About Town, Week of May 20


May 24, 2019:

Johanna Miller: On Wednesday E.A. Hall Middle School will host a free event: the 2nd Annual “Oscars Night” Student Film Showcase, hosted by the Watsonville Film Festival. The school invites the community to come and celebrate “the next generation of filmmakers” from local schools. The event will feature its own red carpet, popcorn and more.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the E.A. Hall Middle School Auditorium, located at 201 Brewington Ave.


As my colleague Tarmo Hannula mentioned, this weekend is Memorial Day. While I don’t have any plans aside from working and choir practice on Saturday and Sunday, on Monday I plan to visit San Francisco to meet with an old friend. I have not seen her in almost five years—we met in college in Oregon. 

My trip is planned, but I am aware that traffic might be tricky even on the final day of the holiday. CHP officers from across the state have been sending out press releases and updates on social media to warn drivers (and passengers) that they will be out in full force.

Let’s all drive safely so we can enjoy the holiday!

An organized walkout was held this morning at Watsonville High School, with students leading a protest against the government for its inaction on global climate change.

I always enjoy seeing young people getting involved—though with everything going on in our world today, I’m not surprised that this generation is continually getting more vocal about various issues.

Read my story about the walkout here: register-pajaronian.com/article/watsonville-high-school-students-protest-climate-change-inaction.

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ABOVE: Verania Vizcarra (far right) led fellow students from Watsonville High School on a walk out Friday morning to protest inaction on part of the government to protest climate change. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

Johanna's quote of the day: “I feel confident imposing change on myself. It’s a lot more fun progressing than looking back.” —David Bowie

Tarmo Hannula: Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced her resignation Friday, ending months of speculation about her future in the British Parliament over her handling of Brexit.

"It is now clear to me that it is in the best interest of the country to have a new prime minister," May said. She will resign as leader of the Conservative Party June 7 but will continue as prime minister until a new leader is elected, according to BBC News.

Memorial Day weekend starts up Saturday. AAA said that about 37million people will hit the highways for the holiday, which marks the start of the summer season.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk said it typically brings in about 3 million visitors each year. Sticking to their tradition of featuring a summer theme, the one this year is “Hollywood at the Boardwalk,” highlighting the recent Hollywood box office explosion, “Us,” which had scenes filmed at the boardwalk. “Lost Boys,” a 1987 horror/comedy film, still brings in people from around the globe who stop in at the boardwalk in hopes of catching a taste of some of the ambience from that period.

The annual “Buddy” Poppy fundraiser kicked off Friday around the country. Since 1922, the event, that couples with Memorial Day weekend, raises funds for charitable programs on behalf of the needy, of disabled veterans and surviving members of deceased veterans.

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ABOVE: Anita Painchaud is handed a poppy flower by U.S. Army veteran Howard Althouse Friday in Aptos as the annual “Buddy” Poppy fundraiser kicked off. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

A male bicyclist died late Thursday night north of Santa Cruz near Davenport after he was struck by three cars. California Highway Patrol officer Julieta Trenado said the 66-year-old Santa Cruz man was riding a bicycle in an undetermined manner in the southbound lane of Highway 1 south of Davenport Landing Road when he was struck by a southbound Toyota Prius driven by a 61-year-old Santa Cruz woman. The impact hurled the bicyclist onto the northbound lane where he was struck by a northbound Ford Fusion driven by a 21-year-old Santa Cruz male. The victim was then struck seconds later by a Hyundai Accent, driven by a 49-year-old San Anselmo man, also in the north lane.

The bicyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, Trenado said.

Highway 1 was shut down in both directions for more than three hours. The cause of this collision is still under investigation.

The 45th annual Pride Parade and festival runs June 2 in downtown Santa Cruz. The parade starts at 11 a.m. on Pacific Avenue at Cathcart Street. The festival unfolds on nearby Cooper Street at Pacific Avenue. The theme this year is “Turning the Tide.” For information visit diversitycenter.org.

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ABOVE: Watsonville Public Works director Steve Palmisano (right) enjoys dancing in the 2018 Santa Cruz Pride Parade in downtown Santa Cruz. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian file)

The SF Giants lost yesterday 5-4 against the Braves.

Tarmo's quote of the day: “Don’t tell me what I’m doing; I don’t want to know.” — Federico Fellini, filmmaker.

