Watsonville Community Hospital.
(Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Lookout PM Archive

LOOKOUT PM: Watsonville Community Hospital’s fate in the balance

Happy Tuesday evening, everybody. Our weather seems to be whipsawing between spring and winter — with the coldest days slated to come later on this week. Brrr. (And yes, we know we’re incredibly lucky to be on the Best Coast this time of year. But still...)

Game time: We have reserved 10 tickets to tomorrow night’s Harlem Globetrotters game at KP Arena as an additional perk for our Lookout Members. The first FIVE Lookout members to email Director of Membership Jamie Keil — jamie@lookoutlocal.com — will receive two tickets. The game is at the KP Arena at 7 p.m. Wednesday. More details here.

And with that, make yourself a hot drink and get ready for these headlines:

Will Watsonville Community Hospital be saved?

Watsonville Community Hospital
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Long Road: A local coalition is cobbling together close to $39 million to buy the bankrupt Watsonville Community Hospital. A judge will review the funding at a sale hearing on Feb. 23 and decide if the coalition can move forward with the purchase. Even if the group makes the purchase, it will still need millions more to operate the financially failing hospital and a plan to keep it operating. Can it succeed? Lookout’s Hillary Ojeda sorts things out here.

PREVIOUSLY: Santa Cruz County, health officials confident a district will save Watsonville Community Hospital

➤ HEAL YOUR COMMUNITY: See all the most recent listings here.

Humble Sea’s Felton foray, ample crustaceans and kid-friendly places

Lily Belli on Food: The highly anticipated opening of Humble Sea Tavern occurred last Thursday, and it seems like the entire San Lorenzo Valley community roared in, marking another step in a small revival of downtown Felton. While their Swift Street brewery relies on food trucks and pop-ups to feed their guests, and the Pacifica taproom serves low-key beach fare like burgers, fish and chips and wings, the tavern focuses on a full menu of “refined comfort food.” See more on the opening and the latest from Lily here.

More Food & Drink: All of Lily’s columns and stories in one place.


Harm Reduction Coalition awarded $100K grant to expand testing of hepatitis C, HIV for unhoused population

The Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County gives away free syringes in nine sizes.
(Rachel Bluth / Kaiser Health News)

COVID-19 related: The $100,000 grant from AIDS United and others will allow the Santa Cruz group to expand its testing of viral diseases among the county’s unhoused population. Dani Drysdale, who runs the Safe Syringe program, said many people are not aware they even have hepatitis C. Knowing is the first step toward treatment. Lookout’s Grace Stetson looks into things here.

ICYMI: Unhoused Santa Cruz: The struggle for families is real — and for one family, tragedy followed triumph

Leticia Sandoval with her son Jared.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Part II: 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. Mark Conley digs deep into the story here.

Part I: Three universal truths about why this county remains among the capitals of homelessness

Proposed bill would exempt UC, Cal State from environmental review for new student housing

The southern corner of the East Meadow
The southern corner of the East Meadow at UC Santa Cruz is one of two sites proposed for development as part of Student Housing West.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

‘Housing crunch’: A bill introduced Tuesday — in the wake of a potential student enrollment crisis at UC Berkeley — would exempt public universities’ housing developments from California’s arduous environmental review process. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times dig into things here.

More from here & elsewhere

Santa Cruz chronic homeless housing project awarded $1M grant (Sentinel)
Another lawsuit accuses Tesla of racial harassment and retaliation (San Francisco Chronicle)
Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce bill to quell disruptions at public meetings (Mercury News)
Hollister family going to Italy to perform on Guinness World Records (KSBW)

And that’s the way it was on this Tuesday night. Have a good one and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Dan Evans
Executive Editor