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Santa Cruz Connected: A Monthly Look At Online Local Life

Santa Cruz Connected August 2015July may have been the Earth’s hottest month on record, but August felt even hotter in Santa Cruz. Students started shuffling back into classrooms as the school year kicked off and researchers at our local university answered internet questions about their video game research.

The Museum of Art and History continued its upward trajectory behind the leadership of Nina Simon, who was named to the 40 under 40 list by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

A local surf icon was featured in a story by SF Gate, Aptos got a new community park, Big Basin hiking trails were added to Google maps, and a local UFC fighter goes for the gold.

All that, plus new businesses in town and the best of the month from Santa Cruz social media in this month’s edition of Santa Cruz Connected.

UCSC Video Game Researchers Answer Questions On Reddit

A faculty member and two UC Santa Cruz PhD students answered questions about their video game research on the popular website reddit in August. The research of the UCSC group involves using a computer science approach to finding related video games outside of traditional genre limitations.

The “AMA” series on reddit, which is an acronym for “Ask Me Anything,” is one of its most popular features and has included everyone from famous actors, musicians, and athletes to President Obama.

City Removes Beloved Beach Flats Mural, Pays Artist $30K

The City of Santa Cruz painted over a beach flats mural as part of an art restoration project, much to the disappointment of the community and the original artist, Victor Cervantes. The mural was originally painted in the 1990s and depicted images of Latino culture and heritage that were important to, and representative of, the beach flats community. The city issued an apology on its website and has agreed to pay the artist $30,000 in restitution. You can read more about the story in this article from the Sentinel.

Nina Simon Named To Silicon Valley Biz Journal 40 Under 40

Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, was named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list for her work. Simon took over as executive director of the MAH in 2011 and the results have been nothing short of incredible. On the strength of drastically improved attendance and renewed community enthusiasm, the MAH has become a centerpiece of downtown Santa Cruz, which will only be buttressed by the development of Abbott Square.

Jack O’Neill & The Development of Local Surf Culture

SF Gate published an article about Jack O’Neill, the surf icon and wetsuit pioneer who has called Santa Cruz home since 1959. The article tells the story of how O’Neill came up with the idea of the wetsuit, which would help launch his name into a world famous surf brand, while surfing the chilly waters of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.

The Most Walkable Beach Town in the US

The website published an article about the most walkable beach towns in the US and guess who came in at number one: Santa Cruz. The list was compiled using information from the website WalkScore, which rates communities, neighborhoods and cities on their walkability. Santa topped the list with a walk score of 97 out of a possible 100.

SNAP! Aptos Gets A New Park

After a lengthy process, the County broke ground on a new development in Aptos for Seacliff Village Park. Support for the park started in the late 1990s when the land was being considered for commercial development. In response, the community formed the group “SNAP,” which is an acronym for “Seacliff Needs A Park.”

Big Basin Redwoods State Park Trails Coming To Google Maps

You’ll soon be able to virtually hike Big Basin Redwoods State Park thanks to a recent effort to add “street view” imagery of the park to Google Maps. According to an article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the project is being completed by volunteers from the nonprofit group Sempervirens.

If you thought the Google maps car was interesting, take a look at the picture below to see what’s required to map a state park.

Santa Cruz UFC Fighter, Luke Rockhold, Gets Middleweight Title Shot

Luke Rockhold of Santa Cruz is currently the #2 ranked middleweight mixed martial artist in the world and it was announced in August that he will get a crack at the UFC championship belt later this year.

Rockhold will take on champion, Chris Weidman, in December in one of the most anticipated events the promotion has ever held at UFC 194. Though Weidman is undefeated in his professional career, Rockhold certainly has the skills to become Santa Cruz’s first UFC champion.

Santa Cruz Guitar Co. Designs Signature Guitar For Brad Paisley

Country music star Brad Paisley teamed up with the Santa Cruz Guitar Co. owner, Richard Hoover, to design a custom guitar. Paisley, who has won three Grammy Awards, collaborated with Hoover on the design of the signature guitar, which retails for $5,450 according to an article from the San Jose Mercury News. The Santa Cruz Guitar Company will celebrate its 40th anniversary in September.

Friends To Follow

Santa Cruz History & Old School The Page – One of the better local Facebook pages if you have an interest in Santa Cruz history. They regularly post old photos of familiar areas, as well as interesting historical tidbits from the not-too-distant past.

Santa Cruz Small Business Development Center – A great resource for local entrepreneurs, business owners, and those looking to start a business in Santa Cruz. The SBDC has a host of tools  and resources available, many of which are free. You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date on the latest events.

New In Town

Santa Cruz Jerk House – Though they won’t be open until sometime in September, there’s already buzz about the Santa Cruz Jerk House, a Jamaican grill that’s coming to Soquel Drive. They will have a “shipwreck bar” (see pics below) and serve all organic Jamaican dishes. As of this writing, September 4 is the target date for opening.

Marini’s (Westside location) – By no means a new business in town–Marini’s started as a popcorn stand on the Boardwalk in 1915–Marini’s is opening up a location on the Westside. The new store is located at 322 Ingalls St. and you can read more about the opening in this article from the Sentinel.

