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Feb 05th
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Santa Cruz News

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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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor John Leopold

Town Hall with Supervisor John Leopold

The Board of Supervisors recently heard heated concerns from residents about hazardous waste, such as syringes, being found in parks, beaches, etc. What is the Board doing to respond to these complaints?

First, some background on this issue is important. By 1995, the Centers for Disease Control reported that nearly three-fourths of all new HIV infections were linked to injection drug use, transmitted by sharing contaminated syringes. That same year, only seven California counties had a higher prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS than Santa Cruz, and an increasing number of these cases stemmed from injection drug use. At that time, our Health Services Agency reported that the percentage of AIDS cases not attributable to male/male sex had more than doubled from a mean of 12 percent in the years 1983-1990 to a mean of 27 percent in 1991-1993, and that 43 percent of female AIDS cases in the county were injection drug users.

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Environment

Extreme Clean

Extreme Clean

The evolution of Santa Cruz’s DIY cleanup crew

It takes the group less than 10 minutes to find around a dozen syringes stashed in an unmarked paper sack. The bag appears innocuous, lying in grass just three feet from a high-traffic thoroughfare, Delaware Avenue, near the park at Natural Bridges State Beach.

So begins a typical Saturday for Santa Cruz's DIY waste-collection effort, The Clean Team.

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Local News

Diagnosis Undetermined

Diagnosis Undetermined

Local patients and providers navigate the changing healthcare landscape

California's Healthy Families program was eliminated in Santa Cruz County on March 1, pushing thousands of children into Medi-Cal. Gov. Jerry Brown did away with the state's child healthcare plan—which served as the primary option for families who did not qualify for Medi-Cal, but could not afford private insurance—as part of a budget maneuver in 2012.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Where does congress stand with passing new gun-related legislation, and what elements are you fighting most strongly to make sure are included?

In last weekend’s Weekly Address to the nation, President [Barack] Obama renewed the call for legislation to prevent gun violence and championed the work already done by Congress on the issue. In the three months since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. that sparked this latest round of debate, we have made some progress to end the violence but still much is left undone.

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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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