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September 27, 2023

This Week in Pajaro Valley’s Past, May 14

25 years ago on May 14, 1996

The program “Home Independent Study” is open in the PV School District at Alianza Elementary School. The 90-plus students enrolled in it are free to explore their own learning styles, interests and ideas while keeping within state and district guidelines. All district students are eligible; they need only be committed, along with their parents, to completing all their assigned work and meeting with district teachers on a regular basis. “Lack of socialization (with home study) is a myth,” said Sandy Lansdale, whose two children are in the program. She and her children also meet twice a week with a group of eight other families for field trips. Vicky Carr, the program’s lead teacher, said home study builds character and independence. “Unfortunately,” said Carr, “some parents who truly believe that this is the right way may have other responsibilities.” She hopes to launch a program next year combining days of school class time with home time, providing parents some relief, and students a more structured setting.    

50 years ago on May 12, 1971

William (Bill) Johnston will take over as Watsonville’s mayor and Mrs. Gene Rugh will become the first woman to sit on the city council. They will join other members Rex Clark, Donald Sauer, Donald Santi, Joe Richards and Robert Pollock. Easily the most interesting race in the election was for the two-year term won by Mrs. Rugh. Write-in candidate Frank Osmer waged a campaign that gave him over 30% of the votes in that contest, but he was edged out by Mrs. Rugh, followed by Jess Gomez and Richard Baker.  Osmer topped Mrs. Rugh in six of the precincts and got his heaviest vote in the Methodist Church, where 100 voters wrote in his name. Mrs. Rugh received 56 votes there, Gomez 53 and Baker 23. Mayor-elect Johnston today expressed his appreciation. “I thank the people of Watsonville for the support they gave me in this election. It is the fourth time they have elected me to this office. I trust I will be worthy of their vote of confidence.”

75 years ago on May 14, 1946

A “Hairlarious” contest has been set up for the Fourth of July celebration this year. Instead of the Goddess of Liberty pageant, there will be a Whiskerino contest. The July 4 celebration is being sponsored by the Pajaro Valley Horseman’s Association and Chamber of Commerce, and will be a postwar revival of the huge Pajaro Valley Independence Day observances which during the years before the war drew crowds of 30,000 or more. Organizations will be asked to cooperate with the Whiskerino contest and various prizes will be offered, according to plans outlined by C.B. (Buck) Newsom and Lee Orlandi of the special events committee. It’s tentatively planned to have the overall “whiskers” winner “crowned” as “ruler” of the celebration at the dance on the evening of July 3. Wearing of western garb will not be mandatory. The big parade on the Fourth will be followed by a community barbecue at the high school, with fireworks in the evening.  

100 years ago on May 10, 1921

Watsonville’s American Legion Post has good reason to feel proud of the appreciative audience that turned out last night at the T&D Theatre to witness its production of Loriman Percival’s musical fantasy, “A Night in Honolulu.” The plot deals with the adventures of a musical comedy troupe stranded in Hawaii, and the “goings on” of a husband who enjoys flirtations with girls, especially actresses, and a jealous wife.  It takes lots of courage for a crowd of amateurs to tackle a musical comedy, and in tackling the piece last night, the boys showed the same courage they displayed in going over to France to face the Germans.  The “star” was Arthur Thimann as “Lillian Tussell,” a stranded actress. Arthur is immense as a female impersonator. Thimann was followed closely for leading honors by Arthur Prindiville as “old buck,” and Harold Taylor as the jealous wife. Then there were Bertram Snyder and Lewis Espindola as stranded chorus girls. Probably only reserved seats available tonight.   

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