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Sep 23rd
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Best Professionals

BestOf2012 starPROF

Category-Winner
Aerobics Instructor-Jaimi Ellison / Lee Pate (tie)
Artist of the Year-Maggie Renner Hellman
Astrologer-Risa D’Angeles/Good Times
Bartender-Eric Adams/Michael’s on Main
Carpenter-Richard Singer
Chiropractor-Dr. Katie Griffin
Contractor-Costa Bella Builders
Dentist-Guy W. Peabody DDS
General Practitioner-Michelle Massie
Landscaper-Neu-Scapes

Lasik-Dr. Furlong
Martial Arts Instructor-Matt Salisbury
Massage Therapist-Maria Willis
Mortgage Broker-Lisa Cardoza
Nip/Tuck-Dr. Steven Garner (Ultraderm)
OB/GYN-Anne-Marie Jackson
Painter-T. Paul Sek
Personal Trainer-Jaimi Ellison
Photographer (Local)-Jeffrey Jay Luhn
Plumber-Bellows Heating & Plumbing
Poet (Local)-Gary Young
Psychic/Astrologer-Risa
Real Estate Agency-Sereno Group
Realtor-Lauren Spencer
Surfboard Maker/shaper-Doug Haut
Veterinarian-Dr. Shuman (Westside)
Writer (Local)-David Jay Brown
Yoga Instructor-Victor Dubin

bo prof aeroLeePateAerobics Instructor (Tie):Jaimi Ellison and Lee Pate
These leading aerobics ladies, Jaimi Ellison and Lee Pate, are renowned throughout the county for conducting challenging and satisfying routines in a fun and friendly environment. Jaimi Ellison founded Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab back in 2009. She plays upbeat and rhythmic music, truly in tune with her students, as she caters these playlists according to their age groups. Sensitive to every student’s needs, Ellison constantly modifies routines so that students of all fitness levels feel welcome. Miracle worker Lee Pate teaches dance techniques that work wonders at Lifestyle Fitness, Inc., DanceSynergy, and Coastal Vibe Dance Company, and has been teaching in the Kinesiology department at San Jose State University for nearly two decades. Take note: Pate learned Zumba from the founder of the Latin aerobic dance workout himself: Alberto Perez. A good duo, indeed. To see Ellison in action, visit her at Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab, located at 317 Potrero St Ste C, Santa Cruz, 425-9500. To learn even more about Lee, visit zumbasantacruz.com.  | Cynthia E. Orgel
Runners-up Joy Smith, Gloria Walker

Artist of the Year:Maggie Renner Hellmann
To admire one of Maggie Renner Hellman’s landscapes or seascape paintings is to step inside of a dream. In one, waves crash along the cliffs below the outstretched limbs of cypress trees. In another, the seemingly impossible-to-capture sherbet-colored sky is brought to life, while another perfectly executes the detailed inflections that characterize rock formations in Sedona, Ariz. Switching between oil, acrylics and pastel, Renner Hellman infuses her subjects—whether living or inanimate—with a unique energy and sense of mystery that only an accomplished impressionist could master. In order to seek oneness with nature, Renner Hellmann says she practices “plein air painting” or “painting from life,” and according to her motto, that’s not going to change anytime soon. “Without nature, I am nothing,” she readily admits in her Artist’s Statement. Call 462-9337 or visit maggierennerhellmann.com. | Jenna Brogan
Runner-up Kathryn McBride

Astrologer/ Psychic:Risa D’Angeles
Risa has been the Santa Cruz community’s go-to source for reliable, thorough astrological insights ever since she founded the Esoteric & Astrological Studies & Research Institute 18 years ago. (That’s also around the time she became Good Times’ beloved resident astrologist.) She says astrology is the language of the Aquarian Age and that “it equalizes, it creates non-judgment, inclusivity, Goodwill & Right Relations.” She adds that, “without it, we ‘see through a glass darkly.’” As for her win for Best Psychic (notable because she is not, in fact, a psychic), “I am an Esotericist, a teacher of the Ageless Mysteries. … I am not (a) psychic,” she says. She offers the following distinction: While astrology is a science-based study of the movement of heavenly bodies (planets, moons, et al.) and the way they influence people, “Psychism (a person giving information of an emotional nature, not necessarily correct information) presents to people emotional (ever-changing) possibilities.” Looking forward, she says to keep an eye out for the upcoming Venus retrograde (occurring May 15), and also points out that 2012 will be defined by retrogrades, which will provide “humanity with time to study, review and integrate the past so we can begin the serious work of envisioning a new future, the new culture and civilization humanity must create together.” Onward into the interesting and important times ahead. Visit nightlightnews.com and learn more. | Elizabeth Limbach
Runners-up (Tie): Steven Robbins; Susie Heinz, Kayla Garnet Rose

Bartender:Eric Adams
Despite what history books say, the Seven Years’ War actually took place in Santa Cruz during the 21st century—and it’s far from over! For seven years, Eric Adams has proved he is a force to be reckoned with in the bartending biz, pouring from tap and concocting mouth-watering cocktails over at Michael’s on Main, slaying competition with his killer positive attitude—what he believes to be the key ingredient to quality bartending. Though Eric is the Maker’s Mark Manhattan on the rocks kind of guy personally, he has perfected all sorts of Cosmopolitans: his most requested drink. Take note: Eric’s favorite drink to make for customers is a Hibiscus Vodka Margarita: one of many organic drinks offered at Michael’s on Main—even the vodka is native to California! Raise your glasses to Eric Wednesday-Saturday evenings at Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. Call 479-9777. | CEO
Runners-up Justin Foust,  (Tie) Chris Thomas, Hans

Carpenter:Richard Singer
Richard Singer started his 20-plus year career restoring old Victorians in New York, but his commercial and residential work in Santa Cruz showcases a more modern aesthetic with a cool, West-Coast flavor. Past projects utilize clean lines and rich neutral colors, with a penchant for window and door glasswork carefully designed to accentuate coastal light. Experienced in every aspect of structural and detail craftsmanship, Singer specializes in large-scale remodeling projects. Visit 185 Lisa Lane Santa Cruz, California, 419-0055. | Neha Telreja
Runner-up Dean Mazzel

Chiropractor:Dr. Katie Griffin
There are few practitioners that can cater so specifically to the lifestyle that characterizes a city, but Dr. Katie Griffin has spent 22 years fixing up Santa Cruz’s surfers, golfers, and all-around active beach-town folks with her specialized Direct Non-Force Technique (practiced by only a handful of elite practitioners). Dr. Griffin aims to prime patients to return to active Cruzin’ in as few sessions as possible, supplementing her cost-conscious treatment plans with nutritional counseling. Praised for her calming, non-invasive technique, she leaves most of her patients, many of whom report years of persistent discomfort, basically pain free, and typically without need to return. Dr. Griffin’s plan doesn’t settle for temporary fix-its; she promises long-lasting relief. Thing-to-Know: Last month, Griffin treated her 50,000th patient. Visit 543 Frederick St., Santa Cruz. Call 458-1940. | NT
Runners-up Dr. Duncan McCollum, Dr. Amy Rubio

Contractor:Costa Bella Builders
You might be living in your dream house, but if not, Costa Bella Builders can help you turn it into one. Family owned and operated since 1989, they create an innovative atmosphere with a small, team-oriented group that works with the client’s ideas, budget, and schedule. Not only are they cost effective and timely, but they also keep the jobsite clean, which is instrumental in relieving the stress of residents. Take note: They make the potentially taxing process of renovation fun, offering a personal shopping service; a designer comes with you to help pick out appliances and more. Visit 1850 41st Ave. Suite 202, Santa Cruz. Call 462-0580 or click costabellabuilders.com. | Mark Davey
Runners-up Vogler Construction Inc., Minda Lee

