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Aug 22nd
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All Booked Up

All Booked Up

2013 was a great year for local literature. Find out which books made our top 10 must-read list.

As 2013 comes to a close, we look back at some of the best local literature released this year. Whether you’re in need of a last-minute gift this holiday season, or your new year’s resolution is to read more, our must-read list has something for everyone—from aspiring chefs, to history buffs, to mystery fans, to young children.

Plus: The inside scoop from some of the authors themselves.

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Civinomics Rising

Civinomics Rising

Since its recent groundbreaking event, Civinomics' online users are posting their own civic initiatives for the community to vote on. Where will digital governance take Santa Cruz?

Just three weeks after Civinomics launched a well-attended local public event dubbed “Civinomicon” at its Cruzio headquarters, the fledgling startup in Downtown Santa Cruz finds itself boldly moving forward with a unique mission to drastically modernize civic engagement. Its two founders, Manu Koenig and Robert Singleton, both in their twenties, describe their endeavor as “an experiment in digital governance,” but if their early signs of success are any indication of the possibilities that lie ahead, the “experiment” may generate a variety of new and, perhaps, different, kinds of civic conversations locally.

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The Ladies at Eighty

The Ladies at Eighty

As its 80th anniversary approaches, the esteemed Walnut Avenue Women's Center turns some of its focus toward families. How the directors hope to broaden conversations about safety and more.

Despite the organization’s name, the enterprising individuals who run the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center are shifting the focus to families as the organization prepares to celebrate its 80th anniversary this month. Jennifer O’Brien-Rojo, co-executive director of the nonprofit organization, says it has been turning toward the community and letting those needs dictate what they do.

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Community Fund

Community Fund

Be bold. Make a positive difference. Start by learning more about four dynamic local nonprofits.

A team of resilient individuals assists young men with avoiding gang life and re-identifying themselves as athletes. One man, in an effort to protect kids, works closely with local teachers, parents and youth to make certain that school is a safe place for students that may be struggling with identity or suffering abuse. A local entity boldly addresses gang violence from a family health perspective—all in an effort to halt the cycle of violence. An inventive team of female volunteers works with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

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The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen

In a compelling analysis, award-winning writer and author Sasha Abramsky expounds upon the 12 ways the GOP makes it challenging to thrive in 21st-century America

The past year hasn't been a good one for poor people in America.

First, the “sequester” cuts automatically sliced billions of dollars from services such as Head Start—which provides early educational opportunities to young kids from poor families—nutritional programs and job-training grants.

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The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness

Even though the framers of the U.S. constitution included 'the pursuit of happiness' as our inalienable right endowed by Our Creator, only recently have psychologists begun to define exactly what that actually means. 

Positive psychology consultant Shawn Achor likes to tell the story of how he was asked to speak at a New England boarding school's “wellness week.” The topics slated for each day of the week included eating disorders, depression, drugs, violence and more. “That's not a wellness week,” Achor says. “That's a sickness week.”

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Mountains Were Here

Mountains Were Here

Mountaintop Removal is considered to be one of the country’s worst ongoing environmental calamities.

Local artists/filmmakers Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle shed light on the issue in their revealing new documentary  ‘Goodbye Gauley Mountain.’

PLUS: Why ecosexuality is on the rise.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the most revered American essayists and lecturers and the man at the helm of the Transcendentalist Movement of the mid-19th Century, was reportedly fond of the Appalachian Mountains. In fact, he once mused: “Here among the mountains the pinions of thought should be strong, and one should see the errors of men from a calmer height of love and wisdom.”

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Saving Paradise

Saving Paradise

Local scientists help the remote atoll of Ulithi restore its marine habitat

Many of the male parrotfish fish found in the Ulithi atoll were once female.

They are among several species in the coral reef-ringed waters that are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning they change sex during their lifetime.

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Infected

Infected

Local experts weigh in on zombies, their recent surge in popularity, and the possibility of a zombie apocalypse

They’ve risen from the dead, they crave human flesh, and in the last few years, they’ve come to dominate popular culture. Welcome to zombie mania.

The first real zombie movie, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was released in 1968. Since then, zombies have appeared in numerous books, films and television shows—from Dawn of the Dead (1978) to 28 Days Later (2002) to Shaun of the Dead (2004) to Zombieland (2009) to Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (2009) to World War Z (2013) to AMC’s ever-popular hit show The Walking Dead, which just began its fourth season on Oct. 13.

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GLOW

GLOW

The Festival of fire and Light gears up for round two at the Museum of Art & History

We found the seven-headed dragon we were looking for, which I'd promised a skeptical friend I could show her if she came along for the ride, tucked away in an industrial Westside warehouse called “Rowe Machinery.”

Banking on her reluctance to believe in the existence of a Santa Cruz-based, fire-breathing dragon with multiple heads, I wagered my companion a pint of beer.

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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
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Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.