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NUZ: Franzen Loves Homeless Birds, Surfrider Sold

The latest on the Homeless Garden Project, PG&E blackouts and Surfrider Café

When PG&E starts shutting off power lines this summer in high-wind events, the electricity could be down for up to five days in an effort to prevent wildfires. It’s a pain for us customers. But PG&E won’t care, because it’s cheaper for investors than making needed upgrades. A recent Wall Street Journal investigation found that the utility’s transmission towers are an average of 68 years old, even though their average life expectancy was 65 years, and the company hasn’t been regularly inspecting infrastructure. For information on how to prepare for outages and receive shutoff notifications, visit pge.com.

Over the last 10 years, California experienced 4,300 outages—more than any other U.S. state—affecting more than 22 million Californians, according to Eaton’s annual Blackout Tracker. Homeowners who’ve been prudent enough to install solar panels may be off the hook, but only if they have a home battery handy. According to California government data, 7,700 homes in Santa Cruz County now have solar.

The San Francisco-based PR firm Edelman reached out and helped compile this data, even offering to connect Nuz with its client Sunrun, which makes a revolutionary home solar battery that—blah, blah, blah, all right, this isn’t an advertisement.

RARE OPPORTUNITY

Retired auditor Dave Lane is buying downtown Santa Cruz’s Surfrider Café, which he plans to rename Kind Brewery. Lane, who finished last in last year’s Santa Cruz City Council race, says he’ll expand beer offerings, in part by installing a new microbrew system and 10 more taps. He adds that he’ll keep the beer-and-burger joint’s menu mostly the same.

Let’s hope so, or else customers are sure to grill, burn and roast him to a temperature even hotter than voters did in 2018.

ARM IN FARM

Local birdwatcher Jonathan Franzen, who also happens to be a New York Times best-selling novelist, will give the keynote speech at an upcoming Homeless Garden Project farm-to-table dinner. The Boulder Creek resident apparently enjoys looking for birds at the Westside garden, which will host a Sustain Farm Supper with dishes from four local chefs for $150 a head. More information’s available at homelessgardenproject.org.

The age-old question for HGP’s own homeless garden project remains: “Will they ever find that poor garden a home?” For more than 20 years, the plan has been to move it to Pogonip, a Santa Cruz park. But over the past couple of decades, that plan has hit more bumps than a tractor on a backcountry road. The latest hitch has been the revelation that, back in the day, ol’ Pogonip Club members used to shoot clay pigeons, prompting the city to begin an environmental review to study how much lead contaminated the soil. The organization’s leaders are still eager to get planted, hopefully in 2021.

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