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Oct 01st
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Environment

Oil Used Up

Oil Used Up

Workshop teaches skills for a low-energy future

“Generally we don’t go up to people and say, ‘Do you know that the world as you know it is coming to an end?’” Michael Levy is a reasonable man. He’s not going to try to convince you that the Apocalypse is nigh or of some other doomsday scenario. He just believes that our current standard of living in the United States and other industrialized nations is unsustainable.

That’s why a year and a half ago he founded Transition Santa Cruz (TSC), part of the growing worldwide transition movement. Originating in England in 2005, and now with hundreds of chapters worldwide, transition initiatives are grassroots local movements. They seek to educate their communities about the possibility that energy resources like oil will soon grow so scarce and expensive that they will be unavailable to the vast majority of people, a development that will radically alter our current lifestyle, which for the past century or more has relied heavily on the availability of low-cost oil, coal, and natural gas.

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Town Hall

Town Hall

Town Hall

With the year-end deadline for health care legislation looming, what is the likelihood of the public option making it into the final bill? What will happen if it isn’t?  First, let me explain what the public option would do. I’ve found that too often over the past few months, debate has raged without a clear understanding of the subject.

The public option would be just that, one insurance option of many. More importantly, it would only be available as part of the health insurance exchange, the marketplace of insurance options for those without employment-based insurance.

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Local News

UCSC Budget Brainstorm

UCSC Budget Brainstorm

UCSC humanities division forum keeps the budget wheels turning
Distress over UC Santa Cruz budget cuts has already spurred an opening-day walkout, the occupation of a campus building and a flurry of coalition-building among students, workers, and faculty. While every division on campus is coping with permanent budget reductions, the transparency of the decision-making has varied.

On Sept. 29, UCSC Humanities Dean Georges Van Den Abbeele hosted a “Humanities Division Town Hall Meeting” to disclose the division’s latest budget woes and elicit creative solutions from the campus community. The evening of the event, more than 60 faculty members and graduate students (plus a handful of undergraduates) are gathered at the Humanities Lecture Hall.

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Local News

An Experiment in Hope

An Experiment in Hope

Local church launches a 50-day testament to the power of positive thought
Almost 14 years ago, just two years after becoming a pastor at Twin Lakes Church (TLC) in Aptos, René Schlaepfer became overwhelmed by anxiety. He couldn’t sleep, was constantly worrying, and, having never heard of anxiety attacks, was freaked by the abrupt racing of his heart.

A series of panic attacks eventually landed him in the hospital, where, unbeknownst to him, the doctor had recently started attending TLC and recognized Schlaepfer as the pastor.

“He came in and said ‘there is nothing wrong with you physically, but you’re having anxiety attacks,’” remembers Schlaepfer. “I immediately started feeling guilty. Here I am a pastor talking about peace and joy and love, and I’m having an anxiety attack.”

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Environment

A Day of Action

A Day of Action

Local activists take part in Climate Action Day

Creating international policies to curb climate change is no walk in the park. But that is just what world leaders aim to do this December, when the United Nations Climate Change Conference converges on Copenhagen, Denmark. The goal of the conference is to draft an international resolution that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012.

Half a world away, here in Santa Cruz, it may be hard to imagine what impact an individual could have on the conference. But according to Micah Posner of People Power, making a difference is simple. All Santa Cruzans have to do is head downtown to the clock tower at 2 p.m. this Saturday to hear speeches from City Supervisor Mark Stone, City Climate Czar Ross Clark and bear witness to the trial of a private automobile.

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Town Hall

Town Hall

Town Hall

The Fifth District Supervisor reflects on the economy, recent fires and the spirit of volunteerism in the San Lorenzo Valley
This year we find ourselves in the middle of a major state and local budget crisis. Huge state budget slashes and raids by the state on county budgets have had depressing impacts on many local programs, including elder care services and many child welfare programs. Yet, with all of the bad news I am consistently impressed by the independence and resilience of the mountain communities of the San Lorenzo Valley. It may be a function of our greater geographic distance from the central county urban centers, but San Lorenzo Valley communities have cultivated a spirit of self-reliance and mutual assistance. In times of emergency and disaster we can easily be cut off from the rest of the county, and independent self-help is our only real option.

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Local News

No Butts Allowed

No Butts Allowed

Santa Cruz weighs in on the smoking ban
There is no denying that smoking is a bad habit—bad for you, and bad for those around you. But ever since the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously passed a new smoking ban on Tuesday, Sept. 8, locals have been debating whether cigarette ick-factor is enough to warrant outlawing them altogether.

Officially titled the Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance, the ban will take effect on Oct. 20 and forbid smoking on Pacific Avenue, Beach Street, West Cliff Drive and all other city-owned properties, such as the Municipal Wharf, parks and City Hall. The ordinance will also disallow smoking within 25 feet of any public window or door and in the outdoor dining areas of bars and restaurants. Hotels will also be affected, as the mandatory percentage of non-smoking rooms has been upped from 75 to 90 percent.

 

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Local News

Persevering Despite Setbacks

Persevering Despite SetbacksWebExclusive: Domestic Violence Prevention Month gains new importance thanks to budget cuts
On Wednesday, Sept. 30, representatives, leaders, and supporters of the Commission for the Prevention of Violence against Women (CPVAW), the Walnut Avenue Women's Center (WAWC), the Women's Crisis Support - Defensa de Mujeres (WCS-DdM), and the County District Attorney's Office gathered in front of the county court house on Water Street to kick-off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.    
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Town Hall

Town Hall

Town Hall

Now that the 2009 Legislative Session has wrapped up, what are your reflections on your first session in the Assembly?  What is working for California, and what isn’t?

In my first comments in December, I stated there had been very little down time since the election and, as of today, that still applies.  The speed at which the Legislature moves is rapid, and when you add the two massive budget shortfalls, prison overcrowding, the state’s water shortage and boosting the amount of renewable energy the state produces, the pace is indeed fast and furious. However, despite the monumental learning curve, the large work load and the long hours, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and work with other Legislators and staffers who are truly dedicated to making state government work for all Californians.

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Local News

UCSC Demonstrations Escalate

UCSC Demonstrations Escalate

Walkout draws hundreds, protestors occupy campus building
Hundreds of UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, workers, and alumni gathered at the base of campus on Thursday, Sept. 24 to protest devastating budget cuts that have taken place over the summer. The daylong event, coinciding with the first day of classes at UCSC, also included a strike by the union of University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) and a sympathy strike by the clerical worker’s union, the Coalition of University Employees.

 

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On the Waterfront

As the wharf celebrates its centennial, a personal reflection on its essential place in Santa Cruz’s history

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Melinda’s

New Capitola bakery takes gluten-free goods to the next level

 

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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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”