Santa Cruz's Enda Brennan (center, in profile, with glasses) participates in a Russian folk dance in Alushta.
(Via Cynthia Mathews)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Santa Cruz’s Ukraine sister city, history + cocktails and MLB lockout

Greetings, Lookout friends! It’s Wednesday, March 2, and Santa Cruz County has a mostly sunny day ahead, with highs from the upper 60s into the mid-70s, before the a shifting weather pattern brings us some chance of rain as we head toward the weekend.

As war grinds on in Ukraine, Wallace Baine brings us a look at Alushta, a Black Sea resort town that’s been a Santa Cruz sister city in 1987 — and finds a complicated picture.

Here at home, meanwhile, Lily Belli has the details on an event that combines cocktails with local history and explores what the dry winter is doing to local fruit trees and our mushroom haul.

We’ve also got stories on the lifting of school mask mandates and Major League Baseball canceling games amid its ongoing labor dispute, so read on for those headlines and more:

A long way from war, but deeply entwined in its cultural conflict

Alushta's hilly seaside terrain bears some resemblance to that of its sister city Santa Cruz.
(Via John Thomas)

The Black Sea resort town of Alushta has been part of the Soviet Union and Ukraine, then under the control of Russia, since it became a Santa Cruz sister city in 1987. And it doesn’t get less complicated from there, Lookout’s Wallace Baine found. Read his latest column here.

IN RUSSIA: Mood darkens in Moscow as Putin presses Ukraine war, but West still largely blamed (Los Angeles Times)

Cocktails for history buffs and fruit frustration

A new event at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and the impact of the dry winter on local fruit trees and mushrooms are the latest food and drink tidbits from Lookout’s Lily Belli. Find that and then some in her latest newsletter.

MORE FROM LILY: Find all of Lookout’s food and drink coverage here

Driest January and February on record

Dried mud and a stranded buoy are seen on the lakebed at Lake Oroville in June 2021.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

California just suffered its driest January and February in more than a century — and water officials are telling residents to brace for a third year of drought. Get the details here from our partners at the Los Angeles Times.

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

➤ WORKING FOR CHANGE: See all the most recent listings here.

Analysis: Biden’s State of the Union speech takes aim at Putin, and poll numbers

In his State of the Union speech a year after taking office as the un-Trump, President Joe Biden faced an American public that wants far more. The Times breaks it down here.

MORE ANALYSIS: Why Western sanctions aren’t hitting Russia where it would hurt the most: Oil and gas (Los Angeles Times)

Is it safe to lift indoor mask rules in California schools?

Students wearing masks in a Santa Cruz County classroom
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

California’s strict indoor mask rules at schools have helped prevent major coronavirus outbreaks on campuses, experts say. Read what else they told the Times.

FROM MONDAY: California lifts school mask mandate after March 11; still ‘highly recommended’ in Santa Cruz County (Los Angeles Times/Lookout)

‘Manfred gotta go’

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Major League Baseball players turned to social media to share their feelings about the league’s decision to cancel games — and they’re not happy at all with commissioner Rob Manfred. Get the latest on the ongoing labor dispute.


Around the county ...

Dolores Huerta headlines upcoming Latino Role Models conference (The Pajaronian)
The rebirth of Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe (Good Times)
Santa Cruz’s Haley Jones named Pac-12 Player of the Year (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

And that’s a nice helping of headlines to fuel your Wednesday endeavors. If you missed Lily Belli’s newsletter yesterday, you can sign up for that, plus our other newsletters and breaking news alerts, at our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center. As ever, you can also keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And I’m hard pressed to think of something better to get you through hump day than supporting local journalism, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Now get out there and seize the day!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz