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Apr 16th
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Santa Cruz News

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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Local News

The Battle for Benefits

The Battle for Benefits

Veterans wait years for compensation benefits due to backlogged claims at the VA

Josh Shanks, a 62-year-old Vietnam War veteran from Soquel, filed his disability compensation claim with the Veterans Affairs office five years ago. After two years without word on his claim's status, Shanks was informed that his paperwork had been lost.

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Local News

Family Ties

Family Ties

UPDATE: On Thursday, July 18, jurors found Elvis Garcia guilty of seven felonies, including sodomy, sexual battery, burglary and kidnapping after deliberating for just two hours. The DNA evidence was key, jurors and attorneys said.

"Clearly that was the most important piece of evidence," defense attorney James Reilly said. The trial ended about two to three weeks earlier than originally anticipated, Judge Timothy Volkmann said. Reilly did not make opening statements nor did he put any witnesses on the stand, though he said he originally considered having Garcia testify. Garcia faces up to life in prison with the possibility of parole when he is sentenced Oct. 2.

Brutal rape trial hinges on familial DNA technology

A hairnet, a plastic bottle and a father’s vehicle theft conviction led to the arrest of a Santa Cruz man currently on trial for a heinous March 2008 rape.

The trial of Elvis Garcia, which began July 1 and is expected to last through the month, hinges largely on DNA evidence that prosecutors say was linked to him through his father. The younger Garcia’s arrest was just the second time in California that a case was solved using what’s called familial DNA. The technology wasn’t approved in the state until 2008, and remains prohibited in a handful of other states.

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

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.

 

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.
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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

 

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

 

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.