Karen Lansing has developed a regimen for restoring minds wracked by PTSD.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Aptos’ healing ‘cop whisperer’; water, housing, control at issue for UCSC, city

Hiya, Lookout fam! It is Thursday, Sept. 8, and Santa Cruz County is in for another warm day under this brutal heat dome, with the mountains heading for 110 in spots and 80s and higher forecast elsewhere — though gradually lower temps look to be on the horizon.

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An Aptos therapist who has earned the moniker “cop whisperer” is in the spotlight this morning as Mark Conley’s series on first responders and mental health continues, tracing Karen Lansing’s role in helping Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy Alex Spencer recover from the post-traumatic stress he suffered after the June 2020 shootout with Steven Carrillo in Ben Lomond.

A recent court ruling involving issues facing all of California — water and development — is also about local control, with Hillary Ojeda reporting on efforts by UCSC to get the City of Santa Cruz to provide water to facilities planned for parts of campus outside the city limits.

And student safety and mental health are in focus in our Community Voices opinion section, where a group of parents, some of whom are educators, with kids in school districts throughout Santa Cruz County are hoping to start a frank conversation about what safety and well-being look like and how to achieve them.

We also have news on the new Omicron-targeting COVID booster becoming available locally, why your older Prius might be a target and much more, so to Thursday’s headlines we go.

‘Yoda on your shoulder’: Three times he was nearly murdered but a ‘cop whisperer’ brought him back

Karen Lansing has made a career of fixing the brains of first responders who have seen too much.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Not all brains require the post-traumatic stress gymnastics that Karen Lansing is able to put them through, but the ones that do need it desperately. Some officers — like Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy Alex Spencer, who was ambushed by Steven Carrillo on June 6, 2020 — find themselves suddenly thrust into a position where they must confront the unknowns of what just happened deep inside their mind. It’s a strange, emotional, highly necessary trip, Spencer relates. Here’s Part 2 of Mark Conley’s series.

PART 1: Post-tragedy, Santa Cruz cops are embracing a mental health culture shift, pushing PTSD understanding

Water, housing and who decides what: New ruling addresses long-standing UCSC/city issues

An image provided by LAFCO Santa Cruz shows proposed projects on the UCSC's north campus area outside of city limits.
(Via Santa Cruz LAFCO)

Almost everyone agrees that Santa Cruz needs more housing. As UCSC plans expansion, including more housing, providing water to the university is an issue. Maybe that’s about the water, and maybe it’s about who decides whether that water will be provided. After UC Santa Cruz filed a lawsuit in October 2020 arguing that the City of Santa Cruz was required to provide water access to parts of its campus located outside of city limits, a judge ruled on Aug. 31 that the city isn’t required to. The judge further ruled that the university has to seek authorization from a local commission. Hillary Ojeda has the details.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY? Learn how to contribute a letter to the editor and read what other Santa Cruzans are saying here (Lookout)


Santa Cruz County Job Board

Plenty to mull over as we inch toward the weekend. Speaking of, it is Thursday, and that means Wallace Baine will be along later with Weekender, his recommendation-packed stroll through Santa Cruz County’s arts and culture scene. Bookmark Lookout and and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss that and everything else we’re cooking up for you.

You know what the crucial ingredient in Lookout’s recipe is? Community support, of course. Our content isn’t possible without your help, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member — and spread the word about what we’re doing.

Stay hydrated, do what you can to keep cool — you know the drill at this point, yeah? See everyone back here Friday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz