UC Santa Cruz historian Peter Kenez looking at a map of Ukraine on a computer
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Local expert’s Ukraine primer, CZU rebuild woes and record drought

Greetings and salutations, friends! Today is Thursday, Feb. 17, and Santa Cruz County has a sunny day ahead, with temperatures headed for the 60s.

With international attention focused on Russia’s troop buildup on its border with Ukraine, we’re lucky to have an expert on the area in our own backyard. UC Santa Cruz historian Peter Kenez talked to Lookout about the situation, and gave us a handy Ukraine 101 primer to boot.

Elsewhere:

So let’s get to those headlines:

‘Russians are not risk-takers’

UC Santa Cruz historian Peter Kenez
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Peter Kenez, who taught Russian and Eastern European history between 1966 and 2011 at UC Santa Cruz, believes an invasion of Ukraine would not be representative of the Russians’ usual ways. Read what he told Lookout’s Max Chun.

UKRAINE 101: Kenez offers seven major, and some contrarian, takeaways (Lookout)

What Santa Cruz County’s new CZU dashboard shows

Amber Turpin and her family spent 75 days evacuated while the CZU Lightning Complex fires raged on.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

While a county spokesperson said Santa Cruz’s progress is in line with other communities’ post-fire rebuilds, some survivors said the process remains overly burdensome. Get the details from Lookout’s Grace Stetson.

MORE FROM THE REBUILD: ‘A clear testament to the caliber of the community’: Boulder Creek launches free tool library (Lookout)

Measures on hotel, single-use cup taxes headed to June ballot

The Hotel Paradox in Santa Cruz.
(Courtesy Hotel Paradox)

The two measures would bring in an additional $2.4 million annually to be used in unincorporated county areas. Find more here from Grace.

MORE LOCAL SCENE: With two Santa Cruz Starbucks locations moving to unionize and more on the way, why are we an epicenter of organizing? (Lookout)

➤ CONNECTING CITIZENS WITH LOCAL JOBS: See all the most recent listings here.

No end in sight

A houseboat is out of the water for repairs at Trinity Lake.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

After record-breaking snowfall at the start of the rainy season, January and February will likely be the driest on record, prolonging California’s drought. Our partners at CalMatters survey the situation.

RELATED: Western megadrought is worst in 1,200 years, intensified by climate change, study finds (Los Angeles Times)

Why California is hoping people keep wearing masks even as coronavirus cases fall

READ THE STORY: ‘Abundance of caution’: Santa Cruz health officials urge people to mask up indoors once again
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Many health experts are strongly recommending the public still wear masks even as the state lifted its order requiring them to be worn in indoor public spaces for vaccinated people. Here’s what they told our partners at the Los Angeles Times.

EARLIER THIS WEEK: California school mask mandate will remain in place through at least Feb. 28 (Los Angeles Times)

San Francisco’s school board recall

Pedestrians with suitcases walk through Union Square in San Francisco.
(Anne Wernikoff / CalMatters)

The overwhelming vote to recall three San Francisco school members was a forceful show of parents’ frustration with local circumstances. But the proponents think other politicians should take heed of families’ fury over long school closures due to COVID-19. The Times takes the temperature.

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

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Around the county ...

19-year-old missing in Santa Cruz County (KSBW-TV)
Path paved for finalization of Santa Cruz County worker contract (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Salesforce deal With 1440 Multiversity will create 100 jobs (The Press Banner)
Homeless Person Health Project finished in Capitola (KION-TV)

That’ll do it for now, but Thursday is going to be busy around Lookout, so keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. One of the things we’re cooking up is another round of Best Bets from Wallace Baine and Team BOLO, and you can get that newsletter packed with recommendations for things to do this weekend and beyond, plus breaking news alerts and more, by visiting our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center.

And please consider becoming a Lookout member if you’re not already (membership makes a great gift, too!). Our content isn’t possible without community support.

I’m taking a few days off and leaving you in my colleagues’ reliable hands — so until we meet again, be safe and stay healthy!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

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