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Apr 16th
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

The Pump Track Solution

The Pump Track Solution

Santa Cruz mountain bikers fulfill their needs

Despite estimated thousands of mountain bikers living in Santa Cruz County, there are only around a dozen legal multi-use trails (MUT) for the sport.

One such legal MUT is the recently built Emma McCrary Trail, which was funded and carried out by the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), a local nonprofit that advocates for MUTs. But with demand for bicycling outlets high, and the unraveling of bureaucratic red tape known to take years, the community has gotten together to fill that need in the form of new pump tracks.

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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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Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).

 

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.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.

 

Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
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Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

 

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

 

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.