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Apr 17th
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The Ticker

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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Blogs - The Ticker

Is Desal Headed for the Back Burner?

Is Desal Headed for the Back Burner?

Mayor and City Manager announce recommendation to reassess plan for contested desalination plant

If two top Santa Cruz city officials have their way, the hotly debated desalination project may soon find itself shelved.

This morning, Tuesday, Aug. 20, Santa Cruz Mayor Hilary Bryant and City Manager Martin Bernal announced their formal recommendation that no vote be held on the proposed desalination project in 2014, as planned.

Plans for the joint Santa Cruz/Soquel Creek Water District plant, which would produce up to 2.5 million gallons per day of desalinated seawater, has been part of the city’s water plan since the 2005 Integrated Water Plan deemed it the most feasible water supply option.

The plant would be used by the Santa Cruz Water Department to supplement supply in dry years and by Soquel Creek Water District in an effort to reprieve their depleted groundwater basins.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Frowning on Fracking

Frowning on Fracking

Santa Cruzans speak up about offshore fracking at Coastal Commission meeting

With the new knowledge that oil companies are using controversial fracking methods off the coast of Southern California to extract fossil fuels, the state's Coastal Commission will begin an investigation on the practice and determine how they can regulate it. 

About 30 people attended the commission’s Thursday, Aug. 15 meeting at the Santa Cruz County building to voice their concerns and call the state into action.

Oil companies are using fracking, which injects highly pressurized water mixed with sand proppants and hazardous but unknown chemicals into the ground to extract fossil fuels, and predominantly avoiding government regulation through trade secret loopholes, says Brian Segee, an attorney with Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara, who addressed the commission about its dangers.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Bracing for Coverage

Bracing for Coverage

Santa Cruz Women's Health Center to open new clinic in Live Oak

On Jan. 1, 2014, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes into effect, close to 9,000 Santa Cruz County residents will become eligible for Medi-Cal insurance coverage for the first time. And just as many will be able to purchase affordable health plans through the state's new health insurance exchange, called “Covered California.”

In preparation for the thousands of newly eligible patients, the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center (WHC) announced on Monday morning, Aug. 5 a $6.8 million deal to open a second state-of-the-art clinic in Live Oak.

The downtown WHC health center, which currently serves about 5,000 local women and children, aims to double its service capacity with the new clinic over the next five years, opening its doors to men as well, says Leslie Conner, WHC executive director.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Measure T Shot Down

Measure T Shot Down

Watsonville's proposal to annex ag land for development fizzles

Watsonville's Measure T, an initiative that proposed the city annex 95 acres of active agricultural land for retail development, was struck down on Tuesday, June 4 with more than three quarters of the vote in opposition to the proposal. 

The measure, which Watsonville City Councilmember Daniel Dodge first initiated a year and a half ago and maneuvered into position for voters, was defeated 77.36 to 22.64, according to votescount.com. 

The areas that were being considered—a 15-acre area called “Greenfarm” and another 80-acre region called “Sakata-Kett”—would have been paved over and used for new businesses that proponents of the measure believed would have boosted the city's low employment numbers (20 percent of residents are unemployed) and served as a much-needed jumpstart for the local economy. 

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Blogs - The Ticker

March for Equality

March for Equality

Santa Cruz Pride precedes momentous Supreme Court rulings 

During the five months between June 2008, when the Supreme Court ruled equal protection for same-sex marriage in California, and November of that same year, when Proposition 8 limited legal marriages to those between a man and woman, thousands of gay couples felt a pressing urgency to attain wedlock before Election Day.

Like so many of those couples. Bob Correa, a former director of the Santa Cruz Diversity Center, and his partner of 24 years, Denny Carroll, found themselves racing the clock. Forced to forsake visions of an exciting, proper wedding, the two found themselves standing in their garage before a minister, both terribly sick with the flu, while two friends looked on.

Today they joke about the impromptu ceremony, calling it their “drive-by, garage door wedding,” Carroll says.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Local Psychologist to Appear on National Television

Local Psychologist to Appear on National Television

Lucie Hemmen discusses raising teenage girls on The Steve Harvey Show

Last December, Lucie Hemmen, licensed clinical psychologist and Santa Cruz resident, received a phone call from a producer of The Steve Harvey Show about making an appearance on the show. Later that week, she was flown out to Chicago to tape the episode "Fourteen is the New Eighteen," which is scheduled to air on ABC at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29.

Hemmen moved to Santa Cruz in 1995 to begin a post-doctoral internship working with teens and their families at the Mental Health and Substance Abuse division of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.

Shortly after, Hemmen began working at Youth Services, at the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center, and developed an interest in working with teenagers.

"Teenagers are very demanding as clients," says Hemmen. "They want a psychologist’s approach to be authentic, and I love the challenges of working on that level."

Hemmen, who specializes in working with teenage girls, has been operating her private therapy practice in Santa Cruz since 1997. She found motivation to write her first book, "Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication, and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter," when her daughters, now 15 and 19 years old, became teenagers.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Ice Plant Peace Invasion

Ice Plant Peace Invasion

Community art piece at Seabright Beach destroyed by State Parks for environmental reasons

Residents of the Seabright neighborhood were dismayed last week to find that a public art piece—one many of them had helped to maintain for several years on Seabright State Beach—had been intentionally destroyed with a tractor by Santa Cruz State Parks authorities.

The art design, a peace sign with an approximate 60-foot diameter that was shaped using ice plant, was first made spontaneously in 2009 on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by local Tracey Heggum and several of her friends. The creation, located at the bottom of the Third Avenue stairs, was a way for them to show their respect for those who lost their lives that day in 2001, she says. 

Bruce Walker, a resident of the neighborhood and longtime caretaker of the peace sign—he often fixed the symbol when it was changed—says that the art has become an important symbol for the community.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Nearly 150 Years of Memorial Day Remembrance in Santa Cruz

Nearly 150 Years of Memorial Day Remembrance in Santa Cruz

Museum of Art & HIstory presents the 146th annual Memorial Day Remembrance

Each step of the American flag’s official “13-fold” ceremony, which is practiced annually during Santa Cruz’s long standing Memorial Day Remembrance celebration in Evergreen Cemetery, holds its own historical and symbolic significance.

The first, second, and third folds symbolize life, belief in eternal life, and remembrance for departed veterans who served to defend the United States, according to The American Legion. When the flag is completely folded, it resembles a cocked hat, meant to remind people of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington, before he became the first president of the United States.

“The ceremony is not just a folding, there’s a lot of meaning and depth that goes behind it,” says Chuck Woodson, a Vietnam Special Forces veteran and former president of the United Veteran’s Council of Santa Cruz County.

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Blogs - The Ticker

Local Nonprofit Participates in National Contest

Local Nonprofit Participates in National Contest

Rising International makes it to the top 16 in a Huffington Post-sponsored fundraising challenge

Rising International, a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit focused on helping women around the globe, is taking part in The Raise for Women Challenge. Created in collaboration by The Huffington Post, Skoll Foundation, and Half the Sky Movement, the event runs from April 24 to June 6, and encourages the public to participate by "investing in women who change the world."

So far, Rising International has raised enough money in The Raise for Women Challenge to earn them a spot in the top 16 charities. The charity that raises the most money will receive a $40,000 donation, while second place receives $20,000 and third place receives $15,000.

"This is a friendly competition, where we are all raising money for a great cause," says President Carmel Judd. "This is all about women and girls winning, because they need our help."

Judd (pictured) founded the organization in 2002 after reading about how Afghan women were imprisoned in their homes for five years during the time that the Taliban was in control.

"I have freedom as a woman in this country, so the idea that it was modern day and we had women imprisoned in their homes spoke to me," says Judd. "I wanted to get involved."

Judd connected with Nadia Hashimi, a student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, to create the Afghan Dolls Project in 2003. Afghan widows would make dolls, and Rising International would market and sell them, and donate the profits back to the women.

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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.