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Morning Lookout: Dixie fire blazes as new UN report declares ‘code red,’ saying goodbye to Fred Reiss

Good Morning! I’m finally back, feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to work after a nice, long break. Many thanks to my awesome co-worker Mark, who filled in for me, and the rest of Team Lookout who’ve been hard at work during my absence.

Today, after some patchy fog clears up by about 9 a.m., you should expect partly cloudy conditions with a high of 71.

Over the weekend, the Dixie fire became the second-largest fire in California history, destroying more than 400 structures and blazing across four counties. This, as a stark new report released by the United Nations today declares climate change has reached an ‘unprecedented’ and dangerous level, the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, the Delta variant continues to surge across the country and state, leaving many vaccinated people asking if they need to get yet another shot. Meanwhile, a bill making the rounds in the state legislature would limit protests at vaccination sites — a possible law one expert called “unconstitutional.”

There’s a lot to get through so let’s get to it:

Santa Cruz’s outdoor wedding boom: After the pandemic pause, demand for that special place, day is surging

Outdoor is everything these days when it comes to weddings.
(Courtesy Jen Rodriguez)

While some couples held tiny backyard and Zoom ceremonies in 2020, many postponed their big days, resulting now in a bottleneck effect. And all the while, couples are still grappling with ongoing safety precautions, though many are finding creative ways to feel safe without sacrificing their dream. Lookout turned to the experts to see what was going on.

Since May 21, the Midtown Fridays Block Party has brought fresh life into the parking lot located at 1111 Soquel Ave.,...

The man who laughed through loss, wasted no time & found himself in literature: A eulogy for Fred Reiss

Books, whether those he wrote or those he frequently read, were a big part of keeping Fred Reiss going.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Last week, Fred Reiss ran out of time. The long-time Santa Cruz-based writer, comedian, and radio personality finally died of cancer, with which he was involved in a ferocious years-long battle. Our Wallace Baine wrote a moving tribute, sharing his fond memories of Fred. Read the whole thing here.

From the street to the museum: MAH returns to the art of skateboard artist Jim Phillips in new exhibition

“The Art of the Santa Cruz Speed Wheel” will be on exhibit at the Museum of Art & History through Jan. 2, 2022.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Jim Phillips and his eye-popping work for NHS on skateboard wheels is the focus of new show set to tour the world. But he will first bring his iconic work — much of it deep from the NHS archives — to his hometown at the Museum of Art & History. Read more about how you can go see it and what you can expect.

COVID 2021

Phitsamay Lee, left, is vaccinating Lesina Afu, 12, right.

Wary of ‘breakthrough’ infections, some vaccinated people eye another shot. Is it needed? With the highly contagious Delta variant raging across California and the country, some who are already vaccinated are asking whether another shot might better armor them against potential infection. Read more here.

USA's Simone Biles

OPINION: How Simone Biles’ bravery on mental health can help California heal from COVID-19: A majority of Black Americans believe having a mental health condition is a sign of weakness. Erika D. Smith believes that Simone Biles may inspire other Black people to be more proactive about addressing their mental health at a time when the need has never been greater. Read her full opinion piece here.

People line up to be vaccinated at Kedren Community Health Center in South Los Angeles on Monday, March 22, 2021.

A California bill would limit protests at vaccination sites. Does it violate the First Amendment? A proposal sailing through the state legislature would make it illegal to obstruct someone from getting a covid-19 shot, or any other vaccine, but some free speech experts say it goes too far. Read more here.

Environmental beat

Concrete rubble and a burned out building with a sign that says Pioneer

Dixie fire, now the second-largest in California history, has burned more than 400 structures: With more than 463,000 acres burned through a large swath of Northern California and destroying over 400 homes and commercial buildings, firefighters struggled to get the upper hand on the Dixie fire Sunday. The wildfire is burning in Plumas, Butte, Lassen and Tehama counties. Read more here.

Pixley, California, is at the vanguard of California's efforts to capture methane emissions from cow manure
(Liza Gross / Inside Climate News)

Can California reduce dairy methane emissions equitably? State officials say dairy digesters can reduce greenhouse gas and toxic air emissions from large dairies. Our partners at Inside Climate News look into why community activists don’t believe them.

Around the county...

One person killed in stabbing on Marin Street (The Pajaronian)

Stuff The Bus gives new school supplies to thousands in Santa Cruz County (KSBW-TV)

Human remains discovered at archaeological site at Santa Cruz High (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