A woman wears a mask as she casts her vote on Election Day in Santa Cruz County on Nov. 3, 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: More subvariants, more elections and more food for thought

Hey there, Lookouters! It’s Giovanni again, filling in for newsletter wizard Will McCahill this fine Thursday, June 7. It’s going to be warmer today, with temps forecast to scratch 80 degrees across many neighborhoods in Santa Cruz County.

You may have read our recap yesterday on the primary election and how close the Measure F vote came — 50 votes close, to be exact. We’re not quite out of the election woods this year, though.

November’s general election, while four months away, will be here in a jiffy if the pace of 2022 continues. With that in mind, there are four things you need to know before we approach the next voting period and start seeing more yard signs again.

On COVID-19 (I know... I, too, wish we could remove it from our viral vocabulary), some good news amid variant uncertainty: We should expect regulators to roll out an updated vaccine this fall that will target omicron and its subvariants, in addition to the original strain. You can read more on our COVID Dashboard updated each week by our correspondent Max Chun.

Oh, and did I mention tips to save at the grocery store? Let’s get to those stories, Community Voices, rom-coms and more, shall we?

A (very) early general election preview: 4 things to know about the November battles ahead

4 things to know about graphic

Election season may be in a lull, but it’s not over. In fact, a few political showdowns are still heating up. Here’s what you need to know as the Nov. 8 general election draws closer.

MORE: Find all of Lookout’s Election 2022 coverage in one place


‘You’re the first Muslim I’ve ever spoken to’: How quick talks with a stranger can challenge our stereotypes

Tenzin and Maha
(Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi)

Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi thinks the only way we can “move forward as a nation and as human beings” is to talk to each other and find “the threads of common humanity that unite us.” She gives suggestions and — in partnership with others — is offering us a chance to talk to strangers and get to know ourselves at the MAH on July 23. She’ll be there, too. Read her op-ed here.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: How to contribute to Community Voices

COVID Dashboard: New variants could keep cases high, but updated shots may be on the way

Though local cases have remained fairly stagnant — currently sitting at 2,022 compared to last week’s 2,002 — the subvariants are proving sneaky and could continue to result in elevated case rates. See the latest data here.

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

Local playwright brings contemporary ‘Midsummer'-ish rom-com to Santa Cruz Shakespeare

Allie Pratt (center) with, from left, Allen Gilmore, Carol Halstead and Landon Hawkins
(Jana Marcus)

As the only non-Shakespeare production at this summer’s Santa Cruz Shakespeare festival, Kathryn Chetkovich’s “The Formula” updates the love-potion comedy for a contemporary audience for a world premiere in her hometown. Wallace Baine has the advance.

Grocery prices are soaring. Try these ten tips to save money

Bags selling beans are fully stocked while a woman shops for produce wearing a mask at a Vons.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

As a result of the pandemic, Americans have been spending more on groceries for home cooking and less on going out to eat. But grocery prices have jumped over the last year. A combination of factors are to blame, including higher fuel costs, supply chain hiccups and surging labor costs. Here are some tips for cutting your monthly food bill.

RELATED: Inflation brings California food banks a surge in first-time users on ‘razor’s edge’ (Los Angeles Times)

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Around the county ...

A Breakdown of Santa Cruz County’s ‘Empty Home Tax’ Initiative (Good Times)
Construction of culvert at the San Lorenzo River mouth starts next week (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Several Central Coast restaurants receive $3,000 grant to stay open (KION-TV)

There you have it. As always, I’d suggest you keep tabs on any updates throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you missed Lily Belli’s food and drink newsletter Tuesday, or want to get Wallace Baine’s Weekender, his Thursday look at Santa Cruz’s arts and entertainment scene, head over to our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center to get yourself (or a friend!) signed up.

None of this local journalism is possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member, and help us spread the word.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your Thursday!

Giovanni Moujaes
Lookout Santa Cruz