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Sergio, the Goat Whisperer

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Travel - Destinations

By David Hoban, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
CINQUE TERRE, ITALY (August 2010) - First the tinkling of bells. Then the clatter of hooves. Around the bend comes a herd of goats, fifty strong. Behind and in front two dogs. Behind the mass, Sergio in his jeep.
I stand aside as they come to the bivio, the junction of three roads at the passo, overlooking the sea on one side and on the other, a blue-green vista of mountain chains blending with clouds in the distance. Sergio tells me from the jeep that he’s going to milk the goats. Where’s the barn I think, the stalls?

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Pest-Proof Planting Pots for Strawberries

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Farm & Garden

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (August 2010) – Strawberries are easy to grow in our cool coastal gardens. The hard part is getting to the tender fruit before the bugs do, especially in an organic garden.
Commercial growers, even the organic ones, rely on sheets of plastic to keep their berries dirt- and bug-free. But I can’t bear to uglify my garden with non-biodegradable petrochemical mulch. Instead, this summer I recycled a stack of terra-cotta flowerpots into pest-proof podiums for my strawberry plants.

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Squabbling Siblings Seek World Domination in "39 Clues"

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Arts and Review

By Mason Kelly, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (August 2010) - Action, adventure, suspense and a little humor now and then. If you like those things, then I would recommend The "39 Clues" books to you. In this series, you will read about exciting adventure as the two main characters (siblings Dan and Amy) travel to Venice, the Bahamas, Tokyo, Boston, Moscow, Paris and many other interesting places to find the 39 clues.
Dan and Amy have always been fighting - the 14-year-old bookwormish , shy sister, and the 12-year- old action-loving, athletic brother. Amy just can’t believe that (in her eyes) this dorky, annoying, impulsive little boy is her brother. On the other hand, Dan can’t believe that (in his eyes) this fun-hating, book fanatic, depressing girl is his sister. They argue about everything. But they learn to cooperate when they embark on an amazing journey to find the 39 clues and become the most powerful people on earth.

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Closed State Parks Cost Local Jobs

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La Vida Local

By John Laird, Candidate for the 15th State Senate District
SANTA CRUZ (August 2010) - We must take a stand to fix our state parks, so that we do not continue to lose jobs on the Central Coast - right at the moment when our visitor-serving economy needs them the most. A recent study found that state park visitors on average spend $57.63 in neighboring communities each time they visit a state park or beach.
Politicians talk a lot about “jobs, jobs, jobs,” but seldom offer proposals to do anything to actually save, let alone create, them. Fixing how we fund state parks will protect and add jobs along our coastline.

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Introducing University Life - A New Feature on SantaCruzWire.com

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University Life

SANTA CRUZ  (August 2010) - Love it or hate it, Santa Cruz is a university town, and our university campus influences everything from who sits on our City Council to who lives on your street. In recognition of our University neighbors, SantaCruzWire.com is introducing our new University Life section, featuring essays, opinions and reporting from and about our City on the Hill.
While most tourists come and go in a matter of hours, UC Santa Cruz brings in a new crop of wide-eyed newcomers every fall, many of whom will stay for four years and pursue unique paths toward becoming Santa Cruz locals. Our first two University Life contributors are Cameron Lee and Zack Feigenbaum - students with markedly different takes on the Santa Cruz lifestyle.

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Independence Day Santa Cruz - Freedom's Free-For-All

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University Life

By Zach Feigenbaum, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (August 2010) - I come from the Mecca of all that is not Santa Cruz—Orange County, in particular Irvine, or “the bubble” as we affectionately call it. Irvine was designed from the ground up as a model planned city. It was sectioned off into villages, each with its own aesthetic. Mine, for example, known as the jewel of Irvine, was designed after a New England coastal town, complete with its own fake lakes. So what has the switch to quirky Santa Cruz been like for me?

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It's Time To Stand Up For Public Education

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La Vida Local

By John Laird, Candidate for the 15th State Senate District
Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (August 2010) - In May of this year, the Board of Trustees of San Luis Coast Unified School District, the largest district in San Luis Obispo County, voted unanimously to inform the California School Boards Association that no local legislator was worthy of the annual distinction of “Legislator of the Year.”
The trustees passed a resolution stating that “our local legislators have failed the children of the state of California,” and that “no local legislator has adequately represented the interests of public education.”

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Bi-Coastal Elder Takes To The Skies

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La Vida Local

By Gabriel Constans, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) - “Flying is one of the most exciting and wonderful experiences I have encountered ‘yet’,” Ann grins. Bi-coastal elder Ann Goldsmith has one hell of a resume and she didn’t really start kicking up her heels until she pushed past 50.  Now in her seventies, Ann, a teacher, minister and counselor, divides her time between her Aptos home and a rural cabin in Maine.
After decades of being a passenger, Ann is once again spreading her wings and flying into the wild blue yonder as an airplane pilot.  The first planes she recalls were a far cry from the small aircraft and controls with which she is now becoming acquainted. “Fighters and bombers going off to war,” were Ann’s first glimpses of air travel.  
Goldsmith grew up on the east coast during the 2nd World War.  “Friends lost their brothers,” Ann recalls.  “Everything was rationed.  Newsreels showed deadly scenes, while films made it all romantic.  From the age of 7 through 13, my childhood was overshadowed by war.” 

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Cafe Iveta a Sweet Addition to the Westside

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Food

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) -- I’ve been using Iveta gourmet scone mixes for years with consistently delicious results. Fast and easy to make, the scones are light and flakey (not dry and crumbly) with the perfect balance of tender dough and generous fillings. Who can resist flavors such as Cranberry Orange, Pumpkin Spice or Cinnamon Chip? In fact, the only thing better than making Iveta scones at home is having someone make them for you! Now lucky Santa Cruzans can enjoy that luxury every day at the new Café Iveta on the Westside.

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The Lightning Thief Movie - Disappointing If You've Read The Book

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Arts and Review

By Mason Kelly, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) - When I first heard that a movie version of Rick Riordan's bestselling book "The Lightning Thief" was coming out, I was jumping for joy. I had read the book close to 50 times (no exaggeration!) and knew the story like the back of my hand. But when I saw the movie, I realized the director had distorted and erased many of the best characters and events in the book.     
For instance, the movie has no tree of Thalia, no Mr. D, no Cerberus (a three-headed dog-beast), and no fight with the war god Ares. In addition, the actors looked much older than their 12-year-old characters and didn’t seem enthused about what they were doing. (They wore vacant, bored expressions most of the time.) “The Lightning Thief” is a decent movie if you haven’t read the book. But if you have, the movie is a pretty big letdown.
The movie is funny, I have to give it that. Grover, Percy's satyr sidekick, is definitely the funniest character, always making jokes about the underworld, his goat butt, and just about anything else.  “Is it just me, or is it raining cows?” Grover says as the Minotaur (a giant half-bull, half-man beast) throws a cow at them.

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Non-Violent Critter Control for Buddhists, and Other Gentle Gardeners

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Farm & Garden

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) – When animal pests invade the garden, many homeowners are quick to trap, shoot or poison the creatures undermining their lawns, or pilfering their tomatoes.
But an increasing number of nonviolent gardeners, including vegans, Buddhists and the simply compassionate, are turning to humane traps that confine, but don't kill, the annoying animal. Yet humane trapping, while bloodless, can pose tricky problems of its own.
Once you’ve trapped a live raccoon, for instance, what do you do with it?  As it turns out, there are few legal options for relocating your furry captive.

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Saving Mr. Stinky

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Farm & Garden

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (June 2010) – When I was growing up in the suburbs of Northern California, home gardening was a lethal discipline. Lawns were doused with toxic solutions to keep them green and weed-free, trees were sprayed on a strict schedule, and insects were indiscriminately poisoned –along with whatever birds, frogs and butterflies happened into the line of fire.
Sometimes the firepower was more than metaphorical. I recall the day that my dad loaded his shotgun and stuck the barrel through a bathroom window, waiting with finger on the trigger for a gopher to poke its head out of the soil. This was in a household with six young children, in a yard separated from our neighbors by a couple feet of thin air and a flimsy redwood fence.
Terrifying as it was, all of us survived the shotgun incident – even the gopher. But that episode came to mind recently as I began looking into humane traps for garden pests, and came across a non-lethal box trap for gophers. Gophers. Seriously, I thought, what kind of a gardener is so wishy-washy, so lacking in righteous vengeance that she can’t bear to kill a lousy, rose-killing, fruit-tree toppling gopher?
Then I remembered the Mr. Stinky incident.

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Riordan's "Red Pyramid" Rivals "Percy Jackson"

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Arts and Review

By Mason Kelly, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) - After the blockbuster hit movie and extremely popular book series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” author Rick Riordan was hard pressed to write another book anywhere near as good as his previous series. A lot of people thought it couldn’t be done. Well, if you were one of those people, think again, because Rick Riordan’s newest release, “The Red Pyramid” is already starting to look like an enormous hit.
Riordan's newest heroes, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, make humorous, enjoyable main characters in the first book of the series, “The Kane Chronicles.”  Carter and Sadie argue and fight and argue some more. They are a perfect brother and sister.
One of the unique things about the book is that it is written in first person, with the main characters alternately telling the story. They act like they are talking into a tape recorder, the microphone seems to switch between the two of them.

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Salty Meals for Vegans, Orphans and Prisoners

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University Life

By Cameron Lee, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) - Keep in mind that there are two different kinds of people at UC Santa Cruz: Vegans, and Everyone Else. The dining halls are under the impression that Everyone Else can eat Vegan food, which usually isn't the case. There's nothing like groggily wandering into the dining hall at eight in the morning and accidentally piling your plate with powdered eggs and seitan sausage, instead of the real deal. Apparently Vegans like eating chemicals more than animals. The dining halls do have non-Vegan food as well, but then the dining halls are also under the impression that Salt is an excellent substitute for Nutrition.

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Cool Spring Weather Chills Coastal Gardens

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Farm & Garden

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ  (May 2010) - Dear fellow vegetable gardeners- it’s not your imagination. May, our traditional planting season here on the coast, really has been unusually chilly, damp and yucky.
Our pain has been confirmed by the National Weather Service in Monterey, where, if it makes you feel better, the weather has been even worse than it is here in Santa Cruz  “It’s true, it has been colder than usual,” said NWS Forecaster and Monterey resident Steve Anderson. “Some of our records date back to the late 1800s, and this is probably one of the top ten coolest Mays on record.”
After years of drought conditions, it would be surly to complain about the lingering showers filling our reservoirs and keeping our lawns lush and green. But those tomatoes you optimistically planted in April are probably sulking, if they haven’t keeled over entirely, and that basil … where did it go? Nothing but a few nibbled stems and a slime trail at the crime scene.
Late May is pushing the envelope for getting a summer garden in the ground, but there are a few things you can do to help salvage what is shaping up to be a late, cool growing season.

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