Morning Lookout: Next steps for Benchlands; inside one preschool’s COVID vax requirement
Rise and shine, Lookouters! It is Thursday, Aug. 18, and the forecast is a familiar one for Santa Cruz County: morning fog giving way to sun and 70s near the bay, mostly sunny and temps in the 90s in the hills.
Leading off is a report from the Benchlands area near downtown Santa Cruz, where city officials have begun the process of clearing the homeless encampment along the San Lorenzo River. But with advocates threatening a lawsuit and shelter capacity in flux, next steps are likely to be halting.
From Aptos, meanwhile, Rabbi Paula Marcus writes in a Community Voices opinion piece about her temple board’s decision to require students and staff at Temple Beth El’s preschool be vaccinated against COVID-19 — a decision that hasn’t been universally welcomed.
One last stop before headlines: For a limited time, not only will becoming a Lookout member help revitalize Motion Pacific’s Dance for Parkinson’s project, but we have one pair of tickets (valued at $70 each) to the Santa Cruz Shakespeare production of choice for the first person to purchase an annual Lookout membership; just head to this link and use the promo code SHAKES at checkout, and read more below about the Dance for Parkinson’s program and the benefits of becoming a Lookout member.
Beyond the Benchlands: Under lawsuit threat, Santa Cruz sets plan to clear homeless camp. What happens next?
Santa Cruz began clearing the Benchlands this week, but city leaders acknowledge that this could be a slow process depending on the number of shelter beds it can provide and the willingness of those in the encampment along the San Lorenzo River to relocate. Mark Conley and Thomas Sawano have the story.
➤ UNHOUSED SANTA CRUZ: Read Lookout’s full series here
Jewish law requires COVID-19 vaccines, and so does Simcha preschool: We must protect the most vulnerable
Temple Beth El’s preschool program, Simcha, is requiring all children, teachers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend the play-centered program in Aptos. Some families have objected to the temple board’s vaccine decision and have left the program. Rabbi Paula Marcus, the congregation’s longtime leader, argues that caring for the most vulnerable among us, and thus getting ourselves and our children vaccinated, draws directly from the commandment to preserve life — which the Jewish faith places above all others. Read her full Community Voices opinion piece here.
And just like that, another Thursday is upon us. If you’ve been following along, you might remember that Thursdays at Lookout bring Weekender, Wallace Baine’s stroll through Santa Cruz County’s arts and entertainment scene. This Thursday is no exception, and without giving anything away, I can tell you that Wallace’s Weekender game is strong this week, and that you should bookmark Lookout and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss anything.
None of this is possible without community support — and supporting Santa Cruz is just one thing that comes with being a Lookout member, with now being a particularly good time to make that happen. And if you are a Lookout member, we appreciate you, and hope you’ll tell a friend about what we’re doing.
Cheers to a good Thursday!
Lookout Santa Cruz