Santa Cruz Wharf on Nov. 24, 2020
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Wharf plan advances, finding healing amid ashes, Grammys

Good Morning, Santa Cruzans!

It’s Wednesday, Nov. 25, and for many, it’s the last working day before the holiday weekend begins, even if our Thanksgiving gatherings all will be smaller this year! Today is expected to be a little chillier with partly cloudy conditions, a high of 61 and a low of 38.

Firstly, thanks to all who took the time to send me a note yesterday. The feedback is greatly appreciated and I share most of the emails with my team. If you think there’s something the Lookout Santa Cruz team should know, send it to to ensure it hits all our inboxes.

As we head into the season of sharing, we want to remind you that the best way to build conversation about our community is to share our stories over email and on social media. We’ve been watching our readership steadily build since Friday’s launch and thank you in advance for helping keep the momentum going.

To that end, we’re also going to begin sharing top headlines from other news outlets around the county in Morning Lookout. Our goal is to keep you as informed as possible!

Here’s a look at this morning’s headlines:

Wharf of the future ... finally?

The Santa Cruz Wharf on Nov. 24, 2020.
The Santa Cruz Wharf on Nov. 24, 2020. The wharf could soon see a major facelift under a master plan that’s been in the works since 2013.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The city of Santa Cruz’s wharf master plan has been in the works for 7 years and last night, Santa Cruz City Council finally greenlit the plan. The next step in the process will be sending a public works plan to the California Coastal Commission which also must approve the project.

The last wharf master plan was passed in 1980. The new one would help determine the direction of the wharf for the next 20 to 30 years. Read about what the council approved as part of the master plan in Isabella Cueto’s coverage of last night’s city council meeting.

Changes to police hiring, transparency (Santa Cruz Local)
Economic recovery plan adopted (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Watsonville Wetlands Watch shifts up programs amid pandemic (Pajaronian)

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

Illuminée Studio and other local businesses are staying strong during the pandemic thanks in part to Santa Cruz County...

Tenured UCSC professor fired, in extremely rare move

UCSC technology management professor Ramakrishna "Ram" Akella.
UCSC technology management professor Ramakrishna “Ram” Akella appeared remotely at UC regents meeting Thursday, where regents approved his dismissal.

NEW THIS MORNING: A tenured UC Santa Cruz professor has been given the axe — an extremely rare move in the university’s history. Ram Akella, a professor in the Jack Baskin School of Engineering had been squabbling with university administrators for years. A 2018 department reorganization didn’t help the situation. Akella was to directly report to a dean, and when the dean tried to assign the professor a roster of courses, Akella refused. His stand triggered a complicated disciplinary proceeding that wound its way through a faculty committee, to the UCSC chancellor, then the UC president, and, ultimately, last week, to the UC Board of Regents. Nick Ibarra has the full story here.

Finding healing in the ashes

Jon Payne surveys the charred remains outside his Boulder Creek home.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Jon Payne and his wife loved to host concerts at their picturesque Boulder Creek home, inviting their musician friends to jam sessions at their custom recording studio. But in August, the CZU Lightning Complex fire tore through the area, destroying the Payne’s beloved home — the site of so many memories.

Searching for closure, Payne came back to the charred remains of his home with his bandmates six weeks after it was destroyed. What rose from those ashes was a phoenix entitled “Garden of Pain,” a lilting song about pain and rebuilding. They shot a music video on location that has been viewed nearly 15,000 times on YouTube as of this morning. Read the moving account from Wallace Baine and watch the video here.

Local musician gets 2 Grammy nominations!

Jazz saxophonist and Santa Cruz native Remy Le Boeuf nabbed not one but TWO Grammy nominations yesterday. The 34-year-old is nominated in two categories, both for songs from his 2020 album Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows. You can read more on this from Wallace here.

Those are the highlights for this morning. Later today, we will have a guide for some of the best hiking trails in the area so you can head outdoors this odd holiday weekend and perhaps make some new traditions with your family. Check back later on for that story plus much more.

Yesterday, I asked y’all (sorry, my Texan is showing) how your holiday plans were changing this year because of the pandemic. Thank you to all the people who responded!

One reader, Mary, wrote in part:

” the interest of Covid-safety, we will not have Thanksgiving with (children and grandchildren) at all this year. Next year we will celebrate twice as much!”

Today’s question: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food/ family recipe?

I’m a vegetarian so I’m always happiest with a plate full of mashed potatoes!

If you want to respond, send a news tip or give me feedback, you can hit reply to this email and your note will come straight to my inbox. I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor