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Dec 19th
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Best of the Rest

BestOf2012 starREST

Category-Winner
Activist Group-Occupy Santa Cruz  
Beach-Seabright
Childcare-Santa Cruz Toddler Care
Computer Training-Cruzio
Green Service-Greenspace
Local Hero-James Durbin
Mover & Shaker (Local)-Danny Keith
New Business-Vice Salon
Nonprofit (Local)-Save Our Shores
Place To Learn New Things-Cabrillo College

Political Issue (Local)-Desalination
Politician-Sam Farr
Solar Power-Solar Technologies
Student Hangout-Caffe Pergolesi
Website For Local 411-Santa Cruz Waves
Wedding Venue-Chaminade
Wi-fi Cafe-Verve (see Food&Drink)    

Activist Group:Occupy Santa Cruz
The Occupy Movement captured national attention in late 2011. Locally, Santa Cruz turned heads as Occupiers took up camp outside the County Building in Santa Cruz. A three-day occupation of an abandoned bank also generated buzz. (Read more in Critics’ Picks.) Any way you spin it, the movement managed to generate enough interest to not only raise more awareness on questionable banking practices to, well, justice—for all. Learn more at occupysantacruz.org. | Charlie Price
Runners-up Save Our Shores, WAMM

Beach:Seabright
Sectioned off from the Santa Cruz Harbor and Boardwalk by two sea walls, imagine a tranquil stretch of sand with volleyball courts and enough space for any activities. Despite its relative isolation, Seabright still affords incredible sunset views of the harbor and Boardwalk, which are perfect to gaze upon over a roaring fire in one of the beach’s many designated pits. 1305 E Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz. | Scott Morley
Runners-up Capitola, Seacliff

Childcare:Santa Cruz Toddler Care
The staff utilizes the philosophies of the “Resources for Infant Education” (RIE). Founded by Magda Gerber, it’s a set of methods pertaining to early childhood development. The philosophy finds that children and infants best excel when their actions and words are treated with respect. Obviously, it works so well it captured your votes. Visit 1738 16th Ave. Santa Cruz. Call 476-4120. | Coe Holtaway
Runners-up Happy Days, Circle of Friends (Scotts Valley)

Computer Training:Cruzio
Cruzio provides Internet to more than 9,000 homes and businesses in Santa Cruz County. But if you’re the type of person who can’t tell the difference between a cutting board and the new iPad, you’re more likely to be interested in their computer education classes than their Internet service. Cruzio’s offerings change every week. Classes can be as simple as learning to use the Wordpress blogging service or as complex as in-depth Linux configuration. Check out their online schedule at cruzio.com. | SM
Runners-up Cabrillo College

bo rest greenspaceGreen Service:Greenspace
The materials that comprise our living spaces are not an issue that is often given much thought until our health is threatened. This is especially true in Santa Cruz where many residences have mold problems, insolation issues, inefficient appliances and, in some cases, were built with toxic materials, such as asbestos. Recent studies have shown that our home exposes us to many unforeseen chemicals and toxins and other issues that have a large impact on our health. Enter Greenspace. The popular “green” store carries the latest environmentally conscious household materials—from eco-paints, to efficient appliances, to toxin-free materials. 1122 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7200, greenspacecompany.com. | CH
Runners-up T. Paul Sek, Costa Bella Builders

Local Hero:James Durbin
How many awards can this dude rack up? Best Solo Musician? Check. Best of the Bests list (see page 100). Yes. The Durb also won your hearts in this category. Coming off a spectacular year—having wowed national audiences on American Idol and, later, with the release of his first album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster—Mr. Durbin remains one of our most revered locals. Visit durbinrock.com. | Greg Archer
Runners-up Chris Rene, Santa Cruz Derby Girls

Local Mover and Shaker:Danny Keith
He may have started out as the owner and operator of Santa Cruz Skate & Surf Shop, but over the last five years, Mr. Keith has become quite the go-getter locally—and beyond. His desire to combat local hunger issues morphed into the launching of Grind Out Hunger, a forward-thinking campaign that finds him getting students in local schools involved in the cause as he educate them on hunger issues. But that was just the beginning. Unstoppable, Keith has ventured into working at Second Harvest Food Bank—45 percent of the organization’s clients are children. And now, through a wild networking frenzy—one good thing about the Internet—he has captured even more attention for the Grind Out Hunger cause. His latest foray revolves around a potential reality show with the producers of Miami Ink. It would chronicle Keith’s mission to raise big bucks from local enterprises—and those in nearby Silicon Valley—to combat hunger. It’s just one of the many and ever-growing impacts the local continues to make. A mover and shaker, indeed. Visit grindouthunger.org, the foodbank.org or dannykeith.com. | GA
Runners-up Hilary Bryant, Nina Simon (MAH)  
                            
bo rest viceNew Business:Vice Salon
In a market that’s oversaturated with hair salons, that Vice Salon won best new business is a testament to its fabulousness. It’s cheeky tagline, “What’s your Vice?” is reverberated through the atonal yet ambient space; a space that feels a bit like a modern black and white movie. But no worries, you’ll be gussied up to Technicolor in no time. Located in Capitola Village, Vice Salon offers clients hair, make-up, waxing and nail services as well as a full range of hair and skin products to keep you looking snazzy in any color. VIsit 309 Capitola Ave., Capitola, 464-1700, salonvice.com.  | Leslie Patrick
Runners-up Pono Hawaiian Grill, Santa Cruz Strength

