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By Sharan Street
Published May 02, 2022

Image credit: Andi111

5-2-22: Home Is Where We Want to Be

Given that it’s a central issue in Santa Cruz and across the state, California Local reporters often cover issues related to homelessness. We also curate stories on the topic from our local media allies, and offer information on local groups dedicated to helping solve this pernicious social ill. You can always find these resources on our homelessness topic page.

But this week’s newsletter is aimed toward those who do have homes—some with yards, some without, but most of them with patches of green that can be shared with other denizens of Santa Cruz. In a piece published on Earth Day, science writer Kimberly Hickok shares some tips on how to make one’s outdoor space more welcoming to native flora and fauna.

Another article that’s helpful on the home front is Jonathan Vankin’s roundup of a few of the most significant ways in which citizens can reduce their residential water consumption, from hunting for hidden water leaks to avoiding water-intensive consumer goods.

But home ownership can have its headaches, as explained in an exploration into the dark side of code enforcement. Code violations, even after they're fixed, can cost struggling homeowners their homes. We share some of the horror stories and look for possible solutions.

Finally, we end with a bit of local serendipity: a celebration of home births and midwifery, courtesy of a video presented by the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.

Featured Stories

Saving the planet, one house at a time. Plus, cautionary tales about code enforcement.

How to Save Water: Simple Steps You Can Take

Saving water has become more crucial in California’s drought crisis.
Saving water is more important than ever in California, due to the region’s worst drought conditions in 1,200 years. Here are some steps you can take to help.

Code Violations and ‘Excessive Fines’: Californians Battle Cities

Seemingly minor code violations can cost struggling homeowners thousands.
Code violations, even after they're fixed, can cost struggling homeowners their homes. Some have seen fees and fines into the six figures even after repairs. Here are some of the horror stories. But what can be done about it?

Birth Happens

The Santa Cruz Mountains were the cradle of a radical home birthing movement.
In the 1970s, a group of women started a movement to bring birthing back home.

Backyard Ecology

From the coast to the mountains, Santa Cruz County’s landscape has given way to human development. But residents can make all parts of the region more hospitable to native species.
Tips for creating wildlife-friendly habitat in Santa Clara County, no matter where you live.

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From Our Media Allies

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San Lorenzo Valley Post logo Mountain Community Theater Presents ‘Calendar Girls’

The heart-warming comedy “Calendar Girls,” by Tim Firth, will be the next production in Mountain Community Theater’s reopening season at historic Park Hall, opening May 20.

Santa Cruz Local logo Challenges Outlined for New Mental-Health Crisis Response

Dial ‘988’ to start in July in Santa Cruz County, but non-police response remains limited.

Press Banner logo County’s Top Librarian Thrilled About Possibilities for Local Libraries

When the Boulder Creek library reopens May 7, it will feature a completely revamped children’s area, community room updates and a new teen section.

Press Banner logo Scotts Valley’s New City Clerk Excited for Civic Duties

Following months of struggling to find a new city clerk, Scotts Valley appointed a veteran school board official. Cathie Simonovich talks with the Press Banner during her second day on the job.

Santa Cruz Local logo Rail Trail Options Outlined in Live Oak, Capitola, Seacliff

Planners ask for feedback through early June.

The Pajaronian logo Group to Fight Against Watsonville Housing Project

A group is planning to file a complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office over a housing project they say will create an environmental hazard and future liability.

San Lorenzo Valley Post logo Greenway’s Measure D Represents More Delays and Deception for Santa Cruz County Voters

“I’m supporting No on Measure D. If you frequent this space, you’re probably already clear that this column has a point of view,” San Lorenzo Valley Post columnist Jayme Ackemann writes.

The Pajaronian logo Watsonville Likely to Put Sales Tax Hike on November Ballot

The city of Watsonville will likely ask residents to approve a half-cent sales tax increase in the November election. The Watsonville City Council did not place the item on the ballot—yet.

Santa Cruz Local logo Santa Cruz Council Adopts New Public Gathering Rules

Plus: Affordable housing project and military equipment list approved.

Good Times logo Nerdville Goes Bigger its Sophomore Year

Watsonville comic-con to feature cult classic ‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space.’

Santa Cruz Local logo Podcast: District 3 Santa Cruz County Supervisor Candidates Address Voters’ Priorities

Justin Cummings, Ami Chen Mills and Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson discuss housing, rent assistance and more.

The Pajaronian logo Grey Bears Director Announces Retirement

After 12 years at the helm of Grey Bears, executive director Tim Brattan will be retiring from his position by the end of 2022.

Good Times logo Santa Cruz Mothers Find Support and Waves in Surfing Moms

Group offers recent mothers a path back to the beach.

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Recent News

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Skunk Train Owners, Fort Bragg City Officials Battle Over Expansion

Santa Cruz isn’t the only town the future of a rail line is freighted with controversy. There’s a battle brewing between the owners of the historic Skunk Train and city officials in coastal Fort Bragg, and the outcome could shape the character of Mendocino County.

(May 1, 2022) → Read the full The Sacramento Bee report

Officials Mark Highway 17 Wildlife Undercrossing Construction

A dangerous bend on Highway 17 in Los Gatos, dubbed Laurel Curve, is notoriously deadly for wildlife attempting to cross the busy throughway. But after a decade of prep, work has begun on a wildlife underpass for at-risk species, such as mountain lions.

(April 29, 2022) → Read the full Santa Cruz County Sentinel report

California Accuses Exxon Mobil of Deceiving Public About Plastics Recycling

California’s attorney general has announced a first-of-its kind investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries for their alleged role in causing and exacerbating a global crisis in plastic waste pollution.

(April 28, 2022) → Read the full report

Project Homekey Names First Recipient in Santa Cruz County

A San Lorenzo Valley homeless veterans housing project received a more than $6 million boost with the announcement of a state Project Homekey grant award. The new Veterans Village project will add 20 units of permanent supportive housing serving veterans.

(April 28, 2022) → Read the full Santa Cruz County Sentinel report

Empty Homes Tax Garners Needed Signatures

Campaigners for the Empty Homes Tax submitted their petition to the city clerk with more than 6,000 signatures, according to campaign manager Cyndi Dawson. Petitioners only needed to gather 3,848 signatures.

(April 28, 2022) → Read the full Santa Cruz County Sentinel report

UC System to Cover Tuition for California Residents Who Are Native Americans

The University of California system this fall will begin to pay the tuition for California residents who are Native American. The decision could affect more than 600 students. UC President Michael Drake said the move would “advance critical efforts to expand student diversity and make the University of California more affordable.”

(April 26, 2022) → Read the full KCRA NBC 3 report

Santa Cruz City Council Unanimously Votes ‘No’ on Measure D

The Santa Cruz City Council voted unanimously for a resolution opposing Measure D. That was not a shock to the YES Greenway collective, which says it is pleased the topic will ultimately be decided by voters.

(April 26, 2022) → Read the full Lookout Local report

MAH’s ‘Strange Weather’ Explores Humanity’s Predicaments Through Art

“Strange Weather,” an exhibition running through Aug. 14, marks a collaboration between the Museum of Art & History and UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of the Arts & Sciences.

(April 26, 2022) → Read the full Lookout Local report
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Recent Milestones

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Congratulations Milestone icon Congratulations

The Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission honored the accomplishments of seven local women in its Trailblazers Awards ceremony.

→ For more information     Posted April 27, 2022

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Upcoming Government Meetings

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Event sponsor logo County of Santa Cruz / County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Tuesday May 24 2022   9:00 AM
Event sponsor logo City of Santa Cruz / City Council
Tuesday May 24 2022   3:30 PM
Event sponsor logo City of Watsonville / City Council Meeting
Tuesday May 24 2022   4:00 PM
Event sponsor logo City of Santa Cruz / Special Meeting: City Council
Wednesday May 25 2022   3:30 PM
Event sponsor logo City of Capitola / Development and Design Review
Wednesday May 25 2022   3:30 PM
Event sponsor logo City of Capitola / Capitola City Council Regular Meeting
Thursday May 26 2022   7:00 PM