Fundraiser TONIGHT at Joe's Bar for BC Brewery employees

COME TO JOE'S BAR TONIGHT

I am still in shock, feel sick, and completely saddened. This restaurant is one of the main reasons we moved to this community, and the staff was always so wonderful to us. If you can please come by Joe's Bar to help the staff through these difficult times. I hope that they can rebuild.

https://www.facebook.com/events/718785111563369/

Wildflower's Creations History

Wildflower's Creations was started in 1999 as a platform for my artwork. I first started off selling jewelry, then with the recession after 9/11/2001 the business got put on a back burner. Over time I tried to finish my AA in ceramics and transition the business into that but with a work injury affecting my entire right arm in 2004 I was forced to find a new art medium. Over time it became obvious that my new medium would be photography. Photography has a great ability to document history, life events, and the beauty of the natural world. I went back to school in 2011 to get an AA in photography. I finished my photography certificate at Foothill College in the fall of 2014 and I am currently on track to finish my AA this spring. My journey at Foothill College has been a life changing one, as well as an empowering one.

I started blogging for the Boulder Creek Insider( http://bouldercreekinsider.com/author/rachelwooster/ ), a local news blog, in July of 2013 and in December of that same year my first articles were published in the local paper. I am now a regular reporter for the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. A position I never thought I would have, me, someone with dyslexia, learning disabilities, and now physical disabilities (my right arm). I would not be here if I hadn't started blogging, or if Wendy hadn't asked me to start writing for the paper. It still is shocking to me more than a year later.

Now that graduation is coming closer I am finally going to be able to focus on my photography. I am planning on writing tour guides and other educational materials. With my writing skills and photography skills intertwined I will be teaching others about the beauty that is all around us. Continuing to inform the local community with my reporting for the paper. As well as serving my clients with their photography needs (portraits, product, and weddings).

These next dozen posts are going to be the articles of mine that have been published since December 2013. Enjoy reading through my journey as a reporter, seeing some of our local happenings, and the wonders of the Santa Cruz Mountains. May the journey never end!

SCM Bulletin - Annual Children's Christmas Tree Trimming

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “Annual Children’s Christmas Tree Trimming”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 3, Issue 12, page 3, author

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I loved writing this article. I am very involved with the museum and have attended as many of their events as I can, this event by far is my favorite. The image in the paper is not mine, but the image below is. The doll pictured below was made by 4 year old Boulder Creek resident Taylor Kievlan.

Sunday December 7th the San Lorenzo Valley Museum had their 13th annual Children’s Christmas Tree Trimming. This is the museum’s longest running event and as usual was a huge success. Over 40 families participated this year in getting ready for Christmas the old fashioned way by decorating cookies, making ornaments, and arranging greenery. This may be a children’s event but don’t think the parents weren’t involved as well; I saw just as many parents creating decorations as I did children.

There was a wide range of choices of activities and for a $5 donation you could do as many of them as you wanted. The skill levels involved also varied a great deal, but none of the activities were too hard for children, as the picture attached shows. The lovely lady you see there was made by Taylor Kievlan of Boulder Creek who is 4 years old. This activity starts off with two twigs tied together with a head already attached. You then choose from dried and fresh plant materials, tie it with raffia, which you also had a few colors to choose from, and with hot glue, assistance provided if needed, you create until you are happy with the final product. There are even 3 example dolls to help you along. This was the Kievlan family’s first time and her grandmother could not be more proud of Taylor’s creation. Taylor’s mother says she is going to display it year round, not just at Christmas. I saw several very well done versions of this activity by a wide range of ages. I heard others say how their kids look forward to opening the box that has the ornaments they have made from years past.

