SPRING BREAK 2018
town of ashwick prepares for huge crowd
Original story, 10:12 A.M. Monday: Ashwick Valley Park Services are preparing last minute details and security for what is forecast as the largest spring break crowd to ever appear in the town starting this weekend. This year, Ashwick Valley Police will spend the first day of spring break alongside beachgoers. Officers will make their presence known and will be on duty to monitor the crowds and keep the attendees safe.
Chief of Police JESSE RAMOS said that last year's spring break - despite a few fights that broke out - was relatively normal and his department will make sure that it will flow smoother this year. Law enforcement officers from AVPD, California Department of Public Safety, California Parks and Wildlife, and surrounding police departments will help with patrols.
Last year, 115 arrest were made according to Ramos, 70 were for suspicion of DWI. "We have 10 and a half miles of beach," Ramos said. " A large number of calls were in less than a half mile area. From about beach marker 30 to 35." That area, just north of the Stillcaster and Paineshart neighborhoods, is where the parties occured and where most of the large masses gathered.
"There were no stabbings, no shootings," Ramos said. "Two people were arrested for aggravated assault, where they were threatening someone with a knife in two separate incidents."
No one was hurt in those incidents, he said.
Update, 9:35 A.M. Tuesday: Ashwick Valley beaches are in danger of drowning, and it's not because of sea level rise.
Ashwick Valley's surging popularity as a spring break playground has outgrown city official's expectations, as well as vacationing city students bringing in a slew of trouble that the City Commission wants to deal with - quickly.
That could mean future restrictions on scooter rentals — people using scooters on sidewalks and weaving in and out of traffic made a bad traffic situation worse — and a different approach to litter cleanup.
Ashwick Valley is ready for college students to descend on its beach and bars. The city aims to curb the rowdy messiness seen during recent spring breaks. Well-mannered visitors are welcome, city leaders said. Party animals who litter and brawl are not.
Update, 10:22 A.M. Thursday: Spring Break weekend has officially began in Ashwick Valley! Carrier Southwest Airlines has added three flights per day to the usual once per day flights from the Pacific Northwest region. The I-280 and Highway 85 southbound are constantly packed with cars coming down to the valley for spring break. The Elizabethan has been fully booked, leaving bed and breakfasts and the off AirBnB to take the rest of the crowd on. Lots of shops in the downtown area are preparing for a large surge of guests buying food and toiletry items.
Meanwhile on the beach, Rockstar, Big Mama D's, and other sponsors are hosting the biggest spring break beach bash the town has seen in years and attendance is expected to number by the couple thousands. Ashwick Valley Police is set to work overtime during the next week while vacationers and locals alike party during their break this weekend. Parts of the Pacific Coast avenue will be closed to vehicles and will only accommodate foot traffic for a few days.
Update, 11:10 A.M. Friday: This morning, a fatal shark attack occurred in Pacifica Beach, a city in San Mateo county between San Francisco and Halfmoon Bay. The attack happened around 7 A.M. and the 911 call was placed around 7:16 A.M.
The victim was identified as San Francisco resident Dr. Jason Evans, a 40 year old veterinarian. Evans was pronounced dead at 7:49 A.M. At the time of the attack he was with a group of nine other swimmers between 100 and 150 yards out to sea training for a triathlon. Evans was a member of a club called the Triathlon Club of Pacifica, who trains regularly at dawn in Pacifica Beach waters.
According to a press release issued at the scene of the tragedy, Evans was in the middle of the pack of swimmers when he was violently attacked and pulled under water. The other swimmers saw blood in the water before Evans surfaced for the first time screaming. He was pulled underwater once more and then resurfaced when a fellow swimmer grabbed him and swam him in to the beach where he died.
According to Dr. Richard Rosenblatt, a shark specialist in San Francisco State school of Marine Biology, the attack almost certainly came at the jaws of a Great White. Rosenblatt states "The wounds and the attack is most likely the behavior of a Great White Shark. We can estimate by the look and size of the wounds that the animal was an adult approximately twelve to sixteen feet long. I believe that the shark most likely mistook the group of swimmers as a pod of seals. Shark attacks are extremely rare in Northern California, but there is a migration of the animals from San Francisco to the Guadalupe Islands where the females come to give birth."
According to Miguel Rodriguez, who was on a long distance paddle nearby at the time of the attack, "It was a nice morning, the weather was warm, and there was just a little bit of a red tide type of feel to the water. The waves were fun, but things felt a little off."
“Then, while I was on my way back home during the paddle, a helicopter came crawling out of nowhere screaming over the ocean, 'There has been a fatal shark attack in the area! Exit the ocean! There has been a fatal shark attack in the area. Exit the ocean!'" According to Pacifica lifeguards, the victim's legs were both shredded severely leaving also a ten inch bite mark on his body. As a preventative measure, the coastal beaches of San Mateo from Pacifica to Santa Cruz have been closed for the weekend.
"It's pretty spooky," says Rodriguez. "The entire coast from San Francisco to Santa Cruz is empty right now. It's surreal."
Update, 1:56 PM, Friday: A large shark has been spotted off the coast of Santa Cruz, about 45 miles north of Ashwick Valley. Fox news has obtained footage of what seems to be a 7-10 foot Great White shark swimming a quarter mile off of the shore.
Santa Cruz beaches are currently closed for the remainder of the weekend due to the fatal attack hours earlier on the beaches of Pacifica, claiming the life of a 40 year old man.
Update, 9:45 A.M. Saturday: Despite the shark attack and sightings scare north of the town, the festivities in Ashwick Valley are in full spring and with the tragedy up north, in comes a new wave of students and visitors who all had to make a last minute change to their plans.
"Yeah, we heard about what happened to that guy. Real scary stuff, and this is pretty much the first big town after the beach closures with a party going on it, so we all said why not, we'll crash here for the weekend. Hotel cost us about $200 per night, but it's better than sitting on our break doing nothing," says vacationer Scott Greenberg, just as he and his friends arrived at the beach Saturday morning. The party is in full swing and the coast guard has just been added to the law enforcement departments working the weekend.
"We have helicopters patrolling the area for any shark activities. We don't want a repeat of what happened up north, we will do our best to ensure this will be a safe weekend for the people below," says pilot Carlos Ruiz.
The beach party in Ashwick Valley is expected to draw in more crowds due to the beach closures up north, and will be expected to last until the middle of next week until students return to school.