Dentist:Guy W. Peabody, D.D.S.
 The first dentist in Santa Cruz to provide oral sedation dentistry (10 years ago), Dr. Peabody’s primary concern is the comfort of his patients. Outfitted with high-tech equipment, including low-dose  X-ray and dental lasers, he does everything from oral surgery to full-mouth reconstruction to root canals and orthopedic orthodontics—and he’ll call you the next day to make sure you’re feeling good. Take note: Read Dr. Peabody’s online article “Why I Chose Dentistry and the Rewards and Challenges,” which is so sweet it might give you a cavity—and, is, incidentally, the perfect reason to visit his practice. Visit 620 Frederick St., Santa Cruz. Call 457-0343 or click drpeabody.com. | MD
Runners-up Reed Kuratomi, Stephen Mann

General Practitioner:Michelle Massie
Generating buzz for how well she handles medical care, Massie’s education at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry helped fuel her 20-year-plus career. Locals appreciate that they can come to Massie for care for the entire family—newborns, children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Call 459-5670. | CP
Runners-up Lorna Larsh, Dr. Bruce Eisendorf

Landscaper:Neu-Scapes
Locals are charmed by the “compete outdoor environment” Neu-Scapes offers. The full-service residential and commercial landscaping company assists with working within locals’ budgets. We were impressed with some of the fencing work and the decks and patios—so unique and greatly detailed—stand out, too. This summer: consider a built-in barbecue. Visit neuscapes.com or call (408) 768-6765. | CP
Runners-up Dreamscape, Terra Bella Landscaping

Lasik:Dr. Furlong
Dr. Furlong has performed more than  26,000 LASIK procedures to date and he is a former LASIK patient himself. Readers voted him the best LASIK doctor. If you want great vision, call 1-800 NEW VISION (1-800-639-8474). LASIK laser vision correction Dr. Furlong Vision Correction furlongvision.com. | CP

Martial Arts Instructor:Matt Salisbury
Master Matt Salisbury, of LightSpeed Martial Arts Academy, has been training 20 years, and teaching for the last 15. While Salisbury is a Taekwondo master, LightSpeed also offers instruction in other martial arts, including WingChun Kung Fu and Fitness Kickboxing, and classes are structured so that every student, no matter what their skill level, is challenged. Salisbury focuses on discipline, fitness, fun, respect, and perseverance, and since one can never be too young or old to start learning any of those qualities, students range from age 3 to 70. Take note: Salisbury, who took over LightSpeed in 1997, is a 5th-degree black belt with a bachelor of science degree in business management. Visit 5004 Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley, 438-6068, lightspeedmartialarts.com. | MD
Runners-up Elliot Stone, Beau Jansen

Massage Therapist:Maria Willis
If the word “deep” goes hand-in-hand with “valley,” then it is only logical for a stressed-out, sore individual to drive over to Awaken Massage Therapy in Scotts Valley for the best Deep Tissue Massage. You can thank Maria Willis, a Santa Cruzan through and through, for her can-do spirit and healing hands, also authorized in Swedish Integrated Massage and Polarity Energy Work from Cypress Health Institute Massage School. Willis has been practicing and perfecting the art of massage for just over seven years, stressing its therapeutic effect above all else, she prides herself in being part of a staff that maintains a client-oriented work ethic. Cool tidbit: Awaken Massage Therapy, celebrating its sixth year anniversary, is “not like a spa,” according to Willis.  “We give a more therapeutic massage … we have a lot of people that come in here for rehabilitative needs.” At Awaken, the benefits are endless—plus there is a $20 discount for new clients. Visit 216-C Mount Hermon Rd., Scotts Valley. Call 461-1371 or Massage in Scotts Valley awakenmassagetherapy.com. | CEO
Runners-up April Disheroon (Tie) Miriam Janove; Robin Kannan

Mortgage Broker:Lisa Cardoza
Though Lisa Cardoza is now a mortgage broker for American Financial Network Inc., she still upholds the company slogan belonging to previous employer, Bailey Mortgage: “We’re Realtors, Real Estate is our Life.” Born and raised in Santa Cruz, Cardoza knows the county inside and out, loving the fact that it is her job to help others feel at home here too. Lisa is current on all the latest trends in real estate—and she divulges that at the moment, there are plenty of first-time home buyers making purchases. Take note: If you’re iffy on whether to invest in a new property, listen to Cardoza—now officially in the business for 21 years. To peruse mortgage rates, loan information, or get a free consultation, check out afncorp.com. VIsit 2425 Porter St. #13, Soquel. Call 515-8091. | CEO
Runners-up Dimitri Timm, Noel McCord

Nip / Tuck:Dr. Steven Garner
Dr. Garner continues to win in this category.  This year’s most popular surgeries are facelift, breast augmentation, and tummy tuck. Thing To Know: no transformative procedure is too small for this Nip/Tuck extraordinaire to take on—he is also well-versed in Botox and injectable dermal fillers. To learn more about Dr. Garner and his professional team, check out slgarnermd.com. Visit 3311 Mission Dr., Santa Cruz. Call 475-3076. | CEO

OB/GYN:Anne-Marie Jackson
Dr. Jackson has delivered thousands of babies throughout her illustrious career as an OB/GYN—in fact, she delivered close to 1,000 alone during her residency at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Being baby- and prenatal care-oriented for 15 years, Dr. Jackson has shifted more toward gynecology recently—her gynecology practice welcomes all women. Take note: Jackson makes surgery simple for those not in the know: “I get to do what I love, which is doing surgery and seeing patients. I love to reassure people and educate them about their bodies and health,” she happily confesses. Visit the Santa Cruz Dominican Location, 1779 Dominican Way Ste B, Santa Cruz. Call 479-4966 or obgynsc.com. | CEO
Runners-up Martina Nicholson, Dr. Moore

bo prof-leadPainter:T. Paul Sek
T. Paul Sek, the construction and repaint business, once again garners the most votes. It offers both interior and exterior painting and staining but locals appreciate the “green” aspect to the business. The only materials used are non-toxic. Visit 721 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, Call 588-4080. | Coe Holtaway
Runners-up Duren Painting, Walls Painting

bo prof trainerPersonal Trainer:Jaimi Ellison
Ellison, who tied in a win for Best Aerobics Instructor, also nabbed the Personal Trainer spot.  An avid downhill mountain biker, swimmer, snowboarder, surfer, and cross-country skier, Ellison has tried and conquered just about every thrill-seeking and adrenaline-pumping sport. Incidentally, she gets her inspiration from indoors, admitting “I like to use my time in the gym to perform better outside.” Visit her at Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab, located at 317 Potrero St Ste C, Santa Cruz, 425-9500. | CEO
Runners-up Rocky Snyder, Demetreus Hunter

Photographer:Jeffery Jay Luhn
Known for his “outside the box” thinking, photographer Jeffery Jay Luhn has garnered a reputation for being the go-to lens master for weddings, portraits, commercial artwork, and architectural photography in Santa Cruz.  And with the goal of sharing his gift with the community, Luhn and his wife founded the Pacific Institute of Photography, where locals can study the techniques of lighting, composition, digital image and processing. Capturing his subjects with strategic lighting and camera angles is Luhn’s specialty. To see the world through the eyes of this talented local, visit luhnphoto.com. Call 335-4711.  | JB
Runners-up Shmuel Thaler, Ariel Schwartz

Plumber:Bellows heating & Plumbing
In 1984, father and son-in-law, Jerry Schultz and Greg Bellows started Bellows Plumbing with the goal of utilizing their wide range of training and experience of plumbing, heating, AC, and drain systems, which is still an impressive range of service capabilities for only two people. Their business rose and fell with trends in the economy but have achieved astounding amounts of growth in the past decade. These days Bellows consists of 15 full-time employees, and an even greater breadth of repair and installation services. They also have several vans emblazoned with their company’s logo. Many of Bellow’s early customers continue to use them for all their services because as one customer stated: “a trustworthy repairman is an invaluable asset and for those who own properties, this is an absolute necessity.” Call (408) 866-4620 or click bellowsplumbing.com. | CH
Runners-up John Ribera, Surf City Plumbing

