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Sep 19th
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Local News

The Giving Keeps Going

The Giving Keeps Going

Second Harvest Food Bank, CAP Report, show that giving is strong, despite down economy

Sarah Owens, marketing director for New Leaf Community Markets, is getting ready to head to Watsonville. She and a handful of other New Leaf staff are taking turkeys to the United Farm Workers, just one of the groups that are receiving such a donation from the local natural food grocer this holiday season.

“I’m excited to go,” she says. “It’s definitely not in my job description, but giving to the United Farm Workers is really great because they are the ones working in our fields. It’s nice to give back to them.”

So far, New Leaf has donated more than 500 pounds of turkey breast to the Homeless Services Center and 150 turkeys to other organizations, including the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center. The store gives back in several other ways, including their Envirotokens program, community days (when 5 percent of the day’s sales go to a local organization), and their school program, which has given $150,000 to local schools. Although New Leaf has, like most businesses, seen some affects from the economic downturn, and has also seen two major competitors open this year, Owens says they “have remained strong and…are still able to give back to the community.”

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Environment

Swine on the Mind

Swine on the Mind

Opinions are split when it comes to the size of the H1N1 pandemic, but most doctors still recommend the vaccine

After ramping up a vaccination campaign larger than any since polio, public health agencies now say swine flu is on its way out. While some doctors question whether swine flu was ever truly as widespread as it was made out to be, warnings that H1N1 could infect half of all Americans and befell 90,000 came from the highest health authorities, the largest media outlets—even the President.

In late November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that H1N1 cases have appeared in all regions of the country, besides a few isolated areas like Hawaii, and has claimed about 4,000 lives so far. The World Health Organization (WHO) also announced “early signs of a peak” in the U.S., saying it expects infections to continue to decline.

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Town Hall

Town Hall

Town Hall

If or when the rail line between Davenport and Watsonville is purchased, what will be the best use for it? How would it benefit the community?

The possible uses of the rail right-of-way are: 1) to provide freight service, 2) for passenger rail service of some sort or 3) for a bicycle and pedestrian trail. Right now, which option or options would most benefit the community is a question that is wide open and will have to be decided by the Santa Cruz County Regional Trasporation Commission (RTC) in the future.

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Local News

Gleaning Stories

Gleaning Stories

A local project collects and shares the tales of Central Coast gleaners

The roots of gleaning run deep in the story of humankind. The tradition of collecting crops leftover after a harvest is mentioned throughout the Bible, early cultures promoted gleaning as a form of welfare (the peasants could visit fields after the harvest to take what would otherwise go to waste or be ploughed over), and it was a legal right for cottagers in England as recently as the 19th century.

Today, gleaning has come to include dumpster diving, collecting food from grocery stores and restaurants, taking fruit from abandoned trees, and even non-food related activities, like gathering discarded materials to make art, or the collecting of stories.

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Local News

Still Surviving

Still Surviving

Community programs recoup after budget cuts

Various community programs in Santa Cruz have been on the chopping block since January of this year when the city, in attempt to close a $9 million budget deficit, charged Parks and Recreation, museums and community centers with finding their own funding. Nearly one year later, all of these programs have been able to keep their heads above water through the hard work and efforts of community members.

The Santa Cruz Teen Center is perhaps facing the most unsure future due to budget cuts. The city stopped paying rent for the Teen Center last fall, but property owner George Ow Jr. agreed to temporarily waive the rent until the city could make a decision on the future of the center.

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Local News

Fresh Approach to Foster Care

Fresh Approach to Foster Care

How a Santa Cruz County non-profit continues to change lives

There are more than 62,000 children in foster care in California, according to the California Department of Social Services. That number may seem overwhelming, but New Families, a local non-profit private foster care agency, is up for the challenge.

New Families is a Felton-based organization that has been taking a different approach to the foster care system for over 11 years. They micromanage cases for 40 children in 30 homes throughout Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Clara, San Benito and Sacramento counties.

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Local News

All Together Now

All Together Now

City council and local residents look for new ways to combat violent crime

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Santa Cruz City Council voted on five new initiatives designed to combat violent crime and solicited public comment on other ways to address the problem. The measures, all of which passed unanimously, will revise the zoning definitions and permit process for alcohol retailers, accelerate plans to install improved lighting downtown, allocate new funds for the Juvenile Diversion and Early Intervention programs, review and revise ordinances aimed at combating nuisance properties, and launch a pilot Neighborhood Empowerment Initiative, which will send bilingual two-officer police teams to do door-to-door outreach in three neighborhoods that have been hard-hit by recent violence.

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Local News

A Strong Community, If Not a Town

A Strong Community, If Not a Town

New Five Year Plan for Live Oak and Soquel seems likely to bring the area up to speed—without all the extra baggage

Who needs a mayor when you have the Santa Cruz County Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and Supervisor John Leopold looking out for you? Better yet, who needs elected officials when local residents show up and behave amicably towards one another while discussing controversial issues, such as the dispersal of millions of tax dollars in their community? Admittedly, being unincorporated is not the same as being ungoverned, but it stands that the response of local residents of the Live Oak and Soquel community at the Public Hearing for RDA’s new Five Year Plan showed that they are ready and willing to take matters into their own hands.

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Town Hall

Assemblymember Bill Monning

Assemblymember Bill Monning

In light of the recession this holiday season, what kinds of programs in your district are doing important things to fight hunger and poverty?

In the Monterey Bay area, 20 percent of the people live below the federal poverty level and the number of people who have suffered from food insecurity (having missed meals) has tripled in the past eight years.  Second Harvest Food Bank is one of the most effective service organizations in the area and they have large bins in front of local stores and offices in order to collect canned food donations.  Last month, Second Harvest Food Bank served free food to approximately 44,000 individuals and they receive a majority of their food donations during the holiday season.

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Local News

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags

Proposed ban may take plastic bags out of Santa Cruz stores

Getting in the car to buy dinner at the supermarket has taken us a long way from tracking a herd of animals to survive the winter. Conveniences have become an important part of our day-to-day lives, but while making life easier, these conveniences have also separated us from the environment in which we live. Not to mention they can take a drastic toll on the environment.

The most recent issue on the minds of environmentalists and local politicians in Santa Cruz County is the convenience of getting plastic and paper bags at the grocery store. On Oct. 30, County Supervisor Mark Stone announced his intention of instating a countywide ordinance that bans single-use plastic bags and drastically reduces the number of paper bags that are used. Stone plans to instate the ban, if approved, on April 22, 2010, also known as Earth Day. The proposed ban will not only ban plastic bags from all supermarkets and pharmacies, but incentives will be provided to customers if they forgo store provided paper bags altogether and bring their own reusable bags.

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

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

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.