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Morning Lookout | BREAKING: SRO program back on the table; stabbing suspects affiliated with gang, sheriff says

Good Morning! It’s Friday, September 3 and it will be partly sunny with a high of 74.

On the eve of Aptos High School students’ return to campus, Pajaro Valley Unified School District officials and Sheriff Jim Hart held a community meeting to discuss safety measures at the school and put parents, students and community members at ease. Several revelations were made during the meeting including the fact that the district will reconsider the controversial SRO program and that the suspects in the stabbing are believed by law enforcement to be gang-invovled.

Before we get to the news of the day, I wanted to remind y’all of Lookout’s awesome double giveback initiative with Second Harvest Food Bank with the goal of fighting childhood hunger. Through the program, if you sign up for an annual Lookout membership, $54 will be donated to the cause. Read more about the initiative and participate here.

Let’s dive in:

BREAKING: Campus police program back on table at Aptos High; sheriff says stabbing suspects have gang affiliation

A screenshot of the leaders from Thursday's virtual meeting
(Grace Stetson)

A virtual meeting last night on school safety measures held just two days after a brutal and fatal attack at Aptos High School left a 17-year-old student dead, left much to be desired for the hundreds of families and community members in attendance. But one thing is for sure: the possibility of school resource officers (SROs) is back on the table. Another revelation that came out of the meeting: the teen suspects in the fatal stabbing had gang affiliation, according to Sheriff Jim Hart. Read more about what transpired from our Grace Stetson who was among the hundreds who attended last night’s meeting.

READ THE SERIES: Complete coverage of the Aptos High School stabbing and its aftermath

A fearful Friday looms — Aptos High parents grapple with emotions of sending children back to school: This morning, students at Aptos High School will be returning to campus for the first time since tragedy struck earlier this week — causing anxiety for hundreds of parents and students. “There’s the fear of like, every time you leave your kid at school, ‘Is this the last time I’m going to see him?’” one parent said. Read more about the support services and heightened security measures in place at the school from Grace here.

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Where Santa Cruz’s final mission bell now tolls not the question — just its tragic history, what it stood for

Community members gathered Saturday for the final El Camino Real mission bell removal
(Courtesy of the Amah Mustun Tribal Band)

Just hours before its scheduled removal and corresponding ceremony, the last El Camino Real mission bell in Santa Cruz was stolen early Saturday. Yet, for indigenous community members, the missing bell is not of concern; what’s more important now is moving forward to discuss the tragic history surrounding the bells. Read more from Grace here.

Families of 34 who died in Conception dive boat disaster sue Coast Guard

The dive boat Conception smolders after it burned off Santa Cruz Island on Sept. 2, 2019.
(Ventura County Fire Department via Los Angeles Times)

On the eve of the second anniversary of California’s worst maritime disaster, family members of the 34 people, including six Santa Cruz County residents, who died in the Conception dive boat fire in 2019 filed a wrongful-death lawsuit alleging the U.S. Coast Guard failed to enforce regulations. Read more here.

BOLO Best Bets: Patti Smith, Padma Lakshmi, First Friday galore and Bacon & Bloody Mary Fest

The Great Morgani

As it always does, September snuck up on all of us quickly. And while mid-September features big, festival-like events in Santa Cruz and Watsonville alike, the week ahead could be called the Week of Patti and Padma. The former is, of course, the great Patti Smith, who’s next on deck for the Dream Inn’s innovative “vertical concert” series and the other is elegant foodie Padma Lakshmi, who appears in a live virtual event courtesy of Bookshop Santa Cruz. Read more about the best events taking place in town this week, courtesy of our Team BOLO. And if you want to sign up to receive the Best Bets Newsletter you can do so here.

Around the state...

Jewel Morris, right, administers a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at mobile vaccine clinic at Roosevelt Park

‘Religious’ exemptions add legal thorns to looming vaccination mandates: With workplace vaccination mandates in the offing, opponents are turning to a tried-and-true recourse for avoiding a COVID-19 shot: the claim that vaccination interferes with religious beliefs. No major religions denounce vaccination. That hasn’t kept individual churches from providing religious “cover” for those seeking to avoid jabs. And in California, one megachurch pastor has come under fire for doing just that. Read more about other efforts here.

Marc Klass, Anne Hyde and Steve Herr speak to protestors at the recall Gov. Gavin Newsom press event on August 11, 2021.

Who is a crime victim? California recall election intensifies painful divide over reform: Over the last decade, as crime rates dropped, the clout of established victims groups ebbed as reformers successfully rolled back tough statutes they blamed for disproportionately incarcerating people of color. But tough-on-crime traditionalists are emboldened by the possible recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom and some district attorneys. But other groups are redefining the term “victim.” Read more here.

Around the county...

No criminal charges in Santa Cruz deputies’ officer-involved shooting (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Cabrillo will host name change listening sessions (The Pajaronian)

Will Watsonville preserve its Ag land with Measure U renewal? (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
Lookout Santa Cruz

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