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Apr 16th
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Santa Cruz News

Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

When it comes to curbing ocean plastic pollution, what do you think is the best route forward?

Plastic pollution in the ocean and along the coastline is a major problem for Californians—it costs taxpayers and local governments money to clean it up, and it can discourage tourism. The U.S. EPA found that California’s coastal cities and counties spend about $420 million annually to clean up marine debris. But plastic product litter doesn’t just damage California’s economy, it hurts marine life. In 2012, 663 species of marine animals either got entangled in plastic products or ingested them—a two-thirds increase in species from 1998.

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Business

Dream Riders

Dream Riders

Local riders embark on a 540-mile bicycle tour to support immigration reform

With The DREAM Act languishing in Congress for the 13th straight year and the House of Representatives’ failure to take up a comprehensive immigration reform bill that overwhelmingly passed the U.S. Senate, it would be easy for even the most dedicated champions of immigration reform to become jaded.

But as tempting as it may be to give in to cynicism over the lack of change nationally, a group of young activists are taking a more positive tack: They ride.

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Local News

Moving the Needle

Moving the Needle

Despite low community support in a recent survey, do syringe exchanges serve a greater good?

Providing intravenous drug users with clean syringes is like making condoms available for young people, says Dr. Lisa Hernandez, medical services director for the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (HSA).

Both are single-use items—“You don't want to share them,” she says, “you don't want to use them again.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Sen. Bill Monning

Town Hall with Sen. Bill Monning

How do poor health and nutrition (and its outcomes, such as obesity and diabetes) impact our local economies and workforces?

Obesity, preventable diabetes, and other chronic conditions are all costly diseases that can stem from poor health and nutrition. Obesity has been linked to an increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. These conditions account for as much as $209.7 billion a year in U.S. medical expenditures, or 20.6 percent of all money spent on healthcare in the United States.

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Local News

Off the Streets

Off the Streets

Local agencies gather to assess the VA’s goal to end veteran homelessness

Two years ago, Vietnam War veteran Wayne Wyman went to sleep on a beach in Monterey. He was drunk and had no place else to go. He had already been living on the streets for six years, jobless and debilitated by alcoholism.

Just a few weeks after that night on the beach, social workers from the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System contacted him, determined to help him recover.

“I didn't think they could or would do anything for me, but they proved me wrong,” he says.

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Local News

Moving On

Moving On

The City of Santa Cruz loses its economic development director

After four and a half years as the Economic Development Director for the City of Santa Cruz, Peter Koht is leaving the position to work on expanding OpenCounter, an open-source software aimed at helping people navigate the difficult process of starting a new business.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Zach Friend

Town Hall with Supervisor Zach Friend

What concerns and goals will you be bringing to the table during the Board’s discussions of potentially regulating medical marijuana grow operations?

In May of this year, the California Supreme Court reached a decision in the City Of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc. case that solidifies the regulatory land use authority of local jurisdictions in regard to marijuana dispensaries.

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Environment

Blood Sport

Blood Sport

County agencies continue investigation following illegal cockfighting bust

Sixty-one caged gamecocks, 26 vehicles, and some boxes of beer and doughnuts. That’s all that remained at a cockfighting venue in rural Watsonville after 60 to 80 suspects fled as authorities approached on the morning of Sunday, July 14. 

Guided by an anonymous tip, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers traversed wide strawberry fields and walked a narrow, streamside path, arriving at the match just 20 minutes before participants were going to pit their gamecocks against one another in a fight to the death.

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Local News

Running for Children’s Futures

Running for Children’s Futures

Local professional runner leads Wharf to Wharf team to help foster kids

Among the approximately 600 kids admitted into foster care in Santa Cruz County last year was a 7-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister. 

Both children, however, thought they were 5.

Their parents led them to believe this so that if anyone asked the children why they were not in school, they could answer that they were only 5 years old—too young to incriminate their parents for not enrolling them.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

What impacts would the Republican Farm Bill, recently passed in the House without any support from Democrats, have? 

A few weeks ago, the Republican leadership in the House passed a Farm Bill that did not include funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, that helps feed millions of Americans—primarily children, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Not a single Democrat voted for the bill. This split bill was only offered after Tea Party Republicans killed an earlier Farm Bill that contained drastic cuts to SNAP funding. 

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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).

 

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.

 

Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
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Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

 

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

 

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.