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Feb 08th
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News - Business

Where Do We Stand?

Where Do We Stand?

A look at where Santa Cruz County is ‘post’ recession

The recession is over … or is it? There are so many facets to the economy that it’s hard to tell if Santa Cruz County is on the road to recovery in the wake of the economic recession of the past couple years.

For someone like Mina Feuerhaken (pictured here), the owner of Nut Kreations with her husband Brody Feuerhaken, a small business in Downtown Santa Cruz that opened late this April, Santa Cruz County is in stages of recovery.

Her optimism about her business is largely based in the confidence she has in her product. “I feel that a lot of creative ideas and businesses come out of recessions because you have to find something that drives people and makes them want to spend their money with you,” Feuerhaken says. “But even just opening our business was a helpful drive for the economy; the vendors we buy from, the people that helped set up the place—we’re giving them our business and helping give them jobs.”

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News - Business

Animal Instincts

Animal Instincts

A conversation with Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of PETA

Governments and organizations around the world will receive startling packages from Ingrid Newkirk after she dies.

Newkirk, 62, is still alive and well, and busy as ever as the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which she co-founded in 1980 with her then boyfriend, Alex Pacheco. But she’s designed her legal will to ensure that, once her days are indeed done, every last bit of her body will be used to make a statement about the injustices carried out against animals globally.

The Canadian Parliament will collect one of her ears to symbolize the screams of seals whose pelts are used for fur; her liver will go to France to protest the force-feeding of ducks and geese for foie gras; one of her pointer fingers will end up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a posthumous accusation, pressuring the agency to ban animal testing; and the list goes on.

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News - Business

History in the Un-making

History in the Un-making

‘Gay textbook bill’ faces public veto as communities react to looming history curriculm

Less than two weeks after Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s “gay textbook bill” into law, opponents of the FAIR Education Act (SB 48) proposed a veto referendum.

Approved by Secretary of State Debra Bowen at the end of July, the referendum must now receive 505,000 supporting signatures before it can be placed on the June 2012 ballot. If approved by voters, the referendum will overturn the first law in the nation requiring teachers to discuss the role of gay citizens in history.

The controversy has left people on all sides of the debate wondering what curriculum changes the law might spur.

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News - Business

Wines, Vines and Our Economic Times

Wines, Vines and Our Economic Times

After the cancellation of Cabrillo’s wine education classes, instructor Sue Slater makes the case for learning more about what’s in the bottle
Local wine expert Sue Slater believes wine will improve your life.

As she energetically articulates her case for the importance of wine—tasting it, knowing about it, sharing it—she evokes an attorney passionately defending a client who has been wrongly accused.

“Wine is a food group in most European countries,” Slater says. “But here it’s viewed as a vice instead of something that will enhance your life and your experience.”

It is understandable that Slater is feeling the need to defend her passion. Recent budget difficulties at Cabrillo College have led administrators to cut Slater’s wine education classes from the culinary arts program as part of a broader attempt to close an anticipated $5 million budget gap.

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News - Business

Plantronics Hits the Big 5-0

Plantronics Hits the Big 5-0

Tech giant honors past, looks forward to future
When we recount the milestones in our county’s history, one event in particular truly stands out. It was July 21, 1969 and Neil Armstrong’s famous words, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind,” were transmitted from the moon—via a Pacific Plantronics SPENCOM headset.

Today, the largest private employer in Santa Cruz County is celebrating its 50th anniversary—a half century of communication innovation, beginning with headsets and expanding into Bluetooth. Since taking several trips to the moon, Plantronics products have become internationally recognized—they were named the official headset of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and they continue to lead the pack in mobile communication technology.

To show Plantronics’ appreciation of Santa Cruz for its decades of loyalty and support, the company hosted an anniversary event on May 26.

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News - Business

Worker Worries

Worker Worries

AFSCME workers wonder how UC budget cuts will further impact their jobs
Budget cuts have meant cutbacks for nearly every area of the UC Santa Cruz campus, impacting students, faculty and staff alike. For some workers the reality of just how deep the past several years of cuts have been has never been more obvious or unnerving than now. Along with furloughs and increased costs for everything from healthcare to retirement, some UCSC workers are also facing the dual pressure of an increased workload and the fear of losing their job in the next round of layoffs.

One UCSC employee of more than 20 years, who wishes to remain nameless, says she has watched her work as a custodian become increasingly more difficult over the past few years. She is now required to clean twice the number of areas she would have cleaned two years ago in the same amount of time.

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News - Business

All Funds Considered

All Funds Considered

What would happen to public radio without federal funding?
A poke around the Seabright headquarters of KUSP reveals vestiges of vintage radio: a floor-to-ceiling collection of vinyl records, pledge drive volunteers waiting patiently by landline telephones, and the afternoon host bent over the San Francisco Chronicle as he waits to go on air during a break in NPR’s “The Story.” But the office also impresses something timeless: that hard work is being done, and that the staff are passionate about doing it. 

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News - Business

The ‘Pepsi Generation’ Reckons With Obesity

The ‘Pepsi Generation’ Reckons With Obesity

Is Big Beverage acting like Big Tobacco when it comes to helping with healthcare costs?

In today’s “No Smoking” world, it may be hard to remember the time, not too long ago, when cigarette commercials ran regularly on TV and people were allowed to smoke practically anywhere they wanted to. Eventually, after decades of effort by public health advocates, the stranglehold of the tobacco industry’s lobbying efforts was broken, and soon the tobacco companies themselves were funding public health, anti-smoking campaigns through increased “sin taxes” levied on their product.

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News - Business

Boardwalk Bound

Boardwalk Bound

The Seaside Company gears up for their summer season, hiring more locals than usual
For more than two decades, the Santa Cruz Seaside Company, which owns the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, has been rounding out its summer staff of high school students and seniors by hiring foreign students with the right skills—English fluency and, for some, basic math. But this summer, says the Seaside Company, the foreign Work & Travel program will be running at a minimum in anticipation of increased local interest in jobs at the Boardwalk.

“Because of the economy, we can hire a lot more locals,” says Carol Siegel, the employment manager at the Seaside Company. “To have local people working is a really positive thing for our community.”

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News - Business

Still Stimulated?

Still Stimulated?

Two years later, a look at how the stimulus bill has impacted Santa Cruz
It’s been almost two years since President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on Feb. 17, 2009, pumping $787 billion of federal funds into the economy. But where has that money gone and what was the impact?

In Santa Cruz County—where there were 198 grants and seven contracts awarded for a total of $120 million—the consensus seems to be that the stimulus was a double-edged sword. On one hand, jobs were saved, programs were created, and start-up businesses had better chances of securing loans. But, at the same time, new levels of bureaucracy, limited funds and a distorted public image of ARRA had a crippling effect on some local agencies.

“It was meant to stimulate growth, not to sustain it,” says Rep. Sam Farr (D-17th District). “But public financing is very difficult and with cuts coming down [from the government] people don’t necessarily know where the money is coming from.”

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On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits