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Dec 17th
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Crowded and Strapped

Crowded and Strapped

Schools dig through sloppy budget for solutions

Back To School nights aren’t just a way for parents to learn how their child is performing anymore. At local schools, they have also become a chance for teachers to post wish lists of essential supplies, including paper and printer ink that the school can't afford to buy.

Teachers wish the situation were different. But because state contributions to the k-12 system have plummeted 18 percent in the last three years, and because more bad news is expected in Gov. Jerry Brown's 2012-13 budget, they say they have no choice but to seek out donated supplies.  

Many teachers even resort to paying out of pocket to keep their lesson plans rolling forward.

“I have always liked to supplement textbooks with handouts, but there have been times over the last few years when the administration has said 'We're out of paper,’” says Mark McConnell, a math teacher at Soquel High School.

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News - Local News

Predictive Policing in Practice

Predictive Policing in Practice

GT rides along with the SCPD to test acclaimed new policing program

Is it realistic to predict crime and stop it before it happens, or just a science fiction-esque impersonation of Minority Report? This was one of the questions I pondered on a recent ride-along with Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark. Little did I know I was about to witness a poignant first-hand example of how the “predictive policing” method can be successful.

The department’s adoption of the technology-based predictive policing program has received national and international attention in recent months, with a reporter from Popular Science jetting to Santa Cruz to see it in action and a nod from TIME magazine, which named the fledgling program one of the Top 50 Innovations of 2011. GT set out with these accolades in mind to see for ourselves the result of the department’s six-month evaluation of the predictive policing program, which wrapped up in January.

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News - Local News

Captivated

Captivated

A conversation with queer author, activist and filmmaker Eric Stanley

There is a rather unsettling folder on Eric Stanley’s computer.

For about six years now, he has filed away “hundreds and hundreds” of cases of violence against trans and queer people in that folder. Many are instances of extremely gruesome murders involving what he calls “overkill”—dismemberment, decapitation, elaborate staging and other malicious actions that go beyond simply killing.

For Stanley, who is a 33-year-old post doctorate candidate in UC Santa Cruz’s history of consciousness program, this trend shows that crimes against LGBT people are more than random.

“It’s possibly about killing that person, but it’s also about killing a certain history or possibility or threat,” Stanley explains. “It’s bound up. … If you’re going to kill, and then do many other things to a person—all of the overkill, the pageantry, the setting the stage—it makes us understand these kinds of violence as something different.”

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News - Local News

Hanging in the Balance

Hanging in the Balance

K-12 financial security hinges on governor's tax initiative

The financial future of K-12 education in California is murky, to say the least.  

The best-case scenario hinges on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, which would temporarily raise sales tax by a half-cent and income taxes for those making more than $250,000, passing at the ballot boxes in November. If approved by voters, these temporary increases, which would expire after five years, could generate an estimated $7 billion, and go on to fund local schools, community colleges, and public safety realignment.

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News - Local News

Love is the Better Way

Love is the Better Way

Upcoming nonviolence workshops promote compassionate direct action

What will it take to end poverty, war, racism, self-hatred and other violence? Reverend Deborah L. Johnson, spiritual director at Inner Light Ministries in Soquel, says love is the way.  

“When we use the word ‘love,’” she explains, “we’re not talking about a feeling or an emotion. We’re talking about a kind of love that is a direction of the will. It’s the connectedness that I choose to have with you regardless of whether I like you or not. This is the force that allows us to love our enemies.”

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News - Local News

Restored, Refurbished

Restored, Refurbished

Homeless volunteers help clean up historic Santa Cruz cemetery

Three months ago at the Evergreen Cemetery, thickets of blackberry, periwinkle and ivy obscured eroded pathways and cracked gravestones. The cemetery’s seven acres and unmatched local history were largely inaccessible.

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News - Local News

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

Donations allow UCSC’s unique Sikh and Punjabi studies program to grow

Getting singled out and patted down at American airports is something Nirvikar Singh has come to expect while traveling. Rather than act frustrated, he laughs good-naturedly while discussing it. It’s something many Sikhs have dealt with in the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, he explains.

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News - Local News

Getting to the Roots

Getting to the Roots

Child abuse seminar aims to help local professionals intervene

In 1975, 24-year-old Daniel Sonkin was an intern in a San Francisco Planned Parenthood, where he gave pregnancy test results to patients. Among the many clients he delivered pregnancy news to, one woman in particular caught his attention. The woman, who he remembers as being in her 20s, had terrible bruises covering her arms. He couldn’t help but inquire.

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News - Local News

Prophets of Non-Profit Energy

Prophets of Non-Profit Energy

An exploration of publicly owned utilities

The long drawn-out saga of Pacific Gas & Electric's controversial SmartMeter program has some in Santa Cruz looking for alternatives to the for-profit utility. One idea being floated is starting government-run municipal power companies, although there is little chance this change is on the immediate horizon.

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News - Local News

Heavy Lifting

Heavy Lifting

Local athletic couple want to keep Santa Cruz strong

Santa Cruz Strength is located in an unassuming industrial building off of Harvey West Boulevard. It’s not like a 24 Hour Fitness or a Gold’s Gym; there aren’t miles of exercise machines and there are no televisions lining the wall. It’s a stripped down sort of place where you’re as liable to see someone lifting weights as you are to see them lift concrete spheres or a length of rope that looks like it should be attached to a ship’s anchor.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire