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Holiday spirit shines at annual tree lighting celebration

Posted: Monday, Dec 5th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- Hundreds spent Sunday in Watsonville City Plaza for an afternoon multicultural festival followed by Santa's timely arrival and the dramatic lighting of a 35-foot Sequoia Redwood.
The multicultural festival included a Chanukah Menorah lighting, plus dance, choir and other performances.
Near dusk came the moment the young yearned for -- Santa's gallant arrival on the city's 1932

Factory Sale gives shoppers a running start

Posted: Monday, Dec 5th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- Holiday shoppers got a head start on their gift lists Saturday during the annual Holiday Factory Sale.
This year's sale featured 10 venues, from well-known local businesses such as S. Martinelli & Company and Annieglass to newcomers such as Hidden Fortress Coffee.
"I've heard nothing but success stories from the different vendors that I talked

Bookstore reopens in Watsonville

Posted: Monday, Dec 5th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- With much fanfare, Watsonville's eight-month bookstore drought ended Saturday when Kelly's Books opened in the Watsonville Square Shopping Center.
Formerly Crossroads Books in the Crossroads Shopping Center, owner Kelly Pleskunas was forced to relocate the store after the landlord declined to extend the lease in April to make way for a Kaiser Permanente health clinic.

Polar Express derailed until further notice

Posted: Friday, Dec 2nd, 2016

Track repairs cited as reason for postponement

CAPITOLA -- The first year that the Train to Christmas Town moved from Watsonville to Santa Cruz and rebranded itself as the Polar Express, rides have been temporarily delayed due to problems with the tracks.
The problem arose when the 10-day notice to inform the Federal Railroad Agency (FRA) that

Observant teacher notices serious condition

Posted: Friday, Dec 2nd, 2016

Student back after brain tumor removed

WATSONVILLE -- According to her teacher George Feldman, Ohlone Elementary School first-grader Elisaura Gonzalez-Vasquez is a bright, sweet girl who plays with her friends and, until recently, participated in class the same as her classmates.
Feldman said he first noticed a problem when he took his class on its daily

Alejo ends Assembly career

Posted: Friday, Dec 2nd, 2016

Set to begin time as Monterey County Supervisor

SACRAMENTO -- Watsonville native and former mayor Luis Alejo will celebrate the end of a six-year run as California Assemblyman on Monday, a term whose successes included raising the state's minimum wage and allowing undocumented residents to receive driver's licenses.
When Alejo left his term as mayor early to

Gang leader to spend life in prison

Posted: Friday, Dec 2nd, 2016

Cabrera guilty of first-degree murder

SANTA CRUZ -- A man described as the most powerful gang leader to ever live in Santa Cruz County will spend life in prison without parole after a jury found him guilty Thursday of first-degree murder.
Oscar "Baby Joker" Cabrera, 40, was also convicted of personal use of a firearm and gang

Freedom Boulevard work underway

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- Motorists are advised to take alternate routes during a major reconstruction of Freedom Boulevard.
The project, which began Monday and is expected to wrap up Dec. 22, stretches from Broadis Street to Alta Vista Avenue on Freedom Boulevard.
During the first phase of the project, which will run through Dec. 9, the northbound lanes

Council approves purchase of new fire engines

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016

Fire substation to be studied

WATSONVILLE -- As the Watsonville City Council approved the purchase of two new fire engines Tuesday, officials will look at properties on the east side of the city for a fire substation.
According to Fire Chief Pablo Barreto, the $1.1 million purchase of the two engines manufactured by Pennsylvania-based Kovatch Mobile

Yoga class helps reduce stress, improve focus

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- As ethereal music played softly in the background, 30 E.A. Hall Middle School students sat in near silence Tuesday morning as they switched between several basic yoga poses, stretched their muscles and breathed.
"I'd like you to completely quiet the mind, quiet the body," sixth-grade teacher Sandy Cameron told the students, who were each sitting on their

Wetlands advocate named Rotary's Citizen of the Year

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- Noelle Antolin has helped countless students become stewards of their local environment, who then pass down their knowledge to their younger peers.
For her efforts, the Freedom Rotary Club honored Antolin as its Citizen of the Year.
"It definitely came as a surprise," she said. "I'm really touched. It's an honor."
Antolin stepped down from her

Dance: A catalyst for change

Posted: Monday, Nov 28th, 2016

Alternative fitness studio, Synergy, focuses on the holidays

APTOS -- Siblings Caitlin and Thomas Fahey built their alternative fitness studio around the idea that individual passions and interests should drive exercise, and in doing so say they have created a community.
Now they are calling on that same community, and for the return of the ‘90s, for a

Walking in a beach wonderland

Posted: Monday, Nov 28th, 2016

Surfin' Santa forced to walk, not row, in successful annual event

CAPITOLA -- Instead of rowing to shore, Santa Claus was forced by inclement weather to sojourn on foot toward the adoring crowd of youngsters in this year's 26th annual Sufin' Santa event.
Despite heavy morning rains and a high tide made up of choppy waves that

Craft fairs, tree lightings and more mark busy weekend

Posted: Monday, Nov 28th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- The Heritage Holiday Craft & Gift Fair returns for its 36th year Friday through Sunday at the fairgrounds.
In other words, the holiday season in the Pajaro Valley has officially begun.
"It's the kick-off to the holiday season in the Pajaro Valley," said Ron Haedicke, who co-chairs the craft fair with Trevor Sawyer. "You really

Measure D supporters claim victory

Posted: Monday, Nov 28th, 2016

Half-cent sales tax takes effect in April

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY -- The group that promoted Measure D declared victory just before Thanksgiving, two weeks after voters gave the measure a narrow victory.
The transportation measure held onto its required two-thirds majority as the Santa Cruz County Elections Department counted the votes.
As of Monday, 79,340

Thanksgiving meal for Mental Health Services

Posted: Friday, Nov 25th, 2016
WATSONVILLE -- More than 300 people gathered Wednesday for an annual Thanksgiving meal provided by South County Mental Health, the City of Watsonville, Front Street Inc. and Mariposa Wellness Center.
Attendees included mental health patients, their families and dozens of service providers.
Cesar Baltazar, a client specialist with the Homeless Persons Health Project, said the gathering gives health

A new chapter

Posted: Friday, Nov 25th, 2016

Kelly's Books -- formerly Crossroads Books -- to open Dec. 3

WATSONVILLE -- After getting displaced from its former location seven months ago, the only bookstore south of Santa Cruz is set to reopen on Dec. 3, just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
Kelly's Books, which was called Crossroads Books, is tucked into the

A first EP; A huge night

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 9th, 2016

Local band Pan Dulce to play at Appleton Saturday

WATSONVILLE -- Right after hitting their one-year anniversary together, local music group Pan Dulce is preparing to drop their first EP as part of their performance at the Appleton Grill Saturday.
The group, which has six members, hails from all

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