Latest News

Morning Lookout: Staffing shortages loom ahead of June 15 reopening; RedBall is here

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, June 10 and it will be mostly sunny with a high of 69.

The end of most pandemic restrictions is fast approaching but while you may be anxious to get out for a bite to eat or for some live entertainment, Santa Cruz businesses are facing staffing shortages that may throw a wrench in your plans. Meanwhile, state officials confirmed yesterday that Californians who are fully vaccinated will be able to shed their masks in most situations, beginning June 15.

Here are your headlines:

Business is back, staffing isn’t: Santa Cruz businesses navigate working shortages ahead of June 15 reopening

A now hiring sign hangs outside the entrance of Parish Publick House in Aptos on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
A now hiring sign hangs outside the entrance of Parish Publick House in Aptos on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
(Neil Strebig / Lookout Santa Cruz )

“Help wanted” signs have become the unofficial calling card for businesses in 2021. ”The past couple months we’ve only had maybe 10 resumes — it’s been really challenging,” said Sheon Mika, floor manager at Akira Sushi in Aptos. Our Neil Strebig has how some local eateries and other outfits are managing the hiring shortage.

RELATED: Post-pandemic percolations: 10 places to look forward to thanks to Beer Thirty, Penny Ice Cream & others (Lookout Santa Cruz)

READ ALSO: Californians get a June 15th greenlight: Those vaccinated for COVID-19 can largely shed masks (LA Times)

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

In recognition of UC Santa Cruz’s 2021 commencement, we present a few of our amazing grads. These scholars represent the...

‘Each one has a story’: Sixth-generation Santa Cruzan documents 2020’s unique class of high school grads

Alyssa Fairchild, the Santa Cruz High student body president and a graduating senior
Alyssa Fairchild, the Santa Cruz High student body president and a graduating senior, at the 2021 Santa Cruz High graduation celebration.
(Nick Morris)

What started with Nick Morris taking “a couple snapshots” of an unreal COVID happening — driveby graduations — has morphed into an exhibit at the Santa Cruz Art League encompassing portraits, oral histories and artwork featuring the students who lived it. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

Cal Fire crews to hold extended attack drill today

We may be in the thick of fire season but if you see Cal Fire activity this afternoon or evening, it may be because of a planned exercise of emergency operations. “There will be fire equipment conducted simulated operations in a couple of communities in the Santa Cruz Mountains,” officials wrote in a release. Officials said they may also test the CODE RED Reverse 911 system but if residents get such a notification, it will clearly state it’s a test.

Meanwhile, as crews prep for wildfire season, you should also make sure you’re all set in case of an emergency. Use our Wildfire Resource Center here to make sure.

Can you imagine aerial taxis landing atop Santa Cruz’s downtown parking garages? Joby Aviation can and is working on it

Joby Aviation's all-electric aircraft takes off and lands vertically, and can carry four passengers up to 150 miles.
(Bradley Wentzel / Contributed)

Santa Cruz’s Joby Aviation has joined forces with REEF Technology and Neighborhood Property Group to transform parking garages into “mobility hubs” — takeoff and landing spots for Joby’s aerial taxis. “Parking structures are ideal locations for us as they allow us to deliver our customers as close to their destination as possible,” Joby founder said in a statement. Read more from our Neil Strebig here.

Kaiser Permanente shares details of medical facility expansion plans in Watsonville, Scotts Valley

Kaiser Permanente's new Watsonville facility, alongside Highway 1, will offer expanded mental health services.
(Kaiser Permanente)

Mental health and wellness was a focus for both locations as Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente continues to grow its footprint in Santa Cruz County, with further expansion still planned in Scotts Valley. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

RedBall Art installation is here! Where you can find it over the next few days

SELFIE ALERT: Earlier this year, 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 it’s finally here and our Wallace Baine has a list of places it will make an appearance so you can plan your selfie spots.

Hula’s Island Grill has been a fixture in the community since 2006, but when the pandemic hit, they experienced...

Around the county...

New book shines light on Stanford scientist working to save son from brutal disease (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

$225,000 worth of electric and acoustic guitars found in Santa Cruz (KSBW-TV)

Watsonville struggles to quell illegal fireworks (Pajaronian)

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