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Morning Lookout: Headed toward Yellow Tier, police reform top of mind after Derek Chauvin conviction

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, April 21. We’ll see intermittent clouds and a high of 61.

The nation seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief yesterday when a 12-member jury convicted ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd last year. But, as one Santa Cruz-area activist pointed out after the verdict was read, “justice is not a single act of punishment.” Leaders and activists in our county doubled down on the need for policing reform in the hours post-conviction. And, if you’re wondering about the provisions of California’s new police use-of-force law, our partners at CalMatters created a video to explain.

But first, let’s start with some big reopening and recovery news:

COVID 2021

Students await vaccinations at Scotts Valley High on Tuesday.
Students await vaccinations at Scotts Valley High on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

School vaccine clinics target Santa Cruz County students 16 & up — with aim to inoculate all 6,000 of them: Now that eligibility for the vaccine has opened up to all Californians 16 and older, securing an appointment is still challenging. To ease that path, local education and health officials are offering vaccine clinics to 6,000 eligible high school students. More than 1,500 students across Santa Cruz County are receiving — or are set to receive — their first COVID-19 vaccine dose this week, and our Nick Ibarra talks with several of them here.

(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz County on track to be among first to enter yellow tier. Here’s what will change: State data released yesterday revealed that for one week running, Santa Cruz County has now met the criteria to advance from the orange to the less-restrictive yellow tier by Tuesday, April 27, with the new restrictions going into effect the following day. At present, only three of California’s 58 counties are in the yellow tier, and Santa Cruz is one of just five counties in the orange tier that have met yellow tier requirements and could make the move to yellow next week. Read more about what the change will mean for you here — and get a handle on the statewide tier picture.

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

Illuminée Studio and other local businesses are staying strong during the pandemic thanks in part to Santa Cruz County...

#BOLO — Will ‘inappropriate behavior’ allegations be discussed at SLVUSD Board meeting tonight?

San Lorenzo Valley High School.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

For the first time since allegations of misconduct came to light, the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District board of trustees will meet tonight. At present, two teachers at SLV High are on paid leave and a total of four district employees are under investigation after misconduct allegations came to light in the form of largely anonymous social media posts made by current and former students. If you would like to attend tonight’s meeting, here’s how:

Time: Open session begins at 6 p.m.
Use this Zoom link when the meeting begins

And Be On the Lookout on our website for the latest coverage from the meeting from our Nick Ibarra later tonight.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute retiring flagship vessel to make room for bigger, better boat

An artist's rendering of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's new vessel
An artist’s rendering of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s new vessel, which is being built now and will arrive here in 2023.
(Courtesy MBARI)

For a quarter-century, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s R/V Western Flyer has served as the flagship vessel for the institute’s deep sea explorations, hoisting and deploying a large remote-operated submersible, the Doc Ricketts, into the inky-black depths of the bay. But officials are announcing that the custom-built catamaran is set to make its last voyage in fall 2022, after decades of nearly constant use and shifting research priorities that require new technology — and a new $50 million ship. Read more from our Cypress Hansen about plans for the new vessel here.

FREE EVENT: Top chefs to chop it up with Lookout: Join us for ‘Santa Cruz Eats!’

(Event Santa Cruz)

Enough with those carry-out containers! The COVID winter of Santa Cruzans’ dining discontent is about to be over. With a full reopening on the horizon in June, Lookout has assembled a trio of top chefs to discuss their survival skills amid the pandemic and, more importantly, their plans for serving people who are hungry for social interaction, ambiance, and, of course, good food and drink. Damani Thomas, owner and chef at Oswald; Brad Briske, co-owner and chef of HOME in Soquel; and Gema Cruz, chef at Gabriella Cafe, will join Lookout for a virtual conversation hosted by Lookout food contributor Amber Turpin and Deputy Managing Editor Mark Conley.

When: 6 p.m. on May 4
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
Click here to register for the event.

George Floyd and policing

A protester holds up a painting of George Floyd during a police brutality protest near Lighthouse Point
A protester holds up a painting of George Floyd during a police brutality protest near Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz in 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

‘Work far from over’: Santa Cruz activists, leaders react to Derek Chauvin’s guilt in George Floyd’s murder: A jury yesterday afternoon found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all counts in the death of George Floyd — a decision sparking reaction across the nation and locally here in Santa Cruz County.

“The arc of the moral universe bent a little closer to justice today but there is still a long way to go. A badge is never a shield for accountability.” — NAACP of Santa Cruz County

“I want to find a level between celebrating wins but also, what is a win when a life is lost and the system that enabled it is still in place?” — Activist Bella Bonner

“I hope today’s decision brings the Floyd family peace, but our work is far from over.” — Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel)

Read what more local leaders and activists had to say here.

Police fatally shoot teenage girl in Ohio minutes before verdict in Chauvin trial: Columbus police shot and killed a teenage girl who swung at two other people with a knife just minutes before the verdict was read in Derek Chauvin’s trial for the killing of George Floyd. Police swiftly released bodycam footage of the incident in a departure from protocol. Read more from the Associated Press here.

BREAKING: Justice Department to launch investigation into Minneapolis policing practices: One day after a jury handed Derek Chauvin a guilty verdict, Attorney General Merrick Garland will announce the Department of Justice will launch an investigation into Minneapolis’ policing policies, DOJ officials said. Read more from NBC News here.

WATCH: California’s police use-of-force law, explained: In the culmination of one of the fiercest political battles in recent years, California in 2020 put in place a new legal standard tightening the rules around when police can use deadly force. The new standard was a compromise between police and civil rights groups. It legally permits police to use deadly force only when “necessary in defense of human life.” This video by our partners at CalMatters breaks down the effect of the change on police officers and citizens.

Thomas Sage Pedersen dives in deep with Arts Council Santa Cruz County’s Executive Director, Jim Brown, and Deputy...

Around the county …

Man detained after day-long Boulder Creek standoff (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Unpermitted tree cutting in the CZU bun zone: How many laws might PG&E have broken? (San Lorenzo Valley Post)

Watsonville farm biotech company receives major grant from USDA (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