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Need food assistance? Visit this San Mateo County web page

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Need food assistance? Visit this San Mateo County web page

San Mateo County has now added a Food Assistance page to its website providing resources for community members in need.

The website features a link to the Great Plates program that delivers nutritious meals to older residents from local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also posts meal distribution sites for local students, from elementary school through college, as well as general food assistance from the Second Harvest Food Bank, the CalFresh program,  and the Women, Infants & Children program, which supports women who are pregnant or have kids under age 5.

Visit the Food Assitance page here:

San Mateo police seize over one pound of meth in traffic stop

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San Mateo police seize over one pound of meth in traffic stop

A large amount of methamphetamine was seized during a traffic stop on Saturday, police said.

Officers pulled a vehicle over near S. Norfolk Avenue and Fashion Island Boulevard at about 10:42 p.m. They recognized the driver as being on probation for drug sales and, per his probation terms, searched his car.

The officers discovered over one pound of meth, a large amount of cash, multiple cellphones and a scale, police said.

“Due to COVID-19 jail restrictions, the suspect was released at SMPD with a felony citation,” police said.

The suspect’s name was not immediately released.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office has been releasing inmates from county jails in order to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

As of Monday, the jail population at Maguire Correctional Facility in San Mateo County was 276, down from 486 on Feb. 29, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. The jail’s maximum capacity is 684. Meanwhile, the Maple Street Correctional Center, which has a maximum capacity of 832, had 245 inmates as of Monday, down from 483 on Feb. 29.


Reliant on ticket sales, Caltrain faces devastating financial future

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Reliant on ticket sales, Caltrain faces devastating financial future

With ticket sales down by over 95 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Caltrain is facing a devastating and uncertain future that may require a change in how the transit service is funded.

Even when the shelter-in-place orders end, the transit agency anticipates a future of fewer passengers per train, in part due to the need to promote social distancing and also because commuters nervous about riding in trains may choose other forms of transportation.

That likely won’t be sustainable for Caltrain, which currently gets 70 percent of its revenue from ticket sales. The transit agency has no dedicated source of funding and limited reserves.

Caltrain’s significant reductions in service during the shelter-in-place period have not produced enough savings to financially sustain the railroad, the transit agency’s staff said during a Board of Directors meeting last week. In March, the transit agency lost $3.3 million in revenue, and from April to June additional losses of $21.3 million are anticipated, the transit agency said. A $1 million budget deficit that was anticipated for the remainder of this fiscal year is now closer to an $11 million deficit. If service continued to run at these crisis levels, the annual deficit would be about $71 million, the transit agency said.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck at a time when Caltrain was planning for a future of vastly increased service. Building upon over a decade ridership growth, the Caltrain Business Plan’s 2040 Service Vision was approved by the agency’s Board last October with the aim of nearly tripling daily ridership to 180,000.

Today, the transit agency has shifted into triage and survival mode. Caltrain secured $49.3 million in federal CARES Funding to sustain the railroad in the very near term. But continued ridership constraints have the transit agency anticipating financial crisis through Fiscal Year 2021 and beyond. Agency staff said there is a need to reexamine Caltain’s funding structure in the long-term.

Caltrain staff is developing an initial opening plan for when the shelter in place is lifted and working to secure additional federal CARES funding. Meanwhile, it’s continuing to work on a possible sales tax ballot measure, as permitted by the signing of Senate Bill 797 in 2017. Ongoing electrification of the railroad continues, as well as the long-range plan. The agency aims to engage with local, regional, state and private sector partners in discussions about the system’s financial needs.

PHS/SPCA rescue raccoon dangling from highway onramp

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PHS/SPCA rescue raccoon dangling from highway onramp

The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) rescued a female raccoon last week that had been dangling from underneath an onramp on Highway 92 where the freeway connects 101 in San Mateo.

The incident unfolded on Wednesday, May 6, when a member of the public called the PHS/SPCA about the raccoon in distress. Rescue staff were at the scene within minutes to help the raccoon to safety. The California Highway Patrol stopped traffic on the onramp to allow PHS/SCPA staff to reach over the side of the freeway with specialized equipment to rescue the raccoon.

“The raccoon was in an extremely precarious situation and her only options were to fall from the high above the ground onramp to the ground below or attempt to survive in the oncoming traffic,” said Buffy Martin-Tarbox, Communications Manager at PHS/SPCA. “Either option would have potentially ended in tragedy for the animal.”

The raccoon was taken to the Wildlife Care Center for evaluation and was released back into the wild with a clean bill of health — and in a safe distance away from the highway.

“Hopefully she has learned her lesson and will stay far away from any onramps but rescuing wildlife as we increasingly encroach on natural habitat is a very predictable and at times very challenging part of our work,” said Tarbox.

This raccoon is just one of more than 400 animals PHS/SCPA has helped since San Mateo County instituted the shelter-in-place order.

Photo credit: PHS/SCPA

See’s Candies donates sweet relief to San Mateo County frontliners

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See’s Candies donates sweet relief to San Mateo County frontliners

See’s Candies, the iconic candy company based in South San Francisco, has been donating heaps of its delicious product to frontline workers and community organizations across the West.

The South San Francisco-based company recently donated $125,000 worth of chocolate to the San Mateo County Health Foundation, which will be distributed to county frontline workers. Samaritan House has also received a donation, as has the Second Harvest of Silicon Valley Food Bank, which helped distribute thousands of pounds of candy, along with meals, to families in need. In recent weeks, over 100 tons of See’s Candies have gone to hospitals, schools, food banks, police and fire departments and charitable organizations.

With stores closed due to the shelter-in-place order, See’s Candies couldn’t sell its Easter-themed candies and didn’t want them to go to waste. So it decided to donate the product to various organizations, including Meals on Wheels, Ronald McDonald Houses and the YMCA.

ABC7 News’ Dan Ashley recently spoke with See’s Candies CEO Pat Egan in Walnut Creek, where the local See’s Candies store was delivering Easter-themed candies to a local hospital.

“We are so thrilled to be able to support our frontline workers and to put this to good use, and to thrill some people with our product which we absolutely love, and would love to sell, but in this case we get to give,” Egan told Ashley.

Since March, See’s Candies said it has “reconfigured how we make and sell candy,” with fewer people on its production floors. Some of its stores are testing pick-up options, where allowed. For more information and updates, visit See’s Candies’ website here.

Photo credit: See’s Candies

San Mateo County to allow ‘highly regulated’ vehicle gatherings for graduation ceremonies

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San Mateo County to allow 'highly regulated' vehicle gatherings for graduation ceremonies

Is the Class of 2020 prepared for its drive-in graduation ceremony?

To facilitate graduations, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued a new order allowing “highly regulated” gatherings of vehicles.

Effective at 11:59 p.m. tonight, the new order impacts gatherings of ten or more vehicles. It requires occupants of each vehicle to be members of the same household, prohibits them from exiting the vehicle at the gathering except to use a restroom or to collect an item such as a diploma, and requires them to wear face coverings when windows are open. The order doesn’t permit bicycles, motorcycles, door-less vehicles or convertibles with the the top open.

Gatherings are limited to no more than 200 invited vehicles, and the event can last no more than three hours, the health order states. Hosts must implement proper social distancing protocols and also security in form of local law enforcement, a private company, or staff that provide campus security. The security must monitor social distancing, traffic, safety and other order requirements. Hosts are required to prepare a Gathering Plan as detailed in an appendix to the order here.

The text of the order is here.

As of May 10, there were 1,464 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county and 56 deaths. While the rate of increase the cumulative number of confirmed cases continues to increase, the rate of increase has slowed in recent days, the county says.

“Evidence suggests that the restrictions on mobility and the social distancing requirements of the March 16 and prior Shelter in Place orders are slowing the rate of increase in community transmission and confirmed cases,” the County said.

County program helps homeowners add second unit

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Want to add a unit to your property? A San Mateo County program is offering 100 hours of free feasibility and project management support to eligible homeowners.

The program, Bright in Your Own Backyard, is launching in the pilot communities of East Palo Alto, Redwood City, City of Pacifica, and unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. Applications from all eligible homeowners are being accepted through 5 p.m. on June 1.

