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Dec 27th
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The Ticker

The Great Debate

The Great Debate

SANTA CRUZ > Local debate explores whether public employees should be paid less

Santa Cruz has entered the debate on California’s budget deficits, and the Santa Barbara-based California Center for Public Policy (CCPP) is proposing a solution that some people may not agree with: reducing public employee compensation.

The CCPP, a libertarian think tank, organized a “Great Debate” on the subject as part of a statewide campaign to draw attention to the issue. The debate was held at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History on Tuesday, March 13 and was the first of seven debates in cities across California.

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Obsessive Beauty

A New Obsession

A New Obsession

Farewell to Obsessive Beauty, hello to The Penny Rose

Dear readers,

As you may have noticed, Obsessive Beauty has been on a hiatus for the last few months. That's because we've been working hard to transition the blog to the web. While Obsessive Beauty will still remain live on the Good Times' website, this will be our swan song. We say goodbye to its home here at GT and welcome its new incarnation at thepennyrose.com.

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The Ticker

Protecting the Home Front

Protecting the Home Front

SANTA CRUZ > Real estate agent lobbies for struggling local families

Barbara Palmer, president of the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors, met with 28 out of the 55 U.S. Representatives from California, as well as Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency executives on five separate trips to Washington D.C. last year. Lobbying on behalf of cash-strapped homeowners and the statewide realtors association, Palmer emphasized the devastating impacts of foreclosures on families and neighborhoods.  

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Mind & Body

Workplace Workouts

Workplace Workouts

Another day, another dollar. In this economy, it’s easy to make work a fulltime priority at the expense of seemingly dispensable endeavors like a fitness routine. But not only does all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, it also puts him at risk for headaches, back aches, listlessness, and lowered productivity. (Not to mention this could pack a few pounds on him.) If you have the kind of workplace flexibility that affords you lingering lunch breaks at the gym—great. Pack a salad, grab your towel, and take advantage of it.

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The Ticker

Battle of the Bags

Battle of the BagsSLUG REPORT > Students push for local cities to ban plastic bags

UC Santa Cruz students are joining the fight to ban plastic bags in Santa Cruz. The campus chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, staged a demonstration in Quarry Plaza on the UCSC campus on Wednesday, March 7. The students gave a brief presentation and handed out literature to people passing through the bustling plaza. The demonstration included a six-foot-tall board covered with bags to illustrate the 380 plastic grocery bags used in California every second.

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The Ticker

Caffe Lucio Fundraises for Local Child

A month ago, 7-year-old Ishmael Gomez went to sleep with his eyesight and woke up without it. The sudden loss of his sight remains a mystery for Ishmael, who is currently at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at the Stanford Medical Center, and his family.  “He was an absolutely normal kid—normal as normal comes—until one Tuesday morning he woke up and could not see anything,” Caffe Lucio owner Lucio Fanni writes to GT in an email. Ishmael’s father, Joel Gomez, has worked at Caffe Lucio for five years. The restaurant will host a fundraiser on Thursday, March 8, when 25 percent of all sales will go to the Gomez family. “This has been a great hardship on [the] Gomez family and a real medical mystery,” says Lucio. “I am inviting everyone to come in ... for a good cause.” Caffe Lucio, 381 Soquel Ave., 427-0164, caffelucio.com.

Mind & Body

The Down Low on Dozing

The Down Low on Dozing

It's National Sleep Awareness Week—ready to improve your sleep habits? 

Do you have difficulty catching some shuteye? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, 60 million Americans suffer from sleep disturbances every year. In light of National Sleep Awareness Week, which kicked off on Monday, March 5, we’ve taken the opportunity to look into the most common sleep disorders and unearth some tips for improving bedtime habits.

“There are simple ways to get a restful night’s sleep,” says Nora Distefano, physician and patient services representative at Central Coast Sleep Disorders Center. “Avoid any stimulant, like caffeine, before bedtime. Take a hot bath or shower to promote relaxation. If you’re having trouble sleeping in your bed, get out of bed and into another room.”

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Staycation

Sampling Sacramento

Sampling Sacramento

The state capital turns a skeptic into a satisfied visitor

The Citizen Hotel in Downtown Sacramento is an oasis of charm and style in an otherwise shabby neighborhood. The park directly across the street is, apparently, the most popular place for homeless to sleep, and an entire block to one side of the hotel is boarded up and vacant. Aided by the fact that I visited on a weekend, when the masses of legislators and their staffs are gone, the empty storefronts and sparsely populated streets gave off an eerie, downtrodden vibe.

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The Ticker

Water Talks

Water Talks

SANTA CRUZ > City council approves UCSC water expansion policy

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously passed a water expansion measure for UC Santa Cruz that would enable the university to not have to pay for water conservation measures that would offset water growth demand until they reach a baseline of 206 million gallons a year. This baseline number is based off of the water demand from 1997.

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The Ticker

Spreading the Medicine

While billions of dollars worth of medicine and supplies go unused each year, more Americans are going without prescription drugs because of costs. Sen. Joe Simitian, whose district includes Santa Cruz, recently unveiled a new piece of legislation that would make it easier for surplus prescription drugs and supplies to be redistributed in California. “Instead of throwing out perfectly good medicine, or worse, dumping it into our water supply, this bill will allow us to get it into the hands of people who need it the most,” Simitian said in a Feb. 24 press release. The bill, Senate Bill 1329, expands upon Senate Bill 798, which was also authored by Simitian and which passed in 2005, allowing counties to spearhead redistribution efforts. “At a time when the state and counties are strapped, and many Californians are struggling, this gets drugs that would otherwise be wasted to the people who really need them,” Simitian said. “It’s a clear win-win.” 

 
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Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Our Gifts - Fiery Sacrificial Lights to One Another

Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends and the Moon is in Aquarius, calling for the new world to take shape at midnight. Thursday morning, the sun, at the Tropic of Capricorn, begins moving northward. The desire currents are stilled. A great benediction of spiritual force (Capricorn’s Rays 1, 3, 7) streams into Earth. Temple bells ring out. The heavens bend low; the Earth is lifted up to the Light. Angels and Archangels chant, “On Earth, peace, goodwill to all.” As these forces stream into the Earth they assume long swirling lines of light, in the likeness of the Madonna and Child. The holy child is born. Let our hearts be “impressed” with and hold this picture, especially because Christmas may be difficult this year. Christmas Day is void of course moon (v/c moon), which means we may feel somewhat disconnected from one another. It’s difficult to connect in a v/c moon. Try anyway. Mercury joins Pluto in Capricorn. Uh oh … we don’t bring up the past containing any dark and difficult issues. We are to attempt new ways of communicating—expressing aspirations and love for one another, replacing wounding, sadness, lostness, and hurts of the past. Play soothing music, pray together, have the intention for peace, harmony and goodwill. Don’t be surprised if things feel out of control and/or arguments arise. We remember, before a new harmony emerges, chaos and crisis come first to clear the air. We are to be the harmonizers. Christmas evening is more harmonious, less difficult, more of what Christmas should be— radiations of love, sharing, kindness, compassion and care. Sunday, Feast Day of the Holy Family, is surprising. Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014. Taurus moon, a stabilizing energy, ushers in the New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! Peace to everyone. Let us realize we are gifts radiating diamond light to one another. Living sacrificial flames!

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Let My People Go

There’s a lot to like in Ridley Scott’s maligned ‘Exodus’
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Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her