Traci Hukill

Staff Writer

Scandal at State Parks Department

Should it have never been in danger of closing?

Two secret stashes totaling $53 million at the California Department of Parks and Recreation have come to light this week, prompting an investigation by the state’s attorney general, the Friday morning resignation of parks director Ruth Coleman and questions about whether the money might have averted the closure of 70 state parks due to budget cuts.

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Fourth of July in Santa Cruz

Scotts Valley has the big fireworks display. It starts at 9:15 at Skypark.

The unofficial, un-sanctioned, really-not-legal-but-biggest-fireworks-party-anywhere happens on every beach in Santa Cruz for a six-mile stretch. Word has it that it’s settled down significantly from years past, when just stepping onto the sand between Main Beach and Seacliff was a declaration that you were a willing participant in a bottle rocket fight. Many locals avoid this scenario at all costs, though it’s hard to argue with the sheer prettiness of a Silver Fountain on a beach at nighttime. If you go, remember to pack your gunpowder-tainted trash and cigarette butts off the beach; that stuff’s really not so good for the wildlife.

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In Heaven They’ll Never Close

The most recent casualty to Santa Cruz’s dive scene, the Avenue Bar and Cigars was the best place to watch overaged, underpaid prostitutes flash returning customers and new victims. Those who didn’t want to see anything illegal happen simply had to close their eyes and listen to the sweet, sweet sounds of “I’ll get you the money tomorrow!”

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The Beauty of The Very Small Business

Chris Guilleabeau speaks May 30 at MAH.

Your career path is dead. Save yourself. Such is the underlying premise of Chris Guillebeau’s new book The $100 Startup, a rallying cry to scrappy entrepreneurship.
Yes, job security and pensions have evaporated, but Guillebeau consoles us with the idea that we’re actually in charge.  The subtitle says it all: Reinvent the Way You Make A Living, Do What You Love, and Create A New Future.

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Scaling Sandstone in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Angela Avery makes her way up the face. Photo by Traci Hukill.

We gather in the parking lot at Castle Rock State Park, six people ranging in age from mid-twenties to mid-forties, here to learn the art and science of rock climbing courtesy Santa Cruz–based Treks and Tracks. Before we set off on the 20-minute hike to the site, our guide Daniel Laggner, who has a shock of curly sun-streaked hair and forearms like Popeye’s, warns us about what may be the greatest actual threat we face all day: poison oak. “Leaves of three, let it be,” he instructs us. Got it.

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An Unprecedented Outpouring

The death of Shannon Collins on May 7 has prompted a public outpouring of shock and sorrow that’s impossible to ignore. On Monday, May 14, a week after she was stabbed to death in broad daylight by a troubled and violent man she didn’t know, some 300 community members organized by Take Back Santa Cruz walked from the scene of the murder to her shop, Camouflage, on Pacific Avenue, completing the walk she wasn’t able to. Neighbors of the block on Broadway where the murder happened held a memorial on Sunday, and before that friends and family gathered there Friday for a vigil. Hundreds of people—some who knew the 38-year-old Collins, many who did not—have signed online memorials and weighed in on Facebook. The Sin Sisters Burlesque donated the proceeds of their Saturday show to the Collins family. The Rio Theatre put her name on its marquee.

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