Quick Take:

Kaiser Permanente has partnered with systems change agency SupplyBank.org to disperse donations of sanitizing wipes, N95...

Good morning and happy Wednesday, everyone.

It’s Mark pinch-hitting for Will again. But don’t worry, he’s headed back to the Morning Lookout driver’s seat, I have been assured.

Looks like it will be another chilly one throughout the day so bundle up.

And by bundle up, I don’t mean packing an extra tutu. But more on that uniquely Santa Cruz phenomenon below, along with your more weighty headlines of the day:

VIDEO: It was an ‘Only in Santa Cruz’ scene for the 2/2/22 ‘tutu’ celebration

Dancing in tutus at Lighthouse Point on 2/2/22 at 2:22.
Dancing in tutus at Lighthouse Point on 2/2/22 at 2:22. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Dancing in the wind: When 2:22 arrived at Lighthouse Field, so too did the spectacle of colorful tutus fluttering all about. It’s better to show than tell in this instance. And luckily our Kevin Painchaud was on the scene, camera in hand. Watch his fun video here.

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ICYMI: Will Watsonville Community Hospital be saved?

Watsonville Community Hospital.
Watsonville Community Hospital. Credit: Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz

Assessing the realities: A local coalition is cobbling together close to $39 million to buy the bankrupt Watsonville Community Hospital. A judge will review the funding at a sale hearing on Feb. 23 and decide if the coalition can move forward with the purchase. Even if the group makes the purchase, it will still need millions more to operate the financially failing hospital and a plan to keep it operating. Can it succeed? Hillary Ojeda explores.

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GETTING OUT IN THE FIELD: See all the most recent listings here.


Harm Reduction Coalition gets grant to expand testing of hepatitis C, HIV for unhoused population

The Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County gives away free syringes in nine sizes.
The Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County gives away free syringes in nine sizes. The program’s goal is to reduce the spread of bloodborne illnesses. Credit: Rachel Bluth / Kaiser Health News

What it means: The $100,000 grant from AIDS United and others will allow the Santa Cruz group to expand its testing of viral diseases among the county’s unhoused population. Dani Drysdale, who runs the Safe Syringe program, said many people are not aware they even have hepatitis C. Knowing is the first step toward treatment. Grace Stetson with more.

Did the pandemic create more income inequality in California?

Lori's Diner on Sutter Street in San Francisco's Union Square
Lori’s Diner on Sutter Street in San Francisco’s Union Square is boarded up as the coronavirus shutdown enters its second week on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Photo by Karl Mondon, Bay Area News Group

Signs that it’s so: Income inequality grew in California during three of the last four recessions before the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers are trying to figure out if the same happened in 2020. More from CalMatters here.

California voters lean toward legalizing sports betting in new poll

A bar at Levis Stadium
A bar at Levis Stadium Credit: Levis Stadium website

Tide is rising: A poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times finds 45% of California voters would back an effort to legalize sports betting. More from the LA Times here.

ICYMI: The struggle for families is real — and for one family, tragedy followed triumph

Leticia Sandoval recounts her path to homelessness from her new kitchen.
Leticia Sandoval recounts her path to homelessness from her new kitchen. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Unhoused Santa Cruz Part 2: The number of families experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz County continues to increase despite the efforts by local leaders to prioritize them. Lookout learned that the number hit a two-year high in January after spiking by 27% over the past six months. One family saw the hard work needed to get rehoused finally pay off. During their day of celebration, tragedy struck. Please read here if you haven’t already.

Part I: Three universal truths about why this county remains among the capitals of homelessness

Around the county …

Goat grazing pilot project wraps on Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line (Sentinel)
Mariners’ season comes to an end after a stunning loss to Sacred Heart Prep (Pajaronian)
Central Coast gas prices hit new high as tourism continues to surge (KSBW)
Directly elected mayor in the cards for city of Santa Cruz (Sentinel)

That’s it for today. Please consider becoming a Lookout member. We can’t do it without you!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor

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...