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Morning Lookout: Downtown SC expansion, remembering Barry Sinervo & more

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, March 24. It will be partly sunny with a high of 65.

We’re waking up to the news that the Santa Cruz City Council is considering a long-range plan to expand the boundaries of downtown — a move pegged in part as a way to get more tourist dollars into downtown businesses. Meanwhile, at the county level, the Board of Supervisors made moves to establish an in-house public defender’s office by next year.

As Cabrillo College mulls changing its name, a historian drew the ire of community members and even a rebuke from top college officials after she defended the explorer’s legacy. And later today, Pajaro Valley School District’s Board of Trustees will consider whether to censure its former president for a laundry list of accusations, some stemming from dramatic yet brief removal of Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez.

One aspect of traditional entertainment returns tomorrow with the opening of the “new” Santa Cruz Cinema. We have everything you need to know about how to get tickets, COVID protocols and more. And we learned yesterday that the county remains on track to move to orange tier restrictions next week — a move that would allow more businesses like the theater to expand capacity.

Here’s a look at your headlines:

Santa Cruz eyeing expansion of downtown, connecting it with river, beaches and maybe a permanent Warriors arena

A map showing an expanded downtown Santa Cruz
A map showing an expanded downtown Santa Cruz, which will be refined and better defined in coming months as the city amends its downtown plan.
(Courtesy city of Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz’s Downtown footprint could become larger, with a goal of better connecting the central business district with the city’s beaches, additional parts of the San Lorenzo River, and, someday, a permanent arena for the Santa Cruz Warriors. That was the initial vision outlined by city planners during Tuesday’s city council meeting, with the goal of creating a link that could help funnel tourist dollars concentrated in the beach area to downtown businesses and other parts of the city. Read more about what the plan would entail from our Isabella Cueto here.

Everything you need to know about opening night at the ‘new’ Santa Cruz Cinema

One business in Downtown that is making a comeback tomorrow is the former Cinema 9, which will be reopen at 25% capacity as the Santa Cruz Cinema under new management. Here’s everything you need to know about opening night, including which shows are playing and how to get tickets.

PAST COVERAGE: With Regal gone, Cinema 9 to reopen as ‘Santa Cruz Cinema’ under new operator

Would you rather be outside? Take a picture! Lookout wants to see your best Santa Cruz sunset photos — something you should have no problem finding in your camera roll. You can submit entries through Sunday night for a chance to win a Lookout Santa Cruz T-shirt. Be a part of our photo contest here.

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

Wild Poppies – a small local olive oil business – was created by two sisters, Kim Null and Jamie de Sieyes. Their...

Cabrillo College’s first community event on potential name change draws rebukes, apology

Oil painting of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo
(Creative Commons)

Historian Iris Engstrand’s talk on 16th-century explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo last week was supposed to offer a balanced view of the Iberian explorer’s life and legacy in what was the first in a series of community public-education events as Cabrillo College considers changing its name. Instead, the talk itself quickly courted controversy — drawing an apology and denunciation from top college officials. Read more from our Nick Ibarra here.

READ ALSO: Should Cabrillo College change its name? Community conversations begin

#BOLO: PVUSD trustees to consider censure of former board president Georgia Acosta

As the fallout surrounding the brief and dramatic ouster of Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez earlier this year continues, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees will consider tonight whether to censure its former board president Georgia Acosta over her actions. You can read about the three pages of allegations against Acosta here and Be On the Lookout on our website later tonight for what comes out of the meeting.

Santa Cruz County moves forward with creation of in-house public defender’s office by summer 2022

Santa Cruz County plans to have a revamped public defender’s office up and running by summer 2022 as the county’s years-long effort to move that court-related service in-house continues to take shape. Since the mid-1970s the county has contracted out its public criminal-defense services to a private law firm. But county officials have been working the last few years to create a county-led office. Read more about hiring efforts for the new office, budget and more from our Patrick Riley here.

The Lord of Lizard Land: UCSC’s charismatic biologist Barry Sinervo remembered for passion and commitment

Barry Sinervo, UCSC's nationally recognized evolutionary biologist was known across campus as 'Dr. Lizardo.'
Barry Sinervo, UCSC’s nationally recognized evolutionary biologist was known across campus as ‘Dr. Lizardo.’
(Photo by Jim MacKenzie)

Barry Sinervo, a beloved herpetologist and professor at UC Santa Cruz died on March 15 at the age of 60 after battling a rare form of cancer for years. Even on the day he died, his widow said he was devoted to his work, sending a manuscript to a friend and collaborator. Known as Dr. Lizardo, Sinervo was a dynamic and popular teacher who inspired generations of students largely through his signature class Behavioral Ecology. Our Wallace Baine talked to his family and friends who remembered him as dedicated in the fight against climate change. Read the obituary here.

Pumped in Watsonville: Years in the making, county’s biggest bike track opens at Ramsay Park

Anthony Quiroz tests out the new pump track's aerial capabilities on Tuesday
Anthony Quiroz tests out the new pump track’s aerial capabilities on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

The city of Watsonville and local group Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz celebrated the grand opening of a new pump track at Ramsay Park in Watsonville on Tuesday. “It’s the biggest pump track in Santa Cruz County now, and it’s the only officially paved pump track as well,” Nick Calubaquib, parks and community services director for the City of Watsonville said of the circuit. Read more about and see photos of the new track here.

Santa Cruz County on track for orange tier reopening next week

As expected, Santa Cruz County continues to be on track to move into the less-restrictive orange tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy next week, after the state released new data yesterday. The county is likely to move into orange on Wednesday, March 31. The move will allow increased capacity allowed in several indoor settings, including restaurants and movie theaters. Read more about what that means for us in our COVID Today blog.

Another COVID read: San Francisco celebrates moving to a higher reopening tier, but at least one expert is wary (LA Times)

Around the county…

Slack chats obtained from early pandemic show Santa Cruz County milestones (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz County youth mentored by South Bay Fencers (Patch)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor

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