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Nov 01st
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Environment

Gunk Goes Green

Gunk Goes Green

Biotech researchers transform biodiesel waste into additional fuel
Ray Newkirk doesn’t hesitate to wash his hands with dirty soap. Before founding the Green Station on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz, where locals pump Bay-Area-made biodiesel into their cars, Newkirk was a backyard producer, making fuel out of fryer waste from the Saturn Café.

Like other biodiesel producers, Newkirk also inevitably made a lot of dark, thick waste glycerin.

For every 100 gallons of biodiesel made, 10 gallons of the crude goop remain. Last year 600 million gallons of biodiesel were produced, and while a freeze on tax credits has slowed production this year, America will still have millions of gallons of crude glycerol at its fingertips.

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Local News

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Velvet Underground finds strength in community (Third in a series.)
In the May 6 issue, we heard from City Councilmembers Ryan Coonerty and Lynn Robinson about the city’s reaction to the May 1 riots, and last week we spoke with Linnaea Holgers James, owner of Artisan’s Gallery, one of the 18 businesses that were vandalized. This week, we continue the conversation with Diane Towns, owner of Velvet Underground.

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Town Hall

Supervisor Tony Campos

Supervisor Tony Campos

The Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution in support of AB1604. Why does the board believe a higher tax should be imposed on California oil?

Currently, there is no tax on oil produced in California. AB1604 proposes to impose a 10 percent tax charge on the gross value of each barrel of oil produced in California. The proceeds of that tax will go to the general fund.

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Local News

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

A Q&A with Linnaea Holgers James, owner of Artisan's Gallery, one of the 18 businesses vandalized during the May 1 riots
Last week we heard from Santa Cruz Vice Mayor Ryan Coonerty and City Coucilmember Lynn Robinson on what the council is doing to address the recent acts of violence in town and what residents can do to help keep the community safe. Since then, Coonerty, Robinson and Councilmember Cynthia Mathews announced several further actions the city is taking to address the destruction, including allocating $5,000 from the council's special project fund to create a reward fund for gathering information about the recent gang-related shootings and downtown violence. They also held a special meeting for Downtown Association members on Wednesday, May 5 at the Santa Cruz Police Department.

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Local News

Buck This?

Buck This?

A proposed Santa Cruz County Rodeo has some saddling up, and others up in arms
At last year’s Santa Cruz County Fair, County Sheriff Sgt. Michael MacDonald conducted an informal survey of attendees. He asked them, “If a rodeo were brought to the Santa Cruz County Fairground for the purpose of raising money to support our local schools and children’s organizations, would you attend?” One hundred percent said yes.

As the vice president of the Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA) and the founder of its newborn fundraising branch, Stars of Justice, Inc., MacDonald spent the following months busily planning a proposal for just that: a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA)-sanctioned rodeo, hosted by the DSA, to be held at the county fairgrounds this October. It would raise money for after-school programs and youth services.

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Local News

On a Roll

On a Roll

Race organizers, city officials hope the high cost of being an AMGEN host pays off
On a rainy afternoon last February, nearly 15,000 people gathered in Downtown Santa Cruz to watch as bicycle superstar Lance Armstrong streaked into town, one blur of a jersey among many, as part of the Amgen Tour of California, the grueling nine-day, 750-mile bike race along the length of the state.

The city spent close to $80,000 to host the Stage 2 finish line, hoping that it would act as an immediate boon for local business and tourism. They were disappointed. City reports concluded that the overall revenue from sales tax was minimal and that hotel occupancy numbers didn’t experience a significant rise, although some downtown businesses—mainly coffee shops and restaurants—did see substantially increased profits the day of the race.

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Local News

Californians for Cannabis

Californians for Cannabis

With legalization on the November ballot, GT takes a look back over the movement’s history
“Doctors smoke it. Nurses smoke it. Judges smoke it, even the lawyers too …” It seems as though Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh’s message has finally gotten across to Californians. A proposition to “Legalize It” will appear on the November statewide ballot, asking voters to make recreational marijuana use legal for everyone over the age of 21.

Marijuana has been in the public eye since the 1960s, and has been on a tumultuous path toward normalization ever since. The upcoming ballot initiative, titled The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, seeks to end the battle once and for all.

According to the Act, approximately 100 million Americans—around one-third of the country’s population—acknowledge that they have used cannabis, confirming that a large percentage of Americans have made marijuana a part of their life regardless of legal implications.

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

You recently honored Santa Cruz resident Eda Lew Balsam at the State Assembly’s Holocaust Survivor Memorial event. What led to your selection of Ms. Balsam?

Ms. Eda Lew Balsam is a longtime resident of Santa Cruz County whose harrowing journey began in Antwerp, Belgium when she was just 12 years old. At the time of the Nazi occupation, Eda’s family fled to the United Kingdom, but was forced to return to Belgium where there was a growing threat of imprisonment and death. Eda’s family subsequently traveled to Paris where they were subject to the threats made by the Vichy government, but were fortunately hidden by a non-Jewish family.

Their flight took them on to Spain, through Cuba, and finally to New York City, via Florida. In 1989, Eda moved to Santa Cruz and has written a book about her experiences entitled Escape from Antwerp.

On April 19, 2010, Eda visited the Capitol with her son, David, where she was recognized and honored in the Assembly Chambers with other holocaust survivors and WWII veteran liberators. The ceremonies were powerful as many voiced the historic and moral imperative to “never forget” the crimes of Hitler that gave rise to the term genocide in the wake of the extermination of over 6 million Jewish people. 

The State Legislature has declared May as “Mental Health Awareness Month.” As the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health, what significance does this issue have for you and your committee?

Mental health issues impact all communities and all demographics. The man you see talking to himself on Pacific Avenue is only one of thousands who are suffering from this painful disease.  Currently there are 3,557 people who regularly receive mental health services from Santa Cruz County.

A majority of the most seriously mentally ill patients are covered by Medi-Cal, but more needs to be done. The Assembly Committee on Health, which I chair, recently passed out Assembly Bill (AB) 1600, authored by Assemblymember Jim Beall, which would require insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment at parity with other medical conditions. Additionally, the committee passed AB 2234, authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, which would increase the provision of mental health treatment and services to older adults.

The stigma of mental illness has prevented communities and the government from affording full coverage and protection for individuals and families afflicted with mental health issues. Building and protecting a network of mental health services, housing, and employment opportunities for individuals is critical to the overall health of our communities. I encourage everyone to learn more about mental illness and the services that are available to treat and employ those afflicted with this disease.

PQ: Mental health issues impact all communities and all demographics. The man you see talking to himself on Pacific Avenue is only one of thousands who are suffering from this painful disease.  Currently there are 3,557 people who regularly receive mental health services from Santa Cruz County.

Local News

Dropping Some Science

Dropping Some Science

Local nonprofit MAPS makes history with hit conference on psychedelic science
“The Tao Te Ching says, ‘Those who know don’t speak; those who speak don’t know,” psychologist William A. Richards, Ph.D., says to a large and colorful crowd on April 16. “But in science, we do the best we can. We just don’t know any better!”

Richards, whose talk outlined a study of the use of psilocybin for the treatment of end-of-life anxiety in cancer patients, was one of dozens of speakers at “Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century,” a keenly anticipated conference that took place at a San Jose Holiday Inn from April 15-18. The event was presented by the Santa Cruz-based organization MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), an IRS-approved nonprofit working to legalize psychedelic drugs and marijuana as prescription drugs.

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Environment

Drill Baby, Drill?

Drill Baby, Drill?

California, breathe easy—offshore oil drilling has been tabled
What do President Barack Obama’s decision to open up parts of the U.S. coast to oil exploration, the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s withdrawal of his support for new oil drilling off of Santa Barbara have in common? They may all influence the future of offshore oil drilling in California.

Though the West Coast was conspicuously absent from Obama’s announcement that he would open parts of the Atlantic Coast, northern Alaskan Coast and the Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration, some fear that opening up those areas may pave the way for new offshore drilling in California.

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Jawing

Monterey Bay scientists are working to crack the mysteries of—and dispel the myths about—great whites. But in the highly contentious world of shark experts, there’s a fin line between love and hate

 

Altars of Remembrance, Forgiveness & Rapprochement

We’re in Scorpio now—things mysterious, ageless, hidden, sometimes scary. Friday is Halloween; Saturday, All Saints Day; Sunday, All Soul’s Day. Sunday morning at 2 a.m. (after midnight), Daylight Savings Time ends. Clocks are turned back. Tuesday is the General Election. Our vote is our voice. Each vote matters. Applying freedom of choice—Libra’s teachings. It’s time to build Halloween, All Saints and All Souls altars—with marigolds, pumpkins, sugar skeletons, copal (incense), pomegranates, persimmons, candy corn and cookies, orange and black. It’s so Saturn (now in Scorpio). Saturn is the dweller on the threshold (like St. Peter at the gates of heaven). Saturn can look like a Halloween creature—a gargoyle—a fantastic dragon-like creature protecting sacred sites. The dweller (Saturn) stands at the door or threshold of sacred mysteries, wisdom temples, inner sanctums of churches, offering protection, scaring evil away. The last day of October and first two days of November, when veils between worlds thin and spirits roam about, are times of remembrance, forgiveness, reconciliation and rapprochement. These actions liberate us. At death, when reviewing our lives and the consequences of our actions if we have forgiven, then we are free, less encumbered with grief and sadness. We place forgiveness on our altars. Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s good to dress up as what we’re afraid of. Or whom we would mentor. Then we become one with them. Note to readers: by Thanksgiving I will need a place to live (with purpose). Please contact me if you know of a place where I can rest for awhile. Teach and build community. [email protected] I will be leaving my mother’s home for the last time.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of October 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Back Nine Grill & Bar

The secrets of remodeling and juicy steak

 

What is Santa Cruz’s biggest eyesore?

David Finn, Santa Cruz, Graduate Student

 

Alberti Vineyards

Looking for some blood-red wine for your Halloween party? Then I have a recommendation for a new brew.

 

Turning Point

New revolving restaurant on the wharf, plus Cafe Ivéta and the last great Jack cheese