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LOOKOUT PM: ‘Safe and sane’ fireworks and more Fourth of July doings

Happy Friday, everyone — and hello, long weekend. We’ve earned it, right?

There will definitely be more folks out and about this Fourth of July than last, so here are some timely reminders for anyone heading for the beach:

And that brings us to this evening’s top headline and our Wallace Baine’s take on it:

No such thing as ‘safe and sane’ fireworks in bone-dry California

Fireworks over Aptos
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

PRIMED TO BURN: Officials across the state are pleading with the public to refrain from setting off fireworks this Fourth of July weekend after one of the hottest, driest Junes in recent memory. “All it takes is a single firework or a single spark,” one fire chief said. More from our partners at the Los Angeles Times here.

THE HERE & NOW: And the dangers posed by what was once a joyous part of Independence Day celebrations has our Wallace Baine asking “When are we going to outgrow fireworks?” in his latest column. He writes, in part:

“If we’re not there already, we might be fast approaching the tipping point when a critical mass of people just say, enough with the fireworks. We’re living in a post-fireworks world, at least in the West. Maybe we should start behaving like it.”

Read the whole thing here.

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No rain means alarming fire danger

Water levels at Lake Shasta are lower as drought conditions persist June 30
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA BRACES FOR WORRIESOME SUMMER, FALL: A worsening drought is further drying out parched vegetation, which could be fuel for a disastrous fire season. “Once June gloom comes to an end, things are gonna dry out really quick,” one researcher warned. “Fingers crossed we don’t have another lightning outbreak, like what happened last year.” More from our partners at the Times here.

Good news for college athletes

Cabrillo College suspended its football program last May following sanctions imposed for rule violations.
(Cabrillo College / Contributed)

ADVOCATES OPTIMISTIC: California’s landmark law allowing college athletes to sign paid endorsement deals started a national movement. With the NCAA no longer banning athlete compensation, advocates are pushing to speed up the law’s implementation and expand it to cover community college players. More here from our partners at CalMatters.

Fourth of July in live entertainment

Hank & Ella with the Fine Country Band
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA: With live music aplenty and more, this long weekend promises to be full of excitement and entertainment for the whole family. Get the scoop from our Wallace Baine here.

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‘World’s Shortest Parade’ ready to get its groove back

Wallace Baine and wife Tina were part of The Great Morgani's "clone army" during the Aptos parade in 2012.
(Wallace Baine / Lookout Santa Cruz)

ONE OF A KIND: Wallace Baine dancing like God’s own fool as a Great Morgani clone is the kind of vibe Aptos’ Independence Day parade aims for — big dollops of wholesome Americana seasoned with only-in-Santa-Cruz eccentricity — as it returns from its COVID-19 break. More here on Wallace’s experience.

Is it safe to swim at Capitola Beach?

The area around where Soquel Creek drains into the ocean is where the most unhealthy water quality will be.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

F GRADE A BUMMER: News that Capitola Beach ranked third-worst in the state in terms of water quality, according to one nonprofit, could make a person think twice about taking a dip this long weekend. Our Mallory Pickett got researchers’ takes.

Have fun, be safe and appreciate the long holiday weekend. Happy Fourth from the Lookout Santa Cruz Staff!