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Friday News Roundup

Remembering Salinas Officer Jorge David Alvarado

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Salinas Police Department
Flowers surrounding a photo of Salinas Police Department Officer Jorge David Alvarado, who was killed in the line of duty last week.

Plus, how local ranchers are fighting seawater intrusion, and rescuing elephant seals on World Wildlife Day.

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 3/4/22. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few national stories from NPR.

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Salinas Police Department
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Tragedy in Salinas: Officer Jorge David Alvarado was killed in the line of duty last week. Alvarado had worked at the Salinas Police Department for two years and was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Miguel Cabrera, a spokesperson for the department, described Alvarado as a “man of integrity” who showed up early to work and was always smiling. He was also an animal lover and was known to go out of his way to protect strayed and injured animals. He enjoyed being outdoors, visiting zoos, and hiking trails at Fort Ord.

“We consider Jorge Alvarado a hero because of the legacy he built here. We want to honor his sacrifice,” Cabrera said. “He is going to be missed.”

A memorial will be held for Officer Alvarado next week — you can monitor the Salinas Police Department news page for more details. The Salinas Faith Leaders Group is organizing an “interfaith vigil for peace” to honor the victims of gun violence in Salinas this Saturday, March 5. The vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at the Salinas Police Department.

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County Park Friends
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The Capitola-Aptos Rotary presenting a large donation to support a new playground at Willowbrook County Park in honor of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller.

A memorial to honor Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, who served with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, recently received a donation from the Capitola-Aptos Rotary. The money will help sponsor an accessible playground at Willowbrook County Park, which is located in Aptos. It’s all part of a larger park renovation to pay tribute to Gutzwiller. He was killed in the line of duty in 2020. Willowbrook Park was a special place for the sergeant, husband and father. He would walk his dog in the park and had looked forward to bringing his children there to play.

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Erika Mahoney
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KAZU News
Brian Lockwood, general manager of PV Water, stands beside a well near Harkins Slough. A network of wells in the area extracts water from a shallow underground aquifer and pumps it into a distribution system for growers to use. It’s part of their supplemental water supplies to help avoid overuse of groundwater.

Climate change is making seawater intrusion worse along California’s coast. This week, KAZU’s Erika Mahoney covered how the Pajaro Valley is pushing back against the problem.

“We don't have an easy road,” said Brian Lockwood, general manager of the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency. “But I feel confident that we will find ways to continue producing crops in the Pajaro Valley for the long term.”

On top of water conservation programs for growers and residents, the agency works to create extra water supplies for the community. Listen to Erika’s story here.

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Jerimiah Oetting
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KAZU News
Calder Deyerle sits aboard his boat, the Sea Harvester, in Moss Landing Harbor.

The crab fishing industry is also feeling the heat of climate change. KAZU’s Jerimiah Oetting spoke with Calder Deyerle, a crab fisherman who said an ocean heatwave nearly a decade ago has forever changed the West Coast crab fishery.

“We’ve lost our dependable year-long money maker,” Deyerle said.

Now, scientists and managers are closely monitoring coastal waters to protect whales from becoming tangled up in fishing gear. Learn more about crabs, whales and climate change in Jerimiah’s story.

KAZU reported these stories as part of an upcoming statewide special about climate change in California produced with other California NPR stations. We’ll keep you posted on when the special is going to air.

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Erika Mahoney
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KAZU News
Brown pelicans take flight near Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove.

Finally, happy World Wildlife Day! Although it was officially on Thursday, we are lucky to have year-round access to an array of wild animals here in the Monterey Bay area. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day in 2013. This year’s theme is ”Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration.” In honor of the day, the Marine Mammal Center shared ways to raise awareness, including a video that shows the rescue of a young elephant seal mom and a Hawai‘i virtual tour to learn more about Hawaiian monk seal conservation.

Our spring membership drive begins next week. To support KAZU, visit kazu.org. We will pause our newsletter until the drive wraps up. Thank you for all of your support!

That’s it for this week! You can sign up to receive the Friday News Roundup from KAZU, right to your inbox. Just visit kazu.org to subscribe.

Until then,

The KAZU Team