Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 04th
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Best of the Rest

bo restCategory: Winner
Activist Group: Take Back Santa Cruz 
Beach: Seabright
Childcare: Santa Cruz Toddler Care
Computer Training: Cruzio
Doggie Daycare: Little Pup Lodge
Green Service: T. Paul Sek
Green Business: T. Paul Sek
Locally Owned Business: VICE
Local Hero: Sgt. Baker & Det. Butler
Mover & Shaker (Local): Danny Keith

Music Class: Music Together
New Business: Salon on the Square
Nonprofit (Local): Grind Out Hunger
Political Issue (Local): Homelessness
Politician: Sam Farr
Retreat: Land of Medicine Buddha
Summer Camp: Kennolyn Camp           
Student Hangout: The Abbey           
Website For Local 411: Santa Cruz Waves
Wedding Venue: Seascape           
Wi-fi Café: The Abbey

Activist Group: Take Back Santa Cruz
The grassroots organization has captured your attention with its goal to help raise awareness about local issues—from crime to homeless and beyond. “We focus on supplying the community with a variety of ways to get involved,” it notes on its website. “We believe that everyone has a gift, an activation button.” Check out its website on upcoming events.

Runners-up Save Our Shores, WAMM

Childcare: Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center
The well-trained staff of educational professionals here give parents comfort, but take note: The center utilizes the methods and philosophies of the “Resources for Infant Education” program founded by Magda Gerber, which finds that children and infants excel when adults treat their words and actions with respect. 476-4120,

bo rest pupsRunners-up: TIE: Cabrillo College TIE: Santa Cruz PENS & Wishing Well & Circle of Friends

Computer Training: Cruzio
New classes are offered each week in this shared workspace haven in Downtown Santa Cruz. This is also an ideal spot to network. Get connected. 459-6301,

Runners-up: Cabrillo College

Doggie Daycare: Little Pup Lodge
Owner Kelly Luker’s ingenious idea to launch this inventive lodge got your tails wagging.  Formerly an investigative journalist and licensed private investigator—wow!—Luker’s keen eye and, more importantly, heartfelt care all factor into the success here. Check out the “pick up and drop off” service ($75). Dig your nose into the photo gallery and blog online at Call 476-1948.

Runners-up: Bed & Biscuits, Animal Hospital of Soquel,Robin’s Nest Photo: keana parker

Green Service, Green Business:T. Paul Sek Painting
He wins yet again. Sek and his family have created one of the most well known local green companies – with both the brains and the know-how on getting your work done while helping protect our beautiful region. We also love how the customer service stands out here. Take note of the Sek’s inventive style and concepts, too. Downright one-of-a-kind. 588-4080,

Local Heroes: Butch Baker & Elizabeth Butler
In February, for the first time in the city’s history, two Santa Cruz police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. Their deaths, which came while investigating an alleged sexual assault, were sobering reminders of the risk police take by doing their jobs on a daily basis. Detective Elizabeth Butler was a strong female cop in a career dominated by men. She worked her way up to working on child sex crimes and sexual assault cases, and was bo rest ButlerDogElizabeth Butlerknown for her fierce dedication to investigating these crimes and supporting the victims, who were mostly women and children. The mother of two was at the frontlines of addressing and seeking justice for sexual violence in the city. With 28 years in the department under his belt, Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker was SCPD’s top investigator, and had worked on many of the city’s milestone cases over bo rest Baker-familyButch Baker (right) and familythe years. A true family man, Baker was persistent and thorough when it came to addressing the crimes that left wounds in his community. The impact these two individuals had, and the number of people whose lives they touched, became instantly clear in the days and weeks following the tragedy. From the thousands of people, including law enforcement from across the state and many notable state figures, who attended the memorial service to the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by locals in funds for Baker and Butler’s families, their footprint on the community was proved to be expansive. It is also permanent: Santa Cruz will forever carry the memory of these two; two of SCPD’s finest.

Runners-up: Dylan Greiner, Danny Keith, Zach Friend

Local Mover & Shaker: Danny Keith
Whether he’s grinding out hunger though his headturning nonprofit, Grind Out Hunger (which is now an actual portal on 41st Avenue), or rallying for other significant causes, Danny Keith stands out for his enterprising, unwavering spirit. The man is unstoppable in his mission to eradicate hunger on a local level. Check out the many events unfolding at GOH Headquarters—the Matsiko World Orphans Choir recently performed and  GOH’s FLOW program is impressive.

