SANTA CRUZ

Gasoline prices stabilize; lower prices forecast

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.51 in Santa Cruz, unchanged from Dec. 11, according to AAA California, which forecasts prices will average less than last year's record of $3.60 per gallon.

The statewide average is $3.61 per gallon, down a cent from last month and down 9 cents from a year ago.

"In the first 90 days of 2012, geopolitical tensions with Iran pressured the national price at the pump almost 65 cents higher. The beginning of 2013 does not have a similar situation that is moving the market," said Cynthia Harris, AAA spokeswoman.

Retail prices nationally are rising at a slower rate than at the start of 2012, due to slowly rising crude oil prices.

SANTA CRUZ

Counseling center gets $1,000 grant

The Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center has been awarded a $1,000 grant from the Community Giving Fund, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary by awarding 25 community-based grants.

The counseling center grant will be used to support programs that address early childhood education, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, HIV/AIDS services, supported housing and services for at-risk youth in Santa Cruz County, according to a news release.

To view a list of recipients, go to www.prosightspecialty.com.

BOULDER CREEK

Water district to honor former board member

The San Lorenzo Valley Water District will host a reception 4-6 p.m. Jan. 25 to honor former board member Fred McPherson at the district's office, 13057 Highway 9.

McPherson was first appointed to the board in 2006, then elected to a four-year term in 2008. He declined to seek another term in 2012.

A film, "Natural Wonders of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park," produced and directed by Fred and Roberta McPherson, will be shown at the reception. Refreshments will be served.

For information, call 338-2153 or go to www.slvwd.com.

SANTA CRUZ

Visitors council debuts 2013 traveler's guide

The Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council announced the publication of the 2013 Official Santa Cruz County Traveler's Guide.

The guide launches a new brand, "Let's Cruz," designed to illustrate "the laid-back, relaxing nature Santa Cruz offers visitors," according to Maggie Ivy, who heads the council.

She said the tourism promotion group will unveil a new logo in the spring with the goal "to take our messaging to the next level to market ourselves as a destination."

The guide is distributed at more than 100 places around the county, including hotels, restaurants, attractions, state park visitor centers and local businesses.

To view the guide, go to www.santacruzcounty.travel.

SANTA CRUZ

Wellness series starts Saturday

Staff of Life Natural Foods will kick off its 2013 Wellness Seminar Series this month with two free talks.

Burt Goulding Jr. will be discussing "The Secrets of Natural Healing" 12:30 p.m. Saturday. He will explain simple steps to get your health back on track.

Shannon Wood will speak at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 on "Sleep: The New Fountain of Youth." She will talk about common causes of insomnia, and how to safely transition off sleep medications.

For information, call Kathleen Williford, at 831-423-8632, ext. 107, or go to www.staffoflifemarket.com.

SANTA CRUZ

Military group holds monthly meeting

The Santa Cruz chapter of the Military Officers Association of America is inviting all retired, reserve and active military officers to its monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Santa Cruz Elks Lodge, 151 Jewell St.

The chapter's meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month.

For information, contact Bernice Robertson at 831-427-2737.