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Jul 23rd
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning

Volunteers help locals maximize tax discounts

Waiting a couple of hours for free help with filing taxes feels like getting paid $400 for a half day's work, says Shadowbrook restaurant server Glen Wunderling, 55.

“This is a great service because it's always good to have a second eye look over the forms,” Wunderling says. “It can get really confusing with all the legal and tax code changes.”

Wunderling is one of 3,700 Santa Cruz County taxpayers who, according to the IRS, collectively overpay between $6 and $8 million in taxes every year because they don't claim deductions and rebates they are eligible for. Wunderling says he failed to claim his Making Work Pay tax rebate in 2009—part of President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. That is why he was waiting for a volunteer tax preparer from Project Senior Citizen Outreach (Project Scout)’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the Aptos Public Library on March 22.

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News - Local News

A Voice Renewed

A Voice Renewed

Cabrillo journalism department avoids possible elimination

Room 407 may look like an ordinary classroom at first glance, but a wooden sign swinging above the glass door sets it apart from any other room on the Cabrillo College campus. “The Cabrillo Voice,” the sign reads, signifying the room as the home of the school’s student-run newspaper.

Inside, students bustle about, craning at computer screens and making suggestions as they periodically stop to pet Riley, the standard poodle that is just as much a fixture of the room as the newspapers strewn about.

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News - Local News

Grappling with Growth

Grappling with Growth

Expansion of Watsonville sparks new and long-standing issues

Watsonville City Councilmember Daniel Dodge may have opened a can of worms with a recent editorial published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Jan. 29. 

His piece proposed that the City of Watsonville annex a property known as Sakata-Kett for large retail development and mentioned Costco as a possible tenant.  He says this would help create jobs outside of the agricultural industry for a city whose unemployment rate has hovered around 25 percent since 2008.

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News - Local News

Getting Physical

Getting Physical

Nonprofit partners with U.S. Paralympics to provide disabled locals with more adventures

At 17 years old, Foster Andersen loved skiing, playing ice hockey, and listening to the Grateful Dead. He thrived outdoors and enjoyed trying new activities.

So, when he broke his neck in a motorcycle accident, his whole life changed.

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News - Local News

Hatching a Lawsuit

Hatching a Lawsuit

Litigants say DA’s office is withholding documents in animal cruelty lawsuit

The video footage taken inside of local Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, Inc. in 2009 shows the mutilated bodies of dead or dying chicks and ducklings that lay trapped beneath processing machinery, newly hatched chicks with open bloody wounds, exposed organs, and mutilated feet and legs gasping for air in bins, and workers tossing baby birds into a bucket of liquid waste where they struggle to escape before drowning. The footage also depicts workers dumping unwanted hatchlings by the bucket-load into an eggshell disposal chute and forced, alive, down a clogged drain with a pole and high-powered hose.

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News - Local News

The Crisis Continues…

The Crisis Continues…

Foreclosures may increase in 2012

Despite the nationwide legal settlement announced last month between 49 state attorney generals and major banks over fraudulent foreclosure practices, and despite a downward trend in the number of homes entering the foreclosure process both locally and statewide compared to this time last year, the damage done by the collapse of the housing market continues in Santa Cruz County. More than 100 Notices of Default and 120 Notices of Sale are issued (on average) by banks each month.

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News - Local News

Education Occupied

Education Occupied

Protestors and allies discuss the future of public education

The California legislature adopted the Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960 with the primary purpose of ensuring the accessibility, affordability, and accountability of higher education for all eligible California residents with a high school diploma.

Marilyn Walker, member of the UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate and professor of computer science, says she is seriously concerned that the master plan for education is in danger of “going down the tubes.”

In the last two years, the state has incrementally decreased the budget for public education systems, from K-12 through higher education, in response to a statewide budget crisis. With revenues more than $2.2 billion below projections in December 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown said the state has to cut another $1 billion in spending this year. The California State University and University of California systems each lost $750 million in state funding in the 2011-12 academic year and further cuts are pending.

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News - Local News

Open-Source Democracy

Open-Source Democracy

Hackers try to help the city communicate

Rob Mylls was waiting for planning department signatures on a building permit when City Councilmember Hilary Bryant attended the grand opening of his gym, Bike Dojo, in February 2011.

The dual high and low water fountains required by the second agency to review his remodel were already installed.  The planning department had told him a single low-standing fountain was adequate to meet handicap accessibility requirements. The city, however, outsourced those overseeing duties to a group in San Jose that had different standards, according to Mylls. He was ready to open shop, but still waiting for final signatures on the permits. A planning department official noticed the grand opening and delivered the signed permit within days.

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News - Local News

‘Spring’ into Action

‘Spring’ into Action

Local orgs push ways to help after the holiday-giving rush

The war against hunger is at its peak in the first three months of the year, says Danny Keith, chief development and technology officer at Second Harvest Food Bank Of Santa Cruz (SHFB). He says donations to SHFB “atrophy” between January and March, as the press coverage received during its holiday food drives dies down.

“After the holiday period everybody goes through this retraction,” says Keith. “I don't think it's intended. It is more of a reflection of how the economy has been built for the last hundred years. January, February, [and] March is hard for everyone.” But as giving slows down and the weather gets warmer, hunger doesn't retreat.

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News - Local News

Shift Happens

Shift Happens

The woman behind Santa Cruz County’s lauded maneuvering of prison realignment

Santa Cruz County, and its longtime chief administrative officer Susan Mauriello, in particular, has received statewide recognition for its effective response to state-mandated requirements for prison realignment. Last year, Mauriello spent a good deal of time in Sacramento explaining to CAOs, sheriffs and chief probation officers from other counties how Santa Cruz County has managed to reduce county incarceration rates, save tax dollars and improve public safety in the process. They’ve looked to her for advice on how they, too, can meet the challenges of the new state law, AB 109, also known as the “Public Safety Realignment Act.”  

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Art Files: Opposites Attract

Using found objects, Victoria May seeks beauty in dichotomy and tension, the creepy and absurd

 

A Year of Creative Self-Expression

Wednesday, after a year in Cancer’s nourishing waters, Jupiter enters fiery Leo. Next Tuesday, the sun joins Jupiter in Leo. Leo is the sign of the three fires of life, of seeking our individuality, our gifts and talents. Life for the next year will be quite dramatic, expressive, creative and generous. Jupiter, the heart of Aquarius, is the planet of expansion and truth, distributing Ray 2 of Love and Wisdom.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 18

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Desserts at Seabright’s La Posta, a pop-up breakfast, local ethnic cuisine, and a long-lost varietal 

 

What is the most outrageous thing you did as a kid?

Santa Cruz | Retired

 

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

 

Loma Prieta’s Pinotage

Although drinking alone is not half as much fun as drinking with others, after a busy day of dashing around, I came home and poured myself a glass or two of Loma Prieta’s Pinotage 2010 (saving a bit for my husband). There’s something about taking that first sip of a worthy wine that gives one an all-over glow.