About Town, Week of June 10

June 14, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Tensions are heating up in the Gulf of Oman after explosions crippled two oil tankers, setting one of them ablaze Thursday. That passageway of water is a corridor for a third of the world’s oil supply. One Japanese ship was shelled at least twice and a Norwegian ship was hit by torpedoes. Later that day video footage was shown around the world of an Iranian boat, packed with people, pulling alongside the Norwegian ship and several people removing what some officials say was an unexploded device from a gash in the ship’s side. The boat then sped away, in the video. Both ship’s crews had to abandon their damaged vessels. A U.S. ship assisted in the rescue near the Iranian coast. The price of oil, some officials said, is starting to go up.

The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors last night in Oakland 114-110. The win marked Toronto’s first NBA championship in franchise history.

At least 36 people have died this week due to extreme heat in India, where the thermometer rose to 123 degrees in places.

President Trump has wandered into hot water after a three-word remark he made in the Oval Office Thursday. Asked during an interview if he’d accept Russian campaign help in coming elections, Trump responded “I’d take it” and that he’d not necessarily let the FBI know. The next day Trump reversed his words and said he would contact the FBI if some foreign entity was trying to offer “dirt” on a candidate. Democrats and even a handful of Republicans strongly rejected Trump’s insistence that receiving information from a foreign group was acceptable.

Major work got underway along Highway 1 earlier this month between Aptos and Highway 9 in Santa Cruz, including center median upgrades near 41st Avenue in Capitola. The work is happening at night.

AT 6-14 Hwy 1 work

Major highway work is under way along Highway 1 between Aptos and Highway 9 in Santa Cruz, including this center median work near 41st Avenue in Capitola. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian 

June 13, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: We followed a crazy Wild West-style home invasion on the police radio yesterday here in our newsroom. It took place in Ben Lomond. This one had many of the big crime elements all rolled into one: assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, kidnaping, and men seen running from the scene armed with handguns. Now add lights and sirens — a lot of them. Sheriff’s deputies got there quick and set up a secure perimeter. The pursuit was on. Police managed to track one of the men a short time later. About 40 minutes later, with the aid of three K-9s, they flushed the second suspect out of a creek bed.

The Buena Vista exit sign on Highway 1 in Watsonville was blown over late Wednesday night when the male driver of a Freightliner big rig lost control and crashed. The CHP said it is not known why he lost control at 10:44 p.m. while traveling south on Highway 1. At one point a trailer dump bed tumbled skyward into the overhanging exit sign. The 65-year-old Watsonville man suffered major injuries. Alcohol/drugs do not appear to be a factor.


(Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

The 119th U.S. Open Tournament launches today at Pebble Beach. The line up includes big names like Tiger Woos, Phil Mickelson, Brandon McCain, and Jordan Spein. It runs for the next four days. If you’re headed to the Monterey Peninsula, expect lots of traffic.

Two oil tankers sustained major damage after they were reportedly attacked off the Iranian coast Thursday. A Japanese tanker was shelled at least twice and a Norwegian ship was hit by torpedoes. Both ship’s crews had to abandon and were safely rescued, one by an Iranian ship. U.S. ships also assisted in the rescue. Early news reports claim that the price of oil has already spiked.

The Golden State Warriors’ final game will run tonight at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. After tonight, they will play future games in San Francisco at the Chase Center. Tickets for tonight’s game — Warriors vs. Raptors — were going for $5,400. Right now the Canadian team is up 3-2 in the playoffs. If the Warriors sink tonight, it’s over.

In the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, France beat Norway 2-1 yesterday. Today Australia toppled Brazil 3-2 and China snuck past South Africa 1-0.


ABOVE: Work continues on East Lake Avenue west of Holohan Road for news sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Expect delays in the area. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

The free, inner-harbor water taxi is now up and running in the Santa Cruz Harbor. The ride connects key points throughout both sides of the harbor and operates between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on summer weekends and holidays, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It’s a relaxing way to take in the bounty of activity in the harbor. The water taxi will also operate on Thursday evenings during the Crow’s Nest beach barbecues from 5 to 9 p.m. Passengers may be picked up and dropped off at the following locations X-­1 Gate, AA Dock (Aldo’s) and the Launch Ramp. Passengers can also flag down the taxis at other spots. Parking is available for water taxi passengers in the north harbor near X Dock. For information and to see the taxi map, visit santacruzharbor.org.

The railroad crossing above Highway 1 in Aptos, between State Park and Rio Del Mar, is still a tangled mess where trees toppled into it more than two years ago. It’s surprising how long an eyesore like that, one that millions of people get to see, continues.

June 12, 2019: 

Tarmo Hannula: 

The U.S. women’s soccer team scored the greatest amount of goals ever recorded, in men’s and women’s World Cup matches, Tuesday against Thailand in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Also, the Netherlands topped New Zealand 1-0, and Sweden beat Chile, 2-0. Nigeria stepped over South Korea today and Germany edged Spain off the field, 1-0. France and Norway are currently going at it, with France up 1-0.

Kong's Burger & Cafe is set to open in Plaza Vigil, 15 East Beach St., Suite 101 in Watsonville. I’ll have a look at the menu to post it once they’re up and running.


I photographed the first leg of the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics in Northern California as it got started in Watsonville Wednesday. A team from Watsonville Police Department and Special Olympic members carried the torch along Freedom Blvd. where the eventually handed it off the CHP in Corralitos. Several law agencies took turns carrying the torch through the county over the day.

AT 6-12,torch run

(Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

June 11, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: There is an excessive heat warning from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in inland areas. With a massive high pressure ridge lingering off our coast temperatures will be around 103 degrees inland and the 90s in the coastal regions.

Project Homeless Connect will take place June 19 in Santa Cruz at the Portuguese Hall in Harvey West Park, 216 Evergreen St. The 10th annual event, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., is free to needy folks and includes medical, dental, vision, mental and behavioral health care, job help, showers, haircuts, legal advice, pet care and bike care and a host of other services. For information, visit phc-santacruz.org.

AT 6-11,airport blvd work web

A section of Airport Boulevard near Nielson Street and Hangar Way was resurfaced Friday night and early Saturday morning. A Granite Construction crew is shown here Tuesday performing detail work around utility access openings. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian

Cat & Cloud Coffee's Aptos Village location had its soft opening Tuesday morning. It plans to have a grand opening sometime next week. They are at 10 Parade St. and will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. They serve a full coffee menu, summer drinks, teas, pastries and toast, and carry a lengthy line of coffee beans or ground coffee to take home. They feature indoor and outdoor seating.

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Customers line up in the Cat & Cloud Coffee at the Aptos Village Project just hours after the business opened their doors Tuesday. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian 

Also, The Bubble Lounge Boutique has opened in the Rancho Del Mar Center (the same lot as Safeway) in Aptos. The business carries a wealth of beauty supplies and accessories, and specializes in active wear, yoga and lounge wear, natural beauty and cosmetics products.

June 10, 2019:

Johanna Miller: This weekend temperatures climbed into the 80s and 90s in Santa Cruz County. I do not thrive in heat—in fact, when it starts getting warmer I usually feel tired and uncomfortable. But I would rather take high temperates than high humidity. I always say that I can handle “desert heat,” but not when it’s muggy. You won’t see me moving to Florida any time soon…

Because of the recent heatwave, many are flocking to the beach and local swimming pools. I really hope that the fitness center on Penny Lane will someday fully reopen and maintain their pool. It was once the best outdoor pool facility in the area; I learned to swim and began my competitive swimming career there.

Others dealt with the heat by staying indoors or heading to local ice cream parlors or breweries. Fruition Brewing, Watsonville’s newest addition to the East Lake Village Shopping Center, opened on Sunday. I enjoyed almost every beer I tasted—especially their tart cherry beer and the chocolate stout, made with cold brew coffee from their neighbors at Coffeeville.

Fruition Brewery will be open Sundays from 3-8 p.m. for a few weeks until their official opening later this month.


