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Apr 25th
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

The Road to Realignment

The Road to Realignment

County probation officers take on more supervision of parolees

As state officials continue to grapple with overcrowded prisons, much of the burden continues to be pushed onto local governments with varying success.

In October 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 109, also known as realignment, which laid out steps for reducing the state’s severely overcrowded prisons to comply with federal mandates. At the time the law went into effect, there were more than 143,000 inmates in state prisons—nearly twice the facilities’ capacity.

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News - Local News

Run with a View

Run with a View

Upcoming race spotlights the Coastal Rail Trail—kind of

On Aug. 25, about 200 people will run a 12 kilometer race along the ocean from Wilder Ranch State Park up through the State Parks coastal bluff trails.

But it’s where their route does not take them that is the real point.

Westside Santa Cruz resident Ron Goodman is the organizer of Run by the Sea, a community race that aims to raise awareness and money for the Coastal Rail Trail, which is slated for construction by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) in the coming years.

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News - Local News

Talk to the Kids

Talk to the Kids

Upcoming conference addresses youth violence in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County is the second smallest county, geographically, in California. Yet, in 2011, it ranked 10th in the state for youth homicide rates, according to a study done by the Violence Policy Center.

This statistic is representative of a trend of youth violence many in the county have observed through anecdotal evidence—from the gunman inside Secret Garden Too preschool in 2010 to the 18-year-old young man killed outside a Pajaro Valley High School soccer game in Watsonville earlier this year, many feel it is increasingly true that Santa Cruz County youth are not as safe as they should be.

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News - Local News

Moving the Needle

Moving the Needle

Despite low community support in a recent survey, do syringe exchanges serve a greater good?

Providing intravenous drug users with clean syringes is like making condoms available for young people, says Dr. Lisa Hernandez, medical services director for the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (HSA).

Both are single-use items—“You don't want to share them,” she says, “you don't want to use them again.”

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News - Local News

Off the Streets

Off the Streets

Local agencies gather to assess the VA’s goal to end veteran homelessness

Two years ago, Vietnam War veteran Wayne Wyman went to sleep on a beach in Monterey. He was drunk and had no place else to go. He had already been living on the streets for six years, jobless and debilitated by alcoholism.

Just a few weeks after that night on the beach, social workers from the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System contacted him, determined to help him recover.

“I didn't think they could or would do anything for me, but they proved me wrong,” he says.

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News - Local News

Moving On

Moving On

The City of Santa Cruz loses its economic development director

After four and a half years as the Economic Development Director for the City of Santa Cruz, Peter Koht is leaving the position to work on expanding OpenCounter, an open-source software aimed at helping people navigate the difficult process of starting a new business.

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News - Local News

Running for Children’s Futures

Running for Children’s Futures

Local professional runner leads Wharf to Wharf team to help foster kids

Among the approximately 600 kids admitted into foster care in Santa Cruz County last year was a 7-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister. 

Both children, however, thought they were 5.

Their parents led them to believe this so that if anyone asked the children why they were not in school, they could answer that they were only 5 years old—too young to incriminate their parents for not enrolling them.

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News - Local News

The Battle for Benefits

The Battle for Benefits

Veterans wait years for compensation benefits due to backlogged claims at the VA

Josh Shanks, a 62-year-old Vietnam War veteran from Soquel, filed his disability compensation claim with the Veterans Affairs office five years ago. After two years without word on his claim's status, Shanks was informed that his paperwork had been lost.

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News - Local News

Family Ties

Family Ties

UPDATE: On Thursday, July 18, jurors found Elvis Garcia guilty of seven felonies, including sodomy, sexual battery, burglary and kidnapping after deliberating for just two hours. The DNA evidence was key, jurors and attorneys said.

"Clearly that was the most important piece of evidence," defense attorney James Reilly said. The trial ended about two to three weeks earlier than originally anticipated, Judge Timothy Volkmann said. Reilly did not make opening statements nor did he put any witnesses on the stand, though he said he originally considered having Garcia testify. Garcia faces up to life in prison with the possibility of parole when he is sentenced Oct. 2.

Brutal rape trial hinges on familial DNA technology

A hairnet, a plastic bottle and a father’s vehicle theft conviction led to the arrest of a Santa Cruz man currently on trial for a heinous March 2008 rape.

The trial of Elvis Garcia, which began July 1 and is expected to last through the month, hinges largely on DNA evidence that prosecutors say was linked to him through his father. The younger Garcia’s arrest was just the second time in California that a case was solved using what’s called familial DNA. The technology wasn’t approved in the state until 2008, and remains prohibited in a handful of other states.

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News - Local News

From DNA to Drug Treatment

From DNA to Drug Treatment

UC Santa Cruz research explores the genetic basis for cancer

It took more than 10 years for researchers at UC Santa Cruz to compile the first sequence of the human genome—the complete collection of DNA that serves as the alphabet of life. 

Since this historic date in 2003, sequencing technology has progressed at a breathtaking rate, and it now takes just months to amass the same information.

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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise