About Town, Week of June 3


June 7, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Meteorologists are predicting above average temperatures this weekend, with inland highs edging into the upper 90s and mid-to-upper 70s along our coast. Welcome to June, at last. Oddly, Friday started out rather cool, but high pressure started to build overt the day driving in much warmer temps that will carry into early next week. Things should start to cool off by mid-week.

The Mega Million Lottery is now somewhere around $530 million with the drawing late tonight. Tickets are $2 each. My parents always scoffed at these things, claiming they were rip-offs and based in corruption. I buy a few tickets now and again and once in a while the team at the R-P pools a handful of dollars in hopes of a group win. We joke about what color of Porsche we’ll soon be driving, sending postcards from Hawaii and lavish behavior. But then, on Monday, we’re all back at our workstations with our same cars out in the parking lot.

I happened upon a great art surprise Thursday in the Santa Cruz County Building. I was there to take photos during a press conference by the District Attorney’s Office involving a high-profile murder from 2003. When I cover such things, I’ve found that spending some time checking out the ever-changing art exhibits on the first floor is a good balance between some ghastly crime, the courtrooms, the security checkpoint and a taste of what’s going on in the art world. The art now showing includes paintings and woodblock prints by Aaron Johnson who studied art at UC Santa Cruz. His extra large oil paintings of serene woody scenes pulled me into their calming forest landscapes with a keen grasp of lighting and shadows. His sense of graceful lines played out in the sweeping tree limbs and the sweeping mix of foliage.

Graduation is in the air. On Thursday I covered Pajaro Valley High’s commencement at the fairgrounds. About 270 seniors made the walk under fair and sunny conditions, surrounded by colorful balloons and cheering crowds.

“I know I would be in a different place of it weren’t for these people,” valedictorian Perla Guerrero said of her parents.

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Macaulay Gamab offers a howl of excitement at the start of the commencement ceremony for Pajaro Valley High at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Thursday. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian 

Aptos High hit the fairgrounds' stage later that day at 4 p.m.

New School had their graduation Wednesday at the Mello Center. Eleven students made their way to the stage to fetch their diplomas. Their principal, Rafael Ramirez II, said of his first graduating class at New School, “I’m super excited because of what these kids have done. I’m very proud of their achievements and I’m sure their families are too.”

Then, today, I covered Watsonville High’s graduation at Geiser Field. There were 400 of them, all decked out in gold and black. Balloons, air horns and cheers were aplenty. Onward grads! Look for a graduation section on June 14. 

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, also known as D-Day, which lasted from June to August in 1944. Codenamed Operation Overlord, 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on a 50-mile stretch of the heavily-fortified coast of France’s west region. D-Day has been known as the beginning of the end of war in Europe and the overall end of Germany’s Nazi occupation. The National D-Day Memorial Foundation’s memorial site in Bedford, Virginia, has 4,414 names in bronze plaques for every allied soldier, sailor, airman and coastguardsman who died on D-Day.

Great strides are being made in the construction of the new facility for Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance on East Lake Avenue at Brewington Avenue. Framing for the second floor is moving skyward. 

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Framing for the second floor of the new Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance building on East Lake Avenue is well under way. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian 

June 5, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Several years ago my wife Sarah and I visited South Korea. After we recovered in our hotel from the paralyses of the long flight, bad air and the shock of time, money, language and weather change, our first meal in Seoul was at the first spot we found on the hustle-bustle street where we enjoyed a popular Korean dish — a seafood scallion pancake. It was fantastic. We ended up having those pancakes throughout Korea, at restaurants, streets cafes and at community markets. Sarah has made several attempts now at making them at home and they’ve turned out pretty darned good.

Last night we were delightfully surprised with our dinner at the Sesame Korean Grill, 435 Front St. in downtown Santa Cruz. They featured that pancake and we thought it was terrific. It was served piping hot in a sizzling cast iron skillet. I might add that the Korean ramen noodle bowl I got and the four little side dishes that came with the meal were also superb. Of course, this brought back a lot of great memories of being in Korea, all the way back to our first meal on that hectic street in Seoul.

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ABOVE: This seafood scallion pancake is one of the top sellers at the Sesame Korean Grill, 435 Front St., in downtown Santa Cruz. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has made one of the largest pot grow busts in recent history on Summit Road at Russell Ridge. They uncovered 9,700 plants in 11 greenhouses.

Yesterday sure warmed up as he sun broke through the cloud layer. Forecasters say today will peak at about 75 degrees.

There are a couple new businesses coming into the Rancho Del Mar shopping center in Aptos. The owners of the Bubble Lounge Boutique recently put up a banner announcing their location in the newly renovated center. Just behind them will be a new Peet’s Coffee Next door to Peet’s will be a new branch of the Bay Federal Credit Union.

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ABOVE: The Bubble Lounge Boutique will open soon in Rancho Del Mar in Aptos. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Estimates from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York are the tariffs President Trump used to punish Europe, Mexico, China and other countries cost the average household in the US $414 in 2018.

The annual Capitola Twilight Concert Series kicks off today and runs for the next 13 weeks on each Wednesday. The free, family oriented open-air concerts, at the bandstand and Esplanade Park, will feature Live Again tonight. They play a mix of soul, funk and rock. For information, visit cityofcapitola.org.

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June 4, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Thanks to my friends Shaz Roth and Lowell Hurst for their newsy tip, I managed to get a photo of three camels hanging out in a large trailer on Magnolia Drive in Watsonville this morning. I have no idea what they were doing there. They seemed as curious about me as I was of them.

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One of three camels is stationed inside a trailer parked on Magnolia Drive in Watsonville Tuesday. — (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian) 

President Trump arrived in London Monday, the start of a weeklong trip to the UK and France. Blended in with the royal reception by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace was a bitter exchange between Trump and the Mayor of London, Sadig Khan, who Trump blasted as “a stone cold loser,” via Twitter. Khan had earlier described Trump as “just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” and compared Trump’s language to Fascists of the 20th century. Trump responded, “Kahn (sic) reminds me very much of our dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job — only half his height.” 

The Friends of the Aptos Library will stage their monthly book sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 15 at 7695 Soquel Drive.

A new large sign is now standing at the front of the Aptos Village Project. I noticed a bunch of faces inside the Cat & Cloud coffee business in the same project where a new staff was being trained. The coffee shop has locations on Portola Drive in Live Oak and on Front Street in downtown Santa Cruz.

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A new sign adorns the Aptos Village. — (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Dense fog and cool temperatures permeated the Central Coast at the start of June. The National Weather Service said tonight’s low will be round 52 degrees. Wednesday will have patchy fog before 11 a.m. Otherwise, there will be gradual clearing, with a high near 72. Wednesday night will have increasing clouds, with a low around 54.

My wife and I clearly fit under the label of culture vultures this past week after we went to two plays. The first one was Thursday, the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, "The Pirates of Penzance,” (or “The Slave of Duty”). We thought it was brilliant. The UCSC Singers and Orchestra, tucked into an orchestra pit, vocals, both choral and solo, dramatic costumes — the whole thing was over the top. Put on at the Music Center Recital Hall at UC Santa Cruz by the UCSC Opera, the two-act play, set in 1879, was a dazzling evening from start to finish. Bravo!

On Saturday, we went to the Jewel Theater at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz and saw “The Explorers Club,” which was also set in 1879 — oddly enough. The stage set alone was worth half the ticket. From a life-sized stuffed ostrich, to an early day bar festooned with elephant tusks, snow shoes, guns, trophies and nutty such decor, to the gaudy furniture, tiger skin rug and mounted trophy gazelle heads on the wall, the folks that put this production together did not hold back on any level. The two-act play garnered a standing ovation. Cheers!

June 3, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: A man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly carjacked a City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation vehicle, sped off at a high speed and crashed moments later in a fiery barrel-roll down a steep hillside. The suspect, Angel Garibay, 36, raced east on Branciforte Drive just past 1:30 p.m. but lost control in a string of tight curves. The truck shot across the oncoming lane, blew through a large bay tree, toppling it onto the roadway, and then careened down a hillside. That’s when the truck caught fire and immediately engulfed in flames that spread into surrounding brush and trees. 

Swarms of bicyclists rolled through Santa Cruz County Monday as part of the annual AIDS/LifeCycle, a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles to help raise awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic and funds to help services such as HIV testing, prevention, and care.

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ABOVE: Bicyclists in the annual AIDS/LifeCycle, a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, roll through Watsonville Monday. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

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The Golden State Warriors made an astonishing rebound with a dramatic return from the depths to quash the Toronto Raptors, 109-104, in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. They are now ties, 1-1.The Warriors and the Raptors hit the court again in Oakland Wednesday. 

June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day where, in 1944, more than 160,000 allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of the French coast of Normandy to fight Nazi Germany, an event that largely shaped the end of World War II. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft took part in the invasion, and more than 9,000 allied soldiers were killed or wounded.

There’s been another horrible mass killing in the US, this time at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday where DeWayne Craddock, 40, allegedly opened fire on a municipal building. Then police shot and killed him in a drawn out, running gun battle.

For last week's About Town, visit https://register-pajaronian.com/article/about-town-week-of-may-28.

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