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Sep 21st
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Reading Ahead

Reading AheadWebExclusive: Office of Education addresses literacy gap in children

Forty-six percent of Californian third graders are reading above or at standardized proficiency levels, according to the 2010-2011 STAR testing results. That number is even lower—40 percent—in Santa Cruz County, but there has been a steady push to work towards raising those percentages.

Most recently, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, along with more than 150 other U.S. communities, has signaled their intent to apply for the 2012 All America City Awards, which is offered by the National Civic League. By doing so the county has agreed to work towards addressing child literacy by focusing on ways to improve three key areas: school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning.

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Local News

Taking The Lead

Taking The LeadCounty embraces criminal justice reform

Born with a cleft palate, all Mike Biscovich wanted when he was young was to belong. But instead, his youth was filled with humiliation as students laughed at his deformity; and later with solitude, as they shunned him. It was a lonely time, that was, until he discovered drugs.

In drugs he found an escape, a form of comfort, a place to be. And as he immersed himself in that life, the more he says he came to believe he didn’t need other people. It became a vicious circle that would pit him against the world, throw him into a life of petty crime and eventually land him five jaunts in state prison.

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Local News

Eye on the Occupiers

Eye on the Occupiers

How does Occupy Santa Cruz fit into the global movement for democracy?

Ed Frey, an attorney in Santa Cruz, has been unhappy with the political process and decisions of policymakers in the United States for decades—particularly the lack of a voice given to everyday people. He is not alone. On Sept. 17, the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City’s financial district erupted, and Frey found a vehicle for his cause. He participated on day one of the movement in San Francisco’s branch-off protest, Occupy San Francisco. When Occupy Santa Cruz (OSC) developed, Frey immediately joined the effort.

“I do not think it’s a policy change—no bill or piece of legislation—that we need,” says Frey. “We need a process change.” Frey thinks people should demand full access to facts, and that officeholders should be directly accountable to the people they represent.

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Town Hall

Why Two Way?

Why Two Way?

The Downtown Association has asked city council to consider changing traffic patterns on three blocks of Pacific Avenue and two feeder streets to allow for a less convoluted and more welcoming navigation to and around downtown.

With a plethora of downtown issues to focus on, a struggling national economy and increased vacancies, why would this be a priority, especially now as we enter into the busiest retail season of the year?

Earlier this year, the City of Santa Cruz engaged the services of Robert Gibbs, a well-known retail consultant, to assess the city’s economic centers and make recommendations as to how to increase the retail capacity, thereby strengthening the local economy.

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Local News

Cannabis Crackdown

Cannabis Crackdown

Local medical marijuana dispensaries face an uncertain future in face of government shutdowns

In the spring of 2009, a neighborhood of sick people with cancer, neurological degenerative disease, and chronic pain joined to form the Santa Cruz Mountain Naturals Medical Cannabis Collective and Medicinal Herb Co-op (SCMN). After an Aptos building owner invited the collective to open a dispensary in his building on Soquel Drive seven months ago, this medical cannabis community grew to treat more than 1,500 patients.

“There were a number of sick people going through really serious problems that had been using marijuana as a relief for decades,” says Colin Disheroon, founding member of SCMN. “They were already doing this with doctors’ recommendations, but they were afraid. We began as a group to pool our resources and start providing medicine with intention, together. That is what this whole movement is based on—collectives.”

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Local News

Anything But Sluggish

Anything But Sluggish

UC Santa Cruz’s Research Review Day highlights notable developments

From identifying the amino acids that cause cancer in specific cells to influencing city designs through video games, there is no problem too small or too large for UC Santa Cruz faculty to tackle. They showcased examples of how they are shaping the future from their labs in the forest at Baskin School of Engineering’s Research Review Day on Thursday, Oct. 20.

“The mission of a research university is to engage in cutting-edge research ... and impact society through production of technology,” says associate professor of computer science Michael Mateas, who also leads the school’s Center for Games and Playable Media research group. His work in computer game design was among that highlighted at Research Review Day.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

You recently had a consumer assistance bill dealing with healthcare signed by the governor. What did this bill do?

My Assembly Bill (AB) 922 will enable California consumers to more easily access information and assistance about their health plan eligibility.

Federal healthcare reform will expand healthcare coverage to more than four million Californians and AB 922 will streamline the confusing and burdensome number of agencies that currently exist to assist consumers by making the Office of Patient Advocate (OPA) a one-stop-shop for that assistance. The bill will also ensure that Californians get clear and understandable consumer information and assistance by strengthening current programs, and OPA will catalog and direct complaints about healthcare coverage, as well as create a clear internal chain of command for the Administration with regard to health care coverage.  

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Local News

A Dense Discussion

A Dense Discussion

Advocates continue to fight for the cause behind California’s vetoed breast cancer detection bill

Nancy Cappello never imagined that she’d one day spend her time talking to strangers about her breasts. She also never expected to get breast cancer—she was a dutiful recipient of annual mammograms that routinely came back “normal,” after all—but somehow that happened, too.

In November 2003, Cappello once again received normal mammogram results that included “no significant findings.” But less than three months later—thanks to her gynecologist, who felt the lump during a standard annual exam—Cappello was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. The cancer had traveled outside of her breast to her lymph nodes, 18 of which were removed and 13 of which contained cancer. Just a matter of weeks after her uneventful mammogram, she underwent six surgeries, eight chemotherapy treatments, and 24 radiation treatments.

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Local News

Relocated & Reinvigorated

Relocated & Reinvigorated

The Resource Center for Nonviolence gets more elbow room in new seaside location

Car horns honked in support as a procession of about 30 people marched from 515 Broadway to 612 Ocean Street on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The march symbolized the Resource Center for Nonviolence’s (RCNV) move from its home of 35 years to its new, more accessible location only blocks away.

“We got probably 30 or 40 email messages from people congratulating us on the move,” says Scott Kennedy, who has been with the RCNV since its 1976 founding, when a group of activists from Isla Vista, Calif. decided to build a center for nonviolence. “We came to the conviction that there was great value in establishing a physical place in the community that people could come to rely on.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

What do you think the Occupy Wall Street protests have accomplished?

People are angry, and I don’t blame them. Unemployment and foreclosures remain at record highs in some areas, the wealthiest in our country are dodging taxes, and the solution from an obstructionist House Republican Majority is [to] cut federal funding for programs for the most in need.

It is clear that people are mad as hell, and I don’t blame them. It is therefore no surprise that the ‘Occupy’ movement has spread from coast to coast. The things that were once within the reach of every family—housing, healthcare and education—now seem like distant luxuries.

This has all taken a heavy toll on our nation. Our country’s middle class is losing hope in the American Dream, and those struggling to hang on, living paycheck-to-paycheck, find themselves being squeezed and pushed into poverty. 

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.