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Morning Lookout: Downed trees and power lines due to wind, proposed building in Watsonville and more

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, Jan. 19. You may or may not be waking up with power this morning after strong winds all night. Here’s what you need to know:

Warning: A National Weather Service High Wind Warning for areas in Santa Cruz, North Bay, East Bay, Santa Clara and Monterey counties that was set to expire at 7 a.m. has been extended through 10 a.m. You can expect northerly winds at 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 60 to 70 mph. A Wind Advisory will remain in place for the same areas until 6 p.m. today.

High Wind Advisory in place for Santa Cruz Mountains
(National Weather Service)

Downed trees and power lines: California Highway Patrol Santa Cruz tweeted early this morning that officers are responding to calls of downed trees and power lines all over the county. If you see a downed wire, officials say “consider any wires on the ground to be live

Power outages: PG&E’s power outage map shows spotty outages throughout our county. Meanwhile, the utility company has a Public Safety Power Shutoff in progress in other counties, but, so far, that safety precaution isn’t expected here. If you lose power, you can check the PG&E power outage map here to find out when it might be restored.

CLICK here for our complete weather report, including video of debris-littered roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains and information about a Red Flag Warning in nearby counties.

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,...

To this morning’s other headlines:

Proposed apartment building in heart of Watsonville up for approval this evening

Rendering
(Provided: city of Watsonville (rendering by Pacific Coast Development))

This evening, the Watsonville City Council is set to vote on the final plans for The Residence at 558 Main, the first new possible downtown residential development in about three years. If approved, the new apartment building would be located at the intersection of Main and East 5th streets and would consist of 50 apartments, of which 10 would be affordable housing units and retail space for a restaurant. Read more about the project and how you can get involved and make public comment here.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office DNA lab moves forward


Santa Cruz County leaders are moving forward with plans to create a 1,700-square-foot Forensic DNA Laboratory for the county sheriff’s office, recently putting out a call for firms to submit bids to design the facility. At present, the sheriff’s office has to outsource DNA analysis. Sheriff Jim Hart and his staff want to bring DNA analysis in-house so samples can be processed more quickly. Read more about the lab here.

THE HERE & NOW: MLK Day meets the inauguration . . . and another Reflection Season is upon us


Our Wallace Baine surmises yesterday’s MLK Day events in Santa Cruz in the context of the upcoming inauguration. It’s a “Reflection Season” that occurs every four years, he writes:

This year, Reflection Season is especially fraught as it’s taking place against the backdrop of an unprecedented attack on American democracy and after nearly a year of dispiriting isolation and trepidation of a killer virus. We must also acknowledge the distinct undertone of grief and sorrow for all the lives lost to and injured by COVID-19 and social injustice, and particularly for two iconic figures in American civil rights, John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If you’re a bit freaked out about what might happen on Inauguration Day or the days after, you’re not alone. Read the whole thing here.

COVID TODAY

Vaccine
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Massive chunk of Santa Cruz vaccine doses paused from rollout: About 5,300 doses of Santa Cruz County’s vaccine inventory are from lot 41L20A of the Moderna vaccine — the same lot that state health officials put “on pause” Sunday night due to a higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions that are under investigation.

Health systems see no adverse reactions: While the county had not yet distributed its vaccine doses from the paused batch, Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health told Lookout yesterday that each of the health systems had distributed vaccines from that batch and had seen no adverse reactions among patients who’d received it. However, in accordance with state guidelines, they too have paused rollout.

Read more about what hospital and county officials are saying about the batch — and what that means for the already sluggish rollout of the vaccine here.

#BOLO: At 1:30 p.m. today, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Chaly will provide an update on the state’s COVID0-19 response and the vaccine rollout. Be On The Lookout for the updates from that press conference on our website later today.

COVID 2021: The Experts Answer Your questions: Sign up for our free, virtual event — broadcast in both English and Spanish — by clicking here. It’s at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, and panelists include county Health Officer Gail Newel.

COVID En Español: Read some of our COVID 2021 coverage in Spanish by clicking here and please share it with your Spanish-speaking friends who might need the information.

ASK LOOKOUT: We’re finding answers to your vaccine, COVID-19 questions

Around the county…

Woman arrested after reported kidnapping, high-speed chase (The Pajaronian)

MAH exhibit displays pandemic-era artwork, stories and more (Good Times)

Central Santa Cruz fire chief named for pending district merger (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

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

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