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Apr 25th
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Local News

Shuttle Smith Adventures

Shuttle Smith Adventures

New bus service caters to bicyclists at Nisene Marks
With the Nov. 2 vote on Proposition 21, The State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act right around the corner, tree huggers throughout California are doing their part to protect the future of Mother Nature.

After working in construction for 29 years, 53-year-old Santa Cruz local Dave Smith recently decided to renew his connection with Nisene Marks State Park. The adventure enthusiast created a part-time job for himself that would allow him to ride his mountain bike five times a week.

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Town Hall

Congressman Sam Farr

Congressman Sam Farr

Last Year it was protests over health care and overflowing town halls. What's the feeling on the street NOW? What issues are pressing on the Central Coast?
This has been an exciting year, there's no question about that. Health care topped the agenda, but it wasn't the only thing that caught the public's attention.

The year got started with a continuation of new projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, designed to inject much-needed capital into our struggling economy.

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Local News

On the Air Again

On the Air Again

Free Radio Santa Cruz returns after brief displacement
It’s not easy being free. There’s bound to be someone who will want you to pay for it. Or tell you how to express your freedom.

One local experiment in freedom has resounded on Santa Cruz airwaves 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the past 15 years. But on Tuesday, Aug. 3, the experiment—known as Free Radio Santa Cruz (FRSC) 101.1 FM—went off the air and left a gap in independent local broadcasting. However, the silence didn’t last long: the underground station recently found a new transmitter location and is, as of this week, back on the air.  

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Local News

Cutting Class

Cutting Class

Cancellation of Cabrillo’s Chinese language program causes a stir
Budget cuts: two of the most dreaded words in current economic times and, unfortunately, also two of the most common. With the state’s deficit at a staggering $19.1 billion, funding for social programs has been hacked away, leaving schools and communities to deal with the brunt of the blow.

For most of the Golden State’s public schools, this means having to cut many needed and desired courses. Cabrillo Community College is no exception.

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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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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