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Oct 31st
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Santa Cruz Area News

News - Local News

Three Strikes, He’s Out

Three Strikes, He’s Out

Santa Cruz County’s only Proposition 36-eligible inmate is released

When Kevin O’Connell was sentenced to life in prison back in 1995, he had been convicted of possession of a stolen necklace. His previous felony convictions had occurred more than 15 years prior.

However, under the state’s three strikes sentencing law, a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge saw fit to sentence O’Connell to life in prison. O’Connell is the only so-called three-striker from Santa Cruz County to become eligible for re-sentencing under Proposition 36, a ballot initiative passed by voters last year to reform the state’s three-strikes laws.

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News - Local News

Frankenstein to Facebook

Frankenstein to Facebook

An emeritus professor of literature explores the implications of our relationship with technology

Helene Moglen has noticed a considerable shift among her students in recent years. The UC Santa Cruz emeritus dean of humanities and professor of literature came to the school in 1978, retired in 2008, and continued to teach one class—The Gothic Imagination in Fiction and Film—until this year. Although she had taught this particular course to thousands of pupils over the years, the last few batches seemed different. 

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News - Local News

A Second Chance for Pets

A Second Chance for Pets

The BirchBark Foundation provides a lifeline for pets whose owners are unable to pay vet bills

Yrelda Rodriguez’s 2-year-old Shih Tzu, Lacie, has come to feel more like a family member than a pet, especially after a doctor told Rodriguez she was incapable of having children.

But when Lacie was run over by a reckless driver, Rodgriguez—an agricultural worker who lives near Soledad—was faced with a terrible choice: come up with money she didn’t have for surgery, or put Lacie to sleep. “I was horrified,” Rodriguez says.

Her situation is not unique.

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News - Local News

Closing the Political Gender Gap

Closing the Political Gender Gap

The growing effort to encourage local women to ‘break the glass ballot’

The United States ranks just 87th in the world for representation of elected women at the national level, and statistics show the number of women in national elected positions is declining. Statewide, an additional 28 women would need to be elected to the California legislature to reach gender parity, and locally, there are a number of women serving on city councils, but no women on the county Board of Supervisors.

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News - Local News

Then and Now

Then and Now

Participants in the MAH’s third annual Race Through Time explore local history

Two women and three children stood in the middle of El Palomar’s crowded dining room, taking a headcount of the Aztecs who barter leisurely inside a large painting on the restaurant’s wall.

Normally, such behavior might seem strange—especially considering all five were made up to look like butterflies. Last Friday, Sept. 20, however, one diner had seen enough other groups doing the same to guess exactly what was going on. She turned to the group and asked, “Are you on a scavenger hunt?”

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News - Local News

Decades of Help

Decades of Help

The Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center marks its 40th anniversary

Joseph Luna, 58, credits Si Se Puede, a program of the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center, with saving his life.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the center, which offers an umbrella of services that range from housing assistance to behavioral health counseling, parental education and nutrition classes, among others. 

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News - Local News

Being SCPD

Being SCPD

What does it takes to be a police officer in Santa Cruz?

With the many complexities, varying political perspectives, and diverse population that characterize Santa Cruz, the local police department says it must look for officers who possess a higher degree of patience, versatility, and personal judgment than in other communities.

Santa Cruz's colorful ecosystem of political and ideological viewpoints propels the city's identity as a place to “keep weird” (which has been challenged in recent years by a community call to “keep Santa Cruz safe”), but that tradition of cultural uniqueness means that the Santa Cruz Police Department must approach its duties and relations in a way that fits the city's mold.

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News - Local News

The Pump Track Solution

The Pump Track Solution

Santa Cruz mountain bikers fulfill their needs

Despite estimated thousands of mountain bikers living in Santa Cruz County, there are only around a dozen legal multi-use trails (MUT) for the sport.

One such legal MUT is the recently built Emma McCrary Trail, which was funded and carried out by the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), a local nonprofit that advocates for MUTs. But with demand for bicycling outlets high, and the unraveling of bureaucratic red tape known to take years, the community has gotten together to fill that need in the form of new pump tracks.

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News - Local News

The Road to Realignment

The Road to Realignment

County probation officers take on more supervision of parolees

As state officials continue to grapple with overcrowded prisons, much of the burden continues to be pushed onto local governments with varying success.

In October 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 109, also known as realignment, which laid out steps for reducing the state’s severely overcrowded prisons to comply with federal mandates. At the time the law went into effect, there were more than 143,000 inmates in state prisons—nearly twice the facilities’ capacity.

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News - Local News

Run with a View

Run with a View

Upcoming race spotlights the Coastal Rail Trail—kind of

On Aug. 25, about 200 people will run a 12 kilometer race along the ocean from Wilder Ranch State Park up through the State Parks coastal bluff trails.

But it’s where their route does not take them that is the real point.

Westside Santa Cruz resident Ron Goodman is the organizer of Run by the Sea, a community race that aims to raise awareness and money for the Coastal Rail Trail, which is slated for construction by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) in the coming years.

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Jawing

Monterey Bay scientists are working to crack the mysteries of—and dispel the myths about—great whites. But in the highly contentious world of shark experts, there’s a fin line between love and hate

 

Altars of Remembrance, Forgiveness & Rapprochement

We’re in Scorpio now—things mysterious, ageless, hidden, sometimes scary. Friday is Halloween; Saturday, All Saints Day; Sunday, All Soul’s Day. Sunday morning at 2 a.m. (after midnight), Daylight Savings Time ends. Clocks are turned back. Tuesday is the General Election. Our vote is our voice. Each vote matters. Applying freedom of choice—Libra’s teachings. It’s time to build Halloween, All Saints and All Souls altars—with marigolds, pumpkins, sugar skeletons, copal (incense), pomegranates, persimmons, candy corn and cookies, orange and black. It’s so Saturn (now in Scorpio). Saturn is the dweller on the threshold (like St. Peter at the gates of heaven). Saturn can look like a Halloween creature—a gargoyle—a fantastic dragon-like creature protecting sacred sites. The dweller (Saturn) stands at the door or threshold of sacred mysteries, wisdom temples, inner sanctums of churches, offering protection, scaring evil away. The last day of October and first two days of November, when veils between worlds thin and spirits roam about, are times of remembrance, forgiveness, reconciliation and rapprochement. These actions liberate us. At death, when reviewing our lives and the consequences of our actions if we have forgiven, then we are free, less encumbered with grief and sadness. We place forgiveness on our altars. Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s good to dress up as what we’re afraid of. Or whom we would mentor. Then we become one with them. Note to readers: by Thanksgiving I will need a place to live (with purpose). Please contact me if you know of a place where I can rest for awhile. Teach and build community. [email protected] I will be leaving my mother’s home for the last time.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Not Cool

Even Bill Murray’s hipster cred can’t elevate ‘St. Vincent’
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Back Nine Grill & Bar

The secrets of remodeling and juicy steak

 

What is Santa Cruz’s biggest eyesore?

David Finn, Santa Cruz, Graduate Student

 

Alberti Vineyards

Looking for some blood-red wine for your Halloween party? Then I have a recommendation for a new brew.

 

Turning Point

New revolving restaurant on the wharf, plus Cafe Ivéta and the last great Jack cheese