Runners-up: Analicia Cube, Hilary Bryant

New Business: Salon on the Square
According to Reception Manager Jillian Wilkey, Salon on the Square is about “making you look your best—whether it’s the cut, or color, or treatment—we just want to make you feel good.” Line they highlight: Davines, from Italy, which uses reusable, food grade packaging. It’s nice to have these folks around Downtown. 600-7087,

Runners-up: Santa Cruz Skin Solutions, Süda, TIE: Bantam  & Akira

Music Class: Music Together
For nearly two decades, Musical Me, Inc. (MMI) has served more than 20,000 students in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties through its Music Together Early Childhood Music Enrichment Program. Founded with the belief that all children are musical and that nurturing the musical growth of children—regardless of their parents’ musical ability—is critical to their development, MMI offers classes for families with children, newborns through age 6, that teach basic musical skills needed to enjoy school and social activities, and to potentially study an instrument. Each child participates at his or her own level of singing, moving, chanting, listening, watching, or exploring musical instruments, and parents get to share in the magic. Talk about a win-win. To register and for more info, visit

Runners-up: MusicSkool

Nonprofit Organization: Grind Out Hunger
Danny Keith’s relentless vision to eradicate hunger continues to affect change on a local level. Over the last few years, it has evolved into a stunning behemoth of a nonprofit with a plan to “Empower, Educate and “Fight Hunger.” (One in four children go hungry in Santa Cruz County.) With ongoing events and talks, coupled with a complete overhaul of Keith’s former Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop on 41st Avenue, GOH deserves high marks for its ambitious efforts. Take note of the stellar social networking genius behind its success, too—it doesn’t hurt to have Chris Rene on board as an advocate.

Runners-up: Save Our Shores, Santa Cruz Derby Girls, Second Harvest Food Bank

Political Issue: Homelessness
Ah, homelessness. You never cease to stir us up. The Santa Cruz County Homeless Census estimated that 9,041 people experienced homelessness in the county in 2011. The survey portion of the biannual count has consistently shown that a majority of homeless lived in the county prior to becoming homeless; yet the problem continues to be seen as one imposed on the town, rather than one grown, at least partially, from within it. In addition to being a visible blight and an economic matter, homelessness is such a hot button issue largely because there is so much disagreement (or disconnectedness) on how to address it. The pot is full of ingredients: We have an increasing number of official avenues, such as police eradication of homeless campsites, and service efforts, like Project Homeless Connect and the permanent housing 180/180 project, as well as a slew of forums, symposiums, and related groups forming, and a growing (or at least growing in volume) faction who would like to see homeless people shipped out. But what are we cooking up?

Runners-up: Desalination, Water, Crime

Politician: Sam Farr
A fifth-generation Californian, Sam Farr has represented the 20th District in congress since 1993. Farr has been a champion for maintaining the coastal sanctuaries of the Monterey Bay, an advocate for immigration reform, and played an integral part in securing funds to build the California State University at Monterey Bay. As a proponent for peace and transparency, Farr has served as an ideal representative of the people of the Central Coast. 800-340-FARR. 

Runners-up: Hilary Bryant, Zach Friend, John Leopold

Retreat: Land of Medicine Buddha
This enchanting Buddhist center is nestled on 108 acres and borders 10,000 acres of redwood forest, making it a perfect place for a spiritually charged hike. The property’s most popular hike is the Eight Verses Pilgrimage Trail. An Om away from home. 462-8383,

Runners-up: Mt. Madonna Center, Well Within, Chaminade

Summer Camp: Kennolyn Camp
Spanning more than 300 acres in the coastal redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Kennolyn Camps (named after Max and Marion Caldwell’s children Ken and Carolyn, who currently run the retreat) has been family owned and run since 1946. Take note: more than 30 activities—from fencing, to trapeze, to surfing, and modern cabins with all the comforts of home. 459-6714,

Runners-up: Camp Hammer, Lightspeed Martial Arts Camp, Camp Campbell

Student Hangout / WiFi Café: The Abbey
With a relaxed vintage atmosphere, fair-trade coffees from Verve, free Wi-Fi, and plenty of comfortable couches and chairs to plop down in and get some work done, the Abbey is a great escape from the doldrums of the dorms and the UC Santa Cruz Library. The free live music and gluten-free and vegan cuisine stand out. 429-1058,

Runners-up: Seven Directions Institute, Café Pergolessi

Wedding Venue: Seascape Beach Resort
The trained staff of wedding professionals here guide the nuptials through every step of the wedding planning process and can accommodate grandiose receptions or intimate family affairs. Consider staying here for the honeymoon in one of the private beach villas. 688-6800,

Runners-up Chaminade Resort & Spa, Hollins House, Kennolyn Camp

Website for Local 411: Santa Cruz Waves
One of the most dynamic online portals in the area, it features everything from videos to health and fitness 411, event coverage to a vast array of photo galleries and so much more. Visit the surf shop online. Stellar!

Runners-up:, Cruzio

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

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