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Morning Lookout: SLVUSD administrator’s contract won’t be renewed amid sex abuse allegations, good news on COVID front

Good Morning! It’s Friday, May 14 and it will be mostly cloudy with a high of 64.

The San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District board of trustees decided not to renew the contract of a senior administrator past its June 30 expiration, amid decades-old allegations of sexual abuse and pending litigation.

Meanwhile, we have good news on the pandemic and vaccine fronts: After several months, there are less than 100 active COVID cases in the county, no covid patients in county hospitals and almost 70% of the population vaccinated with at least one dose.

Let’s dive in:

SLV school district parting ways with senior administrator Ned Hearn, accused of decades-old sexual abuse

San Lorenzo Valley High in Felton.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

The San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District is not renewing the employment contract of senior administrator Ned Hearn, dogged for years by allegations he sexually abused a high school student in the 1990s in a Solano County high school. The woman, now 40, filed a lawsuit against Hearn in September and now he has also been placed on administrative leave at SLVUSD until the civil lawsuit concludes. Hearn has consistently denied the allegations. Read the latest from our Nick Ibarra here.

PAST COVERAGE: Decades-old sexual abuse allegations against SLVUSD administrator resurface in lawsuit

Read more past stories here.

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

Will June hearing be the end of injunction vs. city in the Benchlands homeless lawsuit?

Santa Cruz city employee Megan Bunch helps set up new tents
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A federal lawsuit over an unsanctioned homeless encampment in San Lorenzo Park appeared to inch closer to a resolution Thursday after the judge set a June hearing to discuss the future of an injunction that bars the city of Santa Cruz from clearing the camp. “I think there is some life left in the injunction, but the day will come for it to be dissolved,” the judge said. Read more about what transpired in court yesterday from our Patrick Riley here.

RELATED: From TOLO to CSSO: Revamped camping ordinance heads to Santa Cruz council Tuesday, so what’s changed?

READ ALSO: Caltrans begins cleanup of Highway 1/9 homeless encampment as eviction notices take effect

COVID 2021 Updates

Santa Cruz County health officials give an update on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Santa Cruz County
(Santa Cruz County)

Santa Cruz COVID updates: Amid ‘hopeful’ signs, county officials hammer
vaccination message: For the first time in “many, many months” there are fewer than 100 active COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz County, county health officials said in a briefing Thursday — and over 66% of the eligible population has received at least one vaccine dose. County health officer Dr. Gail Newel said she is “thrilled” to see the progress. Read more about what was discussed about the local state of the pandemic and vaccine rollout from our Mallory Pickett here.

People walk along the pier

What the CDC mask changes mean for travel, shopping, gatherings, outdoor life and more: Federal officials are significantly easing mask guidelines as the threat of the pandemic rapidly fades. However, state officials have offered little new official guidance on masks this week — something Santa Cruz County is waiting for before implementation of the new guidelines. Read more from our partners at the LA Times here.

 EMT specialist Andrew Roberts, right, give Eloisa Campos, 70, a Covid-19 vaccination

Latinos are the most eager to get vaccinated, survey shows — but face obstacles: Hispanics who have yet to receive a covid shot are about twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites or Blacks to say they’d like to get vaccinated as soon as possible, according to a survey released Thursday. The findings hint at fixable, though difficult, vaccine access problems for the population. Read more from our partners at Kaiser Health News here.

Around the state...

Sculpture on UC Santa Cruz campus
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

UC weighs limited tuition increase for next year: The University of California is weighing a tuition increase for incoming students beginning next year, but the proposal faced widespread student opposition and sharp questions from regents Thursday. UC President Michael V. Drake told regents at a board meeting Thursday that the plan would bring financial predictability for families, help struggling campuses maintain educational quality and make a UC education more affordable for many low-income students by raising more revenue for financial aid. Read more from the LA Times here.

Farmworkers pick strawberries in 2019.
(USDA photo by Lance Cheung)

New report: Drought to hit rural Latino communities hardest: Rural, low-income Latino communities across California were hardest hit by the last drought and could see drinking water shortages again this year as extreme drought spreads across the state, according to a report released Thursday by non-partisan advisors to California’s lawmakers. Read more from our partners at CalMatters here.

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Around the county …

Big Basin Water Co. faces state ordered deadlines to bolster supplies (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Sgt. Gutzwiller’s name added to National Law Enforcement Memorial, to be read during ceremony (KION-TV)

Watsonville charter school moving downtown by October (The Pajaronian)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor