KUSP Latest

Interview: Musician Harvey Wainapel


KUSP’s Jeff Dayton Johnson recently spoke with reedman Harvey Wainapel (listen above) about his long love affair with Brazilian music and his new CD Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2.  Harvey Wainapel will be appearing at Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz on Thursday, September 4th at 7 pm More info at kuumbwajazz.org

Wainapel also appears at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival September 19th, with Claudia Villela, exploring the  the work of João Gilberto and Stan Getz.


Watsonville Adds Water Restrictions

A scene like like could lead to a $500 fine. Courtesy of Stephen Laufer

A scene like like could lead to a $500 fine. Courtesy of Stephen Laufer

J.D. Hillard | KUSP News
This week Watsonville’s City Council approved new restrictions on water use following an emergency mandate issued by Governor Jerry Brown last month.

The emergency measure was aimed at reducing outdoor water use in urban areas. A lot of water districts have a variety of restrictions already, the mandate specifies all districts have to adopt measures such as prohibiting watering that causes runoff or washing cars without a nozzle that shuts off.

In order to comply Watsonville adopted the mandated limit for outdoor watering: no more than two days per week for less than 15 minutes.

Read the rest of this entry »

At Farming Workshop: Drought and Salty Wells


Mark Silberstein-500

By Wes Sims | KUSP News

During droughts cities tell residents to stop watering outside. Farms don’t have that option. This drought highlights the challenge growers face maintaining agriculture while preserving water supplies. It’s become part of the curriculum for a program that educates community leaders about local agricultural issues.
Read the rest of this entry »

Increase of Small Wildfires in San Lorenzo Valley

By J.D. Hillard | KUSP -

This morning firefighters extinguished a blaze they described as being of suspicious origin… in the forests of the San Lorenzo Valley. That region has seen an uptick in small wildfires recently.

Late last night, firefighters had received a report of smoke in the redwood forest near the north boundary of U.C. Santa Cruz’s campus and Henry Cowell Redwood state park. The night was foggy and they were at first unable to find the source. Then this morning, they found about two tenths of an acre of undergrowth and duff burning. Calfire Chief Rob Sherman says the blaze definitely was started by a human. “There was no lightning in the area there was no electrical,” he says.

Recently the San Lorenzo valley has seen more than the usual number of wildfires mostly started accidentally. “We had one start from a marijuana grow, we’ve had campfires we’ve had a whole gamut of human caused fires.” Here there was no evidence of a campfire or other accidental source. Now Calfire is looking into the possibility this morning’s fire was intentionally lit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Look Past the Smell: Anchovies Feed an Ecosystem


Last week millions of anchovies swam in the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor and then died due to lack of oxygen. Beaches in Aptos also saw anchovy die-offs.

KUSP’s Adia White reports the die-off is a by-product of a periodic boom in the coastal anchovy population that is a boon for marine life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Environmental Groups Criticize Proposed Desalination Rule

By KUSP News

As numerous coastal communities face dwindling water supplies, state regulators Wednesday discussed how to keep proposed desalination plants from sucking marine life into intake pipes or damaging habitat with toxic brine.

As many as 15 coastal communities have proposals or plans in various stages of development for desalination to augment water supplies.

The State Water Resources Control Board is considering a proposed regulation that would require plants to draw their water from wells under the floor of the Pacific and dilute brine - the main waste created by desalination – before it goes back into the ocean.  The code does allow a project to use another method if geology or other conditions make these wells impossible.

Read the rest of this entry »

7th Avenue Project:
Béla Fleck and Dylan Mattingly Radio Interview


Listen to the full interviews above, or in the Soundcloud file below.

Two Musician/Composers Discuss Their Craft.


The ’7th Avenue Project’ is broadcast in KUSP every Sunday at noon. More at http://7thavenueproject.com/

Banjo phenom Béla Fleck discusses his nerve-racking foray into orchestral composition, the influence of Earl Scruggs and more. Then Dylan Mattingly, lauded by his mentor John Adams as “a hugely talented young composer who writes music of wild imagination and vigorous energy,” discusses his emotionally-driven approach to music.

Santa Cruz County to Vote on Taxing Cannabis


Santa Cruz County may tax pot up to 10 percent according to a measure the Board of Supervisors will place on November’s ballot.

The goal is not to deter marijuana purchases, but to raise money for the county, according to the resolution calling for the vote. Proceeds would go into the county general fund and allocated in the annual budget.

The measure would initially tax purchases up to seven percent, but would allow the board to increase to ten percent in the future. Other cities with similar ordinances on their books include Oakland and San Jose.

Twelve businesses currently dispense cannabis in the unincorporated parts of Santa Cruz County, where the tax would apply. County staff hope it could raise as much as $900,000 annually.


7th Avenue Project: Persi Diaconis, Math, Magic, Deception & Probability

Broadcast on The 7th Avenue Project, July 20, 2014

When he was 14, Persi Diaconis ran away from home to become one of the world’s great magicians. Now he’s a world-class mathematician, and his two professions have more in common than you might think.

Persi and I had a very entertaining conversation about his careers in show biz and academe, covering topics such as:

His friendships with other magicians, including Ricky Jay, Randi and Dai Vernon
Some surprisingly profound mathematical card tricks
Why science needs statisticians
Duping others and being duped himself
Why he’s so secretive
Click the play arrow above to hear the interview, or the download icon on the upper right to get your own mp3.

