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Morning Lookout: New Santa Cruz City Manager voted in, vaccination clinics begin for kids aged 5-11

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, November 10 and there will be patchy fog until about 10 a.m. followed by a sunny day and a high of 68. If you’re driving in the Watsonville area this morning, the National Weather Service says there’s some dense fog out there. Please be careful!

Santa Cruz council members unanimously voted in Watsonville City Manager Matt Huffaker for the city’s own top job yesterday. Meanwhile, there was a development in a case that’s received a lot of attention in the community: A preliminary hearing has been set for mid-December for the suspects in the vandalism of the Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Santa Cruz. And finally, Gault Elementary organized one of the first vaccination clinics for children between the age of 5 and 11, since approval was given from national public health experts.

Let’s dive in:

Ready to ‘roll up my sleeves’: Matt Huffaker officially takes reins as Santa Cruz’s city manager

Matt Huffaker, Watsonville city manager
(Via City of Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz city council members unanimously voted yesterday to appoint Matt Huffaker to serve as the next city manager. Huffaker, who is currently serving as Watsonville’s city manager, will start the Santa Cruz role Jan. 3. Read more from our Hillary Ojeda here.

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Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay is partnering with local contractors and community volunteers to build their most...

Crime beat

Aerial view of vandalized mural.
(Via SCPD)

BLM mural case update — Preliminary hearing finally set; prosecution will pursue felony hate crime charges: Nearly four months after Brandon Bochat and Hagan Warner allegedly left long tire skids over the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Santa Cruz City Hall, a preliminary hearing has been scheduled. This move comes after the prosecution and defense teams were unable to make a deal on cleaning the mural. Read more from Lookout contributor Max Chun here.

Prosecutors want to charge fentanyl drug dealers with murder, sparking legal battle: Some California district attorneys are joining a growing controversial national push to file murder charges against drug dealers who manufacture or sell fentanyl that ends up leading to deaths. “These dealers are essentially handing a loaded gun to unsuspecting victims knowing that they will probably die, and they don’t care.” Read more here.

COVID 2021 Updates

Gault Elementary was one of the first county schools to host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

‘We’re going to do our part’: Gault Elementary holds its first vaccine clinic for elementary students: About 100 children received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Gault Elementary, one of several school sites set up for the purpose in Santa Cruz County. Faris Sabbah, the county’s superintendent of schools, said the weeks and months that lie ahead will be quite busy. Read more from Max here.

‘Winter is coming,’ Gov. Newsom warns as California’s COVID threat persists: California has yet to fully shake off the Delta surge, and there are signs conditions are headed in the wrong direction in parts of the state. “Last week, we literally were planning out our winter surge strategy — pre-positioning assets in anticipation of what’s going to happen in the next few weeks; making sure we have staffing,” Newsom said. Read more 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...

Business & Tech beat

A Cafe Gratitude dish being prepared.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Gratitude questioned — Owner, workers clash at longtime Santa Cruz vegan cafe rooted in mindfulness: Café Gratitude is known for its plant-based organic fare that guests order via affirmations. But a power struggle between workers and ownership of the restaurant spilled over onto social media last weekend, leaving five workers without jobs and a longtime local owner resolute over his decision to move on without them. Read more from Lookout Food Correspondent Lily Belli here.

File image of cup of coffee and audiobook on phone screen
(via Pixabay)

Why comedy podcasts are taking off at Audible: Audible will add six scripted comedy podcasts through 2022, a 19% increase from its current titles in that category. “We’re seeing that audiences are expecting more experimentation with format, more demand for more increased premium quality content.” Read more here.

As L.A. fights port gridlock, U.S. and global leaders pledge to curb shipping emissions: The United States, Britain and 17 other countries committed at the United Nations global climate summit today to curb emissions from the shipping industry by creating zero-emission shipping routes, a move that comes amid growing concern over shoreline air pollution from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Read more here.

Around the county...

Mickey Phelps, beloved Santa Cruz caterer, dies at 47 (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Esperanza de Valle celebrates 40 years (The Pajaronian)

Why Alfred Hitchcock chose Scotts Valley (Good Times)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Lookout Santa Cruz

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Mill Creek had been blocked since early in the last century by a 12-foot-tall, 25-foot-wide dam a quarter mile upstream...

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