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Mar 03rd
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Local News

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning

Volunteers help locals maximize tax discounts

Waiting a couple of hours for free help with filing taxes feels like getting paid $400 for a half day's work, says Shadowbrook restaurant server Glen Wunderling, 55.

“This is a great service because it's always good to have a second eye look over the forms,” Wunderling says. “It can get really confusing with all the legal and tax code changes.”

Wunderling is one of 3,700 Santa Cruz County taxpayers who, according to the IRS, collectively overpay between $6 and $8 million in taxes every year because they don't claim deductions and rebates they are eligible for. Wunderling says he failed to claim his Making Work Pay tax rebate in 2009—part of President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. That is why he was waiting for a volunteer tax preparer from Project Senior Citizen Outreach (Project Scout)’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the Aptos Public Library on March 22.

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Environment

Homemade in California

Homemade in California

Proposed California law would allow for the sale of non-perishable homemade foods

When Kathryn Lukas started her artisan organic sauerkraut business, Farmhouse Culture, the local worked out of a friend’s cellar. She couldn’t afford rent on the commercial kitchen required under California's food safety regulatory laws, but because she had previously owned a restaurant she knew enough to craft her own commercial kitchen.

However, she soon realized that it would be at least a year before the permitting process for her kitchen was complete. As soon as she could, Lukas purchased an existing 2,500-square-foot commercial kitchen. She couldn’t quite afford the kitchen, so she rented it out hourly to other small-scale food producers in Santa Cruz.

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Local News

A Voice Renewed

A Voice Renewed

Cabrillo journalism department avoids possible elimination

Room 407 may look like an ordinary classroom at first glance, but a wooden sign swinging above the glass door sets it apart from any other room on the Cabrillo College campus. “The Cabrillo Voice,” the sign reads, signifying the room as the home of the school’s student-run newspaper.

Inside, students bustle about, craning at computer screens and making suggestions as they periodically stop to pet Riley, the standard poodle that is just as much a fixture of the room as the newspapers strewn about.

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Local News

Grappling with Growth

Grappling with Growth

Expansion of Watsonville sparks new and long-standing issues

Watsonville City Councilmember Daniel Dodge may have opened a can of worms with a recent editorial published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Jan. 29. 

His piece proposed that the City of Watsonville annex a property known as Sakata-Kett for large retail development and mentioned Costco as a possible tenant.  He says this would help create jobs outside of the agricultural industry for a city whose unemployment rate has hovered around 25 percent since 2008.

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Local News

Getting Physical

Getting Physical

Nonprofit partners with U.S. Paralympics to provide disabled locals with more adventures

At 17 years old, Foster Andersen loved skiing, playing ice hockey, and listening to the Grateful Dead. He thrived outdoors and enjoyed trying new activities.

So, when he broke his neck in a motorcycle accident, his whole life changed.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

How will the recent news about the halt of methyl iodide sales affect South Santa Cruz County?

I have personally spent much time reflecting on the future of pesticide use in the Pájaro Valley. As has been well documented of late, the years-long battle over the potentially dangerous use of methyl iodide has come to a close as Arysta LifeScience has decided to halt all sales of its patent product, methyl iodide, in California and the United States.

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Local News

Hatching a Lawsuit

Hatching a Lawsuit

Litigants say DA’s office is withholding documents in animal cruelty lawsuit

The video footage taken inside of local Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, Inc. in 2009 shows the mutilated bodies of dead or dying chicks and ducklings that lay trapped beneath processing machinery, newly hatched chicks with open bloody wounds, exposed organs, and mutilated feet and legs gasping for air in bins, and workers tossing baby birds into a bucket of liquid waste where they struggle to escape before drowning. The footage also depicts workers dumping unwanted hatchlings by the bucket-load into an eggshell disposal chute and forced, alive, down a clogged drain with a pole and high-powered hose.

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Environment

Banning the Bag

Banning the Bag

If and when local cities plan to follow in the county’s footsteps

Many local shoppers are accustomed to no longer hearing the once common question of “paper or plastic?” as they check out at the market. This is because of grocery stores like New Leaf Community Markets, which offer only paper bags and encourage shoppers to bring in reusable, multi-use bags. Across California, reusable shopping bags have become a staple of environmentalism and consumer responsibility in many counties.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

What is currently being done at the state level to address the foreclosure crisis?

Several weeks ago, California and 48 other states agreed to a $25 billion legal settlement with the nation’s five largest banks based on their illegal practice of robo-signing foreclosure documents. As a result of this settlement, five pieces of legislation known as the California Homeowner Bill of Rights have been introduced in the legislature to enact aspects of the agreement.

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Local News

The Crisis Continues…

The Crisis Continues…

Foreclosures may increase in 2012

Despite the nationwide legal settlement announced last month between 49 state attorney generals and major banks over fraudulent foreclosure practices, and despite a downward trend in the number of homes entering the foreclosure process both locally and statewide compared to this time last year, the damage done by the collapse of the housing market continues in Santa Cruz County. More than 100 Notices of Default and 120 Notices of Sale are issued (on average) by banks each month.

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Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
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Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia