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.
Thirteenth annual youth symposium addresses teen bullying and gang involvement
Six months after graduating with honors from UC Davis in 1995, Santa Cruz-raised Jon Ervin Nadherny took his own life. Some time into coping with the tragedy, his mother, Linda Calciano, realized she wanted to turn her grief into a way to help prevent other youths from meeting a similar fate. In tandem with Dominican Hospital, she founded the Jon E. Nadherny/Calciano Memorial Youth Symposium in 1997.
“I knew that I wanted to do something in the memory of my son and felt we could reach as many people as possible in the community with something educational—a symposium where we would bring experts in and professionals in,” says Calciano.
The event works to educate attendees via the insight of featured experts on strategies and interventions regarding issues that confront young people.
Planned Parenthood, the Pence Amendment, and pro-life prayers
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (PPMM) services 29 counties in California and 13 in Nevada, and sees more than 250,000 patients each year. Annually, there are around 24,000 visits to the Santa Cruz location and 16,600 to the Watsonville clinic.
But, according to Fran Linkin, associate director of Public Affairs for PPMM, these figures are “on the low end,” and the clinics have an increasing patient load because of the downturned economy. “We’ve been seeing more and more people as people lose their insurance, or lose their jobs,” she says. “People are really turning to us when they don’t know where to go.”
Linkin says that the most common services sought at Planned Parenthood clinics are “basic reproductive healthcare services, such as contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD screenings and treatments, pregnancy testing, HIV testing and UTI testing and treatments.” These services, known as preventive healthcare, along with primary child and adult healthcare, prenatal care, and LGBT services, make up 97 percent of what Planned Parenthoods do. But it is the remaining three percent that gets the most attention and criticism: abortions.
UCSC public records show that the school spent $6,000 to document student protests
UC Santa Cruz undergraduate Tom Pazo recently received a public records document he requested from the university nearly seven months ago. The returned record consists of two pages: an invoice from private investigator Scott H. Newby for $6,000, and UCSC’s receipt of purchase of Newby’s services to document a student demonstration on May 18 and 19, 2010.
According to the invoice, UCSC contracted Newby for 24 hours at $100 per hour, including post-production and transportation fees from San Jose to Santa Cruz. The May 18 and 19 demonstration to which the invoice refers was a UCSC Strike Committee-led event entitled “Walk Out to Your Education.” The Strike Committee, a self-defined open collective and coalition of students, graduate students, workers and professors organizing in defense of public education, intended the event as an alternative way to draw general attention toward, and educate students about, the unstable budget situation at UCSC.
A look at the tricky Santa Cruz job hunt, and where job seekers might have the best luck
With mid-length brown hair, impeccable teeth and a warm smile, Amy Sheppard is an upbeat Santa Cruz resident who originally came to town for college and now calls it home. But, like approximately 14 million other Americans, Sheppard is unemployed and struggling to figure out what to do about it.
She looks for work every day.
Sheppard wants to use her psychology degree to work in the nonprofit sector with at-risk youth, but has not secured a paid position since graduating from UC Santa Cruz in March of 2007—almost four years ago.
In today’s brutal job market, it’s not enough to ask yourself, “What do I want to do?” One also has to be savvy about job-hunting by evaluating growing industries and job availability.
What’s driving some local women to choose home births?
Halfway through her first pregnancy, Doña Bumgarner made a bold move: she decided to give labor and deliver in her own home. Not only was she rising above common cultural fears about the safety of homebirth (what if the baby is breech, or not breathing? What if the mother hemorrhages?), she was choosing to undertake the toughest, messiest, most primal work a woman’s body can do—without monitors and painkillers at the ready.
Her choice was unorthodox even in rootsy Santa Cruz, where a landslide majority of births happen in hospitals. In the 11-year period charted by the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency’s 2010 report, a mere 2 percent of babies were born outside of a hospital—and that’s double the national average. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nationwide, the percentage of out-of-hospital births has remained about 1 percent for several decades.
Santa Cruz County puts federal grant toward reducing recidivism
Every month, 1,100 adult offenders are released from local jails and back into the Santa Cruz County community. These individuals will return to jail an average of six times throughout their adult lives.
With this in mind, a collective of Santa Cruz County agencies, nonprofits and community groups jumped at the chance to fight for the highly competitive Federal Second Chance Act Mentoring Grant when it became available through the U.S. Department of Justice last year. Their enthusiastic effort paid off—in November, Santa Cruz County was awarded the $750,000 grant for its proposal for a project called Reduction Through Research-Based Rehabilitation and Reentry, or R5. On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors officially approved the use of the grant funds for the R5 program.
Funding uncertainties force mental health services to change approach
For Mental Health Client Action Network’s Matt Davis, overcoming the way the world viewed his schizophrenia diagnosis was just the first step of recovery. Now, helping others face similar challenges is his cure and life’s work.
“The world tells you if you have a mental illness, you’re weird, damaged, or flawed,” says Davis during a brief break from assisting clients at MHCAN’s front desk. “I don’t feel like that [since] I started coming here.”
At MHCAN, the stigma of mental illness is nonexistent. The organization was founded in 1992 by a group of Santa Cruz residents who were involved in the mental health consumer rights movement, some as ex-patients and others as survivors of mental health abuse. MHCAN became a nonprofit in 1995.
Second annual fundraiser celebrates love and benefits local LGBT youth support program
One night last spring around 8 p.m., Harbor High School teacher Ron Indra picked up his ringing home phone. The high school student on the other end of the line told Indra he had 15 minutes to convince him not to take the bottle of his mother’s Ambien and drink the bottle of Jack Daniels sitting in front of him.
“He told me he was gay [and that] he could not come out to his parents—they had just left for the movies,” says Indra, who has taught for 28 years, oversees the Harbor High School Gay Straight Alliance, and is coordinator for the Safe Schools Project of Santa Cruz County. The Safe Schools Project is a program initiated by the Queer Youth Task Force (QYTF) that teaches tolerance and handling of harassment to students and staff in Santa Cruz County middle and high schools.