May 23, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: 

Large waves are still hammering the coast and meteorologists warn people to not turn their backs on the sea while visiting the shore. One way people get into trouble is being caught by “sneaker waves,” occasional giant waves that catch people off guard. Waves from 7-13 feet are expected to grow in size into the day.

I’m still thinking about the Santa Cruz County History Fair my wife and I attended Saturday. Though I wrote about it already in this column, there’s still a road to share. Being a photographer, I really soaked in some of the early day photos, like people enjoying the beach in Capitola around 1900. There was a mountain of info there and people truly seemed to relish the opportunity. We sure did.

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ABOVE: Beach goers guard themselves from the direct sun with umbrellas in the early 1900s at Capitola Beach. (Contributed photo)

The Oakland A’s are celebrating a six-game victory run, with their 7-2 win over the Indians last night. Meanwhile, the SF Giants got spanked last night in a bruising 9-2 loss handed to them by the Braves. They’ll have a chance to return the whipping this afternoon. They were up 3-2 in the fifth. We’ll see.

The Sierra snowpack in now being reported as 169 percent in the central region and 146 percent to the south.

Thirteen tornadoes in a 24-hour block have struck Missouri. Three people died, about 20 were injured. Cars were over-turned and heaved into buildings. Homes were leveled. More tornadoes and flash flooding are still on the way in Jefferson City. Mayor Carrie Tergin reported power lines down, roofs torn away and windows blown out. A state of emergency was declared. Devastating flooding in Oklahoma has washed away homes as life-threatening water levels in the Arkansas River spread disaster.

A 10-year old girl is now the sixth migrant child to have died after being detained at the U.S./Mexican border. More that 5,000 children have been separated from their families there as the Trump administration continues to grapple with border crossing issues.

Locally, Friday will be cloudy through mid-morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 66 degrees. Saturday will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 62. There is a chance of showers on Sunday.

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A man ran from Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies on Pajaro Circle around 8 a.m. Thursday in Watsonville. Deputies were aided by Watsonville Police is setting up a perimeter in hopes of flushing the suspect out. They set up on Pajaro Lane, in front of nearby Safeway in Freedom Centre and on Stewart Avenue. The suspect, an Hispanic male wearing a gray sweater and blue jeans, has an outstanding warrant. He was not located.

Quote of the day: “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill.

May 22, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: 

On Tuesday morning Watsonville Police were called in to assist a crew from public works in dismantling a makeshift homeless camp on Harkins Slough Road at Ohlone Parkway. One man there said he was from Fresno and had tried to get off of alcohol, but relapsed and ended up staying beneath the bridge that crosses over Watsonville Slough. The clean up crew raked in heaps of trash, scores of shopping carts, boxes, clothing, food containers, and bicycles. One man who went by the name Jimmy turned down the suggestion by police to get medical help, even though he was barely able to stand up straight, his eyes swollen and his complexion turning yellow.

Police and fire officials have visited that spot numerous times for warming fires, crime, theft, and building heaps of rubbish.

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ABOVE: Watsonville Police talk with a homeless man beneath the Harkins Slough Bridge at Harkins Slough Road and Ohlone Parkway Tuesday morning. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that he is launching a task force to address homelessness, citing that cities and counties should develop regional plans. He made the announcement Tuesday in Oakland where homelessness has reportedly skyrocketed 43 percent in the past two years. Newsom proposed shelling out $1 billion to tackle the issue, including $650 million that will flow to local governments for emergency shelters. The task force is slated to get moving once the state budget gets approval next month.

Even though the mid-point has passed, several Sierra Nevada passes will remain closed through the Memorial Day weekend due to substantial snow.

In a National Day of Protest demonstrators in more than 400 towns and cities in 39 states took part in protesting restrictive bans on abortion Tuesday, including Watsonville and Santa Cruz. Georgia became the sixth state to sign up to a six-week ban on abortion Tuesday, joining forces with Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota.

May 21, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: A pickup truck plowed through a utility pole on Park Avenue in Aptos Monday afternoon, chopping out the bottom half of the pole and knocking out electrical power for hundreds. With the top half of the pole left dangling in the air from power and telephone lines, emergency officials were forced to close Park Avenue in all directions to allow for a safe stabilization of the area.

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ABOVE: A woman takes a second look at the utility pole that was severed by a truck Monday on Park Avenue. With the top half of the pole dangling in the air from power and telephone lines, emergency officials were forced to close Park Avenue in all directions to allow for a safe stabilization of the area. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

The male driver of the truck reportedly had some form of medical collapse while driving east on Park Avenue just shy of Soquel Drive at 2:45 p.m. The truck ended up perched in a brick planter bed and the broken off hunk of pole was shoved down the sidewalk about 30 feet.

Park Avenue was shut down between Cabrillo College and Soquel drives for several hours. A Pacific Gas and Electric official said the lines attached to the wrecked pole carried 21,000 volts. The California Highway Patrol is continuing an investigation.

A rash of crashes kept emergency crews busy Tuesday around Watsonville. A 15-year-old girl plowed into two parked cars on Walker Street just before 10 a.m. Though she drove off, police caught up with her minutes later on nearby West Fifth Street.

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ABOVE: Watsonville Police collect information from a 15-year-old female on West Fifth Street after she reportedly plowed a Chrysler four-door car (shown here) into two parked vehicles Tuesday on Walker Street. Police are investigating the incident as a hit and run since the unlicensed drove off after the crashes. The incident is still under investigation. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Just over an hour later a woman driving a Toyota Camry reportedly ran a stop sign at Carlton Road while driving west on East Lake Ave. She bashed into the front 3end of a VW SUV, which sailed through a nearby wood fence. Three women and a man were injured.

About 30 minutes later a man driving a Ford Fiesta plowed into three parked cars on East Lake Avenue near Beck Street. Police said he was checking his cell phone and lost sight of the road when it happened just before noon.

Emergency crews were so strapped for ambulances in the county that Watsonville Fire had to call in an ambulance from Zayante, about 27miles away.

At 1:10 p.m. there was another crash, a car vs. pole, on Freedom Boulevard at Davis Avenue. One injury was reported.

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The annual Summer Reading Program gets going at the downtown Public Library June 8 and runs through Aug. 13. Arts and crafts, live performances, filmmaking, a film-festival and more are part of the family fun that is free. For information, visit cityofwatsonville.org or call 768-3400.

May 20, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: An early morning fire tore through the popular Hideout restaurant in Aptos Monday. Mike De Mars, fire marshal for Central and Aptos/La Selva Fire, said no injuries were reported in the 2:05 a.m. blaze that destroyed the building at 9051 Soquel Drive. The first Aptos/La Selva firefighters to arrive were faced with towering flames that gushed out the roof of the older section of the building. Flames largely engulfed the rear of the structure near the kitchen and then spread through the main dining portion of the restaurant. At one point large sections of the roof caved in and numerous windows were blown out by the heat, De Mars said.

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(Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

45 million drivers are expected to hit the road over Memorial Day weekend, AAA said. Memorial Day is May 27. 

It appears President Trump has lifted tariffs on metal imports from Canada and Mexico in exchange for those countries lifting taxes on American exports of cheese, pork and milk. The move came at the same time that Trump temporarily set aside a decision, for the next six months, to stamp tariffs on incoming automobiles from Japan, Europe and several other countries. Some economists are saying the moves have stalled a possible global trade war.

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary party by Staff of Life, a natural foods store in Santa Cruz that swung open their doors in 1969 on Seabright Avenue. They eventually moved to Water Street at Popular Avenue where they built up their reputation of offering a giant variety of bulks grains, nuts, flours, seeds and other goods on top of an unending selection of health-geared foods commonly not found in places like Safeway, Nob Hill and the like. Several years ago they moved, ironically, into a former Safeway store, their current location, 1266 Soquel Ave. Their four-hour party spilled across their parking lot and featured gobs of food and beverage samples, info tables and house specials. Hundreds of of people endured the rain to attend. The owners are now planning on expanding with a new location in the East Lake Village Shopping Center in Watsonville in the former Super Max Discount Foods, which closed last May. A possible opening date could come in early 2020.

A lot of people around the county reported being woken up by roars of thunder Sunday morning. Bursts of lightening heated up the sky around 7 a.m. and sheets of rain draped across the county for much of the morning and early afternoon. Meteorologists are predicting more rain this evening.

For last week's About Town, go to https://register-pajaronian.com/article/about-town-week-of-may-13.

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