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Morning Lookout: O’Neill Sea Odyssey responds to allegations, where to see bald eagles in Santa Cruz County

Good Morning! It’s Friday, April 30, and it will be partly sunny with a high of 71.

A development in our top story yesterday: After the former executive director of O’Neill Sea Odyssey made bombshell accusations of misogyny and racism against the board of directors in her resignation letter posted on Facebook, the group issued a statement defending itself late yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, our Mallory Pickett and photojournalist Kevin Painchaud took a trip up to Loch Lomond this week to visit with some very special Santa Cruzans: four bald eagles. Mallory tells you what experts know about the iconic birds of prey, how long they’ve been there and how you can go see them.

Speaking of going places, we’ve got a couple of events — one virtual, one in-person, coming up next week.

But first, here are your headlines:

O’Neill Sea Odyssey responds to executive’s resignation after she alleges ‘racism, misogyny and privilege’

The O'Neill Sea Odyssey catamaran sits docked on April 29, 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The executive director of O’Neill Sea Odyssey, Rachel Kippen, abruptly left her job this week, saying in her resignation letter that the organization’s board is not willing to confront “institutional racism, misogyny and privilege.” Late Thursday afternoon, the organization issued a written statement in response to Kippen’s resignation, saying it was “deeply saddened that our former executive director chose to attack and malign” the nonprofit organization. Read the latest on this story and the group’s full response here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

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

County health officials: Vaccine supply outweighing demand; what’s ahead for outdoor mask mandates?

County Health Leadership press confernece

Santa Cruz County health officials, during their update on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, highlighted plans to lift some mask requirements outdoors and to stimulate dwindling demand for vaccines. So far:

  • 88% of all residents over the age of 65 have been vaccinated
  • 62% of all residents 16 and older have received at least one dose
  • Of the youngest age group, those 16-24, only 29% have received a first dose

Read more about what health officials said from our Mallory Pickett here.

All hail Haley!

Haley Jones, who grew up in Santa Cruz, led Stanford to its first women's basketball title in 29 years.
(Via Stanford)

Haley Jones to be honored this weekend: This Sunday, the city of Santa Cruz will celebrate star athlete Haley Jones, who helped lead the Stanford Women’s Basketball team to its National Championship win earlier this month. Vice Mayor Sonja Brunner will present Jones with a key to the city at 12:45 p.m. followed by a car parade through Downtown Santa Cruz at 1 p.m. Our Max Chun caught up with Jones soon after the big game. Read that Q&A here.

Remembering pioneering UCSC faculty member William T. Doyle: A professor emeritus of biology and founding director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, William T. Doyle passed away earlier this month at his Santa Cruz home at the age of 91. He was among the founding faculty members when UCSC opened in 1965 and was largely responsible for the establishment of Long Marine Laboratory. Read more about Doyle’s impactful life here.

Environmental beat

An adult bald eagle at Loch Lomond in 2014.
An adult bald eagle at Loch Lomond in 2014.
( Ranger Judie Cole/City of Santa Cruz)

Bald eagles in Santa Cruz? A trip to Loch Lomond can provide magic views of the birds of prey: These days, Loch Lomond reservoir, which supplies the city of Santa Cruz with water, is also home to some special guests: four bald eagles. The iconic birds of prey first made an appearance at the reservoir in 2014, when two adults showed up. They have been observed year-round ever since. The first juvenile was spotted in 2015, and the second this year. “It’s possible they have a nest but they’re hard to find,” said a city of Santa Cruz ranger. Read more about the birds — and the hidden gem that is Loch Lomond — from Mallory here.

California to truck young salmon to the Pacific because of low river levels: California officials will again truck millions of young salmon raised at fish hatcheries in the Central Valley to the Pacific Ocean because projected river conditions show that waterways the fish use to travel downstream will be historically low and warm due to increasing drought. It’s the state’s fourth-driest year on record, especially in the northern two-thirds of the state, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Read more from the LA Times here.

Victor Serriteno
Victor Serriteno, right, is suspected of starting the Markley fire in August that merged with the Hennessey fire. Both blazes later were included in the massive LNU Lightning Complex fire. (Vacaville Police Department)

How a first date may have led to a murder, a cover-up and a huge wildfire that killed 2: It was a first date out of a horror movie, authorities say. Priscilla Castro, a 32-year-old from Vallejo, was headed to Vacaville on a Wednesday evening in August to meet Victor Serriteno, a 28-year-old she’d met through an online dating app. But instead of romance, the interlude ended in multiple deaths and hundreds of thousands of fire-scorched acres, prosecutors say. Read more from the LA Times here.

Things to do

mah red dot
The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.
(Lookout Santa Cruz Staff)

Artistic strength in numbers: Museums and galleries band together to welcome visitors back to their spaces: Amidst the cacophony of springtime reopenings — restaurants, movie theaters, ballgames, salons, flea markets and gyms — museums and galleries could easily get overlooked. For the first time in years, 16 museums and galleries across Santa Cruz and San Benito counties are joining forces to amplify a message: We’re here, and we’re ready to see you. The combined public messaging effort is being pegged as “Museums Month.” Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

Singer, songwriter and Santa Cruz native, Taylor Rae
(Matthew Swinnerton / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Want to attend our exclusive Taylor Rae concert next week? Here’s how: Lookout’s first SC Insiders event is this coming Monday. Each month, Lookout members will get access to specially curated events, concerts, tours, and more as part of their member benefits. The first event is an exclusive 25-seat concert with Santa Cruz’s own Taylor Rae. We are reserving five seats for the first five new Lookout members who sign up before midnight on Saturday, May 1. To learn more, click here.

(Event Santa Cruz & Kevin Painchaud)

Top chefs to chop it up with Lookout: Join us for ‘Santa Cruz Eats!’ Enough with those carry-out containers! 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. Join us on May 4 at 6 p.m. for this free, virtual event. Read more about the panelists here and register for the event here.

Dr. Fernando Lozano, Professor of Economics and Chair of the department at Pomona College, gives his take on how the...

Around the county …

Universal health care has always been my north star’: Eshoo to support expanded Medicare (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

PVUSD eases some graduation requirements (The Pajaronian)

Water rate increase approved for parts of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties (KION-TV)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor