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Feb 07th
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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

What are some of the persisting safety issues with drinking water in the state, and what would the Freshwater Protection Fund change?

More than 16 million Californians get at least some of their drinking water from groundwater, which comes from both public water supplies and private wells. The state regulates and tests our communities’ public water systems, but private domestic wells are unregulated and untested. As a result, many neighborhoods throughout California, especially those in agricultural areas, currently lack safe drinking water due to nitrate-contaminated groundwater. This contamination comes primarily from nitrogen in fertilizer used to grow crops. If consumed at a dangerous concentration, nitrate contaminated water can put individuals, especially pregnant women and infants, at a particularly high risk for serious health problems and even death. Newborns can suffer from “blue baby syndrome,” where there is not enough oxygen in their blood, and adults can experience gastric problems. 

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Business

The Maya-Ixil Move Forward

The Maya-Ixil Move Forward

Local nonprofit works to educate and create opportunity for indigenous communities in Guatemala

In an isolated region of the Guatemala mountains called Ixil, the indigenous Maya population was devastated by a civil war between the government and leftist guerrilla factions that spanned 1960 to 1996.

During that 36-year war, the Guatemalan military eradicated entire Mayan communities. In what amounted to genocide, soldiers burned Mayan farmlands and homes, raped and tortured the people, and scattered families. By the end of the war, 200,000 Mayans had been killed, 7,000 of whom were Maya-Ixil.

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Local News

Public Thinking

Public Thinking

Watsonville teens host TEDx event

Santa Cruz County is no stranger to the TED brand. TED—which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design—talks have come to the area through independently organized events 10 times since 2011. This month, the gathering returns to the county with a new twist, thanks to the Watsonville Youth City Council.

TEDxYouth@Watsonville, which will take place Sunday, May 19 at the Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts in Watsonville, will feature only speakers younger than 19 years old and will traverse topics from racial stereotypes and renewable energy to traditional Mexican dance.

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Local News

Bringing the Message Home

Bringing the Message Home

Former mayor and UCSC student recap their experiences at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women

While traveling to New York for the 57th United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), seasoned local activist Jane Weed-Pomerantz had a notion of what to expect. But, with the vast scope of worldwide women’s rights violations presented at the commission, she knew she would still be taken aback at times.

“I was worried because I had a feeling I would be finding out what I did find out about women and girls in the world,” says Weed-Pomerantz. “I was trying to brace myself for the knowledge of the reality, because we are really very protected in this country.”

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Local News

Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels

Can the debate over homeless services come to terms with the need for drug and alcohol treatment? 

Over the last few months, sharp disagreement on what needs to done about crime and homelessness has polarized the city council, homeless service advocates and neighborhood safety groups, not to mention the larger community.

With total arrests for all types of crime up more than 50 percent between 2011 and 2012, and with 42 percent of offenders booked in county jail being homeless, transients, or having given the address of the Homeless Services Center (HSC) as their residence, Santa Cruz Deputy Chief of Police Rick Martinez says the city is at a critical “tipping point” in addressing drug addiction and homelessness.

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Environment

Bring Your Own Bag

Bring Your Own Bag

Single-use plastic bag bans are underway

Shoppers in Capitola, Watsonville, the City of Santa Cruz, and the unincorporated parts of the county are, by now, becoming accustomed to the absence of plastic bags.

On Sept. 20, 2011, Santa Cruz County became the first local jurisdiction to pass an ordinance that banned single-use plastic bags and implemented a fee for paper bags, which took effect last spring. Watsonville, Capitola, and Santa Cruz followed suit with similar actions: Watsonville’s ordinance went into effect last September, and, as of last month, the bans in Capitola and the City of Santa Cruz are now in place.

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Local News

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Documentary explores the hunger/obesity paradox—a question at the heart of Second Harvest’s evolving mission

In 1968, with 10 million Americans suffering from hunger, CBS News aired Hunger in America, a documentary that exposed the severity of the problem and led to national mobilization. School food programs and food stamps resulted, and hunger took a significant plunge by the late 1970s.

“Hunger was virtually eliminated in America,” says Willy Elliott-McCrea, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB). This proved that ending hunger was a matter of choice, he says.

But that positive trend didn’t last. Today, nearly 50 million Americans, including a fourth of all children, don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

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Local News

Setting up Camp

Setting up Camp

Is a self-regulated, communal camp the answer to Santa Cruz’s homeless problems?

In dozens of cities across the country, there are organized, self-managed homeless communities—a concept dubbed locally as “sanctuary camps”—that aim to help people pull their lives out of the gutter, get organized, find employment and secure housing.

Local videographer, Occupy activist, and now homeless advocate Brent Adams was inspired to initiate plans for a sanctuary camp in Santa Cruz when he traveled in December of last year to Portland, Ore., where there are two camps—one called “Right 2 Dream Too,” nicknamed “R2DToo,” and another called “Dignity Village.”

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Business

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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On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits