1. Getting Internet Where it’s Most Needed

smiling child on laptop computer, and Equal Access header graphic

Jason Borgen, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Santa Cruz Office of Education, faced a heartbreaking challenge in April 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had forced students to switch to homeschooling, and many of them lacked adequate home internet connectivity. Students couldn’t do their schoolwork.

“Our primary objective is to provide unwavering support to all students and families, ensuring they have the necessary resources and tools to achieve success, particularly those in our community who are underserved,” Jason emphasized.

Having partnered with Cruzio on many projects over the years, Jason’s initial action was to reach out to us. Together, we embarked on a mission to install affordable internet connections for these students. When it became apparent that the problem was even more widespread than initially thought, Susan True of the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County stepped in, playing a pivotal role in establishing a charitable fund, thus giving birth to Equal Access Santa Cruz (EASC).

EASC allows local community members to support less fortunate neighbors with fast, reliable internet — a service that’s become vital for so many reasons. Cruzio members can even add a few dollars to their monthly bill for EASC. In all the fund has raised over $1,000,000, all of which is put to work building new internet connections to homes in places where construction couldn’t be justified by market economics.

Since its inception, EASC has achieved remarkable success. Some of our achievements include:

• Establishing over 35 broadband distribution hubs (Points of Presence or PoPs), each capable of serving up to 200 households.
• Executing various special projects to assist community members in need, such as Buena Vista migrant housing, Pajaro Valley Shelter Services, Farm Discovery Center, and Housing Matters’ Casa Azul.
• Connecting over 1,200 students and families to new internet access.
• Creating infrastructure that has the potential to serve an additional 5,000+ individuals.
• Enhancing broadband availability in over 60% of the Watsonville/Pajaro area.
• Cultivating new partnerships with several school districts, Housing Matters, Housing Authority of Santa Cruz, and other like-minded organizations.


2. The #1 Problem Causing Slow Internet

Cat with laptop sitting on couch

Cruzio’s speeds to most customers have increased dramatically as we build out our independent network, and we’re not nearly done. But we often find that even after we’ve upgraded bandwidth people hit a throttling point because of the wifi inside their home or office.

That’s the number one issue our technical support staff run across: internal wifi limitations.

So Cruzio researched and found a really great wifi solution called Plume that’s plug-and-play. It gets the internet wherever you need it: bedroom, kitchen, garage, spare room. So you’re not limited in where you can get work done. You can send the kids to their room to do homework!

And it doesn’t just improve the range of your wifi. It also makes it easier to find and repair problems. Plume can spot issues like interference from a neighbor’s wifi (it happens!) or an outdated device in your house that bogs down all the others (that happens too!). We are really loving it!

Not everyone needs to add this service (which, by the way, is not expensive). But if you have a big house, or thick walls, or like working on your laptop in the yard — there’s plenty you can do with this.

If you want better wifi, let us know and we’ll fix you up.

3. Otter 841 Punched a Seagull and Had a Baby

Otter 841 has a penchant for surfboards (we are saying that with a French accent)

If you’re an otter watcher, you probably know about 841. She’s famous nationwide, thanks to Native Santa Cruz’s social media accounts. NSC posted video of our best-known marine mammal in various stages of grabbing, biting, and riding surfboards.

And though 841 got a bit scary with all the grabbing and biting, when she punched out a seagull we had to take her side.

Frankly, it’s hard not to be on an otter’s side. They have cute furry faces and long whiskers. Otters work hard for their food, diving deep and using rocks to crack open shells.

But greedy seagulls fly down and swim nearby, pecking at scraps that float away but also intimidating the otters and trying to steal their food.

841 does not take that without a fight. And she’s scrappy.

Here she is, letting a seagull have it:

By the way, we understand but don’t condone this behavior. Violence is never the answer, 841!

And now 841 is a mom! And apparently calming down a bit. We shall see what happens…

4. California Local Book

Redwood trees around California Local book cover

Cruzio’s beloved co-founder, Chris Neklason, has been working in journalism for the past several years. His award-winning publication, California Local, has produced a book! Here’s a description, and we’ll let you know when it’s available for purchase.

The homelessness crisis. Climate change. Gun violence. Economic inequality. Are all of these things, and so many other problems we face today, the inevitable results of forces beyond our control? Or are they policy choices? To be more precise, are they the result of years, even decades of policy choices—priorities set by political leaders and voters?

We believe that, to a large extent, they are. That is the theme of How California Works, the first book from California Local. Public policies and government institutions affect all of our lives every single day, for both better and worse, in ways that we often don’t even realize.

Diving deep on topics from California’s distinctive civil grand jury system to joint powers authorities to mosquito abatement districts, How California Works explains, in 47 clear and entertaining chapters, how the state operates, how and where it all originated, and how it shapes the daily existence of everyday Californians.


5. Cruzio in the News-io

Having a computer and a reliable high-speed internet connection in your home makes an enormous difference to kids’ futures.

We recently had a write-up in the Good Times focusing on Jesus Lopez, our Sales and Marketing Manager who grew up in farmworker housing himself and knows what this all means to families.

Our efforts are so successful we’re branching out into other counties! San Benito, Monterey, and… we’re looking at you, San Mateo. Call us!

6. Mavericks: The Big Waves

In 2023 Mavericks celebrated Zoe Chait, a 16-year-old from Half Moon Bay who’s surfing the big waves

Mavericks has the biggest waves on the California coast, and people come from around the world to surf them. It’s daring and dangerous, and awesome to watch.

Surfing those big waves is a whole different thing. Nobody’s pumping their board to eke out a few more yards on a wave — they’ve got a blast furnace of energy under them and a house about to fall right over their heads (can they ride out from under in time?)

Every year there’s a Mavericks Festival and Cruzio provides the internet (wherever there are people, there must be internet). We’ve helped out with surfing contests for decades — O’Neill’s Cold Water Classic is coming up soon too, at Steamer Lane from November 15-19 — and Cruzio will be there with our fast internet.

There are some beautiful videos from Mavericks over the years

7. How Much Do You Know About Chucky?

Chucky being generally terrifying

Since Chucky had a dedicated day a few weeks ago (??!!?), our Sales and Marketing Manager Jesus Lopez put together one of his famous “Did you know?” lists. Here it is:

And, to continue the fun of spooky stuff and so we can all better celebrate “National Chucky The Notorious Killer Doll Day” (you can’t make this stuff up… actually you can, but I didn’t) on October 25th, here’s some fun facts about that sassy lil’ doll:

• Chucky’s creator Don Mancini was inspired by the Cabbage Patch Doll craze in the 80’s
• he decided to make a dark satire about how marketing affected children
• Mancini was also inspired by the Living Doll episode of The Twilight Zone, which as you can nightmarishly recall, featured an evil doll named Talky Tina
• Chucky’s full name is Charles Lee Ray
• Charles Lee Ray is actually three famous criminals put together, Charles for Charles Manson (kooky cult leader guy), Lee for Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK assassination) and Ray, James Earl Ray (MLK shooter)
• Chucky’s design was inspired by the My Buddy dolls from 1985
• the original Child’s Play was almost named Batteries Not Included
• the original script had a plotline where the dolls had realistic flesh that could bleed like a human and children (aka their parents) would need to go purchase “Good Guy bandages” to patch them up
• the original plotline above had it where Andy accidentally cut his thumb, mixing his blood with Chucky’s, which brought him to life and attack the people that Andy didn’t like, such as a babysitter or a teacher
• and because of all the blood stuff, they almost named it Blood Buddy, and Chucky’s original name was actually Buddy! WHOA
• Mancini wasn’t a fan of the voodoo ritual aspects of the movie, despite them playing a large role
• originally, an inmate on death row was meant to transfer his soul into a Good Guy doll as he was being executed
• in the original Child’s Play, it took 11 people to control the little Chucky puppet, with a different person handling each part of his body to his legs and even eyebrows
• it took 27 takes to get the basic scene where Chucky hits a button to electrocute someone
• while most of the shots were made using an animatronic doll, they did use a real actor named Ed Gale and building the sets 30% bigger
• Brad Dourif has voiced Chucky throughout the years, with the exception of the remake, which featured Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
• prior to Brad providing his awesome creepy voice, Chucky was originally voiced by none other than legendary Jessica Walters, Busters Mom, Lucile, in Arrested Development! WHOA
•before Dourif and Hamill took a stab at it, John Lithgow almost voiced Chucky as well
• there have been talks about Chucky finding his way to Elm Street to meet none other than the man of our dreams, Freddy Krueger
• Chucky was on SNL! In 1998, promoting The Bridge Of Chucky, Chucky joined SNL to chime in on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal… what a star!
• Chucky had beef with Britney Spears! In a scene of “Seed Of Chucky” a Britney look-a-like meets a fiery roadside demise, prompting a disclaimer to TV ads stating that Spears didn’t appear in the movie
• thankfully, Chucky didn’t get his own theme song in the movie, but it was def written, preformed and recorded, and it was real… 80’s…

8. Donate to the Food Bank — We’ll Match!

Canned and pantry goods

It’s that time of year again!

Cruzio contributes regularly to the Second Harvest Food Bank — remember that if you incur a late fee we’ll accept 3 food cans for donation in lieu of a standard fee. That’s year-round.

But when the binge-eating holidays arrive, we always come up with more. And we invite you to join us: send a receipt from a donation you’ve made to Second Harvest, and we’ll match it up to a total of $1,000.

The Food Bank is a worthy cause and it’s something that answers an obvious need in our community.

9. Help Us Expand, Get Free Internet

A house shaped like a dog

This is an actual bed-and-breakfast in Idaho

Want free Internet? Have a tall building or sweeping view?
Cruzio is always looking for well-situated buildings to join our broadband network. If we use your location we’ll give you free high-speed service.

We’ve had some great success lately, not only with taller buildings like offices and apartments, but with houses that just happen to see lots of other houses and buildings.

Not only will you save on great internet — you’ll also help other people in the community who need a better connection. If you wish your neighborhood had better internet, and your house doesn’t fit the “sweeping view” description, bug your neighbor up on the ridge!

Interested? Contact us.

10. Handy Cruzio Information

If you’re moving, Cruzio can save you from an interruption in Internet service and prevent costly fees. Call us at 459-6301 or contact us online (several weeks ahead, if possible!).

Get Cruzio Credit with Buddy Bucks
Recommend us! Each time a new customer gives us your email address, account number, or full name when they sign up you’ll get a $10 credit — or more — to your account.

Feed the Hungry
If you’re late on a payment to Cruzio, bring 3 cans of food into our office and we will waive late fees up to $5. Donations go to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Chris, Peggy, Mark, James, Frost, Sandi, Colin, Adia, Jesus, Alison, Justin, David, Ani, Max, Iasha, Alana, Jay, Jason, another David, Sonya, Evan, Robert, Pily, Dizaree, Ben, Rob, Steve, another Mark, Justise, Tyler, Mario, Sam, Cody, Ameyalli, Noel, Zach, Petiri, and Matt

What a prospective customer let us know:
“Comments: I will become a praying man if you free me from Comcast. You can take my first born child, or as many of them as you’d like, if I never have to talk to a Comcast representative again.”