Best of the Rest 2011

bo_restThat dreaded River Street sign still gets on your nerves (Worst Eyesore), and Ryan Coonerty still keeps you interested (Best Mover & Shaker) but which group nabbed Best Activist Group? Take a look.


Activist Group

Take Back Santa Cruz

They say if you want a job done well, do it yourself. With that idea in mind, locals spontaneously came together (and continue to join forces) as Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC). Proving the power of online social networking, and in response to violent crimes, TBSC first began informing and updating concerned citizens about local happenings and orchestrating its own events via Facebook. Having now established other websites and plenty of partnerships with fellow Santa Cruz County organizations, this activist group works to clean up local areas and deter harmful behavior, pollution and crime. Calling on the public to literally make a simple stand at “Positive Loitering” events—during which citizens stand and mingle in an allocated spot where crime tends to converge, in an effort to “take back” the locale—and bringing a presence to courtroom proceedings and city council meetings, TBSC is a unified front of everyday folks striving for a positive community on behalf of everyday folks. Thing To Know:  At time of print, TBSC had 4,609 members on its Facebook Group page.  | Linda Koffman

Runners-up Save Our Shores, WAMM



seabright_beachSmack in the middle of Santa Cruz, in the sunny belt of the Seabright neighborhood, Seabright Beach is (once again) your top pick for sunbathing and sand revelry. Around the bend from both the Santa Cruz Harbor and the Boardwalk, it’s got easy access to all your family’s needs. Fourth of July fireworks mayhem and lights show? Check. A Museum of Natural History for a little education across the street? Check. Ample bars and eateries along the Seabright strip for your post-beach volleyball indulgence? Check. When you want to wet yourself before you wreck yourself, you do it right—you do it at Seabright. Thing To Know:  Because the old Scholl-Mar Castle used to sit at the entrance to the beach from 1928-1967, some local elders know it as “Castle Beach.” | LK

Runners-up Seacliff, Capitola

Computer Training


Cruzio may be the tech-savviest company in Santa Cruz, and you voted them the best choice to help you go from technophobe to computer whiz. Cruzio has had to suspend its classes recently—while they moved to a new location—but fear not, future techies, classes will be starting up again in May in a brand-spanking-new, state-of-the-art classroom. Folks can register at cruzio.com for classes such as “Plan Your Web Presence” or “One Day Website,” in which you’ll learn—in just three hours—how to build a stylish blog. Now you have no excuse not to get your ideas/thoughts/funny pet photos out there on the Internet for the world to see. Thing To Know:  Cruzio will also soon be bringing in guest experts to present classes on special topics, such as managing your digital life, social media for businesses, and more. Check the website for more information. Computer Training/Cruzio, 877 Cedar St., Suite 150, Santa Cruz, 459-6301, cruzio.com. | Jessi Hamel

Runners-up Computer Center Santa Cruz, Office Star Computer Training

(Worst) Eyesore

River Street Sign

You’d think, by now, we could be more original in coming up with the worst eyesore in Santa Cruz County—hasn’t the old River Street Sign garnered enough bad press? It must be those yellow balls resting atop this structure. In any case, this “art piece”—so horribly drenched in bright yellow and blue as if it were part of a three-ring circus—continues to, well, piss you off. Thing To Know: Send us your thoughts on what would be a more appropriate entryway/“welcome sign” onto the “Street” at [email protected] | Charlie Price

Runners-up The Homeless


Capitola Art & Wine

The 2011 festival is held in early September and features 20 different Santa Cruz Mountains wineries. It is by far the best place to pick up a glass of some top-notch pinot noir and find some inspiration as you chat with talented local artists. While enjoying your libations you can also pick up some tasty gourmet eats from local restaurants and caterers. The best part? The Art & Wine Festival is held in the heart of quaint Capitola Village, which means your wine tastings come with an oceanfront view. Thing To Know:  Get your wine vocabulary straight before hitting the festival. “Legs” refers to the drops of wine on the side of the glass when the wine is swirled, “finish” refers to the aftertaste, and “oenophile” means “a lover of wine.” 475-6522, capitolachamber.com/artwine. | JH

