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It’s been a roller coast couple of weeks for Pastor Ralph Olmos and Lighthouse Ministries’ food distribution center in San Jose.

In early January, the food pantry in the city’s Julian-St. James neighborhood was ordered to shut down and told it needed a special-use permit to continue providing free groceries to people who lined up outside its storefront on North 17th Street six days a week.

A reprieve was granted, but it left Lighthouse on the hook for a $15,000 permit or else it needed to cease operations by mid-February.

The situation has changed considerably since then. Within days of news reports about Lighthouse’s situation, Olmos said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and City Councilmember Raul Peralez reached out to him in hopes of resolving the problem.

This week, they announced a proposal to waive that special permit fee — or find funding to pay it — for Lighthouse and similar organizations that are providing services like this during the COVID-19 pandemic. “San Jose must continue to uplift those in our community who continue to do critical work during the pandemic,” Liccardo said in a statement. “I am deeply appreciative of the work that Pastor Olmos and Lighthouse Ministries are doing to keep our most vulnerable neighbors and families fed.”

Peralez concurred with Liccardo and said he plans to work with Olmos and neighborhood residents to resolve some of the problems that Lighthouse’s farmers-market style operation has created, including parking and traffic issues and crowded sidewalks.

“I explained to them we really want to work with the city. That was the idea from the beginning that hopefully the city would support us in our mission,” Olmos said Thursday. “But after the pandemic ends, will we still be able to be waived? I know this is a temporary solution, but it’s not a complete solution yet.”

Olmos said he has also received support and advice from other food-based community organizations like Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, Hunger at Home, Martha’s Kitchen and Loaves and Fishes. A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the permit fee also was wildly successful, raising more than $18,000 — including an anonymous $10,000 donation.

Assuming the plan put forward by Liccardo and Peralez is approved by the city council, which could hear it as soon as Feb. 8, Olmos said those funds will go toward improving the pantry and expanding efforts for food recovery. And as growth occurs, Olmos said he’s open to the idea of a different location, though he sees the need for Lighhouse’s services in its location between downtown and East San Jose.

“We really want this pantry and the neighborhood to fit,” he said.

LAST CALL FOR EXHIBIT: The Los Altos History Museum will be temporarily closing its main and upper galleries starting Feb. 7 to dismantle the Crown of the Peninsula, the upper gallery exhibit that features a 1930s model train diorama and explores the life of communities that have called Los Altos home. Yes, this was billed as the museum’s “permanent” exhibition, but permanent doesn’t mean forever anymore.

In its place, the museum will be installing a new “permanent” exhibition featuring cutting-edge technology and interactive experiences that will make its debut in early 2023. Museum Board President Gary Hedden said the project’s design team and contractor were available to do the work now, so everything fell into place very quickly. And all is not lost for fans of the old exhibition, either. “The train diorama will return with enhanced features and exciting new augmented reality capabilities,” Hedden says.

The main floor gallery will reopen Feb. 17 with “Every Wrinkle Tells a Story,” an exhibition featuring photographs by Maud Daujean, who profiled residents of Los Altos.

FAREWELL TO JK: The community of comic book fans and retailers in the South Bay have been reeling over word that JK McGill of Hijinx Comics in San Jose died Jan. 21 following heart surgery. Hijinx owner Neil Farris gave me the sad news last Saturday when I stopped by the shop.

McGill, whose actual first name was William but went by JK with everyone I knew, had been part of the Lincoln Avenue store for more than four decades, going back to when it was known as Mike’s Coliseum. McGill, who was in his early 60s but looked a decade younger, was an employee, an owner and then back to being an employee, who most recently would spend Sundays at the shop chatting with customers browsing the shelves and making their purchases.

“His contributions to the South Bay comic industry were immense,” Farris said in a Facebook post. “It was my honor and pleasure to call him my friend for 30-plus years.”

News Source: mercurynews.com

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The Milky Way is MERGING with another galaxy and it will throw our planets and stars out of orbit

OUR Milky Way galaxy is going to collide with another galaxy in a few billion years – here's what you need to know.

In around 4.5 billion years, the Milky Way is predicted to merge with Andromeda – our galaxy's closest neighbor.

3The Milky Way galaxy is going to collide with another galaxy in a few billion years 3An illustration of what Andromeda's halo might look like if it were visible to the human eye.Credit: NASA/ ESA/ J. DePasquale and E. Wheatley (STScI)/ Z. Levay.

Andromeda is a barrelled spiral galaxy that is located about 2.5 million light-years away from Earth.

Currently, our neighbor is racing towards the Milky Way at a rate of around 70 miles (113 km) per second.

And a recent 2020 study published in the Astrophysical Journal confirmed that the collision between the two galaxies is already underway.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists were able to observe the Andromeda galaxy – which like our Milky Way and other galaxies, sits within a large envelope called a galactic halo.

Read more on spaceONE GIANT LEEK FOR MAN Food can be grown on MOON paving way for humans to colonise spaceRED EYE Nasa reveals FOUR Mars photos – can you spot the amazing secret they share? What is a galactic halo?

Basically, halos are an extended, spherical component of a galaxy that goes beyond the main, visible component.

They are made of three distinct components: the stellar halo, the galactic corona (usually made of hot gas, or plasma), and the dark matter halo.

Galactic halos mainly consist of dust, gas, and stars, and are extremely faint.

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However, in the study, astronomers were able to measure the size of Andromeda's halo and believe that it's of similar shape and size to our own.

Based on these measurements, it is very likely that Andromeda's halo and the Milky Way's halo are touching – meaning, the collision between the two galaxies has already started.

What will the merger look like?

In 2012, Nasa shared artists' concepts of what someone on Earth might see as the Andromeda galaxy races toward us.

The images (see below) were created using the Hubble Space Telescope's measurements of the Andromeda galaxy via computer modeling.

In around 2 billion years, the disk of the Andromeda galaxy will look noticeably larger.

Meanwhile, in 3.85 billion years, the sky will show a new star formation.

Four billion years later, Andromeda will appear stretched as the Milky Way becomes warped.

And in 7 billion years, the merged galaxies will have formed a huge elliptical galaxy.

What will happen when the two galaxies merge?

Galaxies collide all across the universe.

In many ways, when a galactic merger occurs, the two galaxies are like two ships passing in the night.

"Stars in a galaxy are spaced so far apart - grains of sand separated by the length of a football field - that the Andromeda stars [will] simply pass by," Nasa writes.

"But galaxies are more than just stars. They contain giant clouds of gas and dust, and when galaxies collide, these clouds smash into one another."

"The clouds contain the raw materials needed to make new stars, and it is the collision between clouds that has triggered a starry baby boom!"

That said, the roughly trillion stars in the Andromeda galaxy will throw our 300 billion stars and planets into new orbits around the newly merged center.

What about Earth?

The real threat, however, is our Sun which will eventually become a red giant and consume the Earth. 

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If our Earth exists five billion years from, it's unlikely that anything will happen to it during the collision, though it may be in a different orbit.

However, it's possible that by then humans will be an interplanetary species and not even living on Earth.

3An artist's concepts of the Milky Way merging with AndromedaCredit: NASA; ESA; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger
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