Latest News

Morning Lookout: Seabright seethes, what we learned about classroom reopenings

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, March 31 (sorry about the wrong date yesterday). The National Weather Service says today we’re expecting a high of 82 — close to the record high for this day that was set in 1966. We’ll have more for you on Santa Cruz County’s quick jump from spring to summer temperatures in a bit.

Meanwhile, last night, our Nick Ibarra talked with two of the county’s top education officials in our public forum to discuss schools’ post-pandemic reopening plans, summer school, the learning gap, students’ emotional and mental health and more.

And today, we officially are in the orange tier of COVID-19 restrictions which means more businesses can expand reopenings. Prompted by the positive trend, we already told you the Boardwalk is planning to reopen tomorrow but now the Monterey Bay Aquarium has also released reopening plans.

But first, let’s get to a story that has the whole town abuzz with opinions:

Seabright speaks up: Residents, businesses frustrated by outdoor living ordinance that would allow camping

The Seabright neighborhood's industrial zone.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

When Santa Cruz passed its new ordinance restricting where and when people experiencing homelessness could camp overnight, most of the city was placed off limits. What remained accessible for camping are a few areas scattered citywide, including a small industrial zone in the tight-knit and proud residential neighborhood of Seabright. Now — as the ordinance is being tweaked by the city council and awaits final implementation amid COVID-19 — word is getting around. And many Seabright homeowners and business owners are none too pleased. Read more from our Isabella Cueto 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...

San Lorenzo Park homeless camp to move to the Benchlands as a compromise in federal lawsuit

A homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz on Dec. 18, 2020. The camp was home to 150 or more people.
A homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz on Dec. 18, 2020. The camp was home to 150 or more people, but must be cleared out by Jan. 6 under an executive order from City Manager Martín Bernal that cited unsafe conditions.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A homeless encampment that has been in San Lorenzo Park for months will be moved to the Benchlands, under a proposal that a federal judge approved yesterday after months of legal back-and-forth between the city of Santa Cruz and the local homeless union. Per the compromise, the city will establish 122 campsites in the Benchlands, a floodplain along the San Lorenzo River. If an unhoused person wants to live in this encampment, they will have to adhere to some rules by the city including a ban on drug and alcohol use. Read more about those restrictions and the timeline of the project from Isabella here.

What we learned about classroom reopenings from top Santa Cruz County education officials

Nick Ibarra (upper left) interviews county education officials Jennifer Buesing and Faris Sabbah Tuesday
Lookout education correspondent Nick Ibarra (upper left) interviews county education officials Jennifer Buesing and Faris Sabbah Tuesday. Lookout’s Tulsi Kamath (lower right) helped host Tuesday’s virtual school reopenings event.
(Lookout Santa Cruz)

From reopening timelines to graduations to serving students’ mental health needs, County Office of Education Superintendent Faris Sabbah and Director of School Safety Jennifer Buesing covered a lot of ground in a Lookout virtual event Tuesday night. Watch the whole event here and read key takeaways.

Santa Cruz weather watch: It’s going to feel like summer... but for how long?

You may have noticed that last night was way warmer than usual. We may still be in spring, but, this week, it’s going to feel like Santa Cruz County and the rest of the Bay Area jumped straight into summer. The National Weather Service has announced a “robust warming trend.” Read more from our Cypress Hansen here.

READ ALSO: Spring allergies are in high gear. Here’s your survival guide

COVID 2021 Updates: County is officially in the orange tier!

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)

Starting today, Santa Cruz County businesses can further their reopening expansions after the county officially met the thresholds to trigger orange tier restrictions yesterday. Some capacity expansions under the orange tier:

  • Retail stores may now operate at full capacity
  • Restaurants can expand indoor seating capacity to 50% or 200 people (whichever is fewer).
  • Movie theaters can expand capacity to 50%
  • Gyms can expand to 25% capacity and open up indoor pools
  • Bars, breweries, and distilleries may resume outdoor operations — and wineries may resume indoor operations at 25% capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer)

See more of what can open under the orange tier here.

Monterey Bay Aquarium releases reopening plan: A day after the Boardwalk announced it will be reopening this week, the Monterey Bay Aquarium released its reopening announcement, though it will not reopen as soon as the Boardwalk. Read more about the aquarium’s plans and when you can buy tickets here.

NEW THIS MORNING: Pfizer/BioNTech says its Covid-19 vaccine is 100% effective and well tolerated in adolescents (CNN)

Around the state…

Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his third State of the State address to the Legislature and public virtually from an empty Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles Tuesday, March 9, 2021. There is no in-person audience at the outdoor location and public health guidelines are strictly observed. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Most California voters in new poll oppose recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom: A majority of likely California voters would keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office if a recall election were held today, according to a new poll conducted as vaccinations in the state increase and the Democratic governor ramps up his campaign to fight the effort to remove him. The results of the poll are a reflection of more Californians beginning to see “the light at the end of the tunnel” in the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute. Read more in this story from the LA Times.

LOOKOUT POLL: Do you support Newsom’s recall? Tell us here.

Can California’s organic vegetable farmers unlock the secrets of no-till farming? Reducing tillage — which often relies on herbicides — has long been out of reach on organic farms. Now, a group of veteran growers are undertaking a soil health experiment to decipher how to farm with little or no tillage — and without chemicals. Similar research is also taking place at UC Santa Cruz. Read more about the implications of adopting no-till farming for organic growers in this story from our partner, Civil Eats.

Around the county…

Suspect in custody after SCPD blocked off in downtown during search for suspect (Lookout Santa Cruz)

$25.4 million in federal funding for Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, Central Coast health centers (KION-TV)

PV Shelter Services tackles growing community need (The Pajaronian)

Aptos couple devastated after dog was fatally shot while visiting Humboldt County (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.

To ensure you’re staying informed about all the goings-on in Santa Cruz, consider becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor

Know your place
We’re all about Santa Cruz County, from north to south and in-between.