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Local
11:09 am
Thu August 14, 2014

This Smart Machine is Leading the Way to the Future of Agriculture

Blue River Technology's LettuceBot thins a field in Salinas. Jorge Heraud follows the machine to monitor its decision making.
Credit Cindy Carpien, NPR

The Salinas Valley is getting a lot of attention from Silicon Valley lately.   A new tech incubator will soon open up in downtown Salinas hoping to grow the connection between agriculture and technology.

But even before that, one Silicon Valley start-up was already hard at work tweaking its version of a machine that thins lettuce plants.  It’s a job normally handled by human hands.  But this may be just the tip of the iceberg in a new era of smart machines in agriculture. 

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Local
6:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Homeless Vets Gather At Stand Down

Tracey “Smitty” Smith sits on his bunk at Stand Down
Credit Doug McKnight

Military veterans represent just ten percent of the population, yet they make up 25-percent of our nation’s homeless.  For decades, the Veterans Administration and veterans support groups have been working to alleviate the problem.  One way is with an event called a Stand Down.   One was held this past weekend on the former Fort Ord and 400 homeless veterans came looking for help.

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Local
4:48 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

How Could Passenger Rail in Santa Cruz County Serve You

The Santa Cruz Branch Line is 32 miles of freight rail between Davenport and Watsonville.
Credit Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission

Talk of bringing passenger rail to Santa Cruz County goes back decades.  But it seems the idea is finally at the point where the talk may turn into reality. 

About two years ago, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) purchased the Santa Cruz Rail Line. It’s a 32 mile freight line that runs from Davenport to Watsonville. 

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Local
6:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Scholarship Program Finds Success With Unlikely Candidates

WELI Scholar Edna Valdez stands in the courtyard at Hartnell College's Alisal campus.
Credit Krista Almanzan

Edna Valdez looks every bit the part of a typical college student with her skinny leg jeans and smart phone in hand.  But this 31-year-old is anything but typical.  Her bright cheerful smile goes a long way at hiding all the obstacles she faced to get here.

“There’s been a lot of hardship in my life,” said Valdez.  So much hardship that tears well up in her eyes when she thinks back over the past ten years. 

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Local
6:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Why California’s Coastal Trail Is Taking So Long

A bridge and trail currently under construction at Soberanes Point in Garrapata State Park. Right now this area is closed to the public, but the trail is a likely choice to become part of the California Coastal Trail, which is a hiking trail under development from the Oregon border to Mexico.
Credit Vinnee Tong

California is famous for its beaches and outdoor living -- including breathtakingly beautiful hikes near the ocean. Yet, when it comes to hiking trails, more have likely heard of the Appalachian Trail than the California Coastal Trail. The proposed trail is decades in the making, but still unfinished.    

The California Coastal Trail is a walking trail that’s supposed to go from the Oregon border to Mexico, and be within the sight, sound, or smell of the sea.  

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