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Rise and grind, friends. It’s Monday, Oct. 16, and the Santa Cruz County forecast calls for a sunny start before some clouds roll in later in the day, and temperatures in the 70s and 80s before a warmup later this week. Also, a heads-up that Cal Fire has a prescribed burn planned for the Soquel Demonstration State Forest between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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Ahead of his weekly newsletter, In the Public Interest, coming to inboxes later Monday, Christopher Neely compares how the county’s biggest cities are thinking about big changes to their downtowns. Watsonville is just getting rolling on its long-term plans, while Santa Cruz is primed to take another big step soon.

Hillary Ojeda also has news from South County, where the Pajaro Valley Unified School District board got good news about community support for a possible bond measure next year. Among the things a ballot measure could ask voters to help fund are repairs to schools and classrooms and building staff housing.

I’ve also got double-barreled Wallace Baine this Monday: Not only does Wallace survey what Santa Cruz might get with a new, permanent — and, crucially, multipurpose — arena for the Santa Cruz Warriors, he’s also got an excellent rundown of a variety of Halloween-themed events happening around the county in the next couple weeks.

The Monday headlines await, but first, this local scene:

Photo of the day

A demonstration in support of Palestine along Ocean Street in Santa Cruz
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

About 20 people staged a vigil in front of the Starbucks on Ocean Street on Saturday morning in support of Palestinians and condemning the Israel-Hamas war.

“We, members of the Palestine Justice Coalition, are here today in this peace vigil because we are in support of safety and freedom for all Israelis and Palestinians,” said Laura Zucker of the Palestine Justice Coalition, a group of community members who advocate for peace for Palestinians and Israelis.

Zucker added that like most Saturdays that the group holds signs at the corner calling for peace, members planned to be there again next Saturday.

On Monday, the UC Santa Cruz Students for Justice in Palestine group said it will be holding a rally at noon and a vigil in the evening for Palestinian lives lost since the state of Israel was established 75 years ago. — Hillary Ojeda

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Two downtowns, two new visions in Watsonville and Santa Cruz

The neighborhood south of Laurel Street around Kaiser Permanente Arena in downtown Santa Cruz.
The neighborhood south of Laurel Street around Kaiser Permanente Arena in downtown Santa Cruz. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

As Watsonville embarks on an ambitious long-term downtown makeover and Santa Cruz’s continues, both cities are aiming to boost housing density and make those areas more livable while also focusing on events and experiences at a time when e-commerce has made brick-and-mortar retail less of a downtown driver. More here from Christopher Neely.

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Sign up here for Christopher’s newsletter covering local politics and policy, sent later Monday

10 must-see stops on the 37th annual Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour

Survey shows majority of PVUSD voters would support bond measure

Based in Watsonville, Pajaro Valley Unified School District is the largest in Santa Cruz County.
Based in Watsonville, Pajaro Valley Unified School District is the largest in Santa Cruz County. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Pajaro Valley Unified School District board members are considering whether to pursue a bond measure on the November 2024 ballot to fund repairs to schools and classrooms and potentially build staff housing. A survey shows they likely have the support they need. Hillary Ojeda reports.

MORE: Potential Watsonville Community Hospital property tax has support among residents, survey finds

How construction skills, sustainability, and local housing needs collide at Cabrillo College’s CEM department PC roadblock

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So that’s how we’re starting this Monday here at Lookout, and you’ll want to stay tuned because there’s more on the way. In addition to Christopher Neely’s In the Public Interest newsletter, also coming later is our latest high school sports roundup, covering a volleyball title chase, the latest from the gridiron and plenty more. We’ll let you know on social media when that’s live, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads to keep tabs on what’s happening all over Santa Cruz County. You can also sign up here for all of Lookout’s other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via text and email.

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May your Monday be a smooth one, and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

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...