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July 25, 2021

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, June 18

25 years ago on June 18, 1996

Today is the 4th annual celebration of the apparition of the Virgin Mary on one of the trees at Pinto Lake County Park. The image was first sighted by Anita Contreras Mendoza as she walked through the park. She’s often found at the site praying to the Virgin … praying bare-footed because she feels it’s sacred ground. St. Patrick’s Reverend Father Greg Sandman arrived to perform mass, saying “Apparitions of the Virgin are signals of how God wants to protect us. She is our mother, and like a good mother, she looks out for us.” As people took the communion, they knelt to the life-size image of the Virgin Mary adorning the fence around the tree. “The image,” said Father Sandman, “is like a photo we carry in our wallet. Is the photo the person? No, the photo helps us remember that person.” After mass, people enjoyed cake and other food brought by individuals, while others kept praying. 

50 years ago on June 15, 1971

Santa Cruz County Fair may soon become two fairs, with directors green lighting a proposal of Secretary-Manager Sam Spina that there be a separate youth fair, probably in May, encompassing all the facets of youth activities. It would incorporate 4-H, FFA, Boy Scout and Girl Scout projects and educational displays. Spina believes that fair could be self-supporting, and not a drain on the already hard-pressed operating budget. Other projects include an electrical upgrade of the floriculture building, the laying of more pavement from the administration building to the main gate, and also the present grassy area adjacent to the Crosetti Expo Hall. The board also awarded a contract for security patrols to DK Security of Sacramento. Spina said the “financial picture for fairs at the state level is very, very dismal.” However, a “Maid of Santa Cruz County Fair” contest will be added to the opening night. 

75 years ago on June 17, 1946

With everyone, including “violators,” enjoying the fun of the occasion, the kangaroo court and whiskerino “jail” in the City Plaza began functioning with “Judge” Dick Mehne on the bench. Several clean-shaven Watsonville merchants were among those “caged” for a brief time while Judge Mehne delivered lectures and imposed fines. A large sum was collected which will go towards the July Fourth celebration expenses. Beardless men will receive receipts for their fines which can be shown to avoid repeated arrests. The final court session on Saturday will be broadcast live on Watsonville radio station KHUB. Meanwhile, Bechis is receiving many entries for the whimsical Horribles parade on the evening of July 3, preceding the dance at the Veterans’ Memorial Building. Valuable prizes will be awarded, and the one chosen as the “whiskers king” for the celebration the following day will receive a gold cup and a $25 War Bond.  

100 years ago on June 18, 1921

The graduation exercises for Watsonville High School were held. The 1921 class is the largest in the history of the school and comprised 57 members. Board Trustee F. L. Selleck introduced guest speaker Dr. Benjamin Wheeler, president of the University of California in Berkeley. In a preface to his talk, the veteran educator declared that boys of high school age should be under men teachers more than women, and should be made to have a wholesome respect for power. “What is needed in the teacher is an infusion of personal life.” Dr. Wheeler said there is no excuse to leave out instruction in religion, in the broadest sense of the term. Dr. Wheeler said he would not minimize money among the things most worthwhile, and spoke briefly of the power and opportunities that money gives. “I pray you may have a woman who cares for the house – who loves the home. People who have succeeded are those who have looked at the sunny side of things.”


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