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Morning Lookout: County workers frustrated, rain might impede rebuilding

Good Morning! It’s Thursday, October 21 and there’s a 50% chance of rain, mainly before 11 a.m. It will be an otherwise, cloudy day with a high of 66.

Unionized county workers say they’re on the verge of a strike, frustrated with county leaders for being unresponsive to the difficulties they have faced over the past two years. Meanwhile, as the skies open up, some Santa Cruz County families rebuilding in the aftermath of the CZU fire are worried about how the rains could affect their efforts. And, as fears about COVID ease once again, public health officials are already bracing for a new possibility: a “twindemic” of COVID and the flu.

Here are your headlines:

County workers protest working conditions, say they are on the edge of a strike

Members of SEIU walking into the board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday.
(Courtesy SEIU / Facebook)

Saying their concerns about working conditions and pay have not been taken seriously, unionized workers from health care, education, and other departments stormed the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting this week to present a petition urging them to take action. Leaders say many members are ready to strike immediately. Read more from our Hillary Ojeda and Max Chun here.

The Santa Cruz Community Credit Union (SCCCU) Board of Directors approved a matching gift program to support 12...

Watching the sky warily: CZU fire families worry about rebuilds as rain starts

Tracy Walker, a resident of Boulder Creek’s Riverside Grove neighborhood, on her property.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz County residents looking to rebuild after the CZU Complex fire last year are worried about how the rainy season will affect things. “I have no idea if they would cancel again, but I’m scared that if they do, it could be months more until they can come back and do it,” one resident said. Making things more complicated, some are running up against insurance deadlines. Read more from our Grace Stetson here.

Santa Cruz County home prices dip slightly

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

As summer turned to fall in Santa Cruz County, housing costs took a slight dip, though release estate is still booming across the county and the San Francisco Bay Area. The median cost for a single-family home in Santa Cruz County was $1.185 million last month, according to data from the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors. Read more from Lookout contributor Hanna Merzbach here.

READ ALSO: Hot, hot, hot ... warm: SoCal home values hit new record, but price rises are slowing (LA Times)

Man behind the murals: County names Yermo Aranda Artist of the Year

Mural artist Yermo Aranda at work.
(Via Santa Cruz County Parks)

“You’re giving people the tools to create something that is monumental,” Yermo Aranda says of enlisting community members — often schoolchildren — in creating culturally significant murals in and around his adopted hometown of Watsonville. He’ll be honored Saturday in a virtual event that also features the dance troupe he co-founded. Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

Protesters demand accountability from Netflix after Chappelle backlash spurs walkout

Demonstrators hold up black signs

Transgender Netflix employees and their allies gathered yesterday in Los Angeles to protest the streaming giant’s decision to release Dave Chappelle’s controversial new comedy special. Some of the comedian’s supporters showed up too. Chappelle fans, with signs featuring phrases such as “Jokes are funny” and “Dave is funny,” squared off with walkout participants with posters that read “Support, uplift, protect trans voices” and “Gender is NOT a fact. Educate yourself.” Read more here.

Go to the movies, on us!

A promotion for CineLux tickets with Lookout membership

Whether it’s the Daniel Craig James Bond finale “No Time to Die,” the “Venom” sequel or the long-awaited “Dune,” Hollywood is back, and there’s no better place to see big-ticket movies than in the theater. That’s where Lookout’s special offer comes in: Become a new member today and grab two movie tickets for your local CineLux Theatre. Sign up here.

The need for a supplemental water supply in Santa Cruz during dry years has only grown with the increased impacts of...

COVID 2021 Updates

A Fluzone influenza vaccine at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy in San Francisco on Jan. 9, 2018. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

COVID and the flu: Is a ‘twindemic’ threat lurking again? First, the good news: The flu was practically nonexistent last year. The bad news: Little flu last season means increased risk this fall and winter. The so-called “twindemic” that public health officials in California and elsewhere warned about last year was largely eased by the wide use of face masks, physical distancing and reduced travel, experts say. But their concerns are back this year. Read more here.

An In-N-Out Burger restaurant
(Via Pixabay)

In-N-Out Burger’s fight over COVID vaccination rules could be start of bigger battle: As cities up and down the state increasingly move to require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations in an assortment of public places, In-N-Out Burger has become an unlikely flashpoint. Read more here.

Around the county...

Residents, cannabis operators go head to head regarding business licenses in Santa Cruz County (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Annual Day of the Dead exhibit returns to PV Arts (The Pajaronian)

11-year-old hospitalized from Spring Grove School tests positive for COVID-19 (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

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