News Briefs

Arrest made in Santa Cruz County freeway shooting

Detectives assigned to the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Coastal Division Investigative Services Unit, working in partnership with detectives from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), have arrested 33-year-old Raphael Shakur Abduh-Salam of Hayward, Calif., after identifying him as the main suspect in a shooting that occurred in Santa Cruz County.

On May 26, 2023, at approximately 8:37pm, officers from the CHP Santa Cruz Area office, and SCSO, responded to a reported freeway shooting that occurred on SR-1, north of Freedom Blvd., in Aptos.

Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect had fled the scene and five people were victimized during a road rage incident that resulted in an adult male driver and a 3-year-old child being struck by gunfire and associated shrapnel.

In the months that followed, investigative personnel from the CHP and SCSO worked tirelessly to identify and locate the suspect using their investigative resources, and those of allied agency partners.

On Nov. 14, 2023, search warrants were served by the CHP Coastal Division Warrant Service Team with assistance from SCSO personnel. 

Abduh-Salam was subsequently taken into custody and transported to Santa Cruz County, where he will face charges of attempted murder and child endangerment amongst other offenses.

Santa Cruz Fungus Fair returns for 50th anniversary

The Santa Cruz Fungus Fair celebrates its 50th anniversary this month on Jan. 12-14 at the London Nelson Community Center in Santa Cruz.

Presented by the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, the Fair will feature hundreds of fascinating species from the area, uniquely displayed in a re-created woodland habitat.

This iconic Santa Cruz tradition will offer three days of demonstrations, informative speakers and fungus-forward activities for the whole family.

“We’re thrilled to be back in partnership with the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for the 50th anniversary of the Fair. That’s where it all began, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this important year for the Fair,” said Richard Rammer of the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz.

Christian Schwarz, co-author of the popular field guide, “Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast,” will be the keynote speaker, presenting about mushroom regions of the United States on Saturday, Jan. 13. Other special presentations will cover health benefits of psilocybin, methods for cooking with mushrooms, and more.

The Fair originated in 1974 at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, led by the efforts of David Aurora, who went on to write “All That the Rain Promises and More…” and “Mushrooms Demystified,” which is widely considered to be the best and most comprehensive mushroom guide that exists.

As the Fair grew, it found new homes throughout the County, including Harvey West Park and London Nelson Community Center. During the pandemic years of 2021-2023, the Fair took on new forms, utilizing virtual formats, small guided experiences, and the Mini Fungus Fair held at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

“This town loves mushrooms,” said Marisa Gomez, who runs community programs at the Museum. “Even with the Museum’s mini fairs the past few years, we’ve still had hundreds of people brave storms to be in the company of mushrooms and mushroom-lovers alike. We’re excited to partner with the Fungus Federation and welcome even more folks for the return of the big fair this winter.”

Learn more about the 50th anniversary of the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair and purchase tickets at

Cabrillo College receives 3-year grant to address students’ basic needs 

Cabrillo College has been selected to receive funding under the U.S. Department of Education’s Basic Needs – Supporting Student Success Program. The three-year grant totaling $633,334 will help support College programs that address students’ basic needs and improve graduation and transfer outcomes.

The grant will help Cabrillo College’s Nourishment and Essential Supports Team (NEST) Resource Center improve students’ social, emotional, academic and career development by creating a more deliberate and centralized College navigation system for students to connect them with resources for food, housing, transport and technology, as well as health and wellness services.

The grant will also enable Cabrillo to establish a NEST Resource Center at its Watsonville Center, so that the College can equitably provide students with Basic Needs services at both campus locations.

This “Single Stop” model in the NEST Resource Center will allow NEST program staff to comprehensively serve students’ basic needs with wraparound support services and follow up. The NEST Resource Center staff will also conduct wellness coaching with Cabrillo students to connect them with resources that enable health and behavioral changes to improve their overall well-being.

“Cabrillo students are experiencing the most extreme levels of housing and food insecurity due to a severe shortage of affordable housing and the extremely high cost of living in Santa Cruz County,” said Matt Wetstein, Cabrillo president and superintendent. “We are grateful for this grant, which will allow our NEST Resource Center to become a one-stop resource for our students, connecting them with the basic needs that often become a barrier to completion.” 

As part of the grant activities, Cabrillo staff will partner with community partners, such as Second Harvest Food Bank and Salud Para La Gente, to refer students to more stable and sustainable food and healthcare resources. Cabrillo NEST staff will also continue to work with the Santa Cruz County Continuum of Care partners to address housing insecurity.

The grant outcomes include increasing the number of students served at the Aptos and Watsonville NEST Resource Centers, as well as increasing the number of online students served by an online food ordering system. The grant will also increase the number of underrepresented students served with basic needs grants by 300%, thereby increasing the persistence, completion, graduation and/or transfer rates of underrepresented students receiving basic needs assistance. 

The grant will also connect 300 additional students with health, mental health and accessibility services.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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