Monday, April 21, 2014

Quail Hollow Ranch Willow Tree Gets State, National Recognition


            Quail Hollow Ranch County Park has received state and national recognition for a champion tree, a Red Willow, as well as a $183,000 state grant to restore reaches of Quail Hollow Brook.
            The California Big Trees Registry and the National Register of Big Trees have awarded the Quail Hollow Ranch County Park Red Willow (Salix Laevigata) the State Championship and the U.S. Championship red willow.  The willow, nominated for the awards in 2012, is near the pond close to the entrance of Quail Hollow.  It measures 56.4 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 66.25 inches and a crown spread of 39.31 feet.
            The tree was nominated by Al Keuter, a volunteer at Quail Hollow Park who   documented flora and fauna at the park for a decade before “discovering” the outstanding tree specimen.
            “Not only did the leaves turn out to be those of a red willow (newly listed for the park), but those leaves were attached to a 56 foot tall tree. Hard to miss right?” said Keuter. “Apparently the leaves had to hit me in the face.”

            The State Habitat Conservation Fund grant, matched by the County and totaling $365,340, will include stream bank and stream bed stabilization, native plant restoration plantings and interpretive signage, all of which will benefit both on-site and off-site animal and plant habitats.  It is anticipated that the restoration work will begin next summer and be completed in late fall.
            “This national recognition and state grant are welcome, well deserved, and critically important for our very special Quail Hollow Ranch County Park,” said Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who represents the Fifth District on the County Board of Supervisors.  “The County has worked very hard to sustain this ecological jewel as envisioned by the original owners.”
            “Broom bashing” work will also continue at the park using funds from a $35,000 State Habitat Conservations Fund Wildlife Area Activities Grant awarded last year for programs and activities at Quail Hollow Ranch.  In addition to the invasive plant removal program, the grant will help fund summer camps, interpretive programs, and nest box monitoring.
     “We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of community volunteers caring for the habitat and enriching the experience at Quail Hollow Ranch,” said Betsey Lynberg, Santa Cruz County Parks Director.  
            Quail Hollow Ranch County Park is a 300-acre open space and historic horse ranch located near Felton and Ben Lomond.  The park has hiking and equestrian trails, scenic overlooks, and dramatically varied habitats, from the aquatic environs of the pond to sensitive and unique sand hills.  The ranch is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many rare and endangered species. 

            The old ranch house, which was originally owned and built by the Lane family, founders of Sunset Magazine who donated the property to the County, is used for interpretive displays, a library, and hosting meetings.  The park is open all year long, parking is free. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014



SANTA CRUZ, CA – FEBRUARY 26, 2014 – The San Lorenzo River Alliance, a project of the Coastal Watershed Council, today announced three dates for upcoming San Lorenzo River Community Forums. The Forums are events designed for community members to voice their thoughts and ideas for improving the San Lorenzo River. Information gathered at each event will be used to guide the work of the San Lorenzo River Alliance.

At each forum, the San Lorenzo River Alliance will share projects and ideas from the 2003 San Lorenzo River Urban Plan, now halfway through its lifespan, as well as open the floor for attendees to share their own ideas for projects, events and infrastructure along the river.

“The river belongs to the community.” said Greg Pepping, Executive Director of the Coastal Watershed Council. “These forums are about finding out what the community wants in, on and around their river.” 

The first San Lorenzo River Forum was held on January 7, 2014, and included 60 environmental experts, elected officials and other thought leaders who provided their input on the top priorities to revitalize the river. Attendees attached notes to three maps showing different sections of the lower San Lorenzo River to demonstrate where they would like to see improvements. The top suggestions were opening the lower San Lorenzo River for recreational access and paddling, bringing food and food trucks to the Riverwalk, and increasing informational signage.

-Tuesday, March 4, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz
-Monday, March 24, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Highlands Park in Ben Lomond (co-hosted by Supervisor Bruce McPherson)
-Monday, May 12, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Patagonia Outlet Store in Santa Cruz. 

All forums are free and open to the public. For any questions, call (831) 464-9200 or email

The San Lorenzo River Alliance (SLRA) was founded by the Coastal Watershed Council (CWC) in December 2013 as a public-private partnership, the goal of which is to bring positive changes to the San Lorenzo River that will result in healthier habitat, increased community access and a renewed sense of pride. To learn more,

The Coastal Watershed Council is a leading organization responsible for preserving and protecting watersheds on California’s Central Coast through watershed monitoring, education and stewardship. CWC invites the community to get involved today in the stewardship of local watersheds by calling (831) 464-9200 or visiting the CWC website at

Monday, January 13, 2014

3rd Annual Ukulele Extravaganza Jan 31 6-8pm at SLV High

Felton, California, January 10, 2014. Friday, January 31, 2014 marks the 3rd annual Ukulele Spaghetti
Extravaganza in Felton, California. This event takes place at the San Lorenzo Valley Middle School
gymnasium from 6-8pm.
Dinner consists of spaghetti with homemade meat or marinara sauce, garlic bread, and salad. Gluten-free
noodles are available by request. A silent auction and raffle will also be held at the event. Students of the
various music programs throughout the district will be donating their time to set-up and clean-up for the
event, as well as to coordinating parking.

In addition to dinner, the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz, Sons of the Beach Club, and other local clubs will
lead guests in an ensemble of over 60 ukulele players in songs appropriate for any level player. Participants
are encouraged to bring their own instruments, and instruments will also be provided for the evening
free of charge. According to Joy Hagen, club president: “What started out to be a fund-raising event has
become a fun community get-together that my family looks forward to. I can see us coming even after our
kids have graduated.”

The music boosters will donate some of the tickets to Valley Churches United Mission for distribution to
valley residents. Suggested ticket prices for the event are $15 for adults, $8 for children and students, and
are available for purchase at Tiki King’s Ukuleles of Felton, 6235 Highway 9, Suite B. Call for tickets at

The San Lorenzo Valley Music Boosters is a group of parents who donate their time to support the
district music program from elementary to high school. The boosters raise funds for equipment and
supplies, and also to off-set the costs of performances and competitions. No student in the district will be
denied the opportunity to participate in band or choir due to financial need.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mood Management with Essential Oils Workshop Jan 15 in Felton

A workshop focused on using essential oils to manage stress will be hosted by Heather Williams and Jeni Houston at Mountain Spirit on Hwy 9 in Felton on Jan 15 from 7 to 9pm.  Learn how pure, therapeutic grade essential oils can help manage stress, anxiety, and emotions in your daily lives. 

Heather Williams has a BA in Linguistics from the University of Santa Cruz California, is an owner of Sprockets Bike Shop, a mother of four, and an Essential Oil Educator. She has been working with plant based medicine for over seven years and has been offering classes on Essential Oils, specifically, for the last year. 

Jeni Houston is a natural healer, athlete, and mother- she has been studying plant based medicine for the last decade. She now teaches classes and workshops while running an at home business and raising her two children with her husband in Felton, CA.

The workshop will include:

-Making your own mood elevating spritzer
-Enjoying an AromaTouch hand massage
-Entering in an essential oil raffle

When: Wednesday, January 15th 7pm to 9pm
Where: Mountain Spirit, 6299 Hwy 9, Felton, CA
Cost: $10"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Central Coast Hearing Will Focus on Water Crisis

From Assemblymember Mark Stone:

Central Coast Hearing Will Focus on Water Crisis

Sacramento, CA – Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), chair of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee is convening a hearing at the request of Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) to discuss regional water issues, the looming statewide water crisis, and the state Assembly’s water bond proposal.

Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, Chair Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee
Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay)
Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego)
Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Woodland)

Public hearing on Central Coast region water issues, the looming state water crisis, and the Assembly water bond proposal. 

Seaside City Council Chambers, 440 Harcourt Avenue, Seaside, CA

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
11:30-12:00 Media availability with committee members
12:00-3:00 PM Informational hearing and public comment

California voters have not passed a water bond since 2006.  The Legislature passed a water bond in 2009, but it has been postponed twice due to concerns that it is a flawed proposal.  At the same time, the state faces drought and the effects of climate change that threaten access to clean, affordable, and reliable sources of water.  This hearing will focus on the new bond proposal under consideration by the Legislature and how it relates to Central Coast water needs and concerns.

# # #

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Raymon Cancino to become new CEO of Community Bridges

Raymon Cancino will become the new CEO of Community Bridges replacing Sam Storey who stepped down after 29 years. Cancino is from San Francisco with family ties to the Santa Cruz Community. He has a background in human services and a Masters in Public Administration. He will begin work on January 2, 2014.
Cancino becomes the 5th leader of 36 year old Community Bridges, a multi service coalition that serves infants to seniors in a wide variety of human needs throughout the County. Locally Mountain Community Resources and the Childcare Center at Highlands Park are among the programs run through the non-profit.
From a letter to members and friends:
"After 29 years with Community Bridges, Sam Storey leaves some big shoes to fill. The Board of Directors with input from the agency’s Management Team conducted an extensive search and intensive process to find the best candidate to be the fifth person ever to lead our 36-year-old nonprofit. We believe that Ray Cancino has what it takes to usher in the next phase in the development of Community Bridges and our ability to successfully meet the needs of local children, families, and elders."

Monday, November 25, 2013

SLV and Lompico Water to Hold Public Workshop Dec 4

SLV and Lompico Water Boards to host public workshop December 4 to address proposed merger

The boards of directors of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District and the Lompico County Water District will hold a public workshop on Wednesday evening to address the proposed merger of the two water districts. The public is invited to attend the meeting on Wednesday, December 4 from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m at the Zayante Fire Station, 7700 E Zayante Rd., in Felton.

No formal action will be taken at the special joint board meeting. The purpose of the workshop is to facilitate an information exchange between the water districts and the public. The boards will discuss the two different scenarios of a merger vs. no merger, in terms of costs to customers, infrastructure improvements, and other considerations. Maps and exhibits of financial data will be on hand. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions and express their ideas and concerns.

Supervisor Bruce McPherson will provide introductory remarks. Lois Henry, President of the Lompico County Water District Board, will introduce the speakers. Pat McCormick, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) will give an initial presentation.  County of Santa Cruz and San Lorenzo Valley Water District staff members will also be present to assist in the presentation. Terry Vierra, President of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District Board will chair a public question and answer period and the joint board discussion.

Public parking is available at the Zayante Fire Station lot, except in reserved spaces. For more information, visit the SLV Water District website at http://www.slvwd.comPress Release; Proposed Lompico Merge Public Workshop Meeting 4Dec 13 - - Gmail:

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Redwood Mountain Faire 2014 Seeking Vendor, Artist, Grant Group Applications

The 2014 Redwood Mountain Faire organizers are seeking applications for grant groups, musicians, art & crafts and non-profit organizations to participate in this years event. The profits from the Faire are shared among the participating groups who provide the volunteers without whom the Faire could not happen.. In 2013 volunteer groups earmed a combined $40,000. 

The 2014 Faire takes place each year on the weekend after Memorial Day, this year Sat May 31 and Sun June 1.

Nonprofits, service organizations, school groups and government agencies are invited to set up booths at the Faire to provide information about their activities and services, or to sell their nonprofit’s merchandise. There is a small fee, $25 for information only and $50 for information and sales, and an application form to turn in for approval. Space is limited.

Grant and booth applications for nonprofits, as well as applications for bands wishing to perform at the Faire and for artists and craft persons seeking to sell at the Faire are all available online at Information is available at

The Faire features music on two stages, arts and crafts vendors, extensive children’s activities, wonderful food and beverages (including local micro-brews and wines) all in the beautiful setting at Roaring Camp in Felton in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains ( 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Civinomics: Elevating the Level of Public Discourse

A three day “Civinomicon” hosted by Santa Cruz tech startup Civinomics at the Cruzio complex this weekend may have provided a blueprint for the way out of the gridlock, unchecked rhetoric and hyper partisanship that has become the norm in contemporary American politics.

Utilizing the Civinomics online platform as a the tool, over 100 local citizens of various ages, backgrounds and political involvement came together for a sort of “hackathon” that included brainstorming sessions interspersed with addresses by elected officials and resulted in the sharing of 100’s of ideas and over a dozen specific initiatives that are now available for the larger community to react to and weigh in on online. (The site is organized around "workshops" and a special SLV workshop is available here: )

By focusing on solutions rather than roadblocks, participants self selected themselves into specific areas of interest like economic development, education, public safety, transportation and more.  Each group had a facilitator chosen for their professional expertise who helped frame the discussion by presenting current and historical data.  Participants were also armed with demographic data provided by the organizers.

Very quickly the ideas began to flow.  Instead of a debate over the pros and cons of a specific suggestion however what most often occurred was that participants offered examples of similar ideas implemented elsewhere or locally or someone pointed to existing programs or resources that could be tapped to facilitate or advance the proposition.  Other times an idea was offered that sparked not only immediate consensus but generated enough excitement that it quickly morphed and evolved in such a way that inspired some in the group to work toward preparing a more comprehensive proposal with a detailed implementation steps, financial impacts and costs as well as supporting data and arguments.

Citizens can express their opinion on all of the ideas and initiatives at the Civinomics web site or simply vote yea or nay as they see fit.

As product demos go this had to be considered a huge success. Even greater though was the demonstration of how otherwise disengaged citizens can affect public policy.  County Treasurer Fred Keeley,  County Supervisor Zach Friend and SC Mayor Hillary Bryant each addressed the dysfunction of the current system of public participation where the predominant input they receive from citizens, in public meetings and via email, is negative, sometimes in the extreme and that it comes from a relatively small group of the same people.  Each also made note of the fact that they were looking out at an audience that they don’t see much at public meetings.  

Keeley pointed out how cable news and talk radio provided a validation to partisans of the value of their positions making it less likely and less possible for them to see any value in the opinions of the other side.  He said “politics is the art of the possible” and little is possible without a willingness to compromise.  Zach Friend spoke about his less than one year experience as an elected official being dominated by dealing with “the urgent” as opposed to the important.  The urgent, he said, was often the pothole on “your street”.  He said 80% of his email is negative.  Mayor Bryant, after being introduced as “the most liked” politician in town said a sampling of her email would prove otherwise and that she receives constant criticism on a host of issues including the way she wears her hair.

The Civinomics platform could go a long way in elevating the public discourse if, and it’s a big if, people choose to participate. Check out the ideas and initiatives generated or share some of your ideas at Civinomics

Read more about Civinomicon: