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Apr 21st
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Inside Elections

Inside Elections

County Clerk Gail Pellerin on navigating the 2012 primary

Gail Pellerin has the best job in Santa Cruz County—or at least that’s how she feels about her post as Santa Cruz County Clerk, which she has been doing for more than a decade. After paying her way through a four-year degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Pellerin worked at newspapers and on the radio, but found herself longing to be more directly involved in the governmental decision-making processes.

“I remember covering board meetings sometimes and thinking, ‘Why don’t they just do this?’” she says. “So I started working for a member of the state assembly’s office and ended up working in Sacramento for the Speaker’s Office of Majority Services when Willie Brown was speaker. Working for him, I got a great education on how the state is run, the budget, the challenges, and I ran several campaigns.”

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News - Local News

All About Props

All About Props

A guide to local and statewide propositions on the June ballot

If your knowledge of local and state propositions and measures ends with the number or letter used to identify them, look no further. With the June 5 special election swiftly approaching, we have compiled a handy guide to the propositions and measures you’ll find in the voting booth.

The upcoming election season is looking like a pivotal one for schools, but it’s not higher education that’s getting all the attention this time around. Before we dive into the school-related measures, here is a quick primer on parcel taxes:

Parcel taxes are taxes levied by local units of government. Property owners within the district pay them annually, but senior citizens can apply for exemption. Schools use them largely to supplement government spending, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of public school district funding. Of the 1,042 public school districts in California, about 245 of them have adopted parcel taxes.

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News - Local News

Paperless Progress

Paperless Progress

Election season is looking a little greener this year
California has 17 million registered voters. All in all, the voting public of California cuts down about 60,000 trees every election season just so we can have our sample ballots (which some of us just toss in the recycling—or, worse, the trash). But there is a more eco-friendly option, or set of options, on the horizon locally.

Enter paperless sample ballots, the first of two tree-saving measures undertaken by the county. Until recently, California voting law required that a sample ballot be sent to every voter; with that law amended, voters can now request that an e-ballot be sent to their email address in place of a physical pamphlet dropped into their mailbox.

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News - Local News

Lifting Obstacles

Lifting Obstacles

New federal requirement makes public pools ADA-accessible

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, disabled people can patronize businesses—including hotels—knowing that they will at least meet basic accessibility requirements. And as of May 21, disabled Americans can now add public pools to the list of places they can count on to be accessible.

An addition to the 2010 version of the act requires all owners of public pools and hot tubs to make them usable by disabled residents. According to a Santa Cruz County Commission on Disabilities press release, “This can involve installing a lift, making a slope or other steps to improve accessibility.”

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News - Local News

From Field to College

From Field to College

California Strawberry Commission helps children of fieldworkers get to college

Jesus Rios has come a long way. The Michoacan-born 25-year-old went from picking strawberries with his parents in the fields of Salinas to working on his master’s in electrical engineering at Fresno State University. And he doesn’t plan on stopping there: Rios plans to pursue a doctorate in engineering after he completes his Master’s.

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News - Local News

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

The community searches for answers

He appeared at the Paul Lee Loft Shelter on May 3. He seemed inconspicuous, recalls Homeless Services Center Executive Director Monica Martinez. He was carrying a Bible and expressing a desire to find a Christian community to help him get closer to God. He stayed only during the evenings and showed no aggression or cause for concern.

But four days after his arrival, this man is accused of committing Santa Cruz’s first homicide of 2012.

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News - Local News

Around the World on Two Wheels

Around the World on Two Wheels

Cyclist sets off on a 30,000-mile bike ride

Twenty-seven-year-old Sean Ardley has spent much of his life perched on the seat of a bicycle, and much of the rest of his time doing something related to bicycles. He began mountain biking at age 4 through the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, got his first job at Santa Cruz Bicycles when he was 14 years old, and spent the last four years working at Ibis Cycles.

On May 14, he embarked on a journey that he hopes will inspire others to hop on a bicycle more often.

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News - Local News

Leading the Way

Leading the Way

Annual awards ceremony celebrates queer youth achievement

Fifteen years ago, when Terry Cavanagh began working with young people on AIDS prevention, the world was a very different place. The local community—like others nationwide—seemed to be in denial that Santa Cruz youth were also at risk.

“[People would say], ‘well we don’t have any gay people in our school,’” says Cavanagh, the founder of the local Queer Youth Leadership Awards. “And this would be high school—these would be guidance counselors, teachers, vice principals in schools of several hundred or several thousand students. We knew we had a problem there in terms of visibility and connecting with students and young people.”

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News - Local News

Homes for the Homeless

Homes for the Homeless

Community effort launches to house county’s most chronically homeless

On any given day, more than 2,700 homeless individuals wander the streets of Santa Cruz County, according to the 2011 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey. Twenty-four of these 2,700 individuals died on the streets last year. The average age of those deceased was 49 years.

“If this was happening to any other population, we’d hit the brakes, stop what we were doing and be like, ‘What do you mean people are dying at 49 years old? There’s something wrong,’” says Philip Kramer, project manager for 180/180, a recently-launched community effort to help permanently house and provide necessary support services to the 180 most vulnerable, long-term, chronically homeless men, women and families in the county.

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News - Local News

Occupy Update

Occupy Update

Judge dismisses charges against four of the Santa Cruz 11

“I’m so happy,” declared Grant Wilson at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse the morning of Wednesday, April 25. 

Wilson and three co-defendants had just attended their second day of pre-trial hearings to face charges of trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy stemming from the Nov. 30, 2011 occupation of a vacant Downtown Santa Cruz bank. Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick told a courtroom full of supporters and observers that he was dismissing all charges against Wilson and the three co-defendants, Franklin Alcantara, Edward Rector and Cameron Laurendau. Witnesses inside the courtroom say that Burdick told the prosecution, “you paint with too broad a brush,” and that insufficient evidence had been presented to show that any of the four had intended to “commit trespass by design.”

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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.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

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.
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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

 

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.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?