About Town, Week of Aug. 5


Aug. 9, 2019: 

Tarmo Hannula: 

A nation on edge: A motorcycle backfire in Times Square in New York the other day cleared the streets in a wave of panic. Thousands of people, on the typically warm summer night, charged for cover, propelled by nation-wide fears sparked by a spate of mass shootings in Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, and — locally— at the Gilroy Garlic Festival July 28. In Utah, loud sounds (not gunfire) near a crowded shopping mall sent hundreds of people into panic and racing for cover.

In a bizarre combination of gaffes presidential hopeful Joe Biden last week made an attempt at a heartfelt remark about the dead in the El Paso and Dayton shootings by referring to Houston and Michigan. President Trump meanwhile also misspoke when referring to Dayton and called the city Toledo.

Sophomores descended on Watsonville High School Thursday to pick up their class schedules. Classes for the 2019/20 year in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District start Wednesday. So far there were more than 2,100 students enrolled at WHS.

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On Thursday in Springfield, Mo., a 20-year-old man wearing body armor and carrying a assault rifle walked into a Walmart store at 4:10 p.m. and began videoing himself as panicked shoppers phoned 911. Equipped with more than 100 rounds of ammunition, he was briefly stopped by an off duty firefighter, who was armed, until police arrived.

Dmitriy Andreychenko, 20 now faces formal charges of making a terrorist threat in the first degree but the incident is still under investigation, said Jasmine Bailey, Public Affairs Officer. “No injuries were reported and no shots were fired,” Bailey said. “At this time, the investigation is on-going and we are working to determine his motives.”

Also on Thursday a man showed up with a gun at San Jose State University. Again, citizens phoned police to report seeing the armed man walking on Santa Clara and North 2nd streets. Police closed off an area for about three hours until the found him hiding on a nearby roof. They located a gun near the scene.

I see in the news that new products are on the market: bulletproof school backpacks and hooded sweatshirts for students. Bed Bath and Beyond even has them. It makes me wonder if they might change their name to Bed, Bath and Really Beyond.

Two rePlanet recycling centers have closed down in Watsonville recently. One is on the corner of East Lake and Hushbeck avenues beside Barsi’s Liquors, and the other in by a 7-Eleven store at 1455 Freedom Blvd. The closures are part of California-based rePlanet, largest operator of recycling redemption centers in the state, which has closed all 284 of its locations. The move came three years after the company closed 191 of its plants and laid off 278 employees.

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A man wheels his recyclable goods along West Beach Street Thursday. Two recycling centers have closed down in Watsonville recently Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian.

A massive fire burned throughout the morning Friday at Eandi Metal Works at the corner of 11th Street and 23rd Avenue in Oakland. The three-alarm blaze led to the closure of numerous surrounding streets and sent a huge column on ominous dark smoke into the morning sky, Bay Area news stations reported.

One of the best-known and predictable meteor showers is on tap to sprinkle the night sky with meteors, which is a regular August visitor. Experts say he Perseid meteor shower could deliver as many as 20 or 30 shooting stars an hour. While some of the meteors will start their show over the weekend, the bigger show will be at its peak Monday and Tuesday.

The annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day of Remembrance will be held Saturday, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Town Clock in Santa Cruz. The event will feature speakers, music and prayer. At noon The Rev. Shinseki of the Watsonville Buddhist Temple will deliver an Invocation. Organizers will assemble at 11 a.m. to set-up. Anyone interested in helping is welcome to stop by.

Quote of the day: "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aug. 7, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: I wandered into Freedom Meat Lockers on Hi Grade Lane this morning and the place was ablaze with businesses as a number of county fairs, once again, rely on the long-standing family-owned business for professional butcher work coming out of their livestock shows. Sarah Lewis said they not only offer butcher service, but also carefully store meats of all kinds for customers. That service also includes delivery of the products at the customer’s wishes. Freedom Meat Lockers typically helps county fairs in San Benito, Santa Clara, Salinas, Paso Robles, San Mateo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

“They’re all lining up now so our phones are ringing constantly,” Lewis said.

As usual, the place maintains their full butcher service for the public, on top of a full meat counter and a bustling deli that features choices from their in-house original prepared meats.

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Sarah Lewis is busy with orders Wednesday morning at Freedom Meat Lockers, 160 Hi Grade Lane in Watsonville. (Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian)

The death toll has now reached 22 in El Paso, Texas, where Patrick Crusius, 19, opened fire with an assault-style rifle inside a Walmart Saturday. 26 people were also injured in the 10 a.m. rampage, El Paso Police said.

That brings the total to 36 dead in combination with three other mass shootings in America since Sunday. On July 29 William Legan of Gilroy killed three people with an assault rifle and then killed himself at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. The next day a man shot and killed two employees inside a Walmart Store in Southaven, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. Martez Tarrell Abram, 39, the suspected shooter, was shot twice by an officer outside the building and taken into custody, police said. 

On Sunday, 24-year-old Connor Betts shot and killed nine people and hurt 13 others outside the popular Ned Peppers Bar with a military-style .223 rifle in Dayton, Ohio. The outburst lasted less than a minute before police shot and killed him. Among the dead was the shooter’s 22-year-old sister, Megan, police said. In an effort to offer condolences and a heartfelt message to the communities of the shootings, at one point President Trump bungled the name of the Dayton, Ohio, shooting incident and said, “May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo.” It was Dayton. Mayor Nan Whaley said “People from the coast never understand Ohio and they think all cities in Ohio are the same. I’m disappointed with his remarks. I don’t think he knows what he believes, frankly. I have no sense of what is in President Trump’s mind.”

An Ashland, Ore., man is probably still counting his lucky stars after he accidentally tossed out a shoebox with his life savings of $23,000, UPI reported. Thanks to a team of workers on a sorting line at California’s Recology in Humboldt County, they were able to find almost all of the cash $23,000 cash that had been tossed into a recycling bin.

Workers at Recology's Samoa Resource Recovery Center were asked to keep an eye out for the box, but they were doubtful it would show up amidst the thousands of items hurling along the conveyor belts of the sorting line. However, one alert worker spotted the shoebox, which contained $22,940 of the missing cash. The man was eventually reunited with his savings.

My friend Jose-Luis Fonseca, owner of Jansen Music in Aptos, said his store was burglarized last week, the second time since October.

“This time they broke a window and took seven guitars and were in and out of here in one minute and 43 seconds,” Fonseca said. “It happened at 4:15 a.m.” The theft included an acoustic steel string Martin guitar, four Yamaha acoustic guitars and two electric bass guitars. “There’s been a lot of burglaries up and down Soquel lately.”

Jansen Music has been around since 1926 and maintained Watsonville locations until about three years ago. They offer a wide range of instructions for all ages. They carry a selection of guitars, ukuleles, keyboards, electronics, school band supplies and accessories, on top of providing service for instruments. They can be reached at 724-4798 and are located at 7960 unit J on Soquel Dr.

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Jansen Music in Aptos was burglarized July 31 of seven guitars. (Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian)

Aug. 5, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Thirty-four people died and 53 others were injured in four separate mass shootings in America last week. On July 29 three people died at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, including the shooter who reportedly shot himself, Gilroy Police said. The next day a man shot and killed two employees inside a Walmart Store in Southaven, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. Martez Tarrell Abram, 39, the suspected shooter, was shot twice by an officer outside the building and taken into custody. 

On Saturday 20 people were shot and killed and 26 people were injured in in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, around 10 a.m. Patrick Crusius, 19, reportedly opened fire with an assault-style rifle inside the store that was teaming with about 1,000 customers. Using an assault rifle and armed with extra ammo, wearing protective goggles and ear plus — as though he were attending a shooting range — Crusius went row to row mowing down people in the border city of about 680,000 people who are mostly Hispanic, authorities said. He was cooperative with police who took him into custody moments later outside the store. 

Then, around 1 a.m. Sunday, 24-year-old Connor Betts shot and killed nine people and hurt 13 others outside the popular Ned Peppers Bar with a military-style .223 rifle in the historic Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio. Wearing body armor and a mask, his outburst lasted less than a minute before police shot and killed him, police said. Among the dead was the shooter’s 22-year-old sister, Megan, Police said

As of Sunday, the 216th day of 2019, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the nonprofit, Gun Violence Archive, which tracks U.S. mass shootings.

Marty Strickland, owner of Fruit Friz, had a crew whipping up his original and popular icy drinks Sunday at the 25th annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival. He said he was seeing a slightly dimmed down version of the festival from years past that he felt was due to the recent Garlic Festival shooting.

“I was at the Garlic Festival when the shots happened last week,” he said. “I was there with a crew of 16 and I had about 60 people in line when it happened. People were diving for cover. It was crazy. At one point a police officer asked me if he could use my pickup. I gave him the keys and he loaded people that had been shot into the truck and took off. I thought the gunfire was right over my shoulder. I’ve never been through anything like that before.”

Police from three agencies maintained a strong presence throughout the Strawberry Festival and the event unfolded as planned.

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Abigayle Derrington sports strawberry face painting at the 25th annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival Sunday. (Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian)

For last week's About Town visit https://register-pajaronian.com/article/about-town-week-of-july-29.

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