Best of the Santa Cruz Web: January, 2015

santa cruz best of the web

January was an exciting month in Santa Cruz and the web was buzzing with several interesting tidbits about our funky slice of paradise.

Some of the highlights: Two local beverage makers won national awards, two Santa Cruz natives were featured in reality TV shows, UCSC continues to thrive after 50 years, and Coast Dairies State Park was proposed as a national monument. And, of course, there were some great local photos shared on social media.

In case you missed it, here’s the internet chatter about Santa Cruz for January, 2015.

Santa Cruz Native Makes TV Debut In “Remote Survival” On NatGeo Channel

Santa Cruz native and survival expert Cliff Hodges made his TV debut on a new show called “Remote Survival” that aired on the National Geographic channel. Hodges, along with fellow participant and former CIA agent, Alex Coker, have to guide average people through outdoor survival situations through remote communication. In the first episode, Cliff suffered from an unfortunate pairing as his contestant seemed ill-equipped to the task and refused to eat a lizard for survival before giving up. Hodges operates a locally based adventure school called Adventure Out, which you can learn more about here.

Local UFC Fighter Closer to Title, Stars In “Millionaire Matchmaker”

Cliff Hodges wasn’t the only Santa Cruz native you could find on reality TV in January. UFC fighter and middleweight title contender Luke Rockhold was on the dating show “Millionaire Matchmaker.” Rockhold claimed in an interview that the show’s producers used some creative editing to invent drama and make him look bad. You can read more about Rockhold’s appearance on the show in this article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel. In more positive news for Rockhold, the UFC announced that he will be fighting highly touted perennial title contender, Lyoto Machida, as the headliner for its New Jersey card in April.

National Monument Proposed Along Coast North of Santa Cruz

santa cruz redwoods national monumentAfter being preserved in 1998 by a hefty grant from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, conservation groups and environmentalists are pushing to have the nearly 6,000 acre Coast Dairies State Park declared a national monument. The proposal, which requires President Obama’s approval, would establish the land as the Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument. To learn more about the proposal or sign the petition, you can visit the campaign website here. A campaign kickoff event will be held on Feb. 12 at Kaiser Permanente Arena in downtown Santa Cruz. Admission is free and you can register online. Click here to follow the Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument Campaign on Facebook.

UC Santa Cruz Celebrates 50 Years, Continues To Lead In Genomics

UC Santa Cruz is having a yearlong celebration in honor of its 50th year as an academic institution. The campus opened in 1965 as something of a wild card as far as the UC system was concerned: classes were given on a pass or fail basis and the campus was composed of smaller colleges that each had their own identity and focus, similar in design to Oxford and Cambridge. Until 2001, UCSC used the narrative evaluation system, which meant that students received a written assessment of their performance, rather than a letter grade. You can read more about the early days of UC Santa Cruz here and here.

UCSC continues to be a leader in genomics and was awarded a grant for up to $1 million for the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute. The money will go toward a yearlong project that aims to map genetic variation and make it easier for researchers to find and use information from different databases. In 2000, the university developed the UCSC Genome Browser, which has become an invaluable resource to the scientific community.

Have something you think we should feature next month? Use hashtag #santacruzlife when posting on your favorite social media platform to make sure we see your post.

Second UCSC Hackathon Is a Hit, Draws Nearly 400 Participants

UC Santa Cruz held its second “hackathon” in January, drawing almost four times as many participants as it had in 2014. For those new to the term, a hackathon is a collaborative  event at which teams of computer programming students or professionals compete to solve a problem or create something innovative in a limited timeframe. In the case of Hack UCSC 2015, that timeframe was 46 hours and awards were given in three categories: innovation, agriculture, and “tech cares,” which focuses on social and environmental issues. Santa Cruz Tech Beat published a great two-part write-up about the event, including the winning entries, which you can read here.

The Complex History Behind Felton’s Oldest Building

Mobile Ranger published an article on the Cremer House (formerly the Creamer Hotel) and revealed some of the history behind Felton’s oldest building. Click here to read the full story and get an in-depth look at this unique piece of local history and learn about its colorful past.

Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trail Project Completed

arana gulch multi-use trails
To the joy of some and the dismay of others, the Arana Gulch Multi-use Trail Project was completed with a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 15. The project is controversial with some residents who believe that the construction and paving infringes on the natural habitat and open space of the area. You can read more about the project, as well as arguments for both sides, in this article.

Local Biz Buzz: Verve Coffee, Venus Spirits Recieve National 2015 Good Food Awards

The Good Food Awards recognizes high-quality food and beverage makers that are also socially and environmentally responsible–something we have no shortage of here in Santa Cruz County. Verve Coffee Roaster’s won for its Panama Elida Estate Green-tip Gesha and Venus Spirits received an award for its Gin Blend No. 01. You can find more information about the local winners and other event information here.

A New Type of Marketplace Coming to Downtown: The Food Lounge

The Food Lounge, a collaborative space to be used for food, arts and entertainment, is set to open on Center St. in February. According to an article in the Sentinel, Andrea Mollenauer, the local chef behind the project, hopes the Food Lounge will be a space to host events, teach cooking classes, and share resources with other local chefs. As of this writing, the Food Lounge website is still a work in progress, but you can find their contact information and join their mailing list:

Guide to Best New Local Restaurants From Santa Cruz Life

best new santa cruz restaurants
Santa Cruz Life published a guide to the best new restaurants of Santa Cruz County, focusing on eateries that opened in 2014. The seven-part guide includes the best new places to eat, along with reviews, photos and directions. It’s definitely worth a look if you want to stay on top of the local dining scene or try some new places.

Santa Cruz High 2005 Championship Men’s Basketball Team Honored

Santa Cruz High School honored the 2005 state championship team in January with a ceremony and a new banner in their home gym. The 2005 team went 36-1 en route to winning the state title and were featured in the documentary, “Poised: A Santa Cruz Basketball Documentary.”

Watsonville HS Among Best High School Soccer Teams In Nation

Watsonville High School has one of the best soccer teams in the U.S., ranking as high as #4 nationally this year. The Wildcatz are no stranger to success on the soccer field, with multiple CCS title wins and a #1 national ranking to their credit in the recent past.

SF Giants World Series Trophy Tour Announced & Coming Our Way

The San Francisco Giants began their World Series Trophy Tour in January and announced the schedule for the rest of the stops. All three trophies–that’s 2010, 2012, and 2014 if you’re scoring at home–will be on display in Gilroy, Salinas, Marina, and Watsonville from Feb. 19-21 (see specific times, dates and locations below).

Feb. 19, 2015
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Wheeler Community Center
250 West 6th Street
Gilroy, CA 95020

Feb. 20, 2015
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Salinas Police Activities League
100 Howard Street
Salinas, CA 93901

Feb. 21, 2015
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Marina Airport Hanger
510 Nissan and Imjin Parkway
Marina, CA 93933

Feb. 21, 2015
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Monte Vista Christian High School
2 School Way
Watsonville, CA 95076

A Few of our Favorite Pictures & Posts From Santa Cruz Social Media

Have something you think we should feature next month? Use hashtag #santacruzlife when posting on your favorite social media platform to make sure we see your post.
About Joshua Vincent

Joshua Vincent is a freelance writer who has lived in Santa Cruz for 12 years. Follow his tweets at @VincentChirps.