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Feb 09th
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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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Environment

Stop and Go

Stop and Go

Where does the Highway 1 expansion project stand?

Commuters will be cruising new lanes on Highway 1 between Morrissey Boulevard and Soquel Avenue by mid-April, according to Bruce Shewchuk, the resident engineer overseeing the project for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC). However, the freeway will not be three lanes in each direction until August.

“There may be some landscaping to be completed,” says Shewchuk. “But the [La Fonda] bridge will be open and all the lanes useable by late summer.”

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Environment

Looking to the Labor

Looking to the Labor

Cesar Chavez Day provides a good reminder for locavores to thank the farmworkers

The county’s seven farmers’ markets are signs of growing interest in buying local and knowing where one’s food comes from. But the cheery bustle of these local food hubs is still worlds away from the dusty, sun-drenched farm fields of the outlying county. As consumers pick from the colorful produce at the market, how many also think of the hands that picked it from the field?

This question worries Sarah Broker, who says she gets frustrated when people congratulate themselves for buying local food but overlook those who labored for it.

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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