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Morning Lookout: Earth Day extravaganza, local anti-Asian incident prompts disgust

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, April 22, and it’s going to be mostly cloudy with a chilly high of 58.

It’s also Earth Day, and today’s newsletter features a lot of environmental news. We’re diving in to a cutting-edge project that will purify wastewater to replenish groundwater used by nearly 50,000 locals; encapsulating events and ways to get involved in Earth Day celebrations around town; and comparing different countries’ carbon emissions. Also, here’s a cool picture of that third rock from the sun we’re celebrating today:

And before we get to the headlines, in case you lost power yesterday afternoon and were wondering what happened, turns out a couple Mylar “Happy Birthday” balloons floated into some electrical wires, causing an outage for about 6,000 residents. To be in the know in situations like that, sign up for our Breaking News Text Alerts here.

Let’s get to your headlines:

‘Disgust, fear, and sadness’: Public Facebook post documents anti-Asian incident in Santa Cruz County

Messages found on a cup this past weekend at the intersection of 41st and Portola.
(Via Melissa Tao)

As violence, harassment and hateful rhetoric targeting Asian Americans persists across the country, Santa Cruz area resident Melissa Tao took to social media to document her own recent experience of being on the receiving end of intimidation and threats. In a public Facebook post Sunday, Tao wrote that she found a cup “filled with pee” and emblazoned with obscenity on her windshield after leaving her car for 15 minutes in a parking lot. Read more here.

RELATED PAST COVERAGE:

When he endured racism at a Santa Cruz donut shop last year, Spike Wong did what he does: He wrote about it (Wallace Baine)

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

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

Scotts Valley to resume in-person Fourth of July celebration this summer — but no fireworks

Fourth of July food decorations file image
(via Pixabay)

In yet another sign of a return to normalcy, an in-person Independence Day celebration will happen this year in Scotts Valley, but — sigh — there won’t be any pyrotechnics. City leaders greenlit a “modified” Fourth of July parade to replace Scotts Valley’s usual SkyPark festival and fireworks in a vote last night. Our Isabella Cueto attended the meeting and breaks down the decision.

With COVID-19 cases low in Santa Cruz, is it OK to start mixing households again?

File image

California now has the lowest COVID-19 cases per capita of the continental U.S., and case rates in Santa Cruz County are among the lowest in the state. Amid this good news — and much of the economy reopening — you may be wondering when you can reopen your home to friends. Short answer: not yet. Mallory Pickett explains.

READ ALSO: I’m fully vaccinated against COVID-19. How long will the protection last? (LA Times)

AND: When your favorite California attractions will reopen, from Disneyland to Death Valley (LA Times)

The Crocker Comedy Hour: Santa Cruz filmmaker builds a sketch-comedy troupe from scratch

Drew Crocker is trying to frame his talents just right.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz filmmaker Drew Crocker is doing it all — writing, directing, acting, editing — to develop a recognizable style of sketch comedy. The 37-year-old is a professional videographer by trade, but since 2019, he’s also launched his own production company, Crocker Creations. The more than a dozen videos that have come out of this venture may vary in storytelling styles but the themes are pretty consistent: Crocker says the thread that he’s most interested in following is “strain in relationships.” Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

It’s Earth Day!

Drilling in progress at a seawater intrusion prevention well on Monterey Avenue in Capitola.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Digging 1,000 feet and purifying sewage: How Soquel Creek district is replenishing water supply amid drought: The Soquel Creek Water District, despite its name, draws no water from Soquel Creek or any other creeks to serve its 40,400 customers in Aptos, La Selva Beach, Rio Del Mar, Soquel, and portions of Capitola. And that single source has contributed to a water sustainability problem for years. “Pure Water Soquel” is the district’s ambitious plan to take wastewater, purify it to drinking water standards, and send it through deep wells into aquifers to refill the groundwater basin. Read more about this project and what it means for your drinking water from our Mallory Pickett here.

Close up view of a bin of green crabs pulled from a single trap.
Close up view of a bin of green crabs pulled from a single trap. In some cases there can be close to 100 crabs per trap in years of very high numbers. Photo courtesy of Ted Grosholz

Unwelcome and tough to evict: California’s costly, uphill battle against invasive species: It’s nothing less than an invasion. Interlopers are coming into California by land, by sea … and by FedEx. That’s what happened with the European green crab, a voracious cannibal that stowed away in packages of worms sent by overnight delivery to commercial fishermen in California. Read the story by CalMatters here.

Celebrating Earth Day? Here’s what’s happening around Santa Cruz County: Some may say every day is Earth Day in Santa Cruz. But for all intents and purposes, worldwide, it’s today, so many local entities are celebrating with community events, seminars, films and more. Our Cypress Hansen created a round-up of what’s happening this week and how you can get involved.

Clouds from a passing storm mix with the sunset over Titus Vineyards, in St. Helena, CA
Clouds from a passing storm mix with the sunset in Sonoma County on Feb. 3. Gov. Gavin Newsom officially declared a drought emergency Wednesday in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Newsom launches effort to deal with drought; emergencies declared in two NorCal counties: Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday declared a drought emergency in two Northern California counties as he stood on the dry shoreline of Lake Mendocino. Newsom has been under pressure from some quarters to declare a statewide drought emergency. But the administration favors a more targeted approach. Read more from our partners at the LA Times here.

The U.S. is the biggest carbon emitter in history. Where do other nations stand? It’s not just the United States — other major polluters around the world have also been falling behind climate goals. As the Biden administration virtually hosts the leaders of more than three dozen countries today and tomorrow to discuss the need for more action on climate change, the LA Times has a look at where others stand, and what’s preventing them from fulfilling their promises.

Around the county …

Santa Cruz Ballet Theater welcomes back live audience (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

New seasonal farmers market opens at Ramsay Park (The Pajaronian)

Warriors in the Community employees show support for local farmworkers (KION-TV)

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

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