Back at my first newspaper job at the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, I wrote a story about how the long-term projections for the California salmon population were alarming. Two decades later, those numbers didn’t turn out to be accurate. In fact, the reality is far worse than what scientists and fishermen were able to imagine then.
Maria Grusauskas’ cover story this week explains why. From rising ocean temperatures to how an unforeseen crop trend in the Central Valley is killing off salmon before they even reach the Monterey Bay, her story puts together the pieces to create a clear picture of how we got here.
Just as importantly, it explains why it matters. Salmon play a remarkable role in shaping our ecosystem that very few of us understand—but after reading this story, you will.
Lastly, a quick update, also on the topic of conservation and our link to the natural world: last year, I wrote about Santa Cruz’s internationally renowned nature photographer Frans Lanting, and mentioned he would be doing a show locally in 2016 featuring his photos from the Monterey Bay. That event, “Fran’s Lanting’s Bay of Life,” is coming to the Rio this Saturday, Feb. 6. Lanting will share images and stories at two shows, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. For ticket information, go to lanting.com.


Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Bottled Up
Re: “Bubbling Up” (GT, 1/27): I applaud Mr. Ow’s forward thinking (as always) and the realization of his dreams with the Westside project. He has created less expensive space for inventors and artists, which is sorely needed in Santa Cruz’s ever-more-costly rental market.
One thing only, regarding LifeAID/FitAID, athletes have more than their share of healthy beverages shelf space. The cost to the already plastic-polluted environment and of additional water usage are a definite downside, and I think leasing/rental agents should reconsider signing with bottled-drink entrepreneurs.
Kathy Cheer
Santa Cruz

Bad Strategy
Re: “Fury Road” (GT, 12/23): Freeway protests are bad strategy. They frighten and endanger and alienate people who are not responsible for the problem being protested against. They lose support. Social change only happens when there is widespread support for the change. Blocking freeways and airports attracts attention, but gains no support, no solidarity.
History shows us many truly effective ways to change a societal problem, ways that do not just end up looking like a tantrum. Blockading corporate offices, arms factories, polluting businesses, etc. also get attention but make sense and deal directly with those responsible. Organized actions that do not cause problems for passers-by show consideration for the public, so the public is more inclined to pay attention to the idea and to support it. Lining overpasses and sides of freeways with signs and banners for miles, without harassment of bystanders, without blocking traffic, would make drivers feel communicated with, not hassled and endangered and unfairly blamed.  Successful protests are those that gain more and more support for the cause. Successful protests involve real strategy.
Kathleen Miller

Online Comments
Re: ‘Catching Fiber’
This partnership is one of the best things the City of Santa Cruz has ever undertaken. As an IT professional, I can’t find anything bad about this project. The benefits are numerous and widespread. The risks are extremely minimal. Everyone wins, except maybe Comcast and AT&T.  Personally, it can’t get here fast enough for me.
—   John Rickard
Re: ‘Bubbling Up’
Hi Kara Guzman. So well-written. Thank you for putting such good and thorough energy into this story. I know the story well and am very impressed by your research and understanding of the building and businesses.
— George Ow, Jr.
There are other great businesses in the building, too. Tao San Fitness & Martial Arts was one of the first few business to rent space in the building. When we first moved in, there was only drywall and concrete floors. Now we have a beautiful, 3,000-plus square-foot studio space with 18 hanging heavy bags for our Fit-Boxing classes, as well as a separate room for Personal Training, Self-Defense and Martial Arts classes.
— Salvetoria Larter
Re: Rail of a Trail
We do not need a train at astronomical prices running through our town. Pull up the tracks and put in a trail, it will get way more use and is more ecological. I could go on and on, but just ask who profits by a rail to be subsidized at $12 million a year.
— Tom Haid
Thanks for the article. I do not understand why anyone would be against this. A bargain at twice the price. Once people start to see what this can be, they are going to be so thankful that so many worked hard to make this happen for our county. Although [it’s true that] the Capitola/Santa Cruz leg is needed the most, it seems to me that the first legs that are being completed are easier to accomplish. It’s important for people to see how great this is going to be so that they will support the entire thing.
— Linda Rosewood

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The Box Bike Collective, a new Santa Cruz-based business, has started building innovative, easy-to-ride cargo bicycles and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund them. The bikes have a box behind the front wheel, making it easier to carry kids, groceries and surfboards, and a battery to help with the pedaling, says founder Alex Yasbek. He says he always loved bike commuting and decided he didn’t want to give it up when he had a kid.


We’d like to take a second to honor the service of Dennis Popper, also known as TuPop Sha-Corn, the hardest-working—or at least funniest-named—popcorn maker in the business. The popcorn maker is now gone, and its former home, Aptos Cinemas, has been gutted. The 45-year-old institution closed Jan. 26, after Landmark Theatres announced its lease at the Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center had not been renewed. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Popper. You always left us feeling buttered up.


“Someone may offer you a freshly caught whole large fish, like a salmon or striped bass. Don’t panic. Take it!”

-Julia Child


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