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Morning Lookout: Keeping It Local guides; Omicron fears and what we know

Good morning, all. It’s Monday, Nov. 29, and (stop me if you see a pattern here) the forecast calls for another sunny day, with highs in the 60s and low 70s, after another chilly start.

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and got those batteries recharged. If holiday shopping is still on your to-do list, Lookout has you covered, with Wallace Baine kicking off our Keeping It Local buying guide series with his suggestions for books with Santa Cruz connections (and stay tuned for Lily Belli’s first installment later today).

And don’t miss Lookout’s Mark Conley deep dive on the Drop In Coalition, founded in memory of entrepreneur Tushar Atre, an organization dedicated to “helping girls grow with the flow in science, technology, engineering, art and math, as well as surfing.”

Meanwhile, fears are growing about the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19; experts are still sorting through what we do and don’t know.

Let’s get to the headlines, shall we?

Keeping It Local: Looking for a way to support your community with your gift-giving? Start with books

Wallace Baine launches Lookout’s “Keeping It Local” gift guide with the type he’d most like to receive: books. He runs down his recommendations for the various people in your life, focused on Santa Cruz County writers. Find it all here.

MORE FROM WALLACE: ‘Buy local’ is more than a slogan, it’s a prescription for a stronger community

Supporting local Santa Cruz businesses continues to be more important than ever. When it comes to buying gifts this...

Triumph through tragedy: Tushar Atre’s death spurred his friends to build a unique life opportunity for kids

“Helping girls grow with the flow in science, technology, engineering, art and math, as well as surfing” is the Drop In Coalition’s mantra. Lookout’s Mark Conley examines the organization founded in memory of slain entrepreneur Tushar Atre.

MORE FROM MARK: ‘I was dead’: How a quick-rising swell at Pleasure Point nearly cost one experienced surfer his life

Omicron variant spreads globally, sparking fears of winter COVID-19 surge

Mardiros Ebrahamian, 82, gets a booster shot Moderna vaccine for COVID-19
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Officials are warning of new winter COVID-19 wave with the new “highly transmissible” variant. Read more here from our partners at the Los Angeles Times.

MORE: How to protect yourself amid Omicron variant alarms? Here’s what we know (Los Angeles Times)

To protest COVID mandates, this California town declared itself a ‘constitutional republic’

Montgomery Street, in downtown Oroville, at dusk.
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

The Northern California town of Oroville this month declared itself a “constitutional republic” because of COVID-19. Residents have mixed feelings. The Times surveys the scene here.

COVID IN THE GOLDEN STATE: California’s coast embraces child COVID-19 shots, but demand lags inland (Los Angeles Times)

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

SoCal power Mater Dei must make changes after video exposes football program culture of hazing

A bag of footballs in a field
(Via Pixabay)

It’s difficult to understand why Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson and principal Frances Clare still have jobs after video exposes hazing within the team. Read Bill Plaschke’s column here.

MORE PREPS: ‘Have to get a little lucky’: High school athletes play through the pandemic (Lookout)

Kayden Phoenix champions Latina superheroes: ‘We haven’t seen our version of it’

Latina comic book creator Kayden Phoenix stands behind a doll based on the main character of her graphic novel
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

“We always have superheroes that save the city, save the world. Metropolis. Gotham. And that’s fine, but we’ve seen those stories. We’ve never seen the female story. We’ve never seen the Latina story.” The Times profiles Phoenix here.

Around the county ...

Heavy-duty drones take flight to combat wildfires (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Watsonville assistant city manager to be appointed interim chief executive (The Pajaronian)
Why buying a Christmas tree in the Bay Area is more expensive this year (San Jose Mercury News)

That will get you fueled up as we kick off the post-holiday work week. Stick with Lookout for everything we have in store today, including Lily Belli’s first installment of our Keeping It Local gift guide — bookmark our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You (and family and friends) can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer via our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, too.

And if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Now get out there and show Monday who’s boss!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

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