Friday, March 8:

Tarmo Hannula: Caltrans has closed Highway 1 at Mud Creek in Big Sur due to large cracks in the pavement. The land has shifted about five feet since last Thursday.

Don’t forget to set your clock ahead an hour on Saturday night. Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Work continues on the Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center project. Scores of business have taken on a new look as the project moves ahead.


Roofers from Statewide Roofers assemble a new roof at the Rancho Del Mar center Friday. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

College Lake is as full as ever. Working at the R-P for the past 21 years, I’ve not seen it this full. And more rain is in the forecast through the weekend.

My long-time friend Rueben Sambrano has set up an ongoing chess match at Coffeeville in the East Lake Village Shopping Center. The public is invited to step in. Though I love the game, I am terrified of being crushed by anyone with a hint of experience.


George Hattis (left) and Rueben Sambrano square off in a chess match at Coffeeville in the East Lake Village Center. Sambrano said he is part of a chess club that meets every Monday at Coffeeville at 1 p.m. The public is invited. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)


Thursday, March 7:

Todd Guild: Freedom Barbershop, which has been a community gathering place and a Watsonville mainstay for 50 years, has closed permanently.

Building owner Leo Welsh said that the closure came after an amicable agreement between him and business owner Fred Martinez.

Among other things, the business was in need of a major overhaul to its plumbing system, Welsh said.

Martinez inherited the business from his father, Welsh said. It was established in 1969.

Martinez did not return a call for comment.

I always find it sad when another piece of history like this is lost.

Tarmo Hannula: At the Watsonville Municipal Airport I saw the 1928 Ford Tri-Motor airplane Wednesday. It’s named the City of Wichita. The plane is here for people to view and take a ride, if you can afford the ticket. The plane, also named the “Tin Goose,” is made of corrugated steel, and was the country’s first coast-to-coast air service in 1930. I’ve been to the airport to cover a host of interesting airplanes, but this one was different. I think it’s worth a visit. Climb on board and check out the different beast.


The compass star at Watsonville Municipal Airport. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

I noticed the Compass Star at the airport. It’s a place where pilots can set their dials on their instrument panels to align with true north, etc.

I saw a display of various books at the main branch of the Watsonville Public Library commemorating Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” The display includes “From Girls to Grrlz,” “The Secret History of Women,” “El Cielo Completo,” “Native American Women” and “Lilac Girls.”


A display of books mark Women’s History Month at the Watsonville Public Library on Main Street. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

It looks like it will rain through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. It rained most of the night and into the morning Thursday.


Wednesday, March 6:

Tarmo Hannula: An oak tree crashed to the pavement on Valencia Road Wednesday morning during a downpour. The tree tore down power lines which forced Aptos/La Selva firefighters to close off Valencia Road altogether until a crew from Pacific Gas and Electric was able to come in and fix it. I saw a bunch of angry motorists making U-turns on Valencia Road in the rain, not happy to have go around to Freedom Boulevard.


 A tree crashed to the pavement on Valencia Road in Aptos Wednesday morning. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

I stopped by Alladin Nursery in Corralitos Wednesday morning. Their selection of metal garden ornaments have always grabbed my attention. I love their metal roosters, some taller than me, a giraffe, and various birds, all made in Mexico.

I noticed an assortment of animals made out of river stones in the front window of Many Hands Gallery in Aptos. A stone dog got my attention. I commonly ask myself when I see these kind of things, “how do people do these things; where do they find the time and devotion?” At the same time, people ask me how I find the time and attention to get the photos I get. One of the lines I’ve grown up with is this: “To each, their own.”


A dog made of river stones is in the front window of Many Hands Gallery in Capitola. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

While digging through the R-P’s archival photos, many taken by Sam Vestal, I came upon a photo of McKell Rexall Drugs on Alta Vista Avenue. It was taken in 1961. The cars and a few bikes in the photo speak for the moment.


Tuesday, March 5:

Tarmo Hannula: I swung by the Aptos Village Project this morning. Work is blazing ahead. I’m curious when the New Leaf Community Markets will open. It’s being housed in the former Hihn apple barn. A work crew was out there this morning tearing out a large portion of the asphalt parking lot. It’s confusing to me why they make a nice new asphalt parking lot surface, only to tear it out before it is ever used.


Work continues on the New Leaf Community Markets in the Aptos Village Project. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

I stopped by the Watsonville Municipal Airport yesterday afternoon and early this morning in hopes of seeing the Ford Tri-motor airplane that will be in town through March 10. The public is invited to come by and check out the historical aircraft and sign up for a flight. It wasn’t there both times I stopped by.

I’m still surprised to see the café at the Five Mile House spot on Freedom Boulevard at Corralitos Road still shut down. It was a coffee house for a spell but that venture caved in. I’m no business venture person but the place really seems to have potential for a café — pastry, bagel, breakfast-kind of place. We’ll see.

It rained through most of the night. I sleep much better when it rains. That’s why it drives me nuts when the weather people come on TV and call the wet weather miserable or gloomy. No. It’s wonderful, how about that for a description?

I saw a Ford Falcon Squire wagon for sale in the Seabright area. Though it appeared to be in great shape, the asking price of $25,750 seemed rather steep, to me anyway. That car probably sold originally for $2,400. I still recall the small Metropolitan two-door cars that suddenly sprang up in our neighborhood in Washington D.C in the 1960s. They went for $1,600. A Toyota Corona sedan was also $1,600.


