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Jan 30th
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Town Hall with Supervisor Neal Coonerty

Town Hall with Supervisor Neal Coonerty

Will there be cuts to the METRO bus system this year?
The bus service provided by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) is a lifeline for many in our community. METRO buses take middle and highschoolers from the communities of Davenport and Bonny Doon to school in Santa Cruz. Many people rely on METRO buses to take them to work, to medical appointments and to the grocery store. Utilizing public transportation rather than traveling in a single-passenger vehicle is one of the keys to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We must support a robust system in our community.

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News - Local News

Drops from the Bucket

Drops from the Bucket

Habitat Conservation Plan will protect fish, but mean less water for Santa Cruz—ramping up the city’s call for desalination
The topic on hand at the April 5 special Santa Cruz City Council meeting drew an impassioned crowd. They gathered to watch (and speak up) as the council heard the Water Department's presentation for a proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The federally mandated plan would limit the amount of water the city can take from streams that are home to endangered and threatened species, including Coho and steelhead salmon, and set a plan for water operations in Santa Cruz for the next 30 years.

Following public comment, the council voted unanimously to allow the department to enter into HCP negotiations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). An approved plan is required to bring Santa Cruz into compliance with the Endangered Species Act before the city can continue taking water from the San Lorenzo River, Newell Creek and the North Coast streams.

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News - Local News

Distressed Market Deals

Distressed Market Deals

Short sale and foreclosure buyers talk about their recent Santa Cruz purchases
When Gary and Sara Strands took possession of their home, everything from the kitchen stove to the air conditioner was missing. Kitchen cabinets, doors, and lighting and plumbing fixtures were all gone. There were holes in the walls and the toilets were backed up because the previous owners had also taken the water pump.

The Strands purchased their Santa Cruz home from the bank a year and a half ago, after the previous owners lost it in a foreclosure. They recently had the home appraised (so that they could refinance and drop their interest rate down from a 5.25 to a 4.25 percent fixed rate), and found that the house appraised for $300,000 more than their purchase price of $525,000. The owners who lost the property in foreclosure owed the bank $879,000, and Wells Fargo Bank took a $354,000 loss on the transaction.

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News - Local News

Connect More

Connect More

Project Homeless Connect provides a cornucopia of services for homeless and low-income people
Tuesday, March 22 dawned cold but cloudless in Santa Cruz. The reprieve from five days of rain was a gift for three homeless men waiting outside the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

One of the men huddled under a blue sleeping bag, beneath a sign announcing the Second Annual Project Homeless Connect. “There’s going to be a long line,” he replied when asked why he was there three hours before the doors opened.

Inside the auditorium, dozens of volunteers were busy hanging posters above 40 booths that offered free services for homeless people, including help with employment, housing, driver’s licenses, and medical/dental care. The volunteers—representing local government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and churches—totaled more than 440 by the day’s end.  The volunteer pool included 150 professional service providers; others served as escorts.

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News - Local News

Talking About Sex

Talking About Sex

Local therapist wins award for sexual health work in Uganda
The people of Uganda don’t believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In their version of the myth, if you touch the rainbow, you die. Local family and sex therapist Melissa Fritchle was working in Uganda when her students told her this story, and it had a deep poignancy for her. “We talked about how interesting it is that even something beautiful is a fear story,” she says. “Those kinds of cultural stories carry through and it means something. What we tell ourselves a rainbow means, says a lot.”

As she describes her experience in Uganda, it’s hard not to see the rainbow as a metaphor for some Ugandan attitudes toward sex and sexuality—attitudes Fritchle worked to shape and inform during her month there. In February 2010, she helped to create Uganda’s first human sexuality curriculum for professionals, and she trained counselors to lead discussions about sexuality.

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News - Local News

Bikers Fight Child Abuse

Bikers Fight Child Abuse

Unique group’s fundraiser aims to help protect young victims of abuse
Mark Kastner owns a black Harley Davidson Dyna Glide and rides his bike under the road name “Joker.” With his tall frame, piercing blue eyes, and gray goatee, he looks like he would fit right in with any group of bikers cruising up and around Highway 17.

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News - Local News

Surf City

Surf City

A proposed surf school ordinance aims to lighten the crowds at Cowell’s
With its ideal surfing conditions, Cowell's Beach is the perfect place for beginners to learn the sport. It’s also the only beach in the City of Santa Cruz surf schools can take their students.

Instructors and students keep mostly to the inside, taking on the gentle waist-to-shoulder high waves that form against a small triangular sandbar near the rocks, while more experienced surfers stay to the outside. Current regulations in surf school permits limit the total number of students in the water from all schools to 36 at a time; however, with large groups of local surfers vying against tourists and students for waves, some say long summer days turn Cowell's into an overcrowded nightmare.

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News - Local News

One-Stop Shop

One-Stop Shop

Second annual Project Homeless Connect builds community connections and provides services for local homeless
Lin Colavin lights up when she talks about volunteering with Project Homeless Connect. An energetic grandmother of three and soup kitchen volunteer who’s lived in Santa Cruz for 37 years, Colavin doesn’t lack human connection. Yet the interactions she had at last year’s event inspired her to get more involved this year. “My experience was one of meeting people that I would’ve never had the opportunity to meet,” she recalls. “I came away feeling so enriched.”

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News - Local News

Tsunami Hits the Santa Cruz Harbor

Tsunami Hits the Santa Cruz HarborThe 9.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Japan on Thursday, March 10 birthed a tsunami that raced across the Pacific Ocean at 500 miles an hour, heading straight for the California coast. Good Times photographer Kelly Valliancourt captured these images of the Santa Cruz Harbor, where the tsunami caused a reported $22.5 million in damages.





News - Local News

The Fate of Food

The Fate of Food

Where does food go when sell-by or expiration dates take it off of the shelves?

There I was on a Saturday afternoon in one of Santa Cruz’s many natural foods markets, awaiting the arrival of my vegetarian sandwich. My pangs of hunger quickly turned to confusion as I watched an employee behind the counter dutifully unwrap plastic-wrapped sandwiches and deposit the wrappers in the recycling and the seemingly edible sandwiches in the compost bin.

‘How could this be?’ I thought, wondering if I could ask for one of the discarded sandwiches instead of the fresh one I had just ordered. Nearly one in four Santa Cruz County children are struggling with hunger according to Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB), which has seen annual rises in need for food assistance each year since 2005. Was this routine of tossing unsold food really a part of the store’s sustainability mission?

The fact that this incident took place in an establishment that touts its environmental ethic was even more perplexing to me. While recycling the packaging and composting leftovers is a responsible method of handling waste, I had to wonder why good food was being wasted in the first place. So often, particularly in the sustainable food mecca that is Santa Cruz, the emphasis lies in where our food comes from. Less often considered, though, is the fate of that food when it doesn’t end up going through the checkout line.

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Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
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