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Apr 25th
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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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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise