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San Carlos Farmers’ Market to reopen in new location Sept. 6

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The San Carlos Farmers’ Market is set to reopen Sunday, Sept. 6, at a new location near Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co., Russian Ridge Winery and Cuvée Wine Cellars.

The market announced Friday it will open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays at Bayport Avenue at Varian Street, the Industrial Arts District. Parking is available on Bing Street.

The market has been closed since the start of the shelter in place order. It was formerly located at 700 Laurel St., a location currently being used for outdoor dining to support local restaurants amid the pandemic.

“We thank the City of San Carlos for supporting this move so we can bring back our beloved farmers market,” the market announced on social media. “With the restaurants allowed to serve in the street, we are so pleased to find a new location by right by our amazing wineries and Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co.!”

The brewery was equally pleased about its new neighbor, stating on Facebook, “We’re so glad that you are all pumped for us to reopen, and we have some good news! Starting Sunday, September 6th, we’re welcoming and participating in the San Carlos Farmer’s Market! And guess where it is… Right outside the Beer Garden!”

No dogs will be allowed in the market. The market will require strict COVID-19 guidelines, including mask-wearing at all times.

Photo credit: San Carlos Farmers’ Market Facebook.

SMC indoor barbershops, malls can reopen Monday

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Starting Monday, Aug. 31, San Mateo County hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to operate indoors, and retail and shopping malls in the county can open at a maximum 25 percent capacity, based upon Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new color-coded COVID-19 reopening system.

The color-coded system ranks counties based on COVID-19 case counts and positivity rate.

San Mateo County is currently in the most concerning purple tier denoting a “widespread” county risk level. Counties in this tier have more than seven new daily cases per 100,000 residents and more than 8 percent positive tests. San Mateo County currently has 8.6 new positive cases per 100,000 residents and a 4.8 percent positivity rate, the state says.

“Although San Mateo County’s positivity rate falls in the ‘moderate’ risk level, the stricter tier takes precedence,” county officials said.

At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving to a new tier.

Being in the purple tier keeps bars, concert venues, and piercing shops closed, among other activities. Click here and type in San Mateo County and scroll down to see guidance on businesses can can open or remain closed.

Local officials still dispute being placed on the state monitoring list last month. County Manager Mike Callagy said the loosened restrictions are a good sign.

“We have repeatedly said that the spread of the virus in our community is not linked to businesses like hair salons and we could see the economic hardship on those businesses that couldn’t modify to operate outdoors,” Callagy said in a statement. “We are very happy to see them reopen and with the effort of our residents to wear face coverings and avoid large gatherings, we hope to soon move to the next tier and loosen even more restrictions.”

CZU Complex wildfires at 81,333 acres, 21 percent containment

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The CZU August Lightning Complex wildfires in southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Cruz County was at 81,333 acres and 21 percent containment as of Wednesday morning, Cal Fire officials said.

Favorable weather has allowed firefighters to make progress on the blazes, caused by a flurry of statewide lightning strikes last week, to the point that some areas are being prepped to be repopulated, meaning crews are going in to clear roadways, restore utilities and assess damages.

Still, over 23,000 structures remain under threat by the ongoing fires, and 646 are confirmed destroyed, 11 of them in San Mateo County and the rest in Santa Cruz County, officials said. The number of firefighters battling the blaze continued to grow and is now at 1,982, more than double the number of personnel from a week ago, which significantly improves their ability to increase containment efforts.

Fire officials are confident the blazes will not continue their march into regions they were previously concerned about, including Santa Clara County, UC Santa Cruz and Felton, due in part to construction of protective fire control lines.

“Over the course of next 48 hours, we are going to be looking at repopulating different areas, in and around the fires,” Cal Fire incident commander Billy See said. “It needs to be a coordinated and methodical process. We need to ensure that we have electricity, we need to ensure the roadways are safe to travel, we need to make sure that we have corridors for our firefighters to travel in and out of the fire, we need to make sure we have water in place. That’s a coordinated effort that takes a lot of different agencies to ensure this occurs.”

The community of Davenport, for example, is one area where PG&E is already present trying to reestablish electricity in the community.

“The fire perimeter, each day, we are gaining confidence as we increase resources on this incident,” See said. “Today, we’re going to have over 1,000 firefighters out on that line working diligently to gain perimeter control. Each day we increase our containment effort on this incident, and we will continue to do that until we have it 100 percent contained and we’ve been able to lift the majority of evacuation orders and warnings in this area.”

The CZU August Lightning Complex fires were among hundreds of wildfires that began last week throughout the state following 11,000 lightning strikes over a 72-hour period. The lightning strikes were caused by a tropical storm in the Pacific. Firefighting resources have been stretched thin as a result of the large number of wildfires.

Visit the regional evacuations portal for more information. Visit Cal Fire’s incident map for more information on the status of wildfires throughout the state.

Headline image of Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton, YouTube

Redwood City: Pedestrian on life support after hit-and-run collision

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Man injured in Redwood City stabbing

A pedestrian is on life support at Stanford Hospital after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in Redwood City early this morning, police said.

The collision occurred on Woodside Road near the intersection of Middlefield Road at about 1 a.m. can caused major injuries to the pedestrian, police said.

The vehicle involved fled and has not yet been located. Vehicle parts at the scene indicate that it is a 2007-2009 E-Class Mercedes Benz, possibly silver in color, police said. The car should be missing the driver’s side mirror, and the front driver’s side fog light bezel.

Anyone with information related to case is encouraged to contact Officer Darren Schrum at dschrum@redwoodcity.org or Detective Matt Cydzik at 650-780-7607 or mcydzik@redwoodcity.org or by calling 650-780-7100.

SFO first U.S. airport with rapid COVID-19 testing for employees

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The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has become the first airport in the nation to implement a first rapid COVID-19 testing program for airport employees, providing testing at the airport and also at nearby Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Bay Area care locations.

The program, which launched with the testing of airline flight crews in late July, includes a testing site at International Terminal, located outside of the terminal and away from passenger traffic. It is currently returning test results in less than an hour and further reductions in result wait times are anticipated, SFO said. Employees can book their testing appointments online.

SFO partnered with GoHealth Urgent Care’s Return to Work program, which is offered to companies and includes “a tailored COVID-19 plan for employee health, comprehensive clinical evaluation and testing, on-demand access to leadership and clinical guidance, and ongoing consultation on each employer’s COVID-19 strategy.” More information on the employer-sponsored Return to Work program can visit here.

CZU Lightning fires at 80,000 acres, 19 percent containment

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The CZU August Lightning Complex wildfires in southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Cruz County had grown to 80,137 acres and was 19 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, Cal Fire officials said.

Over 24,000 structures remain under threat, and 538 are confirmed destroyed, 11 of them in San Mateo County and the rest in Santa Cruz County, officials said. Just under 1,700 firefighters are battling the blazes.

Despite the grim statistics, Cal Fire officials are optimistic, as favorable weather in the past few days have allowed them to build fire control lines to prevent its spread. The better weather also allowed helicopters to drop over 1.6 million gallons of water on the fires, including 256,000 gallons on Tuesday. Fire officials remain confident the blazes will not continue their march into regions they were previously concerned about, including Santa Clara County, UC Santa Cruz and Felton.

The forecast of continued favorable weather will enable firefighters to continue the work to strengthen fire lines, officials said. Plans are being made to send crews to fire-ravaged zones to clear roadways, enabling utility vehicles and damage inspectors to begin the recovery process.

San Mateo County Det. Rosmerry Blankswade expressed gratitude to the local community for donations to first responders and evacuees. Diapers, formula and other baby supplies came into the San Mateo County Event Center, set up as an evacuation center, she said. Restaurants, including Alice’s Restaurant on Skyline and Highway 84, have donated food to first responders.

“We’re grateful for the support from the community,” Blankswade said, adding, “It’s just incredibly motivating. Our first responders and support staff see these messages and comments, we see signs as well out in the community, and we can’t tell you how much it means to us right now.”

The CZU August Lightning Complex fires were among hundreds of wildfires that began last week throughout the state following 11,000 lightning strikes over a 72-hour period. The lightning strikes were caused by a tropical storm in the Pacific. Firefighting resources have been stretched thin as a result of the large number of wildfires.

Visit the regional evacuations portal for more information. Visit Cal Fire’s incident map for more information on the status of wildfires throughout the state.

Headline image of Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton holding Thank You cards from community members credited to Cal Fire CZU

‘Firefighters helping firefighters:’ neighboring agencies assist in under-resourced battle

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As the mostly volunteer firefighters with the Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek fire districts worked tirelessly over the last week to protect their neighbors’ homes from the CZU Lightening Complex fires — sometimes successfully, sometimes not — the lack of adequate resources became glaringly apparent.

“Fire personnel were lying on the concrete floor of the apparatus in their dirty gear just to get some sleep,” Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman stated after visiting the scene.

With hundreds of lightning-caused fires raging across the state, Cal Fire has struggled to provide adequate resources on all fronts, including within the CZU Lightening Complex fires, which as of Tuesday had burned about 78,000 acres and destroyed at least 330 homes.

Thankfully, a coordinated local effort by neighboring firefighting agencies, not just from Menlo Park but also Redwood City, Woodside and North County Fire, has provided a boost to the fire battles in Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek, which are particularly under-resourced.

“The initial ‘ask’ from Ben Lomond was for a loaner stripped down reserve training fire engine,” Schapelhouman said. “But we quickly realized when we brought it up there that they and Boulder Creek, needed much, much more.”

Within hours, “we were back with a 6000 Gallon Water Tanker we occasionally use at our training center along with pallets of water and Gatorade,”  Schapelhouman said. “Within the next 24 hours, we delivered cots and sleeping bags, toiletries, spare radios and fire foam. Now each day we ask them what they need and serve as their logistical supply line so they can focus on the important task of saving their communities.”

Schapelhouman’s district is particularly adept at such a response. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District is a sponsoring agency for the FEMA State and National Urban Search and Rescue Response System. The district’s CA-TF3 Incident Support Team is one of 28 such teams nationally specializing in rapid deployment to disaster areas.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Carl Kustin, a Boulder Creek resident and member of the CA-TF3 team, told Schapelhouman about the dire situation in his hometown. Schapelhouman “mobilized his team and network” to assist, the Times reported. In addition to the assistance mentioned above, Schapelhouman “secured several infrared and heat-seeking drones for the volunteer firefighters to use for fire reconnaissance,” which are set to be used Wednesday. Meanwhile, Kustin turned the firehouse in Boulder Creek into “a de facto operations center,” the newspaper said.

Currently, Menlo Fire has 13 firefighters and two chief officers deployed to the CZU Lightning Complex fires and other fires around the state, Schapelhouman  said. Woodside, Redwood City and North County Fire firefighters are also assisting in the fire battles.

On Tuesday, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District posted photos of the local, multi-agency effort to social media, stating:

“Firefighters helping firefighters! The Menlo Park Fire Protection District among with @woodsidefireprotectiondistrict, @redwoodcityfire, and North County Fire provided additional resources to help the fire agencies and communities in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County affected by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.”

Headline photo credit: Menlo Fire

CZU Lightning fires at 78,000 acres, 17 percent containment

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Thanks to continued favorable weather, firefighters made additional progress on the CZU August Lightning Complex wildfires in southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Cruz County over the last 24 hours. The cluster of blazes remained at about 78,000 acres, and containment grew by 4 percent Monday to 17 percent as of Tuesday morning, Cal Fire officials said.

Over 25,000 structures remain under threat, and 330 structures are confirmed destroyed, 11 of them in San Mateo County and the rest in Santa Cruz County, officials said. Just over 1,600 firefighters are battling the blazes.

Improved weather conditions allowed fire crews to continue to build control lines around the fire to prevent its further march into communities. On Monday, helicopters taking advantage of the favorable weather dropped 200,000 gallons of water into the fire zone, and anticipate being able to do that again Tuesday, Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton said.

From the north end of the fire near Loma Mar in San Mateo County, to the south end below Bonny Doon, fire lines are holding well and in some cases self-mitigating, Brunton said. The city of Santa Cruz and UC Santa Cruz are “looking very well protected” as of Tuesday morning, Brunton said. Optimism was also expressed about fire battles near Felton, Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek.

The CZU August Lightning Complex fires were among 367 wildfires that began last week throughout the state following 11,000 lightning strikes over a 72-hour period. The lightning strikes were caused by a tropical storm in the Pacific. Firefighting resources have been stretched thin as a result of the large number of wildfires.

Visit the regional evacuations portal for more information. Visit Cal Fire’s incident map for more information on the status of wildfires throughout the state.

Headline image credited to Cal Fire CZU

About 100 fishermen caught illegally crabbing on San Mateo County coast

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Multiple fisherman were cited on suspicion of illegally fishing for Dungeness Crab out of season at Tunitas Beach in San Mateo County on Saturday, authorities said.

CHP-Redwood City officers manning a wildfire-related closure on Highway 1 just south of Tunitas Creek Road reportedly spotted about 100 fishermen illegally crabbing at about 9:17 p.m. Saturday.

“CHP notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and with the assistance of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office were able to intervene. Multiple fishermen were cited for various misdemeanor violations including: trespassing on Tunitas Beach after sunset, possession of Dungeness Crab outside of season, exceeding the limit of Dungeness Crab in possession (10 per fisherman), and catching undersized Dungeness Crab,” according to CHP.

The Dungeness Crab season runs from the start of November through the end of June.

Headline photo credit: CHP-Redwood City

Funds for barricaded Redwood City businesses now available

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The organizer of a GoFundMe campaign to help Redwood City businesses which boarded up in anticipation of potentially destructive protests in June is inviting them to apply for a portion of the $13,000 that was collected.

Brett Weber, a longtime commercial real estate executive who lives in downtown Redwood City, made an impromptu decision to organize the GoFundMe effort to assist businesses he knew were already struggling because of months of coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Fearing the worst because of rioting and looting across the nation, most downtown businesses and some in the Fair Oaks neighborhood expended hundreds to thousands of dollars to get their storefronts boarded up in advance of a June 2 march—and then to have the plywood removed. Fortunately, those fears were not borne out and the march and rally were not violent.

“We are grateful that the protests in Redwood City were peaceful and on message,” Weber says, “however the costs incurred were an additional expense that nobody expected.

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of the community,” he adds, “and contributing to the fund was a way for people to show support for the restaurants, stores and other businesses they patronize.”

Business owners who had to pay to board up their windows and doors are eligible to receive up to $750 grants from the fund, which means as many as 18 to 26 groups will be able to recover some of what they spent. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out.

Applicants need to provide the name and address of the business, contact information, proof of payment for boarding up and photos of the plywood installation. They should send the information to either Weber at Brett.Weber@me.com or Ernie Schmidt at Ernie@foxvenues.com; both can also provide more specifics about the requirements.

The application deadline is Sept. 7, and Weber’s goal is to have the payments made by the end of September.

Headline photo: Redwood City businesses board up before the demonstration/Jim Kirkland

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