months either because you want to try something before you make a purchasing decision, or maybe you need to use something before your order comes in because it takes a long time to get equipment you ordered,” said Steitz, who founded AbleCloset with Julie and Todd Bursey...

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City Staff Fires Back at Mayor’s Stadium Audit
By Carolyn Schuk

City Staff Fires Back at Mayor’s Stadium Audit

Last month Santa Clara’s finance, police, and fire departments and the 49ers both weighed in on Harvey M. Rose's (HMR) draft report, now public at the Mercury News website. The number and kinds of corrections made by City staff may suggest to some a startling lack of understanding or attention on HMR's part.

Forty-Niners General Counsel Hannah Gordon put bluntly, "The lack of business sophistication [shown by the report]... casts a shadow over the entire exercise and all conclusions reached."

Gordon was withering in her critique. "It will only serve to further confuse the Board and the public with erroneous information, incomplete and out-of-context half-truths, and outright misrepresentations," she wrote. "Throughout the report, Harvey Rose, which is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm qualified to perform an audit or give legal advice, draws legal conclusions and gives legal counsel...”

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Santa Clara Unified School District Recognizes Employees of the Year
Story by Cynthia Cheng and Photo by Santa Clara Unified School District

Santa Clara Unified School District Recognizes Employees of the Year

Three outstanding employees of the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) were recognized at the district’s annual employee recognition tea held on May 24 before the school year ended.

Being honored as the Classified Employee of the Year was Claudia Freitas, bookkeeper at Cabrillo Middle School. Freitas, a Santa Clara resident, has worked at the school since 1998. She cited flexibility and a passion for helping others get their jobs done as must-have qualifications for a job such as hers.

“A bookkeeper was one who took care of general ledgers in the olden days,” Freitas said. “But typically what I do is that I take care of all the financing, all the budgeting. I’m the secretary for the Site Council. I’m in charge of various tasks that have come up through the years. I take care of the honors ceremony. I’m a major key player in the eighth grade graduation. I take care of all the staff orders. I take care of what the teachers need to teach in their classroom. Anything that comes with a dollar figure comes from my office. I make sure teachers have all the tools and supplies they need to do their jobs. I also work with the ASB (Associate Student Body) coordinator...”

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Enjoying Your City on a Budget
Story by Alissa Reyes

Enjoying Your City on a Budget

The warm weather and sunny skies of summer inspire us to get out there, learn something new, and meet new people. However, enjoying summer and what Santa Clara has to offer can run up a big bill. If you’re looking, there are ways to experience Santa Clara on a budget.

Want to expand your palette and try a new restaurant? Yelp has a handy filter where you can narrow down your search to places “Offering a Deal.” Be sure to narrow your search to Santa Clara to support local businesses. For example, Taichi Pot Shabu Shabu (2640 Homestead Rd.) has a $10 for $15 deal. When you’re heading to a restaurant, check-in on Yelp and sometimes you’ll unlock other deals, like free appetizers or drinks.

Groupon has a bunch of deals that you can sort by location and type. You can find discounts on things from hair salons to gym classes to products. Davenriche European Martial Arts School (3266 De La Cruz Blvd.) has a Groupon for 50 percent off of sword-fighting classes...

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