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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Church, Pacific and Cooper Streets, 7:50AM, 1957. This early winter morning photo shows that Pacific Avenue was pretty dull looking before Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Abbott convinced the city powers to beautify the street. That's Leask's Department store on the extreme left and of course the Cooper House on the right.

Bruce Bratton

SOME HOPES FOR 2003. Let's hope that the new City Council doesn't revert to the old and mistaken way of thinking that by welcoming more Costco's, Gateway Plazas, Circuit Citys and Borders it'll somehow keep our city coffers better filled. The money spent in those chains goes to their out-of-town headquarters, and we lose both ways. Let's hope too that the advocates for widening Highway 1 study what's happened everyplace highways have been widened and learn that it doesn't work for more than a few months. There may be hope that with more countries worldwide adapting fluoridation that maybe Santa Cruz could catch up with progress. More worldwide studies, surgeons general, university labs, and dentists all say fluoridating our water would help all age groups (yes, babies and seniors) fight cavities. The positive statistics and tests have been going on for over 50 years. It's time to stop listening to those cranks from San Diego and brighten our smiles forever.

KINGDOM OF SHADOWS. Gangs of New York has great acting by Daniel Day Lewis and some almost unknown history of early New York City, but not much else. Leonardo DiCaprio is terribly miscast and somehow Scorsese just missed the boat again. But it's such a huge spectacle that you should see it on the big screen. In Two Weeks Notice, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant play two of the most disagreeable people I've ever seen onscreen. Why anyone would want to couple with either of them is beyond me, and they're not funny. Besides that, it's so boring that you spend all your time looking at Bullock's face-lifts. Then there's Catch Me If You Can and both DiCaprio and Tom Hanks do superb acting jobs. The script is tight, funny and true. Remember that it's based on a true story and you'll enjoy it even more.

GOODBYE CHUCK VOLWILER. Chuck Volwiler died of kidney cancer last Saturday. Chuck was Jim Schwenterley's partner in the reopening of the Del Mar and owning the Nickelodeon business. He was also a board member of the Triangle Speakers and cared a lot about his community. I worked with Chuck almost daily for three months before the Del Mar opened and got to know him. He was funny, decisive, brilliant and very outspoken. If you've ever had a pro come in to do a remodel job, imagine what Chuck went through in "remodeling" the Del Mar, and he won. Services will be this Saturday 2pm, at Oakwood Memorial Chapel, 3301 Paul Sweet Rd., across from Dominican Hospital. Make any donations to the local charity of your choice.

NEW NOAM CHOMSKY MESSAGE. This won't exactly cheer you up, but Chomsky reports on the occasion of Human Rights Week about the U.S.-backed Turkish terrorist campaigns. Just go to www.zmag.org. That's if you haven't already found this Zmag site, a valuable alternative to our mainstream media.

YEAR-END CLEARANCE. Remember Austin Powers' midget sidekick Mini-Me in the last two films? Remember how you probably thought he was named because he was a "mini-me" clone of Powers? Well in Thomas Mann's The Confessions of Felix Krull (written in 1955) the obnoxious lap dog is named "Minimee." Try to calm down. Gas is only $1.41 in Oxnard. John Yewell is now the editor of the Salt Lake Weekly, and will probably be singing in the choir in no time at all. See the Sentinel's trio of photographers exhibit in the Lezin Gallery at the MAH. These guys' individual approaches to photographing our beaches and life on those beaches are as interesting as they are beautiful and professional.

CHARLES WOLTERS, A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE. Go see this exhibit of Wolter's paintings. He died about a year ago. It's an example of his style over the last 10-15 years. Charles taught generations of students at Soquel High, and many of those students not only kept in close contact with Charles but went on to become artists in their own right. The exhibit will only be in the Solari Gallery on the second floor of the Museum of Art and History (MAH) though this Sunday (Jan.5).

APO HSU TO CONDUCT. Apo Hsu is the music director of the Springfield, Mo., Symphony. She'll be conducting a Haydn Cello Concerto featuring Min-Ji Kim, who's from Korea and is the winner of the Klein String Competition. They'll play Peanuts Gallery by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, which is based on Schulz's comic strip, and close the concert with Schumann's Symphony no. 2. The symphony has never sounded better and tickets are selling well, so get yours by calling 462-0553 or go to www.santacruzsymphony.org.

SOME GOOD NEWS. By any and all counts (except our daily paper) our Santa Cruz downtown is doing just fine. Sure there are business closings and openings just as there are in the Capitola Mall and anywhere there are more than just a few small businesses. The character of business is changing, and that has nothing to do with any city council. One out-of-town friend who knows women's fashions says that Pacific Avenue is rapidly becoming a place to shop for really unique "nowhere else" clothing. The streets are crowded with shoppers and an average number of the "weird." There's lots of sleeping homeless in Westwood Village in L.A., too. Businesses have to change to reþect the times and tastes. Our entire Pacific Avenue has been changing and will continue to change, I think it's for the better. Look at other cities our size, check out their downtowns, and be glad you're here. Happy New Year and remember my almost annual reminder that I'm not trying to cause any trouble, I'm only trying to straighten everything out.

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From the January 1-8, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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