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Morning Lookout: A fire danger bullet dodged and a closer look at the Delta variant & masking

Good Morning!

And phewww...

This is Mark, playing the role of Tulsi on a partly cloudy Monday morning where we’ll see highs in the mid-70s in downtown Santa Cruz and fortunately no plumes of smoke overhead.

The Red Flag Warning issued Saturday by the National Weather Service was called off this morning after the potential for dangerous thunderstorm activity diminished.

One month away from the anniversary of last summer’s devastating CZU blazes, this event felt like an important reminder of the vigilance it takes to be ready for the next one.

In that vein, there are several important meetings this week geared for wildfire preparedness, one being thrown by Second District Supervisor Zach Friend and other local government agencies; the second one by more of a grassroots community group, bringing together local stakeholders. Check the bottom of this story for more info on each.

And please share around this link to our Wildfire Resource Center.

To the headlines of the day we go, starting with a closer look at why Los Angeles took the indoor masking step it did last week...

If vaccines are effective against the Delta variant, why would wearing masks indoors be necessary?


Will the move spread north? L.A. County officials say with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations growing, they hope reinstituting masking as a social norm will help reduce disease transmission. More from the LA Times.

Presented by Santa Cruz Shakespeare

Santa Cruz Shakespeare (SCS), an inspired, professional theater company in Santa Cruz County with deep local roots that...

A ‘forever hike’ on UC tuition?

Students sit outside of Royce Hall at UCLA

Regents will vote this week on a fees escalation shelved by the pandemic: Thursday’s vote could allow UC campuses to raise tuition every year, indefinitely — despite receiving extra state cash. Student groups are outraged and key lawmakers oppose the move, but UC says it needs more money and that financial aid will blunt the hit to students.

Santa Cruz Shakespeare reawakens

Lorenzo Roberts and Patty Gallagher.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Theater re-emerges leaner yet still oozing with political relevance: Shakespeare returns to the Audrey Stanley Grove at DeLaveaga Park in Santa Cruz for the first time since 2019. The return of in-person theater features a Shakespearean adaptation and a historical play featuring Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

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

Newsom promised big on California health care. Where do his bold plans stand now?

Noelle Tuominen helps Eleanor, 4, test her blood glucose levels at their Livermore home.

What’s next? Two of Newsom’s boldest health care promises — affordable medications and universal, state-funded health care — have made little progress during his term. And a third — a master plan for seniors — has been drafted yet actions will be phased in over the next 10 years. So enacting each of them in some form will likely come after Newsom’s term ends — even if he isn’t recalled in September.

The Tokyo Olympics begin this week — here’s your guide for how to watch them

Olympics on TV
(Via Pixabay)

How to tune in to Tokyo: NBC Universal will feature more than 7,000 hours of Tokyo Olympics programming on its broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. The opportunities to watch events are plentiful.

Can the A’s stay in Oakland?

The Howard Terminal site and the proposed A's ballpark are shown in a rendering supplied by the Oakland A's.
(Via Oakland A’s)

It’s time for Rob Manfred to save baseball in the East Bay, or go down trying: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred should focus on aiding a ballpark deal in Oakland, where the A’s president and city council struggle to reach an agreement. A key vote looms on Tuesday that will help clarify where things stand. The Times Bill Shakin breaks it down.

Around the county...

California coast: $18 million approved to restore historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse (Sentinel/Merc)

PVUSD trustee faces embezzlement allegations (Pajaronian)

Skypark set for needed facelift, could be open within weeks (Press Banner)

New pastry shop opens in downtown Watsonville (Pajaronian)

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Have a great day!

Mark Conley