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Jan 26th
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Local News

Paperless Progress

Paperless Progress

Election season is looking a little greener this year
California has 17 million registered voters. All in all, the voting public of California cuts down about 60,000 trees every election season just so we can have our sample ballots (which some of us just toss in the recycling—or, worse, the trash). But there is a more eco-friendly option, or set of options, on the horizon locally.

Enter paperless sample ballots, the first of two tree-saving measures undertaken by the county. Until recently, California voting law required that a sample ballot be sent to every voter; with that law amended, voters can now request that an e-ballot be sent to their email address in place of a physical pamphlet dropped into their mailbox.

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Business

The Long Foreclosure Fight

The Long Foreclosure Fight

County supervisors urge banks to suspend foreclosures

The state legislature is broken. Not only is it broken, but it has also prevented local governments from doing what can’t seem to get done in Sacramento—such as providing homeowners with legal protection from banks conducting fraudulent foreclosures. That was the consensus of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors at their May 15 meeting, when they adopted a resolution “urging” (but not requiring) local banks to suspend foreclosures until beefed-up, borrower protection laws are passed by the state legislature. The laws are known collectively as the “California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights.”

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Local News

Lifting Obstacles

Lifting Obstacles

New federal requirement makes public pools ADA-accessible

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, disabled people can patronize businesses—including hotels—knowing that they will at least meet basic accessibility requirements. And as of May 21, disabled Americans can now add public pools to the list of places they can count on to be accessible.

An addition to the 2010 version of the act requires all owners of public pools and hot tubs to make them usable by disabled residents. According to a Santa Cruz County Commission on Disabilities press release, “This can involve installing a lift, making a slope or other steps to improve accessibility.”

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Local News

From Field to College

From Field to College

California Strawberry Commission helps children of fieldworkers get to college

Jesus Rios has come a long way. The Michoacan-born 25-year-old went from picking strawberries with his parents in the fields of Salinas to working on his master’s in electrical engineering at Fresno State University. And he doesn’t plan on stopping there: Rios plans to pursue a doctorate in engineering after he completes his Master’s.

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Local News

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

The community searches for answers

He appeared at the Paul Lee Loft Shelter on May 3. He seemed inconspicuous, recalls Homeless Services Center Executive Director Monica Martinez. He was carrying a Bible and expressing a desire to find a Christian community to help him get closer to God. He stayed only during the evenings and showed no aggression or cause for concern.

But four days after his arrival, this man is accused of committing Santa Cruz’s first homicide of 2012.

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Environment

Eco-Friendly Firefighting

Eco-Friendly Firefighting

Local surfer creates environmentally friendly fire extinguisher startup

Jeff Denholm never stops moving. Originally from the coast of Southern Maine, the Capitola-based professional surfer is like the human equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. From his time in the Marines to professional surfing to his environmental endeavors with his new company Atira Systems, Denholm makes things happen.

And he does it all with one arm.

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Local News

Around the World on Two Wheels

Around the World on Two Wheels

Cyclist sets off on a 30,000-mile bike ride

Twenty-seven-year-old Sean Ardley has spent much of his life perched on the seat of a bicycle, and much of the rest of his time doing something related to bicycles. He began mountain biking at age 4 through the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, got his first job at Santa Cruz Bicycles when he was 14 years old, and spent the last four years working at Ibis Cycles.

On May 14, he embarked on a journey that he hopes will inspire others to hop on a bicycle more often.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Can you provide an update about the on going meetings you have been convening to establish a process for the development of the California Coastal Trail along the Big Sur coast?
When completed, the California Coastal Trail will provide a continuous public trail along the coastline from Oregon to Mexico. Predating my involvement, a committee of local community members took the initiative to compile a document that synthesizes the criteria by which the Coastal Trail should be established adjacent to the Big Sur coastline.  

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Environment

An Unprecedented Measure

An Unprecedented Measure

Potential Twin Lakes closure leaves residents uneasy

It’s a foggy Monday morning as Laura Kasa surveys the scene at Twin Lakes State Beach. There is no trace left of the crowds that dotted the shoreline over the weekend—except, that is, for the piles of trash waiting to be hauled away.

The Save Our Shores executive director peers into a garbage can, muttering about the plastic containers that poke out from the pile and the small number of trash and recycling receptacles at the entrance.

“When I drove by Seabright Beach yesterday, it was packed,” Kasa says. “What’s it going to be like in July?”

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Local News

Leading the Way

Leading the Way

Annual awards ceremony celebrates queer youth achievement

Fifteen years ago, when Terry Cavanagh began working with young people on AIDS prevention, the world was a very different place. The local community—like others nationwide—seemed to be in denial that Santa Cruz youth were also at risk.

“[People would say], ‘well we don’t have any gay people in our school,’” says Cavanagh, the founder of the local Queer Youth Leadership Awards. “And this would be high school—these would be guidance counselors, teachers, vice principals in schools of several hundred or several thousand students. We knew we had a problem there in terms of visibility and connecting with students and young people.”

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Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

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