Cover Stories

Best Professionals

bo profCategory: Winner
Aerobics Instructor: Lee Pate
Artist of the Year: Jimbo Phillips
Astrologer: Risa D’Angeles/Good Times
Bartender: Marv Easterby @ Jury Room
Carpenter: Richard Singer
Chef: Mark Gallagher
Chiropractor: John & Christina Amaral
Contractor: John Fuchs
Customer Service (Retail): Stripe
Customer Service (General): Portola Property Mgmt
Dentist: Alan Heit

Flooring: San Lorenzo Floors
General Practitioner: Rachel Abrams MD
Landscaper: Terra Bella Landscaping
Lasik: Dr. Michael Furlong
Martial Arts Instructor: Matt Salisbury
Massage Therapist: Maria Willis (Awaken)
Mortgage Broker: Dimitri Timm            
OB/GYN: Anne Marie Jackson
Painter: T. Paul Sek Ecopainting
Personal Trainer: Trenise Pot (Truly Toned)
Photographer: (Local) Devi Pride
Plastic Surgeon: Steven Garner
Plumber: Bellows Heating &Plumbing
Psychic: Risa
Realtor: Mulhern & Gomes
Real Estate Agency: David Lyng Real Estate
Solar Contractor: Allterra Solar
Surfboard maker/shaper: Nick Palandrani
Veterinarian: Dr. Shuman (Westside)
Writer (Local): David J. Brown
Yoga Instructor: Victor Dubin, Nourish.

bo prof jimboArtist of the Year: Jimbo Phillips
A guy that has an art tagline of “surf paintings and all kinds of rad stuff that’s fun to look at” and provides people with “mind-numbing illustrations” sums up a perfect Santa Cruz artist. Jimbo has more than 5,000 friends and 6,500 followers on Facebook, so it is understandable how the votes rolled in here. But when you really look at his work, it reminds us ’80s grads of how “bitchen” that many colors can look when drawn so eloquently on every surface he touches. Any local art history student inevitably arrives at the doorstep of Jimbo’s famous dad and now Jimbo himself. He can be found at and on Facebook at Jimbo Phillips Graphix.

Runners-up Julia Cunningham, Sarah Jane Morabito, Chris Rene

Astrologer/Psychic: Risa
How many years has GT’s longtime and revered astrologer nabbed this award? We’ve lost track. Rather than remind everybody why this woman enlightens so uniquely, we thought we’d just ask her to, well enlighten us this year. Behold: The Transits for May 2013 as told to us by Risa herself:

Astrology (starry influences) happens all the time, everywhere to everyone. And especially this May, a most significant challenging influence for our times occurs once again—Uranus (in Aries, creating all things new) RisaNewSsquares Pluto (retro in Capricorn, transforming government and all structures). Uranus and Pluto (11 degrees) were present during the Great Depression, during the rise of dictators [Hitler] and extremism and during the revolutionary ‘60s.  Uranus and Pluto square (90 degrees apart) each other seven times between 2012 and 2015. On May 21 they square a week before the Gemini Solar Festival of Humanity. Gradually the old guard is being swept away.

Uranus/Pluto brings forth rebellion, revolution and upheaval, awakening (Uranus) humanity to new (both frightening and revelatory) realities ahead, destroying old realities (Pluto) no longer useful. Things unpredictable and unprecedented will be moving in and around us, creating great unrest. This occurred in the mid ‘60s with Pluto/Uranus in Virgo when our world of values changed. Afterward humanity seemed to have gone to sleep again. Some of us wondered where the seeds of that revolution had landed. Well, those seeds are flowering now like a transforming fire, creating a burning ground, placing humanity on the threshold of an entirely new world. And asking humanity to create that new world.

We will be challenged (the square), incited and invited to move beyond comfort. We are called to be warriors, to imagine what’s possible, to stand at the “razor’s edge.” Uranus and Pluto—through revelation and transformation, disparity and tension, eruption and surprise— will continue to destroy the old, awaken what’s dormant, eliminate shadows and obstructions so that humanity’s life force and psychological health can be renewed.

