County briefs, Jan. 11, 2019

Citizens’ group to discuss rail line

SANTA CRUZ — Beginning today, a randomly selected group of citizens will convene to develop a “We the People” set of recommendations for the Santa Cruz Branch Line Rail Corridor.

Members of the public are invited to the Community Conversation on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Cruzio Works in Downtown Santa Cruz.

The event will take place before the Regional Transportation Commission’s Jan. 17 vote to approve a scenario laid out in the Unified Corridor Investment Study, which includes freight and passenger rail along the branch line.

The group will be composed of voters randomly selected from the Santa Cruz County Voter Rolls. They will meet with the help of professional facilitator Jim Rough from the Center for Wise Democracy over a 24-hour period, from 6:30 p.m. today to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.  

The facilitator will engage the group until it reaches consensus on a set of recommendations. They will present these recommendations at a public Community Conversation on Saturday night.

“This is a 100 percent open and transparent process,” said event organizer Corrina McFarlane. “We want as many people as possible to participate.”

The Center for Wise Democracy has conducted this “We the People” process in Ashland, Ore., Victoria, BC and Voralberg, Austria.

“So far the best use case is in Austria where the local government used it to develop a response to the flood of Syrian refugees the country has seen,” Rough said. “The people liked the process so much that they incorporated into the local constitution.”

Space is limited for Saturday’s event. Register to attend in-person or see it live streamed online at


Alzheimer’s Association presents workshop

SANTA CRUZ — The Alzheimer’s Association will present “Effective Communication Strategies” on Jan. 18 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at 550 Water St., Suite L2, in Santa Cruz.

Attendees of the workshop will learn how to decode behavioral messages, identify common behavior triggers, and learn strategies to help intervene with some of the most common behavioral challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.

There is no charge for the workshop, but donations are appreciated.

To RSVP, call 800-272-3900 or email [email protected]


MLK March returns to Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ — The Santa Cruz Police Department and the NAACP Santa Cruz County Branch are inviting the community to the second annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March in Santa Cruz on Jan. 21.

The march begins at 10 a.m. in downtown Santa Cruz starting on Cathcart Street between Cedar Street and Pacific Avenue, with staging beginning at 9 a.m. The route will march down Pacific Avenue to Church Street to the Civic Auditorium, and will convene for speeches and family-friendly activities. 

The theme for this year’s event is “March for the Dream – Justice. Equality. Love.”

“Last year we established the MLK March in Santa Cruz as a fantastic, family-friendly, inspiring, and collaborative event,” said Santa Cruz Police Chief Andrew Mills. “This year, let’s show the nation what a united community looks like.”

Individuals, families, community groups, clubs, schools and congregations are invited to march.

The Association of Faith Communities will be accepting donations of new socks for their SPIN (Socks for People In Need) program at the staging site and at the Civic.

For information, visit or call 420-5844.


Dinner benefits fly fishing club

SANTA CRUZ — The Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen will hold its annual fundraising dinner on Jan. 26 featuring a raffle and auction along with a wild caught salmon dinner grilled up by members of the Rotary Club of Santa Cruz.

The fly fishing club, which was established in 1977, holds this yearly event to fund wildlife habitat conservation efforts, youth outdoor programs and local school watershed education.

The dinner is being held at Peace United Church, 900 High St. in Santa Cruz on Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. Tickets, available at the door, are $40 for adults, and $25 for kids 12 and younger.

For information, visit


Chefs sought for Clam Chowder Cook-Off

SANTA CRUZ — The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is calling all chefs for the 38th Annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off.

The fundraiser for Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation Department is a two-day event, with amateur chefs competing on Feb. 23 and professional chefs on Feb. 24.

Judges will determine the best Manhattan and Boston Clam Chowders in Amateur and Professional categories. The public will weigh in on awards for People’s Choice and Most Tasted Clam Chowders. Prizes include airline tickets, cash and wall plaques.

The event attracts competitors from all over Northern California including professionals such as former “Top Chef” competitor Michael Midgley plus families and friends with favorite family recipes who enjoy competing in the seaside atmosphere.

All proceeds from the Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off benefit the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department.

Last year the event attracted 70 entries and thousands of chowder fans, bringing in $100,000 for City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department programs. The popular event has raised more than $1,489,500 for Santa Cruz Parks & Rec since it started in 1981.

Loulou’s Griddle in the Middle, a popular Monterey diner featured on “Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” won the Best Professional Boston division last year.

Their secret? 

“The main ingredient in our clam chowder is love,” said Loulou’s chef Gigi Davis.

The deadline for chefs to register is Feb. 4. The entry fee is $50, or $75 for professionals (restaurants, caterers and food services).

For information, entry forms, and rules, visit


County Office of Education awarded grant

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE) has been awarded a 2018 Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant for $663,379.20 from the California Department of Education.  

The grant supports the Health and Wellness Santa Cruz project, mobile healthcare units, and the Arts Integration program.

The Health and Wellness Santa Cruz project consists of monthly day-long workshops designed to develop expertise at school sites to know about and refer students to available health and wellness resources such as nutrition, shelter, mental health, substance use, physical health, fitness, social services and law enforcement.

In addition, SCCOE will partner with local health organizations to provide mobile school health centers throughout Santa Cruz County.

The Arts Integration program has been implemented for visual and performing arts at several local school districts at the elementary level for the past eight years in partnership with the Santa Cruz Arts Council. The grant will expand the program for grades 6-12 in Alternative Education Program classrooms throughout the county.


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