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May 05th
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Best of Best Health & Fitness 2011

Best of Best Health & Fitness 2011

Toadal Fitness has been around for years. It’s run by locals. It’s great. This year, it grabbed the top spot as Best Health Club, edging out Spa Fitness for the first time in years. See how the votes fell elsewhere.

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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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Mountain Mystic

When Cora Evans died in Boulder Creek in 1957, her thousands of pages of religious writings hadn’t yet been published. More than a half a century later, Evans’ fiery visions and spiritual devotion have inspired a crusade within Catholicism to make her the Santa Cruz Mountains’ first saint

 

Wesak (Water) Taurus Solar Festival, Buddha Blesses the Earth

A most important celebration occurs Sunday, May 3—the Wesak Taurus Buddha Solar Festival/full moon. At the moment of the full moon the Buddha’s presence enters the Earth plane for eight minutes. He brings the Will-to-Good from the Father, which, when reaching humanity becomes goodwill (Mother Principle). Held yearly in a valley hidden deep within the Himalayas, the Wesak festival is prepared for for months in advance (beginning at Winter Solstice). On festival day, amidst pilgrims, disciples and Holy Ones gathered in the valley, the Buddha is invoked through movement, symbols and mantrams. At the moment of the full moon, hearing the words, “We are ready, Buddha, come,” the Lord of Illumination (brother of the Christ) appears in the clouds above the altar to emanate forth the will and purpose of God to earth. The blessing of the father is then held in safekeeping for distribution at the June full moon Goodwill Festival. The day of Wesak (May 3, 8:42 p.m. West Coast) all disciples (east and west) place crystal vessels filled with pure water outside (in gardens, on rooftops, porches and steps) under the heavens. As the Buddha blesses the world, all waters, including waters within our bodies, are blessed. The Buddha is accompanied by the Forces of Enlightenment to illuminate humanity’s minds. Humanity then begins to express new constructive, productive and beneficial ways of the Art of Livingness. Wesak covers five days—two days (before) of dedicated preparation, the actual festival “Day of Safeguarding,” and two days (after) distributing goodwill (the NGWS to humanity). Join us in the Valley by reciting the Great Invocation, mantra of direction for humanity.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 1

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Latest Comments

 

Hole in the Wall

Popular Aptos spot opens for dinner

 

How do you connect with the natural world?

My connection to the natural world is through my art. I totally feel it there very physically in nature and even right here on the street. Jonathan Rosen, Felton, Pastor

 

Hess Collection Winery

My friend Emma from London came to visit for a few days in early March, so I took her wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains—a rare treat for her, as there aren’t too many vineyards in the middle of London. Her visit reminded me how fortunate we are to live in this paradise of ultra-fresh produce, with grapes growing in wild profusion.

 

Springtime Walkabout

May Day Flower Festival, free tours of the UCSC Farm, and a nondairy chocolate indulgence