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Students, farmworkers and doctors urged the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation to restrict the use of harmful...

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Rise and shine, Halloween goblins and ghosts. It is Tuesday, Oct. 31, and there’s nothing spooky about the Santa Cruz County weather forecast: mostly sunny, with temperatures in the 70s and lower 80s.

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In the spirit of the day, Max Chun and Kevin Painchaud are first up with a tour of one of the county’s spookiest places, the (allegedly) haunted Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “The way I see it, the ghosts have been up there for more than 100 years,” says owner Pravin Patel said of the spectral residents of the hotel, where he’s hoping to renovate some closed-off sections and perhaps offer spooky tours. “They’re not hurting anyone and it’s a different dimension, we can coexist here.”

Christopher Neely was in a Santa Cruz courtroom Monday and has an update on the status of convicted sex offender Michael Cheek — though, as he reports, it’s not much of an update, as efforts to find a place for the 71-year-old to live upon release from a state hospital have yet to bear fruit.

Hillary Ojeda was in Watsonville as officials took public comment on the next strategic plan for the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation. Some drove from as far away as Ventura to call for greater protection for farmworkers and their communities.

Ahead of her Lily Belli on Food newsletter, coming later Tuesday, Lily Belli has word on Cafe GSC — the former Cafe Gratitude — closing after 13 years in downtown Santa Cruz. The owner of the vegan spot cited debt, rising costs and decreasing business as reasons for shuttering it.

And in Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, a veteran contractor expresses his worries that the downtown building boom “won’t pass the 100-years test” — ie, while the projects might technically be up to code, that doesn’t mean they’ll stand the test of time.

The Tuesday headlines also include our latest high school sports roundup, with Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League titles being decided in a number of sports. Hut, hut, hike!

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Brookdale Lodge, one of Santa Cruz County’s most haunted places, still spooks at 100-plus years old

A plaque outside the original Brookdale Lodge, detailing its star-studded history — including a note about its ghosts.
A plaque outside the original Brookdale Lodge, detailing its star-studded history — including a note about its ghosts. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

The Brookdale Lodge is a legendary part of Santa Cruz County’s past, having hosted notable figures like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Herbert Hoover — and, allegedly, ghosts. Long believed to be haunted by several spirits, the 100-plus-year-old hotel still holds surprises for visitors and staff. Now, as owner Pravin Patel looks to restore some of the closed-off, run-down sections of the hotel, patrons might soon be able to experience the lodge as it was in its heyday. Here’s what Max Chun and Kevin Painchaud heard and saw.

MAKING HALLOWEEN PLANS? Check out our up-to-the-minute BOLO events calendar

Celebrating 40 years of Santa Cruz County generosity: Wine & Roses returns on November 4

Vegan-friendly downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Cafe GSC closes amid financial struggles

Cafe GSC, formerly Cafe Gratitude, in downtown Santa Cruz closed earlier this month.
Cafe GSC, formerly Cafe Gratitude, in downtown Santa Cruz closed earlier this month. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz’s Cafe GSC, formerly Cafe Gratitude, closed earlier this month due to financial difficulties after 13 years in business. The downtown restaurant served an organic, plant-based menu and was a vestige of a once-flourishing chain of Cafe Gratitudes that at its height had nine locations in California. Lily Belli has details.

MORE COMINGS AND GOINGS: Pretty Good Advice, Rock N Roll Donuts plus 8 more new restaurants headed to downtown Santa Cruz

Five UC Santa Cruz projects awarded grant funding to tackle climate change challenges

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Finishing the month strong here at Lookout — and we’re not done yet, what with the latest Lily Belli on Food still coming on the Tuesday menu, among other things. Sign up here to get Lily’s and all of Lookout’s newsletters, plus breaking news alerts, delivered right to you wherever you are, and find Lookout on social media, where we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

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Enjoy your Halloween, and keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters when you’re out on the roads — let’s all make it a safe one.

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...