Inside the Rio Del Mar condo that was asking nearly $30,000 per month before it was put up for sale.
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Morning Lookout: County’s priciest rentals, skyrocketing studios and raising local meat

Good morning, Lookout friends! Today is Monday, March 14, and Santa Cruz County has a mostly sunny day ahead, with highs in the mid- to upper 60s.

It’s a new week, and Lookout has a bunch of new stories for you this morning:

Plenty of good stuff, so let’s roll up our sleeves and hit the headlines.

Book a stay at a Santa Cruz ‘super-rental’

Rents are soaring across California and the country. Here in Santa Cruz County, even the top end of the market is becoming ridiculous. Grace Stetson has the details on some upscale local rentals.

Want to rent a Santa Cruz studio? You’ll pay double what you paid last year

112%, 15%, 14% and 9%. In just one year, the numbers tell the story of the affordability crisis. Grace crunches some numbers here.

MORE ON LOCAL HOUSING: Find all of Lookout’s coverage in one place

One Santa Cruz County farmer’s quest to grow sustainable, locally raised meat

At Pajaro Pastures, farmer Ryan Abelson supplements his pigs' diet with unsellable fruit and vegetables from nearby farms.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Fresh, well-raised local meat is an oddity within Santa Cruz County’s agricultural cornucopia — just 1% of our local production. Pajaro Pastures’ Ryan Abelson is among those trying to change that amid long-standing slaughterhouse laws that favor big farmers over local, smaller ones. Lily Belli digs in.

MORE FROM LILY: Get all our food and drink coverage here

➤ LATEST JOBS IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY: See all the most recent listings here.


Baseball balladeer Dan Bern’s holy scripture

With springtime sprout thoughts of baseball, Wallace Baine writes, and that has him listening to fellow seamhead Dan Bern, who comes to Santa Cruz this week to play at the Kuumbwa. Read Wallace’s latest here.

MORE FROM WALLACE: Find all of his columns here

COVID-19 is fading. But ending the health emergency could leave us vulnerable

A sign at Los Angeles International Airport informs travelers that they must wear a mask or other face covering.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

If the U.S. public health emergency ends, Americans would be vulnerable to a new coronavirus variant that sparks another COVID-19 surge. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times examine the situation.

LOCAL SCENE: How do Santa Cruz kids and parents feel about the end of mask mandates? (Lookout)

Attacks hit breadth of Ukraine as talks with Russia resume

Ukrainian soldiers help carry an elderly woman out of the besieged town of Irpin, Ukraine
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Russian forces pummeled cities across Ukraine even as the country’s leaders said they were attempting a fourth round of negotiations with Moscow. The Times has the latest.

CLOSER TO HOME: ‘Imagine not knowing’: Ukrainians in Santa Cruz, Bay Area fear for their loved ones (Lookout)


Around the county ...

‘A force of nature’: Land conservation pioneer Diane Porter Cooley dies (The Pajaronian)
Former Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin running for 28th Assembly District (The Press Banner)
Habitat for Humanity rallies local women for International Women’s Month (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
4.1 earthquake hits near Pinnacles National Park on Sunday afternoon (KSBW-TV)

That’s it for today. 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. You can also keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Have a great day!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz