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Living Extra Large: Extra Large was one of the bands that made Thursdays at the Crow's Nest so popular.


For the Crows

Blame it on live bands and a fog-free June, but those free-whirlin' Crow's Nest Thursday-night beach parties have died a sudden death, victims of their own success it seems. As Santa Cruz Port District Operations Manager Kimbra Eldridge explains, the weekly event became so popular, it was causing traffic nightmares.

"We had the best June weather anyone has ever seen, and the beach parties started off with a huge bang and just kept on getting bigger, with many of the live bands having a large following," Eldridge says, adding that the parties were seeing 300 cars in the parking lot and another 300 in the nearby neighborhood--and traffic backed up to Fifth and Lake.

A user fee-based special district that receives 5 percent of the Crow's Nest's revenue, the port district was making $400-$500 extra in parking-fee revenues alone during the June heat wave. But the extra money wasn't worth the gridlock, evidently. Says Eldridge, "The Crow's Nest is a wonderful tenant, so we discussed the problem with them. Thereafter, instead of live bands, the Crow's Nest used a DJ and Hawaiian-style music."

Apparently that "solution" flopped faster than you can say "Aloha." "Word got out that there would be no live bands--so no one came, which was when we decided it wasn't worth the effort," says Eldridge, adding that she hopes "this unique free-spirited event at which children and people in their 20s and seniors all dance together returns."

Having decided to slaughter the beast named Success, the Crow's Nest threw one last beach party on July 12 featuring Muthaship, before calling it quits. Says Crow's Nest entertainment manager Blaine Neagley, "The port district did ask us to discontinue, and it was hard to see it go, because we were really proud of the event. But we are on the same page as the district,

who we've worked with, along with the police, for the past eight years." So far the Crow's Nest has a couple hundred signatures of neighbors who support the parties and is asking people to write the port district if they want the parites to return. Says Neagley, "We're hoping to redesign the event so it remains intimate fun for the whole family."

Bishop's Rule

On June 15, Roman Catholic bishops from all over America gathered in Atlanta and decided that tubal ligation and vasectomies are as "intrinsically evil" as abortion and euthanasia. Then they issued an order forbidding the nation's 620 Catholic-affiliated hospitals, including 11 in the Bay Area, from performing such procedures. The new ruling also applies to non-Catholic hospitals that are owned in whole or in part by Catholic hospital chains. The ruling was triggered by the Vatican's objection to certain loopholes created when non-Catholic hospitals are bought by Catholic health-care chains.

Just such a loophole exists at Santa Cruz's Dominican Hospital. When Community Hospital was taken over by Dominican in the early '90s, sterilizations were suddenly unavailable in North County. After tremendous public outcry (and because there were no alternative providers of these services), the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey allowed Dominican doctors to perform sterilization procedures at their discretion.

"This new ruling says church doctrine supersedes medical judgment," says Cynthia Mathews, director of Santa Cruz's Planned Parenthood. "Suddenly there might be a lot less flexibility on this issue."

The ruling has the potential to impact Planned Parenthood's low-income clients. (For prenatal care and delivery, MediCal clients are generally referred to a midwife group that works out of Dominican.) And it's common for mothers to have tubal ligations after delivery while they are still in the hospital. "These mothers are going to run headlong into this new policy," says Mathews, pointing out that while there are clinics in Santa Cruz outside Dominican that provide abortion services and vasectomies, a tubal ligation is a strictly hospital procedure.

Dominican hasn't issued any statements about how or if the new ruling will affect policy, nor did anyone at Dominican return any of Nüz's calls. But a nurse in Dominican's Labor and Delivery department, who prefers to remain anonymous, says she has "not heard anything about how the ruling will impact Dominican's services."

Says Mathews, who is waiting to learn what Dominican's response is to the new ruling, "If there are changes, we may have to seriously revisit our referral structure."


Last week a memo from Knight Ridder spokesperson Polk Laffoon to KR publishers and staff found its way to Nüz desk. Its subject: talking to the press. Nüz, who has been known to write somewhat less-than-flattering pieces (May 16, for instance) about Knight Ridder which owns 37 dailies, including the beleaguered Monterey County Herald, decided we might be able to learn something from Mr. Laffoon's advice--veritable words to live, and die by, when talking to running dogs like ourselves.

Writes Laffoon, "In the aftermath of recent articles on Knight Ridder, let me share with you some rules of thumb I use when talking with reporters ...

"1. Reporters ... virtually always have an agenda. If the agenda isn't friendly (often the case) we muster whatever facts and figures we can to refute or blunt it ...

"2. There is nothing the matter with saying nothing, or 'no comment' ... (If the reporter already has information about something's that private ... then I may have to confirm/deny/set the record straight. But generally I aim not to be intimidated, and to remember that what is our business is just that.)

"3. Anything I say--any single sentence--can be used in isolation. So I have to think: How will this sound standing on its own?"

Alaskan Twister

Word on the street is that Santa Cruz clown-about-town Mr. Twister, who made national headlines for being ticketed for feeding expired parking meters, has run away to Alaska. When Nüz asked the obvious ("Alaska! But why?"), we were told he'd fallen in love with a gal from the state whose motto is "North to the Future."

And now he has followed his heart to Alaska, where he is engaged to be married. Which makes Nüz wonder what kinda balloons Mr. Twister will be twisting with Missus Twister, once the mercury dips to 30 below. (A question to be repeated four times while gurgling ice cubes atop a glacier chock full of pogoing penguins and surly-pawed polar bears.)

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From the July 25-August 1, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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