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Morning Lookout: Parents seek answers after kids’ boats capsize, big vote tonight in Santa Cruz City Council

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, Jan. 12. It will be a mostly cloudy day with a high of 60. The National Weather Service has another Coastal Flood Advisory in effect until 1 p.m. today and a High Surf Advisory in place from 10 a.m. today to 3 p.m. tomorrow. If you’re hitting the water, please be safe!

Later today, we’re expecting to learn more from California public health officials about the extension of the Bay Area Regional stay-home order that has been extended for the last few days as officials look at 4-week ICU projections. If yesterday’s Bay Area ICU capacity, 0.7%, is any indicator of 4-week trends, it will likely be a while before the order is lifted. We’ll be texting out what we learn as soon as we hear it. Sign up for Lookout COVID Text Alerts here, or text “Covid” to (831) 508-7524.

In other local developments, we’re keeping a close eye on the Santa Cruz City Council’s first meeting of the year today and already have previewed a big vote on a big development. We’ve also got an update on public school reopening plans, as well as the fallout from the capsizing of youth sailboats over the weekend.

Finally, officials in Sacramento are ramping up security measures at the California Capitol after the FBI warned of heightened security risks in the capitals of all 50 states in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Here are your headlines.

‘I want a plan’: In wake of junior sailors getting capsized, parents seek more answers

12 kids were rescued today at the harbor after their boats capsized.
12 kids were rescued today at the harbor after their boats capsized.

In the wake of a gripping rescue of young sailing students at the Santa Cruz Harbor, officials at the Santa Cruz Yacht Club have told parents that their sailboats won’t be going out in such extreme conditions again — and that they will soon provide information on their “changing guidelines.” Even though all children were wearing life jackets and none were injured, some have questioned why the club was taking children out into Monterey Bay in the first place. Read more from our Patrick Riley here. You can also watch incredible drone footage of surfers rescuing the children here.

Presented by Cabrillo College

The show must go on: the performing arts have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cabrillo’s Dance,...

Major residential, commercial riverfront development goes before Santa Cruz City Council today

The proposed “Riverfront Project” along Front Street in downtown Santa Cruz heads before the Council for a final vote after more than two years of deliberations. Here’s what developers have proposed:

  • 175 new condo units
  • 15,000 square feet of outdoor space, including pathways and plazas between buildings
  • 187 ground-level and underground parking spaces

Santa Cruz planners have long envisioned a more vibrant downtown that would include restaurants and retail along the San Lorenzo River. Our Isabella Cueto previews today’s big vote here and will be covering the Council throughout the day.

Meeting today might decide fate of Bay Area Region stay-home order

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will hold a big press conference at 1:30 p.m. today to provide updates on the state’s COVID-19 response, and is expected to include an update on the Bay Area Region’s stay-home order and possible new vaccine answers. You can sign up for our Lookout COVID Text Alerts to get the latest updates on your phone as we publish them.

Meanwhile, the numbers reveal dark trends in Santa Cruz County and Statewide:

COVID 2021

  • One in every five people who have been tested for COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County over the last two weeks have tested positive — a 14-day average of 20.7%
  • Bay Area regional ICU capacity has plummeted to 0.7%

Vaccine Watch

California has only administered 27% of the nearly 3 million doses in its possession, according to the CDC. In fact, these numbers are so low, only eight states have administered fewer doses per capita than California as of Sunday. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference yesterday that by this weekend, state public health officials aimed to administer the 1 million doses of the vaccine as promised last week.

In Santa Cruz County, Lookout learned last week that about 7,800 doses of the vaccine had made it here. It is unclear how many new doses have arrived since. You can read everything we know and don’t know about the vaccine rollout in our county. Also, you can take this quiz to figure out what vaccine tier you may fall under.

Join us for ‘COVID 2021: The Experts Answer Your Questions’ event in English and Spanish

If you’re like me, you have questions — about the vaccine, about you or your loved ones’ health, about getting tested, about wearing a mask . . . the list is endless. We are teaming up with Event Santa Cruz to connect you with health experts and get your questions answered. At 6 p.m. on Jan. 21, County Health Officer Gail Newel, UC Santa Cruz infectious disease expert Marm Kilpatrick and Erica Padilla-Chavez, CEO of Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance will headline this free virtual conversation about the health impacts of the pandemic. Submit your COVID-19 questions for our panelists and register for the event here.

COVID-19 vaccines to be administered at Disneyland

Two American icons--Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse--are memorialized at the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
Health officials will begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines this week at Disneyland, the Orange County Board of Supervisors said Monday, making the resort the first “super” vaccination site in the county. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

The happiest place on earth will soon see long lines of a different kind as Orange County officials decided to make it a “super” vaccination site. Officials will begin vaccinating people at the theme park later this week and expect to be able to inoculate thousands of people a day at the massive “point-of-dispensing” site. Read more from our content partner, the LA Times here.

Meanwhile, closer to home, San Francisco 49ers President Al Guido has offered up Levi’s Stadium as a potential vaccination center, according to a report by KION.

COVID education update

UCSC students to return to campus in fall under systemwide plan: “Current forecasts give us hope that in the fall our students can enjoy a more normal on-campus experience,” UC President Michael Drake said. UCSC leaders expect more information on how a wider in-person return will be rolled out in the coming weeks. Read more from our Nick Ibarra here.

Newsom’s plan to speed elementary school reopenings ‘not feasible,’ county superintendents say: None of Santa Cruz County’s public school districts are pursuing the faster path back to in-person classes offered by the state’s “Safe Schools for All” plan — even though the plan comes with financial incentives. Read more from Nick about why local schools are opting out — for now.

Sacramento update

California Assembly impeachment vote puts Republicans in bind: One of the first orders of business in Sacramento yesterday at the start of the 2021-22 legislative session was a nonbinding resolution calling for President Donald Trump to resign after the violent breach by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol last week. The fact that the California Assembly would call for Trump’s removal is unsurprising. But it was not a welcome first vote for California’s elected Republicans who had to choose between castigating a president still wildly popular within their own party or voting in a way that might be construed by moderate and independent voters as, if not pro-insurrection, then at least insurrection-tolerant. Read more of this story from our content partner CalMatters here.

‘High alert’ at California Capitol as police brace for any inauguration unrest: Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are putting “additional security measures” in place at California’s Capitol amid warnings from the FBI and others that last week’s siege on the U.S. Capitol could be echoed across the country on Jan. 20, President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration day. The efforts, described as precautionary, were part of an astonishing, nationwide rush by law enforcement to gird statehouses and other government targets. Read more from our content partner, the LA Times here.

Around the county…

Intermittent closures announced for Highway 1 off-ramps in Santa Cruz County (KSBW)

More than 250 articles and a book later, the ‘Valley Doctor’ bids adieu (Scotts Valley Press Banner)

Cow closure spurs high-speed chase up Highway 1 (The Pajaronian)

That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying our coverage, please tell your family and friends about our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where they can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. You can also keep tabs on everything we’re publishing through the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor