It’s Joe Time folks! In addition to the obvious big National news this week, we were hopping and bopping locally here in Santa Cruz. We had a murder, a shooting, a crazy police chase, and I’m just getting warmed up! We’ve also got the latest COVID numbers (remember COVID?), Watsonville thug finally gives up, hasta la vista baby, Pennsylvania fugitive nabbed in Watsonville, a little squeeze, dysfunction junction, wildfires, tased in Abbott Square, no joy in this ride, and it’s the return of Bite Me and my love for cannolis.
It’s Joe Time Folks!
Well it’s been a four year slog to hell but change is finally coming to DC. It’s official. Like it or not, it’s Joe time folks! I mean, we’re still in a raging pandemic that huge numbers of people can’t seem to take seriously, thousands of Americans are dying every day to the point it’s not even the lead story anymore, the local economy is broke, schools are still closed, businesses are compromised to the point of failure. And did I mention we have a homeless camp festering in our (former) jewel of a city park? Yeah, life is still pretty shitty and sucks right now. But maybe we’ve got hope? Hope that things won’t get significantly worse? Hope we’ve turned a corner on political divisiveness? I do have hope for these things. And I know a lot of other people do too. All we are saying is give peace (and Joe) a chance.
And how about Amanda Gorman! Wow. She absolutely crushed it under pressure. Back in 2017, she said she wants to be POTUS in 2036. I would not bet against her.
The Latest COVID Numbers From Santa Cruz County
There have been 12,275 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County, according to the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, with 2,810 currently active cases. 113 people have died, 357 people have been hospitalized, 78 are currently hospitalized, and 12 are in the ICU. 9,352 people have recovered from the disease. A total of 103,902 people have tested negative. Santa Cruz County is in the purple tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, meaning many non-essential indoor business operations are closed. Its adjusted case rate is at 39.3, and it needs to be at 7 or below to move up. It also has a 10.3% positivity rate, and that needs to be at 8% or below to move up.
Murdering the New Year
Well that didn’t take long. Just 17 days into the new year, Santa Cruz has our first murder. It happened early in the morning on Sunday. SCPD got a report around 6AM that someone was down in the roadway near the 700 block of Emeline Avenue. When they arrived, they found a male victim who was pronounced dead on arrival. No suspects have been identified and nobody has been arrested. The victim was a local homeless person. So of course the story barely makes the news for a day and then it’s all but forgotten. Come on Andy, how about a fucking update here? Too busy to talk about a murder on your watch? Just 17 days into the new year! He’s been on Twitter at least 3 times since the murder, talking his usual platitudes and vapid nonsense. Absolutely nothing about the murder that happened 5 days ago.
Shooting on Westside Sends Man to Hospital
A shooting on the 200 block of Seaside Thursday night sent at least one man to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Multiple callers reported hearing 5 shots near Garfield Park, and they got a report from a victim who had been shot and was being transported by a friend to Dominican. SCPD sent someone to the hospital, where they found the vehicle that transported the victim with 5 bullet holes in it. The victim had to be flown to a trauma center for his injuries. Witnesses described a drive by shooting or multiple people shooting at each other. Police think it could be possibly gang related. No suspects have been arrested yet.
Crazy Police Chase Ends Up in Downtown Santa Cruz
This past Monday, a woman stole a van from a clinic in San Jose, with someone in it, and led police on a chase all the way over Highway 17, ending at the clock tower in downtown Santa Cruz. According to police, the 34 year old woman stole a van from outside a dialysis center in San Jose, with a senior patient lying in the back seat. Police chased the stolen vehicle from San Jose into Santa Cruz before being stopped on Water Street. The 84 year old patient was fine after his wild ride. The San Jose police department handled the arrest.
Watsonville Barricaded Criminal Gives Up Peacefully
After a standoff with police that lasted nearly 9 hours, an armed man who barricaded himself inside of a home on the 100 block on Ginos Court was safely taken into custody. The 30 year old man was charged with felony criminal threats, brandishing of a firearm, felony burglary, violation of a domestic violence restraining order, and resisting/delaying his arrest. Around 1AM on Tuesday morning, the suspect broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home and pointed a gun at her, in front of their 4-year-old son and her father. All three were able to safely leave the residence and call the police. Officers responded and found the suspect inside the home armed with a handgun and refusing to come out. Numerous local law enforcement agencies responded and provided support. Around 10:30AM, the suspect finally surrendered peacefully to authorities. His bail is currently set at $100K and last check he’s still in jail.
Hasta la Vista Baby
Monday night around 6:30PM, California Highway Patrol officers stopped a 22 year old male just south of Vista Point on Highway 1. He was arrested and charged with DUI, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, carrying a loaded firearm in public, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a known gang member in possession of a gun, and of course, the ever ubiquitous, always predictable, felony violation of parole. Because of that last part, he’s currently in county jail on a no bail warrant. He was previously arrested in 2016 in Madera County for robbery and carjacking. So much for second chances.
