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Apr 18th
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Local News

A Second Chance for Pets

A Second Chance for Pets

The BirchBark Foundation provides a lifeline for pets whose owners are unable to pay vet bills

Yrelda Rodriguez’s 2-year-old Shih Tzu, Lacie, has come to feel more like a family member than a pet, especially after a doctor told Rodriguez she was incapable of having children.

But when Lacie was run over by a reckless driver, Rodgriguez—an agricultural worker who lives near Soledad—was faced with a terrible choice: come up with money she didn’t have for surgery, or put Lacie to sleep. “I was horrified,” Rodriguez says.

Her situation is not unique.

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Environment

Crop of the Future?

Crop of the Future?

California legalizes industrial hemp, setting the stage for hemp production should it become legal on the federal level

Hemp advocate Richard Dash, owner of the Dash Hemp Santa Cruz retail store, is quick to point out the irony in the federal government's longstanding ban on the cultivation of industrialized hemp.

The DEA, he explains, associates hemp directly with marijuana despite its non-psychoactive properties, while the sale of bagels with poppy seeds—the base source of opium—is perfectly legal.

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Environment

The Center Cannot Hold

The Center Cannot Hold

Why the environmental and social justice movements must come together

Reverend Deborah L. Johnson and author-entrepreneur Paul Hawken met about six months ago and realized they had a lot in common.

“We resonated a lot,” recalls Johnson, founder of Inner Light Ministries in Soquel. “I was particularly moved by Paul’s involvement in the civil rights movement. Most people know him as an environmentalist but he was a journalist during that time. I thought our voices combined could bring a unique perspective in helping the more progressive types come together.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

Town Hall with Supervisor Greg Caput

What is being done to curb south county’s high unemployment rate, particularly during the hard winter months?

Currently, the county has been working with local businesses to determine an economic vitality strategy and to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the county by district. Recently, I hosted an economic meeting that had local businesses and leaders comment on what they thought should be done to stimulate our local economy.

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Business

The Medical Message

The Medical Message

Former Santa Cruz resident helps lead Israel’s state-run medical marijuana program

It is Mimi Peleg’s job to teach people how to use pot—she imparts knowledge like how long to inhale smoke or vapor, how to administer sublingual drops, or how to ration out a pot cookie.

This is all part of her role directing large-scale cannabis training for the Israeli government’s state-run, discreet, successful and expanding medical cannabis distribution center, known as “MECHKAR.”

MECHKAR began as a tiny program serving just more than two dozen people in 2008. Today, supplied by eight farms located all over the country, the program distributes cannabis to more than 12,000 patients.

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Business

Spousal Rules

Spousal Rules

Upcoming event discusses the technicalities of taxes, legal issues and finances for same-sex married couples

For a long time, Greg Rowe told himself that marriage wasn't something he needed to have recognized by the federal government. But today, he feels differently.

Last week, Rowe, a licensed psychotherapist, married his partner of two years, Cesar Pasos. Thanks to recent court rulings, Rowe notes that a whole world of federal rights will now be available to the couple.

“The truth is, I deeply desire that—for my government to sanction and recognize my marriage,” he says. “I didn't even know it was a dream of mine.”

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Town Hall

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

In light of the Farm Bill debate in Congress, what are your concerns and hopes for what this could potentially mean for food assistance in California (CalFresh)?

The CalFresh program, more commonly called “food stamps,” helps families keep their children from going hungry with nutritious food. Benefits provide a boost to low-income families’ food budgets, and they are used to purchase food at most grocery stores. Unfortunately, while many in California are eligible for the program, too few sign up. Currently, there are approximately two million participants, which is less than half the number of those eligible. The dollar amount is modest—the average family receives about $153 per month to purchase food—and is entirely paid for with federal funds. My greatest hope for the CalFresh program is that more families who are eligible for benefits start receiving them so that their kids can grow healthy and strong.  

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Local News

Closing the Political Gender Gap

Closing the Political Gender Gap

The growing effort to encourage local women to ‘break the glass ballot’

The United States ranks just 87th in the world for representation of elected women at the national level, and statistics show the number of women in national elected positions is declining. Statewide, an additional 28 women would need to be elected to the California legislature to reach gender parity, and locally, there are a number of women serving on city councils, but no women on the county Board of Supervisors.

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Environment

Civil Conversations in Uncivil Debates

Civil Conversations in Uncivil Debates

How two of desal’s most vocal figures came to understand—and respect—one another despite their differences

In recent years, plans for a controversial seawater desalination plant in Santa Cruz landed retired electrician and environmental activist Rick Longinotti and former mayor and councilman Mike Rotkin on opposite sides of the aisle. Both became leading voices for their respective sides—Longinotti as the founder of opposition group Desal Alternatives, and Rotkin as a once-desal opponent-turned-supporter from years of looking at the issue. The men didn’t know each other well before the desal episode—in Rotkin’s words, their “first real connection was on different sides of this important local issue.” Yet, despite their roles in one of Santa Cruz’s most divisive and heated episodes, they say they not only managed to communicate well, but also grew to enjoy it.

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Local News

Then and Now

Then and Now

Participants in the MAH’s third annual Race Through Time explore local history

Two women and three children stood in the middle of El Palomar’s crowded dining room, taking a headcount of the Aztecs who barter leisurely inside a large painting on the restaurant’s wall.

Normally, such behavior might seem strange—especially considering all five were made up to look like butterflies. Last Friday, Sept. 20, however, one diner had seen enough other groups doing the same to guess exactly what was going on. She turned to the group and asked, “Are you on a scavenger hunt?”

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

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

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.