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Dec 19th
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Environment

Berry Battles

Berry BattlesThe long-running fight to ban methyl iodide takes a new turn

Cancer, late-term miscarriages, thyroid disruption, kidney damage and destruction of the developing brains of children are what’s in store if strawberry farmers begin fumigating their fields with the pesticide methyl iodide, said a panel of experts at a public forum in Salinas on Sept. 29.

The panel included Assemblymember Bill Monning, Dr. Kathy Collins, professor of microbiology at UC Berkeley, Dr. Robert Gould, president of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Jim Cochran, president of Swanton Berry Farm, a Santa Cruz-based organic strawberry grower. It was hosted by a coalition of organizations determined to raise awareness of the public health risks presented by the pesticide, as well as what they say is the state’s negligence in correctly analyzing scientific data they argue clearly illustrates its dangers.

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Local News

A Tale of Two Cypresses

A Tale of Two Cypresses

Local lounge’s hours cut after permit issues and noise complaints

The first sign that things might not go well for supporters of the Cypress Lounge at the Sep. 17 City Council Meeting happened before their topic had even been broached.

Anne Sallie, a local artist who frequents the lounge and sells her crafts there, was standing outside the chambers, explaining all the work the establishment has put into limiting noise and disturbances after complaints from the neighborhood.

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Local News

Finding Free Radio

Finding Free Radio

Local pirate radio station shutdown, seeks new broadcasting site

Are you wondering why feedback noise and bits of a conservative talk show now crackle in your ears when you attempt to tune into Free Radio Santa Cruz (FRSC) at 101.1FM?

The popular pirate radio station has its own official “day” in Santa Cruz—declared on March 27 of last year by then mayor Mike Rotkin—but its radio transmitter has been homeless since Aug. 12.

“We’re looking for a [transmitter host] site,” says FRSC programmer “Uncle Dennis,” whose show has aired for 14 of the station’s 16 years on the air. “What we’d like to do is have a couple of sites in the barrel in case one doesn’t work out, but we’re still looking for a site so we can let folks know that we’re back on the air.”

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Business

Where Do We Stand?

Where Do We Stand?

A look at where Santa Cruz County is ‘post’ recession

The recession is over … or is it? There are so many facets to the economy that it’s hard to tell if Santa Cruz County is on the road to recovery in the wake of the economic recession of the past couple years.

For someone like Mina Feuerhaken (pictured here), the owner of Nut Kreations with her husband Brody Feuerhaken, a small business in Downtown Santa Cruz that opened late this April, Santa Cruz County is in stages of recovery.

Her optimism about her business is largely based in the confidence she has in her product. “I feel that a lot of creative ideas and businesses come out of recessions because you have to find something that drives people and makes them want to spend their money with you,” Feuerhaken says. “But even just opening our business was a helpful drive for the economy; the vendors we buy from, the people that helped set up the place—we’re giving them our business and helping give them jobs.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Fresh off the heels of the last legislative session, Assemblymember Bill Monning stopped by GT headquarters to answer some questions about what was accomplished, his bid for state senate, what the heck to do about the sorry state of California, and much more.

Looking back at the legislative year that just ended, what were some of the highlights?

The clear highlight, what eclipsed everything, was the budget. The good, the bad and the ugly. We achieved a budget agreement by the constitutional deadline of June 30 for the first time in years. In part we were able to do that because we have majority vote now to pass a budget, but we were still unable to get the two-thirds necessary to go to the voters to extend current revenues, so that meant we had to cut deeper. The bad and the ugly is the budget that was balanced on time required further cuts to higher education, and health and human services.

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Business

Animal Instincts

Animal Instincts

A conversation with Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of PETA

Governments and organizations around the world will receive startling packages from Ingrid Newkirk after she dies.

Newkirk, 62, is still alive and well, and busy as ever as the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which she co-founded in 1980 with her then boyfriend, Alex Pacheco. But she’s designed her legal will to ensure that, once her days are indeed done, every last bit of her body will be used to make a statement about the injustices carried out against animals globally.

The Canadian Parliament will collect one of her ears to symbolize the screams of seals whose pelts are used for fur; her liver will go to France to protest the force-feeding of ducks and geese for foie gras; one of her pointer fingers will end up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a posthumous accusation, pressuring the agency to ban animal testing; and the list goes on.

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Local News

Campfire Stories

Campfire Stories

Santa Cruz difference-makers gear up to speak at the first annual Bonfire Heights event in Monterey

Ten years ago, at age 31, Heidi Boynton was the picture of health and happiness. She was a busy stay-at- home mom with two boys, ages 6 and 9, who was involved in the community, helped organize service trips to Mexico, and camped, biked and jogged regularly.

Today, Boynton is still doing all of those things—and much more—but all whilst living with an incurable, rare “Molotov cocktail” of blood disorders. She was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and aplastic anemia in 2002, when she was 31, and then with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) in 2008. “I used to think that you’d get this one thing, and then you’d be done,” says Boynton. “But it doesn’t seem to be the case—and that’s all right.” On top of these blood disorders, she also had skin cancer twice and ovarian cancer during the last 10 years.

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Local News

Foragers Take Note

Foragers Take Note

Death cap mushrooms made an early appearance in Santa Cruz

Nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by a brief period of improved health, and then, without treatment, comes liver damage, kidney failure, coma and death.

These symptoms sound like a Pepto-Bismol commercial gone awry. Instead they are the reality of consuming Amanita phalloides, otherwise known as the Death Cap, one of the most dangerous mushrooms found in Santa Cruz County. The Aptos family of six that suffered the death of one and poisoning of five of their members from the consumption of Death Caps in 2007 is still in recent memory. Every year, an average of between six and eight people are seriously poisoned by wild mushrooms they collect and consume in Northern California.

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Environment

Looking at What’s Sacred

Looking at What’s Sacred

Ohlone descendent Ann Marie Sayers opens up about ‘The Knoll’

A winding road meanders through dust-covered vineyards just before it rises into Indian Canyon, an oak-covered ravine tucked quietly into the Gavilan Mountains south of Hollister. It was here that many Ohlone resisters once ran to hide from the Spanish colonizers of San Juan Bautista and Mission San Jose.

Today, the mile-long stretch of this majestic ravine, the center of which is a trickling creek, an ancient Ohlone village and numerous ceremonial sites, is the place Ann Marie Sayers calls home.

Sayers is an Ohlone descendant who has been designated as the cultural advisor of the current housing development being constructed on “The Knoll,” a sacred Ohlone ceremonial site near Branciforte Creek in Santa Cruz, where the remains of a young native women were recently discovered. I visit Sayers at her home to learn her perspective on the debate concerning the knoll and, more specifically, about the Ohlone concept of sacredness.

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Local News

What About Art?

What About Art?

Downtown’s sit/lie ordinance continues to stir discussion about sidewalk performers and vendors

Changes made in 2009 to loitering rules on Pacific Avenue—commonly known as Santa Cruz's “sit/lie ordinance”—have some locals asking whether panhandlers and loiterers should be treated differently than artists and merchants.

The rules aim to keep sidewalks clear for walking and entrances to businesses accessible, according to Mayor Ryan Coonerty. However, there is no nuance written in to distinguish between performers and people who choose to hang out with no apparent purpose.

Before 2009, Chapter 5.43 of Santa Cruz Municipal Code made it illegal for anyone to perform or sit within 10 feet of public art, business entrances or kiosks. The new version extended that distance to 14 feet from any business, sculpture or kiosk, and 50 feet from automated teller machines. Without a special events permit from the Parks and Recreation Department, the law also requires people to move 100 feet down the street after one hour. The permits are given for non-commercial events, which puts artists looking to sell their work in a sort of legal limbo. There is not currently a system set up for permitted sales of work except on the basis that it is by donation.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire