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Aug 01st
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Tiny Houses, Big Plans

Tiny Houses, Big Plans

Two locals plan to shrink eco-footprints by building small homes

The kitten wending its way around Jason Dietz’s and Gabriel Williams’ legs seems almost comically suited to its environment. The location is one of Dietz and Williams’ “tiny houses,” which is currently planted on an 8-by-20 foot trailer in a Felton driveway. A larger cat, one can imagine, might cramp the 160-square foot home.

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Local News

Speaking To The Voiceless

Speaking To The Voiceless

Local governments ramp up outreach to mentally ill

Some people are too troubled to help themselves. This scenario played out tragically when a homeless man with a history of mental illness murdered local business owner Shannon Collins near Downtown Santa Cruz in early May. The incident pushed the perpetually simmering topic of homeless issues to the front of Santa Cruz politics, with groups including Take Back Santa Cruz demanding the city do something about what they see as an unaddressed safety issue.

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Local News

The Few Who Cost The Most

The Few Who Cost The Most

180/180 campaign aims to address the price of homelessness

Of an estimated 2,700 homeless people living on the streets of Santa Cruz County, just 10 to 15 percent of them—the “medically vulnerable”—account for 70 percent of the costs incurred by countywide services.

The newly implemented 180/180 campaign aims to save lives and money by permanently housing that population.

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Local News

New Budget Better Than Before

New Budget Better Than Before

The city gets closer to approving its 2013 budget

The fact that the city’s budget dealings in recent weeks have been met by little upset may be a sign of increasing economic stability.

The Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved to resolve last-minute changes to its Fiscal Year 2013 Budget at its June 26 meeting—the last opportunity for changes to be made or questions answered about the proposed budget, which they have been in deliberation about for months. The council also moved to vote on the final version at its July 10 meeting.

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Environment

From Fukushima To California

From Fukushima To California

Film about the nuclear disaster in Japan to screen in Santa Cruz

Picture this: a white mushroom cloud rises into the sky as orange flames flicker beneath. Fukushima, Never Again, a documentary by filmmaker/activist Steve Zeltzer, begins with this harrowing image of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant explosion last year in Japan, which followed a massive earthquake and tsunami. The nuclear accident released radiation into the air, soil and the Pacific Ocean.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Neal Coonerty

Town Hall with Supervisor Neal Coonerty

The county is concluding its budget hearings this week. Can you provide an update on the county budget and any programs that may be of interest to the public?

The proposed County Budget for 2012-2013 reflects a fifth difficult year for county finances as we struggle to emerge from the sluggish economy. Significant savings to the proposed $387 million General Fund Budget were achieved by extending furloughs for a fourth year for virtually all county employees and budget reductions up to 15 percent in most county departments. However, even in these difficult times, by working together with other jurisdictions and the private sector, we have been able to spearhead new and innovative programs to address some very serious needs in the City of Santa Cruz.

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Local News

Pacific Avenue Poll Results

Pacific Avenue Poll Results

All of this talk about the proposal to convert Pacific Avenue into a two-way street got us wondering what you, the general public, think of the idea. City officials seem to be onboard with the plan, which was the brainchild of urban retail expert Robert Gibbs, and you can read what some downtown business owners think in the article that begins on page 6. But what do you think? To find out, we ran a poll on our website, gtweekly.com, from Tuesday, June 12 through Thursday, June 21. The survey was simple, reading “I believe the street layout of Pacific Avenue should be …” with the following options to choose from: two-way for traffic; one-way the whole way; a pedestrian mall; left as is; and “other.” 

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Environment

Splitting Green Hairs

Splitting Green Hairs

Local Sierra Club chapter struggles to redefine goals after contentious election

What is the definition of “environmentalism?” This question is at the heart of the debate currently at play within the Sierra Club Santa Cruz County Group executive committee, which has been experiencing a growing division over the last two years.

For many years, the group has concentrated on preservation of greenbelts and forests in order to maintain the natural beauty and ecological heath of the county. This is still a top priority. However, four of the nine seats on the executive committee are now held by new members who see alternative transportation as key to the green movement. Former chairperson Kevin Collins believes this is simply an invitation for further development on greenbelts and a detour from what he sees as the mission of the group.

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Local News

Finding the Way

Finding the Way

Business owners offer feedback on two-way traffic proposal

Business owners and employees working along Pacific Avenue seem largely open minded about implementing a new traffic conversion that would simplify travel in and around Downtown Santa Cruz—and thereby increase sales at their stores. Those interviewed by Good Times suggested changes ranging from implementing two-way traffic along the length of the strip—as was proposed by urban retail expert Robert Gibbs—and making it one-way from north to south, to eliminating cars altogether to create a pedestrian shopping zone, converting only side streets into two-ways, and simply improving signage.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

You serve as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health, where, among other things, you have focused on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  What is the latest with this act, and what is happening in this area at the national level?

Each year, seven out of 10 American deaths are caused by chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. These same chronic diseases account for more than 75 percent of our nation's healthcare spending. The most distressing part is that these diseases could have been prevented. 

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Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover