April Pao, an advocate for foster youth
April Pao has committed her life to helping young people find their bearings.
(Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Unsung advocate for youth and a wary eye on the weather

Good morning, Santa Cruz County! It’s Tuesday, Dec. 21, and it’s officially winter, with the winter solstice happening just this past hour. This shortest day of the year will bring us some sun early, with temperatures in the mid-50s, then rain in the evening and overnight.

That approaching inclement weather has local officials and advocates looking to mitigate the impact on Santa Cruz’s unhoused population — “We need more safe spaces for them to stay,” one activist told Lookout’s Grace Stetson.

Meanwhile, our Unsung Santa Cruz series continues with Hillary Ojeda’s profile of April Pao, an advocate and listener for young adults in the foster youth system.

And with the Omicron variant on the minds of many with holiday gatherings and travel on tap, Lookout’s weekly update finds county vaccination rates up slightly, and we’ve got information on where to find vaccines, boosters and COVID testing.

Those headlines and more await — let’s get to it:

An advocate and listener for young adults in the foster youth system

April Pao has committed her life to helping young people find their bearings.
(Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz)

As a program manager for a residential treatment program, April Pao provides support to case managers and the young adults they serve. Hillary Ojeda delivers the latest story in Lookout’s Unsung Santa Cruz series.

FIND ALL THE STORIES HERE: Unsung Santa Cruz: Lookout highlights regular folks doing great things

Presented by Housing Matters

It takes the whole community working together to help those experiencing homelessness find pathways to permanent...

‘We need more safe spaces’

The view of the heavily soaked benchlands in San Lorenzo Park.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

As another round of stormy weather approaches, Santa Cruz officials and homelessness advocates are seeking solutions. Lookout’s Grace Stetson has the details.

PREVIOUSLY: Assessing the impacts of Monday’s storm, prepping for more next week (Lookout)

Vaccine update: Rates, where to find a COVID shot or test; wait, cost and turnaround times

A nurse and a paramedic administer a COVID-19 vaccine to Nelson Navarro, 69, in Glendale.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Lookout’s weekly update examines the numbers around Santa Cruz County and lists options for where to get a shot or a COVID test. Find it all here.

ALSO: COVID-19 updates in Santa Cruz County: Infections, hospitalizations, deaths and demographic data (Lookout)

Pandemic poses short- and long-term risks to babies, especially boys

A pregnant woman in silhouette
(Via Pixabay)

A mother’s immune response to COVID-19 can be a greater danger to the fetus than the virus itself. Our partners at Kaiser Health News examine the data here.

RELATED: Omicron surge renews concerns over boosters and testing (Los Angeles Times)

In true sustainable fashion, Bay Federal Credit Union partnered with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary...

Vaccine promoters struggle to get people boosted in California’s fields

A Santa Cruz County farmworker, Ivan Ramirez, receives a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shot from Dr. Greg Whitley
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“Latinos don’t know who to turn to for accurate information,” one expert says. “The government hasn’t been doing the best job, the big national TV channels haven’t been doing that good of a job, and community organizations are working at a hyperlocal level.” Kaiser Health News reports from the Coachella Valley.

MORE: California braces for Omicron wave amid grim forecasts, concerns for hospitals (Los Angeles Times)

Around the county ...

Watsonville homeless camp files injunction for temporary restraining order (The Pajaronian)
Shocking video shows thief stealing Santa Claus display from Watsonville grocery store (KSBW-TV)
UC Santa Cruz women’s basketball stuns nation’s No. 2 ranked D-III team (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

That’s plenty for you to chew on for now — but bookmark our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep current throughout this Tuesday. And visit our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center to get it all delivered to your phone and inbox.

And whether it’s for yourself or as a gift, please consider a Lookout membership. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Not a whole lot of daylight today, so get out there and make the most of it!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

The Bird School Project uses outdoor experiential learning to inspire and equip students and teachers to love, study,...