Parents Taflyn Wilschinsky and Andy Gersh with sons Lucas, 4, and Levi, 7
Parents Taflyn Wilschinsky and Andy Gersh with sons Lucas, 4, and Levi, 7.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Families on Omicron’s ‘lost month’; a plea for better disability access at UCSC

Greetings, Lookout friends! It’s Tuesday, June 21, the longest day of the year — summer officially arrived early this morning, and it’s going to feel like it around Santa Cruz County, with a heat advisory in effect in the Santa Cruz Mountains as temps soar into triple digits:

So please, don’t overdo it, drink lots of fluids, and don’t leave kids or pets in the car.

The challenge of parenting through Omicron is again the topic today for Lookout’s parenting columnist, with Liza Monroy talking to local families from Watsonville to Ben Lomond about what for many was a “lost month” as COVID ran through households. “I understood that pervasive sense of shame from having been infected with the virus, as if it’s somehow your fault, that you messed up in your attempts to prevent infection,” she writes. “I realized that’s why it’s especially important to destigmatize conversations about COVID experiences.”

Also very much worth your time this morning is a Community Voices op-ed from recent UC Santa Cruz Ph.D. graduate student Amanda Quirk about the challenges she faced as a student with a disability not just on campus but around the city: “Every time I wanted to talk about resources or find community among other disabled students, I had to hurt my body to get there.”

And one of our own is performing on the national stage, with Max Chun catching up with Aptos High School alum Jared Koenig for a Q&A after he made his Major League Baseball debut for the Oakland Athletics.

Lots to get to, so let’s hit the headlines.

Parenting with Omicron: Santa Cruz families with young kids tell their stories of a ‘lost month’

Parents Jeyn and Charles Jack with Lyric, 3, and Phoenix, 7.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Farmworkers, teachers, nurses, physical therapists and writers — all parents — had to scramble as the virus upended their lives. Lookout parenting columnist Liza Monroy talks with four local families — from Watsonville to Ben Lomond — about their experience with Omicron. Read Part II of her series here.

PART I: The Omicron experience: Families with young children — including mine — still face pandemic purgatories

‘I had to hurt my body’ to get around campus: UCSC should improve access for people with disabilities

UCSC Ph.D. student Amanda Quirk
(Via Amanda Quirk)

Amanda Quirk wants UC Santa Cruz to improve its access for students with disabilities. She spent five years as a Ph.D. student in astronomy and astrophysics and struggled to navigate the campus’ hills, rocky paths and roads without sidewalks. The university and city, she writes in a Community Voices op-ed, need to do better. Already, too many talented students choose to go elsewhere. Here’s her full opinion piece.

COMMUNITY VOICES: Explore Santa Cruz’s new opinion forum

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From Aptos to MLB via Auckland, Oakland A’s pitcher and Aptos High alum Jared Koenig on his new life

A yearslong journey through different levels of professional baseball finally paid off for Jared Koenig, who made his major league debut June 8. Though he is just starting to live out his dream, that high comes with a very different perspective. “You’re at the top now, there’s nowhere else to go,” said Koenig. Max Chun has a Q&A.

MORE FROM LOCAL NEWSMAKERS: Find all our Lookout Q&As here

Most races appear conclusive with another vote update expected today

A voting sign at Cal State Los Angeles in Los Angeles on June 7, 2022.
(Pablo Unzueta / CalMatters)

Santa Cruz County Clerk Tricia Webber told Lookout her office should have another update later today on vote tallies from the June 7 primary, around 14,000 mail-in ballots — and that turnout could hit 45%, well above the record low of the 2014 primary. Mark Conley reports.

ELECTION 2022: Get all of Lookout’s coverage in one place


This new California coronavirus wave isn’t sticking to the script: Big spread, less illness

Students mostly in masks ride a subway train
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Despite the latest surge in coronavirus cases, the impact on hospitals has been relatively minor and COVID-19 deaths have remained fairly low and stable. Get the picture from our partners at the Los Angeles Times.

SHOTS FOR OUR YOUNGEST: What to know as vaccines roll out for kids 5 and under (Lookout)


Around the county ...

Santa Cruz County budget hearings begin Tuesday (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Santa Cruz shelter offering $1K reward for arrest of person who set illegal leg traps (KSBW-TV)
‘I never thought I’d see us be this good’ – Warriors, fans celebrate the NBA championship (San Jose Mercury News)

That’ll get our Tuesday off to a running start, but stay tuned: Lily Belli on Food returns after a week’s hiatus, and you can get that delivered right to your inbox via our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center. You can also keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And none of this crucial local journalism is possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member. And tell a friend!

Stay cool, and see you back here tomorrow!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz