About Town, Week of May 28

May 31:

Johanna Miller: I heard on a KSBW TV report that Caterpillar Inc., one of if not the biggest construction equipment companies in the world, has gone after Santa Cruz business Cat & Cloud Coffee.

Last week, Caterpillar sent a cease and desist letter to the coffee company which opened a few years ago and has expanded to a few locations—including a new one which will open soon in Aptos Village.

Caterpillar Inc. claims that because it has trademarked “CAT,” Cat & Cloud Coffee is infringing on that trademark. It has taken legal action against the business to force them to stop using it on apparel and other products.

This is one of the most ridiculous and greedy actions I have ever seen on behalf of a corporation—and that is saying something. Owner of Cat & Cloud has said as much; he was quoted on KSBW saying, “Could anyone imagine a $54 billion machinery company coming after a coffee company? I don’t think that’s even in the cards.”

You can support Cat & Cloud Coffee by signing their petition at change.org/p/tell-caterpillar-inc-to-stop-bullying-cat-cloud-and-other-small-businesses.

I am really looking forward to the celebrations planned for the centennial of the S.S. Palo Alto, aka the “Cement Ship,” on Saturday. The ship has been such a big part of the history of Santa Cruz County, especially Aptos, since it first laid anchor here in 1930, just a year after being constructed.


ABOVE: The S.S. Palo Alto, not long after its bow flipped onto its side in January 2017. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian file)

While Wednesday was the official anniversary (I went to stop by the Seacliff State Park’s Visitor’s Center to chat with docents that morning), Saturday is when the main festivities will be held. Everything from music and food to live history reenactments and dance lessons will be held, and a street fair is planned in the Seacliff area near Marianne’s ice cream.

Read my full story about the ship in today’s RP or online at register-pajaronian.com/article/ss-palo-alto-reaches-centennial.

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, check out “Girls Rock: Kick-Off to Pride” at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. Featuring Christie McCarthy and the Wielders, the concert is a benefit for local organization Pajaro Valley Pride. Spoken word artist Maria Charm will also perform, and a special silent auction will be held at 7 p.m. proceeding the show. For tickets go to eventbrite.com.

Johanna's quote of the Day: “I love that I can make people happy. Even if it’s just an hour of their lives, if I can make them feel good, or bring a smile to a sour face—that to me is worthwhile.” — Freddie Mercury

Tarmo Hannula: Three people were killed in a head-on crash on San Miguel Canyon Road early Friday in Prunedale. The call came out just before 6 a.m. of a report of a mass casualty incident between Hambey Lane and Mark Ryan Estates. When firefighters from North Monterey County Fire arrived they called for a coroner’s response to deal with three fatalities. The female driver of a Chevy Malibu that drifted into the oncoming lane and into a HHR SUV was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The three fatalities were people inside the HHR.

Meanwhile, around the same time, A Toyota Tacoma tore through a utility pole on Trafton Road just west of Salinas Road in Pajaro early Friday. The 6 a.m. collision knocked over the pole, spilled power lines across the road and cut electricity in the area. No injuries were reported. Traffic control personal managed to keep traffic moving in the area by rerouting cars and trucks along a dirt shoulder, around the crash. A crew from Pacific Gas & Electric responded to replace the pole. The male driver self extricated himself from the wreckage.


ABOVE: This Toyota Tacoma tore through a utility pole on Trafton Road just west of Salinas Road in Pajaro early Friday. The 6 a.m. collision knocked over the pol, spilled power lines across the road and cut electricity in the area. No injuries were reported. Traffic control personal managed to keep traffic moving in the area by rerouting cars and trucks along a dirt shoulder, around the crash. A crew from Pacific Gas & Electric responded to replace the pole. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Across the street from the Rancho Del Mar center on Soquel Drive I spotted work moving ahead with a new business, Soul Salad. I haven’t been able to track the owners down for a few sentences about their menu, hours and opening date but I’ll keep trying. However, their menu has been posted online and it looks pretty amazing, with a wealth of interesting salads, soups, a kid menu, daily specials featuring homemade soups, various snacks, a breakfast menu (from 7-11 a.m.) and grain bowls.

