A good day to you, Santa Cruz County! It’s Tuesday, April 26, and morning clouds are forecast to give way to afternoon sunshine, with highs in the mid- to upper 60s.

On the heels of the first part of our “Poisoned” series on the rising local fentanyl epidemic, county officials held a virtual town hall and listening session Monday night, covering a variety of topics — and Lookout’s Mark Conley has the details.

Today also marks the debut of a new Lookout feature: Liza Monroy launches her Santa Cruz Parenting column with a look at fun places to get kids back into in-person group classes.

And Wallace Baine got the tour of the Museum of Art & History’s “Strange Weather” — a high-profile new exhibition in collaboration with UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of the Arts & Sciences.

So let’s get to the headlines:

‘It’s Russian roulette right now’

town hall

A panel of local experts informed concerned community members Monday night about the drug that is increasingly targeting young people in Santa Cruz County. There are far more questions than answers, but it was a good start to filling the information and action void. Mark Conley reports on the event.

PART 1 OF “POISONED”: As fentanyl’s painful death toll grows in Santa Cruz, taking young lives, it’s time for meaningful solutions

Nine fun places for kids’ — in-person! — group classes around Santa Cruz County

Children handle a large snake

Who is ready to let the kids out and into summer classes? Parenting columnist Liza Monroy has tracked down the best of what we know is out there, with key info to aid your planning. Read her debut Santa Cruz Parenting column here.

MORE FROM LIZA: What makes the Westside the Westside?

MAH’s ‘Strange Weather’ contemplates humanity’s predicaments through art

“Number 215B” by installation artist Leonardo Drew in the MAH’s

“Strange Weather,” an exhibition running through Aug. 14, marks a high-profile collaboration between the Museum of Art & History and UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of the Arts & Sciences. Get the tour from Wallace Baine.

MORE FROM WALLACE: Icons of Santa Cruz: Pizza My Heart’s popular T-shirts are the most affordable way to represent local pride

Lookout Spring open House banner


COVID Dashboard: Metro ends mask mandate despite cases still ticking up

A pharmacist  wears a double mask when dealing with customers.

Santa Cruz County has seen one more COVID-19 death in the past week, putting the pandemic total at 261. Get more local data plus vaccine and booster information here.

RELATED: How many California lives were saved by COVID-19 vaccines? Scientists have an answer (Los Angeles Times)

Newsom’s ‘CARE Court’ homelessness plan faces new questions before first hearing

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles
Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged that his own “personal stupidity” helped provide the political fuel to ignite the recall effort against him. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to create court-ordered treatment for mental illness has divided some Democrats and local governments. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times survey the scene with a hearing on the plan set for today.

LOCALLY: Unhoused Santa Cruz: Three universal truths about why this county remains among the capitals of homelessness (Lookout)

Life’s rich puzzle(s)

Santa Cruz Puzzle Center promo

Sudoku? Word searches? Mini-crosswords? However you want to tease your brain, our Santa Cruz Puzzle Center has you covered.

GOT AN IDEA FOR A SANTA CRUZ-THEMED PUZZLE? Drop us a line at membership@lookoutlocal.com

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Around the county …

‘Blindspotting’ to film at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
PVUSD leader named region’s Superintendent of Year (The Pajaronian)
Watsonville sisters launch scholarship fund to help immigrant students (KION-TV)
3-month-old baby kidnapped by stranger from San Jose home, police say (SFGate)

That’s it for the moment — but Lookout has more goodies in store today, including the latest food and drink newsletter from Lily Belli. Get that plus our other newsletters and breaking news alerts delivered right to you by visiting our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center; you can also keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To ensure you’re staying informed about all the goings-on in Santa Cruz, please consider becoming a Lookout member if you’re not already. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Have a tremendous Tuesday!

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...