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June 29, 2022

About Town, Week of July 8

July 12, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: Tropical Storm Barry is gearing up to hit Louisiana. The storm has the possibility of generating enough power to become a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, the National Hurricane Center said at 5 p.m. ET. It appears to be hauling a lot of rain toward land. Residents have been teaming up to fill sand bags and brace for the unwelcome visitor.

Raids on undocumented immigrants starting Sunday, planned by the Trump Administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, are expected to go on for several days.

A painting crew was busy adding fresh paint to the building shared by M&M Party Rentals & Supplies and Kane Hall Palmtag Real Estate on Freedom Boulevard.

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Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian

The huge outdoor mural at the Watsonville Metro Station on Rodriguez Street at West Lake Ave. recently got a fresh upgrade thanks to artists Paul De Worken, Jaime Sanchez and local kids. The mural was originally painted by Yermo Aranda and area youths. De Worken is now starting up on a new mural at Radcliff Elementary School just a block north on Rodriguez Street. He is teaming up with librarian Anita Bistrin, who has been at the campus for 15 years. She said several dragons on literary legends will be blended in with rows of books that lead up to the library door. The mural abuts a massive colorful mural at the campus entrance that was painted by De Worken and Sanchez years ago.

The major demolition work going on all week at the former site of Mi Ranchito Supermercado on the 1000 block of Main Street is nearly wrapped up. I drove by there today and was stunned by how fast the crew from Randazzo moved. They knocked down and carried away about four buildings, including the former Mundial Taqueria. The building used to have a giant fake windmill coming off the roof. My friends like Jane Borg and others from earlier times in Watsonville told me that building was once a very popular drive-in restaurant and was a common spot for “cruisers” to stop in for a burger, a malt or just to turn their cars around because “that was the edge of town.”

July 11, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: The U.S. women’s national soccer team had their celebratory ticker tape parade in New York Wednesday after their victory at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019. They put a lid on the Netherlands 2-0 Sunday. Lead player Megan Rapinoe of Seattle offered a wise quote: “We have to do better, we have to love more and hate less. Listen more and talk less. It is our responsibility to make this world a better place.” Rapinoe earned the Golden Boot award for being the top scorer and the Golden Ball for top player. The parade cruised along the Canyon of Heroes with floats and marching bands. The victory has also catapulted the issue of equal pay into the headlines. The player’s pay and prize money is a mere fraction of what men get. Though FIFA doubled the prize money for women this summer to $30 million, the men’s 32 World Cup teams rake in $400 million.

Meanwhile, team player Alex Morgan was brought to the stage and named female athlete of the year at the 2019 EPSY awards.

Watsonville Police are looking into a possible arson that left a play structure in Muzzio Park burned flat to the ground, save for a few metal structural pieces. Burned chunks of wood around the wood-chip arena pointed toward the notion that someone intentionally set the blaze. The most obvious question here is: why on Earth would someone burn up a kid’s play set? And what’s to gain?

The same department also held a press conference Thursday to let the media know what they’ve learned about a plane that was stolen from Watsonville Municipal Airport June 26. The bizarre, first-time ever case, has officials from multiple agencies scratching their heads. Police say that Hugo Mar, 64 of Watsonville took the airplane on the night of the June 16, flew north and plunged into the sea without a trace.


This Cessna 172 SP Skyhawk was reportedly stolen from Watsonville Municipal Airport June 26. (Contributed photo) 

The Trump administration is ordering a new wave of raids on illegal immigrants starting Sunday in 10 major cities across the U.S. including Miami, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The move comes a week after the president delayed such raids because he said widespread news about them foiled the plans of a large round up.

Today I had an incredible lunch here in Watsonville. I got the regular chicken burrito at D’ La Colmena, 129 West Lake Ave. The friendly folks there always coax me to test my few words in Spanish and add to my hefty list of nine words. Always served piping hot and fresh, the food in that place has been consistently satisfying and I always come away with a strong sense of being tied into my community.

July 9, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: 

There was a three-car pile up on northbound Highway 1 near the Rio Del Mar exit Tuesday morning. Minor injuries were reported in the 9 a.m. incident and traffic clogged up for more than an hour in the northerly direction.

Work is moving ahead on demolishing the Hideout restaurant in Aptos. A huge fire tore through the popular spot in May. Owners plan on a full rebuild of the eatery that featured indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar and a cozy atmosphere on Soquel Drive.

Work is nearly complete on resurfacing and new sidewalks, curbs and gutters along a section of Airport Boulevard between Aviation Way and Nielson Street. A crew from the Chrisp Company was out in force Monday morning applying new lane and crosswalk striping.

