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Morning Lookout: Juneteenth celebrations, housing solutions and roadwork this week

Good Morning and I hope you had a great Father’s Day, Juneteenth weekend and Summer Solstice! It’s Monday, June 21 and after last week’s heatwave, I’m happy to report today is expected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 67.

While Santa Cruz County was largely spared last week during the heatwave, our neighbors to the south were not so lucky. Our thoughts are with Monterey County residents where the 2,000+ acre Willow fire continues to blaze, with 0% containment.

Here’s a look at your local headlines:

A Juneteenth reawakening: Sights and sounds from a weekend of celebration in downtown Santa Cruz

The crowd enjoys the day.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

At least 100 Juneteenth revelers packed Laurel Park over the weekend, dotted with booths: Tarot readings, Black Health Matters, the MAH, and a long line for soul food that quickly sold out. Speeches were given and poems read about power, the need for unity, and the importance of social and political change to correct injustices that still face Black communities. Read more from Lookout contributor Liza Monroy and see photos from photo contributor Kevin Painchaud.

We’re reopened ... technically: Why the post-June 15 life remains a mixed bag for business owners

Jade Fountaine, a bartender at Paradise Beach Grill in Capitola Village, holds up a drink.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Well, we’re reopened. Kind of. It might not feel that way for some business owners who were already facing staffing shortages and now have to sort out masking protocol for those whom they can convince to work. Last week, Gov. Newsom signed an executive order that would expedite the wait time on masking rules, giving businesses less time to figure out what to do. Read more from our Neil Strebig here.

‘What kind of county do we want to have?’: As Silicon Valley invades, Santa Cruz homelessness czar wonders

Robert Ratner stands outside the Human Services Department Administration building in Santa Cruz on Monday, June 7.
(Neil Strebig / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Wrestling with a persistent housing and homelessness crisis, Santa Cruz County last fall brought in Dr. Robert Ratner to lead the newly created Housing for Health division to tackle the far-reaching issue. A little more than six months on the job, Lookout caught up with Ratner to get his thoughts on the state of homelessness in the county, his hopes for the future and his worries about the challenges that remain. Read a Q&A with Ratner here.

Where to expect traffic delays as Santa Cruz ramps up pavement work

Map shows construction sites under the 2021 Overlay Project
(City of Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz city officials are warning residents to expect traffic delays this week from Midtown to the Wetside, as ongoing pavement projects kicked into higher gear Friday. Construction will occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Friday. Find a list of streets to avoid here.

Sizzling Santa Cruz housing market, meet the overhauled Court of Mysteries: Iconic place up for $4.6 million

515 Fair Ave. on Santa Cruz's Westside is on the market at $4.625 million.
(Will McCahill / Lookout Santa Cruz)

With Santa Cruz home prices seemingly trending ever upward, one of the county’s most iconic properties — so unique it has myriad nicknames and its own Atlas Obscura entry — is on the market. After an ambitious remodel since it most recently changed hands in 2016, the iconic Court of Mysteries on Fair Avenue on the Westside is on the market for $4.625 million. Read more here.

READ ALSO: Another month, another all-time high: Home prices in Santa Cruz County hit $1.3 million in May (Lookout Santa Cruz)

Around the state...

Someone is intentionally breaking Brown Pelican's wings.

Who would hurt pelicans? Severe wing fractures in Southern California raise fears of a human culprit: With their long, pouched bills, giant wingspans and ability to dive 60 feet from the air into water to catch fish, pelicans are among the most recognizable birds in California. So who could be harming them? Since October, a wildlife hospital in Huntington Beach has received 22 pelicans with severe wing fractures that broke through the skin. None have survived. Read more here.

Leslie Garcia, right, administers a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to Maria Gonzalez at mobile vaccine clinic

What you need to know about California’s new digital vaccine verification: Late last week, the state unveiled a system in which Californians can get a digital record of their COVID-19 vaccination. While the record may provide a measure of convenience for some, the state has emphasized it’s not a compulsory tool. Read more here.

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

With a goal to continue their mission to uplift the community through music and music education, Kuumbwa Jazz created...

Around the county...

With more than 100 kittens in care, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter offers discount for those adopting two felines at once (KION-TV)

‘A lifetime commitment’: Watsonville father, son leaders in fire, police departments (The Pajaronian)

World’s Fair architecture at Santa Cruz Boardwalk | Local history (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

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