Thursday, August 14, 2003
Pot Raids Begin
It's pot harvesting season and that means pot growers aren't the only ones intent on sneaking into those remote backcountry patches. According to the state Attorney General's office, the annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) has begun for 2003. Using local investigators, state and federal agents and the California National Guard, the CAMP program will be combing suspected pot patches through the harvest season, often descending on them by helicopter.
Last year, CAMP took in a record haul of 354,000 plants worth $1.4 billion, making 26 arrests and confiscating 38 weapons during 181 raids in 23 counties. Of the total confiscation, CAMP says that three-quarters came from grows operated by "Mexican National Drug Organizations."
In Monterey County last year, CAMP pulled up 3,286 plants, a far cry from the 103,104 plants taken in Mendocino County or even the 39,313 plants taken from Sonoma County, the top two scoring counties. [AS]
Art Against HIV-AIDS
A grassroots health organization called Street Art (ST.ART) has brought together students and church members to get the message out about AIDS through performance art.
ST.ART has been collaborating with the art department at California State University of Monterey Bay since 2000, and uses creative means to educate the public about HIV prevention.
"In Monterey County the risk is just as great as it is anywhere else in the world," says Akin Miller, executive director of ST.ART. "We want to continue the HIV education message."
ST.ART specifically targets the minority populations of the community, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian-Pacific Islanders. Recent statistics show that close to 70 percent of new AIDS cases come from minority populations.
Volunteers from the community and students from CSUMB form the prevention team. The Christian Memorial Tabernacle Church in Seaside has donated office space to ST.ART.
Miller hopes to include poetry and dance in future performances because the classroom lectures on AIDS "get a little dry," he says. Art "gives people who are infected and affected an opportunity to express themselves."
The organization will host an open house and barbecue on Aug. 23 in Seaside at 1201 Echo Ave from 2-5pm. Call 393-AIDS for more information. [ZS]