Plus Letters to the editor
What inspires you? What helps you become more empowered? We tap into those ideas, in part, in this week’s cover story. And we have 18-year-old Jackie Partida to thank. Partida is at the helm of the all-girl indie pop group Dressed In Roses. The local has been singing and performing since she was a toddler but what readers might walk away from the article appreciating—and learning more about—is how songwriting can actually empower teen girls. It wasn’t the main intention when we first began exploring Partida, but we soon stumbled upon a fascinating tool for personal growth.
Elsewhere, for those of you in the romantic mood this weekend (Valentine’s Day celebrations will certainly linger beyond just Feb. 14), take note of one of this week’s News stories where we ponder why, when it comes to marriage proposals, men typically are the ones doing it. (Page 6.) Also in News, take note of Alexandra Worden, a local scientist who recently nabbed a a coveted ocean research award.
Moving onto A&E, we learn about a compelling new art show that features the work of Watsonville native Scott Serrano. Dubbed “Picturesque Flora Wallaceana: Botanical Ambulations In Greater Wallaceana, 1854 to 1857,” it runs Feb. 15-March 15, at the Cabrillo Gallery.
In the meantime, with the big President’s Day weekend ahead of us, locals may be inspired by MAH’s Third Friday endeavor, “Fashion & Digital Art Night.” Expect a curious mix of the latest local fashions with new emerging digital art. It promises to be a creative soiree. See you there, Friday, Feb. 15. Learn more at santacruzmah.org.
What’s left? Plenty. I recently picked up the book “The Best Year of Your Life,” written by Debbie Ford. Consider adding it to your reading list. The bestselling author asks: If you were living the best year of your life, what would you be doing … this day … this hour … this minute?
A good question indeed. Onward …
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Blood, And Saving A Life
Regarding “What’s Blood Have To Do With It? (GT 2/7), if you want to save a life, there are many ways to do it. I chose two. I pulled people out of burning structures and vehicles as a firefighter (years ago) and I donate my blood. The latter is by far the easier.
I first decided to donate blood when I was a teen and my father came home from work with a 10-gallon blood donor pin and I realized I could make a difference, too. Since then I’ve donated 103 pints and I continue to donate every two months. Hopefully, I’ll still be able to do so until I’m a ripe, old age. Why do I donate blood? In addition to saving lives (up to three lives per pint), I like the fringe benefits—an hour or so of casual reading time, friendly treatment from caring, competent Red Cross blood bank staff, and munching on cookies, crackers and trail mix afterwards. Not to mention that my employer encourages blood donors by offering paid time off for donations.
Lots of people think they don’t qualify to give blood, but many of them actually do. At first glance, I don’t seem like a good candidate—I barely meet the minimum weight limit, I’ve travelled overseas extensively, I take daily meds, and my vegan diet is typically low in iron. However, they love my blood. (As long as I remember, to boost my iron level I eat lots of leafy greens and legumes beforehand.)
Now if you have hepatitis or feel faint at the thought of a needle, then perhaps you will want to volunteer elsewhere. Otherwise, come join me. I’ll hold your hand, make you laugh, or just let you chill and read your novel. The Red Cross makes it easy and convenient. Call them at
462-2881 or go online at redcross.org/ca/santa-cruz to find out when and where the next blood bank is. As they say at the Red Cross, “the need is constant and the gratification is instant!”
In response to last week’s “Good Idea,” Franklin William’s idea of “Eco Rehab” is an excellent suggestion for addressing part of the homelessness problem. All taxpayer subsidized aid should be “earned” by the receiver. Every person is capable of performing some sort of service, starting as simply as just being a watchful presence where one is needed. Many homeless people would welcome the opportunity to be of service, if there was an interface that would handle what, where when and how for them.
This facilitation is where the problems lay. Where would an affordable, reliable management and outreach come from? I can envision a self-managed system existing eventually, but establishing the training, operation and oversight will take time and not an inconsiderable amount of money. Things like this, that take sustained high energy and commitment by the founders, plus significant up-front funding, are very hard to achieve.
Peace Out, UCSC
Good news from UC Santa Cruz. The university was recently listed among the top 20 schools for attracting Peace Corps volunteers. It ranked 17th among U.S. universities boasting more than 15,000 students. Currently, there are 60 undergraduate alumni serving the Corps. It’s a nice step up from last year’s figures— UCSC placed 24th. But it also marks the 11th consecutive year the school has hit top 25. Way to go Banana Slugs.
AMGEN 2013 & YOU
The good news: For the very first time, AMGEN, the revered cycling extravaganza will run south to north. The race begins in Escondido on May 12. The twist? It does not run through Santa Cruz. It does, however, arrive in San Jose (on May 17). How Santa Cruz may be able to cash in on some of the visitors heading into the area for the event remains to be seen. The event is a few months off. Time to put on the thinking caps now. Have a “Good Idea?” Send them our way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On ‘A Sharp Problem’ …
Don’t harass me while I’m hiking. I was hiking in Pogonip on Saturday morning, which I do five or six days a week. I was sitting on a bench enjoying the view when the field was suddenly overrun with many people. Children were running about and asking me if I had seen any garbage. One woman walked over to me and told me I couldn’t hike in Pogonip anymore. She insinuated that I was homeless and that I might want to re-think walking in Pogonip. I laughed in her face and told her I have a job and my own apartment. If the clean-up team wants to clean Pogonip, fine, but do not harass people. You do not own the park.
“The worst thing that can happen in a democracy—as well as in an individual’s life—is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.”