President Trump has now threatened to place a 5 percent tariff on all imports from Mexico starting on June 10 if their government there does not put a clamp on illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States. On Friday US stocks seriously sagged at the announcement, with the Dow dwindling 300 points, or 1.2 percent, and the S&P melting back 1.2 percent.

Tension was already coming to a boil on Wall Street recently due to an escalating trade battle with China. 

Mexico is deemed as one of US's largest trading partners

House indicated the tariff would increase by increments of 5 percentage points each month until it reaches 25% in October.

May 30, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: A huge sale of books for children will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Santa Cruz Public Library between 1 and 4 p.m. at 224 Church St. Organized by the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, the event kicks of the annual Summer Reading Program. The theme this year us “A Universe of Stories.” Any youth that signs up for the program will receive a free book. Visit santacruzpl.org for information.

A benefit to support Regeneración of Pajaro Valley Climate Action will be held June 5 at Ella's at the Airport. Regeneración works with the community to empower people in the Pajaro Valley to respond locally to the global challenge of a changing climate. Ella's will donate a percentage of sales to Regeneración. For information, visit regenerationpajarovalley.org.

The Sock Shop & Shoe Company has opened inside the Aptos Village Project. It is one of several such businesses to swing open their doors in the sprawling project, including New Leaf Community Market.


ABOVE: The Sock Shop & Shoe Company has opened inside the Aptos Village Project. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

More than 70 people showed up for a noisy demonstration in front of Janus of Santa Cruz on 7th Avenue is Live Oak Thursday where Janus staff are seeking higher pay. For over 40 years, Janus has provided drug and alcohol abuse treatment services while assisting individuals and families on their journey toward wellness and recovery. Janus, which has four locations in Santa Cruz County, including in Watsonville, helps treat over 2,500 clients annually using the full continuum of care for substance use disorder and co-occurring disorder treatment. City Councilmember Sandy Brown, John Laird, Former Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, and Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Leopold joined forces with other political members, Janus staff, various unions, and members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers at the two-hour event. After unionizing, Janus staff voiced their concerns about low wages and were answered with a 1 percent raise, which they turned down. That exchange prompted Thursday’s event.

AT 5-30 janus protest

ABOVE: Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Leopold (center) joins members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers and others in a noisy demonstration in front of Janus of Santa Cruz on 7th Avenue is Live Oak Thursday where Janus staff are seeking greater wages. (Photo by Sarah Ringler)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was handed a clear defeat in forming a new government as the deadline to do so slipped by Thursday. Now the country will hold a new election, the first time in the country’s history, on Sept. 17, after the Parliament voted to disperse itself just past midnight Thursday.

May 29, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: R-P reporter Todd Guild and I were taken into the sky in a small airplane Tuesday from the Watsonville Municipal Airport by pilot and airport manager Rayvon Williams. We wanted to get a view of the recently completed rehabilitation work on runway 20 and a taxi strip for our ongoing story on the repair job. (Todd’s story will run Friday). Wrangling with the severe turbulence, I managed to get a few photos. With the new surface and paint striping, the airport looked pretty good. More work is on the way.

The SF Giants lost last night 11-3 to the Miami Marlins, the sixth loss in a row. The Oakland A’s lost a 10-game winning joy ride last night 6-4 against the L.A. Angeles.


I stopped by Top Donuts (1892 Main St.) the other day for a cinnamon roll. But before I could order, owner Mey Chow suggested the glazed twists. “They’re hot right now,” Mey advised me. Mey is beyond the definition of friendly. She typically welcomes customers into her shop on a first name basis. Her family came to America from Cambodia in 1980 and Top Donuts opened in 1989. Their web page reads: “We are a local, family owned business that offers a wide variety of bakery items such as donuts, bagels, muffins, & assorted croissants. All of our items are freshly made every morning. We serve coffee of many flavors from Santa Cruz Roasting Company, also a local business. We are located conveniently in the shopping center of Watsonville Square and have kept our little shop going since 1989, thanks to the continued and much appreciated patronage of our community.” The hot twist was amazing.