A 1965 Ford Falcon Squire wagon is for sale in the Seabright area of Santa Cruz. With a C4 transmission and a six cylinder engine, the owner is asking $25,750. For info, email [email protected]. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

The other day I was in a shoe store in downtown Santa Cruz and noticed a pair of Converse sneakers going for $75. When I was a kid they were $4.99. A pair of Levis jeans were also $4.99. It’s funny to note that the kids in our group in those days, around 1964, the ones that had newspaper routes — we’d save up and buy the latest styles in Converse (Chuck Taylor) sneakers. That made us the coolest kids in the ‘hood.


Monday, March 4:

Tarmo Hannula: Over the weekend I covered the Math Engineering Science Achievement competition held at the Baskin Engineering complex at UC Santa Cruz. More than 300 kids, grades six through 12, from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, took part in the annual event. From balsa wood hand-held airplanes to virtual reality and mouse-trap cars, the students, despite a pile-driving rain, rolled up their sleeves and jumped in to the event with all their might. The winners will advance to the Northern California Regional that will be held at the Google campus in Mountain View in April.

I also swung by the Plantronics and Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair Saturday in Harvey West Park at the Plantronics plant. More than 400 students, K-12 from around the county, competed in the one day-event. From exploring the solar system to rocks and other elements, mildew and battery power, the students displayed their findings on tri-paneled boards and faced tough questions from a host of judges about their research. The results will come about at New Brighton Middle School later this week.

At Pinto Lake City Park this morning I saw that officials had reopened the park to everyone, including anglers and boaters. I ran into Buck Johnson of Prunedale who was setting up his 12-foot Tatum Native Watercraft one-person boat for a day of fishing on the lake. He said he enjoys visiting the lake because it is close to home and offers a chance for birding and fishing.

“I usually fish for bass, crappie, blue gill and catfish,” he said. “I love coming out here because it is so easy to get to, it is peaceful and quiet and the people that run this place are awesome — they’re so friendly and helpful.”


Buck Johnson adjusts his depth finder aboard his 12-foot Headwater Watercraft at Pinto Lake City Park Monday morning as he heads out onto the lake. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

On Saturday I rushed out to Lewis Road in Pajaro because I heard a report of a “house fully engulfed in flames.” That report was followed by a report of an explosion. Sounded bad. It wasn’t. It turned out to be a few pallets on fire inside a homeless camp on the side of the road. No explosion, no house.

I hear this kind of exaggeration frequently on my police scanner. My feeling is that the mobile phone is part of the problem. Once someone gets it into their head to call 911, the adrenalin kicks in and by the time an emergency dispatcher gets on the line the caller has allowed a simple car crash to become a massive catastrophe or small rubbish fire to escalate into a towering inferno with dozens of people trapped and throwing themselves out the windows. I hear these over-inflated calls on my police radio every week. A man passed out, slumped over the wheel of his car is actually taking a nap; a car that crashed through a building, it turns out, bumped into a concrete piling; flames and heavy black smoke billowing from a second floor apartment is just some food left burning on the stove. I could go on and on with these over-inflated accounts of simple emergencies that somehow become a 7.9 magnitude earthquake with indications that the earth is cracking in half.

Also on Saturday I visited the annual Santa Cruz Orchid Society Show at the Cabrillo College Horticulture Center. The explosion of incredible colors and the helpful folks putting it on made it worth my time.


These folks enjoy the bounty of color at the annual Santa Cruz Orchid Society Show at the Cabrillo College Horticulture Center Saturday. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)

Johanna Miller: This weekend I spent hours with my family attempting to assemble a new bed from IKEA. It surprises me how incredibly complex a seemingly simple piece of furniture can be.

The bed came in three long boxes, padded with piece upon piece of cardboard. We took each section out and then separated all of the screws, nails and other hardware.

Little by little, we were able to piece together sections of the bed frame and we almost were completely successful — until one of the very last stages.

Two of the final pieces did not quite fit on the frame. It was about half an inch off.

I suppose some disassembling and reassembling is in our future this week. How fun!

We also had to move our guest Murphy bed from one room to another, which in itself took a lot of effort. Anyone who has ever tried to put together one of these contraptions probably knows what I mean. It can be dangerous, as a Murphy bed has the habit of springing back toward the wall if not properly secured.

I have a feeling that in the future, especially if I’m facing these types of projects with less than a few people, I’ll probably hire a professional to help me out.

Peace of mind is worth the extra bit of money.

This weekend the Santa Cruz Symphony will present The Orchestra Moves Family Concert at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

I have always had a great respect for the Santa Cruz Symphony, not only for their incredible musical talent and performing chops but also for their dedication to promoting classical music to children and young adults.

Family Concerts are geared toward children of all ages — musicians will be on hand to perform musical selections — and invites audience members to bring their own instrument to play along. Master of Ceremonies Omar Tau will help guide everyone through the pieces.

Sunday’s program will include the following selections:

• Bizet – “Toreador” (from “Carmen”)

• Strauss – “The Blue Danube”

• Mozart – Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro”

• Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 (First Movement)

• Offenbach – “Can-Can”

• Desmond – “Take 5”

• Mendelssohn – Nocturne from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

• Tambur – Old Hungarian Dancing Song

• Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”

• Filho – “Cidade Maravilhosa”

The Orchestra Moves will be held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Following the concert will be the Instrument Petting Zoo, where children can try out various instruments and chat with orchestra members.

Tickets range from $8 to $15 and are available at For information, visit


For last week’s installment, visit

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