Tosh Ackerman
(Via Carrie Luther)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Fentanyl’s painful death toll grows; new leaders at local nonprofits

Good morning, folks. Today is Friday, April 22, and Santa Cruz County could see a little more rain this morning before the sun peeks out later in the day, with highs in the upper 50s and low 60s.

This morning brings the first part of a series months in the making here at Lookout: “Poisoned” examines the rise of fentanyl-related deaths locally, and the lack of cohesive attention paid to this post-pandemic epidemic. Read Part 1 from Mark Conley and Max Chun here.

We’ve also got the latest edition of Student Lookout, delivering what the student in your life should know about goings-on around town, student discounts and more.

There’s also a new CEO for a beloved local nonprofit, a local coalition on racial equity adding new faces, and Wallace Baine highlighting what you should know with the weekend in sight, so let’s move right to Friday’s headlines.

As fentanyl’s painful death toll grows in Santa Cruz, taking young lives, it’s time for meaningful solutions

A memorial for William Veniel, who died at age 27 on Jan. 7.
(Via Sophie Veniel)

The stories of loss from mothers Sophie Veniel and Carrie Luther inform a much larger picture of fatal fentanyl overdoses. Lookout’s monthlong dive into the rise of fentanyl-related deaths locally finds a lack of cohesive attention paid to this post-pandemic epidemic, as local officials plan a Monday town hall to assess and troubleshoot new strategies. Read Part 1 of “Poisoned” here.

EARLIER: ‘They deserve to stay safe and alive’: Fentanyl risk, even in marijuana, has county leaders concerned (Lookout)

Student Lookout: Record Store Day, top study spots and a free month of Spotify

A stack of vinyls at Streetlight Records
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Whether you’re a student or know one, you’ll want to check out Student Lookout for Santa Cruz discounts, events, puzzles and more. Find the latest installment.



Weekender sings a happy tune

From scoping out the lineup for this summer’s Outside Lands festival in San Francisco to big acts playing stages closer to home — and a trivia stumper, too! — the latest Weekender from Wallace Baine has something for everyone. Check it out here.

LOOKOUT’S FULL EVENTS CALENDAR: BOLO, your place to go for things to do

Rise Together adds 11 new members, looks toward the future of equitable access and representation

Thomas Sage Pedersen and Esabella Bonner
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Organized in June 2020 in response to the murder of George Floyd, the Rise Together Coalition has focused its collective efforts on advancing racial equity throughout Santa Cruz County. With the addition of 11 new members, the group hopes to expand its reach even further. Grace Stetson has the details.

PREVIOUSLY: Diversity united: Official kickoff of Rise Together initiative celebrates a team approach to the equity fight (Lookout)

Still serving, just in a different way

Erica Padilla-Chavez
(Via PFW Consulting)

After seven years with Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Erica Padilla-Chavez will continue to serve South County, and Santa Cruz County as a whole, as CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank in Watsonville. More here from Max Chun.

BIG SHOES TO FILL: ‘A pillar of truth and clarity’ calls it a career: Second Harvest CEO Elliott-McCrea set to retire (Lookout)

With more enforcement powers than ever, state relies on activists to enforce duplex law

A photo illustration of a house surrounded by stacks of papers, with Twitter birds
(Illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / CalMatters)

A handful of activists represent the bulk of the state’s enforcement of Senate Bill 9. That could change as the state housing agency hires more staff. Our partners at CalMatters investigate.

LOCALLY: Are Santa Cruzans dividing up their lots? A look at SB 9 one month in, as new law gets digested (Lookout)

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Around the county ...

Gilroy Garlic Festival cancels annual event indefinitely (NBC Bay Area)
Revenge of the nerds: Watsonville’s comic, fantasy event returns (The Pajaronian)
Aptos elementary students dig into gardening (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

That’s quite a helping of headlines for a Friday morning — and we’re not done yet. Keep Lookout bookmarked and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest Eaters Digest from our food and drink maven, Lily Belli, and hit our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center to sign up for all the alerts and other newsletters we offer.

And what better way to head into the weekend than by knowing you’re doing your part to support this crucial local journalism? If you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Have a great Friday and a safe, relaxing weekend! I’ll meet you back here Monday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz