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Apr 17th
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Environment

News - Environment

Historic Shift in Drug Research

Historic Shift in Drug Research

Santa Cruz nonprofit MAPS could complete the first study of therapeutic whole-plant marijuana in 40 years

While stacks of independent research have affirmed the medicinal potentials of the cannabis plant, none received the official approval of the U.S. government. But soon we could be looking at the first federally sanctioned research to take place on marijuana in 40 years, outside of limited research by government organizations.

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News - Environment

Riding Smart

Riding Smart

People Power teams up with UC Santa Cruz students for bike commuting workshop series

With severe drought conditions plaguing California, the recent patter of raindrops should have been a welcomed sound to the citizens of Santa Cruz County. But when one has recently committed to trek to work or school each day via bicycle, a morning downpour can be the cause of a rising dread and the subsequent decision to drive. That is, unless one has acquired the knowledge and gear necessary to transform a gloomy bike trip in the rain from a dismal chore to an energizing joyride.

“It can be really hard for folks to learn how to ride a bike for their daily commute,” says Amelia Conlen, director of local nonprofit People Power. “I got into biking through friends telling me what I should wear, what kind of bags to get, and what to do when it rains. If you don’t have a person like that, it can be daunting to do something entirely new without much support.”

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News - Environment

High Voltage

High Voltage

Proposed power line revitalization irks South County residents

A draft environmental impact report is under way for a proposed power line project that initially was determined as not needing one. 

Neighbors worry the plan by Pacific Gas & Electric to replace its aging infrastructure between Watsonville and Aptos with more reliable power lines will mar the rural nature of the area and blight the view.

PG&E has proposed an additional circuit connecting the Green Valley Substation outside Watsonville to the Rob Roy Station. Doing so involves converting more than seven miles of single-circuit high voltage power line into a double-circuit by replacing existing wood transmission poles with new tubular steel poles. It also includes constructing a new 1.7-mile-long single circuit power line along Cox Road and Freedom Boulevard, including the installation of four new seek poles and the replacement of existing wood poles of about 39 feet with new ones that are 89 feet in height. From Green Valley Road to Cox Road, 100-foot steel poles will be installed, and a new 1.7-mile segment will be added down Cox, Day Valley and McDonald roads and Freedom Boulevard.

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News - Environment

The Fukushima Fallout

The Fukushima Fallout

Has the truth about radiation arriving on the California coast been muddled amidst mounting concern?

When the Japanese coastline where the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant sits was pummeled with a massive tsunami and earthquake in March 2011, three of the site’s nuclear reactors melted down. Unprecedented quantities of radioactive materials—coolant, mostly—began seeping into the Pacific Ocean.

Almost three years later, that radioactive contamination is the source of widespread concern around the world, including in Santa Cruz County.

“The Fukushima disaster was just horrendous,” says Daniel Hirsch, a lecturer on nuclear policy at UC Santa Cruz. “We’ve never had a nuclear accident before that released this amount [of radiation] into the sea.”

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News - Environment

The Final Compromise

The Final Compromise

Local experts and organizations react to the recently passed, and long overdue, federal Farm Bill

Although no one involved in the shaping of the latest Farm Bill was entirely sated with the finished product, it seems that most are pleased with the fact that after nearly three years of delays and debate, a new bill has been agreed upon and passed into law.

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News - Environment

Taking the Reins

Taking the Reins

Santa Cruz’s new water director steps in at critical point

Rosemary Menard has her work cut out for her as she steps into the role of water director for the City of Santa Cruz.

Menard fills the vacancy left by Bill Kocher, a vocal proponent of desalination who had served as the city’s water director since 1986. Kocher retired in September, passing the torch to deputy director Linette Almond to serve as interim director until her own retirement in January.

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News - Environment

Coming Up Short

Coming Up Short

An agricultural labor shortage plagues Pajaro Valley farms

Abandoning acre upon acre of fruits and vegetables that are ripe and ready for harvesting because of a shortfall in laborers is a scenario no farmer expects, especially in an economic environment with high levels of unemployment. But according to a number of growers in the Pajaro Valley, such as Tim Driscoll, farm manager at Su Talun Farms, this has become the status quo in recent years.

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News - Environment

Water Boarding

Water Boarding

City of Santa Cruz begins selection of new Water Supply Advisory Committee

In October, in the wake of a decision to hit pause on desal talks, City of Santa Cruz officials directed city staff to develop a detailed community engagement program for the examination of the city’s water supply issues. That included the formation of a professionally facilitated Water Supply Advisory Committee.

Officially, the stated objective of the committee is “to explore, through an iterative, fact-based process, the city’s water profile, including supply, demand and future threats; analyze potential solutions to deliver a safe, adequate, reliable and environmentally sustainable water supply, and to develop strategy recommendations for city council consideration.”

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News - Environment

Puff or Pass?

Puff or Pass?

One month down for UCSC’s new smoke- and tobacco-free policy

UC Santa Cruz senior and literature major Thomas VanGilder enjoys a cigarette now and again.

But starting Jan. 1, the school became smoke- and tobacco-free—a change VanGilder believes is out of step with its character.

“I think there’s a hypocrisy in the image that the school is trying to create for itself, like there being the Grateful Dead museum that honors the legacy of Jerry Garcia—who drank and smoked cigarettes until the day day he died—and the ’60s era, and a student movement that began here at UCSC,” VanGilder says. “That was an era that defined pleasure; you had the sexual revolution and the re-imagining of what drugs really are.”

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News - Environment

Neighbors Resist Planned Hotel

Neighbors Resist Planned Hotel

Lower Ocean residents feel they weren’t given enough say in Hyatt plans

Despite fervent objections from many residents in the Lower Ocean neighborhood, a planned Hyatt Place Hotel is moving closer to fruition.

The Santa Cruz City Council approved initial plans for the hotel, to be located at the space formerly occupied by the Unity Temple, back in 2011, and approved modifications to the plans earlier this month. The project was originally approved for 111 rooms but has been downgraded to 106. The original plan also called for an underground parking lot and five designated employee parking spots, but developers sought approval to switch to all valet parking, with cars stored using elevator-like lifts.

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Lens Crafter

Secret photographer’s talent exposed in ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ Talk about a treasure hunt. In 2007, John Maloof, a real estate agent in the Chicago area, bought some miscellaneous boxes at an estate auction across the street, hoping to find some material for a book about his neighborhood. Disappointed not to find anything he could use for his project, Maloof had, instead, stumbled into one of the greatest discoveries in 20th century photography—the previously unknown but amazingly prolific work of amateur street photographer Vivian Maier.
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

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

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.