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September 22, 2023

Out to sea | About Town

President Trump is on another pardon spree for a bunch of people facing various jail sentences and other punishments. So far he has let a load of folks off the hook that lied and even admitted lying to officials, especially during the Mueller investigation about Russia prying into our election.

The $900 stimulus package, approved by Congress, almost made it through the gate before Trump stepped in at the 11th hour and held up the money that was supposed to aid businesses and such hurt by the pandemic. One thing he wants to do is up the amount going to each household from $600 to $2,000. In Canada they give $2,000 a month to households every month.

For the past several nights I have watched the amazing convergence of Jupiter and Saturn in the southwest sky as they appear to almost be touching before disappearing beneath the horizon. Someone showed me a very useful app for my smartphone, SkyViewLite. On top of being free, it is a great tool for amateur stargazers like me, to help learn some of the highpoints in the night skies. If you download this app, just ignore the “upgrade” pulldown that often appears when you light it up. That involves a purchase, which you may want to do, but I hit the X (cancel) in the upper corner and just use the free one. Aim your phone at the web of stars and move it around and the app tells you the names of the stars, planets, constellations and even things like the International Space Station as it sails by overhead.

I heard on the news today that it took 10 months for California to reach over 1 million cases of Covid-19. And now, the next round of close to 1 million cases has only taken just 6 weeks! 

There are now 78.4 million cases globally with 1.72 million deaths. Officials are now warning that there is a new mutation of the virus that appears to be more contagious. Among other things, they say the new mutations don’t appear to be able to evade the new vaccines being released. In California there are 1.97 million cases with 23,254 deaths.

Around 30 journalists have died in 2020, compared to 10 in 2019, the New York Times reported. Mexico and Afghanistan top the list where the folks that bring you the daily news are killed. 

Former Watsonville Fire Capt.Matt Ryan was part of the friendly crew that helped shuttle Santa in an antique fire engine to the entrance to the fairgrounds today to wave at passersby. “You’ve got to do something positive for your community, especially in these times,” Ryan said.

Governor Gavin Newsom has tapped Alex Padilla to replace Kamala Harris as a California senator. Padilla is the son of Mexican born immigrants and grew up in LA. Among other things, he worked his way through college by maintaining various janitorial jobs.

State officials are warning people to stay at home, especially as Dec. 24 approaches. It is deemed as the busiest travel day of the year.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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