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Morning Lookout: Learning up, vaxing up, masking up — some post-June 15 changeups ahead

Good Morning & Happy Friday!

A bit of a cooling pattern kicks in today along our coast heading into the weekend. We’ll only see a downtown high of 65 today, according to the National Weather Service.

Some of the less-than-normal things going on around the world this morning include a fan-less Summer Games opening ceremonies in Tokyo, a GOP governor in the south saying “it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for the COVID-19 spike and the Cleveland Indians changing their name to the Cleveland Guardians.

Now to the other headlines of the day...

Dramatic rescue image from sheriff’s office

Much more than a traffic jam: For many people in Santa Cruz County, Wednesday afternoon represented a gigantic traffic snafu and headache. But for those at the frontlines of the incident that resulted in a two-hour-plus gridlock-heavy commute somewhere around the area, there were dramatic, potentially life-altering consequences at play.

When to mask up, whether to fear a shutdown

Medical leaders from around the county gathered on Thursday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

What we learned from Thursday’s chat with county health leaders: At the news conference outside of Santa Cruz Health, county health officer Gail Newel began by easing the tensions surrounding the new variant, especially for community members who are fully vaccinated. More from Lookout’s Grace Stetson here.

LATER TODAY: Our business reporter Neil Strebig talked to many small owners after Thursday’s news about vaccination and masking. Unsurprisingly, much confusion and frustration exists. Neil’s story will be out this afternoon.

If you know someone who is not vaccinated but considering it, please steer them to Abbott Square this afternoon...

‘A pillar of truth and clarity’ calls it a career

Willy Elliott-McCrea is calling it a day.
(Via Second Harvest)

Second Harvest CEO set to retire next summer: Willy Elliott-McCrea, a central figure in California’s food-bank ecosystem, will step aside in the summer of 2022. “He should never be taken for granted,” Second Harvest’s board chair said. “When it gets hard, Willy steps up in a way that most people couldn’t.” More from Wallace Baine here.

Your BOLO Best Bets for the weekend ahead

Patty Gallagher plays Susan B. Anthony in the The Agitators and Lorenzo Roberts plays King Richard II in RII.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Shakespeare returns, a history scavenger hunt and your last chance at some art: Big weekend in local theater with back-to-back opening-night performances at Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Theater professionals everywhere have endured a lot the past year and a half, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of emotion with audiences and casts as outdoor Shakespeare resumes at the Grove in DeLaveaga. Here’s where to BOLO.

UC raises tuition despite student outcry

Students walk through a quiet Quarry Plaza at UC Santa Cruz in March.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Leaders tout more financial aid and budget stability: University of California regents OK’d a tuition hike for incoming undergraduates starting in fall 2022, one critics say will hurt vulnerable students. The 4.2% increase in tuition and fees will apply only to incoming undergraduates next year and stay flat for up to six years for them. More from the LA Times here.

PREVIOUS: A ‘forever hike’ on UC tuition: Regents will vote this week on a fees escalation shelved by the pandemic (LAT)

Good luck getting a state rebate on your new electric car


The issues at hand: California’s electric car rebate program is designed to steer consumers toward clean, environmentally-friendly vehicles. Unfortunately for buyers, it’s confusing, unpredictable and underfunded. More from the Times here.

U.S. women’s water polo team legacy of triumph, tragedy

LOS ALAMITOS-CA-AUGUST 5, 2020: U.S. Women's water polo team members including Melissa Seidemann.

Unbelievable stretch of tragedy: One player’s mother suffered a stroke. Another was a victim of a mass shooting. Overcoming tragedy has strengthened the U.S. women’s Olympic water polo team. More from the Times’ Kevin Baxter.

Can the Bay Area market really support two MLB teams?

Green grass

It’s the bigger issue beyond an A’s stadium: At the end of the 20th century, the San Francisco Giants were the Bay Area team playing before four-figure crowds in a multipurpose dump euphemistically called a stadium. The Giants got a new ballpark, and Barry Bonds, and three World Series championships. They’re all set now. After more than two decades of waiting, Major League Baseball would like an answer to this question by the end of this season: Are the A’s getting a new ballpark in Oakland, or not? The Times’ veteran baseball writer Bill Shakin explores further.

SAD BAY AREA NEWS: New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp dies from injuries suffered when hit by car while biking (ESPN)

Camp Tannery Arts is in session this August for kids aged 7-15! This camp will be featuring 15+ experienced artists who...

Around the county...

Soquel businesses express discontent over ‘no parking’ curb, county cites safety issues (Sentinel)

‘Build and we will come’: Watsonville cyclists ready for network (Sentinel)

New downtown mural honors Watsonville’s top crop (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 & weekend ahead!

Mark Conley