Bright in Your Own Backyard is a collaboration involving Hello Housing, philanthropy, major employers, local government, and homeowners to build more housing in the San Mateo County community. Launched with approval by the County Board of Supervisors last year, Hello Housing provides homeowners with no-cost support in the design, estimating, permitting and project management involved with building a second unit.

For eligibility and application details, visit


San Carlos Youth Advisory Council hosting Diaper Drive

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San Carlos Youth Advisory Council hosting Diaper Drive

Happening tomorrow, May 9, the San Carlos Youth Advisory Council is hosting a Diaper Drive to help local families in need. Materials needed include diapers and wipes in all sizes that must be in the original packaging. All items collected will be donated to One Life Counseling Center.

Residents can donate materials in two different ways. A drop off bin will be located at the front of the San Carlos Youth Center from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 9 that allows for contact-free drop-off.

Secondly, residents can donate online via the One Life Counseling Diaper Drive Amazon Wish List that can be found here. All items can be shipped with Amazon Prime directly to the One Life Counseling donation center located at 1033 Laurel Street.

If you have any questions, please contact Caitlyn Matoso at

Two arrested in attempted burglary at San Carlos gun store

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San Mateo County Sheriff's Office warns about scammers capitalizing on coronavirus

Two suspects were arrested in an attempted burglary at a San Carlos gun store early Friday, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

Just before 3:50 a.m., the sheriff’s office responded to Imbert & Smithers, Inc. at 1144 El Camino Real on a report of a commercial burglary.

Arriving deputies saw broken glass at the front of the business and quickly established a perimeter, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies determined the burglars didn’t make it inside the business, which is equipped with security bars that remained intact.

After a search, two suspects were found hiding the roof of a nearby building. Blake Archibald, 27, of Menlo Park, and a 17-year-old man from San Jose, were detained, and video surveillance from the business showed them forcing entry through the front glass door, but failing to get past the security bars.

The suspects were arrested on charges including felony commercial burglary. Archibald was booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility and the juvenile was transported and booked into the San Mateo County Youth Services Center.

Anyone with information regarding this incident may call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Tip Line at 1-800-547-2700.

Bay Area health orders will remain in effect despite Gov. Newsom’s easing of restrictions

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San Mateo County extended public health order eases some restrictions

Despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement today that the state will relax its COVID-19 shelter-in-place order starting Friday, the more restrictive order governing six Bay Area counties will remain in effect, local public health officials announced.

“The Bay Area orders do not currently permit curbside pickup from non-essential, non-outdoor businesses, and that is not allowed to begin on Friday, May 8,” Bay Area officials said.

This afternoon, Gov. Newsom laid out the beginning of phase two of reopening California that allows businesses in retail, manufacturing and logistics to resume as long as they follow new public health rules. The easing comes as Newsom reveals the state is looking at a budget shortfall of $54.3 billion due to the pandemic, a stark contrast to the $21 billion surplus the state experienced last year. Under the new state directive, stores selling items like books, clothing, toys and flowers can reopen for curbside pickup starting Friday using contactless payment and other safety procedures. Manufacturing with social distancing can also resume in phase 2, but not dine-in restaurants, gyms or offices.

But the new state rules do not override the existing public health orders that cover Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

On Monday, May 4, the Bay Area shelter-in-place orders were revised to loosen some restrictions, including the allowance of all construction and real estate transactions and certain outdoor businesses such as wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers and gardeners. All reopenings come with new rules in place such as social distancing. The Bay Area’s easing, however, doesn’t go as far as Newsom’s directive. Counties are allowed to make decisions at the local level that differ from the state’s.

“In our current environment, if a county order differs from a state order, the more restrictive order takes precedence,” local officials said. “We will continue to study the indicators that tell us how the coronavirus is affecting our communities and amend the health orders as warranted in the best interest of community health. We share the urgency to reopen and restore our economies and our normal activities, and the equal importance of doing so in a way that is safe, responsible and does not cause a significant increase in serious illness and death, or overwhelm our healthcare delivery systems.”

The indicators public health officials are following require sufficient testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and the ability for the healthcare system to handle a surge in cases.

“We will continue to work with our community and business leaders to accomplish careful, measured progress that allows us to maintain our gains as we move forward to further reopening and better times ahead,” officials said.

Read the full Bay Area health order, which is effective through May 31, here.

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