We are not in subtle times. The times call for radical behaviors where we must fight for reforms and for freedoms. We must have intelligent and strategic thinking. We must have wisdom and a steady hand. We must be authentic and visionary. This is a global shift. No one wants to be left behind. Our lives will change forever. That change is necessary. Find your community.Uranus Square Pluto Dates:

• Uranus square Pluto June 24 2012
• Uranus square Pluto Sept. 19 2012
• Uranus square Pluto May 21 2013
• Uranus square Pluto Nov. 1 2013
• Uranus square Pluto April 21 2014
• Uranus square Pluto Dec. 15 2014
• Uranus square Pluto March 17 2015

Runners up: Susan Heinz, Kayla Garnet Rose

Bartender: Marv Easterby (Jury Room)
The funniest tidbits we discovered about Marv and that famous mustache he sports are the things other bartenders have to say about him. Best line was: “He taught me how to play pool with a broomstick—and win.” Allegedly known worldwide as a gentleman, he proudly serves drinks at the county’s most centrally located and visible dive bar. 426-7120.

Runners-up: Aaron Raif, TIE: Chris Thomas (Rosie’s) & Stephanie Sanchez (Severino’s)

Carpenter: Richard Singer
For the second year in a row Mr. Singer has garnered the votes from those that have been fortunate enough to have had their dreams built by him. His personality alone inspires that inclination that this is your guy to fix it or make it—his voice is to the point and so “let’s get it done.” 419-0055.

Runners-up: John Fuchs Construction

bo prof  Mark GallagherChef: Mark Gallagher
Gallagher is known for his indelible feasts. This local, baked salmon dish is über popular this season. The fish wonderfully blankets a delicious mushroom risotto with caro caro compote. He impresses by using organic ingredients. He also works with local farmers and happens to boast the best veggie lasagna in the county. What does Gallagher love most about what he does? “Being imaginative,” he says, “and seeing people’s faces when they see—and eat—something new.” Contact him 325-6924 or

Best Chiropractor: John & Christina Amaral
Santa Cruz continues to turn to this skilled husband-and-wife-duo for groundbreaking, holistic chiropractic treatments. The pair, which founded The Well Being Center in 1998, is known for their inimitable knack for helping patients realize their highest wellness potential through individualized and expert care. The doctors have worked with thousands of patients from around the world, all of whom they hope to inspire “to awaken their highest potentials by improving their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being,” according to their website. 475-2448,

Runners-up: Katie Griffin, Marie Royer, McCollum Family Chiropractic

Contractor: John Fuchs Construction
John is not a stranger to these awards, and after working in this county for 30 years, he has literally built up his amazing reputation on the foundations of the homes he has created. Looking at some of the before-and-after pictures of his work helps one realize the challenges these guys have to face in fixing some of our homes. 688-8008,

Runners-up: Costa Bella Builders, Richard Singer, Vogler Construction

Class Instructor: Lee Pate
Why Lee Pate’s classes—a whopping total of 18 per week, between Zumba and R.I.P.P.E.D—are the best:  1) Her sensitivity: “I am hyper-diligent that people feel welcome. I emphasize that none of my classes are precision classes; I don’t mind if you step touch the whole time in the back.” 2) Her enthusiasm boosts morale: “I’m like a Prozac … in a high-energy way.” 3) Impeccable music: “I choose to dance to what moves me.” For more information, visit and the “Zumba with Lee!” Facebook page.

Customer Service (Hospitality): Chaminade
One thing we love with stellar customer service is that when you call the main Chaminade number, an actual person answers and is super friendly. Take note: More than 80 percent of its dining/hospitality guests are from the Santa Cruz area and more than 95 percent of its guests are from the Cruz and neighboring regions. 475-5600,

Runners-up: Dream Inn, Hotel Paradox

Customer Service (General): Portola Property Management
Owner Kathleen Richards’ “little boutique” style of common sense property care shines through with each tenant, homeowner and lease screening deal they successfully work with and manage. Good to know: Virtually all of their tenants still walk in to pay instead of doing so online—not a bad feeling to have with the landlord. 475-1355,

Runners-up: T. Paul Sek (Eco-friendly Painting), California Growers Collective, Level Up Games Customer Service (Retail) Stripe

Dentist: Alan Heit
An extensive remodel has taken place to Heit’s office so locals may appreciate the beautiful photography on the walls— helps your wandering mind off other things. Best bets: Fantastic customer service here. 423-3364.

