Bobby Gray, Felton Fire chief.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Felton chief opens up about trauma; Boardwalk’s global workforce

Well hello there, friends. It is Monday, Sept. 12, and after a bit of a muggy weekend, the forecast calls for a mostly sunny day around Santa Cruz County, with highs mainly in the 70s and 80s.

Want to head directly to Lookout? I’ve got you covered.
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You’ll notice a new link above, which those of you who get our Sunday Reads newsletter might know about already. Santa Cruz County Obituaries is our area’s first digital obituary section. Click the image below to find out more. (And if you’re not getting Sunday Reads, head right here and look under “Profile” to sign up for that and all of Lookout’s other newsletters.)

There’s much more new content as we kick off the new week, leading with Part 3 of Mark Conley’s series on first responders and mental health. Bobby Gray, the Felton Fire chief whose father was killed in the line of duty as a sheriff’s deputy in 1983, traces his journey and opens up about how he sought help after Steven Carrillo’s murderous rampage in June 2020 made old wounds raw again.

Meanwhile, Blaire Hobbs goes inside the world of the Beach Boardwalk’s international student workers, who have come from Bulgaria, Taiwan, Spain, Armenia and more to help keep our area’s top tourist attraction humming along in its busiest season.

And Hillary Ojeda delivers a Q&A with Jonathan Hicken, who as the new director of UC Santa Cruz’s Seymour Marine Discovery Center is shifting the focus to coastal climate resiliency and bringing the community and local activists together with scientists working on the issues.

Monday’s headlines also include a look inside the Veterans Village housing effort in Ben Lomond and Wallace Baine catching up with a Santa Cruz author in exile, so please, keep reading. Oh, and if you’re a fan of the Santa Cruz County Fair, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for a very special membership offer!

‘This is gonna mess me up’: Bobby Gray knows better than most how trauma can manifest years later

Bobby Gray takes a moment at the grave of his father Michael in Felton.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

When traumatic events don’t receive some level of post-processing, they linger there until the day they don’t. For the Felton Fire chief who had lost his father, slain sheriff’s officer Michael Gray, back in 1983, the events of June 6, 2020, brought Bobby Gray “full circle.” As Steven Carrillo carried out the cop-killing rampage that left Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller dead and Alex Spencer severely injured, it became a catalyst for catharsis, pain and healing. Read Part 3 of Mark Conley’s series here.

PART 1: Post-tragedy, Santa Cruz cops are embracing a mental health culture shift, pushing PTSD understanding
PART 2: ‘Yoda on your shoulder’: Three times he was nearly murdered but a ‘cop whisperer’ brought him back

Inside the world of the Boardwalk’s global student workers

Tina Cheng, a tourist management student from Taiwan, works the Balloon Bust game at the Boardwalk.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

For more than 20 years, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has supplemented its local summer workforce with students from around the world. This year, more than 300 are finishing their jobs pulling ride switches and scooping up pingpong balls before returning to Armenia, Malaysia, Spain and beyond. What’s the experience like ... and what do they think of Santa Cruz? Here’s what they told Blaire Hobbs.

MORE FROM THE BEACH: No Attitudes Allowed: Lizzy Fowler keeps beach volleyball fun, without the edge (Lookout)

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That’s about 20 pounds of Lookout goodness in a 5-pound bag, so get to it. And you know there’s more coming, so I’d suggest you bookmark Lookout and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss a thing.

None of this is possible without community support, of course, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member — and many thanks to all our members! We appreciate the heck outta you.

Now get out there and attack Monday with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz