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Morning Lookout: Judge lifts ban on clearing homeless encampment, meet the Golden Hammers

Good Morning! It’s July 1 and it’ll be another day of intermittent clouds and a high of 71. Despite the mild temperatures here, there are wildfires raging in the state and we wish our Cal Fire CZU strike team and other crews luck as they battle the Salt Fire near Redding. Meanwhile, we’re closing in on one year since the devastating CZU Lightning Complex fires of last year, but yesterday a Cal Fire crew discovered a smoldering tree in Big Basin Redwoods State Park that has been burning all this time.

In local news, a federal judge gave the city of Santa Cruz the greenlight to clear out the San Lorenzo Park homeless encampment that’s been the subject of a months-long legal battle. And our Mark Conley learned about the life and tragic downward spiral of a former Watsonville soccer star that ultimately ended his life. If you haven’t read that story yet, I highly recommend you do.

Let’s dive in:

City won’t immediately clear San Lorenzo Park homeless encampment after judge lifts injunction

The homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park, as seen earlier this month.
The homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park, as seen earlier this month.
(Chris Fusco / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Though a federal judge has opened the door for the City of Santa Cruz to clear out the homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park, city officials say they won’t immediately do so. “We want to be thoughtful with dispersing,” one Santa Cruz official said. “We’re going to continue services the way it has been until we have a better place for people to go.” More from our Neil Strebig here.

Tuesdays with the Golden Hammers, Habitat for Humanity’s master volunteer craftsmen

Members of the Golden Hammer crew on a build for Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay has many volunteers, but none are as seasoned as the veterans known as the Golden Hammer crew. But as one Habitat staffer and homeowner says, even the crustiest of tough guys are known to shed a tear when a new homeowner gets their keys. More from our Wallace Baine here.

‘Should’ve done more’: Could a former soccer star have been saved? Family grieves, community wonders

Edward 'Lalo' Murillo-Jimenez had a storied soccer career that took from the junior ranks to San Jose State.

Edward “Lalo” Murillo-Jimenez dreamed the kind of dream many soccer-loving kids growing up in Watsonville do. But when the dream fizzled at San Jose State, Murillo-Jimenez went into a life spiral he could never quite shake. Last week he was found dead below the cliffs at New Brighton State Beach at age 32. Read more from our Mark Conley here.

Pleasure Point saboteurs strike Portola Drive bike safety pop-up

A county worker installs the wave delineators on Portola Drive in Pleasure Point.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A temporary installation meant to provide safer travel for bikes and pedestrians installed last week on Portola Drive in the Pleasure Point has been sabotaged multiple times, including during Friday’s opening event. The nonprofit partnering with Santa Cruz County said it has “never had such unfriendly and aggressive behavior from the community” on such a project. Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

Around the state...

Smokey air over burn scar

California wildfire insurance: Should homeowners pay for climate change? Insurance companies want to factor climate change in calculating wildfire coverage, but consumer watchdogs worry California homeowners will end up with higher premiums. Read more from CalMatters here.

Alex Olvera, 15, is vaccinated with Pfizer by Rickeyva Foster, at the Manual Arts High School basketball and gym building

Without enough boots on the ground, California’s vaccination efforts falter: California’s vaccination rates have stagnated, particularly in Black and Latino inner-city neighborhoods and in rural towns. County health officials need more money for one-on-one interactions with holdouts, but the state has instead largely funneled money to advertising firms and tech companies. Read more from Kaiser Health News here.

A woman stands next to a very large octopus sculpture.
A guest has a photo taken in front of a 16-foot-tall octopus-and-globe installation on the dispensary sales floor. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The 7 things to look for at the new weed wonderland not far from Disneyland: California’s largest cannabis dispensary opens today in Southern California and it’s big. Like furniture-store big. Planet 13’s new location is an immersive, entertaining and totally Instagram-worthy approach to cannabis commerce complete with a “hotbox bus.” Read more and see photos here.

At inception the Soquel Creek Water District focused on flood control. Today, the District now ensures 41,000 Santa Cruz...

Around the county...

PG&E monthly bills may rise to cover wildfire, safety, green upgrades (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Treasure hunt underway in Santa Cruz mountains after someone hid $1,000 (KSBW-TV)

Pajaro Valley Public Cemetery District running out of space (The 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.

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor