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Sep 02nd
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Cover Stories

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Best Professionals 2011

Best Professionals 2011

Long before GT ran its cover story on UC Santa Cruz professor David Jay Brown, the votes were stacking up high for the local writer. This year, he claims the top spot as Best Writer. See how the others faired.

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Best of the Rest 2011

Best of the Rest 2011

That dreaded River Street sign still gets on your nerves (Worst Eyesore), and Ryan Coonerty still keeps you interested (Best Mover & Shaker) but which group nabbed Best Activist Group? Take a look.

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Best of Santa Cruz Critics’ Picks

Best of Santa Cruz Critics’ Picks

Best Singer/Performer
James Durbin

see feature article >


Worst Attack on Reading: Proposed Closure of Santa Cruz Public Libraries

“I like big books and I cannot lie
You other readers can’t denyThat when a book walks by with an itty-bitty spine
And a wide page in your face
You get sprung … ”

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dance dance dance

dance dance dance

National Dance Week arrives. Is Santa Cruz Ready?
“Dance first.  Think later.  It’s the natural order.” —Samuel Beckett
Leave it to a playwright to set things straight.  Dancing, Beckett seems to suggest, allows us access to a deeper well that can better inform our thinking. If that’s the case, then the decision by Abra Allan to move Motion Pacific Dance Studio to a larger space was a good one: more room makes for more people dancing.

And get this: results from a 21-year study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine give Beckett’s quote new meaning. As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, frequent dancing has the best track record of keeping dementia at bay, better than crossword puzzles and reading.

So Dance First. Think Later.

And there could be no better time to caper than National Dance Week, starting at 5 p.m. April 21. (full schedule below)

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Altered Statesman

Altered Statesman

Local psychedelic visionary David Jay Brown has peered deeply into the nature of human awareness, bonded with the greatest thinkers of our time and explored the outer limits of philosophy, science, spirituality and parapsychology. In this mind-expanding interview with GT, he shares tales from his journeys to the fringes of consciousness.

Consciousness: What is it? Are your thoughts and emotions nothing more than neural static? Will your physical death extinguish your awareness? Is your individual consciousness just one of innumerable facets of a universal consciousness?

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Foreclosure Notice

Foreclosure Notice

The crisis hits home. And it hasn’t even hit its peak yet. What it all means for Santa Cruz County.
Dorothy Laird is not your typical sub-prime borrower fighting foreclosure. Part owner of a legal-medical professional support business in San Jose that was doing well until a few years ago, and owner of two properties other than her primary home in Boulder Creek, Laird considers herself business savvy, detail oriented and responsible.

This is why Laird, 62, married with a grown son and a history of “fairly affluent income,” was outraged by how she was treated by Chase Bank, and is outspoken about what she describes as “intentional delay and just plain malfeasance” in the processing of her loan modification application to forestall the foreclosure she knew might be coming.

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Grey & Green

Grey & Green

Our curious reporter heads behind the scenes of the California Grey Bears and uncovers a surprisingly inventive recycling program

There are win-win scenarios, and win-win-win scenarios, and then there are scenarios that have so many advantageous angles you lose count of the wins. “Seniors Helping Seniors” is the motto of the California Grey Bears, and they live up to it with the kind of efficiency and positive reputation that many other volunteer organizations would kill to achieve.

In a nutshell, the Grey Bears is a multi-faceted organization that coordinates various recycling operations that fund a program that distributes weekly bags of fresh food to thousands of county seniors. Most of the work is done by an army of 500 or so volunteers that can choose from a wide variety of activities to suit their needs, interests and experience. There is also a small paid staff, because you don’t live to be a senior without learning it’s worth paying somebody else to go to meetings.

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A Brighter Now

A Brighter Now Solar power, electric cars, energy collaboration—it’s all in a day’s work for Kelly O’Brien
It’s not exactly news that the sun is the greatest energy producer out there. We all know in the back of our minds that without the sun, life itself would cease to exist. As far back as 1447, Leonardo da Vinci predicted that civilization would eventually be powered by sunlight. The trick, of course, is figuring out how to harness the incredible power of our closest star. More than 500 years later, grid-tied solar and the people at companies like Solar Technologies are getting closer and closer to making da Vinci’s prediction come true.
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Board Out of His Mind

Board Out of His Mind

The surfing industry honors Doug Haut’s sacred shaping career

Professional surfers make big celebrities these days. But without the shaper there wouldn’t be a board to ride.

Before there were international photo shoots, big-money sponsorships, fluid-seam wetsuits, fluorescent surf trunks or Reef Girls, there was the surfboard. In all its simplistic glory, there was a hunk of wood trimmed to carry an upright human being across a wave. From balsa wood boards to today’s foam phenoms, surfboards have come a long way in the hands of their unsung Gepettos—the shapers.

A wizard behind the resin-stained curtain, Doug Haut has epitomized the art of surfboard shaping for 50 years, and, at 71, he’s an under-the-radar Santa Cruz fixture.

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Food & Wine

Food & Wine

Jake Gandolfo,
Laili, Gilda’s,
Pelican Ranch Winery,
Martin Ranch Winery, Vinocruz, Copious Winery
11 Dishes or Meals That Will Blow You Away



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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Foodie File: Beer Thirty

Cups runneth over at Soquel’s new beer garden

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.