Hey hey, good morning! It’s Thursday, Feb. 10, and the Santa Cruz County forecast calls for continued sunny skies and temps in the high 70s and touching 80.

Lookout has brought you plenty of coverage of local employment ups and downs, and today we’re adding another tool to the toolbox.

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➤ LOCAL JOBS YOU’LL LOVE: See all the most recent listings.

Also on our radar this morning:

So let’s get after it:

Affordable housing ideas in the spotlight

Downtown Santa Cruz
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

A virtual forum planned for this evening will detail two possible ballot measures Santa Cruz voters could see in November. Lookout’s Grace Stetson runs it down.

RELATED: Santa Cruz updates design proposal for much-debated mixed-use library project (Lookout)

Masks off again

Masks worn or vaccination status proven is the standard set by Greater Purpose Brewing Company.
Masks worn or vaccination status proven is the standard set by Greater Purpose Brewing Company. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks indoors as of next Wednesday; the mandate remains in place for those who haven’t been vaccinated and in K-12 schools, health care settings and on public transit. Get the details here.

PREVIOUSLY: Statewide mandate for indoor masking to sunset on Feb. 15 (Los Angeles Times)

Valentine’s Day: The extravagant, the low-key, and the socially distant

A woman walks with flowers
Guadalupe Neri of Riverside walks with roses she purchased as Mother’s Day gifts for her mom and aunt in downtown L.A.’s Flower District. For some shoppers, the steep cost of bouquets was a small price to pay for the chance to celebrate with loved ones after a long and lonely year. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Not sure what to do for the day of lovers? There’s no shortage of options for a fun day or evening around Santa Cruz. Lookout’s Max Chun lays it out.

NEED MORE? Lily Belli has some foodie finds in her latest newsletter

The Santa Cruz County guide to SF Beer Week

beer tasting flights
A sudsy lineup. Credit: Via Pixabay

Whether you’re a hophead, big on Belgians, serious about sours or a lover of lagers, there’s plenty to look forward to as a Bay Area institution kicks off 10 days of brewerific festivities Friday. Lookout’s Lily Belli has your roadmap.

MORE FROM LILY: Find all of Lookout’s food and drink coverage here

When is it really safe to take off your mask in California?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 27, 2021- Visitors to the Grand Central Market are mostly masked on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Visitors to the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles were mostly masked this week. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times) Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Even as indoor mask orders in Santa Cruz County and across the state are set to expire next week, health officials are still encouraging people to wear masks while transmission rates are up. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times talk to the experts.

LOCAL SHOTS, BOOSTERS: Santa Cruz County vaccine update: Rates, where to find a COVID shot or test; wait, cost and turnaround times (Lookout)

Huntington Beach oil spill inspires legislation to ban California offshore drilling

Container ships and an oil derrick off Huntington Beach
Container ships and an oil derrick line the horizon as an oil spill cleanup crew member walks along the beach looking for damage from the spill off Huntington Beach in October. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

The legislation would affect 11 existing oil leases, all off the Orange and Ventura County coastlines. Get the details from the Times here.

FROM OCTOBER: What it was like to surf on day of Huntington Beach oil spill: Frantic dolphins, exhaust smell (Los Angeles Times)

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Around the county …

‘Privates’ beach access approved for Santa Cruz County takeover (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Longtime county supervisor Greg Caput won’t seek reelection in June (The Pajaronian)
Scotts Valley boy’s suicide prompts calls for SVUSD to address issues (The Press Banner)
One ‘affordable’ home for every 3,500 middle-class homebuyers in San Jose (SFGate)

A promotional image for the Icons of Santa Cruz series

COMING TOMORROW: Who are the people and what are the places or things that are immediately identifiable with Santa Cruz County? What are the touchstones that symbolize or represent home for locals? In our new ongoing series, Lookout’s Wallace Baine considers all those icons of the visible environment across the county — from buildings to murals, from sculptures to logos — and discovers the stories that connect them to us all. Up first on Friday: That dashing young man who stands on his pedestal gazing pensively was designed as a tribute to all surfers. But he’s become the mascot for all of Santa Cruz.

That should be plenty to get you revved up this Thursday. But there’s plenty more on tap from Lookout today, including our Best Bets for things to do this weekend and beyond — so I’d recommend you keep tabs by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And you can get Best Bets and all of our newsletters, plus breaking news alerts and more, via our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center.

All that great content isn’t possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Now go get your Thursday on! I’ll see you all back here tomorrow.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

A veteran jack-of-all-trades journalist who is Lookout’s copy editor, writes and compiles Morning Lookout newsletter and produces Lookout’s other editorial newsletters and helps run Lookout’s social...