Cal Fire unit chief Nate Armstrong.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Cal Fire’s new CZU chief in spotlight; Santa Cruz’s ‘Maus’ connection

Good morning, Santa Cruz County! It’s Monday, Feb. 7, and we’ve got a sunny day ahead of us, with highs from the upper 60s into the 70s. And though we could certainly use some rain, the warming trend is forecast to continue:

Plenty to get to as we kick off another week, including:

One more thing: Our “Unsung Santa Cruz” series, which has struck a chord with so many, is continuing. 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

Now, to those headlines:

Big job at a tough time

Nate Armstrong took over Cal Fire leadership in Santa Cruz in November.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Cal Fire’s new leader in Santa Cruz County, Nate Armstrong, talks about the challenges of wildfire defense. Read what he told Lookout contributor Cathy Kelly.

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

Presented by Kaiser Permanente

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

The ‘Maus’ that roared and its author’s little-known connection to Santa Cruz

The mice of Maus.
(Via Maus)

There are lessons to be learned from a book-banning attempt in a rural Southern county, and it all somehow relates back to this place, where freedom of expression is always top of mind. Follow along as Wallace Baine connects the dots.

MORE FROM WALLACE: Attention Tomboys: Popular music video series makes a big return

Santa Cruzans call for transit equity, accessibility

Attendees from all walks of life and all parts of the county gathered for Friday's march.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

On Friday, Equity Transit held a march and rally with nearly 100 attendees calling for increased and accessible transit options throughout Santa Cruz County. Get the sights and sounds from Lookout’s Grace Stetson and Kevin Painchaud.

MORE LOCAL TRANSIT NEWS: Freight abandonment discussion on Felton line stirs passions at RTC; kibosh put on pro-rail ballot measure (Lookout)


It’s coyote mating season, and in my neighborhood that means trouble

A coyote wanders around Curry Village in Yosemite Valley
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

From spraying the yard with wolf urine, boarding up the doggy door and posting flashing red “predator eyes” on fences and trees, it’s an experience many in Santa Cruz County can relate to. Read more from our partners at the Los Angeles Times.

PREVIOUSLY: County urges people to vaccinate dogs after dozens of distemper cases found in raccoons, coyotes (Lookout)

SoFi beating victim remains in coma as his family appeals to the public for information

SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sept. 12, 2021.
(Gary Klein / Los Angeles Times)

A Southern California man has been charged with felony assault after the incident during the 49ers-Rams NFC title game, but a source says he’s claiming self-defense. The Times has the details.

QUESTIONS REMAIN: SoFi security in question as Super Bowl approaches: Apparent beating of 49ers fan was kept secret for days (Los Angeles Times)

‘I don’t have a life’

Amber Suarez sits with her 3-year-old daughter Mia, who needs the care of home nurses.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

California families have long had difficulty getting home nursing care for medically fragile children. The problem has persisted with the arrival of COVID-19. The Times examines the struggles here.

ICYMI: A quarter of all of county’s known COVID cases occurred within past 21 days

A nursing student administers a COVID test at the Cabrillo College site.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A jump in COVID-19 cases to more than 10,000 was a result of a testing backlog, Santa Cruz County health officials told Lookout, as the Omicron surge swept through the state. Get the details here.

SCHOOLS AND COVID: How Santa Cruz County’s public schools have avoided the higher absence rates, sickouts seen elsewhere (Lookout)


Around the county ...

Who was warned ahead of Jan. 15 Santa Cruz County tsunami? (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Two arrested in Watsonville fentanyl bust (The Pajaronian)
Poop sleuths discover mysterious coronavirus in California’s sewage (San Jose Mercury News)

That’s about it for now, but keep tabs on everything Lookout has planned by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And tomorrow brings the latest newsletter from food and drink maven Lily Belli, which you can sign up for (along with text and email alerts) at our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center.

You know what’s a good way to get rid of a case of the Mondays? Supporting local journalism ... which you can do by becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Enjoy the day — I’ll see you back here tomorrow morning!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

Whether it’s helping members get a new home or combating predatory lending with short-term, lost-cost loan options,...