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Police on full alert for impaired drivers

The Gilroy Police Department is reminding the public of the dangers of driving impaired.

In December 2021, 1,013 people were killed in the United States in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Through New Year’s Day, Gilroy Police will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The enforcement effort is part of the national campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” with the goal of stopping suspected impaired drivers who put others on the road at risk.

“Impaired driving isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal,” Sgt. Michael McMahon said. “Let’s make this a joyful and safe holiday season for everyone on the road. This enforcement period allows us to get the message out that it is essential to act responsibly and plan a sober ride home.”

Officers are encouraging everyone to stay in for the night, or designate a sober driver if they plan to consume alcohol.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Pintello Comedy Theater rings in the New Year

Pintello Comedy Theater presents its annual New Year’s Eve Bash on Dec. 31 at 8pm at the Gilroy Grange Hall, 8191 Swanston Lane.

The event features an opening act by Ted Sanchez, supper and dessert from Westside Grill, wine, champagne and beer, the premiere of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and dancing.

Admission is $125 per person. For reservations, call 408.406.6327 or email [email protected].

County experiencing low Covid vaccination rates 

Covid vaccination rates are much lower this year compared to previous years, in Santa Clara County and across the country. Only 19% of county residents have received the latest Covid vaccine, as of Dec. 18, according to county officials. 

Vaccination rates are even lower amongst Latino and African/African ancestry people in Santa Clara County: only 9% of Latinos and 11% of African/African ancestry individuals are up to date with their Covid vaccination compared to 22% of whites and 19% of Asians. 

This is the first time the Covid vaccine is being distributed through the commercial market and not guaranteed at no-cost, officials said.

“One of Public Health’s most important roles is to track systemic factors causing health inequities and to raise the alarm about the impact on Santa Clara County communities. Culturally centered outreach and education must be strengthened, to remove barriers and to connect people to the preventative care they need,” said Dr. Sarah Rudman, Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

Everyone 6 months and older is recommended to receive the updated Covid vaccine released in September.

For those who do not have health insurance or a regular doctor, a community clinic or the County health system can help with health coverage enrollment. Call 1.866.967.4677 or visit the Patient Access Department at 770 South Bascom Ave. in San José between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

For information, visit sccphd.org/ProtectThem.

Court implements new policies on jail bookings, warrants    

The Santa Clara County Superior Court launched two new policies this year on reducing unnecessary jail bookings and to improve court efficiency.

One of the policies allows anyone with an active bench warrant to self-schedule their matter and appear in court on an out-of-custody basis. The warrant remains active until the person shows up for the court appearance, where the judge may review the person’s custodial status.  

The other new policy pertains to an out-of-custody arraignment that may be scheduled before the Court by people who receive notice of an arrest warrant, and this may be done through counsel. This allows them to appear in court without first being taken into custody while the judge at arraignment may review their custodial status. According to the Court, all charges are eligible for this policy.

The new bench warrant policy took effect in May while the new arrest warrant protocol took effect in November in partnership with the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office.

The new policies are available to all cases in Santa Clara County, including those originating out of the Palo Alto and Morgan Hill courthouses, court officials said.

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