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Morning Lookout: Investigation concludes former Kirby teacher groomed students, recall Acosta effort advances

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, May 13 and it will be mostly cloudy with a high of 63. The last couple mornings in downtown have been wonderfully misty and we’re starting to see a more regular blanketing of coastal fog. A San Francisco Chronicle photojournalist captured this cool video from Downtown SF yesterday:

Top story this morning: one of Santa Cruz’s most elite private schools announced this week that a private investigation concluded a former teacher had engaged in “predatory behavior” with female students during the 11 years he taught there.

Meanwhile, a group backing the recall of PVUSD trustee Georgia Acosta formally provided notice of intent in a video message presented at a board of trustees meeting.

Before we get to your headlines, 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.

With that, here’s your news:

‘Predatory behavior’: Kirby School investigation concludes former teacher engaged in ‘grooming’ misconduct

Kirby School, in Santa Cruz, is often ranked as the top private school in the county.
Kirby School, in Santa Cruz, is often ranked as the top private school in the county.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

An investigation into a former teacher at Kirby School in Santa Cruz reported findings of inappropriate behavior toward students, according to a summary released this week. In a letter to families summarizing the results, Kirby Head of School Christy Hutton said the school was “deeply disappointed” to report what the investigator found: A pattern of behavior amounting to grooming students, then making sexual advances toward former students. Read more from our Nick Ibarra here.

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Campaign to recall PVUSD trustee Georgia Acosta moves forward with next step in a video message

Georgia Acosta, Area II trustee in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
(Pajaro Valley Unified School District)

After gathering the required 20 signatures from district residents, the Committee to Recall Georgia Acosta announced at a board of trustees meeting Wednesday night it is ready to move forward with its effort to oust the embattled Pajaro Valley Unified School District trustee. In a video message played at the meeting, campaign manager Carol Turley said Acosta “failed to fulfill the duties and responsibilities entrusted to her as a governing board member.” Watch the video message here and Be On the Lookout for updates as we continue reporting on this developing story.

County agrees to delay 25-cent charge for disposable cups. What it all means for you

A plastic cup near San Lorenzo Park.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

An ordinance that aims to cut down on litter, waste and pollution and encourage the use of reusable cups instead of disposable ones in Santa Cruz County is set for a 2022 start date following months of pandemic-related delays. The ordinance would require restaurants and stores in unincorporated parts of the county that sell beverages in single-use cups to charge an additional 25 cents per cup, with some exceptions. Read more about what this will mean for customers and business owners from our Patrick Riley here.

UC data breach results in exposure of personal information

Students walk through a quiet Quarry Plaza at UC Santa Cruz in March.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Personal data possibly including Social Security numbers and financial information has found its way to the internet in the wake of a December security breach, UC Santa Cruz staff, students, and retirees learned in an update Wednesday from the University of California. The university said it learned in late March that some of this data was published online. Read more here.

On the health beat

A rendering shows the planned expansion and renovation project at Dominican Hospital.
(Dignity Health)

Santa Cruz County Planning Commission OKs major Dominican Hospital renovation, expansion: Plans for a major expansion and renovation of Dominican Hospital — including a new surgery department and a three-story parking garage for employees, patients and visitors — took a step forward Wednesday, garnering support from the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission. Hospital officials are proposing an 85,000-square-foot addition on Dominican’s Soquel Drive campus and a 409-space parking structure off adjacent Mission Drive. Read more from our Patrick Riley here.

Esperanza Chavez (center) has diabetes but doesn’t qualify for Medicare because of her immigration status.
Esperanza Chavez (center) has diabetes but doesn’t qualify for Medicare because of her immigration status. She can’t find a private health insurance plan under $1,000 a month. Daughter Laura Chavez (left) says they’re forced to make decisions based on cost “rather than ‘Is this medication really going to help keep you alive and healthy?’”
(Laura Chavez)

California could become first state to let adults add parents to healthcare plans: A California lawmaker is pushing a bill that would require private health plans regulated by the state to extend coverage to some subscribers’ parents. Business groups and others fear the legislation could jack up insurance premiums, but the bill has strong backing from health advocacy and immigrants’ rights organizations. Read more from our partners at Kaiser Health News here.

#BOLO: County Health officials to give update on vaccines, virus: Santa Cruz County public health leaders will hold their bi-weekly press conference this afternoon at 2 p.m. to provide the community with updates on the virus, vaccines and more. Be On the Lookout on our website for the livestream of the press conference and the details of what’s discussed.

Meanwhile, you can now use the state’s MyTurn website to get your kids between the ages of 12 and 15 vaccinated with Pfizer doses, the county announced this morning:

Around the county …

Watsonville police make five arrests in two separate city attacks (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz police warn of false claims about attempted abductions (KION-TV)

Abandoned bunker found in CZU burn zone (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