The girls were  7-year-old Elisa Ornelas and 4-year-old Valentina Ornelas of Morgan Hill

By Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

A Morgan Hill family and its extended family are grieving after the death of two young sisters killed in a car crash on Highway 152 Jan.12.

The two girls who died after the crash have been identified as 7-year-old Elisa Ornelas and 4-year-old Valentina Ornelas.

The driver of a Tesla attempting to pass a big rig on Highway-152 crashed into a Honda before colliding head on with a Dodge, crashing into the Ornelas family, the California Highway Patrol said. The crash caused the Dodge to collide with the big rig as well.

A GoFundMe has been established to raise funds for the girls’ parents, Cesar and Maribel Ornelas. All the funds collected will go toward the services and the needs of the family.

Anyone with more information about the crash may contact the CHP Hollister office at (408) 427-0700. The GoFundMe is

Roman and Zoe Moskalenko organized a charity auction Saturday, Jan. 6, at Oakwood School and raised $11,000 in funds to help Ukrainians in their struggles against Russia’s invasion of their country.

“We are so beyond grateful to everyone who attended the event and supported our cause,” Roman said. “Every dollar we received already makes a difference in Ukraine and helps us to save the lives of Ukrainian defenders!”

Roman, at age 16, came from the Kiev region to attend high school at Oakwood, a private school in Morgan Hill, just as the invasion began. There he met fellow student Zoe and they married following graduation. They started a nonprofit called LearnUA, that raises money by teaching the Ukrainian language on an online platform.

“It is important to support Ukraine and never forget about our fight for democracy and independence,” the young man said.

To watch the event’s presentation, visit–fYA.

Let’s continue to remember the brutal and unjust war is hurting and killing men, women and children.

We got word from our flag football guru Jeff Dixon that 49ers PREP, presented by U.S. Bank a direct service provider of the 49ers Foundation, is championing Girls Flag Football across the Bay Area. On Thursday, Jan. 25, the spotlight shifts to Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center. With the backing of 49ers PREP, SV5 NFL FLAG Football invites all middle school girls to join a free three-hour skills camp from 5 to 8 p.m. It will focus on skill development and teaching the game. To register, visit Walk up registration welcome. Contact Dixon at [email protected] for more information.

At the school level, participation in girls’ flag football has seen remarkable growth in recent times. In 2021, the NFL and Nike initiated a $5-million grant dedicated to the sport. Since then, girls flag football has become a sanctioned high school club sport and flag football will be played in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

49ers PREP has hosted a T.H.I.N.K. Gold! Conference, an event for high school female student athletes that focuses on supporting young women in their athletic endeavors and giving them an inside look at careers in professional sports. Running since 2009, the conference has served more than 600 female high school student-athletes.

The Valley Water Board of Directors early this month elected Nai Hsueh, District 5 representative, as board chair in 2024. Richard Santos, representing District 3, was elected vice chair. The board vote launches Hsueh’s third tenure as chair. Hsueh served as board chair in  2013 and 2020.

Hsueh, a registered civil engineer, worked at Valley Water for three decades. Hsueh takes the leadership role as Valley Water faces challenges such as climate change, inflation and aging infrastructure.

“I see the role of the chair not as the coordinator and doer for the board, working with everybody to make sure things happen.”

Hsueh was first elected to the board of directors in November 2012 to represent District 5, which includes the cities of Cupertino, Saratoga, areas of Sunnyvale and southwest San Jose. Hsueh was re-elected in 2016 and 2020.

Santos starts his fourth tenure as vice chair, previously serving in 2004, 2009 and  2017. Santos, a retired firefighter and native of Alviso, represents District 3, which includes Alviso, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas and Berryessa/Alum Rock.

Experience the thrill of the prehistoric age featuring life-sized dinosaurs and massive family fun at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road, San Jose. As part of the Dinosaur Adventure, children of all ages — and adults — will enjoy a variety of activities including fossil crafting, Jurassic scooters, themed obstacle courses, riding their favorite dinosaur, and more. Dinosaur Adventure is a one-of-a-kind exhibit featuring realistic, life-sized dinosaurs that come alive with their life-like movement and roars.

The adventures take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 27 and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 28. Tickets are available at