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Apr 17th
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

On Track

On Track

Plans for Santa Cruz County’s Scenic Rail Trail chug along

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail is now closer to becoming a reality thanks to the approval of $5.3 million in funding.

At its Thursday, Dec. 5 meeting, The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) voted to approve $14 million in state and federal funding for 26 projects. This includes $5.3 million for three sections of what’s known colloquially as the Rail Trail. Those segments include a 2.4-mile portion from Natural Bridges Drive to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, a stretch from Fifth to Seventh avenues along East Cliff Drive in Twin Lakes and a portion connecting Lee Road to the slough trail system in Watsonville.

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News - Local News

Pain Management

Pain Management

Is one of the most common treatments for long-term chronic pain doing more harm than good?

Medications that contain hydrocodone—an extremely addictive opioid found in commonly prescribed painkillers such as Vicodin—are causing more lethal overdoses in the United States than heroin and cocaine combined, according to Bill Morris, a local palliative care doctor for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data indicates that drug overdose death rates, the majority of which are from prescription medications, have more than tripled in the country since 1990, and the CDC has classified prescription drug abuse as an “epidemic.”

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News - Local News

Live to Serve

Live to Serve

Christine Johnson-Lyons retires from the Community Action Board

After devoting nearly 30 years of her time and energy to fighting for the rights of the poor and disadvantaged of Santa Cruz County, one may expect Christine Johnson-Lyons to have no regrets. But, to the contrary, there is something she wishes she could have done during her time as executive director of the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County (CAB): helped more people in need.

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News - Local News

Homegrown Issue

Homegrown Issue

Census reveals majority of homeless population lived locally before becoming homeless

Last month, the Watsonville-based research organization Applied Survey Research (ASR) released its biennial census of the Santa Cruz County homeless population. While the numbers represent an alarming increase, the percentage of respondents who indicated they lived locally before becoming homeless falls inside of the normal spectrum for other surveyed counties, says ASR Vice President Peter Connery.

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News - Local News

Eyes on the Courts

Eyes on the Courts

Public Safety Citizen Task Force adopts policy recommendations for City Council

Bryan Matthew Martin—a local recidivist whose rap sheet, dating back to 2003, includes check fraud, meth possession, and felony auto theft—is a name that, for the Public Safety Citizen Task Force, reflects possible negligence in sentencing by the Santa Cruz County Superior Court system.

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News - Local News

Protecting Our Elders

Protecting Our Elders

Annual CAP report shows rise in elder abuse in Santa Cruz County

According to the most recent Community Assessment Project (CAP) report, senior citizens are the largest growing population in Santa Cruz County. Households with elders 65 and older rose from 19.7 percent in 2006 to 26.3 percent in 2012, and the total population of people 60 years and older increased 3.5 percent since 2006. 

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News - Local News

Three Strikes, He’s Out

Three Strikes, He’s Out

Santa Cruz County’s only Proposition 36-eligible inmate is released

When Kevin O’Connell was sentenced to life in prison back in 1995, he had been convicted of possession of a stolen necklace. His previous felony convictions had occurred more than 15 years prior.

However, under the state’s three strikes sentencing law, a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge saw fit to sentence O’Connell to life in prison. O’Connell is the only so-called three-striker from Santa Cruz County to become eligible for re-sentencing under Proposition 36, a ballot initiative passed by voters last year to reform the state’s three-strikes laws.

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News - Local News

Frankenstein to Facebook

Frankenstein to Facebook

An emeritus professor of literature explores the implications of our relationship with technology

Helene Moglen has noticed a considerable shift among her students in recent years. The UC Santa Cruz emeritus dean of humanities and professor of literature came to the school in 1978, retired in 2008, and continued to teach one class—The Gothic Imagination in Fiction and Film—until this year. Although she had taught this particular course to thousands of pupils over the years, the last few batches seemed different. 

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News - Local News

A Second Chance for Pets

A Second Chance for Pets

The BirchBark Foundation provides a lifeline for pets whose owners are unable to pay vet bills

Yrelda Rodriguez’s 2-year-old Shih Tzu, Lacie, has come to feel more like a family member than a pet, especially after a doctor told Rodriguez she was incapable of having children.

But when Lacie was run over by a reckless driver, Rodgriguez—an agricultural worker who lives near Soledad—was faced with a terrible choice: come up with money she didn’t have for surgery, or put Lacie to sleep. “I was horrified,” Rodriguez says.

Her situation is not unique.

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News - Local News

Closing the Political Gender Gap

Closing the Political Gender Gap

The growing effort to encourage local women to ‘break the glass ballot’

The United States ranks just 87th in the world for representation of elected women at the national level, and statistics show the number of women in national elected positions is declining. Statewide, an additional 28 women would need to be elected to the California legislature to reach gender parity, and locally, there are a number of women serving on city councils, but no women on the county Board of Supervisors.

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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.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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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.