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Aug 23rd
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Local News

Three Strikes, He’s Out

Three Strikes, He’s Out

Santa Cruz County’s only Proposition 36-eligible inmate is released

When Kevin O’Connell was sentenced to life in prison back in 1995, he had been convicted of possession of a stolen necklace. His previous felony convictions had occurred more than 15 years prior.

However, under the state’s three strikes sentencing law, a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge saw fit to sentence O’Connell to life in prison. O’Connell is the only so-called three-striker from Santa Cruz County to become eligible for re-sentencing under Proposition 36, a ballot initiative passed by voters last year to reform the state’s three-strikes laws.

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Environment

A Tarplant Tale

A Tarplant Tale

A look at the plant that took the spotlight during the Arana Gulch debates and what its well-being says about the area’s larger ecosystem 

In the middle of Arana Gulch, a 63-acre greenbelt of rolling meadow and oak woodland nestled between Live Oak and Santa Cruz's Eastside neighborhood, there are about a dozen tiny yellow flowers, each about the size of a nickel. And while they are small, mostly dried out this time of year, and aesthetically quite simple, the plants tell a much bigger story than their appearance suggests.

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Town Hall

Supervisor Bruce McPherson

Supervisor Bruce McPherson

What projects are on the horizon to improve traffic flow and safety in the San Lorenzo Valley?

Highway 9 is the main traffic corridor of the San Lorenzo Valley, running through and connecting the communities of Felton, Ben Lomond, Brookdale, and Boulder Creek. Because it is a state highway, under the jurisdiction of Caltrans rather than the County Department of Public Works, it also creates special challenges for our communities.

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Environment

Confronting the Future

Confronting the Future

Marine scientists gather for a hearing on top threats to the California coast

Many of the critical threats to the California coast and the ocean environment—such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and toxic run-off—are causing harm incrementally over the course of decades. Meanwhile, large-scale response and prevention initiatives by the government to these accumulating, long-term hazards—called “adaptation”—are substantially hindered, largely due to the relatively shorter time frames in which government and politics operate.

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Environment

Uniting the Community with Color

Uniting the Community with Color

The Mural Alleyway Project works to beautify the City of Watsonville

Although graffiti is sometimes considered art, it can also be a problem when it becomes a financial burden to property owners or breeds fear in a community.

Painting over the gang signs and tags and monitoring high-risk areas has been the solution for cities such as Watsonville for years. But recently, a band of local artists came up with a new way to abate the problem: murals.  

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

What will the long-term effects of the government shutdown be?

After being closed for 16 days, the federal government reopened for business once again two weeks ago. Federal workers went back to their jobs, visitors returned to our national parks and services that your tax dollars pay for were made available again.

However, the shutdown will have some lasting effects. Every time we face one of these manufactured crises, people lose just a little more confidence in their government. This inability of Washington to work together these past few years has been a drag on our economy, costing us billions of dollars.

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Environment

Should the Rain Not Fall

Should the Rain Not Fall

The City of Santa Cruz reverts back to basics in confronting water supply issues and community engagement

When it comes to solving and engaging the public on Santa Cruz's water supply problems, it's becoming increasingly clear to local leaders that the way to begin is not by spearheading solutions, such as transfers with other districts, new conservation tactics, or the highly contentious desalination plant, but rather to start with the basics: what are the city's water sources, and what are the problems it faces?

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Local News

Frankenstein to Facebook

Frankenstein to Facebook

An emeritus professor of literature explores the implications of our relationship with technology

Helene Moglen has noticed a considerable shift among her students in recent years. The UC Santa Cruz emeritus dean of humanities and professor of literature came to the school in 1978, retired in 2008, and continued to teach one class—The Gothic Imagination in Fiction and Film—until this year. Although she had taught this particular course to thousands of pupils over the years, the last few batches seemed different. 

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Environment

Burial Grounds

Burial Grounds

The state moves forward with funding for new veterans cemetery at Fort Ord

For the tens of thousands of veterans who have lived and passed away in recent years in the Monterey Bay Area, as well as their families, the nearest national veterans cemetery is almost a two-hour drive away in the San Joaquin Valley.

Some veterans' families, dedicated to burying their loved one in a state or national cemetery but reluctant to inter them in a place so far from home, have kept cremated remains and are waiting for a new veterans cemetery to open that won't require so much travel, says Arnold Leff, commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Santa Cruz.

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Business

The Long-Awaited Launch

The Long-Awaited Launch

Affordable Care Act enrollment rolls out slowly in Santa Cruz County

The federal government shutdown dragging on didn’t stop counties around the United States from pushing forward with the rollout of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.

Colloquially known as Obamacare, open enrollment officially began Tuesday, Oct. 1, and Santa Cruz County officials estimate it could affect as many as 30,000 county residents. Of those, an estimated 8,600 residents are newly eligible for Medi-Cal, according to Cecilia Espinola, director of the county’s human services department.

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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

Entering Virgo

Sun entering Virgo brings a sign and element change, from Leo’s fire to Virgo’s practical earth. Food, health, grains, service and small animals are in the news and on our minds. It’s one month till autumn. Pumpkins and persimmons are ripening. Venus is in Leo. We radiate warmth; we’re generous, playful and affectionate. Everyone shows off in an ardent, passionate, warm-hearted, romantic and over-dramatic way, reflecting Leo’s fiery nature. Think of life as Shakespeare wrote: life is a play, we are its actors on the same stage together.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 22

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Locavores Only

Farm dinners at Route 1 Farms and the Homeless Garden Project expand the revolution

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Clowning Around With Armitage Chardonnay

Four of us headed to Brandon Armitage’s new tasting room in Aptos Village recently to try his well-made wines.