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Sep 03rd
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Cover Stories

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Spine Time

Spine Time

People who are passionate about what they do are truly magnetic. Seemingly lit from within, they emanate an intrinsic confidence and undaunted fortitude that draws others directly into their orbits. Like the sun at the center of its own universe, John Amaral, D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) is one of those people.

“I believe that more people need to experience what it feels like when they’re not trying to be someone else or be somewhere else, to just experience who they are, why they’re here and what they’re made of without self-judgment or striving,” Amaral says of his dedication to helping others attain a higher quality of living.

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Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice

The art of sharing power and responsibility to create community
Downtown Santa Cruz, a high school student takes clothes from a store without paying and is caught in the act. Instead of going to jail, she agrees to meet with a store manager to discuss the act and mutually agree on what to do next. 

An elementary school garden is destroyed by teenagers. During a restorative dialogue, the teenagers sob with sadness, realizing the affect they’ve had on the younger kids who put so much energy into growing their garden.

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{second} Night Life

{second} Night Life

Groundbreaking local business Virtual Venues Network gives live music fans the next best thing to being there
In the late ’90s, local music promoter Michael Horne went to a Rolling Stones concert that changed his life. It wasn’t the music that made such a big impression—it was the fact that rather than watching the band, Horne found himself focused on a giant screen that was showing the concert to audience members too far back to get a good view of the performers. “We were way, way back in the nosebleed seats, and it started to rain,” he recalls. “I remember looking at my girlfriend: ‘You realize we paid 130 bucks to watch a screen’—because Mick’s an inch tall—‘in the rain? And everyone’s happy! We’re stoked to pay $130, 20 bucks to park, $8 for a bottle of water, sit in the nosebleed seats, watch the screen and call that rock & roll!’”

 

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Mid-Summer Reads

Mid-Summer Reads

Santa Cruz homeboy Wallace Baine leads the pack of inventive pageturners this summer
Full reviews of:
The New Good Life by John Robbins
Standing Up to the Madness by Amy Goodman and David Goodman
Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Ravishing of Lol Stein by Margarette Duras
THE HOT LIST FROM LOCAL BOOKSELLERS

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More Than Numbers

More Than Numbers

Inside the Community Assessment Project, what it means for locals and why it is important for Santa Cruz County

PLUS: Take the CAP Community Goals Survey click here


"People think that how you improve quality of life is so complicated that it can’t be done, but really, it should be no more complicated than this,” says Susan Brutschy matter-of-factly.


Brutschy, the enthusiastic president of local social research nonprofit Applied Survey Research (ASR), is referring to her firm’s magnum opus, the Santa Cruz County Community Assessment Project (CAP), an extensive annual report on the county’s quality of life. The report includes a variety of data—from the acres of organic farmland (3,341) and how many miles the average resident commutes to work (26.9) to what percentage of the county’s children live beneath the federal poverty level (17.8). It also notes that, in 2009, 72 percent of residents surveyed were “very satisfied” with their overall quality of life.

But the interesting information doesn’t stop there.

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2012

2012

Why are we so fascinated with the end of the world?
To this day, you’ll hear people say that the film Psycho has left them permanently afraid to take showers, or that they’re still terrified of the ocean because of Jaws. But no tale of terror has made a longer-lasting impression on American minds than the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. Nearly 2,000 years after John of Patmos penned this weighty prophecy of cataclysm and deliverance, adherents continue to anticipate the day of reckoning, simultaneously haunted by the fear of global demolition and elated by the promise of salvation.

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Q & A Water Ways

Q & A Water Ways

Is desalination the answer? Local parties sound off.
The city of Santa Cruz plans to build a desalination plant to offset water deficits during the worst summer droughts—the kind that hit once every 10 to 30 years. Models predict that if Santa Cruz continues to grow, and UC Santa Cruz expands, we will be left bone dry—at least if current water use trends continue during the driest of all summers.

When Santa Cruz doesn’t need the water, the Soquel Creek Water District will run the desalination plant, supplementing underground water reserves that have dipped dangerously low due to prior over-use. Soquel aquifers now face the danger of saltwater intrusion from the Bay, which could damage water quality indefinitely. This is why the district needs to find an alternative water supply, or perhaps heighten conservation and the regulation of pumping from competing private wells, depending on who you ask.

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The Taoist Way

The Taoist Way

Mantak Chia on life, spirit, the soul, chi and the art of guiding the inner you
If you walk through a busy park in the morning, you’ll likely find countless joggers and dog walkers, but if you’re lucky, you may stumble upon a tranquil person or group practicing the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi. This unique form of martial arts is graceful and harmonious, emphasizing that spiritual tranquility within the individual complements Confucianism’s focus on social duty. Slow movements flow into one another in a sort of trancelike dance, as graceful as a tutu-clad Ballet Russe dancer. Mind, body and spirit seem to coalesce, and even just watching someone else perform this ritual can be a soothing experience in itself.

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ECO Patriots

ECO Patriots

Editor’s Note: The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico dominates the headlines as this goes to press, which makes our annual environmental issue a fitting reminder that the call to be an eco patriot grows louder by the day. This year, we found a special group of luminaries whose work in the world somehow makes a positive difference in the environment. From the guy whose “hippie” parents gave him the high spirits he needed to become a titan on the Green landscape to the gal whose fashion designs curb environmental waste, it’s hard not to be inspired. Behold: The Eco Patriots of 2010. 
See also: Eleven Steps to Green Living in 2010 and Tips for Greening Your Business (below).

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Tracking the Trade of Rare Meat

Tracking the Trade of Rare Meat

Researchers use biotechnology to identify foods made from endangered species
The burgeoning global meat trade has taken its toll on the Kouilou region of the Congo. A stretch of unprotected rainforest supplies a clandestine gorilla meat market, and last fall, investigators revealed that Kouilou gorillas are poached at a rate of two per week.

“The population of gorilla that we located is in sharp decline, and will probably become extinct in a few years if we do not stop that trend,” says Pierre Fidenci, president of the San Francisco-based Endangered Species International, which conducted the investigation.

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You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Girl Gone Wild

’70s SF recalled in raw, poignant ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’
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Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs