Published in the March 16- 29, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Tara Romero trial begins after more than four years

Tara Romero

Tara Romero

The trial of two men charged with murder and attempted murder in the death of 14-year-old Tara Romero and the wounding of three of her friends began the first week of March. On trial are Fernando Mateo Lopez, 24 of Gilroy, and Primitivo Hernandez, 27 of San Jose. A third suspect recently pleaded guilty to the murder charge and is expected to testify.

A fourth defendant, Esmeling Bahena, 22 of Morgan Hill, will be tried for the same crime later this spring, according to authorities. The fifth suspect, Ramon Gutierrez, 21 of Morgan Hill, remains in the custody at a state mental health facility after he was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Tara Romero was gunned down in a drive-by shooting at the corner of Cosmo and Del Monte avenues in southwest Morgan Hill Nov. 4, 2011.
Romero was pronounced dead at the scene. She and her friends had been celebrating a birthday party that Friday night, and were waiting on the corner for a ride home when the shooting occurred.

MH police warn of IRS scam

Morgan Hill police are warning residents about an Internal Revenue Service scam that has prompted numerous calls to the department.
According to MHPD, which posted the warning Feb. 19 on its Facebook page, the IRS will not:

• Call and demand immediate payment. The IRS will first send a bill in the mail.
• Demand payment without allowing questions or an appeal of the amount owed.
• Require payment in a specific way, such as using a prepaid debit card
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
• Threaten to call police or other agencies to make an arrest for not paying.

For more information, check the IRS website at

MHUSD first to get approval for pre-fab classrooms

Morgan Hill Unified School District is proving itself to be a true friend of the environment. San Martin/Gwinn Environmental Science Academy will be the first site to be registered as a project with the Collaborative for High Performance School 2016 CHPS PreFAB Criteria and Program. The CHPS PreFAB program provides a streamlined process for pre-approving prefabricated modular classroom models that meet the CHPS criteria rating system for healthy, high performance schools.

“We are proud to be the first school district in the State of California to meet the high criteria rating system for healthy, high performance schools with regard to our building design,” said MHUSD Superintendent Steve Betando. As a national model for school districts, MHUSD hopes to attract visitors to see the buildings in use, he said.

Classrooms earning this designation must meet stringent standards related to indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials, waste management and other sustainable attributes that help students learn and thrive while lowering operating costs.

CHPS PreFAB Pre-Approval is also available for individual buildings that include single or multiple classrooms, one or more stories, permanent construction or relocatable, have independent HVAC systems, are pre-wired and, if applicable, are pre-plumbed.

Women’s Open Championship seeks volunteers

Adult and junior volunteers are needed to fill a variety of roles during the upcoming 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle, which will be conducted July 4-10, by the United States Golf Association. As part of the volunteer package, each volunteer will receive a credential that serves as a seven-day championship ticket.

Volunteer committees cover dozens of services both on and off the golf course. Notable committees include admission sales, will call, VIP transportation (must be 25 years of age with a valid driver’s license), merchandise, marshals, access control, laser operators, golf cart attendees and standard bearers.

All volunteers will receive one credential good for grounds access all seven days of the championship. Additionally, volunteers will receive one championship water bottle, complimentary admission to the Championship Kickoff Party, complimentary food and beverage on working days and a uniform consisting of a shirt and hat or visor.

Junior volunteers, ages 13-17, interested in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be inside the ropes with the best golfers in the world are encouraged to apply. More than 100 junior volunteers are needed to act as standard bearers, which involves carrying a two-sided scoring sign and posting scores for a group of g

lfers. Junior volunteers are required to walk the course and should have a comfortable knowledge of the sport.

Adult volunteers will work a minimum of four shifts over the course of the seven-day championship. All applications must be submitted by April 1 and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Volunteer package pricing is as follows: Juniors $50, Basic $100, Premium $150 and VIP $250. For detailed information and to apply to be a volunteer, visit

– By Staff Reports