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Morning Lookout: A journey through housing uncertainty and curing our latest malaise

Good morning, folks! It’s Monday, Jan. 24, and Santa Cruz County has another nice day on tap, mostly sunny and with highs in the mid-60s.

We’re catching up today with Lookout affordability correspondent Grace Stetson, who last year chronicled her first foray into our local housing market. Well, there have been some developments, and Grace is back with the six-month update.

I hope you were able to get some time outdoors over the weekend — getting out and enjoying our exquisite Central Coast winters is just the cure for our latest viral malaise, Lookout’s Wallace Baine writes.

Not that there aren’t threats to our area; a “surreal” January fire ignited Friday night in Big Sur and continues to burn today, though containment is up to 35%. And the tsunami that left Santa Cruz Harbor flooded recently underscored the perils the California coast faces.

So read along for those headlines and more — including the 49ers getting a showdown with the rival Rams with a Super Bowl berth on the line — as we kick off another workweek:

From landing pad to uncertainty in six months

Grace Stetson as drawn by visiting Boardwalk artist Candy Briones on Tuesday afternoon.
(Candy Briones/Cali Caricature)

Lookout’s affordability correspondent had quite a time finding a place to live when she arrived last year — and now Santa Cruz’s housing market has swerved on her again. Grace Stetson maps out the latest twists.

THE EARLIER CHAPTER: What happens when your new affordability reporter isn’t finding anything affordable?

Presented by Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente has partnered with systems change agency SupplyBank.org to disperse donations of sanitizing wipes, N95...

Drop the remote — the cure for our latest viral malaise awaits us right outside the door

A December sunset over Pleasure Point.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Whether it’s the quality of the air on a hike in the redwoods, the high clouds and low angles giving the season’s light a unique character or a different tone in the ocean’s roar, getting out into our life-affirming Monterey Bay winter is a balm we’re lucky to have. Read Wallace Baine’s thoughts here.

WANT MORE WALLACE? Find all of his columns in one place

Colorado fire containment up to 35%; Big Sur blaze at 700 acres

The Colorado fire smolders south of Carmel.
(Via Caltrans)

The Colorado fire sparked amid high winds Friday, but calmer conditions helped firefights make progress over the weekend. Get the latest on the nearby blaze here.

LOOKOUT’S WILDFIRE RESOURCE CENTER: Everything you need to be prepared before, during and after a wildfire


The tsunami that battered Santa Cruz highlights the threat facing California’s coast

Lifeguards cordon off the boat ramp at Santa Cruz Harbor on Jan. 15, 2022
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Some experts say last weekend’s event showed how major upgrades to harbors have made a difference since a much larger tsunami in 2011. Read what they told our partners at the Los Angeles Times.

TSUNAMI PRICE TAG: Santa Cruz Harbor back on solid footing post-tsunami, but long-term repairs loom (Lookout)

Another chance to beat L.A.

After the 49ers upset the Packers on Saturday night, the Rams knocked out the defending champs to set up a rivalry showdown this Sunday, with the winner heading to the Super Bowl. Get the details here.

MORE NORTH-SOUTH RIVALRY: In search of a California dividing line, where Giantslandia starts and Dodgersville ends (Los Angeles Times)

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

Vaccine wars ignite in California as lawmakers seek stronger laws

Parents and students hold signs to protest vaccine mandates in front of Birmingham High School in Van Nuys
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Anti-vaccination activists say California’s Democratic lawmakers are helping strengthen their movement nationally by pushing for tougher vaccine requirements. But a new pro-vaccine lobbying force is vowing to fight back. Our partners at Kaiser Health News examine the coming fight.

LOCAL COVID SITUATION: Next step in keeping Santa Cruz schools going: ‘Substantial Exposure.’ What we know about that new protocol (Lookout)

Around the county ...

As Build Back Better Plan stalls, Scotts Valley digs into piggy bank (The Press Banner)
First new candidate for November’s Watsonville council elections comes forth (The Pajaronian)
SCM Clothing Company moves to Felton (San Lorenzo Valley Post)
How dangerous are tsunamis and what should I do if one is headed this way? (KAZU-FM)

One last thing: We’re restarting our “Unsung Santa Cruz” series, which struck a chord with so many last month. We know there are many, more deserving people out there, and we need your help in identifying these folks. Please send your nominations — with as many details as possible — to news@lookoutlocal.com.

All that is a solid start to our Monday, I’d say — and we have plenty more cooking, so bookmark our website and follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current. 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.

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

Go forth and make it a great week!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

Presented by Sol Property Advisors

As legislation surrounding single-family home zoning in Santa Cruz is constantly changing, read up on everything you...