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Police Sgt. Juan Trujillo helps direct traffic at the intersection of Green Valley Road and Main Street Tuesday. For unknown reasons, the traffic signals malfunctioned at 2 p.m. Motorists scrambled to untangle the mess and many almost plowed into one another as a near free-for-all ensued. A worker from Caltrans quickly responded and managed to set the signal right. Watsonville Police teamed up to defray the flow until normalcy was regained. (Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

If you’re traveling on Lee Road between beach Road and Riverside Drive, give it extra time. The traffic delays are substantial as a crew performs some form of underground work with heavy equipment that spills across the pavement.

Watsonville Police took a man into custody Tuesday on Clifford Avenue following some form of domestic quarrel. Sgt. Brian Ridgway said the man had reportedly been harassing a woman near her home on the 100 block of Clifford around 11 a.m. At one point she got in a pickup to drive off and the man jumped in the bed of the truck. When police arrived they detained him and put him in the back of a patrol car where he stomped out the rear window and damaged the door. He was placed in another patrol car and taken to SC County Jail, Ridgway said.

Have you noticed all the work going on at various school in the Pajaro Valley? The entire front grounds of MacQuiddy Elementary School is now a string of dirt heaps where they tore out lawn, concrete, planters and things to make way for some form of modernization. I’m anxious to see the outcome. A crew was working to beat the end of summer deadline inside the gym at Rolling Hills Middle School to redo their ceiling with new air conditioning and heat ducts and new lighting. It’s a huge project being done by On Point Construction out of Burlingame. Twenty schools are on the fix-it list this summer within PVUSD.

July 8, 2019:

Tarmo Hannula: The U.S. women’s soccer team took first place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France Sunday in a 2-0 victory over The Netherlands. This marks the fourth time the team has placed first in the highly prestigious match and the second year in a row.

Two major earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks rumbled through Kern County, CA last week. A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Thursday morning and a massive 7.1 quake struck Friday night near the city of Ridgecrest, about 150 mile north of Los Angeles. The U.S. Geological Survey said both quakes are the strongest to shake the state in two decades. They were both felt in San Diego, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Hollister. Four house fires followed Friday’s quake. Numerous roads showed buckling and several stores had their goods shaken off the shelves. Many residents have taken to sleeping outdoors in fear of their homes collapsing on them.


Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a suspect in a residential burglary in Soquel early Monday. Dee Baldwin of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said deputies got a call just before 7 a.m. from a homeowner in the Summit area who said he interrupted a suspected burglar in his living room. As the suspect fled out the door, the resident managed to provide a license plate and description of the black Chrysler SUV he saw speeding off. Within minutes deputies spotted the vehicle and puled him over. He taken to Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of burglary, Baldwin said. Deputies are continuing their investigation that includes another burglary of the same man at the same home Sunday.

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Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies search an SUV for possible stolen goods early Monday morning in Soquel after they stopped the driver on suspicion of a residential burglary. (Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)


During the Fourth of July holiday, the California Highway Patrol arrested 1,204 people on suspicion of DUI compared to 389 last year. The arrests came during a maximum enforcement period during the four-day holiday weekend. Additionally, 21 people died on California roads compared to 11 that died last year during the shorter maximum enforcement period, the CHP said. In 2017 47 people died over the same holiday stretch. By contrast, 47 people were killed during the four-day Independence Day holiday period in 2017.

California Rodeo Salinas, which has been running for over 100 years, is July 18-21. In 1911 the rodeo, known as the Wild West Show, was held at the Sherwood Race Track grounds, organizers said. It was a weeklong event, thus the name, “Big Week”. In 1912, playing host to 4,000 people, the rodeo featured mostly local cowboys and cowgirls riding bucking horses the rodeo’s website states. Two years later the event became known as the California Rodeo. During this era the El Colmado del Rodeo night parade began. In 1911 the rodeo, known as the Wild West Show, was held at the Sherwood Race Track grounds. It was a weeklong event, thus the name, “Big Week”. In 1912, playing host to 4,000 people, the rodeo featured mostly local cowboys and cowgirls riding bucking horses. It included visiting cowboys like Jesse Stahl, who was arguably the most famous African American cowboy of all time. Two years later the event became known as the California Rodeo. During this era the El Colmado del Rodeo night parade began. With the 1930s the California Rodeo hosted Hollywood stars with visits from Will Rogers and Gene Autry.


An open hour will showcase the Castro Adobe, 184 Old Adobe Road, in Watsonville July 14. The free event runs from 6-9 p.m. The spot is slated as Santa Cruz County’s next State Historic Park.

To view last week’s About Town:


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