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February 8, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 31: Tommy Gugale’s family thanks community

Tommy Gugale’s family thanks community

To the Editor,

Thank you for your sympathy and kindness. It is of great comfort to know that you are thinking of us as we grieve Tom’s death.

Special thanks to Rene Cardona, Matt Costello, Stevie and Linda Bonita, Gary Manfre, Lupe Flores, MB Family, Palma Parents, school staff and Mehl’s Colonial Chapel. To the wonderful and generous childhood friends who gathered to help with his Celebration of Life.

Tommy was a caring, loving grandson, son, father, brother and uncle and he will be missed. But your kind words will help us in the difficult time ahead. Knowing that Tommy touched so many lives will help us to accept his untimely death.

The Family of  Tommy “Coach” Gugale

•••

Redman-Hirahara house can be glorious again

To the Editor,

I was saddened to read Mary Miller-Jones’ letter (Pajaronian, Oct. 26) about returning to an unrecognizable Watsonville for her 67th high school reunion, but shocked that she felt the local historic preservation group could have a fundraiser by setting the Redman-Hirahara house on fire. While it is true that the house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been neglected, it is not beyond restoration, and there is hope among citizens to revive it.

A recent inspection by a Santa Cruz County building inspector determined that the house is not a hazard. With a strong local effort, it could be restored as a community event center for symposiums, farm-to-table dinners, concerts and weddings, modeled after the very successful Emma Prusch Farm Park in San Jose, and also add community garden spaces for social gathering and urban agricultural education. This would preserve the important 1897 Victorian, designed by noted local architect William Weeks. An historic interpretation center would pay a tribute to the rich local history, while linking the Pajaro Valley Historical Association Museum and collections, as well as the Agricultural History Project. The 14-acre organic farm on which the house sits is also on the National Register of Historic Places, and is currently an organic farm and produce stand. 

The County Historic Resources Commission and Planning Department may soon decide to entirely remove the Redman-Hirahara house and property from the National Register of Historic Places. This would allow the current developer-owner to knock everything down, pave the farmland and build hotels similar to their project on adjacent property.

I find it interesting that Ms. Miller-Jones wants to destroy the only element of Watsonville that she recognized. Instead, why not work together to restore the Redman-Hirahara house, a significant and beautiful treasure that tells an incredible story of rich contribution to the Pajaro Valley agricultural heritage? Indeed, that is well worth saving.

Becky Steinbruner

Aptos

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