bo_rest_greenspaceGreen Service


Greenspace is Santa Cruz’s one-stop eco-shop. We especially love the non-toxic mattresses that are manufactured without synthetic materials or chemical fire-retardants. Also popular are the organic cotton produce bags—way less wasteful than plastic bags—and they even extend the storage life of your veggies. Thing To Know:  Owner Lydia Corser is extremely careful that every product sold in her store is legitimately eco-friendly. She says, “If you buy it here, we can speak intelligently about it. We know why it’s green.” 1122 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7200, greenspacecompany.com. | JH

Runners-up Ecology Action, Allterra Environmental

Hottest Trend

Feathers in Hair

It debuted on runways earlier this year—bohemian style feathers woven into your hair. Sounds odd, perhaps a bit retro, but if you’ve seen it done correctly, the effect is beautiful. The look is very “now,” and trendsetters are gobbling it up. Find a salon that specializes in appropriately applying feathers into your hair and you’ll be astonished at how stunning the look is. Thing To Know: This trend started at the spring runway fashion shows and was seen at New York Fashion Week. | Christa Martin

Runners-up Going Green,Boots

Local Heroes

bo_rest_derbySanta Cruz Derby Girls

Upon hearing that the Santa Cruz Derby Girls were named Best Local Heroes, we did the first thing that any such honor commands – we looked up the definition in the dictionary. Speaking for the league, I want to relay our humble thanks on being considered 1. Beings of godlike prowess, 2. Warrior-chieftains of ability, 3. Role models, and most importantly, 4. Delicious sandwiches. The Hero moniker is meaningful to many of us in the league, as we continually appreciate each other as mentors on and off the track. We hope to encourage growth, confidence and motivation through our skating and our community involvement. Recently, De Laveaga Elementary School fifth graders completed a project titled, “Meet My Hero.” Some students chose family members, political figures or historical icons. Gracie Bell chose our own Lulu Lockjaw, describing her skills at roller derby. In Lulu’s words, “It’s very inspiring to have little girls look up to you, especially for sports, because there aren’t a lot of women’s amateur sports at this level. I played sports as a child—I know that gaining confidence young can carry you through adulthood. It’s amazing knowing I might contribute to that.” Another 140 league members feel likewise. Inspiring our community to become involved with local causes and local businesses is fundamental. Fueling our fans’ passion for supporting, and, in many cases, joining our ranks is also a central goal. Thing To Know: These skaters are your neighbors, accountants, teachers, stylists, moms, attorneys and baristas. We are Santa Cruz. So really, we love to be the ones wearing the capes. But it must be said, we honor the hero in you, Santa Cruz! From the bottom of our booty shorts, thank you. | Roller Derby’s Mildred Fierce

Local Mover and Shaker

Ryan Coonerty

It’s been a busy year for Ryan Coonerty. With tsunami damage to the harbor, the never-ending desalination debate and La Bahia renovation on the table, the Santa Cruz mayor certainly has had his political hands full. From co-founding NextSpace, to authoring a book, and teaching at UC Santa Cruz, Coonerty now makes proclamations like it’s nobody’s business. Thing To Know: Since the start of the year, we’ve seen several days dedicated: “Maya Angelou Day,” “Jackson Browne Day,” “Associate Justice Richard J. McAdams Day,” “Phenomenal Woman Day—and even “Greg Archer Day” (for the book “Shut Up, Skinny Bitches!”)—to name a few. Rumored to be offering the first ever state of the city address in the coming months, there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing a lot more of the young politician’s face in the near future. | Jenna Brogan

Runners-up Jocelyn Dubin, Danny Keith


Planned Parenthood

Despite constant legislative attempts to cut their federal Title X funding, malicious smear campaigns by right wing politicians and pundits, and outright lies being spread about them (like Sen. Jon Kyl’s claim that more than 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions, when in factual reality it is 3 percent), Planned Parenthood is still going strong. In the face of a bad economy, lost jobs and tightened budgets, Planned Parenthood has continued to provide affordable, high-quality reproductive and general health care services to anyone who needs it. Locally, the Downtown Santa Cruz location receives around 24,000 visits a year, and the Watsonville clinic brings in 16,600. But money is tight for the nonprofit, and those interested in donating can visit ppmarmonte.org/donate, email [email protected], or call 460-3111. Thing To Know: After the House Republicans voted to bar PP’s federal funding, more than 700,000 men and women signed the “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” petition in opposition to the vote. 1119 Pacific Ave. Suite 200, Santa Cruz, 426-5550; 40 Penny Lane, Watsonville, 724-7525, plannedparenthood.org.| Elizabeth Limbach

Runners-up Biker’s Against Child Abuse, Walnut Avenue Women’s Center

Place to Learn New Things

Cabrillo College

An extensive class list and affordability make Cabrillo popular in GT’s readers poll. Anyone wanting to expand their horizons can partake in one of many foreign language, horticulture, dance or welding classes. A major multi-million facelift and the new additions to the campus, including the sleek Crocker Theater, certainly make Cabrillo stand out.. Thing To Know: Cabrillo’s Coporate Training and “Leadership Academy” have been receiving great attention. 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 479-6100, cabrillo.edu. | Christina Kharbertyan

Runners-up UCSC, Library

Political Issue

The Homeless

The United Way of Santa Cruz County estimates around 4,600 people are homeless in Santa Cruz County, many for the first time. The issue of how to deal with the growing number of people living in poverty, however, has been a heated debate for decades. While organizations like the Homeless Services Center provide resources for the down and out, the city has passed numerous ordinances, considered by some to be anti-homeless, over the years in an effort to clean up the streets. Hot topics include camping, conduct on public property, aggressive panhandling and obstructing sidewalks. Thing To Know: Recycling truck drivers in Santa Cruz now visually check each dumpster for the homeless before emptying the contents, after locating the body of 54-year-old Stephen Parrish at the city’s recycling center in January.  | JB

Runners-up Gay Marriage, Budget Cuts


SamFarrNewSam Farr

Whether he’s advocating for agriculture research, lobbying or promoting the protection of the ocean, Congressman Sam Farr (California’s 17th District) has proven that he has the Central Coast’s back. His actions following the recent tsunami surge at the harbor, further proved his loyalty, as he rushed to the site to survey damage and provide assistance in obtaining federal aid. Always keeping the values of his constituents in mind when pushing legislation—he even authored the Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act to protect our dwindling furry friends in Monterey Bay—the Carmel resident is an honorary Cruzan. Thing To Know: Farr joined the Peace Corps in 1964 and served for two years as a volunteer in Colombia. | JB

Runners-up Ryan Coonerty, David Terrazaz

Student Hangout

Cafe Pergolesi

Javas, teas and brews converge in the most unusually eclectic way here, in what has to be one of the most colorful Santa Cruz joints around. All this in a truly fantastic Victorian after all—make the Perg perf. Thing To Know: Slick art shows and live music keep this Perg perkin’, but note the fine blend of teas here and some of the organic drinks that have been garnering attention of late. 418 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz, theperg.com, 426-1775. | CP

Runners-up The Abbey, burger

Website for Local 411

Santa Cruz Waves

At first glace, the site seems to be made by wave riders for wave riders, but upon closer inspection, it’s much more. Thing To Know: The masterminds behind this are Tyler, a long-time surfer; Shawn Hatjes, a photographer and photojournalist; Eliza Cole, a journalism and philosophy student; and Bradley King who is passionate about travel, food and art. See santacruzwaves.com. | CK

Runners-up Good Times, Cruzio

Best of Santa Cruz County 2011. Best of the Rest, Photo Captions:
Best local heroes Santa Cruz Derby Girls
Greenspace Photo: Kelly Vaillancourt

Best of Santa Cruz County 2011 index:bo_2011_star
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