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November 15, 2019
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About Town, Week of Aug. 26

Aug. 30, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: The Aptos woman accused of stabbing her husband to death Aug. 24 inside their upscale Aptos home made her second Superior Court appearance Friday, and delayed entering a plea while she hires an attorney. It was the second time Amanda Owens has continued her arraignment hearing so she can retain counsel. Owens was ordered to be back in court Sept. 24. She is out of jail after posting $1 million bail, jail records show. Owens has been charged with murder and using a weapon during a felony. She faces as much as 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The Coast Guard found 28,000 pounds of cocaine floating in the open sea Thursday and hauled the plastic-wrapped bundles into the massive California seaport of San Pedro. Officials placed the value at
$38.5 million.

Monday is Labor Day, a public holiday, which typically marks the cap of summer. The day honors the American labor movement.

While UC Santa Cruz classes don’t start until late September, Cabrillo College started Monday and classes at PVUSD are well underway. One giant advantage this time of year, I’ve come to appreciate, is that the traffic in our area dies down significantly. Highway 1 on the weekends, throughout summer, is often slow-going between Santa Cruz and Aptos. Then it really slows down between Watsonville and Moss Landing. Monterey and further south toward Big Sur is next to impossible it reach during summer without huge delays. I actually drove out to the Lighthouse on the west side of Santa Cruz last Sunday and found a parking spot. I was tempted to take a photo of the spot, just to have my own celebration of sorts; during the summer that just doesn’t happen without a protracted struggle.

The Monterey County Fair is under way and runs through Monday. Fair CEO Kelly Violini said tighter security is in place this year with metal detectors at the gates and twice the amount of security. The move comes on the heels of a mass shooting in early July at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, on top of scores of other mass shootings around the nation recently. Most of those shootings involved assault rifles with high capacity magazines.

I saw an incredible 1930 Ford Model A for sale on Freedom Boulevard this morning. It looked like it was in real good shape, with olive green paint.  

I stopped by the A&S recycling plant on West Beach Street the other day to cash in a bag of crushed aluminum cans. Over the months I had assembled a full 40-gallon bag of soda cans. It was the first time I’ve done this, so I was curious about the whole procedure and how much I would get; I was sure I’d walk away with a couple dollars. I drove into the plant and a few people that were there cashing in as well helped direct in into one of the indoor drive-through slots. A man was at my window instantly. I opened my trunk and he whisked the bag out and emptied the cans onto a moving conveyor belt. Then he wrote up a slip and told me to being it inside a small room where three cashiers were working at individual bank teller-like windows. The woman asked for an ID and in a few seconds she handed me $14.60 cash for the eight-plus pounds of cans. Not bad. I was back on the street inside of five minutes. I’m back to saving more cans.

Aug. 27, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: The 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival is Sept. 27-29. Held every September on the Monterey County Fairgrounds where the event premiered in 1958, the festival was founded by Jimmy Lyons and his and colleague Ralph Gleason. It has lured such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, John Lewis, Shelly Manne, Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Ernestine Anderson, Harry James, Max Roach and Billie Holiday.

We are pleased to present the world’s best jazz entertainment in the Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest running jazz festival in the world,” organizers said.

For information visit

My wife Sarah and I drove to Modesto Saturday to see the Straight Pride march and its counter demonstration. While we missed a rally in a small park, we were on time for the noisy gathering, where the event culminated in front of Planned Parenthood. About 20-30 people from the California Straight Pride Coalition assembled on McHenry Avenue with signs. About 200 people protesting against the gathering showed up and ultimately shouted them down peacefully with no arrests.

The Straight Pride group called for building a wall at the U.S./Mexico border, condemned abortion and homosexuality. It got a little shaky a few times with people hollering at one another and waving homemade signs. There was a large police presence, including about 20 of them on horses and 10 on bicycles. It was around 96 degrees so that added tension. There was a large media presence from a number of TV stations and newspapers. KCRA, Channel 3 has some telling clips on their website. Once it wound down the police and everyone else started to disband.

Following that we drove through a number of small interesting agricultural towns and I got enough photos and info for a new travel story that will come soon in The Pajaronian.


An 80-year-old Santa Cruz woman died Monday when her Toyota Prius struck several vehicles (shown here) on 30th Avenue in Live Oak. The CHP said the woman lost control for unknown reasons, veered off the right side of the road and hit the parked cars before coming to a rest in the street. CHP officer Julieta Trenado sad the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Trenado said drugs or alcohol did not appear to play a role in the crash.

AT 8-27fatal 30th ave

An 80-year-old Santa Cruz woman died Monday when her Toyota Prius smashed into several vehicles (shown here) on 30th Avenue in Live Oak. (Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian)

Local electric crews from PG&E were in town conducting a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) restoration drill Tuesday. The drills included practicing how they would inspect electric lines for damage after a PSPS and how they would restore power. No power was shut off to customers during the simulations.

On Saturday I returned to the former site of the Berry Bowl in Pajaro to check on the wealth of high-end collectible cars being staged there in the massive parking area for shipment across the country. They came from the annual Car Week in Monterey ended up in Pajaro over the past several days.

On Friday, as I was visiting the Watsonville Certified Farmer’s Market, I saw a noisy march unfolding. It was a group of about 200 upbeat people in support of breast-feeding on the annual Breastfeeding Health Fair & Walk by Community Bridges.

Aug. 26, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: A Watsonville Public Works crew was tearing into the street to deal with a broken water pipe on Lincoln Street Monday. They had to shut down Lincoln Street altogether between Alvarado and Stanford streets. A worker said a water service pipe to a resident somehow broke Friday, causing a surge of water onto Lincoln Street.

An Aptos woman was taken into custody on suspicion of murder Saturday at her upscale home in the Aptos hills. The Sheriff’s office said Amanda Owens, 51, is being held on a $1,000,020 bail on murder charges of Tom Owens, 63.

Hints of a global economic slowdown switched into broad statements as the Dow plunged 600 points on Friday. That comes two weeks after the Dow dropped 800 points, largely swirling around weak economic data from Germany and China. On Friday a trade war of sorts, with threats of large tariffs coming from China and Trump, sent stocks into a downward spiral. This called for extra heavy baggage for several world leaders attending the G7 Summit in France. The U.S., Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Britain, and Italy are met over the weekend at the coastal city of Biarritz.

Classes start up for the fall semester at Cabrillo College today.

Fat Boy Burger and Grill opened on Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville last week.

The Capitola Art and Wine Festival is coming Sept. 14 and 15. For information visit

Quote of the day: “If you’re not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.” –Bob Hooey

For last week’s About Town go to


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