About Town, Week of May 13

May 17, 2019:

Johanna Miller: 

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by Pacific Coast Charter School (PCCS), located in The Towers on Green Valley Road. The school is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week, and staff, teachers and students welcomed the community to a special event to recognize the milestone.

I graduated from PCCS in 2005. In my Sophomore year of high school, I realized that I was unhappy and not thriving at the school I was currently at. PCCS was a great fit for me and I will forever be thankful to the staff, teachers and other people at the school who supported me.

It was a real treat, going back to the school and seeing what was the same and what had changed. I even spoke with my former principal, Vicky Carr (who also helped found the school.)


ABOVE: Parents, teachers and students helped set up Pacific Coast Charter School's 20th anniversary celebration on Thursday. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

This weekend, the Aptos History Museum will kick off a string of activities in celebration of the S.S. Palo Alto’s 100th anniversary. The museum on Saturday will host The Centennial Presentation of the Concrete Ship’s Launch, which is part of the museum’s “Coffee, Tea and History” series.

The event will feature a presentation by Kevin Newhouse at 2 p.m. at the Rio Sands Hotel’s community room, 116 Aptos Beach Drive. Following will be a history walk to the ship and the Seacliff State Park Visitor’s Center with Dick Garwood.

Also, on Sunday, come listen to the Cabrillo Symphonic Winds present a special concert of band music with a special tribute to the S.S. Palo Alto. “A Centennial Celebration of the Cement Ship,” sponsored by Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant, will be held at the Crocker Theater at 3 p.m.

The concert is free, but tickets are required. The Box Office will open one hour prior to the performance. Arrive early to secure tickets!

If you’re instead looking to hearing some singing, the Santa Cruz Peace Chorale will be performing tomorrow night at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 2402 Cabrillo College Dr., Aptos. The group’s 17th annual concert includes a silent auction—with bidding on everything from local art and wine to jewelry and crafts starting at 7 p.m. Songs of peace and justice begin at 7:30 p.m.

A ticket price of $15 is requested at the door, but no one will be turned away due to finances.

Visit santacruzpeacechorale.org for information.

Quote of the Day: “A cup of tea would restore my normality.” —Arthur Dent, Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Tarmo Hannula: It’s snowing in the Sierra and today’s high along the coast will be around 65 degrees. It’s mid-May and I’m still wearing my coat and a stretch wool cap. It’s supposed to rain Saturday, with more rain on tap further into next week.

The longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America opens today in Tennessee. The 680-foot Gatlinburg Skybridge, at the foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Skylift Park, reaches a height of 140 feet at its highest point. Construction materials include 129 cedar panels and three giant glass panels that allow visitors a view below their feet of the valley floor. Designers say the bridge can handle more than 200,000 pounds, so leave the pet elephants at home. 


ABOVE: Work at the Watsonville Municipal Airport, to resurface and restripe two runways, is largely wrapped up. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula)

Have you ever noticed how car ads on TV always show the relaxed blissful drivers cruising along well above the speed limit with no traffic on the roads whatsoever? As they whistle along, ripping around city corners without a worry in the world, they tool with the dashboard controls, check out the huge data screen on the dash for possible dangers around them, laugh with their children, and above all, could care less about driving. All the modern conveniences cars offer today, as it appears in these ads, make driving beside the point. Who really bothers to drive anymore? The car does it all. One ad shows an adult male pedestrian bolt out between parked cars to fetch a cluster of balloons that have suddenly escaped his kid’s clutches. A passing car suddenly skids to a halt inches from plowing over the man. The driver and the man exchange shocked glances. The message: thank goodness for technology so this idiot can go on breaking one the most ancient taboos of traffic/kid safety — don’t run out from between parked cars. Country driving in these ads is laughable at best. The carefree drivers are shown blasting at rocket speed around curvy roads, streaking over narrow one-lane bridges, blowing over rocky streams and blazing to a miraculous quick stop in a driveway just in time to hand their child an ice cream cone before it starts melting.

Last night the hugely popular TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, wound down its last show of its final season, having broadcast 279 episodes over 12 seasons. The New York Times, in their “Of Interest" column, said that the show “has averaged 17.3 million viewers a week, making it the most viewed network entertainment show, second only to NBC’s Sunday Night Football.” Though I’ve watched a number of the shows, I’ve never been a big fan, as I am with most of television. But I do feel the characters were brilliantly picked and played their roles superbly. 


