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Apr 19th
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Kick the Habit in 30 Days

Kick the Habit in 30 Days

How to break the addiction to always using cars and embrace the wild array of sustainable transportation options right in front of you Special Publication: Commute Solutions

Addiction: the condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

As Americans, we often speak of the dangers of addiction to things such as drugs, alcohol and gambling. But what about that nasty habit we’re all guilty of—our addiction to using cars?

It’s a widespread dependency. Santa Cruz County residents, in total, traveled 5,428,740 miles by vehicle every day in 2007, according to the California Department of Transportation, and it’s not showing any sign of slowing. The 2000 census reported 126,106 commuters in Santa Cruz County, but the Association of Monterey Bay Area Government projects that this figure will be 208,750 by the year 2030. That’s an additional 82,644 commuters on our roadways, and an ominous leap in our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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floral godmother

floral godmotherLinda Arietta of Country Essences Flowers works her own brand of magic for local brides-to-be

PLUS: For the complete guide to the Bridal Expo at the Cocoanut Grove click here.

Remember the fairy godmother in the Disney movie Cinderella? With a wave of her magic wand the ethereal lady turned pumpkins into coaches and mice into men, spoiling Cinderella rotten one enchanted evening by giving her everything her heart desired. In the Central Coast wedding industry, consider Linda Arietta of Country Essences Flowers your very own personal fairy godmother that will make you feel like royalty as you marry your own Prince Charming—glass slippers not included.

When you choose Country Essences Flowers to provide the buds for your nuptials, you simply can’t go wrong. Arietta has technically been arranging flowers her entire life. “I did flowers with my mother when I was a little girl,” she remembers fondly. “I helped do the arrangements at the church.” Outside of the traditional wedding season of May through September, Arietta does flowers for local businesses and corporations such as Shadowbrook in Capitola, and teaches flower-arranging classes for area country clubs, schools and women’s groups. Add that to the fact that this floral maven has owned and tended her own flower ranch for the past 40 years—doing between 60 and 70 weddings per year I might add—and you’ve got a florist that really knows her ABC’s (as in azaleas, begonias, chrysanthemums).

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Meet The NEXTies

Meet The NEXTiesIn the first awards ceremony of its kind, Santa Cruz Next honors Danny Keith, Marina Sousa, Reyna Ruiz and Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz  for their standout creative efforts.

Somebody once said, “What you focus on grows,” to which I immediately wondered: “Well, what am I focusing on … internally … and how is that growing—manifesting—on the outside?” For the four individuals spotlighted on the following pages— Danny Keith, Reyna Ruiz, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz Owner and Marina Sousa—their inner callings not only led them to follow their heart’s desires but to find a way where their hearts’ desires could somehow spill back into the community and make a positive difference. It’s one of the reasons why these locals are each being awarded a NEXTie Award on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Santa Cruz. The first annual endeavor of its kind, a ceremony honoring locals whose contributions to the community boldly stand out, was birthed by Santa Cruz Next, the local organization that “seeks to enhance the quality of life” of its members and “the community at large.” There are a number of ways SCN does that but by illuminating and, perhaps, actively advancing the development of economic, social and cultural opportunities locally, it seems to strive to connect the town’s “next” generation to the greater community.  The folks on the following pages are being honored for championing such amazing efforts. Keith, who is owner of Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop, has been vigilantly raising the level of awareness on local hunger issues.

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RALLY ’round the iPhone

RALLY  ’round the iPhone

Local tekkies generate buzz with an iPhone app focused on ‘real friends’
There is a specter haunting social media. And though you may hate to admit it, your technophobic uncle somehow managed to hit the nail right on the head in his requisite New Year’s Eve diatribe on how things were better in the “good old days.”

Let’s face it, you don’t hang out with 95 percent of your Facebook friends, you will never even meet half the people you follow on Twitter and you certainly don’t care that Ashton Kutcher is waiting to get a triple venti mocha on North Beverly Drive. All the same, tweets and status updates such as these are edging out the important ones: a friend you haven’t seen in years is passing through town today; an old flame you’ve been hoping to reconnect with is heading to your favorite bar for drinks; a potential client is attending the same seminar as you. You missed all of these vital pieces of information because your high school sweetheart, who you haven’t seen in five years, just got a new lap dog.

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Top of the Class

Top of the Class

Five UC Santa Cruz innovators break the creative mold with projects destined to make a positive difference
There is a lot more going on at the UC Santa Cruz campus than you may know— revolutionary computer games, gardening that’s “hip,” ocean advocates, and a cure for cancer and solution to blindness. As a brand new decade begins, take note of five innovators whose work is already generating powerful change.

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10 Things That Stood Out Locally in the Last Decade

10 Things That Stood Out Locally in the Last Decade

Editor’s Note: Welcome to the light at the end of the dark, sometimes daunting tunnel that was the decade of the ’00s. Y2K what? Oh that Bush and Dick. (Don’t assume I’m talking about George and Cheney.) And terrorism—thanks for the fear? Ah, Barack! Happy to have you at the helm ushering in the post-George Bush Jr. era. I can go on and on about the last decade, and all those things that stand out—the gutting of most major media, celeb obsessions and the silly notion that we are communicating better with each other because we have more gadgets that can “communicate” better. Wrong. Instead, for now, I propose that in 2010, we turn off the TV more often, quit texting each other from across the table, look into each others eyes more and relish the fact that we’re human. It might be a decent thing, too, to give something back to a planet that seems to be in need of environmental CPR. But let’s not preach. Ponder all this in your free time. Meanwhile, take a peek back at 10 things that stood out locally in the past decade. And let’s enjoy the new one. | Greg Archer

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Tales of Tanzania

Tales of Tanzania

Not too long ago, I walked into my office and found a picture of my family on my desk. This may not seem unusual. After all, many people have framed pictures of their loved ones, especially on their desks. Pictures of my family, however, have a different home. They’re perched on a shelf, facing me, three feet away from my desk, and I often look up admiringly and find family members staring back.

“What are you up to now?” I imagine them asking.

“The usual: trying to get out of my own way,” I might silently respond. (It’s this thing we have.)

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The many faces of Joe

The many faces of JoeThe life and times of Joseph Ribeiro is full of drama. And he likes it that way.

Midway through our interview, Joseph Ribeiro pauses to take a deep breath. “Are you bored yet?” he asks, chuckling.
Pity the poor jaded soul who manages to find himself bored in Joseph Ribeiro’s company. “I’m snowed under with teaching and rehearsing and choir work and saving the universe,” the longtime local actor offers, obviously tongue-in-cheek. It’s his explanation for having no time to meet in person. Regardless, his accent, a velvety blend of his native South Africa and the British cadences forced on him during his boyhood schooling, only seem to lure you in further.
“The teachers told me, ‘If you speak like that any longer, you’ll always be lower class.’ Just like Eliza Doolittle,” Ribeiro laughs. “I know what she went through, poor gal. I learned to speak posh.”
There’s also a tiny hint of an American inflection in his voice, just the barest suggestion of the last 20 years, which he’s spent mostly as a teacher, performer, and choirmaster in the Bay Area. Dec. 18 will find him playing the title character in the Cabrillo Stage production of “Scrooge,” where he’s been a Theater Arts instructor since 1996.

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Freshly Cut

Freshly Cut

Four local bands make a fast impression
Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. We all know it’s easy to feel the lethargy that sets in at the end of a long year as the start of El Niño advisories kick into gear, but wallowing in a season of bedroom iPod sessions doesn’t have to be the call. With Santa Cruz teeming with musicians, the following are four local bands whose live shows leave no room for idle observation. During the past year, each has corralled audience participation and allegiance that’s making heads turn. Whether through jagged classic rock mayhem, a feverish  ska whirlwind, amorphous post-punk power or a blistering funk shake-up, each tantalizes with a reputation for a high-adrenaline show that’s spreading as infectious and as fast as the H1N1.
No matter how epic your playlist may be, seeing the real thing live will keep you toastier than your long underwear—so go to a show and leave your coat at the door. You’ll stay warm through the music.

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What happens if it’s legal?

What happens if it’s legal?

The decades-old push to legalize marijuana finally gains political momentum in California. But is it the right thing to do?

On Oct. 28, Dale Gieringer did what millions of marijuana smokers have only dreamed of doing: He sat before lawmakers and told them why marijuana should be legal.
Gieringer serves as the state coordinator of the San Francisco-based California chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML). Founded in 1970, NORML is the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to lobbying governments to legalize the possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana.

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Smells Like Team Spirit

The organizers of TEDx Santa Cruz don’t just talk about this year’s theme, ‘radical collaboration’—they live it

 

Pluto Retrograde, Aries New Moon, Lyrid Meteor Showers

As the Lyrid meteors, radiating from the star Vega in the Harp constellation, begin showering heaven and earth with light, Pluto, planet of transformation (or die) turns stationary retrograde (Thursday, April 16), 15 degrees Capricorn. Retrogrades have purpose, allowing humanity time to review, reassess, research and reinvent while returning to previous situations. Retrogrades are times of inner activity, seeds sown in bio-dynamically prepared soil. Pluto retrograde is the most serious and resolute of retrogrades—a pure tincture, or, as in homeopathy, a “constitutional” touching the essences of all that matters. Pluto offers deep insight into confusion or puzzlement and areas where transformation is still incomplete. It’s valuable to have one’s astrology chart to follow what area of life the major planets— especially Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—are influencing. These outer planets have long-term and lasting effects on our psyche, inner/outer life events, how people see us and how we see and process our world. Pluto, retrograde for five months (until Sept. 24) offers deep earthquakes of change, awakens humanity to the task of building (Capricorn) the new culture and civilization, flailing our inner world about, deepening us until we transform and do things differently. Pluto is an unrelenting teacher. New moon (29 Aries) is Saturday, April 18. With the personality-building keynote, “Let form again be sought.” Mars anchors the new creative fires of Aries into our world. The New Group of World Servers participates together in the new moon festival, while also preparing for the Taurus Wesak, Buddha Full Moon Festival (May 3). Join us everyone.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Mighty Leaf

Radicchio from Dirty Girl Produce, wine etiquette fail, and a treat from Gayle’s

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

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

 

37th Parallel Wines

I visited the Capitola Mall recently to check out the newly launched Third Fridays Walking Art Tour, and was surprised to find an impressive assortment of artwork from local artists.

 

New Bohemian Brewery

New Santa Cruz brewery focuses on European style lagers