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December 5, 2023

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, March 12

Compiled by Steve Bankhead

25 years ago on March 9, 1996

Pajaro has developed community spirit in efforts to clean up and rebuild after last year’s flood. A major assist came from “Together in Pajaro” (TIP) organized by Diane Young to guide the effort. One target was the historic Porter Mansion on Bishop Street, damaged by the 1989 quake and again by the flood. Old photos of its gardens will aid in restoring their original beauty, and the mansion will house Pajaro’s new library and senior center. Donated materials and volunteers helped paint businesses on Porter Drive and 110 homes. Pajaro also got its first Christmas visit from Santa, when Watsonville’s longtime Santa Mike Stubblefield came to  town. TIP also organized a drop-in recreation program at its Salinas Road headquarters, with a $10,000 Monterey County grant, and dozens of computers from the PV School District for after school computer training. TIP also organized a recent carnival and car show. 

50 years ago on March 11, 1971

A 16-year-old is without a dog after paying $36 in fees for a female greyhound at the county animal shelter two weeks ago. The dog was “repossessed” without warning by the dog’s original owner who arrived unexpectedly at the home of Bruce Stoner. He told the boy’s mother he was “from the shelter and came to take the dog for a walk” after she went to investigate a noise and found two men unchaining the dog and removing it in their car. According to shelter manager Jim Uding, the dog’s previous owner had the right reacquire the pet if they changed their mind within 30 days, but the original owner is also required to reimburse the new owner for any paid fees, which can include costs for spaying, neutering and vaccinations, plus $1 a day for feeding expenses. Uding said Stoner would be reimbursed for the spaying and others costs, but their son will be left without his dog. 

75 years ago on March 12, 1946

The Pajaronian has been “undermanned” due to staff being in the service during the war, but “This ‘n That” editor Fred Jenkins said some have returned. Howard Sheering came to work at the Morning Register in 1931, and then with the Pajaronian after the 1937 consolidation. He now has returned to work the city desk after four years at the Kaisar Shipyard in Richmond adding to the war fleet. Watsonville native Frank Osmer has been with us several months after combat service in Europe where he was discharged as an army First Lieutenant. He will now continue to handle sports and local news with a new title “county” editor, by covering neighboring cities and supervisor meetings. The important proofreading job is still being handled by my “better half” Esther Jenkins. She joined the staff in 1943. As for me, I’ll keep overseeing the entire work as “This ‘n That” editor.  

100 years ago on March 12, 1921

A Pajaronian reporter visited the Third Street office of James Copeland today and found him operating a queer looking contrivance made of glass, through which ran a stream of dark liquid. Inquiry developed the fact the machine was a U.S. government test retort to demonstrate the extraction of oil from shale, and Mr. Copeland showed the reported it’s possible to take a few handfuls of shale rock and produce an astonishing amount of paraffin oil and illuminating gas. The latter is lit and burns merrily away while the “black gold” is streaming into a glass container. The shale is shipped here from Debeque, Colorado, where a plant is to be built to manufacture oil in vast quantities. The small test retort was brought to Watsonville for exhibition purposes. The reporter wondered if the apparatus could be used for brewing any cheering beverages. If so, there’s a moonshine still on West Third Street.

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