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Sep 01st
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Santa Cruz News

Local News

Great To Be Back

Great To Be Back

After spending the last four and half years as the publisher for three community weeklies down in San Diego, it feels great to be back.

I always felt a special vibe and energy when working in the Santa Cruz area. And to now also call it my home takes it to another level. My attachment with Santa Cruz began many years ago. From elementary through high school, I spent many days with my great aunt and uncle in their beautiful Victorian on the corner of Windham and Caledonia streets, as my family would escape the burning inferno also known as the Central Valley in the summertime. Walking down to the corner grocery store as a small boy with 10 cents in my pocket to pick and choose from the assorted array of penny candies, going to the Boardwalk, and the smell of homemade biscuits, boysenberry pie and chicken and dumplings are all fond memories of those times spent in Santa Cruz.

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Local News

Needle In A Law Stack

Needle In A Law Stack

California passes law that adds a step to opting out of immunizations

As Gov. Jerry Brown’s Sept. 30 bill-signing deadline drew to a close, he finished signing or vetoing nearly 700 bills that had stacked up on his desk in hopes of becoming laws. One of the lucky winners was AB 2109, a bill that was introduced by Assemblymember Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) in February, and passed the California Senate 22 to 14 and assembly 59 to 21 in August.

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Local News

What’s At Stake?

What’s At Stake?

Proposition 30 proposes raising taxes to save public schools from more budget cuts

Over-packed kindergarten classrooms are just one example of the ways California public schools are tightening their resources to make up for budget cuts, but Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins says that strategy can only go so far.

“Most of our revenue comes from increasing class size, but you can't just continue to add kids to a class to get more revenue,” he says. “It compromises the quality of our education.”

In the last four years, between $12 and $15 billion have been cut from the state's education budget. Those cuts came as major hits for public schools, but the problems trace back much further. 

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Local News

Ruling The Streets

Ruling The Streets

West Cliff Drive will become car-free for the first Santa Cruz Open Streets

In 2011, Santa Cruz resident Eleanor Mendoza crafted and sent an insightful, handwritten letter to the Santa Cruz City Council for a class assignment. In the letter, the then-9-year-old implored our elected officials to take a closer look at bicycle-related issues in town.

“I was the only one who wrote a letter to our mayor,” says Mendoza, mentioning her strong interest in working in governmental policy. 

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Gov. Jerry Brown had approximately 700 bills awaiting his signature as the Sept. 30 bill-signing deadline approached. Which of your bills was signed during this last-minute rush, and were there any bills that didn't get signed that you feel should have been?

I have had several bills signed into law by Gov. Brown that I am very proud of. First, Assembly Bill (AB) 441 includes projects and programs that promote health, and that have been employed by metropolitan planning organizations, into the California Transportation Commission's Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines to provide guidance on transportation planning and development. By considering these plans, regional transportation planning agencies can incorporate walking, bicycling, and other related activities that reduce traffic congestion and promote a healthy environment into their planning documents.

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Local News

Heading Home

Heading Home

United Veterans Council is eager to return to the Veterans Memorial Building when it reopens next year

Bob Patton of the United Veterans Council is already anticipating the prospect of veterans service programs returning to their old digs when the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building reopens. According to the county, this will happen in the spring of next year.

The Downtown Santa Cruz building has been empty for more than two years, ever since the county found the structure to be unsafe in January 2010 for use by the UVC and many other veteran outreach groups, some of which had been housed in the historical building since the 1930s.

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Environment

Growing The Genome Project

Growing The Genome Project

UCSC releases a more readable version of the human genome

“It’s funny, biology is such a mass discipline,” says Jim Kent. “What we focus on is often as much of a reflection on ourselves as it is on anything.” As director of the UC Santa Cruz Genome Browser Project and head of the ENCODE Data Coordination Center, Kent sets quite an example for channeling cultural fascination with science into real-world application.

“Back in the 1960s, when the focus was on energy and physics, people figured out the energy centers of the cell,” says Kent. But in 2012—a time of immense, international collaboration between biologists and computer engineers—the “culture of the age” culminated in September with a much more accessible and informative translation of the entire human genome than was previously available.

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Local News

Time To Say So Long

Time To Say So Long

Thanks for the Good Times

I started my first newspaper job when I was 10 years old, when I sold the Herald Express on the corner of Lankershim Boulevard and Riverside Drive in North Hollywood, Calif. The year was 1956. I stood on the corner trying to hawk the paper to passing cars stopping at the traffic light. It was boring, so I decided to put the papers on my bike and go around to all the businesses in the neighborhood, and wound up creating a route for myself, consisting of local merchants in the area. I found that to be much more productive. I received tips and sold many more papers than when I stood at the corner. My pay for selling each 10-cent paper was 3 cents. I was paid daily, and I would take my earnings down to the nearby bowling alley where I would spend it all on the baseball pinball machine. Little did I know that the newspaper business would be my career for 30-plus years.

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Town Hall

Town Hall With Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall With Rep. Sam Farr

In regard to the recent attack in Libya, in which the U.S. Ambassador to Libya was killed, what do you believe the implications are in terms of the United States’ involvement in the region, as well as on a political level at home?
I was sad to learn of the attacks on two U.S. diplomatic office sites in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. He was a fellow returned Peace Corps Volunteer with a distinguished career of public service. His death is a tragedy, compounded by the horrific news that three other U.S. personnel were killed during the Sept. 11 assaults by armed terrorists. 

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Environment

Desalination And You

Desalination And You

How prepared are locals to vote on the city’s most contentious issue?

This Nov. 6, Santa Cruzans will not only cast their votes for a new president or an incumbent one, but also for local city council candidates and ballot measures. Citizens may dedicate much of their political consternation to the presidential election, but there are important decisions to be made at home, too.

The implications run deep and the controversy runs high when it comes to one issue being raised in the local election, in particular: desalination. Because of a potentially dire water shortage in times of drought, the city is looking in the coming years to move forward with—or nix—the building of a $115 million desalination plant, says Bill Kocher, the city’s water director. The plant would be built in the City of Santa Cruz, and would hopefully be finished by 2016, says Mike Rotkin, former city councilmember and co-founder of the Sustainable Water Coalition, which advocates for conservation, water storage and water augmentation measures in Santa Cruz.

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The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual