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One of the most impressive economic developments I’ve witnessed during my time on the west coast is the boom of the craft beer industry. I’ve seen it grow right before my eyes and in the lives of my loved ones. My sister Emily and I went to school at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. That’s where she got the craft-beer bug. I, too, developed a love for quality beer in the great Northwest, but Emily saw a business opportunity. I don’t know how she got her chutzpah, but she got a lot of it. After working as the only female engineer in her department at Qualcomm, she started an organic brewery (Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing) in Santa Cruz in 2005. Since then, a proliferation of micro-breweries has emerged along the west coast. What started in Portland took root in San Diego and has bourgeoned into a serious industry, here in Santa Cruz, too. This beer is a Pineapple Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits. This small brewery recently was bought by Constellation Brands (makers of Corona and Modelo) for over a billion dollars. It’s official: micro-brewing is big business. The rise in the popularity of craft beer has opened up business opportunities in other sectors, too. Larry Ingram has two BBQ joints that offer an amazing selection of beers. Taking trips each week to San Diego, Ingram prides himself on providing the cutting edge of the craft brew world.

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Gary Irving in his natural environment: the studio. Don’t be fooled by his adventure-machine (the ultimate van for exploring): he’s not all safaris and mud-flaps. This guy has compelling ideas about art, too. He’s a technical wizard who does things with Photoshop that make people scratch their heads with a dazed-by-jealousy smile. It has been a real treat to work with Gary while he is creating a masterful series depicting the Seven Sins as things we have done to the environment. Making art today would seem pretty hollow and shallow without considering our global contexts. Climate changes, nuclear proliferations, genetic modifications: there are plenty of concerns facing every human, and every living thing for that matter. Gary has a vision and it is a dark one but one that is full of intelligence and wit. For anything to change, we need first to face the problems confronting our times and that is what Irving is attempting in this series: it is a self-portrait of humanity’s vices on the edge of the brink.

 

 

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Great food makes for great living. Felton is not famous for much. Fame isn’t the point in Felton. Feltonians are more concerned with living than being seen, generally, and that means working hard, taking care of family, staying humble and being close to the daily works and wonders of the natural world. Mountain folk are teachers, farmers, healers, arborists, bakers, jazzercise enthusiasts, watercolorists, mud-shoveling, horse-loving, leaf-raking, pie-baking, jeans and t-shirt wearing folks who are the salt of the earth, the water in the river, the roots on the bank. The Cremer House, in this great but humble town, is doing something special: it’s feeding the people of Felton and the Santa Cruz Mountains with cutting edge fine dining. Now, this truly is the best of worlds. Living in the serene and sublime mountains and having access to Pan Seared Arctic Char with Moroccan spice couscous, melted leaks and yogurt dill sauce is not a bad thing.

 

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Back to BBQ! The West Side of Santa Cruz is loving Mission St. BBQ. Finally, there is a great BBQ joint close to home for those of us on this side of the river. The Ingram family is serious about smoked meat and we are the lucky beneficiaries.
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A sense of humor helps to deal with the challenges we face every day. Medical cannabis helps a lot of people to manage their stresses and to medicate their ailments. Since Prop 215 passed in California, patients have been able to procure high quality cannabis. At Therapeutic Healthcare, the bud-tenders are friendly, knowledgable, and fun.
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Harliss Mofoin’ Sweetwater came through and sang some mean and dirty down low blues at Aptos St. His sax player was possessed. The foursome played with the energy of a herd of buffalo.

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