This year is finally coming to an end, a year we will never forget. So many firsts, challenges, so many lifestyle changes that will have repercussions for many years to come.
A customary greeting started by handshakes is now a virtual hug or a slight bow to acknowledge others.
Who would have thought that it would be normal and even encouraged to go outside and howl like a wolf as loud as you could. I mean, it’s not only normal now, but pretty cool.
Face masks now come in different styles and colors and there is an entire industry around them.
Our businesses have struggled and those that have remained open are hanging by a string. I fear that there will be many that don’t make it, and we need to continue to find ways to support local as much as we can.
Supporting local is a win-win for everyone. It keeps places open that we need today and in the future and it supports things throughout our city by way of sales tax revenue. If there was ever an argument for what win-win means, supporting local is the perfect example and argument for the cause.
This was also the year that some local students got together to raise awareness and protest against racism after a senseless killing of a black man, George Floyd, took the country by storm as hundreds of thousands if not millions of protesters took to the streets for the fight against social injustices that have existed since the beginning of time for the black community. And yes, it has indeed existed and still exists today in all communities including our little paradise known as Scotts Valley. The fight to end racism must be constant and ongoing.
Our city and our community must always be a safe and welcoming place for people of all colors including the LGBTQ community. We must stand united for the cause, and we must do this TOGETHER.
Another turning point in our community started off with a beautiful display of lights via a non-stop lightning show. I remember my wife waking me telling me how incredible the lightning was and how much it lit up the night. And as we all know, it was the beginning of the CZU fires that burned over 80,000 acres, destroyed about 1,500 structures and claimed one life.
I remember packing everything and wondering if it was the last time we would ever see our home and our community. I actually feared as many others did that this could be the end of Scotts Valley as we knew it.
But thank you to firefighters and law enforcement coming from EVERYWHERE to save our city and our community. Except that many of our neighbors in SLV were not as fortunate and didn’t have a house to come home to. Our hearts go out to them and prayers for a speedy recovery in those communities that were affected.
And how could you not remember the sight of the Mayor, Police Chief and others on Mount Hermon Road with “welcome home” signs as soon as the evacuation order was lifted. That was special.
Sadly, the fires and air quality also took the life of a local law enforcement hero as SVPD K9 Atlas passed away due to complications that were also the result of the quality of air. RIP Atlas.
This year the popular 4th of July Parade was canceled except nobody told Donna Lind that as she got Tam Communications and numerous performers to do a fabulous Virtual 4th of July celebration that was fantastic! Here’s hoping we have a real one this coming July 4th.
We also experienced some intense hot weather like I had never experienced before in our city. Just going outside during many of the heatwaves was torture. I don’t remember anything like the weather we had this year.
I also saw our community become a commUNITY. So many people pitching in, helping others and really just looking to support not only our local businesses but each other. Of course, COVID has brought a lot of angst to all but for the most part people were and are on board with taking steps and precautions towards the fight against it. We happen to be in an extremely tough time with the virus right now, but we can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as vaccines are on their way with some already having arrived and being used in Santa Cruz county.
But it does not mean that it’s over, far from it. Social distancing, wearing masks and hand washing are just some of the safety protocols that we need to continue to maintain.
This year’s Secret Santa program was also amazing as 18 families were “sponsored” and helped out by all of you. You ALL did it, you made a difference in so many people’s lives and showed why this is such a special place to live. Thank you for that!
You know what I learned from 2020? I learned to appreciate the things we took for granted. That awesome waitress that always had a smile on their face, the business owner who welcomes you in to their store, and that awesome teacher that tells you how much they love your kids and how they show it through the way they treat them.
I also am grateful for spending more family time and more snuggle time with the kids. Whether they like it or not, they are stuck with me more than ever and I thank God for how much closer we have become as a family.
So while there were so many challenges, we also have so much to be thankful for. So much!
Cheers to the end of 2020 and excitement for what the new year will bring. I hope 2021 is the best year yet for you!
Here are a few photos that really painted a picture of what this year was all about. Click here to access them and join in on the conversation on the MSV Facebook page.

 Robert Aldana
25 year Scotts Valley resident