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December 5, 2023

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, April 23

Compiled by Steve Bankhead

25 years ago on April 23, 1996

Moreland Notre Dame sixth-grader Anoosh Moutafian won her division in the Santa Cruz County Science Fair competition at Cabrillo College. Her project centered on properties of the lowly daphnia, tiny water crustaceans that thrive in freshwater lakes and ponds near her Watsonville home. She figures if ongoing saltwater intrusion into local waters could harm daphnia at the bottom of the food chain, other plants and animals could be harmed as well. She collected samples during hikes with her father. “I saw how happy all the plants and animals are, and didn’t want anything to change that.” She collected water samples containing daphnia and placed them in petri dishes with varying levels of salt water in them. All the daphnia died within minutes. “I knew if I did my project well, some people might see the problem and do something.” For her efforts, Anoosh received a $100 check from Seagate Technology, which co-sponsored the fair. She also won the $40 First Place Award from the People Power Environmental Science Organization.

50 years ago on April 20, 1971

Thirteen families living in the Rose Apartments at 40 Rodriguez St. remain firm in their resolve not to pay their rent until they find decent housing they can move into and afford.  The decision came at a meeting at which Mayor William Murphy appeared to see if he could help find a solution to their problem. The buildings in which they live have been condemned by the city as unfit and unsafe to live in, but they have no place to go. They told Mayor Murphy the money that would pay the rent is going into a trust fund to pay the utilities, and to pay the rent and deposits when they find new places to live in. Mayor Murphy told them there was little he could do to find them homes because “the vacancy rate in Watsonville is nil.” He said he knew the Rose Apartments are in bad shape, but thought living there was better than living in a car. A tenant responded “In a car a person can at least roll up the windows to keep out the cold.” 

75 years ago on April 23, 1946

The only bugler in the Army who blew reveille all night long without a bugle finally got a medical discharge from service, and is working in Watsonville. He is Leonard Williams, who put a brief 28-day spell in khakis, but was released because his snoring kept the rest of the Army awake. After his first night in  a barracks cot he awoke fresh and rested, but the rest of his platoon had been awake all night listening to his nasal nocturnes. He was transferred to another barracks, but with the same result. The rest of his military time was spent undergoing x-rays and exams, where it was found a childhood attack of asthma had left him with his condition. Although he was found to be sound in all respects, War Department officials decided for the good of the Army, it would be best if he returned to civilian life. That didn’t end his nostril needling. “Three months after my release, my wife, used to peace and quiet while I was in the Army, sued for divorce.” One bright spot in his career: Appearing in a “nose-to-nose hookup” on Robert Ripley’s “Believe it or No!” program.

100 years ago on April 22, 1921

According to the last issue of the San Francisco Bulletin, efficiency in marketing Central California berry crops has been increased immeasurably as the direct result of improvements in the construction of chests, crates and other containers for which O.O. Eaton, of this city, president of the Growers’ Association, and owner of the largest berry farm in the state, is responsible. Additional features have been developed in the ventilated berry container, patented by Mr. Eaton last September. The new chest contains eight crates holding one dozen twelve-ounce baskets of strawberries. The crates are “beaded” top and bottom, which allows one to fit tightly into the other, thereby reducing the trouble of handling to a minimum. Fruit express companies have enthusiastically endorsed Eaton’s new form of packaging. 

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