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Feb 11th
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Charges Announced in Cyclist Death

blog bikesVehicular 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.

Alper’s family is also filing a civil suit against Jain that also names Tesla Motor Co.—the manufacturers of the vehicle Jain was driving. The suit was filed in Santa Cruz County Superior Court and seeks an unspecified amount of money. 

Alper’s death drew a lot of attention to the alleged failures of “share the road” policies, and was even mentioned in a New York Times op-ed titled “Is it OK to kill cyclists?”

In the Nov. 9 piece, Daniel Duane wrote about the number of cases of cyclists killed by motorists in which no chargers were filed.

“My own view is that everybody’s a little right and that we’re at a scary cultural crossroads on the whole car/bike thing. American cities are dense enough—and almost half of urban car trips short enough, under three miles—that cities from Denver to Miami are putting in bike-share programs,” Duane wrote. “If there’s one thing New York City’s incoming and departing mayors agree on, it’s the need for more bike lanes.”

Alper was a UC Santa Cruz librarian and musician. He graduated from UCSC in 1998 with a degree in literature and began working at the university library in 2005. He left behind a wife, fellow librarian Annette Marines.

“Josh was passionate about his work in Interlibrary Loan and took great joy and satisfaction in being able to help students and faculty with their research,” wrote fellow librarian Elizabeth Cowell in a post on the university’s site. “Josh was an incredibly kind, genuine, and generous human being, which was clear to everyone who interacted with him.”

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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