Published in the June 8 – 21, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Another found guilty of murder in Tara Romero case

Esmeling Bahena, 22, was found guilty March 25 of first degree murder in the death of Tara Romero, five counts of attempted murder and three of shooting into an inhabited dwelling. The former Morgan Hill resident will be sentenced June 13.

Bahena was the fourth suspect to face charges in relation to the Nov. 4, 2011 shooting death of Romero, then 14. The drive-by shooting also injured three of her friends and Sobrato High School classmates.

Bahena’s trial was the second trial held this year related to the shooting. A separate jury found Fernando Mateo Lopez, 24, of Gilroy, and Primitivo Hernandez, 27, of Gilroy guilty of second degree murder.

The fifth suspect, Ramon Gutierrez, 21 of Morgan Hill, has been in a state mental health facility since he was declared incompetent to stand trial in 2012.

Better Business Bureau warns public of scams

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be alert at self-checkout lanes at stores. Scammers are installing “skimmers,” devices that collect data from credit, debit or ATM cards. These devices are commonly installed on ATM card readers. But in the past few months, several big box stores have found them attached to the payment processors in self-checkout aisles.

The BBB advises users to inspect the keypad. If there appears to be a device glued or affixed to the keypad or processor, do not continue, it warns.
To protect yourself, the BBB suggests paying with a credit card or cash, protect your PIN by placing your hand over the keypad when entering your number (some scammers set up cameras to record PINs), look for signs of skimmers such as tape, use chip readers when available, and be wary of strange signs providing alternate instructions. For more information, check out the BBB Scam Stopper (

Co-ed softball registration begins for fall season

Registration for the fall co-ed softball seasons begins next month. The league plays nine 75-minute games including playoffs, and take place at 6, 7:20 and 8:40 p.m. Monday nights.

Team registration begins July 15 and closes Aug. 12. The regular season begins Aug. 22 and ends Oct. 17, with playoffs scheduled for Oct. 24. For more information and to register, visit

There is a need for foster families for kittens

Interested in fostering kittens? Dozens of kittens are in need of life-saving care and feeding from foster home volunteers.
“Kitten season” started early this year at the county’s Animal Shelter in San Martin having received a large influx of 80 newborn kittens in April. Each year, the county’s Animal Shelter cares for hundreds of young kittens who are strays and in need of maternal care and bottle feeding.

For more information or for those interested in providing a foster home for kittens or other shelter animals, call (408) 686-3900 or visit

The shelter can issue community service hours to volunteers who participate in the program.

Mt. Umunhum added to Heritage Resource Inventory

The historic concrete radar tower built in 1960 sitting atop Mt. Umunhum played a significant role as part of the air defense network during the Cold War and indirectly helped set the stage for the future of Silicon Valley. For decades it has been an iconic landmark in the South Bay.
To that end, Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman made the motion at the May 10 board of supervisors meeting to add the Mt. Umunhum radar tower to the County of Santa Clara Heritage Resource Inventory.
“I’m proud to say that the board of supervisors voted unanimously to add it to the inventory,” he said. “I heard from many people both for and against preserving ‘The Cube,’ as it is known, and I appreciate everyone who contacted me about this issue.”
To learn more about next steps for the tower, please

Fun run and walk among late spring flowers at Henry W. Coe State Park June 11

Attention runners and walkers, the annual Hunting Hollow 5K/10K Fun Run and Walk at Henry W. Coe State Park is coming June 11.
The beautiful Hunting Hollow Valley is surrounded by mountains on all sides. The relatively flat dirt trail course passes through late spring flowers such as California Roses, Lupines, Clarkias, with glimpses of Farewell to Spring blooms scattered through the grasses. Sycamore, Bay and Oak trees parallel Hunting Hollow Creek up the valley to the turn around for the 10K.

The course is fairly flat from the start to the turnaround. It is an in-and-out course with both the 5K and 10K starting at 9 a.m. at the gate at the end of the parking lot and also finishing there.


Participants can pre-register online through June 9 or by mailing in a registration form postmarked no later than June 4, said event organizer David Cartwright.

“June 4 is also an important date for online registrants because that’s when the early bird discount expires and the registration fee increases from $30 to $35,” he said. “You can also register on race day for $40.”

For more information, visit

The webpage has a link to online registration and another link for mail-in registration forms.