Persi’s well-known as an inventor of original tricks and sometimes helps other performers come up with new routines. For instance, he had a hand in this classic bit from Steve Martin:

Cat PDA Vs. Human PDA, And Other Animal Behavior Explained


Veterinarian Vint Virga says that animals in zoos, like this lion, need to have a bit of control over their environment. Photo: iStockphoto / via NPR

Fresh Air Interview July 23, 2014

From feisty kittens to pacing cheetahs, Vint Virga knows animal behavior.

A veterinarian who specializes in behavioral medicine, Virga has treated many household pets in his clinic. But for the past five years he has been working mostly with leopards, wolves, bears, zebras and other animals living in zoos and wildlife parks. He deals with such issues as appetites, anxiety and obsessive behavior.

“I’m always trying to provide every single animal I come into contact with … with the opportunity to invent and think and discover on their own,” Virga tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

“Probably the most important thing I stress to all my clients is to think about what the cat would do if they were living in nature. They would have to actually hunt for food.”

Virga’s book, The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human, was recently published in paperback. It explains how animals demonstrate mindfulness, forgiveness and adaptability — and what we can learn from them.

Virga talks about how house cats, like lions, are more fulfilled when they forage for food — and how animals express affection differently than we might think.

Vint Virga, a veterinarian who specializes in behavioral medicine, has been working mostly with leopards, wolves, bears, zebras and other animals living in zoos and wildlife parks for the past five years. Photo: Meg Bradbury Stowe/Courtesy of Crown Publishers

Vint Virga, a veterinarian who specializes in behavioral medicine, has been working mostly with leopards, wolves, bears, zebras and other animals living in zoos and wildlife parks for the past five years. Photo: Meg Bradbury Stowe/Courtesy of Crown Publishers

Interview Highlights

On making cats forage for food

Probably the most important thing I stress to all my clients is to think about what the cat would do if they were living in nature. They would have to actually hunt for food. While we can’t put out lizards and mice to run around in our house, we can portion out the food and make it more challenging and interesting for the cat to actually find.

I take my clients through a program of actually teaching their cats to forage for their food. Yeah, it isn’t live, but they’ve got to go on the hunt or the prowl throughout the house, and the locations in which they’re going to find the meal scattered about in the house … are going to be different every day. And cats find that very stimulating and very interesting — it adds a lot of richness to their lives.

On how cats show affection differently from humans

We need to step out of what we consider are the appropriate behaviors as humans and try to put ourselves in an animal’s footsteps. … Affection is shown by being cuddly and lovey for a lot of us — not necessarily all of us — [so we often think] that our cats would want to be cuddled and loved.

Instead, a lot of cats, if you actually watch their natural behavior when they’re in groups, the most affectionate cats might be sitting near each other. They might sit with their tails intertwined, rear to rear, but they’re not usually face to face, nose to nose, or snuggled up next to each other.

… That says that cats feel comfort and they express their emotions in ways differently than we do. If that’s true, then what behooves us [as] … their caretakers and human family members, is to learn about what it is that cats think and feel rather than [imposing] what we think and feel upon them.

On reading animal behavior at the zoo

Usually I like to spend a fair amount of time sitting outside an animal’s habitat and watching them, without trying to interact with them in any way, so I can understand as much about their behavior as possible — how they relate to other animals in their habitat, what they do in their time.

It’s one thing to see a wolf, for example, pacing alongside the edge of their habitat at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon when they’re starting to anticipate that their afternoon meal might be coming. It’s a very different thing if I see a wolf pacing around after their morning meal, before the zoo visitors have started to enter, because they reflect very different behaviors.

One, we’re talking about a wolf that’s anticipating something and starting to get a little bit anxious or excited; and the other, we’re talking about a wolf that even after his appetite and hunger needs have been met, he’s still choosing to pace. That reflects something very different in behavior.

On how zoos have changed to improve the animals’ well-being

I think the most important things that zoos have done in the past 10, 20 years, is that they [have] focused primarily on the animal’s well-being. And, depending on their feedback and responses, looked at their behavior, looked at their overall happiness and contentment, and used that as the gauge for what to do for the animal.

They’ve also applied as much [as] science knows about the animals in nature. What that looks like is providing them with a space that’s a lot more rich and full than just a place that is an exhibit. So it’s really shifting from not a cage, because most zoos don’t even have those anymore, but from an exhibit to a habitat. The environment is much richer and more complex rather than flat and uniform, so that we can see them.

[Zoos are] providing [animals with] opportunities to escape from view of the public — and that can be difficult for a zoo. … Visitors complain to the zoo if they can’t see the leopard, the bear or the lion. But on the other hand, if the lion doesn’t have any choice of getting away from the public at times, particularly if there [are] crowds or noisy visitors, then we’re taking away their sense of control over their environment.

On captive-born zoo animals

It is important to realize … that most animals in zoos nowadays are captive-born. They are not, by and large, taken from the wild. Usually it’s a number of generations that we would have to trace back to any type of direct wild animal.

… It becomes a constant effort by zoos, that is, supervised in a very strict fashion in terms of making sure that these animals are not inbred, to maintain diversity in the population, and yet what we are dealing with [are] … animals that are to some degree different than their wild cousins.

They lose some of those instincts by … not having predators and the pressures of the world that they’re being exposed to — from habitat loss and pollution and so on. They also are gaining other traits in that they’re constantly getting this affiliation or connection to humans. I’m touched by the relationships that I witness every day between keepers and the animals in their care.