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Sep 15th
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Cover Stories

Cover Stories

Tales of the Vine

Tales of the Vine

How gonzo journalist Rak Razam met his maker in the Peruvian Amazon—and lived to tell about it   

In the summer of 2006, an Australian journalist named Rak Razam ventured to South America to put together a story on Amazonian shamanism for Australian Penthouse. In the thick of the Peruvian jungle, he repeatedly drank ayahuasca, a powerful psychedelic tea made from a vine called Banisteriopsis caapi and plant leaves containing the hallucinogenic compound DMT. Legally recognized by the Peruvian government as a sacred medicine and a national treasure, ayahuasca is said to detoxify the body and mind and imbue its drinkers with a sense of connection to the Divine.

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Cover Stories

Surveillance City?

Surveillance City?

Santa Cruz officials, locals and others weigh in on implementing Automatic License Plate Readers   

It had been a bright day in September and the clocks were striking 8 p.m. “You’ve had a long day,” said the man in the police uniform. It was Sept. 10, 2013, and the Santa Cruz City Council was about to hear Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark request that a $37,000 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the Bureau of Justice be approved to purchase Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) for the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD).

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Cover Stories

Best Shot

Best Shot

Two local wedding photographers prove that love and creativity are a powerful mix

It may not be News at 11, but it’s worth noting—especially during wedding planning season —that love sparks creativity. (And, quite often the other way around, too.)

That has certainly been the case for one young, local couple, Jeff and Doriana Hammond, who, after just a few months of meeting in Santa Cruz County back in 2009, fell in love—and then tossed aside their conventional “day jobs” for a creative stint in El Salvador, which lasted nearly a year.

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Cover Stories

Big Data

Big Data

The ability to sort and query through expanding oceans of digital information takes an increasingly central role in the world. How far can this new technology take us? And at what point does Big Data become too big? 

One of the most elemental ways of thinking about “Big Data”—quite possibly the most prominent buzz word permeating the tech world's modern lexicon—and the role massive amounts of data play in the technical and scientific communities' advancements, is, fundamentally, the ability to detect and examine highly diffused patterns.

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Cover Stories

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Public officials, members of the marijuana industry, and the community weigh in on the various factors that the county must consider as new cannabis laws are drafted. With a dispensaries ordinance now in effect, how will regulation for cultivators play out? 

On a cold, clear afternoon in mid October, I sat in the passenger seat of a white pickup truck next to a man named Bryce, a staunch advocate and experienced cultivator of medical marijuana for the Santa Cruz-based California Growers Collective (CGC). As we drove up Highway 9 and into the mountains of the San Lorenzo Valley toward our destination, one of CGC's two cannabis grow sites in the county, Bryce handed over a cloth blindfold and asked that I slip it over my eyes, which he and the collective's attorney, Ben Rice, had suggested earlier as a means for plausible deniability on the farm's whereabouts.

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Cover Stories

Back in the Black

Back in the Black

It wasn’t that long ago that Santa Cruz County was hit with a serious mortgage crisis and an eye-opening recession. Now that the economic storm has passed, GT examines the county’s recovery process.

After the subprime mortgage crisis in the summer of 2007 and the ensuing recession of 2008, Santa Cruz County’s economy, like most in the state and the nation, plummeted into challenging times. That fall into a recession financially injured some parts of the county more than others, and, for the most part, those areas have healed.

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Cover Stories

Lunch Time

Lunch Time

How an Emmy-winning writer and two award-winning music titans managed to unearth a promising musical about second chances and serve it to the masses at Cabrillo Stage. Is Broadway next?

One never knows where the winds of fate will take you. One seemingly genuine act may produce a surprising ripple effect that defies the odds. In many ways, that is what has happened with the musical “Lunch.” The production, which hits Cabrillo Stage Jan. 3, first came to life 22 years ago thanks to a powerful creative trio that were, quite frankly, musical theater virgins. Rick Hawkins was an Emmy-winning TV writer and the man who birthed the legendary “Went With The Wind” sketch on The Carol Burnett Show back in the 1970s.

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Cover Stories

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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Special Publications

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

It’s a bit mind-bending to realize that 2013 has nearly breezed by and that the holidays are right in front of us. Good cheer and (hopefully) great connections with family and friends await, but, for the moment, let’s focus on the task at hand: the art of giving.

The following pages will certainly assist you with that. In our annual gift guide, we highlight more gifts than in previous years so there’s plenty from which to choose—from the vibrant offerings found at Om Gallery in Downtown Santa Cruz to the downright imaginative gift items and stocking stuffers you can find at so many other local stores. It’s all here.

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Cover Stories

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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Cover Stories

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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Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way

 

What's your all-time best Skyview Flea Market score?

Santa Cruz | eBay Business

 

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

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.