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Aug 29th
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GTW Cover Stories

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The WOO Way

The WOO Way

How Santa Cruz native Nick Mucha helped launch the nonprofit Project WOO and why it is empowering surfers to give back to developing communities

It has happened many times throughout history. Travelers searching for destinations that have not yet been “ruined” by tourism arrive in small numbers at a little-known locale that often has few facilities, little access and limited local knowledge of their needs. Soon, awareness of the destination grows, as does the number of visitors, facilities and popularity. Eventually, the community reaches its capacity and finds it challenging to manage the social and environmental costs of mass tourism. As a result, the number of visitors declines until the destination fails.

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The 2013 Health Issue

The 2013 Health Issue

Have you thought about your lymphatic system lately, or taken a close look at how your body processes sugar? When was the last time you sweat your ‘bad ass’ off? Our annual Health Issue spotlights inspiring stories of nutrition, fitness and holistic wellness that get you thinking about these three things and more.

Inside:
Kicking Butt
Health News
The Lowdown On Lymph
Sweet Talk
Recipe: Gentle Green Goodness

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Divine M

Divine M

An inside look at her new book, ‘The Law of Divine Compensation’


Work, money and miracles are fodder for discussion when best-selling author Marianne Williamson hits Santa Cruz.


In late 2008, the economy began mood swinging worse than Lindsay Lohan.  Emotional buttons were pushed. Concerns over money mounted.  Values were questioned (more). Suddenly, in the midst of jobs lost, lives and livelihoods being turned completely upside down, and the fear of the unknown skyrocketing north, the stock market became even more of an ominous omnipresent figure. The micro-era also gave birth to new catchphrase: “In this economy …”  Translation: “Things are bad.” On the outside, perhaps. On the flipside, for the awareness-hungry and/or spiritually-minded, it may have proven to be both a test of faith and possibly a time to strengthen one’s resolve—an opportunity to somehow not only move forward, but also put out some more good juju into the world. Enter Marianne Williamson. During this time, the internationally acclaimed lecturer and spiritual author—six of her 10 books hit the New York Times bestseller list—certainly found herself on the receiving end of new insights.

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Girl Power

Girl Power

Jackie Partida of Dressed In Roses strikes a memorable chord in the local music scene and paves the way for other young women to follow their bliss and become empowered. (Could ‘The Voice’ be next?)

Most 4-year-olds get off on the likes of SpongeBob SquarePants or crooning “The Wheels On The Bus.” But when local gal Jackie Partida was a toddler, she was already strumming a different chord. 

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Friggin’ Joy

Friggin’ Joy

Meet the local author, Huna healer and wild dolphin swim guide who wants to help put you on the friggin’ path to happiness

If you should go exploring the New Age/self-help field, you’d best keep a sharp eye out for cowpies. For every writer, speaker or counselor with some legitimate wisdom to share, there’s a sham-man offering to remove the lint from your Third Navel, or there’s a Professor Marvel-style huckster with some transcendental floss he’d like to sell you. 

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What’s Blood Got To Do With It?

What’s Blood Got To Do With It?

How essential is blood in times of crisis—and beyond?

In June 2012, the American Red Cross blood supply hit a 15-year low with 50,000 fewer donations than expected. In the seven months to follow, Hurricane Isaac rocked the Caribbean and the northern Gulf Coast; Superstorm Sandy resulted in an estimated $65.6 billion in losses due to damage and business interruption; and eight mass shootings in the U.S. flipped the world as we know it upside down.

While the blood supply has since increased, largely because of a countrywide appeal for donations, “we’re not in great shape,” says Hanna Malak, a Red Cross donor recruitment associate. “There’s a constant need for blood.”

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Love In A Snap

Love In A Snap

Click to open 2013 Bridal Expo Guide.
Local photographer Rebecca Stark transcends the norm and delivers a collection of wedding day photos to savor

So, here’s the thing about Rebecca Stark: The local wedding photographer is something more than just a woman behind the lens taking photos. Think of her as an artist of sorts, somebody who not only has the eye for capturing the most unique shots on the “Big Day,” but also somebody who can truly interpret the vibe of the scenes playing out before her eyes. That’s a good skill to have, especially if you’re going to be getting up close and personal with the wedding couple—and their clan—on the wedding day.

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The Future Of Farming

The Future Of Farming

As American farmers age, the nationwide push to fill their shoes grows. Locally, the 33rd annual EcoFarm conference hopes to plant the seeds for the next crop of cultivators.

In the late ’70s, notwithstanding the passionate back-to-the-land movement, organic farming was a long way from being accepted in traditional agriculture communities or in the university sphere.            

“At that time, not only was the rest of the world not informed on the subject, but in many cases, for instance, at the UC system, there was even sort of an opposition to this idea,” says Ken Dickerson, executive director of the Ecological Farming Association (EFA), the Soquel-based nonprofit behind EcoFarm, an annual sustainable farming conference.

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Kundalini Rising

Kundalini Rising

A local devotional singer and her yogi parents are raising consciousness and making miracles happen. GT’s Damon Orion illuminates their spirited tale with exclusive interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Ram Dass and The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir.

The spiritual teacher Ram Dass has a great line: “We’re all God in drag.” In other words, behind all the costumes—the individual body types, social roles, personalities, occupations, etc.—each of us is a manifestation of the same divine consciousness.

As Oprah Winfrey’s voice spills out of my phone, the truth of those words hits me not as a concept, but as a palpable sensation. There’s an unshakeable feeling that something vast, formless and unfathomable is expressing itself through the metaphor of this moment. In the grand earthly melodrama, I have been cast as a reporter charged with the noble and intimidating mission of interviewing a woman who has interviewed the Obamas, Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney and Bill Gates. And Oprah, the goodhearted, down-to-earth megastar, has phoned me to discuss her connection to a Santa Cruz-based singer named Snatam Kaur, whose spiritual chants she listens to each day before meditating. In particular, I’m interested in hearing Winfrey’s description of an unexpected encounter that she had with Kaur in 2012.  

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A New Year Of Happy

A New Year Of Happy

As the new year begins, we discover how happy Santa Cruz County is, what sources contribute to our happiness, and what we can do as individuals and a community to improve our happiness level in 2013.

Happy New Year. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? But what does the phrase mean, exactly? That which makes a new year “happy” is different to everyone. To some, it could mean being surrounded by family and friends, to others, it could mean having a roof over their head, and still to others, it could mean overcoming cancer.

The Declaration of Independence states that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Assuming that’s true, how will you pursue happiness in 2013?

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.