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Apr 26th
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Environment

An Unprecedented Measure

An Unprecedented Measure

Potential Twin Lakes closure leaves residents uneasy

It’s a foggy Monday morning as Laura Kasa surveys the scene at Twin Lakes State Beach. There is no trace left of the crowds that dotted the shoreline over the weekend—except, that is, for the piles of trash waiting to be hauled away.

The Save Our Shores executive director peers into a garbage can, muttering about the plastic containers that poke out from the pile and the small number of trash and recycling receptacles at the entrance.

“When I drove by Seabright Beach yesterday, it was packed,” Kasa says. “What’s it going to be like in July?”

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Local News

Leading the Way

Leading the Way

Annual awards ceremony celebrates queer youth achievement

Fifteen years ago, when Terry Cavanagh began working with young people on AIDS prevention, the world was a very different place. The local community—like others nationwide—seemed to be in denial that Santa Cruz youth were also at risk.

“[People would say], ‘well we don’t have any gay people in our school,’” says Cavanagh, the founder of the local Queer Youth Leadership Awards. “And this would be high school—these would be guidance counselors, teachers, vice principals in schools of several hundred or several thousand students. We knew we had a problem there in terms of visibility and connecting with students and young people.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan. What do you think of President Obama’s handling of the Afghanistan War and this agreement?
There is one common consensus on the Afghanistan War: our nation wants to see an end and our troops brought home. After more than a decade of war, I also believe that we need to do this as soon as possible, and President Barack Obama’s visit to Afghanistan last week was a critical step in that direction.

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Local News

Homes for the Homeless

Homes for the Homeless

Community effort launches to house county’s most chronically homeless

On any given day, more than 2,700 homeless individuals wander the streets of Santa Cruz County, according to the 2011 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey. Twenty-four of these 2,700 individuals died on the streets last year. The average age of those deceased was 49 years.

“If this was happening to any other population, we’d hit the brakes, stop what we were doing and be like, ‘What do you mean people are dying at 49 years old? There’s something wrong,’” says Philip Kramer, project manager for 180/180, a recently-launched community effort to help permanently house and provide necessary support services to the 180 most vulnerable, long-term, chronically homeless men, women and families in the county.

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Environment

Otters Online

Otters Online

Santa Cruz-based website aims to educate and inspire the public about sea otters

If you live in California, you’ve probably heard about the plight of sea otters. You may have even donated a few income tax dollars to them, via Assembly Bill 971, approved almost unanimously last June by California legislators. But Drew Wharton, founder of seaotters.com, thinks that the fight to ensure the future of the southern (or California) sea otter can’t stop there.

Launched on the 23rd anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Santa Cruz-based website aims to make the research surrounding sea otter conservation efforts more accessible.

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Local News

Occupy Update

Occupy Update

Judge dismisses charges against four of the Santa Cruz 11

“I’m so happy,” declared Grant Wilson at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse the morning of Wednesday, April 25. 

Wilson and three co-defendants had just attended their second day of pre-trial hearings to face charges of trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy stemming from the Nov. 30, 2011 occupation of a vacant Downtown Santa Cruz bank. Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick told a courtroom full of supporters and observers that he was dismissing all charges against Wilson and the three co-defendants, Franklin Alcantara, Edward Rector and Cameron Laurendau. Witnesses inside the courtroom say that Burdick told the prosecution, “you paint with too broad a brush,” and that insufficient evidence had been presented to show that any of the four had intended to “commit trespass by design.”

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Local News

Wave Savers

Wave Savers

 Santa Cruz to celebrate World Surfing Reserve designation

More than just the first documented surf spot in mainland American surfing, Santa Cruz is also home to world-class waves, a slew of professional surfers, and a community of environmentally minded folk. But even this seaside town is not immune to threats of coastal and marine destruction that jeopardize beloved surf spots up and down the California coast.

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Business

Murky Negotiations

Murky Negotiations

 Harbor management and dredge operator dispute to be heard by state

Resident Jim Riley joined the dredge operating crew at the Santa Cruz Harbor when he was 17 years old in 1985. That career abruptly halted on July 1, 2011 after negotiations between his union—Operating Engineers Local 3 (OE3)—and the Santa Cruz Port District (SCPD) fell apart on June 29. The dispute was over the SCPD's demand that the dredge operators increase contributions to their benefits by about $2,000 per worker.

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Local News

Banana Slug Wine

Banana Slug Wine

Art and wine come together with Bonny Doon Vineyard, UCSC partnership

"A former colleague said I’m looking more like James Joyce,” admits Randall Grahm, the witty vintner whiz behind Bonny Doon Vineyard, in reference to how he and the aforementioned Irish author wear similar circular eyeglasses.

The comparison of the men could continue, given the avant-garde creativity and unique paths forged by both. Yet, while Joyce demonstrated his keen awareness of the world through a stream of consciousness writing style, Grahm continues to capture his originality in wine bottles. This knack is evident in his latest label, for which the winemaker time-travelled back to his days at UC Santa Cruz.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor John Leopold

Town Hall with Supervisor John Leopold

How have the community workshops on crime and prison realignment gone, and how will they play into the county’s Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) plan?

A year ago, Smart on Crime Santa Cruz County initiated a community dialogue about the impending state prison realignment to prepare our county for the changes that were being planned. As a member of Smart on Crime, I have been working with justice practitioners, other elected officials, attorneys, local academics and community-based organizations to ensure that community members have a chance to weigh in on the biggest change to our criminal justice system in California history.

 

Last summer, the legislature passed AB 109 and designated Oct. 1 as the start date for having non-violent, non-sexual, non-serious offenders serve their sentence in local jails instead of state prisons. The legislation created Community Corrections Partnerships (CCP) in each county, led by the director of Probation and including the Sheriff, a police chief, a representative from the county, the district attorney, a member of the judiciary, the public defender and the director of Health Services. Our local CCP has worked to be inclusive and has encouraged the participation of many other interested community members and organizations.

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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise