A Cal Fire crew member works near the flames of the CZU Lightning Complex fires in August 2020.
A Cal Fire crew member works near the flames of the CZU Lightning Complex fires in August 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Red flag warning in place, Q&A with police chief and more

Good Morning!

It’s Monday, Dec. 7, and it’s going to be a sunny, warmer day with a high of 70. Today’s weather is actually our top story:

Red flag warning: Fire risk at highest level in Santa Cruz County

A red flag warning — the notice that fire conditions are at their most dire — has been issued for the Santa Cruz Mountains and other parts of Northern California through 11 a.m. today.

A combination of strong winds and low relative humidity resulted in the National Weather Service issuing the warning late Saturday. This marks the first December since 2017 that such a warning has been issued. Read more here.

Sheriff’s deputies quickly arrest suspect in shooting on Winkle near Soquel Dr.

Santa Cruz Sheriff's deputies detain a man in connection with a shooting on Winkle Avenue on Dec. 6, 2020.
Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies detain a man in connection with a shooting on Winkle Avenue on Dec. 6, 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A person was shot in the abdomen around 7 p.m. last night near the intersection of Winkle Avenue and Soquel Drive, and Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office deputies within about an hour arrested a man apparently in connection with the shooting. Read the full story here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

Register for the compelling Kraw Lecture featuring Nobel Leureate Carol W. Greider, who will discuss telomeres, the...

It’s been a tumultuous 2020 for police leadership across the country and, even in his progressive city, Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills hasn’t escaped the wrath. When the ripples from the death of George Floyd hit Santa Cruz on May 30, Mills and Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings sent an iconic message by kneeling together on Pacific Avenue.

Not long after, Mills made SCPD the first force in the country to ban predictive policing and
joined the ranks of others banning the use of carotid chokeholds. Read our Isabella Cueto’s interview with him here.

21 for ’21: Bella Bonner found her voice — and plans to keep honing it

Bella Bonner addresses the masses at Lighthouse Field on June 3.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

During those same May protests, a young activist emerged to spur dramatic gatherings of diversity discussion and police reform. But her voice really was developing long before Floyd’s death.

“I remember hearing racial slurs thrown at my dad as we drove through town,” said Bella Bonner in an interview for our 21 for ’21 series. “It made me so sad to see what my dad went through. I felt privileged to have lighter skin. He suppressed a lot of it, didn’t want to seem weak around his daughters.” Read her full 21 for ’21 profile by our Mark Conley here.

Santa Cruz Salutes: Stephanie Ross

Stephanie Ross
(Submitted by community member, Andrea Locke)

All through December, we’re giving you the chance to give do-gooders in our community a shoutout. Almost immediately after we started the Santa Cruz Salutes initiative, we started seeing one person’s name being shouted out the most — Stephanie Ross — who was suggested at least half a dozen times and submitted to our gallery by two different people. Her nominator writes in part:

“Stephanie spends whole spans of days making sure people all over the county are fed, clothed, and cared about. She does this with all of the goodness of a huge heart, and next to zero funding.”

Read more shoutouts and give your own here.

Children of farmworkers, rural families stuck in ‘last mile’ of county’s digital divide

File image of a boy wearing a maks as he writes in a notebook.
(via Pixabay)

With COVID-19 on everybody’s mind, educators continue to try to bridge the digital divide. Nine months after schools closed their campuses and sent children home to learn online, roughly 2,000 public school students in the county — about 5% — lack reliable internet access.

Most live in rural areas where broadband options are limited, cellular reception is spotty and, in the case of farmworker housing, the density of residents can overload shared connections. Read Nick Ibarra’s overview of the issue here.

Around the county...

Coastal Commission, Santa Cruz staff clash on housing proposal (Santa Cruz Local)

Glenwood Preserve construction finishes; Fall Creek partially reopens (Good Times)

Santa Cruz’s Haley Jones scores career-high 29 points in Stanford win (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

That’s it for this morning. As we publish stories throughout the day, along with bookmarking LookoutSantaCruz.com, one of the easiest ways to stay on top of the latest news is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And please, while you’re at it, invite your friends to follow us as well!

Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor