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The Buzz 03.16.17

Monterey County Weekly - 3/16/2017

WHO'S IN TOWN?Raise your hand if you needed to be excused to visit the school nurse. This week school nurses are visiting Monterey for the 67th annual California School Nurses Organizationconference, "Courage to Care: Lead, Empower and Transform." Presentations tackle some issues school nurses face: Topics for pre-conference workshops include autism, mental health first aid, mass casualty incident response and drug abuse prevention. The main sessions cover early child health assessment, nut allergies, preventing cardiac arrest, vision screening and legal issues. Leadership skills, self-care and inspiration to carry on in this tough job are also offered.Thur-Sun March 16-19. Hyatt Regency Hotel and Spa, 1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey. $535-$750. (916) 448-5752, csno.org.

FREE SPEECHYou already know you're not allowed to yell "Fire!" in a theater. Don't yell about blowing up the store, either: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in Perez v. Florida, in which Robert E. Perez Jr., while drunk, allegedly threatened to blow up a Publix supermarket, telling a cashier he was carrying a Molotov cocktail in his backpack. The justices agreed not to hear Perez's appeal so the verdict against him stands, but Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote her own opinion in order to expand on concerns about so-called "true threats" ? the narrow category of speech, like yelling fire in a crowded theater, that is not protected under the First Amendment. (The First Amendment wasn't part of the court's legal reasoning, so did not factor into the decision to deny Perez's appeal.) According to Newseum Institute blogger David L. Hudson Jr., Sotomayor noted "[Perez] is probably spending 15 years in prison for a drunken rant, rather than something truly intended as a threat. She quoted a prosecutor in the case who acknowledged that the guy may have been 'just a harmless drunk guy at the beach.'"

GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEKGOOD:The undefeated Carmel High School Mock Trial Team is on a roll, winning for the third year in February at the county-level mock trials, sponsored by Lyceum of Monterey County. The team beat out Pacific Grove High School in the finals. Lyceum's Mock Trial Program introduces high school students to the American legal system, with students taking on roles of prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses and others. Cases are argued in front of actual judges. The Carmel team, coached by social studies teachers Bill Schrier and Joe McCarty, travels March 24-26 to the California Mock Trial Finals in Riverside, sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Last week the team took the spotlight at the Carmel City Council meeting, where members were celebrated for their win at the November 2016 Empire World Trial Championship in New York.BAD:It's been a bad week for reptile lovers and their local champion, Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado. His 24-year-old gopher snake, Roscoe, died after undergoing surgery. "She turned out to be more than just a snake," Delgado says. She turned out to be a teaching tool, encouraging members of the public to rethink reptiles. Roscoe's former mate, Rocky, was moved toWatsonville Wetlands Watch years back, where he also served as a teaching aid until he died. Gopher snakes would likely not live so long in the wild. Delgado recommends against keeping them in captivity, but once they're pets they're unlikely to be able to survive outdoors again. A ceremony for Roscoe happens at 5pmMarch 18 at the Marina Public Library, and a scholarship for students who wish to pursue science education will be set up through the Chuck Haugen Conservation Fund.

 
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