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CultureBeat

California’s Drought Requires Immediate Conservation Measures

California’s Drought Requires Immediate  Conservation Measures

Citing a record dry 2013 and a current snowpack that is 20 percent of normal, Gov. Brown has declared an official State of Emergency regarding California’s drought.  The declaration allows state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and ensures that the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages.  Additionally, state water officials will have the flexibility to manage water supply throughout California and state agencies have been directed to initiate immediate conservation measures.

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Staycation

The Vagabond's House Inn

The Vagabond's House Inn

Carmel Haven Wins Points For Perfect Locale and Cozy Setting

Some of Carmel's larger hotels get—and deserve—a lot of attention, but lately, I've discovered that it's the smaller, more quaint establishments that deserve some real kudos. Enter The Vagabod's House Inn. Conveniently perched just blocks from Downtown Carmel, you get a lot for your buck here— charm, solitude and an idyllic setting.

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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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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival