Busy week for your intrepid man about town. This week, we’re bringing out the Bearcat, wildfire forces local evacuations, Boulder Creek man busted for looting, SCPD’s town hall meeting downtown, man flips truck and fights CHP, graveyard shifts are never boring, man critically injured off West Cliff, fight near shelter lagoon, another break in at Pono, Oh My, SCPD September crime statistics, construction on Highway 1, Fairy Tale Farm update, Darling House sold, fun with Google Maps, tone deaf, missing Tom Petty, and more!
Bring Out the Bearcat!
Thursday morning around 9AM, SCPD surrounded Outdoor World on River street after 2 people reportedly broke into the store, which also happens to sell guns and ammo. They weren’t taking any chances here, so the local SWAT team and the Bearcat was deployed. SCPD had at least a 2 block area closed off, with officers walking the streets and the levee with AR-15 rifles. They finally breached the store and spent time sweeping inside for the suspects but found nobody inside. SCPD is still treating it as a burglary. Apparently the thieves stole some clothing but no guns were stolen, as employees had locked them in safe. This is the third burglary in the past month that involved businesses that sell guns. SCPD is looking into whether or not they are related.
SCPD Arrests Man With Handgun
Just hours after the Outdoor World incident, reports came in that a man was seen in the area of Water and Soquel streets with a handgun. A reverse 911 call went out (again, after one was sent for the Outdoor World incident). SCPD had the suspect detained and in custody shortly after this was reported.
Wildfire Near Boulder Creek Forces Evacuations
A fast moving wildfire broke out near Boulder Creek late Monday night, forcing evacuations of residents east of Boulder Creek, according to Cal Fire. The fire began as a structure fire around 10:30PM on Monday night before spreading to nearby brush. Among the areas forced to evacuate included Deer Creek Road, Ron’s Road, Don’s Road, Lost Valley Road, Favre Ridge and Oak Ridge. As of Thursday at 5PM, The “Bear” Fire is about 320 acres and 30% contained according to CalFire reports.
As if a raging wildfire forcing people to evacuate in the middle of the night isn’t bad enough, a 54 year old Boulder Creek man was arrested this week for looting one of his neighbors homes on the 1900 block of Hidden Springs Lane in Boulder Creek. Around 1:30PM on Tuesday, he reportedly entered the home and stole $15,000 worth of property, including jewelry and a bike. Hours later, deputies made contact with the suspect in Santa Cruz, where the man had the stolen property in his possession. He was arrested and sent to County Jail.
Town Hall Meeting at SCPD Draws Concerned Citizens
Tuesday morning, I stopped by the “town hall” meeting at the SCPD community room to see what all the fuss is about. It was a pretty good crowd, maybe 60-70 people filling the room to hear Chief Mills and others discuss their plans and get feedback from the community on priorities. This was the third of 5 meetings planned. It was also the only one that took place during the day (instead of the evening). Cheers to city council members Cynthia Mathews and Martine Watkins for making the time to attend. Chief Mills did a quick introduction, then the attendees broke out into small working groups to discuss priorities for SCPD and helping them develop a new mission statement. One thing I found interesting about the meeting was the Chief spoke of re-organizing the department, by having 5 different “buckets” (that’s what I’m calling them) or sub-groups, with each group having a supervisor. The buckets would be based around things like “violent crime”, “nuisance crime”, etc. (I can’t remember the exact 5). And he also discussed his recent editorial that’s caused a lot of local discussion. I know some folks are in an uproar that he’s not enforcing the law, but I don’t read it that way. He’s basically saying he’s prioritizing his limited resources to focus them more on preventing and solving real crimes instead of chasing down homeless sleepers and writing tickets that will never get paid anyway. He stated the “sleeping ban” (whatever that nebulous term refers to) will still be enforced, and SCPD will still respond if a complaint is made by the property owner, or if crimes are being committed. So I wouldn’t read too much into this new “relaxation” of the “sleeping ban”.
Man Flips His Truck and Fights with CHP
Monday morning around 11AM, a man driving on Highway 17 flipped his Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on the Ocean Street offramp. The 40 year old man from Santa Cruz, who apparently was under the influence of drugs, fought with CHP officers who responded to the wreck. Heroin needles were also found inside the pickup truck, the CHP said. Witnesses reported seeing the man “screaming and fighting with three cops.” The man was taken in an ambulance to a local hospital to be treated for unknown injuries. The CHP later arrested him on charges of DUI. Tweekers wrecking their vehicles and fighting with CHP at the gateway into town. Welcome to Santa Cruz!
Graveyard Shifts are Never Boring
Last week, a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Deputy was patrolling the area of Lee Road in Watsonville when he spotted a man in the driver’s seat of an SUV with methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in plain view. During a search of the SUV, the Deputy found a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat. The man was arrested for various weapon and narcotic charges and booked into County Jail.
About an hour later, another Deputy made contact with four juveniles in a vehicle on South Rodeo Gulch in Soquel. During a search of that vehicle, the Deputy located a loaded, unregistered firearm that was concealed under the rear seat, along with several bottles of alcohol that had been stolen from a nearby Safeway. The four juveniles were booked into Juvenile Hall on weapon and stolen property charges.
Man Critically Injured Trying to Save Dog
Around 10AM Wednesday morning, a man was found face down in the ocean off West Cliff Drive. The man is believed to have gone into the water near Woodrow Avenue to try to rescue a dog that was apparently caught up in the surf. He was reported to be in critical condition. I don’t think they found the dog. Such a sad story.
