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Apr 27th
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The Ticker

Radiation Rundown

Radiation Rundown

What we know about the current and eventual repercussions of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant's nuclear disaster

Radiation released into the environment following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown has many people around the world worried, prompting regional groups such as S.O.S. Fukushima Response Santa Cruz to rally for international action in the ongoing cleanup process. While the prospect of increased, dangerous levels of radiation contaminating the world’s oceans is terrifying, experts say determining the immediate and long-term consequences of the disaster is difficult to estimate, and that there is not enough evidence of danger on California’s coastline to warrant mass hysteria, but that the incident demands close attention by government authorities. Here is what researchers and government officials know so far:

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CultureBeat

New Video Explores Sanctuary Camps

New Video Explores Sanctuary Camps

Brent Adams, a local homeless advocate and champion of the Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp housing concept, recently returned home from a multi-state tour researching and documenting more than a half dozen citizen-organized, community-sanctioned homeless communities. Along with filmmaker Jeremy Leonard, Adams traveled throughout Oregon and Washington to interview the creators, inhabitants and neighbors of camps known as “Opportunity Village,” in Eugene, Ore., “Camp Quixote,” in Olympia, Wash., and “Tent City #3,” in Seattle. The pair recently completed and released a new 30-minute documentary entitled “Exploring the Sanctuary Camp Concept.”

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Staycation

Hofsas House Hotel

Hofsas House Hotel

Bavarian charm and ideal locale create the perfect Carmel getaway

You wouldn’t know it from looking at it from street level, but Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel happens to have one of the most striking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and portions of Carmel Beach than any other vacation portal in all of Carmel.

That’s just one of the many things about Hofsas that stand out. The other notables revolve around the hotel’s history—family-owned and prospering now for 60 years—and its Bavarian-inspired theme. (It really is like stepping into a European fairy tale.

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The Ticker

Charges Announced in Cyclist Death

Charges Announced in Cyclist Death

Vehicular manslaughter charges brought forth in case that killed a local cyclist 

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office will charge a 63-year-old motorist with vehicular manslaughter for the crash that killed a local cyclist.

Josh Alper, 40, was struck and killed while biking southbound on Highway 1 near Davenport on Nov. 2.  

Navindra Jain of Santa Cruz was driving northbound when he veered into oncoming traffic and crossed over into the bicycle line, hitting Alper. Jain has previously told authorities he fell asleep at the wheel driving home from religious services in Milpitas. He remained at the scene after the crash and spoke with authorities there.

Wednesday, after a lengthy investigation into the crash, prosecutors said they would charge Jain with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. The charge is different from felony gross vehicular manslaughter, which requires evidence that the person acted in such a reckless way that it creates a high risk of death.

Jain has not yet been arraigned.

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The Ticker

Voices of Lower Pacific

Voices of Lower Pacific

Employees at Lower Pacific Avenue businesses weigh in on what it is like to work in the area

Just a few blocks inland from Santa Cruz’s sought-after coastline, Downtown Santa Cruz boasts a wealth of offerings. Yet, the portion of this bustling city center that is nearest to the beach has, historically, been viewed as having the most troubles.

Today, the stretch—where Pacific Avenue and Laurel Street intersect—is a hotbed of change. The storefront next to Taco Bell, once a glass shop, is now vacant. The Asti’s new neighbor, KC’s Sports Bar and Lounge, is set to open Sunday, Feb. 23, replacing The Avenue Bar, which was forced to liquidate in 2012.

Then there are the city’s efforts to improve the area. The Kaiser Permanente Arena, which opened Dec. 23, 2012 with an inaugural Warriors basketball game, has brought added foot traffic to the tract. Future changes may stem from the city’s attempt to collaborate with nearby businesses to light the walkway along the San Lorenzo River levee, and the surveying of parking conditions in the lower downtown region to determine the zone’s need for a new parking structure. Despite the changes, crime remains a long-standing concern in the area.

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CultureBeat

The Show Will Go On

The Show Will Go On

Shakespeare Santa Cruz meets fundraising goal to fund summer performances 

In what Shakespeare Play On is calling a “Herculean” fundraising effort, the nonprofit has raised enough money to fund a two-play Shakespeare Santa Cruz season this summer.

This comes after professional repertory company Shakespeare Santa Cruz closed at the end of the 2013 season with nearly 80 plays under its belt. Shakespeare Play On formed in the wake of the closure to lead the charge for its revival, and is comprised of a Board of Directors, artistic leadership and an advisory board that includes such luminaries as Sir Patrick Stewart and Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis. 

The recent fundraising push for $885,000 resulted in $1.1 million raised.

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The Ticker

Bike Beef

Bike Beef

Santa Cruz City Council authorizes plan to give recovered bicycles to Teen Center

Over the past two years, the subject of bicycles recovered by the Santa Cruz Police Department has proven itself to be one of the most contentious political hot potatoes for the City of Santa Cruz. How do old bicycles from the SCPD evidence locker best serve local youth—as sustainable forms of transportation, as a source of city revenue to fund youth programs, or a cross between the two? And who is best suited for the job? The city and the community have different ideas on the matter. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 28, the Santa Cruz City Council voted to direct the recovered bicycles—of which there are about 400 to 500 annually—to the Teen Center, a youth program of the city. The Teen Center will be charged with distributing bikes to kids who need them most, while the ones in the most disrepair will be sold to help fund the Teen Center’s operations.

Much to the community’s discontent, especially bike advocates, the city began auctioning off all of the bicycles last summer, bringing in about $3,000 in revenue for nonprofit programming, said Assistant to the City Manager Scott Collins, who presented to the council a short rundown on the city’s history of bike distribution and potential new options.

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CultureBeat

Witnessing Mavericks

Witnessing Mavericks

A firsthand account of reporting at Mavericks

They had the road blocked at Capistrano, so we had to park on the east side of Highway 1 and make our way the mile or so to the beach entrance. My nephew, Ethan, had the day off and was along for the ride, eager to see the infamous breakers. Knowing that we only had a few hours of the morning, I decided we needed to make haste.

Like a trooper, the 12 year old kept up with my 6’2” frame as I barged past the Mavericks Festival tents and the Half Moon Bay Brewery until we got just beyond the Green Pier, where I made a beeline for the beach. Sheriffs had the entrance blocked and steadfastly refused us access. I showed them my press pass and they laughed.

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The Ticker

Protesting Jail Funding

Protesting Jail Funding

Sin Barras calls on community to reject jail expansion grant

The Board of State and Community Corrections officially recommended yesterday, Thursday, Jan. 16, that Santa Cruz County receive a $24.8 million grant sought for expansion at the Rountree Detention Center in South County.

Holding signs with slogans such as “Invest in Jobs, Health and Education—Not Incarceration,” members of Sin Barras, Californians United for a Responsible Budget and their supporters rallied yesterday afternoon around the Clock Tower in Downtown Santa Cruz to call on the public to ask our local Board of Supervisors to reject the funds and encourage voters to tell officials “No More Money for Jails!” The grant money is provided for in Senate Bill 1022, which allocates state funding for local, adult criminal justice facilities. The Board of Supervisors has 90 days to either accept or decline the funds.

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CultureBeat

The 2014 Oscar Nominations: Shockers, Snubs and Wish Lists

The 2014 Oscar Nominations: Shockers, Snubs and Wish Lists

Lee Daniels The Butler didn't do it—score an Oscar nomination that is. Nor did the film's actors, which makes it one of the more curious snubs of the 2014 Oscar season. Nominations were announced early Thursday.

American Hustle and Gravity boasted the most attention—10 noms in all for each—and Nebraska surpassed expectations, grabbing nods for Best Picture, Actor (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (the delightful June Squibb), Best Director (Alexander Payne) and Best Screenplay (Bob Nelson).

Good news for Dallas Buyers Club, the riveting period piece about an HIV-positive man in the 1980s who became an unlikely advocate for others during the AIDS crisis: The film collected six nominations, alongside Captain Phillips and Nebraska.

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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

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

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise