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Dec 21st
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The Track of the Quake: Loma Prieta Turns 20

The Track of the Quake: Loma Prieta Turns 20

An Evening of Commemoration and Reflection

Where were YOU at 5:04?

At 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989 the Loma Prieta Earthquake ripped through the forested canyon of Aptos Creek, snapping trees, throwing boulders and opening fissures across the landscape.  This wasn’t the first time the Aptos canyon had been torn loose by an earthquake.  On April 18, 1906, the north side of the canyon wall collapsed, hurling trees down the mountainside and blocking the creek for weeks. 1906 and then 1989.  Have we learned anything?  Did the 1989 earthquake modify our behavior in any significant way?   Do you do anything differently because of that earthquake?  Are we any closer to being able to predict earthquakes here in California?  And what about the scars scratched into our psyches?  Have they healed?  From this lofty perspective 20 years later, knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently before Oct. 17, 1989?  And after?  See all Loma Prieta earthquake articles in the Santa Cruz History section >

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Local News

Planning Ahead

Planning Ahead

How prepared are we for the next natural disaster?

The past month has been one of quakes: an 8.0 hit Samoa on Sept. 29, the same day that a 7.9 rocked Sumatra, and just last week there were three earthquakes of magnitudes greater than 7.1 in the South Pacific, resulting in tsunami warnings for 11 countries. And as further points on the globe rumble their way through the month, Santa Cruz is commemorating a more proximal disaster—the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which shook the Bay Area at 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989. With international earthquakes all over the news and the 20th anniversary of a local quake at hand, Santa Cruz finds itself facing a tough question: Are we ready for the next one?

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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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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire