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Those talking on their cell phones, or texting while driving, will be targeted during a statewide zero-tolerance campaign today.   The 2nd annual crackdown, enforced by the C-H-P and Law Enforcement Agencies, is aimed at stopping motorists from talking or texting on cell phones while driving.    Over 1,200 collisions have occurred throughout the state, according to C-H-P, since laws prohibiting cell phone without hands-free devices passed in 2008.   Those collisions documented cell phone use as a contributing factor.

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A Capitola man pleaded not guilty today on one count of murder and a special gun allegation for killing an alleged drug dealer last month. 44-year old Federico Castillo Lozoya allegedly shot 34-year old Juan Carlos Garcia in the head then drove Garcia’s car to the Soquel High School parking lot on Soquel San Jose Road and left the vehicle there with Garcia’s body in the back seat on July 30th. Lozoya, who was arrested a day after Garcia’s body was found, is slated to return to court for a preliminary hearing November 1st.

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SALINAS FATAL SHOOTING - update 08-17-10 16:00 a.v.

A 17-year old who was fatally shot in East Salinas this morning has been identified. The victim, Jorge Luis Martinez was struck in the head and chest at around 8:20 a.m. on the 11-hundred block of Alamo Way, north of Closter Park, by someone driving a black Nissan Altima sports coupe. Martinez was taken to Natividad Medical Center where he died of his injuries. Martinez’s death is the 10th homicide to take place in Salinas so far this year. Anyone with any information about this shooting is encouraged to contact the Salinas Police Department.

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According to the recently released 2009 crop report for Santa Cruz County, the total gross production of agricultural commodities was the highest it’s ever been. The increase appears to have been driven by strawberries and nursery plants, including flowers. Apples, once the county’s biggest crop, has dropped to 10th. Officials attribute the increase in strawberry production to last year’s good weather.

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Hollister dog spaying 08/17/10 0900 E.A.

A decision on a mandate to require spaying and neutering of specific dog breeds in Hollister has been postponed.  Hollister City Council members delayed a decision at their meeting last night, on a proposed ordinance to require spaying and neutering of Chihuahuas and pit bulls.  City officials plan to meet with groups who have opposition to the proposal.  The decision on the mandate is slated for a meeting on September 20th.

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