A young man vapes on a bench
(Via Pixabay)
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Morning Lookout: County leads way on flavored tobacco; the costs of skyrocketing home prices

Good morning, Lookout pals! Today is Thursday, June 30, and looking like another nice one around Santa Cruz County, mostly sunny once the clouds clear out and highs mainly in the 70s and 80s.

We’re just about in July, which means that within a couple weeks, all of the county’s biggest towns and its unincorporated areas will have a ban on flavored tobacco products. Seeking to reduce fast-growing use among young people, Santa Cruz is the biggest county in California to enact such a ban, Lily Belli reports, even as Big Tobacco is fighting statewide efforts with a measure on this fall’s ballot.

Meanwhile, the board of supervisors has finalized the county’s 2022-23 fiscal year budget, and that has meant some tough choices when it comes to funding nonprofits that sought grants, Max Chun writes.

And in a Community Voices opinion piece, Aptos writer Claudia Sternbach laments skyrocketing local home prices and wonders what our community is losing out on when would-be Santa Cruzans find themselves priced out.

We also got news yesterday of Santa Cruz County’s first probable case of monkeypox, and I’ll cover that and much more in today’s headlines.

I bought my Aptos house for $100K in 1981. Friends tell me I’m lucky; I don’t agree. Newcomers are being priced out.

Aptos writer Claudia Sternbach
(Via Claudia Sternbach)

Claudia Sternbach landed in Santa Cruz County by chance in 1981, when she and her husband, Michael, were idealists searching for a way to make a life close to the water. Today, their Aptos home is worth 10 times what they paid, but people she has known for decades are leaving, unable to afford the soaring home prices. Her kids can’t afford to live here. In a Community Voices opinion piece, she wonders aloud what Santa Cruz is becoming and what will happen to adventure-seeking young people today. Read it here.

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY? Find out how to contribute to Community Voices

Santa Cruz’s flavored tobacco ban: County now leads the state in latest regulations

A man smokes an e-cigarette
(Via Pixabay)

As Big Tobacco fights California’s statewide actions, Santa Cruz becomes the first bigger county to ban those products with “a taste or smell other than tobacco.” Scotts Valley’s new ordinance, to take effect July 15, completes city and county action intended to reduce fast-growing use among young people. Lily Belli has the details.

PREVIOUSLY: California will impose new vaping tax to curb teen use, fund public health programs (Los Angeles Times)


County’s CORE Investments to fund 57 public service programs out of 127 that applied

Public comment during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, June 28.
(Via County of Santa Cruz)

The three-year grant cycle aims to address changing — and growing — social services needs throughout Santa Cruz County. There’s never enough money for all applicants, and this year the county board of supervisors applied some new priorities. Max Chun outlines the process.

MORE FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENT: The West Cliff path near Natural Bridges remains a mess, for years it seems. What’s the holdup? (Lookout)

First probable monkeypox case in Santa Cruz County diagnosed

A electron microscopic image of monkeypox virus
(Via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The patient is in isolation and in good condition, per county health officials. Though more than 5,000 monkeypox cases have been confirmed worldwide, experts say that the disease does not spread easily between people. More here from Max.

COVID DASHBOARD: Bay Area surge appears to be leveling off, but cases still high (Lookout)

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‘Not uncommon’ but little understood: Red tides have returned to Santa Cruz beaches

Red tide in Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Better known to scientists as harmful algal blooms, red tides can cause irritation of the eyes, ears or nose for those with certain conditions in those areas but are generally not harmful. And they do sometimes come with bioluminescence — waves glowing at night. With beachgoers seeing red tides at some Santa Cruz County spots, here’s our explainer from last summer.

MORE FROM MONTEREY BAY: When great white season meets summer beach season: The latest on ‘Shark Park’ from scientists, responders (Lookout)

California could require labels on pot products to warn of mental health risks

Cannabis gummie and a marijuana bud
(Via Pixabay)

Doctors and lawmakers in California want cannabis products labeled to warn consumers of the increased risk of schizophrenia and other disorders associated with heavy use. Read more here from our partners at Kaiser Health News.

ELSEWHERE: Cannabis social equity programs leave many California entrepreneurs demoralized, depleted (Los Angeles Times)

Around the county ...

Santa Cruz OKs Pogonip meadow cleanup start (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
County budget includes investments in Watsonville (The Pajaronian)
Best food stops on I-5 between the Bay Area and Los Angeles (SFGate)

A solid start to Thursday, no? And it being Thursday, that means Wallace Baine is headed our way later today with Weekender, his newsletter packed with tidbits on the Santa Cruz County arts and entertainment scene, plus recommendations aplenty for things to do this holiday weekend and beyond. Make sure that gets delivered right to you by visiting our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, and keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Our content isn’t possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member, and tell a friend!

Have a swell Thursday — catch you back here tomorrow morning.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz