Quick Take:

The State of California, specifically the Public Utilities Commission, has proposed a set of regulatory changes – NEM 3...

Happy Wednesday evening, everybody.

Thank god for goats. Otherwise we might all continue taking this rail and/or trail issue to a level that is just not good for our blood pressure and/or state of Zen.

Plenty to get to in the headlines today, so let’s go already …

Santa Cruz back to wastewater testing in hopes of creating better virus surveillance

The Watsonville Wastewater Treatment Plant serves about 55,000 residents in the city and surrounding areas.
The Watsonville Wastewater Treatment Plant serves about 55,000 residents in the city and surrounding areas. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Flushing COVID away: Consistent wastewater testing begins again this week in Santa Cruz in an effort to know more earlier about local COVID trends. How does the testing work and how might it help track the virus faster? Max Chun with those answers here.

PREVIOUSLY: They’re testing your what? Wastewater plays growing role in search for COVID-19 countywide (Lookout)

Appeals court orders pause on the placement of a sexually violent predator in Santa Cruz County

Members of the Bonny Doon community turned out Tuesday morning
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

What it means: An appellate court has blocked the placement of Michale Cheek, a man diagnosed as a sexually violent predator, in a Bonny Doon home pending a ruling on the matter. A Santa Cruz judge approved of the placement in November but then issued a stay. Hillary Ojeda with more here.

PREVIOUSLY: A test of ‘Bonny Doon Strong’: Why a ‘sexually violent predator’ should not be this community’s next battle (Lookout)

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Vaccine update: What we know now in Santa Cruz County

Luci Guardino
Luci Guardino, 11, receives her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a recently launched clinical trial at Kaiser Permanente sites in Northern California. About 75 children will be enrolled to participate at sites in Sacramento, Oakland and Santa Clara. (Kaiser Permanente) Credit: Kaiser Permanente

The latest: As of Wednesday, 73.1% of Santa Cruz County residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a slight increase from the week prior. More on the available data here.

Here we take the words ‘Eat Local’ seriously

A list of products made in Santa Cruz County

13 products you can grab at the store today: Santa Cruz County is ridiculously fortunate when it comes to locally-produced products that you can pick up at pretty much any grocery store you shop at. There are too many to list but here are some definite favorites. Lily Belli with her rundown of favorites here.

WHAT DO YOU SAY? Tell us your must-haves by hitting reply or emailing to news@lookoutlocal.com

LILY’S LATEST NEWSLETTER: Lily Belli on Food: Meaty masterpieces, family dinner challenges, Funk’s Franks fundraising, and … text me


COVID remains the most formidable, frightening foe at Beijing Olympics

Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest.
Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. Credit: Via Pixabay

Winter Olympics ahead: Olympic athletes are coping with intense anxiety over COVID test results, with positive results a constant threat to knock them out of competition. More from the LA Times here.

ALSO: Olympics lose their way through grotesque growth and small-minded leadership (Helene Elliott of the LA Times)

California school officials could mandate searches of backpacks, lockers under shooting threat

A row of school lockers
Credit: Via Pixabay

What we know: State Sen. Anthony Portantino decided to introduce another gun safety bill this year in response to the Nov. 30 school shooting that left four dead and seven injured in Oxford, Michigan. More from the Times here.

ICYMI: Are Santa Cruzans dividing up their lots?

A drone view of Pleasure Point.
A drone view of Pleasure Point. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

SB 9’s beginnings: Senate Bill 9, signed into law last fall by Gov. Gavin Newsom, allows California homeowners and property owners to either subdivide their lots or build duplexes. The law officially went into effect Jan. 1 — but how much of an impact has it made locally, if at all? Grace Stetson with the details here.

More from here & elsewhere

Colorado Fire off the coast of Big Sur 100% contained as another wildfire reported along Highway 1 (Sentinel)
Supervisors approve plan to increase internet access for rural residents (Pajaronian)
Gilroy feuds over the installation of a ‘symbol of white supremacy’ downtown (SF Gate)
Maskless California students kicked out of class say Gavin Newsom inspired them (SF Gate)
Boosted Americans 97 times less likely to die of virus than unvaccinated (USA Today)
Jerry Jones on Flores’ lawsuit vs. NFL: ‘We can do better’ (USA Today)

That is all for this Wednesday night. Over the hump we go and we’ll reconvene tomorrow. Do not forget to tell three friends how awesome Lookout is and sign up for your own membership if you haven’t become a full backer yourself. And make that four friends!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor

Follow Mark Conley on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Mark joins Lookout after 14 years at the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group, where he served as Deputy Sports Editor on a staff that covered three...