Maria Grusauskas

Staff Writer

Summer Theater Preview

Cabrillo Stage gets into the swing of things this summer with The Full Monty (June 24–July 17), the hilarious story of six out-of-work steelworkers who decide to bare it all for some quick cash. The musical The Last Five Years (July 8–Aug. 14) follows a five-year marriage between a writer and an actress, from first date to breakup, juxtaposing early hopes with late disappointments. The Tony Award–winning musical Hairspray (July 22–Aug.14) dives into 1962 Baltimore, where teenaged Tracy Turnblad goes from misfit to celebrity overnight.

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Strawberry Blast An Eye-Opener for Students

It's hard work tasting berries, but these students stepped in to help. Photo by Maria Grusauskas.

The field day outing that sounds like a Jamba Juice flavor fell, happily, on a sunny day at UCSC Farm. Hosted by Life Lab’s youth empowerment group, Food, What?!, the fourth annual Strawberry Blast took 300 middle and high school students from Santa Cruz County on a food education free-for-all on May 12, exposing surprising realities behind the food we eat and the equally surprising need for such outings.

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Santa Cruz Makers Do It Themselves

The Makers are getting ready. From basements and scattered warehouses in the Oakland hills all the way down to garages in Santa Cruz, they’re putting the finishing touches on their projects for the fast-approaching Maker Faire 2011. Once described as “Burning man without the nudity,” the extravaganza of invention and self-expression poised to erupt on the San Mateo County Fairgrounds May 21-22 is the largest do-it-yourself fair in the world. Underwater robots, colossal sculptures you can climb inside and control, land sharks—the possibilities are mind-blowing when the number of crafters, engineers and inventors participating is over 600.

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In Watsonville, Banks Draw Ire

Yolanda and Lauro Navarro lost the home they finished in 2007. Photo by Chip Scheuer.

Ever since their four children were young, Lauro Navarro and his wife, Yolanda, dreamed of building a house for their family and grandchildren. In 2000 they bought a three-acre plot of land in Royal Oaks, near Aromas, and in 2007 they finished building their house. Now they are one of 299 families in Santa Cruz County who have lost their home to foreclosures this year.

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Students Seek Ethnic Studies Major

Edgar Medina is among a contingent of students who want an Ethnic Studies Department. (Chip Scheuer)

With Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal on the table, higher public education is looking at a likely cut of $1.4 billion dollars—$500 million of which is slated to come from the University of California system. Protests took place across the state on March 2 in the second annual National Day of Action for Public Education. While building occupations and arrests were made at other campuses, UC-Santa Cruz remained peaceful—although hardly silent.

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Unusual Valentine’s Day Raffle Takes Shape

Ken Foster, left, and ‘Flea’ Virostko display the crushed rose petals they’ll raffle off on Valentine’s Day. (Chip Scheuer)

Local landscaper Ken Foster acquired 930 pounds of dried rose petals and decided to raffle them off to quell addition to oil and drugs in Santa Cruz. On Valentine’s Day, Foster, with the assistance of local celebrity surfer Darryl “Flea” Virostko, will raffle off the rose petals at Greenspace. A portion of the proceeds will go to Transition Santa Cruz, whose goal is to design our future to raise our quality of life independent of oil. Foster will personally arrange the petals as mulch wherever and however the the lucky winner chooses.

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Ethnic Danceapalooza Returns to Santa Cruz

If there’s one thing Santa Cruz will let its wetsuit dry out completely for, it’s shaking what our mama gave us. This weekend, opportunities to do just that abound as Mission Plaza Park erupts into back-to-back performances of Japanese, Brazilian, Argentine, Balinese, Indian, Azteca, African, folklorico and belly dance as part of Santa Cruz’s second annual Ethnic Dance Festival.

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The Great Santa Cruz Beach Trash Haul-Out

It’s been dubbed “the largest garbage collection” by the Guinness Book of World Records for a reason. Since the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day began in 1985, volunteers have removed more than 14 million pounds of trash and recyclables from the state’s beaches and waterways, including items ranging from cigarette butts and plastic pieces to refrigerators, cars and, yes, pianos.

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