ABOVE: Top Donuts features a wealth of products prepared daily.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a rare and startling public statement Wednesday, stating, among other things, that his investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election could not clear President Trump. He added that it was never an option for his office or his team of investigators, including the FBI, to consider charging the President.

"If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so," Mueller said. "We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime."


The 33rd annual Japanese Cultural Fair will take place June 8 in Mission Plaza in Santa Cruz from noon to 6 p.m. The free event showcases customs and culture of Japan, including food, arts and crafts, a farmer’s market, children’s games, clothing vendors, live music and dance. The featured group this year in SF Taiko DOJO. For info visit jcfsantacruz.org.

Speaking of Japan, if you want a powerful read “a brief history of the Japanese in our country,” check out “ONWARD!” By Mas Hashimoto, on page 4 in the latest JACL newsletter, The Bridge; The Voice of Our Community. You can see it by visiting WatsonvilleSantaCruzJACL.org and clicking on the May issue.

While you’re at it, you might look into the article, also by Hashimoto, about Historian Emeritus of Cabrillo Community College, Sandy Lydon, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the baler Education Foundation in Hollister in April.


ABOVE: A member of the East San Francisco Bay group Sakura Ren prepares for a performance Saturday at the 32nd annual Japanese Cultural Fair in Santa Cruz in 2018. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian file)

Quote of the day: “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” — Billie Jean King.

May 28, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Four people were forced from their Santa Cruz home early Saturday morning when a fire erupted on the second floor of their older-style North Branciforte Avenue home. Santa Cruz Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Kline said the first crew to arrive were met with flames shooting out of the second floor window at 6:30 a.m. at 783 Branciforte Ave. Kline said his team put a quick lid on the fire.

Members of the American Red Cross responded to the scene and started the process of getting the victims into temporary shelter and providing clothing and other needs.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


ABOVE: Santa Cruz firefighters deal with a fire that broke out on the second floor on a home at 783 North Branciforte Ave. Saturday morning. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Light rain draped over the county Sunday and cool temps ran the show over Memorial Day weekend. The Main Beach at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk had a scant showing of people Sunday, as chilly winds swept in from the sea.


What is it about our president with his name calling? Crooked Hilary, Lyin’ Ted, Crazy Nancy, Little Rocket Man — aren’t these things that are usually left back at the junior high playground? This is our president, after all. Who does this? What would you say if, one day, at work your boss started referring to you are Bozo, Phil the fool, Stupid Suzi? Nancy Pelosi put it right when she said she’d deal with the president when he starts acting presidential.

I was in Hollister Saturday and I noticed that part of their Memorial Day tribute included flag buntings attached to light poles around town, each displaying the names of two service members with the words Thank You. In Watsonville flags were posted once again along Freedom Boulevard and around the plaza by members of VFW Post 1716.

A man died when a tornado ripped across Ohio Monday. Two people were also killed and dozens where injured by a string on tornadoes in Oklahoma. One tornado near Sapulpa trashed homes, power lines and vegetation.

The 11th person, a Colorado man, has died while climbing Mt. Everest. The climb now has become so popular that hordes of people are reportedly flocking to the world’s highest summit and, as reports claim, they’re knocking each other off of the rocky and icy peak while trying to take selfie photos of themselves. One climber said it is “like a zoo.” Some hikers were spotted stepping over bodies in their haste to reach the top and take photos of themselves.

A 48-year-old man was killed and score others were injured early Sunday when northwestern Peru got slammed with an 8.0 earthquake. Peru's National Emergency Operations Center reported that the quake followed another powerful 8.0 earthquake that rolled through the country's Amazon region on Saturday. The United States Geological Survey said Peru’s quake was felt as far away as Lima, as well as in Caracas, Venezuela and Ecuador.


The 10th annual Kitayama Brothers Farms Gerbera Festival will run June 8 in Watsonville at 481 San Andreas Road. Visitors will be invited to tour greenhouses, meet the farmers, and purchase potted potted gerbera plants and cut flowers. Beer from Corralitos Brewing Co. and food will also be for sale.

The free event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is part of the annual Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers open house tour. For information, visit montereybayfarmtours.org.

For last week's About Town, visit https://register-pajaronian.com/article/about-town-week-of-may-20


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