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January 24, 2020
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Major movement in downtown Watsonville

About Town with Tarmo Hannula

I walked through the Capitola Mall on 41st Avenue last night and was surprised to see how empty it was. In Beck’s Shoes, a place that’s been there for years and offers a wide range of quality shoes, had one or two customers. The main corridors were scant with shoppers. Each of the clothing boutiques that I looked into had one or two customers. One family with their little girl stood and looked at the giant, highly-decorated Christmas tree, the counterpoint of the entire mall. Being six days before Christmas it felt odd: Where was everybody—shopping online? On the other hand, this morning as I sailed past the mall the parking lot was packed. So maybe schools let out and people hit the streets early to cram in their shopping? Tarmo Hannula

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Rick Martinez, Deputy Chief with Santa Cruz Police, put in his last day on the job Thursday. He was sworn in as a full-time officer in 1991 and, at 50, has turned in a new direction. With my job, I spoke with him on many occasions, some bright and fun moments, others grim and difficult. But he was always professional, helpful and welcoming to the media. I certainly wish Rick a healthy and happy retirement. Tarmo Hannula

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The former Gottschalks building, on the corner of Main and West Beach streets, which has sat empty for the past decade, will soon be the home to Watsonville Prep School. Plans call for the school, which operates under nonprofit Navigator Schools, to start in the behemoth building late next year. Tarmo Hannula

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