Top view of the lot.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: COVID and back to school; what’s up at 41st and Soquel?

Hiya, folks! It’s Thursday, July 21, and our morning overcast should give way to mainly sunny skies around Santa Cruz County, with temperatures ranging from the 70s to the 90s.

I’ll say this quietly for anyone trying to tune out the back-to-school buzz, but it’s getting to be that time again. With students and educators heading back to classrooms in mere weeks, Hillary Ojeda checks in with county health and education officials about what precautions schools will be taking amid rising COVID numbers.

And who among us hasn’t sat in traffic at the intersection of 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive and wondered what’s up with that big vacant lot? In the latest installment of our Ask Lookout series, Max Chun delivers an update.

We’ve also got a Community Voices opinion piece from former Santa Cruz mayor Mike Rotkin, who weighs in with thoughts on improving police accountability. So please, come along as we hit today’s headlines.

Back to school soon — what to do about COVID?

First grade teacher Lacie Wall welcomed students back to her classroom at Gault Elementary on Monday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

California’s guidelines haven’t changed much from last spring — masking and vaccination remain highly recommended — though fears of increased infection have risen. In Santa Cruz County, just over 44% of youth aged 5 to 9 have received a COVID vaccine compared to about 68% of 10-to-14-year-olds. Among those aged 15 to 19, about 61% have received a vaccine. Hillary Ojeda has the details.

COVID UPDATE: Hospitalizations slowly rise; officials put that into wider perspective (Lookout)

Ask Lookout: Are there any big plans for that empty lot at 41st and Soquel?

The lot at 41st and Soquel avenues near Soquel Village.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

A barren lot at 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive has been in limbo for the past few years, after a car dealership project approved by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors didn’t go as planned. Given its location at one of the highest-traffic intersections in the county, what can become of the parcel? Could we see more housing? You asked, Max Chun answers.

MORE: From the Fishhook to the SeaBreeze Tavern to Ferrell’s, get all our Ask Lookouts here


Plenty to digest as we embark upon this Thursday. But there’s more coming from Lookout, including Weekender, Wallace Baine’s look at our local arts and entertainment scene, recommendations for the weekend and beyond and much more — so keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

None of this content is possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member — and spread the word about what we’re doing.

And only a few more days until Wharf to Wharf! Wallace will have a suggestion for your running playlist in Weekender, but I’d love to know what else gets you up to speed on race day, so hit me up.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz