China Flat to Simi Peak with My Dad

Massive sandstone formation with rock shelters

Massive sandstone formation with rock shelters

My Dad and I went on another great hike! This time we went to China Flat and Simi Peak, which is the highest peak (2,043 ft) in the Simi Hills. April 9, 2014 was a beautiful day, and the wildflowers were blooming!

On April 11, I spoke with two representatives of the National Park Service for clarification on the Simi Hills, Simi Peak, and China Flat regarding their inclusion in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). Kate Kuykendall, the Public Affairs Officer for the National Park Service’s SMMNRA, said that it was a complicated answer. Kuykendall explained that the Simi Hills are not considered part of the Santa Monica Mountains, but are part of the “Santa Monica Mountains Ecological Zone”, and portions of the Simi Hills are within the SMMNRA.

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The Great Morgani, aka Frank Lima, Gets Squeezed Out of Downtown Santa Cruz

Trails of Turquoise by The Great Morgani

Trails of Turquoise by The Great Morgani.

On Tuesday, February 18, The Great Morgani announced he will no longer be performing in downtown Santa Cruz “due to the recent strict enforcement of current ordinances” passed by the Santa Cruz City Council.

Joe Rose, an excellent illustrator and painter who regularly displays his artwork on Pacific Avenue, reports that on Sunday afternoon, he witnessed two Santa Cruz Police officers hassling The Great Morgani on Pacific Ave. Joe wrote, “there were 2 cops that stopped him playing when he had a crowd of about a dozen people watching.”

The Great Morgani, aka Frank Lima, is a longtime street performer and performance artist from Santa Cruz, recognized as one of city’s most interesting characters. He plays the accordion and dresses in homemade, seasonally relevant costumes which sometimes take up to 100 hours of work. He usually performs on the east side of Pacific Avenue on the El Palomar block.

He authored a book, The Great Morgani: The Creative Madness of a Middle-Aged Stock Broker Turned Street Musician, which is described as a “photo-illustrated story of one of the United States’ most flamboyant and unusual street musicians.” He also has a website,

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Santa Cruz Bike Party Love Ride

Chopper Dave and the Happening Couch

Chopper Dave and the Happening Couch

“Santa Cruz Bike Party seeks cycling sweeties for casual roll-mance under full moon. All you need is love, and a trusty bike. Throw in a cute date, or meet someone bike-tacular on the ride, and its on!”

That was the Valentine’s card invitation from the Santa Cruz Bike Party to all cyclists, near and far, who are ready and willing to roll. The Santa Cruz Bike Party is a fun community ride on the 2nd Friday on each month, featuring different themes, routes, and music. It’s a party on wheels and a great way for people of all ages to make friends.

This month, the 2nd Friday was on February 14, Valentine’s Day, and a full moon. Cyclists converged at the Bicycle Church on Spruce Street at 6pm, sporting red and pink on their clothes and bicycles.

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Parading on Pacific in Support of the Santa Cruz Eleven

Demonstrators on Pacific Avenue wear t-shirts and carry signs which declare, "I Was In The Building. Support the SC 11."

Demonstrators wear t-shirts and carry signs: “I Was In The Building. Support the SC 11.”

Dozens of people rallied behind the Saturn Cafe for an afternoon parade through town on Tuesday, February 11 in support of the Santa Cruz Eleven.

Over two months after the occupation of a vacant bank building at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz in 2011, eleven people were each charged with felony conspiracy and felony vandalism, and two misdemeanors for trespassing. All four charges were eventually dismissed against seven of the defendants, however four people are still facing three charges, and a trial is set to begin on March 3, 2014 at the Santa Cruz Courthouse.

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Santa Cruz Joins Nationwide Vigils to Protest Keystone XL Pipeline

stop-keystone-xl_santa-cruz_1_2-3-14 Environmental advocates demonstrated at the clock tower in downtown Santa Cruz on February 3 — one of over two hundred across the U.S. — calling on President Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL pipeline after the Administration late Friday issued a report supporting the pipeline.

The event was part of a national campaign led by CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and, among a host of other organizations.

They are calling on the president to keep his commitment to reduce carbon pollution and reject the pipeline, which will be a huge source of carbon pollution and clearly fails the climate test set by President Obama.

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