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December 14, 2019
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About Town, Week of Nov. 25

Nov. 27, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: Watsonville fire engineer Larry Chin hung up his helmet and boots early this morning for the final time after serving this community for 29 years. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Larry many times with my job, at house fires, rescues, vehicle crashes and scenes of violent crimes and he was consistently polite, helpful and engaging. He was never cynical, sarcastic or offered a put-down to anyone.That scores high in my book. Best in the future to you, Larry, and thank you for all you’ve done.

As strong winds and heavy rain hammered the Central Coast late Tuesday and into Wednesday scores of trees and power lines came down. There were 30 calls to the 9-1-1 center Tuesday and Wednesday for reports of lines down. There were several full road closures, with trees and lines sprawled across the pavement. Storm drains clogged in Soquel Village last night and collected rainwater rose to almost three feet before maintenance workers could clear the way. Several businesses took on water while others had sandbags stacked up against their storefronts.

Johanna Miller: On Monday morning I visited one of my former schools, Linscott Charter School, to interview a group of kids about what they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. The students, grades kindergarten to 8th, gave me great answers and some were eager to ask me questions, as well.

It got me thinking about my own relationship with Thanksgiving. The origins of the holiday have been subject to scrutiny—and with good reason. I am glad whenever we as a society come to terms with the terrible things our country has inflicted on Native Americans throughout history, even though we still have a long way to go.

But I also believe it’s important to move forward. To make Thanksgiving something modern—without forgetting the past.

As such, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and celebrate in a way that is meaningful to you.

As rain hits the Central Coast today, it is dumping snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The National Weather Service (NWS) says the greater Lake Tahoe area could expect anywhere from 8 to 18 inches of snow in the next few days. A winter storm warning has been issued through Thursday.

Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday in the U.S. that encourages consumers to support small, local shops as opposed to big-box and online stores. It is sandwiched between Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2). The first-ever Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express and the non-profit organization National Trust for Historic Preservation.

I encourage Watsonville residents to visit East Lake Shopping Center on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. to check out the local stores as well as enjoy food, hayrides, caroling, crafts and more.

I will also be stopping by Kelly’s Books in the Watsonville Square Shopping Center on Main Street to order a few books for myself, friends and family.

This Friday join Watsonville Bike Party for its Community Gratitude Ride from 5:30-8 p.m. Meet them at Watsonville Cyclery, 25 East 5th St. and share what you are thankful for on a special “gratitude wall.” At 6 p.m. the ride begins—with a tour of the new green bicycle lanes around town. Make sure to wear light colored or reflective clothes, and bring lights for your bike and helmets.

Quote of the day: “And in this moment, like a swift intake of breath, the rain came.” —Truman Capote

Nov. 26, 2019

Tarmo Hannula: I’ve already started a countdown for when the days start getting longer; it’s less than a month away. This year the winter solstice will be on Dec. 21 for the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the sun. It happens twice a year, once in each hemisphere. It is my least favorite part of the year, especially when it starts getting dark at 5 p.m. As a photographer, the window of getting outdoor photos is seriously limited, especially when we set the clocks back.

One person was killed in a vehicle rollover crash Sunday on Espinosa Road outside of Castroville. Few details have been released, including the name of the deceased. It happened around 4:45 p.m.

Forecasters are saying we could get five days of rain this week. The storm, out of the Gulf of Alaska, is expected to bring rain starting this evening and could bring as much as 1.5 inches in the higher elevations. The National Weather Service of Monterey said there will be rain before 11 p.m. then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11 p.m.

In the 10-plus years I spent growing up in Washington D.C. major thunderstorms were common. At times they were so loud and raucous it felt like the world was exploding. I mean giant, powerful claps of thunder followed by voluminous growls and rumblings punctuated with blazing splinters of lightning. It always baffles me: When we get a little sprinkle here on the west coast and a little wind, it usually results in a death toll, major road closures, mud slides, detours, power lines wiped out and power failures.

The CHP continues their investigation into the bizarre repeated incidents of projectiles smashing out windows of vehicles on Highways 101 and 156 in Prunedale. On Friday a projectile shattered a window on a school bus carrying the football team from Carmel High School. No one was hurt. That attack was followed by another the same evening and two more strikes Saturday. Then on Monday a van with six people aboard was hit by the Red Barn.

A wildland fire has erupted in Santa Barbara County. The Cave Fire, which started just after 4 p.m. Monday around East Camino Cielo and Painted Cave Road in Los Padres National Forest, has now blackened 4,100 acres and firefighters have zero percent containment. Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency, officials said. The fire is advancing toward major population areas in the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta, and unincorporated areas of the county. There hasn’t been a major fire in that area since 1990 so there’s plenty of undergrowth and dry brush to fuel the blaze.

Construction on Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance’s new facility on the corner of East Lake and Brewington avenues continues. —Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Big changes are unfolding at the construction site of the Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance’s new facility on the corner of East Lake and Brewington avenues. The new color scheme accents the dramatic modern architectural lines.

Quote of the day: “If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” —Zig Ziglar

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