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Apr 24th
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The Ticker

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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Blogs - The Ticker

Wary of War

Wary of War

Local activists respond to administration’s call for strike against Syrian regime

Protesters gathered at the intersection of Ocean and Water streets in Santa Cruz Saturday morning, Aug. 31, in response to President Barack Obama’s recent call for the use of military force against the Syrian government.

The protesters held signs with slogans like “Bombing Syria doesn’t help people, it kills them” and “More lies like Iraq, no war with Syria” amidst honking from passing traffic. Many expressed outrage over rhetoric they see as foreshadowing a long-term United States military presence in Syria.

“I am sickened that our country has been bullied by the weapons industry and is starting up another war, even though we haven’t recovered from the last one,” said Melinda Clark, an activist at the protest.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

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.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

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