An F-16 fighter jet crashed through the roof of a warehouse in Riverside Thursday. The pilot managed to safety eject moments before the impact. Several people on the ground were hurt by flying debris from the totally destroyed $16 million aircraft.


Today the moon is 98 percent full, with the full moon dominating the night sky tomorrow.

May 16, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: A crew from TowBoat U.S. Marine Salvage: Recovery assist after the sports fishing boat Delfin broke loose of its anchor Wednesday and washed ashore at Capitola Beach. Oddly, a sailboat also came loose around the same time and ended up getting smashed to pieces on the rocks just yards away. 


(Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Someone plowed into a utility pole at 2:20 a.m. Wednesday on Buena Vista Drive near Memorial Avenue just off of Freedom Boulevard. The crash tore down power lines and forced emergency officials to shut down a portion of Buena Vista Drive for several hours to allow a crew from Pacific Gas and Electric to repair the matter.

A strong weather system visiting Northern Californian is expected to bring as much as an inch of rain in higher elevation and as much as two feet of snow in the high Sierra. The storm, drifting south from the Gulf of Alaska, could also bring snowfall into some lower elevations, the National Weather Service said. Unusual for the second half of May, a winter storm warning has been issued for the southern Sierra Nevada through Friday. Officials at Yosemite National Park said Glacier Point Road, the popular route that gives views of Yosemite and Half Dome, was shut down Wednesday and will remain closed until the second winter storm trudges through on Tuesday. While intermittent rain and wind swept the region Wednesday and over the night into Thursday, the larger, wetter system is due Saturday.

Cal Fire investigators announced Wednesday that sparking Pacific Gas and Electric transmission lines triggered the Camp Fire on Nov. 8 that killed 85 people and consumed 18,804 structures. The fire raced through the towns of Pulga, Paradise, Concow, Magalia, and outlying areas of Chico. PG&E had declared bankruptcy in January. The investigation is ongoing and a final decision is months away.

With wine and beer garnering headlines with micro breweries and tasting rooms flaring up around Santa Cruz County and elsewhere, it makes sense that the first Forks, Corks & Kegs Festival will take place June 1 in Santa Cruz. The event, from 3-7 p.m. at the Kaiser Permanente Arena, 140 Front St., will include dozens of wineries, breweries and restaurants. Live music includes Red Beans & Rice and 7th Wave. For tickets and info visit forkscorksandkegsofsantacruz.com. Tickets are $65 prior to May 26 and then bump up to $85.

If you are a big book fan, mark your calendar for the Big Book Sale May 24 (4-8 p.m.) and May 25 (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St. More than 10,000 "gently used” books will be for sale.

Mark your calendar for the 45th Annual UCSC Student Print Sale June 7, 8 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. UCSC Art Department, room G-101. I’ve been to it before and the prices are incredible as well as the varied selection of hundreds of etchings, lithographs, engravings, woodblock and digital prints, handmade books and more. The sale can accept CASH & CHECKS ONLY (sorry, no credit cards).

May 14, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: May showers? Meteorologists are suggesting that we could get a rainy visit late Tuesday, through Wednesday and into Thursday, with a chance of thunderstorms over the day Thursday. Partly cloudy skies are being predicted Friday and Saturday followed by chances of more rain Saturday and Sunday. Looking further in the crystal ball, forecasters are even venturing a guess of rain next Tuesday as well.

If you’re watching the moon it’s in the waxing Gibbous stage and is 78 percent full. The full moon comes in four days. Some people say the full moon barges into their sleep patterns. Some claim crime goes up. I think my dreams become more vivid.

City officials are mulling the idea of narrowing Main Street in downtown Watsonville from four lanes to two lanes to open the floodgates for more business, pedestrians and bicyclists. As you can imagine a lot of folks are weighing in on this, both pro and con. Further discussion will be on the table, including public voices, at the City Council meeting this evening.


The Watsonville Public Library is gearing up for their annual Summer Reading Program. The free engagement, which runs from June 8 through Aug 13, includes arts and crafts, live performances, filmmaking, a film festival and more. For information, visit cityofwatsonville.org.

The same library is also hosting Fun Tech Day: 3D Printing. Join them for a 3D printing demonstration, and learn about the process from designing and printing an object. It takes place May 29 from 3-5 p.m. in the Main Library Children’s Room. It’s open to all ages.

I’m reading a fascinating article in The New Yorker magazine about a six-mile-wide asteroid that plunged into the Earth’s surface off of what is now the Yucatan in Mexico about 66 million years ago. The supersonic impact, in a single moment, ended the Cretaceous period and started the Paleogene period. Based on models created by the world’s most powerful computer, scientists are now learning that the impact blasted a crater 18 miles deep with energy unleashed more powerful than a billion Hiroshima bombs. Much of the material that blew into the sky and into outer space was hotter than the surface of the sun and set everything on fire within a 1,000-mile reach. Countless blobs of red-hot glass, known as tektites, blanketed the Western Hemisphere. Over the next several million years bits of debris sprayed out across the universe, with some possibly landing on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. A fiery plume of reached halfway to the moon and massive forest fires and huge tsunamis swept the globe. Dust and soot created a gigantic cloud base that stamped out all sunlight on Earth for months. After that the Earth went into a deep freeze. The computer models gave scientists the idea that “more than 99.9999 percent of all living organisms on Earth died.” This makes all the World Wars combined look like a bad block party. Wow. A six-mile hunk of rock did all that. That’s like, from Watsonville to Aptos. Sure makes me wonder if there are more of these things floating around out there.

May 13, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Being in the manufacturing industry of media, newspapers and print, all of us here in the newsroom are keenly aware of ghastly typos, misspellings and such that reach the final printed product. That’s why we have a corrections box. It does get used. People make mistakes. If you’ve ever poured through the New York Times, one of the world’s top shelf newspapers — I believe — they have a correction box that speaks legends to human errors that hit the page: titles, numbers, places, dates, causes — you name it — none of these topics have escaped being trashed in one form or another. One time in the RP, years ago, we had on our front page in a weather brief: "Tonight, sunny.” It’s true.

This morning I noticed in the NYT a correction of grand scale. It was in Australia. Their mint had printed 46 million $50 bills with the word responsibility misspelled on the back of the bill. It read: responsibilty. Of all words, right? I was once photographing a professional sign maker as he was installed a new large wood sign for Callaghan Park in Watsonville. It’s an easy word to misspell, with that almost silent G in there. He told me that the prime nightmare for people in his field is to misspell something in a nice new sign that is being erected in a high visibly spot for a long, long time. It happened nearby at Ramsay Park, where a sign read Ramsey. It stood that way for a while. I saw in the news recently that the name of a commercial jet company had been misspelled in the tail of the jet. There was a pretty famous misspelling once on a billboard in the town of Crestwood: “English is our language, no excetions, learn it.”

I went to the annual day on the Farm at the Agricultural History Project at the fairgrounds on Saturday. The folks out there always host a rich and varied event that showcases farm life of the past.


ABOVE: Leobraian Escobar (right) tests his skills on a tractor simulator at the Agricultural History Project Saturday during the annual Day on the Farm. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Saturday evening my wife Sarah and I went downtown Santa Cruz and stopped by the outdoor music and dance celebration of the customs and culture of Oaxaca, Mexico on Cooper Street. A large band, largely made up of woodwinds, brass and percussion, dominated much of the event with the medley of strident, upbeat tunes. I don’t know much about that blend of music. I can’t help but think some of it derives from German celebratory music, with the strong oom-pah-pah theme. These musicians amazed me, from the clarinet and flute sections to the trombones, tubas and trumpet groupings. They obviously had a polished act down, the result of hours of devout rehearsals, I’m sure. Sarah and I can hear them rehearsing from our home every year around this time. A branch of Watsonville/Aptos/Santa Cruz Adult Education at the end of our street and the band rehearses outdoors beneath a canopy of redwoods. I love hearing their strands of brassy upbeat music lacing the air in the early evenings. Sometimes we’ll wander up there and take in a few tunes as they shake out the wrinkles in learning the music. The sound of the French horns always win me over.

The rehearsal, overall, is in preparation for the annual Senderos Vive Oaxaca Guelaguetza Festival of dance, music and food. The family-oriented event takes place May 19 in San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The formal program begins with the convite/procession at 11 a.m. Folkloric dancing representing the eight regions of Oaxaca will be presented by Senderos Centeotl Danza y Baile, accompanied by Senderos Ensamble Musical and visiting student musicians from Zoogocho, Oaxaca, renowned for their traditional banda de viento (wind band) music. If you’ve never been to this, you might consider the explosion of colors, fantastic dress and vibrant music as a way to kick start your Sunday. The traditional food there is worth the visit in itself. For info call 854-774 or visit SCSenderos.org.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Chose a job you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life." Confucius

For last week's About Town, visit https://register-pajaronian.com/article/about-town-week-of-may-6.


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