Meet Santa Cruz County’s first hybrid taxi driver
About eight weeks ago, Santa Cruz cabbie Michael Williams decided to follow the lead of major cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He purchased a used Ford Escape Hybrid for use as the first hybrid taxi in Santa Cruz County. The investment, he says, is a step towards saving the environment, making taxi driving more efficient, and setting a positive example for major cab companies like his employer, Yellow Cab. An independent cab company, Green Cab, already provides the town with eco-friendly biodiesel taxis, but Williams’ cab is unique in that it’s a hybrid.
A common question asked of scientists is how the oil spill will affect life in the Gulf.
My sense is that it will effect directly or indirectly, severely or slightly every single form of life in the Gulf, for many years to come. The air, the water, the sand, the mud, the microbes, the plankton, the marshgrass, the mangroves, the jellyfish, the oysters, the shrimp, the shorebirds, the turtles, the sharks, the redfish, the children, the fishermen, the chefs, the taxi drivers, the artists, the oil industry workers, the politicians. Every single bit and blob of life will be impacted. Save a few oil-eating microbes, no life will change for the better.
The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Board of Directors has pulled the plug on plans for a rodeo in October, reversing the approval they originally gave to the rodeo’s organizers, Deputy Sheriff’s Association nonprofit Stars of Justice, at their June meeting. Stars of Justice had been planning the rodeo, which would be the first in the county in many years, as a fundraiser for local children. Although the Board’s decision was not based on the many pleas from animal rights activists, the protestors are still pleased with the outcome. “We are really supportive of the Stars of Justice wanting to raise money to help children,” says JP Novic, founder of the Center for Animal Protection and Education. “But we felt like the rodeo is the wrong venue because it’s inherently cruel. I hope that the Stars of Justice will look at other options for their fundraising event. There are so many wonderful, wholesome, non-cruel things they could do to raise money that don’t involve hurting animals.”
In June, Good Times brought readers the full story behind the Santa Cruz County Community Assessment Project and offered everyone the opportunity to help the CAP determine their next set of community goals. Our first-ever online CAP survey garnered 321 responses, with the following goals receiving the most votes: The Santa Cruz County economy will create more living-wage jobs and keep more residents in local jobs; all children will have healthcare coverage; all high school graduates will be prepared to enter living-wage careers or higher education; more youth will be involved in prevention and positive social activities and fewer youth will enter the juvenile delinquency system; health of rivers and ocean is improved by reducing erosion, chemical and biological pollution, and improving riparian corridors; more Santa Cruz County residents will have access to housing, both rental and home ownership, that they can afford. Thanks to everyone who participated.
After 30 years of serving UCSC sexual assault victims, the program for Rape Prevention Education has been disbanded due to budget cuts. The news that Rape Prevention Education Coordinator Gillian Greensite would have a different job next year, educating about STIs, pregnancy and alcohol—all of which she has no experience teaching—came on Thursday, June 3, during a meeting with UCSC administrators. Since the program’s dissolution, Greensite has retired and a Facebook Coalition to Save UCSC Rape Prevention Education has formed in protest with 1,185 members as of press time. Nina Milliken, the group’s leader, posted the following statement to the coalition’s Facebook page: “UCSC’s Rape Prevention Education Center is a vitally important resource for the hundreds of women (and men) at UCSC who have experienced a (or many) sexual assault(s). Rape survivors, partners of rape survivors, friends of rape survivors, and family members of rape survivors will have no where to turn for good advice. We need to fight this!”
Waking up on a recent morning in Santa Cruz that was so foggy the streets had puddles, I thought about what to pack for my upcoming expedition to the driest, windiest, coldest, and most extreme continent in the world, Antarctica. What will I need? How will I survive? What’s it going to be like? Soon I’ll find out and so will you. And we’ll learn so much more. We’ll have the opportunity to observe research under the ice of Antarctica as it’s being done and to follow along as scientists try to measure and understand changes in seafloor communities. We’ll watch them SCUBA dive and use underwater robots to take pictures and videos, collect specimens, and get data. We’ll learn about the logistics of getting to remote spots on the most remote continent in the world. We’ll get the inside scoop of what it actually means to do research and what scientists are doing to understand climate change, ecology, and extreme environments.