Santa Cruz police and other officials began the process of clearing the Benchlands homeless encampment Tuesday
Officers tape off trees in the Benchlands on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: County on polio watch; ex-mayor praises homelessness efforts

Greetings, Santa Cruz County! It’s Tuesday, Sept. 20, and a partly cloudy day is ahead, with some chance of showers and highs in the 60s and 70s.

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In another 2020s curveball, polio is back in the news after a recent case in New York. And while Santa Cruz County health officials say there aren’t any worrying signs locally, they are encouraging folks who might have missed vaccinations amid the pandemic to get up to date, Max Chun and Hillary Ojeda report.

On the COVID front, meanwhile, reported cases were down again in our area last week, and you can find the latest local data in our weekly dashboard.

In our Community Voices opinion section, former mayor Mike Rotkin praises Santa Cruz officials for “a more organized and strategic effort” in tackling homelessness in the city, which he sees making headway in getting the unhoused into shelter programs and reclaiming city parks.

We’ve also got the story about how efforts to reduce fossil fuels have resulted in a different environmental problem, so let’s have a look at Tuesday’s headlines.

Polio watch: No cases, but Santa Cruz County sees some of the lowest immunization rates in the state

A CDC scientist extracts viral RNA from samples of poliovirus genetic material for molecular testing.
(Via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A polio case in New York has generated national headlines. Though it is the only known U.S. case, as the once-almost-eradicated disease pops up in 34 countries, concern is spreading. County health and schools are encouraging vaccination, especially as Santa Cruz lags behind. Max Chun and Hillary Ojeda report.

PREVIOUSLY: What the polio case in New York tells us about the end of polio (Lookout)

Let’s applaud Santa Cruz city leaders for finally tackling homelessness

Santa Cruz police and other officials began the process of clearing the Benchlands homeless encampment Tuesday
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The City of Santa Cruz has finally adopted a real plan to address homelessness, which is a change from past practice. The city has a three-year plan to help transition people into housing and clear city streets and parks of encampments. Mike Rotkin, longtime mayor of Santa Cruz, wants us to give our city leaders credit for trying to tackle this longtime issue. He also wants us to use our votes to fund city taxes that fight homelessness, he writes. Read his full Community Voices opinion piece here.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Submit a letter to the editor and read what Santa Cruzans are saying about local issues


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Food for thought to launch us into Tuesday. And for actual comestibles, keep your antennae up for Lily Belli on Food — our food and drink maven’s newsletter on the local culinary scene is just hours away. Click right here to get that and all of our other newsletters delivered right to you, and bookmark Lookout and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current on everything else we have cooking.

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Have a good Tuesday, and I shall see you back here in the a.m.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz