Morning Lookout: BLM vandalism arraignment today; California drought updates
Good morning! It’s Wednesday, Jan. 5, and a foggy start should give way to a mostly cloudy day with highs in the upper 50s and low 60s around Santa Cruz County.
This morning marks the next step for the two men accused of vandalizing the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Santa Cruz City Hall last summer, Lookout’s Grace Stetson reports, as they face arraignment. Keep it tuned to Lookout for updates on this developing story.
As ever, the Omicron surge has our attention, and with COVID-19 cases at record levels across California and the U.S., the next few weeks are “absolutely critical,” experts say.
So let’s get to the headlines:
Arraignment day for accused BLM mural vandals
Brandon Bochat and Hagan Warner are scheduled for arraignment this morning, facing felony vandalism charges with a hate crime enhancement for damage caused to the Black Lives Matter mural in front of city hall. Lookout’s Grace Stetson has the latest in the case.
➤ PREVIOUSLY: Men accused of vandalizing Black Lives Matter mural to stand trial (Lookout)
Next few weeks ‘absolutely critical’ in COVID surge
California has reported a massive backlog of 237,084 new coronavirus cases, pushing the seven-day average of new infections to 50,267, a record high. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times talk to experts about what’s ahead.
➤ MORE: As Omicron wave inundates California, here’s how you can protect yourself and others (Los Angeles Times)
No, California’s drought isn’t over. Here’s why
Although the snowpack is 150% of average, the forecast isn’t all that rosy, and conservation still lags. Our partners at CalMatters survey the situation.
➤ RELATED: California adopts drought rules outlawing water wasting, with fines of up to $500 (Los Angeles Times)
How long will California’s water rush last?
“Not getting paid for three months and then getting a normal paycheck doesn’t put you back to normal in your bank account,” one Stanford scientist says. The Times runs the numbers.
➤ PREVIOUSLY: Will winter storms end California’s drought? Officials conduct first snow survey (Los Angeles Times)
While the holidays can be a cheerful time for many, they can also be some of the most difficult times for others. Kaiser...
With sexually transmitted infections off the charts, California pushes at-home tests
A new law makes California the first state to require that health insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover home STI tests. But some details still need to be worked out. Read more here from our partners at Kaiser Health News.
➤ MORE HEALTH & WELLNESS COVERAGE: Holiday binging over, nutritionist Magali Brecke reminds us how food and wellness intersect (Lookout)
Around the county ...
➤ Alleged Capitola Mall bandits under arrest (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
➤ Rosca de Reyes, a tradition on the Central Coast (KION-TV)
➤ Birichino Winery’s pinot noir served at the White House (Good Times)
And that’s where things stand this Wednesday morning. Keep tabs throughout the day on the BLM vandalism arraignment and more by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And you can get Lookout delivered directly to your phone and inbox by visiting our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center.
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Stay safe out there — see you back here tomorrow morning!
Lookout Santa Cruz