Tuesday, February 18, 2014

article : Weapons Possession Arrests on Campus

[originally published in Oak Leaf News Feb. 15, 2014]

Two different 19-year old suspects were arrested at Santa Rosa Junior College in two separate incidents of possessing weapons on campus, just a week after SRJC District Police Chief Matt McCaffrey delivered an Active Shooter seminar.

On Wednesday Feb. 12 at 12:45 p.m. SRJC PD officer Wright pulled over Christian Eric Candelas-Garcia, 19, for speeding on Armory Drive in front of the SRJC District Police Station. When Candelas-Garcia opened the glove compartment to retrieve his paperwork, officer Wright saw a black handgun inside and initiated a high risk enforcement stop.

After officer Wright took the suspect into custody, the handgun was retrieved and discovered to be a pellet gun replica of a Sig Sauer semi automatic pistol. Officer Wright also found a machete with an 18-inch blade.

Weapons found in car of Nicholas Grgich - photo by SRPC Police
On Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:16 p.m. SRJC District Police cadets patrolling Burbank Circle behind Pioneer Hall saw an unoccupied vehicle with several weapons visible in the passenger area. Officers set up surveillance and arrested Nicholas Dusan Grgich, 19, without incident.

A search of the vehicle revealed three realistic replica pellet handguns and two pellet rifles, three fixed-blade combat knives and a machete with a 27-inch blade. The passenger area held two of the handguns and a rifle, and the trunk held the other handgun and rifle.

There is no confirmation whether these two suspects knew each other, or whether these two incidents were isolated.

Both suspects were charged with felony possession of a weapon on school grounds and both had their bail set at $10,000.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

article: The Hoppiest place on earth

[Originally published in Oak Leaf News Feb. 10, 2014]
Story and Photos by Erik Jorgensen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Under Santa Rosa’s first real rainfall of the year, clumps of colorful mushrooms slowly sprang up down 4th Street. A crowd of curious onlookers gathered, documenting the sporadic sprouts spreading down to the corner and around it. Then several antennae shot skyward, tilting up their parasols to broadcast far over the canopy of the umbrellas huddled below.
It was a strange sight, but Santa Rosa locals have grown used to the two-week Pliny the Younger season each February, when news crews gather to interview people, from all corners of the globe, waiting in line for a golden glass of Russian River Brewing Company’s coveted Triple-IPA, currently ranked #2 in the world.
Every year, TV news crews from as far away as Sacramento and beyond come to tell the same story about a long line of lingering people. Some are first timers; others ritually make the annual pilgrimage from as far away as Japan or Sweden. Some arrived in a group; others gather here from around the world just to wait in line together.

Last year’s 13,000 visitors for the two-week Pliny the Younger release, covered in depth by Oak Leaf News, brought in over $2.2 million according to a survey conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. Last November the EDB’s first-ever conference on craft beer, cider and distilled spirits outlined the $200 million liquid gold rush here in the craft beer movement’s birthplace.
New Albion Brewery opened in Sonoma in 1976, built from used dairy equipment by brewing legend Jack McAuliffe, became the country’s first microbrewery. While New Albion stayed open only a couple years, their “Eureka!” was the shot heard ’round the world in the craft beer revolution. Even multinational brewing conglomerates have started taking notice.
“If the tail can was the dog that hard, it’s not the tail anymore,” said Lagunitas Brewing Company owner Tom Magee, keynote speaker at the EDB conference. Lagunitas accounts for about 70 percent of Sonoma County’s craft beer sales, and opening their new brewery in Chicago will quadruple their production capacity.
Sonoma County’s craft breweries benefit from the county’s existing wine tourism industry – and so can students at Santa Rosa Junior College. SRJC’s Wine Studies and Hospitality programs are already well in-place, and could soon expand to include beer.
After the EDB conference, Lagunitas marketing direct Ron Lindenbusch said, “If you want to be in the marketing end of things, SRJC has a great culinary program to be able to take the whole ‘beer & food’ thing to a whole other place.” Lindenbusch said students interested in working for a brewery should take SRJC’s wine-related courses and “try to put a ‘beer’ angle to it, and you’ve got something that has a dual purpose in the consumer’s mind.”
Most craft brewers started home brewing, a hobby whose history was also written in Sonoma County. Byron Burch wrote and published “Brewing Quality Beers” before President Jimmy Carter officially legalized home brewing in 1978. Burch’s book comes with every home brewing kit sold at The Beverage People, which Burch helped open over 30 years ago to supply local beer, wine and cheese makers. Some wit described a brewer as a janitor who knows how to cook, and Burch’s guidebook is a great place to try a taste.
Whether it’s the water or the weather, Sonoma County grows breweries with the same magic it grows hops and grapevines.

Monday, February 10, 2014

article: SRJC brewing up new beer program

[Originally posted in Oak Leaf News Feb. 10, 2014]

A new beer-related program may soon bubble up at Santa Rosa Junior College. “We’re looking at the situation,” said SRJC president Dr. Frank Chong. “We need the resources and we need industry support – like we’ve got for our wine programs – so we can target the needs of the industry.” SRJC currently offers degrees in viticulture and wine making as well as certificates for wine-based business and hospitality.
Chris Wills teaches the Wine Studies Program and runs SRJC’s award-winning Shone Farm Winery in Forestville, founded in 2008. “With the talent we have in Sonoma County, we could have a world-class brewing program,” Wills said. “I think we could offer a certificate program as an alternative to the brewing program offered by UC Davis. There is already talk of an ‘intro to fermented foods’ class, possibly in the sustainable agriculture program.”
Wills said this entry level class would feed into focused courses like cheese making, malting barley, brewing beer and fermenting fruits and vegetables.
“We used to have a Community Ed course in brewing taught by Bryon Burch, who used to own The Beverage People,” Wills said. “I don’t know why it stopped.”
Lagunitas Brewing Company’s marketing director Ron Lindenbusch expressed interest in supporting a fermentation sciences program. “Beer hospitality would be a great  class,” he said. “We’d love to be in it!”
Wills encourages any local brewers to contact him at cwills@santarosa.edu with any feedback on creating SRJC’s new beer brewing and hospitality courses.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Court hears arguments to quash Holzworth evidence

[originally published in Oak Leaf News Feb. 3, 2014]
by Erik Jorgensen, Co-Editor in Chief

 Santa Rosa Junior College District Police officer Steven Potter, whose observations launched an investigation into 28-year veteran officer Jeffrey Holzworth’s alleged theft of more than $300,000 in SRJC parking funds, testified in court on Jan. 15 about two incidents that led him to tell his superiors about his suspicions.
Potter’s testimony was part of a hearing on motions to throw out evidence found by Santa Rosa Police through a search warrant served on Nov. 28, 2012.
Holzworth held sole responsibility for collecting money from all SRJC parking machines and faces 11 charges of receiving stolen property and one charge of embezzlement over $150,000. His wife Karen faces three charges of receiving stolen property and one count of acting as an accessory.
Defense attorneys Joe Passalaqua, representing Jeffrey Holzworth, and George Boisseau, representing Karen Holzworth, attacked the integrity of search warrant. Between Holzworth’s home, personal vehicle and work locker SRPD detectives found more than $14,259 in quarters and $1 and $5 bills stashed in 16 canvas bags, five glass jars, two plastic bags and a dresser drawer.
Passalaqua and Boisseau filed motions to quash and traverse the search warrants; quashing corresponds to mistakes or errors within the warrant itself, while traversing corresponds to a warrant based on false or fraudulent statements. Basing their arguments on the “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” legal concept, the defense attorneys questioned the integrity of SRPD’s fruitful search by testing whether their warrants were based on an illegal search, which would “poison” any evidence obtained. “[Holzworth] made incriminating statements only after he was confronted with a pile of evidence,” Passalaqua wrote in his motion to quash and traverse. “The illegally-acquired evidence made it appear as if the ‘cat was already out of the bag’ and therefore [the] defendant had nothing to lose – and perhaps something to gain – by confessing his guilt and making incriminating statements.”
Since SRPD’s warrants were based on observations Potter made about Holzworth, defense attorneys questioned Potter during the Jan. 15 hearing about the scope of his search of his co-worker’s car. Potter described two incidents, one from 2006, where he said he saw money inside Holzworth’s partially-unzipped work duffel bag in the police locker room, then opened it “out of curiosity” and to verify its ownership. Potter said the bag contained the tools Holzworth used to maintain the parking machines, including the laptop he used to zero out their internal accounting computers, along with several loose dollar bills. In the second incident, Potter claimed he saw stacks of bills inside the center console of Holzworth’s personal vehicle while getting a ride on Oct. 24, 2012.
Defense attorneys asserted that since Potter was ‘on duty’ at the time, opening Holzworth’s work bag or center console amounted to a warrantless search.
Passalaqua asked Potter whether he removed money while investigating Holzworth’s work bag, if Holzworth gave him permission to search the center console and whether Potter knew how Holzworth dealt with his ‘personal money.’ Potter answered no to those questions, and also said he was only acting as an employee of his agency, not as an officer conducting an investigation, when he wrote the memo of his observations. Then-new SRJC District Police Chief Matt McCaffrey brought that memo to the attention of SRPD detectives Mark Azzouni and Michael Lazzarini in October 2012, who then launched their own official investigation.
Boisseau mostly questioned Potter about looking inside Holzworth’s center console, after noticing the cup holders were full of quarters, while getting a ride on Oct. 24, 2012 to a training session at the gym. Potter testified he saw five or six rubber banded stacks of $1 and $5 bills with about 100 bills in each stack. Boisseau asked how long Potter examined the contents of the center console, or whether Potter had reached inside to count them correctly. Potter said he just took a “very quick mental picture” without moving the stacks to count or measure them.
When Boisseau asked how Potter was able to count the bills without reaching inside and touching the stacks, Potter said the stacks appeared neatly bundled and the same size, so he assumed the bills had all been counted first. Based on their thickness, Potter said 100 bills seemed the most likely amount.
Outside the courtroom, Passalaqua and Boisseau had no comment.
The Jan. 15 hearing only heard Potter’s testimony, but another hearing for Azzouni’s testimony is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 5 in courtroom 15 at Sonoma County Superior Court.