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Apr 25th
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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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Local News

Two Years Later

Two Years Later

Family and police hope a $50,000 reward will help solve Carl Reimer’s murder

The 2010 death of 19-year-old Carl Reimer has changed his mother’s life in countless ways—from the daily reminder of his inescapable absence, to smaller things, like the new meanings she hears in old songs.

“Songs have a completely different meaning since my son was killed, especially love songs,” JoAnn, Reimer’s mother, says. “It’s that Fleetwood Mac song that really gets to me.”

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Environment

The Closure Conundrum

The Closure Conundrum

How creative grassroots efforts may keep local state parks open

“How do you close a forest?”

A man in his mid-twenties, dressed in baggy jeans and sneakers, asks his friend this question as they pass a group of climbing students on a trail in Castle Rock State Park. The park—preserved since 1968—is slated for closure July 1, along with 69 others statewide.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

What happens now that the maker of methyl iodide has removed its product from markets in California and the United States?

ArystaLifeScience Inc.’s confirmation on March 20 that it had suspended the sale of the fumigant methyl iodide in the United States due to lack of  “economic viability” represents a victory for the health and safety of the public, workers, and the environment. Scientists, environmental and worker advocates, elected officials, agriculturists, and members of the public at large successfully placed pressure on Arysta to remove methyl iodide from the marketplace. In the end, only six California growers applied methyl iodide in the state.   

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Local News

New Course Chartered

New Course Chartered

Montessori families look to build school within existing district

Supporters of bringing a charter Montessori school to Santa Cruz slowed their roll on Tuesday, April 3, when the group of about 90 families voted to give working with Santa Cruz City Schools (SCCS) officials a shot.

District officials had recommended building the school into the existing alternatives offered in the city and resisted signing a charter. Months of negotiations—which began in July 2011 after the group Maria Montessori Charter School Families (MMCSF) formed—had created a tense working relationship. The most buzzed about moment came in the fall, when MMCSF released a video that intended to promote the advantages of the schools. Public school supporters saw it as a hit piece aimed at discrediting traditional public schools.

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Local News

Family Matters

Family Matters

Residents concerned over future of UCSC’s Family Student Housing

Brynda Zeller is a single mother and full-time student at UC Santa Cruz (UCSC). She says living at Family Student Housing (FSH), an on-campus housing unit that offers lowered rent and assistance to families with children, is the sole reason she is able to juggle parenting and her education.

“I can walk to classes and my daughter goes to the childcare center here,” she says. “Aside from convenience, the sense of community is really great here. … If [FSH] hadn’t been available, or had been any more expensive, I wouldn’t have come here. I would have just stuck with my associate degree and gotten a job or looked into other places.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

“Obamacare,” as conservatives have dubbed it, is currently under question at the Supreme Court. What do you expect to come from this case?

The Supreme Court will not announce its decision on the Affordable Care Act until June, but nevertheless that has not stopped the multitude of speculation.

Depending on where you get your news, the results may vary and the predictions cover the spectrum of positive to negative. But despite the uncertainty, one thing is clear—the Supreme Court’s decision will mark a historic point in our nation’s efforts to reform our healthcare system.   

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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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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