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Apr 17th
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Chicken Refugees

Chicken Refugees

Almost 2,000 hens from Northern California need to be placed in new homes or face execution 

Approximately 1,800 chickens from a Northern California farm that have aged past their egg-bearing prime—about 1-and-a-half to 2 years old—need to be placed in homes before the second week of April or face certain death by poison gas.

When a farmer’s chickens stop producing an economically viable number of eggs, the birds are routinely put down. In California, the common means of death is by gas. 

Kim Sturla, executive director for Animal Place, a rescue organization headquartered on 600 acres in Grass Valley, helped to create a unique program in which the staff proactively contacts chicken egg farmers across the state and requests that they give their “spent” hens over to them as an alternative to the death sentencing. Animal Place then works with the SPCA and various animal shelters, such as the one belonging to Santa Cruz County, to place the chickens in new homes. Animal Place dubs these collaborators their “flock partners,” Sturla says.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Surfer Tackles GMOs

Surfer Tackles GMOs

Kyle Thiermann releases latest Surfing For Change film 

Local surfer and wave maker Kyle Thiermann has come a long way since he first graced the cover of Good Times back in 2009. Then, his Surfing For Change series had recently launched with the debut of his first issue-based mini-documentary, Claim Your Change. Today, he has just rolled out his eighth installment in the series. The 16-minute film, Pro Surfers vs. GMOs, explores the heated battle over genetically engineered seed testing taking place on the Hawaiian islands. Through informative interviews, protest footage, input from concerned pro surfers (including Kelly Slater and Dustin Barca) and more, Thiermann provides a compelling introduction to a timely and controversial issue. At stake for the Hawaiians in the film is the matter of heavy chemical use in the testing of GMOs, often near to schools. Check out the film, learn more and join the conversation at surfingforchange.com.

While you're at it, revisit our 2012 Q&A with Thiermann in the GT Active magazine. 

Blogs - 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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Blogs - 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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Blogs - 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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Blogs - 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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Blogs - 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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Blogs - The Ticker

Commercial Pot Grows Banned in Capitola

Commercial Pot Grows Banned in Capitola

The Capitola City Council unanimously passes a ban on commercial cultivation of medical marijuana  

Capitola is not big a place—the city covers less than 2 square miles and is home to fewer than 10,000 people living in very close proximity to each other. This was the bottom line when the Capitola City Council unanimously passed an “Urgency Ordinance” banning the commercial cultivation of medical marijuana on Thursday evening, Jan. 9. 

“We've struggled here trying to find locations for dog parks and skate parks without getting public opposition, and this is just another instance that falls into that realm,” said Councilmember Ed Bottorff. “It's just too small of an industrial area.” 

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Blogs - The Ticker

Halfway There

Halfway There

The 180/180 campaign celebrates housing 90 of the county's most vulnerable homeless 

The keynote speaker at a celebration this week marking the halfway goal for the 180/180 campaign, a multi-agency initiative to house the county's most vulnerable 180 homeless individuals, was Becky Kanis, director for the 100,000 Homes national campaign. 

The 100,000 Homes campaign, the parent initiative to 180/180, aims to coordinate communities across the whole country, including Santa Cruz County, to house 100,000 chronically homeless people by July 2014. 

Kanis, a bright-eyed military veteran with short cropped hair, praised a room packed with volunteers, homeless service advocates and community leaders at the Simpkins Family Swim Center on Thursday, Oct. 3, describing the local initiative's strengths, sharing what other communities have accomplished, and urging everyone to keep up the momentum. 

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Blogs - The Ticker

Powering Up

Powering Up

An Electric Vehicle Workshop and National Plug-In Day celebrate and educate about electric vehicles

A key point that electric vehicle (EV) advocates are pushing is the idea of return on investment—that the savings people are making by unshackling themselves from the volatile costs of gasoline and oil are more than making up for the upfront expense of a car with rechargeable batteries. 

Considering available tax rebates and other incentives from the state and federal government and increasingly accessible costs, coupled with advancements on vehicle drive range and the appeal of zero reliance on gas stations, EVs are shaping up to be America's most viable future for personal transportation, says Rick Corcoran, a local advocate, EV owner, and member of the Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Alliance (MBEVA).

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.