Poet (Local):Gary Young
Poet Gary Young is known for his chimerical way with words, each of his poems a tumbling vignette of feeling that leaps from the page into one’s consciousness without prior warning. Some critics have expressed that to read Gary Young is to experience the raw emotions of daily life. Young, an instructor at UCSC, has been wordsmithing for more than 30 years, and has published myriad books during that time. His dedication to the craft and his uncanny insight to life have garnered him the honor of becoming the first Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, the title bestowed to him in 2010. As if being grammatically gifted isn’t enough, Young is also an accomplished artist, having a propensity toward designing and illustrating books, examples of which can be found as far away as the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Find out more at gary-young.org. | Leslie Patrick   
Runners-up Ellen Bass, Morton Marcus, Lex

Real Estate Agency:Sereno Group
It grabs the top spot. A good thing, considering the economy has been so mood-swingy over the last three years. Several key things stand out at Sereno: accountability, great connection to the community and—this is a plus—a good reputation. Its “Social Responsibility Real Estate” ethic is a plus, too. That, and consistent fine sales. Learn more at serenogroup.com. | CP
Runners-up David Lyng, Bailey Properties, Keller Williams

Realtor:Lauren Spencer
Spencer’s commitment certainly grabbed readers’ attention. Of her passion for being a realtor, she notes online: “I've taken exceptional pride in making the dream of home ownership in Santa Cruz County a reality for my clients.” She has been a Santa Cruz County resident for more than 44 years—and has lived in Downtown Santa Cruz, on Beach Hill, over on the Westside, in the "Banana Belt" and near the Yacht Harbor. Bottom line: you’re in good hands with this local realtor. Santa Cruz realtor, real estate sales and listings Lauren Spencer. | CP
Runners-up Mulhern and Gomes, Brandi Jones

bo prof dougsurfSurfboard Shaper:Doug Haut
Haut is a hot commodity. GT’s Linda Koffman recently nabbed an honor from the California Newspaper Publishers Association for penning an article on the local titan, whose expertise and commitment to his distinctly original craft have locals taking (more) notice. Koffman called Haut “a wizard behind the resin-stained curtain—he epitomized the art of surfboard shaping for 50 years, and, at 71, he’s an under-the-radar Santa Cruz fixture.” So true. Discover more about this local icon at hautsurfboards.com. | Charlie Price
Runners-up Bob Pearson, Randy French

Vet:Dr. Shuman (Westside Animal Hospital)
Pet owners take note: tick warnings have already been issued this year. Fortunately you know where to take your beloved companions if you need to handle the matter. Three things that stand out about Dr. Shuman: professionalism, great care, and, this is good, variety: Locals appreciate everything from Westside’s emergency and critical care to some of its other services—even, house calls. Beyond that, Shuman shines for having some heart. A fine thing when that little (or big) critter needs special attention. Learn more at scwestsideanimalhospital.com. | CP
Runners-up Dr. Jason Miller, Victoria Bannerman

Writer:David Jay Brown
Brown’s allure continues to grow. His diverse literary works include: “Brainchild,” “Virus: The Alien Strain,” the bestseller “Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse” (A great interview collection, by the way),  “Mavericks of Medicine,” “Mavericks of the Mind” and “Voices from the Edge.” Dubbed “the most compelling interviewer on the planet,” Brown has lured precious manna out of the likes of Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, Albert Hoffman, Andrew Weil, Sasha Shulgin, Alex Grey, Jerry Garcia, Stanislav Grof, Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, John Lilly, Noam Chomsky, Jack Kevorkian and, yes, even George Carlin.  You can spot him, too, as a regular guest editor of the MAPS Bulletin, a tri-annual journal from the local psychedelic research group Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Learn more about man—and his mind—at  mavericksofthemind.com. | CP
Runners-up Laurie R. King, Wallace Baine, Greg Archer

Yoga Instructor:Victor Dubin
Dubin has racked quite a few of these awards. His commitment and passion for yoga certainly shines through. He was the one who launched the Om Room in Santa Cruz (which is now part of Nourish in Santa Cruz), and his regular classes are typically Hatha and Vinyassa. “I strongly believe that yoga is not about attempting to fit people into particular models of practice, but creating space for people to discover themselves,” Dubin reports online. Experience it all at Nourish, 130 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-9355, nourishsantacruz.com. | CP
Runners-up Nicole Duke, Mark Stephens


Best of Santa Cruz County Index:
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