Plus Letters To the Editor
Before the arrival of the Warriors, Santa Cruz didn’t have sports teams to get behind (other than the Derby Girls, of course). Our civic pride instead went into a rooting interest in only-in-Santa-Cruz phenomena that seemed like everybody everywhere should embrace. Spoiler alert: usually, they did not.
That’s why it seemed strange when Bonny Doon Vineyard started to make a big impact in the mainstream wine world. From the start, Randall Grahm was the most Santa Cruz entrepreneur ever—a counterculture thinker, visionary and remorseless punner who took no end of joy in mocking the pretensions of the wine industry. At the same time, he was also making great wine. I have cherished memories of the bottles I got from his wine club back in the day—they were sometimes experimental one-offs that he never produced again, and among them were absolutely the most intriguing wines I have ever experienced.
When Grahm sold off his most successful wines, Big House Red and Cardinal Zin, in the mid-2000s, something changed. While still capable of producing great wines, Grahm’s big-picture vision seemed increasingly rudderless.
Clearly, he realized this, as well. In Christina Waters’ cover story this week, she examines how Grahm is attempting to refocus with a new estate vineyard and a new mission, inspired by the hyper-specific qualities of seed and soil. From one punner to another, Randall, we’re rooting for you.
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Power of Tree
Thank you for highlighting the healing power of trees in your Health and Wellness issue (GT, July 29). I think it’s important to recognize that the health benefits are much more wide-ranging and readily accessible than suggested in the article.
It’s clear that being in forests is profoundly good for us, with a host of documented benefits that include reduced stress, blood pressure and depression, and improved vitality, immune function, and sleep. And it’s not just old-growth forests, not just conifers, and not just the aroma that have positive impacts.
Similarly, being near trees in cities makes people happier and healthier, and even reduces crime rates. The effects are so powerful that even viewing trees through a window or images of trees has positive impacts on health and behavior. Extensive research confirms what many of us know instinctively—trees help us think better, feel better, heal better, and treat each other better—in forests and urban areas alike.
Humans lived in nature for millions of years. It’s what we’re designed for, so it’s not surprising that being near trees and nature is healthy for us. Saying that trees heal us because of the aromatic compounds they generate is akin to saying that love is good for us because it releases oxytocin—it’s just part of a very rich and complex story. And, like love, our deep and healing bond with trees is much more beautiful and mysterious than what can be measured in scientific studies.
We’re incredibly fortunate to have access to abundant forests and natural places in this area. Being in those places is one of the best things we can do for our bodies, minds and spirits.
P.S. The Japanese term for forest bathing is actually “Shinrin-yoku.”
Kai Siedenburg, Santa Cruz
Re: Madyson Middleton (GT, July 29): Santa Cruz needs to figure out who it wants to be when it grows up, and start making mature decisions toward that end. It must change the way it thinks. Authority is not evil; especially when it is used as a tool to keep the people of its community safe to enjoy all the wonders that it has to offer. It exists on the same continuum as respect, consideration and the Golden Rule. It should be exercised with fairness and equality, starting at home and extending to our schools and community.
Parents must be empowered to guide their children’s choices. They must teach by example, even if that means changing their own behaviors. Schools must be viewed as partners in raising children. They bear a shared responsibility in nurturing and influencing character of our children. They must be given the support and tools to do this with the full and constant participation of parents and the community. Police are not the enemy. With a few exceptions, they are the everyday heroes that allow a community to function in an atmosphere of security and safety.
I share the sadness and grief of a community that has seen too many tragedies of late. My response has been to abandon Santa Cruz in search of a kinder place. But my hope is that this amazing city, on the beautiful Central Coast of California, will look deep into its soul and muster the good sense and strength to make the right choices to reclaim this most precious jewel for those who have loved it and still believe in its future.
Claudia Rimai, Campbell
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BUT ON THE OTHER SIDE, THEY DON’T SAY NOTHING Signs, signs, everywhere a sign in Nisene Marks. Photograph by Jake Chapnick.
Ten years of planning and community organizing will pay off for some Aptos neighbors. On Monday, Aug. 3, the Santa Cruz County Parks department had a groundbreaking ceremony for Seacliff Village Park, at the corner of McGregor Drive and Sea Ridge Road in Aptos. Phase One, which will be finished in five months, will have a lighthouse-themed play structure, a picnic area, a small plaza, a drinking fountain, benches, multiple walkways and drought-tolerant landscaping.
Scientists at UCSC are using big data to fight cancer, and now they’re getting some help, too. The Genomics Institute’s California Kids Cancer Comparison project was recently awarded $1.2 million in funding. The project, led by UCSC engineering professor David Haussler, will harness big data to search for a wide variety of cancer therapies for children who fail to respond to traditional treatment, and track their effectiveness.