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Dec 21st
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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

What is being done to curb south county’s high unemployment rate, particularly during the hard winter months?

Currently, the county has been working with local businesses to determine an economic vitality strategy and to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the county by district. Recently, I hosted an economic meeting that had local businesses and leaders comment on what they thought should be done to stimulate our local economy.

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Business

The Medical Message

The Medical Message

Former Santa Cruz resident helps lead Israel’s state-run medical marijuana program

It is Mimi Peleg’s job to teach people how to use pot—she imparts knowledge like how long to inhale smoke or vapor, how to administer sublingual drops, or how to ration out a pot cookie.

This is all part of her role directing large-scale cannabis training for the Israeli government’s state-run, discreet, successful and expanding medical cannabis distribution center, known as “MECHKAR.”

MECHKAR began as a tiny program serving just more than two dozen people in 2008. Today, supplied by eight farms located all over the country, the program distributes cannabis to more than 12,000 patients.

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Business

Spousal Rules

Spousal Rules

Upcoming event discusses the technicalities of taxes, legal issues and finances for same-sex married couples

For a long time, Greg Rowe told himself that marriage wasn't something he needed to have recognized by the federal government. But today, he feels differently.

Last week, Rowe, a licensed psychotherapist, married his partner of two years, Cesar Pasos. Thanks to recent court rulings, Rowe notes that a whole world of federal rights will now be available to the couple.

“The truth is, I deeply desire that—for my government to sanction and recognize my marriage,” he says. “I didn't even know it was a dream of mine.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

In light of the Farm Bill debate in Congress, what are your concerns and hopes for what this could potentially mean for food assistance in California (CalFresh)?

The CalFresh program, more commonly called “food stamps,” helps families keep their children from going hungry with nutritious food. Benefits provide a boost to low-income families’ food budgets, and they are used to purchase food at most grocery stores. Unfortunately, while many in California are eligible for the program, too few sign up. Currently, there are approximately two million participants, which is less than half the number of those eligible. The dollar amount is modest—the average family receives about $153 per month to purchase food—and is entirely paid for with federal funds. My greatest hope for the CalFresh program is that more families who are eligible for benefits start receiving them so that their kids can grow healthy and strong.  

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Local News

Closing the Political Gender Gap

Closing the Political Gender Gap

The growing effort to encourage local women to ‘break the glass ballot’

The United States ranks just 87th in the world for representation of elected women at the national level, and statistics show the number of women in national elected positions is declining. Statewide, an additional 28 women would need to be elected to the California legislature to reach gender parity, and locally, there are a number of women serving on city councils, but no women on the county Board of Supervisors.

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Environment

Civil Conversations in Uncivil Debates

Civil Conversations in Uncivil Debates

How two of desal’s most vocal figures came to understand—and respect—one another despite their differences

In recent years, plans for a controversial seawater desalination plant in Santa Cruz landed retired electrician and environmental activist Rick Longinotti and former mayor and councilman Mike Rotkin on opposite sides of the aisle. Both became leading voices for their respective sides—Longinotti as the founder of opposition group Desal Alternatives, and Rotkin as a once-desal opponent-turned-supporter from years of looking at the issue. The men didn’t know each other well before the desal episode—in Rotkin’s words, their “first real connection was on different sides of this important local issue.” Yet, despite their roles in one of Santa Cruz’s most divisive and heated episodes, they say they not only managed to communicate well, but also grew to enjoy it.

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Local News

Then and Now

Then and Now

Participants in the MAH’s third annual Race Through Time explore local history

Two women and three children stood in the middle of El Palomar’s crowded dining room, taking a headcount of the Aztecs who barter leisurely inside a large painting on the restaurant’s wall.

Normally, such behavior might seem strange—especially considering all five were made up to look like butterflies. Last Friday, Sept. 20, however, one diner had seen enough other groups doing the same to guess exactly what was going on. She turned to the group and asked, “Are you on a scavenger hunt?”

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Environment

Bait, Trawl, Switch

Bait, Trawl, Switch

Environmental agencies and Monterey Bay trawlers propose exchanges between protected areas and fishing grounds

Bottom trawling is a traditional but controversial means of fishing that drags heavy nets along the seafloor, churning up and scooping in sand-dwelling fish like sand dab and halibut, along with everything else in its path. It has been described in some studies as being similar to a farmer plowing his fields.

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Local News

Decades of Help

Decades of Help

The Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center marks its 40th anniversary

Joseph Luna, 58, credits Si Se Puede, a program of the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center, with saving his life.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the center, which offers an umbrella of services that range from housing assistance to behavioral health counseling, parental education and nutrition classes, among others. 

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

As the conflict in Syria continues to unfold, what is your stance on U.S. involvement?

I was an early opponent to military intervention in Syria. The atrocities of the Assad regime are crimes against humanity and in direct violation of international law. However, without an overt threat to our national security and without a clearly defined, achievable goal to end the Syrian people’s suffering, I find it difficult to justify engaging our military in another nation’s civil war with no clear endgame.

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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