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Aug 30th
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State Spending Raises Eyebrows

State Spending Raises Eyebrows

Concerns of government waste surface about the Capitola Career Center

The 12,587-square foot building that houses the Employment Development Department (EDD)’s “One-Stop Career Center” in Capitola seems even larger when you take stock of the amount of empty, seemingly unused space inside. While the $32,659 monthly rent on the building was previously shared with Santa Cruz County’s Workforce Investment Board (WIB), the EDD is now the sole rent-paying entity inside the space.

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Business

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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The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual