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Graphic which spells out The Newsletter.

By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 08, 2024

The Douglas iris is a wildflower native to central and northern California and parts of southern Oregon. The Douglas iris is a wildflower native to central and northern California and parts of southern Oregon. Image credit: Traci Hukill

Greetings & Spring Things from Santa Cruz

(Blogpost extra: In a last-minute addition to this edition of The Newsletter, I share some thoughts on today's eclipse. See below.)

The first time I recall encountering a field of Douglas irises, which may have been at Wilder Ranch State Park just north of Santa Cruz, I looked around for the ruins of a homestead. It didn't occur to me that these could be wildflowers—I figured they had to be remnants of some long-ago-planted garden.

I grew up ten miles from Manhattan in New Jersey, which is known as the Garden State, and deserves that nickname outside the brutalized swath that is the Turnpike. But the woods that flanked the Hackensack River and surrounded the Oradell Reservoir, my childhood nature refuges, had nothing to compare with the Douglas iris. Or the California poppy. Or, to my knowledge, the Calochortus lily (see below). All of California is special in my eyes, and Santa Cruz maybe especially so.

I write as always from my beloved home in the urban forest that is Midtown Sacramento, and take you today to another of my hometowns. 

A Spring Guide, a Garden, and a Bunch of Pretty Murals

Even if you aren't planning to visit Santa Cruz this spring, you might enjoy this virtual visit. 

Natural Wonders of Santa Cruz ... Spring Renewal

When walking around this spring, keep an eye out for the stunning Calochortus lily.
The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History has some tips on what to see in the blossoming new season, from wildflowers to migrating shorebirds to humpback whales.

A Native-Plant Garden Helps Transform a Neighborhood

Felicia Van Stolk in her museum's front-yard garden.
On Hilltromper, a conversation with Felicia Van Stolk of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History about her Garden Learning Center.

Santa Cruz Murals

An online gallery of the murals of Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz County is home to amazing murals. One amazing person is working to document them in one place.

Eclipse 2024: Coincidence or Miracle?

Three pieces in the nation's two biggest newspapers on Sunday investigated the eclipse, the emotion we call "awe," and the meaning of the universe.

The Universe Winks

A  total solar eclipse can offer a rare opportunity to see stars and planets during the day.
There is no scientific explanation for the conditions that make an eclipse inevitable. It’s a coincidence. Or a miracle.

Impact Report Image for decorative use

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Placer County's Homepage

Our overview page for Placer County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and Placer County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

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Blue Line Arts logo Blue Line Arts

Blue Line Arts is a nonprofit art gallery promoting creative expression through art showcases and building bridges between artists, businesses and local residents.

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From Our Media Allies

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Loomis News logo UC Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden Opens at Loomis Library

Very green Loomis got even a little greener last week, as officials opened the new Demonstration Garden at the Town Library.

Auburn Journal logo Art Nook Studio Creating Next Generation of Artists

In an effort to offer art education to all children in Auburn, Megan Phillips opened The Art Nook Children’s Art Studio in Auburn last month.

Loomis News logo Loomis General Plan to Go Before Town Council

After five years of community input, the 2040 Loomis General Plan finally goes before the Town Council during their April 9 meeting.

Auburn Journal logo Placer County Certifies Primary Election Results

Two seats on the Board of Supervisor are headed to the November ballot and one supervisor has secured their seat as Placer County officially announced it certified the March 5 Primary Election results Tuesday.

Lincoln News Messenger logo 11th Annual Lincoln Wine Fest Set for April 27

The highly anticipated event will showcase 20-plus Placer wineries and local breweries on Saturday, April 27, from 1-5PM.

Placer Herald logo 9 Train Cars Derail in Roseville

Nine train cars derailed at about 6:30PM on Monday April 1 at the Union Pacific Railroad Roseville yard, according to Union Pacific. No injuries were reported.

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Recent Statewide News

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• California Fails to Adequately Help Blind and Deaf Prisoners, US Judge Rules

Thirty years after prisoners with disabilities sued the state of California and 25 years after a federal court first ordered accommodations, a judge found that state prison and parole officials still are not doing enough to help deaf and blind prisoners.

(04/08/2024) → California Healthline

• Business Groups and Lawmakers Battle Over Ballot Measure to Limit California Tax Increases

Anti-tax groups in California have qualified a measure for the November ballot that would make raising state and local taxes much more difficult. It’s a showdown that’s been building for nearly five decades.

(04/08/2024) → CalMatters

• Opinion: I've Covered California's Homeless Since Before the Word Was Used. This Is What I Learned

I thought my journalism and others’ could change policy, perhaps even inspire a New Deal-style response equal to the challenge. Such was my naiveté.

(04/06/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• These Californians Just Got Protection From Big Rent Hikes

Tenants in many new privately owned, low-income units will be protected from double-digit increases. So will some in existing units, after a state committee on affordable housing imposed a rent cap.

(04/05/2024) → CalMatters

• CA Budget Deal Gets Early Start on Deficit

Not filling open positions in state government, cutting a school facilities program and several climate initiatives, delaying funding for public transit — these are some of the first steps that California officials plan to take to deal with a looming multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

(04/05/2024) → CalMatters

• Bill to Mandate ‘Science of Reading’ in California Schools Faces Teachers Union Opposition

The move puts the fate of AB 2222 in question, but supporters insist that there is room to negotiate changes that can help tackle the state's literacy crisis.

(04/04/2024) → EdSource

• Photographers Capture Spectacular Streaking Lights of Southern California

It quickly became clear that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was responsible for the show. The lights were a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 new Starlink satellites into orbit. The rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 7:30 p.m., and it’s trail was visible from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park.

(04/02/2024) → SF Gate
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (04/05/2024)

Global Mix, Inc Recalls Tejocote Products Because of Possible Health Risk

Global Mix, Inc. of New York, is recalling tejocote products to include the following brands: Eva Nutrition, Science of Alpha, Niwali, NWL Nutra. The recalled products are labeled as tejocote root but are toxic yellow oleander. Ingestion of yellow oleander can cause neurologic, gastrointestinal, an
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (04/05/2024)

Megan Dahle CA Assembly 01:
Honoring Lieutenant Commander Lou Conter

Greetings Today I write with a heavy heart as we collectively mourn the passing of a true American hero Lieutenant Commander Lou Conter the last living survivor of the USS Arizona and resident of Californias 1st Assembly District. Many of you may remember our privilege of honoring Lieutenant Commander Conter during our celebration of Armed [...] The post Honoring Lieutenant …
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/02/2024)

World Green Nutrition, Inc. Announces Expansion of Recall of Tejocote Products Due to the Presence of Yellow Oleander

World Green Nutrition, Inc is announcing the expansion of their January 12, 2024 recall to include GREEN ELV NUTRITION brand Elv Control Herbal Supplement 90 capsules, due to the presence of yellow oleander. These additional products have been found via random FDA testing to contain yellow oleander,
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/02/2024)

Abdallah Candies Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almond in Abdallahs 8 oz. Sea Salt Almond Alligators

Abdallah Candies of Apple Valley, MN is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of Abdallah Candies 8 oz. sea salt almond alligators. The products have a chocolate covered cherries label with code 0315 on the bottom of the box. The boxes do contain sea salt almond alligators but have an incorrect i
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (04/01/2024)

Megan Dahle CA Assembly 01:
Update from the Capitol

Greetings Last week was spring recess signifying a break in legislative session. Nonetheless March was filled with engagements with lobbyists constituents and various organizations all sharing their perspectives on different policies. Some recent meetings from the Capitol include: California Tahoe Alliance: Team Dahle convened with this group to delve into legislative priorities. They presented a comprehensive [...] The post Update …
Image of County of Placer seal. County of Placer   (04/01/2024)

Bear box grant program now available for Tahoe Basin property owners, receive up to $2,200

Placer County property owners in the Tahoe Basin can receive up to $2,200 to install a bear-resistant garbage can, also known as a bear box.
Image of County of Placer seal. County of Placer   (04/01/2024)

Save the date: Child and Family Resource Fair & Placer4MentalHealth Wellness Fair

Two events coming up will help Placer County families connect with resources for their children, and with mental health services. Medi-Cal enrollment help will be available at both events.
Image of County of Placer seal. County of Placer   (04/01/2024)

Skip the line, renew your Medi-Cal online

We're currently encountering an increase in wait times at our office and call center. To streamline your Medi-Cal renewal process, we recommend utilizing BenefitsCal, our user-friendly online platform.
Image of City of Colfax seal. City of Colfax   (03/30/2024)

Request for Qualifications for Construction Management and Inspection Services

The City of Colfax is seeking a written statement of qualifications for Construction Management and Inspection services related to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Road Rehabilitation Project in the City of Colfax, California. Interested firm / individuals (Proposer(s)) may pick-up a copy of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the City of Colfax Purchasing Department, at 33 Main Street, …
Image of City of Colfax seal. City of Colfax   (03/30/2024)

Request for Qualifications for Materials and Compaction Testing Services

The City of Colfax is seeking written statement of qualifications for Materials and Compaction Testing (MCT) services related to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Road Rehabilitation Project in the City of Colfax, California. Interested firm / individuals (Proposer(s)) may pick-up a copy of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the City of Colfax Purchasing Department.... The post Request for …