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May 23rd
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Documentary explores the hunger/obesity paradox—a question at the heart of Second Harvest’s evolving mission

In 1968, with 10 million Americans suffering from hunger, CBS News aired Hunger in America, a documentary that exposed the severity of the problem and led to national mobilization. School food programs and food stamps resulted, and hunger took a significant plunge by the late 1970s.

“Hunger was virtually eliminated in America,” says Willy Elliott-McCrea, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB). This proved that ending hunger was a matter of choice, he says.

But that positive trend didn’t last. Today, nearly 50 million Americans, including a fourth of all children, don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

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News - Local News

Setting up Camp

Setting up Camp

Is a self-regulated, communal camp the answer to Santa Cruz’s homeless problems?

In dozens of cities across the country, there are organized, self-managed homeless communities—a concept dubbed locally as “sanctuary camps”—that aim to help people pull their lives out of the gutter, get organized, find employment and secure housing.

Local videographer, Occupy activist, and now homeless advocate Brent Adams was inspired to initiate plans for a sanctuary camp in Santa Cruz when he traveled in December of last year to Portland, Ore., where there are two camps—one called “Right 2 Dream Too,” nicknamed “R2DToo,” and another called “Dignity Village.”

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News - Local News

A Mother’s Struggle

A Mother’s Struggle

May is Perinatal Depression Awareness Month

After the birth of a child, most women experience a short period of mood swings and anxiety known as the “baby blues” as hormones return to normal levels. But according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in March, one in seven women will experience these feelings longer and more intensely than others will. This disorder, known as postpartum depression (PPD), is something Santa Cruz resident Jodi Koumouitzes-Douvia experienced firsthand.

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News - Local News

Changes and Challenges in County Jail

Changes and Challenges in County Jail

As Gov. Brown faces down the courts over prison populations, GT looks at how realignment is unfolding locally 

Santa Cruz County Jail’s (SCCJ) “recreation areas” are dark rectangles the size of a small living room with ceilings of mesh and spirals of barbed wire. The sky is visible, but the rooms are concrete walls and flooring, and depending on the section of the jail and time of day, many recreation areas remain shaded. Basketball hoops are available, but the space is barely large enough to accommodate a half-court game. There are no plants in sight, not even patches of grass.

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News - Local News

Artistic Expression or Safety Hazard?

Artistic Expression or Safety Hazard?

Faith group leader relocates to Santa Cruz County for artistic freedom, gets art red tagged

Rev. Robert Seals, an artist, musician, and leader of Mother Nature’s Temple—an earth-based faith group that originated in Butte County, but is now headquartered in Soquel—has utilized artistic expression as a means of protest since the Vietnam War era. So, naturally, when he ran into legal problems with a neighbor upon moving onto a 50-acre property just off Old San Jose Road last year, he expressed his frustration by creating a sculpture.

That artistic expression came in the form of a 14-foot tall “Mr. Potato Head,” with a wide, grinning mouth full of sharp fangs and glaring eyes. He crafted the face from the churning tank of a cement mixer, which he purchased for about $600, cutting and welding features, painting it, and setting it vertically. From Seals’ mountain property, the face peered directly at the neighbor’s home.

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News - Local News

Power Plants

Power Plants

The psychoactive jungle brew ayahuasca plays a starring role in the Psychedelic Science 2013 conference

During a 1966 congressional hearing on the banning of LSD, Sen. Robert Kennedy famously commented, “Perhaps to some extent we have lost sight of the fact that [LSD] can be very, very helpful in our society if used properly.”

At that time, the controversial chemical in question was the most researched psychiatric drug on the planet, considered by many practitioners to hold huge promise as an aid in the treatment of such disorders as psychopathology, drug and alcohol addiction and end-of-life depression and anxiety.

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News - Local News

Filling the Gaps with First Alarm

Filling the Gaps with First Alarm

The City of Santa Cruz experiments with employing private security to help prevent crime

They stand on street corners, roam Pacific Avenue, cruise the San Lorenzo River levee in trucks, and sit idly by in parks, doing what they do best: deterring crime.

In the past few years, First Alarm, a private security company based in Aptos, has become a growing component in the City of Santa Cruz’s public safety strategy.

“We launched it with some pilot programs downtown,” says Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) Deputy Chief Steve Clark, “and then we expanded into the Harvey West neighborhood to deal with the issues around the Homeless Services Center and the negative impacts we were seeing, and then we expanded to our levees, our beach area, and now to the parks.”

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News - Local News

By Homeless For Homeless

By Homeless For Homeless

Nascent ‘Citizens Council on Homelessness’ holds its first meeting

At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, inside Room 207 of the Louden Nelson Community Center, a new local movement began—or, at the very least, an email list was compiled.

About six people showed up to the meeting, after seeing fliers around town announcing the formation of a new Citizens’ Council on Homelessness. The fliers invited people to “discuss a comprehensive plan to address homelessness that is practical, affordable, and humane”—a poignant charge given the current tensions surrounding the issue of homelessness locally.

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News - Local News

Diagnosis Undetermined

Diagnosis Undetermined

Local patients and providers navigate the changing healthcare landscape

California's Healthy Families program was eliminated in Santa Cruz County on March 1, pushing thousands of children into Medi-Cal. Gov. Jerry Brown did away with the state's child healthcare plan—which served as the primary option for families who did not qualify for Medi-Cal, but could not afford private insurance—as part of a budget maneuver in 2012.

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News - Local News

The New Face of Education

The New Face of Education

New standards favor teacher freedom in the classroom, focus on global standards

After 18 years as a teacher, Karen Richmond says she finally feels that educators are being treated as professionals.

“We have a lot of training and a lot of us have a lot of experience,” says Richmond, a kindergarten teacher at Valencia Elementary in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD). “I really feel like, for the first time in my teaching career, that's being validated.”

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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival