Latest News

Morning Lookout: New masking guidelines, no yellow tier yet and a big RedBall

Good Morning and Happy Cinco de Mayo! The forecast today calls for intermittent clouds and a high of 72.

Santa Cruz County is easing masking guidelines in lockstep with state health officials’ suggestions, allowing for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to be maskless outdoors in most circumstances. However, this announcement came as the county again didn’t meet the criteria to enter the yellow tier of pandemic restrictions for the second week in a row due to an ever-so-slight uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, a fire-ravaged historic building — the Seabreeze Tavern — was finally demolished yesterday and our Kevin Painchaud captured the scene. And we now have the dates and locations for when the world-famous big RedBall is going to show up in random places around town so you can be prepared with your selfie stick.

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.

Without further ado, here are your headlines:

COVID 2021 Updates

People wearing masks line the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Indoor dining will be one of the area’s affected if Santa Cruz County gets to the yellow tier.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The elusive yellow: Slight increase in case counts again keeps Santa Cruz in orange tier: The adjusted COVID-19 case rate in Santa Cruz County is now 2.2 per 100,000 people, up from 2.1 last week which has resulted in the county missing the cutoff to move into the state’s least restrictive “yellow” tier for the second week in a row. The slight increase in cases is largely due to transmission of COVID-19 among youth sports teams, according to deputy health officer Dr. David Ghilarducci. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

Masks no longer required in most outdoor situations throughout Santa Cruz County: As of Tuesday, masks are no longer required outdoors in Santa Cruz County for vaccinated people, with the exception of “live performances, parades and other close-proximity outdoor gatherings of large crowds,” the county said. People who haven’t been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 “must still wear face coverings outdoors anytime physical distancing cannot be maintained.” Read more here.

Burgundi Thure, Owner of Sew Rose, provides a one-stop home decorating service for her clients, including creating...

Local beat

Crews demolish iconic Seabreeze Tavern
Crowds gathered on May 4, 2021, to watch as crews demolished the iconic Seabreeze Tavern after a fire ripped through the structure the previous year.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

PHOTOS, VIDEO — Saying goodbye to the nearly century-old Seabreeze Tavern: Built in 1928, the Seabreeze Tavern will go down in history as “the last remaining building of the Raphael Castro Hotel and the only remaining building of the Aptos Land Company,” which “kickstarted resort development” in Rio Del Mar. But in the wake of a large fire in June 2020, the historic Spanish Revival-style building was deemed uninhabitable. And yesterday it finally came down. Lookout’s Kevin Painchaud captured photos and videos of the demolition here.

(Brit Worgan/Brit Worgan)

SELFIE ALERT | The way the RedBall bounces — all the places the art installation will appear countywide: Two months ago, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History announced that the county would have an unusual visitor this summer — an enormous inflatable red ball, which would be placed at various sites for artistic contemplation, selfie opportunities, and plain old fun. Now we also know where and when the ball will make an appearance so you can plan your selfie spots. Our Wallace Baine has more.

Pajaro Valley water rates to increase to fund efforts to fight saltwater intrusion, increase water supply: In advance of two major water-conservation projects, Pajaro Valley farmers are going to have to pay more for their water. The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency announced yesterday that it was adopting new rates so it has enough money to fund two new conservation projects to fortify the agency’s supplemental water supply and to fight saltwater intrusion into the valley’s overdrawn aquifers. Read about how and when farmers’ wallets will be affected here.

(Via Pixabay)

Purr-fect chance to adopt a feline as 47 cats, kittens rescued from RV in Santa Cruz County: After nearly four dozen cats and kittens were rescued from a single RV, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is now offering lowered adoption fees to help find the felines homes. For about half the regular fee for cat adoption, the shelter will cover vaccinations, spay/neuter services, implanting a microchip, fleas/worms treatment, a pet wellness exam and a new pet carrier. Read more about the price discount here.

Statewide beat

A day in the California recall — A 1,000-pound bear and a Hollywood-worthy campaign video: The campaign to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from office in a recall election saw a pair of competing spectacles yesterday, as one Republican opponent posed for photos with a burly Kodiak bear and another sought to leverage her celebrity status on national television. The events woke up what has so far been a quiet march toward a historic recall election. Read more from the LA Times here.

Recall backers raise more, but Gavin Newsom’s side has more cash in the bank: Meanwhile, the recall campaign got off to an early financial head start, raising gobs of money from high-profile Republican luminaries, SoCal millionaires and irate voters, according to new campaign finance reports. But like the world’s most lucratively sponsored tortoise, the anti-recall campaign is planning to take back the lead in the money race — and soon. Read more from CalMatters here.

California keeps millions in child support while parents drown in debt: Welfare advocates say California places low-income and minority parents in insurmountable debt by garnishing child support payments and imposing high interest rates when they fall behind on payments, with state government keeping a larger-than-average portion for itself. The director of the agency overseeing child support says state changes would require legislative action, but meaningful changes have failed to gain traction in Sacramento. Read more from CalMatters here.

Zac Shannon and his daughters, Teagan, 5, and Alina and wife, Hitomi, far left, attend a rally against racism
Zac Shannon with his daughters Teagan and Alina, right, and wife, Hitomi, far left, at a rally against racism organized by a coalition of Asian American rights organizations in Torrance on July 11, 2020. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked in cities around the U.S., study finds: The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino examined police data from 16 jurisdictions across the country, finding a 164% increase in reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year. San Francisco and Los Angeles were behind only New York in an increase of hate at 140% and 80% respectively. Read more from the LA Times here.

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

Around the area …

Watsonville police arrest brothers after seperate chases (The Pajaronian)

Two new strawberry varieties will bring sweeter berries to the winter market (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Worsening fire season is reshaping how cities like Santa Cruz prepare (KSBW)

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.

To ensure you’re staying informed about all the goings-on in Santa Cruz, consider becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor