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Apr 23rd
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Top Notch

Top Notch

UCSC Ranks 18th in World in Survey for Geosciences
A November 2009 survey named the University of California, Santa Cruz, as one of the top 20 geosciences institutions in the world.
The British magazine Times Higher Education (THE) conducted the survey using data provided by Thomas Reuters from its Essential Science Indicators. The analysis looked at peer-reviewed journal articles from January 1999 through June 2009, assessing rankings based on the number of citations per paper to ensure that the rankings indicate impact, not just output.

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Hands Free Law Proves Successful

Once upon a time we all could be seen with one hand on the wheel and the other keeping our cell phone glued to our ear. But thankfully, for our sakes, the California legislature stepped in with two laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving: Hands Free Cell Phones, which went into effect on July 1, 2008, and the Texting While Driving Prohibition, which outlawed texting while driving as of Jan. 1, 2009.  The author of both pieces of legislation, State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), whose jurisdiction includes Santa Cruz, said in a Feb. 17 press release that the laws have been as successful as expected.  California Highway Patrol certified numbers from the first six months of the “hands free” law’s implementation shows a 20 percent drop in fatalities and collisions in California, when compared to the same six month period in the past three to five years. “That translates to at least 700 fewer fatalities and 75,000 to 100,000 fewer collisions each year,” Simitian said in the release, adding that CHP data shows a 40 to 50 percent drop in the number of “distracting driving accidents attributed to cell phones” following the law’s July, 2008 implementation.
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Craigslist Bicycle Theft Sting a Success

A Santa Cruz police officer went undercover on Thursday, Feb. 11, to nab a suspected bike thief after the stolen bike was put up for sale on Craigslist.org. Police arrested 21-year-old Jordan Scott for possession of stolen property—a $4,000 mountain bike belonging to someone in San Luis Obispo. The bike’s owner had located the bike on the Santa Cruz area Craigslist and alerted police. An officer contacted Scott posing as an interested buyer; when they met up, he arranged to buy the bike, then notified uniformed officers, who moved in and “arrested Scott without incident,” according to a press release issued by the Santa Cruz Police Department.
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Soda Overload

A tax of one cent per ounce of soda has been proposed to generate revenue and curb over consumption of the sugary staple beverage. Also, many schools across the country are currently restricting or banning the sale of sodas in vending machines on their campuses. According to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, a 20-ounce serving of soda contains around 17 teaspoons of sugar, and a child’s risk of obesity increases by an average of 60 percent with every additional serving of soda. “Bubbling Over,” a recent study by Yale University’s Rudd Center, reported that 41 percent of Santa Cruz children and 56 percent of Santa Cruz teens drink one or more soda or other sweetened beverage a day.

 

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Proposed Bill Could Protect Californians from Pesticides

On Feb. 8, Assemblymember Bill Monning proposed a bill to protect the California public from potentially hazardous pesticides. Monning proposed the bill partly as response to chemical sprayed in the Santa Cruz area two years ago to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth. “The lack of information about the inert ingredients used in the aerial spray program caused a great deal of fear and mistrust among the public,” says Monning in a press release. “I believe that people have a right to know what they are eating, drinking, and breathing and should be allowed to make informed decisions based upon full disclosure.” California Senator Mark Leno proposed the same legislation to the state senate.

 

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Ballot Initiative Hopes to Save State Parks

Out of all of the fury and concern over the Golden State’s budget failures this past year, perhaps one of the issues Californians took most to heart was the threat of budget cuts to its precious state parks. As a result, the November 2010 ballot will include The State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010, a statewide measure that would provide free day use access for Californians, require wildlife conservation and “create a stable, reliable and adequate source of funding for the state park system,” according to Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. The local group has collected more than 2,000 signatures in Santa Cruz County so far.

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Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Defense Officials, Local Congressman Speak Out Against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

The top two defense officials in the nation announced their desire to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a Feb. 2 hearing. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that they support repealing the 1993 law that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military, but they need more time to review the impact and how to carry out the change in policy. Gates testified that he has appointed a "high-level working group" to do the review, which will take about a year. In the meantime, the military is moving toward enforcing the existing policy "in a fairer manner," according to Gates.

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Local Attorney Seeks Superior Court Seat

Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Michael Barton has announced he will be hanging up his robe and retiring. Watsonville attorney Rebecca Connolly hopes to step into his shoes, having recently filed for the upcoming election for his seat. Connolly has experience in federal law and as an assistant Santa Cruz District Attorney. “It’s a tremendous honor to run for Superior Court Judge in Santa Cruz County,”  Connolly stated in a Feb. 1 press release. The filing period for candidates to declare intention to run ends Feb. 10. The election will be held June 8, 2010.
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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.”

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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
 
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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.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).
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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

 

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.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?