Published in the January 2 – 15, 2019 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Science really rocks at Britton Middle School. At the Dec. 13 Britton Science Fair, 141 Bobcat entries explored physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and behavioral science, science teacher Jim Levis told us.

The winners in this year’s Science Fair are:

Chemistry: First place, Grace Quadrini and MaKenzie Mendonca, Second place: Daniel Keating, Third place: Ryan Oselinsky and Derek Hernanez and Honorable Mention: Luna Fukumoto.

Physics: First place: Reese Byers, Second place: James Tuttle, Third place Michael Garcia; Honorable mention: Colin Will.

Behavioral Science: First place: Francisco Flores and Alegria Serrano; Second place: Isabella Fredericks; Third place: Crystal Garcia; Honorable mention: Katherine Delaney and Rosie Cardenas.

Engineering – First place: Ria Deshphande and Lexxa D’Amico; Second place: Jake Ballard; Third place: Josh El-Shammaa; Honorable mention: Aiden Spencer.

Biology – First place: Ben Hayes; Second place: Ryan Roberts and Kade Darman; Third place: Gianna Vallez and Maya Lamar; Honorable mention: Emma Brill and Maoni Napier.

Botany – First place: Emily Lopez and Marcus Chambless; Second place: Paras Gandhi and Tyler Trapini; Third place: Alison Rothert; Honorable mention: Clara Perez and  Layla Elderkin.

Earth/Environmental – First place: Sydney Stutzman; Second place: Morgan Woods and Anahi Berumen; Third place: Scotty Francis and Scott Diaz; Honorable mention: Katia Vaillancourt.

The school hosts the South Valley Science and Engineering Fair Jan. 16-17, an academic event that is open to all middle school and high school students residing in Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Martin.

Thanks, Britton Bobcats, for reminding us science can be fun.

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Coldwell Banker Gilroy and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Morgan Hill presented funds to three local charities: Shining Star Prom, Live Oak Adult Day Services, Stanford Children’s Health — Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. The money came from a Party in the Vineyard fundraiser held in Oct. 10 at Fortino Winery. They also presented Unravel Pediatric Cancer a check for $5,500 They will also give checks to Operation Freedom Paws and Magical Bridge.

Great job, Coldwell Banker.

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Looking toward the arrival of 2019, no doubt residents of Morgan Hill will get engaged in debate on various local issues. Among the top issues is the ongoing challenge of homelessness in South Valley. It’s a difficult problem to solve with rising cost of living caused by the growth of jobs in Silicon Valley. We’re glad we have the Compassion Center and the Gilroy Armory to provide a place to stay during the winter cold days. We must find humane ways to resolve this challenge.

The California High-Speed Rail project and its impact on South Valley is also an area of concern. A state audit released last month raises many questions about flaws in the $77-billion project and its viability for continued construction. Maybe California’s incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislators need to start discussing the reality that Gov. Jerry Brown’s train project has run out of steam.

Santa Clara County, I’m glad to see, recently purchased O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy for $235 million. I hope the transition of ownership proceeds smoothly. It’s good to know residents in the South Valley still have a hospital to take care of local residents’ health needs.


Another positive addition for South Valley families is the news that Magical Bridge Inclusive Playground has raised enough funding to begin construction — most likely in June. For regional families with kids with special needs this new park will be a fun local destination for playtime with friends. Local real estate agent Ron Locicero and his wife Shirlee got this project going several years ago. We can’t wait to attend the grand opening.

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Welcome to Morgan Hill, new police Capt. Emil Kokesh. He joined the MHPD team in Dec. 4. He comes to the South Valley from San Bernadino Police Department, four times the size of the MHPD, where he served for 27 years, most recently as a sergeant overseeing the homicide unit.

Kokesh will lead the Special Operations Division which includes Investigations, Internal Affairs, School Resource Programs and the Office of Emergency Services. He is excited to get started in Morgan Hill stating, “I am incredibly grateful to be joining the Morgan Hill team and truly honored to have the opportunity to serve alongside the men and women of the Morgan Hill Police Department,” he said.

Welcome to Morgan Hill, Capt. Kokesh.

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