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Aug 20th
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Santa Cruz News

Town Hall

Supervisor Ellen Pirie

Supervisor Ellen Pirie

What are some of the biggest issues surrounding vacation rental homes in the county, and how are they being addressed?

Coastal neighborhoods have seen an increase in both the number of vacation rental homes and the year-round marketing of those homes. This evolution has caused growing problems for residential neighborhoods, where the complaints include loud, late-night parties, excessive traffic, loss of neighborhood parking, and garbage. The vacation rentals are in essence a commercial business in a residential neighborhood.Unlike hotels or motels, there are currently no restrictions or limits on vacation rentals, nor are any operational permits required. Capitola is currently the only jurisdiction in the county to govern vacation rentals. The city requires a permit and a business license and limits where rentals can go. Monterey and Carmel have much stricter rules, essentially banning short-term rentals in all residential districts.

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Local News

Creepy Crawlies

Creepy Crawlies

Low-income residents battle bed bug infestation at local motel
For most of us, the saying “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” is simply that—an age-old phrase meant to cue the REM cycle. But for others, including a group of nine Santa Cruz motel residents, it’s a nightly reality.

These nine renters reside on the right-hand side of Aqua Breeze Inn, formerly known as Sea Breeze Inn. Located directly across from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the motel is a popular tourist destination with a prime location and reasonable prices. But the inn also has an unresolved bed bug infestation problem.

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Environment

Biodiesel Revisited

Biodiesel Revisited

The Green Station keeps hopes for biodiesel alive in Santa Cruz
Whatever happened to biodiesel? Once—not so long ago—it was hailed as an immediate and sustainable way to alleviate dependence on oil and reduce CO2 emissions. But lately biodiesel seems to be living in the shadow of other green technologies, like spotlight-stealing electric cars. However, the absence of fanfare hasn’t deterred Santa Cruz’s Kings of Biodiesel, Green Station owners Bill Le Bon and Ray Newkirk, from continuing the fight. While forced to lease U-Hauls out of the Green Station lot to make ends meet (and sell some of those sly electric cars, which they also agree are great eco-choices), they remain committed to keeping the biodiesel pumps alive and accessible for Santa Cruz.

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Environment

Green Eggs, Hold the Ham

Green Eggs, Hold the Ham

UC Santa Cruz dining goes meatless on Mondays
San Francisco and New York City do it; every school in the Baltimore City School District does it; Sir Paul McCartney does it; and now, like four other UC schools, UC Santa Cruz does it, too.

We’re talking about Meatless Monday—a growing movement to cut meat consumption by 15 percent (one day a week), thereby helping to reduce serious environmental stresses, health problems, and resource shortages. Organizations like Meatless Monday and Meat Free Monday (the latter was founded by McCartney and his daughters) are spearheading the campaign, and reminding the world’s omnivores that, according to the United Nations, livestock are the single largest contributor to global warming—spewing even more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s transportation combined.

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Local News

Dive into the BLUE

Dive into the BLUE

Monterey plunges into hosting the BLUE Ocean Film Festival
Some things just click. Artichokes and butter, Highway 1 and convertibles, back porches and banjos—they go together so naturally it's as if they were made for one another. Destined for inclusion in the list of great matches is a new pair: Monterey and the BLUE Ocean Film Festival (BOFF). This summer, from Aug. 24 to 29, BOFF will be held for the first time in Monterey with the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) as their presenting sponsor, promising a marriage of resources, passions, and goals.

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Environment

Smart Meters

Smart Meters

How can something so intelligent cause such uproar?
California is tangled up in a controversy involving Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)’s latest energy-monitoring gadget, the SmartMeter.
The SmartMeter is PG&E’s way of "connecting the energy business with the 21st century” by using wireless technology to read electric and gas usage. The SmartMeter is able to report usage data to PG&E every hour, eliminating the need for meter readers and enhancing their ability to access updated account information.

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Town Hall

Assemblymember Bill Monning

Assemblymember Bill MonningWhat are your thoughts on Proposition 21, which would assist in funding state parks if passed in the November General Election?

Proposition 21, the November 2, 2010 ballot measure, will establish a guaranteed funding source for the operation, maintenance, and capital improvements of the 278 state parks. This measure has my full support and I encourage everyone to support its passage. The proposition will give California vehicles free admission to any state park in exchange for an $18 vehicle license fee and is essential to preserving and protecting our park system.
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Local News

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away …

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away …

Local scientist Frank Drake helps answer extraterrestrial quandaries at first annual SETICon

Are we alone in the universe?
That question, which has long stirred the passions and interests of people around the world, will be the topic of discussion, debate and celebration at a three-day-long event taking place this weekend in Santa Clara. The first ever “SETICon” will bring together scientists, writers, artists, actors, and members of the public to explore the possibility that that there is life beyond what we know to exist on Earth.
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Local News

The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown

This month’s special election will bring an end to the tumultuous race for the 15th Senate District seat

If you have turned on the television, opened a newspaper, or switched on the radio in the last three months, chances are you’ve heard the names John Laird and Sam Blakeslee. Their bitter battle for California’s 15th State Senate District seat has been highly publicized and hard to miss. The special election that will end the race is Aug. 17.

It all started on April 27, 2010, when Republican Abel Maldonado vacated his 15th District seat to assume office as lieutenant governor of California. Republican Blakeslee,

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Town Hall

Congressman Sam Farr

Congressman Sam Farr

With millions of people unemployed, why did it take so long for Congress to approve an extension OF unemployment benefits?

On July 22, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that extends unemployment insurance for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs.
Congress, of course, is made up of the Senate and the House. Until both chambers agree, we can’t accomplish anything. That’s why it was so maddening  that Senate Republicans held up the extension of benefits for seven weeks.

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The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’

 

Say Uncle

Five types of kids, and how to be their best friend
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Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.