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Morning Lookout: Possible permanent outdoor dining in Capitola, PVUSD parents unhappy with in-person plans

Good Morning! It’s March 26, and it will be a sunny Friday with a high of 70 to kick off a weekend of more of the same.

Gov. Gavin Newsom opened the floodgates yesterday, announcing the expansion of vaccine eligibility in April and removing the occupational and age-based tiers that had boggled our minds for months. However, just hours later, Santa Cruz County Chief Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel handed down a reality check about county supply and demand.

With all eyes on recovery, the Capitola City Council is hoping to give an economic shot in the arm to businesses by considering creating a permanent outdoor dining program after the wide success of the COVID-era workaround. And one business that was closed for months welcomed locals last night under a shiny new name, the Santa Cruz Cinema, after months of closures that forced previous owners to pull operations.

Finally, a group of Asian Americans and allies will hold a vigil tomorrow to honor and grieve for those who were attacked or killed around the country in the recent spat of violence. And in LA, the police clashed with homeless people, advocates and even the press last night in Echo Park.

Let’s start with recovery:

The Capitola Esplanade aggressively adapted to outdoor dining.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Capitola looks to create permanent outdoor dining program: Like other cities in Santa Cruz County and beyond, Capitola is trying to find a way to make permanent outdoor dining an option for small businesses, after seeing the success of its temporary program during the pandemic. In coming months, the city will look to turn its quickly fashioned “parklet” program, which allowed restaurants to move service outdoors into public parking spaces, into a long term strategy. Read more from last night’s city council meeting from our Isa Cueto here.

The box office at the former Cinema 9, once left for dead, opens as Santa Cruz Cinema Thursday evening.
The box office at the former Cinema 9, once left for dead, opens as Santa Cruz Cinema Thursday evening.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

THE HERE & NOW: Opening curtain of ‘normal’: Locals turn out as Santa Cruz Cinema welcomes the public back to the movies: Our Wallace Baine writes about the modest crowd at the opening night of a small local cinema house … something that in normal times, might have been considered banal. But, with the year we’ve had, it is a sign of healing and recovery. Here’s a snippet:

Soon after, the lights dimmed and the screen lit up with a preview of the new James Bond film starring Daniel Craig. The visuals were predictably bedazzling brain candy and the sound may have slightly rearranged my internal organs.

There’s that feeling again, deeply familiar but bracingly new at the same time.

The movies, in all their organ-rattling glory, are back. And normal can’t be far behind.

Read the whole thing here.

Buying locally produced food and goods benefits you and your community in more ways than you think.

Based in Watsonville, Pajaro Valley Unified School District is the largest in Santa Cruz County.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A ‘baffling injustice’: PVUSD parents frustrated by plans for little classroom time this spring: Parents of students in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District are expressing frustration that the district has moved the slowest of any in Santa Cruz County to allow students to return to classrooms under a hybrid model. And for now, PVUSD continues to have less in-person time planned this spring than any of its peers — with a baseline of 3 hours of weekly classroom time. “One hour here and there is a joke,” one parent told trustees this week. Read more from our Nick Ibarra here.

GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED | School reopenings in Santa Cruz County: When it comes to education post-pandemic, parents, educators and students have endless questions. So Lookout, in partnership with Event Santa Cruz, is giving you a chance to run yours by two top Santa Cruz County Office of Education officials: Superintendent Faris Sabbah and Director of School Safety Jennifer Buesing.

When: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
Register and submit your questions ahead of time here.

Seeking ‘safety & community’: College minister forms local Asian American group, plans vigil to grieve, heal

Stephanie Cheung
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz )

In the wake of the Atlanta-area shootings, Stephanie Cheung took to social media to organize a group for Santa Cruz’s Asian American community. The new group is hosting a vigil Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Santa Cruz County administrative building to gather in solidarity for the Asian American victims of hate who have been attacked and killed in the past few months. Allies are welcome to help protect the space, listen and stand in solidarity on the edge of the event. Read more about Cheung, the group and how you can attend the Saturday vigil.

In case you missed it…

‘I don’t deserve to be called that’: Asian American teens in Santa Cruz County talk race, identity, pain (Mark Conley)

The Hashimoto doctrine: Keep vigilant against racism and stand up for civil rights for Asian Americans (Wallace Baine)

Vaccine eligibility to be expanded in April: What that means for you

Martha Ortiz gets inoculated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at St. John's Well Child And Family Center
Martha Ortiz was inoculated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at St. John’s Well Child And Family Center in South Los Angeles on Feb. 09, 2021. Photo by Shae Hammond for CalMatters

April 1: All people 50 and older become eligible
April 16: All people 16 and older become eligible


Santa Cruz County health officer Dr. Gail Newel said vaccine supply to the county has not nearly come close to meeting demand — and so it’s likely it will be months before all adults are inoculated in Santa Cruz County. Read more about what she and other local public health officials said in a briefing yesterday.

Meanwhile, we want to make sure you have everything you need when the time does come for you to get your vaccine. To that end, we put together a list of places where you can get the vaccine in Santa Cruz County.

If you haven’t already, I would fill out the state’s MyTurn form that will add you to the line of those waiting for a dose and notify you when an appointment becomes available.

Finally, while the county remains on track to slip into orange tier restrictions beginning March 31, there was a small uptick in cases, health officials said. Read more in the COVID Today blog here.

Around the state…

A protestor is pushed back by LAPD officers on Sunset Blvd. as authorities evict the homeless from Echo Park Thursday
A protestor is pushed back by LAPD officers on Sunset Blvd. as authorities evict homeless from an encampment in Echo Park. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Protesters, reporters detained by LAPD near Echo Park homeless encampment: A homeless encampment that took over a large swath of Echo Park for more than a year appeared on the brink of extinction Thursday as city officials fenced off the area and police prepared to remove the campers. Los Angeles Times reporter James Queally was briefly detained by police as he was covering a protest near the park. Numerous protesters were also detained by police. Read more and see photos of the protests from the LA Times here and see photos and videos tweeted by Spectrum news anchor Kate Cagle who was detained by police as her crew filmed.

California’s top court ends cash bail for some defendants who can’t afford it: For years, California legislators and judges have tried to reform the state’s money bail system to reduce discrimination against the poor. On Thursday, four months after voters rejected such a reform, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it is unconstitutional to require defendants to remain behind bars simply because they cannot afford bail. Read more from the LA Times here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

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Around the county…

Santa Cruz County passes ‘rehousing wave’ spending for homeless motel shelters (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz Police: Two suspects arrested after a string of armed robberies (KION-TV)

Regional Women’s Business Center opens in Watsonville (Good Times)

Braga steps down as girls’ basketball coach at St. Francis (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