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Morning Lookout: The GOATs of fire prevention, county-wide bike share program and more

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day! It’s June 23 and we’ll see intermittent clouds and a high of 69. As we get closer to the weekend, expect temperatures to go back up, the National Weather Service says.

We are in the throes of fire season and many in Santa Cruz County are prepping their homes and land to maximize fire safety. A couple of neighborhoods in the Santa Cruz Gardens area decided to take an unconventional but increasingly popular approach by hiring a massive herd of goats. Meanwhile, whether you have goats or not, if you haven’t started preparing for fire season, you should. Our Cypress Hansen created a comprehensive Wildfire Resource Center to help you ensure you’re prepared for the worst.

Here are your headlines:

‘Way better than humans’: Santa Cruz Gardens neighborhood turns to goats for fire safety

A working goat at Neary Lagoon.
A working goat at Neary Lagoon.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz.)

Residents of the Benson Avenue and Benson Court developments in the Santa Cruz Gardens area turned, this year, to a method of fire safety and prevention that has been growing in popularity: goats. They go anywhere, eat anything, make little noise and leave little trace — and the 400 goats even made for a local attraction in the bargain. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

BE PREPARED: Check out our full Wildfire Resource Center to ensure you’re ready in case of the worst

Water shortages: Why some Californians are running out in 2021 and others aren’t

This satellite image shows how full Lake Oroville was in June 2019 and how shallow and dry it is in June 2021.

Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape. Rain and snow vary greatly across California’s myriad microclimates, leaving some towns, mostly in the north, accustomed to yearly refills of their rivers, reservoirs and aquifers. Others farther south have fewer natural supplies of their own, and in parts of the Central Valley, the drought never really left. Read more from CalMatters here.

Countywide bike-share program a step closer after Santa Cruz City Council vote

JUMP bikes in Santa Cruz.
(Claire Gallogly/City of Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz County riders traveled 1.3 million miles on JUMP e-bikes before the bike-sharing program derailed in March 2020, and on Tuesday the city council took another step toward reviving the popular transit option that could extend to Scotts Valley, Capitola and Watsonville by early 2022. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

Smoother ride for bikes on Portola Drive? What to know about county’s temporary makeover

A couple takes advantage of the newly protected bike lane on Portola Drive on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A Santa Cruz County project that runs through July 21 cuts space for cars between 36th and 41st avenues in Pleasure Point and adds protection for cyclists and pedestrians. And the county is offering pizza and other freebies to tempt you to take a survey about it. Here’s what Lookout contributor Kevin Painchaud saw and heard on Tuesday.

California’s COVID-19 vaccinations rise as U.S. struggles. Does the lottery deserve credit?

Gov. Gavin Newsom juggles numbered balls following the conclusion of a press conference at Universal Studios

After a steep and sustained decline, California’s COVID-19 vaccination rate rose markedly earlier this month, outpacing the inoculation trends in much of the country. California has long been a leader in vaccinations. But the uptick in recent weeks offers an early suggestion that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s elaborate — and, in some corners, derided — program offering the chance at cash prizes to those who got vaccinated may have reaped some rewards. Read more from the LA Times here.

Presented by Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Cruz County service area is building partnerships with community and government organizations...

Around the county...

Post-wildfire housing rules challenged in Santa Cruz County (Santa Cruz Local)

UCSC research discovers snowflake moray eels can feed on land (KSBW-TV)

Despite obvious impacts of crises, Santa Cruz County Supervisors hopeful about next budget (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Community Bridges trades pints with vaccines at Watsonville pop-up clinic (The Pajaronian)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor