Santa Cruz Good Times

Dec 01st
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Orient Express

Orient Express

Hotel Kabuki brings Japanese splendor to the Bay

I recently pulled off a visit to Japan—minus the 13-hour flight, minus the jetlag and minus the wallet-busting cost. Well, sort of. Feeling the urge to have an exotic vacation but lacking the means and time to really reach Tokyo, I sought out a hotel in the Bay Area that might be able to satiate my travel bug.

A getaway to the Orient at the 218-room Hotel Kabuki, part of the Joie de Vivre chain of boutique hotels, turned out to be a worthy alternative to jet-setting during these economic times, and it’s a quick jaunt from Santa Cruz.

Great deals can be found online at; standard rooms range from $99 during weekdays to $119 during weekends, and a Deluxe View King Room at $99 is a steal if you catch the right price at the right time. If you reserve your stay online, you even get a complimentary pass to the nearby (and well-known) Kabuki Springs and Spa communal baths (a $20 value). A special offer until June 15, you can now get a third night free when you book a minimum three-night stay (enter “JOIE” promo code).

The Ticker

Pink Man Withdrawals From Council Race

Robert Steffen, featured in the Jan. 21 issue of Good Times for his recent interest in city politics and a seat on the city council, has announced his plans to withdraw from the Santa Cruz City Council race in November. For other candidates such as Councilmember Lynn Robinson, who plans to run again, and David Terazzas, who is strongly considering it, the race is just getting started. In an email to GT, Steffen cited health concerns for his decision to drop out. “I am sorry to disappoint those among your readers who are my supporters, but, as I am certain they will understand, one's health must come first,” he writes. “Perhaps another time.”

The Ticker

City Manager to Retire

After serving as City Manager for the City of Santa Cruz for nearly 30 years, Richard Wilson has announced he will retire at the end of July. “I love the City of Santa Cruz and my work here,” he stated in a city press release on Jan. 27. “If I waited until I was tired of that work to retire, it would never happen.” Wilson has seen Santa Cruz through many financial tight spots, including the nearly $9 million budget shortfall the city faced in early 2009.  In June 2009, he spoke with Good Times about the financial crisis, the city’s future and his experience as city manager over the years. Read it here
The Ticker

Vets Hall Closed Indefinitely

The beloved Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building closed indefinitely starting on Jan. 21 after an “architect and engineer surveyed the Veterans Memorial Building...and identified potential issues and damage to structural elements,” according to executive director Tim Brattan. An integral hub for the Santa Cruz community, the Vets Hall is a center for veterans, but also for yoga and dance classes, community events, concerts and much more. The fate of the Hall remains uncertain. Look for more coverage on its closure in next week’s Good Times.

The Ticker

Recent Rains Help City Water Supply

On Jan. 26, the City of Santa Cruz Water Department issued a report concerning the current water supply conditions, stating that rainfall in Santa Cruz measures 14.98 inches, just slightly below the long-term average of 15.28 inches. The Loch Lomond watershed has received over 31 inches of rain so far this year and is now “full and spilling,” according to the report. However, the document also cautions that although average rainfall is better now than at this time last year, it is too early to say that the city’s water supply outlook is good. It states that, “more wet weather is needed in February and March for local watersheds that provide the city’s water supply to be fully replenished for the year ahead.”

Mind & Body

Will the Rain Ever Stop?

Will the Rain Ever Stop?

Acclimating to an indoor life is a winter happening, even in this un-extreme climate.  This transformation is a balance:  the dark to the light, the yin to the yang, the rest to the action.  And it is this stopping that is crucial to a yogic life.  It begins as a forced exile – outdoor activity curtailed -  reading more, meditating more, sleeping more, thinking more, obsessing more.  I have heard many teachers tout the importance of savasana (resting pose) as the most influential posture.  This resting will balance the movement, they say, and assist in the slow opening of the heart.

I have only to look over at the amaryllis that Aunt Madeline sent me for Christmas, as she does every year.  Yesterday the flower bloomed, after a strict dormancy, in the dead of January – a preview of my heart.

The Ticker

River Overflows Toward Tannery

River Overflows Toward Tannery

Residents of the Tannery Arts Center lofts were on storm watch last week, as the San Lorenzo River, which runs right behind their residences, continued to rise. During the height of the storm, the river was rising about one foot per hour, according to Warren Reed, director of property management for The John Stewart Company, which oversees the Tannery property. Management asked all residents to evacuate their vehicles from the parking lot in the 1030 building on Wednesday at 2 p.m., as the river was within two feet of the level. Tannery residents were able to return their cars to the garage the following day, when the river was steadily dropping.  Pictured here is the view of the overflowing river from an above Tannery loft.

The Ticker

Peace Sign to be Turned Off in Symbolic Gesture

Peace Sign to be Turned Off in Symbolic GestureA local symbol of hope will not soon be gone or forgotten, as Capitola woman flips the switch her peace sign
Capitola resident and retired high school teacher Virginia Given Gregory has decided she will be turning off her iconic 11-foot wide, light-up peace sign for most of the evening to reduce energy waste. She used to light it for a full 12 hours every night.

Virginia Gregory added the lighted sign to her house at 118 Cliff Ave., with the help of her son Jim Given, who lives next door. They put up the decoration up last November just as her neighbors were getting into the Christmas spirit.
The Ticker

Second Harvest Loves New Leaf

This past holiday season, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County sought to raise more than ever in donations, and added a new effort to their long list of drives to boost monetary donations: The Give a Little, Feed a Lot campaign, in which local retailers asked customers to donate a dollar to Second Harvest throughout the month of December. New Leaf Community Markets raised more than any other participating retailer, gathering $4,435 in customer donations, which have since been handed over to Second Harvest. According to the Food Bank, one dollar can feed a family of five—by our calculations, New Leaf customers will feed 22,175 people.
The Ticker

The Beetles are Coming

The Golden Spotted Oak Borer Beetle has invaded California and is ravaging plant life in San Diego. University of California scientists are working hard to study the beetle's  impact and how best to mitigate it. Experts from UC Riverside are also warning people about discounted firewood selling in Southern California, often on the side of the road. Many of these logs were chopped from fallen trees already destroyed by the beetle and are still infested. If brought to the Central Coast, they could wreak havoc on native oak trees.
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Santa Cruz Gives

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Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


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