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Morning Lookout: Protests planned during sentencing for Maddy Middleton’s killer, SLV High kids head to class

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, April 27, and it will be sunny with a high of 66.

It’s going to be a busy news day: Between city council and county board meetings, our team will be covering the sentencing hearing for Maddy Middleton’s killer at the Santa Cruz County courthouse, outside which protesters are expected to gather.

Also today, San Lorenzo Valley High sophomores, juniors and seniors are headed back to classrooms for the first time since the pandemic began — and for the first time since the allegations of misconduct against teachers and staff members came to light. Lookout’s Nick Ibarra has been leading coverage of this misconduct probe in the county. You can find all of his stories in one place here.

One last thing before we get to the news: If you want to stay abreast of all the big goings-on as they’re happening, I suggest you sign up for our free Breaking News Text Alerts here or text the word BREAKING to (831) 387-7662.

Here are your headlines:

Protest planned outside courthouse as Gonzalez set for juvenile sentencing in Maddy Middleton murder

Madyson Middleton
(Santa Cruz Police Department)

Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, who earlier this month pleaded guilty to killing 8-year-old Madyson Middleton nearly six years ago, is scheduled to be sentenced today as a case that reverberated well beyond Santa Cruz and stalled for years could finally draw to a close. The hearing comes amid a fight over a state law that bars the prosecution of teens under the age of 16 as adults. Gonzalez was 15 when he committed the crime, meaning he could be free by age 25. Read more from our Patrick Riley and Nick Ibarra here.

#BOLO: Patrick will be one of three journalists inside the courtroom today to cover the sentencing. Be On the Lookout on our website later today for his report.

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A new partnership between UC Santa Cruz and United Way will support community-engaged research and offer UCSC...

Outdoor study space a ‘first step’ for return of students to Cabrillo College’s campus in Watsonville

Maria Adolfo studies away at Cabrillo College's Watsonville Center.
Maria Adolfo studies away at Cabrillo College’s Watsonville Center.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Cabrillo College’s Watsonville Center has been closed since March 2020. Coordinators say before the pandemic, the center served as a “home away from home” for many students, but for more than a year, the space has been closed. Now, signs of life are finally returning as students return, lured by WiFi and free printing. Read more from Nick here.

COVID 2021

A COVID-19 vaccination

If you can’t get to the vaccine, Santa Cruz County wants to get the vaccine to you: If you’re a homebound Santa Cruz County resident and haven’t yet gotten a COVID-19 vaccination, the county’s public health department wants to help you get inoculated by sending a medical professional your way. If you want to learn more, you can do so here.

NEW THIS MORNING: Bay Area man is hospitalized with rare blood clot after J&J vaccination: A Bay Area man in his 30s is recuperating after developing a rare blood clot in his leg within two weeks of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, UC San Francisco officials said Monday. As of last Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported the condition in 15 people, all women, after 8 million doses were administered nationally. Read more from the Associated Press report here.

In dramatic turnaround, California now has the lowest coronavirus case rate in the U.S.: Months after a coronavirus surge sickened hundreds of thousands of people, left thousands dead and pushed hospitals to their breaking point, California’s virus case rate is now the lowest of any state in the nation, federal figures show. Read more from the LA Times here.

Recall Newsom updates

Gavin Newsom portrait

Propelled by growing frustration over the state response to the pandemic, a Republican-led drive to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office collected enough voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, state officials reported yesterday. So here’s what you need to know:

Who wants to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom — and other recall questions, answered: So far, four prominent Republicans, including Olympian-turned-reality star Caitlyn Jenner, have thrown their names in the hat to replace Newsom. There are also several more less prominent names in the running. Read more about what you need to know about the recall election and Newsom’s challengers here.

Exact date for Newsom recall election is still unclear. Here’s why: The process for a recall is unlike those governing other elections under the California Constitution and state law. It’s also a rare event: The Newsom recall is the 11th to qualify but only the second since major changes were made by the California Legislature in 2017. One such change allows 30 days for voters to withdraw their signature from the recall petition if they choose. Read more from the LA Times here.

ANOTHER POLITICS READ: California to lose a congressional seat for first time in state history, according to new census data (LA Times)

Approximately 16 percent of hospitality and tourism workers lost their job in 2020 due to a permanent closure or layoff....

Around the county …

CZU Lightning fire: Webinars explore ‘lessons learned,’ preparation (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

PV Water Board approves rate increase (The Pajaronian)

Henry! They’re all girls! Pickin and grinnin’ with the Goat Hill Girls Bluegrass Band (San Lorenzo Valley Post)

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.