Dill Pickle… In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, “Boy, that escalated quickly.” Squid is referring to the white hot Pacific Grove controversy that is pickleball. When Squid visited America’s Last Hometown on April 17 to watch the fireworks at a Pacific Grove City Councilmeeting between neighbors and players of – by some accounts – America’s fastest growing sport, the players were cordial in the face of neighbors who were incensed over the loud whacking noises emanating from the Morris Dill Courts. At the most recent meeting on Sept. 4, cordiality was replaced with testiness, as the council reviewed the results of a three-month trial period, during which pickleball hours were reduced and staff monitored play, sound and other impacts.

At one point an argument broke out between a pickleball player at the podium and a couple of court neighbors – including former P.G. councilmember Dan Miller. Further evidence of the passionate nature of the debate was underscored by the unusual presence of two uniformedPacific Grove Police officers who stood at the door to the council chambers for a time. The council voted to extend the limited hours and directed staff to look at a $30,000 sound barrier. The next day resident Luke Coletti pointed out in an email to councilmembers that foam pickleballs are about $1.50 a piece and called them the “obvious solution.”

The thought of spending $30,000 on a barrier that might not even solve the issue leaves a sour taste in Squid’s beak. And considering that spending taxpayers’ money is a bread-and-butter issue, Squid says serve up some sweet foam balls.

Seeking Solace… Sept. 6 was a pretty grim day around the Monterey County Superior Courthouse, when political consultant and former North Salinas High School athletic coachJohn Fickas had a preliminary hearing on charges that he drugged and raped multiple women and girls, some of whom he met through his work at the school. As Salinas police and Monterey County Sheriff’s detectives testified about the grim allegations laid on Fickas, NSHS students took to social media to comment. One young woman said the reporting of the hearing made her throw up, and others said it left them in tears. It made Squid wonder what the school is doing for people who might not be victims, but are affected nonetheless, and according to one student, the answer is: some. That student tells Squid’s colleague that while they feel “overall, it was kind of a swept under the rug type of thing unless you were involved,” coaches and administrators have offered help if anyone felt strongly about it. So if you’re a North High student and the situation is affecting you, please take a kind word from the normally snarky Squid: Go talk to someone, and keep talking until your head and heart feel a little bit better.

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