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Dec 18th
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Environment

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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News - Environment

Rallying for the River

Rallying for the River

New alliance takes aim at making over the San Lorenzo River

Could the San Lorenzo River become a draw to Downtown Santa Cruz, offering opportunities for recreation, picnicking, and more? A quick look at the riverfront in its current condition certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence. In recent years, the San Lorenzo River has become a sore spot in the Santa Cruz community with a reputation for being dirty and crime-ridden. But a coalition of local community and environmental leaders and organizations wants to change that perception and remake the area into a riverfront we can all enjoy and be proud of.

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News - Environment

Out in the Cold

Out in the Cold

Local group works on providing the homeless with warm spaces on the coldest nights

When the cold snap hit in early December, resulting in the deaths of four homeless people in Santa Clara County, a group of concerned locals decided to take action to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in Santa Cruz County.

“We thought it would be nice to have a set of known places where the homeless could go in extreme weather,” says Janie Yett, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz.

With this in mind, longtime homeless advocate Brent Adams and a group of about 25 other Santa Cruz citizens, including Yett, organized the Residents for Coldest Nights Warming Centers, also known as The Warming Group. The group’s goal is to establish a series of “warming centers,” or spaces that become available to the unsheltered on nights when precipitation and extreme cold are predicted to occur.

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News - Environment

Promoting Global Synergy

Promoting Global Synergy

UC Santa Cruz hosts the first Right Livelihood College in North America

When David Shaw cofounded the Common Ground Center at UC Santa Cruz’s Kresge College with fellow UCSC faculty members in September 2012, their mission was twofold: to teach students how to combine theory and action to incite social, economic, and environmental change in the world, and also to show them that change comes easier when likeminded individuals, across generations, unite.

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News - Environment

Blazing the Trails of Science

Blazing the Trails of Science

UC Santa Cruz’s top scientific breakthroughs of 2013

By Aric Sleeper Being second in the world for university research influence is a big reputation to live up to. But UC Santa Cruz—which was given the impressive status by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2012-2013—was up to the challenge, pumping out loads of noteworthy research and findings throughout 2013.

In the eyes of Scott Brandt, vice chancellor for research at UCSC, the “excellent year for research at UC Santa Cruz” was exemplified when President Barack Obama awarded a Slug faculty member with a nationally significant science honor back in February.

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News - Environment

Charting New Waters

Charting New Waters

Fishwise celebrates 10 years, authors white paper on human rights

When the founders of the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Fishwise began their uncharted journey in 2003, they had one goal: to provide retailers with the information and tools they needed to give customers the ability to make informed decisions about the seafood they put on their table.

Partnering with New Leaf Community Markets for their initial pilot program, Fishwise found that the people of Santa Cruz County not only appreciated knowing the environmental impact of the seafood they were buying, but they actually bought more.

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News - Environment

H2O in Limbo

H2O in Limbo

After postponing vote on desal, Santa Cruz moves forward in water supply discussions

While the City of Santa Cruz has hit pause on a proposed desalination plant, many are still wondering what that will mean for the city’s involvement with CalDesal.

CalDesal is a pro-desalination advocacy board comprised of numerous water agencies, with a mission of advancing the use of desalination in California. Bill Kocher, the city’s long-time Water Department director, was a founding member. But Kocher retired earlier this year, raising questions as to whether the city would continue its membership with the organization.

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News - Environment

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

After Santa Cruz’s reset on plans for desalination, the Soquel Creek Water District assesses its options

The City of Santa Cruz has paused plans for desalination in the wake of community opposition, but the option could still be on table for the Soquel Creek Water District.

Looming threats of seawater intrusion in its aquifers have the district—which serves about 38,000 customers from Capitola to La Selva Beach—seeking a number of possible solutions to the problem of maintaining its water supply on a long-term level. There’s also the additional, ongoing threat of drought. These problems have prompted the district’s board of trustees to plan a series of public meetings over the next four months to explore its options.

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News - Environment

A Tarplant Tale

A Tarplant Tale

A look at the plant that took the spotlight during the Arana Gulch debates and what its well-being says about the area’s larger ecosystem 

In the middle of Arana Gulch, a 63-acre greenbelt of rolling meadow and oak woodland nestled between Live Oak and Santa Cruz's Eastside neighborhood, there are about a dozen tiny yellow flowers, each about the size of a nickel. And while they are small, mostly dried out this time of year, and aesthetically quite simple, the plants tell a much bigger story than their appearance suggests.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

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Guitar or surfboard?

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Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire