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Morning Lookout: Possible vaccine rule for school staff; still rebuilding a year after wildfire

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, August 11 and you can expect a sunny day with a high of 81.

The COVID-19 pandemic is rearing its ugly head in yet another resurgence that’s resulting in growing pressure on California hospitals. However, the state is not in as dire a position as others of comparable size and population like Texas and Florida — but why? Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to make an announcement about vaccines for teachers at an elementary school in Alameda County later today, according to an LA Times report.

Almost at the one-year marker of the devastating CZU Lightning Complex fires, the county Board of Supervisors yesterday directed agencies to speed up the rebuilding process and help those who remain displaced. And to mark the solemn anniversary, we at Lookout are opening up our inboxes to our readers who may want to share reflections on the devastation and rebuilding of the past year. If you want to share your story or thoughts, send them to

Now, to the news of the day:

Gov. Newsom expected to order school employees to get vaccinated or be tested regularly

Middle school teacher Michelle Survillas, left, of Riverside gets the Moderna vaccine from nurse Natalie Murone

California school employees must either be vaccinated against COVID or submit to a regular test proving they are not infected with the coronavirus under a pending order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, sources told the Los Angeles Times last night. The governor is scheduled to visit an Alameda County elementary school today, where details of the proposal are expected to be unveiled. Read more here.

Centered on creating beautiful, meaningful experiences out of flea market finds, Lori Powell’s thriving Santa Cruz...

And while we’re on the subject, Santa Cruz City Schools wants to remind everyone that after nearly 18 months, kiddos all over town will be headed back to school
today. If you’re driving to work today, remember to obey traffic rules.

Students going back to school traffic reminder
(Santa Cruz City Schools )

Delta variant updates

California doing much better with Delta variant than Florida, Texas. Here’s why: Despite a significant surge in both coronavirus cases and hospitalizations this summer, California so far has managed to avoid the sky-high infection rates and increasingly overcrowded hospitals some other states are now experiencing. Read more here.


‘This is not sustainable’: California hospitals filling again as Delta variant rages: Officials across California are sounding new alarms about a significant spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations amid a surge fueled by the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Overall, California has seen its total number of hospitalized coronavirus-positive patients swell from 2,981 on July 25 to 5,973 as of Sunday. Read more here.


A burned chair frame is left after the CZU Lightning Complex fire crept on to Amber Turpin's Bon Lomond property.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

‘We can’t delay much longer’: Board of Supervisors call out flaws in rebuilding system for CZU fire victims: As the first anniversary of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire approaches, Santa Cruz County supervisors are pushing county agencies to move forward with helping displaced families in rebuilding their homes. Among the core issues delaying the process is the examination of geological issues that pre-existed last August’s fires. Read more from our Grace Stetson here.

Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer Shmuel Thaler totes his camera during last year's CZU fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
(Kevin Painchaud / “2020 Hindsight”)

LOOKING BACK: We’re almost at the one-year marker of last summer’s devastation and the nightmares and unthinkable challenges are far from over for many. It’s a tough and reflective moment for so many in this county, even those who only knew or lent a helping hand to someone who had to evacuate or lost their home. If you’d like to share your own reflections, we would like to hear them. Send them along at

An image of the Dixie fire from Cal Fire SCU Unit
(Cal Fire SCU)

Exploding California wildfires rekindle debate: Snuff out blazes in wilderness areas or let them burn? Politicians — and much of the public — advocate for the quick suppression of wildfire to protect people, property and crucial watersheds. But fire researchers, while they recognize the importance of such protection, argue that most fires in remote wilderness areas should be allowed to burn. Read more here.

STILL THINKING ABOUT THAT PHOTO? Dixie blaze generates fire whirl, pyrocumulonimbus cloud at 40,000 feet (LA Times)

Recall Newsom

Republican recall candidate John Cox

How did John Cox go from GOP standard-bearer to bears and trash balls? In 2018, San Diego millionaire John Cox was the Republican pick for governor. In this year’s recall election, he is a man without a party. And Cox is just fine with that. Throughout his many years on the campaign trail — running unsuccessfully for Congress, for U.S. Senate, for president of the United States, for county recorder of deeds back in his native Illinois — Cox has always portrayed himself as an outsider. Read more from our partners at CalMatters here.

A Larry Elder supporter holds a sticker in Norwalk on July 13, 2021. Photo by Pablo Unzueta for CalMatters

Larry Elder’s outspoken conservative radio rhetoric is under scrutiny in recall election: Larry Elder leapfrogs others vying to replace Gavin Newsom as California’s governor with provocative stances from firing teachers to downplaying the danger of secondhand smoke. He is being revealed as someone who fervently promotes dramatic measures to unravel some of the core policies and beliefs of liberal-leaning California. Read more here.

ANOTHER RECALL READ: California gubernatorial candidate creates site to report the unvaccinated. It doesn’t go as planned (Nexstar)

Around the area...

Coroner IDs Watsonville 15-year-old teen fatally stabbed (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Tom Hanks to sell 4 vehicles during Monterey Car Week (KSBW-TV)

Santa Cruz movement brings inclusive philosophy of fitness (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