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Apr 26th
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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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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise