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Morning Lookout: Santa Cruz resident tops list of big Newsom donors — to what end?

Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, August 24 and you can expect patchy for until about 9 a.m. with a cloudy morning that will gradually clear up to a high of 75.

With the FDA approval in place for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, California public health officials are hoping it will be the key to a surge in vaccination rates. The approval may also mean more California community colleges will require vaccinations for students returning to classes this Fall. Meanwhile, the highly contagious Delta variant is causing local public health officials to rethink their strategy in combatting the virus — and they’re warning residents to be extra careful should symptoms show up.

We will get to all that in a minute, but first:

Big donors — including a Santa Cruz resident — helping Newsom fight California recall also have a big wish list in Sacramento

California Gov. Gavin Newsom meets with Latino leaders to vote no on the recall at Hecho en Mexico restaurant in Los Angeles

The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom has turned into a money magnet — for Gov. Gavin Newsom. His anti-recall campaign raked in more money in its first five months — $54 million — than the $50.2 million his 2018 gubernatorial campaign raised over four years. Most of the money came in six- or seven-figure donations from people or groups that stand to gain from a relationship with California’s governor. A Santa Cruz resident tops the list. Read more here.

COVID 2021 Updates

A woman gives a thumbs up after getting a vaccine in her kitchen as part of a Glendale program to vaccinate people at home.

Landmark FDA approval could turbocharge COVID-19 vaccinations in California: The formal approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine could be a key game-changer in California’s pandemic response, opening the floodgates to even more mandates and — experts hope — a significant wave of vaccinations. “This landmark full FDA approval ... is a major certification of the efficacy and safety of the vaccine that should remove any doubt in people who are still vaccine-hesitant,” an expert said. Read more here.

Health care employees work at the COVID-19 testing site at Veterans Hall in Fort Bragg on August 10, 2021.

Time for a Delta ‘strategy shift’: What a testing backlog, tricky variant mean for Santa Cruzans: A testing backlog, combined with the fact the Delta variant can move quickly through infected people, means that results may have little use. As a result, county health officials urge residents to isolate at the first sign of illness, wear a mask and get vaccinated. Read more from our Grace Stetson here.

Doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on the Vernon City Van
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

More vaccine mandates coming to California colleges following full approval of Pfizer vaccine: California’s public university systems already chose to require students and staff to be vaccinated this fall without waiting for FDA approval. Some community colleges across the state did the same. But most of California’s 115 campus-based community colleges have not yet implemented such mandates. Read more here.

Kids wearing masks run to recess from inside their school.

Many small districts complain California shorted their funding during the pandemic: A year ago, the California Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom promised school districts they would be held harmless financially for the 2020-21 school year for a drop in student attendance. As it turned out, though, the state’s hold-harmless policy has ended up harming many primarily small districts that saw unpredictable increases in enrollment last year. Read more here.

What started as a simple partnership to provide financial literacy training to Diamond Tech Institute students has...

Wildfires in California

Motor traffic streams along California Highway 50 near the community of Kyburz, which was under mandatory evacuation orders

Caldor fire burns more than 400 homes as Lake Tahoe air quality ranks among worst in U.S.: More than 17,000 structures remain under threat from the blaze, which was just 5% contained as of yesterday. Strong winds helped the fire grow to more than 100,000 acres over the weekend as it pushed closer to South Lake Tahoe. Read the latest here.

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

Around the county...

Years after brutal Santa Cruz slaying, loved ones remember ‘Joey’ (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Pajaro Valley author to release first prose and poetry collection (The Pajaronian)

FEMA gives $2M to fix storm-damaged Santa Cruz Mountains roads (Patch)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Lookout Santa Cruz

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