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Morning Lookout: First blip in meteoric rise of housing prices, fire officials issue closures

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, July 14 and we’re expecting a mild day with intermittent clouds and a high of 67. The National Weather Service says the rest of the Bay Area is also expected to get some respite from the heat so if you’re planning a Hump Day outing, it’s a good day for it.

The temperatures may be lower this week but it doesn’t mean fire and drought risks don’t threaten our county. Yesterday, fire officials issued an emergency closure of all off-trail activity in city-owned open spaces to minimize fire risk.

Meanwhile, for the first time in months, the sky-rocketing trend in the Santa Cruz County housing market saw a fall in prices — but will it last?

And finally, before we get to the headlines, if you haven’t yet checked out our new BOLO (Be On the Lookout) events calendar, you really should. You might find some fun things to do this weekend. And if you want to sign up for the Best Bets newsletter and text alerts, you can do so here. The next one comes out tomorrow!

With that, let’s dive in:

A market correction? Record home price escalation hits pause — at least for the month of June

An aerial view of the Westside.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Housing prices in Santa Cruz paused their historic upward surge in June, with the median sale price of single-family homes across the county dropping 9.6 percent from unprecedented highs reached in May. Was it just a blip or a sign of things to come? Read more here.

Browse the line up of Frequency, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History’s (MAH) new biennial festival of light, sound,...

Fire risk & homeless camps, the collision of emergencies: Santa Cruz Fire orders closures to minimize risk

Dan Moreno and Santos Mendez speaking with Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach. David Sally sits near by
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )

One month from the first anniversary of the historically devastating CZU Lightning blazes, the unhoused of Santa Cruz will now have even fewer camping options thanks to the continued threat of wildfires. The Santa Cruz Fire Department issued an emergency order closing all off-trail, city-owned open spaces in an attempt to minimize fire risk. Read more here.

Peddling with purpose: Sex trafficking awareness at the core of young cyclists’ West Coast mission

A cycling team on a mission swung through town this week.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A 12-women cyclist team pedaled through Santa Cruz this week with a mission: to raise awareness about sex trafficking. The group, called Pedal the Pacific, are from all different places and backgrounds but are united with their common mission. “To come to a place like this, where people are actively caring is just very genuine.” Read more here.

Tougher tactics for the unvaccinated needed to stop new rise in COVID-19, experts say

The city of Long Beach's Department of Health & Human Services holds an evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic

With coronavirus cases rising among the unvaccinated and efforts to get them shots lagging, there is a growing belief in some public health circles that more aggressive tactics are needed to get more of the population inoculated. Despite efforts, 41% of Californians of all ages have yet to be inoculated. And two troubling and related trends are bringing calls for fresh thinking. Read more here.

RELATED: In abrupt turnaround, California to let school districts decide how to enforce mask rules (LA Times)

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Statewide politics


Charity & politics: California elected officials would have to disclose their connections under proposed rule: In the months before California lawmakers in June granted prison guards a $5,000 bonus and an 8% raise over the next two years, the guards’ union made a few charitable donations. The recipients included two nonprofits run by the very legislators who were preparing to vote on the pay hikes. After a year-long wait, the state’s campaign finance watchdog has a proposal to require elected officials to provide more information on special interest donations to their nonprofits. Read more here.

Menstrual activist and first year UCSC student Amanda Safi holds a menstrual cup from The Honey Pot Company.

Latest ‘menstrual equity’ bill would require California’s public colleges to provide period products: A bill pending in the Legislature would require California’s public universities, community colleges and secondary schools to provide free menstrual products on campus. Students pushing for the bill say they are trying to break through taboos surrounding a matter of basic hygiene, and that many low-income students suffer from “period poverty,” in which they are unable to afford the pads and tampons they need. Read more here.

Around the county...

Santa Cruz County begins vaccine outreach with pop-up clinics, businesses and community events (KSBW-TV)

What should Watsonville look like in 2040? Voters may get say in 2022 (The Pajaronian)

Friends say murder victim wasn’t notified of abusive ex-partner’s release (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