Latest News

Morning Lookout: Halloween revelries return to Santa Cruz, public health workers flee posts

Good Morning! It’s Monday, Nov. 1 (what happened to the first 10 months of 2021!?) and it will be a rainy day with a high of 65. There could be wind gusts of up to 18 mph and new precipitation totals of up to three-quarters of an inch.

For the first time in two years, there were more masks covering eyes than those covering mouths and noses in downtown Santa Cruz last night and our Wallace Baine and Kevin Painchaud were there to take it all in. Public health workers are fleeing their posts — a trend seen here in Santa Cruz as well — leaving people vulnerable to a mix of diseases. And later this month, Santa Cruz City Council will vote to appoint Watsonville City Manager Matt Huffaker to take up the same post in Santa Cruz and our Hillary Ojeda has more about him here.

There’s a lot of news to cover but first, let’s start with the fun stuff:

PHOTOS: Halloween revelry returns to downtown Santa Cruz after pandemic pause

Halloween revelry returns to Santa Cruz after a pause during the pandemic.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

After a year’s interruption, courtesy of the COVID-19 virus, downtown Santa Cruz resumed its distinctive love affair with Halloween on Sunday with big, festive crowds, lots of party music, and a processional of costumed revelers that looked like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of the damned. Read our Wallace Baine’s observations of last night’s celebrations and see photos from our Kevin Painchaud here.

A ‘community listener’: Watsonville colleagues paint impressive picture of Santa Cruz-bound city manager

Matt Huffaker.
(Via City of Watsonville)

The Santa Cruz City Council will vote on Nov. 9 to appoint Watsonville City Manager Matt Huffaker to become the next Santa Cruz City Manager. If appointed, Huffaker will be tasked with hiring for several vacant leadership positions, preparing the city budget amid the pandemic’s economic fallout and running special projects. Read more about him from our Hillary Ojeda here.

County Office of Education answers parents’ questions about vaccine safety, rollout for youth ages 5 to 11

Nicolas Angulo, 14, gets his first vaccine at San Pedro Senior High
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

During two town halls this week, medical professionals and school officials took questions from parents and guardians about COVID-19 and the vaccine. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration OK’d the vaccine for emergency use, which leaves final approval up to the CDC. If the agency clears it, the vaccine could be distributed as early as Wednesday to children ages 5 to 11. Read more from our Hillary Ojeda here.

As public health workers flee the field, California becomes more vulnerable to mix of diseases

A healthcare worker holds a tray full of COVID-19 vaccine doses at Dignity Health in Santa Cruz County on Jan. 21, 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Across California, public health departments are losing experienced staffers to retirement, exhaustion, partisan politics and higher-paying jobs. Even before the pandemic throttled departments, staffing numbers had shrunk with county budgets. But the decline has accelerated over the past year and a half, even as millions of dollars in federal money has poured in. Read more here.

RELATED: Q&A: Mimi Hall looks back as her time as health services director in Santa Cruz comes to a close (Lookout Santa Cruz)

Obamacare open enrollment begins. Find out if you qualify for higher subsidies

A banner promoting Covered California is displayed during a Covered California Open Enrollment Kickoff Event

With 2021 winding down, it’s time for millions of Americans to sign up for health insurance for 2022. And for Californians who can’t get coverage through Medicare, Medi-Cal or an employer’s health plan, the good news is that expanded federal subsidies will make next year’s policies more affordable for more people than they were a year ago. Here’s how to find out if you qualify.

A fine sign of dining’s return: Trestles in Capitola checks the boxes on food, vibe, setting, service

Pork belly presentation at Trestles.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A visit to Trestles in Capitola Village, at the former location of Bella Roma, puts all the recollections of why we used to go out to fine meals back in proper and tasty perspective. Lookout Food Correspondent Lily Belli details her fine dining experience and recommendations at Trestles here.

‘Nature is like a slow-cooked meal’: Regenerative farming brings cannabis, food crops into soil harmony

Terry Sardinas amid the cannabis and other crops on Bird Valley Organics' regenerative farm.
(Kevin Painchaud /Lookout Santa Cruz)

With practices centered on growing crops atop mounds filled with wood and plant debris and letting the main crop mingle with all kinds of other plants and natural neighbors, Santa Cruz County’s regenerative farms are focused “on cultivating the best expression of these plants as possible.” As one cannabis farmer says, “We are taking care of Mama Earth; we are taking care of and building the soil.” Read more from Lookout contributor Georgia Johnson here.

Netflix employees file federal labor charge over Dave Chappelle controversy

Netflix app on Ipad
(via Pixabay)

Two Netflix staffers who were critical of Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, “The Closer,” have filed a labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging the streamer retaliated against them for protected concerted activities. Read more about what’s in filed documents here.

Around the county...

Rain a promising sign for banana slug population, sightings possible in lower areas (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Watsonville man caught stealing mailbox keys from USPS (KION-TV)

Photo: Traffic blocks go up at Kmart property (The Pajaronian)

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.

To ensure you’re staying informed about all the goings-on in Santa Cruz, consider becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Lookout Santa Cruz