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Morning Lookout: Downtown building boom, talking bartending with Mezcalito Manny

Good Morning! It’s Monday, July 5 and we hope you’re having a wonderful long weekend. For your last day of the extended break, expect intermittent clouds and a high of 70.

Hundreds lined the sidewalks yesterday in Aptos to celebrate Independence Day with the traditional and quirky World’s Shortest Parade. See photos of the festivities here. Meanwhile, if parades and parties prevented you from getting on the water this weekend, luckily it’s not over yet. Check out our expertly crafted outdoor water activities guide here.

Let’s take a look at the headlines:

PHOTOS: Hundreds celebrate the Fourth of July at World’s Shortest Parade in Aptos

Revelers gathered Sunday for the World's Shortest Parade in Aptos marking the first Independence Day post-pandemic.
Revelers gathered Sunday for the World’s Shortest Parade in Aptos marking the first Independence Day post-pandemic.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

After a pandemic-forced cancellation last year, hundreds gathered on the sidewalks to watch the World’s Shortest Parade in Aptos yesterday. From the corner of State Park and Soquel up to Trout Gulch in Aptos, the sidewalks were packed with spectators clad in red, white and blue, waving flags and balloons. Lookout photo contributor Kevin Painchaud was in attendance. Here’s what he saw.

Into the blue: Your guide to Santa Cruz coastal exploration

A trip around the wharf will likely involve a sea lion sighting or two.
(Sara Gobets / For Lookout Santa Cruz)

If you didn’t get a chance to get out on the water this weekend, you still have your chance. Whether in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard, the waters just off Santa Cruz County are swimming with possibilities. Take it easy in the Yacht Harbor? Cruise around a wharf? Explore the wilds off the Westside? No matter what you choose, Lookout has you covered with our extensive guide. See the whole thing here.

Building boom will super-size downtown Santa Cruz — but will affordability follow?

The Palomar Building is the tallest in downtown Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Decades of restrictive building rules have kept Santa Cruz a low-rise city, with the seven-story Palomar Inn on Pacific Avenue currently the tallest building downtown. But the century-old Palomar might soon be sharing the skyline with seven new six- and seven-story buildings currently planned for the downtown area. And there’s likely much more building to come. Read more from Lookout contributor Maria Guara here.

Pour me another: Mezcalito Manny talks bartending in COVID and beyond

Bartender Manny Hernandez
To me, crafting cocktails feels like another way of expressing emotions and impressions through the process of creating simple or complicated flavors and aromas,” Manny Hernandez says.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

For Emmanuel Hernandez, aka “Mezcalito Manny,” whom you might recognize from stints at some of our highest-caliber restaurants, COVID abruptly dismantled a bartending career he had been building steadily for the past decade. His dedication to mixing amazing drinks is a genuine passion, but when the pandemic stole his platform, he had to switch gears to make ends meet. Read more here.

Bay Federal Credit Union’s new First Time Homebuyer Program has provided loans for eight new homeowners for a total...

Around the state...


Highly infectious Delta variant spreading rapidly, now California’s dominant coronavirus strain: The highly infectious Delta variant has become California’s most identified strain of the coronavirus. State officials say they don’t expect California’s hospitals to once again be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients — there are simply too many vaccinated people in the state. Read more from the LA Times here.


Supreme Court, NCAA decisions embolden advocates for college athlete compensation in California: California’s landmark law allowing college athletes to sign paid endorsement deals started a national movement. With the NCAA no longer banning athlete compensation, advocates are pushing to speed up the law’s implementation and expand it to cover community college players. Read more from CalMatters here.

Around the county...

Pick up truck crashes into crowd in Watsonville, injuring at least three (KION-TV)

Capitola nursing home reported not just for quality of care, but infrastructure (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Thousands of dollars worth of fireworks stolen from Watsonville nonprofit that benefits local youth (KSBW-TV)

Elkhorn Slough Foundation acquires 34-acre wetlands (Good Times)

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

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

Celebrating Watsonville’s multi-ethnic history, the mosaic installation titled Watsonville Brillante, graces...