A team including Sheryl Norteye (right) and Robert Ratner (second from right) of the county's Housing for Health
A team including Sheryl Norteye (right) and Robert Ratner (second from right) of the county’s Housing for Health division along the San Lorenzo River on Monday morning.
(Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Optimism after homeless count; local author’s latest novel

A drizzly good morning to you, Lookout fam! It’s Friday, March 4, and the forecast calls for the light rain to give way to some clearer skies as the day goes on, with highs in the mid- to upper 50s around Santa Cruz County.

If you followed Lookout’s journalists as they covered Monday’s point-in-time count of the local homeless population, you’ll want to read what officials overseeing the tally told Mark Conley about the next steps.

And Grace Stetson covered discussion of the city of Santa Cruz’s oversized vehicle ordinance at last night’s planning commission meeting; find her Twitter thread on the proceedings here, and stay tuned for a full story.

I’ve got plenty more headlines for you, including Wallace Baine checking in with one of our most famous local authors ahead of her new novel’s debut, so let’s get to it:

‘Still optimistic’ after homeless count

Robert Ratner, director of the county's Housing for Health division, during Monday morning's PIT count.
(Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Despite the anecdotal difficulties experienced by groups who attempted to count the visible unsheltered homeless Monday morning, Santa Cruz County leaders say they are confident the point-in-time number will still be representative of the area’s immense problem. Lookout’s Mark Conley has the details.

FROM SACRAMENTO: California judges could order help for homeless Californians under Newsom’s new plan (Los Angeles Times)

Karen Joy Fowler explores a famous American family in her latest novel

Santa Cruz author Karen Joy Fowler
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“Booth” is not primarily a story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, but of his family as a whole — and it’s out Tuesday, the same day its author, Santa Cruz’s Karen Joy Fowler, takes part in an in-person discussion on the UCSC campus. Wallace Baine catches up.

MORE FROM THE LITERARY SCENE: Pranksters, LSD and the Dead: Ken Babbs was there at Santa Cruz County’s most famous (or infamous) party (Lookout)

A sprawling canvas of COVID times

A metal print called "Four Mile Flow" by Carlin Schelstraete.
(Via Visual Arts Network)

“This Is Now,” at the Radius Gallery at the Tannery, downtown’s Curated By the Sea and the R. Blitzer Gallery on the Westside, is an exhibition featuring 150 local artists that comes as audiences grow more comfortable returning to venues. Get the overview from Wallace here.

NEED MORE WALLACE? Find all of his columns here

➤ HONK IF YOU LOVE NEW JOBS: See all the most recent listings here.


Best Bets has the bantha saddled up

From a Star Wars-flavored comic-con-style event at the Capitola Mall to ambitious art and music undertakings and big-time authors, Wallace and our dedicated Team BOLO have recommendations for things to do all over Santa Cruz County for the weekend and beyond. This is the way.

DOWN THE LINE: Scope out all the big events headed our way with Wallace’s expertly curated list

Russians seize nuclear power plant amid heavy bombardment of Ukraine

Authorities said today that firefighters extinguished the fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and that there had been no release of radioactive material. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times have the latest.

MORE ON THE INVASION: Will Russia bring its war on LGBTQ people to Ukraine? (Los Angeles Times)

UC Berkeley could be forced to cut enrollment by 3,050 seats under high-court decision

Sather Tower at UC Berkeley.
(Josh Edelson / For The Times)

The California Supreme Court declines to lift an enrollment cap on UC Berkeley, which might have to cut its incoming fall class by one-third. More here from the Times on what’s next and the decision’s potential impact on other UC schools, including UC Santa Cruz.

MORE: Proposed bill would exempt UC, Cal State from environmental review for new student housing (Los Angeles Times)


Around the county ...

RTC moves 2045 Regional Transportation Plan forward (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Longtime Scotts Valley city clerk retires (The Press Banner)
Rarities spotted in Christmas Bird Count (The Pajaronian)
Striking imagery from the Bay Area teen photographing war in Ukraine (SFGate)

Ready to roll into Friday, with the weekend beyond. Keep Lookout bookmarked and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all we have in store today, including the latest Eaters Digest from Lily Belli. Lily’s got a newsletter, too, and you can sign up for that, breaking news alerts and more by visiting our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center.

Another great way to head into the weekend? Supporting local journalism! Our content isn’t possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Have a most excellent Friday, and a relaxing, healthy weekend! See ya Monday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak unprecedented impacts on the housing market, there are several indications...