Runners-up Gavin A. McClure, H. Martin Shively, Reed Kuratomi

Best Flooring: San Lorenzo Floors
It remains one of your favorites. Racking up another Best Of win this year, San Lorenzo Floors boasts well-known brands—Alexander Smith to Legendary Beauty. Take note of Softique and Infinity Nylon Carpet Fiber, which are stain resistant. 461-1300,

Runners-up Floors Etc., Greenspace, TIE: Mission Floors & Interior Vision Flooring & Design

Lasik: Dr. Michael Furlong
Recent assessments include: “My life was forever changed—do it!” It almost rang aloud like that famous movie line. Seeing through fixed eyes can truly be as beautiful as Dr. Furlong promises. Dr. Furlong has offices in the Bay Area and here in Santa Cruz. Check in with Plager Vision and Optometric Center on Dominican Way. 476-8033.

Runners-up Rex Hsei MD

General Practitioner: Rachel Abrams MD
Blending eastern and western practices is a significant feat and one of the things that makes Abrams stand out. The other thing is that the woman is just downright professional and nice—if only other MDs boasted her “bedside manner.” Abrams works alongside super cool acupuncturist/Qi Gong titan Lee Holden at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine and Chi Center on Santa Cruz’s Eastside. One of the best things about her practice: She informs the patient on a variety of methods and modalities.

Runners-up: Patti Hinz (PAMF), Dean Kashino, Michelle Massie

Landscaper: Terra Bella Landscaping
Owner/operator Nikos Lynch has found a way to show how beautiful “edible gardens” can be and also how “spiritual” the journey should be through a properly landscaped heaven. He says “every day is Earth Day.” He loves for his customers to have a transformational experience when arriving into their planted environment at home. 479-1629,

Runners-up Dreamscape, Kate’s Kitchen Garden, TIE: Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping & Paradise Landscape

Martial Arts Instructor: Master Matt Salisbury
Master Matt Salisbury has become known as your go-to teacher. He has been tuning his skills for the last 20 years, and puts forth a sincere effort in helping local kids to become stronger, but while also keeping it fun. His annual summer camps have become popular with families, including relevant teachings on anti-bullying and leadership. Salisbury is a 5th-degree black belt with a B.S. in business management. 438-6068,

Runners-up: Elliot Stone (Elite Martial Arts), Sean Sanford, Garth Taylor (Kaijin)                       

Massage Therapist: Maria Willis
Taking home another win, Willis is skilled in a number of styles—Swedish Integrated Massage and Polarity Energy Work stand out. But take note: She also handles a number of sports injuries. Find her at Scotts Valley’s Awaken Massage Therapy. 461.1371,

Runners-up Cheyanne Melvin, Jennifer Galvin (Vital Body), TIE: Julie Zerwick & Miriam Janove (Santa Cruz Bodywork)

Mortgage Broker: Dimitri Timm (Princeton Capital)
Once again another UCSC alum having success in the area he chose to make home. And what better way to help one figure out the financials of home ownership in this county than to use someone who loves where we live. 662-6591,

Runners-up: Lisa Cardoza (Intercap Lending), Jennifer Walker (RPM), Noel McCord (Opes Advisors)

Photographer (Local): Devi Pride
From capturing a new mother’s profound joy to a child’s innocence and a musician’s personality to a father’s pride as he gives away his daughter on her wedding day, Devi Pride captures the soul of “the experience.” Dedication and artistry stand out.

Runners-up: Jeffrey Luhn, Portia Shao, Sylvia Valentine

Plastic Surgeon: Dr. Steve Garner
Garner boasts an array of skill sets and specialties, and even a larger following of happy clients to which he provides a seemingly endless list of services. Intense Pulse Light Therapy, permanent make-up and even oncology esthetics are in his latest arsenal of provisions. Check out or 475-3076.

OB/GYN: Anne-Marie Jackson
Notables; Jackson loves to travel to Italy and her initial Harvard degree is in anthropology. But of course she got the votes for being a reputable gynecology caregiver and for building trust in this county for the last 18 years. Jackson practices gynecology only at OB-GYN Associates of Santa Cruz. 479-4966,

Runners-up: Alexandra Klikoff, Katherine Gabriel-Cox, Margaret Moore

Painter: T. Paul Sek
He wins yet again. Sek and his family have created one of the most well known local green companies – with both the brains and the know-how on getting your work done while helping protect our beautiful region. We also love how the customer service stands out here. Take note of the Sek’s inventive style and concepts, too. Downright one-of-a-kind. 588-4080,

Runners-up: Doug Duren Painting, Brent Garvey Painting, Walls Painting

Personal Trainer: Trenise Pot (Truly Toned)
“The Key to Life is to Unlock What’s Within You.” Sounds like a slogan one could read a thousand times over in our wellness-enriched area, but Trenise’s popularity seems to stem from her expertise—her own fitness studio is just a couple of blocks from the main beach—but also teaches core stability, static stretching and free weights at the Capitola Recreation Department. 247-7069,

Runners-up:  Kyle Haynes, Danielle Killen, Rocky Snyder

Plumber: Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air
Since 2005, the family-run operation of Bellows Plumbing by Jason Schlunt and Greg Bellows, has gathered a diversity of knowledge and service it’s proud of. With upward of 23 employees now, their service range and particular expertise of each technician, makes a first-time customer a “lifetime client.” 477-7150,

Runners-up: Surf City Plumbing, Mr. Rooster (SC), Tino’s (Watsonville)

Realtor: Mulhern & Gomes
Hard working and committed, M&G are busy, but regardless of how many meetings they have, or how much they run around in the field, the buzz out there is that they always make time for what matters most—the client. The group has over 40 years of experience between them and their interactive website and blog is a nice touch. 457-5555,

Runners-up:  Lauren Spencer, Andy Payne, TIE: Terry Ballantyne & Chris Clayton

Real Estate Agency: David Lyng Real Estate
With five offices placed throughout the region, it continues to list some of the most recognizable and exclusive properties around. To just take a tour through their websites and see the beautiful landscapes they have listed around here is worthy of one’s time.

Runners-up  Sereno Group, TIE: Keller Williams & Mulhern & Gomes

Solar Contractor: Allterra Solar
Allterra’s Project Santa Cruz research covered a swath of the Eastside that showed how people could be saving almost $100 million over a period of time—just by adding solar panels to their homes. It always helps when there are all kinds of incentives and rebates from the fed and state governments, too. 425-2608,

Runners-up: Solar Technologies, Suns Up Solar

Surfboard Maker/ Shaper: Nick Palandrani
Palandrani’s “insane work ethic” goes back to the days of his inspiration under other titans like Pearson and Haut. Most surfers we talked to know the name—and the guy—or can point to a board on the lane that was shaped by him.

Runners-up: Doug Haut, Michel Junod,Ward Coffey

Vet: Dr. Shuman (Westside Animal Hospital)
Another successful UCSC grad making good in our town. Fourteen years after starting his own animal hospital, he has found a way into apparently every animal owner’s heart that has passed through his doors. 427-2239, and on Facebook.

Runners-up: Soquel Creek Animal Hospital, Animal Hospital of Soquel, Adobe Animal Hospital, All Pets

Writer: David J. Brown
Once you start reading Brown’s work, you literally can’t stop at one article or page. Some of his recent columns have included compelling insights on psychedelic drugs and the “scientific renaissance” now happening in the exploding fields of related drug research. and

Runners-up: Laurie Broderick-Burr, Clifford Henderson, Wallace Baine

Yoga Instructor: Victor Dubin
A longtime winner in this category, Dubin started the Om Room in Santa Cruz more than a few moons back, and now he teaches at Nourish in Santa Cruz. His classes are offered weekly and one can’t help but hear the praise for this “hilarious” yet “dedicated” instructor. Those interviewed here kept saying how nice he is—it helped us regain the faith in nice guys can finish first (again and again). 429-9355,

Runners-up: Nicole Duke, Danielle Koslowski, Hannah Muse

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