There were many more choices of activities. You could make a wreath or candy cane out of beads and pipe cleaners. If that isn’t for you, maybe making a Santa’s sled or a train out of candy is, this activity was a big hit with kids. If getting some candy hasn’t satisfied your sweet tooth you can decorate sugar or gingerbread cookies. If you wanted something more challenging you could make a corn husk doll and with a bit of pipe cleaner the doll quickly becomes an angel. For a hanging doll you could do the activity pictured. Finally for those of you who want to bring some greenery indoors you could make a hanging arrangement or a center piece out of fresh greenery, bells, and ribbon. There also was a decorated tree at the back of the museum near the original entrance to the Church. Next to that was hot cider and an arrangement of sweets for all to enjoy. There really was something for everyone.

It takes a lot of work to put on an event like this as well as sponsors. The sponsors this year were Joe’s Bar, W/A Insurance Services, and Redwood Resort. It was organized by executive director Lynda Phillips who was helped out by many volunteers. Friday night 10 AmeriCorps volunteers who put down paper to protect the floor, brought in the tables, chairs, and helped decorate for the event. The day of the event 14 volunteers, three of which were also from AmeriCorps, helped with setup, assisting everyone with the activities, and clean up. As always it was a well planned and executed event.

I have been to many activities at the museum this year and this one felt the most warm and inviting. It was like the whole community was coming together to decorate, socialize, and make this holiday time more than just about gifts, but about family and community. Now part of this could be because this was the first time you could really get outside after a week long rain storm and enjoy a bit of sunlight, I was very grateful this event was blessed with such nice weather. Our family will definitely be doing this again for many years to come, and I highly recommend it to everyone of any age.

SCM Bulletin - Artwork For Change

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “Artwork For Change”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 3, Issue 10, Art & Music page 14, author & photographer

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Santa Cruz Open Studios is a wonderful annual event were you get to meet and see artists in action. The artists in the Santa Cruz Mountains don't always get the same amount of attention as those in Santa Cruz. So to change that I did two things, first did a blog post on Boulder Creek Insider listing all of the artists, making them easy to find in the sea of artists in this event, second I found an artist in our mountains that I thought had the strongest message this year. It was an honor to write about Marc Shargel, point out his countless hours of volunteerism, and his mission as an artists. The article below tells a little of his story.

Open Studios is a way for the public to get a glimpse into the diverse world of the artists that live among us, and this year is no exception. The San Lorenzo Valley has 22 artists participating this year in Open Studios Art Tour sponsored by the Santa Cruz Art League. For a full list of these artists visit www.BoulderCreekInsider.com.

For me one artist stood out from the rest, Marc Shargel. He shows us how artwork can make positive change in the world. He is a photographer and conservationist based in Felton. He has been here for 30 years, been diving for 36 years, and been a professional underwater photographer for 26 years. In that time he has seen progressive change in the oceans and volunteered countless hours to protect them. His focus has been the California coast which has had marine reserves since 1973. In 2000 he started his conservation endeavors helping to form two marine conservation organizations. From 2004 to 2006 he served on a state panel that was charged with creating a network for marine reserves along our entire coast. These marine reserves are like small refuges in the oceans were marine life can breed and grow old. Some marine life such as rockfish have to reach 40 to 50 years old before they are in their breeding prime, thus making these marine reserves very important for diverse and healthy ecosystems.

He did not stop there though, with the marine reserves now in place scientists needed to study them to see if they were effective. Not all of the marine reserves were implemented as advised, so he turned to art once again and started writing books to communicate to decision makers and the general public their importance. To date he has four books published, three in the Wonders of the Sea series, and his most recent Yesterday’s Ocean which is a history of marine life on California’s central coast. All of his books do a wonderful job of combining his underwater photography with historical images and easy to understand factual information to inform the reader and show them what is at stake.

Scientists now feel that the marine reserves from Mendocino county to Santa Barbara have been successful. In the rest of our coast however, (from Mendocino county to Oregon and Santa Barbara to Mexico) the marine reserves are spaced too far apart and are too small to be effective.

Marc is now expanding the focus of his art beyond politics to the public. He wants to communicate the amazing beauty of our coast to as many as he can. As the person who has seen the changes in our oceans for almost four decades he now wants to share that more intimately with the general public. He is having his first ever underwater photography class in February, to show people hands on what he has seen and learned. He also is continuing with his books, canvas prints, and postcards to get the word out there. To see his artwork, register for his upcoming class, purchase his books or other artwork please visit www.LivingSeaImages.com.

SCM Bulletin - SLV Book Review "A Split History"

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “SLV Book Review”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 3, Issue 8, page 12, author

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This was my first book review for the paper, and I hope to do many more in the future. Since writing this article I have finished the book, which has lead me to reading many others. I just can't absorb enough local history. I guess that is why I volunteer at our local museum.

In June Santa Cruz MAH released their seventh book in their History Journal series. Titled Redwood Logging and Conservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains – A Split History, it catalogs the history of the San Lorenzo Valley in 34 articles and 128 illustrations. It is the combined work of 21 authors from all over our valley and is a total of 267 pages long. The articles discuss things such as the name of our valley and how it was almost renamed, Native Americans, logging, conservation, redwood surfboards, albino redwoods, and some of the fascinating people who have lived here.  

The book cover is in color and the book itself is printed in black and white. Each article starts off with the title and author and then combines text with illustrations to further understanding. Under each illustration it says what it is and where it came from. At the end of each article are the footnotes which tells you the source materials used, many of them being first source documents, but some are other books which allows for additional research. The book itself is laid out like any good reference book should be with a table of contents, list of illustrations, the articles, followed by the appendix which includes insurance maps, measurements, short author bios, and an index for quick and easy reference. The illustrations, which include maps, graphs, drawings and photographs, are high resolution and have good print quality. The text of the book is a good size, and easy on the eyes.

One of the things that has connected our valley in the past was a flume and Lisa Robinson does a great job of explaining its purpose and history in the article titled The San Lorenzo Valley Flume Chronicle. Including the illustrations and footnotes it is 10 pages long and is a good condensed version of her 70 page book The San Lorenzo Valley Flume. It is a quick and easy read, and still explains the major points and highlights in her book. Although missing the illustrations diagramming the construction and functionality of the flume, this is still a wonderful article.

The book starts off with a poem titled Summen – Redwood. Summen means redwood in Native American and really gives you a glimpse into how they viewed these wonderful trees. It is then followed by two articles by Mark Hylkema regarding their culture which furthers this understanding and gives you an idea of what life was like for them in the San Lorenzo Valley.

My current favorite articles in the book are by Zane Moore and are about albino redwoods. These articles are towards the back of the book and give you some insight into the diversity we have in our forests.

I still have not finished this book yet, but I have enjoyed every article I have read so far. I am looking forward to finishing it over the summer and highly recommend it to anyone interested in our valley. You can purchase the book for $24.95 at the SLV Museum in Boulder Creek or Santa Cruz MAH in downtown Santa Cruz.

SCM Bulletin - SLV Museum exhibit Crystals, Caves, & Kilns

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “SLV Museum – Crystals, Caves, & Kilns”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 3, Issue 5, page 12, author

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So do to school and my trip to China, I wasn't able to write for the paper for several months. This time my article made it, but my photo did not. Since May of 2014 I have had at least one article in the paper almost every month.

SLV Museums’ new exhibit Crystals Caves & Kilns is now open and will be on display through November 30th 2014. It explores the natural and cultural history of limestone, lime, and marble in our area. By visiting you will learn about the geologic history of our area and how marble caves form. The exhibit includes mineral and crystal specimens, 19th century artifacts, local historic photographs, and activities for the kids.

The exhibit was previously on display at Santa Cruz Natural History Museum, and is sponsored by that museum as well as SLV Water District and the Friends of the Cowell Lime Works Historic District.

At the entrance of the exhibit is a reading cave for the kids with books about cave life. Kids can also add their cave story or drawings with materials that are provided. There is a rock and minerals lab table in the back of the museum, allowing kids to examine and make their own discoveries.

The exhibit also includes information about our local marble quarry, making cement, production of lime, getting lime to market, and the legacy lime has left behind. There is a video playing that talks about a recently discovered cave that is one of the largest in California, as well as the kind of life you find in caves. There are calcite crystals, limestone, marble, travertine, and tufa samples for you to look at up-close and personal. As well as how lime is part of our everyday lives, maps, and how caves need our help to preserve them.

This exhibit has a little bit for everyone and is packed with information. So come visit San Lorenzo Valley Museum and learn about our local crystals, caves, and kilns. The museum is open every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12:00noon till 4:00pm.

Where:    San Lorenzo Valley Museum
    12547 Highway 9
    Boulder Creek, CA 95006

When:    April 26th – November 30th 2014
Wednesdays 12:00noon – 4:00pm
    Fridays 12:00noon – 4:00pm
    Saturdays 12:00noon – 4:00pm
    Sundays 12:00noon – 4:00pm

SCM Bulletin - Verizon, Can You Hear Us NOW?

Newspaper, Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, “Verizon, Can You Hear Us NOW?”, Boulder Creek CA, Volume 2, Issue 12, page 3, author & photographer

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Last Sunday eight Boulder Creek residents took time out of their busy lives to protest in front of Verizon’s store in downtown Santa Cruz. Why did they do this, you ask? Haven’t they already won? Well no actually they have not, the application has been shelved but Verizon can come back at any time and have another hearing and get it approved.

So why are these citizens so concerned about this application? Well it all boils down to location. That’s right these citizens aren’t anti cell tower, just anti location. They have even given Verizon an extensive list of alternative locations such as the water tank complex off of Madrone and Big Basin Highway. This location, unlike the proposed one, would be out of sight and on higher ground giving it greater coverage area. Another location is at the existing cell tower site on Rebecca Drive, which for some reason Verizon didn’t even know existed. Just shows how hard they really were looking for a good location that would serve the citizens of Boulder Creek.

There are other concerns including the county codes that are being waived for this location. They include a 300’ setback for residential zoned parcels (this includes 5 parcels), scenic corridor protections, and requirements for co-location. Then there is the parts of our town plan that are being ignored. Our town plan says service equipment including satellite dishes shall be located away from streets and screened from view. That no commercial impacts “spill over” to the residential areas. That maximum height from commercial is 25 feet, and last but not least that noise levels from commercial activity may not exceed 45 decibels at the property perimeter. The proposed cell tower with its generator would be 64 decibels at the property perimeter which is right next to our dentist office.

So why hasn’t the county just denied this application? Why has it been dragged out for four hearings and then shelved? That would be because two of those hearings were continued because Verizon requested so per their lawyers, yes Verizon has already gotten their lawyers involved. So who do you think has more money, Verizon or Santa Cruz county? If you even have to think about that you have not been paying attention, corporations have been flaunting their power like crazy lately and even declared themselves people per our Supreme Court. So instead of denying the application our county along with many others are waiting for Verizon to withdraw the application or move on.

But what is the big deal if Verizon has a few denied applications? Why do they care if it is denied anyway? Well that is where the lawyers come in. See in court, cases are decided on precedence, that means previous decisions. If this application was denied its denial could be used in other court cases that are currently pending all over the country by other citizens, school boards, and counties. Verizon’s goal in bullying Santa Cruz and many other counties all over our wonderful country is to control both sides of the argument in court so they have the winning hand.

With this protest these citizens were delivering a message to Verizon that they are not going away. They are not going to be ignored, and if Verizon continues pushing the matter they are going to make noise. Protests done in the right way can get national attention and that is something Verizon does not want this application to get. This application has not gotten national attention yet, but if it goes on long enough it will. Especially since the proposed location is at the gateway to “Big Basin Redwood State Park”, California’s first official state park.