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Feb 01st
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From the Editor

greg archerThe new year is here—the Chinese New Year that is. Yes, the Year of the Dragon officially began earlier this week, and those who are drawn to Chinese astrology may be happy to know that the Year of the Dragon promises to hold great transformation. According to one report, it’s also The Year of Journalism. That’s a good thing, considering what journalism, and journalists, have gone through in the last five years. Let’s face it, a great deal of the publishing industry has been revamped, sometimes gutted, since the mid-2000s. And now that Facebook, Twitter and SmartPhones have somehow made the letters R and U acceptable to use as words, well, you have to wonder where we’re headed. Ever the optimist—I credit being born in the Year of the Dragon and feeling all of my feelings by resisting perscription meds (I’m a walking miracle!)—I think we’ve all been through a curious rough patch and a time of readjustment. The stories and the storywriters are still out there. We just have a bigger posse from which to choose—especially when anybody can blog these days. So, if 2012, the Year of the Dragon, is really about journalism then maybe it’s a good time to become even more discerning about what we read and who we read. In the nearly 12 years I have been at the helm of this curious creative beast, I have always felt that if we covered the important issues facing our county, as well as the noteworthy souls striving for change locally, we would be doing good work. But the truth is: We couldn’t do what we do here at GT without you. Thank you for reading us and thank you for evolving with us online as we continue to expand what you are able to find and experience on our website.

That said ... enjoy this week’s issue, where we offer you a wide selection of stories and portraits that may inspire you. Keep reading.

More next time ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief

Letters to the Editor

Feeling The Need for a Rec Park
I have spent literally hundreds of hours scouring the county for a place to play rugby. In the ’80s, there were, in addition to UC Santa Cruz, a senior men's club and three high school clubs. All have now folded simply for want of a place to play and practice. The rugby tradition in our county goes back at least 50 years and has produced at least two U.S. National Team players, yet now we have virtually nothing, despite the fact that in terms of participation, rugby has seen by far the greatest increase of any other sport in the U.S. in the past 10 years. It is profoundly dispiriting and I sincerely hope that Mr. Golder's efforts are successful so that faclilities can accommodate a genuine demand for this healthy, wholesome, olympic , team sport. The players, coaches and officials are here. We just don't have any place to play.
Dan Smith
Santa Cruz

Best Online Comments

On the proposed rec field ...
I find this intriguing and possible! There is a shortage of athletic fields. Soccer is unable to use fields that have baseball/softball priorities. There are few practice fields available from SC P&R so there is extreme crowding at the public school fields. The school fields are smaller than originally designed due to the need for parking and portable class rooms. It's a seller's market so the cost for using the few fields has gone from free to as much as $55/hr. Ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, rugby and even American football seek regular playing fields. Even baseball and softball could expand and have a better experience if their fields weren't torn up with cleats.
—Todd Tsukushi

Much appreciation to Jon Golder for his sustained efforts to add sport fields/facilities, which our community is in great need. As former president and 10-year board member for the SC City Youth Soccer Club, I can readily attest to the need—we regularly maxed out field space for practices and games every fall. I find the "creativity" comment by Ms. Shoemaker very out of touch and ignoring of the problem—cramming teams of kids and teenagers into smaller and smaller spaces; dealing with encroachement by adult groups on our paid practice space at Depot Park, having to use poorly maintained and gopher hole-ridden school fields, scheduling our home games at the away team's field, and cutting the number of practices a team can hold are not what I call "creativity!” It’s time the city take their responsibility for new field development seriously and work with community members like Mr. Golder to achieve that goal.
Tony Sloss
President, Santa Cruz County
Youth Soccer League

What the article doesn't point out is that the City of Santa Cruz seems to have misappropriated funds for about 30 years. Tens of millions of dollars. This is serious misconduct which should be investigated by a state agency. Santa Cruz has avoided accountability for official misconduct far too long.
John Colby

On Chris Rene ...
Great article. Chris is a great guy and Santa Cruz is so proud of him. Can't wait for his concert at the end of this month. Fans who have followed him since the begining and are on his X-Factor first audition site on You-Tube every day are even flying in to see him in concert in Santa Cruz. Thanks to James Durbin, his sister Gina and his family and friends that gave him the inspiration to go and audition. He has touched so many of us and made this world a better place because of his music.
Cindy McDowell

Clarification Regarding last week's music capsule on Birdhouse, Evan Penza is the vocalist/lead guitarist for the group.
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