Hello there, my Santa Cruzans — happy Tuesday-that-feels-like-Monday!

You know, the one that makes you jam a lot more into those other four days to make the week feel whole! At least I hope we all got some decent spurts of RnR in on Monday. If so, that makes it all worth it.

This is Mark, filling in for Will, who earned himself a few extra days of RnR by being awesome. Hope he’s enjoying it. And I’m glad to have your ear because I want to tell you about Leticia Sandoval.

Letty, as she tells me I can now call her, last week instantly became one of the most amazing subjects I’ve ever had the honor of interviewing. She and her family are the main subjects of Unhoused Santa Cruz Part 2, which we released on Sunday.

Honestly, I have a hard time fathoming what Letty and her family have endured while so many of us more-fortunate types have complained about our life inconveniences the past two years. I have more to say on this, but I’d love for you to read the full story first. Then I’d appreciate your feedback. Send it my way at: mark@lookoutlocal.com.

Before we get to that and our other headlines, get your winter gear back out, and protect the animals and plants, if you haven’t already:

Now to the headlines…

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

Leticia Sandoval reflects on the challenge of getting her family rehoused.
Leticia Sandoval flanked by all her children, Adrian and Mirella to the left and Marina and Jared to the right. Credit: Via Leticia Sandoval

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 my story here.

PART 1: Three universal truths about why this county remains among the capitals of homelessness (Lookout)

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UCSC student leads charge to provide free menstrual products to students on campus

Menstrual activist and first year UCSC student Amanda Safi
Menstrual activist and first year UCSC student Amanda Safi holds a menstrual cup from The Honey Pot Company. The Black-owned business is dedicated to menstrual health and hygiene. Credit: Lluvia Moreno for CalMatters College Journalism Network

The Period Equity Project: UC Santa Cruz second-year Amanda Safi believes that if toilet paper is free in public restrooms, menstrual products should be too. She’s on a mission to ensure that youth, who can’t afford menstrual products, have access to free pads and tampons. Hillary Ojeda with the story here.

PREVIOUSLY: Latest ‘menstrual equity’ bill would require California’s public colleges to provide period products (CalMatters)

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Arts news including Cabrillo poised to unveil ‘Befana’ at the Crocker

A scene from the production of
Credit: Via Steve DiBartolomeo

Plus Mermen news and Avant Garden Party returns: Yes, “Befana” is a Christmas fable, and Omicron delayed its premiere. But, Wallace Baine writes as he looks ahead to what’s coming on the local arts scene, the mini-opera’s spirit extends well beyond the holiday season. Wallace Baine with the details here.

John Craigie’s longing for home leads pack among top songs ever written about California

John Craigie
John Craigie Credit: Bradley Cox / https://www.gianteyephotography.com/

Wallace Baine’s California dreamin list: A Santa Cruz cameo in a Super Bowl ad brings him to thinking about one of Ingelwood’s native sons — the venue of this year’s football fest — and that person’s contributions to the musical mystic that is California. John Craigie, who performs locally next month, went to UCSC in the 90s and was transformed by the experience. Don’t miss Wallace’s playlist here.

Even freeways that don’t get built leave a scar. How one Bay Area city is healing

ortrait of Debbie Frederick, 72
Debbie Frederick, 72, stands in the frontyard of the home she purchased from Caltrans in Hayward. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

New hope in Hayward: After decades, hundreds of Bay Area homes became available when a freeway project was abandoned. What happened? More from the LA Times.

A war to halt logging in Northern California reignites. Will it end differently this time?

Activist Alder rappels up a Redwood tree named Gemini
An activist named Alder rappels up a redwood tree named Gemini, where tree sitters have been camping intermittently on a platform to protect it from being cut down as part of the Caspar 500 Timber Harvest Plan in Jackson Demonstration State Forest. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Rallying around the drum: Activists have fought for decades to stop logging at Jackson State Forest. Now an Indigenous tribe is demanding a say in the fate of their ancestral homeland. The LA Times explores here.

As drought lingers, larger and more destructive wildfires pose new threats to water supply

A charred car sits on a mountain blackened by the LNU Lightning Complex fire.
A charred car sits at a property along Highway 128 in Napa where the LNU Lightning Complex fire tore through in August. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Water issues loom: Wildfires are increasing streamflow throughout the Western U.S., raising new threats for public safety and water management, according to researchers. More from the LA Times here.

Around the county …

Anti-gang effort nets five Watsonville arrests in one week (Sentinel)
Soquel man killed in solo vehicle crash (Sentinel)
Eight injured in three-vehicle crash (Pajaronian)
I Can No Longer Stay Quiet: We Can Do Better (Press-Banner)

That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying our coverage, especially in-depth journalism such as our Unhoused Santa Cruz series, please, consider becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without your support.

Have a great day!

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...