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Morning Lookout: A sweet treat for Santa Cruz foodies; will accused BLM vandals have to pay six figures?

Good Morning! It’s Friday, October 8 and there’s a 20% chance of showers before 11 a.m. followed by a mostly cloudy day that gradually clears up with a high of 67. There’s a fire weather watch in some nearby counties but nothing impacting us.

Santa Cruz County has always bucked mainstream trends and local teachers and school officials are giving thanks that parents are choosing to that when it comes to masking up as well. Meanwhile, public health officials announced the death of a third fully vaccinated person due to COVID-complications.

Yesterday, prosecutors told a judge that the men accused of vandalizing the Black Lives Mural in downtown Santa Cruz should have to pay a steep six-figure sum to fix it — a move hotly contested by the defense. And as Kaiser Permanente pushes forward with plans for its largest medical facility in the count yet, some neighbors say it will only make an already-congested traffic situation worse.

Before we get to the news, let’s start with something scrumptious:

LILY BELLI: Welcome to the debut of Eaters Digest, your guide to local food and drink

Kathleen Genco, the owner of Discretion Brewing, with a can of her Accordion Man beer.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

FOODIES REJOICE! I’m excited to introduce you to Lilly Belli, Lookout Santa Cruz’s new Food Correspondent. Lilly will be writing an awesome Eaters Digest each week that will be chock full of all the most delectable nuggets of restaurant, brewery and eatery news and the freshest farm bulletins for Santa Cruz County’s foodies. Check out her first Eaters Digest here.

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Large 2 bedroom Westside Santa Cruz home available for rent, fully furnished on a 10 month lease. This home is located...

No fierce battles over masks at school around here: ‘Vast majority of parents’ content to play it safe

Students at Santa Cruz Montessori wearing masks on Oct. 6, 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

School officials report that the kind of harsh rhetoric being seen elsewhere around the country has not reared its head in Santa Cruz County. For that, school leaders who are already challenged on numerous other fronts give thanks. Read more from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

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

Just days after public health officials announced Santa Cruz County’s first two COVID-19-related deaths among fully vaccinated individuals, they announced that a man in his early 90s with several underlying health conditions had become the third. Read more here.


Weighing ‘impact on entire community’: Mixed reviews for Kaiser project as Koenig solicits feedback

An artist rendering of the proposed 5940 Soquel Avenue Kaiser Permanente medical building project.
(Via Pacific Medical Buildings)

Before Kaiser Permanente’s new, massive medical office is approved for 5490 Soquel Ave., local officials and developers must agree on plans to address traffic and transportation issues. While some community members see the new development as a way to fill gaps in local medical offerings, many neighbors argue the Kaiser office will create more congestion in an already high-traffic area. Read more from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

Prosecutors: Up to $114K needed to restore Black Lives Matter mural

READ THE STORY: Two arrested after Black Lives Matter mural vandalized in downtown Santa Cruz
(Via Santa Cruz Police Department)

Prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred yesterday after prosecutors said the two men accused of vandalizing the Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Santa Cruz should have to pay $114,000 — which they estimated would be needed to fix it. Judge Syda Cogliati gave the defense two weeks to provide its own estimate, but indicated the figure must be enough to completely fix the mural. Read more about what took place in the courtroom from our Grace Stetson here.

BOLO Best Bets: Last call for ‘Heisenberg,’ plus Grazing on the Green and more Open Studios

Painting materials seen in an artists studio
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

This week, Lookout’s Team BOLO has all the information about the last call for the first foray into local theater post-pandemic, and a weekend event that has local foodies salivating among other awesome events and things to do in Santa Cruz County. Read this week’s Best Bets newsletter here and sign up to get the weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox here.

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Jacob Martinez is preparing local young people for opportunities in tech and digital innovation. His growing network of...

Around the state...

San Jose State Spartans logo
(San Jose State University )

San Jose State president to resign after investigation into athlete sex abuse allegations: San Jose State University President Mary Papazian will resign at the end of the fall semester, an announcement that comes two weeks after the Department of Justice found the university failed to properly address allegations of sexual abuse by a former athletic trainer. The university agreed to pay $1.6 million in late September to more than a dozen female athletes as part of its settlement with DoJ. Read more here.

Crews work on the Hanford Viaduct, part of California's bullet train project.

Cost overruns hit California bullet train again amid a new financial crunch: The California bullet train is facing at least another billion dollars of proposed cost increases from its contractors. The continued cost increases — and the likelihood of similar problems surfacing over the next few years — are deepening the already difficult financial condition of the $100-billion project. Read more from the LA Times here.

A firefighter works a control burn to head off a spot fire that started on a ridge behind a business on Hwy. 50
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Newsom signs ‘monumental’ law paving way for more prescribed burns: Less than a month after prescribed burns were credited with saving California’s giant sequoia trees from the KNP Complex fire, Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed legislation that will promote more of the practice in California. The bill, SB 332, adds legal protections for those who conduct the burns for public benefit. Read more here.

Around the county...

Congressman Panetta announces farmworker aid (The Pajaronian)

Pacesetters consider transit options with a safety lens in Aptos after stabbing (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz school gives additional support to students dealing with pandemic-related mental health challenges (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

Santa Cruz’s population is using about the same amount of water in 2021 as in 1981, despite growing by about 30,000...