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Jul 23rd
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Sugar Shock

Sugar Shock

Santa Cruz County has high rates of obesity, diabetes among children and adults

Several years ago, a close friend of mine discovered that she had diabetes. In the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, it became increasingly clear that something was very wrong: she was achy, thirsty, and so bone-tired that she slept for most of every day and still felt fatigued. The day she was diagnosed, she came home lugging a huge garbage bag filled with medical supplies and pamphlets the doctor had given her to help figure out her new lifestyle. It was, to put it mildly, a daunting task. It took her years to fully learn the intricacies of managing her insulin levels and her nutritional needs.

This is a scenario that Raquel Ramirez Ruiz knows all too well. Ruiz is the Director of the Diabetes Health Center (DHC), an outpatient program in Watsonville that teaches prevention and self-management for people who are either living with diabetes or are at high risk for the disease. She herself is one of the latter.“Obesity runs in my family,” she explains. “My dad has type-2 diabetes and has struggled to manage it.” She encouraged him to make an appointment with Martha Quintana, one of the registered nurses and certified diabetes educators at the DHC. “He left motivated to manage his diabetes,” she says. “This is the first time since he was diagnosed that I have witnessed him make better food choices.”

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News - Local News

Rising Stats

Rising Stats

Recent college graduates are the largest group of uninsured Americans

“One moment was all it took,” says Rose Sniatowski.

On Oct. 26, Sniatowski and her boyfriend were returning to Santa Cruz after visiting relatives in Humbolt County. In that one, crucial moment another car veered into their lane, hitting them head on at about 55 miles per hour. The car, an Acura RSX, was completely totaled.

Sniatowski graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2007 and has not had a job that offers health insurance since nor has she been able to afford the high monthly premiums of individual insurance policies. “We don’t know if the other driver even has car insurance,” Sniatowski says. “I’m applying for MediCal, but in order to qualify I have to be disabled for a year.” With a fractured vertebrae and a laundry list of other injuries and broken bones, Sniatowski will most likely be healing for over a year. However, the accident could cost her well over a half million dollars if she does not receive financial assistance.

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News - Local News

Santa Cruz Cash?

Santa Cruz Cash?

One group pushes for a local currency plan

Imagine opening your wallet, shuffling past your Washingtons and Lincolns, and pulling out a crisp Santa Cruz dollar. The idea for a local currency is gaining momentum, and, although alternative currencies are increasing in popularity throughout the country, a Santa Cruz version promises to be unique.

An enthusiastic crew of health care providers, wellness educators, and local food activists are drawing up plans for a mutual discount network that is tentatively being called the Santa Cruz Wellness Exchange Cooperative. The group wants to infuse the county economy with an alternative currency (a “Santa Cruz Wellness Buck,” perhaps), designed to bolster business for local health care providers and food producers. The currency network would incorporate the mission of New Earth Exchange, a membership network for local businesses committed to environmental sustainability and mutual-aid, but would have an expanded focus and a greater reach.

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News - Local News

The Pitfalls of Being Treatable

The Pitfalls of Being Treatable

Santa Cruzans gather for a candlelit vigil on World AIDS Day to remember the victims of America's forgotten pandemic

Dozens of candles flickered in the cold wind, held solemnly by those assembled at the end of Pacific Avenue on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to pay their respects to loved ones taken away by or suffering from AIDS. Under the near full moon, words of togetherness and respect were voiced. There was music and singing, praying and laughter, sadness and hope. But this year there was another emotion bandied just as passionately—one of anger at a country’s, and a community's, neglect.

After a rendition of "Lean On Me," Merle Smith, executive director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project (SCAP), stepped forward to address the circle: "My own brother passed from AIDS in 2006, [and] two weeks ago I had a niece who was diagnosed positive. The disease is still active, it is still touching our friends and our families," she said.

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News - Local News

The Giving Keeps Going

The Giving Keeps Going

Second Harvest Food Bank, CAP Report, show that giving is strong, despite down economy

Sarah Owens, marketing director for New Leaf Community Markets, is getting ready to head to Watsonville. She and a handful of other New Leaf staff are taking turkeys to the United Farm Workers, just one of the groups that are receiving such a donation from the local natural food grocer this holiday season.

“I’m excited to go,” she says. “It’s definitely not in my job description, but giving to the United Farm Workers is really great because they are the ones working in our fields. It’s nice to give back to them.”

So far, New Leaf has donated more than 500 pounds of turkey breast to the Homeless Services Center and 150 turkeys to other organizations, including the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center. The store gives back in several other ways, including their Envirotokens program, community days (when 5 percent of the day’s sales go to a local organization), and their school program, which has given $150,000 to local schools. Although New Leaf has, like most businesses, seen some affects from the economic downturn, and has also seen two major competitors open this year, Owens says they “have remained strong and…are still able to give back to the community.”

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News - Local News

Gleaning Stories

Gleaning Stories

A local project collects and shares the tales of Central Coast gleaners

The roots of gleaning run deep in the story of humankind. The tradition of collecting crops leftover after a harvest is mentioned throughout the Bible, early cultures promoted gleaning as a form of welfare (the peasants could visit fields after the harvest to take what would otherwise go to waste or be ploughed over), and it was a legal right for cottagers in England as recently as the 19th century.

Today, gleaning has come to include dumpster diving, collecting food from grocery stores and restaurants, taking fruit from abandoned trees, and even non-food related activities, like gathering discarded materials to make art, or the collecting of stories.

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News - Local News

Still Surviving

Still Surviving

Community programs recoup after budget cuts

Various community programs in Santa Cruz have been on the chopping block since January of this year when the city, in attempt to close a $9 million budget deficit, charged Parks and Recreation, museums and community centers with finding their own funding. Nearly one year later, all of these programs have been able to keep their heads above water through the hard work and efforts of community members.

The Santa Cruz Teen Center is perhaps facing the most unsure future due to budget cuts. The city stopped paying rent for the Teen Center last fall, but property owner George Ow Jr. agreed to temporarily waive the rent until the city could make a decision on the future of the center.

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News - Local News

Fresh Approach to Foster Care

Fresh Approach to Foster Care

How a Santa Cruz County non-profit continues to change lives

There are more than 62,000 children in foster care in California, according to the California Department of Social Services. That number may seem overwhelming, but New Families, a local non-profit private foster care agency, is up for the challenge.

New Families is a Felton-based organization that has been taking a different approach to the foster care system for over 11 years. They micromanage cases for 40 children in 30 homes throughout Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Clara, San Benito and Sacramento counties.

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News - Local News

All Together Now

All Together Now

City council and local residents look for new ways to combat violent crime

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Santa Cruz City Council voted on five new initiatives designed to combat violent crime and solicited public comment on other ways to address the problem. The measures, all of which passed unanimously, will revise the zoning definitions and permit process for alcohol retailers, accelerate plans to install improved lighting downtown, allocate new funds for the Juvenile Diversion and Early Intervention programs, review and revise ordinances aimed at combating nuisance properties, and launch a pilot Neighborhood Empowerment Initiative, which will send bilingual two-officer police teams to do door-to-door outreach in three neighborhoods that have been hard-hit by recent violence.

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News - Local News

A Strong Community, If Not a Town

A Strong Community, If Not a Town

New Five Year Plan for Live Oak and Soquel seems likely to bring the area up to speed—without all the extra baggage

Who needs a mayor when you have the Santa Cruz County Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and Supervisor John Leopold looking out for you? Better yet, who needs elected officials when local residents show up and behave amicably towards one another while discussing controversial issues, such as the dispersal of millions of tax dollars in their community? Admittedly, being unincorporated is not the same as being ungoverned, but it stands that the response of local residents of the Live Oak and Soquel community at the Public Hearing for RDA’s new Five Year Plan showed that they are ready and willing to take matters into their own hands.

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A Year of Creative Self-Expression

Wednesday, after a year in Cancer’s nourishing waters, Jupiter enters fiery Leo. Next Tuesday, the sun joins Jupiter in Leo. Leo is the sign of the three fires of life, of seeking our individuality, our gifts and talents. Life for the next year will be quite dramatic, expressive, creative and generous. Jupiter, the heart of Aquarius, is the planet of expansion and truth, distributing Ray 2 of Love and Wisdom.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

What is the most outrageous thing you did as a kid?

Santa Cruz | Retired

 

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.