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News - November 12, 2021

Community briefs

Over 2K kids vaccinated at Hillview clinic

Some 2,317 children were inoculated against COVID-19 at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park Nov. 6 and 7 during events hosted by Safeway Pharmacy and the Menlo Park City School District. The clinics were planned in anticipation of the FDA's emergency use approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds last week.

"It was such a relief for our fourth grader to get his vaccination this weekend!" said Theresa Fox, an Upper Laurel School parent, in an email. "We had been eagerly awaiting the vaccine approval. We can't wait to visit family over the holidays and have less worry about our son getting seriously sick or exposing older family members to the virus. Our eighth grader was vaccinated in June, so now we are (almost!) all fully vaccinated!"

Encinal parent Stephanie Lucianovic said she was relieved to have her son vaccinated over the weekend.

"Our 8-year-old has been looking forward to getting his vaccine for a very long time now," Lucianovic said in an email. She reports he didn't have any side effects other than a mildly sore arm. "We were very relieved when MPCSD set up a clinic that meant we could make an (appointment) for the vaccine outside of our doctor's office — which was being less transparent about when and how for the 5- to 11-year-olds — and are grateful we had the opportunity to have both his first COVID vaccine and his seasonal flu shot."

Webinar on Sudden Oak blitz results is Saturday

Results of the 2021 Sudden Oak Death (SOD) blitzes in the Bay Area will be announced on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Zoom. Organizers mapped the distribution of the disease that kills many oaks, tanoaks and, since 2017, some of California's unique manzanitas and the animals that depend on them. Portola Valley is typically part of the survey.

"Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2021 SOD blitzes were an incredible success, and the activity resulted in the survey of almost 20,000 trees across the entire state and without incident," according to a letter from University of California at Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory, which organizes the survey. "The results of this statewide survey will identify new local outbreaks of the disease and determine disease severity in areas already known to be affected by SOD."

A map identifying trees affected by the disease will be accessible at both sodblitz.org and sodmap.org. SODmap mobile apps will allow users to determine the risk of an oak contracting Sudden Oak Death in the location where they are standing.

Visit sodblitz.org to join the webinar, which will be hosted by Dr. Matteo Garbelotto.

Information on the 2022 blitzes will be posted in February, and the first events are normally scheduled at the end of March or beginning of April.

Sequoia Adult School celebrates 100 years

Sequoia Adult School (SAS) in Menlo Park is celebrating its centennial. Founded in 1921, SAS serves adults primarily from the unincorporated North Fair Oaks area of San Mateo County, Redwood City, East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park.

Over 1,200 students attend the school annually, transitioning more than 150 students a year to community college and workforce training programs.

For more information on Sequoia Adult School, visit seqsas.org.

—Angela Swartz

Caltrans starts testing new Highway 101 toll lanes

Caltrans on Sunday began its first phase of testing toll equipment along U.S. Highway 101 in San Mateo County ahead of express lanes that are expected to open next year.

Drivers will see signs activated with orange banners that say "TOLL TESTING." Crews will make sure the signs communicate with the toll data center and the regional operations center, but no tolls will be charged, according to Caltrans.

Construction is ongoing related to the express lanes, which are opening in two phases, first from Whipple Avenue in Redwood City to the San Mateo County line with Santa Clara County early in 2022, then further north from Redwood City to Interstate Highway 380 later in the year. In all, there will be 22 miles of new express lanes in both directions.

The southern part of the express lanes are currently carpool lanes.

—Bay City News Service

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