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Morning Lookout | BREAKING: Pfizer vaccine gets full approval in major pandemic milestone

Good Morning! It’s Monday, August 23 and there will be some patchy fog and drizzle through the morning, gradually clearing up later in the day with a high of 66.

We have some breaking news that came down in the last half hour: The Food and Drug Administration has given full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (until now, it only had Emergency Use Authorization). This marks a major milestone in the pandemic and officials hope it will boost public confidence in the shot and, subsequently, vaccination rates. Forbes notes another impact of the news:

In not-so-breaking news, the historic recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom is fast approaching and politics are top of mind. While the recall of a California governor is a notoriously confusing and complicated process, experts say it’s possible that he could be replaced by a candidate who receives far fewer votes than him. Meanwhile, officials are probing into the question of whether one of Newsom’s contenders, Larry Elder, failed to properly disclose income sources.

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

Recall Newsom Updates

Gov. Gavin Newsom

RECALL REALITY: Newsom could be replaced by candidate with far fewer votes: For weeks, legal scholars have debated whether the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom could be found unconstitutional if Newsom failed to realize a “no recall” majority of the ballots cast and was ousted by a candidate who received fewer votes than he did. Many experts say the current recall process has long survived legal challenges, and probably would again. Read more here.

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

POLITICAL PROBE: State officials open investigation into whether Larry Elder failed to disclose income sources: California regulators have launched an investigation into whether recall election gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder failed to properly disclose his income sources, a spokesman with the Fair Political Practices Commission confirmed on Sunday. Read more here.

A number of Santa Cruz County nonprofits are teaching kids how to grow and cook food, and develop stronger connections...

CZU, One Year Later (and other wildfires around the state...)

From the Boulder Creek fog hugging the redwoods to the Virgin Islands sunsets.
(Via the Orange Peels)

From mountain time to island time: Boulder Creek couple’s home spared but they started over elsewhere anyway: While Allen and Jill Clapp of the Bay Area indie band the Orange Peels had longterm plans to move to the U.S. Virgin Islands, it wasn’t until they were displaced from their Boulder Creek home/studio, assuming it was gone, that they mentally moved on. Read more about their journey from our Wallace Baine here.

A firefighter battles the Dixie Fire in the mountainous and forested terrain near Janesville on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021.

PHOTOS: Heartbreaking images document a million acres burned already during this California fire season (LA Times)

READ ALSO: As California burns, some ecologists say it’s time to rethink forest management (LA Times)

AN OFFER FOR YOU: As we continue our CZU, One Year Later project, Lookout is offering a free signed copy of the ‘2020 Hindsight’ photo essay book — produced by local news photographers Shmuel Thaler and our Kevin Painchaud, with contributions from our Wallace Baine — to those who sign up for an annual Lookout membership. To take this offer, click on this link and use the code 2020HINDSIGHT at check out.

Santa Cruz home prices rebound in July, still below record-breaking May

A building with multiple units in downtown Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The median price of 188 single-family homes sold countywide in July climbed to $1,192,000 — 5% higher than in June but still below the all-time high of $1.3 million recorded in May. Overall, median single-family home prices in the county have increased approximately 18% year over year. Read more from Lookout contributor Maria Gaura here.

The reclamation of past dreams: ‘People walked on this for 120 years — now you’re gonna surf it!’

Martin Stiphout at work in Aptos.
(Via Ventana)

More wood historians than surfboard shapers, Martijn Stiphout and his business partner at Ventana Surfboards & Supplies have curated everything from Alaskan yellow cedar benches from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to boards from the Boardwalk’s historic Big Dipper. At Ventana, the narratives of their repurposed wood surfboards take center stage. Read more about their cool venture from Lookout contributor Johanna Hickle here.

Greens with envy: Running down a leafy list of Santa Cruz’s top 10 salads

Avocado Green Goddess Salad at Rustic Ales Kitchen
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

There’s something about ordering a nice, fresh salad at a restaurant that leads to the feeling that you are making good life choices. Here in Santa Cruz County, we are so lucky to have access to the “Salad Bowl of the World” that is the Salinas Valley literally in our backyard — along with the amazing produce of our surrounding small farms. So we thought it was also a good time to choose our personal favorite top 10 just for fun. Check out our list here. Are we missing anything? Let us know at

Around the county...

Organizer cited for unsanctioned, chaotic Santa Cruz Ride Out (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

George Washington statue in Watsonville relocated (The Pajaronian)

Santa Cruz Police arrested a suspected stalker with two loaded firearms (KION-TV)

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
Lookout Santa Cruz

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