Nonprofit:Save our Shores
Locals have Save Our Shores to thank for the recently-implemented single-use plastic bag ban, which went into effect in the county on March 20 and was the product of two and a half years of hard work on the nonprofit’s part. Looking forward, Save Our Shores’ No. 1 priority is “figuring out how we are going to keep Twin Lakes/Seabright beaches clean this summer,” says Executive Director Laura Kasa. Although the organization already does an average of 270 beach cleanups a year, the state’s planned closure of some state beaches means that Save Our Shores is being looked to as the interim caretaker. “People will still come to these beaches even if State Parks is unable to maintain them at the level that they previously did,” explains Kasa. Figuring out how to tackle this “California Challenge,” as the org is calling it, won’t be easy, especially considering the fact that the state recently cut $100,000 of Save Our Shores’ funding. But, if anyone can do it, it will be the nonprofit that, with just five staff members over the course of five years, prevented 178,764 pounds of trash from entering the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary—that’s the equivalent of the weight of six grey whales or 620 harbor seals. Saveourshores.org. | Elizabeth Limbach
Runners-up Second Harvest Food Bank, Ecology Action

Political Issue:Desalination
The speculation about the plan for putting a 2.5 million gallon/day ocean water desalination plant on the city’s Westside (for conjunctive use with neighboring Soquel Creek Water District, which is in a pretty tight spot with its imminent threat of saltwater aquifer intrusion) has just grown with time, resulting most recently in the push for a ballot measure that would allow the public to vote on the project, and a counter offer by the city that would also bring desal to the ballot. Visit desalalternatives.org and scwd2desal.org for more info. | EL
Runners-up Occupy Santa Cruz, Homelessness

Place to Learn New Things:Cabrillo College
Ranking in the top 10 of California community colleges in number of students who transfer to UC, most of the courses at Cabrillo College transfer to either UC or CSU. The school offers 22 occupational education programs, several majors, and a variety of not-for-credit classes for those in the community. And the performing arts complex features a plethora of cultural riches: plays, art exhibitions, piano recitals, jazz and big band jazz, and much more. . 6500 Soquel Drive., Aptos, 479-6100, cabrillo.edu. | Mark Davey
Runners-up Seymour Center, Louden Nelson Center

Politician:Sam farr
He’s been known to promote ag research and pushing for affordable housing initiatives—and, protecting the oceans, too, so Farr has been on our—and your—radar for some time. The reliable congressman (California’s 17th District) certainly shows that he cares. Other standouts: co-sponsoring bills on Immigration Reform, and the Health Insurance Rate Review Act. | CP
Runners-up Bill Monning, Hilary Bryant

BestOf2012 star-insideSolar Power:Solar Technologies
Solar Technologies provides top-of-the-line products—up to 50 percent more powerful than other brands—at zero dollars down. Customers—readers—give them a thumbs up. Take note: more than half of the company’s business is driven by referrals. Visit solartechnologies.com. | SM
Runners-up Suns Up Solar, Allterra Solar

Student Hangout:Caffe Pergolesi
Art, music, java, teas, brews and all the quirks you dig. It’s great for a people-watching experience, but also the top spot to just “hang.”  Visit 418 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Call 426-1775 or click theperg.com. | CP
Runners-up The Abbey, Firefly Coffeehouse

Website for local 411:Santa Cruz Waves
From its super cool videos to its vivid photo gallery, Santa Cruz Waves is downright impressive. It wins big points for being loaded with enough outdoor and surf fodder plus other local news. CEO and Founder Tyler Fox has done well here. Point your mouse and click santacruzwaves.com. | CP
Runners-up Cruzio, Good Times

Wedding Venue:Chaminade
The five-star resort with breathtaking views offers is the ideal host to weddings. Some perks: The view, naturally, stands out. Chamindade offers special promotions and packages, which can be found on their extensive website. 1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, 475-5600, chaminade.com. | CP
Runners-up Seascape Resort, Shadowbrook Restaurant


Best of Santa Cruz County Index:
| Critics’ Picks | Shops | Food & Drink | Arts & Entertainment | Health & Fitness | Professionals | The Rest |

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