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Dec 22nd
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Santa Cruz Learns Self-Defense

Santa Cruz Learns Self-Defense

One local instructor talks about the psychology of an attacker, and what to do (and what not to do) if you're assaulted

It's easy to see why Leonie Sherman is a good self-defense instructor. She carries herself with a confidence and a sort of bottled intensity that's apparent even as she sits calmly at a table outside Lulu Carpenter’s on a crystalline winter morning. The strength she radiates isn't automatic, however, nor is it accidental, and for years she's worked in Santa Cruz to show would-be victims how they too can find their inner strength.

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News - Local News

Keeping Up With Change

Keeping Up With Change

Local surfer’s activism video continues to make a splash

By Nick Veronin At the beginning of last summer, Kyle Thiermann was already enjoying above average notoriety. The 19-year-old Santa Cruz native is a professional surfer, sponsored by local and national brands. These days, however, he finds himself being stopped on the street for another reason altogether—getting people to switch banks.

“I’ve been recognized before,” Thiermann says. “[But] I’m constantly getting people who now recognize me.”

Back in early July, Thiermann put together a simple Wordpress website and posted a video to YouTube as part of a school project aimed at bringing awareness to a relatively obscure controversy brewing in Constitución, Chile. The focus of Thiermann’s video was a proposed coal-fired power plant, funded in part by Bank of America, which threatened to upset the livelihood of the local community and contaminate the waves just offshore. In the short film, the young wave-rider urged viewers to bank locally. By doing so, individuals would ensure that their money wouldn’t be leveraged to fund projects such as the Constitución plant and would instead likely find its way back into the local community.

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News - Local News

Drug Me, Please

Drug Me, Please

Some local medical practitioners want to cure Santa Cruz of its prescription drug habit

Is Santa Cruz County one of the most drugged counties in the United States? Some might quickly reply with a yes. But it’s not for the reason you might think.

According to the Santa Cruz County Community Assessment Project Comprehensive Report for 2009, in the past 12 months, 9.2 percent of adults in Santa Cruz County have taken prescription medication for mental health or emotional problems almost daily for two weeks or more. This fact has some local medical practitioners asking: What are the consequences of having a significant portion of the population reliant on psychiatric drugs?

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News - Local News

She Walks the Walk

She Walks the Walk

A 91-year-old Capitola woman has walked more than 12,000 miles in the Senior Mall Walk program

In the early 1970s, an Australian schoolteacher named Dave Kunst became the first verified man to walk across the world. He wore out 21 pairs of shoes, walked across four continents and 13 countries, and covered a total of 14,450 miles.

In the early 1990s, a retired Capitola woman named Jean Moorhead began walking at the Capitola Mall every weekday morning. She has walked around the inside of the mall nearly 4,900 times and covered more than 12,000 miles since. She is now 91-years-old and entering her 20th year as a mall walker.

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News - Local News

Insuring the Future

Insuring the Future

Local health program strives to insure county children

Katy Boriack was on maternity leave when she learned that she could not afford to add her newborn son, Ayden, to her health insurance plan. Doing so would increase her monthly payments by more than 400 percent—an impossible cost to absorb—yet her income level exceeded the cut-off for the state’s need-based health plans.

“It is so stressful when you’re working full-time, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, and you still can’t provide for the health and well-being of your child,” says Boriack.

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News - Local News

Get Back to Work

Get Back to Work

A federally funded program aims to help employers make new hires

By Kimberly Wein The State of California currently has an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent. According to the United States Department of Labor, this is, by far, the highest unemployment rate California has seen since 1976. With similarly sorry states across the country, the federal government has decided to step in and create more jobs that will get people back to work.

Shoreline Workforce Development Services (Shoreline) in conjunction with Goodwill Industries of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties is pairing employers with those in need of work through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) federally funded stimulus program and Subsidized Employment Training (SET). The federal government is offering approximately $2.3 million to employers that are interested in creating new jobs and hiring new employees that are subject to specific requirements or keeping employees that would otherwise be laid off.

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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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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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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

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