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Jacob Martinez, Monica Martinez, Jeremy Neuner and Mark Davidson top the list of creative innovators in Santa Cruz Next’s annual awards gala
Editor’s Note: With a motto like “inform, inspire and involve,” it’s hard not to appreciate the efforts Santa Cruz Next has been making locally to not only unite innovative minds, but also to foster a networking environment that allows those minds to possibly work together to create powerful changes in our local government and culture. It’s fitting then that Santa Cruz Next begins the new year with an awards gala that illuminates the work of four locals doing just that. As the third annual Nexties unfolds on Jan. 28, all eyes will be on the fab four who grabbed this year’s honors: Jacob Martinez, Monica Martinez, Mark Davidson and Jeremy Neuner. Oh, what a collection of passionate souls this foursome is. Jacob is creating a sea change among the Latino and tech communities; Monica is forging ahead to combat homelessness; Neuner is the enterprising man who helped launch NextSpace, and Davidson’s love of mountain biking has somehow transformed an entire sports community. As you peruse the following pages and learn more about these dynamic individuals, you’ll note that their commitment to strengthening our community is as impressive as it is inventive. Onward …
The now-famous local opens up about ‘The X Factor,’ growing up in Santa Cruz, life after addiction, and what’s next on the creative road ahead
Less than a year ago, then 28-year-old Santa Cruz native Chris Rene was collecting trash for a living and battling a drug and alcohol addiction. Today, exactly three weeks after taking third on the first season of FOX’s The X Factor, Rene is at the top of the iTunes charts, nearing a record deal, designing a fashion line, and just over 11 months sober. Motivated by fellow Santa Cruz musician James Durbin’s rise to the top on American Idol, the rapper/songwriter worked up the courage to audition for The X Factor back in September. It was there that Rene touched the heart of America with his original rap song “Young Homie,” and his inspiring story.
Meet the locals who play a fundamental role in the fascinating world of music therapy
At Dominican Hospital, music is respiratory therapist Earl White’s secret weapon. With the stressful job of treating anyone—from infants to geriatrics—having difficulty breathing with medication, a ventilator, and/or a breathing tube, White is constantly surrounded by patients and families in distress.
Editor’s Note: The following article was birthed thanks, in part, to the fearless efforts of “private, secret and classified media” from anonymous"whistleblowers”—otherwise known as gtleaks. In fact, our exclusive website, which was secretly launched early last year, has nabbed too many secret documents to list—and most of them hitting front pages of major news organizations. Early releases included major documentation of Wal-Mart hitting Santa Cruz, a Banana Republic outlet store arriving somewhere along Pacific Avenue and just-released data of a three-way thoroughfare along a major Downtown Santa Cruz strip. There’s more. (There’s always more …)
One Woman’s (Holiday) Story
Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Kwanzaa to you. Or, if you are of the ilk, Hello, it’s Thursday!
This time of year it is difficult to avoid a winter holiday of one flavor or another in our culture, whether religious, spiritual, cultural or familial. While it is undeniable that the long, dark and cold nights lend themselves to inner contemplation, whether or not this self-examination is part of a larger celebration for you is really none of my business. I don’t plan to change that. What I do plan to do, however, is make my “me time” a little bit of your business. Not because it’s special. In fact it is just the opposite.
When it comes to regional water planning, where is the county headed?
It’s one week after Water Conservation Manager Toby Goddard presented the draft 2010 Urban Water Management Plan to the Santa Cruz City Council and he’s reflecting on some aspects of the report he feels were overlooked. For one thing, he says, nearly all of the citizens who spoke during the public comment period fixated on one sliver of the plan. (Not surprisingly, that sliver concerned the city’s divisive intent to pursue desalination.) Having spent the better part of five months crafting the UWMP (the fourth he’s written for the city), Goddard had hoped the rest of the hefty document would garner some interest, too. He notes that not a single person inquired about his careful choice of cover art—which, in a way, also had something to do with desalination.
Longtime Santa Cruz journalist Geoffrey Dunn talks with outgoing Mayor Ryan Coonerty and incoming Mayor Don Lane about a variety of political and economic issues facing Santa Cruz —both as a community and as a municipality—and their hopes and dreams for Surf City in the upcoming year.
An Early Profile of Steve Jobs
In the early 1980s, the late Santa Cruz writer James D. Houston, who had come of age in the Santa Clara Valley and who later studied at both San Jose State and Stanford, was one of the first journalists to explore the burgeoning computer industry on the other side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
How important are local youths to you? To the four nonprofits featured on the following pages, youths are a significant focus. Behold the four stars of our annual Community Fund issue: the Summer Youth Employment Program, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Mariposa’s Arts and Food What?! These dynamic organizations have made tremendous strides working with young people—from offering diverse educational services to providing unique, one-of-a-kind opportunities. So, over the next few pages, take some time and discover the inner workings of these local nonprofits and learn how your own contributions to the Community Fund can be so vital—see page 27 for donation information. In the meantime, get involved, be inspired.—Greg Archer, Editor
With ‘American Idol’ behind him and a hot new debut album, James Durbin talks candidly about the power of belief, life before and after ‘Idol’—and the woman who saved him from ruin.
When James Durbin mania reached its height earlier this year, the town of Santa Cruz started to resemble a restaurant in Being John Malkovich where the only word anyone says is “Malkovich.” It seemed you couldn’t walk a full block without hearing a conversation about James Durbin, seeing a James Durbin banner or window display or stumbling upon a James Durbin-based gathering at a local establishment (James Durbin cupcakes, anyone?). The grand finale, of course, was James Durbin Day, a homecoming concert at the Boardwalk that drew 30,000 fans, generated about $1 million in visitor spending and inspired the folks at Zoccoli’s Deli to name a sandwich after Durbin. (That would be The Durbinator.)