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Briefs: Stealing Christmas, Reading In, Craft a Victory

STEALING CHRISTMAS

Grinches didn’t wait for the holiday season to get into full swing before taking Christmas cheer this year.

Santa Cruz County Toys for Tots announced it has had two toy thefts from public donation boxes—one in Aptos on Monday, Nov. 24, and another in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Delilah Valdez, Toys for Tots coordinator, says the group did not file police reports because they did not have much to go on. But they did inform local firefighters, many of whom partner with Toys for Tots. They, in turn, contacted police officers and partners in law enforcement about the problem, Valdez says.

“Santa’s watching too! Christmas and Karma—you don’t mess with that,” she says.

Toys for Tots distributes toys to local churches, nonprofits, preschools and charities. Organizers at first assumed that the theft was a fluke. But after the second incident, they worried something more sinister might be at play.

“It seemed to be there was a campaign to steal Christmas, or make things miserable for other people,” Valdez says. “Santa Cruz has such a well-intentioned generosity that we are going to count on this year, but it’s unfortunate that there are these ill forces as well.”

Valdez says all drivers for Toys for Tots have identification and uniforms. The organization has been telling its collection holders how to tell the difference between a Toys for Tots driver and someone else. “We’ve had systems that have held through the years, and stood firm for all these years,” Valdez says. “What it’s done is put our collection partners on more notice.”

READING IN

The wheels are in motion for a possible new tax in Santa Cruz County. This one would fund library improvements in the county.

The cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley have all signed on for a new Library Facilities Financing Authority to finance construction and improvements that would aim to bring the Santa Cruz Public Library branches into the 21st century. It could take the form of a bond measure headed to voters in June 2015. Polls show there’s support for a $63 million measure in addition to the current local half-cent sales tax funding the libraries. The Library Facilities Financing Authority would also need to be approved by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

CRAFT A VICTORY

Sports fans depressed about watching a swarm of rabid Seahawks devour 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s throwing arm (and his dignity) on Thanksgiving did still have something to cheer about over the weekend.

That would be the Santa Cruz Warriors bouncing back after a slow start to their season.

The Warriors have improved to 4-3, following back-to-back home wins in games against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Forward Joe Alexander finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds in the Friday, Nov. 28 game, and shooting guard Elliot Williams put up 33 points on Sunday, Nov. 30.  

Some of the more impressive performances lately have come from rookie point guard Aaron Craft, who finished the two-game stand with a combined 28 assists and three turnovers. That’s a big improvement over the first two games of the season, during which he combined for 14 assists and eight turnovers.

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