.From The Editor

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This is a big year for Frans Lanting and his wife Chris Eckstrom. In addition to hosting a documentary crew shooting a film about Lanting’s work as a photographer and naturalist, the Santa Cruz power couple has prepped two huge exhibits on opposite coasts, in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

For me, that raised a question that often comes up when discussing Santa Cruz professionals who have found success on a national (or in this case, international) level: what keeps them here, especially when so many locals leave for bigger cities when they hit the big time?

That question was on my mind when I went to their new office space on the Westside, but I didn’t even get to ask it. They’re so all about Santa Cruz that their love for it comes out in virtually everything they talk about. Not only are they excited to be doing their first Santa Cruz event in quite a while next year (at the Rio on Feb. 6), and photography workshops in their new space, but this place, where they’ve lived for 30 years, is also a central part of the new documentary. When it’s shown in Los Angeles in conjunction with the “LIFE” exhibit, it will be educating audiences not just about Lanting and Eckstrom’s fascinating work, but also about the California coast that they love.

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More on Monument

The effort to establish the Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument will allow for federal protections in perpetuity, and make access free and open to everyone. It is of utmost importance that we protect this cherished land so that our communities can enjoy what the North Coast has to offer as well as pass on a legacy of environmental advocacy to future generations. Thank you, Sens. Boxer and Feinstein, and thank you Congresswoman Eshoo for leading the way.

Madeleine Conway, Santa Cruz

Online Comments

Re: Rail

Without the train, people will keep jamming Highway 1 North in the a.m., and south in the p.m. Mindless politicians like Zach Friend will then use that as justification to place our future generations in heavy debt to pay for widening the highway, which would be the largest and most expensive public works project in our county’s history. Guys like Friend don’t care, he was raised a privileged yuppie in San Diego, and naturally our beautiful county will always appear underdeveloped to a metro technocrat like that. Seacliff infill, multiple-storied subsidized commercial construction, all clogging our aging roads. The train will get the kooks out of their cars, and if implemented smartly will pull commuters off the freeway.  

— East Side Cruz

If the rail would pay for itself at the fare box, I would say keep the rails.  Mr. Scott is disingenuous … “working service” does not mean the cost of owning the rails and ROW and maintaining it along with providing service is covered as of today. The current contract is a joke with the short haulers. At this point, the SCRTD is writing grants hoping to win money to bring the numerous rail bridges up to a minimal safety standard. Within the next seven years, they will have to return the bond money by creating a special parcel tax. End of the day, this ROW could cost us a lot or little, depending how we play it.

— Robert Schneider

Passenger rail is demonstrably the right thing to do. In the end, we have working services right now on the branch line and the best way to railbank it is to maintain some level, even a minimum level, of service. Be on the lookout for comprehensive and compelling arguments against efforts to defeat the Rail With Trail project for Santa Cruz County.

— Barry Scott

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photo contest


WHAT’S UP, DOCKS? The Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor on the edge of light. Photograph by Alison Gamel.


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Rowland and Pat Rebele have been supporting the journalism community with a grant that pays Cabrillo College journalism students to work in local news outlets. As a result, there are “Rebele interns” at news and media outlets throughout the county, and many in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Rowland Rebele says he’d rather students get experience in the field than struggle at some other job while studying. Stanford University is the only other school around with a program like this.


good idea



Americans are one step closer to safer rental cars, thanks to a bill in honor of sisters Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, two Santa Cruz girls who died in a car accident 11 years ago. Their PT Cruiser from Enterprise had been recalled for a power steering defect that had not been repaired. A new amendment would keep rental cars with open recalls off the road. It was added to the DRIVE Act, a transportation bill that passed the Senate Commerce Committee.




“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.” — Vincent Van Gogh 



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