Santa Cruz County saw a spike in the number of homeless people over the past two years. A biennial homelessness survey out this week revealed a 30% jump in the number of people living on the streets. The 2013 report found the number of homeless adults and children at 3,536, up 765 since the 2011 count. Un-sheltered numbers were up as well, with 44% on the street and 28% living in cars or other vehicles. 230 additional homeless persons are now living in Santa Cruz compared to two years ago, and 373 new homeless persons were found living in the Live Oak area.
Three juvenile gang members have been charged as adults in connection with a drive-by shooting death of a 12-year old boy last year. 17-year olds Eric Romero and Jose Fernando Medina along with 15-year old Jiovanni Barrera Bueno face felony charges of murder, street gang crimes and discharging a firearm from a vehicle. The three were arrested Monday and face 25-years to life in prison. 19-year old Andrew Carrera and 18-year old Oscar Anaya Zamora were also arrested Monday and also face the same felony charges. The crime occurred on August 8th 2012, when the boy Joey Mendoza was walking home from football practice along San Lorenzo Boulevard when he was confronted by the alleged suspects. He was shot twice in the back before dying at the scene.
A sought-after carjacking suspect led officers on a 45-minute car chase through two counties before he was finally arrested yesterday morning. Royal Oaks resident 29-year old Nathan Jared Anderson was wanted on suspicion of carjacking, vehicle theft, evading police and a parole violation. Police say yesterday’s pursuit added new charges of striking a police car, hit-and-run and attempted carjacking. The alleged car thief began leading officers on a high speed chase in North Monterey County around 9:15 a.m., when officers used spike strips to end the pursuit outside a Freedom Boulevard K-Mart store in Watsonville around 10 a.m. Anderson is suspected of carjacking a woman near Highway 129 on October 9th, and is believed to have stolen at least 3 other vehicles since then.
A student at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center will be honored tomorrow for his life-saving heroics last year in Afghanistan. The Presidio of Monterey will award Air Force Captain Charles C. Napier with the Distinguished Flying Cross award. Napier, a French student, will be recognized for saving the lives of three critically wounded U.S. soldiers last December in an Afghan village West of Kandahar. Napier maneuvered a rescue helicopter between opposing forces blocking close-range and small arms fire.
The former Secretary of Homeland Security and current president of the U-C system, is on the Central Coast this week. Janet Napolitano will be at UC Santa Cruz tomorrow and Friday as part of a “listening and learning” tour of the 10 UC campuses. Napolitano plans to meet with students and faculty members and attend some of the Founder’s Celebration events, a series of talks honoring the arts, creativity and innovation at UCSC. Napolitano is expected to meet with UCSC Student Union Assembly members Friday. UC Santa Cruz is the 4th stop on Napolitano’s tour. She visited UC Merced, UC San Diego and UCLA earlier this month.
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