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Mar 05th
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Santa Cruz News

Local News

Musicians Hit Sour Note

Singing activists and city clash, weighing First Amendment with concerns of residents
Three amateur singers are currently fighting tickets for opening their windpipes and violating a Downtown Santa Cruz noise ordinance earlier this year. Two of them, Robert Norse and Becky Johnson of Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF), are not new to the spotlight, to controversy, or to conflicts with the city. Norse, in particular, often finds himself in the courtroom—whether for an incident at the Metro Station or for making a “Nazi salute” at a city council meeting.

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Town Hall

Supervisor Ellen Pirie

Supervisor Ellen Pirie

The City County Library Joint Powers Board expects the 10-branch library system's $11.3 million annual budget to shrink to $10.7 million in the near future. What changes are our public libraries facing, and what is being done to preserve them?

Like most publicly funded entities, the Santa Cruz Public Library is facing some very difficult financial times in the next couple of years. Santa Cruz County voters have supported the public library by voting for a one-fourth cent sales tax dedicated to the library. Without that sales tax funding we really wouldn't have much of a public library system. Unfortunately, the one-fourth cent sales tax is not producing the funds that it used to and there is less money with which to run the library.

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Business

Keeping Santa Cruz Sexy

Keeping Santa Cruz Sexy

At 30, Camouflage still educates—and titillates
In three decades, Camouflage has become a  beacon of adult fun. It’s stood proudly and colorfully in Downtown Santa Cruz since 1980 and is considered a Mecca of lingerie, sex toys, frisky holiday costumes, and the single-largest supplier of vibrators in the county. And it’s all thanks to one single pair of edible undies.

In the late 1970s, Joan Levine was a wife and mother living on a farm in Felton, hanging out with the family’s goats and chickens, when her husband proposed she start a T-shirt shop in Santa Cruz. His own shirts with “Santa Cruz” down the arm were fairly popular, and he thought she could start a business selling them. By January 1980, she was all set up in a remarkably small 400 square-foot store on Pacific Avenue.

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Local News

When Spare Change Becomes Real Change

When Spare Change Becomes Real Change

Imagine Positive Change project will use donations to help local homeless
“Can you spare some change?” Santa Cruz residents are bound to get this question every so often. Those who live or work downtown may even hear it several times a day. It often remains rhetorical, bouncing like an unanswered echo up and down Pacific Avenue. It floats right past pedestrians, eliciting a sympathetic smile or “no, sorry” on the best of days. But if Santa Cruz wasn’t a lucrative location for panhandling, it wouldn’t be a hotspot for the act—and thus there are also those residents who are happy to help, those who can’t say no, and those who fork over a few coins when the mood strikes.

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Local News

It Runs in the Family

It Runs in the Family

Local seventh grader discovers all U.S. presidents but one are related
Twelve-year-old BridgeAnne D’Avignon of Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville has created a family tree linking all U.S. presidents but one (Martin Van Buren) to a common ancestor: John Plantagenet, the fabled “King John” from the Robin Hood tales and signer of the Magna Carta.

While several reports of U.S. presidents sharing a common ancestry have been published before hers, D’Avignon’s work is the first to link them to a single and (genealogically speaking) recent relative. She began the project last summer as the result of personal curiosity.

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Local News

Counting On It

Counting On It

Project Homeless Connect encourages local homeless to fill out 2010 Census
Jared is 20 years old, and like most homeless people interviewed for this article, he declined to give his last name. He is pale and delicately built, with shy brown eyes, a mane of blonde dreadlocks festooned with tiny silver charms, and a cut on his forehead that’s almost healed.

On Tuesday, March 30, he was sitting quietly with some friends in the grass outside the Civic Auditorium in Downtown Santa Cruz, waiting for tickets for admission to Project Homeless Connect (PHC).  A daylong event co-sponsored by the United Way of Santa Cruz County and the U.S. Census Bureau, PHC brought together dozens of local charitable organizations to provide services for Santa Cruz’s homeless, while at the same time encouraging them to fill out the 2010 Census. Participants were given access to free services including medical, dental and eye care, employment advice, legal services, identification cards, haircuts, drug and alcohol counseling, needle exchange, meals, hygiene kits, housing help, and veterinary care.  

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Environment

Transcending Time With A Telescope

Transcending Time With A Telescope

Astronomy professor gazes 15 billion years into the past
Ever since she was a little girl, Sandra Faber has been pondering the heavens. She recalls spending many evenings lying on the grass, gazing skyward and meditating upon the origins of our cosmos. “I think most kids look up with wonder at the night sky,” she says. “It just struck a chord of awe in me.”

Faber has spent her entire adult life pursuing that sense of awe. Now, as professor and chair of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, she is working at the cutting edge of her field to answer the questions starry-eyed youths have been asking for centuries, including one enigma that puzzles scientists to this day.

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Town Hall

Assemblymember Bill Monning

Assemblymember Bill Monning

You were recently named chair of the Assembly Health Committee.  What does the role entail, and what bills will the committee be taking up in the near future?

The Assembly Health Committee is one of the busiest in the legislature and one that will play a pivotal role in guiding California’s healthcare policies in light of the new federal law. Many questions remain about how to pay for the expansion of healthcare coverage, as well as how insurance exchanges will be managed, and as Committee Chair I look forward to helping shape the state’s healthcare policy.

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Environment

Grid Fever

Grid Fever

Desalination plant gets green light. Will energy use spike water rates?
The Santa Cruz City Council has unanimously endorsed an agreement for a desalination plant, sparking community concerns about energy and environmental impacts.

Their March 23 decision gave the green light for project design and planning, but does not commit the city to construct the plant, says Mayor Mike Rotkin. The agreement also outlines a water-sharing plan with the Soquel Creek Water District, giving Santa Cruz primary rights to use the facility.

“The city council is on record at this point for moving forward with the desalination plant, although we won’t approve construction until we have seen the environmental review,” says Rotkin.  

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Local News

Hope on the Horizon

Hope on the Horizon

Crusaders fighting to save state parks propose a plan for funding
Across California, state parks have been faced with an onslaught of financial uncertainty. Much to the chagrin of residents and tourists, parks have been forced to cut hours and services and even close their gates due to a $14 million cut from the state last year, leaving local agencies to recoup the costs. Maintenance has been neglected and many state parks have bridges down, bathrooms closed and popular trails unapproachable because of downed trees and abundant overgrowth.

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Crop Circles

How the confusion over GMOs is undermining the organic movement

 

Week of Festivals: Full Moon, Lantern Festival, Purim, Holi

It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Don’t Tell a Soul

The Secret Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary
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Latest Comments

 

Water Street Grill

YOLO gets reincarnated

 

What would make Santa Cruz better?

A lot more outdoor activities such as outdoor movies and concerts, food and art festivals, and more multicultural activites. Emmanuel Cole, Santa Cruz, Bicycle Industry Product Developer

 

Thomas Fogarty Winery

When looking for a bottle of something to have with dinner, Gewürztraminer 2012 is not the first wine to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir—to name but a few—Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole.

 

So Long, Louie’s

Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar closes, plus Back Porch pop-up, and 2015 Outstanding in the Field tour