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May 25th
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Santa Cruz News

Town Hall

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Assemblymember Mark Stone

You have introduced legislation that would ban cigarette butts in California. What kinds of problems do cigarette butts cause, and how would this legislation improve the situation?

The bill I introduced, AB 1504, would ban single-use plastic cigarette filters, which are found in cigarette butts. Cigarette filters are a pervasive, toxic source of litter in our communities and in the environment that do not biodegrade. They leach dangerous chemicals into waterways, kill animals that eat them, and cause local governments to spend millions of taxpayer dollars for their cleanup. California has many laws in place to curtail this type of cigarette litter, but people continue to illegally discard tons of cigarette butts each year. Because current laws aren’t sufficient to address this major problem, I proposed this comprehensive legislation to reduce cigarette butt waste.

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Environment

Neighbors Resist Planned Hotel

Neighbors Resist Planned Hotel

Lower Ocean residents feel they weren’t given enough say in Hyatt plans

Despite fervent objections from many residents in the Lower Ocean neighborhood, a planned Hyatt Place Hotel is moving closer to fruition.

The Santa Cruz City Council approved initial plans for the hotel, to be located at the space formerly occupied by the Unity Temple, back in 2011, and approved modifications to the plans earlier this month. The project was originally approved for 111 rooms but has been downgraded to 106. The original plan also called for an underground parking lot and five designated employee parking spots, but developers sought approval to switch to all valet parking, with cars stored using elevator-like lifts.

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Business

A Boon for Small Business

A Boon for Small Business

Opportunity Fund gains new support for microloans in Santa Cruz County

Small businesses, or those with fewer than 500 employees, provide 55 percent of the total jobs in the United States and more than two-thirds of the net job growth in the country, according to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). With this in mind, the key to rebuilding the strength of Santa Cruz County’s economy may lie in the hands of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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Town Hall

Supervisor John Leopold

Supervisor John Leopold

What have you heard from constituents of yours who—while not living in the City of Santa Cruz—are served by the city’s water department regarding the pause on plans for desalination and related water supply issues? What are you doing to make progress on the water supply problem for your district?

Many of the residents of the First District are interested in participating in the process for making long-term decisions about water use and supply in our area. Unfortunately, more than 30,000 First District residents served by the City of Santa Cruz Water District (one-third of all ratepayers) have little say in the choices that are being made.

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Environment

Rallying for the River

Rallying for the River

New alliance takes aim at making over the San Lorenzo River

Could the San Lorenzo River become a draw to Downtown Santa Cruz, offering opportunities for recreation, picnicking, and more? A quick look at the riverfront in its current condition certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence. In recent years, the San Lorenzo River has become a sore spot in the Santa Cruz community with a reputation for being dirty and crime-ridden. But a coalition of local community and environmental leaders and organizations wants to change that perception and remake the area into a riverfront we can all enjoy and be proud of.

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Environment

Out in the Cold

Out in the Cold

Local group works on providing the homeless with warm spaces on the coldest nights

When the cold snap hit in early December, resulting in the deaths of four homeless people in Santa Clara County, a group of concerned locals decided to take action to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in Santa Cruz County.

“We thought it would be nice to have a set of known places where the homeless could go in extreme weather,” says Janie Yett, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz.

With this in mind, longtime homeless advocate Brent Adams and a group of about 25 other Santa Cruz citizens, including Yett, organized the Residents for Coldest Nights Warming Centers, also known as The Warming Group. The group’s goal is to establish a series of “warming centers,” or spaces that become available to the unsheltered on nights when precipitation and extreme cold are predicted to occur.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

How could a new Medicare reform bill soon to be considered by the House affect Central Coast doctors? 

The new Medicare payment reform bill that is working its way through Congress could have a huge impact on the Central Coast. Right now, there is a formula that is used to determine how a doctor is paid for seeing Medicare patients. That formula is based on an old classification of either “rural” or “urban” for all of the counties in California. To give you an idea of how outdated this formula is, San Diego is still considered rural. Unfortunately, so are most of the counties on the Central Coast, including Santa Cruz.

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Environment

Promoting Global Synergy

Promoting Global Synergy

UC Santa Cruz hosts the first Right Livelihood College in North America

When David Shaw cofounded the Common Ground Center at UC Santa Cruz’s Kresge College with fellow UCSC faculty members in September 2012, their mission was twofold: to teach students how to combine theory and action to incite social, economic, and environmental change in the world, and also to show them that change comes easier when likeminded individuals, across generations, unite.

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Business

Turning the Corner

Turning the Corner

Healthy market initiative takes aim at rejuvenating corner stores

Rather than the potato chips, sodas and candy one might expect from a corner store, chopped vegetables, yogurts and plastic containers of fruit greet shoppers at Vicky’s Produce in Watsonville. Candy bars have been relegated to a case at the end of the front counter, and healthier snacks like dates and nuts are now positioned closer to the register. Meanwhile, bins chock-full of fresh lettuce, carrots, bananas and other produce flank the entrance.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantez

Town Hall with Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantez

From Watsonville Forward to initiatives you plan to pursue, how are you planning to foster economic development and opportunity as the new mayor of Watsonville?  

It is an incredible honor to serve as the mayor of the City of Watsonville in the New Year. This is a city of great possibility and opportunity because of its hard-working families, its rich agricultural heritage, and the fact that it is an emerging hub for entrepreneurs and businesses from various industries.

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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival