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Morning Lookout: YIMBY tour of downtown, comedy festival to relieve late-summer anxiety

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, August 12 and the National Weather Service says there’s a 20% chance of showers before 11 a.m. and conditions will be mostly cloudy through mid-morning. Forecasters say it will gradually clear up as the day goes on with a high of 84.

And while this doesn’t have much to do with the weather, an NWS forecaster tweeted this cool picture of the Milky Way last night and I had to share:

A new mandate from the governor requiring school staff to get vaccinated or get regular COVID tests goes into effect today and we have a breakdown of what that will mean in schools. And at noon today, Santa Cruz County public
health officials will hold a press conference to discuss the growing number of COVID cases in the county. (We’ll send out a link to the livestream when it starts).

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

Seeing ‘What’s already here’: Santa Cruz YIMBY group’s ‘missing middle’ tour points to past for solutions

(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Leaders from the Santa Cruz YIMBY chapter led a group on an hour-long tour of homes along the city’s downtown grid that represent what they believe is an important missing piece to the affordability crisis. And they believe it could return with the passage of Senate Bill 9. Our Grace Stetson has the report of what transpired last night.

Presented by Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente Family Medicine Physician Dr. Jack Watson, MD, is passionate about getting more young people in Santa...

Boulder Creek home ravaged by deadly fire now on the market — and being sold as is

The Boulder Creek home at 12751 Highway 9 is now officially on the market — and has not been rebuilt

A home where fire took the life of a 76-year-old Boulder Creek resident last fall is now on the market — and the property has not been rebuilt. In the listing, the property is described as a “contractor special” as a probate sale — which is made ever more clear from the photos shared of the property itself. Grace has the story here.

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

ADUs, military surplus for SCPD and an interim city manager: 3 takeaways from Tuesday’s city council meeting

Landlord and designer Alexis Navarro stands in front of his "Casita L.A.," a new ADU he designed in East L.A.

Missed Tuesday night’s Santa Cruz City Council meeting? Lookout staff has you covered with the three big things you missed, including a compromise between the City of Santa Cruz and the California Coastal Commission on parking requirements for so-called in-law units. Read more here.

Got thoughts about Moran Lake? County wants your input as it plans park’s facelift

Moran Lake County Park
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

With funds now available for Moran Lake County Park’s first renovation since 1981, the parks department has items from new bathrooms to water quality and monarch habitat on its list — and is hoping residents will weigh in online and in person, too. Read more about how you can make your voice heard from Grace here.

California’s new vaccine requirement for schools: What you need to know

A teacher collects crayons.

Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that all school staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing, making California one of only two states with such a mandate. With the policy set to roll out today, here’s a rundown of how things will look in schools.

ALSO HAPPENING TODAY — County health officials to hold press conference: Santa Cruz County public health officials will hold a virtual press conference today and noon “to discuss issues related to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases.” Lookout will livestream the news conference so keep an eye out for our email and text alerts later today.

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

Liftoff on Wall Street: Santa Cruz electric air-taxi company Joby Aviation goes public

CEO JoeBen Bevirt, the Joby Aviation team and one of its electric aircraft celebrate outside the New York Stock Exchange
(Via New York Stock Exchange)

Joby Aviation has landed on Wall Street. The Santa Cruz-based aerial ridesharing company took the next step in bringing its electric air taxis to market yesterday with its public trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange. “This is our generation’s moonshot moment, and at Joby we’re proud to be leaning in,” said CEO JoeBen Bevirt. Read more here.

When laughter comes to the rescue: Santa Cruz Comedy Festival set to relieve late-summer anxiety

Comedian DNA of DNA's Comedy Lab.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

With the climate crisis escalating, the pandemic resurfacing, fire season roaring, and rents and gas prices climbing, who exactly feels like laughing these days? Laughter might not be the most natural response to a world unraveling, but it could be the best prescription for the sake of mental health. And in that case, the Santa Cruz Comedy Festival is arriving right on time. Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

Dixie Fire updates

An American flag on a burned firetruck with heavy smoke in the air.

More than 550 homes destroyed by Dixie fire as it surges past half a million acres: The second-largest wildfire in California history now also ranks among the state’s most destructive. Since igniting nearly a month ago, the Dixie fire has leveled the Gold Rush town of Greenville and grown to more than 500,000 acres, destroying at least 1,045 structures in its fiery wake, according to fire officials. Read more here.

PHOTOS: LA Times photographer captures the devastation of the Dixie fire: Covering wildfires and being amid destruction and sorrow is not easy and one Los Angeles Times photographer wrote of the experience. They write in part:

Once I got out of the car, the smell of an ashtray filled to the brim filled my nose. This was one town I was sure of where nobody on this day was anti-mask.

Read more and see the photos here.

READ ALSO: Former Santa Clara University instructor arrested in connection with ‘arson-setting spree’ near Dixie fire (LA Times)

Around the county...

City council to name water director as interim city manager (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz water customers headed to stage two water conservation (KSBW-TV)

Suspect arrested after Scotts Valley police find fire behind community center (KION-TV)

Freedom VFW post facing closure (The 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!
Tulsi Kamath