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(Icons/Graphics) HouseVictorian.jpgOwning Real Estate- A plus or a Minus?

Kathy Runyon


     Everyone is aware of the negative real estate news that has been bombarding us lately. We are inundated with information about greed, sub-prime mortgages, short sales, foreclosures and declining property values. Should one buy a home here or not? What will the future bring? What should a sensible person do about the American Dream?


     Here in Santa Cruz County we have seen all of the above, but we're faring much better here than in other parts of the country and other parts of California.


     We live near the ocean in the least expensive California beach community with good weather. We are a low growth community. We have natural boundaries, the mountains and the ocean. We are close to San Francisco and Monterey and over the hill from Silicon Valley, home of the tech industry.  People want to live here. They don't buy second homes or want to retire in Milpitas.  Given a choice they want to be here.


 (Icons/Graphics) House3.jpg     A home is where you watch your family grow. You tend your garden and feed Fido and Snuggles. You scratch marks on the wall to measure the kids growth and they scratch marks on the wall, much to your dismay, to entertain themselves.  You celebrate birthdays, Halloween and December Holidays, whatever your religion.


     A safe neighborhood, good schools, parks where the kids and pets can play. These are the things that are important to you.  Are these neighborhoods available in our community? They are.  Does it pay to buy a home in these neighborhoods?


     Location, location, location. If you like the neighborhood chances are others will too.  Yes, these are trying times and we are experiencing fluctuating property values.  But given declining prices, low interest rates and our phenomenal weather, it is a good time to buy or trade up or trade down.


     Real Estate has historically not been a way to get rich quick.  It has been a way to build equity steadily over the years.  Since 2000 we have seen some volatile markets and we may see skyrocketing markets again.  But the reason to invest in a home is because you want to live there.  You want to raise a family there.  You want to set down roots in a good community.  Real Estate held for five years or longer is bound to go up in value.


     There are programs out there for first time buyers.  Yes you need a down payment and you must qualify for a loan.  But these are good things.  Lack of same created the crisis we're dealing with today.

If your family is growing you may need more space.


     If the kids are grown and gone you may want to downsize, quick, before they comeback.  If you need to house elderly parents an auxiliary dwelling unit might be right up you alley.  You can go online for Santa Cruz City and see house plans already designed for this purpose.


     Can't afford a house? Try a condo. There are many good condo complexes in Santa Cruz County.  It's a great place to start and a great place to finish.  Just think, no yard work.  Someone else will fix the roof.  You get to play with your family and take walks on the beach, or retire with less home maintenance work to do.


     Home is where the heart is and we who live in Santa Cruz County are fortunate to have our hearts and homes here.


We know Kathy.  She's low-key, experienced, knowledgable and personable.  You can visit her at

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Matched Savings Account Offer

for "Low-Wealth" Families

    An opportunity to open a savings account, have every dollar matched up to $2,000 (so you end up with $4,000) and participate in financial education is available through Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. To learn more about this program, its requirements and restrictions, go here.

(Site Photos) Firemen.jpgHalloween Tips from Caring Firemen


(Special Event Page Graphics) HalloweenPikachu.jpgBefore Halloween:

  • Make sure that costumes are bright and reflective, short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement and contact with flame and that shoes fit well.
  • Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for you home's Smoke Detectors.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1.
  • Review the principle of "Stop-Drop-Roll", should children's clothes catch on fire.
  • Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.

(Special Event Page Graphics) HalloweenMinnieMouse.jpgHalloween Night:

  • ALWAYS keep Jack O' Lanterns away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children will be standing or walking.
  • A responsible adult should ALWAYS accompany children while trick-or-treating.
  • Stay in a group and communicate where you will be going.
  • ONLY go to homes with porch lights on. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • NEVER cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian laws.
  • ALWAYS walk. Never run across the street.
  • NEVER consume food items or drinks that may be offered.
  • NO treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home.


(Icons/Graphics) LadyDetectives.jpg            Events for Your Enjoyment! 


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More Events on  Calendar


Suki writes about making Halloween low key and memorable for the children and the neighbors in her Halloween Blog.


Friday, Oct 31

7:30am-6 pm, All Day Program Halloween Program, Santa Cruz County Parks
$40 Res / $44 Non-Res,  Children ages 6-12 can spend their school break with their friends and our trained and experienced recreation staff. Special activities are planned around a Halloween theme, including games, sports, crafts, mad science and a costume parade. Aptos Village Park, Aptos


(Site Photos) FacePainting1.jpg3:30pm - 6pm, Halloween on the SANTA CRUZ WHARF FACE the PAINT Face & Body Painting is being sponsored by the City of SANTA CRUZ! This means FREE FACE PAINTING for the kids on HALLOWEEN! Come down to the Santa Cruz Wharf for Halloween Celebration. Contests and Halloween FUN!

6pm - 8:30pm, Marine Masquerade & ScaryAquary! Seymour Marine Discovery Center Marine Masquerade & Scary Aquary Family fun with seaside storytelling, night-time whale skeleton tours, crafts, scavenger hunt and costume parade. 100 Shaffer Rd , Santa Cruz

2:30-5pm, Trick or Treat Downtown Santa Cruz, Children's Halloween, Halloween activities and merchant trick-or-treat on Pacific Ave from Laurel to Water St. Lincoln and Cedar Streets, Santa Cruz


(Site Photos) TigerCub1.jpgSpooky Sleepover at the SF Zoo San Francisco, See the tiger triplets!

Zoo Family Overnights Several times a year, including Memorial Day weekend, Father's Day, and Halloween, the San Francisco Zoo provides an exciting (Site Photos) TigerCub2.jpgopportunity for families to spend the night in the "wild". Small family groups will enjoy guided tours and fun evening activities based on educational themes. Family Wild Nights Gift Certificates are a great gift idea for friends and family! Minimum age for children participating is 6 years old. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
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Family Overnight Fees:
Members Kids 6-12 yrs. $65.00, 12 yrs. and older $75.00;
Non-Members Kids 6-12 yrs. $75.00, 12 yrs. and older $85.00
Overnights Contact Information: (415) 753-8124 17th & Sloat, San Francisco

More Events on  Calendar


Sat, Nov 1

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Midnight! Daylight Savings Time Ends (Fall back)!


12pm, Footsteps of the Pioneers, Big Basin Redwoods
Join docent Doreen Devorah on an easy three-mile, two-hour roundtrip hike to the site of the Maddock Cabin. Enjoy a beautiful walk through the redwoods and hear stories of the early settlers and their life deep in the forest. Bring water. Meet at Park Headquarters.

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11am & 2pm, Redwood Loop Trail Naturalist Guided Walk, Big Basin, How do these grand redwoods grow to be so old? So tall? How are they important to humans? Join us for this fun and informative guided half-mile stroll through a magnificent old-growth redwood forest. Meet the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this one-hour walk. Stroller and wheelchair accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters.


Sun, Nov 2


11am, CANYON TREES TO OCEAN BREEZE, Big Basin Redwoods, Ages: 7+, Join docent David Auerbach on this fascinating exploration through a variety of habitats. This is one of our most diverse hikes-you travel by a mountain stream, through oak woodlands, into chaparral and back to the redwoods. You'll discuss forests, flowers and fires on a six-mile, four-hour hike. This somewhat strenuous ascent is rewarded with ocean views on a clear day. Bring water, lunch and good hiking shoes. Meet at Park Headquarters.


Sat & Sun, Nov 1 & 2


11am-3pm, Footsteps of the Founders, Wilder Ranch, Discover what life was like a century or more ago on this innovative dairy ranch. The hour-long tour includes the 1897 Victorian home, 1896 water-powered machine shop, and other historic buildings.

Calendar Details

2pm, Guided Tours of the Ancient Redwood Grove, Henry Cowell, Meet a docent at the visitor center at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park for a guided tour of the 1-mile redwood loop. Come refresh your spirit among 1,000 year old redwood giants as you learn about the ecology and history of the redwood forest. Meet at the Visitor Center


(Site Photos) Butterfly.jpg11am & 2pm, Tours of the Monarch Grove, Natural Bridges, Join a Docent Naturalist for a tour of a state designated insect preserve. Thousands of monarch butterflies are returning this fall to one of the larger over-wintering sites in the United States. Learn the story of this beautiful creature and its fascinating seasonal migration. Meet at the Visitor Center for the hour-long program.


Sat, Nov 1, 8am - 3pm


(Site Photos) AdventureSportsPescadero.jpgFamilies on the Water,Join ASU's Families on the Water for a day of exploring the Monterey Bay by kayak. On this trip we will go to Pescadero Slough, one of the most beautiful inland lakes attached to the open ocean Pacific. We will kayak these glassy waters, entry by the ocean, surrounded by cattails and studded with sea birds. We will have a cooperative picnic by a secluded beach. Great outing for the entire family!


Tues, Nov 4 Vote 7am-8pm

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Go to VotesCount for locations and information.


(Special Event Page Graphics) HalloweenCornCandy.jpgMon-Thurs,  Nov 3-6,  Halloween Candy Buyback.  Nothing's wrong with a little sugar, but excess can cause trouble. That's why we will buy back your Halloween candy for TWO DOLLARS per POUND!   Allison Jackson, D.D.S., 7545 Soquel Dr, Aptos 662-2900

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Win Three Main Meal Family Dinners!

Email us your 1) three favorite meals from Jody's menus


2) tell us the name of Jody's favorite vegetable (ask Jody, 429-1390),


and you will be entered into a drawing to win three main meal family dinners for three.



(Icons/Graphics) SchoolHouseRed.jpgSchool







Open Houses


Cabrillo College & Career

11/3, 6-8:30pm

Montessori Scotts Valley

11/5, 5-7pm

SC Montessori Jr Hi

11/5, 7-8:30pm

Waldorf HS


SC Montessori Pre & K

11/8 10am-3pm



Waldorf Grades

11/11, 8:45am



Springhill K-6

11/12 6:30-8pm

Special Events!

VHM Faire

11/2, 12-3pm

Sponsored by

Gateway & GBK

Parent seminar: Keeping up with Internet Saftey for Children

10/29, 7pm-9pm

Adults, Free
Lori Getz will give parents the resources to talk with their children about Cyber Security and how to navigate the Internet safely and securely. Founder and Director of Cyber Education Consultants,, in Los Angeles, Ms. Getz has developed a Cyber Education curriculum for schools throughout California.

425 Encinal St, SC


For details go to full Calendar. Click on the exact date.

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"Even before we started homeschooling, we were a homeschooling family." (continue here...)

Suki Wessling

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"Just checking in to see what you did yesterday for you. I mean YOU. Did you curl up with a book? Did you take a nap? Did you take a soak in the tub?" (continue here...)


Lorraine Pursell

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10-Minute Tidy

Tip of the Week!


Rotate Your Seasonal Clothes


Depending on the climate you live in, rotating your clothes in the Spring and Fall adds more storage space and more variety to your everyday wardrobe. It is pretty unlikely that you need to have access to both shorts and wool sweaters at the same time. Decide what can be put away for a few months to allow more space for the clothes you want to wear right now.

Shannon McGinnis


"Fabulous photographers
capturing every moment,
Brook and Alisha Todd."
Oprah Winfrey

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Please visit us at

Tyrolean Inn

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Open 5:30, Tues-Sun

9600 Hwy 9

Ben Lomond


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Think Local,

Shop Local

Soquel & Branciforte

Santa Cruz


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You know them! Tell us about

Mighty Fine Moms and Dads in Santa Cruz County.

     Do you know parents who should receive recognition for all that they do? We would love to hear about them.   We shall feature the moms in Mom's Spotlight and our awesome dads on our Dad's Scoreboard!  Please email us your nomination and tell us why.


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"We do tricks

for treats!


for checkups

go to

Dr. Ken Cholden
Dr. Jen Berry


All Pets

Veterinary Clinic

Call them!"


1226-B Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz


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Santa Cruz, CA