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Morning Lookout: Filmmaker’s stark before-after take of Big Basin; resources for the unsheltered

Good Morning! It’s Monday, August 30 and it will be a mostly sunny day with a high of 78.

Our thoughts are with the residents of Ida-battered Louisiana where the hurricane has weakened to a tropical storm this morning and rescue and recovery efforts have reportedly begun.

On the eve of President Joe Biden’s deadline for American troops to pull out of Afghanistan, the White House says the United States has the capacity to evacuate the 300 American citizens still left in the country, according to a report by the Associated Press. Meanwhile, yesterday, Biden met with the families of the 13 military personnel who lost their lives in a blast at Kabul Airport last week. At least five of them had ties to California. Here’s what we know about them.

Locally, UC Santa Cruz students are struggling to return to campus for the 2021-22 academic year due to a lack of affordable and available housing. And a local filmmaker’s side-by-side footage Big Basin shows the stark realities of the devastation inflicted by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

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

What we know about the five California service members killed in Kabul airport blast

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, standing with an Afghan baby, was killed Thursday in the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport.
(Sgt. Isaiah Campbell / U.S. Marine Corps)

Of the 13 U.S. military personnel killed in the Kabul airport blast, 10 were based at Camp Pendleton. And at least five had roots in California. One planned to go to college and study engineering. Another was described by family members as being deeply devoted to her work in Afghanistan. Here is what we know about the local service members who lost their lives.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: After making it past the first hurdle of getting out of Afghanistan, evacuees arriving in the United States are now faced with the second daunting challenge: rebuilding their lives in the United States after arriving here with nothing. This is how you may be able to step in. Read more on how to help here.

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

Housing and homelessness

Students walk through a quiet Quarry Plaza at UC Santa Cruz in March.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Some UCSC students struggle to return to campus as affordable, available housing remains elusive: With UCSC resuming classes for the 2021-2022 school year in a few weeks, many incoming and returning students are finding themselves at a loss for housing options. As one returning student shared, “I can’t focus on my job, I can’t sleep — this is completely awful.” Read more about the housing problem students are facing from our Grace Stetson here.

Brent Adams, of the Footbridge Services Center, talks about his program serving the homeless population at Camp Paradise.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Homeless services nonprofit focuses on basic needs; “No one agency...can address the issue on its own”: While most Santa Cruz County non-profits catering to the unsheltered population aim to create permanent housing solutions, Brent Adams’ Footbridge Services Center fulfills more immediate needs. “We want to raise the floor of experience from what’s existing out there to something more clean, safe and dignified.” Read more from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

CZU, One Year Later

Stills from "Big Basin Will Never Be The Same."

Big Basin before and after CZU, through one local filmmaker’s eyes: Local filmmaker Eric Parson’s 17-minute “Big Basin Will Never Be The Same” uses side-by-side film of his favorite trail run in Big Basin, one side shot before the 2020 blaze and one after, to sound an alarm about what our forests are facing. The resulting film is heartbreaking. Read more from our Wallace Baine and watch the film here.

Resource center at the Corralitos Community Church.
(Nick Ibarra/Lookout Santa Cruz)

Local training program seeks to shrink number of ‘spontaneous volunteers’ during wildfires, disasters: During wildfires and disasters, well-meaning but untrained “spontaneous volunteers” emerge to defend lives and property but the lack of training can sometimes mean they are putting themselves and others in danger. It’s a controversial issue but a nonprofit group has a middle-ground solution. Read more from Lookout contributor Liza Monroy here.

Recall Newsom Updates

Then Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom speaks at event in Sacramento

How Gavin Newsom went from landslide victory to fighting for his political survival: The night Gov. Gavin Newsom won his place in office by a landslide, he told election night crowds “the future belongs to California.” But the recall election puts his own future in doubt. The story of a Democratic governor who finds himself fighting for political survival in a deep-blue state is hard to imagine without COVID-19. Read more here.

Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder greets supporters at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills

Larry Elder’s views cost him listeners and even his best friend. But he won’t waver: In an effort to learn more about the man currently in the best position to replace Gov. Gain Newsom, the Los Angeles Times read books and columns by Larry Elder, reviewed past radio commentaries and interviewed more than two dozen of his friends, professional associates and media peers. What emerged was the portrait of a conservative raised in liberal South Los Angeles, a precocious young attorney and a media provocateur. Read more about him here.

Around the county...

Santa Cruz City Council to receive community input for new election system (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Court considers whether sexually violent predator can move to Bonny Doon (Scotts Valley Press Banner)

Crackdown on illegally parked vehicles in Santa Cruz leads to citations and towings (KSBW-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,...