Retired teacher Woody Rehanek speaks as farmworkers and their children look on.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Strike averted, pesticides and schools and the Civic’s future

Good morning, and welcome to a new month! It is Monday, Oct. 3, and a nice fall day is on tap for Santa Cruz County, mostly sunny and with high temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

If you want to kick off the workweek by perusing Lookout on your own, I won’t contribute to a case of the Mondays.
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Up first is a trip to the Pajaro Valley, where the use of pesticides near neighborhoods with schools has long been a worry for residents. Now, Mark Conley reports in the first part of a series, berry giant Driscoll’s is listening to pleas from community groups and advocates and is considering going organic-only near schools.

For folks in the city of Santa Cruz, meanwhile, services like sanitation, roads and maintenance and more will go on uninterrupted after the union representing hundreds of workers reached a deal with the city to avoid a strike that had been set to begin Monday morning.

Up on campus, Hillary Ojeda talked with Anju Reejhsinghani, who has much on her plate as UC Santa Cruz’s first vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, in the latest of our Lookout Q&As.

And in case you missed it Sunday, Wallace Baine took at a look at the Civic Auditorium and where a new performing arts venue stands in the long list of downtown development plans, and our Community Voices opinion section feted the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as it turns 30 in a video shot and edited by Kevin Painchaud and produced by Jody K. Biehl.

Before we get to Monday’s headlines, though, time is running out on a great chance to support both local journalism and a great local organization. Become an annual Lookout member now and 10% of the price of your membership will support the O’Neill Sea Odyssey’s Adam Webster Fund, a program that funds educational experiences for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. This program needs our help in ramping back up after being hit hard by the pandemic. It gets better — that donation will be matched by O’Neill Sea Odyssey donors. Click the links below for more info and to join Lookout.

To the Monday headlines:

Pressure building on pesticides, Driscoll’s says it will consider organic-only by schools

Blackberries grow at at Reiter Nugent Ranch next to MacQuiddy Elementary
(Contributed)

A new advocacy group’s campaign to educate the public about the dangers of pesticides sprayed near neighborhoods with schools in Watsonville has also focused specific pressure on berry giant Driscoll’s, a multibillion-dollar company spawned in Santa Cruz County. Leaders at Driscoll’s and its main affiliated grower confirmed to Lookout that they are listening. Read Part 1 of Mark Conley’s series here.

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City of Santa Cruz and workers reach tentative deal to avoid strike; services to go on uninterrupted

Santa Cruz SEIU Chief Elected Officer Riko Mendez speaks at a union news conference
(Max Chun / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The City of Santa Cruz and workers represented by labor union SEIU Local 521 reached a tentative agreement Sunday afternoon, averting a strike set to begin Monday at 7 a.m. SEIU members will vote to ratify the deal this week. Max Chun has the details.

RELATED: Unionized Santa Cruz city workers face difficulties of affordability, inflation, budgets (Lookout)

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May your Monday be a smooth one!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz