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Dec 19th
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Santa Cruz News

Environment

High Voltage

High Voltage

Proposed power line revitalization irks South County residents

A draft environmental impact report is under way for a proposed power line project that initially was determined as not needing one. 

Neighbors worry the plan by Pacific Gas & Electric to replace its aging infrastructure between Watsonville and Aptos with more reliable power lines will mar the rural nature of the area and blight the view.

PG&E has proposed an additional circuit connecting the Green Valley Substation outside Watsonville to the Rob Roy Station. Doing so involves converting more than seven miles of single-circuit high voltage power line into a double-circuit by replacing existing wood transmission poles with new tubular steel poles. It also includes constructing a new 1.7-mile-long single circuit power line along Cox Road and Freedom Boulevard, including the installation of four new seek poles and the replacement of existing wood poles of about 39 feet with new ones that are 89 feet in height. From Green Valley Road to Cox Road, 100-foot steel poles will be installed, and a new 1.7-mile segment will be added down Cox, Day Valley and McDonald roads and Freedom Boulevard.

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Town Hall

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Legislation you recently introduced would change the way mobile home owners can sell their homes. What is the purpose of this bill?

In the Monterey Bay Area and throughout our state, mobile homes offer an affordable avenue to home ownership for many buyers, especially for seniors and fixed-income families. In fact, more than 700,000 people live in California’s 4,734 mobile home parks. However, a mobile home owner whose home is located in a mobile home park does not own the land the unit sits on, and he or she must pay rent and fees for the land and any community spaces. In order to sell a mobile home located in a park, potential buyers must be approved by park management. Home owners trying to sell their home are therefore reliant on park management to approve the buyer so that the sale can be completed. Park management are not limited in the number of potential buyers they can reject, which places pressure on home owners to find a buyer that qualifies under the standards set in place by park management. Most standards are not set or regulated by the state and can vary widely from park to park. As a result, responsible and trustworthy potential buyers can be unfairly turned away.

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Business

The Last Page

The Last Page

Reflections on the closure of Capitola Book Café

Walking into the Capitola Book Café one recent afternoon, the clamor of patrons is close to overwhelming. Children pick through art prints as their parents study the selection of hardcover books that are neatly placed on displays at the front of the store. A group of women peruse a shelf of antiques, and a young couple smiles at each other over cups of espresso.

In the rear of the building, empty shelves sit like skeletons, lacking the body of books that once filled them. Save for ubiquitous signs marking clearance items, those sparse shelves provide the only hint that Capitola Book Café (CBC) will close its doors for the last time at the end of February.

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Local News

Busted Buskers

Busted Buskers

The Great Morgani targeted by controversial 14-foot ordinance

Play an accordion, go to jail.

The recent controversy surrounding Frank Lima, aka The Great Morgani, appears to support Freud’s assertion that a grain of truth resides at the core of every joke. Fortunately, the irony is not lost on the iconic Santa Cruz street performer.

“I might have to develop a sacrificial lamb costume if this continues,” Lima, 71, says with a laugh. “But seriously, the key is to remain calm and respect all sides. There is no bad guy here.”

For the past 17 years, the stockbroker-turned-street busker has beguiled weekend visitors to Pacific Avenue with his virtuoso accordion playing and outrageously flamboyant costumes. When a Santa Cruz police officer approached Lima to issue him a citation last week, Lima simply refused to sign it.

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Town Hall

Supervisor Greg Caput

Supervisor Greg Caput

What should locals know about the water supply situation in the Pájaro Valley, and what are your ideas for how to address the problems? 

We have a major, underreported problem in the Pájaro Valley. Years of drought are worsening our already depleted aquifer and the less rain we receive the more water we have to pump from it.

Whereas Santa Cruz captures surface water, the Pájaro Valley has had the historic luxury of a humongous aquifer below our feet. This has allowed our area to be one of the most productive agricultural producers in the world. Residing in a specialized climate, we can grow valuable crops like strawberries and raspberries, making us formidable international players on the world market.

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Environment

The Fukushima Fallout

The Fukushima Fallout

Has the truth about radiation arriving on the California coast been muddled amidst mounting concern?

When the Japanese coastline where the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant sits was pummeled with a massive tsunami and earthquake in March 2011, three of the site’s nuclear reactors melted down. Unprecedented quantities of radioactive materials—coolant, mostly—began seeping into the Pacific Ocean.

Almost three years later, that radioactive contamination is the source of widespread concern around the world, including in Santa Cruz County.

“The Fukushima disaster was just horrendous,” says Daniel Hirsch, a lecturer on nuclear policy at UC Santa Cruz. “We’ve never had a nuclear accident before that released this amount [of radiation] into the sea.”

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Environment

The Final Compromise

The Final Compromise

Local experts and organizations react to the recently passed, and long overdue, federal Farm Bill

Although no one involved in the shaping of the latest Farm Bill was entirely sated with the finished product, it seems that most are pleased with the fact that after nearly three years of delays and debate, a new bill has been agreed upon and passed into law.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

In anticipation of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s forthcoming plan on how to proceed on net neutrality, where do you stand on the matter? What would you like to see happen?

I am a strong supporter of a free and open Internet. That is why I am a co-sponsor of the Open Internet Preservation Act. Broadband Internet access has transformed our society. It created new avenues for pursuing higher education, allowed startup businesses to thrive, and created increased access to news and a freer exchange of ideas. This has all been possible because of net neutrality or the idea that Internet service providers treat each website fairly and maintain an even playing field for everyone.

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Environment

Taking the Reins

Taking the Reins

Santa Cruz’s new water director steps in at critical point

Rosemary Menard has her work cut out for her as she steps into the role of water director for the City of Santa Cruz.

Menard fills the vacancy left by Bill Kocher, a vocal proponent of desalination who had served as the city’s water director since 1986. Kocher retired in September, passing the torch to deputy director Linette Almond to serve as interim director until her own retirement in January.

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Local News

Waves of Recovery

Waves of Recovery

First residents drop into Flea’s surf-centric sober living environment

The Danish writer Isak Dinesen once wrote, “The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.” This belief anchors Darryl “Flea” Virostko’s unique Santa Cruz sober living environment, FleaHab, which opened its doors to residents on Saturday, Feb. 1.

The low-key launch of FleaHab, which Virostko describes as “a trial run,” is the culmination of three years of planning and approximately $47,000 in fundraising. For now, the program entails three residents and a house manager living together in an undisclosed Santa Cruz location. “We’re not starting with a full house,” Virostko explains. “But we’re talking to potential applicants and may accept a few more in as little as a month.”

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire