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Dec 22nd
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Cover Stories

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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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Food & Wine

Food & Wine

Jake Gandolfo,
Laili, Gilda’s,
Pelican Ranch Winery,
Martin Ranch Winery, Vinocruz, Copious Winery
11 Dishes or Meals That Will Blow You Away



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La Bahia

La Bahia

Why La Bahia Hotel is a good idea and how Santa Cruz could greatly benefit from it.
Editor’s Note: Let’s face it: sometimes change can be uncomfortable. (Although, it doesn’t really have to be.) That said, the matters surrounding the proposed La Bahia Hotel in Santa Cruz’s Beach Flats have become a unique opportunity for the entire community. The idea: to replace the La Bahia apartments, which have been somewhat the face of the iconic Santa Cruz beachfront for 85 years, with a four-star, 125-room La Bahia Hotel. Why? A number of reasons, but a few that certainly stand out revolve around boosting the local economy and brightening up the face of the neighborhood, which has been showing severe signs of aging for far too long. Take a look: in its current state, La Bahia is in serious need of existential CPR. Its broad, white stucco walls and red-tiled roof are severely worn down. The neighborhood surrounding it, once thriving, appears to have slipped into an abyss of disrepair.

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Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit

Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit

Our trusty scribe reveals the mysteries ahead for dear, sweet Santa Cruz
The study of astrology is, bear with me here, as old as the stars. Well, maybe as old as the youngest possible star. The need to find answers when none seem possible or readily available would seem to be human nature, as would the corresponding desire to reject astrology altogether as, per my grandfather, “a load of hooey.” From Alchemy to Geomancy to the I Ching, there is an undeniable urge to know what’s coming—a little preview of what’s on your personal road ahead.

Searching for guidance, or at least guide posts, in life is not exclusive to the superstitious, and certainly not relegated to the common rabble (no offense intended—I self-identify as rabble). Political and cultural leaders throughout history have turned an ear toward perceived spiritual or psychic henchmen for inspiration. Russian Czar Nicolas II  had Rasputin, Napoleon had Madame Lenormand, our own White House had Billy Graham, Billy Graham and more Billy Graham. Even young Manek had Madame Sousatzka (you didn’t think we could escape a Shirley MacLaine reference, did you?) There’s comfort in believing our destiny is pre-written, and finding an all-knowing person, idea or method to peek into future chapters. This is why astrology is the number two money-maker on the Internet. Insert wink here.

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Health + Fitness

Health + Fitness

Editor’s Note: Good health. Where are you without it? In our annual health issue, we explore a variety of ideas to help boost your outlook on life—from the new Bike Dojo in Santa Cruz to skin care to eating disorders and more. Dive in. Be healthy ...

Inside:
Ready To Ride
Get Up, Stand Up
Skin Deep
Embrace ‘The Santa Cruz Challenge’
Food Fight
Shut Up, Skinny Bitches!
Tea Time
Divinitree

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Making the Homeless Count

Making the Homeless Count

GT tags along on the 2011 Homeless Census and learns how Santa Cruz takes an imperfect science and does one of the nation’s most perfected counts.

I’m not much of a morning person. So when I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. the night before taking part in the Jan. 25 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census, I feared the worst—for all I knew, I wasn’t even an operable human being that early. I’d surely be a bleary-eyed zombie, at best.

I moaned and grumbled as I forced myself out of bed the next morning. But as I filled the largest travel mug I own with some much-needed coffee, I gazed out of the kitchen window into the dark, frosty winter morning and a wave of humbling realization washed over me. Here I was, irritated to be yanked from my warm, comfy bed in my safe little house, grumpily making coffee in my very own kitchen, and yet in less than an hour I’d be setting out to count people who had spent last night, like most nights, outside, prey to the elements. These would be people who rise at this godforsaken hour every morning because they have to keep moving, because they don’t feel safe, or because they can’t be wherever it is they are.

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In Search of Charlie Chan

In Search of Charlie Chan

The Cruz Connection.  How a longtime Santa Cruz resident, Helen Kinau Wilder, figures prominently
Charlie Chan, the great fictional detective, was a man of mystery and intrigue—as well as a racist cultural stereotype wrapped in an enigma. For an entire generation of mainstream America he represented a skewed and constructed image of Chinese Americans, a deferential and asexual caricature, spewing out fortune-cookie clichés for mass consumption.

Beginning in the early 1920s through the end of the 1940s, Chan was a remarkably ubiquitous icon in American film and literature, comic books and television shows. Chan was the title character in no fewer than six novels by the popular mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers, a rather proper Mid-Westerner and Harvard graduate who first “created” the Chan character in 1917 and brought him into the world full-bloom in 1925, in his novel “The House Without a Key,” first published serially in the Saturday Evening Post.

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Great Shot

Great Shot

Behind the lens with wedding photographer Joop Rubens — how he captures the most important memories on a wedding day and why he stands out
There’s one person at your wedding that is going to be up in your business more than anyone else. Are you guessing that it’s your mother-in-law? Nope. The wedding planner? Close, but not quite there. Your new husband-to-be? Almost. It’s your photographer. Surprised?

Don’t be, because whomever you contract to take photos on your wedding day is going to be there when your mom buttons up your dress; when the makeup artist applies the final swipe of lipstick; when your maid of honor hands you that “something blue.” The photographer will be there for the first kiss, the exchange of rings, the cutting of the cake, the first dance, and every other epic moment that happens on the best day of your life.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire