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Dec 17th
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Santa Cruz Area News

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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News - Local News

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags

Proposed ban may take plastic bags out of Santa Cruz stores

Getting in the car to buy dinner at the supermarket has taken us a long way from tracking a herd of animals to survive the winter. Conveniences have become an important part of our day-to-day lives, but while making life easier, these conveniences have also separated us from the environment in which we live. Not to mention they can take a drastic toll on the environment.

The most recent issue on the minds of environmentalists and local politicians in Santa Cruz County is the convenience of getting plastic and paper bags at the grocery store. On Oct. 30, County Supervisor Mark Stone announced his intention of instating a countywide ordinance that bans single-use plastic bags and drastically reduces the number of paper bags that are used. Stone plans to instate the ban, if approved, on April 22, 2010, also known as Earth Day. The proposed ban will not only ban plastic bags from all supermarkets and pharmacies, but incentives will be provided to customers if they forgo store provided paper bags altogether and bring their own reusable bags.

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News - Local News

Occupied Territory

Occupied Territory

Reactions to fee hikes and recent occupations divide UCSC community

On Nov. 17 at UC Los Angeles, the University of California Board of Regents will vote on a proposed measure that would raise student fees by 32 percent next year. If approved, student tuitions will have risen by a total of 109 percent since the start of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure. Speaking to an audience of more than 100 students at a forum on the budget crisis on Oct. 29 at UC Santa Cruz, Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at UC San Francisco and an outspoken critic of the UC system’s administrative and financial practices, accused the governor of trying to create “a radical right-wing free market model” of education, and told students, “Basically, Schwarzenegger is the king of sticking it to you guys.”

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News - Local News

So Long Stress

So Long Stress

How a local nonprofit plans to put an end to stress


Whether it’s taking a test, preparing for work or dealing with relationships, stress is a dominant emotion in today’s busy society. Unfortunately, the tools for managing these ever-present stressors are not taught in school and are not often readily available at home—but one local nonprofit is on a mission to change this.

The Institute of HeartMath (IHM) has been researching the physiological implications of stress since its inception in 1991. With the help of its researchers, IHM has been able to connect stress to the heartbeat and brain activity, creating tools and techniques that assist in minimizing stress.

 

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News - Local News

Wake-up Call

Wake-up Call

Community addresses recent crimes, struggles to cope

On the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 21, Santa Cruz Police Department officers addressed a packed auditorium at Santa Cruz High School. The meeting, filled mainly with Santa Cruz High parents and their children, was intended to educate the public about gangs in the wake of the death of Tyler Tenorio, 16, who was stabbed on Oct. 16 on Laurel Street near Chestnut Street, during an apparent argument between the boy and his friends and a group of gang members. On Oct. 19, Daniel Onesto, 19, was taken into custody and charged with murder, gang enhancement, and assault with a deadly weapon; police have also issued an arrest warrant for Paulo Luna, 23, and are seeking one for a third man, whose name was not publicly available at the time of print. The incident followed the rape and beating of a 69-year-old woman in her home on the Westside the Wednesday before. The last two months have also seen four reports of sexual battery in the downtown area. All of these sexual assault cases remain unsolved.

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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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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