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The Ticker

Police Deaths Shake Santa Cruz

Police Deaths Shake Santa Cruz

Deaths of two police officers shock and sadden Santa Cruz 

As more than 100 people prepared to participate in a rally against gun violence at the Town Clock tower on Tuesday, Feb. 26, event organizer Gini Bianchi says multiple police cars suddenly screeched past the crowd, heading rapidly in the direction of Water Street and Branciforte Avenue.

Just after 3:30 p.m., more police cars, paramedic vehicles and a Santa Cruz Fire Truck with its horn blaring raced past, and a moment later helicopters were circling overhead.

Santa Cruz Police Department detectives Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Elizabeth Butler, who were following up on a sexual assault charge called in earlier that week, contacted the 35-year-old suspect Jeremy Goulet at his Branciforte Avenue home. He then gunned down both officers on his doorstep, according Sheriff Phil Wowak and Deputy April Skalland, who spoke during a press conference at the SCPD station on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Authorities say Goulet then took the officers' weapons and stole Baker's car.

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CultureBeat

On The Spot

On The Spot

Actress Suzanne Schrag celebrates ‘Two Dozen Years Of Makin’ It Up’ with local improv group Um…Gee…Um

As a member of the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit improvisational theater troupe Um…Gee…Um, local actress Suzanne Schrag can travel to the moon and back, become a member of the CIA, be crowned a princess, and still be home in time for dinner. The company, which will celebrate its 24th anniversary with a show called “Two Dozen Years of Makin’ It Up” on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Broadway Playhouse, was founded by eight students who met in Wilma Marcus Chandler’s Cabrillo College theater improvisation class in 1989, and have been performing together ever since. Their goal? To “to tickle the imagination” by taking the audience with them on their wildly comedic and farcical adventures, which can last anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour.

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CultureBeat

Designers, Make It Work

Designers, Make It Work

Local artist/teacher hopes to expand annual teen fashion show with fundraising campaign

 

Kathleen Crocetti, a local artist and teacher at Mission Hill Middle School in Santa Cruz, seeks support to expand fashionTEENS Santa Cruz, an annual fashion show featuring the recycled designs of and modeled by middle and high school students in Santa Cruz County. Since its inception three years ago, the show has entertained sold-out crowds with one-of-a-kind outfits created with reconstructed clothes found in area thrift shops. The show has gotten so popular over the years that it now requires a much larger space than Mission Hill to accommodate the sell-out crowd. Crocetti has her eyes on the Civic Auditorium for this year’s event, scheduled to take place on April 17, and hopes that a Kickstarter campaign will help make that dream a reality.

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CultureBeat

School Of Rock

School Of Rock

Arindam Krishna Das on the making of another smashing rock opera featuring local youth

Arindam Krishna Das is not afraid of taking risks when it comes to his theatrical productions. Since directing his first play at Little People’s Repertory Theater nearly 15 years ago, Das has developed a reputation around Santa Cruz County for his unique artistic vision, go-big-or-go-home mentality, and ability to breathe new life into classic musicals, from “Annie” to “The Rocky Horror Show.” Das plans to continue that tradition this month at San Lorenzo Valley High School, where he will unveil The Who’s “Tommy” on Feb. 15.

Thirty-two SLVHS students will help tell the story of Tommy Walker, a “deaf, dumb and blind boy” who becomes the leader of a messianic movement after discovering his inexplicable mastery of the pinball machine. The rock opera, based on Pete Townshend’s 1969 eponymous double-album which sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, features a number of chart-toppers, including “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “See Me, Feel Me” and “Pinball Wizard,” and implores the audience to reflect on the social norms of the 1950s and today.

In the days leading up to opening night, we sat down with Das to discuss the art of the rock opera, what it takes to put on a production of this magnitude, and what he hopes the audience will take away from “Tommy.”

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The Ticker

Helping Pets 
In Need

Helping Pets 
In Need

BirchBark Foundation announces its launch this spring

When pets and their owners grow together over the years, they become more than just human and animal—they become companions and friends. And like all good friends that stick around, pets can become an indispensable part of the family. So what happens if an unexpected illness or injury threatens a pet’s life, but the treatment they need to survive is beyond the owner’s means?


When faced with circumstances like these, pet owners of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties had few options other than payment plans, adoption, or euthanasia—until now.


The recently launched nonprofit the BirchBark Foundation was formed for “people that have the heart, the house, and all the resources to care for their pet, but suddenly face a catastrophic medical problem they can’t afford to pay for,” says Dr. Merrianne Burtch, founder and president of the BirchBark Foundation.

Throughout her 14 years of treating animals at Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Service, which she founded in 1999 and co-owns, Burtch says she ran into these sorts of financial crises all too often. In March of last year, she decided to do something about it. 


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The Ticker

Preserving Living Landscapes

Preserving Living Landscapes

Land Trust of Santa Cruz County raises $13.5 million to protect local land

The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (LTSCC) recently announced the completion of its 18-month campaign to raise $13.5 million from community members to help protect vital habitats within the county, from the subtle sentience of the Cemex Redwood Forest, to the ancient seafloor of the Sandhills habitat, to the rolling Pajaro Hills east of Watsonville. In total, they have helped to preserve 9,900 acres of land because of the campaign.

In 2011, LTSCC partnered with The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save the Redwoods League, and Sempervirens Fund, to form the Living Landscape Initiative (LLI), which assisted in protecting the recently acquired CEMEX Redwood forest.

The 8,500-acre CEMEX Redwood Forest north of Davenport was one of the largest unprotected habitats in Santa Cruz County until the LLI acquired the property from CEMEX, a concrete supply company. The forest is a key watershed for four creeks, one of which provides drinking water to Davenport, while another supplements the City of Santa Cruz with 20 percent of its potable water, according to LTSCC’s Outreach Manager Calah Pasley.

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CultureBeat

The Hunt For Bill Murray

The Hunt For Bill Murray

Director and UCSC alumnus Christopher Guerrero seeks out the elusive Bill Murray to star in thesis film

Christopher Guerrero, a UC Santa Cruz alumnus and current graduate student of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has an ambitious vision for his thesis film: to cast one of the most famous men in Hollywood, Bill Murray, in a lead role. It may sound like a pipe dream, but Guerrero and his crew are beyond determined to convince the iconic actor—by any means possible—to join them in Santa Cruz, where they intend to start filming in May of this year. In an effort to gain Murray’s attention, the group of students have established Bill Murray Appreciation Day (BMAD), set to take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, also known as Groundhog Day (a reference to Murray’s 1993 comedy of the same name). The inaugural event will be held on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, where fans dressed up as Bill Murray in his various film roles will embark on a BMAD Bar Crawl. Guerrero hopes that the celebration will extend beyond Los Angeles, however, and that fans will honor the day around the world each year. In preparation for this weekend’s event, we caught up with Guerrero to discuss his film, the new holiday, and the progress of his quest.

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The Ticker

The Pinnacle Of Parks

The Pinnacle Of Parks

Pinnacles National Monument becomes a national park, bringing good news to the area's economy and its resident condors 

As of this month, the United States has welcomed a new addition to the National Parks Program, and it happens to be in Santa Cruz County’s backyard. President Barack Obama signed a bill on Thursday, Jan. 10 officially recognizing Pinnacles National Monument, located near Soledad, Calif., as a national park.

The bill, which has been in the works since mid-2012, was drafted by Santa Cruz’s congressional representative, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel). According to a statement released by Farr, the upgrade of the park’s status could boost the area’s economy through increased tourism.

"By elevating Pinnacles National Monument to national park status we also elevate the region’s appeal to potential visitors," Farr said in the statement. "These new tourists will spend their dollars at local businesses and ultimately be the driving force that helps this region ... grow and eventually prosper."

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CultureBeat

Redefining Possible

Redefining Possible

Big wave surfer, Chris Bertish, the subject of new locally produced film 

When Aurelia Productions, a Santa Cruz film production company, first heard about Chris Bertish—winner of the 2010 Mavericks Invitational big wave surf competition and one of South Africa’s highest-profile watermen—they saw an opportunity to create change and inspire the world. After all, Bertish is more than just a surfer. When he’s not in the ocean, Bertish shares his positive and energetic spirit with others by inspiring and encouraging them to do what they love and to never give up. His unique story is the subject of a forthcoming feature-length film produced by Aurelia, entitled Ocean Driven: The Chris Bertish Story. In an effort to help make the film a reality, the company is hosting a fundraising dinner at Conscious Creations on Saturday, Jan. 26. We sat down with director Nadia Tarlow and Bertish himself to talk about the making and the purpose of the film.

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CultureBeat

Dance Through Time

Dance Through Time

Local movers and shakers bring the evolution of Santa Cruz dance to life on stage

Santa Cruz County is notorious for its lively dance community. From classic ballroom dance to contemporary hip-hop, conventional ballet to daring burlesque, we’ve got it all. But that hasn’t always been the case.

Prior to 1959, there wasn’t a formal dance class to be found in town.

All that changed when Roberta Bristol organized the first dance class at Cabrillo College, which served as a catalyst for the local movement.

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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