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Photograph by Stephen Laufer

Goodbye, Peter: Longtime KUSP station manager and local arts fixture Peter Troxell died last week and will be much missed.



"Peter, last night I dreamt we were in your Model A Ford, careening down Lake Boulevard on our way to PCC after sitting up all night doing homework and smoking Marlboros. Your wonderful old collie Star was also in the dream. Powerful, beautiful memories. Bev and I are with you, Peter."

So recalls a longtime friend of Peter Troxell's in an email titled "Peter Dream," which was written one week before the 65-year-old retired KUSP station manager and local theater visionary died on March 17, after a battle with prostate cancer, with his wife, Diana, at his side.

Troxell's life encompassed far more than can be laid out in this small Nüzhole, but luckily readers can see his story in words, photographs and remembrances at www.troxell.com/peter.

A lesser-known fact about Troxell is that he was a member of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana and crossed over to the other side the same week as fellow WAMMster Dorothy Gibbs, 94, who suffered from post-polio syndrome and whom WAMM co-founder Valerie Coral describes as "a bright shining star."

"Dorothy was a lady in every sense of the word," says Corral. "At age 94, she was still making new friends."

War and Peace

Corral notes that Troxell's and Gibbs' deaths bring to 22 the number of members who've died since DEA agents chain-sawed WAMM's on-site garden to the ground in 2002, five days before the anniversary of Sept. 11, a raid that Corral says "made it much harder to provide members with medicine" and that WAMMsters uniformly likened to "terrorism."

Which makes it surprising, perhaps, that Corral is downplaying the Sheriff's Department's raid of a WAMM off-site garden last September, calling it "a misunderstanding."

"We didn't make a big deal, since the raid involved innocent caregivers who got caught in the middle of a terrifying situation, which the Sheriff's Department, the DA's office and county administrators handled with great aplomb," explains Corral.

Sheriff's deputies, she said, did a "very good job of drying and storing the medicine," before Superior Court Judge Kathleen Akao ordered it returned last week on March 22-- on what by chance turned out to be the 31st anniversary of the car accident that left Corral with brain epilepsy, which was what led her to experiment with marijuana as a medicinal compound that could help alleviate her condition, "If it had come to fruit, it would have been more usable," says Corral of the marijuana removed in September 2003, "but thanks to diligent efforts on the part of the city, county, the Sheriff's Department and the judiciary, the county is doing the right thing by returning this medicine and respecting Prop. 215, thus making great strides to reduce the suffering of our members and caregivers."

Corral also commends the county's new ID system for medical marijuana users, which is completely anonymous, costs $35 and lasts three years from the time a patient gets a doctor's recommendation.

And in light of the fact that both Troxell and Gibbs--like most WAMMsters--required intensive nursing in their dying days, Corral is happy to announce that the long-awaited WAMM Hospice already has its board of directors and will soon be getting its nonprofit status. As Corral often says, with the kind of black humor required to keep looking death square in the eye on a regular basis, "WAMM is a club in which you literally have to be dying to get it."

237 and Counting ...

Spring arrived with tatters of fog drifting across otherwise blue skies in the Cruz, a perfect metaphor for the political weather nationwide, perhaps, as thousands of demonstrators gathered last weekend to bash Bush's policies on the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

"Forget Janet Jackson--expose the real boobs." "Big Business Bush." "No More Years." "Liar, liar, pants on fire." "Hold Bush Accountable." Those were just a few of the signs in San Francisco last weekend at demonstrations that ended with 87 arrests.

And even as the Bushistas sought to hold up the attacks in Madrid as evidence that their policies in the Middle East were justified, a report prepared at the request of Democratic Congressmember Henry A. Waxman, a tenacious critic of some contracts awarded to businesses to rebuild Iraq, was released in Washington. It detailed the Bush administration's "237 Misleading Statements on Iraq," as delivered by the five officials most responsible for providing public information and shaping public opinion on the issue, namely: George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. (View the report online at www.house.gov/reform/

And while the Cruz in particular and California in general have not so far been hotbeds of Kerry support, local resident Nick Alaga is hoping all that will turn around come April (and no, this is not some April Fool's joke), after Kerry visits San Francisco on March 28, the Dems do a show of unity on March 24 and local Kerry supporters meet at 7pm, March 25, at the Louden Nelson Center. (Call 831.688.4470 for details.)

Spring Break (In)

Spring also arrived with a tinkling of broken glass at Jewels on Pacific, the whimsical store at 1535 Pacific Ave. (opposite the St. George hotel at the Town Clock end) that carries some fabulously dressy gowns, not to mention some very excellent jewelry.

And according to store owner Michele, jewelry is what the thieves, who entered the store before daybreak on Sunday, March 21, were interested in, hitting most of the jewelry cases pretty hard, before they left at first light about an hour later.

"They broke in just before dawn. Our landlord heard something but thought it was us going to market, and then he took a shower so he didn't hear anything," says Michele. "They came in through the front window and left by the back door about 6:45-7am, so maybe someone in the St. George heard or saw something."

Adding that the store is hoping to recover jewelry by local artists, some very old Philippine artifacts, Afghan and African tribal necklaces, custom jewelry, diamond underwear, butterfly panties and a lot of black evening gowns and some peacock shawls, a devastated-sounding Michele notes, "The people who did it would have bloody hands or faces, possibly, given how much glass was broken." Call 831.345.7431.

Nüz just loves juicy tips: Drop a line to 115 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, 95060, email us at , or call our hotline at 457.9000, ext 214.

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From the March 24-31, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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