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Morning Lookout: $15,000 reward for missing turkey, how to help others and more

Happy Thanksgiving, Santa Cruzans! Turkey Day weather promises to be sunny with a high of 65 and a low of 37.

We broke a big story yesterday about new COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes in Santa Cruz and Capitola that account for nearly one in 10 active cases countywide. We know many folks are suffering this holiday, so our aim in today’s newsletter is to lift you up a bit.

What am I thankful for this year? The feedback that readers of and the Morning Lookout newsletter. Keep the notes and questions coming, and please share today’s stories over email and on social media. And as always, if there’s something you think our team needs to know, send your tips and story ideas to

Let’s dive in to the headlines.

$15,000 reward offered for missing turkey

photo of a turkey
(Courtesy of Ariana Huemer)

It’s been a rough few weeks for Ariana Huemer, who has been desperately searching for her beloved turkey, Kaley. Huemer has papered the Santa Cruz Mountains with fliers offering thousands of dollars in reward money. You also might have seen her missing turkey posts on various community Facebook pages and social media channels.

The posts, that many assumed were fake, offered up to $15,000 “no questions asked” for the turkey. She even included a grave warning. “With Thanksgiving looming, she is in grave danger. Please help!” Lookout’s Mallory Pickett began digging in and found out there’s a lot more to this story than was originally thought. Read her whole story here.

And, yes, this story has gone national. There’s even a New York Post version here.

Interview with local artist Irene Juarez O’Connell and MAH’s upcoming free exhibition opening, Community is Collective...

We only have to do this once. How to celebrate the holidays alone

An illustration of a turkey

We know a lot of you aren’t able to be with family and loved ones today, so let’s focus on the good news. Though it might be hard to believe right now, promising vaccine developments suggest the proverbial tunnel finally has a light at the end of it. You’ll likely be able to plan a spectacular family feast for Easter 2021, says Paula Cannon, a virologist and professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.

Meanwhile, our content partner the LA Times created this helpful guide for those spending this holiday alone.

Finding food and helping others

Daphne Martinez Rojas, offers a plant leaf to a Second Harvest Food Bank volunteer during a food distribution.
Daphne Martinez Rojas, offers a plant leaf to a Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County volunteer during a food distribution on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 in Santa Cruz, Calif. Daphne and her grandmother Gloria, picked up food earlier and Daphne wanted to give plant leafs to the volunteers before leaving.
(LiPo Ching)

With the pandemic, many are unemployed and struggling to find basic necessities, including food. This Thanksgiving, we’re tackling the issue with two Lookout Guides:

• Feeding Santa Cruz Part 1: Where people can go to find food, and;
• Feeding Santa Cruz Part 2: How to volunteer and donate to help Santa Cruz’s hungry.

COVID-19 has made both these endeavors harder than you might think, so we dive into the specifics, including changes in food distribution patterns and age restrictions for potential volunteers. Please share both guides with people you know might need them.

Change-makers in the community


Finally on Thanksgiving — and every day — Lookout Santa Cruz wants to help highlight the work of non-profit groups that are working to make a difference in the community. We’ve built dozens of pages for outlining these organizations’ missions and how you can help them. Learn about these groups and learn how to get involved here.

Finally, if you run a group and want to update your page, email us at The same goes if you’d like your organization to be considered for inclusion on our Civic Groups page.

Don’t just share our stories. Share your Turkey Day photos

I’d love to see pictures of your Thanksgiving spread. If you want to share them with me, you can just hit reply to this email, and we can include a couple in Friday’s newsletter.

That’s all for today. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor