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Aug 23rd
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Legal Battles Drag On

Legal Battles Drag On

More than a year after the 75 River St. occupation, four defendants remain embroiled in ongoing case 

More than a year and a half since a group occupied the former Wells Fargo building on River Street in an act of protest, felony charges linger on for four of the original defendants and a trial may be imminent.

Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Brent Adams, Cameron Laurendeau and Franklin Alcantara were scheduled to begin trial May 13 in connection with the late 2011 protest. That trial now has been pushed back to September due to scheduling conflicts. The four face a felony charge of vandalism and a misdemeanor for trespassing.

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Local News

A Mother’s Struggle

A Mother’s Struggle

May is Perinatal Depression Awareness Month

After the birth of a child, most women experience a short period of mood swings and anxiety known as the “baby blues” as hormones return to normal levels. But according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in March, one in seven women will experience these feelings longer and more intensely than others will. This disorder, known as postpartum depression (PPD), is something Santa Cruz resident Jodi Koumouitzes-Douvia experienced firsthand.

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Local News

Changes and Challenges in County Jail

Changes and Challenges in County Jail

As Gov. Brown faces down the courts over prison populations, GT looks at how realignment is unfolding locally 

Santa Cruz County Jail’s (SCCJ) “recreation areas” are dark rectangles the size of a small living room with ceilings of mesh and spirals of barbed wire. The sky is visible, but the rooms are concrete walls and flooring, and depending on the section of the jail and time of day, many recreation areas remain shaded. Basketball hoops are available, but the space is barely large enough to accommodate a half-court game. There are no plants in sight, not even patches of grass.

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Local News

Artistic Expression or Safety Hazard?

Artistic Expression or Safety Hazard?

Faith group leader relocates to Santa Cruz County for artistic freedom, gets art red tagged

Rev. Robert Seals, an artist, musician, and leader of Mother Nature’s Temple—an earth-based faith group that originated in Butte County, but is now headquartered in Soquel—has utilized artistic expression as a means of protest since the Vietnam War era. So, naturally, when he ran into legal problems with a neighbor upon moving onto a 50-acre property just off Old San Jose Road last year, he expressed his frustration by creating a sculpture.

That artistic expression came in the form of a 14-foot tall “Mr. Potato Head,” with a wide, grinning mouth full of sharp fangs and glaring eyes. He crafted the face from the churning tank of a cement mixer, which he purchased for about $600, cutting and welding features, painting it, and setting it vertically. From Seals’ mountain property, the face peered directly at the neighbor’s home.

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Environment

Land of Lions

Land of Lions

New research provides foundation to look at protecting mountain lions, particularly when it comes to Highway 17

An adult male mountain lion called simply “Number 16” by the Santa Cruz Puma Project led a scientifically interesting life for the more than two-year period he was tracked by the UC Santa Cruz-based research project.

According to Chris Wilmers, associate professor of environmental studies at UCSC and head of the Puma Project, the group initially caught and collared Number 16 in Loch Lomond. He then proceeded to cross Highway 17 several times, where he was eventually was hit, but survived. In an unusual move for an adult male, Number 16 then shifted his home range to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. Recently, the lion’s tracking collar went on “mortality mode.” The day before Wilmers spoke to Good Times, the researchers found his skeleton.

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Local News

Power Plants

Power Plants

The psychoactive jungle brew ayahuasca plays a starring role in the Psychedelic Science 2013 conference

During a 1966 congressional hearing on the banning of LSD, Sen. Robert Kennedy famously commented, “Perhaps to some extent we have lost sight of the fact that [LSD] can be very, very helpful in our society if used properly.”

At that time, the controversial chemical in question was the most researched psychiatric drug on the planet, considered by many practitioners to hold huge promise as an aid in the treatment of such disorders as psychopathology, drug and alcohol addiction and end-of-life depression and anxiety.

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Town Hall

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Tensions are higher than ever about homelessness and crime in Santa Cruz County. Is there anything that can be done at the state level to address these local problems?

Homelessness and crime are often symptoms of the larger problem of poverty. Some of our communities have high poverty rates that undoubtedly contribute to homelessness and crime in our area: Watsonville has a rate of 20.4 percent, Santa Cruz has 20 percent, Aptos has 12.7 percent. In fact, Santa Cruz County has the highest school-age poverty rate in the Bay Area.

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Local News

Filling the Gaps with First Alarm

Filling the Gaps with First Alarm

The City of Santa Cruz experiments with employing private security to help prevent crime

They stand on street corners, roam Pacific Avenue, cruise the San Lorenzo River levee in trucks, and sit idly by in parks, doing what they do best: deterring crime.

In the past few years, First Alarm, a private security company based in Aptos, has become a growing component in the City of Santa Cruz’s public safety strategy.

“We launched it with some pilot programs downtown,” says Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) Deputy Chief Steve Clark, “and then we expanded into the Harvey West neighborhood to deal with the issues around the Homeless Services Center and the negative impacts we were seeing, and then we expanded to our levees, our beach area, and now to the parks.”

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Local News

By Homeless For Homeless

By Homeless For Homeless

Nascent ‘Citizens Council on Homelessness’ holds its first meeting

At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, inside Room 207 of the Louden Nelson Community Center, a new local movement began—or, at the very least, an email list was compiled.

About six people showed up to the meeting, after seeing fliers around town announcing the formation of a new Citizens’ Council on Homelessness. The fliers invited people to “discuss a comprehensive plan to address homelessness that is practical, affordable, and humane”—a poignant charge given the current tensions surrounding the issue of homelessness locally.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

Where do you stand on Watsonville’s possible Sakata-Kett Annexation?

This coming June 4, Watsonville voters will vote on whether or not the City of Watsonville should annex the Sakata-Kett property, which is just to the west of city limits beyond our cold storage and industrial sectors. The annexation vote will also include a patch of land west of Highway 1 that includes the historic Redman-Hirahara House. I am unequivocally opposed to this project because I think that it has been thoroughly rushed and has not provided the planning details necessary to merit voter support.

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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.