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Mar 06th
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Santa Cruz News

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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Crop Circles

How the confusion over GMOs is undermining the organic movement

 

Week of Festivals: Full Moon, Lantern Festival, Purim, Holi

It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of March 6

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Latest Comments

 

Water Street Grill

YOLO gets reincarnated

 

What would make Santa Cruz better?

A lot more outdoor activities such as outdoor movies and concerts, food and art festivals, and more multicultural activites. Emmanuel Cole, Santa Cruz, Bicycle Industry Product Developer

 

Thomas Fogarty Winery

When looking for a bottle of something to have with dinner, Gewürztraminer 2012 is not the first wine to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir—to name but a few—Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole.

 

So Long, Louie’s

Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar closes, plus Back Porch pop-up, and 2015 Outstanding in the Field tour