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Morning Lookout: Big step forward for Cotoni-Coast Dairies, highly-contagious Delta variant in California

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, June 24 and we’ll see intermittent clouds and a high of 71.

Yesterday was a big day for the Cotoni-Coast Dairies land, designated as a National Monument in 2017. Officials got one step closer to opening up nearly 30 miles of trails to the public. Tuesday night Santa Cruz City Council axed a highly contested sales tax hike and revealed new changes to the city’s homelessness policies and our Neil Strebig covered the whole thing.

Meanwhile, tens of millions are at risk as cases of the highly contagious Delta variant are popping up around the state and country. And thousands of children who lost parents during the pandemic are not getting access to grief counseling, services and benefits.

Here’s a look at your headlines:

Open trails at Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument by next summer? What to know on BLM’s latest move

An aerial view looking out towards some of the Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Bureau of Land Management finalized its use plan yesterday for the 5,800-acre area north of Santa Cruz, and the head of the local nonprofit that’s partnering with the agency to build trails on the property hopes it could be open for hiking, biking and more by next summer. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

Open Studios is back with dates (and look out for an announcement of the 2021 Open Studio Artists!) Despite the...

‘What does it mean to be an American?’: Book To Action uses immigrant story ‘Dear America’ to spark discourse

Jose Antonio Vargas, author of "Dear America: Notes of an undocumented citizen."
(Courtesy photo)

The Santa Cruz Public Libraries and the Watsonville Public Library are combining forces this year to promote a deep dive into “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen” by journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas. The author will take part in a live Zoom event tonight at 7 p.m. with our Wallace Baine acting as moderator. Read more and see how you can participate here.

Santa Cruz City Council axes sales tax increase, shares few changes on homelessness

Members of the Santa Cruz Police Department

One of the most contested items at Tuesday night’s Santa Cruz City Council meeting was a pending measure to increase the city’s sales tax from 9.25% to 9.75%. Councilmember Sandy Brown dissented, urging the council to find ways to help provide living wages for residents who are working jobs with substandard pay. Read more of what transpired at the meeting from our Neil Strebig here.

COVID 2021 Updates

Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Public Health Director, is working at the LA County Covid-19 vaccine site.

Delta variant is spreading in California as COVID-19 battle enters an uncertain phase: The Delta variant of the coronavirus — which may be twice as transmissible as the conventional strain — is beginning to spread in California. But the state and the rest of the nation are far more protected against COVID-19 than ever before. But tens of millions of unvaccinated people are still potentially vulnerable. Read more here.

Hospital staff in protective masks, gowns and face shields work on a person lying on a hospital bed.

Thousands of young children lost parents to COVID. Where’s help for them? More than 46,000 children in the U.S. have lost a parent to Covid-19. Families say finding even basic grief counseling has been difficult and there’s been no coordinated effort to help these children access services or benefits. “Losing a parent during a pandemic is a special form of torture,” one therapist said. Read more here.

Around the state...

Kelly Slater at his wavepool called Surf Ranch in Lemoore.
(Via WSL)

Olympic wave of the future? Kelly Slater on whether his Surf Ranch or other wave pools could play host: Could the artificial wave pool Kelly Slater constructed amid agricultural fields in Central California be used for surfing at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics? The WSL Surf Ranch uses a massive hydrofoil to push perfect six-foot waves down a pool that stretches nearly seven football fields. Read more from the LA Times here.

Judges stand for a portrait outside the Imperial County Superior Court on April 29, 2021.

California judges don’t reflect the state’s diversity — how that could change: For years, the homogenous nature of the state’s roughly 1,600 Superior Court judges has been an issue. Whites make up 36% of the state’s population but 65% of its Superior Court judges. Latinos, a plurality of the state at 39% of the population, hold only 12% of its Superior Court judgeships. The gap matters. Read more from our partners at CalMatters here.

Farmworkers

Supreme Court limits California union recruiting in favor of property rights: In a blow to labor, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a decades-old California rule inspired by César Chávez that allowed union organizers to meet with farmworkers at their place of work. The 6-3 ruling fell along ideological lines, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority agreeing with the growers who celebrated the decision. Labor activists say it will now be harder to access workers and advocate for their rights. Read more from CalMatters here.

Around the area...

Potential contamination at Capitola Road and 17th Avenue area (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Scotts Valley City Council approves Bay Village housing project (Scotts Valley Press Banner)

Watsonville announces Independence Day celebrations (The Pajaronian)

45-foot-long dead whale washes up on San Francisco’s most popular beach (KSBW-TV)

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

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We’re all about Santa Cruz County, from north to south and in-between.