Best of the Month From Santa Cruz Social Media

Awesome time-lapse photo of kite surfers. You can read about how the image was made in this article by the photographer, Casey McCalister.

The sky was filled with lightning, which gave way to oppressive heat later in the month.

Another great shot of the lightning from Brandon Erdman.

Tim Cattera captured a moment of the Perseid meteor shower.

Great Throwback Thursday photo of Tom Petty rocking the Civic.

It does feel good here :) Use the hashtag #SantaCruzLife to submit your photos for use in our monthly Santa Cruz Connected articles.

Weekend Event Roundup for August 28 – 30, 2015

santa cruz weekend events

For many this is the first weekend after back to school.  Summer events are winding down, but they haven’t concluded yet. You can still catch music and movies at the beach, see the Derby Girls, and enjoy a pool party (with an unlikely guest).

Read on to see our picks for the best events in Santa Cruz this weekend.

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Weekend Event Roundup for August 21 – 23, 2015

Santa Cruz weekend events, August 21-23, 2015

Tequila, tacos, aloha races, mountain men and Shakespeare will all be featured prominently this weekend in Santa Cruz.

Read on to see our picks for the best events in Santa Cruz this weekend.

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Santa Cruz Housing Update (& How Events Halfway Around the World Affect Our Local Market)

santa cruz real estate market report: july 2015

The following market report is provided by Liz Kroft  & Lance Hulsey of Mainstream Real Estate Group.

This last month saw Germany looking for Greece to pay their own way. Greece went begging for more time and money to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Germany capitulated and Greece received a restructured loan deal and the housing market in Santa Cruz benefits.

Say what?

How does the Greek debt crisis have anything to do with the Santa Cruz housing market?

And by the way, since when did this become a blog about international monetary policy?

How does any of this really have any relevance to rents, home prices, and the real estate market in Santa Cruz?

Well it all has to do with the strength of the dollar around the world and interest rates closer to home. Long story short, because the European Union lent the money to Greece we averted an international monetary crisis and the dollar came out stronger while interest rates remained stable. Thus, everything basically stays the same and the banking system and the Federal Reserve take a sigh of relief.

Now we can focus on the big question on everyone’s mind once again:

Are we in a bubble?

In our March 9th article we commented on how the 2015 market was coming out of hibernation and perhaps into a bubble. Other economists and industry experts seem to believe that we are in a bubble:

Yet others say that we are in fact NOT in a bubble:

In considering your opinion, take these two piece of information as you will:

  1. The Santa Cruz County median home prices are the highest they have been since 2007
  2. The National Foreclosure Inventory Is the Lowest it has been since December 2007

For the housing market’s continued recovery, there is no doubt that affordability is going to be a major deciding factor.

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Santa Cruz Weekend Events: August 14th – 16th, 2015

santa cruz weekend august 14, 2015

What’s happening this weekend in Santa Cruz?

A lot.

Read on to see our picks for the best events in Santa Cruz this weekend:

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Weekend Event Roundup for August 7th – 9th, 2015

Santa Cruz Weekend events, 8/7, 2015

First Friday, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, a Beer Festival, and a downtown street fair highlight this weekend’s list of events.

Read on to see the our picks for the best events in Santa Cruz this weekend.

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Santa Cruz Connected: A Monthly Look At Online Local Life

Santa Cruz Connected, July 2015

Photos in collage by Bill Lewis of Santa Cruz Sand, Joshua Vincent & Richard Masoner.

There’s simply no other way to paint the month of July in Santa Cruz other than what it was: tragic.

The senseless death of 8-year-old Madyson Jordan Middleton weighed heavily on the hearts and minds of the entire city as the month drew to a close. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families and communities affected by this tragedy.

In local news stories that were picked up by major media outlets, Santa Cruz was lauded as a city that stands up to big banks, finds creative solutions to water rationing, and set up a new model for community television stations.

UC Santa Cruz was named one of the most beautiful coastal colleges in the U.S., a local review of disc golf courses was published, the Monterey Bay turned a vibrant blue color, and one news outlet explored the history of the “Cement Ship” (the SS Palo Alto).

In this month’s edition of Santa Cruz Connected, we explore these stories, plus new businesses in town, friends to follow on social media, and the best of the month from Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. [Read more…]

Weekend Event Roundup for July 31st – August 2nd, 2015

this weekend in santa cruz july 313, 2015

This weekend kicks off Kids Week Downtown, and brings the annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival, and a special family showing of Cabrillo’s Mary Poppins, another Free Friday night band at the beach, and much more.

Read on to see the rest of our picks for the best events in Santa Cruz this weekend.

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This Weekend in Santa Cruz: July 24th – 26th, 2015

santa cruz weekend events, july 24, 2015

This weekend offers a few opportunities to get up close a personal with local art, as well as festivals honoring books and cacti.

Read on to see the rest of our picks for the best events in Santa Cruz this weekend.

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Santa Cruz Weekend Events: July 17th – 19th, 2015

santa cruz harbor

This weekend, you can go on a scavenger hunt through local history, see great live stage performances at both UCSC and Cabrillo, and watch one of the most exciting roller derby matches of the year.

Read on to see the rest of our picks for the best events in Santa Cruz this weekend.

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