ABOVE: Fruition Brewing offers a plethora of unique beers. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

There were an overwhelming amount of events to choose from this weekend across Santa Cruz County. The Monterey Bay Greenhouse Tour was held at four greenhouses in Watsonville (and one in Castroville). I stopped by Kitayama Brothers (KB Farms) on San Andreas Rd. on Saturday. There were flower arranging demonstrations and tours of the facility. Plants and flowers, and some Lakeside Organic Gardens produce were for sale. Dubbed the “Gerbera Festival” for the company’s specialty in Gerbera Daises, the event donated proceeds to the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks’ Kids 2Parks program.

gerbera web

ABOVE: A floral display at Kitayama Brothers (KB Farms) in Watsonville at the annual Gerbera Festival on June 8. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

I also went to Santa Cruz on Saturday afternoon for the annual Japanese Cultural Fair, meeting up briefly with my colleague Tarmo Hannula and his wife Sarah. (Look for Tarmo’s photos in this week’s R-P!) It was my first time attending the festival, which is strange since it’s been held for as long as I’ve been alive. It was especially incredible to see SF Taiko Dojo perform. As a longtime lover of taiko drumming (thanks to growing up in Watsonville), it was an honor to see the acclaimed ensemble—who were the very first taiko group formed in the U.S. in 1968. The nearby Santa Cruz Zen Center also opened its doors for the festival, giving tours and demonstrations.


ABOVE: This woman performs a traditional dance from Okinawa Saturday in Santa Cruz at the 33rd annual Japanese Cultural Fair. The free event showcased live music, dance, martial arts, food, arts and crafts, information, clothing and other goods in celebration of Japanese culture. Ikebana, bonsai, a kimono workshop, and Sadou (tea ceremony) were also part of the fun. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Tarmo Hannula: Record-breaking temperatures are sweeping through the west, from Vancouver, Canada to the desert in the Southwest. Steve Anderson of the National Weather Service of Monterey said a massive high-pressure ridge off the coast is driving temperatures up and producing widespread record temp’s.

“Most every record will fall as these highs start coming in,” Anderson said. “It’s 94 degrees already in Monterey and it’s only 10:30.”

The heat wave has led to a heat advisory from San Jose south through the Salinas Valley with a high of 103 in Morgan Hill and 93 in Salinas. Hollister checked in at 98 and Bakersfield torched up to 105. Monday will be the hottest day. While the heat will stretch through Tuesday, Anderson said, things will start to cool down a bit on Wednesday. The fog layer is expected to drape back over the coast on Thursday, sending temperatures down.

The Weather Service posted an excessive heat warning along the Hwy. 5 corridor from Sacramento to south of Bakersfield. The record on June 10 for Santa Cruz is 94 in 1904, Salinas hit 88 in 1994, and Gilroy peaked at 92 in 2014.

There were two major crashes on Highway 152 east of Dinosaur Point early Monday Morning. The CHP said there was already one crash when another motorist plowed into them, leading to at least two-hour delays.

The Pajaro Valley Historical Association is gearing up for the annual Vintage Picnic June 30. The 12:30 p.m. buffet lunch, catered by Monterey Bay Caterers, will feature guest speaker Dick Peixoto, owner of Lakeside Organic Gardens. For tickets call 722-0305 or visit pajarovalleyhistory.org/annual-vintage-picnic/.

As the heat soared Sunday afternoon my wife Sarah and I headed to Twin Lakes State Beach to cool our feet in the surf. Traffic everywhere was hell. Santa Cruz County gets that way as summer edges in. Highway 1 turns into a parking lot. The beaches in Santa Cruz are nearly impossible to reach, with most major intersections reduced to inch-along traffic. What we’ve noticed is that people start taking all kinds of risks when they get all tangled up in standstill traffic. Once we made it to the shore, it was refreshing to see so many people out there, with hundreds of kids frolicking at the water’s edge.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournaments are under way. On Sunday England stepped over Scotland 2-1 in Nice, France. Argentina takes on Japan and Cameroon faces off with Canada today. On Tuesday New Zealand plays The Netherlands and Chile takes on Sweden. Twenty-four teams from around the world will compete this year.

The Watsonville Public Library is hosting their annual Summer Reading Program, which got under way Saturday and runs through Aug. 13. Their reading Carnival is July 27 from noon to 4 p.m. Call 768-3400 or visit watsonvillelibrary.org for info.

For last week's About Town visit https://register-pajaronian.com/article/about-town-week-of-june-3.


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