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As part of a statewide work furlough, Santa Cruz County Courts will be closed today.   Both court houses in Santa Cruz and Watsonville will be closed all day today, no court services, including windows where people can pay fines, will be open.   Courthouses will reopen tomorrow (thurs) as business as usual.   The once-a-month closure started last summer in a statewide cost-saving effort.   Today is the final closure.

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A warning has been posted at a Monterey County beach after tests found higher than normal bacteria levels  this week.   County health officials warn visitors to Lovers Point Beach to avoid going into the water until the advisory is lifted, and water sampling indicates acceptable bacteria levels for safe body contact standards.  Health officials say humans and animals including seals, otters and birds, can contribute to higher bacteria levels in addition to rainfall runoff and storm drains.

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SANTA CRUZ RODEO APPROVED 06-15-10 20:40 a.v.

In a 4 to 2 vote today, the Santa Cruz County Fair board voted on bringing the Rodeo back…after 26 years.    Board members approved renting the fairgrounds to Stars of Justice Inc, a nonprofit offshoot of the Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, for a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned event during October 2nd and 3rd.  Animal Welfare activists urged the board to oppose the vote arguing that the rodeo represents animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment.   The annual event ended in 1984 after the promoter disappeared with the proceeds.

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S.C. HOTEL SURCHARGE APPROVED 06-15-10 20:20 a.v.

In an effort to fund a tourism marketing plan, the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a proposal today which would charge hotel guests a surcharge starting next month.  The new surcharge, expected to start July 1st, was proposed last year by the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council to increase the marketing of local tourist destinations while also boosting area businesses.  The surcharge, officially called a ‘tourism marketing district’, is expected to generate 1.1 million annually and will charge hotel guests with 6 to 29 rooms, $1 per room per night, while hotels with 30 or more rooms will charge $1.50 per room per night.  Hotels with less than 6 rooms are exempt. 

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FIRE HAZARD REDUCTION 06-15-10 20:50 a.v.

In an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires, central coast residents are reminded to clear brush away from their homes.   Cal-Fire officials say the rainy winter has created more brush which could fuel flames, and as a result, they are inspecting homes and unincorporated areas ensuring that homeowners maintain a defensible space of 100 feet by keeping high grasses and weeds removed around homes and structures.  Fire crews say structures can be protected when they are separated from dense fuel and there is enough space for fire personnel to operate safely.  

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