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Apr 24th
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Santa Cruz News

Town Hall

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Looking back on your first year in office, what were the highlights, and, looking ahead, what are your plans for next year?

I worked hard during my first year in office to serve my constituents, and I look forward to another year of helping vulnerable Californians and leading the fight to protect our environment.

I’m pleased that the legislature passed an on-time, balanced budget last year, and for the first time in many years, the state did not have to make drastic cuts to programs that help foster youth, the elderly, and the disabled. While this is good news, these Californians continue to suffer as billions of dollars in budget cuts from previous years decimated essential services they need. As a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, this year I will continue to advocate for critical programs on which so many Californians rely.

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Business

Covering the Difference

Covering the Difference

Will Covered California equalize the county’s health insurance disparities?

Healthcare has been a fixture in the headlines for several years now—from the passage of President Barack Obama’s flagship Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 and the House Republicans’ constant attempts to repeal it, to the recent rollout of the online insurance marketplace and the glitches that characterized its launch.

The take-home message has been that healthcare will become more accessible for all Americans, who will need to attain some form of health insurance under the new law by the end of March 2014 to avoid a penalty.

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Environment

Blazing the Trails of Science

Blazing the Trails of Science

UC Santa Cruz’s top scientific breakthroughs of 2013

By Aric Sleeper Being second in the world for university research influence is a big reputation to live up to. But UC Santa Cruz—which was given the impressive status by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2012-2013—was up to the challenge, pumping out loads of noteworthy research and findings throughout 2013.

In the eyes of Scott Brandt, vice chancellor for research at UCSC, the “excellent year for research at UC Santa Cruz” was exemplified when President Barack Obama awarded a Slug faculty member with a nationally significant science honor back in February.

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Local News

Getting Warmer

Getting Warmer

Pogonip Jane’s identification could pave the way for progress in other local cold cases

Santa Cruz police recently identified one of the county’s most famous unidentified homicide victims using a new technology—a process authorities hope can also be used to make a break in other local cold cases.

Two hikers discovered the body of so-called Pogonip Jane while searching for mushrooms in the Pogonip area back in January 1994. For more than 15 years, Santa Cruz police were at a loss as to who she was. The petite teenager had been bludgeoned to death and was naked in the middle of a trail when her body was found.            

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Local News

Citizens 2.0

Citizens 2.0

In the third installment of GT’s Civinomics coverage, we look at how online users’ civic initiatives are gaining traction

If the new online startup Civinomics, which is based in Downtown Santa Cruz, is making one distinct impact on the community's civic dialogue so far, it is with organization.

As people become more active on the website, which is designed for users to post civic initiatives, share information, challenge or promote each other's ideas, and vote on those ideas, one of the most notable results has been the platform's capacity to chronicle—in an organized, navigable manner—an expanding landscape of citizenry attitude.

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Local News

On Track

On Track

Plans for Santa Cruz County’s Scenic Rail Trail chug along

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail is now closer to becoming a reality thanks to the approval of $5.3 million in funding.

At its Thursday, Dec. 5 meeting, The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) voted to approve $14 million in state and federal funding for 26 projects. This includes $5.3 million for three sections of what’s known colloquially as the Rail Trail. Those segments include a 2.4-mile portion from Natural Bridges Drive to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, a stretch from Fifth to Seventh avenues along East Cliff Drive in Twin Lakes and a portion connecting Lee Road to the slough trail system in Watsonville.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

The idea of raising the federal minimum wage has been gaining national support. Where do you stand on that issue?

It is a shame that our country has not raised the minimum wage so that all American workers can earn a livable income. When Democrats first took control of Congress after the 2006 election, we made wage reform one of our top priorities and passed the first minimum wage increase in years.

Inflation has unfortunately slowly eaten away at that raise. When adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is now lower that it was several decades ago. If the minimum wage was indexed for inflation, it would be worth almost $11 today. Instead, the current rate of $7.25 per hour leaves workers with just $15,080 a year to pay their bills.

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Local News

Pain Management

Pain Management

Is one of the most common treatments for long-term chronic pain doing more harm than good?

Medications that contain hydrocodone—an extremely addictive opioid found in commonly prescribed painkillers such as Vicodin—are causing more lethal overdoses in the United States than heroin and cocaine combined, according to Bill Morris, a local palliative care doctor for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data indicates that drug overdose death rates, the majority of which are from prescription medications, have more than tripled in the country since 1990, and the CDC has classified prescription drug abuse as an “epidemic.”

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Environment

Charting New Waters

Charting New Waters

Fishwise celebrates 10 years, authors white paper on human rights

When the founders of the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Fishwise began their uncharted journey in 2003, they had one goal: to provide retailers with the information and tools they needed to give customers the ability to make informed decisions about the seafood they put on their table.

Partnering with New Leaf Community Markets for their initial pilot program, Fishwise found that the people of Santa Cruz County not only appreciated knowing the environmental impact of the seafood they were buying, but they actually bought more.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Zach Friend

Town Hall with Supervisor Zach Friend

Your office has been pushing for expansion of broadband in the county. Why do you see broadband as a vehicle for economic development?

High-capacity Internet is one of the most effective tools communities have at spurring economic development.  The economy of the 21st century is predicated up on data and information, and a large barrier to economic growth for local government is the fact that our data infrastructure is generally outdated. It is important to look beyond the traditional model of economic development, which often relied exclusively on box stores or other major physical developments, toward a less-impactful, higher-return, investment model.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management