Pending test results will determine if the two deaths that occurred in Santa Cruz County this month are related to the flu. The Santa Cruz County Health Department says they can’t confirm whether two people, who were less than 50-years of age, died from the flu until they receive test results back from the state. Four more people, all under the age of 65, are also suspected of having a serious case of the flu but they recovered. Meanwhile, a Monterey County Health Officer says compared to last fall, there’s been a 43% increase of people showing up to emergency rooms in Monterey County with flu-like symptoms. He also says that while different types of flu viruses have surfaced, most of the patients are suffering from H1N1. Officials say there is still time to get a flu shot and this year’s flu shot includes the vaccine for H1N1.
A man and a woman were arrested yesterday after police discovered a hash oil lab was being run out of their Santa Cruz home. Police obtained a search warrant for the Forest Avenue home of 51-year old William Kingsland and 23-year old Bobbie Jean Pena after the two lead police on a high speed motorcycle chase on December 28th on Mission Street in Santa Cruz. Authorities found marijuana plants and a lab used to make butane hash oil inside of the home. Both Pena and Kingsland was arrested on multiple felony charges including operation of a drug lab.
A 124-year old Victorian mansion is being transformed into a new luxury hotel on Santa Cruz’s Beach Hill. Hotelier Dilip Patel bought the Rio Vista Mansion in November of 2012 and is now turning the home at 611 Third Street into a 12-room boutique hotel. A stained glass artist is repairing each of the mansion’s eight stained glass windows. Patel says he’s working to restore the mansion to it’s former glory, and is also working with the city’s historic preservation commission to make that happen. Patel hopes to have the restored mansion done by the end of April, with plans to open in time for the summer tourist season.
The identity of a 21-year old man shot to death in Greenfield early Christmas morning has been released. Police say German Santos was one of two people shot just before 4:30 a.m. on the 300-block of Parkside Court. Santos was pronounced dead at the scene, while a second victim was airlifted to a local trauma center with serious injuries. Police say they are still working on suspect leads.
An elderly man remains in critical condition after being struck by a metro bus in downtown Santa Cruz last month. The accident occurred on December 23rd when the 76-year old Santa Cruz resident was hit by the bus at Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street. Police say the bus stopped on top of the man’s legs and his injuries include damage to bones, joints and connective tissue. The investigation is ongoing and so far no fault has been assigned. Police say it is still unclear what the man was doing or where he was in the intersection when the bus struck him.
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