About Town, Week of Sept. 9

The Spartan Band performs Sunday during the 38th annual Greek Festival in Santa Cruz. (Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian)

Sept. 12, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: The third Democratic debate is tonight at 5 p.m. Ten candidates will take the stage in Houston.

I made a short run through the Santa Cruz County Fair Wednesday on opening day. I was glad to see large crowds milling about taking in the bounty of the fair, themed Round up the Red, White and Blue. Temperatures in the upper 80s made it a little challenging in that there isn’t much shade around the grounds. However, there was a huge pool of shade provided by a new billowy tarp over the seating area where Watsonville firefighters put on the opening day tri-tip barbecue. Master chef Capt. Matt Ryan heads up the festive meal that draws a long string of volunteers who serve up tri-tip, homemade chili, green salad and garlic bread, with lemonade or iced tea. Among others, Matt was joined by his brother, Rob, who retired as a division chief of operations in December. I was lucky to sit down with retired Battalion Chief Will Farr, a firefighter I have known for decades, and share tales of the past and catch up. Will spoke of his family, his grandchildren and how to stay busy in retirement. With a penchant for cooking and kitchen work, he said he’s planning on taking a pickling class soon in Santa Cruz. Farr said he prospers greatly from my wife’s cooking column in the Pajaronian, The Mixing Bowl.

On Friday there will be a full moon, which is also known as a harvest moon. The last harvest moon was in 2000 and the next one won’t come for another 30 years. It will be visible, weather providing, in our area. Harvest Moon relates to the timing of the autumnal equinox (Sept. 22 or 23), with the full moon that occurs nearest to the equinox, being the one to take on the name Harvest Moon. 

Sept. 10, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: I made a stop at the Yamashita Market on Union Street Monday on my way home from work. The small ma and pa-style market on Union Street features a unique range of Asian foods (including many hard to find goods), cookware, household items, Japanese newspapers and more. It’s always surprises me how much they’ve fit into their little store. The friendly folks there are a keen reminder of the value of personable and helpful service. One thing I really like about heading in there is that there always seems to be something going on, some talk about this or that in town, people coming through the doors with some kind of tune, story or item of interest. It is a true watering hole that, to me, helps holds a community together.

The Santa Cruz County Fair starts up Wednesday and runs through Sunday. With a theme of “Round Up the Red, White & Blue,” the hours are: Weds. - Fri., noon to 11 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Work moves ahead in setting up for the Santa Cruz County Fair, which opens Wednesday. (Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian)

On TV news this morning I learned that there were more than 280 flight delays and 124 cancellations Monday at SFO due to runway work. The work is supposed to continue for the next two weeks.

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Ground was broken last week for the new Yanks Air Museum in Greenfield. Slated for opening at the end of year or early 2021, the project is unfolding on a 400-plus acre chunk of land just off Highway 101 that was bought by Charles Nichols, owner of the Yanks Air Museum in Chino. Disputes over city, county and state jurisdiction has stalled the project for years. Now, city officials say that the museum, a showcase of historical airplanes, will bring hundreds of jobs and help Greenfield become a tourist destination.

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I see in other news that Marca Bristo, a powerhouse in gaining civilian rights for those with disabilities, died Sunday at 66.

Bristo, who helped draft the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, was paralyzed from the chest down following a 1977 diving accident at 23, and then traveled around the country energizing young people with disabilities to help get them to demand better access and services. When the accident happened, Bristo asked, “How am I going to cope, how am I going to change my life,” according to PBS News Hour. That’s when someone told her that it was society that had to change, “you’re still the same person. Society has built in barriers that limit those with disabilities.” Bristo once said:  “The things we’ve been advocating are not just for a marginal group of people; they’re for the society as a whole. Disability affects all of us. It’s time that we normalize and accept it rather than perceive it to be at the margins of our society.”

Sept. 9, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: My wife Sarah and I went to the 38th annual Greek Festival Sunday on Church Street in downtown Santa Cruz. Live music by the Spartan Band, sizzling food, Greek coffee, desserts and crowds made for a lively evening. Sarah joined in the dancing that snaked around a parking lot and included all ages.

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On Friday night I drove out to the west side of Santa Cruz and stopped by the R. Blitzer Gallery for the reception of the latest exhibit, “20/60: Women Artists in their Prime,” featuring women artists age 60 and above. Packed with people, the show offered a wide mix of medium, from oil paintings and watercolors, to charcoal drawings and freestanding sculpture.

The show was spread out in several spacious rooms with tall ceilings and carefully articulated lighting. The presentation made the artwork easily accessible despite the huge crowd. There was art from Jane Gregarious, Susanna Waddell, Wendy Aiken and Judy Stabile, (among others), who are all major players at Pajaro Valley Arts over the years.

I stumbled on a sports event on TV over the weekend and was shocked to see Aptos High graduate, Nikki Hiltz, lining up with a pack of female runners for a mile race in New York City. I think it was the Fifth Avenue NB run. Though Nikki did not win, it was a tremendous moment to see local talent of her caliber there on the screen.

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On Saturday I drove over Hecker Pass to Gilroy and Morgan Hill to take a bunch of photos for our sister papers, the Gilroy Dispatch and the Morgan Hill Times. I found it to be tremendously enjoyable, to wander around those cities and take in the newness of it all. Though they are not that far away, I rarely go there and explore. In Gilroy I had to stop when I spotted a man looking under the hood of his 1951 Chevy Deluxe. This was outside of Elec-Tran Transmission Diagnostics on Railroad Street.

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A man gets help from a mechanic in dealing with transmission issues in his 1951 Chevy Deluxe Saturday in Gilroy. (Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian)

The car owner’s name was Alfred and he had dropped the car off two weeks ago to have the transmission rebuilt. When he came to pick it up Saturday and drove it onto a trailer, the transmission fluid suddenly emptied all over the pavement and he was stuck there. The shop owner eventually showed up and they got to work getting the Chevy up on a rack. I don’t know how it resolved but I sure got a lot out of the experience and from Alfred’s kindness and sense of humor. The pale green, he said, was the car’s original color. He lived in Grover Beach (Pismo Beach area).

To view last week's About Town, go to https://register-pajaronian.com/article/about-town-week-of-sept-2.

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