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'Lark and Termite' author writes of secrets, love and memory

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Arts and Review

By Peggy Townsend 

 

SANTA CRUZ (January 2009)  -- Jayne Anne Phillips’ new novel “Lark and Termite” began 25 years ago in an alley in West Virginia.

 

Phillips was visiting a friend when she looked out a second-story window into an alley below and spotted a boy sitting in a 1950s aluminum lawn chair. The boy was holding a strip of blue dry cleaner bag in front of his face and blowing on it so the plastic twirled and moved in front of his eyes. Her friend told Phillips the boy would sit like that for hours.

 

The image burned into Phillips’ memory and became the impetus for one of the central characters in her latest book -- a boy named Termite who can neither speak nor walk but is attuned to the world in ways that go beyond normal consciousness.

 

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Beans and Rice for Jesus Christ

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La Vida Local

By Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (December 2008) - Regular customers at Las Palmas Taco Bar swear by the crispy chicken tacos, the huevos rancheros, and the carne asada. But the homeless people who quietly line up at Las Palmas’ side window come for the rice and beans, which are given free to anyone who knows the code phrase –“beans and rice and Jesus Christ”.
For twenty years, Las Palmas owner Rick Mendez has given a cup of hot rice and beans to anyone hungry enough to ask for it. Mendez and his sons Robbie and Ronnie hand out anywhere from ten to 35 servings of fresh-cooked food every day, along with acceptance and, sometimes, a blessing.

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Acupuncture Goes to the Dogs

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Healthy Living

Written by Tara Leonard

APTOS (December, 2008) -- The acupuncture patient rests quietly as Dr. Patty Wilson takes his pulse, examines his tongue, and begins to insert thin, flexible needles into his legs, back and neck. “How’s that feel?” Wilson gently asks, leaning over the treatment table for a final insertion. The patient licks her face.
The affectionate patient is Rocco, a 12-year-old Jack Russell Terrier with bright eyes, perky ears, and a constantly wagging tail. You’d never guess that just months ago this brown-and-white bundle of energy was listless, incontinent, and shaking uncontrollably as the result of an endocrine disorder called Cushing’s Disease. Traditional veterinary medicine offered two treatments: complicated surgery or drug therapy with potentially toxic side-effects. Owner Robert Mettalia chose a third option, an integrative approach that combines the best of Western veterinary practice with Eastern techniques such as acupuncture and herbology.

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Dancing with the chickens

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La Vida Local

By Peggy Townsend  

 

APTOS (December 2008) - The two children who stood in front of the mechanical dancing chickens at Glaum Egg Ranch on Monday couldn’t have laughed harder if they tried.

They cackled at the chicken angel and the chicken snowman who kicked up their claws as a poultry version of “In the Mood” blasted in the background. They howled at the little chicks in top hats who bobbed up and down in their shells.

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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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More Pain In Store for Battered Santa Cruz Sentinel

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La Vida Local

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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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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