Fight Near Shelter Lagoon
Saturday night around 8PM, a report came in about a fight between a young male and possibly his parents on the 100 block of Felix street. The suspect reportedly threw a knife at someone and was threatening bystanders with the knife. Apparently, the same guy threatened to jump off a balcony last week and he reportedly climbed up on the same balcony again. SCPD showed up with multiple units and a taser. The man was arrested without further incident.
Pono/Reef Suffers Another Break In Robbery
Last year, just a week before Christmas, someone literally ripped the front doors off Pono trying to steal their ATM machine.Tuesday morning around 4AM, they were hit by thieves again. Apparently the thief entered the building by breaking a small window at the back of the restaurant. The folks at Pono and Reef are terrific locals, and the food there rocks. Go show them some love if you can. Love those pulled pork sliders!
Roger Grigsby, the owner of O’mei on Mission reopened the restaurant last week with plans to transfer its ownership. It’s been closed for almost 2 months after Grigsby and O’mei became the focus of public backlash at the end of August for political contributions he made in 2016. Grigsby, who has run O’mei on Santa Cruz’s westside for the past 38 years, made donations totaling $500 to the unsuccessful 2016 U.S. Senate campaign of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke of Louisiana. He decided to close the restaurant in August, after a public campaign on social media accused him of racism and bigotry, which ultimately led to the resignation of his entire waitstaff. Last week Grigsby stated he is in the process of transferring ownership of O’mei to longtime head chef and manager Karl Cook. It is not known if the restaurant will retain the same name.
I’m sure locally, people are going to get all hot and sour over this. It caused quite a stir locally, with lots of activists claiming credit for slamming them on Yelp and shutting them down. Then it came to light that the boycott wasn’t what shut them down but the staff walkout (and the owner being under the media microscope). I’ve never met Grigsby, so I have no real opinion of him other than what I’ve read about him. I think people that support David Duke and the KKK are reprehensible swine so I’ll leave it at that. I only ate at O’mei once and it was ok. If O’mei reopens under new ownership, I would hope the public gives it a fair shake. Lots of restaurant staff lost their job months ago. I don’t support that.
City of Santa Cruz Releases September Crime Statistics
The city of Santa Cruz recently updated their website with the monthly crime statistics for September of 2017. These numbers reflect the 30 day period of September 2017 and are for the City of Santa Cruz only. They are a synopsis of the full report, which is compiled and published by SCPD and posted on the city’s website.
- Rapes: 2
- Robberies: 13
- Aggravated Assaults: 27
- Burglaries: 47
- Larcenies: 254
- Auto Thefts: 23
- Arson: 3
CalTrans Construction Work on Highway 1 Began This Week
A project to remove and haul slide material from the catchment area and repair rockfall as needed on both directions of Highway 1 from Waddell Creek and the Santa Cruz/San Mateo County line began this week and will run through November. Message signs have been posted to alert motorists of this roadwork, and motorists can expect delays of 5-10 minutes, according to Caltrans.
Traffic control measures being taken along Highway 1 near Waddell Creek:
• One-way traffic control from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays
• One-way traffic control from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays
So if you commute on 1 back and forth north to the peninsula or beyond, you’ve been warned if you weren’t already aware of this.
Fairy Tale Farm is Moving
Fairy Tale Farm, who I’ve talked about in the past, is moving! Located off Riverside Avenue in Santa Cruz, it was a working urban farm that benefitted the community in a number of ways. That is, until their neighbor (Micah Posner) decided to fertilize it with his own personal brand of manure.
The Wades sold their house (and share of the farm) and need help with the legal fees to get away from the farm’s “co-owners” (Micah Posner and his wife, who want to raze the farm and build a new housing unit, hopefully with a bathroom this time). I’m sure they are looking forward to peace and wonderful new neighbors at their new property. If you feel so inclined, help them out in their quest to move on from their battle with their slumlord neighbor Micah Posner. Here’s their GoFundMe page with more details.
Darling House Sold in Foreclosure Auction
The Darling House, the venerable local bed-and-breakfast located at 314 W. Cliff Drive, was sold for nearly $2.8 million in a foreclosure auction on Thursday afternoon. Capitola-based Omni Financial LLC, one of several loan creditors for the business’ long-time owners Darrell and Karen Darling, called for the foreclosure due to accumulated debt on the property of nearly $3.9 million. Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, another of the Darling’s creditors, made the successful (and only) bid for the property. I guess we won’t be seeing any more fundraisers and launch parties for local progressives seeking city and county offices anymore there.
Google Maps Shows You Where to Shoot Up in Santa Cruz
This is pathetic and hilarious. Yes, that is a guy shooting up into his ankle in plain view in the middle of the day. That’s our Riverwalk!
Is this guy tone deaf or what? When Hugh saw this here’s what he said to me: “So a woman gets cold cocked on Pacific Ave, we have shit on the sidewalks, handing out hundreds of thousands more needles than Santa Clara County, Hep A epidemic, 2 murders on the levee in a year, Food Not Bombs basically doing whatever the fuck they want, motorhomes leaking sewage, heroin and meth more accessible to young people than alcohol… but hey it’s all good”. Yup. He’s tone deaf (Ryan, not Hugh). Please don’t re-elect this guy for 4 more years. He puts the “quo” in “Status Quo”.
Wake Up Time
“It’s wake up time. Time to open up your eyes. And rise. And shine.” – Tom Petty
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