4/20 ritual was a mellow affair in SF, but kind of a bummer in Santa Cruz

At “Hippie Hill” in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, marijuana smoke curled up in every direction Friday as revelers with bags of Funyuns in their hands and pot leaf leis around their necks toked up for the ritual known as 4/20, which has served as both a beacon of protest and a laid-back festival since the 1970s.

Police and security guards could be spotted here and there on the outskirts and park rangers at checkpoints closer to the action, yet law enforcement mostly kept its distance from the revelers.

But down in Santa Cruz, known for a hippy culture that refuses to die, the annual celebration that took place in the usual oak-ringed meadow in the UC Santa Cruz hills started out decidedly less hazy.

Though recreational marijuana is now legal in California thanks to Proposition 64’s overwhelming passage in 2016, The Man was not mellow and early in the afternoon succeeded in mostly shutting down its use.

“The legalization allowed people over the age of 21 to possess it — it didn’t allow them to come out into public and smoke it,” said UC Santa Cruz Police Chief Nader Oweis.

About 100 officers, including many from nine other UC campuses, made their presence known. They were there to make sure people were safe and to enforce the prohibitions against smoking marijuana on campus and in public, Owens said.

A videographer who said she was shooting imagery for police probably discouraged some smoking too.

UC Santa Cruz art student Marco Cota was among the first attendees to learn law enforcement wouldn’t take a chilled-out approach to the event. Lying shirtless in the meadow, surrounded by several friends and toking on a joint, Cota was approached by two officers.

“Stop smoking,” one officer said. “I’m serious. Do it now. Get rid of it.”

Costa obeyed. “He got super aggressive all the sudden,” said Cota, 26. “It’s not like I”m smoking meth or doing cocaine.”

The policeman declined his offer to share the doobie, he said. “I asked if he wanted some because he needed to calm down a little bit.”

Another young man, in a tie-dyed shirt and jeans, was cited for public pot smoking and — because there’s a university daycare nearby — for using the drug within 1,000 feet of a child care facility.

Of getting a citation from police, student Calvin Abel, 21, of Corning said, “Why, is the big question.”

University officials consider the annual celebration of pot an …read more

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

      

Travel Troubleshooter: I fainted at the airport

Dear Travel Troubleshooter: Last year, I booked a package online, flying from Washington, D.C., to London and staying at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London. I passed out in the airport and was taken to the ER by ambulance. The airline kept calling from the gate, while I was in the back of the ambulance, to ask where I was, since they were waiting on me to board.

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I didn’t have travel insurance. I read Travelocity’s travel insurance policy, and if I understand it correctly, it would’ve covered me only had I requested a change in my flight 24 hours prior to departure. But I’ve asked Travelocity for a refund for the hotel and airfare. Virgin Atlantic won’t give me a ticket credit because I was a no show for the flight, and the hotel portion of my trip was completely nonrefundable. Is there anything else I can do?

— Beth Langston, Alexandria, Virginia

Answer: I’m so sorry to hear about your health problems. I’m glad you’ve recovered from your ER visit and are back to worrying about the less important things, like the fate of your canceled vacation.

Travelocity, Virgin Atlantic and the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London should have been sensitive to your situation, and based on the correspondence you showed me, they kind of were. Travelocity tried to advocate your case with the two companies; the companies responded with sympathy for your situation. Unfortunately, your airline and hotel also responded with a hard no — apparently without bothering to fully review your case.

Rules are rules, except when they’re not. While it’s true that your vacation was nonrefundable, travel companies are known to make exceptions when a customer can’t make it for reasons beyond his or her control. A sudden hospitalization definitely falls into that category.

By the way, there’s …read more

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

      

‘Throttle’ the raccoon rescued from under hood of vehicle in Emeryville

EMERYVILLE — A baby raccoon that stopped traffic after climbing its way into the engine block area of an SUV waiting at a stoplight was rescued Friday morning by a veteran police lieutenant.

Lt. Fred Dauer, a 22 1/2 year Emeryville veteran, said it was the first time he has rescued a raccoon, which was later named “Throttle” at the Berkeley Animal Shelter where it was taken.

Dauer was on patrol just before 11 a.m. Friday when he saw traffic stopped at the intersection of Powell and Hollis street, with people standing around using their cellphones and a woman sitting on the curb.

He first thought there had been a traffic accident but then learned that the driver of an SUV stopped for the traffic light on Powell believed a raccoon he had seen in the street had gotten into the engine compartment and was trapped. “The poor guy couldn’t move because there was a raccoon in his car,” Dauer said.

Dauer opened the hood open and saw the raccoon, which was later determined to be a male just a few months old with the mask-like striping.

Dauer got a pole with a noose that is used to contain animals from his police vehicle, and was quickly able to snag the raccoon and get it out of the vehicle.

Thoughts that it may have been hit and injured by a vehicle earlier were quickly dashed, as the tiny animal “was fighting pretty good,” Dauer said. “He was pretty fiesty.”

Dauer put the raccoon in some bushes and waited for Berkeley Animal Services to arrive to take it to their shelter, since it was way too young to be released on its own. Emeryville normally contracts with Piedmont for such services but there were no Piedmont workers available Friday so Berkeley was notified.

Veteran Berkeley animal control officer London Rivera responded to the scene. She was able to get the raccoon to come to her by making a cooing noise similar to what an adult raccoon would. “He may have thought I was his mom,” said Rivera, who was the person who later named him Throttle.

She said Throttle would remain at the shelter until Saturday, when he would be given to the Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in San Francisco to get ready for his return to his natural environment.

She said she was “not sure what happened to (its) mom or …read more

Source:: East Bay – Science