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Morning Lookout: PVUSD chief talks campus resource officer program; mountain-dwellers’ rebuilding woes

Good Morning! It’s Monday, September 20 and don’t forget that hat and sunscreen because it will be a hot, sunny one today with a high of 89. There’s also a Red Flag warning in place for some neighboring counties that you should be aware of:

In an exclusive one-on-one with Lookout, PVUSD chief Michelle Rodriguez explained her views on the newly reinstated campus resource officer program for Watsonville and Aptos high schools. And Santa Cruz mountain-dwellers who are still in the process of picking up the pieces after last year’s devastating fires sound off about the county board of supervisors’ newly adopted policy that they feel will reduce the value of their homes.

Let’s get to it:

‘A proactive, preventative approach’: PVUSD’s leader explains why new campus safety plan is the answer

Michelle Rodriguez says the new program will be about "taking a proactive, preventative approach" at Aptos and Watsonville HS
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

In an exclusive one-on-one with Lookout, PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez calls the controversial reinstatement of the school resource officer program with a twist — pairing a school resource officer with a mental health clinician — at the Aptos and Watsonville High campuses a ‘win-win.’ Read more about what she had to say from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

On the heels of the 1-year anniversary of the CZU Lightning Complex Fires, “Big Basin Redwood Forest, California’s...

‘This is my children’s future’: Angry fire survivors dig in against potentially damning clause, vow to fight

A scorched property overlooking Foreman Creek in Bonnie Doon on Dec. 15, 2020.

Last week, the County Board of Supervisors approved the CZU Rebuild Directive, which removes a geological hazard evaluation requirement during the rebuilding process, but requires another document stating the evaluation had not been done. Our Grace Strebig caught up with some homeowners who protested this, saying the clause will impact property values.

Santa Cruz median home price up again: How our real estate figures stack up with our neighbors

File image of a door with a key
(via Pixabay)

The median price of a single-family home in Santa Cruz County rose to $1,255,000 in August — just off the all-time high. We crunched the numbers to see how our real estate looks compared to Monterey County and our neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more from our Neil Strebig here.

Panetta urges passage of infrastructure bill at chamber event: ‘Important not to bargain against ourselves’

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta ad podium
(Courtesy Kaiser Permanente)

U.S. Rep Jimmy Panetta touted the federal pandemic relief dollars he helped bring to Santa Cruz County at a recent business luncheon, adding it was vital to continue to push for more infrastructure money to allow the region, state and country to come out of its COVID-19 malaise. Read more of what transpired from Lookout contributor Max Chun here.

Are we now officially among the top mural towns in America? We just might be.

Oakland artist Zoe Boston with her "Species at Risk" mural at 1827 Soquel Ave. on Friday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Sea Walls is an international public-arts program sponsored by the PangeaSeed Foundation, which has already created more than 400 murals in cities around the world. After last week’s transformation, Santa Cruz became an even more prolific location to spy urban art. Read more from Wallace Baine and see photos of the artists and their artwork here.

READ ALSO: Find your bandwidth: MAH’s ‘Frequency’ brings nighttime adventure to last weekend of summer (Wallace Baine/ Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID and our kids

Janice Johnson, 59, is given a finger stick rapid test by Alexandra Marquez

The number of babies infected with syphilis was already surging. Then came the pandemic: The numbers of syphylis cases in newborns were already surging before the arrival of COVID-19, but public health officials fear the pandemic exacerbated the problem, closing clinics that screen people for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections and putting new efforts to battle the disease on ice. Read more here.

File image of a newborn baby

Pandemic effects might have lowered baby IQs, study says: A new study found that babies born during the pandemic might have lower IQ scores than those born before it. Babies who came into the world before the coronavirus had a cognitive score hovering around 100, according to this study. But the test scores of babies born during the pandemic fell sharply, to around 78. Read more here.

ANOTHER COVID READ: Big gap between Pfizer, Moderna vaccines seen for preventing COVID hospitalizations (LA Times)

Around the county...

Surfers save woman, two kids after car plunges off cliff (The Pajaronian)

Santa Cruz County hires local attorney as new Public Defender (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Scotts Valley interim City Manager comes in with wealth of experience (Scotts Valley Press Banner)

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

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

Set for September 24, the event is an opportunity for new and returning students and the community to connect with...