Quick Take:

Several community groups, institutions and Santa Cruz County residents with connection to Israel and Palestine have...

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Good morning, headline seekers. It’s Wednesday, Oct. 11, and another mostly sunny day awaits Santa Cruz County, with temperatures again in the 60s and 70s.

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The Israel-Hamas war is top of mind this morning, and Hillary Ojeda reports on how local residents and organizations are responding. Shock and horror at the violence has been a common reaction, she found, and vigils are planned for later this week. We’ve also compiled statements by local leaders and organizations on the conflict, so keep reading for that, too.

From Watsonville, Christopher Neely has news on unanimous city council approval of the long-range plan to transform downtown. “I would like to see that vitality return,” one councilmember said of an area that has never fully rebounded from the devastating 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The Wednesday headlines also include the latest from the Santa Cruz County food and drink scene, courtesy of Lily Belli, so please, come along.

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Santa Cruzans organize vigils, respond to Israel-Hamas war

Dana Peleg, an Israeli writer who lives in Santa Cruz, at home wearing a shirt that says
Dana Peleg, an Israeli writer who lives in Santa Cruz, at home wearing a shirt that says “peace” in Hebrew and Arabic. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County residents with ties to Palestine and Israel say they’re stunned and saddened by the violence in the region. Two organizations are scheduled to host vigils this week to mourn those lost in the violence. Hillary Ojeda has more.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Zionism conference sparks heated debate at UCSC and among community groups

Santa Cruz METRO unveils striking new wildlife buses as ‘One Ride at a Time’ campaign expands PC roadblock

A new era for downtown Watsonville begins after unanimous city council vote

scenes from downtown Watsonville
Downtown Watsonville. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Watsonville’s city council unanimously voted Tuesday night to approve a new 30-year vision to reinvigorate the city’s downtown. The goal is to transform the area into a vibrant hub of culture and commerce, complete with bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly streets and opportunities for new development. That vision rests on a plan for Caltrans to reduce Main Street from four lanes to two. Christopher Neely reports.

BIG PLANS IN DOWNTOWN WATSONVILLE: Pouring Hispanic culture into craft beer, Buena Vista Brewing booms

Closing the curtain on The Dwellings construction: New townhomes for sale in Soquel PC

The Mountain Affair event Community Bridges
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This is usually where I’d tell you that, among other things, a roundup of the latest news and notes from Santa Cruz County business is on its way, but Jessica M. Pasko’s weekly column is on hiatus and will return next Wednesday, Oct. 18. You should make sure you’re following Lookout on social media all the same — we’ve got plenty up our collective sleeve, so connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads and you won’t miss a thing. We also offer breaking news alerts via text and email, to say nothing of our library of other newsletters — click here to get signed up.

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Those daylight hours are waning — get out there and make the most of ‘em.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

FRIDAY 10/20
The Mountain Affair @Ristorante Casa Nostra
Beers, Bikes and Bon Bons @Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Vine to View Dinner @Chaminade Resort & Spa
10 O’Clock Lunch Band @Mid-County Senior Center
“The Thin Place” by Lucas Hnath @Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre

Wonderland – The Gala @Hotel Paradox
Pickleball Tournament @Cabrillo College
20th Annual Bonny Doon Art, Wine & Brew Festival @Crest Ranch
The 7th Annual Floating Pumpkin Patch @Simpkins Family Swim Center
Pleasure Point Sip & Stroll @Pleasure Point
Symphony Concert: Operas Of Seville @Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Uncork Corralitos @Alladin Nursery

SUNDAY 10/22
Symphony Concert: Operas Of Seville @Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts
Lydia Pense & Cold Blood @Moe’s Alley
Gaby Castro @Chaminade Resort & Spa
Solidarity Records: The Fully Baked Tour @Shanty Shack Brewing
An Evening With Patty Griffin & Todd Snider @Rio Theatre

Click for the full event calendar

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...