Daisy Nuñez
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Pandemic Life

Get inspired by these ‘people in the pandemic’ by signing up for our free Lookout event this evening

Between medicine, religion, education, wellness and comedy, we’re anticipating a lively discussion about the challenges of pandemic life in which you’ll be able to ask questions via Zoom chat. Additionally, we’ll have the latest update on the status of COVID-19 locally.

Among our many focuses at Lookout has been to tell the stories of everyday people who are overcoming COVID-19’s obstacles and dealing with its tragedies. Now, we’re partnering with Event Santa Cruz to bring some of these stories to life through a virtual gathering.

Our free “People in the Pandemic” event is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Like all of us, our panelists — Yoso Wellness Spa owner Jennalee Dahlen, Santa Cruz County EMS medical director Dr. David Ghilarducci, comedian and events producer DNA, Watsonville High School counselor and Hospice of Santa Cruz County board member Daisy Nuñez, and Rabbi Paula Marcus of Temple Beth El in Aptos — have seen their ups and downs because of COVID-19.

Lookout Managing Editor Tulsi Kamath and Deputy Manager Mark Conley will talk with each of them individually and also as a group. Kamath and Conley have been on the front lines of pandemic coverage for Lookout as authors of the “Morning Lookout” and “Covid PM” newsletters, respectively.

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    Register for 'People in the Pandemic'
    This past year has been traumatic and tough for everyone — and our latest free virtual event addresses how key players in education, entertainment, religion, wellness and medicine have navigated the bumps in the road. We’re anticipating a lively discussion about resilience and coping — and where we go from here.

Between medicine, religion, wellness and comedy, we’re anticipating a lively discussion in which you’ll be able to ask questions via Zoom chat. Additionally, we’ll be looking to Dr. Ghilarducci to provide our audience with the latest updates on the disease. To register for the event, click here.

Resiliency will be among the themes. Dahlen, for example, saw business at Yoso Wellness Spa fall off as much as 80 percent in 2020 amid pandemic shutdowns. But last summer, instead of contracting, she became more resourceful, opening a new retail annex to the spa on Cooper Street right across from Abbott Square, our Wallace Baine reported last month.

“I’m not going to close my doors, at all,” Dahlen told Baine. “I’m just not going to let that happen.”

Here’s more about all of our panelists.

Rabbi Paula Marcus

Rabbi Paula Marcus of Temple Beth El
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

• Rabbi Paula Marcus is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El, in Aptos. She received her rabbinic ordination and her masters from the Academy of Jewish Religion in 2004. Rabbi Marcus sees activism and social justice as an important part of Jewish values. She served on the National board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and has facilitated workshops for Jewish Funds for Justice, Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, (the local Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate), and the National Religious Action Center. She is one of the co-founders of Out in Our Faith (an interfaith LGBTQ network) and a leader in the Santa Cruz Tent of Abraham Project.


(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

• DNA has been producing events throughout California for more than three decades. From citywide events incorporating music, art, film and comedy to opening a community performing center and a comedy club, he operates from the principal that you can build community through shared events. His writings have been published internationally since 1989, and he has appeared on NPR’s SnapJudgement.

Daisy Nuñez

Daisy Nuñez
(Leonardo Lopez (courtesy Daisy Nuñez))

Daisy Nuñez, a counselor for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and adjunct counselor at Harnell College, is a first-generation Mexican-American raised by migrant farm working parents. She became a board member for Hospice of Santa Cruz County this year and also serves on the pastoral council for St. Patrick’s Church in Watsonville. She received her B.A. in Global Economics from UC Santa Cruz and her master’s in Counseling Education from San Jose State University. Additionally, she holds a Certification in Thanatology in Death, Dying and Bereavement from the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her experience as a socio-emotional counselor coupled with her work at Hartnell College has provided her with the advising expertise to plan, monitor, and manage student educational, personal/social, and career development goals.

Dr. David Ghilarducci

David Ghilarducci
David Ghilarducci
(Courtesy County of Santa Cruz)

• Dr. David Ghilarducci is the Health Officer in San Benito County, Deputy Health Officer in Santa Cruz County and EMS Medical Director for both counties. A graduate of Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz and the Medical College of Wisconsin, his training as an emergency physician was preceded by a 16-year firefighting career in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties and continues emergency response roles as FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Physician. He has participated in rescue missions in California, Alabama and Haiti and has leveraged that experience in managing emergencies, disasters, and now, a pandemic, in our community.

Jennalee Dahlen

Jennalee Dahlen
(Courtesy Jennalee Dahlen)

• Jennalee Dahlen is an esthetician and the founder of Yoso Wellness Spa and Yoso the Annex. Yoso Wellness Spa is approaching nine years in business and has two green business certifications and is an eco-friendly spa. Dahlen has a degree from San Jose State University in advertising and business marketing. After working as a buyer for a green business, Sports Basement, she decided to make a shift to follow her passion, skin care, in 2010. She has received extensive training from the International Dermal Institute, Concepts Institute, Eminence Organics, Osmosis Skincare, Cecily Brayden and many more advanced educators throughout the United States.

Thanks to our event Media Partners:

People in Pandemic event sponsors
(Lookout Santa Cruz / Event Santa Cruz)

Thank you to our Media Partners: Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, Digital Nest, Miller Maxfield Inc., Visit Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz County Bank, Allterra Solar, Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, Choose Santa Cruz, Think Local First, K&D Landscaping, Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, Santa Cruz County Business Council and Capitola Soquel Chamber of Commerce.

Watch our first event:

“People in the Pandemic” is among multiple events Lookout and Event Santa Cruz are producing as part of Lookout’s COVID 2021 initiative. You can watch the first event “COVID 2021: The Experts Answer Your Questions” below:

Have a question about the pandemic? Ask Lookout: