Published in the November 8 – 21, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

United States Mint in Philadelphia

Morgan Hill residents Bob and Lori Benevento traveled to New Jersey for Bob’s 50th high school reunion Saturday Oct. 21. Two days later, the couple were taking in some tourist sightseeing in Philadelphia and were visiting the U.S. Mint in the city when they had a surprise encounter.

“We were enjoying a self-directed tour. As we were reading one of the captions on the display, a voice comes over my wife’s shoulder and says, ‘Boy, you meet people from Morgan Hill anywhere.’ And low and behold who was it… Police Chief David Swing.”

Swing happened to also be in Philadelphia for the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Bob calculated the odds as one in 300 million that they would happen to be in the same place across the country at the exact same time.

“Of course, it was a big surprise,” he said. “We had warm greetings and handshakes and a bro hug. It was pretty cool.”

Unfortunately, because of security at the mint, the three Morgan Hill residents couldn’t record the coincidence in a photo.

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Vicky Reader

What an appropriate name Vicky Reader has for her dedication to the Morgan Hill Library over the years. The Friends of the Morgan Hill Library honored Reader’s volunteering with its 2017 “Best of Friends” award on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Two dozen members of the Friends gathered at Ladera Grill for a special luncheon to celebrate Vicky’s dedication and commitment to the organization.

FMHL President Teresa Stephenson shared that Vicky has held nearly every board position, including, president, secretary, newsletter editor, and membership chair (but not treasurer, as Vicky was quick to point out). Vicky also works a regular shift in the Friends bookstore.  Currently, she is responsible for the speakers forums and serves on the board of the Santa Clara County Library District Foundation. She played an important role in the successful 2005 Measure A Library Parcel Tax campaign that provides ongoing funding for county libraries. In appreciation for her years of volunteer services and support of the library, the Friends presented Vicky with an engraved “Best of Friends” wooden box.

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Kathy Sullivan suggests that our readers consider the history of Monterey Road, which once served as a major vehicle artery for California in the early days of the automobile. The president of the Morgan Hill Historical Society told us recently:

“The next time you drive by, or are at the Third Street and Monterey Road median for one of our many downtown events, look up at the median light posts, north and south, to see the “Historic 101 Route” road signs. They serve as a reminder that not so long ago this road was part of the main thoroughfare from Sonoma to the southern end of California.”

Also known as El Camino Real, the original 600-mile route connected the 21 Spanish Missions in the 1700s and early 1800s.

The sign was recently installed thanks to Larry Freitas who would drive through downtown Morgan Hill weekly on the way to and from Santa Cruz to visit his father. After seeing these signs designating the historical route in other cities along this major coastal highway, he thought it would be nice to commemorate this history in Morgan Hill. He found and donated two original signs to the Morgan Hill Historical Society, which agreed to see that they were posted in the downtown area. Karl Bjarke, the city’s director of Engineering and Utilities, and longtime resident Roger Knopf worked to install the signs.

Thanks, all, for reminding us that once in its past Morgan Hill was part of a major road for California.

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Gary Ponzini where he hit a hole-in-one at Coyote Creek Golf Course. Photo courtesy Gary Ponzini

Local businessman Gary Ponzini fulfilled a life-long dream last month. The owner of Ponzini’s Community Garage struck a 6-iron 144 yards on the 7th hole at Coyote Creek Golf Course, carding his first hole-in-one.

“I can die and go to heaven,” the 72-year-old Morgan Hill resident said. “I am a happy man!” The feat was witnessed by his friends Mel Cottle and Ron Scarlato. As per tradition, Gary bought everyone a drink after the round. Great job, Gary. Still waiting for my first hole-in-one. Hope I don’t have to wait until I’m 72, but if so, I’ll gladly take it.

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi