• June 2024

    Teen Artes Exhibit Showcases Local Talent

    A new exhibit by local high school students in the Teen Artes program, under the umbrella of Pajaro Valley Arts, opened in May in the PV Arts Porter Building on Main Street. The show features mixed media, paintings, collage, ceramic sculpture and other mediums by four students from Watsonville, Aptos and St. Francis High schools as well as alumni, and teaching artists.It was curated by Teen Artes participants in 2023-2024 with the help of local artist Josefina Rocha.Teen Artes participants in the 2023/24 school year spent the year learning from professional teaching artists and their mediums and created works of art that have inspired them to further develop their artistic…

  • June 2024

    Want Free Childcare in Your Home?

    If you’ve got a toddler or preschooler, finding quality childcare is probably an ongoing concern. Today, millennials spend more time with their children than any previous generation, and with their flexible work schedules, they need childcare that works for them. When I was in your shoes (many moons ago), I stressed out about how to give my girls an enriching experience while I worked during the day. I didn’t want them to sit in front of a TV, and today, I wouldn’t want them to be glued to a smartphone. After checking out preschools and daycare programs to no avail, I set up childcare in my home so I could…

  • June 2024

    A Triumph of Potential: From Overlooked Youth to Rising Stars

    As the bright lights illuminated the Santa Cruz TEDx stage, Alex and Martín stood side-by-side with me, their presence commanding the audience’s attention. These two young men from Santa Cruz County are a living embodiment of the life-changing power of believing in hidden talent. For Alex, the journey began years earlier on a court at the YMCA where I was coaching basketball. I love sports and volunteered to coach the team that no one else wanted – a crew of eight boys, including Alex. We didn’t win a single game. People would make fun of our losing streaks. To lift my team’s spirits, I reached out to the Golden State…

  • June 2024

    Driving to School in a Fire Engine

    Every year I try to bid on something at the Rio del Mar Elementary School charity auction, but I’ve never been able to afford the big ticket items. One year we got outbid on Giants tickets that went for $300 and ended up with a knitted octopus for $25. This year, however, I promised myself I’d make my 8-year-old son’s dream come true: he wanted to be driven to school in a fire truck. In past years it was one of the most popular items in the live auction and I’m not rich. But you know, they serve free drinks at these events and the alcohol loosens wallets. And you…

  • June 2024

    2024 Educator of the Year Award Recipients Honored

    The Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Santa Cruz COE) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 Santa Cruz County Educator of the Year Awards, which recognize exceptional educators from across Santa Cruz County who embody the values of our school community. Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Faris Sabbah and the Santa Cruz County Board of Education recognized this year’s award recipients at the County Board of Education meeting on May 16.“Each of these outstanding honorees has shown unwavering dedication and support for students’ success, both in and out of the classroom,” said Sabbah. “It is a privilege to recognize these exemplary educators and partners whose…

  • June 2024

    Mount Madonna Class of 2024 Gets Ready to Fly

    Mount Madonna School is pleased to announce Ona Musoll-Buendia as the 20243 valedictorian and Anya Gonzalez and Emma Monclus as co-salutatorians. These students earned this distinction through hard work and focused effort, edging out their peers at the Central Coast school known for strong academics, environmental education, learning journeys, performing arts and scholar athletes. The 2024 high school graduation ceremony will be held at the school’s upper campus June 13 at 10:30am. “The graduating class is comprised of academically strong, talented and creative students who are ethically minded,” commented Head of School Ann Goewert. “I am proud of Ona Musoll-Buendia, valedictorian, and Anya Gonzalez and Emma Monclus, co-salutatorians, for their…

  • June 2024

    What Fuels Misbehavior?

    Imagine an iceberg. On top floats a small amount of ice but below, a whole lot is going on that is unseen. In Positive Discipline classes, you will hear the phrases, “behavior has a purpose” and “behavior is a form of communication.” That unseen ice below the surface is their interpretation of a situation that produces anger, jealousy, or disappointment in your child’s heart. You will be aware of the challenging behaviors, but not always aware of those submerged feelings and hurts you don’t see in your child that are fueling this behavior.There is a purpose to all that children do; they are communicating, although usually in immature ways, but…

  • June 2024

    Summer Fun On a Budget

    Keeping the kids entertained while on summer break can be an expensive endeavor. Registrations for summer camps, daycare, and recreation programs are only the tip of the iceberg. You also need to consider transportation costs to and from these programs you don’t normally attend during the school year. However, summer break doesn’t have to break your budget. You can still take some quality family time and you can do it all on a dime. Here are some great ideas to keep your children entertained while you are at work, and some fun family activities, all of which are economical or free! Camp out in your yard If you can’t take…

  • June 2024

    Santa Cruz Symphony Goes to the Movies

    The last concert of the Santa Cruz Symphony season offers more than simply an orchestral tribute to movie maestro John Williams. Join the street party before the concert, from 5pm-7:30pm in front of the Civic Auditorium. There will be food trucks, music, dancing and a costume contest for those who dress in character for the featured movies – Star Wars, Harry Potter, and others. It’s all a love fest for legendary composer John Williams, a man who has created memorable soundtracks for more than five decades. Star Wars! You can already hear it. Indiana Jones, you’re singing along. Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and the immortal duh duh, duh duh, duh…

  • June 2024

    Hiking Fall Creek at Henry Cowell

    It’s dawn and I’m the first to park in the Henry Cowell State Park parking lot up Felton-Empire Grade Road. I had to use my phone alarm to wake up. I hope hiking will get my circadian rhythm in alignment with the sun and moon, but for now my circadian rhythm is in alignment with Netflix and my bladder. My left knee cramps and my phone says its 40 degrees. I thought hell would be warmer. If you are a beginning or casual hiker, this column may be for you. If I can walk these trails, you can too. I hike every week, but I am not good at it.…

  • June 2024

    A Volcanic New Direction for Mystery Writer Leslie Karst

    Known for her popular Sally Solari cozy mystery series, local author and parttime Hawai’i resident Leslie Karst has just whipped up a brand-new adventure mystery, Molten Death. The new cozy (non-violent, no bad words) mystery is planned to be the first of Karst’s Orchid Isle series. In this fast-moving caper Karst takes the reader well beyond tiki bars and luau buffets. Once her protagonist sees a body being engulfed by hot lava, the hunt is on for a killer. Readers of Molten Death will be treated to well-researched island lore, simmering eco-politics, panoramic hot lava, and of course, Karst’s tasty menus with an Aloha flavor. GU: Did the experience of…

  • June 2024

    Music Teacher Reaches Autistic Kids Through Rhythm

    The student and the teacher sit facing one other, their feet on the drum pedals, drumsticks in their hands. Autism may make the ten-year old’s speech unique, it may make his attention variable, but right now he is communicating with his teacher in a different dimension, in a language he can feel. “Can you go from there back into the beat?”“I got you.”And the ten-year-old lays down a funk groove with panache, does a fill around the toms and then leans back into the groove, accenting the off beats as his face settles into a quiet, confident smile.The teacher laughs and hits the rim of his snare drum. “You rock!”…

  • June 2024

    Three Things You Won’t Regret This Summer

    Summer is here and we are in the midst of the months where the weather has shifted and we can celebrate the sunniest time of year. What often happens for parents during the summer months is often that it can feel difficult to balance work and family time while keeping everyone entertained. It is also usually full of big decisions around camps, trips and even considering how to keep the house clean. To maximize your joy, center some focus around finances and organizational skills this summer. Read more for how to do that and still have fun! Here are some tips for parents on how to stay social and still…