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Morning Lookout | EXCLUSIVE: Cabrillo explores housing, big rate increases proposed for some property owners

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, March 3. Expect intermittent clouds and a high of 59. Our weather is anticipated to stay dry through Friday and then a quick-moving system is expected to bring rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the local emergency declared in Santa Cruz County because of the COVID-19 pandemic and, today, some of the littlest kiddos in the county are finally headed to school for in-person classes. We’re waking up to great news that the county could slide into loosened COVID restrictions by next week — earlier than previously thought. This comes as President Joe Biden also announced that the country should have enough doses to inoculate all American adults by the end of May — also much sooner than previously projected.

Locally, our Nick Ibarra has a scoop that Cabrillo College is exploring the idea of building campus housing for students, a move that only 12 other community colleges in the state have made. Meanwhile, some property owners in four county road service areas might see massive rate increases as they look to fund future projects.

Later this week, two young Watsonville filmmakers will showcase their work at this year’s all-virtual Watsonville Film Festival, of which Lookout is proud to be the exclusive media partner.

If you’re not already signed up for Lookout’s Breaking News Text Alerts, I highly recommend you do. When major news happens, we deliver those headlines right to your phone, so you can be in the know all the time. You can sign up for text alerts here or just text the word BREAKING to (831) 265-0158.

Now to your headlines:

Could Cabrillo College’s future include campus housing for students?

Cabrillo College
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

LOOKOUT EXCLUSIVE: Cabrillo College is working on a housing feasibility study that officials expect to complete before the end of the year — exploring a vision for potential development and seeking to answer the challenging question of how to secure financing. Only 12 out of California’s 116 community colleges offer student housing, but the rising rate of housing insecurity faced by community college students and enrollment decreases at the institutions are adding pressure on other colleges to follow suit. Read more from our Nick Ibarra here.

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Voices from the ’Ville: Young filmmakers a highlight reel of WFF

The Lopezes.
Esteban Lopez, 16, and Julian Lopez, 17, who both attend Watsonville High, in front of the camera of Diego Lopez, 19, who attends Cabrillo College.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

A handful of young people in Watsonville have gotten head starts on careers in filmmaking thanks largely to two programs — DigitalNEST and the Watsonville Film Festival. The WFF is poised to kick off its 2021 all-virtual festival on Friday, presenting a variety of multicultural films online for free, through March 13. On the master list of the festival’s artist-contributors are two young Watsonville filmmakers, both products of DigitalNEST and both cultivated and encouraged by the WFF. Wallace Baine introduces you to the filmmakers here.

Big rate increases proposed for four road maintenance special districts in Santa Cruz County

A map shows the road maintenance county service areas in Santa Cruz County.
A map shows the road maintenance county service areas in Santa Cruz County.
(Santa Cruz County)

Four road maintenance special districts in the county that include some 1,600 property owners are proposing rate increases to help fund their operations and future projects. If approved by a majority of property owners, rates would triple for some. Where are the districts and how much would rates go up? Our Patrick Riley has the details here, plus how the election process works.

Crews complete $19 million in upgrades to Highway 17 between Scotts Valley, Santa Clara County line

Construction crews have completed $19 million in upgrades to a six-mile stretch of Highway 17 between Scotts Valley and the Santa Clara County line, Caltrans has announced. The project, begun in January 2019, ocused on upgrading the pavement and guardrails, installing more visible lane markings, widening shoulders and improving local street and driveway intersections. Read more here.

Red tier en route...

Outdoor dining has resumed in Santa Cruz County, and a move to the red tier would allow for limited indoor seating, too.
Outdoor dining has resumed in Santa Cruz County, and a move to the red tier would allow for limited indoor seating, too.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Less restrictive red tier expected next week: Santa Cruz County now meets the COVID-19 metrics for the less restrictive “red tier” of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, setting the stage for a transition out of the purple tier next week. If the county maintains or improves current trends, it will move to the less restrictive red tier on Wednesday, March 10. Read more about the loosened red tier restrictions from our Mallory Pickett here.

EXPLAINED: Officials were eyeing a shift to red tier on March 16. Now, it’s March 10. So what’s changed? (Lookout Santa Cruz)

Another COVID Read: Is it finally safe for California to reopen? It’s happening fast, despite lingering risks (LA Times)

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Vaccine Watch

Biden says US will have enough vaccines for every American adult by end of May: President Joe Biden said yesterday that the United States would have enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate every American adult by the end of May, two months earlier than previously expected. He also said every educator and child care worker should receive at least one shot by the end of the month. Read more from our partners at the LA Times here.

Sutter canceling second-dose vaccine appointments due to ‘supply issues’: Sutter Health might cancel as many as 90,000 appointments for second vaccine doses in Northern California, citing supply issues. The health system had already paused appointments for first doses throughout its Bay Area service region through March 9. Read more here.

COVID Resource: Where to get a vaccine (when it’s your turn) in Santa Cruz County (Lookout Santa Cruz)

Around the county . . .

Homeless providers hiring ahead of Santa Cruz County push (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Ramsay Park field renovation takes small step towards making ‘dreams a reality’ (The Pajaronian)

Remembering Santa Cruzan John Tuck, larger than life (Good Times)

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