Pennsylvania Fugitive Arrested in Watsonville
Last Friday night, Watsonville Police arrested a 38 year old male on the 100 block of Nielsen Street for battery, resisting arrest, and battery on a peace officer. He was also a fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania, where he apparently previously robbed a bank. He got a “PTA” for the first 3 charges, but he’s being held on a no bail warrant for the fugitive part. I guess Pennsylvania likes to keep their criminals in jail!
Pulling Bangers From a Shell
Monday night around midnight, deputies from the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s department arrested a 20 year old male in the area of Shell Drive and West Beach Road and charged him with two counts of felony burglary, flashing a firearm, and trespassing. He’s in county jail on a $25K bond.
This Wednesday, a Sacramento judge ruled the city of Santa Cruz couldn’t clear a homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park because COVID-19 continues to be prevalent and dispersing inhabitants would increase health risks. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen granted a temporary injunction to block the city’s attempt to close the park, which would have evicted a growing number of people living there since last year. In December of 2020, City Manager Martín Bernal issued an “executive order” to close the illegal camp, describing the situation as unsafe and untenable and a greater danger to the community than if the homeless campers were dispersed. The order said the encampment was home to drug use, crime, fire safety issues, and destruction of trees and grass, among other problems. Van Keulen didn’t rule out a closure of the park in the future. Attorneys representing the city and the park’s squatters are asked to file status reports as the pandemic eases. The judge will review the case again at a hearing on March 16th and determine what changes, if any, are needed.
Warm Weather and High Winds Trigger Local Wildfires
This past Tuesday, unseasonably warm temperatures followed by high winds sparked a series of fires this week in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In all, about 120 acres burned. Almost 16,000 PGE customers went without power after high winds knocked trees onto utility lines and dormant embers from the CZU Fire may have also contributed to the wild fires. Among the fires around Santa Cruz this week, we had:
- The “Freedom Fire” burned about 40 acres in the area of Freedom Boulevard and Hames Road in Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley. About 100 nearby homes were evacuated Tuesday and repopulated Wednesday, according to Cal Fire.
- The “Panther Ridge Fire”burned about 20 acres on Stapp Road, east of Highway 9. About 20 nearby homes were evacuated Tuesday and repopulated Wednesday, according to Cal Fire.
- The “China Grade Fire” burned about 22 acres on China Grade Road and Foxglove Lane, 4 miles northwest of Boulder Creek.
- The “Bonny Doon Complex” (formerly, Fanning and Empire fires) burned about 20 acres at Fanning Grade Road in Ben Lomond.
- The “North Butano Fire” burned about 15 acres, 90% in Pescadero Creek County Park, Loma Mar, in San Mateo County.
- The “Bloom Fire” burned about 9 acres at Little Basin Road and Upper Bloom Grade Road, northwest of Boulder Creek.
Rain is expected this weekend which should help douse any hot spots.
Tased in Abbot Square
Monday night around 10:30PM, SCPD responded to the area near Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz for some kind fo disturbance involving a man with a shovel. He was tased at least once unsuccessfully before SCPD was finally able to get him in handcuffs in front of Pour on Pacific Avenue.
Joy Ride Ends Without Much Joy
Last Saturday night around 9:30PM, SCPD made a high risk stop on a suspected stolen vehicle on the 600 block of Laurel Street near downtown Santa Cruz. Police arrested both occupants of the car on a variety of charges, including auto theft, drug possession, making criminal threats, and bringing drugs into jail. The 23 year old female driver has been arrested at least 5 times locally since 2018. The male half has been arrested at least 6 times locally in the past few years.
It’s the return of “Bite Me”.
This week I happened to be walking through the downtown farmers market on Wednesday and out of the corner of my eye, I spot the “cannoli guy”. Dolci! Ciao Bella!
I tried to pay him a visit last week but the line was too long and I’d forgotten about him but in passing the market, I noticed he had no line! Going in!
Full disclosure: I love cannolis.
So I ordered the 4 and get the 5th one free deal, and while “Franco” made up my cannolis, I waited patiently.
The final result was a small to-go container of Italian pastry bliss, lovingly prepared by an old Italian guy. They were delicious. The shells were light and crispy, the filling was light puffy ricotta and whipped cream, with a hint of lemon, a dusting of confectionery sugar, and dark chocolate chips. Salut Franco. Check out his dolci at the downtown farmers market over by the baked goods.
Get Your Swagger On!
I have swag! I’m working with Spreadshirt and have my own shop. I just put some basic products up to start with for now with the new logo. You can also click “Customize” and “Products” and pick from other products not currently available in my store. Contact me with any questions or issues. Nothing would make me happier than to see people out and about with my swag. I want photos! I’ve never asked for money, and I still plan to continue to do the Weekly Dump each week and make it available for free, without any paywall or ads or spam (or salary). Think of this as a way of donating to the effort and getting something back for your donation (I only make a few bucks on each item sold). I’d love to do more with Santa Mierda if I had the means to do so. This will help provide the means to do so. And it helps get the word out. The hell with the coronavirus, let’s make this viral. Being stuck inside is the perfect time for online shopping! I’ll love you long time if you buy my swag.
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