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Morning Lookout: River Street shelter to close, Mayor to propose changes after Seabright backlash

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, April 6, and we will see intermittent clouds and a high of 64.

We’re waking up to breaking news out of Washington this morning: President Joe Biden is expected to shave weeks off his deadline for states to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults, making the new date April 19. In California, we’re a bit ahead of the curve; Gov. Gavin Newsom already announced that vaccine eligibility for everyone 16 and older will take place four days earlier, on April 15.

Here at home, Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers tells Lookout she will propose removing an industrial part of Seabright from the newly passed “temporary outdoor living ordinance” that now would allow unsheltered people to camp overnight in that area. At 8:30 a.m. today, the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz will begin providing an overview of new projects intended to bring more housing and retail space to the heart of the city — an event you can attend free on Zoom.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on education, we break down how much money your child’s school district will get from the state and the feds to help combat learning loss and heighten social and emotional learning efforts for struggling kids. Meanwhile, EdSource is reporting that with the pandemic convoluting the college admissions process, a possible positive outcome is that students with more diverse backgrounds, who may have originally not applied or been admitted, could soon be headed to institutions of higher learning.

Before we get to the headlines, 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 the free text alerts here or just text the word BREAKING to (831) 265-0158.

Here are your headlines:

Homelessness and housing

The River Street Shelter will close down May 1.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID-spawned budget woes will force shutdown of River Street homeless shelter next month: A 30-bed homeless shelter on River Street run by Encompass Community Services on Santa Cruz County’s behalf will shut down by the end of the month, a county official confirms. While residents of the shelter will be moved into permanent housing or to other shelters by May 1, one homeless advocate notes that any reduction in shelter beds is a “disappointment” and “certainly will affect” people who are in crisis. Read more from our Isabella Cueto and Patrick Riley about why the shelter closed and what’s next.

After intense backlash, Santa Cruz mayor hears out Seabright residents: After days of community backlash, letters and comments, Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers said yesterday that she will bring forth a proposal to remove the industrial zone of the Seabright neighborhood from places where a new ordinance allows overnight camping on public property. The move comes a day after Meyers spoke with dozens of Seabright neighbors and business owners who peppered her with questions and criticism over the city’s “temporary outdoor living ordinance” that passed in early March. Read more about what the mayor said in this story by Isa.


March 30: Seabright speaks up: Residents, businesses frustrated by outdoor living ordinance that would allow camping

March 31: Santa Cruz mayor responds after Seabright residents sound off about ‘outdoor living ordinance’

THIS MORNING: What’s up with Downtown Santa Cruz development? Panel discussion this morning to hit some highlights: Downtown Santa Cruz is going to look a lot different over the next five years with several new development projects underway to increase housing availability and revamp retail in the heart of the city. The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz has put together a Zoom panel at 8:30 a.m. to update folks on plans and progress. Learn more about the developments and find a Zoom link to attend the panel here.

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

More than 2 million Californians may be leaving stimulus money on the table. Here’s how to get it

Stacks of money
(via Pixabay)

Since April 2020, three payments totaling up to $3,200 per person have been sent to qualifying Americans. Of the 2.2 million Californians in the so-called stimulus gap, 1.4 million may have missed out on all three rounds. Those who filed their state taxes in 2018 but not 2019, an estimated 424,000 Californians, are at risk of not receiving their second and third payments. And with the most recent relief package, an estimated 360,000 dependents may also be missing out. What should you do if you haven’t received your payouts? Learn more from our partners at the LA Times here.

Education beat

Breakdown of money received by Santa Cruz County school districts

How much aid is your district getting? Range for Santa Cruz County schools goes from $1K to $5K per student: Santa Cruz County schools can expect to get about $166 million in combined pandemic aid from federal and state sources, according to a Lookout analysis of countywide data. But the amount of cash each district gets varies greatly because of funding formulas that prioritize low-income students and students with special needs. Read more about what’s happening at your child’s school district and see analyses from our Nick Ibarra here.

Amid ‘huge tension,’ San Francisco set to formally suspend renaming of public schools: Back in January, the San Francisco Board of Education voted 6 to 1 to rename more than 40 schools as supporters cheered the board for “unapologetically” targeting historical figures they deemed racist, including Abraham Lincoln. That set off a political furor that subjected the school board to local and national ridicule. Today, that same board is expected to approve a resolution that would officially suspend renaming efforts until later — after students are back in classrooms full time. Read more from our partners at the LA Times here.

READ ALSO: Cabrillo renaming drama — First community event on potential name change draws rebukes, apology

In an unusual admissions year, California’s selective universities more closely evaluate students: After an unprecedented year and a surge in applicants, some of California’s more selective universities say they are expecting a more diverse freshman class this fall without the barrier of SAT or ACT scores. EdSource dives in to that and more about admissions here.

Things to do … a couple Lookout events and a museum reopening

THIS FRIDAY — an hourlong live interview of Rep. Jimmy Panetta: It’s been a year of transition in Washington, D.C. So what does that mean for residents and businesses in the Monterey Bay area? Our Wallace Baine will sit down with U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta to explore that and a litany of other subjects during an hourlong virtual conversation — and you’re invited!

When: 5 p.m., April 9 (This Friday)
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
To register, click here.

Red-necked Phalarope by Vance Lowry
Red-necked Phalarope by Vance Lowry, is among the artwork to be displayed at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History science illustration show.
(Courtesy Vance Lowry)

THIS FRIDAY AND LATER IN THE MONTH — Art returns to walls of Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for first in-person exhibit there since 2020: Combining art and science, the Museum of Natural History will open its doors in mid-April for its 33rd annual Art of Nature exhibit, showcasing local artists inspired by California’s natural beauty. There will be a virtual component that kicks off this week, too. Read more about how you can attend, both virtually and in-person, from our Cypress Hansen here.

Santa Cruz Is Open event.
Santa Cruz Is Open event.
(Event Santa Cruz)

NEXT WEDNESDAY — ‘Santa Cruz is Open!’: Between its beaches, the Boardwalk, museums, recreation, live music and more, tourism typically is a $1 billion a year industry in Santa Cruz County and the No. 1 driver of the city of Santa Cruz’s economy. Now, after a year that saw the industry’s decline, it’s about to open up again. So what does that mean for jobs and the economy, not to mention the fun that’s in store for you, your family and tourists alike? Lookout and Event Santa Cruz have assembled an all-star panel to dive into those questions and more. Read more about the panelists here.

When: Wednesday, April 14
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
To register, click here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

Student Housing West offers the best route to creating more affordable housing for students and reducing housing...

Around the county…

Historic commission to ask for historical acknowledgement at Seabreeze Tavern (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

How Felton’s Daybreak Camp is helping with fire cleanup (Good Times)

State of play: Watsonville’s limited funding, space creates hurdles for fixing parks (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