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Local High School Bands Take the Stage at 25th Annual Santa Cruz Jazz Festival

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La Vida Local

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (March 2011) - At 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, Steve Wilson’s classroom sounds like a San Francisco nightclub, and looks like a set from “Glee.”  A shaggy-haired lad pounds out the melody of Dexter Gordon’s “Cheesecake” on piano, accompanied by a broad-shouldered sax player, jeans-clad guitarist, and a girl with long blond hair deftly driving the drum kit.
A half-dozen lanky teens are draped over molded plastic chairs, cradling electric guitars, violins, cello or clarinet, seemingly preoccupied by other thoughts. Then, with no noticeable cue, a guitarist shifts position and joins in, and a violinist props one foot on the opposite knee, and smoothly slips into the musical current.
They play like pros, but these musicians are juniors and seniors in Harbor High School’s Jazz Band, and the piece they’re practicing is one of two jazz standards they hope will earn them honors - and a command performance - at the 25th annual Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, taking place this weekend at Cabrillo College.

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The Hidden Henry Cowell: A Hike in Felton's Fall Creek

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Travel - Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

FELTON (February 2011) -- Although it’s just a 15-minute drive from downtown Santa Cruz, Fall Creek feels like a great escape. While the main section of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has something for everyone – the Roaring Camp steam trains, the famous Redwood Loop trail, campsites, a nature center, picnic areas, and a gift shop – the Fall Creek Unit offers a quieter, wilder experience, with lime kiln ruins thrown in for good measure.
With no services, and therefore very few guests, this is the locals’ Henry Cowell, where I frequently go for long, hilly runs or rigorous family hikes. This is also where Felton resident Debra Collins spent a few cold December nights after a twisted ankle left her unable to walk out of the rugged terrain. So take a lesson from Collins and don’t hike here alone, dress in layers, bring plenty of food and water, and tell someone where you’re going! That way you'll be around to share stories of your exploits at The White Raven Coffee and Tea House, another Felton favorite.

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Hiking Through History

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Santa Cruz

 
Kids can't resist the lime kilns at Fall Creek. Tara Leonard ©santacruzwire.com

 

The Toxic Tale of the Tiger Mother

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Arts and Review

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (February 2011) - Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is the strangest of parenting manuals.
In one slim volume, Chua details the methods she used to transform her elder daughter into a piano prodigy, and humorously recounts the misery she heaps on her girls, on her extended family, and on herself, in her quest to create the perfect child.
In the Tiger Mother’s world, maternity is not for the faint of heart, and childhood resembles an 18-year stint in a Marine Corps boot camp. Chua believes in pushing her children to their limits and beyond, and even infancy offers no respite.

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Radio Station KSCO Celebrates 20 Years of Local Voices

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La Vida Local - La Vida Local

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (February 2011) – Even though it’s perched on the banks of Corcoran Lagoon, the expansive front window of radio station KSCO faces inland, taking in a view of Portola Drive and the comings and goings in the station’s parking lot.
The staff at this independent station likes to keep an eye on the community, a focus increasingly rare in the world of radio, where the majority of small stations have eliminated staff and live programming in favor of pre-programmed fare.
“So many radio stations now are just a computer in a hallway – with somebody in Dallas programming it,” said Program Director Rosemary Chalmers. “KSCO has lots of voices, local voices. Because we are locally owned, we are free to do as we like.”

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A Helping HAND: Support Group Comforts Parents After Neonatal Death

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Healthy Living

Written by Tara Leonard

SOQUEL (January, 2011) - Imagine that for three, six or nine months you’ve prepared for your baby’s arrival. You’ve counted the days, painted the nursery, and giggled at prospective names. You’ve relished the smiles of expectant grandparents and welcomed the good wishes of friends and family members. Then the unimaginable happens – a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. Instead of a bundle of joy, you leave the hospital with bottomless grief, unanswered questions and empty arms.
HAND of Santa Cruz is a support group for parents who have experienced this devastating loss. HAND stands for Helping After Neonatal Death and for many parents it becomes a critical source of solace, a place where they find both acceptance of their enduring pain and the strength to move forward.  

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“Hoarders” Fans Race to Adopt Hundreds of Rescued Rats

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La Vida Local

SAN JOSE (January 2011) – Hundreds of pet rats found swarming through a bereaved man’s Los Angeles-area home are being snapped up by animal lovers across the U.S., after their story was broadcast Jan. 10 on the television reality show “Hoarders.”
“We’ve had a flood of calls and emails,” said Cynthia Cross, co-director of North Star Rescue, who helped arrange a rat-lift that brought 1,085 of the neglected creatures from the infested house in Llano to Andy’s Pet Shop in San Jose. “We were really hoping for a good response.”

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Lice Advice? Don't Panic!

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Healthy Living

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (January 2011) – New shoes, a blank notebook, and first-day jitters are classic signs of a new semester. But nothing says “back to school” like a note from the school nurse telling you that your child's class has been exposed to head lice.
Humans have shared their body warmth and blood supply with head lice for millennia, and our species have co-evolved to the point where our head lice are unable to survive on any other creature, or more than a few hours apart from our tender, tasty scalps.
Yet despite our intimate historical acquaintance with Pediculosis capitis, most parents come unhinged at the sight of these seed-sized villains milling about in their child’s hair.

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Clean Wisely (Not Widely) To Banish Lice

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Healthy Living - Healthy Living

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (January 2011) – Discovering lice on your child’s head is more than a medical issue – it can throw your household into a tailspin. At a moment’s notice you may have to keep your children home from school, spend hours combing through their hair, and rid your home of an unknown number of teeny-tiny bugs.
It’s a particularly grim scenario for working parents. And unfortunately, bad advice about defeating lice is almost at prolific as are the little beasts themselves.

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Grab Life by the Pen

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Arts and Review

Editors Note: To start the new year, we're offering something new -- a poem by Santa Cruz Wire reader William Marzolla. We hope it inspires you to pick up a pen, a paintbrush, or guitar, and try something new in 2011.
 By William Marzolla -  Special to SantaCruzWire.com
Scratch at white with my pen,
      push pigment onto paper,
         push meaning into ink.
Rusty fingers, formerly deft,
smear creations across the page.

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Frau Knolle

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Arts and Review - Arts and Review

By David Hoban - Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (January 2011) - It is thirty years after the War. I am living in Munich , a student, a Jew, here over my parents’ objections. But here I am. I am afraid. I believe that somewhere in a Greek-columned building in Kaiserplatz there is a technical manual directing the intricacies of all German relationships. They study it religiously. They follow it imperfectly. Obedience to its rules is not enforced by jack-booted police, rather by little old ladies wearing Persian lamb coats, uttering disapproving sounds.

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Children and Concussion: Return-to-Play Guidelines Welcomed by Parents, Coaches

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Healthy Living - Healthy Living

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (December, 2010) – When Johanna Epps' daughter got a concussion while playing soccer at a San Jose tournament, the Santa Cruz mother was understandably worried. Adding to her stress was a lack of clarity about when it was safe for 16-year-old Helena to return to play. Because Helena had lost consciousness, she was diagnosed at a nearby emergency room. Nonetheless, "she wanted to play later that day," Epps recalled. "And the hospital staff wasn't specific about how long she should wait. They told her she should 'give it some time,' but I think it was less than a week before she was back at practice."
There have been many recent studies, surveys, and news articles on head injuries. Yet like many parents, Epps was not aware of return-to-play guidelines for young concussed athletes. The September edition of the journal Pediatrics spells them out, giving parents, coaches and healthcare providers an important tool in determining when it's safe for concussed players to get back in the game.

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Super-Size Spiders Invade Local Gardens

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Farm & Garden

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (November 2010) – For many Central Coast gardeners, fall is a season to avoid the back yard. We might blame our seasonal sloth on the waning daylight hours, or the lengthy to-do list of landscaping chores.
But I chalk it up the autumn invasion of garden spiders - those gangly, dangling web-hanging garden freaks that start out the size of your pinky fingernail and quickly balloon to Halloween-fright proportions. They seem to appear overnight, around mid-September, and enjoy flinging their nets across garden paths at face-height – a nasty surprise for the garden-variety arachnophobe.

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A Perfect Day in Pescadero

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Travel - Santa Cruz

Written by Tara Leonard

PESCADERO (October, 2010) - When it comes to State Parks, Santa Cruz County enjoys an embarrassment of riches. We’ve got the towering redwoods at Henry Cowell and the fluttering Monarchs at Natural Bridges. We can catch a wave at Manresa, mountain bike in Nisene Marks or step back in time at Wilder Ranch. So what would compel a nature lover to leave? The irresistible combination of Butano State Park and Duarte's Tavern in neighboring San Mateo County, the yin and yang of a perfect day in Pescadero.

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Council Candidate Disavows Discrimination Lawsuit

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La Vida Local

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (October 2010) - Ron Pomerantz is a retired firefighter whose political niche in the race for Santa Cruz City Council is that of a liberal environmentalist who opposes development, supports social services and backs employee unions.  
But 15 years ago, Pomerantz made headlines of a different kind as one of 22 white firefighters, and one latino, who filed a sensational reverse-discrimination lawsuit against the city of San Jose. In the lawsuit, the 23 plaintiffs alleged that then-San Jose Fire Chief Raymond Brooks had leaked the contents of a promotions exam to five black firefighters, thus discriminating against white firefighters who made up a sizeable majority of the test-takers, and of the department as a whole.

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