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Refinish, Recover and Recycle Thrift Store Chairs

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Maria Gaura

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (July 2009) - Everyone loves a thrift store bargain. But that interesting coffee table or retro chair usually carries baggage from a former life, such as ratty upholstery or lime-green paint. Sure, it can be fixed, but it's hard to know how much time and money it will take to transform your bargain into a beauty.
Recycling vintage furniture can be creative and rewarding if you choose your project carefully. Here are some tips for tackling one of the easier projects - recovering and refinishing dining-room chairs.

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A Scavenger's Guide to (Mostly) Free Compost

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Maria Gaura

By Maria Gaura
SANTA CRUZ (December 2008) - Wintry weather has finally arrived in Santa Cruz, and most backyard gardeners have abandoned their vegetable beds to the cold-hardy weeds and the neighborhood cats.
But before you curl up on the sofa with a mug of tea and a stack of seed catalogs, there is one last chore to do. Build a low-maintenance compost heap out of free or low-cost organic materials, and let nature turn it into a worm-filled soil amendment that will be ready in time for spring planting.

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Is Horse Manure Safe For Organic Gardens?

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Maria Gaura

By Maria Gaura
SANTA CRUZ  - It may be stinky and attract flies, but nothing makes a garden grow like a steaming pile of horse manure. Horse droppings make an excellent garden fertilizer and, better yet, can be collected for free at many stables. But is horse manure as natural as it smells?
Horses are prone to a host of parasites, and most horse owners regularly dose their animals with vermicides – medications toxic to intestinal worms and other insect pests. These medications pass through the digestive system, prompting some gardeners to ask whether tainted manure may be harming their crops, their families, or the environment.

 

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Winter Workout

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Maria Gaura

December swim practice at Simpkins Swim Center is packed, despite the cold snap, and weather in the low 50s. ©santacruzwire.com

   

Sorry, Parents - "Twilight" Is No "Harry Potter"

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Maria Gaura

By Maria Gaura
SANTA CRUZ, Ca. (Dec. 4, 2008) - Harry Potter appeared on the literary scene a decade ago, and transformed the bookselling world with a flick of his wand. Ever since, the muggle publishing industry has been frantic to produce another fantasy franchise that appeals to kids, adults and movie executives alike.
Enter the Twilight books, a four-volume series about teenage vampires and werewolves, set in the gloomy woods of the Pacific Northwest.

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More Pain In Store for Battered Santa Cruz Sentinel

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Maria Gaura

By Maria Gaura
SANTA CRUZ, CA (Dec. 4, 2008) - The past two years have been cruel to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, but cutbacks at the battered daily newspaper are not over yet.
The Sentinel has changed hands twice since 2006, and is now owned by MediaNews, a newspaper chain notorious for its extreme cost-cutting strategies. The Sentinel’s presses have since been sold for scrap,its landmark building sold, half its workforce laid off and the survivors banished to an office park in Scotts Valley, a 15-minute drive from downtown Santa Cruz.

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sandgirls

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Maria Gaura


Planting a garden of girls at Santa Cruz Main Beach copyright santacruzwire.com
   

Maggots Binge in Compost Bins

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Maria Gaura

 

By Maria Gaura
This story originally ran in the San Francisco Chronicle
SANTA CRUZ, Ca.  - I’ve been composting my kitchen waste for 20 years, and there’s not much in the way of rotting food that can gross me out anymore. But then, last summer, the maggots appeared.

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Mmm, Maggots: Are They For You?

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Maria Gaura

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle
SANTA CRUZ, Ca. - (July 2008) - There are pros and cons to any composting method, whether it employs soil bacteria, worms or black soldier fly maggots to do the job.

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Cities Crack Down on Wal-Mart Campers

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Maria Gaura

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle
NAPA, Ca. - (July, 2004) - The parking lot surrounding the Napa Wal-Mart store is hot and windy, but after a long trek from Kansas City, it looks like home to the Jandle family.
Full-time RVers who live on the road with their two young children, traveling salespeople Kim and Robert Jandle frequently park their well- appointed, 34-foot trailer overnight next to a Wal-Mart store.

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