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Feb 09th
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Santa Cruz News

Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor John Leopold

Town Hall with Supervisor John Leopold

There has been a lot of community discussion about the kind of development happening throughout the county. How can residents get involved in shaping upcoming land use decisions in the county?

The last comprehensive county planning process for the unincorporated Live Oak, Soquel, Santa Cruz Gardens and Aptos communities was completed in 1994 as part of the General Plan update. In the nearly 20 years since that plan was adopted, many aspects of our community, from transportation to development, have changed. During this time of limited public resources, a comprehensive General Plan update is not anticipated in the foreseeable future. However, we do have a unique opportunity to envision our community's sustainable future.

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Local News

A Place To Call Home

A Place To Call Home

A glimpse at what life is like after being housed by the 180/180 campaign

When Peter Cook wakes up in his new bed, with a roof over his head, he says it takes him a moment to realize where he is. And then, for another moment, he questions whether he's even supposed to be there.

Sitting at his kitchen table, Cook surveys his living quarters with wide-eyed amazement. The space is mostly unfurnished—in the living room there is a dresser, an unplugged television on the floor and a Yamaha keyboard, one of the few possession he brought with him.

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Business

Pulling Together

Pulling Together

After a recession-induced slump, the local tourism industry finds its footing

Along with the recession’s worst impacts—ballooning unemployment and rampant foreclosures, to name but two—the option of going on vacation disappeared from many people’s summer plans.

Santa Cruz began feeling the impact of this by 2009, when visitation dipped below Santa Cruz’s economic comfort zone and the persevering visitors spent less time and less money in the county. According to Smith Travel Research, annual hotel occupancy decreased from 55.6 percent in 2008 to 48.8 percent in 2009.

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Local News

Great To Be Back

Great To Be Back

After spending the last four and half years as the publisher for three community weeklies down in San Diego, it feels great to be back.

I always felt a special vibe and energy when working in the Santa Cruz area. And to now also call it my home takes it to another level. My attachment with Santa Cruz began many years ago. From elementary through high school, I spent many days with my great aunt and uncle in their beautiful Victorian on the corner of Windham and Caledonia streets, as my family would escape the burning inferno also known as the Central Valley in the summertime. Walking down to the corner grocery store as a small boy with 10 cents in my pocket to pick and choose from the assorted array of penny candies, going to the Boardwalk, and the smell of homemade biscuits, boysenberry pie and chicken and dumplings are all fond memories of those times spent in Santa Cruz.

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Local News

Needle In A Law Stack

Needle In A Law Stack

California passes law that adds a step to opting out of immunizations

As Gov. Jerry Brown’s Sept. 30 bill-signing deadline drew to a close, he finished signing or vetoing nearly 700 bills that had stacked up on his desk in hopes of becoming laws. One of the lucky winners was AB 2109, a bill that was introduced by Assemblymember Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) in February, and passed the California Senate 22 to 14 and assembly 59 to 21 in August.

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Local News

What’s At Stake?

What’s At Stake?

Proposition 30 proposes raising taxes to save public schools from more budget cuts

Over-packed kindergarten classrooms are just one example of the ways California public schools are tightening their resources to make up for budget cuts, but Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins says that strategy can only go so far.

“Most of our revenue comes from increasing class size, but you can't just continue to add kids to a class to get more revenue,” he says. “It compromises the quality of our education.”

In the last four years, between $12 and $15 billion have been cut from the state's education budget. Those cuts came as major hits for public schools, but the problems trace back much further. 

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Local News

Ruling The Streets

Ruling The Streets

West Cliff Drive will become car-free for the first Santa Cruz Open Streets

In 2011, Santa Cruz resident Eleanor Mendoza crafted and sent an insightful, handwritten letter to the Santa Cruz City Council for a class assignment. In the letter, the then-9-year-old implored our elected officials to take a closer look at bicycle-related issues in town.

“I was the only one who wrote a letter to our mayor,” says Mendoza, mentioning her strong interest in working in governmental policy. 

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Gov. Jerry Brown had approximately 700 bills awaiting his signature as the Sept. 30 bill-signing deadline approached. Which of your bills was signed during this last-minute rush, and were there any bills that didn't get signed that you feel should have been?

I have had several bills signed into law by Gov. Brown that I am very proud of. First, Assembly Bill (AB) 441 includes projects and programs that promote health, and that have been employed by metropolitan planning organizations, into the California Transportation Commission's Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines to provide guidance on transportation planning and development. By considering these plans, regional transportation planning agencies can incorporate walking, bicycling, and other related activities that reduce traffic congestion and promote a healthy environment into their planning documents.

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Local News

Heading Home

Heading Home

United Veterans Council is eager to return to the Veterans Memorial Building when it reopens next year

Bob Patton of the United Veterans Council is already anticipating the prospect of veterans service programs returning to their old digs when the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building reopens. According to the county, this will happen in the spring of next year.

The Downtown Santa Cruz building has been empty for more than two years, ever since the county found the structure to be unsafe in January 2010 for use by the UVC and many other veteran outreach groups, some of which had been housed in the historical building since the 1930s.

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Environment

Growing The Genome Project

Growing The Genome Project

UCSC releases a more readable version of the human genome

“It’s funny, biology is such a mass discipline,” says Jim Kent. “What we focus on is often as much of a reflection on ourselves as it is on anything.” As director of the UC Santa Cruz Genome Browser Project and head of the ENCODE Data Coordination Center, Kent sets quite an example for channeling cultural fascination with science into real-world application.

“Back in the 1960s, when the focus was on energy and physics, people figured out the energy centers of the cell,” says Kent. But in 2012—a time of immense, international collaboration between biologists and computer engineers—the “culture of the age” culminated in September with a much more accessible and informative translation of the entire human genome than was previously available.

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On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits