Good morning, Santa Cruz County! Today is Monday, June 13, and we’ve got a mostly sunny one ahead, with temperatures heading toward the upper 70s.

The votes are still being counted after last week’s primary election, and while the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s office might not have final numbers until the end of this week, there’s some good news in there, Mark Conley reports: A late surge of mail-in ballots could keep this primary from having the lowest turnout ever.

Meanwhile, Grace Stetson reports on the latest challenge facing families rebuilding from the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex fire: the required fire sprinkler installation, exacerbated by the lack of adequate water pressure to meet that requirement.

And with the Golden State Warriors looking to take a step toward another NBA title tonight in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Wallace Baine examines the odd match between Surf City and the Dubs’ minor league Santa Cruz Warriors.

Today also marks the launch of a series of stories from students at Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s Diamond Technology Institute charter high school, who worked with Lookout staff during the 2021-22 school year. In this demonstration project, supported by Santa Cruz County Credit Union, Lookout provided the school’s students and teachers complete access to Lookout’s local news and information, which has been used in several classes. This spring, Diamond Technology juniors interviewed Watsonville community members to create their own version of Lookout’s ongoing Unsung Santa Cruz series. Today through Thursday, we feature the students’ contributions — starting off with a singing dentist.

We’ve also got a Community Voices op-ed about the impact of books and reading on Santa Cruz’s incarcerated population, so let’s dig in on the headlines.

Primary election slowdown

Aptos resident Kelly Spellman at the Blossom's Farmstore & Coffeeshop.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

While the big countywide race, Measure D, left nothing to suspense on election night, and many others are also pretty convincing, there are several close races that won’t be conclusive until at least the end of the week. That’s because a surprising surge of election day voting by mail has left the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s office playing catch-up. Mark Conley explains.

THE VOTE IS IN: 10 questions on what happens next (Lookout)

Left out to dry: Sprinkler requirements the next hurdle for beleaguered CZU rebuilders

Julie Lucia broke ground in February.
Julie Lucia broke ground in February, following months long back-and-forth with both the county and insurance to ensure funding. Credit: Via Julie Lucia

As more families in the Santa Cruz Mountains begin the rebuilding process nearly two years after losing their homes in the CZU Lightning Complex fire, another issue has become evident: a fire sprinkler requirement, and a lack of adequate water pressure for all affected families. Some say this could hinder their ability to get home more so than before: “What can I do, just move in and face possible red-tagging?” Get the details from Grace Stetson.

PREVIOUSLY: A tale of two recoveries: Rebuilding frustrates CZU families; officials say they’re ahead of the curve (Lookout)

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Is there a future for the Santa Cruz Warriors — in Santa Cruz?

The Santa Cruz Warriors' home court at Kaiser Permanente Arena
Kaiser Permanente Area, home to the Santa Cruz Warriors Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

It’s been 10 years since the local Sea Dubs made a big splash in our little town. Kaiser Permanente Arena has been a good temporary home, but now a more permanent place is needed. How did this odd match between Surf City and pro basketball come to be? Read Wallace Baine’s Sunday column.

FROM APRIL: Will Warriors stay? Community input on downtown expansion will help decide whether they do and, if so, where (Lookout)

The singing dentist: How Dr. Deepak Sachdev brings joy to his patients

Dr. Deepak Sachdev

Dr. Deepak Sachdev, a third-generation cosmetic dentist and oral surgeon, is devoted to his patients while also helping to guide the people of Watsonville to a growing career that is also in high demand. Diamond Technology Institute student Misty Aguilar introduces us.

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I deliver books to Santa Cruz jails; don’t tell me libraries don’t matter

Jesse Silva of Santa Cruz Public Libraries

Librarian Jesse Silva regularly delivers books and library programs to the more than 300 people currently incarcerated in Santa Cruz County. She also brings in kindness and social support. For some, she writes in a Community Voices op-ed, the library is the only outside contact her patrons experience during their months or years in jail. She argues that her work is vital and that we must support our libraries and recognize the essential role reading plays in rehabilitation. Read her full Community Voices opinion piece here.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Here’s how to contribute a letter to the editor

Overworked California firefighters struggle with PTSD, suicide, fatigue, intensifying wildfires

A Cal Fire employee tries to comfort another participant during a healing retreat

Cal Fire faces a mental health crisis. As wildfires burn year-round, thousands of overworked California firefighters carry a heavy load of trauma, pain and grief. They leave a fire but the fire never leaves them. Read more here from our partners at CalMatters.

LOCAL CHIEF: Big job at a tough time: Cal Fire’s new leader talks about the challenges of wildfire defense (Lookout)


Around the county …

Raising awareness for human trafficking in Santa Cruz County (KSBW-TV)
Vacant-home tax advances in Capitola (Santa Cruz Local)
Energy storage in Moss Landing: A smoky challenge to a new chapter (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

That’s all for the moment, but keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And 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.

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Now get out there and show Monday who’s boss!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

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...