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La Perla del Pacifico celebrates 25 years

Posted: Monday, Nov 30th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- A quarter century ago, a couple opened a small seafood restaurant in the heart of Watsonville's Main Street business district.
Since that November day in 1990, La Perla del Pacifico has built a coterie of loyal customers and a menu of unique dishes handcrafted by co-owner Gabino Torres.

Local event marks beginning of international conference

Posted: Monday, Nov 30th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- Monday kicked off a two-week conference in Paris, where 150 heads of states are convening to discuss climate change and take possible action.
The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP21, is expected to bring about a new international agreement to keep global warming below two

Three wheels, two seats and a world of friends

Modified: Monday, Nov 30th, 2015
World traveler searching for stolen bike

WATSONVILLE -- When Jamie Bianchini locked up his custom made tandem bike "Eddie" at the KOA campground in La Selva Beach before heading out of town, he had no idea that it might be the last time he would see it.
The bike had already traveled with him through 81 countries,

Forecaster: Spotty rain this week

Posted: Monday, Nov 30th, 2015
MONTEREY BAY -- After a light rain Thursday, Bay Area residents can expect a dry Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by approximately a half inch of rain on Thursday, National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said.
Thursday will be the wettest day of the week, followed by a dry weekend and possible rain on Sunday, Benjamin said.
But while the

Making strides in Pajaro: New crosswalk latest in series of investments

Posted: Friday, Nov 27th, 2015
Every weekday, hundreds of Pajaro Middle School students walk to school and back on Salinas Road, a heavily-trafficked thoroughfare that is bordered by narrow sidewalks.
But for those students who happen to live on the other side of the street, their only option was to cross at one of the only two stop lights in town, about a half-mile

Christmas train starts rolling

Posted: Friday, Nov 27th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- For the third year the Train to Christmas Town will roll out of Watsonville carrying loads of children and adults to meet Santa Claus.
The ride, which is one hour roundtrip, includes frolicking elves and other characters who read and entertain the children throughout the journey.
"We seat everybody, get the music going and start serving hot chocolate,"

Patients, families celebrate Thanksgiving

Posted: Friday, Nov 27th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- Felicia Palmer has been a client of the South County Mental Health for nearly a decade, and in that time she has gotten a job, a car and a stable place to live. She has also all but eliminated her dependency on medications.
She pointed out that she can use the health services as a backup, should

Ninth Valley Inn suspect arrested

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 25th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- Watsonville Police joined the FBI and the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office Wednesday to announce the arrest of three murder suspects within a 48-hour period, an accomplishment that drew praise from Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell.
"I've been a DA in this county for 21 years, and I don't think I've ever seen

In 'season of miracles,' volunteers and toys needed

Modified: Tuesday, Nov 24th, 2015
Toys for Tots hoping for help
WATSONVILLE -- As holiday revelers prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and hit the stores, a team of volunteers is ramping up to make sure children throughout the county have something to unwrap Christmas morning.
In a warehouse in an industrial sector of Watsonville, volunteers have already gathered an impressive pile of

Homelessness, crime decrease

Posted: Monday, Nov 23rd, 2015

Community Assessment Project also shows gap between Latinos, whites

APTOS -- Homelessness in Santa Cruz County has declined 44 percent since 2013, shrinking from more than 3,500 to 1,964 this year.
The decrease came thanks to two projects designed to house homeless county residents and one geared toward veterans.
It was part of Monday's release

Volunteer Center gearing for holiday season

Posted: Monday, Nov 23rd, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- With Thanksgiving on Thursday marking the unofficial start of the holiday season, the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County is in the midst of arguably its busiest time of the year.
"Our phone lines always pick up this time of year, with community members and businesses looking for new ways to reach out," said Christina Thurston, Volunteer Mobilization

Watsonville teen shot dead

Posted: Monday, Nov 23rd, 2015

Suspect is arrested 13 hours later

WATSONVILLE -- A Watsonville teen was shot dead late Sunday and a 16-year-old boy has been arrested in the city's second homicide in less than a week.
Mario Daniel Hernandez, 19, was shot multiple times in the torso at 10:40 p.m. on the 200 block of Clifford Avenue, said Lt.

Fermenting a change

Posted: Friday, Nov 20th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- A California restaurateur and chef living in Germany found inspiration in a tangy, aromatic side dish called sauerkraut.
Knowing that the dish would catch on with U.S. consumers, Kathryn Lukas returned to her homeland to found Farmhouse Culture, which began its life in 2008 in two small rooms in the Sash Mill in Santa Cruz.

Conservation Corps supervisor retiring

Posted: Friday, Nov 20th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- After 32 years of working in environmental conservation, Sharon Hazel of Watsonville is setting the shovel aside and welcoming a new chapter in her life.
Retiring as a Conservationist 1 Supervisor with the California Conservation Corps, Hazel said it was time to move on.
"I am much appreciative of all of my wonderful mentors and colleagues,"

Person of interest in homicide turns herself in

Posted: Friday, Nov 20th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- A woman who was considered a person of interest in a fatal shooting on Jefferson Street Tuesday turned herself in Wednesday, Watsonville Police announced Friday.
Rachelle Vasquez, 30, is not under arrest and the investigation is still continuing. Damian Baxter, 29, remains a person of interest. 
Watsonville resident Jesus Rocha, 33, was shot multiple times in

Drivers hope training program fills ranks

Posted: Friday, Nov 20th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- A group of Pajaro Valley Unified School District bus drivers addressed the board of trustees Wednesday, describing how the low numbers of drivers has made their jobs difficult.
"We have been covering 65 routes, nine of which are open," said driver Kate Hitt. "We have not gotten any new drivers."
The problem was exacerbated after several

Officer taken to hospital after collision

Posted: Friday, Nov 20th, 2015
AROMAS -- A Watsonville motorcycle officer suffered moderate injuries after he collided with a truck in Aromas Friday morning.
According to police, the officer was on his way to work when he collided with a box truck making a left turn on the 1400 block of San Juan Road. The officer was traveling west on San Juan Road when the box

Anna Caballero to vie for 30th Assembly seat

Modified: Thursday, Nov 19th, 2015
SALINAS -- Flanked by a cadre of elected officials, friends and supporters, former California Assemblywoman Anna Caballero announced her plan Thursday to again run for that seat for the 2016 election.
She will face off against Watsonville City Councilwoman Karina Cervantez Alejo and Gilroy City Councilman Peter Leroe-Muñoz.
Caballero's supporters at the event included Watsonville City Councilwoman Trina Coffman-Gomez

Victim ID'd in fatal shooting

Posted: Thursday, Nov 19th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- Police identified Watsonville resident Jesus Rocha, 33, as the victim in Tuesday's homicide on Palm Avenue.
According to Detective Elizabeth Sousa, Rocha was shot multiple times and died shortly after around 11:25 a.m.
Rocha is known to police, Sousa said.
The motive has still not been determined, and police are asking for the public's assistance in the investigation.

City approves fire substation on east side

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 18th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- The Watsonville City Council approved a one-year lease for a fire substation located in a private home on the east side of the city Tuesday.
The Council voted 6-1 to establish a substation on 425 East Lake Ave., amid concerns on location and how it was selected. Councilman Jimmy Dutra cast the dissenting vote.
The substation

Downtown plan going out to bid

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 18th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- As the city decided not to pursue a takeover of Highway 152, it will move forward with a plan that aims to revitalize downtown.
The City Council voted 6-1 to seek bids to construct the "road diet" plan for Main Street, with Mayor Nancy Bilicich dissenting. After the decision, the Council then voted 6-1 to not

Two sought for questioning in fatal shooting

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 18th, 2015
WATSONVILLE -- Watsonville Police on Wednesday named two "persons of interest" in the shooting death of a man on Jefferson Street that occurred Tuesday morning.
Damian Baxter, 29, and Rachelle Vasquez, 30, are being sought for questioning.
A witness who asked not to be identified said he heard three shots approximately 11:30 a.m., and someone screaming, "why did

Saying goodbye to Manny

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 18th, 2015

Hundreds attend send-off party

WATSONVILLE -- The Community Room on the fourth floor of the Watsonville Civic Plaza was packed with friends, family and supporters Tuesday afternoon as outgoing Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano said goodbye to the community in a brief party.
Solano's last day is Dec. 17.
It is unclear who will

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