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Morning Lookout: Statewide drought emergency, placement of sexually violent predators and more

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, October 20 and I’m back at it today (many thanks, Dan for covering for me). It will be rainy and windy with a high of 60. Winds could gust as high as 22 miles per hour the National Weather Service says to expect up to three-quarters of an inch of rain today. The rain will definitely help as Cal Fire officials continue to mop up the last of the Estrada fire which was 90% contained as of yesterday evening.

While weather is top of mind today, climate is our top story today: Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for the entire state of California, though mandatory water conservation was not part of the order.

Locally, the County Board of Supervisors voted to oppose taking in more sexually violent predators being released from prison in Santa Cruz County until state law is amended — a move that will not impact the placement of Michael Cheek in Bonny Doon. And to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the county is giving survivors an outlet for their stories to promote healing and recovery.

Let’s dive in:

Newsom declares drought emergency across California

A kayaker fishes in Lake Oroville as water levels remained low due to continuing drought conditions in California

Gov. Newsom expanded the California drought emergency from 50 counties to statewide yesterday but did not order mandatory water conservation. He did authorize water regulators to ban wasteful water use, such as spraying down public sidewalks. Read more here.

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Supervisors: We want more control over placement of sexually violent predators

READ THE STORY: A test of ‘Bonny Doon Strong’: Why a ‘sexually violent predator’ should not be this community’s next battle
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The board of supervisors voted yesterday to direct county administrators to oppose taking in sexually violent predators in Santa Cruz County until state law is amended to give local jurisdictions more power in the decision-making process. The move will have no impact on the case of Michael Cheek, a man declared a sexually violent predator, whose placement in Bonny Doon is facing opposition from residents. Read more from our Hillary Ojeda here.

Working to raise awareness of domestic violence issues and promote healing

Jasmine Najera is the co-president of Monarch’s Board of Directors, helping women dealing with domestic abuse issues.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

To mark Domestic Violence Awareness month, Santa Cruz County’s recently formed Commission on Justice and Gender launched a Healing Campaign to give survivors of domestic violence a platform to tell their stories. “It’s about empowering folks to use their voice,” a Monarch Services official said. “The more that we can be vulnerable and share, I think it just creates more community, and more of that familiarity.” Read more from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

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‘This is going to solve the housing crisis’: Santa Cruz builder waxes on importance of ADUs

Santa Cruz housing designer Pat Powers
(Grace Stetson / Lookout Santa Cruz)

With home prices continuing to rise, Santa Cruz home designer Pat Powers thinks the solution lies with accessory dwelling units or ADUs. Changes in state and local laws have made it easier to build the mini-homes, giving families more options on where to live. Read more from our Grace Stetson here.

READ ALSO: They turned a one-car garage into a stunning ADU to house their parents. See photos and read their journey here. (LA Times)

HOUSING PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode of ‘Gimme Shelter,’ the LA Times’ podcast about homelessness and housing in California

County officials, parents prepare for children 5 to 11 to receive Pfizer vaccine, likely in early November

Luci Guardino, 11, receives her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a trial
(Kaiser Permanente)

As the FDA prepares to approve an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for younger children, Santa Cruz county officials and parents are not only preparing for the influx of people seeking appointments, but they’re also adjusting to a new phase of the pandemic. Read more from Hillary here.

READ ALSO: What Colin Powell’s death tells us — and doesn’t — about COVID-19 and vaccines (LA Times)

‘Nothing has introduced more people to surfing than the Boogie Board’: Tom Morey opened the waves to the masses

Tom Morey poses with the Swizzle, one of the surfboards he invented.
(Los Angeles Times)

A lifelong dreamer and tinkerer, Tom Morey created a stubby, lightweight bodyboard that changed beach culture forever. The Boogie Board delighted millions and enraged purists who suddenly found their favorite breaks as crowded as a freeway. Morey died last week at 86. Read more here.

Around the county...

Hundreds of Santa Cruz County workers threaten to strike (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Local teaching artist moves into new studio in downtown Watsonville (The Pajaronian)

21-year-old man shot to death in Santa Cruz County (KION-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

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