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Morning Lookout: Revisiting Santa Cruz’s darkest hour; transitional kindergarten challenge

Hello there, Lookout fam! Today is Tuesday, March 29, and the forecast is calling for a partly cloudy day for Santa Cruz County, with temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s.

Clouds of a different sort still linger here after a string of serial killings in the 1970s that brought Santa Cruz the unwanted title of murder capital of the world. An oral history of that period has gotten widespread attention and is on course to be made into a documentary, and Lookout’s Wallace Baine caught up with the author ahead of a Bookshop Santa Cruz event.

Meanwhile, Hillary Ojeda reports, the statewide expansion of transitional kindergarten has local school officials facing the challenge of balancing the benefits to kids and families with funding, facilities and enrollment issues.

Those headlines, plus a new drive to break down the county’s “siloed” homelessness response and more, are straight ahead.

Santa Cruz’s true-crime classic

Author Emerson Murray
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Nine months after the publication of “Murder Capital of the World,” his book on Santa Cruz’s serial-killer history, author Emerson Murray is pursuing offers to make it into a documentary and engaging with fans online. Read more from Wallace Baine, including details on Murray’s upcoming Bookshop talk.

PREVIOUSLY: When this was ‘The Murder Capital of the World’: Local author explores Santa Cruz’s nightmarish moment (Lookout)

Welcome to the TK challenge

Olivia Bogart organizes Play-Doh in a TK/kindergarten combination class at Westlake Elementary School.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

California’s transitional kindergarten program is expanding to include all 4-year-olds by 2025-26. Santa Cruz County school officials say this is going to be a challenge, but that it will have an overall positive impact on families and schools. Hillary Ojeda has the details.

MORE FROM K-12 EDUCATION: Santa Cruz County’s lowest-paid teachers show up in force, asking for an 8% increase (Lookout)

Breaking down county’s ‘siloed’ homelessness response

Housing for Health Partnership logo
(Via County of Santa Cruz)

How will Santa Cruz County better strategize around homelessness solutions? The new “H4HP” policy board, made up of key leaders and experts from around the area, is intended to up the ante of what a policymaking board can achieve on the one of the most pressing issues of our time. Grace Stetson explains.

MORE ON HOUSING: ‘Flexible density units’: Another tool to increase Santa Cruz’s housing supply (Lookout)

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Talks open in Turkey as Russia says it will reduce attacks on northern Ukraine

Soldiers walk toward a checkpoint.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Negotiators on both sides are tempering expectations ahead of a new round of talks amid seesawing gains and losses on the battlefield. Find the latest here from our partners at the Los Angeles Times.

LOCAL RELIEF: How you can help support Ukraine from here in Santa Cruz (Lookout)

How to be mindful while stuck in traffic

Illustration: a silhouette of a brain is floating in the sky. Inside the brain, several cars in gridlock converge.
(Illustration by Jim Cooke / Los Angeles Times)

Headed out on our highways and byways today? Chances are you’ll encounter some slowdowns, so you’ll want to keep that blood pressure low. The Times delivers some expert advice.

MORE WAYS TO FIND ZEN: Six hikes to get you outside and soothe the soul (Lookout)

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Around the county ...

Santa Cruz bucks statewide trend, has lowest water users in the state (KSBW-TV)
HP Inc. moves to acquire Santa Cruz’s Poly (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Betty White’s Carmel home for sale for just under $8 million (KION-TV)

That’s about it for this particular newsletter, but it’s Tuesday, which means you’re just hours away from the latest installment of Lily Belli on Food. How to get it delivered right to your inbox? Why, visit our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, of course. You can also keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Enjoy your Tuesday! I’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

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