Quick Take:

Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Cruz County service area is building partnerships with community and government organizations...

Good Morning! It’s Friday, June 18 and thankfully the heatwave we have been experiencing this week is losing its sizzle. While the National Weather Service says it will still be a hot day, it won’t be quite as uncomfortable as yesterday.

Santa Cruzans flocked to the beach yesterday to cool down during the heatwave and today will be another good day to do so. However, despite the cooling temperatures, a statewide Flex Alert has been extended through this evening, resulting in possible rolling outages.

More on that lower down, but first, a celebration:

HAPPENING TODAY: Santa Cruz County’s Black HS seniors to be celebrated in special graduation ceremony

Black Lives Matter is painted on Center Street in front of Santa Cruz City Hall.
Center Street in front of Santa Cruz City Hall, with its Black Lives Matter mural, will be the site of Friday’s Black Grad event. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

For the first time ever, Black graduating high school seniors from all over Santa Cruz County will gather together for the county’s Black Grad event today. Center Street at City Hall will be closed to vehicular traffic to provide space to set up for the event, which will feature catered food, live music, remarks from the new grads, and even a fashion show. Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

Meanwhile, check out the full roster of Juneteenth celebrations in Santa Cruz County over the weekend and here’s a list of Black-owned businesses you can patronize.

Flex Alert extended through Friday as heatwave sears California

A man cools down in the Splash Pad area of the North Hollywood Pool on another scorching day on June 16, 2021.
A man cools down in the North Hollywood Pool on a scorching Wednesday. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Despite assurances that the power grid remains stable, California’s energy operator has issued statewide Flex Alerts for electricity conservation Thursday and Friday evenings as temperatures around the region continue to break records. Read more here.

Time to chill: Sights from a beat-the-heat Thursday in Santa Cruz County

A boy plays in the lagoon where the San Lorenzo River meets the beach by the Boardwalk.
Seven-year-old Noah Moralez came from San Jose to cool off in the lagoon at Main Beach in Santa Cruz. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

PHOTOS: With temperatures in triple digits both inland and even in more temperate parts of Santa Cruz County, thousands flocked to the beach Thursday in search of natural air conditioning. Our Photo contributor Kevin Painchaud set out to capture how Santa Cruz County was coping with the heat. Here’s what he saw.

Recovery 2021 Updates

Los Angeles
Masked workers prepare meals in the kitchen of Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles on Tuesday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

California loosens mask rules for vaccinated employees: California’s circuitous journey to relaxing coronavirus-related workplace safety rules finally reached its destination after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order yesterday following a state board vote to end physical distancing requirements for all workers and allow most fully vaccinated employees in many workplaces to stop wearing masks. Read more here.

Rising first graders work on a spelling activity during summer school
Credit: Anne Wernikoff / CalMatters

Summer school options: California hits record enrollment, but is it enough? After 15 months of the pandemic, during which most students learned at home, a spring infusion of $4.6 billion from the state is allowing some districts to increase summer enrollment tenfold. But educators statewide agree: Summer school won’t be a panacea to the academic, social and emotional turmoil students have experienced since March 2020. Read more here.

READ ALSO: It turns out some Californians aren’t eager to shed their masks just yet (LA Times)

Recall Newsom updates

What a difference a year has made for local grapes.
Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Elections officials alarmed by Democrats’ plans to change Newsom recall rules: Local elections officials began sounding the alarm soon after Democrats unveiled new legislation last week allowing the Newsom recall to be held as early as Aug. 24. The proposal would shorten the timeline by up to two months by eliminating the existing requirement of a lengthy analysis of the election’s costs and potentially push the event’s cost far beyond the current estimate of $215 million. Read more from our partners at the LA Times here.

Gov. Gavin Newsom with his youngest son, Dutch
Credit: Anne Wernikoff / CalMatters

Q&A: Gavin Newsom under COVID — The governor dishes on his pandemic life: Our partners at CalMatters sat down with Gov. Gavin Newsom in a 30-minute interview during which he talked about what he’s watching on Netflix, his childhood and parents, life during COVID and the recall effort against him. The interview provided a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes life of one of the country’s most visible governors. Read the Q&A here.

Around the county…

Steel tanks replace Redwood relics; Lompico modernizes water system (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

New report shows pandemic impact on Santa Cruz County workforce (KION-TV)

Police spending in Watsonville’s proposed budget draws criticism (The Pajaronian)

That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying our coverage, please tell your family and friends about our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where they can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. You can also keep tabs on everything we’re publishing through the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor

Follow Tulsi Kamath on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. Tulsi Kamath was the originator of Lookout Santa Cruz’s flagship Morning Lookout newsletter and its original Managing Editor.