Special Olympics benefit planned
A Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics has been scheduled for noon March 16 at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. with costume judging at 11:30 a.m.
The plunge is for individuals, organizations, businesses, schools and law enforcement agencies to support Special Olympics Northern California athletes by jumping or running into icy-cold water in the middle of winter.
For information, go to http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1042396.
Animal shelter hosts Spay Day 2013
In honor of World Spay Day 2013, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, Friends of Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and Friends of Watsonville Animal Shelter offer free spay or neuter surgeries.
A registration and scheduling event will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 24. The event is open to dogs, cats and rabbits of Santa Cruz County residents, with a limit of two animals per resident.
The event will be held at 2200 Seventh Ave., Santa Cruz, and 580 Airport Blvd., Watsonville.
Owners should not bring their animals to register and must bring proof of residence. The shelter also offers low-cost rabies vaccinations, microchipping with registration, blood panel tests and licenses for altered dogs.
For information, go to www.scanimalshelter.org.
UC farm adviser honored
Mark Bolda, UC Cooperative Extension farm adviser for Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties, has received this year's distinguished service award from the North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association.
Bolda has been advising area caneberry and strawberry growers since 2002. He was the first to identify the spotted wing drosophila, and has taken the lead on developing management programs for the invasive pest that damages berries and other fruit crops.
He also has served on the board of the caneberry association, and has been a conference planner and presenter.
The nonprofit association was chartered in 1987, and has members in 36 states, eight Canadian provinces and five countries.
Youth Council to discuss public safety, education
The Watsonville Youth Council will discuss public safety, education and city spending during a meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at the City Council chamber, 275 Main St., fourth floor.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Monday, but was postponed.
The youth council is an unofficial body that aims to advise city leaders on issues important to youth. Its 11 members are drawn from Watsonville high schools.
For information, go to www.facebook.com/watsonvilleyouth.
Benefit for Community Music School on Feb. 19
A number of student and professional musicians will perform at Shadowbrook Restaurant on Feb. 19 to raise money for the Community Music School of Santa Cruz.
Performers will include the Ginormous String Band, teen string ensemble String Invasion, and professional guest artists Steve Palazzo on guitar and Renata Bratt on cello.
The musicians will perform as part of the restaurant's Community Tuesday series in the Rock Room Lounge.
Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 831-475-1511. Be sure to inform staff you will be there for Community Music School. A third of the restaurant's receipts that night will go to the organization.
Shadowbrook is at 1750 Wharf Road.
For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for financial assistance due March 15
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in California will provide $1 million in technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to protect water resources in the Monterey Bay Region.
The application deadline is March 15.
This program was created in 2011 as a result of the Obama administration announcing that the Monterey Bay region was selected as one of the agency's three "America's Great Outdoors" initiative areas.
NRCS staff will work with farmers and ranchers to develop conservation plans to improve soil health, wildlife habitat and water quality, and address excessive runoff and flooding on farms, ranches and private non-industrial forestland.
Applications will be ranked according to conservation benefits.
Santa Cruz County farmers and ranchers should go to http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ or contact their local NRCS office to submit an application.